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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C149-154
4 Bexley Villas
Dear Mr Chesson,
I feel as if I ought to have written to your wife and you and expressed some of the many good … of wh my heart is full respecting you and yrs whenever I think of you. But my correspondence is so immense and I can’t now write for 8 and 90 hours at a stretch as I used to do. About Tawhiao. I am glad you got yr letter into the Times. I am very thankful to almighty God that the Bishop’s heart has been turned toward these maories. It is what I longed that Bishop Selwyn shd do and after he resigned and Cowrie became the Bp then I longed that he should make the advance of being friendly to the so called rebel chiefs, but because Selwyn had not he would not. I have maybe for years acted rather daringly, not disrespectfully not … I feel sure but with perseverance I have every new and again urged that an advance shd be made, not by a certain CMS missionary who the king’s party were known to dislike but by the Bishop himself, as a chief to a chief, that’s the way to get a hearing with maories, who tho their habits may be uncivilized appreciate a little pomp and ceremony and are won by courtesy and consideration. The too often ungentlemanly members of the Governt of NZ have never sufficiently realized that and often negotiations have failed simply because some subofficial was employed, a little nobody in the eyes of the natives who so keenly feel and resent disrespect. As to Patara’s letter to you, Mrs Grace wrote to me about it and I felt sure she had not caught his meaning. She every now and again has failed to grasp the ideas the natives wish to express. She does not apprehend quickly and needs a matter of explaining and has not an accurate memory. Patara wrote to me before he left London as puzzled it was in his farewell over what Lord Derby had or had not said on July 22nd at the Colonial Office. You may recollect how vexed I was that the maories and … with Mrs Grace to translate did not have a full talk … about everything, because I saw Mr Spencer’s plan was, as he put it, ‘…with each men in turn forever abt what was said at the Colonial Office, when maori begin to talk there is no end to it. The only way is to cut them short. I tell them Te Wheoro is their spokesman and he must tell them all. I can’t and I won’t.’ This was when I had urged that Huri Rapiha wished to know more exactly what the Earl has said that he wd write it to his tribe at waipara. The day, no 2 days before they left London, both Patara and Ropiha asked me if the maori pamphlet Mr Spencer translation of all the proceedings with Te Wheoro diary as to all they had done and seen would be printed in time for each to have copies before they left London and I incautiously perhaps said, why it’s in print now, for aftwards Mr Spencer told me he did not mean them to have it, to bother him about it, as maoris were wont to be dissatisfied over everything an englishman did for them, that so long as they got the copies on board ship that wd do, that he shd very likely get the parcel sent down to Plymouth and then they cd on the voyage … the contents of the said pukapuka as maories call a blue book.
I believe that Patara like Hori Ropika had made his own that part of Lord Derby’s speech in wh he said: ‘we shall seriously consider and give our attention to the complaints made and when we hear what is said on the other side, and what answer is given to these complaints, we will as far as our power goes, endeavour to do justice.’ I had hardly apprehended all the other statements wh … that wh we in England know to be the fact that the imperial governt having handed over power to the governt of the colony of NZ will only advise and not compel the colonial governt to do this …
With Skidmore’s help I tried to make Ropiha understand, he was so very anxious to hear what the English meant not what as he put it Tawhiao pictured it wd be right the queen’s governt should say. I told him he must look over the pamphlet in maori, then he would fully know. And I quite believe that Patara’s letter to you is not abt anything wh has been done or said in N Zealand but is in reference to the Earl of Derby’s speech at the Colonial Office in July, and that his mind is dwelling on the sentence. If you refer to the Earl’s speech you will see, ‘we must take back rights which we have given out.’ Maybe you will think that I am conceited, who am no maori scholar, if I render the meaning of Patara to be not, ‘when we went to parliament’ but ‘when Plymouth we’ pukapuka I suspected comes nect. The pamphlet concerning our petition and Lord Derby’s reply reached us. That is to say the maori translation wh Mr Spencer made. On reading those not letters, but those written words we find’, and at the end ‘came the weighty word.’ That is to say, ‘I have no doubt that the legislature of NZ.’ See Lord Derby’s speech. Patara knows by experience that the Colonial Govt will not give heed to the imperial if the imperial sides with Maories.
Mrs Grace made … and letter to me, and cd not make sense mistaking Plymouth for Parliament and …, she did not even contrive to read but supposed it to be an old maori word instead of the naame of a chief Winera.’ I will allow it was written as in one Winera … that is to say alluding to my letter as to what I had said abt Wiremu …, it was good and approved of by the maories. She had puzzled over the phrase and wrote word that not knowing what was in the mind of the writer decd only to leave that untranslated.
