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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C149-342
Many thanks for your letter.
Dear Mr Chesson,
First let me say that I should much like a talk with Mrs Chesson if it can be arranged and excepting during these … and cold days I cd drive to see her but as I am often if fine and mild weather in the garden of a friend close to this I wd not like to give Mrs C the trouble of coming to see me perchance only to find I was out unless she wrote to say she wd call then I wd take care to be in.
I was hoping that you wd have heard more than I have about the maori deputation. I quite suppose that our friend Sidney is of the number. I rather agree with you that Mr [Rusden’s?] lot are more suited for the study of the English in New Zealand than for the Maories, but I supposed that besides Rusden’s book you were going to send him Swanson’s book and Thompson’s and Sir G. Grey’s and other works on New Zealand. But perhaps you have … . He has been … travelling abt holding meetings in reference to the land question and the visit to England or in Auckland getting matters settled as regard’s his wife and children. Sidney is much to be felt for but is sadly impetuous and the Maori ideas as to duty towards wife and children are wildly different from European law or Xian duty.
It was I recollect the point Bp Selwyn found hardest to get any to heed, and in Sidney’s case the wife’s m.conduct tempts him to neglect or chastise her.
I wish we knew the names of the maories who were coming I only hope the very turbulent, hot tempered man and the one who had been heavily drinking will not come, one must not … but men from different tribes seldom get on well together.
I need not add that anything I can I will do, but I know neither of a house nor a mansert to recommend them and much as to their welfare will depend on the people under whose roof they get and on their having a sensible [young man?], firm yet kind, with tact and a little knowledge of the world, as servant.
I am greatly stronger than I was last … but not at all really better and the heart disease wh developed rapidly last year hindering my being able to fatigue myself with impunity and there is no probability of my being able to be their hostess and my illness wh has been … wd hinder me from going to town for any length of time to be near them, and the dry oppressive air of London is harmful.
Further, Sidney you will well believe is mistaken in supposing that I deprecated any and every attempt at obtaining better … and treatment. Quite the reserve! If the maories wd but have agreed and unitedly signed name by name and tribe by tribe, 2 petitions and presented one to their government and then if that .. Have sent the other to England and asked to be allowed on the strength of their unanimous complaint to loyally appeal to the House of Parliament for redress, it wd have produced good.
… wd not let one and another of the chiefs suppose either that the Queen in her sole person had the power to rectify abuses, restore lands and pay over money of the imperial or colonial treasury to maori, or that if they came they wd certainly see her, and their … expenses to money were vague and voluminous, and as regards the sums of money they claimed for compensation for every affront as well as wrong, such statements cd only make them appear ridiculous in the eyes of everyone. I cd figure the excitement and the talk and the songs the maories assembled indulged in, I wd not imply that all resemble the … but the unreasonable and obstinate even amongst the great chiefs will I know soon have their eyes opened to the futility of some of their aspirations when they find that England thinks of many people and had much business and much work to attend to. I know that they will be confronted with much that is unfair, unjust, and unChristian, and neglect and disappointment are hard to bear, so I can feel quite sorry for them, and can only pray that he who can bless every ill and make it lead to lasting good may raise up funds for them. Even if they are provided with ample funds, they will be in need of friendly hospitality and a kind welcome being extended to them. I wish some good English noblemen or gentlemen wd come forward to introduce them to good people that they … get invitations to country houses and the different towns and so see the best aspects of English life in the country and of English industries in the towns.
When I find how little even of … letter writing I can do, and how … I feel how useless I shall be to them.
I hope you will use every opportunity of letting people know that they are en route. Did you see the 2 statements in the papers, on two successive … in the Times, first that Tawhiao would not as expected by the maories go to England, and then that he had sailed. From Melbourne … was that Tawhiao and company were on board the Soruta. On applying to the Orient Line Company I suppose you cd find out how many maories were coming and of any Englishmen with them, and also the precise date at which they expect the Soruta to arrive. If I hear from any of the maories I will let you know at once. The aged William Puhi Hibi Parore’s letter was in my eyes very sharp, not a word abt the proposed visit to England. ‘Sidney has been here he talks differently to you, I look at your words Miss Weale I know them, stay in London, I remain here in my place my people are peaceable. A church is now to be built £300 the sum, £100 my people pay, you must ask good friends and the Bishops of the Ch of England to send us £200, then perhaps the carpenters will soon build up the timber we give and Bp Cowie of Auckland will be able to come and open it and write to the Ch of England that this church is alive and good!’
I am very sure that you desire all good to arise for these maories, and for their cause, and while I hope help will arise, yet I know how slow and supine persons are and how little time many have and others little tact or discretion. The best sort of Christian gentlemen, … pleasant and with zeal and kindness is the sort we need to go and escort the maories … chat with them and draw our their ideas and answer their questions and so inform their mind son subjects interesting to them. Patience wh is begotten of … and a strong head hw will not be overwaried by their endless talk over small matters and a good temper wh will not be worried by their versatility and unpunctuality, is what is required. … you cd find amongst those who belong to the Aborigines Protection Society to take the maories in hand when they arrive, it wd be a benediction and a relief to my mind for I agitate much over how expectant the maories all over New Zealand must