Object #1017403 from MS-Papers-0032-0481

8 pages written 23 Oct 1863 by John Davies Ormond to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - J D Ormond, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0481 (89 digitised items). 85 letters written from Epraima, Auckland, Wallingford & Napier, 1857-1865. Includes a few draft letters from McLean to Ormond.

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

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English (ATL)

Auckland -
October 23rd - 1863

My dear McLean,

The Rangitira does not leave until tomorrow but as I, with Whitmore and 2 others go to the front today I must write youbefore I do so. We expect to be absent from 3 to 4 days and as it is said Sunday is the day on which Mere Mere is to be attacked we may see the Affair. The ''Pioneer'' (new steamer from Sydney) was not out of the Manakau yesterday but it is said the repairs have been made to her machinery and that she would leave for Waikato this morning. Everything is kept in mystery here and no one (certainly not Ministers) knows the truth about anything. Really being here amidst all the preparation seeng men, horses, conveyances, everything and everybody engaged in some way in connection with the war it seemed wonderful that a few miserable savages can hold their own as they do. Every day the volunteer band is engaged in playing before a company of newly landed Military settlers, who are landed and marched straight off to the front at once. Yesterday a company landed at 3 o'clock yet they were marched to Otahuhu that same night. There is no doubt I believe that the general but awaits the steamer's arrival in Waikato to make an attack on Mere Mere and every day is making him stronger. - 500 men, have arrived since Sunday. As yet I have had too much to do to move much in any of our Provincial business. Yesterday I gave notice to ask for leave to bring in a Bill for our new Land Regulation. This morning I called on Simpson about the Loan he begged me to defer the matter until after the mail had left today as he was overwhelmed with work. I am quite sure that if we can get the terms we want we shall have made a first rate financial arrangement - it is in fact so good that I fear we shall not get them the only chance is that the continuing the Govt. account and Loan may possibly obtain these terms for us. I must settle the matter in some way, before our Land Bill comes on for 2nd reading. As I must be in the position to say - the money is raised we want them only to give security we have offered. I am sorry I am not able to advice you by the Mail of the Loan being settled but you will be sure to hear of it by next mail to you.

Yesterday I wrote you by Lady Bird a hurried letter and sent you copies of the Waitara Papers and the Despatches. If you wish me to do anything for you in connection with the Waitara Question be definite in what you write me upon it and it would be better to let it be a separate paper. The debate will come off next Wednesday on the address but I do not think the Waitara Question will be debated then - it is proposed to give that cursed question a debate to itself - It is difficult to give you a correct version of the position of the Ministers. The wheel is revolving and nothing is yet definitely settled. Domett and the Ministry generally do not work together. Whittaker beyond doubt, altho' nominally an unpolitical officer has been the leading man in the Ministry he and Russell do not work with Domett. Bell agrees with no one and as far as I can gather all are at loggerheads. The Ministry have no representative in the Lords - the only men on their side capable of opposing Sewell, Pollen and Swainson is of course Whitaker - Whitaker is playing his own game and declines to do the Govt. work saying that his office is a non-political one - the Lords have struck work until Govt. can get itself represented. I see no way of the present Govt. managing in the Lords and I am sufficiently behind the scenes behind the scenes to hear that Whitaker and Russell are working their best to make this the necessity for a reconstruction of the Ministry I believe the next news I shall have to give you will be that Whitaker is Premier - the rest is doubtful. Domett they want to keep in - he swears he wont take second place. Stafford goes in pretty certain in any case. T. Russell wants to be in, but I do not think the House will stand an entirely Auckland Ministry and Russell is not a man who is trusted I mean he is a man of whom no one has a very high opinion. Nothing of all this is known in Auckland and you know enough of the intrigues of party to be aware that it may turn out very differently yet. Poor little Whitmore has aspired to Office and must feel terribly disgusted that even in their present great strait Ministers are not willing to accept his services. I asked both Domett and Whitaker if he had ever been asked to join them. the answer was the same in both cases and was by no means flattering to our little friend. Domett tried H. Russell at my suggestion. I thought he might manage for a week until they got somebody to go in to the Upper House to do their work - but he said he was not up to it and declined. Whitmore is toadying Stafford a great deal just now, but it is useless. Stafford has taken his measureand laughs at him. I feel sorry to see Whitmore making such an Ass of himself as he is. His efforts to get Office are the laugh of the Club but he does not see it. I have got him to agree to join me - asking for Lambert's appointment as Major Commanding inland Militia and Volunteers - dont say anything about it yet as he may repent before it is done. Domett was very angry with me for refusing to second the reply to the Address. I told him I wanted to help him but that I could not go so far as to do what he wished with my views on the action taken in the Waitara question. Mr. Colenso cannot enjoy his senatorial honors much and I should think - nobody takes the least notice of him his presence is alike useless to himself and the place he unfortunately represents. That Turton looks a fish of the same genus. I have been sounding Members about the Wellington Debt and I think if Featherston is obstinate I can succeed in beating him in the House. I shall say nothing to him until our side is safe. Write Gillies a line asking his help - his prejudices are rather strong against new Provinces ask him too if he will give an opinion on the clause in the Act we spoke of before I left. Why I want you to ask him is that he may open the question to me rather I to him which is a decided advantage. If we could get an opinion out of him it wd. bring him perhaps to our side and he takes the Otago Members with him. Write me fully how things are in our Province I do not think the House will sit longer than the 20th of next month. Will you furnish me with reports, by first opportunity, on the Country if any available on the Northem frontier or likely to be available for military settlers - also anything about the 70 mile bush country and that locality on the borders of the Rua Taniwha plains. The present ministry or any other that can get office will as the principal item in their scheme of subjugation insist on the formation of a great military road thro' the country and the establishment of settlements along it - the men to make the roads in the vicinity of their settlement. I can procure the promise of 2000 men for our Province if we can hold out hopes of land to place them upon half for the northern frontier and the other for the 70 mile bush on our end of it - The Emigrants to be brought from England to be men with families - furnish me with any information you are able on this head and I hope we may get our Province pushed on as far as Immigration is concerned without trenching upon Provincial funds. A main road from N. to S. would be the absolute making of our Province. We shd. really become a most important Province. Of course a Loan is talked of and must be had - the amount will be from 3 to 5 millions - nothing less would secure the objects proposed for Electric telegraph is to be established at once from end to end of the Middle Island. And now I think I have told you all I can remember and you will hear a good deal from me by the steamer on the 8th of next month. I dont say anything about myself, I go quietly about among members and work what I can. I have had overtures from I think all parties, but Office but would not suit me I must work the dead horse out on the Stable before I allow myself to think of anything of the kind. Write fully by all chances

Yours always,
J. D. Ormond.

Part of:
Inward letters - J D Ormond, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0481 (89 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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