Letter from Governor Eyre,
to Donald McLean Esq.,
dated 12th. June 1848.
12th. June 1848
My dear Sir,
Having accidentally been too late for the Mail last week, I have had no opportunity of acknowledging your last letters and conveying to you my warmest thanks for the very patient and able manner in which you have adjusted the Land Question at Whanganui; or expressing my deep regret at the serious illness which has befallen you, from exposure, whilst engaged in effecting that adjustment. I have, to-day, had the pleasure of looking through a letter from Mr. Taylor, that you are again recovering; and most sincerely do I wish you a speedy and permanent convalescence.
It must be very satisfactory to you to have succeeded so well in your exertions with regard to the Land Question; and from all I hear, no future question is ever likely to arise upon it again. I could have wished Te Mowha (?) to have been present; Mawari but as he was represented by Hakaria, it is of less importance that he was not.
It fortunately happened that within a few days of receiving your letter, an opportunity offered of writing to Auckland, and another to England direct; and of both I took advantage, to communicate the settlement of this difficult question; and to state that brighter and more prosperous days might yet dawn upon Whanganui. In fact, I cannot but think myself, that notwithstanding the difficulty of access, Whanganui will one day become an important and thriving district, and have a large European population. I do not expect this at once, because time is always required to restore confidence, or to repair the evils of so complete a ruin as befel Whanganui.
The point about which I am now most anxious, is the immediate commencement of the Hospital, but there are many difficulties in the way. First, in getting the materials; and secondly, in getting the work-people. There is such a super-abundance of work here, and so few hands to do it. If, when you are well enough, you could give me any information about the facilities which exist at Whanganui, you would greatly oblige me.
Do you think anyone there would tender to supply sawn timber, in the town, at per 100 feet, (40,000 required.)
If timber was sawn (by Government sawyers) up the river, how near to the settlement could this be done; and would there be good and short access to the river to boat down the sawn timber, when ready?
Would, or could the natives supply sufficient timber in the solid, merely squaring the edges of the trees, and floating them down to the town to be sawn there? If so, what sized trees could be got, and at what price, on an average? and could the natives be depended upon for not delaying the work, by refusing or neglecting to bring the trees for the sawyers to cut them up?
What kinds of timber could thus easily be procured; and are the prices the same for all?
Is there good brick clay at Whanganui well situated for working? Where is it, and has anyone ever made bricks at Whanganui; and if so, were they good?
Can good lime be procured; is it from stone
or shells; and at what cost per bushel, delivered in the town?
What is the nature of the land marked in the New Zealand Company's plan as "Hospital"? Is it low or swampy? good land for obtaining firm foundations, or otherwise? If low, could it be easily drained; and could a landing be made from the river, at the place? The doors and windows I propose to get here, ready-made, and then send them up. No eligible tenders have "been received here to supply the materials, or do the work; and I will decide nothing until I hear from you; so that if any person there is inclined to undertake to contract for any portion of the materials, or any part of the workmanship, an offer will be in time; the only essential being that some sufficient security should be given me, that he would perform what he undertakes, properly. If you can give me any information in addition to the particulars I mention, or can offer any suggestions likely to be useful, which your observation or experience up there, may enable you to make, I shall feel greatly obliged. The proposed Hospital is to be wooden, upon brick foundations; two stories high, weatherboarded outside, and lined throughout.
I must now close my note by my sincere wishes for your perfect and speedy restoration to health; and with kindest regards to Major Wyatt, Mr. Taylor, and the rest of the community,
Donald McLean Esq.
I shall look forward, with great interest, to receiving your Official Report, and the Deed of Sale; but I do not think of attempting to do anything until you are quite fit for business. You have fairly earned a respite from your labours; and as I have already reported the facts both to England and Auckland, no inconvenience will arise from the delay.