Object #1018849 from MS-Papers-0032-0554

6 pages written 17 Nov 1868 by Thomas Purvis Russell in Hawke's Bay Region to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Thomas Purvis Russell, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0554 (30 digitised items). 32 letters written from Wairarapa, Hutt and England, 1851-1868 & undated; with regard to farming, and the leasing and purchase of Maori land in Wairarapa and related disputes

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

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English (ATL)

COPY. Hawkes Bay.

November 17th. 1868



My dear McLean,

I have just received your letter and telegram, but in neither do you notice our demand for arms and ammunition, or the request for plans to enable us to erect Block houses in the localities named by me. While I am neither a fearist not an alarmist, the news we are daily receiving, has strengthened and confirmed views which I have held since our earliest struggles with the Maoris; and I should feel dishonest, even to myself, to disregard or delay preparing to meet all eventualities. I quite agree with you that there is no immediate danger threatening our district. Still, it is all the more imperative on us to take advantage of the peace we now have, and adopt such measures as are calculated best to protect it, and make it more solid. It certainly can serve no purpose to delay doing now what may be necessary to do on the approach o danger. The public mind is feeling the recent awful atrocities, very impressionably; and nothing, in the opinion of some of us, would conduce more, to reassure and restore calm, than the existence of some place of refuge. Take Sunday night, for an example! the terror was so intense that it was resolved to fly with the females and children into the bush for the night. There was neither sanctuary nor ammunition; no provision whatever either for safety or defence; and is it surprising that a panic prevailed? I was summoned out of bed by a knocking, and although I pronounced the rumour as an impossibility, still I was unable to satisfy others that such was the case. I despatched the men to Waipaoa, and not until their return about daybreak, did we retire to bed. The mode of warfare is so changed. The subtle savage has discovered his strength, and power to torture and annihilate, without check or danger to himself. I have always maintained that they are a brutal race; and although I have the fullest confidence in some of them, still there are many who would gladly seize the opportunity of indulging his savage instincts.

December 1st. 1868.

You will see I intended to write you some time ago, giving you my views and feelings on the present state of affairs; but after getting through a part of it. I felt that it would be intruding upon your more than occupied time.

Carlyon and Weber will give you the result of Monday's meeting. All that I aim at is to rise as high above the level of danger, as to reduce our risk to the smallest point. What about your place for the practice? Morena seems to think that they had some claim to consideration. Of course you have all these matters before you. Let us have arms and ammunition. The Blockhouse has its influence on the public here. I hope we shall see it commenced at once.

Can you not instruct the telegraphist to post at his office, the information which you furnish to the towns of Napier and Wellington? As the matter stands, we have two sources, but as neither seems very sure, at all events I find the one from Wellington and Napier widely differing. I think you might remedy this easily. Surely it is more necessary for us to have information of events than the secure town of Napier.

With reference to Mackenzie, I don't think a place is likely to be found for him, unless the front hut. He has neither courage nor honesty.


In haste (Signed)
Purvis Russell
To:-
D. McLean Esq.

Part of:
Inward letters - Thomas Purvis Russell, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0554 (30 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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