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Octavius Hadfield

Letter written by Octavius Hadfield to brother Charles June 29, 1860

To brother Charles.

We were amused at your objecting to ride instead of walk. I, who frequently ride 50 or 60 miles a day, prefer the four legs to the two. On my return from England Mr. St. Hill made me a present of a beautiful mare which carries me very pleasantly. In riding all depends on your horse

I presume the last accounts from this country will settle your determation to have nothing to do with us. Certainly the colonisation of this Island will be much impeded for many years. I suppose your professed habits (I won't say prejudices) will hardly allow you to sympathise with my deciced condemnation of the acts of Government in this country in reference to the origin of our little war.

I don't know whether a letter to the Duke of Newcastle, which I sent to London to be published, ever reached the Publisher, or if it did, whether a copy will reach you. If it should come in your way you will gather what my opinions are about the Government's proceedings. The General Assembly will meet in a few weeks at Auckland. I have convinced many of its leading members that my views as to the injustice of the war are correct. I am now corresponding with Henry Sewell. I cannot yet claim him as a convert, but he acquiesces in many of my views and opinion. I have no doubt that the Government has committed a great blunder and a gross act of injustice; but it goes sadly against the grain with John Bull to confess an error especially when such a confession may be distorted into anything like a charge of fear. However I have pledged myself to defend William King, the native chief—that is, his right to the land from which he has been driven—against all opponents. And I will never give it up till I see at least an acknowledgement of the injustice of the Government. I have been, as you may imagine, plentifully abused for sympathising with rebels. But I am happy to say our late Chief Justice, Mr. Martin, agrees with my views. He now wants me to write a statement in defence of W. King's rights for die use of the General Assembly. He says in writing to the Bishop—'I suppose Archd. H. is the only man capable of doing all that is needed'. It is possible I may be obliged to go to Auckland to give evidence before a Committee of the G.A., but for personal reasons I would rather avoid this if possible.

The Governor is now endeavouring to humbug the natives in various ways in the expectation of obtaining more troops from England. It is very lamentable to see such ignorance and folly in those who have the direction of affairs. I have no hope for the country so long as Col. Browne continues here. There is a very large number of excellent loyal natives, but they are now in a state of doubt and amazement at the Governor's proceedings. They page 197 have lost all confidence in him. And losing confidence is no small matter. It is easier lost than regained. What is so annoying to me is, that there is not a blunder committed that I have not pointed out beforehand as a step to be avoided.