22nd Decr., 1856.
My Dear Mac,
You will have such a dish of Taranaki politics in our paper of Saturday (20th) that I have no occasion, and certainly no inclination to occupy this bit of paper by dissertating thereon. But that fellow Chilman, as if his roguery was not as manifest asthe sun at noonday will, by his consummate effrontery, have the last word, and I think the means have now been adopted of checking his farther verbiage. By the way, I may mention that we True Blues are progressing, Norris tells me, safely towards that goal, which is to elevate little Cutfield to the superintendental godship of an idolatry.
For years past I have been anxious to see a Society established here having the laudable object of keeping our young men from Public houses. A Mechanics' Institute was set agoing some years ago but as that provided neither meat nor drink, and as the universal maxim was neglected that mere study makes a dull boy and very soon a wearied one, the affair fell to the ground after a few months of very praiseworthy, though mistaken perseverance. In this now barely instituted one I have recommended a different system, or rather the same but with gastronomic appliances, as you will see by the Report which I drew up for our first meeting, and which was well received, and adopted without emendation, or alteration. I send a copy by this days post to His Excellency as we are
anxious to have him for our Patron, so I dare say you will get a sight of it --- for I have not time to write one out for yo nor could I have written out the Governor's had not my wife undertaken to be my amanuensis. I have also taken notice of it in the leading article of Saturday's Herald, which has taken well among our folks, and pretty well assured us of the countenance of our farming folks. Of course the drift of all this important information is to hook you in as a subscriber; moreover, as many more as you can clap your hand on. For though we mean not to give our eatables for nothing, yet the rent and such contingent expences will cause a revenue of at least £120 per an. to come in and keep us going till we get a building up of our own and you know, as well as me, that our body corporate, though it may possess all other good social qualities, is nevertheless not very brilliant in its charitable characteristics, nor remarkably clear in its notions of public duty.
I think my Amantillado is safe for this Xmas bout at least, for we do not expect you, and that sinner of rheumatic never-ending laziness the Duke says he too must postpone sine die. But as Peter Imlay is to start this week for Wanganui it is not improbable that he may induce him to return with him. But this is trending on gossip which I leave as the domain of your mother.
I saw Aruma Kareka a few days ago. He has left the Ninia, and for some time has been living at Henry Epuni's pa.
He seems now to be almost deserted by his people, and assured me he had not any one, save his wife to assist him. The poor man sadly wants proper sustenance; and as he cannot, he says, come into hospital, I have had him for some time down on the books as an in-patient so as to supply him with a ration, and which I hope is not wrong, but this you can ascertain and advise me.
I remain, wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year,
ever most faithfully Yours,