1961 - The Richmond-Atkinson Papers Vol II - Chapter 8, The Legend of Parihaka, 1880-82, p 472-516

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  1961 - The Richmond-Atkinson Papers Vol II - Chapter 8, The Legend of Parihaka, 1880-82, p 472-516
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Chapter 8, The Legend of Parihaka, 1880-82

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Chapter 8

The Legend of Parihaka


Sir Hercules Robinson, who resigned the governorship of New Zealand in 1880, was succeeded by Sir Arthur Hamilton Gordon (afterwards Lord Stanmore), who had inaugurated British rule in Fiji and was still High Commissioner for the Western Pacific. New Zealand was the first self governing colony he had administered, and his short term was marked by grave differences with the ministry.

In the Hall government (1879-82) H. A. Atkinson was Colonial Treasurer throughout, and John Bryce was Minister for Native Affairs to 21 Jan 1881 and again from 19 Oct 1881.

The year 1880 opened uneasily owing to natives obstructing the survey of the plains south of Mt. Egmont. In January a royal commission was appointed to inquire into their grievances and to set aside suitable reserves. The Government shrank from taking strong action. In a personal memorandum to the West Coast Commissioners on 18 March Atkinson urged them to proceed with the greatest circumspection: "Of our fairness he [Te Whiti] must be convinced by the immediate reservation and marking on the ground of ample reserves, as ample as you like so long as other natives are not made jealous. I have great hope that the question will be settled without bloodshed, which will be a great mercy."

The ploughers who had been arrested were released in October 1880. The commissioners proceeded too deliberately for the Minister of Native Affairs (John Bryce) who early in 1881 was urging his colleagues to adopt a firmer policy. A settler on the frontier west of Wanganui, Bryce served in the war of 1860 and he suffered later when Titokowaru was within 12 miles of his farm. As a fighting frontiersman he considered the government was mismanaging the Maori by bribery

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instead of taking the firm hand. Hall was in ill health and wished to resign the premiership, but his colleagues, who were divided on native policy, pressed him to remain until the trouble was settled. Letters touching upon this cabinet split and the expedition to Parihaka cast new light on a controversial period. Telegraphing to Whitaker (the attorney-general) on 11 Jan 1881, Atkinson said: "We are still very good friends with Mr Bryce ... He wished to move on to Parihaka at once to capture Hiroki [the murderer of a settler named McLean] . . . Cabinet considered it wise to pursue a more patient policy. As other ministers and Mr Bryce had both equally strong convictions Mr Bryce decided to retire." He resigned on 21 January, and the Minister of Lands (William Rolleston) was entrusted with the portfolio of native affairs.

The subject does not recur in these letters for some months, 1 though the settlers in Taranaki felt that they were still "living under the tomahawk". Atkinson, as their representative in parliament, received many representations from local bodies and individual settlers. To all he replied assuring them that proper precautions were being taken for their protection. On the day that parliament adjourned, 24 Sep 1881, he telegraphed that "he was sending rifles to New Plymouth, to arm all the settlers" and he was himself "ready to come up at any moment when necessary." Three days later he felt "certain that the natives would not make any hostile movement," and urged the settlers to avoid creating a panic. To Henry Richmond he telegraphed privately: "I should be only too pleased to be up among you and should start immediately if I thought it necessary, but feel sure I can do our district more good by remaining here." In view of the pending general election he warned another settler: "It is important not to give our enemies any opportunity of saying we are making a scare for the sake of profit."

As soon as Parliament adjourned Sir Arthur Gordon left New Zealand to attend to his duties as High Commissioner for the Western Pacific. Within a week or two cabinet reversed its policy of forbear-

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ance in favour of firm intervention. On 19 October a proclamation 2 was gazetted declaring the Government's determination to carry out the recommendations of the Commission, which Te Whiti's followers were resisting, though in a very pacific manner. The proclamation was countersigned by Rolleston. Bryce rejoined the government as Minister of Native Affairs and Defence, and it was left to him to decide what action should be taken against Te Whiti. The Governor, returning to New Zealand on the same day was astounded at the turn events had taken. He sharply criticised the precipitancy of the ministry's action, for which he could perceive no justification. Nevertheless, as it appeared to him that a majority of the public agreed with the government, he acquiesced and the plans were allowed to proceed.

The action decided upon was the mobilising of an expedition of 1600 armed constabulary and volunteers, to proceed to Parihaka under Colonel J. M. Roberts, N.Z.C., and apprehend the offenders. Atkinson left Wellington for Opunake, and on 4 November he telegraphed to A. S. Atkinson in Nelson: "Bryce moves to Parihaka tomorrow. Warrants have been taken out against Te Whiti and Tohu for sedition and inciting to commit offences. I go to Mania in case things go wrong so as to be prepared for immediate action at this end." Next day he telegraphed: "Te Whiti and Tohu and Heroki taken prisoners without resistance. Riot act and proclamation read, no demonstration except of surprise." Amongst other papers relating to Parihaka are inventories of arms and ammunition taken by the Alexandra Cavalry and other units on 9 and 10 November. 3

The general election on 9 Dec 1881 seemed to indicate that the majority of the electors supported the action taken by the Government. Sir Arthur Gordon, however, strongly disapproved, and in the next few years there was a bitter controversy in which the Governor and John Bryce and the historian George W. Rusden were involved. Bryce's intractable nature was mainly responsible for another crisis in the cabinet (in 1882), particulars of which are divulged in telegrams between him and Atkinson, mainly in cipher. 4

In April 1882 Hall resigned the premiership and Whitaker took

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office with the same team, Atkinson being Treasurer and second member of the cabinet, since Whitaker was in the upper house. 5 In July 1882 Atkinson introduced his resolutions for a system of national insurance based on the scheme of the Rev W. Lewery Blackley. There are no private letters on this project, though Atkinson advocated it on the platform for several years. His health being now unequal to the discharge of his departmental duties and the leadership of the House, Atkinson summoned his brother from Nelson to assist him in preparing for the debates on the Parihaka question and the financial statement.

Sir Arthur Gordon left New Zealand in June 1882.

In Atkinson's private letter-book (vol. 43) is a memorandum (dated 6 Jun 1881) recording a spiritual experience which occurred during an election speech in 1881.

J. C. Richmond returned to the Colony early in 1881 with a new zest for political life. In June he contested the City of Nelson and in December Waimea. After this experience he wrote (3 Dec 1881): "I have now done my share in election fighting for the soberer side and can with a safe conscience sit down convinced that I am not a man for popular favour. So my pictures will move on better in future." To that end he built a studio at his home in Nelson and in that year he exhibited pictures at the exhibition at Christchurch. Though now a private citizen, he entered into public affairs as a critic, disputing with the Bishop of Nelson on the subject of Parihaka and advocating a girls' college at the break-up of Nelson boys' college. There is an unfinished letter by Richmond (dated 1 Mar 1882) evidently intended for the Premier (Hall), in which he advises the government to keep open communication with the Maori King. He entered with enthusiasm into South Island railway extension and gave evidence before the committee on the subject.

Further interesting letters on political topics are present from E. C. J. Stevens, who had represented Christchurch in the House and was appointed in 1882 to the Legislative Council.

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H. A. Atkinson to Native Commissioners (Waitara) - - - 9 Mar 1880

(Urgent telegram)

Government are anxious to meet your views on Piroka's claim. Please telegraph size and situation of land and whether you think special good will follow from the land being now promised and I will give you an immediate answer.

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C. W. Richmond to Emily E. Richmond - - - Auckland, 15 Mar 1880

In addition to Hall and Rolleston (who came by Penguin) Batkin is here.

Dr Campbell called yesterday and is very friendly. He is building a new house on the point between Mechanics Bay and St George's (where the little church used to stand) - the Parnell point . . .

I must not stay on at the Club much longer. It is scarcely the place for a judge, though I must say the men are all quiet and gentlemanly. But it is prudent to keep oneself somewhat more apart than is possible in a Club.


H. A. Atkinson to West Coast Commissioners (New Plymouth) - - - 18 Mar 1880

Private non-official memo.

If I understand your report and I think I do I entirely agree with the principles you are acting upon. The question must be dealt with as a whole, of this there is no doubt Te Whiti must be convinced of our power and our fairness and be able to tell his followers that the reserves are ample. The only possible mode of convincing him of our power with the least chance of bloodshed is by making the road through Taranaki land from Stoney River to Opunake. Of our fairness he must be convinced by the immediate reservation and marking on the ground of ample reserves as ample as you like so long as other Natives are not made jealous. The Governor will be back on Saturday and I will get everything in train against Hall's return so that no time shall be lost. I have great hope now that the question will be settled without bloodshed which will be a great mercy. And also, although one ought hardly to speak of it in the same breath considerable relief to the Treasury not by sale of land but by reduction in the A.C. and other forces.

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H. A. Atkinson to Col. Pearce - - - Wellington, 22 Mar 1880

I have not until now been in a position to answer your note of the 17th instant, but I have now the pleasure of informing you that unless any unforseen contingency arises the Hinemoa will be at the disposal of the Volunteers for conveying the members of the Nelson and Wellington corps to Lyttelton for the Easter Encampment.

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H. A. Atkinson to John Hall (Christchurch) - - - Wellington, 5 Apr 1880


Have received following from Bryce. 'You have probably seen copy of telegram from Parris to me re visit to Parihaka. If not get copy. It is unsatisfactory and pity he went but no great harm is done. Parris mentions point which is important namely that it is those who have nothing to lose there who are willing to fight. We have not overlooked this, but I think Commissioners have.

'Survey of Honi Pihama's block had better be started at once also the road and reserve line between Normanby and Manaia commenced at once, and I should think at present probably Normanby would be the best. This will be enough surveying for present and in my opinion there will be risk of stoppage or worse, but such risk as there is we must take so far. It will not do to be hurried into scattering more survey parties over the country than are necessary to shew that we are going steadily on.

I hope the cross road is progressing rapidly. I told Hursthouse when I saw him that I attached the utmost importance to immediately pressing on the work and I hope nothing will be allowed to interfere with its prosecution. I shall return Tuesday at the latest sooner if I can. John Bryce.'

Following is Parris's telegram: 'Returned from Parihaka last evening. I found Te Whiti in a very unhappy humor vexed and sullen. So much so it was impossible to reason with him. I told him my visit was for the purpose of explaining to them the intentions of the Government in the district and requested that all the people should assemble at the usual place in the morning to hear me explain it. This he refused and said he would not listen to any proposal made by one person, that if twenty came he would then be willing to discuss the question. This means the Royal Commission. He had been fully informed of all that had passed between the Commissioners and Titokowaru at the meeting at Okaiwai and is vexed because the Commissioners did not go to Parihaka. I did not force upon him the proposal in reference to the Parihaka Block. Of opinion it would be judicious to leave it until the road is through. I saw no symptoms of hostilities beyond Te Whiti's own conduct. The people were all civil and cheerful and are clearing land in the open for crops next year and intend sowing a quantity of wheat by which it would seem they are not contemplating fighting. In fact a number of natives who belong to the Parihaka district are anxious to see things settled, but unfortunately a large number of natives from other tribes Wanganui, Ngarauru, Pakakohi, Ngatitenaoa, Ngaruahine, Hine Otaiwa and Waikato have settled down there who support Te Whiti and weaken the influence of his own people partly the effect of allowing natives to dispose of lands set apart for them out of compensation by lease or otherwise. Crombie, Brown and a person named Barr have been annoying Te Whiti this week with proposals for him to go to Wellington and promised to raise £500 to pay his expenses if he would go. Natives are highly amused at this proposal. R. Parris.'

Have instructed Parris to proceed with survey as suggested by Bryce.

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H. A. Atkinson to R. Parris - - - Wellington, 5 Apr 1880

Government have determined to proceed with the survey of Hone Pihama's reserves and the front line of the large reserve starting from the Normanby end towards Manaia. Mr Humphries has been directed to communicate with you upon the subject and to place the necessary surveyors under your direction. I shall be obliged therefore if you will have these works begun at once in accordance with the recommendations of the Commissioners.

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H. A. Atkinson to R. Parris - - - Wellington, 6 Apr 1880

Re armed escort. Use your own discretion as to its employment. Roberts instructed to act as you think best. Re moving Manaia township nearer Opunake. Town was selected with some care and surveys costing about £300 will be lost if town removed. If there are political reasons for its removal or if you and Humphries think for other reasons that it should be removed upon your reporting fully to me I will have the matter decided at once.

