Letter from P. Wilson,
dated 28th. September 1851.
28th. September 1851.
My dear Mac.,
I wrote to you last post entirely on account of your marriage, and by no means on your own merits; for ex-cepting the old Duke, who has no equal, I regard you as about as bad a correspondent as man ever had to do with.
Well, - are you ever coming back? We have most outrageously contradictory stories on the subject here; for some assert you are to be here almost immediately, and others say that you are fitting up a house at Wellington for permanent residence.
Our old dog Gib died two days ago, to the dool and sorrow of all of us; for truly he had been, for many years, an attached friend to us.
There is to be a grand Meeting on Saturday 4th., to take into consideration the extension of the Municipal and Hundred Ordinances to this place. So far as I can learn, everybody is keen for them; except probably the old Captain and old Leech; the former, probably because he will not be so great a man; and the latter, because it
it is natural to him to differ in all things from his fellows. But this is a mere peculiarity; and his good qualities greatly predominate. I cannot in the same ratio complement the Skipper by any means.
The world says you may now purchase as much land as you like, at the Hua; for that the natives are quite in the humour for it.
Sam King brought his affair into Court against Miss Wicksteed, for the difference of the section of land she sold to you; they, the Kings, insisting on £62.10/- instead of the cash price £50. Wicksteed stood forth as his sister's lawyer; and Sammy for himself and sister. But as Wicksteed insisted that Sam had no proprietorship in the land, consequently no account against his sister; and as Sam's name appeared alone on the Summons, he was non-suited. Then he brought in, on next Court day, a new account in which Maria's name alone appeared; but as the Magistrates, after hearing both sides, could not agree, judgement was postponed from the Thursday to the Saturday; and in the mean time Cutfield and I stept in as arbitrators; so the affair was settled out of Court; and Sammy had the costs to pay a second time.
Altogether it was a woefully dirty, ungenerous, and most ungrateful job on the part of the Kings; and I have
no doubt will injure their standing here exceedingly. I would not have stood the expose, and flogging Wicksteed gave Sammy, for the lost twenty heifers in Taranaki. It is a thousand pities he had not been brought up to the law; for he is certainly a clever little fellow.
How is it you keep Halse so underhanded in the Police? Here is John Medland, who does no night duty, yet receives the pay, and has done, ever since I reported him as unfit for the duty then, or four months ago. John may be useful as a clerk; but make him a clerk, and get a substitute in the Police; for at present such is the state of things in your Department, that public houses do as they like; and though only having short licences, keep open after hours, in open defiance; and Halse cannot help himself. Be assured you are very much wanted here, and the sooner you come the better; for the Captain is no substitute.
There is an evil existing here, which we must have remedied when you come; and that regards the Clerk of the Court. For example, he was deviously employed by Sam King in the late affair; and got the Captain, on the first day, to demonstrate no little portion of partizanship; and openly prompted him with slips of advice during the trial. Now this same sort of thing happens nine times in ten in our Court; so that his clients
have a very unfair advantage. But what do we want with such a lawyer; ninety times in the hundred his viva voce opinion is most erroneous, and to suit his object; and usually we can look into the law books and understand them as well as he. We ought, in fact, to have no such person; for he has no principle to guide him, is a lowminded fellow, a drunkard, and a most ignorant illiterate fellow withal. Let us have an educated and-------(?) penman, who can take down evidence. I cannot, but such as Rogan could; and he, or such as he, would answer all our purpose. Now chew the cud on this; and we shall see about it when you come round. I have told the Captain more than once that I would not give a bad half-penny for all the law S. has in him. But he is useful in a thousand ways to the old man; so my simply saying so has no effect.
Now, Mac, is not matrimony a very nice thing? No doubt of it. But mind, you are only as yet sipping the sweets of it. It has its drawbacks like everything else in the world; so take this, both of you, as my epithalamium, and don't believe those who tell you otherwise.
Your mother thought, I find, that I was writing this for her and myself; but I have just undeceived her;
so you will likewise get a line from her.
With kindest regards to your better half,
my dear Mac.,
ever faithfully yours,
P.S. I have been offered £350 for a hundred and fifty acres of my Omata land; but Brown, who is the Agent in the affair, maintains for £50 more. When you took me to the top of the Pa there, in September 1847, to have my opinion of the 0, Block, little did I think that a portion like the above would ever be likely to realise, as nature made it, such a sum. "Glen Reka", I of course, retain; but would gladly rent it till Pat is a little man qualified to do something with it. My mare is again about to foal; and her other is considered the best two-year-old here.
Gudgeon seems to be of opinion, whether from anything you have written to him, I cannot say,- that you are likely to occupy your own house on the hill, and regrets that he had left it; as his temporary tenant, he does not think, is taking the care of the garden that he did. I do not think you could do better; as at a very
trifling expense, you could make it a very comfortable dwelling; and house rent here is, now, not a trifle, and in urgent demand. Gudgeon has vexed me sadly; yet in his anxiety to get his new house up, I believe he could not help it. The fact is I wanted a frame of New Plymouth wood for my old Nun to present to Lady Grey, and which I hoped to have sent at least nine months ago. It is now in hand, and I trust will soon be in transit.
Well I do think that I am a precious old fool to give you such long letters, seeing how miserably scurvily you reciprocate; so good-bye,
Donald McLean Esq.