Object #1022382 from MS-Papers-0032-0445

3 pages written 1 May 1874 by Frederick Edward Maning in Hokianga to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0445 (56 digitised items). 56 letters written from Auckland and Hokianga, 1871-1876, & undated. Includes undated letter from Maning to von Sturmer; undated draft letter from McLean to Maning; letter (in Maori) to Maning from Hare Wirikake, Te Waimate, 1871; paper entitled `The Native question'.

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

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English (ATL)

May 1st. 1874

My Dear McLean,

On my return to this place I recd. your note of the 1st. April asking me to take the duties of Chief Judge, I am concious of the compliment you have paid me in making me the first offer but I feel that I would be out of place in that position and do not think I could fulfil the duties successfully especially under the new Act which however well intentioned contains practical difficulties which, acting as Chief Judge, I certainly could not over come though here in the North, merely from an intimate acquaintance with the natives, a knowledge of their wants desires and prejudices, and a considerable personal influence it may be possible I may get the Act to move in some degree though I am by no means sanguine on the subject, at all events I shall do my best and that is all anyone can do. I hope therefore that you will excuse me from taking on me the duties of Chief Judge for no man ever did any good who begins with an expectation of failure.

The Ngapuhi have been for several months past in a very unsettled state and have shewn a great inclination to fight amongst themselves about land and also to get up a trouble with Te Rarawa. I have had to congratulate myself on by such means as I could make use of preventing two very serious outbreaks but they are still apparently in a very unsettled state and I am not certain they will be long peaceable notwithstanding all I may be able to do. If we could only get the Court fairly going it would at once employ their minds as it has hitherto done and put an end to the quarrelling except in Court in the way of opposing each others claims and I know my trade too well now to let that sort of thing cause much trouble in future though it has often caused me much difficulty. The Court here has not yet been able to move to any purpose the officers without whom nothing can be done according to Law not having been appointed and there are several matters of detail preparatory to opening the courts which are not as yet accomplished, this however I can do nothing in by myself.

I do not think it all likely that White will be able to take the office of District officer as he would have to keep the Court Rolls, a very serious matter in itself and the Rolls are to be kept in the office of the Native Land Court of the District, this would oblige White to leave Mangonui and come to Hokianga where the office now is, or else would necessitate the removal of the District office to Mangui, which would be very inexpedient, it being now situated in a central position with regard to the great bulk of the native population amongst whom the greatest number by far of the Native Land Claims originate.

I am quite vexed and low spirited at the at the cessation of business which seems to have grown out of the passing of the new Act but hope soon to be able to get to work again, not that I have not my hands full enough of work but as yet it is only trouble without any effects. I shall however as I have already said do my best to make the act work when we do begin and it will soon be seen whether I can do so or not, if I cannot there is an end of the matter, and there is no more to be said about it.

We are having excellent weather and are expecting a visit from the Governor but as you are not expected also I think he is likely to but a tame reception.

There is nothing more to tell you nothing moving we are getting sleepers here since the Land Court has been halting that is all.

Hoping you have had a pleasant trip to "tawahi" I am

As ever Yours most sincerely,
F.E. Maning.

Part of:
Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0445 (56 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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