compliments as are usual on such occasions, when messenger after messenger arrived with miserable tidings, which, when complete, amounted to this, that three men and two boys, quite unharmed had been murdered in Omato village by Manahi's party.
"Large bodies of the Taranaki and Ngatiruanui tribes were joining Manahi's party and erecting pahs, one on the side of the main road, on a high ridge facing towards Omata village and over the valley of a little stream, the Waireka. These men in all were estimated by Mr. Maclean at 500 to 600. Their entrenchments cut off from communication with the stockade and town several families, who obstinately clung to their homes, about thirty-five person in all. They were said to have united at the house of one of them, the Rev. Mr. Brown, the Episcopalian minister.
"An expedition was to bring those settlers in on Wednesday (28th). The party consisted of 140 men of the volunteers and militia, the light company of the 65th, and twenty-five of the Naval brigade ; in all 263 men or thereabouts, under Colonel Murray. To the civilians was assigned most courteously the post of honour. They moved along the beach, for the purpose of turning the flank of the Maories, and passing by their rear to the house of Mr. Brown. The regulars and naval brigade were to form a support at a point of the main road, about two miles and a half short of the house of Mr.Brown and three=quarters of a mile short of the Omata stockade. When , however, the civilians arrived at the Herekawe stream, which passes by the stockade, and enters the sea a mile from it, the Maories were perceived occupying the land at the mouth of the Waireka stream, which passes by the foot of the ridge where the pah was formed. The natives were aware of the approach of an enemy, and gathered to oppose their passage ; and then began a battle the most obstinate, and the most successful on the side of the English, that has taken place since the British occupation of these Islands. It would be idle to attempt details of a long skirmish in land unknown to your readers. Suffice it to say, that the whole took place among the flax gullies at the mouth of the little stream before named and on the flat above; that the natives and the militia and riflemen showed on both sides great daring and able shooting, and that, but for the want of ammunition, the superior weapons of our riflemen, and their excellent use of, them, would, even against these odds of at least three to one, have insured a victory. The naval brigade gave excellent assistance, dashing into the bush, and driving a party of the natives before them and back on their pah. The soldiers for the most part remained at long range, somewhat in advance of the position arranged for them, a small party being detached to join the civilians for a time. So fully, however, did the swarms of natives till the Waireka gully, that after the naval men had passed across, the former were able to enclose the militia and volunteers on the right and rear ; and the detached party of the 65th having been recalled, they were also cut off in front from the support ; the Bank towards the beach alone was open, and, without ammunition their position was critical. A diversion, however, was effected by Captain Cracroft and fifty men from H.M.S.S. Niger who, arriving late, rushed and took the pah with cutlass, bayonet and revolver, carried off the flags, and returned on the troops by the road, and with them came into town, where they arrived at about half-past six p.m. The volunteers not perfectly aware of what was happening, except that the support had been drawn off, prepared for the worst, fortifying their position by a low breastwork of straw and logs from the attacks and firewood of Jury's house close by.'
Great complaints are made of the conduct of the men of the 65th being ordered to "retire by daylight", and at their leaving the volunteers to shift for themselves ; and the writer then concludes thus:-
"I will not emit, in concluding, a word of thanks on behalf of our community to Captain Cracroft of H.M.S.S. Niger. Without his plucky and successful assault of the new pah, many of the best men of New Plymouth must have been cut pieces ; as it is, they return to enjoy their honours to inspirit New Zealand to fight other battles if need be, but not under the command of those who failed them in their sore need at the battle of Waireka.
"Proper conduct on the part of the commanders knowledge by Captain Cracroft of the perilous position of our men - even a good supply of ammunition to the rifle company and militia - would, any of them, have converted this victory into the complete extirpation of these, the lowest of the New Zealand tribes, and might probably have startled the boosted men of Waikato.
"The field having been left, it may never be known what was the loss of the scoundrels. A good authority places the killed as high as 100, which seems probable from the known fact that ten chiefs of influence fell and were buried. the loss of our side was one sergeant of militia, and one marine killed, and eight wounded, beside the gully; and three sailors wounded in the assault of the pah."