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H. A. Atkinson to Sir William Fox (Marton) - - - Wellington, 9 Apr 1880


Have just received following news from Parris. Commenced survey of road from Normanby to Manaia yesterday. Found an excellent crossing of the Waingongoro for a straight continuation of line from Normanby and from thence to a gully seaward of Titokowaru's, where there is a little difficulty which Parris hopes to overcome to avoid entering an enclosure of Titokowaru's. Titokowaru and his people all civil. Parris goes to Oeo today to commence work at that end taking Humphries and a surveyor with him.

All going on satisfactorily.

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H. A. Atkinson to D. B. McDonald (Coromandel) - - - Wellington, 2 Oct 1880

I duly received your letter of the 13th ultimo in support of an application made by a number of young men at Coromandel for enrolment as a detachment of the Thames Naval Brigade, and have been in communication with the Defence Minister upon the subject. I should have been glad to gratify the desire to form the proposed detachment and am therefore sorry to have to inform you that in the present financial condition of the Colony, when economy has to be practised in every possible way, Mr Bryce is unable to recommend the acceptance of the offer.

It was not necessary to remind me that we had served together, and I was pleased to hear from you and should have been glad to carry out your wishes if possible. I hope you are prospering.

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H. A. Atkinson to William Seed (Secretary for Customs) - - - Wellington, 15 Oct 1880

I have the honor to inform you that the Government has decided to place the Marine and Customs Departments under one permanent head, yourself. The Secretary for Marine has therefore been instructed to effect the transfer immediately, and I have to request you to take over from Captain Johnson the charge of his Department.

It has also been decided that the management of the duties pertaining to the inspection of land machinery and steamers is to be transferred from the Public Works Department to that of Marine.

The alteration in the control of these Departments is being effected with a view of their more economical administration; you will therefore be good enough to make yourself acquainted as soon as practicable with the essential requirements of the Marine Office . . . and submit for my consideration such suggestions as you may be able to make for reducing the cost of the Department.

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H. A. Atkinson to Colonial Treasurer, New South Wales - - - Wellington, 18 Oct 1880

The Legislature of this Colony having passed an act authorising the establishment of bonded tobacco manufactories, the Government is desirous of obtaining information regarding the working of such factories with a view to the framing of such regulations as may be necessary . . . Mr Seed, the bearer of this letter, who is the permanent head of the Customs Department in New Zealand, and who is proceeding to Australia for the benefit of his health, has been requested to endeavour to procure this information . . .

I am not aware whether the Tobacco factories in New South Wales are bonded factories or not ... If they are . . . not bonded factories or in any way under the control of the Government, I venture to solicit your good offices in advising him how he would be likely to obtain introductions to the proprietors or managers of some of them, who would probably not be averse to his having access to their establishments if they were made aware of his official position and of the object for which he desired to look over them.

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H. A. Atkinson to Captain F. H. Brett (Normanby) - - - Wellington, 19 Nov 1880


Your telegram re Katene fencing across road received my immediate attention and I hope before this matter has been put right by Mr Parris. With respect to a bridge across the Waingongoro the matter has been under consideration some time and Mr Bryce has directed plans and estimates to be prepared which will be ready shortly. The bridge is no doubt a very desirable work but the money at disposal of Government

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to do necessary works on Plains is so small in amount that I fear there may be some difficulty in finding any for this purpose. As soon as Mr Bryce has come to a decision upon the point I will communicate with you again. Hope you recovered from your accident.

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C. W. Richmond to Emily E. Richmond - - - Wanganui, 21 Nov 1880

The country about Hawera is very pretty. The land is open for about 3 or 4 miles from the sea. Behind are long wooded ranges with park like clearings amongst the forest. The soil is excellent and horses and cattle shine like satin. Hawera is the last settlement before you come to the Waingongoro and the Wiamate Plains i.e. the disputed country. I fancy the places behind the mountain at the summit level of the railway - 1100 feet above sea level - would suit my lungs. I was breathing quite freely whilst there, but then the weather was magnificent. These places are at present mere rough bush clearings with a store or two and a few houses. Stratford is just about the highest point. I believe it is 21 miles from New Plymouth and about 17 from Hawera. One of the Curtis family has a store there.


H. A. Atkinson to J. Shore (Mokau) - - - Wellington, 7 Dec 1880

I have received your note of the 16th November, in which you enquire if it will be possible for you to obtain a lease of a piece of Government land at Awakino, and am sorry to have to return an unfavourable reply, as after considering the matter the Government think it inadvisable to deal with the land at Mokau in any way at present.

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H. A. Atkinson to F. A. Whitaker M.H.R. (Hamilton) - - - Wellington, 11 Jan 1881


We are still very good friends with Mr Bryce. He wished to move on to Parihaka at once to capture Hiroki and failing him to take Te Whiti and Tohu. Cabinet considered it wiser to pursue more patient policy, keeping within the lines of recommendations West Coast Commission and so avoid risk of disturbance. As other Ministers and Mr Bryce had both equally strong convictions Mr Bryce decided to retire.

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C. W, Richmond to Emily E. Richmond - - - Wellington, 14 Jan 1881

James is very grey - or rather grey-bearded. He would look younger if he shaved more. Alla and Dolla might have walked out of one of Walter Crane's books. Dolla has certainly a beautiful face - very beautiful - and is most picturesque in appearance altogether.


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C. W. Richmond to Emily E. Richmond - - - Wellington, 16 Jan 1881

James is in great request and will certainly be in politics again. Some of his supporters in the Wellington election in [1871] are to present him a numerously signed requisition to stand for Wellington on the next vacancy. On Saturday (yesterday) he went down (or up) to Featherston with Mr Blackett. He seems as full of interest in the country as ever and is not a bit aged in intellect . . .

We are half installed in the new Court buildings - that is to say we are occupying some of the rooms . . . We were looking ysty. at the drawings of the bench and found that the architect was only allowing twelve feet for five judges. I should like Emmy to calculate how much room there will be for me if Judge Johnston is one of the five. We say we want one yard each - so that each may be in his separate yard.


H. A. Atkinson to G. B. Anderson (North Taieri) - - - Wellington, 9 Feb 1881

I am very sorry to find among my unanswered letters one from you dated 17th July last asking for information about the Waimate Plains ... I think there is little probability of any serious difficulty arising with the Maoris now but of course, as we have to deal with fanatics, it is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty what their next move will be. Judging, however by their past conduct and recent utterances of their leaders, there seems a good prospect of no actual breach of the peace occurring. I myself should have no hesitation in settling on the Waimate Plains. The climate is good and the excellence of the soil proverbial.

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H. A. Atkinson to J. C. Sharland (Auckland) - - - Wellington, 9 Feb 1881

The subject of the Patetere block was exhaustively discussed in parliament last session and full information as to the position and intentions of the Government... was given by the Native Minister, Mr Bryce ... I hope that the publication of the actual facts has dispelled the doubts and suspicions which at one time existed as to the motives and intentions of the Government. I quite concur in the view that it is desirable to encourage persons of limited means to become freeholders, and recognising this I support the system of deferred payments and sale of Crown lands in small blocks which has already given a great impetus to settlement in different parts of the Colony and has enabled many industrious families to make homes of their own.

At the same time in the North Island the policy forced upon the Government by the financial condition of the Colony is to abandon purchases by the Crown of Native lands in favour of direct dealings; but this I hope to see surrounded by sufficient safeguards to prevent large tracts falling into the hands of persons for merely speculative purposes. Of this, however, I have not much fear, as the evident tendency is for holders of large estates to cut them up into allotments for disposal to small settlers.

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Ann Elizabeth Richmond to Ann Shaen - - - Taranaki, 20 Feb 1881

Here we are, millions of us, standing round to assist Fanny 6 to be married: in two days our work will be done, and then I wish we might go off again to Nelson, but they think we ought to stay another week to visit about. .. Father and the three boys are all left at Nelson . . . Aunt Maria, Uncle Arthur and daughters are here . . . Aunt Emily and Uncle and all but Alf and Ted are here too . . . Fanny is going to be married in the afternoon and we are to have a wedding afternoon tea at Uncle Henry's, and a bridesmaids' dance there in the evening. We are 15 bridesmaids, the chief one is Aunt Annie's little 4 year old girl, Lucy. 7 She is such a picture, she has very brown eyes, beautiful curly golden-red hair and pink cheeks and is a splendid little thing to look at . . .

I wish we were all back at Nelson, this unsettled life suits my tastes very badly and makes me feel dreadfully far off home, which is England. When I am working it is right enough, and we take an interest in our house but here as soon as one gets tired all the lonely feeling comes, and all the stronger because of there being so many people all about. At Nelson we have taken a house for a few months . . . close to Auntie's [Jane Maria Atkinson] but it is too small . . . Father needs a room for painting, and Doha ought to be encouraged by having one too where she need not be overlooked, or she will never draw comfortably . . . Father tidies his art room most of the day and paints a little . . .

Nelson is a nicer place than Wellington, which I detest ... it is so full of rules of what you may and may not do and of what kind of clothes you must wear that it is quite sickening. In Nelson you can do pretty much what you choose and the trees have grown up so since we left that no house can see into its neighbour's garden and the town from the hills where we are looks more like a small forest than a town.


Jane Maria Atkinson to Emily E. Richmond - - - Nelson, 11 Mar 1881

We have a fine character of Arf from Mr Wilson . . . After next long vacation he expects Arf will be head of the school, a post for which he thinks him well qualified and the holding of which will do more to educate his 'political' powers than entering on Oxford at once.


H. A. Atkinson to James Livingstone (Hawera) - - - Wellington, 2 May 1881

On my return to Wellington I at once instituted enquiries about section 100 Patea survey district and find that the reason that no grant has been issued is that the Department has never been able to admit Katene's right to the land notwithstanding McDonnell's letter; the difficulty being that he, Katene, appears to have served only a little over two years instead of three as required by the regulations. The Crown Lands

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Department has written to both Col. and Capt. McDonnell to ascertain if Katene was accepted as a substitute and for whom, as his time may have been completed that way if he was so accepted. I fear that, unless this should prove to be the case, nothing but legislation can get over the difficulty . . .

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H. A. Atkinson (Memorandum) - - - [2 to 12 May 1881]

Some time in August 1879 Mr Sherwood, as chairman of the Patea Harbour Board, came to Wellington and consulted me about getting money or endowments to carry on the works at the heads of the Patea river. One day I met him in the Government Buildings and he told me he was trying to get the money from the Government. I said I feared he would have some difficulty without an extended rating power by way of security. He said he hoped to get it without further security. After some more conversation I said in a joking manner; 'There is one way in which you could certainly get the money; go to Sir George Grey and tell him that you have determined to stand against me for Egmont at the coming election; and say that if you can get this money you will certainly beat me. You will get it without doubt.'

Mr Sherwood bridled up and said, if he could not get the money in any other way he would go home without it. I said, going away laughing, 'well that is your business, but I have told you a way in which you can get the money.'

Mr Sherwood was at this time a candidate for the Egmont seat against me. What took place between him and the Government I do not know, but he obtained the £10,000 from the Post Office Savings Bank fund and stood against me for Egmont - but not successfully.

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J. Murray to H. A. Atkinson - - - Bank of New Zealand, Inspector's office Auckland, 27 May 1881

I have yours of 20th enclosing copy of year's a/cs - for which thanks. You and your Government have done for the Colony a most important work . . .

I would infer from a letter of Tolhurst's that you still have an idea that the note circulation of the Colony might be placed on a different footing, & utilised in connection with casual advances to the Government. Better let it alone: You get all the profit (in the shape of tax) you could get out of it if the Government took it over -the expense of maintaining a note issue is considerable, as also is the necessity for maintaining a suitable reserve ... I would gladly enough fall in with anything like this which might give our Bank a lift - but I can see grave public evils in any tampering with the note circulation or coin reserve of the Colony . . .

