Object #1020677 from MS-Papers-0032-0816

6 pages written 13 Dec 1860 by Rev Donald McColl and Annabella McLean in Glenorchy to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward family correspondence - Annabella McLean (sister), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0816 (50 digitised items). Letters written from Scotland (Edinburgh, Glenorchy Manse, Stranraer) prior to her arrival in New Zealand in Jan 1864 on the Wild Duck; afterwards from Maraekakaho, Napier and Wellington. One letter was written in Sep 1858 during a visit to her sister Flora Ann Conway in North Wales.

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

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English (ATL)

Manse of Glenorchy
Decbr 13th/60


My dear brother

On coming here a short time ago I was delighted to find your paper with the native interesting details of the native conference of which Uncle was so proud and more especially of your figuring in so prominent and so essential a public ministration.

This is a period which cannot fail to cause you much mental anxiety but it will eventually prove to be the means of more powerfully developing that sagacity which renders your services as a negotiator with the Maories so invaluable and also give a wider and more extensive scope of opinion to the public in general as to their sense of appreciation of your unequalled merits to that colony. However we know not at present what may be the issue of this outbreak but we fear that it is not going to be easily subdued and once that the spirit of enmity is aroused it will be difficult to bring back the same harmonising feeling of mutual friendship & forbearance which for so long had happily pervaded amongst you. The native conference amused us much. The incoherent and somewhat outrey sentiments of loyalty to the Queen & Government were ludicrous in the extreme, but what of course pleased us most were their innocent expressions of confidence in and fidelity towards friend M'Lean. It is quite a luxury to us to get a newspaper. Do send one oftener. Your name now frequently appears in many of the home journals. I don't know if you have yet heard that Catherine sailed along with Archy's wife Oct last by the ship "Wild Duck" from London. They go direct to Wellington. Of this arrangement Mrs M'Lean will herself I trust on their safe arrival inform you as to the why and wherefore. This step was considered advisable by all relatives at home and I think you will yourself agree considering your visit home was postponed that she could not have gone out under more favourable circumstances than with her sister-in-law. The consideration of many friends enabled her though with a hesitating & sorrowful heart to leave her country with independence and comfort. I may mention that the most unexpected of her benefactors was Captain McDonald, the last I believe of the Inverere line, made her a present of £70 with a Bible of the late Miss McDonald's and giving me as he then understood greater expectations should I as he said himself leave my country. Uncle sent him your paper along with a letter of gratitude to which he replied so politely and kindly expressed his hope that Cath. might have a favourable passage and meet with & get a warm reception from her brothers of which she is most deserving. I shall anxiously look for your opinion of them both. I have no doubt but you will find Mrs M'Lean more the advantage in manner and refinement of mind but Cath most undoubtedly has clever and energetic abilities but perhaps Cath needs a little of that tact which renders conversation agreeable to all with whom we may come in contact but you however my dear brother you must make allowances for disadvantages and do not be too severe in your criticism. She is admirably suited for being with Alexander & Archy and will add no doubt to their enjoyment being naturally of a lively temperament but I suit the varied society which your popularity naturally involves you into. It would require a different style of person altogether but of this you will yourself be the best judge. You were very much fascinated with John's wife which makes me often fear that you will be disappointed with myself and hesitate inviting me to New Zealand which makes me so anxious to gratify you in intellectual attainments if I cannot in personal appearance but instead I think I shall have quite sufficient time to become metaphorised into an old woman ere you come home so many unavoidable hindrances come in the way. I had no sooner got over the trial parting with Cath, and commenced the classes I meant to attend during winter when a letter came from Uncle urging of me to herewithout delay as he was so embarrassed with Aunt Helen becoming imbecile, could not put from home on his ministerial duties having no one to take charge of the house or be with Aunt in his absence. Naturally I was much annoyed. I knew not what to do. I was most painfully reluctant to give up my studies and as equally unwilling to seem undutiful to my Uncle. At last my feelings of compassion overcame, in the meantime, my educational interests so that the present finds me here I hope in the path of duty and if it is so I shall be rewarded, but longer than three months I certainly will not and cannot remain. I am not going to leave half done what I have begun as Uncle would have me do, but for other two years [crossed out] with your sanction for two years more that which I think will eventually be of value to me. If all is well I leave this in March. If Aunt is not better Helen Mary M'Innes may come and take a share of the burden of being with poor Aunt who at times is a sore burdensome task and return to Stranraer and finish my English branches, especially the arithmetic which I am not quite accurate at and then my greatest earthly wish is to finish my other branches on the Continent either in Germany or Paris. It is by no means more expensive than Edin.indeed not so much so as many of the E. or London institutions and there one has the advantage of having the language accurately as well and more speedily than druding with them so long here and not know them properly when done. My principal object for wishing to be competent at the modern languages is that I may talk with and teach little Douglas should it be my happiness to have it in my power to be enabled to do so. Music I know you will not expect me to excel in being commenced so late but I will be a tolerable player if you admit me the means of getting lessons from a master which is very high in comparison to such teachers but their style of finishing pupils is infinitely inferior. Now do not be alarmed and think that it is too extravagant a notion to wish to go to the Continent. Did you feel and know the benefits which will be the results of going. I know that you would heartily concur with the idea as I have now guardian since C left. Address all communications here. It will be a source of much pleasure to Uncle to forward your letters wherever I may be with all his eccentricities and they are not few. He is devotedly attached to our family but naturally of yourself in particular, poor old man how he makes me start when he says Oh, that I could but see him once. I hope to write by almost every mail as long as I am here but hope very soon to leave.

With love to little Douglas andfond remembrances to all


Your afft. sister
Annabella M'Lean

[Added by Rev Donald McColl to above letter]

My dear Donald

I was made happy on receiving a letter from you in July last. I was in great expectations of seeing you here in propria persona ere now but the war in New Zealand no doubt prevented this great pleasure being realized before now. I trust that the war is now favourably ended and that we will soon have the satisfaction of beholding you in your Mother country. I am distressed by the illness of your Aunt Helen. I fear she will never get quite well again but she is better and I am not without hopes of her recovery. I am getting on here as well as I could reasonably expect. Annoyances occasionally occur but which, thank God, I will get over. As Annabella will have given you all the news I need not therefore add more to these few lines but my love to Robert.


Your affectionate Uncle
D McColl

Part of:
Inward family correspondence - Annabella McLean (sister), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0816 (50 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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