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MSS. Brit. Emp. S. 18 / C149-147
I hope you got the telegram with Topia … address
Thursday evg, 9 o’clock
22 Montague Place, W.C.
Dear Mr Chesson,
I thank you for taking my many letters in good … Miss Hutchison and Mr Spencer supposed the King wd have to sit still for 2 or 3 hours in the studio. I am glad to find by yr letter that I knew better. If you come in the morning and so catch Tawhiao and put him and Skidmore into a cab, he will be got to go. … if he gets a good nights rest he may be in a more pleasant mood as to it, specially as Skidmore has just now been in to say that the message I sent over to him has made an impression on him. I sent word ‘that it was the first thing I had asked of him and that I did so knowing it was an honour conferred on him and that you wished it.’ He was quite intent wh shows the impression made and locked himself into his room and wd not even see the Dr when he came again. I can so well comprehend his view of the matter. It rankles in his mind that the ngapuhi in 1863.1864 saw the queen, breakfasted with the prince, and had gifts from the queen themaori ladies jewellery etc etc etc, and 2 years ago 3 ngapuhi seeing the prince and princess and in private wh he considers was a token of great love and now the great chiefs and waikato refused. Having voyaged so many miles he says truly he cd travel to … if the prince is too occupied to come to London. Its an insult he thinks to his people and Mr Spencer’s very unwise speeches as to the queen and Colonial Office rankle in his mind so he is hasting to rush away ‘with nothing to tell his people.’ But he was very courteous to me, only he asserts a bust is a dreadful notion and that his disfigured eye from his wounds some years ago gives him he spoke the english words ‘crosseye looking’ and he feels the prince and the great gentleman will be able to go and look at the bust or … ‘and make sport of this seventy years old stranger and that a bust is not like a painting it lasts forever and so his tribe will be mocked by the English when they discourse as to his native appearance.’
Topia has been in 4 times and we have read the bible and prayer book together and he got Skidmore to tell me that any clergyman friend of mine who visited NZ must come to his place and he wd go to church to pray with him. I had to explain a great deal to the others as to my allegiance to the Ch of England and not belonging to the Pope! I telegraphed the address of the Tailor at whose house he lodges because I thought you wd not know it and wd need to supply Manning with it. But Skidmore is ready to interpret for him whenever the priest calls. I have had Skidmore alone to tea with me. He has never been confirmed. The maories wish to avoid the … and go down to Plymouth to meet the Potosi. Mr Spencer says he is no man of business and loses his head and its true, and someone will need to go with them and see them off. … Te Wheoro, he cried today because when his tribe sees the others arrive and not himself they will lament. Mrs Saintsbury took Hori Rapiha and Patara to Tuhi and Skidmore to Tidmarsh Manor and Mr Palmer was there but time … by so quickly that tho they returned by late train they did not visit the Biscuit Factory at Reading. And now, facts show the sort of dilatory individual Mr Spencer is. I thought he was going to pass the letter to Lord Derby from the maories last evg when at 7 o’clock or later it was and he left this but behold he had … and also Patara’s signature was not appended and Te Wheoro who saw it said he wd rewrite it and get all the signatures appended. When the maories arrived back very late they were full of talk as to all they had seen and it was half past eleven before all at no 13 … Place signed it and there Skidmore had to go and find Topia who was not at the tailor’s, however he hunted London for him and described Te Wheoro, and at half past one he returned with Topia’s signature and Te Wheoro saw it was all right and closed the envelope and it was posted in the Pillar box and Skidmore said it struck 2 and he ate some old potatoes and cheese and had some ginger beer, and the king and all the others were awake to hear if the document was … posted. Topia was so excited over the words they had written and that the queen wd see his very own writing that he never went to beg at all but walked round all the square until after seven this morning ‘a very ridiculous proceeding’ Mr Spencer called it. …that the dear fellows had all been here and that … have quieted them down and comforted them. Mrs Saintsbury is really a woman of a thousand in kindness to them.
This aftnoon at half past 4 Mr Spencer arrived and took Topia and Rapiha and Patara and Skidmore to … Street and they have taken 2 cabins near … The King and Rapiha to the one cabin and Topia and Patara in the other: but Topia said it ought not to get put in the papers that Lord Derby should make an excuse that there is not time further to see the queen as they are departing so soon. Mr Spencer left Miss Hutchison here and I had a bath … and went up and down and just round the … to breate some air and she accompanied me. She knows nothing abt N Zealand, has read Lady Martin’s little book but says Mr Spencer tells her tho born in NZ he only knows about the parts he has lived in and shd not care to know more. Her great dread is of High Ch so she is glad he is not going into the Diocese of Auckland. Lord Bishop Cowrie wd laugh. But her faith is very … and she spoke of the natives of India and the Italian peasants as if on a par – heathens! But she was very pleasant and talked of her mother’s dread over her going so far away etc. When Mr Spencer returned he said he was long down at Clapham now and did not know if he shd be able to come up before Friday.
If only I cd feel sure Mrs Grace wd go to the nearest Ch with me and the maories on Friday. I wd ask her to remain until Monday because I find that at no 30 I can get a bedroom for her. But tho I wrote cordially abt her coming up as she wished to do on Sat she had not yet replied. Colonial people are mostly frightfully dilatory and writing letters is a business and fatigue to them, they arent like the maories whose thoughts and pens flow fast. I am willing to have one of my servts come up and go with me into lodgings at Rickmansworth with Te Wheoro and Skidmore if Mrs Grace will find them and the maories pay half the expenses.
For 3 weeks I could do this and during the 3 weeks cd write and arrange with friends to have them on visits, but Te Wheoro stipulates that Skidmore must not mix with servts or be treated as one. I think he is right and that the man will improve if respectfully, firmly, and kindly treated. If Mrs Grace can’t get us 2 sitting and 3 bedrooms Folkestone or Speen or Luckfield wd be feasible places to go to. But all that Mrs Chesson’s advice and yrs I wish to be guided by. Would you write to Mrs Fry, she wrote weeks ago that they wd help toward presents wh you had spoken of, that was some weeks back. Time is drawing on. I wonder if Mr Spencer told them abt when their luggage has to go on board. They all have wives or daughters and it wd be well they took back gifts with them. I wish to see you abt several other matters in reference to them, and hope you may be able to call tomorrow, but I think I can guess what a multitude of things you have to attend to and am sorry not to be able to be of service to the maories. Skidmore has travelled abt New Zealand on and off for years with Te Wheoro. He gave me a … of Sidney’s interview with 240 maori … and the order Order established and the way he praised the power of the Ch and the goodness of the Bishops and Liddon and of the English who all behaved like noblemen except the reporters and money traders. Kind regards to Mrs Chesson and thanks manifold from yrs grateful,