My dear Mr.McLean
Many thanks for your kind letter. I have already told you by wire that the good advice therein given is adopted. First to business - H.Russell's letter came to me in this way, and I think I mentioned it in my private letter - W.R.Brown was clearing out old papers before going to the Registrar's office, and brought me up this, saying it belonged to the Native Office - It had been left in his pigeon holds, and he did not like to destroy anything. Of course I took it - I send you an Evg.Post re Col.Russell - Gillon says he thinks the original notice appeared in a H.Bay paper, and I have looked, but in vain. Also I send a Waikato Times - I don't know what has made them lately rather alter their tone. Mackay is no longer an idol among them, that's certain, and he's got himself and that fat wench to blame for it - I've been doing my best to get credits through so as to send you off the £2000 you want - I could have done it yesterday, but Parris telegraphed natives were getting disgusted at any delay
re Puketapu purchase, so I judged you thought that the more important of the two, and I got his £4000 sent off - Meanwhile Public Works send on their credits very slowly, and the Comptrollers will not hear of an overdraft - over the £75,000 - In the way of business I have no news - No letters have lately come in, and I am like a troubled spirit, having got my place well swept and garnished and my papers all in order, so that I have too much rest - I send you thus a few ideas on the subject of the Militia and Volunteer Acts, remembering what you told me, and also the act drafted by Moule - If it is intended that things shall stand as they are, with the exception of letting different districts make their own rules, it's a good Act, with one fault. In clause 18 the power to District Officers to make rules should be confined to enrolment, training, exercise, clothing accoutrements and general management. For Discipline and any portion of the rules affecting expenditure, the same Regulations should exist over the whole Island - also Govt. must appoint officers - And now to personals I Need not tell you how
very much I was grieved to hear of your poor brother's death, following so soon upon another's - It must have been a heavy blow to you and I know one which your kindly nature would feel very much. I knew he had been ill, but I had been told he was in a fair way of recovery, and the shock must have been all the more sudden.
Partly prepared as I was by your hint, I was very much startled when Mr. Vogel made me the offer of the Editorship. I had, I may tell you privately, also been before asked by Krull whether I would like to have anything to do with the paper, and I had answered him very guardedly - In reply to Mr. Vogel I frankly told him I had no experience, and really could not tell whether I felt myself qualified. He told me he had not spoken to the Directors, that he was merely sounding me, thought I would do, that if I worked hard he would give me every assistance, and was altogether most kind. I requested 48 hours to consider, and went out into the country with my wife and telegraphed to you - On my return on Monday I told Mr.Vogel I had
fully considered the case, and that if zeal and application would replace my want of knowledge of details, I was at his service. He then told me I should have his warmest support with the directors but that the decision rested with them, and said he would do all in his power to get it for me - Now Krull had before said to me "Oh Vogel will choose the Editor - Whoever he appoints we will take" so I suppose the thing is pretty well right - With regard to salary he offered me £500 at first which I of course thankfully said would answer - He told me besides you wished to see me in the place, so I have pretty good reason to know to whom I am indebted for the offer, and to you I give my very best thanks - Harrison is very cock a hoop - Told me Mr.Vogel had given him the Editorship and that he had arranged that I was to write all leaders upon Native matters - in fact he promised to patronize me. Since then rumour is very busy with lots of names, among which my name is not - There the thing rests at present - Governor is very savage with Willis - The drill etc. of the Cavalry Volunteers he saw at Rangitikei is described by Moule as ridiculous
in the extreme, and Mr.Reynolds told me H. E. was very disgusted at Willis incompetency. You can't expect anything else - the men are brought together once every two years; there is no smartness, no uniformity, among them; their horses don't know the work, and the result is a muddle whenever they are called upon to maneuvre - One thing reflects upon Willis - Governor wanted to see them skirmish; they had no carbines! And why? because, Willis said, the men were afraid of the carbines knocking their saddles about! Volunteering in Auckland is going to the dogs; the only decent thing, the Brigade, is broken up. I am beginning to fear Gordon is not the man he was at first, but in his favour be it said, that an angel from heaven would find great difficulties in managing a set of Auckland Volunteers - Mr.Reynolds I see is very dead against Volunteers altogether. Clarke is very anxious to get back - I sent you a lot of papers re land purchase, some of which want answers.
I have given you a long infliction by this time. Offices going on all right -
Yours very truly
J. H. H. St. John
P.S. You will be glad to hear that my private affairs are going on swimmingly, that your boy Jack is getting on well at school.
Most people are very disgusted at the decision of the Provincial Council, especially as it comes from C.PHarazyn, and has been hurried through in the absence of 4 members, R. Pharazyn, Watt Iveson and some one else - all of whom it is believed would have supported - Sir G. Arney here, looking very well indeed- He gave me yesterday a little idea of his views - viz. that Mr. Vogel, you and Mr. Richardson are the three workers in the Ministry, and I fancy, from what he said, that he is rather sore about the Minister of Justice. Mail is closing now and I've bothered you long enough.
I was nearly forgetting to mention in writing what I have telegraphed viz. that the Provincial people will not charge sums to particular blocks - One comfort is the Audit positively refuse to pass amts. unless they are so charged - so it will have to be done.