Drumduan nr. Nelson
15th February 1858
My dear McLean,
Many thanks for your very welcome letters of the 22nd December from Auckland informing me that you had recommended my son to the Government for an appointment in connexion with the goldfields ---
James was over with us last week, and begged to join me in thanking you in the kindest manner for interesting yourself with the Government on his behalf --- and if the appointment is, as we suppose connected with the Maories? I am sure it will give them satisfaction, and as he has all the work over in the Bay to do, from Mr. Gouland not understanding their language and customs, and also being disliked by them, there could be no more fitting time for the Government to place him in a position where his opinion, and the interest he takes in his sable pets would carry more weight than at present, and when also he would get some remuneration for his trouble and loss of time, which is considerable in the course of the year.
James would have written you himself on this
occasion, but he has to hurry away with the Superintendent and Mr. Brunner per Steamer on Friday Morning to lay out the new line of road up the Anarere, which has been too long delayed making.
You further stated that you were also anxious to get him to settle a land question at Arahura on the West Coast --- He begs of me to state with respect to this, that it would be highly desirable that this should be done before Winter sets in, as he would hire a small craft to take him down to the Grey, and after settling his more immediate business at Arahura, or where the native claims exist, then return by the Valley of the Grey overland to Nelson quite a different route from anything ever Brunner travelled.
A good many sheep runs have already been booked on the Grey, and yesterday I applied for a Run of 140,000 Acres!!! there, for an Edinburgh Gentleman, a Mr. Dodds who has come out here with Glengarry (the real Chief of the Macdonells, who you must have seen as a Middy in the Acheron) as a partner, and to manage his property, he being worth by the sale of the last Highland property of the family, over £40,000 --- After the 1st May,
the runs must not exceed 30,000 acres ---
As the West Coast is likely soon to be occupied by a number of Europeans, it makes it, the more necessary that the Natives should get their reserves laid out, and all disputed questions set at rest.
Will you oblige me personally by giving this matter your earliest and best attention, as if it cannot be accomplished this autumn I shall run the risk of having some adventures over from Port Cooper securing a Run on which I have an eye ---
James applied for a Cattle Run last week at West Wanganui and along the West Coast for about 25 miles to Kaurangi stream, quite a narrow strip of country, and chiefly old Maori gardens ---
I notice by the Newspapers that you have coaxed my old friend Te Hapuku to remove inland, and thereby put an end, I hope for the future to the disturbances at Hawkes Bay.
I hope that you have been fortunate enough to meet your cousin Mrs. Gascoyne either at Napier or Wellington? I was enabled to see her for the first time
for about an hour prior to the Wonga Wonga's leaving for Wellington. We had been singularly unfortunate on various occasions in not meeting when she was in Town and hearing of her going away in the Steamer I contrary to usual custom did not go home on the previous night from the Council and remained in Town all night, going to the wharf by 7 A. M. I had sufficient time to have fully an hours chat about many mutual friends in India and Scotland, and last tho' not least to hear poor soul her grievances --- I told her if she saw you, to say that I had not heard from you for a long time; and singular enough no sooner was the post office opened that same day, than I received the letter now being replied to ---
When I wrote you some months ago I was ignorant at the time, that your Cousin felt that she could no longer live with her husband and had gone to stay at Capt. Fearons --- and I can only say, that in this unpleasant affair, every right thinking person condemns Major Gascoyne.
I fear there is but little chance of seeing you here for some time the more especially as the
General Assembly meets in about 6 weeks when the Committees and cross questionings will commence again. Our worthy friends Dr. Sinclair and Mr. Shepherd, are out of the way of all this now --- and I suppose thank God for it ---
The Richmonds, Sinclairs, and Rough's are much in their usual way, the latter fortunately has got a quiet billet at last ---
By the by we have got a first rate Minister in Mr. Calder, and he is determined to make us all good Christians. His worthy parents and a sister have come out with him. The Mother is such a nice old body, and a favorite with every one who knows her --- She's real highland being originally a Cameron from Lochaben --- When you come here you can polish up your Gaelic with her --- Our friend Nicholson is going ahead quietly in the Wairau ---
I am happy to say that the Clan are all well, and they desire to be kindly remembered to you and believe me always
Yours very sincerely
We had a grand Maori wedding last week --- Julia,
William Cottons Daughter was married to a young Chief James Martin (I think from Otaki) who was educated at the Bishops College in Auckland. My Annie, Jessie and James went to the Nelson church with them. The feast in the evening took place in the Whakapuaku Bush gardens, when your humble servant presided, and the dancing was kept up until 4 o'clock A. M.