Letter from P. Wilson,
to Donald McLean,
dated 6th. December 1852.
My dear Maclean,
The news brought by the Govetts, of your sad, sad bereavement, gave a very painful shock to both of us; and I may add that your many friends here most sincerely sympathise with you. We feel thankful that the baby has been spared to you; and trust that he will grow up to be a comfort and a blessing to you.
The Govetts had a foul weather passage of thirteen days; but we were glad to see them back so much improved in health; though, she, thinner from, likely, the continued long sea-sickness.
Have you ever yet thought of obtaining for me, who and what, our troublesome neighbour here, was at Hobart town? If not, I beg you will endeavour to do so. He is pushing himself very forward, just now, as a political character; which could be checked if we had positive information of what he was; as the new Constitution excludes all such from voting. By the way, what do you think of it? My opinion is that we would have been far better off, had we adopted what Sir
George offered years ago; for I cannot help regarding it, as I have just been telling the old Duke of Argyll, as a complexity full of supererogataries; and so much so, that, were it multiplied by 1 and divided by 8 or 10, the quotient would be quantum ---(?) for the purposes of our governance; we, i.e. Captain King, Cutfield, Richardson, Rev. Mr. Bayley,. Major Lloyd, etc. etc. are trying to get Mr. Halse for our Superintendent; since no less than such an officer and his tail are to be inflicted on us. He made no objection, save that his formal standing as a candidate must depend on Sir George considering the office, and that he holds, compatible. I wrote a very hurried letter on the subject to Sir George, on the 2nd. inst, and that he would be pleased to favour me with an answer by express; for I can see, and have long since seen that the democratic faction is getting too far ahead; and which, however, I would not care for, were its fomentors others than a most immoral, irreligious, altogether unprincipled, and in every way a most pestiferous set. I sent my letter by a small schooner called the "Matilda"; but in case of her not arriving, I beg you will lose no time in submitting to His Excellency, that it would be highly beneficial for the settlement to have such a man as Halse, tas Superintendent here; and to favour us with, his answer by express. The faction here is divided, as
to whom it will have. Some are for C. Brown; others name Sam King, Gledhill, Paris, and so on,- to the amount of 8 or 9. Wicksteed, too, is in the field; and were he a sober man on whom any dependence could be placed, he would have my support. But I have lost all faith in his utility. Sara King has also been named; but he is such a noodle that I think he can stand no chance. Yet there has been a very lying story in circulation, to gain him adherents by sympathy; and that is that he has been vilely overlooked by the Government; for that, on leaving Wanganui, he was promised to be provided for here. I believe I have neutralized greatly this fib, by administering the fact that he had wrought out the neglect, by leaving his office at Wanganui, without either leave or licence; which is the fact. But he is so republican in his notions, as, together with his red hot wife, to be utterly unfit to be a member of any rational Government; and with such political sentiments, ought not to try.
Our newspaper, I have out entirely; and I think it will soon cut itself out of circulation. It has got a new Editor,- a man named Pheeny; but who, or what, he is, I know not. Crumpon, I believe, was only nominally the Editor, during the first quarter of the paper's existence; and that all was done under the dictation of Wicksteed. From the first they manifested a disposition to incite the public mind against the Maori; and at
length, brought forth the mischievous lying article; which caused the Magistrates to interfere. From that moment, I took my name off the list of subscribers; and I have seen no amendment since to induce me to put it in again.
A Barque, the "St. Michel", arrived here 5 days ago, and is still here. She brought immense mails from London, and 53 passengers for this place. What they are to do for house accommodation, I cannot tell; as we have, I believe, no vacancies, save your one on the hill; which Gudgeon, I understand, means to sell; in which case, I will get your money at once. He came to me on Saturday, to beg grace till some friend arrives; who is shortly expected; but I told him I could not grant even a single day; nor does he deserve it. Black paid his debt on Saturday; so by next post I shall hope to have a large remittance to forward to you.
Turton went to Auckland some six weeks ago; and has not yet returned. I don't understand the utility of these annual Parson convocations; leaving everywhere, but one, to manage as they may, for a full eighth of every year. It is nonsense; and ought to be put a stop to. Woon, I am glad to learn, is to be removed to Wanganui. He was doing no good at Heretoa, clearly.
Flight is going on remarkably well; and there can be no doubt that if old Skipper was worthy a silver
tea-pot, on retiring,- Flight ought to get a gold or platinum one, when he does. Of course there is a clique against him; but it will melt down. I was most adverse to the appointment at first; but facts have brought me to regard him as one, more and more, becoming a very efficient officer. Do let me hear from you shortly; and believe me,
my dear Mac.,
ever most sincerely yours,
(Signed) P. Wilson.
6th. December 1852.
P.S. (referring to part of foregoing letter, inserted in margin in part of it, -about neighbour and Hobart towns.)
Any friend of Judge Chapman's could get it for you.
Donald McLean Esq.