John H. W. Pettit letters to his family in England, illustrated with sketches by the writer, 1852-1868 - Page 315

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 presumed to exist.  Several large insolvencies have taken place, and business generally has been very depressed.  The volunteer call has been warmly responded to, many hundreds having joined some one of the numerous corps in process of organization [organisation].  The whole colony has been visited by rain falls of an unusually heavy description and great damage has been effected by the floods consequent thereon.  For several days the country mails were delayed or altogether lost, and though no loss of life has ensued, many narrow escapes have occurred.
TASMANIA - The news from this colony has been of the most unimportant character, the principal item being a display of ruffianly rowdyism between two members of the Legislature.  In this, as in the other colonies, the volunteer movement has made rapid progress, and the departure of nearly all the Australian troops to New Zealand has fully satisfied public and private individuals of the necessity of providing more efficient defence than has hitherto been possessed by the country.  The government have declined, for the present, authorising the order for an additional supply of marine cable for electric telegraph purposes.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA - The change in the mail route, and the excitement of the South Australians, have alone redeemed that colony from the most excessive dullness.  The bill brought into the legislature for the reduction of the Governor's salary has been rejected.  A company have (has) been formed, to work the recently discovered copper mines in the north.  From the accounts received there is reason to expect that they will rival the Burra Burra in richness.  A grand agricultural exhibition has been held, at which some colonially bred blood-stock excited great admiration.  The volunteer movement has been enthusiastically responded to.  In consequence of the impossibility of altering the law, ministers, on the 26th ult., agreed to refund all salaries over £800 per annum, in order to meet the demand for economising the  revenue of the colony.  Mr Todd has reported favourably on the scheme for constructing an overland telegraph to King George's Sound.  A railway has been opened, in presence of His Excellency the Governor and the ministers, to Kapunda.