I fancy the Governt Savings Bank must be getting a lot of money just now - if it were genuine savings of the working classes it would only be matter for congratulation - but to a large extent it is not so - but money of ordinary Bank depositors

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who since Banks have reduced their rate for money fixed for 12 mos to 4 per cent find it better to deposit with the Government practically at call getting 4 1/2 for sums up to £200 and 4 up to £500. From our point of view it rather suits us to see money drained away from the Colony because before long it will act powerfully with other factors to make our commodity dearer. But from the point of view of public policy it is idiotic to drain away the savings - or loose money - of the people of a Colony of which capital is the lifeblood to invest in Government Bonds in London ... I remember you suggested depositing this money with N.Z. Banks but the Colony could not afford to give the interest you are giving, and there are other objections. Rely on it the proper policy for a Government in such matters is not to interfere. You must be aware that the best and most advanced thought of the time is against Government meddling with the ordinary commerce and industries of a community. In this Savings Bank question there can be no plea of assisting anybody, except the capitalist, who owes the Government thanks for making capital scarcer . . .

(Atkinson papers in Turnbull Library)

Dorothy K. Richmond to Ann Shaen - - - Nelson, 4 Jun 1881

Somebody else is sure to have told you that Father is a candidate in the election of a member for the city of Nelson . . . We have been very excited and political for the last week. Father spoke first at the Provincial Hall, 19 of us went to hear him . . . Mr Levestam spoke on Wednesday, he is a German and his English is funny (I mean stupid), he is a workman and seems to think workmen here are oppressed . . . Most people seem to think Father is safe. . . .

There is an opera company here, I have been to Der Freischutz the fireworks in the incantation scene were a marked success, the fire brigade were in waiting outside the theatre, the hose was prepared, we wished we had brought our umbrellas. In the programme we were requested to keep our seats as there was really no danger whatever. I think the fire works took even more than the huntsman's chorus. Mr Briggs, the man who undertook pyrotechny was twice called before the curtain with uproarious applause. Norma I also saw . . .

The Colonist says Father is 'the most cherished offshoot of the most prominent governing family in N.Z.' also that 'Mr Richmond belongs to a family of undoubted wealth (!!!!) and pretended culture'.

11 Jun. The stupid people have chosen Levestam. He got 438 votes and Father 407. Our gardener says, 'You could have knocked me down with a feather when I heard it', this was the case with us all . . . we were all quite certain except Alla who had a presentiment. It was 'beer that did it' as Aunt Maria said when she met the daughter of a prominent brewer on the evening after the polling.


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(H. A. Atkinson) unsigned memorandum 8 - - - Wellington, 6 Jun 1881

When about to address my constituents lately, my brother, Mr Decimus Atkinson, asked me on what day I should be at Normanby, as he had got to go to Hawera on business, and he would go there so as to be present at my Normanby meeting. I replied that I should address the Normanby electors on Friday evening, March 25th ...

I came to Normanby on the Friday, and was having tea at Macgregor's Hotel, with my son, who had accompanied me, when he said to me 'I wonder if Uncle will be here to night.' I replied: I don't know, but we shall see presently.' I went to the meeting, which was held in the new Town Hall, which was unfinished. I addressed the meeting from a platform at the end, and in front of me, upon the floor, were rows of extemporized benches. Several times during my speech I stopped speaking as groups of men came in, in order to induce them to come to the front seats, where there was plenty of room. The front and second seats had only a few people on them at each end.

After I had been speaking about half an hour, I suddenly saw my brother sitting on the second form right in front of me, with nobody between him and me. I thought to myself: 'It is very curious how you can have got in without my seeing you.' But I recognised him, & he recognised me, & I went on with my speech looking at him as I made points which I knew he would appreciate. He acted as I know he would have acted. I looked at his boots when I recognised him, & saw they were covered with dust, & I thought to myself that he had walked over from Hawera. After the conclusion of the meeting, several gentlemen came round me, & began to talk. I was rather surprised that my brother did not come, & I said to my son, who had come up: 'Where is Uncle?' He replied: I have not seen him. I do not think he has been here.' I said 'Oh! he has been sitting in front - before me - on that seat for the last half hour.' 'Well,' he said, I have been at the door all the time, & I did not see him come in or go out: I will go & look for him.' He went, but could see nothing of him.

We then went to our hotel, & my son looked about for his Uncle, but could not find him. I should say that the room in the hotel was full of people, & we were talking politics there till a latish hour. Before we went to bed, I asked my son whether he had seen his Uncle, & he replied 'No; I do not believe he was there: you must have seen a spirit.' I merely laughed, & said 'There is no doubt at all he was there.'

We went to bed, & in the morning, when having breakfast, I said to the landlord's daughter, who was waiting upon us: 'Was my brother here last night?' And she said 'Yes; he came in in the evening, & wanted a bedroom, but we were full, & he went to Brett's' (the other hotel.) I said to my son: I never heard before of spirits looking for bedrooms. You shall go after breakfast & look your Uncle up;' & he went accordingly, returning in a short time with my brother. As soon as my brother had sat down, I said: I am very glad to see you, because Dunstan (my son) has been joking of not

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having seen you at the meeting.' My brother replied: 'Well, I was not at the meeting.' I said: 'Not at the meeting!' He said: 'No.' 'What were you doing then last night?' I asked. He said: I came up from Hawera rather late for the meeting. I was tired, & came over to Macgregor's to see if I could get a bedroom, but finding they were full, I went over to Brett's. I hesitated for a short time as to whether I should come to the meeting or not, but thinking that it was more than half over, I determined to go to bed, & I went straight to bed, & did not leave my room until this morning.'


C. Wilson Hursthouse 9 to A. S. Atkinson - - - New Plymouth, 12 Jun 1881

... Re Tuninia's Whakatauki, from what I can make out, so far, Tuninia was a celebrated toa, and knew it, and made use of the expression as a boastful and defiant speech addressed to some opponents. I think the following conveys a fair idea of his meaning: Taranaki stands alone (unsupported) Mountain not overhung = having nothing above it, or higher to descend onto it; and that for all that it was as a spinning top for Tuninia.

I want to know what you make of it, and do not expect that you will entirely agree with me.

I have a song made by the prisoners who were sent away for fencing the road, etc. - which ... I will send you ... on condition that you translate it and let me know your version.

The Parihaka people are a very curious lot and they quite puzzle me. I frequently attend the monthly meeting and listen to the speeches - Te Whiti and Tohu are the only speakers. No one nowadays thinks of argueing with them in the marae. Fresh adherents are constantly taking up their abode at Parihaka, and now an order has been sent out by Te Whiti saying that all Maoris must go there to live, men, women & children. Those who do not hear and obey this summons will not be any more counted as men. Numbers have gone in obedience, but how long they will remain there is quite another affair. Altogether I am afraid we have made very little progress towards reducing the influence of Te Whiti & Tohu. Of course we have gained a great deal, by road making and occupying the land which we are now bound to stick to. I quite expect to find some of them start ploughing or fencing or something of that kind, by way of showing that they have not yet given up possession of the land. What would you say if they started taking prisoners!

v 7, p 40

J. Symons 10 to J. C. Richmond - - - Auckland, 18 Jun 1881

It was only a few weeks ago that I became aware of your having returned from Europe, and ... I came to the conclusion that you would perhaps like to know some-

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thing of what took place during your absence . . . Since that date [1877] another exhibition was held at the Choral Society's building at which there were several very good works indeed, and three silver medals were awarded, two of which went to Australia but as the persons who had the management of the affair were engaged in business the Art Union was not pushed as much as it might have been, consequently there were not so many pictures sold, and this led to dissatisfaction - (two of the members of the Society were particularly so). The grievance with these gentlemen was that the exhibitions were not held annually . . . They requested the management to call a public meeting, 'for the purpose of considering the future management of the Soc.'. The meeting was . . . attended by the public to the extent of about 7 persons, two being ladies, one a teacher of drawing and one or two schoolmasters. They propounded the theory that artists were not men of business and that in order to make the thing successful the public must be incorporated with it . . . They were informed that the public were already part and parcel of the Soc. as hon members whereupon the proposition fell to the ground ... At last some one proposed that the management resign . . . and that a provisional committee be appointed . . . The worthy pedagogues outwitted the painters . . . Their intention was to make use of our knowledge and experience. They, who said we did not know how to manage, have imported into their committee 4 ladies, 1 clergyman, 1 schoolmaster, 1 gent, who is deaf and dumb . . . another who ... is a teacher, and the secretary is also a schoolmaster . . . An exhibition was held by them last year which . . . generally partook of the character of an industrial exhibition. There were plenty of pictures, but the old society would not have accepted above 1/3rd of them. All those aspirants who have been rejected year after year . . . found a ready place, and the walls were adorned with Rubens and other notables . . . We, the old soc, have made it a constant practice to hang only the best works we could procure . . . Consequently the standard quality of the works was slowly but steadily raised - now the effect of this popular exbn. is to bring it all down again, and what I should esteem a favour from you is this - would you be good enough to state your ideas on the subject as to whether the 'old uns' should renew'the battle or whether they should cease as a body to take any interest in the matter?


H. A. Atkinson to A. S. Atkinson - - - Wellington, 27 Jun 1881

I have 25 shares in the Wellington and Hutt Building Society of the value of £60 each ... I have paid £487.10 upon them . . . They . . . are now worth about £34 a share. I am one of the directors of the Company ... I do not wish to part with these shares because they will pay so much better to keep and because I don't want to leave the Board but I want to get £400 upon security of them ... I want it to be a purely business transaction and no risk run. ... I think you had better buy them right out if you think that better than making an advance . . . But I don't want to sell. Give me your opinion from a business point of view.

v 7, p 40

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H. A. Atkinson to C. R. Blakiston (Christchurch) - - - Wellington, 26 Jul 1881

. . . respecting the . . . amendment in the Property Assessment Act, upon Foreign Loan Companies, I value suggestions . . .

The first principle of the Property Tax is that all property in New Zealand shall pay without respect of ownership. It was, however, considered expedient ... to exclude certain capital as a matter of policy, but experience has shewn that the exemption has worked very unfairly and that as a matter of policy it was unnecessary. The Government have, therefore, determined to bring the excluded capital within the Act. The following example will shew how unfairly the present Act works in this respect.

A and B own two farms adjoining. A goes to an English Loan Co. trading in New Zealand on its capital, or to a New Zealand Co. doing the same, and mortgages his land for £5,000 . . . The tax upon the whole of the estate is paid, to the extent of the mortgage by the Company and the balance by the nominal proprietor A.

On the other hand B. goes to another Company trading largely on capital borrowed on debentures and also borrows £5,000 on security of his farm . . . But when the Government apply to the Company for the amount of the tax on this £5,000 they in their turn claim exemption, because the money lent is not their own capital but the money of persons resident in another country who have lent it to the Company. Thus the property to the extent of the mortgage escapes taxation, which is manifestly unfair and contrary to the principle of the tax. You will observe that if all the money borrowed on mortgage were obtained from Companies who traded upon the money raised upon debentures instead of capital, that half the land in New Zealand would escape taxation if the Property Assessment Act were left as it is. This is so obviously unfair that it is impossible to defend it in Parliament.

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H. A. Atkinson to James Livingston (Hawera) - - - Wellington, 26 Jul 1881

With regard to Katene's land. A reply has been received from Col. McDonnell but we have not yet been able to get at Capt. McDonnell. Through Katene's desertion, the whole period of service of himself and the man for whom he was a substitute fell considerably short of the legal time; consequently it is more than doubtful if a grant of the land can be issued as the law at present stands.

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Ann E. Richmond to Ann Shaen - - - Nelson, [1 Aug 1881]

Mr Fell I like better every day, he is so clean and kind and fond of Edie. The children are all nice. We - Dolla and I - are teaching them Alfred a Drama from Evenings at Home, as a surprise for E. and Mr Fell when they come home from their wedding journey. It is great fun and the children are so immensely mysterious about it, as it is supposed to be a secret . . . King Alfred lisps altho' aged 11 and it has a very fine effect. . .

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We have been going to the theatre several times last week, for a much more decent company than usual called the Bandmann Combination, from Herr Bandmann the chief actor, has been here. He did the more dramatic parts of Hamlet . . . ungratingly and now and then well, in the quieter parts he missed a thousand opportunities and was offensively un-English . . . but yet certainly Hamlet was not a Frenchman-like or a German-like creature was he? ... I can't tell you what Ophelia was like . . . There was a woman who said the words . . . but in such a way and with such eyes that I longed to fly at her and mention to her that she seemed to me to be 'a bold-faced jig' to quote Cock-Robin. She succeeded in drawing tears of rage from me, but that was all. Then I saw them act 'The Lady of Lyons' and an adaptation of 'David Garrick' and these suited them much better . . .

