My dear McLean,
Many thanks for your welcome budget of news of the 4th. inst. per "Zingari".
My son who has been over from the Bay reporting to the Provincial Government the results of an exploring expedition to the head of the Oerere and Takaka valleys, where it had been reported large plains existed, which he has now settled the question, do not exist, says that the Maories are getting anxious to have their Reserves surveyed, and imagine that faith is not being kept with them in this matter. Mr. Brunner (Survey Officer) has been applied to by him about doing the needful, but he says he has yet to learn who is to pay the expense. I should think the fairext way would be to charge the "Maori Estate" with the cost, taking it out of the Rents? A few lines from you however would no doubt expedite the matter.
Sinclair is still the acting Superindendent and giving great sattisfaction. By the by when I conveyed your good wishes to him a few evenings ago, and when we were chatting over the politics of the day, he told me did not covet any appointment but that of being one of the Commissioners for native reserves under the Native Reserves Act. I name this to you, as no doubt you have a voice in the matter, and from his knowledge of the natives and their confidence in him, a fitter person could not be found here,
So you expected that I would have been a candidate for the office of Superintendent. I was asked by many parties who voted against me for the Town Election last year and others, to come forward and they would support me. I have also promises of support should I offer for the next vacancy which at present I have not the least thought of doing, as what betweeen my three Homesteads my time is fully occupied, and my inclination is to remain a quiet settler, husbanding my bawbies for the Bairns.
Robinson has headed the Poll here and Monro has now nothing left but when the Provincial Council meets to hammer away at him right and left for being defeated. Monro's friends were too sanguine about his election despising the enemy which is always bad policy. I took no interest in the Election farther than giving my vote for Monro who by the by is not a general favorite. What do you think of Dr. Richardson M.L.C. voting for Robinson who some of the Auckland people may recollect as keeping a Beer shop at the Bay of Islands about 9 or 10 years ago for the sale of Nelson Beer.
I am sorry that Gilfillan lost his election which probably would not have been the case had the voters been satisfied that he was not brought forward by the "Old Firm" and the "Old Hand", who they are very properly thoroughly sick of. Of Williamson I have a very good opinion and it is to be hoped that he qill give more satisfaction than the
the two last Superintendents.
Is Brodie cranky? His effusions lately in the New Zealander would almost prove him to be so. He also appears to have quarrelled with the "Firm" at any rate with Dr. Campbell and it is to be hoped that he has not done so with the Drs. friend the Banker also.
I want to know what your opinion is about the Depasturage fees upon Stock being raised from 6d. on qual. cattle to 1/-. and from 1d. per head on sheep and pigs etc. to 2d.?
The working classes here have a great down upon the Sheep Farmers for holding their Runs so cheap, and as several of them are now on their way home to buy land from this with competencies, after having been the other day but poor fellows, I am not surprised at their feeling a little sore on this head, in fact this feeling partly influenced the electors in favor of Robinson, the more especially as Dr. Munro had some five monthsago made up his mind to go home to Scotland. Altho' a sheep farmer I have always been in favour of paying higher Depasturages rates, and I know by submitting with a good grace to a small increase at present it will save an enhanced rate by perhaps more than treble being wrung out of the Sheep Farmers at no distant date.
Dr. Richardson and his family are on the eve of leaving this for 2 or 3 years and take Auckland on their
way to Sydney and England. They will be very much missed here, having always been so very kind and hospitable. A very nice Ball was given to Mrs. Richardson in the Odd Fellows Hall on Wednesday evening which went off first rate and was well attended, I dare say you heard of the Fancy Ball they gave about two months ago, it was excellently got up, every one appearing in character, your humble servant as a Highlander wi' sword and pistols and a'.
The next social move is Andrew Richmond's marriage, which takes place on Wednesday next to Miss Blundell. I guess it will be rather a gayish affair from the number of bridesmaids etc. It will cost me nearly a week's absence from the Farms.
I notice occasionally meetings of a St. Andrew's Society advertised in the New Zealaander. Can you tell me for what object this Society was formed? If for philanthropic purposes, I should like a copy of the Society's rules, as I have often thought as our countrymen are getting more numerous in this Province a Society might be founded to assist the really necessitous of them in the day of trouble.
Mrs. Mackay joins me in best good wishes and
My dear McLean
Yours very truly,
23rd. Nov. '56.
The Gascoiynes are living at the Moutiri we never hear anything of them.