In our last News Letter we gave an account of the battle of Waitara, and of the unhappy result of the attack on the Puketaukere pah, in which our troops suffered so severely; and that upon the receipt here of the news, the Executive took steps to despatch [dispatch] aid with all promptitude.  We stated also that the Major-General Commanding the Forces in Australia, had departed for New Zealand with the whole of the available strength of the 40th, excepting the detachments at Adelaide and Hobarton.[Hobart town].   They have all arrived at Taranaki, together with a reinforcement of 5 officers, and 100 rank and file of the 12th from Sydney.   Notwithstanding the large British force now at the seat of war, it is plain that we can do no more than hold our own, and the township has been entrenched with the view of defending it against any attack by the Maories [Maoris], who are now in possession of all the farms and homesteads of the settlers.  All the women and children have been sent to the other settlements, and the Europeans, soldiers, sailors, and civilians, are preparing for a deadly struggle.  Outlying parties of the natives are secreted in the fern to cut off any of our strugglers, and on the 3rd July several poor fellows have in this manner lost their lives,; our troops occasionally throw shell into the pahs, which are built of the trunks of large trees, and, can only be breached by artillery, but there has been no general engagement since our last, and the authorities are apparently waiting for the fine weather, the present wet season being very unfavourable, for military operations.  The insurgents have been joined by several parties of natives from Waikato, and it is stated that they have built ten pahs in their rear, into which they retreat if repulsed  at Taranaki.
Meanwhile the efforts of the British authorities appear principally, directed towards an attempt to localize the war and confine it to Taranaki; and it is rumoured that General Pratt is so hampered by the instructions of the Governor, that he has refused to act.  The following is a telegram of the latest news from the seat of the war:-
                                  Sydney; Monday 9.30.A.M.
"Last night the mail steamer brought news to the 30th ultimo from Taranaki via Auckland.  The intelligence is of the most disastrous and harrowing character.  During the last three weeks, several murders of settlers by insergents,[insurgents] have taken place.  Their tomahawks are more feared now that their muskets.  Ambush and massacre are the order of the day. Frequent skirmishes take place with the troops, and a number of rebels had been shot, but there had been no regular fighting.  There had been immense destruction of property by fire and driving away stock by the Maories [Maoris].  Captain Seymour has so far recovered from the effects of his wound, as to be able to walk with the use of his crutch.  On the 12th, the rebels had thrown up strong entrenchments, across the road at Omata, and sunk a large number of rifle-pits on Grayling's and Harrison's farms - some within 400 yards of the camp. It is stated that the natives now mount sentry with fixed bayonets. On the 19th, Waka, a friendly chief, went over to the enemy with twelve of his people, taking the arms and the ammunition supplied to them by the Government.  From certain movements, it is believed a strong body of natives have gone south, to make a raid on Wanganui.  On the 22nd, the trenches at New Plymouth were manned by troops, and inspected by General Pratt, previous to his departure for Auckland.  Between the 24th and the 30th treat changes took place, which are thus detailed by the Taranaki Herald:  " the natives have for the present left the entrenchment's they had formed before the camp at Waireka, and they have been destroyed and filled in. A portion of the force is moving towards Waitara, and the remainder have
taken to the bush at the back of the Omata district, and are busy forming a pa [pah] on Captain Burton's land, a very elevated position, from which the whole of the surrounding country can be seen. Nearly the whole of the houses in the Omata district were destroyed; therefore they decamped.  About the same time the pa [pah] was evacuated.  The main body of the natives is said to be now on the other side of the river Waitara, where they have constructed several strong pas."  An instance of cruel treachery to the British, on the part of a native wearing the friendly smock, has come to light.  The Herald says it is in possession of his name and the pa to which he belongs.  General Pratt, who sailed on the 22nd in the Victoria, for Auckland, to have an interview with the Governor, returned to New Plymouth on the 28th ult, accompanied by Commodore Loring and Mr. McLean, the native agent.  Immediately on his arrival, a proclamation was issued, and notices served upon a large number of families to be in readiness to embark for Nelson. The result of the visit has not transpired.  It is understood, however, that this proclamation is a prelude to the adoption of more active operations against the enemy."
On the 10th July, at Auckland, the meeting of loyal chiefs to confer with the Governor on the present position and prospects of native affairs, commenced His Excellency was accompanied by Mr. McLean, Native Secretary, the Chief Justice, the Colonial Secretary, and the
other members of the Ministry,  together with several of the most eminent colonists.  Chiefs were presents [present] to the number of a hundred and twenty-seven, representing a majority of the most influential tribes.  His Excellency made a lengthy address in opening the conference.  After reminding the chiefs of the conditions of, and their obligations under, the treaty of the Waitangi, and renewing the assurances of royal protection to the natives, he asked them to state frankly their grievances, and if they were real he promised to try to redress them.  He then continued: - "There is also a subject to which I desire to invite your special attention, and in reference to which I wish to receive the expression of your views.  For some time past certain persons dwelling to the south of Auckland have been endeavouring to mature a project, which, if carried into effect, could only bring evil upon the heads of all concerned in it.  The framers of it are said to desire that the Maori tribes in New Zealand should combine together and throw off their allegiance on to the Sovereign
whose protection they have enjoyed for more than twenty years, and that they should set up a Maori king, and declare themselves to be an independent nation.  Such ideas could only be entertained by men completely ignorant of the evils they would bring upon the whole native race, if carried in to effect.  While the promoters of this scheme confined themselves to mere talking, I did not think it necessary to notice their proceedings, believing that, if allowed time to consider, they would abandon so futile and dangerous an undertaking.  This expectation has not been fulfilled.  At a recent meeting at Waikato some of the leading men proposed that Wiremu Kingi, who is in arms against the Queen's authority,  should be supported by reinforcements from the tribes which acknowledge the Maori king, and armed parties from Waikato and Kawhia actually went to Taranaki for this purpose.  These men also desire to assume an authority over other New Zealand tribes in their relations with the Government, and contemplate the forcible subjection of those tribes who refuse to recognise their authority. Under these circumstances, I wish to know your views and opinions distinctly, in order that I may give correct information to our Sovereign.  It is unnecessary for me to remind you that Her Majesty's engagement to her native subjects in New Zealand have been faithfully observed.  No foreign enemy has visited your shores.  Your lands have remained in your possession, or have been bought by the Government at your own desire. Your people have availed themselves of their privileges as British subjects, seeking and obtaining in the courts of law, that protection and redress which they afford to all Her Majesty's subjects.  But it is right you should know and understand that, in return for these advantages, you must prove yourselves to be loyal and faithful subjects, and that the establishment of a Maori king would be an act of disobedience and defiance to Her Majesty which cannot be tolerated.  It  is necessary for the preservation of peace in every country that the inhabitants should acknowledge one head.  I may frankly tell you that New Zealand is the only where they have been invited to unite with the colonists, and to become one people under the law".  It is but just to say that when the chiefs spoke, on subsequent days, they were for the most part anxious to prove their loyalty.  Some however, showed a desire to have their own sovereign;  and one in particular, by way of compromise, expressed his favour for a queen.
We have had a very busy month in matters theatrical.  Early in July the management at the Theatre Royal produced the "Comedy of Errors," Mr. G. V. Brooke playing Antipholus of Syracuse.  The comedy was well acted throughout, and completely changed the fortunes the theatre.  Great regret was experienced that the piece had to be so soon withdrawn, as the theatre had been let to the Bianchis, and Mr. Brooke had taken the Adelaide theatre for a short time.
The opera season has been very successful. The company comprises, besides Signor and Signora Bianchi, Mons, Coulon, Mr. Farquharson, Mr. Gregg, Mr. Sherwin, Madame Carandim, Miss Hamilton, and Mrs. Hancock, The management have produced " Nino", "Attila",
"Macbetto," "Lucrezia Borgia," " La Traviata", " Il Trovatere", "Erbani", "Norma", and the

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