Object #1025771 from MS-Papers-0032-0266

7 pages written 11 Dec 1868 by Dr Isaac Earl Featherston in Wellington to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - I E Featherston, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0266 (62 digitised items). 62 letters written from Auckland, Wellington, Napier and London, 1859-1876.Includes several draft letters from McLean to Featherston

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

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Page 1 of 7. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

Wellington

December 11, 1868


Private.

My dear McLean

I can't express my indignation in sufficiently strong terms, that your plans so skilfully conceived, should have been marred by Ministerial interference, for a decided success on the East Coast would have been of almost as great use to us, as to you. The two Provinces are rowing in the same boat, they must sink or swim together. Ministers seem determined that they shall sink. Utterly incompetent themselves to quell the storm they have raised, Ministers are reluctant to see it allayed by other parties. They seem to be actuated solely by feelings

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English (ATL)

of petty and most contemptible jealousy. Had they not felt afraid that success was about to crown yr. movements depend upon it, you would not have seen Richmond and Whitmore amongst you. They saw it was likely to be a success, and therefore they hurried off Whitmore and Richmond to the scene of action to reap all the credit. The idea of Richmond conducting Native Military operations or himself going to the Front - a man who trembles in his office from head to foot at every Maori threatening letter, is rich in the extreme. But bear this in mind, Ministers intend to stick in office, and not to call the Assembly together till they have expended the last farthing of the Defence vote or any other Monies they can by

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English (ATL)

any possibility lay their hands on. If things are bad on your Coast, they are still worse with us on the West. The evacuation of the Wereroa redoubt by Whitmore the morning after it had been successfully defended by some 60 raw Militia lads placed Wanganui completely at the mercy of Toto Kowarru. He had scarcely completed the destruction of the redoubt, and all the stores before a large body of Wanganui Militia appeared to reinforce its garrison. He Haultain refused to give Major Turner and Edwards the rank of Lt. Colonels he gives it to Haruhi old Lyons late overseer, after some days puts Girton over his head - I could have got together some 500 or 600 friendly Natives, and have hurled them at Toto Kawarrus head

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English (ATL)

but Hau Haus and Whitmore dont believe in Kupapas - or in the ''black niggers'' the only force we here can depend upon. Head quarters at Westmere - and nothing to prevent Toto any evening after dusk setting forth to Wanganui, without the slightest risk to themselves. But Ministers rest perfectly satisfied with themselves and the state of affairs throughout the whole Colony. How long will the Colony submit to such imbecility. I suppose till every man in it is irretrievably ruined. The Governor of the Australian Colonies wrote that all the troops are at our disposal as soon as they are applied for. The other day I recorded my protest

Page 5 of 7. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

to the Governor, Haultain and Stafford against the Steamer then on the point of sailing for Melbourne being allowed to leave this Harbour without an application for all the troops in Australia. The Governor backed me, but Stafford and Haultain refused to sanction such a request ''the Emergency had not yet arisen'' ''If Wanganui was burnt about the people's ears, it would serve them right'' - was all the answer I got to my protest - When Wanganui and Napier are sacked, they will possibly think that the insurrection is not to be sneezed at - But then, what disgusts me more than the imbecility of

Page 6 of 7. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

Ministers, is the fact that the real voice of the settlers is drowned and stifled in the towns and centres of population by a rabble of ''loafers'' and ''new chums'' - What those really having the interests of the Colony at heart ought to do, is by Memorials, and public meetings, to demand the Governor either to dismiss his present Ministry or at once to convene the Assembly. Hawkes Bay, I am glad to see, has already made a move in this direction. I hope they will go further.

You will have seen that the N. Land Court hadn't the pluck to go on with the Manawatu dissentients' claims - they got into a funk, and bolted back to Wellington. The Government propose to settle the matter by a Commission of four - Manning and Fenton being appointed by them - one by the dissentients - and one by myself - Will you kindly act for me? I believe you will consent, if you can possibly leave your Province. I shall therefore tomorrow nominate you as the Commissioner of the Province, subject to your acquiescence I had not told you, that very grave interests and very grave political questions depend upon the decision of the Commission. You will enjoy the confidence of both parties. I have just ascertained from Stafford that he sees no objection

Page 7 of 7. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

to your acting. Important as the services you have already rendered to this Province, and no one is more ready to recognize them than I am, still no duty was ever imposed upon you of such vital importance, as that which I now ask you to undertake. In the event howr. of yr. declining or being unable to act, can you suggest any one - I have thought of Cooper - but without in the slightest degree weighing the pro's and con's. I send you a copy of the Col. Secy. letter relative to this matter.


