Object #1023906 from MS-Papers-0032-0280

9 pages written 24 Apr 1872 by Sir William Fox in Wellington to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Sir William Fox, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0280 (48 digitised items). 49 letters written from Wellington, Wanganui, Hawke's Bay, Marton, New Plymouth, etc, 1872-1878, and undated. Includes McLean to Fox (draft); Fox to Rogan (copy), May 1873; A McDonald, Oroua to Fox (& reply), Feb 1873.

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

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English (ATL)

discretion and too undefined powers have been given him. If all stories I hear are true he is selling us right and left - at all events every body considers he is, and his presence in the service is not adding to its respectability I hear that McDonald (Alec) is also playing similar games under the auspices of the Provincial Govt. That young Carkeek/following his example, keeping a Maori woman and going in for a slice of Land for himself. That Turner is mixed up with a claim in Waitotara

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English (ATL)

under which he and Russell and others are hoping to get 8000 acres, and which I know could have been settled when I was up for £200 or so. Then John Buller is negociating for 80000 acres - said to be aided by Worgan on the sly who puts Kemp (The Maori) up to mischief also. These and a dozen other rumours reach me, from sources which are more or less reliable and I am satisfied that if not strictly true there is so much truth in them that if we don't take things with a firm hand we shall have a

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English (ATL)

(here page torn) of claims and troubles which we shall not easily (page torn) settle.

Among other things I hear of Worgan is one case of his openly taking £100 from a settler as a fee for some negociation - a thing which if he did he ought to be made to refund forthwith it not dismissed for it.

What is wanted in my humble opinion is to get rid of some of the numerous accredited and almost irresponsible agents we have over-running the country

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English (ATL)

from A. McDonald to Worgan and so have some man with a strong head and good sense to keep the West Coast under control. Better have nobody there than so many independent and competing actors.

Will you allow me to say also that I think Noake's case ought not to be kept undecided any longer. It is very hard on him, I have not received a single line or newspaper all the time I was away to enable me to judge of the merits of the case and have not seen

Page 6 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

Edward's report either. But from what I can gather from what seems a short hand report of the evidence in the Wanganui Herald, the charges made by Middlemas, and Blake utterly broke down, on men of the most futile and trivial character. Noake is virtually suspended, and disgraced before the public, and his friends of whom he has many, and many most respectable, are very sore at his being placed in the position

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English (ATL)

he is. If you are not about to return immediately will you be so good as send the papers (which Mould says you have) and your opinion for the Cabinet in order that the case may be discussed when Vogel, Reeves and Ormond arrive which I expect will be next week.

I am sorry to give you trouble about these matters, but express my candid opinion when I say that things are as far as I can learn

Page 8 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

in a very unsatisfactory position in the Wanganui and Patea Country. Not as regards the Natives so much (if at all) but as regards the doings of our own officials and the rapid growth of a probable crop of Land and other difficulties arising out of the acts of Harpies who are not being checked if they are not actually aided by some of those who are receiving Govt. pay. I have no doubt that the opposition

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English (ATL)

will be carefully crammed with information about these matters and make them one of their chief points of attack.

Stafford has been here attending the University Council. He leaves today for Canterbury. Dillon Bell went through in the night and I did not see him. He has been addressing his constituents.


Believe me, Yours very faithfully,
Wm. Fox

English (ATL)

Private Wellington,

24. 4. 72



My dear McLean,

I am afraid that matters are getting into a very unsatisfactory position on the West Coast. From all I can hear Mr. Worgan is playing a deep and double game and the public interests are likely to be sacrificed if they have not already been. I confess on looking over the correspondence between him and the Native Office, it seems to me that far too an unlimited discretion and too undefined powers have been given him. If all stories I hear are true he is selling us right and left - at all events every body considers he is, and his presence in the service is not adding to its respectability I hear that McDonald (Alec) is also playing similar games under the auspices of the Provincial Govt. That young Carkeek/following his example, keeping a Maori woman and going in for a slice of Land for himself. That Turner is mixed up with a claim in Waitotara under which he and Russell and others are hoping to get 8000 acres, and which I know could have been settled when I was up for £200 or so. Then John Buller is negociating for 80000 acres - said to be aided by Worgan on the sly who puts Kemp (The Maori) up to mischief also. These and a dozen other rumours reach me, from sources which are more or less reliable and I am satisfied that if not strictly true there is so much truth in them that if we don't take things with a firm hand we shall have a (here page torn) of claims and troubles which we shall not easily (page torn) settle.

Among other things I hear of Worgan is one case of his openly taking £100 from a settler as a fee for some negociation - a thing which if he did he ought to be made to refund forthwith it not dismissed for it.

What is wanted in my humble opinion is to get rid of some of the numerous accredited and almost irresponsible agents we have over-running the country from A. McDonald to Worgan and so have some man with a strong head and good sense to keep the West Coast under control. Better have nobody there than so many independent and competing actors.

Will you allow me to say also that I think Noake's case ought not to be kept undecided any longer. It is very hard on him, I have not received a single line or newspaper all the time I was away to enable me to judge of the merits of the case and have not seen Edward's report either. But from what I can gather from what seems a short hand report of the evidence in the Wanganui Herald, the charges made by Middlemas, and Blake utterly broke down, on men of the most futile and trivial character. Noake is virtually suspended, and disgraced before the public, and his friends of whom he has many, and many most respectable, are very sore at his being placed in the position he is. If you are not about to return immediately will you be so good as send the papers (which Mould says you have) and your opinion for the Cabinet in order that the case may be discussed when Vogel, Reeves and Ormond arrive which I expect will be next week.

I am sorry to give you trouble about these matters, but express my candid opinion when I say that things are as far as I can learn in a very unsatisfactory position in the Wanganui and Patea Country. Not as regards the Natives so much (if at all) but as regards the doings of our own officials and the rapid growth of a probable crop of Land and other difficulties arising out of the acts of Harpies who are not being checked if they are not actually aided by some of those who are receiving Govt. pay. I have no doubt that the opposition will be carefully crammed with information about these matters and make them one of their chief points of attack.

Stafford has been here attending the University Council. He leaves today for Canterbury. Dillon Bell went through in the night and I did not see him. He has been addressing his constituents.


Believe me, Yours very faithfully,
Wm. Fox

Part of:
Inward letters - Sir William Fox, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0280 (48 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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