Object #1026332 from MS-Papers-0032-0445

3 pages written 6 Dec 1873 by Frederick Edward Maning in Hokianga to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0445 (56 digitised items). 56 letters written from Auckland and Hokianga, 1871-1876, & undated. Includes undated letter from Maning to von Sturmer; undated draft letter from McLean to Maning; letter (in Maori) to Maning from Hare Wirikake, Te Waimate, 1871; paper entitled `The Native question'.

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

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English (ATL)


Decr. 6. 1873

My Dear McLean

The receipt of your letters of 15th and 20th November did me good for I was getting nearly demented after three weeks listening to natives fighting and disputing inch by inch every foot of land in a considerable number of extremely important claims and after that being over then a perfect storm of letters of every imaginable phase of absurdity and falshood from disappointed claimants who in justice to the right owners I was obliged to non suit in general the villians submit well enough to a non suit but in the last two courts the natives have been driven almost insane by the idea they have formed of the unheard of value of certain claims at Ohaeawai which contain it is thought large quantities of quicksilver and in consequence every fellow makes supernatural efforts in the way of hard swearing and every other way possible or impossible to get an interest allowed him. the same thing occurred at Whangape where I have just come from and where I was nearly stunned but the result was perfectly successfull so far as the Court doings went but at the last moment the natives fell out as to who should be trustees under Act of 67 sec. 17 and they are fighting yet every fellow being anxious to take upon himself the responsibility of fingering the rent money first. as the law leaves the appointment of these persons to whom the Certificate is to issue and who are virtually trustees to the rest I am out of that part of the dispute but I feel very much provoked that the immediate expenditure of a very large capital by two strong Companies, one of them from Melbourn should be delayed by such fractious nonsence the two companies being ready to begin, one at the Quicksilver mines, and the other at the almost inexhaustible forests of Whangape at a moments notice. the effects of the operations of these two companies will be of the most incalculable service in the north in every way political as well as monetary and industrial. I dare say however if I am let alone I shall be able before long to mollify all parties and bring things to such a position that as will enable the companies to go on a thing I am most anxious to do there is one villain who has written to me to say he is about to ask the Government for a rehearing of the Quicksilver Mine Case he was not able in court to make out a case and at best only pretended to about a millioneth share I think the time is past for a rehearing but if he had plenty of money I would be glad to let him have one as the right owners could then get costs for the loss and delay it would ause them anyway if a re hearing he asked for I will expect that my report on the matter be seen before any steps are taken. to give you an idea of the tries on made by natives to get into the Quicksilver treasury a slave taken in childhood from the south brought up as a slave, and treated and considred as such to this day was amongst the most clamorous claimants in court and has written me a letter wanting to know my reasons for not giving him a share in the mines and hinting that he will try for a re hearing also. I am nearly driven as mad as they are and my head feels turning gradually into wood. it is however a consolation that under all this contention can be seen the thorough belief which the natives in the north at least have in the benefits of holding their lands from the Crown - and after all if estates were to be got for a little hard swearing and impudent assertion, I am afraid the Pakehas would would act in just the same way.

I quite agree with you that a very small encouragement from the Commission would have caused the natives to have given an immensity of trouble at Hawkes Bay, and I think the same trouble would have spread like an epidemic all over the island, I observed when at Hawkes Bay evident demonstrations of a thoroughly rebellious spirit amongst the natives and a small encouragement from any quarter would probably have led to some violence. It was well that the facts brought before the Commission were such as did not allow of a report at all favourable to their proceedings for a small success would have been taken by the natives as a triumph and they would have gone on from bad to worse

I am too far from the Waikato to be a good Judge of the signs of the times in that quarter, and to tell you the truth, I have been thinking of late that I had better stick to my own business and let others mind theirs, as I find my own is quite enough for me, sometimes I suspect rather too much. If I was an idle man it is pretty certain I could not keep quiet and would be wanting to enlighten the public on things in general but, as I have said, I have my hands full and had better mind my own business. I may say however to you that I have taken notice that for some time back all talk about Waikato and the Hauhaus has completely died out in these parts there is no more mention of Waikato or the Hau Haus Man if neither existed nor are there any communications coming from Waikato to this place as formerly, and this I think a very good sign. I am glad also to see that you do not accept the soothing letters of the Hauhaus at first sight as bona fide, or without due debate in your own mind for the powers of deception in the Maori are unsurpassed they are artfull enough to hide their art - but my own opinion about those letters is, so far as I can give an opinion without knowing anything of the person who wrote them, or the particulars of the letters themselves, further than that they are generally of a 'blarneying' nature, is this. The natives, I think, are too perfect masters of deceptive diplomacy to write such letters to cover any serious or immediate intention of an outbreak, to do so would appear to them to be 'to gild refined Gold or paint the lilly' or in other words "laying it on too thick" and I don't believe they think us quite such fools as to be taken in by such a proceeding and they know that such letters would give you an advantage against them - the letters are not written from any "aroha" for you or for the Pakeha race but, as I think likely, with the purpose to conciliate you for the advancement of some minor object which they have as yet in petto. I would nevertheless keep my eyes fixed firmly upon them for they do not love us - as a comment on the above which you need not consider of much consequence, I have lent money on land near Hamilton - I shall be delighted to meet you some of these days but won't answer for the "Claret" for I have virtually become a teetotaler - I find I have to many things to think of of all sorts besides the Ld Court which in its self enough, to allow myself to bother my brains with wine, mind you dont read "virtuously a teetotaler" I rather encourage others to drink so that they may become my slaves an I shall be their master, I have founded a secret society on those humanitarian principles, no one knows who the members are but ourselves, and our object is to make all the world drunk and so come over them, and, as you may suppose, the members are not numerous and very select, and above, or not under the average ability. I invite you to join us hereby, for we are the ministry of King Bottle, and are destined to do great things, strange to say all the first members but myself were Scotchmen, what a pity I did not think of it sooner we wd. have had a majority in Parliament by this time members in high places and made all the world drunk long ago and ruled with magnanimity or aquanimity over them. When men are to be ruined why not make something out of the wreck? this is my speech to you my temperance speech - hoe ano.

Yours ever
F. E. Maning

Part of:
Inward letters - F E Maning, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0445 (56 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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