Object #1018946 from MS-Papers-0032-0827

8 pages written by Sir Donald McLean to Susan Douglas McLean

From: Inward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0827 (34 digitised items). Letters between Donald McLean and Susan. Donald's letters written from Hawke's Bay, Rangitikei, Taita and Wairapapa. Susan's letters from Dalmuir Hill, Wellington (the home of her parents (Robert and Susannah Strang).

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

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Page 1 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

20th Novr


My dearest Douglas

I cannot describe to you the various emotions and suspense I have been in till I read your letters by the 'Rose' which although they contain most melancholy news of poor Mama's frail state of health yet give some hopes of her recovery and thanks to the Almighty your last letter is the most encouraging you have sent me. That scoundrel the Dane must not be admitted near your house as he is a most notorious thief and great scoundrel. Surely you cannot have received my letters from Russel's station, Wairarapa or you would have known that, neither do you seem to have received my letter enclosing £3 of which I give you the particulars in the foregoing part of this letter. But these are trifling considerations. I am vexed beyond measure at not being able to join you at once but I fear dearest this will be impossible without

Page 2 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

sacrificing my duties but I will try if I work night and day to get to Wellington as soon as I possibly can for I cannot think of leaving you and poor Papa in such a state of distress. Indeed it would be cruel in me to do so but your letters lead me to hope that you will put up with my absence a little longer and you may rest assured dearest that I will not cause you further anxiety by going by sea. Do not fear anything of the kind. My wishes are too much knit up with yours to think of such a thing. I will take the shortest and most expeditious overland route. I quite approve Douglas of your entirely living with Mama. Be actuated entirely by your own good judgement and Papa and Mama's advice as to what you do in my absence.

Page 3 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

May the Almighty preserve and give you strength my dear girl under all difficulties and preserve you to comfort your worthy parents and your own affectionate and ever faithful husband.


Donald McLean

I feel extremely obliged to the Pauls for their kindness in sending a servant to take care of our house and trust it may be in my power to make some return for their attention except your own and Papa's. My other letters are unopened. Excuse me then while I look them over. I am not you may feel certain in a very happy state tonight when I think of poor Mama and the distress you are suffering on her account. Were it not imperatively necessary to complete my negotiations here by going 60 miles farther north I should leave this place tonight for Wellington such is my anxiety on your own and Mama's account. Farewell dearest for the present and believe me to be always your own Donald.

Page 4 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


I have now read Papa's letter a second time and I find that both you and Mama are better which composes me before going to bed so that I shall have more sleep than I expected. Tomorrow I intend to set to work writing as hard as I can and if the Rose does not sail shortly I will despatch an overland messenger to Wellington and shall enclose you a cheque for any expenses you may have to incur. I am glad that you find Jessie so useful. Give her my compliments and tell her that I shall expect her to take every possible care of you in my absence. If she has any regard for me as a Highlander, independent of the attention she may show you from old friendship, after all dearest, do not be displeased with me if I am delayed longer than I expect. You know my wish to be with you and you also know that I have a great wish to get through my public duties here in order to enable me to spend more time with you when I get back. May God bless you & preserve you.

Page 5 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)


Friday morning 21st Novr
I think there is nothing on earth my dearest Douglas that gives us so much tranquility and ease of mind as putting our trust in Providence. It is wonderful how it brightens our path and removes our saddest apprehensions. Last night I was perplexed with grief and sorrow on your own and Mama's account. Today I feel wonderfully relieved from all my anxiety. First I prayed to Him who can alone alleviate the affliction and distress of our affectionate mother and the 121st Psalm for the 27th morning of the month opened up to me

I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from
whence cometh my help
My help even cometh from the
Lord who made Heaven and
Earth

Read the Psalm through dearest. It is a most beautiful one and particularly applicable to you at present. It is to that God who shall preserve they going out and thy coming in, from this time forth for ever more that I now commend you. How weak are all the efforts of mortal man when compared to those of our heavenly Father and guide under whose protection

