Object #1003315 from MS-Papers-0032-0420

3 pages written 16 Aug 1859 by James Mackay to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Mackay, James (Senior), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0420 (14 digitised items). 14 letters written from Nelson, 1856-1874

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

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English (ATL)

Private. Drumduan,

16th August, 1859.



My dear McLean,

I read of your being here and there and ivery where so I am now chancing this to Auckland to scold you for not sending a Messenger up here on your arrival in Nelson some months ago - It was only after you left in the Mary that I got your note, and very little would have tempted me to have ridden over to Motueka to see you, but then I thought I might possibly have been in the way had I done so, so I remained at home and grumbled.

I have just scribbled an official letter to your Department about James which if you happen to be in Auckland will pass under your review, and if not possibly this private may be forwarded to you. We have been getting most anxious about James and his Cousin, and his Mother could not rest night or day about thinking of him, fortunately a few days ago Mr. Rochfort who has been surveying at the ''Grey'' came up the coast with two Natives by James route to West Wanganui and Collingwood taking sailing vessel to Nelson, bringing us the cheering accounts that they were both well to the 11th July. James says I cannot write to Mr.McLean, as I have not got a scrap of paper to spare (it had got damaged by water) so I was instructed to write you and let you know how he had been. They left Christchurch and Kaiapoi on the 27th April and were 25 days crossing to the West Coast often to the Middle in Swamps and water courses with the snow a great part of the way knee deep and preferring sometimes wading in the rivers to walking in the snow, the former being considered warmer than the latter. On crossing the saddle to get to the Taramakau, they came to some scrub with the now breast high and they had in turn (Rochfort was with them from the last station) to take and break a road through it -- 14 Maories had started before James fully a fortnight with supplies but they were soon overtaken and passed, and to add to his trouble and fatigue, he had often to go back when his party could not proceed a good way to coax on the Maories who he was afraid would not face it and bolt back to Kaiapoi. Be that as it may, they fortunately got all safe through on the 21st May to the Mouth of the Grey singing I suppose weil gang nae mair to yon town. From the above date to the date of his letter (11th July) he has been waiting for the Natives to assemble which they have to do all the way from Milford Harbor and the fellows are busy wheat sowing, having no crops last year so James and Alick have been living on potatoes the last 7 weeks with the prospect if they have to go and lay out some Reserves at Jacksons Bay of tramping 180 Miles further South carrying their potatoes from settlement to settlement which are met with every 50 or 60 miles. He anticipates no difficulty in settling about the land, and if all goes well we may expect him home by the Valley of the Grey and our Lakes, about the middle of Oct. Rochfort Charters the ''Supply'' to take provisions for his party and mine, and James has also given an order for some presents for the Natives. James thinks Land purchase Commissioners ought to have the patience of 2 or 3 jobs; and he is sure Jeremiah must have written the ''Lamentations'' in a smoky Maori warre poor fellow he is in a way about his loss of time and hopes Government will make him an allowance for it. This I think I may write him by Rochfort you will see to, for after such exertions, risks, and privations I feel sure he will not be overlooked. He wrote most kindly of your Brother and Mrs. McLeans attention to him when at Christchurch. By the bye I had not heard of her confinement I hope poor soul she got safely over her trials long ago?

I open and retain all James despatches for him. He is anxious about them and particulars of them may be sent by Rochfort if I have time.

I was at Collingwood a fortnight ago, and happily both races have been very quiet.

Major Richmond has returned with renewed health from Auckland -- and our old friend Mr. Shepherd has gone the way of all flesh too soon, I fear for his Familys maintenance. I thought the old Gentleman would have cut well up, but I hear the great bulk of his property is unsaleable land.

When shall we twa meet again?

Trusting that you are in the enjoyment of as much serenity as the Maories will allow you. With the usual good wishes of all the clan,

I am, My dear McLean,
Yours very sincerely,
James MacKay.

Part of:
Inward letters - Mackay, James (Senior), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0420 (14 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)

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