Object #1018091 from MS-Papers-0032-0644

7 pages written 19 May 1863 by Helen Ann Wilson

From: Inward letters - Helen Ann Wilson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0644 (90 digitised items). 84 letters (including some incomplete and fragments) written from New Plymouth (Henui & Calpe Cottage), 1849-1870 & undated, written to `My dear son' (Donald McLean)Letter from Helen Wilson to Isabelle Gascoyne (Gascoigne), Jun 1858

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

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English (ATL)

19th May 1863

My dear Son,

Although I wrote to you on the 10th still I feel that I must write a few lines by this opportunity merely to mention one or two little matters which have transpired since that date - the first is the ''Giving up the Waitara'' to the natives - the occupation of which has cost us so much money and so many valuable lives!!! Te taira now admits that he had no right to sell that block of land: and it how comes out that he was bribed with £250! to offer his land for sale - the name or names of the man or men who did such a thing has not yet come to light - but assuredly it will come out in time, when ever it does, we hope and trust the rascals will receive the punishment due to their crime. Just to think of the loss of life and property - and the misery which the last three years has brought upon so many - when Teteira was asked what he thought of himself - he hung down his head and said ''he was ashamed'' he owned that he had never mentioned to Governor Brown the circumstance that he was not at liberty to sell that block - had he honestly done so, how much misery it would have saved - surely when all this gets Home, there will be some inquiry made so as to find out who are in fault? there certainly have been some dirty plays carried on in New Plymouth ever since she was made into a Province; but surely it must come to an end some day. Sir George seems to know it all pretty well, and I doubt not, but that he will sift it out - he wished all regarding the Waitara question to be laid before the Public - but Domet and Bell would not allow it; we have been surprised to find how very little power the Governor has, in comparison with the Ministers, he tells us himself that he is perfectly powerless in many things - there is one thing which he is fighting for just now, and he thinks that he is pretty sure of getting it, and that is our long looked for compensation - Domet and Bell say that we shall not have it, but Sir George declares that we shall - so time will show who is the strongest it will be a sad blow to many if they do not get it, as many have entered with liabilities on the strength of getting it.

The troops are now stationed at Tatura ''Poutoka'' and ''Oakura'' - yesterday our men began to show the natives that they could lie in ambush equally well with themselves - a party from the ''Oakura'' redoubt managed to knock over six natives - and from one they got a rifle and all the accoutrements belonging to one of the poor fellows who was murdered by them on the 4th - the heavy rain today has prevented any communication with the different stations - so that we still wait for further information about our ambuscade and its results ''nothing more'' I do not really know what we shall do when Sir George leaves us. Don Pedro and your old Mother will be at a sad loss when he goes - he comes in for an hours chat every evening - and sometimes he comes two or three times during the day - he feels quite at home with us and we do so equally with him - I feel that I can talk to him just as I would to you, he certainly is a most delightful companion - we never, or very seldom talk upon the affairs of the Province or Colony he is ''Bothered'' enough with that subject during the day - last evening we were on the seige of Gibraltar - when we chanced to find out that Sir George's maternal Grandfather, and my Father had been very intimate friends, and were very much together during that memorable time - I have the name of Vignoles most deeply impressed upon my memory by the many interesting anecdotes he used to tell us of him and other friends in the same Regt. - is it not strange, that the grandson and daughter of these two friends, should meet so many years afterwards, in this spec of the Indian Ocean!!

June 5th -

I had written thus far but was prevented concluding my letter by the steamer coming in some days before her time. Since then many important things have come to pass - during the night of the 3d. General Cameron led his men out of town, quietly and silently, on to Tataraimaka - the ''Eclipse'' with Sir George onboard, steamed down to the same point, and at Daybreak, the Steamer's ''Big Armstrong'' gave the inmates of the native redoubt a most unwelcome reviellie while the ''Cameron men'' carried the riflepits at the point of the bayonet, the slaughter was awful on the part of the enemy seventy five! are reported up to this date - on our side one killed ten wounded - 4 since dead - such close quarters was the hand to hand fighting, that most of the wounds are from the tomahawk - Sir George and the General returned in high glee - Sir George left for Auckland by the ''Eclipse'' on the same Evening - for one reason I am glad he is gone away from this, for he exposed himself far too much - on the 4th he was onshore in the midst of all the fighting - Today we hear that the Mataitawa's under our old enemy Haperona, have joined the Southern - let them go on, they will soon find that Cameron is not to be played with. The Gudeman and I feel quite lonely now that our dear good Sir George is away - we miss his daily visit, he even came in on his way to the beach at 9 o'clock on the night of the 3d to tell us that he was going on board - and called inthe next day on his return to tell us the result of the affair - he is so kind and considerate for everything, and every body - he has told me to write to him as often as I like - and on any subject I like - he has given me every instruction as to how he wishes Mr. Wilson to manage about getting a retirement when he feels inclined to do so - and has half persuaded us to take up our future residence at Auckland our being near him would be a very great inducement he has kindly promised to send me his ''Carte de visite'' photograph to put in my album - and you, my own dear Son, must not refuse yours to your old mother - I admit none into my book that I do not love and dearly esteem, so I cannot do without yours - I have left two vacancies to be filled up by yours and Sir Georges - and I must have dear Douglass' also - don't disappoint me.

6th -

Nothing further today, except that the Natives are seen working hard to fortify their position on the Range just above ''Oakura'' when an attack is made upon that position - I fear our men will not find it an easy job - the ''Herald'' of today is most unfair to Sir George - but as it is a tool in the hands of the ''Clique'' one does not wonder at it.


The Harner is just in with troops from Sydney - so I suppose General Cameron will dance a Highland Fling for joy to the tune of ''Up and waur them a''' he is after something we know - but he is very sly about his movements - and very properly so - how different to what used to be acted formerly - let me hear from you soon - and don't forget your likeness - the Gude Man sends his love - and so does your attached old Mother

H. A. Wilson

do, do, write me if/only one line - Mrs. James Wilson wishes to know when she may expect to see you in England! I have told her that you have got other fish to fry now.

Part of:
Inward letters - Helen Ann Wilson, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0644 (90 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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