Object #1016572 from MS-Papers-0032-0444

6 pages written 29 Jan 1867 by Frederick Edward Maning in Auckland Region to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0444 (67 digitised items). 58 letters written from Auckland and Hokianga, 1860-1870. Includes letter in Maori to Maning from Hone Mohi Tawhai, 1869; from Hoani Makaho Te Uruoterangi, Akarana, 1870; unsigned letter in Maori written from Weretana to Te Rauparaha, Sep 1869; T H Maning to his father, 1870; Maning to White, 1870; Harry H King to Maning, 1870.Includes piece-level inventory, 1860-1876 & undated (excluding 1969 acquisitions)

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

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English (ATL)


January 29, 1867.

My Dear Sir,

You and I fling letters at one another just as the spirit moves us without sticking to the established rules of correspondence as laid down in the ''complete letter writer'', and this is the best way so long as you and I understand that even tho for a time silent our good will and friendship is all the same an enduring fact. I have been worked to death almost of late this northern district being the oldest inhabited settlement it is a mere labyrinth of conflicting pakeha and Maori claims and which from former careless surveying is made worse the land also is more subdivided amongst the Maoris themselves than in any other district I think and the Ngapuhi like Hotspur will ''cavil over the tenth part of a hair'' and altogether I can affirm that your friend has had about as much as he knew how to manage for the last twelve months. I at one time actually fancied for a short time that I was going to be beaten which I found to be a new sensation.

I have been almost jealous of you of late every one says that Napier has under your Superintendance been pushed on in a most remarkable manner and that you have had difficulties arising out of the native troubles of a very serious nature to contend with and have succeeded nevertheless. Now this being the Case and as no one seems inclined to blow a trumpet for me or even a penny whistle (to the right tune) I am going to turn my own trumpeter in this letter because I wish you above all others to be aware of any small success I may have - I dont think I exaggerate when I tell you that the action of the Lands Court in the north i.e. the Bay district is fast becoming a really marked success and is most undoubtedly already causing what if no civil influence intervenes very soon will produce a complete revolution for the better in the mode of life of the natives and in their political status and relation to the European inhabitants. All over the north there are already instances to be found of natives who having individualised their claims and received Crown Grants for their land, are fencing, clearing, laying down grass, and building good houses for themselves and calculating what the future income derivable from their farms will in future years be. The land they sell is almost invariably the inferior lands and they keep the best for themselves, and they are in general so persuaded of the great benefits derivable from the Native Lands Act that I assure you the Court has in my district acquired a power and authority quite unpresidented up to this time. I at first for a few months had dreadfull difficulty in working the Lands Act chiefly arising from my predecessor and other magistrates as I think giving too much way to the influence of natives having particular interests to serve and in consequence at first for some months great efforts were made in every imaginable way to move me out of the direct line of impartiality but that is over now and the law is working like a well oiled machine. There still occur now and then rather serious cases between natives giving cause for great caution and in truth I have more than once had cases to settle by deciding as to who was the owner of a given piece of land which it appeared would lead to a fight no matter how I decided, and yet by some special providence and by great caution and hard thinking, and above all by taking upon myself a sufficient authority which the natives seem to give in to in a way I hardly expected I have hitherto got on successfully and the first great dange of working the Land Act amongst my good friends the Ngapuhi has passed. I dont know how long I shall stick to my present trade however for the work is so hard and the continual anxiety and liability to fall into some mistake though I have made no mistake yet is so wearing that it is only the consideration of the good consequences which will arise in a very few years from what I am doing that keeps me from leaving off.

The day is the anniversary of the Colony and every one else is holidaying but I am in for fourteen hours writing at least as often occurs to me for two and three weeks without intermission. I am Judge, and Clerk, and Collector of fees, and do all my own writing and account keeping, and keep register books of everything done and am in continual correspondence with natives all over the north, often besides other things writing twenty letters a day and altogether the affair I begin to find to be no joke in the way of work within the last two months I have heard and finally disposed of about one hundred Claims and besides the office writing connected therewith have written every word of evidence given in all those cases as fast as it was spoken I would not think much of it if I was in my usual health but I have not been for the last year as strong as formerly - time I suppose is beginning to tell upon me.

When are you going to come down to see us in the north I should be very much delighted to entertain you at Hokianga should you take a holiday I have too much to do in my own end to leave or would like to go ''on circuit'' down your way though I dont think I would be able to make as good head weigh amongst your Southern natives as amongst the Ngapuhi who though very tough fellows to deal with have been so long used to me that I have a better chance with them than anywhere else. Perhaps I may make a raid upon you some of these days I think a day or twos fighting would do me good but it is the more shame for us nevertheless that on this twenty seventh anniversary we should be fighting at Tauranga I believe we might do or have done better though not without one war perhaps that I think had to be - excuse this hasty scrawl I have so much to do I have no time to pick words and have also left out many matters which would interest you.

When shall we two meet again?
Believe me ever sincerely yours,
F.E. Maning.
P.S. There is a young man here by name Thomas White who I think well of, he is going to Napier, he is only about nineteen or twenty years of age and is sober active and intelligent and I believe a good carpenter, if you can put him in the way of getting employment of any sort and of pushing his way I think he will turn out well, and should you extend in ever so small a degree your powerfull patronage in his favour you will oblige me and I will be glad to do what in me lies at any time for any friend, follower, or henchman of yours who comes in my way. He will leave here in a couple of weeks and I will give him a short note to you he does not want much as he is a young fellow who can work his way all he wants is a chance.
Yours very truly,
F.E. Maning.

Part of:
Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0444 (67 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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