Object #1015636 from MS-Papers-0032-0228

17 pages written 15 Nov 1869 by George Sisson Cooper in Wellington to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - George Sisson Cooper, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0228 (108 digitised items). 105 letters written from Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington. Contains correspondence between McLean and Cooper with regard to the purchase of Maori land in Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa in particular, and various complaints and issues that arose from the purchases; also contains information and discussions about the spread of the Pai Marire and Ringatu religions (again, with a particular focus on Hawke's Bay and Wairarapa), and about general Maori affairs. Includes draft letters from McLean to Cooper; letters from George's wife Ellen C Cooper, 1863-1872, and from Sarah Cooper (undated).

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

Download a at

Page 1 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

COPY. Wellington

November 15th. 1869



My dear McLean,

I have not written to you for some time, because I had nothing to say; secondly, there was no mail; and thirdly. I knew you heard everything regularly from Mr. Fox.

We have all been overjoyed at the wonderful successs of your visit to Waikato; of which we have heard all but the particulars of detail.

Of all the services you have renderd to New Zealand, there has been nothing

Page 2 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

to compare to this. How I wish I had been there! Featherston and Bell may unpack their carpet bags now, for you have fairly taken the wind out of their sails. You have no idea of the effect the news has had here. Everyone is delighted, and it has almost made the people look as if they didn't sleep 18 hours out of the 24!

We are all most eagerly looking out for the news of the ''Phoebe'', when we hope to hear

Page 3 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

full particulars of how you managed to get over the difficulties about land, murders, etc. - which Messrs. Martin, Firth, Davis & Co. had so carefully got ready for you. Would it not be possible, by hook or by crook, to hang C.O.D. I think lynch would be justifiable. I cannnot tell you when I have been so pleased, as on Saturday and to-day, to see the telegrams that have been pouring in, each containing (I was going to say) better news

Page 4 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

than the last; at all events, all containing far better than anybody looked for.

Our latest news from Wanganui is to the effect that the great gathering from Ohinemutu is to come off to-morrow. Topia's message from Tawhiao was choking him, and he could not keep it in any longer. Mr. Fox will, of course, tell you what has been done; which is, briefly, to send Booth up to report preceedings, but to take no part.

Page 5 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)


Te Waru had been sent to Tokangamutu; also Paer (Rangi kai tupuake), but for what purpose, had not transpired.

All Napier and Taupo news, you will, of course, get from Ormond, I am sadly afraid Kaimanawa is a duffer. I wonder whether W. McDonnell was hoaxer or hoaxee. I should say he would find the elimate at Napier warm, if he should go there.

Branigan is up

Page 6 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

at Patea, busy in making his demilitarizing arrangements. I have been in full charge of the Defence Office ever since he went to Otago, and suppose I shall be forced to keep it now. I have had anothet office forced upon me lately - that of Deputy Auditor, while Knight is disporting himself at Melbourne.

These distinctions are all very honoirable. it is true, and I feel proud accordingly; but they are honarary as well, and that is not quite so plesant.

With respect to the papers I am sending up, it is not necessary that I should say much. They are - Locke's Report of his visit to Poverty Bay and Wairoa. a lot of Maori letters, showing a not very satisfactory state of things in respect of the Poverty Bay Commission Court; papers about G.B. Worgan, whose licence, I think, should be suspended without any delay; papers called for by you from Ngapuhi, about Kay of Waikato, and from Govt. to King Chiefs; and proclamation about Raku Raku's land, which, as at first sent up by you,

Page 7 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

had no date, and recited a wrong Act (1866 instead of 1865) So after consulting with Mr. Fox and the Attorney General, it was decided to insert the date of the covering letter, and publish the Proclamation as if it had been all right at first, forwarding a correct one for signature.

Everything is going on quietly in both Offices. The average of work is much less now you are away; but I find myself at work almost every day till six, (it's 6.30 now.)

Mr. Gavin is doing good service in the Defence, and getting the accounts into something like working order. Mr. Lomax is off to join Col.

Page 8 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

McDonnell, who wrote to Mr. Fox to ask for him - as A.D.C. I believe.

