Object #1024002 from MS-Papers-0032-0222

3 pages written 28 Oct 1871 by William Colenso in Napier City to Sir Donald McLean

From: Inward letters - William Colenso, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0222 (85 digitised items). 82 letters written from Waitangi (Hawke's Bay) & Napier. Includes letters from McLean to Colenso, and newspaper cuttings re Maori English lexicon

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

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English (ATL)

Napier,
Saturday Octr. 28 1871


My dear Sir,

I said, in my telegraphic reply to your telegram of Thursday respecting the Maori Dicty., that I would "write fully by Ahuriri Steamer" - then on her way to Napier. As she returns this Evening I would now do so, - but, after all, I scarcely know how.

I also received your kind telegram in reply, but I am not sure that they are "Official," - and as I have a great dislike to re-commence any more official writing (having already written so much of that kind to so little purpose), I will take advantage of the doubt and so write non-officially.

1, Your first enquiry was - "Will you be able after the Session is over to send here part of your Maori Dictionary, as it might be printed from time to time?" - I don't think this plan a preferable one; and that, in a great measure, owing to the new Ed. of Williams' Dicty., just out, and which (though faulty and deficient) is quite sufficient for the Public for general purposes. New words, and fresh additional meanings of words well-known, are every now and then coming to light, and which may equally belong to the former as to the latter part of the Work.

Had the offer I officially made to the N. Minister (Col. Russell) in '66 been accepted - to publish the Dicty, in 4 parts - 2 of them would have been published ere this, and the Government and the Public been satisfied; and and I, too, be now receiving pay for my labour. For, while I am going on with the work, and intend (D. V.) to continue to do so, I cannot conceal, from all parties, that I am hardly used by the Government (not particularly yours), who have twice broken faith with me in working for them, and so driven me to do what little I may towards getting my own daily bread. Could I have supposed that the Government would have so acted I would never have undertaken the Work - and I have, consequently, wished a 100 times that I had not. Thus circumstanced, and with daily more or less of Rheumatism, (a fresh return yesterday at poor Young Kenny's funeral, though day very fine,) - I hesitate to promise as to when the first part of the work would be so ready as to be followed in steady succession by the remaining ones.

2. As to Mr. John White, a paid Govt. Officer, asking for a "consideration" for his 150 (!) collected Maori words, which may or may not be of value - it seems, to me, preposterous. And yet, perhaps, not so, bearing in mind what too many of the Colony think with regard to their doing anything, however small, for the Government! In my telegram in reply, I referred you to the Ntice on this subject in the Gazette, of April '66, p. 159, and which I hope at your early leisure you will read. Yet even that was not inserted (by ol. Russell) as I had wished, there were 2 or 3 official letters about it. - I wanting the tenor of it to be inserted as from the Govt. and not from me, but ol. Russell chose this way of doing it, and his short addition to it spoiled all, as the consequence has been that not one has ever helped (nor replied to my letters) save Locke and Grindell. I think that those old words which J. White says he has collected should be obtained; but, if he must be paid for them, let us know first what we are to pay for, - as I may have them already; And if he declines to let me see them with their meanings, let him send the words only - keeping the Keys - until reported on to you.

I quite agree with you, that we should have "good examples in pure old Maori": this I have always aimed at; and it is this which has made my work so much the more heavy, - giving me 3 or 4 times the amount of writing.

Do try, my dear Sir, to get hold of that MS. of W. Baker's, which you mention: it should, it must be found: I had also heard of it. Baker was the best of all the M. Interpreters I have ever known. I would he were alive now! It was he who gained all the old Maori for Rev. R. Taylor, and which Taylor has, in attempting to use or cook, utterly spoiled (as Taylor never knew Maori)

Could you not also send me properly sealed up, the Ms. referred to in Sir G. Grey's vol. of Maori Poetry, page 18 Index, note, (at end of vol.), I telegraphed the other day to Locke about it. Please send me this, if you can, and if possible by Mr. Ormond.

Believe me I shall continue to dig away at my long and heavy job as I best may - none the better however for being left to do it without help or pay!

You can make what use you please of this letter, and, if you wish it, I will recast it officially.

Hoping you are well, and wishing you well through your Sessional labours.


I am, My dear Sir, Yours very truly,
Wm. Colenso.
TO:--Hon. D. McLean

Part of:
Inward letters - William Colenso, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0222 (85 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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