Object #1026666 from MS-Papers-0032-0049
8 pages written 12 Jan 1871 by Sir Donald McLean
From: Minister of Colonial Defence - Incidents in Waikato, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0049 (14 digitised items).
No Item Description
A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.
Defence Office, Auckland,
Janr. 12th. 1871.
With regard to the possible contingency of any complica-tions arising in Waikato, I would beg to suggest to you a few points to which your attention should be specially directed at present with a view to acquiring information of every kind. I need scarcely remind you that in any enquiries you may make the utmost caution is to be observed so as to obviate the chance of the Natives deeming that, because the Government is laying in a stock of knowledge useful in case of a future conflict, it therefore contemplates war.
The points on which I would urge you to obtain as reliable information as you can are as follows: -Enquiries should be made as to the tracke leading into the country where the murderers of the late Mr. Todd are sheltered; whether practicable for pack horses, and if so, whether at all times. It is almost certain that on every one of them there exist spots requiring improvement to make them passable for any sort of transport. It will also be useful if you can acquire any knowledge of bye-paths practicable to troops, although not to pack-transport. In these enquiries you will
of course have to depend on hearsay; and your experience is ample to prevent you from trusting to one source alone.
Guides You will endeavour to ascertain who would be the best guides into the country likely to become the scene of operations so as to know whom to send for at a short notie.
Transport With regard to this I think it would be advisable if you caused a return to be secretly made out at the different posts under your command, shewing the number of bullock drays, carts, pack horses and pack saddles in the possession of the settlers in the vicinity, which would be available for hire at short notie; the return also to indicate the average prices paid n the spot for cart and horse hire, etc. Under this head should come also the consideration of forage for cavalry and transport; the return should mention the probable number of bushels of corn and maise and of tons of hay likely to be available.
Commissariat You should endeavour to ascertain the average amount of stock kept in store by the principal shopkeepers in your district so that you might have it in your power in such a moment of emergency to know where to raise the number of rations you required - I take it for grantee that there would be no difficulty in obtaining ample supplies of fresh meat.
Hospitals Without creating any alarm you should ascertain whether your hospital appliances are capable of sudded expansion for the requirements of field service, and report upon them.
Clothing. You will also report whether in the case of a disturbance you could keep your force supplied with clothing from your stores,
especially with good boots. As a rule it is useless to trust to country stores for that article of clothing.
rms.& mmunition It will be your duty to report fully to me on the state of the arms in the possession of the A.C. under your command; on the quantity of ammunition of all kinds you have; on the state and safety of your magazines etc., and to make any suggestions on these or other heads which you may think fit.
avalry In the event of its being necessary to increase your mounted force I would wish you to give me some information as to the number of men who could be speedily mounted, and as to the probable cost per horse.
olunteers It is very desirable that the Government should have the fullest information as to the chances of Volunteer Corps being formed in case of an outbreak and of their probable efficiency. Four more points remain in making enquiries on which the greatest caution will have to be exercise.
a) The probable numbers of the enemy likely to be in arms against us should the shelterers of Mr. Todd's murderers either by themselves or conjointly with others bring on hostilities.
b) The probable line or lines of operation by which in your opinion they would be most likely to act against aikato.
c) The estimated numbers of rifles and guns and quantity of ammunition in the hands of the natives.
d) The amount of stored provisions and of crops at their disposal. Under this head might also be considered the question of obtaining supplies for our men during a march into the enemy's
I am quite sensible of the difficulties incurred in obtaining information of a reliable nature and on the subjects to which I have adverted. At the same time I need scarcely impre impress upon you how very necessary it is to aim at getting as much accurate knowledge as lies in your power of the obstacles you may have to contend against, the positions you may be required to take up and the most available means for keeping your force supplied.
The Government do not desire to rush hastily into any conflict with the Natives which may possibly be avoided; at the same time it is deemed of the utmost importance that you should be fully prepared for any contingency which may arise.
You will shortly receive a further reinforcement of 70 Armed Constabulary raising your number to 200. Asseparate letter will be addressed to you on the subject of Block Houses and the better organization of the Militia.
The present communication is strictly confidential.
I have etc.
Minister of Colonial Defence - Incidents in Waikato, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0049 (14 digitised items)
Series 7 Official papers, Reference Number Series 7 Official papers (3737 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)
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