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English (MD)

we are placed. Two circumstances made me very dull last night, so much so that Thomas, who is a very pleasant gentlemanly man and very fond of me, must have noticed it. One was a report by the vessel before I opened the letters that you were very ill. I then heard that Grey wished to see me and I thought there must be something seriously wrong so that even although I perused your letters twice over I still felt so apprehensive on your account that I had serious thoughts of starting overland to Wellington. This morning however I was saluted by my old boy Epiha, who told me he called up to see you on Sunday last and that you were then quite well and looking well. Afterwards I again read over your letter of Tuesday last, the 11 inst and find on calmly perusing it that you are quite recovered and delighted am I to hear that Dr Featherston is quite surprised with Mama's improvement and that she is able to sit up for two or three hours. I must now go to my box for Papa's letter of the 13th. His report I fear

Page 7 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

is not quite so favourable. I have Papa's letter before me. It gives but a melancholy report. Still he says that the means used has given Mama some relief and refers me to you for particulars after weighing all the circumstances and painful as the feeling of separation from you is I must ask you to favor my staying a few weeks longer till my duties are more completed then I trust I shall be able to spend more of my time with you and in fact I feel that it is a great act of injustice to you to leave you in this manner and I sincerely trust the time is not very distant when I will not have occasion to do so. Never mind the house, the slippers or anything of mine. Let your whole and undivided attention be given to Mama. If necessary you may lock up our house altogether until my return if you can manage with Jessie but these things I leave entirely to yourself. You know that I will [be] satisfied with whatever you do. I could keep writing to you to the exclusion of all other employment but now I must attend to other duties.

Saturday morning 22nd Novr
I wonder very much what my little slave is about this morning. I have

Page 8 of 8. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

been thinking of her since daylight and hoping that she is well and able to attend to her mother. The weather is lovely. I had such a refreshing bathe. I am so comfortable that in future I think my little slave must travel with me. I know it would do her a great deal of good and improve her health amazingly. I wish I was with you at Dalmuir Hill but do not be severe on me for not going at once as I have several duties which really must be attended to before I can possibly leave and although I said 6 weeks on leaving you know pet that 4 out of 6 were so severe that I lost them in coming up the coast. Now if you will make some allowance I will work hard to get through my duties and when they are completed I must not annoy you by leaving you suddenly again. Poor Papa must have great trials at present. I feel very much for him.

Monday 24th
I had a sleepless night thinking of poor Douglas. I do trust pet that you are quiet and composed and that this fine weather is improving Mama's health. Take every care of both her and yourself and abandon all anxiety for me as I am in the hands of that Almighty who preserves us all.

English (MD)

20th Novr


My dearest Douglas

I cannot describe to you the various emotions and suspense I have been in till I read your letters by the 'Rose' which although they contain most melancholy news of poor Mama's frail state of health yet give some hopes of her recovery and thanks to the Almighty your last letter is the most encouraging you have sent me. That scoundrel the Dane must not be admitted near your house as he is a most notorious thief and great scoundrel. Surely you cannot have received my letters from Russel's station, Wairarapa or you would have known that, neither do you seem to have received my letter enclosing £3 of which I give you the particulars in the foregoing part of this letter. But these are trifling considerations. I am vexed beyond measure at not being able to join you at once but I fear dearest this will be impossible without sacrificing my duties but I will try if I work night and day to get to Wellington as soon as I possibly can for I cannot think of leaving you and poor Papa in such a state of distress. Indeed it would be cruel in me to do so but your letters lead me to hope that you will put up with my absence a little longer and you may rest assured dearest that I will not cause you further anxiety by going by sea. Do not fear anything of the kind. My wishes are too much knit up with yours to think of such a thing. I will take the shortest and most expeditious overland route. I quite approve Douglas of your entirely living with Mama. Be actuated entirely by your own good judgement and Papa and Mama's advice as to what you do in my absence. May the Almighty preserve and give you strength my dear girl under all difficulties and preserve you to comfort your worthy parents and your own affectionate and ever faithful husband.


Donald McLean

I feel extremely obliged to the Pauls for their kindness in sending a servant to take care of our house and trust it may be in my power to make some return for their attention except your own and Papa's. My other letters are unopened. Excuse me then while I look them over. I am not you may feel certain in a very happy state tonight when I think of poor Mama and the distress you are suffering on her account. Were it not imperatively necessary to complete my negotiations here by going 60 miles farther north I should leave this place tonight for Wellington such is my anxiety on your own and Mama's account. Farewell dearest for the present and believe me to be always your own Donald.