What follows exhausts the news np. to date:
"The brig Drover, which arrived in Hudson's Bay on Saturday,
when off Taranaki, during a heavy S.E. gale, lost her foretopsail yard, and so to effect repairs, put in close to the harbour, where there was smooth water. A boat from the shore put off to her, but unfortunately had no newspapers. However, the person in charge of the boat gave Captain Gunn the following synopsia of news relative to the proceedings of the war at that place. On the 5th inst., the Maories attached the stockade to the northward of the tow, and burned four or five homes. The European women and children were about taking their departure for Nelson, by the steamer Airedale and the Tasmanian Maid. The volunteers were, on the following morning at three a.m., to go out as escort to the people obtaining provisions. H.M. steamsloop Niger had arrived from Manukau to take the marines and blue-jackets to Auckland, as there are fears of the Waikato tribe, they having been annoyed at the exhibition of some Maori colours the Niger had taken. The report is that the native gave the Governor five days to deliver the flags up, or they would declare war. The Niger left on the evening of the 6th, leaving behind Lieutenant Blake first lieutenant, who has been badly wounded. Captain Gunn further informs us, that when he was off Cape Egmont, he saw two pahs, one flying a white flag, and the other a flag of which he could distinguish the colours.
NEW SOUTH WALES .- The all-absorbing topic of thie colony is the recent discover of rich diggings on the Snowy River. The auriferous nature of the country has now been proved beyond doubt, the last escort from Kiandra bringing up 6 or 7,000 ounces of gold. At the commencement of the present month some 7 or 8,000 diggers were on the ground, but owing to the severity of winter, which renders digging impracticable during its continuance, the majority of the diggers have left. One account from the Snowy River states that on the 12th April the snow was two feet deep on the ground. However it is beyond doubt that operations cannot be re-commenced in earnes until next spring.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA . - There is very little news of general interest from this colony. The new general elections have been brought to a close, and Parliament was to meet on the 27th ult. Mr. Kingston, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, lost his seat to the Burra Burra district, and a new Speaker will consequently have to be elected. A fire occurred at the Burra mines a short time since, by which two miners lost their lives. The Burra Burra Mining Company have published their twelfth annual report which announces that only one dividend of 100 per cent on the capital stock, or 200 per cent, of the original shares will be given during the current half year.
TASMANIA. - The exploration parties which have been dispatched under the charge of Mr. Gould and Mr. Ronald Gunn have not yet succeeded in discovering any auriferous ground worth speaking of. But although unsuccessful in this, some new country has been discovered that can be made available for pastoral purposes.
JOURNAL OF AMUSEMENTS,
The past month has been a busy one in the theatres. The Royal and the Princess's still continue under the management of Mr. G. V. Brooke, he himself performing in the former. The first part of "King Henry IV,"
"Love's Labour Lost," and "Louis XI.' have been produced within the last few days. The Princess's is devoted to the representation of the Victorian style of melodrama, and draws good audiences of a certain class. The Pantheon, at Cremorne Gardens, is closed for the season. It has lately rested its fame on burlesque and extravaganza, which are got up in very attractive style.
Signor and Signora Bianchi, with Miss Emilie Coulon and Mr. Farquharson, and a talented company of minors, have been performing in some of the most popyuar operas at Ballaarat and Geelong with unquestionable success. The Melbourne Annual Regatta stands postponed till the end of the current week. It was to have come off last week. There is promise of good sport.
The cricket season is moribund. Several spirit matches have been played recently for the "challenge cup" given by the Hon. George Coppin, for competition by the Metropolitan and Suburban Clubs.
A few provincial meeting are winding up the racing season and the lovers of the chase are getting ready for their favorite sport.
CASTERTON MURDER. - A mysterious case of murder was tried at the Portland assizes last week; - In the year 1858 two families, the one consisting of Robert Hunt and his wife Mary, the other George Waines, who was also married but had no children lived near Casterton, a village about 70miles from Portland, and 250 miles from Melbourne. The river Glenelg which in ordinary seasons flow for nine months in the year, and even in times of great drought contains large waterholes, runs through the township. The road from Casterton to the huts of the Hunts and the Waines ran along the bank of the river for about a quarter of mile, till it came to a large waterhole in the Glenelg, where the people in the district were accustomed to water their horses ; the track then went across a hill on the other side of which, at a distance of three quarters of a mile from the township, the two families lived on adjoining allotments, one of 41 and the other of 44 acres. The nearest hut was that of the Barkers, at a distance of some three or four hundred yards. Waines was a small farmer and Hunt was a labouring man, but possessed of some small means, and living on the land he bought from Waines. On the 5th May, 1858, the latter agreed to repurchase it and an agreement to that effect was drawn up by one Dugald Campbell, the purchase money being a bill with six months currency, for £139 15s. this would have fallen due on the 8th of November, at which time, therefore, Waines would have had to pay the Hunts what was, for a person in his stationoflivfe, a considerable sum of money. It likewise