Letter from P. Wilson, to Donald McLean,
dated 11th. March 1849.
11th. March 1849.
My dear McLean,
Your letter, with enclosures to Govett, and Turton, we got last night, as we were out with a picnic party, viz, - the Wicksteeds, Kings and Mrs. Standish, at Omata, during the day. We are all rejoiced to learn that you are likely so soon to be with us again; and I write these few lines as I just learn that Campbell is likely to be dispatched to meet you.
We have no news of any moment, except that a barque, the "Mary" from London, has been here; but last from Nelson, where again I am told the Trafalgarians have been playing us a trick by misrepresenting this place, so as to induce a settler or two, who were coming here, to remain there. This is a second or third time they have played this dirty game; and now I think they ought to be publicly told of it. We are to have a public Meeting on Wednesday evening, to remonstrate with the Company on the subject of not sending emigrants to us, which may have some effect;
and it will be a good opportunity to have a public expression as to Nelson folks. I am truly afraid that from first to last, the people here have shown no disposition to join the other Southern settlements in their ultra outcry about free institutions. I believe we may have a very few who would join, but the faith in the fair and good intentions of the Governor, is too general for anything approaching to a manifestation. The petition to the House of Commons, by the Wellingtonians, is weaker considerably than I thought they could have made it; and proceeding as it does, in mere presumption, will not meet with any success. They admit their ignorance of the Governor's motives; and under the circumstances, he would be a greater fool than I take him to be, to let them into his secret.
I saw Sutton yesterday along with Wicksteed, when he confirmed all that he previously told me. Campbell, I find, by a conversation with him this morning, must have been similarly, but not so directly, tampered with; as he was led in to choose by the agency of Aubrey, and farmer Allen, - who, you may recollect, was afterwards employed to supercede me in my Block, by the stepping in of the Reverend parson, Groube. Next post, I shall send a letter to Fox on
the subject, and renew my reclamation with the further information, that, if not complied with, I shall no longer delay bringing the whole transaction before the Directors and the public. In fact, I wonder occasionally, how I happen to have had so much forbearance; but as you observe, I am really unwilling, for the delinquency of so unprincipled a fellow as Bell, to injure a Body such as the Company; who, I really believe will, on coming by the facts, discharge him from their employment.
I have now spent two entire weeks at Omata, and am getting on. My Waikeka section, on careful exploring, turns out very much better than I ever anticipated; but the quantity of gently sloping ground has surprised me. I have changed the proposed site to my house, more to the centre of the section; and so that I shall now from my windows be able to overlook every part of it. The name is now definitely settled, - "Glenraka"; so that I must transfer my "Glenfine" to the upper section, which will do for Pat by and bye.
The Omata Hotel has now got its roof patched, and will be a great addition to the place; for Searancke seems determined to make it somewhat of a respectable affair, for the accommodation of travellers;
and he means to append thereto, a shop for groceries, haberdashery, and so on; which, if he manages right, will keep all from going to town for their supplies. I long most exceedingly to be out there for good and all. The crops there turned out excellently well, and no one repents of having gone there. Harrison is busy preparing his orchard. All his trees look quite beautiful, and even this year he had several dozens of apples. I have sent Home for nails of all sorts, locks and hinges, etc., indeed for anything in the iron way that is requisite for the building of a house and farmery; knowing that these are the chief articles of expense in building in this country. Moreover, I have sent for a considerable surplus, as I shall then have enough to sell, so as to enable me to supply myself for little or nothing, by the profits I may obtain thereon. Ryan received 15 tons of goods by the "Mary" from London. I am glad of it, for he is the purist dealer of all our soidisant merchants here; and I think, bids fair to get ahead of the whole. Mrs. W. has had a long letter from Mrs. Campbell. It is very strange Campbell has never thought it worth his while to acknowledge the receipt of my letter respecting his enquiry as to Lakeman's favor; for I assured the man that I should
be sure of an answer; and he is writing impatiently, having now, since that big house at the entry of the town opposite to Peter Hoskin's, has fallen into his hands, determined to go there to open a shop, as formerly, I expect, therefore, that he will take the first offer that is made to him, though he might have waited, had Campbell asked for time.
By the way, through some blundering, either of Pat's or S. King's, a letter of mine to my brother was sent enclosed to you; and I am very anxious to hear if it reached your hands.
My crop of carrots are excellent; and my favourite Prickley Pears have now their third leaf, both here and at Omata. The growth altogether surprises me, as in Spain they did not seem to grow anything like so fast; nor yet in Wanganui.
I have got my Scrip. I wish Willy Watt, or some other of the Wanganui nabobs, would buy it, as I have far more land than I can employ; and I could make famous use of the cash here. But in the hope of seeing you within ten days, I remain, with kindest regards of all the household,
very faithfully yours
Donald McLean Esq.