Object #1026000 from MS-Papers-0032-0298
8 pages written 23 Aug 1860 by William Smellie Grahame to Sir Donald McLean
From: Inward letters - William S Grahame, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0298 (64 digitised items).
66 letters written from Auckland, Scotland and England
A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.
Gunninghill - Berks.
23rd. Augt. 1860.
My dear McLean,
I wrote you by last mail and I must send you a few more lines by the present - tho' these may be but few and hurried. The Accounts from New Zealand certainly do not improve - at Taranaki nothing further appears to have been done. And so long as things continue so, the rebel forces will doubtless increase. Lord Palmerston's secretary was wrong when he wrote me that two Regts. were going out to New Zealand. I got another note dated 25th. ulto. but which did not reach me untill the mail was off. I enclose you a copy of it. More troops will have to be sent and the sooner they are sent the better. I told Palmerston that 2000 men might be sufficient at present but if not sent now - it would require to be trebled by and bye. There is no use in blinking the question - things have gone too far for the Government to stop now - untill the rebel natives are thoroughly subdued, and punished. General Pract is ordered from Melbourne to go to the scene of action at Taranaki - and altho' rather a young General has seen service - he was at the Crimea - and the Colonel of the 14th. Regt. has been also at the Crimea and since in India. The 14th. is 900 strong only not 1200 as was supposed - they were to sail on
on the 20th. inst. but I do not think they have gone yet - they cannot arrive long before the month of December. This is very slow work indeed. The Governor must keep on writing for Troops untill he gets what is required, the Colonists will soon tire of soldiering, and so long as this state of affairs lasts very few will be inclined to go to New Zealand - it is all very well on an emergency for Volunteers to assist in protecting life and property but when they require to be almost constantly under arms for 12 months at a time - no one likes it - and few would select such a Colony for a home where that is likely to be required of the Settlers.
There has been a good deal of excitement amongst the New Zealand Colonists in London during the last two or three weeks in reference to the New Zealand Bill which I mentioned in my last as about passing the House of Lords - it was ultimately passed and sent down to the Commons. Fitzgerald redoubled his exertions and got about 20 of the Southern people with Newman and Brodie (the only 2 from Auckland) to petition against the Bill. Fitzgerald went also to almost every member of Parliament that he knew in Town and used most exaggerated language to induce them to oppose the Bill! Amongst other things he said the Constitution Act was invaded etc. etc. under these circumstances it was necessary for the Auckland Colonists to Petition in favor of the Bill which we did. On the 21st. Inst. however the Government withdrew
the Bill. The discussion you will see in yesterday's ''Times'' Mr. Fortescue made a very good speech - quite to the point. He is well posted up in N. Zealand matters, Atho the Bill has been withdrawn, you will observe that FitzGerald and his Southern friends do not gain their point which was to get the Native Affairs handed over to the Assembly. The Crown still retains these and will act upon the power they have under the constitution Act - although it may be somewhat imperfect. The Governor will no doubt be getting fresh instructions for the management of these affairs if not by this mail as soon as the Duke of Newcastle returns from America, whence he has gone with the Prince of Wales.
When the excitement was going on about the Bill I had several interviews with Mr. Fortescue about it and from his views and the firm tone which he assumed I did not think the Ministry would have abandoned the measure - at the same time I am satisfied they will retain thro' the Governor the control of these Native affairs. See the speeches in the ''Times'' of yesterday. Today the ''Times'' adopts Fitzgeralds views and has a leading article upon the subject. I have not read it all yet, but they evidently do not understand it, though Fitzgerald has no doubt tried no enlighten the Sub-Editor who wrote the article.
When talking to Mr. Fortescue he asked me about the disturbacnes in New Zealand, I told exactly what I thought that there appeared to be a feeling on the part of the
Waikatos especially amongst the young men to join Kingi and if they did so that I thought the force was insufficient.
Mr. Fortescue said that there appeared to be some doubts as to whether the Governor was quite right about Kingi having no vlaim to Taira's land - and enquired if King might not have some claim as chief of the tribe. I replied that this had not been established. He then asked me what I thought of Governor Brown if he was quite the man for the present emergency. I said I thought he was a good Governor. He (Fortescue) seemed to think that there must have been a good deal of pressure brought to bear upon the Governor by the Taranaki people in urging on this collision. From all this I inferred that it was just possible that the Government here might contemplate a change of Governor, as Brown's 5 years are nearly up. Of course you must consider this as quite confidential. No expression of disatisfaction in any way of the Governor's doings however escaped his lips - and I think we might get a much worse Governor than Brown if any change was made.
We are all anxiety here to know the result of the great meeting of Maori Chiefs at Auckland last month - also to know if the Assembly has met.
The general impression in England is that Bishop Selwyn interferes too much in matters which do not belong to his office and Archn. Hadfield gets the character of being a most violent man.
I expect to hear from Walton by next mail - either from Sydney or Auckland.
I will be glad to receive a few lines from you when you have time - let me know the prospects of the Maori War - and if you intend to come to England next year - I will be sending a copy of the papers printed and laid before Parliament on the management of Native affairs - by the ''Tawera'' a new vessel I am sending out to Auckland - to sail next week! Amongst these papers I saw the Governor's opinion of your friend Fenton - not very flattering certainly!! He seems to intimate also that Fenton and the ''South Cross'' are closely allied.
My wife joins me in kind regards.
My dear McLean
Yours very sincerely,
Wm. S. Grahame.
Donald McLean Esq.
P. S. I had a note the other day from old Seymour of Nelson about the Native Question - he is a very decent old fellow he is living at Cheltenham. W.S.G.
Inward letters - William S Grahame, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0298 (64 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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