Letter from Duncan McInnes, Oban,
to his cousin, Donald McLean,
dated 13th. September 1848.
13th. September 1848
My dear Cousin,
It is impossible to describe the pleasure I experienced on receiving your letter. The receipt of a letter, which called to my recollection, a cousin, who in the days of my childhood, I had so much esteemed, and whom I loved second only to my parents, is a circumstance I shall never forget. In those days to which I refer, nothing gave me greater pleasure than to hear of that cousin's arrival at my father's house at Ardluaig. The days of your departure, and the associations connected therewith, are yet quite vivid on my mind.
Since your departure from this country, a great change has taken place in both of us, but owing to my youth when you left, it is natural to suppose that it is more perceptible in me. I am, at present, about 5 feet 10 inches in height, and 19 years of age.
Before going further, I consider it my duty to ask your forgiveness for the very ungrateful
manner in which I have treated you, by not answering your interesting and affectionate letters sooner. I can assure you it was not from any want of affection, that I acted so. I hope that a more constant correspondence on my part, henceforward, will atone for my past neglect.
I received your letter in March 1847. Owing to my absence from home, I was later in receiving it from my parents. You may, perhaps, be aware that we left Ardluaig the Summer after you left for Australia. Consequently we were in Oban nine years last May. Mama had three young ones added to her family, viz, - Flora Breadalbane, Campbell, and Coll; of whom the two latter died. There are still living, - Helen, Archy, Mary, John, Flora and myself. This may not be of any interest. I merely mention it from the supposition that you might have a cusiosity to know the number of our family.
I went to Glasgow College in November 1844, with the intention of prosecuting my studies for the office of the Ministry; and am still in College with the same view. Last year I was in Edinburgh, as my sister Helen was at a Boarding School there last Winter and Spring.
I cannot but mention how delighted we all were with your graphic description of your intercourse with the natives. How happy you must feel at the idea of being so much respected and beloved, not only by the warlike Aborigines, but also by your Countrymen in the Colony, We were also happy to hear that you brought about the settlement of the Land Question by your good management, after the attempts of others proved abortive. I was sorry to hear that the Colony, notwithstanding, was afterwards in an unsettled state; that the cause of this did not arise from any Land Question, but entirely from the inimical disposition of the Natives towards the settlers.
Uncle Donald is quite stout and well. He seems very anxious to marry, but is not at all very successful, for which I can attribute no other reason than his being too particular.
You will, perhaps, be glad to hear that Aunt Jessie is married to Mr. Lachlan McKenzie, Minister of Meickairn, who was long Parochial Teacher at Kiluniver (?) The event took place last March.
Susan McIntyre, our cousin, who was married to Mr. Duncan McTadger, late merchant in Glasgow, died at Glenmackrie in July last, universally lamented. D. McTadger was unfortunate in Glasgow soon after you
left; the consequence of which was that his wife and he came home to Glenmackrie. On Aunt McIntyre's death the management of affairs was given to them; and they have managed very creditably.
Dr. Coll McIntyre came home from India, five weeks before her death, and is still at Glenmackrie.
I have had occasion to spend a few months of my time at College with your brother John, after his return from a long voyage to India.
I am sure you will be astonished to hear that after the great preparations made by the Irish in blustering orations, and-Pike-forging, to bring about a rebellion, which was expected by the infatuated ringleaders, to render Ireland a separate nation. They have been completely frustrated by the determined and prompt measures of Government.
Your brother John is a very smart, clever young man. I thought a great deal of him. Your brother Archy has likewise been home from India last Winter, but I had not the pleasure of seeing him.
My dear Cousin I must now finish by wishing, from the sincere and heartfelt solicitude I have for your welfare, that the Almighty may spare you to go on and prosper, and be anabled to spend the remainder of your life happily among your relations and friends in Scotland.
Your sincere and affectionate cousin
P.S. I send this letter by an old man of the name of McLean, Long Teacher at Easdale, who is going to settle with his family in New Zealand.
Mother and Father join me with their heartfelt regards to you.
Donald McLean Esq. J.P.
Inspector of Police, Protector of