Letter from W. Halse, dated January 8th. 1847.
8th. January 1847.
My Dear Sir,
We got sight of a sail yesterday morning, coming up end on from the direction of Sydney; and as you may suppose, settlers of all sorts suspended their occupations and turned out. From her position and distance from the shore, she defied the efforts of everyone, including that great Naval authority, the Harbour Master, to make her out. As usual, in dilemmas, of the kind, we were all agreed it was the vessel expected from Sydney; and as such, Webster, R. Brown, and Gledhill went off in the small boat. Guess their consternation on first seeing the Blue Ensign. The merriment at their expense of those on shore. Webster's dress requires some description,- an Office coat, short trousers, still shorter braces, which, not reaching to his breeks, hung flapping like sails to his carcase; and to crown all, no charitable waistcoat. The cream of the story remains to be told. When he got on board, he told Captain Otway that he had mistaken him for a cattle ship; which raised a fierce roar of laughter along the quarter deck. How well he got out of the lapsus linguae, I reserve for Webster himself to tell
It is now a standing joke on board; and the graceful "Racehorse" bids fair to be known for the future by a new name.
We were within an ace of having the Governor with Thatcher, who wrote to Watt from Wellington. The change of Ministry and consequent advantages to the Company, entirely disarranged all his plans; and he left suddenly for Auckland, to get dispatches sent out in the steamer "Inflexible"; which left England on the same day I believe, as the "Hope". I regret my inability to give you particulars of the present position of the Company. From all I can gather, we are to have a Proprietary Government, a very doubtful benefit to the old settlements. The inference I draw is that the Company will have a Board of Proprietors, resembling, in a small way, the East India Company. Their powers, I fear, only to be applied to the formation of new settlements, and abandonment of the old to chance and the energy of the inhabitants.
It would therefore seem that the original Block must be returned to the Company, under Spain's Award; for the obvious reason that the Company in their new position will object to pay any further sums for it; and the natives themselves will not alienate their lands, if the offer were made to them. The enforcement of the award after what has happened, if carried into effect, must wind
up the distresses of Taranaki with blood. I trust it may be averted.
My brother tells me that the pedestrian, Campbell, is to start for your quarters this afternoon. As there is no doubt of the Governor's intention, (for Captain King gave me his letter while I was talking with Captain Otway this morning), to be here without delay, say in 3 weeks or a month. I suppose you will direct your steps homewards. I never heard how the grey horse acquitted himself as a coaster.
Captain Fitz Roy arrived home in July, after a 5 months' passage.
We are without particular news from England; and I know nothing worth the transcribing.
D. McLean, Esq.
P.S. The people here are not exactly agreed as to your having gone to Wanganui. They consider the circumstances in favour of your having proceeded there. It is a mere matter of opinion with them.