Smith has worked here for a couple of days last week, but the ''Challenger'' arriving yesterday has started him off again.

16th. I can't close my letter without a word about Grindell. I am afraid he has gone pat recall. If anything could have been done at first so that he might have been reinstated after three months' suspension, he might have been saved. But now all his offices are filled

Page 9 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

up by men who cannot be got out of them again; and I am sadly afraid Grindell has abandoned himself to despair. He writes to me every mail, but I cannot do anything of course. I have preached long sermons to him, and scolded him, but I am afraid he has not mended his ways much. It will be a great pity to lose him altogether, as the value of the Waka was undeniable, and I do not know whom we could get to manage it as he has done.

Page 10 of 17. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

I do wish you could manage to find something for him.

Deighton and Atkinson are cut off at the end of this month, by Mr. Fox, on Ormond's suggestion. I am afraid Atkinson has made a sad mess at Poverty Bay.

So you have Clarke at Auckland; a most excellent man, if Tauranga can spare him. However, the latter won't be so important post, if Tawhiao & Co. are sincere about peace;

English (ATL)

COPY. Wellington

November 15th. 1869



My dear McLean,

I have not written to you for some time, because I had nothing to say; secondly, there was no mail; and thirdly. I knew you heard everything regularly from Mr. Fox.

We have all been overjoyed at the wonderful successs of your visit to Waikato; of which we have heard all but the particulars of detail.

Of all the services you have renderd to New Zealand, there has been nothing to compare to this. How I wish I had been there! Featherston and Bell may unpack their carpet bags now, for you have fairly taken the wind out of their sails. You have no idea of the effect the news has had here. Everyone is delighted, and it has almost made the people look as if they didn't sleep 18 hours out of the 24!

We are all most eagerly looking out for the news of the ''Phoebe'', when we hope to hear full particulars of how you managed to get over the difficulties about land, murders, etc. - which Messrs. Martin, Firth, Davis & Co. had so carefully got ready for you. Would it not be possible, by hook or by crook, to hang C.O.D. I think lynch would be justifiable. I cannnot tell you when I have been so pleased, as on Saturday and to-day, to see the telegrams that have been pouring in, each containing (I was going to say) better news than the last; at all events, all containing far better than anybody looked for.

Our latest news from Wanganui is to the effect that the great gathering from Ohinemutu is to come off to-morrow. Topia's message from Tawhiao was choking him, and he could not keep it in any longer. Mr. Fox will, of course, tell you what has been done; which is, briefly, to send Booth up to report preceedings, but to take no part.

Te Waru had been sent to Tokangamutu; also Paer (Rangi kai tupuake), but for what purpose, had not transpired.

All Napier and Taupo news, you will, of course, get from Ormond, I am sadly afraid Kaimanawa is a duffer. I wonder whether W. McDonnell was hoaxer or hoaxee. I should say he would find the elimate at Napier warm, if he should go there.

Branigan is up at Patea, busy in making his demilitarizing arrangements. I have been in full charge of the Defence Office ever since he went to Otago, and suppose I shall be forced to keep it now. I have had anothet office forced upon me lately - that of Deputy Auditor, while Knight is disporting himself at Melbourne.

These distinctions are all very honoirable. it is true, and I feel proud accordingly; but they are honarary as well, and that is not quite so plesant.

With respect to the papers I am sending up, it is not necessary that I should say much. They are - Locke's Report of his visit to Poverty Bay and Wairoa. a lot of Maori letters, showing a not very satisfactory state of things in respect of the Poverty Bay Commission Court; papers about G.B. Worgan, whose licence, I think, should be suspended without any delay; papers called for by you from Ngapuhi, about Kay of Waikato, and from Govt. to King Chiefs; and proclamation about Raku Raku's land, which, as at first sent up by you, had no date, and recited a wrong Act (1866 instead of 1865) So after consulting with Mr. Fox and the Attorney General, it was decided to insert the date of the covering letter, and publish the Proclamation as if it had been all right at first, forwarding a correct one for signature.

Everything is going on quietly in both Offices. The average of work is much less now you are away; but I find myself at work almost every day till six, (it's 6.30 now.)