Dolla has been reading me 'Piccadilly' the last few days, and I have been liking it much . . . Then ... for a course of light literature I read Transformation ... I devoured it in one day, for the poor merry Faun interested me immensely, and I have never known a grown up one before, though there are lots of little ones . . .

Dolla paints flowers now and then, pretty often in fact, and has made some lovely copies from Florence photographs for her drawing class, but till the studio was arranged it has been very hard for her to find a proper place to work in.


W. Rolleston to H. A. Atkinson - - - Pungarehu, 23 Sep 1881

(Urgent memo 2.4. p.m.)

(Confidential) No cause for alarm till we take active measures. Only people alarmed are New Plymouth who anticipate invasion by Te Whiti immediately and burning of town. All quiet here . . . Hone Pihama said this morning when he met Parris and me Kia paimarire te Whakaaro - Corps are forming at Opunake and Manaia. We must have more constabulary at once but they must be good picked men.

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson to A. Standish and others (New Plymouth) - - - Wellington, 24 Sep 1881


Confidential. There are 1098 sneider rifles and carbines on issue and in store at New Plymouth. Find upon reference to census returns more adult males than I estimated. Shall send up by Stella on Monday sufficient arms to arm all settlers. Important someone should be here for a time who thoroughly understands question. You need not fear a false step or premature movement. I am thoroughly acquainted with all that is going on and am ready to come up any moment when necessary. Important to avoid anything likely to produce panic.

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H. A. Atkinson to W. Rolleston - - - Wellington, 25 Sep 1881

(Urgent memo 10.25 a.m.)

Reported by telegram in press that the young men determined to try and surprise camp but that Te Whiti had stopped them . . . Suppose report untrue but should like to be able to contradict it with authority ... I think it would be well to keep a sharp [watch] as to arms or ammunition getting to Parihaka and that the police should have their eye on all dealers along the coast from Foxton to New Plymouth.

Rolleston Papers

W. Rolleston to H. A. Atkinson - - - Pungarehu, 25 Sep 1881

(Telegram confidential 5.10 p.m.)

I should not think there was a word of truth in report of intention to surprise camp. Hursthouse and Butler were in Parihaka to-day chatting with the natives in most friendly way (don't publish this) and I have been to the Lighthouse and among the cultivations without seeing more than one or two natives. There is not the slightest need for apprehension until we make further aggressive step as to fencers - whether they would retaliate no one can say but we must be in a stronger position before we make move. The silly scares are suggesting war. I agree about the powder and will give orders accordingly . . .

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson to J. Davidson, A. Standish and others - - - Wellington, 2j Sep 1881


No doubt Native affairs are as you say serious and threatening yet hope difficulty may be got over peaceably. Know all that is going on at Parihaka. Feel sure no fear of any hostile movement on part of Natives likely to take place immediately. Agree that settlers should be properly armed and organised and Government is taking steps in that direction and hope in a few days to satisfy you upon this point. Trust that you will do your best to allay the natural excitement among settlers. I would come up at once but am satisfied that I can be more useful here at present.

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H. A. Atkinson to John Elliott (Waitara) - - - Wellington, 27 Sep 1881


Thanks for your telegram. Think at present I am better here. Don't like the look of things, but still hope to pull through. Largely increasing Constabulary and hope to have settlers on both sides properly organised very shortly. Do not believe Natives will make any hostile move immediately if at all. Do what you can to prevent panic.

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H. A. Atkinson to W. Rolleston - - - Wellington, 27 Sep 1881

(Urgent telegram, 10 a.m.)

Please let me know what number of A. C. you wish Roberts to have under him. There are now in the Taranaki district including those sent to-day about five hundred and seventy so that I may know how many to take on great care is being exercised in the selection of the men it is of great importance to get the number we require as soon as possible as it must take some weeks to get them into shape and a few weeks drill makes two men equal to three undrilled. Is it true that the settlers are leaving the Block and that Daniels had a scuffle with a Maori?

Rolleston Papers

W. Rolleston to H. A. Atkinson - - - Opunake, 27 Sep 1881

(Telegram urgent 11.44 a.m.)

Roberts says he should have 400 men available for active work . . . There were about 200 natives working together close to the disputed ground yesterday and I feel sure 200 more would have been on the ground in a short time. I think it would be a mistake to risk a discomfiture for many reasons . . . There is no panic on the spot. One settler only a new chum sent in his furniture and wife yesterday quite unnecessarily. The newspapers and New Plymouth people making quite a scare. I am satisfied that there is no preparation among the Maoris for fighting. They are very busy cultivating which does not look like war.

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson to W. Rolleston (Opunake) - - - Wellington, 27 Sep 1881

(Telegram urgent 12.40 p.m.)

I cannot see how the arrangement of Stapp commanding Opunake and Manaia can possibly answer. If difficulties arise at Parihaka Manaia must clearly be worked and supported from Hawera. Noake should be put in command of that district. Stapp will have more than enough to do north of Stoney River round to Inglewood and Stratford. Think the change should be made at once. Wish to know what you propose with regard to arming and organising settlers in Stapp's district. Something much more definite than has yet been arrived at as far as I can learn is necessary before you make a move. You must decide definitely how many settlers you intend to have under arms in Stapp's district, and before effect is given to this I should like to know what you propose. There is no panic anywhere that I know of but natural uneasiness which can only be removed by satisfying the men among the settlers who know as well as you and I what ought to be done that we are really providing for any contingency and not only talking about it.

v 43
Original telegram is in Rolleston papers

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H. A. Atkinson to H. R. Richmond - - - Wellington, 27 Sep 1881


Do your best to allay excitement. Am satisfied no reasonable probability of natives making immediate hostile movement. We are increasing the Constabulary by about 300 men and shall I hope in a few days have settlers on both North and South fairly organised. Very important not to give our enemies an opportunity of saying that Taranaki people are creating a scare or fermenting a disturbance for sake of expenditure which I am sorry to say there are only too many people willing to believe. I think I thoroughly understand the position of affairs and believe I am better here at present. Personally I should be only too pleased to be up among you and should start immediately if I thought it necessary but feel sure I can do our district more good by remaining here.

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H. A. Atkinson to A. Standish - - - Wellington, 27 Sep 1881


Have carefully considered your proposal re pay and cheap uniform, and am much obliged for any suggestions but such a proposal would be received with a howl in the southern districts. It is great importance to the effectual settling of the Maori difficulty that we should not give our enemies any opportunity of saying we are creating a scare for the sake of profit . . . Pray do what you can to allay excitement.

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W. Rolleston to Hon J. Hall - - - Oeo, 28 Sep 1881

... I see from the papers that other telegrams have been received complaining of my action which in ordinary course should have been forwarded to me. ... If it is thought well my arrangements should be reversed I think a little time should elapse and real danger arise which would reconcile an old officer to a change which circumstances made advisable. I thought and still think that the Plains were of paramount and immediate importance where the remnant of Titokowaru's people are and where settlers are scattered and that I was wise to send Noake down to Hawera where he has organised a new rifle corps and down the Coast from which I might expect material aid in case of disturbances . . . What more can I do? Let me know and it shall be done. I only do not want natives to be apprised of anything proposed at Pungarehu . . . Surely some confidence must be placed in me here with much better means of knowing than can be in Wellington. If so telegrams affecting my department and criticising my action should be forwarded to me here and no appeal over my head should be heard. I have only had three days on the Coast and there has been no step neglected to put the districts in a position of safety ... I did not know that Atkinson was acting defence minister 11 and do not think that while I am in this

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district there should be any orders given or correspondence go on of which I am not cognizant. Finally, if you share the want of confidence you say Atkinson feels you have only to say the word and be relieved at once. With a heavy responsibility upon me my plans should not be at the dictation of people whom I don't know and you will pardon my saying that I think I deserve a little better of my colleagues. The alteration about Stapp shall be made at once if you wish it but it will be against my judgment and politically very mischievous. . . .

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson to F. A. Whitaker (Cambridge) - - - Wellington, 3 Oct 1881


No authority issued to draw recruits from Waikato. Do not intend to do so. It was over zeal of Officer in Charge Auckland. Have been away or would have replied before.

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W. Rolleston to H. A. Atkinson - - - [Pungarehu], 8 Oct 1881

(Memo urgent 3.21 p.m.)

Saw Te Whiti to-day but nothing came of the interview in the way of settlement. He declines to admit the title of the Government to any of the land and said he did not recognise the Commission - they had committed adultery and could not properly sit in judgment and so on. He used the old blanket metaphor implying that the land could not be divided or have any part cut off. He was very civil at the beginning and end of the interview but very emphatic in declining to be party to any adjustment of difficulties. Natives are to-day fencing at Waitaha on a section bought by Leonard G. Boor. I propose to operate on this first. Must I not have a request from him to remove them, or permission to do so. Please consult law officers . . . The other case is one of encroachment on the high road which is probably a better case.

I am glad I have seen Te Whiti for it relieves my mind as to his attitude and enables us to go to work with a good conscience of having done our best to settle differences. I think of sending him a letter telling him that responsibility of any trouble now rests with him ... I forgot to say that at end Te Whiti said - Good would come of my visit - I could not get him to see me alone and perhaps this accounts for the difference between what he said to me and to Riemenschneider.

Rolleston Papers

W. Rolleston to H. A. Atkinson - - - Pungarehu, 8 Oct 1881

(Memo 7.22 p.m.)

. . . What I fear is that Maoris would simply retire and laugh at us for our trouble. I have no [notion] that Te Whiti means fighting In fact I feel sure he does not. We shall have to make some arrests to really test the case. Tell me what you think of

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sending final letter to Te Whiti reciting main points as already conveyed by Riemenschncider. It would embody as a record what has been done . . . Would Johnston's and Pearce's men come without their big guns? I cannot see the use of the big guns...

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson to W. Rolleston - - - Wellington, 8 Oct 1881

(Urgent memo confidential, 8 p.m.)

Your memo re interview received. Much regret result. Johnston and I have talked the matter over and think [before] any action re removal of fencing is taken that we should all meet in Wellington and settle definitely what course we mean to follow with regard to Te Whiti supposing he permits the fencing to be pulled down without active resistance and remains as sullen defiant attitude. Our preparations . . . will take at least another fortnight so we will have time to mature plans. I agree with you that is it a great comfort to know definitely what Te Whiti's intentions are that at any rate is one step in advance . . .

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson to W. Rolleston - - - Wellington, 9 Oct 1881

(Telegram 10.12 a.m.)

... I agree with you that the big guns are not much use but a couple of them at the camps won't do any harm and you can always take the men out without them . . .

Johnston and I quite agree on having a final letter sent to Te Whiti on the lines of your memo which were very good but we think now that perhaps it should go a little further ... I think you are quite right in thinking Te Whiti does not want war and that we shall have to arrest fencers to bring matters to a head but it seems certain judging from Te Whiti's tone to you that they will arrest some of our people if we make arrests and then war or something very like it will be inevitable. Glad you are having some fencers identified the arrest of some of these at convenient times a far better way of testing the question to my mind than having grand restling match which I confess I don't like. I should be inclined to give Te Whiti notice at once that the fencers [make] themselves liable to arrest and imprisonment by fencing so that if we make arrests he cannot accuse us of treachery.

Rolleston Papers

J. Bryce to W. Rolleston - - - Wanganui, 12 Oct 1881

... I have been thinking, perhaps more seriously than I should, of what you told me last night respecting your visit to, and my orations with, Te Whiti ... In my opinion it most seriously compromises your liberty of action in any decisive course you may feel inclined to take in reference to Te Whiti. It. . . will be taken to indicate a totally different line of thought and action to that which rings in Major Atkinson's address and I fear will have a disastrous effect on his election. However, as I presume

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he was a consenting party he will have thought of that . . . What I write now for is to ask you not to be surprised if I find it necessary publicly to condemn your action in this respect . . . Should it be public when I address the electors I shall not be able to help expressing my opinion upon it. I feel particularly anxious on Atkinson's account as I feel that a failure to secure his election would be a calamity to the Government, the House and the country.

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson to W. Dale (Chairman Patea County Council) - - - Wellington, 24 Oct 1881


Government glad to hear that action they have taken re Native affairs on West Coast meets with unanimous approval of settlers. The settlers may rely on determination of Government to firmly give effect to Proclamation 12 just issued.

