Object #1001936 from MS-Papers-0032-0650

4 pages written 1857-1857 by Dr Peter Wilson to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Dr Peter Wilson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0650 (58 digitised items). 51 letters written from New Plymouth and Wanganui, 1855-1860

A transcription/translation of this document (by ATL) appears below.

Download alow-resolution PDF or high-resolution PDF

English (ATL)

Monday, 19th Jany., 1857.


My Dear Mac,

I know you are always glad to hear good tidings and tho' as a correspondent you are reprobate enough not to deserve the gratification at my hands, yet as it pleases myself to send such to you I now sit down to do so, and so relieve you from the trouble of thanking me. Another reason I may urge for not being desirous of hearing very frequently from you and that is your forgetfulness of the Queen's head on your letters --- an omission you will observe I am never guilty of. Let this serve as a gentle hint for your future guidance.

You will see by our Herald of the 17th that Cutfield carried the day on the 14th by a regular distance --- a majority of ninety five! and moreover those of our party who managed, assure me that they had eighty votes in reserve. Brown had only 89 votes and had every one voted, deducting our 264 he could not have had more than 116 for the total no. of Electors is only 380 but of the 27 making up the number above 89 it is probable that at least a half would have been for us. Dont fancy this extraordinary majority was a manifestation in mere favor of the man we adopted, but it was simply that we were tired and sick of Brown, and more especially of his selfserving unprincipled advisers. Understand at the same time that Cutfield was the unsoliciting, and is the man of our choice, and we are all I believe well satisfied that he will well and honestly do his duty. Brown on the other hand, so far as we know, came forward of his own accord --- at least no one saw or heard of a public requisition --- and he would appear to have been living under the strange delusion that he had only to do as Casar did of old --- to come, to see, and to conquer --- in other words that he had only to express the offer of herding us for another 4 years to be securely fixed in the saddle. I am almost tempted to believe that Chilman, tomy King, and that constant tippler, Pheeny, kept him ignorant of his actual unpopularity --- hence his defeat must be the more galling, and it cannot but have demonstrated to him that his former electioneering success, and obtainment of office were owing to the apostasy of Wicksteed at the eleventh hour of our first election. Now that all is over my opinion is that his career as a politician is run, and that as Superintendent he is gone to the tomb of the Capulets forever. He has many disqualifying points of character as a public man, and his vindictiveness was not the worst which he demonstrated. But there were many very silly traits also --- that for instance of prohibiting policemen touching their hats to magistrates, except when on duty, and one more so still was his allowing his Council to flounder away in ignorance when he had the means of directing them to come to a right conclusion. The printed letter on Slaughter Houses which I enclose is an example, and had I been disposed to damage Brown it afforded me a fair opportunity, as on both the first and second occasion of the subject being brought into the Council I wrote the substance of the said letter to both Brown and Chilman. Strange enough I was led to impute neglect of these letters on both occasions to the Council. But recently, on learning that Brown had given his consent to the butchers to establish their killing house high up the Huatoki, I took the opportunity of rating the Council on finding three of its members together when all denied ever having heard or seen a word of these on the subject! I confess I was much annoyed, at the first, but afterwards softened down to the hindering of so absurd an erection. His party you may consider as now scattered to the four winds compared with what it was in your time, and is now I think incapacitated from the commission of evil. As to Chilman he is quite done for, does not pretend to come forward as a candidate for the Council, and is so justly sickened of public life that I apprehend he never will come forward again, to which I say Amen. Watt has quite separated himself from the clique, but as coming over to us, I have no faith in the fellow, but suspect the defection has been altogether a selfish one. I got, however, previous to election, Cutfield's assurance that Watt should not be one of his executive, so there is no great probability of his mischievous propensities doing much hurt.

We are gaining I hope a sound and salutary experience by these elections, and I hope that for the future we shall have no perpetuity of office in the Superintendency attempted again. To discharge its duties requires no extraordinary talent, and genius, as Pope says, being allied to madness should be eschewed. All that is wanted for the due fulfilment of the office is common sense, good plain education, utilitarian energy, and proven probity of character. Now there are, one may charitably and fairly suppose, many men in every community who have these common place qualifications, consequently are as competent and well entitled to office as those who may happen to hold it. Life is short, and if the office be made as Mr. Brown wanted it to be, of re-elective character, there might not be more than one in a generation, and eventually, and as history records, the office might become hereditary, which would be very bad as the qualifications I have above enumerated are very rarely transmissive, with one exception. Therefore I advocate that whether the office be a government selection, or a peoples election, an individual should hold it for one term and no more, and so I shall urge on every occasion.

Poor Arama Karaka died a few days ago at his own Pa, the Ninia, yet not among his friends, but in the hands of Ihaia, who would not allow them to have any hand in his interment. What influence his death may have, you will best learn from that really worthy and indefatigable missionary Mr. Whitely. But I apprehend peace is as far off as it was two years ago, and the war likely to flicker and go out of itself without either protocal, or ambassador. Report says they, the Maories, are all becoming very poor --- some again believe they got supplies of all sorts from Kawhia, or somewhere, which I am disposed to believe but it would take a more active officer than conceited old Leech to confirm the fact, as so also with distillation among ourselves. The old sheep should be superannuated or given some office approaching to sinecure but it is very manifest he is no guardian of a people's treasury.

I am still doing duty with the 65th but care not how soon I am superseded. They are trying to do me a very unworthy trick but they shan't succeed unscathed I can tell them. The case is this. When I was first made the offer, they asked on what terms I would do the duty --- naturally and modestly enough I replied that I should look for the pay and allowances of the Assistant Surgeon I was to supersede. But they then gave me to understand that they could concede no allowances, but simply give me seven shillings and sixpence a day. I made no difficulty of the matter, but accepted the offer. However a few days ago I was shown an official letter from Wellington telling the authorities here that they were to deduct from my pay the amount for income tax! This, too, from one who has no rations, no barrack allowance, no servant, and not even having had the courtesy extended of being put in orders that I was to be respected as an officer, and myself too an old redcoated gentleman!!! Let them take care in enforcing this that they have not got the wrong bull by the horns, for I will make more than the Horse Guards ring again with the disgraceful intelligence. I think I never before was so scurvily treated and I shall take care they never shall have another opportunity. I have a great mind to demand every allowance, so as to make the matter a little more notorious, and that I may show them I am as big as the best of them.

I remain, My Dear Mac,
Ever faithfully yours,
J. Wilson.

The old Duke comes round here with his daughter Louisa in a few days for a week or two.

Part of:
Inward letters - Dr Peter Wilson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0650 (58 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

Usage: You can search, browse, print and download items from this website for research and personal study. You are welcome to reproduce the above image(s) on your blog or another website, but please maintain the integrity of the image (i.e. don't crop, recolour or overprint it), reproduce the image's caption information and link back to here (http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=1001936). If you would like to use the above image(s) in a different way (e.g. in a print publication), or use the transcription or translation, permission must be obtained. More information about copyright and usage can be found on the Copyright and Usage page of the NLNZ web site.

External Links:
View Full Descriptive Record in TAPUHI

Leave a comment

This function is coming soon.

Latest comments