Letter from P. Wilson
dated 5th. February 1849.
5th. February 1849
My dear McLean,
Your letters from Rangitikei and Manawatu of the 3rd. and 15th. ult. came forward, post before last; and we have had, since Saturday afternoon week, wet weather, that I have not been in town to enquire if there are any letters by the last; but as Halse is usually very kind in taking such out for me, and forwarding them, I conclude that none have arrived by Saturday's post.
When are you coming back again? Though we are all going on smoothly and quietly, yet natives and pakehas, however, some of the latter, may gabble when you are here, do not like you to be so long from among them. They all say, now, that William King is in a better human to all his land than ever. You can hardly form an opinion as to how very well the natives have behaved during the harvest; and it is manifest now, that the age of ruinous prices for reaping is passed away for ever; and not only that, but also the careless, scattering performance thereof.
The gourdmandising pakehas are now sadly crestfallen, for they now see that the farmer is independant of them; and that more careful, and more than half-as-cheap-again labourers have come into the market to overthrow their monopoly. No doubt it is better for themselves also, as most of them have their bit of land; and the circumstance of advantage is so very obvious to all, that now there is little talked of but that of greatly extending the growth of wheat. In short, the coming of the Waikanae natives, to this, has been a great boon to the settlement; not only for the assistance they have lent to the farmers, but from the stimulus it has given to all others to come forward and do also. Were you once more among them, here, I am pretty sure you could make them far more unified still, by getting them to act as general farm labourers, and if you could only persuade some of them to take to sawing, another most exhorbitant monopoly would be knocked on the head; for why sawn timber should cost 12/- here, and only 6/- at Nelson, is not otherwise to be explained than on the ground that our sawyers practice a gross injustice, running precisely parallel with the reaping extravagance.
I cannot say I am sorry you did not succeed at the Manawatu, and I hope you will fail at the Rangi-
-tikei, for I have always been inimical to giving the Company more land than they can occupy; and I cannot but regard the policy as an exceedingly bad one, to put it in its power to gratify its cupidity of making new settlements, before those already established are a tithe filled with settlers.
It is a ruinous principle, which, hitherto, while it has ruined their dupes, has invariably told back on the Company itself. But, moreover, it is in direct opposition to the old, and most applicably maxim in this country, "Union is strength"; for, be assured that the only certain mode of successful colonisation is to proceed from a centre to extremities; and not, as has been hitherto abortively tried here by wiseacres, to multiply weak points, in the vain hope on their ultimately coalescing. Again, therefore, I repeat that I shall not get a headache by hearing that you fail at Rangitikei. I have written a letter to Campbell on the subject of the Compensation land, protesting against our taking such at Rangitikei, if offered; because I consider that it would be to us of no earthly avail. What do we want with more land, if we cannot realise some money thereby, to enable us to cultivate that which we already have? We want, or most of us do, ready means
to further in something of the position we were in when first we purchased from the Company; and which its blundering and its Agents1 slovenly management, not to couple it with a worse name, reduced us from, to a state of beggary.
I apprehend your failure at the Manawatu will be a knock on the head to the canterberians purchasing at Ahuriri. That I shall also be glad of, as it may lead Thomas to still look this way, as suggested. As to the pre-emption extending only to the Southern Province, that is no obstacle; for if the Queen could grant it there, she has the same power to extend it to everywhere, and would not hesitate on application. By so doing, we would have at length two points, viz, - this and it; which would soon join, - ergo, I am still sanguine that we may have the Church of England, or an evangelist, I care not which, as our next neighbour.
Referring to my own affair with the Company, I am holding back now, since I received your letter of the 15th. ult, perceiving thereby, that you had not yet delivered my memoranda to Mr. Fox; and regarding Bell's reply as good for nothing. I do not wish again to enter the lists against the interests of the Company - far from it; but unless I get just-
-ice on this side, and I ask no more, I will rekindle a war for them that the value of a hundred acres will not include, for I will make up their mismanagement, ab originie, and put people on a new plan of coming out to this country, which will not go to advantage them. But I am pushed for time, so must conclude, and remain,
most faithfully yours
N.B. Peter Elliott is very anxious for his bill for the barn, Tommy being paid as it becomes due, and has to be redeemed this month from Dorset. He has been at me repeatedly of late, on the subject, and appears anxious to hear from you.
McShane has now got the mare, and seems to think she will carry him very well, but it remains for you to see, as to the ---(?) Entre nous, I cannot guess what could have induced you to make such a purchase, for she is no mare fit for your riding, any more than to run in the great St. Leger. She is only fit for such as McS, or for a lady. So my advice to you is to get rid of her.
Your 172.4.10 and 82.3.31 go on now very well, and seems a better 61.1.41 than first appearances warranted.
Communicated your message to Cook. He is very well disposed to assist when required, but it certainly is an extraodinary error to have a Court without an Interpreter. Thus there was some Maori with a complaint last week, obliged to be postponed, because no one in court could understand a word he said. This state of things must not continue; otherwise there will shortly be a good expose, and very properly.