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H. A. Atkinson to J. C. Yorke (chairman public meeting Hawera or Manaia) - - - Wellington, 24 Oct 1881


Government glad to hear that action they have taken re Native affairs on West Coast meets with unanimous approval of settlers. The settlers may rely upon determination of Government to firmly give effect to Proclamation just issued. Thanks for proffered assistance which Government will gladly avail themselves of if necessary.

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H. A. Atkinson to Max D. King (Hawera) - - - Wellington, 26 Oct 1881

Leave tonight for Opunake. Down with you in a few days.

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J. Bryce to W. Rolleston (Wellington) - - - Pungarehu, 27 Oct 1881

(Telegram 7)

Am a little disappointed at not seeing you with Atkinson but readily understand you may [be] more urgently wanted in Wellington. You know what I am going to do on the fifth perhaps you could come then.

Rolleston Papers

W. Rolleston to J. Bryce - - - Wellington, 27 Oct 1881

(Memo 9 p.m.)

Was afraid you think me shirking. Shall be up early next week. Have every faith that your plans will be best without my counsels in present phase but should like to be there when time for action comes and am glad you think I may be of use.

Rolleston Papers

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W. Rolleston to H. A. Atkinson - - - New Plymouth, 27 Oct 1881

(Urgent telegram, 9 a.m.)

Am afraid Bryce can hardly understand urgency of case here and that my not coming may look to him as no doubt it will to outside world as shirking responsibility and playing Jonah in time of difficulty. This is not fair either to me or Bryce in case of anything going wrong. RIBBON does not seem to understand this. I look upon YTKNERTE elections and everything else as not worth consideration compared with success in this matter. Firstnamed evidently thinks he can hold on honorably disapproving our acts so long as there is no fighting. God help him.

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson to W. Rolleston (Wellington) - - - New Plymouth, 28 Oct 1881

(Telegram 11.10 a.m.)

I talked to Mr Bryce upon question you referred to and I believe that both he and the public thoroughly understand the question As you know I thought it desirable that you should have gone up in the first instance but I am perfectly clear that it was your duty to stop as you did. My last shade of respect for our friend has gone since he has displayed such an accommodating conscience.

Rolleston Papers

H. I. Blyth to J. C. Richmond - - - Wakefield, 30 Oct 1881

I am pleased to be able to tell you that both Mr Harkness of Richmond and Mr Lightband of Brightwater will favour your coming forward for the district. Hitherto there was a misunderstanding in the way of them supporting you which has now happily been cleared away and both now will I think do what lies in their power to ensure your election.

It has been suggested that you should be asked to meet Mr Baigent and a few more of your Wakefield friends on Wednesday afternoon. As it happens the Committee of the Reform Assocn. meets here the same evening and some of the members would be glad - if not inconvenient to you - if you would attend the committee meeting and explain your political views to the members.


H. A. Atkinson to A. S. Atkinson - - - Patea, 4 Nov 1881

(Memo, telegram)

Bryce moves to Parihaka tomorrow. Warrants have been taken out against Te Whiti & Tohu for sedition & inciting to commit offences under West Coast Act. These will be executed in any case except that of absolute submission which if made not

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likely will be at once put to severe test. I go to Mania in case things go wrong so as to be prepared for immediate action at this end. I speak at Hawera tonight and sleep at Mania.

v 7, p 41

H. A. Atkinson to G. S. Ellson (Nelson) - - - Manaia, 5 Nov 1881


Te Whiti, Tohu & Heroki taken prisoners without resistance. 13

v 7, p 41

W. Rolleston to The Premier (J. Hall) - - - Pungarehu, 6 Nov 1881

(Urgent memo 8.35 a.m.)

Let us hear when you propose to ask for dissolution. It would be unwise to predict course of events here precisely, so much depends on circumstances and it seems to me best not to attempt prophecy after Te Whiti's failure in that line. It seems anyhow important to press on elections. Public business is so paralysed at present . . . How about the abdication theory? Am afraid it will be abandoned. You know my secretive propensities. I should let no forecasts of future action transpire. 'One step enough for me.' I should keep quiet about dispersion. If publicly discussed Maoris will get bad advice.

Rolleston Papers

J. Hall to W. Rolleston - - - Wellington, 6 Nov 1881

(Memo 11.25 a.m)

Everything is ready for dissolution as soon as I receive a message from Whitaker . . . The abdication idea has cooled down and will come to nothing as Bryce did not mark last night's messages private I gave extract from it to the press people who pester me incessantly for news to revenge themselves for Bryce's curtailment of their facilities. There is some advantage in the dispersion proposals becoming public in fact they have been so for some time they meet general approval and public mind is prepared for any steps which may have to be taken to give effect to them. If you could prevent the world chattering it might be well but as you cannot it is best to lead it to chatter in the right direction . . . Fox is very strong for dispersion taking care the dispersed do no mischief on their way home . . .

Rolleston Papers

J. Hall to J. Bryce - - - Wellington, 7 Nov 1881

(Urgent memo, precedence, 2.15p.m.)

Please show this to Rolleston. Have just come from the Governor. What may turn a hitch as to the dissolution has taken place. The Governor asks before agreeing to the dissolution that I should pledge myself that nothing shall be done in the way

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of disposing of the Parihaka block until the new parliament can meet. I was ready to say until the new parliament can meet nothing shall be done which would prevent reasonable provision being made for the Parihaka natives in Parihaka block but I would not pledge the Govt, to anything further without consulting my colleagues. He was not satisfied with this. He is now writing something. In the meantime the dissolution is hung up . . .

Rolleston Papers

W. Rolleston and J. Bryce to J. Hall - - - Pungarehu, 7 Nov 1881

(Urgent memo, take precedence, 5.10p.m.)

We object to Governor imposing any conditions whatever in respect to the dissolution. He must either accept our advice unconditionally for immediate dissolution or accept our instant resignation. Will telegraph further urgent.

W. Rolleston to J. Hall (Same date 7.15 p.m.)


About Abdicator's present position. Is there not great constitutional question involved, exercise of Crown's prerogative cannot be conditional even in matter of supply this principle is got round in a very equivocal manner. I don't think any land can be sold until surveyed and then by law it must be advertised for at least a month but this is beside the question and need not be explained to him. He has no right to assume that we shall give him advice of an improper or illegal character and we ought to decline to be treated in that manner. It will be time enough for him to act when we advise him wrongly.

Rolleston Papers

W. Rolleston to Major Atkinson (Manaia) - - - Pungarehu, 7 Nov 1881

(Memo urgent 7.15p.m.)

We have received telegram from Hall that Governor makes it a condition . . . We have replied to Hall as follows 14 ... It seems perfectly unconstitutional to place conditions on the exercise of the prerogative of the Crown quite apart from the fact that nothing can be done to sell land for a month after surveys completed.

Rolleston Papers

H. A. Atkinson, W. Rolleston and J. Bryce to J. Hall - - - Manaia, 8 Nov 1881

(Telegram 7.35 p.m.)

Three of us here tonight glad you refused any conditions as to dissolution. We all think no memorandum should be accepted which may be quoted by him as giving his view of the terms on which he has taken your advice. This he will try to do to keep

[Image of page 499]

that precious conscience of his going. He ought to be distinctly told that memorandum in no way implies conditions and cannot be accepted as bearing on dissolution.

Rolleston Papers

J. Hall to W. Rolleston (Pungarehu) - - - 8 Nov 1881

... Re dissolution I thought the matter over and came to the same conclusion as Bryce and yourself have done. I went to Government House again and said as much. I presented the proclamation to the Governor this morning and he said he had made up his mind to sign it without requiring the understanding previously mentioned . . .

Rolleston Papers

H. R. Richmond to J. C. Richmond - - - New Plymouth, 8 Nov 1881

I suppose the Waipa arrangement will not involve a total break up of the Nelson establishment, at anyrate for some time to come - if not and you can manage to spend part of your time in each place, it will do very well; that is if Dick and Wilson cultivate and manage the land in a proper and husbandlike manner . . .

The last news from Parihaka is that the whares have been searched and 250 stand of arms taken, and that the natives are beginning to disperse. If it be really the end of the difficulty this promontory will soon fill up with settlers and become one of the most populous parts of the colony. Some weeks since at the last Govt, sale of land, a block of bush land between Stratford and Opunake fetched an average of over £2 an acre, the buyers being to a great extent genuine settlers from other parts of the colony.

Francis is at the front with the Taranaki Rifle Volunteers . . . There was a report that one of H. Pihama's daughters committed suicide because her father kept her away from Parihaka, but I have seen nothing of it in the papers and hope it is not true.


J. Bryce to W. Rolleston - - - Pungarehu, 11 Nov 1881

(Memo urgent, 7.27 p.m.)

I do not think you should allow Governor to put you in the witness box to extract evidence which he would not hesitate to use against you. I think Hursthouse can strengthen your evidence and will do so tomorrow. I hope you will wire frequently not in Greek.

Rolleston Papers

W. Rolleston to H. A. Atkinson - - - Wellington, 21 Nov 1881

(Telegram 5.10 p.m.)

I am afraid you cannot properly leave your district. I don't see any necessity for keeping ministers here at all and shall go down myself on Wednesday.

Rolleston Papers

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Dorothy K. Richmond to Ann Shaen - - - Nelson, 27 Nov 1881

We are in the midst of another general election; Father is not standing for the city of Nelson but for the . . . district called Waimea which is about 90 miles long and a yard broad mostly between steep hills and the sea . . . Father has already made 5 speeches and will have to make 5 or 6 more . . . Only a few people can be collected for a meeting in one place, 40 is considered a goodish number. Father probably will not be returned . . . The difficulty about Father's getting in is this, that although he very much dislikes the representation bill ... he still thinks that the Hall Ministry is better than any other that could be formed now; but the Nelson people are blind with rage at having been deprived of 3 out of their 6 members . . .

Last night Ruth and I and 6 of the boys went to hear our cousin Richmond Hursthouse address the electors of Motueka residing in Nelson. It was great fun, Richmond is more suited to this sort of thing than Father. Father is miles too good for them, you feel all the time that the electors ought to come up to his house and ask him to do them the favour of representing them in the assembly instead of his having to go out of his way for them. At this meeting of Richmond's . . . there were about 40 or 50 men, only 3 of whom had any pretensions to gentility and several of whom incessantly interrupted with what they considered crushing remarks. Richmond is a tall thin American looking man very sharp and witty and he answered all their remarks pat to the immense amusement of the audience. You will see by the poem I am sending you that Richmond Hursthouse belongs to the governing family, he explained his relation to Major Atkinson last night . . . I am called Major Atkinson's nephew, 'I will tell you our relationship -(long pause)-- his brother married my cousin'. Richmond is rather at variance with the family just now, for he stonewalled last session and is now pledged to oppose the Hall Government, but the people won't believe him because he is a member of the governing family. One man who interrupted a great deal, is called Fred Atkinson; after the speech Fred. A. got on to the platform to ask a question . . . Richmond in a low voice asked the chairman to be kind enough to tell him the gentleman's name (knowing it quite well of course). The chairman said 'Mr Atkinson', then Richmond bowed gravely to the rowdy workman and said 'a member of the Governing Family I presume, may I ask if you are the treasurer's brother?'. Poor Fred A. was dumbfounded and the meeting roared . . . Altogether the men are a most unmannerly and amusing set and Richmond suits them for he addresses them with his hands in his pockets and uses homely illustrations and much slang.

Wils is to begin his career as a working engineer tomorrow. We are to have breakfast at 7 o'clock in the morning in order that he may walk his two miles to the Ancher Foundery ... he is . . . delighted at the idea, especially at the moleskin trousers . . . Dick will probably soon be sent to learn farming at Motueka . . . when he has learned something he will have to look after the farming of our Waikato land . ..

There is to be a general art exhibition in a week or two at Nelson. I am going to send a pretty big panel covered with large New Zealand white clematis flowers growing

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on a shrub with small shiny pale green leaves. I shall put an exorbitant price on it and if it sells I shall spend it (the money) in riotous living.

My genius is inferior only to that of the Colonist's special poet, he invents but I can parody.

The Governing Family
Per favour of the editor of the Colonist

Mr Hursthouse in the House, Sir,
Made quite a pretty speech,
He said it was incumbent
On every one and each
Of all those worthy members
To bow most gracefully,
And follow in the wake of
The Governing Family.
He said it was inherent
In this Governing Family
(Of which he was a member)
To have a policy;
'Twas to love the loaves and fishes,
To stick to place and pay,
To sacrifice their oldest friends,
Could they but gain the day
Could we only spare that 'million'
And send them to Fiji,
We'd get on better minus
The Governing Family.
They've proved a heavy burthen
From which we can't get free;
They remind me of poor Sinbad
And the Old Man of the Sea.


