Edwin Harris to Donald McLean. New Plymouth, 26 May 1851
May 26 1851
I have been informed that it is the intention of the Government to appoint a surveyor for this place, & thinking that perhaps with the numerous engagements you have, you may not have heard of it. I have written you in the hope that you may now have an oppor-tunity of again presenting my application to the notice of Sir Governor Grey.
I feel confident from the interest you have so often taken in our welfare, that if you have the power of forwarding my views that you will do so. And just at this time I am particularly in want of employment the expenses of my large family having increased most fearfully.
I had written a letter some time ago to send by Medland who I understand was about to join you but I find him still here.
I hear occasionally of your movements and am happy to find you have your usual success in your negotiations with the Natives.
In the hope that you may always find success in your arduous duties
I remain Dear Sir
Your Much Obliged
MS letter to Donald McLean. Written in New Plymouth, NZ, 26 May 1851. Turnbull. MS-Papers-0032-0326.
I have been informed that it is the intention of the Government to appoint a surveyor for this place
The government’s move to establish Provincial surveyors came into effect in 1853. See Taranaki references in Brian Marshall, ‘From Sextants to Satellites: a cartographic time line for New Zealand’:
- 1840. Frederic Alonzo Carrington is appointed chief surveyor by the Plymouth Company and is sent to New Zealand to find a suitable site for a settlement.
- 1844. Augustus Octavius Croker Carrington is appointed Chief Surveyor in Taranaki. He becomes Provincial Surveyor in 1853 and holds this position until 1870.
- 1846. The New Zealand Government Act divides New Zealand into two provinces. The Surveyor-General in Auckland regulates the surveys of New Ulster, and the Chief Surveyor of the New Zealand Company, located in Wellington, regulates the surveys of New Munster.
- 1850. The Colonial Government assumes control of the New Zealand Company’s surveying operations.
- 1852. As a consequence of the introduction of provincial governments, six provincial survey departments are established – Auckland, New Plymouth (renamed Taranaki in 1858), Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury and Otago. The specific powers of the Surveyor-General are vested in a District Land Registrar, a Commissioner of Crown Lands, and a Chief Surveyor for each province.
I am particularly in want of employment the expenses of my large family having increased most fearfully
Edwin and Sarah’s family now numbered one son and six daughters, the youngest of whom was Ellen Harris (1851-1895). Ellen was born 28 Feb and baptised 15 June 1851 at St Mary’s, New Plymouth. She became an artist and teacher like her sisters Emily and Frances but her work has not been recovered. She died 29 Mar 1895 in Nelson of chronic phthisis (Tuberculosis) of the lungs.
I had written a letter some time ago to send by Medland
Medland was a New Plymouth police constable tasked with taking mail and reports to McLean who was at the time in Whanganui. His name occurs regularly in Police Sergeant Henry Halse’s reports to McLean through this period. See Inward Letters – Henry Halse – 1851-1852 (MS-Papers-0032-0312).