Believe me, dear McLean Yours ever faithfully
I. E. Featherston

English (ATL)

Wellington

December 11, 1868


Private.

My dear McLean

I can't express my indignation in sufficiently strong terms, that your plans so skilfully conceived, should have been marred by Ministerial interference, for a decided success on the East Coast would have been of almost as great use to us, as to you. The two Provinces are rowing in the same boat, they must sink or swim together. Ministers seem determined that they shall sink. Utterly incompetent themselves to quell the storm they have raised, Ministers are reluctant to see it allayed by other parties. They seem to be actuated solely by feelings of petty and most contemptible jealousy. Had they not felt afraid that success was about to crown yr. movements depend upon it, you would not have seen Richmond and Whitmore amongst you. They saw it was likely to be a success, and therefore they hurried off Whitmore and Richmond to the scene of action to reap all the credit. The idea of Richmond conducting Native Military operations or himself going to the Front - a man who trembles in his office from head to foot at every Maori threatening letter, is rich in the extreme. But bear this in mind, Ministers intend to stick in office, and not to call the Assembly together till they have expended the last farthing of the Defence vote or any other Monies they can by any possibility lay their hands on. If things are bad on your Coast, they are still worse with us on the West. The evacuation of the Wereroa redoubt by Whitmore the morning after it had been successfully defended by some 60 raw Militia lads placed Wanganui completely at the mercy of Toto Kowarru. He had scarcely completed the destruction of the redoubt, and all the stores before a large body of Wanganui Militia appeared to reinforce its garrison. He Haultain refused to give Major Turner and Edwards the rank of Lt. Colonels he gives it to Haruhi old Lyons late overseer, after some days puts Girton over his head - I could have got together some 500 or 600 friendly Natives, and have hurled them at Toto Kawarrus head but Hau Haus and Whitmore dont believe in Kupapas - or in the ''black niggers'' the only force we here can depend upon. Head quarters at Westmere - and nothing to prevent Toto any evening after dusk setting forth to Wanganui, without the slightest risk to themselves. But Ministers rest perfectly satisfied with themselves and the state of affairs throughout the whole Colony. How long will the Colony submit to such imbecility. I suppose till every man in it is irretrievably ruined. The Governor of the Australian Colonies wrote that all the troops are at our disposal as soon as they are applied for. The other day I recorded my protest to the Governor, Haultain and Stafford against the Steamer then on the point of sailing for Melbourne being allowed to leave this Harbour without an application for all the troops in Australia. The Governor backed me, but Stafford and Haultain refused to sanction such a request ''the Emergency had not yet arisen'' ''If Wanganui was burnt about the people's ears, it would serve them right'' - was all the answer I got to my protest - When Wanganui and Napier are sacked, they will possibly think that the insurrection is not to be sneezed at - But then, what disgusts me more than the imbecility of Ministers, is the fact that the real voice of the settlers is drowned and stifled in the towns and centres of population by a rabble of ''loafers'' and ''new chums'' - What those really having the interests of the Colony at heart ought to do, is by Memorials, and public meetings, to demand the Governor either to dismiss his present Ministry or at once to convene the Assembly. Hawkes Bay, I am glad to see, has already made a move in this direction. I hope they will go further.

You will have seen that the N. Land Court hadn't the pluck to go on with the Manawatu dissentients' claims - they got into a funk, and bolted back to Wellington. The Government propose to settle the matter by a Commission of four - Manning and Fenton being appointed by them - one by the dissentients - and one by myself - Will you kindly act for me? I believe you will consent, if you can possibly leave your Province. I shall therefore tomorrow nominate you as the Commissioner of the Province, subject to your acquiescence I had not told you, that very grave interests and very grave political questions depend upon the decision of the Commission. You will enjoy the confidence of both parties. I have just ascertained from Stafford that he sees no objection to your acting. Important as the services you have already rendered to this Province, and no one is more ready to recognize them than I am, still no duty was ever imposed upon you of such vital importance, as that which I now ask you to undertake. In the event howr. of yr. declining or being unable to act, can you suggest any one - I have thought of Cooper - but without in the slightest degree weighing the pro's and con's. I send you a copy of the Col. Secy. letter relative to this matter.


Believe me, dear McLean Yours ever faithfully
I. E. Featherston

Part of:
Inward letters - I E Featherston, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0266 (62 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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