Object #1026694 from MS-Papers-0032-0826

9 pages written 2 Jul 1850 by Sir Donald McLean in Rangitikei District to Susan Douglas McLean

From: Inward and outward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0826 (43 digitised items). Mainly letters between Susan Strang and her future husband Donald McLean. Includes a letter from her mother Susannah Strang to McLean, 1849; letter from E Shand to Susan Strang, written from Portobello, 1850 in which she gives her impressions of Dunedin

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

Download alow-resolution PDF or high-resolution PDF

Page 1 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

Rangitikei
2 July 1850


My dear Susan

In your pretended simplicity you excited a promise from me which I most willingly perform. It was if you recollect that I was to write you by first mail after I got here therefore I sit down a day before the time

Page 2 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

to fulfil the agreeable obligation you placed me under.

I had a most delightful and pleasant journey coming along the coast without however any particular adventures to amuse you. Instead I do not think I had any.

On Sunday I spent the day at the little inn at the Rangitikei heads. Mr Park, Capt Daniel & others rode up the Rangitikei Plains leaving me and my few companions to our solitary meditations and reflections in the midst of these I had resolved to write a long letter to you yesterday morning but how often may we be disappointed in carrying out our fondest resolutions before daylight roused

Page 3 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

me from a pleasing slumber. I was surrounded by Europeans and natives in all quarters. To write would be impossible so the desk was reluctantly closed and many of the thoughts I then wished to convey have now partially vanished. May therefore request, as you are not so subject to interruption that you will always write impromptu to

Page 4 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

to make up for my deficiences in that respect. I trust that you are well and happy and that ignorant speculative gossips do not continue to tease you. For my own part I am much happier when in the country than at Wellington. Here you can enjoy the beauties of nature with intense delight. On Sunday for instance in taking a walk I looked over the

Page 5 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

beautiful plains of Rangitikei and fancied to myself what abundant mercies were provided for man by his Creator. Here was a country recently added to our possessions abounding in those natural productions for feeding flocks and lowing herds that formed the exclusive source of wealth to man in the early stages of his existence and that is even now indispensible importance to our existence.

Cottages are springing up here in all directions. Beef, mutton, milk and cheese are plentiful where last year you could get nothing but a few potatoes, wild pigeons and eels to eat. In riding about you will now see fine fat oxen,

Page 6 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

horses neighing and running about with the fleetness of the roe and at every few miles the axe of the industrious woodman startles you from some trains of thought with which the stillness of the scene might overwhelm you. I am sorry for it, but it is a great failing of mine that I sometimes as I am told ride off full

Page 7 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

gallop without answering a question to anyone who may be speaking to me, but upon my word this may appear affectation altho it really is not for I am sorry to say after all that I am not by any means a deep thinker.

I am very anxious to hear what your amusements, books, employments, thoughts,

Page 8 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

wonderings and little changes or disappointments have been since I left. These should be all candidly communicated in asmuch as they are now of more concern to me than any previous time. To hear of you from other sources is never so gratifying as direct communication. Formerly there was a mutual neglect in corresponding. Can this be remedied now that all letters reach me with great certainty 4 days after they are delivered at the Barracks Police Wellington. By the way will you send me the wafer stamp and the metallic memorandum books. Papa will enclose them in strong paper. You will think me most troublesome but if any occasional exercise in doing obliging little matters

Page 9 of 9. View high-resolution image

English (MD)

must be of some advantage to you.

Give my kind regards to Mamma and tell her I did not wish to disturb her so early the day I was coming away knowing that you would say good-bye for me.

Dinner is now announced so forgive a rather hasty conclusion and believe me to remain


Yours very sincerely
Donald McLean

English (MD)

Rangitikei
2 July 1850


My dear Susan

In your pretended simplicity you excited a promise from me which I most willingly perform. It was if you recollect that I was to write you by first mail after I got here therefore I sit down a day before the time to fulfil the agreeable obligation you placed me under.

I had a most delightful and pleasant journey coming along the coast without however any particular adventures to amuse you. Instead I do not think I had any.

On Sunday I spent the day at the little inn at the Rangitikei heads. Mr Park, Capt Daniel & others rode up the Rangitikei Plains leaving me and my few companions to our solitary meditations and reflections in the midst of these I had resolved to write a long letter to you yesterday morning but how often may we be disappointed in carrying out our fondest resolutions before daylight roused me from a pleasing slumber. I was surrounded by Europeans and natives in all quarters. To write would be impossible so the desk was reluctantly closed and many of the thoughts I then wished to convey have now partially vanished. May therefore request, as you are not so subject to interruption that you will always write impromptu to to make up for my deficiences in that respect. I trust that you are well and happy and that ignorant speculative gossips do not continue to tease you. For my own part I am much happier when in the country than at Wellington. Here you can enjoy the beauties of nature with intense delight. On Sunday for instance in taking a walk I looked over the beautiful plains of Rangitikei and fancied to myself what abundant mercies were provided for man by his Creator. Here was a country recently added to our possessions abounding in those natural productions for feeding flocks and lowing herds that formed the exclusive source of wealth to man in the early stages of his existence and that is even now indispensible importance to our existence.

Cottages are springing up here in all directions. Beef, mutton, milk and cheese are plentiful where last year you could get nothing but a few potatoes, wild pigeons and eels to eat. In riding about you will now see fine fat oxen, horses neighing and running about with the fleetness of the roe and at every few miles the axe of the industrious woodman startles you from some trains of thought with which the stillness of the scene might overwhelm you. I am sorry for it, but it is a great failing of mine that I sometimes as I am told ride off full gallop without answering a question to anyone who may be speaking to me, but upon my word this may appear affectation altho it really is not for I am sorry to say after all that I am not by any means a deep thinker.

I am very anxious to hear what your amusements, books, employments, thoughts, wonderings and little changes or disappointments have been since I left. These should be all candidly communicated in asmuch as they are now of more concern to me than any previous time. To hear of you from other sources is never so gratifying as direct communication. Formerly there was a mutual neglect in corresponding. Can this be remedied now that all letters reach me with great certainty 4 days after they are delivered at the Barracks Police Wellington. By the way will you send me the wafer stamp and the metallic memorandum books. Papa will enclose them in strong paper. You will think me most troublesome but if any occasional exercise in doing obliging little matters must be of some advantage to you.

Give my kind regards to Mamma and tell her I did not wish to disturb her so early the day I was coming away knowing that you would say good-bye for me.

Dinner is now announced so forgive a rather hasty conclusion and believe me to remain


Yours very sincerely
Donald McLean

Part of:
Inward and outward family correspondence - Susan McLean (wife), Reference Number MS-Papers-0032-0826 (43 digitised items)
Series 9 Inwards family letters, Reference Number Series 9 Inwards family letters (1204 digitised items)
McLean Papers, Reference Number MS-Group-1551 (30238 digitised items)

Usage: You can search, browse, print and download items from this website for research and personal study. You are welcome to reproduce the above image(s) on your blog or another website, but please maintain the integrity of the image (i.e. don't crop, recolour or overprint it), reproduce the image's caption information and link back to here (http://mp.natlib.govt.nz/detail/?id=1026694). If you would like to use the above image(s) in a different way (e.g. in a print publication), or use the transcription or translation, permission must be obtained. More information about copyright and usage can be found on the Copyright and Usage page of the NLNZ web site.

External Links:
View Full Descriptive Record in TAPUHI

Leave a comment

This function is coming soon.

Latest comments