Object #1012696 from MS-Papers-0032-0827

8 pages written 6 Oct 1851 by Sir Donald McLean to Susan Douglas McLean

From: Inward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0827 (34 digitised items). Letters between Donald McLean and Susan. Donald's letters written from Hawke's Bay, Rangitikei, Taita and Wairapapa. Susan's letters from Dalmuir Hill, Wellington (the home of her parents (Robert and Susannah Strang).

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

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Page 1 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

Bidwell's station
Octr 6 1851



You will fancy pet that I am going to make up for past negligence by quite overwhelming you with letters from Wairarapa but I cannot allow any opportunity to pass without expressing to you how much happier I now feel than I did before we were married. My heart is now securely fixed on an object it loves and I have reason to hope that through life you will have frequent opportunities of proving that my regard for you is not of such an ordinary or transient nature as to occasion any neglect for your happiness and welfare. Sincerely so I trust that our marriage will be one of lasting happiness to both of us as long as it is the Almighty's pleasure to spare our lives in the enjoyment of each other's company. The rains have been so severe and heavy that I have not been able to cross rivers or proceed on my journey today. The Bidwell's are excessively kind and their house is most comfortable for the bush with abundance of eggs, butter, fresh milk, turkeys, geese, ducks, and

Page 2 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

all the variety of fare with which the country abounds. There is a kind invitation for you to visit here and probably you may be able to do so. Mr & Mrs Bidwill are nice people and both improve on acquaintance, much the same as my own pet does. I never thought I should love her so much as I do, neither did I think that she was so clever as she is. How is poor Mama. I feel very much for her. Give her my love and I need not ask you to pay her every attention as you will do that without my suggesting it. There are plenty of nice books here and strange to say I read over all I see about love, marriage etc with greater interest than I did before I became wedded myself. There is a sort of enchantment about the feeling that renders me more cheerful than during our courtship days and happier probably (excepting that I often feel for Mama's illness), than I have ever been at any period of my life. You may think it strange my feeling so happy without you but when I feel that you are thinking of me and when I feel that I am not idle but actually engaged with my duties. My mind gets a degree of repose that I never enjoy in the fictitious employment and

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English (MD)

society of a town let it be ever so small. The life of a person in the country where he can rise early as I did this morning with a clear brilliant sky and keen appetite at 7 for breakfast is certainly not to be compared to your late rising, late going to bed, late to parties, that neither improve mind nor body but that frequently destroy [crossed out] disturb the peace of one and destroy the health of the other. Here you can hold sweet lonely communion with your Maker and behold his wondrous works on every side you turn from the clear running stream that affords you refreshment to the trees of the forest that affords you warmth & shelter down to the minutest shrub and plant that you tread over. All these are objects of a great parent's care and shall we then if we confide in his mercy be overlooked or neglected. No my dearest while we firmly rely and trust upon God we need never be afraid wherever we are or however desolate our state that he will forsake us and truly happy are those whose trust and confidence is in the God of their creation. I think that even the most minute & trifling incidents of life are regulated by him and that even the slightest times of good fortune that may accidently attend us are not the effect of accident so much

Page 4 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

as of his Paternal mercy and care. Shall we not then consider it our first and most important duty to dedicate and sanctify ourselves to that God whose mercies we have so richly experienced.

I leave tomorrow for Mr McMasters thence along the coast to Hawkes Bay. I do not miss anything to ado to comfort, in fact I have too much and shall not travel in future with such large burdens. My rheumatism is much better. I have been at a pa 4 miles off visiting the natives. Sir George is expected up here soon but I question whether he will come as he had a touch of sciatica. Do dearest take care of yourself in my absence. Avoid being out after sunset and above all do not spend time in idle gossip or talk. It is not rudeness to employ yourself at something more profitable than to listen to others' failings & misfortunes. Keep yourself above such folly and be not influenced or controlled by any person excepting Papa & Mama. Their advice you should always receive with the respect due to their age and experience independent of being your affectionate parents. I am certain from what I see of Mrs Bidwell that she has too much good sense and independence of mind to be dictated to by any who is not cleverer or wiser than she is herself, and I trust your prudence will enable you to discover that any ladies who urge or advise you to do anything against your inclinations is not worthy of your acquaintance a single day longer after tendering such advice. I know you are easily led from a fear

Page 5 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

of giving offence but as a married woman you must not relinquish a certain dignity and respect which is due to your station and which can only be upheld by well-regulated prudence and discretion on your part. I shall be sorry to cause you to leave Wellington sooner than your inclinations would suggest but ever since you nearly suffered death by Mrs Kelham's ball I have taken a perfect dislike to such entertainment and beyond the common courtesies of life and in private life such entertainments shall never be encouraged by me. When I think of myself that my whole earthly enjoyment might have vanished through that piece of absurd ill-judged affair amusement do you wonder that it should rouse a little anger on my part and cause me firmly to admonish you against associating much with the projectors of such dangerous follies.