H. J. Blyth to J.C. Richmond - - - Wakefield, 10 Dec 1881

... I feel myself some satisfaction that the beating was so decided as to leave no room for doubt that it could possibly be due to any shortcomings on our part. To you will remain the consolatory reflection that to a large number of people you have given a higher idea of the morals of politics than they ever had before, & given even your opponent a lesson he will not easily forget . . .

[Image of page 502]

Painton's last remark was that we should have 'played off the Catholics against the Freemasons & set them all at loggerheads.' If he & Groves had not been reined in a little there is no knowing to what depths of political depravity they wd. have plunged us.

As it is, I feel, myself, rather acute twinges of conscience when I think of the political virtues . . . with which I invested you on very slight knowledge indeed. I can only hope that you would have lived up to the standard I raised for you . . .


J. C. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - Nelson, 13 Dec 1881

. . . My electioneering 15 though less costly than my friends made the former contest has wasted some money & some time worth money . . .

However I have now done my share in election fights for the soberer side, and can with a safe conscience sit down convinced that I am not a man for popular favor. So my pictures will move on better in future. I have the Egmont in oil still on hand, much better, however than when you saw. . . .


H. A. Atkinson to W. Bayly (New Plymouth) - - - 19 Dec 1881


Have seen Minister Lands re section seventy four. Am informed by him no further sale of land in Parihaka Block will be made at present.

v 43

E. C. J. Stevens to J. C. Richmond - - - Christchurch, 6 Jan 1882

... I am very glad that you did not succeed in your election. The thing would not have suited you in any respect. Parliament has changed in its tone, habits & manners more than you are aware of & much more than men who have sat in it without interruption since 1871 are aware of. The constituencies have altered immensely owing chiefly to the detestable policy of 1870, of which the Immigration part has inflicted an injury on the Country that half a century & our education system can hardly repair. The part of Rip Van Winkle, however interesting in a dramatic point of view, is hardly satisfactory to the leading character ... I know something about it because I went back to the House after an interval of 5 years & had a good opportunity of comparison & examination . . .


H. A. Atkinson to E. C. G. Thomas (London) - - - Wellington, 12 Jan 1882

. . . You will have learnt through the paper of the apprehension of Te Whiti and Tohu and the peaceful dispersion of the Maoris congregated at Parihaka. The work

[Image of page 503]

of allotting the reserves for the Maoris on the West Coast is being proceeded with by the commissioner appointed for the purpose, Sir William Fox, and there is good reason to believe that the 'Native difficulty' is in a fair way to be finally overcome . . .

v 43

H. A. Atkinson to Major W. Jackson 16 (Kihikihi) - - - Wellington, 22 Feb 1882

I duly received your letter of the 30th December expressing your wish to be called to the Legislative Council, and have talked the matter over with my colleagues. I am not at all insensible to the public services you have rendered in the Waikato, which have been of a valuable kind, but I fear that through the large number of claims by persons of long political experience it will not be possible to meet your wishes.

v 43

J. C. Richmond to J. Hall (unfinished) - - - Bank of N.Z., Lyttelton, 1 Mar 1882

... I hope my telegram gave the essential information on the Opunake question. In my opinion, unless the men of W. Kingi's & A. Karaka's hapu have been exceptionally vicious it would not be equitable to revoke more of the promise made to them in 1867 than would be proportional to the diminution made in the holdings of the other men at Parihaka, but I have no knowledge of their comparative demerits.

I now turn to the other part of your letter assuming that you will really not be unwilling to hear the opinions of an outsider, a twice-defeated candidate, who however represents the mind and has the confidence of three out of seven of the electors of the old Nelson province . . .

Before last session I took much pains to examine the accounts . . . My conclusions . . . are about as follows. That the state of trade and enterprise in the country was as low as it was likely to be; that the revenue as it stood could not bear any further burden, that without speculating on a marked revival ... we might calculate on a natural increase of population by births and voluntary immigration and even with our present condition revenue would grow to a calculable extent. I assumed a five years period for the next operations and estimated without improved prosperity the revenue would then bear the interest on 3 1/2 millions more borrowed money. I admitted the possibility . . . but argued that with our monstrous tariff and other sources of revenue overstrained advantage should be taken of any revival to restore elasticity to our finance by ordering our tariff and diminishing other burdens. If this line was adopted I held that the finance would five years hence be healthy & elastic . . .

There seems to me only one important work that can be called urgent in a Colonial sense. I mean the completion of the North island trunk line. At the very moment that the Northern natives acquiesce on or desire this it ought as a matter of policy to be pushed on. You have been wise bold & fortunate in your dealings with the Maoris. You have to complete what deserves the name of a policy by promptitude in bringing

[Image of page 504]

the rest of the race within the Colonial community. Be absolutely liberal in land dealings but open communications and enlist the interests and enjoyments of the common herd of the race in preventing a reestablishment of the barrier. The line from Waitara to Awamutu is not the best trunk line but it is the shortest. It will not be very cheap but it will open some valuable Maori land and possibly some auriferous country. The direct line from Rangitikei by Taupo is at least twice as long and for a considerable length it would pass through valueless land for settlement.

. . . You say your proposals will be made as Ministers for the Colony. This would shut you out from yielding to a howl from Otago for its Central - unless your own conviction is that the thing is right and . . . lucrative in itself. I doubt it myself as I have travelled over Macandrew's billiard table several times. I have no feeling against Otago, Auckland or any other part of the Country - all parts are learning to pulsate together. People in Sleepy Hollow itself - working men - look now on the management of lands and works everywhere with healthy interest, and if the thing is right grumbling will soon cease, if wrong & you yield you are doing a great wrong - disabling yourselves and your friends and when the day comes for the triumph of the hungry party it will be a long one if people cannot look back on you otherwise than as men who will temporise and [unfinished]


M. W. Richmond to R. H. Richmond - - - Nelson, 3 Mar 1882

. . . Tudor carried off the first Civilians' prize at the Rifle Association meeting. I was up there and was much excited when I knew he had to make a bull's eye for the last shot to win, and he made it. No other member of the family was present so we could not carry him on our shoulders . . .


H. A. Atkinson to Wm. Connolly (Patea) - - - Wellington, iy Mar 1882

I duly received your note of the 14th ultimo, enclosing draft of a petition . . . asking for recognition of the services rendered by yourself and other settlers in holding the Patea district during the war with the Natives . . .

As I think the services referred to were of a valuable kind I should be glad if some suitable means could be devised of recognising them, and it will give me pleasure to present the petition but I am very much afraid it will be unsuccessful, especially as in 1872 the Public Petitions committee refused to recommend the prayer of a similar petition.

v 43

Ann Elizabeth Richmond to Annie (Mrs H. A.) Atkinson - - - Nelson, 24 Mar 1882

. . . Father is away at Christchurch, he has been there for weeks now . . . To-day came a long letter saying he . . . [has] been up glaciers and over passes, and not very

[Image of page 505]

well, & he has decided that such expeditions should be made in threes, so that the painting one may sit and paint while the other two take walks not far off preserving one another from broken bones etc . . . The people with whom he was staying before going inland are the Stevens. Mr. Stevens, an old friend of Father's, has been taking much part in N.Z. politics, I believe, & has just been appointed to the Upper House - Mrs Stevens also an old & kind friend, is rather a society lady; she wants me to go there at Easter for the opening of an exhibition ... I do not feel the least desire to go, I am quiet and alive enough at home, ... I wanted Dolla to go to Wellington too while Father was there, so that she might see him and Uncle William together and not be made to go to parties . . . and then she could be there in May when the House opens - that would be amusing for a little while perhaps.

Father has still his Wellington visit to make before he gets home - and then I hope he will be able to have a studio and a bed-room or two built ... Mr Fell has given up tennis & taken to boating since he married Edie. Dorothy and I stick to one another like limpets and drowning straws - I don't know what I should do without her ... I shall be glad when this studio is begun & finished as a new incitement for her: she has painted a little oil thing of me in a white mull muslin with yellow ribbons, which is nice - that is the last thing she has done .. . [Wilse] and Maurice are Naval Volunteers' . . . They get drilled once a week and have occasional expeditions in a big boat - the Aurora - which will hold 70 men. They all went out the other day to a place about 4-hours-off by steamer . . . but not a breath of wind stirred all the while, and the poor volunteers with their Lieutenant Mr Fell had to row all night and stayed out for ever so long to the grief, rage and anxiety of their wives and sisters at home.

1882/4. . .

F. W. H. Petrie to C. W. Richmond - - - Victoria Institute, London, 24 Mar 1882

Some time ago you kindly sent the Institute a lecture read by you before a society in New Zealand, on 'Materialism.' The Council... is very anxious for your permission to publish it in the Journal ... as its style and lucidity . . . will make it one of the most useful, if not the most useful one on the subject for general readers, and one well suited for the 'People's' Edition of our Papers.

Only on one occasion in 16 years have the Council ever republished a paper read and printed abroad . . .

v 7, p 43

H. A. Atkinson to T. Meredith Smith (Stratford) - - - Wellington, 25 Mar 1882

. . . With regard to the Volunteers keeping their rifles, I find there is a strong objection on the part of the Defence Department to permit this, and I am sorry I am unable to [?] your request ... I fear there is no chance whatever of your obtaining a drill-shed, but on Mr Bryce's return I will ... see if anything can be done. . . .

v 43

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Dr Morgan S. Grace to H. A. Atkinson - - - 4 Apr 1882

I write to urge that you should relieve Mr Hall from all responsibility in regard to public business at the earliest date possible.

You know that I have been prognosticating for more than twelve months that he must infallibly break down.

Now that the crash has come I am anxious in the interest of Mrs Hall and the children to conserve his remaining elasticity for purposes of constitutional repair.

Atkinson papers in Turnbull Library

H. A. Atkinson (Memo. Urgent) to Hon. J. Bryce (Wanganui) - - - 8 Apr 1882


Did not get here till Wednesday night. Saw GMII on Thursday. Found GBU low and much shaken. The ANIOYEMU as I told you was not intended as a reply to TJEP but as a private one to LGBAMCNE. GMII communicated with YTKNERTE last Sunday by telegraph telling him that G O was coming and his reason and suggesting it would be better for YTKNEGTE to return to LOIIBGYATR immediately. YTKOERTE objected to leave home during GTIQ week if it could be possibly avoided. GDII is quite unfit to YT. STLR at present so he yesterday POGA ENPBYRMABTRP by FTPA YTKOEGTE will get AGNU today. WTGRPATR went to XGEB-PAXYJEXJ yesterday and G0 and SBXC will be present at TFNRBRY of O5GBUBABIG. If you have no objection do not XTUNSILR till you hear from me again. I will CNOF you BGHTEUNS as I am other UBGBPAOEP of LGDA is going TG. 17

[Did not get here till Wednesday night. Saw HALL on Thursday. Found HIM low and much shaken. The TELEGRAM as I told you was not intended as a reply to OURS but as a private one to WHITAKER. HALL communicated with GOVERNOR last Sunday by telegraph telling him that HE was coming and his reason and suggesting it would be better for GOVERNOR to return to WELLINGTON immediately. GOVERNOR objected to leave home during HOLY week if it could be possibly avoided. HALL is quite unfit to GO DOWN at present so he yesterday SENT? RESIGNATIONS by POST. GOVERNOR will get THEM today. JOHNSTON went to CHRISTCHURCH yesterday and HE and DICK will be present at OPENING of O5GBUBABIG??. If you have no objection do not COME DOWN till you hear from me again. I will KEEP you INFORMED as I am other MINISTERS of WHAT is going ON. --- John Laurie, 2013]

v 43

H. A. Atkinson to Hon. J. Williamson MLC (Auckland) - - - Wellington, 8 Apr 1882

I beg to apologise for my rudeness in not going as I promised to lunch with you last Sunday, and not even sending a line to explain my absence. The fact is that on Saturday night at 11 o'clock I received a telegram from Mr Hall which made it necessary for me to return to Wellington without delay. The nature of the business which necessitated my hurried departure will when you know it I feel sure be considered by you as sufficient excuse.

