Thomas Newsham's Letter To Susan, his Mother in England

New Plymouth

July 13 1848

My dearest Mother

My wife unites with me in thanks for the valuable presents you were so kind to send in the cash and I am happy to pay that owing to the superior manner which they were packed not a single thing was either broken or damaged. It was a most valuable assortment of goods and I think my sisters must of had a peep into my house to have enable them to choose so well. I am happy to hear that you and Grandmother enjoy such good health the letter I received from you quite revived my spirits as it is to long since I heard from you but of course I cannot expect you to write so often as you used to do on account of your eyesight. As regards myself I am doing pretty well am still in the Police force and intend remaining only another year in it as by that time my farm will be ready I hope. I have purchased a Timber section of land 50 acres out of my savings for which I paid 46.17.6 - being allowed 15.12.6 for papage money. It is in a block of land lately purchased by Governor Guy and joins the Sew. L. C. original block a great many sellers are going out there to live immediately it is a most delightful district and what is still better the natives there have always been so friendly to the whites my section is about 4 miles from the Town

Its is suburban and just double the price which of course I could not afford. One great thing is there are no bridges to crops and very good road which is a great thing in a new Colony.

I am much better off than I anticipated on making up my midsummer accounts. I find that I had enough to purchase land and did so forth will my household expenses I will show you as you can then judge whether I have been extravagant or not: 

The statement is for 6 months - including C. Hursthouse, wife, myself so you can form some idea what it costs out here for living. I have commenced rather a bold stroke considering my means are very scant and just paid so much away but if I can only carry it out I shall do well.

This is now the time for preparing to fell the timber which is to cut all the underwood and scrub and if it is not done this month it will throw me back another year and as I am anxious to leave the Police I am making a push and no doubt by borrowing a little money for a short time, I shall be able to accomplish my object.

I have now 22 natives at work about it for which I shall have to pay them 20 pairs of blankets which will cost about 20L

and when they through the large has it will cost about 20L more and then

obliged to be as economical as I possibly can to meet the demands. I do not like the idea of borrowing money as I shall have to pay about 20 percent interest for it but as I am situated at present, it is compulsory.

Although I am in the Police I can get liberty now and again by applying for it which enables me to do a little for myself.

You would like to hear how the natives work and carry on They are all living in a wide hut made of rushes about 14 ft long 8 ft wide and not high enough to stand upright in and open on one side they all sleep together men, women, children and dogs in and now with a long pole reaching from one end of the hut to the other not for a pillow but to put their heads against each has their separate blanket and roll themselves in it. At daybreak they use or rather squash and have prayers immediately after cook potatoes for breakfast and go to Work, pipes in their months and work very well for natives occasionally stopping to have a smoke which children at the age of 4 or 5 join in. About noon they have a meal of lilipie which consists of flour boiled rather thick with water and as soon as the signal is given that dinner is ready they all drop work and make a rush to the pot take is off boiling hot and like to many pigs crowd around it and dip their hands in and lick them until it is all consumed when they retire to the hut some smoking playing reading to until supper is ready after supper prayers - chatting till bed. The women in a great job like this merely cook procure fire wood or else in their own garden they work as well as the men.

You must know long before this that I have a Son who is according everybodys account here a complete Newsham. He is now 11 months old but can't run away yet. I think he will soon talk as he tries very hard to say Mama.

When I wrote this C Hursthouse intended leaving New Plymouth in a few days but could not exactly get ready. I ought to have posted a letter to you before this as no doubt you are anxious to hear whether I received your present safe but owing to the uncertainty of our mails you will perhaps receive this as soon C H as if it had been osted. I have now told you all new about myself. No doubt you will see C Hursh and he will be able to give you a full account of all my past proceedings and what my future prospects are. I expect in the course of a few days my wife will be confined so you see I have a young family coming on and it behaves me now I am young and able to provide for their future want so advise dear Mother.