Letter from Mrs. Wilson to Donald McLean dated 19th. May 1854.
19th. May 1854.
Many thanks, my dear Son, for your very nice, long and affectionate letter of the 3rd. Saturday. We all rejoice to find you had such a pleasant Journey; for we were rather afraid it would be otherwise, as the weather began to change so soon after your departure. The Whiteleys were very sorry your stay with them was so short. Thanks to the Sundays; or I should have had to regret the same. We are quite glad you are to remain at Auckland, as we consider you in that case, as belonging to us; and are certainly more come-at-able than when away at that "other end of New Zealand" - Ahuriri. By the bye, I understand that Mr. Kingdon has got a letter from Mr. Hatfield, to say all is right about the School at Ahuriri. Courtney Kingdon is to start on Monday for that quarter, to get things in order for them. But of course he will write you all particulars by this post. I have not seen them, as they are staying for a few days at the Omata, so I can only give you the
news as I got it. You must let me know what orders you give as regards my dear little Grandson, because you know that I have, and do, feel a great and sincere interest in the dear little fellow. I am still of opinion that you could not place him under better care in every respect than with Mr. and Mrs. George Kingdon; and I feel quite satisfied that you will not repent your choice. At least I have never seen anything in either of them to make me think otherwise. It must be very pleasant to you to meet with your old friend Dr. Sinclair; and if he is so strict and methodical as you say, behave yourself properly, by not reading in bed, keeping your room tidy, and not making too great a splash at your morning ablutions, and, of all things, keeping to regular hours, particularly at meals, etc. etc. etc. But your old mother fears her son will do her little credit in this way; consequently I am sure that the Doctor will not have your company long as I do not think it is your nature to keep these rules. But who knows, - the air of Auckland may work wonders on you. I only hope it will not spoil the pen you have got at present, for I should grieve were you not to continue your present style of letters to me. They are worth a thousand of your Wellington ones. You have made my mind very easy by telling me
that you intend giving Dr. S. a few hints regarding the Hospital here. It is really, at present, in a sad state; and if it continues under the same system, it must fall. Owing to the misunderstandings between Auckland and this, - the requisitions not having been assured since February, they are so ill-found; that only four or five beds can be made up, and medicines of all sorts are required. Surely this is not the way for a Hospital to be managed. At least, I can answer for the one which Mr. Wilson managed for fourteen years at Gibraltar, - was very different. This affair makes me very uneasy. I cannot help thinking sometimes that there is a wish to get rid of Mr. Wilson, and I am always in fear that they will provoke him to give it up. Were he to do so, it would be a dreadful blow to us. You will, I am sure, excuse me for troubling you with my perhaps ill-founded fears, but I feel that I can say all to you, in truth as a Mother. I only wish Drs. S. and W. could meet, for I feel sure they would then quite understand each other. I have often thought that the manner in which the clerks word their letters frequently is the cause of offence. Is there a Doctor Philson in Auckland? He was once upon a time at Wanganui, in one of the Regiments there, - I do not remember which. More than
once I have heard that he was very anxious to get either this Hospital or the one at Wanganui. My Gude-man tells me that he has told you about Pat. The poor boy writes me (and has done so for some time) complaining of feeling very unwell; which he attributes to his being so constantly wet last Winter. He is evidently in very low spirits, having no companion; and so many things having gone against him. The total want of labourers, added to many other vexatious circumstances, has made him quite disgusted with the place; and naturally enough, wishes to leave it, I have got his father to consent to let the farm for a few years, and give Pat a good sum; after which, I have no doubt, but that he will return to Westonlee with renewed zest. He has felt the unkind neglect of the Campbells not a little, but never mentioned it, until Hawkins got the Captain to write to Mr. Wilson, complaining of Pat's being headstrong. This, of course, roused poor Pat to speak; which I must say he did, with more temper than I should have done. But my sincere affection for Mrs. Campbell will always continue the same, and I know that Pat feels the same for her. Still, there was a want of neighbourly kindness, which Pat felt very much. This disappointment, I am sure, has tended not a little to affect his spirits. I hope I shall soon have him home;
when a little love and mother's attention will, please God, bring him all well again.
I do not know if I told you, in my last, that there is some hope of my brother and his family coming out this way. He has, poor fellow, been very unfortunate in business. Therefore I have made what arrangements in my power to get him out; and trust I may succeed. He is quite ready for a start, and only waits our arrangements for funds to enable him to do so. I have told him to come, if possible, direct to this place; if not, to Auckland first. Should he arrive during your stay, I feel he will find a brother in your kind attention. I have not the least fear of his getting a situation. His mercantile experience and ability will ensure him a living; and his two sons, one 17, the other 15, can easily obtain employment in some of the farms here. His daughter, aged 12, will be a useful help to her mother. A nephew, one of my late brother James' sons, may perhaps come also. He is 34 years old; therefore can, I doubt not, manage to get a living for himself. I hardly dare to look forward to this arrivale, for fear of disappointment. But should it please God to grant my prayers, my happiness will be almost too much for me to bear. This will, of course, make me very anxious until something is finally settled;
and you will, I know, sympathise with me.
I thank you for your kind reproof regarding my opinion of some of the good folks here; and shall feel grateful for a hint now and then, just to keep me in the right way. I am well aware that my "Rock Scorpion" blood too often gets up higher than it ought; and shall therefore feel comfortable at having so good and so kind a guide as yourself to point out the right road; and believe me, I will not turn from it.
Don Pedro has told you so many things, and so much of our news, that he has left me but very little to notice. We are, to-day, looking out for the steamer with all the grand folk on board. I hope Mr. Wilson will meet Drs. Featherstone and Monro; and we shall both be delighted to see Major Richmond. He knows so many of our Gibraltar friends. We are all in hopes that our Post Office will be put into other hands. At present we can have no confidence in the management. Miss Wicksteed returns thanks for your kind remembrances; and hopes you will not forget your promise to get her a copy of "Sir George Grey's Journey" at the same time when you get one for yourself; as she wishes to send it to her brother in England. I am glad our little Bazaar has
been noticed in the "New Zealander". It will shew our "Herald" that they need not have been so fearful of doing themselves an injury, by inserting it. No doubt our friend, Gledhill, will busy himself in Reports, when he gets to Auckland, as he is one of the greatest enemies to our little society. But his voice, of course, goes for nothing; for he is not at all likely to be in a set whose good opinion we would care for. James Ritchie continues to go on just as he ought to do. He has had some hard work to get all the papers ready regarding the native trial, Mr. Wilson mentions, in order to be ready for the steamer.
All your friends are constantly asking about you in New Plymouth, and so many send lots of kind remembrances that would fill so many sheets of paper, that poor Leech would go crazy for fear of breaking down the Postman. So you must settle them all as you like by these few lines.
I would offer my compliments to your friend Dr. Sinclair, if I thought they would be acceptable; for I really feel a regard for all who are kind to you. God bless you, my dear Son, is the sincere prayer of
your affectionate old Mother
(Signed) H.A. Wilson.
P.S. You must take this with all its faults. I have written it in a great hurry.
To:- Donald McLean Esq.