6th. October 1850.
My dear McLean,
I can only account for our not writing to each other, that it is not officially enforced. For putting aside the usual vows to do so on parting, some good, beyond the real pleasure of a private correspondenee, might result. Besides the currect gossip of the settlement, I might occasionally say something on land and the natives; two subjects, from their bearing on this place, awakening almost an unpleasant interest.
It is too late now to tell you of the "Poietiers". Of her 15 passengers for this settlement, most of them are highly respected, Mr. Greenwood, an intimate friend of Cook's family, and brother of Colonel of that name, and cousin of Mr. Culinady, of whom you have heard Cook speak. He was one of the Directors of the late Plymouth Company. Mr. Richardson, a man of fortune, who purchased first the late Police Barracks next land - and more recently, Davy's farm and Stock for £1525. The farm-house he designs for his kind;-
therefore he is now arranging for a mansion fit for the reception of his family; who consist, barring Mr. Richardson, of whom no one but her husband should care, of two daughters. He considers status, rather than means or prospects, in a man; and that Government, (whom he hates) permanently fixes a man; so if you are not too deep with Miss S., you may depend on Miss R. and money; which, in spite of all that is advanced against it, it is a necessary ingredient in the cup matrimonal. I consider Edwin Davy has done a foolish thing in selling his farm, but it was to be so. I am glad it has not, as usual, fallen into the hands of the "Jimmies" usurpers of the soil, but into those of a man who intends to surpass in improvements, anyone in the place. Davy has taken the Police Barracks off Richardson's hands, at cost price, £165; and will let it to the newcomers; contenting himself for a time, with my brother's place at the Henui. Worsley (of an old Lincolnshire family), and sone of His Reverence, has, with Adams, a Kentish man, taken Faithful's land on a 10 years' lease. Percival, destined by his father, and sent out, for Canterbury, son of the Honourable and Revd. of that name, has purchased 180 acres of R. Gillingham's compensation land; and is now clearing about 20 acres.
Also two of the others. The "Mariner", via Nelson, and June ship direct, are hourly expected. Among the 25 passengers for this place, by the former vessel, is Mr. Weston, whom you saw at the South. Charlie Hawthorne writes me of his intention to return by the June ship; and refers, without giving numbers, to the passengers, who will accompany him, as the most solid result of his efforts for New Plymouth. The Company, by the same opportunity, inform me officially of a projected iron sand Company; and again, of their intention of supplying all their settlements with selected female immigrants. It is not improbable the Iron Company will have a vessel to themselves, for labourers, machines, etc., a Director or so only coming out in the June ship.
Now all this would be very glorious if we had land. The compensation awarded to residents, and given to absentees, added to the original claims on the Company, absorbs not only the whole of the land included in the Crown Grants, but requires about 1300 acres more for its extinguishment. I hear all this, and figures made up by myseld to the present time.
Excepting the Tatairinaka Block, there is nothing but timber to give the people; and if they are already
purchasers, much as I should regret it, they would have no alternative. Not so, however, with those who buy after seeing, or refuse altogether country fern land. The ships touching here first, are filled with this class of people, who have the money with them to buy from the Company, or, as would be most likely, from the settlers themselves. Messrs, Greenwood, Worsley, and Weston, (Company's purchasers,) refuse timber land altogether. The former has given proof of it by erecting his English house on Mewsham's fern section, which he has rented for 3 or 7 years. He is full of denunciations against the Company; and however unjust he may be in doing so, I cannot blams him. Worsley and Adams have arranged with R. Brown for a 10 year's lease of Faithfull's land, and Mr. Weston rests on his oars, awaiting a demand made by himself and other land-purchasers, acting for - I believe - the whole body, upon me, for the Tatarainaka Block; which, of course, I have referred to Mr. Horn; as it is not for me, unless in the case of emergency, to decide the question. I saw William King yesterday, and told him privately he must be prepared to give up the land, for how much soever I might desire to see it secured to them, it was impossible that the settlers with claims on the Company swallowing
up the whole of the land, would allow 4000 acres of that land to be set apart for anyone's cattle. Still more so, following Sir George Grey's failure to add land to the settlement. I may be compelled by the June ship's arrival, before the post reaches here, to act without authority. Still, if I find settlers for New Zealand will not be secured to this place without a guarantee on the Tataia Block, I will give it. The urgency of the case will justify the Official irregularity; and I will not see the Company's and Charles Hursthouse's great efforts for New Plymouth neutralised by my unwillingness to take a step which admits of no doubt; and which, moreover, must be taken at the latest, by return of a post from Wellington.
I have been completely worried, of late, by boils. They are quite new to me, though I have frequently heard of them. One on my wrist, rendered my arm almost useless for 10 days; and now I have two on the knee-bone, and one on the chin; which, after swelling me into a regular pumpkin, is absorbing itself internally. It was much ado about nothing. Scarcely any came to a head. The scoundrelly things are termed "Blind", by Dr. Wilson, who only prescribes cream of tartar.
Black and Candish returned from California, via Auckland, on the 2nd. They gave strange accounts of life and doings there; yet withal, they purpose again approaching the golden idol. Dawson returned to China, Searanake is in Auckland. I believe he worked his passage back.
Of the company, we can get no accounts. Cooper wrote me by last mail. I had ceased speculating; and nothing was known in Wellington. I think they will retire, and yet know not why. Many of the newcomers speak confidently of colonisation. The next mail, which I understood was to be by steamer, will clear up the doubt.
Everything is quiet here, as far as I known. The wheat is again falling off, and seems on the increase; so the loss in that particular crop would exceed last year's. The cultivations, (and many of them barely deserve the name), are varied in some measure, in time; and are preparing for barley and other things to replace the loss that has already occurred.
I was at "Donnybrook" the other day, and observe there is a young Highlander on the premises when Mr. N. is not at home. They say confidently my brothers's wife is in the same productive condition; but
it is only cases of barrenness that should call for remark in this wonderful country for breeding. But, as Jeames says, in "Punch" - "there's a law of nature agin them in these parts."
D. McLean Esq.