Object #1026480 from MS-Papers-0032-0332

3 pages written 26 Mar 1873 by James Hawthorne in Eden Crescent

From: Inward letters - James Hawthorne, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0332 (47 digitised items). 39 letters, memos and reports written from Napier and Auckland

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

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English (ATL)

Eden Crescent,
26 March, 1873.

Dear Sir,

By a letter received from Wellington to day, I have it on very reliable authority that the subject of Mr. Benzoni's appointment (concerning which the Newspapers have so much to say) will be brought before the General Assembly -- chiefly in connection with the dismissal of Mr. Price formerly of Major Tisdalls office, and lately a clerk in the Inspector of Stores Office at Wellington -- I have good reasons for believing that Mr. Benzoni's appointment as Chief Clerk of Public Works department will be a very powerful weapon for the Opposition -- I will, with your permission -- state those reasons.

Benzoni is a Jew, who formerly resided in France -- in 1858 he was sentenced to 10 years penal servitude -- part of which he served in the Galleys at Brest -- he was afterwards sent to New Caledonia -- but the vessel in which he sailed was wrecked, and he found his way to India and there joined the British Army -- in 1862 he deserted and got 12 months -- but was allowed to go with some troops to New Zealand -- sometime in 1864 he was a Commissariat Clerk with the Imperial Forces in Auckland -- and in that year he was tried for making away with H.M. Stores but was acquitted for want of sufficient evidence. Again in 1869, he was tried for making away with blankets of which he had charge, but this time he escaped through the influence of a Mr. de Burgh Adams -- Nevertheless, Benzoni was dismissed the Imperial Service and was refused a passage to England -- the Blankets were sold by Benzoni to a Marine Store dealer named Mills -- now residing in Auckland -- (a money lender, and brother to Capt. Gallagher) admits having innocently purchased stolen Government property (Imperial) from Benzoni -- whose career from first to last whilst serving as a Commissariat Clerk to the Imperial forces in New Zealand is perfectly well known to three respectable discharged soldiers who are now Arm-Cleaners in our office -- viz to J. Pennalligan late Serj't W. Rockley do Imperial Service. J. Gibbins do Benzoni is a good details clerk, and subsequently by the Advice of Mr. Price, formerly of this office Benzoni was made Sub Storekeeper in Waikato -- he wormed himself into Col. Gorton's good graces, and was removed to Wellington -- before going, he borrowed a considerable sum -- £30, I was told -- from Serj't Graham an old and highly respectable Non-Commissioned Officer who is living in Albert Barracks -- Benzoni afterwards tried to repudiate the repayment because there was a trifling flaw in a document, he left here heavily in debt, and is still in debt to a great many people.

Col. Gorton also removed Mr. Price to Wellington. Mr. Price to my knowledge was a first rate Clerk, but unhappily he was a little given to drink -- though I do not remember ever seeing him the worse for it in office hours -- It appears that Benzoni feared Mr. Price's superior ability -- at length he got poor Price dismissed from the Inspector of Stores Office at Wellington -- there were two charges -- one for being intoxicated -- and one for neglecting to forward a letter or letters -- 11 Months previously -- and thus Benzoni ruined the very man who got him into the Civil Service. Mr. Price assures me that the Court of Enquiry acquitted him but that he was nevertheless discharged whilst his wife was ill -- and one of his children was dying -- He has thrice applied for a copy of the proceedings in his case -- but cannot obtain it -- Mr. Price invariably spoke of the Government in respectful and kindly terms -- but I am not surprised to hear that he will bring his dismissal to the notice of the General Assembly -- I do not presume to say he was harshly used but he has many good points about him -- is hardworking, faithful, and honest -- and left helpless with a sick wife, and 4 small children, I must pity him -- He was 11 years in the Colonial Service -- and never a word against him untill Benzoni -- and Col. Gorton -- laid their heads together -- as clearly appears from copies of the evidence transmitted for my perusal -- to effect his utter ruin --

With reference Dear Sir to your kind offer respecting employment elsewhere, I should like it very much -- for reasons of which you know -- but I have been told by a disinterested and I think unprejudiced gentleman that Mr. Macfarlanes Chief Clerk is a very hard man -- so much so that all the other employes talk of leaving. I hope this is not so, for I should be very unhappy were I under such a man -- and I should not know where to seek other employment if circumstances compelled me to leave -- I do not hesitate to write frankly for I am quite sure you only wish to do me a service -- and I place myself unreservedly in your hands.

I remain, Dear Sir, Always, Your faithful obedient servt
James Hawthorne.

Part of:
Inward letters - James Hawthorne, Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0332 (47 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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