Don't forget to mention me to Major Whitmore - get him to write to me about the silk worms.
H. A. Wilson.
22nd. Jany., 1863.
My dear Son,
May be I ought to begin "Your Honor!" but I fear your Mother is too old to begin a new style! - she dearly loves the old one, and will therefore keep to it - and what is more, she does not anticipate any very great displeasure from "Your Honor" in consequence of the liberty! I shall be on the look out by the next mail to get a letter from you telling me how it all came about that your voyage to England and Scotland is given up, and that instead of the delightful trip up and down the Mediterranean you have taken upon yourself the duties of a Superintendent. I only wish we poor unfortunate Plymouthians had the luck of getting one like you, how different would be our lot. "Patience and Hope" must be our motto for some years to come. Master Charlie has again been at some of his dirty meddling work, he will not leave my "Gudeman" quiet, but this time we suspect that he has put his foot a little too far in - and is therefore likely to get his toes pinched. He has written a long letter to the Government calling their attention to the delapidated state of the Henui Hospital! he goes into minute details about doors, windows,
fences - and even mentions one of the gates being off its hinges! This complaint has brought the Colonial Surgeon a smart wigging from the Native Secretary, who expresses his astonishment that such a state of things should be allowed to go on without reporting upon it! Now it so happens that Mr. Wilson has been writing on this subject for the last two years - and the last communication he made in August, and in October got an answer saying "the subject would be laid before the Governor" - as you may suppose Peter had nothing to do! but send them copies of all his letters, and their answers for the last two years on the subject. So I think they will look very foolish seeing that the Natives department is to blame and not the poor Colonial Surgeon! I long to hear what they have to say for themselves and how they will thank Charlie for leading them into the scrape.
On the 18th. of last month I wrote you a long letter and sent you a copy of Charlies former complaint against Peter. I am telling you all this because it does me good to have it out, for it has vexed me not a little to see Peter so annoyed by such an upstart puppy. No visit from Sir George yet, nor do I think that he will ever come to New Plymouth. He too well knows what a set of evil spirits we have in this Province - and naturally will not like to encounter their rudeness - report said that "Lady Grey" was expected out soon - is that
true? Another report is that she is suffering from Cancer which will prevent her coming. I hope this last is not true.
What are you going to do with Douglas? As he is not to go to Scotland, I hope you will place him at some good school he is quite old enough now to sit earnestly to work at his education. If he remains in the Colony I may have a chance of seeing him someday. I have been for the last two months quite busy preparing a specimen of silk from my silk worms to send to England, and which I despatched on the 16th. Inst. to Auckland to my friend Miss Tyhurst who goes Home in the "Ida Ziglar". I had intended to have sent a specimen last year to the Ehibition but the destruction to our gardens by the war prevented my getting food for the worms. So had to give up the idea - this seasons silk I have sent to be plaved in the South Kensington Industrial Museum the specimen was in truth a most beautiful one. I have set the young folks wild about it here. I am doing my best to encourage any one who has a garden to plant a lot of Mulberry trees and when they grow, then rear the worms. I have kept the egga (or seed) for the last seven years - and now I hope to reap the fruit of my labour, by drawing public attention to the fact that silk in a very few years will be an article of commerce in New Zealand. I will send you a paper containing some of my remarks on the interesting subject. Major Whitmore I believe is settled in your neighbourhood, and I understand
intends growing the silk in a large scale and that he will feed the worms on a native tree. Perhaps you will have influence enough with him to obtain for me the name of the said Tree - if we have it in this Province it will be a great help to my undertaking. I have often been in hopes that Major Whitmore would visit New Plymouth - as I wished to tell him how very intimate his Grandfather Sir George was with my Father and Mother at Gibralter, and also with Mrs. James Willon when she was Miss Bailey and on a visit to Lady Whitmore. Mrs. James is constantly writing to know if I have met the Major yet, We are joging on in our old way. Colonel and Mrs, Warre give a grand party tomorrow evening - to which, if all is well, Don Pedro and your old Mother intend going. I have not been to a party for the last three years, so I shall come out quite young again don't you think I am an old fool for beginning such follies? In my last I mention all about Dr. Mackinnon. He is really a treasure to us all - the more we see of him, the more we delight in him. I am delighted to know that he feels himself quite at Home in our house - he is extremely clever in his profession particularly in the eye. He has already gained laurels in some wonderful cures he has performed on several persons with complaints of the eyes. Old Fishley, who has been blind for years, can now see as well as ever since Mackinnon took him in hand. Mrs. Willie King has returned.
looking as cross as ever without a scrap of mourning on any part of her dress. Old Mrs. King has been very ill - but is now quite well again. Mackinnon attended her with Don Pedro. The old Captain is looking particularly well just now. Ritchie is getting quite right again and if he could only get a situation as clerk in some establishment he would yet do well. Mr. and Mrs. Grey of Nelson (the Portmaster) have been extremely kind to him.
I have just asked Don Pedro if he had any message for "His Honor" - and he bids me say "that he hopes His Honor will behave himself as befits the dignity of his high Office" and adds his blessing with the Fatherly advice! The Steamer is expected in tomorrow so I will conclude this tonight - with affectionate regards to dear Douglas and accept the same from your attached old Mother*
H. A. Wilson.
* I find I left out the "old" - it may be because I am going to the Party tomorrow.
24th. We went to the party last night and enjoyed it very much - it was a very gay affair. The garden lighted up with coloured lamps, dancing, music, and all kinds of amusements. Colonel and Mrs. Warre very attentive to their company and I had the opportunity of showing Charles Brown how completely I dispise him - he is sinking vary low in the estimation of every body, and if all is true, that is whispered about him, and his doings, he will get still further down still. Let me hear from you and believe in the affection of your attached old Mother. I send this through Mrs. Strang not being quite sure of your direction.
H. A. W.