Letter from Mrs. Wilson, to Donald McLean,
dated 12th. August 1853.
12th. (August) 1853
My dear Son,
We were in hopes of seeing you by this time in your old seat in the chimney corner of this cosy little kitchen. How I long to have a chat with you. There is so much to tell you; and so many questions to ask you. What an anxious time we have had with our disgraceful elections; and how sadly they have ended. What a blot upon the moral and religious character of New Plymouth. Charles Brown Watt and Tom King three of the head men, to say nothing of Gledhill, and many others of the same stamp; and such men to have it in their power to annoy us all. When you arrive you will see and hear plenty of this work. Charles Brown has engaged Turner (the would-be lawyer) to guide him in letter-writing! He has already shown that he cannot pen one by himself. Don Pedro, in all his life, has never had such a bitter pill to swallow as that of being obliged to call upon such a man as Charles Brown! You will own that it is a hard case for him, who has been in his country's service (with the exception of the year we were at
Wanganui) ever since the age of eighteen; and now, in his old age, he has to bow to such a party; and if they chance to get the same power as we see is invested in the hands of the Superintendent for Wellington, they are sure to vex and annoy every one in office, so as to oblige them to throw up their situations. They openly declare they will do so; and have already begun their intended game, on Mr. Flight, as you will see and hear on your arrival. The truth is, they are such a dirty set, that they have all sorts of vile hole and corner tricks at work, that honest, upright men can know nothing about. Not that an honest man need fear them; except, as I said before, that they will worry him out of office. James Ritchie they are determined to get rid of; for what reason we cannot find out; except that he got the appointment through the kindness of Sir George Grey; and that he is a man of high abilities, and above doing any of their dirty work. It is very unfortunate, and a very hard case that he is not allowed to practice as a Solicitor, has received the perfect character that he possesses; yet it appears that such is the Law (a very unjust one), because he did not call himself "writer to the signet", he can not act in New Zealand. Yet there is one of the young Standish's, who has got no other education but what a New Plymouth Day School could give him, has only to
serve five years in his father's office; at the end of which time he is eligible to practise in the Law in all its branches; not one of which is he likely to know much about; while Ritchie, with all his knowledge, dares not open his mouth. Mr. Martin must have some great spite against Scotchmen; or he never would have made this law. Between us, I must tell you that Ritchie's father has powerful friends at Home; and I should not be astonished to find some of them set Mr. Martin right on this point of Law.
On your arrival at Wanganui, you will get several letters from Don Pedro, and your old Mother; who is crazy to see her big son; and I only wish I could see my dear little grandson. Your account of the dear little fellow made me glad for your sake, and that of the poor old grand-father. You will tell me all about the dear boy when we get over the fire at our old chatting time. Your room is all ready for you. Wm. Halse is to place his house at our good Governor's disposal. It will be a nice central situation; much more convenient for him that "Brooklands"; besides which the poor old Captain and Mrs. King are getting too old for anything like such company. Of course you know by this time that Willie is engaged to Miss Mary Richardson; but it is said that the marriage will not
be yet; as a house is to be built, and all the wedding "braws" are to come from England.
That disgraceful member of Society, Wicksteed, they say, is going to Wanganui shortly. We fancy that he will not start until he hears that Sir George Grey and yourself are on the road; so that he may have an opportunity of meeting His Excellency, and telling his own story in his own way. You know him too well; and I may be much mistaken if Sir George does not, equally so. The little animal actually now voasts that he played the dirty trick he did; for no other purpose than to vex Captain King, Mr. Wilson, and some others, who told him that they could not support him, on account of his drinking propensities. But you will hear enough about him when you get here. By the last two or three vessels, we have had a great addition to our population; but most unfortunately a large number of them are of the wrong sort, --- acknowledged "Free Thinkers" all related to the Hursthouses. These, of course, at once joined Charles Brown's party. Their grand place of meeting is at Sam King's. Much, very much, of all the late mischief, had been hatched under the guidance of Mrs. Sam. She is a dangerous woman, with her revolutionary opinions. Such a woman should never have been allowed to reside within the walls of Gibraltar.
I must now say God bless you; for you will be tired with this long list of your old mother's complaints. With our united kind regards; and the hopes of soon having the pleasure of seeing you, believe me as ever,---
Your sincerely attached,
(Signed) H.A. Wilson.
P.S. Sam Ritchie tells me that he intends writing you by this post. I know you will do what you can for him. He feels sure that the "Brown" party will get him out of his present situation.