On Sunday I had to despatch and answer a number of telegrams and also to transact other business with Mr Whitaker which kept me fully occupied for the greater part of the day. I fully intended to write you an explanatory note before I left but pressure of business unfortunately made me forget it. ...

v 43

[Image of page 507]

H. A. Atkinson (confidential memo.) to E. Wakefield 18 (Timaru) 11 Apr 1882

Take precedence.

As you know Hall wanted to retire at once. Upon my representation he agreed to remain until the party could be consulted notwithstanding ill health if it was certain that no cause of difference would arise between him and his colleagues. I undertook at his request to see Whitaker, Rolleston and Bryce in Auckland and get their opinion upon certain points about which Hall was doubtful.

Whitaker sent Hall a telegram giving as our unanimous opinion that it was very important in the interests of the party that Hall should remain till after meeting of Parliament and that we were all satisfied after very full discussion of the points submitted that no difference would arise. Rolleston, Bryce and I left Auckland the same morning as this telegram was sent.

Hall knowing this replied to Whitaker that he did not consider our telegram sufficiently definite but that he would do his best. He unfortunately added that he feared there was small chance of success without Bryce turned over a new leaf. This telegram was in cypher. Whitaker repeated it to me without first reading it. We received it at Cambridge while at dinner and Bryce having done first translated it. It made him very angry and he immediately telegraphed his resignation and Rolleston telegraphed that he saw no other course than to do as Bryce was doing. Hall explained to Bryce that the telegram was only a private one to Whitaker but Bryce persisted in his resignation.

Under these circumstances Whitaker and I thought it best for Hall to carry out his determination and resign on account of his health. We therefore, including Bryce, sent in our joint resignation and Hall sent them on to the Governor with his own. I arranged with Whitaker before leaving Auckland that he would consent if called upon to form a Government and hold office at anyrate till the party could be got into shape.

The Governor has, however, determined before commissioning anyone to form a Government to send for Sir George Grey to ascertain what are the opinions and strength of the Opposition. The Governor asked who we should recommend him to send for and we said Whitaker.

Bryce returns today. We hope all personal differences between him and Hall will disappear and Bryce's telegrams be withdrawn. I am telling all this in confidence you must use it with great discretion. Hall's health is the real and only cause of the breakup. Hall is in a most unsatisfactory state of health.

[Image of page 508]

H. A. Atkinson memo. 19 to Hon. F. Whitaker (Auckland) - - - 15 Apr 1882


I apologise for not wiring yesterday as promised. YTKNERTE had about an hours interview with GDII on Thursday. GO began by saying that present difficulty had arisen by ENPBYGDABTG of all the UBGB PAAEP with the FENUBNE. That EOPBYRMABTR of the FENUBNE does not------ with BA the ENPBYGM---- the TAGNE Ministers.--- had not EOPBYRNS ----- XTRPJIANS us and it ------ our DSKBXO. He cited ------ ENPBYRMABRT and Dr ------ DFFTBRAUNRH which ------ him shewed that UBRBPANEP need not EOPBYG. Apparently as far as I can tell not having found the XMPO the same FETXNSJEN took place as in the XDPE of LMANEZTJPO which shews TGE contention to be EBYZA. GMII shewed him he was LETGY according to all FENXNSNRA but he seemed to think it was so much LTEPN for the FENXNSORAP as they do not seem to AETJUIN him if they do not XTBRXBSN with GBPTLGKBNLP. GMII pointed out the position FMEABNP and position of YEOQ and told YTKNERTE that no doubt there would be a strong HNOIBRY both in the XTJRAEQ and in the GTJPN the YENQ was being AYEJPA upon them by the XETLR. GMIIP general impression of the BRANEKBNL was that YTKNERTEPML he had got GBUPNIHBRAT a good UNPP and would be very glad to YNA. TJA. TH. BA if he could see his LDQ. GO did not mention VEQXNP name but I think there is very little doubt but that his GMAEOSTHVEQXO and his hope of getting EBS. TH. GBU. was the reason of his PNRSBRY for YEOQ and that now having discovered his UBPANEN in letting his FNEPTRDIHONIBGY. YOHUNAAOE of GBU. GN. is now trying to put it on XIRPABAJABTRMI. YETJGSP.

[I apologise for not wiring yesterday as promised. GOVERNOR had about an hours interview with HALL on Thursday. HE began by saying that present difficulty had arisen by RESIGNATION of all the MINISTERS with the PREMIER. That RESIGNATION of the PREMIER does not------ with IT the RESIGNATION---- the OTHER Ministers.--- had not RESIGNED ----- CONSULTED us and it ------ our ADVICE. He cited ------ RESIGNATION and Dr ------ APPOINTMENT which ------ him shewed that MINISTERS need not RESIGN. Apparently as far as I can tell not having found the CASE the same PROCEDURE took place as in the CASE? of WATERHOUSE? which shews OUR contention to be RIGHT. HALL shewed him he was WRONG according to all PRECEDENT but he seemed to think it was so much WORSE for the PRECEDENTS as they do not seem to TROUBLE him if they do not COINCIDE with HIS OWN VIEWS. HALL pointed out the position PARTIES and position of GREY and told GOVERNOR that no doubt there would be a strong FEELING both in the COUNTRY and in the HOUSE the GREY? was being THRUST upon them by the CROWN. HALL'S general impression of the INTERVIEW was that GOVERNOR SAW he had got HIMSELF INTO a good MESS and would be very glad to GET OUT OF IT if he could see his WAY. HE did not mention BRYCE'S name but I think there is very little doubt but that his HATRED OF BRYCE and his hope of getting RID OF HIM was the reason of his SENDING for GREY and that now having discovered his MISTAKE? in letting his PERSONAL FEELING GET THE BETTER OF HIM, HE is now trying to put it on CONSTITUTIONAL GROUNDS. -- John Laurie 2013]

v 43

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Notes in pencil, unsigned. - - - No date.

1st General denial--

(2) Governor's speech. Matter must be inserted which Ministers desire - As to manner so long as no difference of opinion is indicated usual forms can be used making it impersonal as respects the Governor.

(3) Reduce Parris. Bryce will accept decision of cabinet - Bryce won't meddle with Fox if commission brought to an end in reasonable time - (Whitaker to define). (Bryce says 2 months)

(4) Kaipara sections Bryce agrees but Kaipara natives strongly object

(4) King Question not pressing or likely to arise now before Hall's retirement (Bryce) possibly necessary to break up Tawhaio's power in the future and assert rights of other Natives to deal with their lands. Question is one of vigorous versus temporizing policy. May arise at any time - sc. Mokau court. Clearly Cabinet question when it does arise.

(5) If possible avoid going on English market inscribed Colonial stock . . .

Atkinson papers in Turnbull Library

A. Fletcher to J. C. Richmond - - - Christchurch, 2 May 1882

Special Art Gallery, N.Z. International Exhibition

... I have written this morning to the Commissioner of Customs to ask for a remission of the most iniquitous duty of 15 per cent which in this country alone is imposed on works of art, might I implore your good offices in the matter, as I am afraid that unless the impost be remitted, I shall have to take the pictures back to Melbourne again.


H. A. Atkinson to J. C. Yorke (Hawera) - - - Wellington, 4 May 1882

Mr Blackett being at New Plymouth recently, I got him to examine the works at the breakwater and to give me the result of his observations: this he has done in the form of a confidential report, which I have sent to W. Bayly, J.P. with a request that he will shew it to you but to no one else, so please regard it as strictly confidential. If you should, from the remarks of Mr Blackett, think it desirable that his suggestions should be carried out, you can of course take steps to have effect given to them, but any action should be of your own individual motion, and not involve the introduction of Mr Blackett's name.

v 43

A. Fletcher to J. C. Richmond - - - Christchurch, 5 May 1882

Special Art Gallery New Zealand International Exhibition. Alex. Fletcher, proprietor

... I went to the Exhibition and lo the case - arrived in some mysterious way . .. I hope you will forgive me for trying them first in white mounts. I was rather taken

[Image of page 510]

aback by the view from Brunner L. Lucerne, I thought I had before me one of A. W. Hunt's wonderful landscapes untill I read your name on the drawing. Having the natural instincts of a picture dealer you may conceive how dismal I became when I saw the words 'Not for sale' on the back. The sketch from Schwyz is very tender & sunny, I can imagine how lovingly you must have regarded the landscape, the 'Land's End' comes very near being a masterpiece. The 'St Michael's Mount' I think, a lovely drawing; The old Schloss shows greater freedom of handling than either of the others; I like it very much - but ... it is sheer impudence on my part to criticise such work.

I cannot yet tell what prospect there is of a market here, I have not sold one of Gully's. The sooner, however, you can let me have a few to send to my gallery in Melbourne the better it would be, if you really mean to let us have a full view of the light you have so long hidden from us. A few smaller works would be very acceptable in the Melbourne market & would sell at once. One thing - I wish you would boldly put your price on the drawings you send, you would cause the hair of a London picture dealer to stand on end were you to send him a lot of valuable drawings and tell him to put his own value on them.


J. C. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - Brougham St, Nelson, 9 May 1882

. . . Fletcher has just received my twelve potboilers and is quite enthusiastic about them, but is not too sanguine of selling them at Christchurch. 'None o' your gardy coollers' is the motto of the buyers 'A good roamin pathron a good rad or yaller' suits them better than my poor little grays. But Fletcher says he can sell such pictures in Melbourne.

I am about to launch out into building a studio. If I am used up myself, Dolla is able to justify the outlay. . . .


H. A. Atkinson to J. Fulton, M.H.R. (Dunedin) - - - 12 May 1882


Sorry you should have been misrepresented re chairmanship of committees. The Government asked you to consent to be nominated and you with some reluctance took time to consider. You never consented to nomination and after consideration finally declined.

v 43

H. A. Atkinson to A. S. Atkinson - - - Wellington, 17 May 1882

. . . You are wanted next week so get ready at once to come.

We shall begin to fight on Wednesday or Thursday on Te Whiti's detention bill. I dare say we shall have warm work. We shall stand or fall upon the bill. You can also be very useful re financial statement. . . .

v 7> P 43

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H. A. Atkinson to R. Parris (New Plymouth) - - - 27 May 1882


I wish to know where Te Whiti was living at end of 1862 and by what name he was then known. There is a letter in Native Office signed by Eruera Te Whiti and also one by Erueti Te Whiti. Are these two signatures the signatures of one person. Could they be from Te Whiti himself, and if not can you give me any account of the writers? Both letters are dated from Warea at end of 1862. 20

v 43

H. A. Atkinson to R. Parris (Opunake) - - - 29 May 1882


The first letter to which I referred in my telegram of Saturday is addressed to Natives at Tauranga and signed by Kukutai Te Hira Tipene Ngatir Ranui and Erueti Te Whiti. The second is also addressed to the East Coast Natives and is from all the Runanga sitting here at Taranaki and is signed by Hemi Tohu Erueti Te Whiti Hemi Nikau Poharama Whakateke, Aperahama Kukutai and Hone Mutu. They were obtained by Mr Smith from Bay of Plenty and [?] to the Government. The second one sets out what action ought to be taken by the Natives if a steamer enters the Waikato river and says that if Waireka or Tataraimaka is taken possession of the [--------------------] Europeans an attack will be at once made upon them. The letter and signatures are as usual in one hand writing and are in the order named above. Please give me what particulars you can if the Native named is Hemi Tohu of Parihaka as the name might read Tehu.

v 43

H. A. Atkinson to A. S. Atkinson - - - 20 Jun 1882

.. . The statement has been very well received and my speech afterward, in which I talked to Grey and company appears to have given more satisfaction than any I have delivered for years. The House, and especially new members, were very much taken with it. It is said to have strengthened us a good deal. I was very queer once or [twice] but pulled through and was no worse. I am nearly right now . . .

v 7, p 43

H. R. Richmond to A. S. Atkinson - - - New Plymouth, 20 Jun 1882

... I have just finished a 7 day engagement with Rewi, Te Wetere & Ngatimaniapoto in the Native land Court my clients being Ngatitama for whom Brown (C) is agent.

It has been very interesting work & Booth says he has never watched a more exciting contest. Judgment was delivered at Waitara to day but I came home when my labours were over & have not heard the result. We expect to get a small slice of

[Image of page 512]

Poutama, but not very much - possibly a fourth I should say - but also possibly none in which case except for the fun of the thing my 7 days work will have been lost as there is nothing but the land to get fees out of.

