Object #1012724 from MS-Papers-0032-0158

3 pages written 19 Nov 1869 by Sir Francis Dillon Bell in Greymouth to Sir William Fox

From: Inward letters - Francis Dillon Bell, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0158 (46 digitised items). Contains correspondence between McLean and F D Bell, and Bell and William Fox; the correspondence covers the purchase of Maori land (especially at Wairarapa), fighting in the New Zealand Wars, politics (including information about the formation of Governments in the 1870s), and personal matters. 47 letters written from Taranaki, Wellington, London, Shag Valley, Wanganui, Dunedin, Melbourne, 1847-1853

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

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Page 1 of 3. View high-resolution image

English (ATL)

On board S. S. Omeo off Greymouth
19 Novr. 1869


My dear Fox,

In case my telegram of this morning about the mail service should be obscure, I add this line. When I was at Christchurch I saw Grubb the Postmaster with Rolleston. It seems the monthly rate of letters sent across the Island by the Hokitika road is about 1300, of which two thirds originate in Canterbury and the rest from other places. So Canterbury very fairly objects to paying for a bi-weekly mail coach, the Bostmaster saying that as far as postal requirments are concerned a once-a-week service is enough. On the other hand the people here complain that by the recent acceptance of the weekly contract they are deprived of their necessary communication with other places besides Canterbury. They say for instance that the Omeo called at Lyttelton on her way north the other day; with bi-weekly mail across but not otherwise merchants on West Coast can send by Omeo as she calls here today, answers to the letters they received from Melbourne last Monday. I pointed out to the Deputation that this was an advantage wholly to them and in which Canterbury had no benefit, and that thereforethey ought to pay for it. They admitted this and said they would have been willing to pay if the decision had not been so suddenly made: but they urged that if Canterbury were to be altogether relieved

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English (ATL)

from any contribution beyond that to a once-a-week service, the whole cost of the second mail ought not to fall on Westland but should be apportioned among the Provinces (chiefly if not altogether Otago) which yield the correspondence and mails sent across from Lyttelton with the letters which originate strictly in Canterbury. I don't know whether this can legally be done, but it seems fair. At any rate Canterbury should not be called on to pay for more than a weekly service. It is a pity Cobb & Co. at Xchurch did not send in their second offer at first, as both sides of the Island would have had the 2ce a week for the same cost as the once-a-week tender now accepted. However, that being now beyond recal, perhaps the contractor might be made to put on the second service for a trifling addition, and if so the Westland people would be very grateful, I told them the matter must be looked at solely in a postal light and not from the point of giving commercial or travellers' convenience.

I mentioned in my telegram that the more I thought of it the less I liked the idea of sending Fitz home. Apart from other considerations the expence alone ought to be avoided as really unnecessary: but when I think how nearly he had us out by voting in that Brown Division. I am not at all inclined to be lenient with him. We gave him his 3000£ and that's quite enough. We need not fear him next Session: and as to Vogel's idea of his coming into the Ministry, though I did not when you mentioned it

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English (ATL)

think of any objection politically, on reflection it will seem as clear to you as to me that we can have no more North Island man in our Government, let him be who he may.

We are off presently. You may depend on full information from me by every mail. Be so kind as to order the ''respective officers'' to take some trouble about the plans of Auckland &ca. The more we have in the shape of late information the better will our chance be. Mrs. Bell has revived wonderfully with the fine weather and sea breeze the weather could not have been better and I hope she will be all right by the time we reach Melbourne.

With kind regards to Mrs. Fox I am


yours always truly,
F. D. Bell
Hon. W. Fox

English (ATL)

On board S. S. Omeo off Greymouth
19 Novr. 1869


My dear Fox,

In case my telegram of this morning about the mail service should be obscure, I add this line. When I was at Christchurch I saw Grubb the Postmaster with Rolleston. It seems the monthly rate of letters sent across the Island by the Hokitika road is about 1300, of which two thirds originate in Canterbury and the rest from other places. So Canterbury very fairly objects to paying for a bi-weekly mail coach, the Bostmaster saying that as far as postal requirments are concerned a once-a-week service is enough. On the other hand the people here complain that by the recent acceptance of the weekly contract they are deprived of their necessary communication with other places besides Canterbury. They say for instance that the Omeo called at Lyttelton on her way north the other day; with bi-weekly mail across but not otherwise merchants on West Coast can send by Omeo as she calls here today, answers to the letters they received from Melbourne last Monday. I pointed out to the Deputation that this was an advantage wholly to them and in which Canterbury had no benefit, and that thereforethey ought to pay for it. They admitted this and said they would have been willing to pay if the decision had not been so suddenly made: but they urged that if Canterbury were to be altogether relieved from any contribution beyond that to a once-a-week service, the whole cost of the second mail ought not to fall on Westland but should be apportioned among the Provinces (chiefly if not altogether Otago) which yield the correspondence and mails sent across from Lyttelton with the letters which originate strictly in Canterbury. I don't know whether this can legally be done, but it seems fair. At any rate Canterbury should not be called on to pay for more than a weekly service. It is a pity Cobb & Co. at Xchurch did not send in their second offer at first, as both sides of the Island would have had the 2ce a week for the same cost as the once-a-week tender now accepted. However, that being now beyond recal, perhaps the contractor might be made to put on the second service for a trifling addition, and if so the Westland people would be very grateful, I told them the matter must be looked at solely in a postal light and not from the point of giving commercial or travellers' convenience.

I mentioned in my telegram that the more I thought of it the less I liked the idea of sending Fitz home. Apart from other considerations the expence alone ought to be avoided as really unnecessary: but when I think how nearly he had us out by voting in that Brown Division. I am not at all inclined to be lenient with him. We gave him his 3000£ and that's quite enough. We need not fear him next Session: and as to Vogel's idea of his coming into the Ministry, though I did not when you mentioned it think of any objection politically, on reflection it will seem as clear to you as to me that we can have no more North Island man in our Government, let him be who he may.

We are off presently. You may depend on full information from me by every mail. Be so kind as to order the ''respective officers'' to take some trouble about the plans of Auckland &ca. The more we have in the shape of late information the better will our chance be. Mrs. Bell has revived wonderfully with the fine weather and sea breeze the weather could not have been better and I hope she will be all right by the time we reach Melbourne.

With kind regards to Mrs. Fox I am


yours always truly,
F. D. Bell
Hon. W. Fox

Part of:
Inward letters - Francis Dillon Bell, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0158 (46 digitised items)
Series 1 Inward letters (English), Reference Number Series 1 Inward letters (English) (14501 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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