Letter from P. Wilson
to Donald McLean Esq.
dated 22nd. November 1856.
22nd, November 1856.
My dear Mac,
As the steamer is expected to-day, I avail of Mr. Whiteley, who goes by her, to write you, what I call, a few lines; but with which, though still in embyro, I have no doubt you would manage to cover half a quire of paper.
As the Reverend gentleman, and a very worthy one he is, goes, no doubt fully freighted with Maori intelligence, I need say nothing further than that the flame of their foolish war is in a flickering state; and will, I have no doubt, extinguish itself shortly, if we shew the wisdom of utterly neglecting the maxim "alere flammam" for a translation of which bit of latinity you may look in your dictionary.
Well, as we are all boiling in the political cauldron at such a high temperature as would make water fizz into finest vapour; and we do hope the Governor will be so kind as to oblige our Council by dissolving it. In that anticipation, we are already in
the field. I tried all in my power to turn on the steam in favour of Flight, but the people had got the notion too firmly rivetted in their caputs, that the exercising of the two offices was incompatible; and F. very wisely considered that a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, and would not give up the Resident Magistracy. But if he had, I believe he would have walked over the course to the winning post. I signed accordingly a requisition last night to Cut-field, which I presume will appear in this day's paper, and in which list you will see names that I think will startle you. But the revulsion of political opinion here is most remarkable, and is as sudden as remarkable. Tom King, Chilman, and C. Brown may be said to stand without a party to support them; so that I almost doubt, in the event of an election, if any one of those appear as candidated. The sum of public indignation against Chilman is such as would break down an ordinary rascal; and I cannot conceive how he has the effrontery to remain in office; or how Charles Brown has been such a dupe, to the serious damaging of his own position, as to allow him. You will receive in our "Herald" of last Saturday, Richard Brown's expose of the Chilman affair; and we regard it as a masterly and correct affair. You will see a few lines
of mine, signed P, in the Wanganui Chronicle of the 13th. as to the state of politics here; but in the same Chronicle there is a portion of a letter signed A. which promises to be more to the point. I do not know who the writer is. My wife sent you another of the Fly-sheets. No one can guess the author, but we can make out that it is the same types that were so liberally used at the election four years ago. And what is very singular, no instance of their having been used since, until now, is known; though, considering how the sheets tend in politics, there have been abundant occasions for the exercise. Louthwaite and Hulke have been surmised, but they have not brains enough, particularly for the rhyming one, which was really clever. That now sent in is only so-so. Mr. Turton is still here, but in daily expectation of a vessel to take him to Kawhia.
Fancy an old fellow of my calibre again buckling on the armour of a regimental doctor; and so it is, as yesterday I took, pro tempore, medical charge of Her Majesty's distinguished 65th. Regiment.
I have not heard from Campbell for a long time; but I learn indirectly that he is daily growing younger. What a lucky fellow Mrs. C's brother has been, to get the command of so fine a Corps as the 43rd. He at one
time entertained the intention of coming out here; but some sylph whispered in his ear, - "Go where honour calls thee"; so he wisely stuck by the kilt, and did accordingly.
We have had disagreeably wet blowy weather for a long time past. The consequence is we shall have no great show of fruit this year. But our prickly pears promise abundantly. They will not be ripe for months after Christmas; so far, therefore, they will be safe from the ravages of a certain Highland foray contemplated. Your mother is laid up with a cold to-day. Ritchie and his wife and child are going on well; and he has the promise, I think, of doing well as a solicitor here.
Had there been an order for the Magistrates, in rotation, to sit on the bench with the Resident Magistrate, we should have readily succeeded in waiving the objection urged by Flight, as a candidate for the Superintendency. You should get the Governor so to ordain now, for time coming; and the more so, as shortly the new £100 cases will be allowed to be adjudged. But you may also remind that several of our new J.P's, - Imray, Leech, Heatly, etc., have never yet been sworn in; so they, in fact, are dead letters.
I remain, my dear Mac
ever very sincerely yours
Donald McLean Esq.