Mr. Gavin is doing good service in the Defence, and getting the accounts into something like working order. Mr. Lomax is off to join Col. McDonnell, who wrote to Mr. Fox to ask for him - as A.D.C. I believe.

Smith has worked here for a couple of days last week, but the ''Challenger'' arriving yesterday has started him off again.

16th. I can't close my letter without a word about Grindell. I am afraid he has gone pat recall. If anything could have been done at first so that he might have been reinstated after three months' suspension, he might have been saved. But now all his offices are filled up by men who cannot be got out of them again; and I am sadly afraid Grindell has abandoned himself to despair. He writes to me every mail, but I cannot do anything of course. I have preached long sermons to him, and scolded him, but I am afraid he has not mended his ways much. It will be a great pity to lose him altogether, as the value of the Waka was undeniable, and I do not know whom we could get to manage it as he has done. I do wish you could manage to find something for him.

Deighton and Atkinson are cut off at the end of this month, by Mr. Fox, on Ormond's suggestion. I am afraid Atkinson has made a sad mess at Poverty Bay.

So you have Clarke at Auckland; a most excellent man, if Tauranga can spare him. However, the latter won't be so important post, if Tawhiao & Co. are sincere about peace; though, of course, it will be necessary to maintain every precaution and safeguard as at present.

Between ourselves, Halse is very uneasy. He thinks he had a claim to be sent to Auckland; and does not much like the idea of Clarke going there. I should be very glad if you could find a good appointment for him - say as Gold Warden (?) or R.M. or something. I would not stand in his way, and would even make a struggle to get on without him in the Office, rather than stand in the way of his promotion.

The removal of the Prisoners to Otago was very well managed. They were very unhappy and frightened at first, but soon settled down and became contented.

Hamiora Pera was hung this morning. He whimpered, and made a fuss - the first time I have over heard of such an occurrence with a Maori. Thank goodness there is one ruffian less in the world.

Bell is to be here to-day in the ''Omeo,'' and to sail again to-morrow for Melbourne., Mrs. Bell has been dreadfully ill, and it is not expected that she will land from the steamer. Talking of Bell carries my mind back to Otago.

The Maoris are (for the time, and I fear, for ever) swindled out of the Princes Street Reserve. It has been argued before the Court of Appeal, and unanimously decided that they are not to have it - not because of any want of power in the Governor to make a reserve, but because it was not done with full and proper formalities by the Governor - in Council. This comes of Sir George Grey's autocratic way of doing things, by the stroke of the pen, instead of seeing that he had a sure legal foundation for his acts. The worst of it is that it throws a shadow of doubt upon all Reserves made by the Governor, and not by the settlers at time of sale.

I am afraid the effect of the decision will be very unfortunate - especially if the principle is sought to be extended to other sources. It is worth while to consider whether it would not be advisable to have Orders in Council, even now, remaking all the old Reserves which were made by the Governor alone, and cannot be distinctly proved to have been a condition of sale of the land. I will talk the matter over with Mr. Fox, and see what he says about it.

I must finish off now, as Post hour has arrived. I can't think of anything else to say at present.

I enclose this morning's ''Independent'', containing an article commenting on your Waikato doings.

I also enclose Campbell's last Report from Waiapu, which is interesting, but not very cheering. I forgot to allude to it in enumerating the Official enclosures.

Believe me always
very sincerely yours (Signed)
G.S. Cooper.

Part of:
Inward letters - George Sisson Cooper, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0228 (108 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

Usage: You can search, browse, print and download items from this website for research and personal study. You are welcome to reproduce the above image(s) on your blog or another website, but please maintain the integrity of the image (i.e. don't crop, recolour or overprint it), reproduce the image's caption information and link back to here (http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=1015636). If you would like to use the above image(s) in a different way (e.g. in a print publication), or use the transcription or translation, permission must be obtained. More information about copyright and usage can be found on the Copyright and Usage page of the NLNZ web site.

External Links:
View Full Descriptive Record in TAPUHI

Leave a comment

This function is coming soon.

Latest comments