December 15th. 1868.
My dear McLean,
Matters are going on only moderately well. All, with the exception of Mr. Richmond, tacitly consent, with Colonel Whitmore, that the settlers of Poverty Bay have been throwing obstacles in the way of carrying on as Expedition. The settlers are only too anxious to give every assistance in their power in furthering Colonel Whitmore's plans (although up to the present they have not been particularly clear); but he actually seems to object to receive any information or help from them, for the purpose of having them still to growl at and insult.
Mr. Richmond, on the contrary, is moderate and feeling in his tone, and has gained the goodwill of everyone here. Even Wyllie is going to give him his assistance to settle the Land Question; and I feel assured you are most anxious that the matter may be settled, no matter by whom, if wisely administered.
Colonel Whitmore, I am afraid, cannot understand a generous and upright principle; but continues to put down the services performed by the
settlers, to a sordid motive. You must not imagine the people of this place concur in the spirit of 'Our Own Correspondents' ''letters to the ''Hawke's Bay Herald, as they do not. It is simply indifference to the subject that prevents them answering those letters; or, at all events, denying their participation in the personal abuse heaped on Officials. We say, - let Colonel Whitmore have a fair trial, and judge him after. Every one is really desirous that he should have success, no matter how acquired. The Colony is at too low an ebb for anyone to care how success is gained, so long as it is success.
You will have heard from Raharuhi by this time what success we may expect Richmond to have in the Land Question. There really ought not to be any opposition just now to the settlement of this place; and yet there is, but I think not very serious: as the great objection at present expressed is that you should be the master in the scene. You should settle, as you wish, the great Question.
Colonel Whitmore is now preparing for a Campaign or Expedition against the enemy, rather on a large scale. He appears to ignore the possibility that instead of being in the Pah where Ropata left
him, the enemy may now be prowling about the hills overlooking his Camp. There is no earthly reason that I can think of to cause them to remain in their Pah when Whitmore attacks; unless it is with a view of killing some of our own people from a good position. If I mistake not, their great want is food; and to procure that, they come down and visit the potato grounds in out-of-the-way places. My plan would now be to divide the force into 2 Divisions, lay ambushes, about the potato patch for some days, well scour the country about here leading into the flats; and then when feeling certain the enemy is not behind, make an advance, (first going in Divisions) into the Interior, to kill whoever you came across.
Yours very truly