Object #1014116 from MS-Papers-0032-0650

4 pages written 15 Feb 1857 by Dr Peter Wilson in New Plymouth District to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - Dr Peter Wilson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0650 (58 digitised items). 51 letters written from New Plymouth and Wanganui, 1855-1860

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

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English (ATL)

New Plymouth,

15th Feby., 1857.



My Dear Mac,

Your favor of the 2nd inst. came to hand three days ago. It is anticipated here, that our Council will be a very turbulent one, and it is pretty manifest that it is composed of materials very heterogeneous in character, and most ignitible in quality. I fear, moreover, that Cutfield will not be a free agent; for some how, or other, but which I do not understand, he has got that troublesome fellow Watt for his prime minister, and prime he will be in every sense of the word. What renders this appointment to me the more surprising is that immediately previous to the election I went to C. at the request of several, and asked him whether or not Watt would be one of his executive in the event of C's election to the superintendency when he replied that W. had already assured him that he would accept of no office; that, therefore, should he, W., chance to change his mind he could on his own ipse dixit refuse him! C. since his election has kept very much out of my way, from a fear probably that I may taunt him for this tergiversation, but he is mistaken if he thinks so, for "he that will to Cupar maun to Cupar" is the maxim I mean to follow in the business. But if he do not repent being under the guidance and control of Watt and Richard Brown, where loyalty is altogether of too recent a date and too renegade in character to be depended on, I shall wonder wonderfully thereat. So far all is well that the disposition to go hand in hand with the general government is the rule, and while that continues I shall care comparatively little for what they do else. But what think you of the appointment of Chilman as clerk to the Treasurer and clerk to the Council? I do not allude to the degradation of the man, for I believe the vagabond is guided by Horace's maxim in his every act of life, and that he regards a hundred and fifty pounds as a hundred and fifty pounds however it may be acquired.

--- "Rem facias; vem,

Si passis recte; si non, guocunque modo veni". Or as our countrymen have had it translated --- "Mak money Saunders; mak it honestly if ye can; but, whether or no, be sure to mak money". But it is to me most extraordinary that a man who has been convicted of an attempt to swindle the government should be permitted to retain a salary. If this be not a reward to vice words have no defined meaning, for after all it is no better in moral colouring than was the conduct of Cooper in the time of Shortland, but with this important difference that the one rogue resigned his office, while the other is made to hold on by the salary! tempora, O mores!! And now I am done with politics, the din and stoure of which I am always glad to get from.

I am more taken up with an Institute, which will, for a time to come, be uphill work, but eventually, I have no doubt, will prove a blessing to poor Taranaki. We have lectures, or conversaziones weekly, and the reading room is open every night from six till ten. I have paid your annual subscription, to wit One Pound, which I think is letting you off cheap, as I ought to have added a handsome donation besides, considering that much of your prosperity and celebrity is owing to the many badgerings and bickerings you enjoyed here --- these bringing you forth like a lump of gold from the refining furnace --- so, you see, you should be particularly grateful to Taranaki.

Turton's affair was wound up ten days ago, and you have old Hobbs back among you. What will be the decision of the Wesleyan Inquisition we are curious to learn, but of this fact we are pretty certain that the evidence he obtained goes far more for than against the man, and so Turton will eventually demonstrate to the clique that has been endeavouring to ruin him, for as Hetherington says "there is a law of retribution which never fails of operation", and so that pauvre diable of a wesleyan Jesuit, Ironsides, will find to his cost and most deservedly. A large body of us have left his chapel, and more will, when facts which are familiar to us become known to them. It has been one of the most iniquitous jobs I have ever known. Whitely is a most all worthy man, and has behaved well.

7 A.M. I am just made acquainted by a note from Imlay that he came in last night from Wanganui, leaving the Duke and Lady Louisa at Tataraimaka for the night. I shall go out in the forenoon to meet the illustrious pair and for the present conclude.

Monday Morning 16th.



The law prohibiting the sale of Spirits to the Natives is now of none effect, and in my opinion may or may not be abrogated for it is de facto a dead letter already and in the most public manner unobserved. I believe no one entertains a doubt, even the great nabob Leech sits in his sanctum, and states the fact, that distillation is a current employment in the Settlement. Whether the Natives have taken to it or not may be a question but no doubt, under a modicum of tuition they are qualified to learn the art, and are keen enough to practise it. In short, it has become a necessity to revise all laws of restriction, and the sooner the revision is set about, all the better will it be for the Revenue, and so much the more of the metallico --- as the Spaniards call coined gold and silver --- will be kept in the country. Moral must take care of itself, but this fact is the result of my observation and experience in many countries that drunkenness is not promoted by the low price of wines and spirits but, I should say, rather the reverse. Yet I would have a duty, but just such as might prove a check to foreign introduction, while it went at the same time to uphold the government.

I rode out last night to the west end of the Omata with Jenny Imlay, where at length we came face to face with the old duke and Louisa, both hearty and well the old gentleman fat and jolly, and just as fond of the Cape reminiscences, etc. as of yore. We sat up till nearly midnight over a cup of tea, one glass of Amontillado, which by the way he fortunately does not relish, and a tumbler or two of cold water. Both unite with Mrs.W. in very kindest regards, and you may be quite sure I am too happy that you are not one of the party --- as where would I be amongst so many children of the Mist? Na, na --- twa at a time is as many as a lowlander can weel manage.

You are quite right in your philosophy, as to mankind being prone to the use of narcotics --- the fact is if the creature cannot get one sort he will be sure to fall on another. I take it to be a portion of the curse, but whether or not, for I am but so so versed in theology, it is a failing peculiarly appertaining to reasoning beings, and in moderation may be requisite, but use and abuse are terms in practice readily confounded.

With kindest regards to His Excellency and all the great men in office

I remain, My Dear Mac,
Ever very Sincerely Yours,
J. Wilson.

Part of:
Inward letters - Dr Peter Wilson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0650 (58 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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