Give my kind love to Papa & tell him I will write from Hawkes Bay. Mr Williamson writes to his wife by his native Bobby who says he will call with my letter.

The Wairarapa is rather a pretty place. A good deal of plain, lake & forest with rising grounds sufficient to cause an agreeable diversity. On one of these elevated mounds Mr Bidwell's cottage stands and at a

Page 6 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

distance as well as on closer examination it has quite the air and appearance of a country gentleman's residence.

Books we have in great variety, chiefly of the miscellaneous description that forms a bush library.

Tea is the strongest beverage we taste here and judging from the appearance of those who use it three times a day I think they need not regret the absence of all beer, wine or other spirituous or malt mixtures that seem indispensible in a town where with less exercise than you have in the country you would fancy they are less requisite. The Dane is living in an out house with the shepherds so that I have not heard much of his prat about "Yintlemein rumati pat roads" and the like for the last few days. Moreover his feet are in a bad state and the most I can get him to do is to clean the stirrups, irons and grease my strong boots, blackning being out of use in these distant places. My grey mare is a nice tradable animal, very quiet and gentle, quite fit even for your ladyship to ride when there is no

Page 7 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

better. As I conceive that a letter ought to be nearly as welcome a visitor as myself I need not apologise for its being roughly and hastily written as I have more than once presented myself to you in a very rough garb and as I may do so again receive this clumsy letter in its clumsy shape as conveying the spontaneous and affectionate wishes of


Your devoted husband
Donald McLean

How very tantalizing with such a fine day to be delayed from the height on the river. Most of my party were on the other side so I have sent them on. It is the horses we cannot get across the Ruamahanga.

Page 8 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

I am not writing to anyone else in Wellington but should I at anytime do without being able to write to you also do not get displeased or think it is neglect.

Donald McLean

English (MD)

Bidwell's station
Octr 6 1851



You will fancy pet that I am going to make up for past negligence by quite overwhelming you with letters from Wairarapa but I cannot allow any opportunity to pass without expressing to you how much happier I now feel than I did before we were married. My heart is now securely fixed on an object it loves and I have reason to hope that through life you will have frequent opportunities of proving that my regard for you is not of such an ordinary or transient nature as to occasion any neglect for your happiness and welfare. Sincerely so I trust that our marriage will be one of lasting happiness to both of us as long as it is the Almighty's pleasure to spare our lives in the enjoyment of each other's company. The rains have been so severe and heavy that I have not been able to cross rivers or proceed on my journey today. The Bidwell's are excessively kind and their house is most comfortable for the bush with abundance of eggs, butter, fresh milk, turkeys, geese, ducks, and all the variety of fare with which the country abounds. There is a kind invitation for you to visit here and probably you may be able to do so. Mr & Mrs Bidwill are nice people and both improve on acquaintance, much the same as my own pet does. I never thought I should love her so much as I do, neither did I think that she was so clever as she is. How is poor Mama. I feel very much for her. Give her my love and I need not ask you to pay her every attention as you will do that without my suggesting it. There are plenty of nice books here and strange to say I read over all I see about love, marriage etc with greater interest than I did before I became wedded myself. There is a sort of enchantment about the feeling that renders me more cheerful than during our courtship days and happier probably (excepting that I often feel for Mama's illness), than I have ever been at any period of my life. You may think it strange my feeling so happy without you but when I feel that you are thinking of me and when I feel that I am not idle but actually engaged with my duties. My mind gets a degree of repose that I never enjoy in the fictitious employment and society of a town let it be ever so small. The life of a person in the country where he can rise early as I did this morning with a clear brilliant sky and keen appetite at 7 for breakfast is certainly not to be compared to your late rising, late going to bed, late to parties, that neither improve mind nor body but that frequently destroy [crossed out] disturb the peace of one and destroy the health of the other. Here you can hold sweet lonely communion with your Maker and behold his wondrous works on every side you turn from the clear running stream that affords you refreshment to the trees of the forest that affords you warmth & shelter down to the minutest shrub and plant that you tread over. All these are objects of a great parent's care and shall we then if we confide in his mercy be overlooked or neglected. No my dearest while we firmly rely and trust upon God we need never be afraid wherever we are or however desolate our state that he will forsake us and truly happy are those whose trust and confidence is in the God of their creation. I think that even the most minute & trifling incidents of life are regulated by him and that even the slightest times of good fortune that may accidently attend us are not the effect of accident so much as of his Paternal mercy and care. Shall we not then consider it our first and most important duty to dedicate and sanctify ourselves to that God whose mercies we have so richly experienced.

