17th. August 1869
My dear McLean,
I trust you will excuse my troubling you with my crude notions for the peace and safety of this district, for I cannot but look forward to the events of the next few months as likely to prove of importance. I believe that the persistent isolation of the Waikatos, their steadily declining all friendly communication with Europeans, their non-recognition of our right to the Confiscated Lands of the Waikato, and their present friendly advances to other tribes, - the Kupapas more particularly, involving the new doctrine of ''Pakehas being Pakehas'', and ''Maoris being Maoris'', - as serious grounds for apprehension; also bearing in mind that in remarks on this district, the Waikatos invariably speak of it as destined to be re-occupied by themselves.
Now I am, and always have been, of opinion that so soon as the last of Her Majesty's Forces leave this Island, the attempt to regain this district by fair means having failed, an attempt to regain it by force will be made; and how to checkmate the idea before it grows into a fact, is, or
ought to be, the present consideration. Bearing in mind our doubtful means of communication with the King's natives, and the still more uncertain dependence to be placed upon the information received from them, I believe the best way to solve the difficulty is to place strong forts, - roomy, and capable of being defended by a few armed men at certain positions in the district; and the maintenance of a permanent small force at each Port.
The Waikato Confiscated territory is so differently situated, in the natives' eyes, to all other Confiscated Lands; occupied by the proudest of the natives, unacoustomed to defeat and loss; and still brooding over their losses. It is impossible to believe that they will put up with the loss of this territory, without sooner or later making one grand effort for its recovery.
In a European point of view, also, the Waikato differs widely from all other Confiscated Lands, in the number and wealth of its settlers, in its extent of cultivations, and in its numerous flocks and herds. Knowing this, I believe if the natives saw us steadily preparing to resist an attack, by the erection of permanent and strong forts, at certain points, and these forts always garrisoned by steady and well-conducted
men, - I mean in distinction to drunkards; and no native, on any excuse, allowed to go near them, - that they will hesitate before they make the attempt for the recovery of their district. In my opinion the Waikatos are not a blood-thirsty race, who would go to war for the sake of shedding blood. But if they do go to war, it will be with the object of recovering their lost tribal home, and no other.
I look upon purely defensive measures as our best safeguard against this shrewd and wily race; and in carrying this out, I would put a stop to the communication by rail, and otherwise, between Auckland and Tokangamutu. I look upon correspondents as so many spies in our Camp; who, in interesting Tawhiao, Tamati, and their friends, cannot be true to our interests.
I am aware that the generally accepted view in New Zealand, is this, - ''that those people living in the midst of, or nearest to, where important matters are going on, are generally considered the most ignorant, and this may be the case; while others living at a distance, are blessed with the clearer insight into everything, and this may apply to Auckland.
However, as I believe, so have I written;
and I can only caution you to read it ''cum grano salis'', and pardon me if I am wearisome.
and I am
ever yours faithfully
William N. Searancke.
D. McLean Esq.