I have now read Papa's letter a second time and I find that both you and Mama are better which composes me before going to bed so that I shall have more sleep than I expected. Tomorrow I intend to set to work writing as hard as I can and if the Rose does not sail shortly I will despatch an overland messenger to Wellington and shall enclose you a cheque for any expenses you may have to incur. I am glad that you find Jessie so useful. Give her my compliments and tell her that I shall expect her to take every possible care of you in my absence. If she has any regard for me as a Highlander, independent of the attention she may show you from old friendship, after all dearest, do not be displeased with me if I am delayed longer than I expect. You know my wish to be with you and you also know that I have a great wish to get through my public duties here in order to enable me to spend more time with you when I get back. May God bless you & preserve you.

Friday morning 21st Novr
I think there is nothing on earth my dearest Douglas that gives us so much tranquility and ease of mind as putting our trust in Providence. It is wonderful how it brightens our path and removes our saddest apprehensions. Last night I was perplexed with grief and sorrow on your own and Mama's account. Today I feel wonderfully relieved from all my anxiety. First I prayed to Him who can alone alleviate the affliction and distress of our affectionate mother and the 121st Psalm for the 27th morning of the month opened up to me

I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from
whence cometh my help
My help even cometh from the
Lord who made Heaven and
Earth

Read the Psalm through dearest. It is a most beautiful one and particularly applicable to you at present. It is to that God who shall preserve they going out and thy coming in, from this time forth for ever more that I now commend you. How weak are all the efforts of mortal man when compared to those of our heavenly Father and guide under whose protection we are placed. Two circumstances made me very dull last night, so much so that Thomas, who is a very pleasant gentlemanly man and very fond of me, must have noticed it. One was a report by the vessel before I opened the letters that you were very ill. I then heard that Grey wished to see me and I thought there must be something seriously wrong so that even although I perused your letters twice over I still felt so apprehensive on your account that I had serious thoughts of starting overland to Wellington. This morning however I was saluted by my old boy Epiha, who told me he called up to see you on Sunday last and that you were then quite well and looking well. Afterwards I again read over your letter of Tuesday last, the 11 inst and find on calmly perusing it that you are quite recovered and delighted am I to hear that Dr Featherston is quite surprised with Mama's improvement and that she is able to sit up for two or three hours. I must now go to my box for Papa's letter of the 13th. His report I fear is not quite so favourable. I have Papa's letter before me. It gives but a melancholy report. Still he says that the means used has given Mama some relief and refers me to you for particulars after weighing all the circumstances and painful as the feeling of separation from you is I must ask you to favor my staying a few weeks longer till my duties are more completed then I trust I shall be able to spend more of my time with you and in fact I feel that it is a great act of injustice to you to leave you in this manner and I sincerely trust the time is not very distant when I will not have occasion to do so. Never mind the house, the slippers or anything of mine. Let your whole and undivided attention be given to Mama. If necessary you may lock up our house altogether until my return if you can manage with Jessie but these things I leave entirely to yourself. You know that I will [be] satisfied with whatever you do. I could keep writing to you to the exclusion of all other employment but now I must attend to other duties.

Saturday morning 22nd Novr
I wonder very much what my little slave is about this morning. I have been thinking of her since daylight and hoping that she is well and able to attend to her mother. The weather is lovely. I had such a refreshing bathe. I am so comfortable that in future I think my little slave must travel with me. I know it would do her a great deal of good and improve her health amazingly. I wish I was with you at Dalmuir Hill but do not be severe on me for not going at once as I have several duties which really must be attended to before I can possibly leave and although I said 6 weeks on leaving you know pet that 4 out of 6 were so severe that I lost them in coming up the coast. Now if you will make some allowance I will work hard to get through my duties and when they are completed I must not annoy you by leaving you suddenly again. Poor Papa must have great trials at present. I feel very much for him.

Monday 24th
I had a sleepless night thinking of poor Douglas. I do trust pet that you are quiet and composed and that this fine weather is improving Mama's health. Take every care of both her and yourself and abandon all anxiety for me as I am in the hands of that Almighty who preserves us all.

Part of:
Inward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0827 (34 digitised items)
Series 9 Inwards family letters, Reference Number Series 9 Inwards family letters (1204 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

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