November 20th. 1866
This place is all quiet at present. But everything is in a most unsettled state, with respect to the land Question. There has been no Court at present. The last was stopped three hours before leaving Auckland. The natives and Europeans are all expecting you to come and settle the matter; and I can plainly see that if you do not take the affair in hand, that the confusion will be frightful. The Europeans have not taken up much of the plains, but every day now makes a great difference. The natives will not hold back against all the pressure for much longer. Preece says that he would like you to get the management of the question. But Rice does all the harm he can. Can he sit on the Bench? It is a scandal here. If you get the management, and you thought I could do any good, I would stop here altogether; for it would be a sin to spoil a district like this. And as I have often said before, - if you do not get the management, and it must go wholly into the hands of the Auckland people, then let it be settled by Napier people. Let the Napier people buy the plains.
I suppose the Meeting of the Wairoa will be soon. If I can hear when it will take place, I will ride overland there, If I have not returned to Napier before.
Biggs, I think, is anxious about an appointment. He is doing first rate here.
There was a large Meeting here yesterday, for the purpose of petitioning the Government to take steps towards the settlement of the Land Question here. I stirred it up. They petitioned to have it settled without the use of the Land Court, that is, the plains. At all events, not to have it till after the first settlement is made, and a township started, that they can manage their own local affairs. They appear to dread Auckland.
Read is going to Napier to try and arrange for the "Huntress"; to buy her, and get a subsidy; or if he can not come to terms, to arrange for the "Donald McLean" to run constantly. Mr. Whittaker talks of laying on a steamer from Auckland, to call at Tauranga, Opotiki, and Turanga; and Read wants to cut him out, which would be good for Napier.
Towgood arrived here last night from the Wairoa, having ridden the whole way on the same horse, in 20 hours, including two hours' rest on the way. He started
from the Wairoa at one in the morning, and arrived here at nine, the same evening. He has won his bet with Fraser.
Rice and Preece are quarreling for the oil springs; Preece, - for some Company; Rice, I believe, under the cloak of the Government, working for Whittaker's private interests.
I forgot to tell you that after my return from the Wairoa, that Dr. Scot could not get any drugs from the Government for the use of the natives there; and that the natives were annoyed that he could not attend them.
You have some very strong supporters here. If the district could be placed under the management of the General Government until next Session of the Assembly, you could be all right.
This is a disconnected letter, but I thought you would like to hear about matters.
Yours truly (Signed)
D. McLean Esq.