Poor old Rewi has had a fall since he met Grey at the Waitara & can scarcely shuffle along - he is very feeble but a wary witness still. Tupoki, whom you may know, was our great champion and is the finest specimen of a middle aged Maori that I know in some respects - massive in body & quietly but intensely proud - also I think very truthful - but we are apt to overestimate our clients. . . .


H. A. Atkinson to J. Armitage (artesian well-sinker, E. Town Belt Christchurch) - - - Wellington, 17 Jul 1882

. . . I . . . am much obliged to you for your comments upon my compulsory insurance proposals, even though your remarks are made from an adverse standpoint. I am always glad to receive intelligent criticisms and suggestions from those affected by any proposals I may have the honor to submit to Parliament, ... I send you a copy of the speech I made when moving the resolutions. You evidently misapprehend several important points . . . The principal object I have in view is to secure the independence and improve the condition of the working classes and so to extinguish pauperism. I think when you come to study the subject further you will perceive that there is not so much difference between us as from first impressions you seem to imagine; and I am sure that you will see that nothing is further from my intention than to drive any one from the Colony or to demand a premium from the wage earning class which cannot be paid.

v 43

F. W. Frankland to H. A. Atkinson - - - Wellington, 18 Jul 1882

Would you kindly instruct me as to what aspect or branch of the subject of National Insurance you wish me to deal with in my next article for the N.Z. Times. It has occurred to me that if you have finished with the notes I wrote for you, they would be an assistance to me in writing my articles. I fear the feeling in various sections of the community is likely to be bitterly opposed to the whole plan, especially with the bait held out by Sir George Grey, Mr Moss &c of charging the landlords with the maintenance of the poor. Then as regards the friendly societies, representative members of one of the largest Wellington societies waited upon Mr Brown and me yesterday to plead for more lenient methods of valuation. They referred to the National Insurance scheme as 'certain to crush all friendly societies out of existence. Mr Leslie said to me, at parting, that he thought the friendly societies could never survive as mere medical clubs, neither could they as burial clubs. They will try to insist on retaining the sick business . . .

Atkinson papers in Turnbull Library

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A. Fletcher to J. C. Richmond - - - Christchurch, 24 Jul 1882

... I am settling up my accounts here to day ... so I shall not have the pleasure of seeing you. I shall get paid for one of your drawings when I get to Dunedin it was purchased by Mr Hodgkins ... I hope to get some of your 'little gray children' as you call them for my best customers in Melbourne very soon.


J. C. Richmond to W. Rolleston - - - Nelson, 5 Sep 1882

I was very sorry to see so little of you on my visit to Wellington, but of course the time was very unfavorable: and the few minutes talk we had were devoted to a burst on matters which neither of us could affect in any degree . . . Indeed I agree heartily in your aims so far as I - and perhaps you - understand them and have thought much on the land question and free trade as affecting the condition of the less fortunate part of mankind, and only differ in the more limited expectation I am able to arrive at of good to be obtained by direct Government interference, which seems to me to be as hopeful as wattle dams in the bed of the Rakaia or Waimakariri; the remedy for the ills we all see being very slow and including a moral revolution which false hopes translated into hasty action will only postpone to a more distant date. . . .

My object is to bespeak your attention for the very special & material question of the Trunk Railway extension (S. Island). First let me discharge what little spleen the subject stirs in me. Johnston1 was indiscreet to speak as he did to the Marlborough deputation ... He did wrong to . . . declare, as he did almost in terms, that the conclusion of their enquiry was foregone ... I think his opinion is ill founded and believe myself to be as well informed on the subject as almost any one in the Colony . . . From you who have lately seen the nakedness of the land, its gloomy forests and bare hills I expect, not acquiescence in my views, but the admission that a verdict on the route of this line, which is based tacitly on the assumption that fully one half the surface of this island and a great deal of the N.I. is valueless, ought to be delivered only after a good deal of evidence & reflection and even then with hesitation. But the wisdom on which Socrates valued himself is rare indeed & jaunty self complacency is common as the air. You have been struck with the evidence of mineral resources in this northern country . . . and I think I understood you to say that you saw a considerable quantity of country equal to the highlands of Otago, setting aside the matter of climate. I have a similar opinion ... and my observation in my stay on the other side of the globe emboldens me to say, that in no longer period than it has taken to plant half a million people on the choicest parts of N. Zealand, our children and grandchildren may expect to see the same number established and thriving northwards of the Waiauuwha. And it would smite me with a sort of despair . . . for the future of the Colony, if I could hold the view which alone could justify the proposal which Hall & Johnston 21have quietly . . . slipped into their Statements . . .

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With such a legislature as we have . . . and with a long vista of borrowing before us, the practise of full public enquiry by quasi-judicial tribunals ought to be encouraged & enlarged. To treat a commission which will cost a good deal to the Colony directly ... as a mere sop to appease and silence the disappointed, is a political mistake, and in the interests of fair play and political decency I would rather have my opinion overruled by the Commission after a thorough enquiry than adopted in a perfunctory way. There are two dangers which the Colony incurs in its borrowing for public works, the absolute rule of log rollers and departmental tyranny. (I might add a third) departmental corruption. There is a quiet mass of honesty and outside that a certain capacity for shame which will check these dangerous tendencies if ... a practise of public enquiry ... is established and maintained, & this cannot be if it is made light of.

One piece of my mind concerns you. I mean the Government. Stand fast from the first against making any of these contests subjects of party strife. You must perhaps recommend as well as propose, a particular work, & may be bound to do so in the teeth of a report. But free your supporters and claim freedom for yourselves. It is hardly conceivable that confidence or no confidence can ever really hang on the judgment men may arrive at on such matters. It is the more necessary to stick to this, as real political divisions are dead and the true ground of confidence must be efficient & honest administration.

I am exerting myself in preparing our Nelson case, and am writing several separate memoranda which I shall like to send you before making them in any way public ... If I could do it well which I hardly dare hope, it would have a value beyond the particular issue. I have, often thought of one of the sagacious sayings of old Fitz -I think to all his colleagues, some of whom had been croaking, but I took it home to myself though I had not sinned at the time - 'You are not worthy of your land.' Looking back at my own feelings for above 30 years, I am bound to say that I have often much underestimated our advantages and have more commonly than not found the sanguine or cheerful view the true one in the long run.


W. Rolleston to J. C. Richmond - - - 8 Sep 1882


Many thanks for your kind letter. I intend to go over the route via Top House when Parliament rises. I go my own way quietly on horseback & don't want it known I go ostensibly & primarily to see my road works in the Awatere.


A, S. Atkinson to C. W. Richmond - - - Nelson, 12 Sep 1882

. . . We have got a comet too. Looking from the knoll this morning, I saw it exactly perched upon the Brook street hills (i.e. the nucleus of it) just as the church clock was striking 5. I saw it without my spectacles till 5.45 & with . . . my eyeglasses

[Image of page 515]

till 6.27 - a good while after the sun was up ... I lost it through incautiously shifting it too much in the field . . . Look at Saturn. I never before saw so well his shade sleep 'on his luminous ring'- it is a glorious sight -


J. C. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - Nelson, 21 Sep 1882

... I hope you were not long the worse for your abominable passage to Lyttelton. I think if we get our Trunk line carried out you will not ask to go any faster than an average sea passage to induce you to take the land: including Tarndale summit 3098 feet. I have been working a good deal at the case for the Central line boiling down statistics ... to endeavor to dissipate the exaggerated objection to the high level line ... I enclose a short article intended to back our demand for the complete publication of plans & estimates . . . They will certainly prove that the Central Line has not been seriously considered, and the other adopted in the teeth of great difficulties & expenditure which it will involve ... It will be very little shorter, and quite as open to criticism as regards working cost as the Central Line, its sole and insignificant advantage being the milder climate of the coast . . .

I shall probably accompany Rochfort whom we have engaged as our professional inspector & critic of the two schemes . . .


J. C. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - Nelson, 6 Oct 1882

. . . The Comet, the Lunatics and the Case for the Railway Commission occupy most of my time. You have a grand position for the Comet. Willows & other obstacles impede our view, but I have been fortunate in being a little out of sorts so as to wake at three o'clock or earlier to read, and so I get a view whenever it is possible. We were happy enough to see it in perihelion from our verandahs. I often get sight of Venus by daylight and have seen Jupiter & Mars once. I measured the Comet this morning with the pocket sextant and found his length between 10° and 11°.

I think the Railway brief is getting on well. . . John Rochfort has been engaged to look over the ground on both lines. He is too straightforward for the approved technical witness but unless I have quite forgotten the ground an honest witness is all we need and his reputation is every way high. 22. . .


C. W. Richmond, sonnet written on his wife's 52nd birthday - - - 21 Dec 1882

That 'age in love loves not to have years told,'
So sings sage Shakspeare; but unkindly sings,
Bear witness ye with well-worn marriage-rings,
Who count the silver wedding on the gold.

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To-day your better wisdom makes us bold;
Nor to a sensuous doubt lets us betray
The truth that clearer shines from day to day,
The faith that firmer grows as we grow old.
Dear partner, climbing with me side by side,
Breasting the chiller air and fields of snow,
The retrospect grows long; but forwards, lo!
Expands the prospect with the expanding sky,
Whilst from high 'vantage ground we can descry
Love's shoreless ocean stretching far and wide.

F. W. H. Petrie to C. W. Richmond - - - Victoria Institute, London, 23 Dec 1882

I have the honour to convey the Council's invitation for you to join this Society... May I also state that the Council would be happy to receive a paper from you, that on 'Materialism' has appeared to them of much value, and perhaps you would write one on that subject.

v 7, p 44

1   For fuller documentation see the Rolleston and Hall papers, some of which are brought in here. They indicate Rolleston's personal reluctance to take strong measures though he was active in promoting the enrolment of volunteers and himself accompanied the troops to Parihaka. Bryce always destroyed his papers when seven years old, but his part is adequately shown in the collections mentioned.
2   P.P. 1882, A8b.
3   1881/14-16.
4   The ciphers used at this time are to be found in the Hall Papers.
5   Warrants of appointment: 1882/5-7.
6   Frances Elizabeth, daughter of H. A. Atkinson, married to Clement Govett.
7   Later Mrs F. G. B. Waldegrave.
8   Two copies of this document (in different hands) were amongst the papers of Sir H. Atkinson. It had been copied also, without signature, in Atkinson's press letter copybook, cited here as vol 43. This volume was seriously dilapidated, & the text is derived from the copies.
9   C. W. Hursthouse was at this time making roads to Parihaka. In 1883, while on surveys for the main trunk railway in the King Country, he was captured by Mahuki and bound for 48 hours.
10   Symons was associated with the Society of Artists in Auckland as early as 1871 when he exhibited four landscapes. In 1873 he showed four watercolours and in 1875 10 landscapes in oils and watercolours. In 1879 he was treasurer and secretary of the society which developed into the Auckland Society of Artists.
11   There had been no defence minister since 1872.
12   The proclamation, which was countersigned by the interim minister, William Rolleston, was published in a Gazette Extraordinary in 19 Oct 1881, the day on which Bryce resumed control of native allairs.
13   For Inventories of arms and ammunition taken at Parihaka and other settlements on 9 Nov 1881 and delivered at Fort Manaia see 1881/14-16.
14   Repeats preceding message (Rolleston to Hall).
15   The election for Waimea on 9 Dec 1881 resulted: Shephard 360, Richmond 194.
16   William Jackson (1832-89) served with distinction as an officer in the Forest Rangers. He was MHR for Waikato (1872-7.')) and for Waipa (1887-89).
17   The cipher code of the Hall ministry is to be found in the Hall Papers (General Assembly Library), v 40, pp 1-3. In the same collection, v 36, pp 2-3 is the cipher prepared by Col Roberts for John Bryce, then Native minister.
18   Edward Wakefield (1845-1924), a son of Daniel Wakefield, was at this time editor of the Timaru Herald. He had been many years private secretary to Stafford and secretary to the cabinet. MHR (1875-81.)
19   Blank spaces indicate that press copy was illegible.
20   Te Whiti took the name Erueti at his baptism. He frequently signed as both Erueti and Eruera.
21   Hon W. W. Johnston, Minister of Public Works.
22   J. C. Richmond gave evidence in 6 Dec 1882 before the Middle Island railway extension committee, whose report was published in 1883 (D 2). Other papers in the collection relating to this topic are 1882/20 and 22.

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