August 22nd, 1870.
My dear Sir,
I have been desirous of writing you for some, but knowing that your time would be fully taken up in the early part of the sessions, I did not wish to trouble you until the press of work should be over.
I wrote you some time ago respecting the leasing of a block of land, this end of the abandoned Opunaki block, which some parties with myself were desireous of obtaining on lease for flax dressing purposes. In accordance with your instructions we applied to the Civil Commissioner here, who replied that he had no instructions on the subject from the Government, and must consequently decline dealing with the natives for us, but would not object to our dealing with the natives ourselves. Being perfectly aware of the impolicy of private individuals treating with those Natives in their present unsettled state, we thought it best to apply to you through the Civil Commissioner, Major Chas. Brown, and I made an application officially through Mr. Parris for the landin question, to which Mr. Parris has informed us, from time to time, that he has recieved no reply. We were not desireous of pressing the subject, if you did not consider it adviseable to treat with those Natives at present. On the other hand when you were here you seemedto approye of establishing such works among them as a means of finding them employment and turning their attention from war. Takeing this view of the
question we were induced to make the application and hoped to recieve a reply from you.
However the question may effect the others, an answer one way or other, is of serious importance to me, which I must plead as excuse for now writeing you on the subject.
In the very unsettled state of this Province for the last few years there has been no opening for any one with, or without means, to better or do any good for themselves, consequently many have left the Province to better themselves elsewhere others have remained hopeing for better times. Commanding as I have the Cavalry Volunteers for the last five years, I have been kept in a state of uncertainty, and expense, to myself. On one or two occasions I wished to resign and go elsewhere to seek some remunerative employment, but was as often disuaded from doing so by the Officer commanding, This being the only corps, in readiness, (for a considerable period when there were no soldiers or Colonial forces stationed here) Major Stapp was always anxious that I should remain, and keep them together in case of emergencies ariseing, When emergencies did arise our services were gladly availed of, until the pressing danger was over. The thanks we recieved from your predecessor Mr. J.C. Richmond, when the panic was over, was that, the men could no longer be kept on as volunteers but any of the men that wished might join the constabulary.
This action of Mr. Richmonds damped the volunteering
spirit in this place, and was verry gauling to me, after having for five years spent so much time, training these men to make them efficient, to see the troop broke up in this way - When you Government came into office and things assumed a more peaceable aspect I had hoped that it would have enabled me to get some employment as manager of the flax company, on the part of which Mr. Brown and I made the application, on this account it is of so much importance to me to have an answer, If you do not think it adviseable at present to treat with those Natives, I would give up the idea of doing any thing, in that enterprise, and try to find employment in some other way - For the above stated reasons I hope you will kindly give me an answer on this subject -
Every thing is verry dull here at present, but all our settlers are very sanguine that your new financial policy will set the Colony on its legs - The financial proposals are very popular here, and Mr. J. C. Richmond has not made himself popular with his constituents, by the persevereingly obstinate opposition he has shown, to so clearly a beneficial scheme - He sent an address up the other day to his constituents, condemning it, the Herald would not publish it, and as it only appeared in his brothers paper few saw, and fewer still cared to read it, I feel sure he will get few votes if he puts up for election here again - Of course you must be aware of the great meeting to take place at Panaka next month Maories seem to be assembling from all parts, all seem verry quiet, and none of those alarming rumours, in
circulation that are so often rife before these great Native meetings -
I am very glad that no constabulary are to be stationed at Opunaki, these little detachments stationed in Native Districts seem to me rathdr to agrivate the natives, if not sufficiently strong to overawe them. A native constabulary, raised from among themselves, would it appears to me answer all the purposes of checking roberies, and bounce, without causeing the irritation and jealousy that small European detachments produce.
My Mother is writeing you by this mail, she has not been very well yesterday or today, she seems to forget her age and goes out especially to church in all sorts of wether, and this has been a verry wet winter.
P. G. Wilson.