Charlotte Weale to Frederick Chesson, 14 August 1884, C149/145

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Weale, Charlotte









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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C149-145


Thursday morning
22 Montague Place

Dear Mr Chesson,

Thanks for your note. Tawhiao is strongly agt a bust being made of himself. He says he refused Mr Wright also but Gorst wished ‘shd make his likeness to go on with that business.’ That 2 or 3 profess to have sketched him and to be making a painting of oils of himself and that that’s enough. That plenty of persons have looked at him and that as the queen does not look at his living body it is clear to him that he is wanted out of the country and that he goes therefore next week. He wishes Te Wheoro also to go that he supposes only the npapuhe tribe are thought great people amongst the maories since the queen received them years back and the prince saw the others and that waikato is a larger and more honourable tribe even tho the unlucky treaty of waitangi was not signed on his territory. Topia Turoa remarked but Tawhiao considers that the ladies and gentlemen of England have been very hospitable and loving toward him and he supposes he must pacify his hurt and indignant feelings by believing that he is intended to look on them as the representatives of the queen and royal family in their private capacity and yet they come as public ambassadors and wished to have a public reception at court and feel that the refusal is an evil omen as regards justice being granted them. He has now gone round the square with Patara to smoke and then he will come with Skidmore and tell me if he will go to Mr Boehm’s studio, that if he does go he shall be helping his purpose and that the thoughts of kings shd not be variable. I have sent Te Wheoro aafter him to say that I have asked him to go and that I expect not to be refused since its my first request. He has the Dr coming ot see him privately.

Tawhiao says Te Wheoro could not stay alone, the Rapiha wishes to go home and that Mr Spencer says that te Patara is no good as regards business that Topia wd not stay because he feels passed by and that they have all begged Skidmore to stay and that they shall then be satisfied that Te Wheoro is not dependent on Mr Spencer but having Skidmore with him cd … invitations to go and stay at one person’s house and another till business matters require him in London. That George Skidmore speaks english and promises to be faithful to Te Wheoro. Te Wheoro says he is quite satisfied with their decision. Poor aged Topia looks greatly the brighter for my saying that he shall see a priest and go into R.C. Ch and receive holy com. and if a maori speaking priest can’t be found, he hopes one good loving gentleman will be selected who will make allowance for his wishing Skidmore to explain his confession and wishes that Skidmore is willing to speak to the priest but not in a church, he wd rather it was in the house he wd bee with the priest and Skidmore in a room at his lodgings if an appointment was made. But that the priest wd have to get a good man to fetch him to Ch to receive com. and hear mass and to bring him back and Skidmore is a protestant. Would you write to Cardinal Manning or any leading priest you know that Topia may not be kept long in suspense. He says his own priest in N Zealand knows the ways of maories and that a stranger will not. But he was so grateful to me about it and we said the creed and Lord’s Prayer together. You will know better than I if Manning is in town. I personally object to writing to him on private grounds, my elder niece became a R.C. last year. I love my own Ch and it wd pain me to write to … and wd be obliged if you wd kindly not mention my name in connection with Topia. I have not and my R.C. relatives know that I am in town as I do not feel good just now to seeing the, as it wd be a very sorrowful meeting.

Dr Reed has been here and thinks the king slightly better but says the iodine … will have to be continued after he is on board ship, that he is in a terribly weak condition and needs plenty of good soup and meat. That the sea air will be helpful to him if only his spirits keep cheerful. That Tawhiao told him he feared to be too long in a ship without seeing land but that as the governt wd not let him see the king the sooner he was off the better. The Dr told me he was over 70 and felt such for Tawhiao who in all his intercourse had behaved quite like a gentleman and indeed they all have he added. I met them just after they arrived in this neighbourhood and feeling great interest in the aborigines of New Zealand called on them and I shall see the king, … again on Saturday as his medicine may need changing. Mr Spencer has not been here today but is coming at 3 to take them down to the shipping office to take 4 berths … Potosi to sail the 20th. But Tawhiao added perhaps Lord Derby …

Please come on … as Mrs Grace will be home.

Yrs obliged
C. Weale