Object #1015665 from MS-Papers-0032-0446

6 pages written 26 Aug 1855 by Walter Baldock Durrant Mantell in Wellington to John Jermyn Symonds

From: Inward letters - Surnames, Man - Mar, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0446 (25 digitised items). Correspondents:Maria A Maning, Auckland, 1870 & undated (2 letters); John Mannell, Tauranga, 1868 (1 letter); Hau Maning, undated letter; James Manning, Dunedin, 1865 (1 letter); W B D Mantell, Taranaki & Wellington, 1846-1876 (15 letters); Charles E Merchant, New Plymouth, 1847 & 1849 (2 letters).Marie du Coeur de Jesus, St Mary's Convent, Wellington, 1873? (1 letter); Matthew Marriner, Kaipara (to J Rogan), 1858 (1 letter); W Marsh, [Napier?], 1870 (1 letter); A Marshall (to Miss McLean), undated letter re witnessing the examination of the children.

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

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English (ATL)

Wellington,
26 Augt., 1855.


My dear Symonds,

In addition to the enclosed I had written to you concerning the yet unpurchased Block of Land at Akaroa and Wairewa --- Some five years ago I made an offer for this which the natives refused and as there was no prospect of their coming to terms in any reasonable time, I returned to Wellington rather than appear desirous of protracting a temporary appointment. The Government (there was one then) approved the course I had taken so with the usual reports (to be looked for in the Col. Sec's office) I relapsed into otium sine dig. I proposed to give them certain reserves and £150 cash --- the latter is I believe still in the hands of Mr. Whatson at Akaroa.

Now in making purchases from the natives I ever represented to them that though the money payment might be small, their chief recompense would lie in the kindness of the Govt. towards them, the erection and maintenance of schools and hospitals for their benefit and so on --- you know it all.

But on my reminding the Govt. of these unfulfilled promises I was referred to the General Assembly --- a body in which neither the Imperial Government nor the natives has any representation --- of course I refer to the 'Houses' only, but they have hitherto been defacto the General Assembly.

This is bad --- Of course the Akaroa natives are not bound by my award; so neither should the officer be who may be employed to treat with them.

If all this sham of paternalism with which the natives have been so long amused is to be openly abandoned --- and twere more honest so to abandon it --- let the natives make their terms unfettered by filial feelings.

The subject was brought to my recollection by the news that (within the unsold boundaries) natives at Wainui, Akaroa and at Wairewa had been turned off by persons to whom the land had been sold by the Commr. of Crown Lands --- This is cool if true. Why at Wellington, Ahuriri, Auckland --- even at Taranaki the Commissioners have not yet resorted to this style of purchase --- but then by the way the natives in those places are treated very differently altogether --- When Katatore commits murders for which in our island he would be most assuredly hung --- the British Government aspires only to maintain "the neutrality of the Settlers" and speaks of it as "a native quarrel" with which the Govt. has nothing to do.

Somebody somewhere says that something was I forget what to the weak and something else to the strong. You may remember the passage --- I have no wish to do so till it seems less disgracefully applicable to what I wish to respect.

I have not written to you on our interview with the Oathely. I think that the question of mere justice or base injustice to weak tribes should after that interview be put on a different footing: I do not therefore feel justified in again aiding those to appear as unsuccessful suppliants, who have every right to demand the fulfilment of the promises of the Imperial Government --- But no power --- I'm off in a day or two for Sydney.

Wishing you a happy issue out of all cares etc.

Believe me, my dear Symonds,
Yours faithfully,
Walter Mantell.

Part of:
Inward letters - Surnames, Man - Mar, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0446 (25 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)

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