Object #1011907 from MS-Papers-0032-0826

6 pages written 25 Jul 1849 by Sir Donald McLean in Wanganui to Susan Douglas McLean

From: Inward and outward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0826 (43 digitised items). Mainly letters between Susan Strang and her future husband Donald McLean. Includes a letter from her mother Susannah Strang to McLean, 1849; letter from E Shand to Susan Strang, written from Portobello, 1850 in which she gives her impressions of Dunedin

A transcription/translation of this document (by MD) appears below.

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Page 1 of 6. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

Wanganui
25th July 1849


My dear Susan

I am quite annoyed with myself for not having corresponded with you sooner. My reason for not doing so will be the better explained when I see you. I feel however much greater confidence in writing now than I did previous to the receipt of your mother's letter which was most welcome as it deprived me of considerable anxiety on your behalf.

Such has been the accumulation of duties in this part of the country that my return to Wellington has not been delayed much longer than I expected so much so

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English (MD)

that you will under Mamma's tuition have become perfect in playing the 'Dalhousie March' and ever so many Scotch marches and tunes besides. I shall on the other hand have decided various questions that will not require my attention hereafter so that I may possibly lead a more settled life.

From what Mamma says it would seem you are somewhat unhappy or rendered so probably by idle gossiping insinuations which I believe are too frequently practised in young girls in your situation. Let such not disturb you in the slightest. Keep yourself cheerful and happy and if I am

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English (MD)

permitted as your senior by a few years to use a little dictation I should say reject with your usual prudence and discernment all approaches of familiarity with your feelings excepting what is sanctioned by your father and mother whose kind parental care is ever alive to the interest and happiness of their dutiful and affectionate child. May your regard and esteem for them never be alienated by any change that takes place during your existence.

I had frequently intended to send you some descriptions of my travels and proceedings in this part of the country but on the whole there has not been much to communicate in any way interesting to young ladies, my occupations

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English (MD)

being chiefly limited to rambles among the interior native tribes and amusements in some happy evenings at the mess of the detachment of the 65 stationed here also some agreeable hours with the settlers, one or two of whom are from my own part of the Highlands. There are frequent enquiries made respecting you but to speak candidly I have never openly acknowledged the understanding existing between us. On the contrary from a naturally silent disposition I have rather concealed my intentions than otherwise conceiving it desirable on your behalf as well as my own to observe a

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English (MD)

certain delicacy in such matters. Moreover I have been under some apprehension that our anticipations might not be so happily realized as we should wish.

I must write Mamma by this mail. I have been exceedingly sorry to hear of her illness during the winter. Tell Papa if I do not write him now that I will from Manawatu. The first bugle for dinner is just sounded so I must off to dress. The officers are giving Park and myself a parting dinner. This is so hurriedly and badly written that you will scarcely make it out. I see you have

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English (MD)

have addressed Mamma's letter modestly avoiding the insertion of a single syllable from yourself so far correct my gentle Susan I ought to have been the first to write having done so now I trust I may hear from you shortly.

Farewell for the present and believe me to remain


Ever yours sincerely
Donald McLean

English (MD)

Wanganui
25th July 1849


My dear Susan

I am quite annoyed with myself for not having corresponded with you sooner. My reason for not doing so will be the better explained when I see you. I feel however much greater confidence in writing now than I did previous to the receipt of your mother's letter which was most welcome as it deprived me of considerable anxiety on your behalf.

Such has been the accumulation of duties in this part of the country that my return to Wellington has not been delayed much longer than I expected so much so that you will under Mamma's tuition have become perfect in playing the 'Dalhousie March' and ever so many Scotch marches and tunes besides. I shall on the other hand have decided various questions that will not require my attention hereafter so that I may possibly lead a more settled life.

From what Mamma says it would seem you are somewhat unhappy or rendered so probably by idle gossiping insinuations which I believe are too frequently practised in young girls in your situation. Let such not disturb you in the slightest. Keep yourself cheerful and happy and if I am permitted as your senior by a few years to use a little dictation I should say reject with your usual prudence and discernment all approaches of familiarity with your feelings excepting what is sanctioned by your father and mother whose kind parental care is ever alive to the interest and happiness of their dutiful and affectionate child. May your regard and esteem for them never be alienated by any change that takes place during your existence.

I had frequently intended to send you some descriptions of my travels and proceedings in this part of the country but on the whole there has not been much to communicate in any way interesting to young ladies, my occupations being chiefly limited to rambles among the interior native tribes and amusements in some happy evenings at the mess of the detachment of the 65 stationed here also some agreeable hours with the settlers, one or two of whom are from my own part of the Highlands. There are frequent enquiries made respecting you but to speak candidly I have never openly acknowledged the understanding existing between us. On the contrary from a naturally silent disposition I have rather concealed my intentions than otherwise conceiving it desirable on your behalf as well as my own to observe a certain delicacy in such matters. Moreover I have been under some apprehension that our anticipations might not be so happily realized as we should wish.

I must write Mamma by this mail. I have been exceedingly sorry to hear of her illness during the winter. Tell Papa if I do not write him now that I will from Manawatu. The first bugle for dinner is just sounded so I must off to dress. The officers are giving Park and myself a parting dinner. This is so hurriedly and badly written that you will scarcely make it out. I see you have have addressed Mamma's letter modestly avoiding the insertion of a single syllable from yourself so far correct my gentle Susan I ought to have been the first to write having done so now I trust I may hear from you shortly.

Farewell for the present and believe me to remain


Ever yours sincerely
Donald McLean

Part of:
Inward and outward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0826 (43 digitised items)
Series 9 Inwards family letters, Reference Number Series 9 Inwards family letters (1204 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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