Letter from W. Halse
to Donald McLean,
dated 30th. May 1854.
30th. May 1854.
My dear McLean,
I received your letter of the yesterday, by the Overland Mail; and the Nelson steamer has just come in, but she does not seem to bring any particular news.
I see our worthy New Plymouth Representtatives are in the minority against House prayer; but seeing that the Commons do not think themselves too - for it, they might have taken the other and proper side. They are likewise mum, - Mr. Crompton having proved the exception in the solitary instance of moving for a stupid return of goods imported in New Plymouth, duty paid at other places.
I rather expected to receive a letter from Henry; though he has sent a large one to the Mistress, which I delivered.
I have written to Auckland, on the Surveys, concerning a proposal from the Superintendent to guarantee £100 for three months; and as I gather
from his letter, which is vague, a further similar sum, to the end of the year; and recommending the increase, as Carrington cannot do the work. The Rural sales take him into the forest at different points, wide apart; the surveys of which are in arrear. The town sales require his presence nearer home; and Cooper is always requiring him at the Hua and Waiwakaiho Blocks. He has cut out the lines of road, and now awaits the selection by the natives, who are engaged dividing the money. After this, I suppose he will be called upon by Cooper; and of course themselves, to divide off their 2000 acre Block into numberless allottments. Then the Company's old surveys are constantly raising difficult points, such as boundaries; which have never been described on paper; and lines of road which have to be carried, affecting private rights. Again, there are the working plans to be made, keeping pace with the outdoor work; and the record and standard plans for the Grants; and the plans for the Grants themselves, - which last will give full work to a surveyor. So if you view this question as I do, please support my letter, which scarcely goes into detail. Indeed, what with the overland mails, steamers, etc., there is hard-
ly time to write a full letter on any subject
I have also written on the state of the Land Offices, - or rather, of a certain Tender which I have accepted, for the reasons given in my Official letter; although it exceeds the amount I had stated as sufficient, by nearly £100. I trust this will be approved, and as you know the ins and the outs of Wharepu, from stem to stern, and moreover had so much to do in sinking the building with your heavy loads of natives, you can speak personally of the state. The premises cost (with the half acre of land) £105; and have been held by a Land and Survey Office from the commencement of 1851 to the present time; and now as a Native Land purchase Office. The situation is good for the purpose, and it is as well that the Department should be carried on where it is, being removed from risk of fire; and at the same time, central. If now sold, the place (owing to the rises in everything) the original price. and the amount of tender added to it, will be, after all, money well and really necessarily expended; and as Robinson will superintend, the work will be turned out in a way that will avoid further expense for years. The Superintendent has come forward in the matter, and has a good reason. He sees the
necessity for an immediate expenditure; and the prolability of all these places falling shortly under Provincial supervision. So that of the General Government refused the Tender (which it is not likely to do), the repairs would still fall on the Province. Therefore, on behalf of the province, he comes forward with a £100, not caring much how long he is kept out of it, or whether he gets it at all. I think a good arrangement would be, as the General Government advances his Honour £150 for his native purchases, I should be allowed to receive his offer of £100 to be repaid =when convenient", - that is, when the Land Department shall have cleared itself of more urgent claims. If you approve of this, after looking at my Official, please recommend it.
Rogan returned last evening in a drenching rain. I have not seen him this morning, but intend to get him employed at once, if his engagements will so permit. If you propose any alteration here in Survey, I would suggest that a Surveyor be attached to Cooper's Department, to be employed here when not required in his own office. The present arrangement throws back every kind of work for the men; and the office is beseiged by applicants to have their lands
surveyed and difficulties adjusted. All the satisfaction they get is that Carrington is employed over the matter, and their wants will be attended to when practicable. Touching the Mokau, Rogan told me in a few minutes I had with him last night that the question there was very satisfactory, as he could get more land than you would purchase. I intended to write to you of the Hua, and Hulke's proceedings, which appear to occasion embarrassment to Cooper. At all events, it is impossible to prevent men offering natives money for their lands; but there is a way of making the Hulkes' of every place fly; and that is, - getting the natives to sell, (as in the Hua), to the highest bidder at auction.
I cannot attend to your money instructions by this mail; both the Superintendent and myself having been fully occupied in writing; but it shall be put straight by next mail.
P.S. I see H. McKellar is back. Tell Henry I cannot write by this post. No news. All well at home. Plenty of puddings and other delicacies to banish care, and make solitude bearable. Remember me to Bell.
To:- Donald McLean.