I leave tomorrow for Mr McMasters thence along the coast to Hawkes Bay. I do not miss anything to ado to comfort, in fact I have too much and shall not travel in future with such large burdens. My rheumatism is much better. I have been at a pa 4 miles off visiting the natives. Sir George is expected up here soon but I question whether he will come as he had a touch of sciatica. Do dearest take care of yourself in my absence. Avoid being out after sunset and above all do not spend time in idle gossip or talk. It is not rudeness to employ yourself at something more profitable than to listen to others' failings & misfortunes. Keep yourself above such folly and be not influenced or controlled by any person excepting Papa & Mama. Their advice you should always receive with the respect due to their age and experience independent of being your affectionate parents. I am certain from what I see of Mrs Bidwell that she has too much good sense and independence of mind to be dictated to by any who is not cleverer or wiser than she is herself, and I trust your prudence will enable you to discover that any ladies who urge or advise you to do anything against your inclinations is not worthy of your acquaintance a single day longer after tendering such advice. I know you are easily led from a fear of giving offence but as a married woman you must not relinquish a certain dignity and respect which is due to your station and which can only be upheld by well-regulated prudence and discretion on your part. I shall be sorry to cause you to leave Wellington sooner than your inclinations would suggest but ever since you nearly suffered death by Mrs Kelham's ball I have taken a perfect dislike to such entertainment and beyond the common courtesies of life and in private life such entertainments shall never be encouraged by me. When I think of myself that my whole earthly enjoyment might have vanished through that piece of absurd ill-judged affair amusement do you wonder that it should rouse a little anger on my part and cause me firmly to admonish you against associating much with the projectors of such dangerous follies.

Give my kind love to Papa & tell him I will write from Hawkes Bay. Mr Williamson writes to his wife by his native Bobby who says he will call with my letter.

The Wairarapa is rather a pretty place. A good deal of plain, lake & forest with rising grounds sufficient to cause an agreeable diversity. On one of these elevated mounds Mr Bidwell's cottage stands and at a distance as well as on closer examination it has quite the air and appearance of a country gentleman's residence.

Books we have in great variety, chiefly of the miscellaneous description that forms a bush library.

Tea is the strongest beverage we taste here and judging from the appearance of those who use it three times a day I think they need not regret the absence of all beer, wine or other spirituous or malt mixtures that seem indispensible in a town where with less exercise than you have in the country you would fancy they are less requisite. The Dane is living in an out house with the shepherds so that I have not heard much of his prat about "Yintlemein rumati pat roads" and the like for the last few days. Moreover his feet are in a bad state and the most I can get him to do is to clean the stirrups, irons and grease my strong boots, blackning being out of use in these distant places. My grey mare is a nice tradable animal, very quiet and gentle, quite fit even for your ladyship to ride when there is no better. As I conceive that a letter ought to be nearly as welcome a visitor as myself I need not apologise for its being roughly and hastily written as I have more than once presented myself to you in a very rough garb and as I may do so again receive this clumsy letter in its clumsy shape as conveying the spontaneous and affectionate wishes of


Your devoted husband
Donald McLean

How very tantalizing with such a fine day to be delayed from the height on the river. Most of my party were on the other side so I have sent them on. It is the horses we cannot get across the Ruamahanga. I am not writing to anyone else in Wellington but should I at anytime do without being able to write to you also do not get displeased or think it is neglect.

Donald McLean

Part of:
Inward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0827 (34 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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