27th June, 1861.
My dear Son,
I avail myself of Mr. ''Bunyan'' protection to forward you some little account of all our doings yesterday - for poor Taranaki!! it was a proud day! the Militia and Volunteers received their Maiden Colours from the hands of Mrs.Colonel Warre - they being the gift of the Ladies of - or rather, the women of Taranaki - it fortunately was one of our finest New Zealand days - the 57th Militia - and Volunteers attended by their Bands met on the Parade ground at Poverty square by half past ten, and took up their proper positions Militia and Volunteers occupying the centre - flanked right and left by the 57th in the front was placed the Big Drum on which floated the two Colours, which, as soon as all was ready, were consecrated by Mr.Govett by a very impressive prayer, a copy of which I enclose. Mrs. Warre then came forward and presented the two Colours to the two Officers young Messenger and young Jonas who of course received them kneeling. Mrs.Warre then read her speech on the occasion to Major Herbert, he being the Commanding Officer of the Corps - the speech was most feeling and appropriate for the occasion - and as feeling delivered - this you will see in our Papers - the Major returned a very
good answer - this will also appear in the Papers, this ended, Colonel Warre demanded three hearty cheers from all parties for the new Colours - and such a peel! ran round old Egmont as he never heard before! which was followed by others for the Queen, the Ladies who gave the Colours (of course here, you got your share of good wishes - as Mrs.Wilsons Big Daughters) and Mrs.Warre - the Colours were then guarded by thirty picked men of the two corps and trooped through the Regt. - that means, marched past every man, that they may see and admire the gift - and as soon as this was done the Ensigns took up this position in the centre, and all saluted the new and sacred Gift - the men by presenting arms - the officers with their usual salute - they then marched past and saluted the Colonel and Mrs.Warre - the 57th then march home - but the Militia and Volunteers remained to show what they could do in a (sham) fight when defending their colours - Colonel Warre and his officers all agreed that the manoeuvres were very good and highly creditable. I must own, that I felt very proud, when I saw that all things went off so very well, because it was I who thought of, and proposed Mrs.Colonel Warre as the proper person to present the Colours - they now all agree that I was right! had she not been selected - we should have had a pretty mess made of the whole affair - now, it will go to the world in a proper dress - and Taranaki may feel proud that her sons have been the first in the Colony to receive such a Gift,
and what is more, that they have won them by their Bravery! There was only one thing which was ''too much'' in the scene and that was, Charles Brown's usual meddling - Mrs.Warre intended riding to the ground, but Charlie must needs call and request her to walk to the ground with him - this was done for no other reason but just to let the people see that he was somebody! - and the Warre's with their usual affability gave in to his vanity -
All the Militia and Volunteers, or at least, most of them finished the day by dining at Newells after dinner I.N.Watt wished to make a speech! but the company would not hear him - of course you know that he is fairly detested by both men and officers, entirely owing to his always managing to be very ill whenever they were ordered out upon any service where there was a chance of meeting the enemy. The best of the joke was, that just before he got up to make a speech, he ordered Newell to hand found to all a good glass of Champagne at his expense making sure that they would drink his health as soon as his speech was ended, he soon found out his mistake his pocket was lightened of at least £10 - his treat was drank but his health was left in his doctors hands - ''they would have none of it'' - the Militia Band playing during this scene the tune called ''Go to the D - 1 and shake yourself'' Patricio might well make his riddle upon Watt
''Why is Philosophy at a low ebb in New Plymouth''?
''Because ''Isaac Newton'' is thought little of -
I must come back again to that meddling fellow C. Brown what a shame it is, that he should, at this distant period, rake up the Waireka affairs against Colonel Murray - Mr. Wilson is rather glad of it for he thinks it will bring much to light, as regards the actions on that occasion of Master Brown himself which he little dreams are known - we have not the least fear for Murray, he is sure of coming off without a scratch.
What Geese old Pratt and his party have made of themselves in allowing such fulsome speeches and flattery to be made to them at Melbourne! and how could they have the conscience to swallow it all!!!
I wonder if you ever intend to write to us poor bodies - I must end this for I am sure you are quite tired out with my scribbling - but do not give up before you assure dear Douglass of his old Grandmama's affectionate regards - and take a large share of it to yourself from
Your attached old Mother
H. A. Wilson.
I wish you to show Govetts Mayer to as many as you can - because we think it very good.
27th. I have only just heard that Mr. Flight said his claim forcompensation before the Assembly in consequence of the loss of his House at the Hini being owing to Genl.
Pratts removal of the troops from that quarter - no doubt but it was so but why did not Mr.Flight let us, Ibbotsons, and Hamllyns - have joined the petition? - you can put in a word for us if any thing is to be got by it -
Yours as ever
H. A. W.