Oct. 5th. 1857.
My dear McLean,
Since I last wrote, per Ann, there has been no new feature in the quarrel to report. Both parties maintain their position with equal obstinacy, and I think it must come sooner or later to another fight.
Herewith I send you an official letter on the subject of an article in the paper. The Natives have written a capital reply which is to be published in the next number and which I think it would be most advisable to insert in Maori Messenger with a short prefatory notice by way of introduction, I have thought it necessary to send also a copy of the letter which I wrote, as I think it is right when an official person published anything in his official capacity that he should report it to his superiors. My reason for writing the letter was that I felt that the article if left unnoticed would do great injury to the settlement. It was got up by Tom Fitz-Gerald and the alarmist party, who scarcely affect to disguise that their object is to get troops, at all hazards, for the sake of the Commissariat expenditure. A public meeting is to be held shortly which I shall take care to attend, and explain matters so that there can be no mistake or misunderstanding. Rhodes and Pow are the great movers in the matter.
But although I have stated and do and will maintain that there is no present necessity, more than ever there was
for sending troops here --- still in my innermost heart I cannot help feeling anxious as to the result of the war, as stated in my confidential letter per last mail For although these Natives have written an excellent letter, and some of them are men who can be relied upon, yet I feel that many are not to be truated, and the check of old Hapuku's presence and influence once removed it is hard to say how many of them might behave. My greatest misgivings are about Moananui and the Waipureku people and about Ngatihineuru and any stragglers that may come from Taupo. Hence my desire to give the letter of the Natives the greatest possible publicity and circulation amongst themselves, in the hopes of binding them down to what they have said. Grindell has acted very well about this affair. He acted as their amanuensis in writing down what they said in the letter, and the translation he has made of it does him great credit. But although he wrote down the letter, every word of it came from the natives themselves. I was going to see them myself upon the subject, when I found Grindell had been beforehand with me, so I merely spoke to the Natives and left the matter entirely in his hands, as I felt that it would come better from him than me, as it might be said I had dictated to them.
With respect to the letters from Tareha and Moananui I must say that I quite agree with them, and think that the restrictions being once removed in any part of the Colony they ought to be removed in all. Indeed it is useless now keeping
them on here, for they have already sent to Wellington, and even in the place itself they get guns in all directions and powder too. So the Govt. may as well gain credit with them here, as well as elsewhere for a concession which they can hardly help making. Besides in another point of view it would be politic to do so, for at present the settlers who were recently amply armed, are fast disarming themselves, and the arms are passing into the hands of the Natives. A removal of the restriction on their purchase would cause the importation of a large quantity on speculation, and before long the settlers would have replaced the arms which the temptation of enormous prices has induced them to deprive themselves of. Again the bad moral effect of having a law existence which is daily broken would be removed. I hope therefore that the sale of arms and ammunition at Ahuriri will be put on the same footing as elsewhere --- the Natives obtain them all the same, only they have to pay three or four times the value for them.
I have nothing more to say about Porangahau, except that I have made up my mind to leave it for you as I at first inteded. For it is plain that a considerable addition must be made to the reserve before the purchase is concluded and if you do this, you can carry it out, whilst I know very well that I should get pitched into on all hands, by the settlers, Rovl. Govt. and Genl. Assembly which I cannot afford so that I shall not move in the matter till you arrive, unless you send me positive instructions to settle the question on any
any terms that I can obtain.
Poor Gray at Titiokura got robbed the other day by that old rascal Rangi hiroa --- who took a gun and other matters from him. He has made a complaint, but I do not anticipate any great difficulty in getting his things back.
The Messenger that we sent to Wellington on 11 Augt. was taken ill at Masterton on his way back, and the letters were sent on by Kuru, who happenedto go down on a gun hunting expedition. He arrived on 3rd. Octr. with the packet which I forward, just as it came from Mr. Strang, by this mail.
The overland mail is due. If it arrives in time I will send these letters by it. If not per Salopian which sails I believe this week.
Ever faithfully yours,
G. S. Cooper.