Letter from W. Halse
to Donald McLean,
dated 28th, June 1854.
28th, June 1854.
My dear McLean,
We are in great uncertainty as to Henry, beyond knowing (from Mr. Russell having addressed him at this place) that he had left Auckland when the Overland Mail was dispatched. There was a rumour that he was, or was to be, a passenger in the "Gazelle"; but I have referred to the "New Zealander"; and beyond her cargo and destination, nothing is stated. He left Auckland on the 7th; and supposing her to be off here, has been 21 days from Port, --- a passage scarcely accounted for by the present squally weather; which, however, gave ample time before it set in, for a clipper schooner like the "Gazelle" to reach, --- and be occasion for some anxiety. It is singular, amongst the letters and papers received by the last Overland Mail which followed the "Gazelle's" departure, Henry's name does not appear. So we are utterly in the dark as to himself, or the result of his mission to Head-quarters.
I believe that all the officials here have written by this mail, for an increase in salary; in consequence of a private hint to that effect, from Cooper. I am of the number, and have added my official to the rest, in the hope that some more satisfactory arrangement may follow. I have also written privately and fully to Bell on the subject. We talked over the matter when he was on the steamer, and he told me he was of opinion that we should all (the Crown Commissioners) be paid at one uniform rate, which does appear reasonable, particularly in my own ease; as according to the salaries of the other Commissioners, I have suffered in income to the extent of £700, --- to the end of this month. I give my whole time, and am expected to do my work equally well as the Commissioner who has received £400 from his appointment. As Commissioner of Crown Lands, I receive £200; and in return, discharge the attending liabilities of the Company, take charge of the Crown's estate, --- large or small, --- am responsible for the surveys, sell the lands, and maintain proper registers. As Commissioner of Claims, (an after appointment), I receive nothing. I have to unravel every land contract of the Company from the time they commended, to their close, to see title through 14 years, and issue grants, by which the
Government (trusting me) are bound. They neither Question my Reports for grants to lands, or Scrip. I am trusted entirely, but I receive nothing whatever for these most important duties. As Treasurer of the Land Department, I am also unpaid; and the rule is, I believe, to the contrary. Offices of trust should always be remunerative. Otherwise, we are at least open to suspicion. Last March quarter, upwards of £4,000 passed through my hands, but it did not give me a penny advantage; and whether it be 40,000 or four pounds, the principle of remuneration is unaffected. So I do hope that, as I am given to understand privately, that Government are prepared to revise salaries, some good may accrue to us; and the salaries them-selves placed on a footing that will need no further alteration for years. At all events, I am sure of your and Bell's interest, in support of a very respectful and proper Official letter on the subject. Should it end as I hope, I shall settle down permanently, for it is quite time. I have been unsettled and ill at ease as to my employment, in regard to salary, for some time.
Cooper has just come in, and tells me he has written to you fully on land matters. It is well he has done so, as it only wants ten minutes to 12.
I hope you received my registered letter last mail, enclosing accounts and money due to you; for which, on behalf of my office, I thank you.
Apropos of salaries, as Government are likely to concede further powers to the Provinces, in regard to lands, the present is the only opportunity that may happen to the Government for arranging them on a footing that in the transfer of these lands shall secure the servants of the Government from undue interference from the new class aspirants these Institutions have called forth. It is expected here that the Colonial Secretary and Col. Treasurer retire on allowances; and that Mr. Hold (?) will succeed the former.
P.S. I send to-day's paper.
To:- Donald McLean.