27th. November 1868
My dear McLean,
I was very much obliged to you for sending me the telegram, which gave me additional assurance of the safety of my friends at Tauranga.
I was, moreover, much rejoiced at the intelligence received yesterday, announcing the blow inflicted upon Te Kooti. I hope, Westrupp, or Tuke, or some other Europeans took part in the affair; or have since had an opportunity of doing something. The Governor is most nervously anxious for the arrival of the ''Blanche'', hourly expected for some time past; as he would send her forward at once to land a rocket party at Poverty Bay. It is most tantalizing that she has been so much delayed.
In the meantime, as it appears, there is small chance of getting any trustworthy European reinforcements, from the Colony; it would seem that the only thing to be done is to procure the assistance of Imperial Troops, to as great extent as possible. This the Governor is most anxious to do, but his Ministers don't listen to it, and he would now fain
have expression of opinion from the people, in behalf of that course, in order to enable him to take some action in the matter. The Wanganui journey seems to have been far from satisfactory. The people there have shewn a dispicable deficiency in public spirit. I was, moreover, disgusted to hear last night at a concert, a current report that the Governor had behaved in a sneaking and cowardly way up there; but having asked Featherstone about it, I am convinced that this is a monstrous slander. Indeed, poor man, I don't envy his post. He is most anxious to do all he can, and he feels his dependency on his Ministers very galling.
I am again disgusted to find that Ministers have not only asserted that Biggs was warned, and by his recklessness, has brought all this misery on the country. But Stafford actually told Hamilton Russell (or said in his presence) that Biggs had been ordered by the Government to withdraw from his house. Now, this statement seems quite inconsistent with what I heard at Napier; and if untrue, seems to me, deserving of spithets, which I don't care to use. I am very anxious for more news from your district; for news of Australia, and for the arrival of the ''Blanche''.
Government House is to be built on the present site. Clayton's plan is a very good one. The house will be ample and handsome, but Lady Bowen is not reconciled to the place.
Mr. and Mrs. Hart are very well. Mr. Strang complains of non-arrival of Wanganui rents and interest, but is pretty well, nevertheless. Our Militia are enrolled. Edwards is just going up the West Coast for the purpose of organisation. Stafford and Hamilton seem to be the object of everyone's ''Blessing''. What will the Middle Island say? I suppose you are still very busy and anxious. I wish I saw re-inforcements on their way to you.
Will you kindly tell the Bishop that I gave his ''State of the Country'' to the Governor, who gave it to his Ministers, and that I strove to enforce upon him the extreme importance of adding largely to the European force at Poverty Bay. I fear he feels very powerless, but what he can do, he will do.
I shall feel much grieved if all the work against Te Kooti is done by natives, for I fear our dependence upon them will be too manifest, and may lead to bad results by and bye. I hope it will turn out to be that Te Kooti himself has been shot. There is going to be a great meeting here to express sympathy for
sufferers, and the necessity for getting Imperial Troops, if the Home Government will give them, on its own terms.
I have nothing fresh.
With kind regards to Mrs. McLean
Alexander J. Johnston.
D. McLean Esq.