31st. July 1872.
My dear McLean,
I have been intending for ever so long to write to you; but I have not been at all well, which has put me off from time to time. I have not much to say, but hope all goes well at Wellington, and that you have strong supposition the House may have a very successful Session
I saw Jackson the day before he left. I had a long talk with his, and he will, I think, be a strong supporter of your party. He is a sensible fellow, although not very polished. He is an out-spoken, honest fellow; and I am sure he wishes to give you all the support he can. His opinion of your native policy is like mine, and you know what that is. I had a telegram from him a few days ago, asking what I thought of the proposals for rating- -value to sell, or at per acre. Here we all go for the latter. The former is simply a tax on improvements, and letting the owners of unoccupied land off cheaply.
By the way, could you do anything for the Tamahiri natives, in the shape of giving them
some sort of Hostlery in East Hamilton, where they could put up in the township. Hargreaves, and others of the quiet, decent natives, say that they are not properly treated at the Hotels, and are sent "to pig" anywhere; and they beg me to ask you if in any way some provision could be made to get them a small place put up a Government acre on the East side of the river.
Another thing I would bring under your notice, which is that McGovern, who has long been the very highly respected consstable here, and who now is (in accordance with regulations) a member of the Armed Constabulary, is only a Private. His special duty is as Constable attached to the Resident Magistrate's De- -partment; and he is therefore hardly to be considered as a common constable. He is, in fact, quite equal to any Chief Constable I ever knew, and is reputed by all classes, to a most unusual extent. In fact he is one in 1000. Jackson knows him well. Ask him about it. Nor would it be deviating from rule to promote such a man to the rank of Sergeant. If it could be done, there never was a man promoted who more thoroughly deserves it; and such promotion would give universal satisfaction in Waikate; and as McGovern in every respect is worthy in Waikate; and as McGovern every respect is worthy of it, I hope you will consider his case, if such
is according to regulation. He is a man of excellent education, and physically, mentally, and morally, such a man as you seldom see.
We hear a rumour that Government wish to make a railway from Orakau to Cambridge, (or more likely Pukurimu), and so bring the traffic of Orakau Rangiawhia etc. to the navigable Waikato, where (until the railway is made from Mercer) steamers would connect with the Auckland & Mercer railway. It would be a most excellent plan, - at least, we here, all think so; and we would much rather see such done than a portion of the line on from Mercer. The river is good for traffic from Pukurimu to Mercer; and if eleven miles of a line were made between Orakau and Pukuriau, which is a dead level, it would be of immense benefit to the Waikato generally. It may be out of the power of Government to make a line from Mercer at present; but if any railway extension at all is to be carried out, surely Waikato would get eleven miles. I should like very much to know if there is any truth in the report that such a line is contemplated by Government. It would give great satisfaction here. I knew Jackson intends to ask the Government to have the line surveyed on from Mercer at once, not with
the view of immediate extension, which may not be possible, but to set at rest the question as to which is the best line; and I trust your Government will accede to his request. Such a survey in this level country would not be expensive; what is called a preliminary survey would, I presume, be quite sufficient. This, I fancy, is in Mr. Ormond's Department; and if any survey is to take place, I should like very much to point out what I believe would be the best line on this (East) side of the Waikato. Do you think you could make me known to Mr. Ormond, so that he would receive such a communication; as of course he would not pay much attention to an unknown individual. Tell him I am a decent countryman of yours, who calls a spade a spade, and does not go round about the bush; and Mr. Ormond may be assured that I will propose nothing which will serve my own personal interest.
Well you must wish me at Jericho, giving you such a long yarn. Mrs. Leslie joins with me in my kind regards, and believe me yours sincerely.