Letter 29

Edwin Harris to Donald McLean. New Plymouth, 16 June 1851

New Plymouth
16 June 1851

Dear Sir

I feel so much obliged for the promptness with which you answered my letter & think it fortunate that it met you so early as I greatly feared that you might not receive it in time.

I think it necessary to inform you of what is doing here – Mr. W. Halse has been gazetted as Crown Commissioner but has not yet, received any instructions from Government or any official confirmation further than that of the gazette. Mr Octavius Carrington is of course trying all he can for the appointment of Surveyor. Wellington Carrington is about to leave for England being all but blind. His brother came here to assist him in the contract with the New Zealand Company. Previous to his arrival I had been employed for about two or three months when Wellington got a little better and his brother arrived. Since that for the last six months his eyes have been getting worse and worse. Another person is I hear trying for the appointment (Mr Beetham from Sir John Rennie’s office, he is quite a young man and has commenced farming here) he has written to the Surveyor General and I have been advised to do so also, and have prepared a letter accordingly, which will go off this post.

I have also written an official letter to Captain King stating the length of time I have been called on to assist when required by yourself and him (six years).

My chief reliance is however on you and from the application which you so kindly laid before the Governor on his last visit. And as the settlement is now in the position which will warrant his making to appointment, I think you might with propriety call his attention to it. Of course the situation I am now seeking is for this settlement only.

I am Dear Sir
Yours Most Truly
Edwin Harris

MS letter to Donald McLean. Written in New Plymouth, NZ, 16 June 1851. Turnbull. MS-Papers-0032-0326.


Mr Octavius Carrington is of course trying all he can for the appointment of Surveyor
Octavius Carrington was appointed Provincial Surveyor in 1853. See note for #28. As Chief Surveyor in Taranaki for the NZ Company from 1844, he was a strong candidate for the position.

Wellington Carrington is about to leave for England being all but blind
Wellington Carrington (1814-1890) assisted his brother Frederick with the first surveys of New Plymouth in 1841. In 1844 he married Meri e Motu, the daughter of the warrior Te Rangi-Kapu-oho and was given land at Tapuae, west of Omata. The marriage is the first recorded in St Mary’s parish register. Wellington Carrington was in England 1851-52, returning 2 Dec 1852 on the ship St. Michael. Meri e Motu died of consumption in 1855. In 1860 Wellington Carrington married Eliza Mace and served as a negotiator and interpreter during the land wars. Volume three of the Carrington family history observes: ‘In later years, his eyesight was poor to the extreme, to the extent of almost blindness. Despite his affliction, he continued to write most of his diaries daily placing his face almost upon the pages.’ (358).

Mr Beetham from Sir John Rennie’s office
Sir John Rennie (1794-1874) was an eminent British Civil Engineer (Grace’s Guide). Mr Beetham is likely to be Albert Betham who arrived in NZ on the Eden in 1850 from England, aged 22, intending to settle in New Plymouth. A letter from Henry Halse to Donald McLean 8 June 1851 reports an attempted burglary of ‘Mr Beetham’s house at Omata.’ Charles Waybrow Ligar was Surveyor General from February 1841 until the duties he performed were taken over by the Provincial Chief Surveyors under the Constitution Act of 1853 (Marshall 14).