I have been as much directed as Sidney Taiwhanpa over for an instance of the … translation of maori. The report in the NZ papers of Tawhiao’s acct of his time in England ect ch it seems C.O. Davis the man I call the greatest enemy the maori and justice have had in N Zealand he is the chief government interpreter and editor of the Korimako. When Tawhiao have the acct in reference to his last evening in London when his best clothes had gone on board the ship and he was full of joy over so soon departing to his own country, he said in maori that when he got an invitation to go and see ‘he made a muddle of Liddon’s name and by way of explanation told C.O. Davis ‘the head of the Church in London, he was told an invitation had come here to go there, that last Eng, but that he said no he couldn’t go, his mind was now all in NZ, the word had been said … and he cd not see Liddon.’ C.O. Davis said the queen was the head of the Ch and the reporters so printed it. It amused Sidney, who nevertheless said Tawhiao was not alive to the importance of seeing Dr Liddon and that had it been … he wd have gone even if the ship was setting sail for that old Wiremu is continually talking of Dr Lisson and Mr Holly. I suppose you will have seen the N Zealand papers with the acct of the doing on the arrival of the king and the welcome the Temperance Societies gave him. Topia Turoa’s speech and Hori Ropiha’s very Christian one delighted me but Topia’s speech so true to a great chief’s idea of ignoring all but the greatest chiefs, he passes over the coming to England of Rauparaha among others years back but can only speak of the great Hongi and Tawhiao, by way too of creating effect by the contrast. The man who took back guns and Tawhiao who returned determined to make his people total abstainers. I was glad to hear from others that Tawhiao, Patara and Topia Turoa all said again and again that they did not grudge the money they had sent that it was well worth it and I am not sorry to find myself grouped in their minds with you and Mr Gorst. They assert that we 3 are more anxious for the true welfare of the maories than are the natives themselves. The Bishop Wm Cowie expreses astonishment at Tawhiao’s good manners and courtesy and at the clear thoughts he expressed and at the deep thankfulness both Tawhiao and the other 3 expressed. Their visit to England and those most opposed to their expedition must concede has done good write a great friend of mine, who said the public were furious and scurrilous on the subject when they were leaving N Zealand. I wonder if Sidney Tanihanga is quite accurate in saying that Mr Mc… would have accompanied Tawhiao but that Tawhiao took counsel with C.O. Davis who advised George Skidmore shd be taken.
I have had some very grave letters from the chiefs of Ngapuhi, they are dreadfully jealous, but a wee bit of comfort they appear to find in the fact that Tawhiao did not see the queen whereas the maories 2 years ago did and … saw the Prince of Wales. Mrs Grace has just written to me asking who Revd Wikitu Paa is. I suppose it is that she and others she mentions and CMS persons who wish to know, don’t care enough to remember. He is of high rank and is from the north, his godfather was the Revd P Patiki and it touches one’s heart to think of the waikato’s being willing to receive the preaching vow of the gospel from the ngapuhi, those northern tribes having been in years gone by their bitterest foes.
Leonard Tayata and Wiki te Paa the two natives in priest’s orders whosen for this mission were photographed together and have sent me their likenesses. Both are … great gentlemen. Leonard has poor health but is most tender hearted … and Wiki is zealous and gifted with wisdom of speech and is younger than Leonard and vigorous in health. I wish … be touring with them an dbe exhorting and beseeching the maories to give heed. But it is matter for thanksgiving to have stirred so many in this country, clergy and … and laypeople of both sexes and every degree who daily are praying that Tawhiao and his people may be truly turned to serve faithfully our beloved Lord God.
Wd you say to Mrs Chesson that Mr Field is at Charing Cross staking the … of the whole hospital nursing to liberate dear good Miss … whose relatives wished to have her for Xmas. Margaret Field went to Charing Cross Hospital before Xmas and will not return to … stay gardens until perhaps the 10th.
I go on the 7 to the 14th to stay with my friend Miss Wilson at 10 Gloucester Terrence, Onslow Gardens, S.W.
Could you get me from Russell 2 of the large photos of the group Tawhiao and the 4 taken in the corridor of the House of Commons. I wd like to get them soon, while … if it cd be, you are always so kind abt anything wh I ask that I make request with boldness. My letter from … pleased me and Te Wheoro and Skidmore had the good manners to write to very many. Tho they have not the word thanks in their maori language they know how to praise love and Te Wheoro said the kindness of the English was fine!
With kind regards, yrs sincerely,