Chapter 1 A Pool of Perplexity 1841-52
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Chapter 1 A Pool of Perplexity 1841-52
There is an ample body of literature to document the social state of England in the early decades of the nineteenth century and to explain the protracted exodus of working class men and women following the climax of the industrial revolution.
Machine industry had brought to England an amazing expansion of trade and wealth, but its social consequences, complicated by Napoleon's wars, were far less pleasing. Instead of conferring widespread prosperity on the whole population it seemed to perpetuate poverty on an unprecedented scale and sometimes in repulsive forms. Whereas in the early thirties nobody in England was thinking about the poor, by the end of the decade few were thinking about anything else. The working class in the cities, now largely augmented from the countryside, was hopelessly submerged. The modest competence which had been the goal of the more ambitious a decade earlier was now out of the question. Unemployment was rife; the future was clouded by hunger and despair. The new proletariat, which was a main product of the industrial revolution, was gravely suspicious of industrialism, and spurned the advice of the churchmen that capitalism should be tolerated yet awhile as a transitional stage to something better. Almost impervious to the teachings of any faith whatever, the masses turned more warmly to the impatient challenge of Robert Owen: Why ask men to live for the New Jerusalem in another world when they might have New Lanark in this? Of course they could not wait. Some of them rallied to the charter of 1839. Others, perhaps better circumstanced or more enterprising, turned to emigration as the only avenue of escape from poverty and despair.
During the forties the middle classes could feel the advance of
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the chilling waters which threatened to engulf them also. Some of the more successful who had made fortunes in trade and industry fortified their social position by marriage into county families. Some even formed alliances with the aristocracy, whose influence in the State was enhanced by this new wealth. But for the middle classes as a whole the forties opened in a climate of profound perplexity. Religion was on trial, and many middle-class philosophers and theologians were trying to reconcile the callous devastation of the machine age with the teachings of the Christian faith. Unless the United Kingdom regained its social health and economic prosperity they saw little prospect of maintaining their savings and their social station.
While the reformers wrestled with the problem of social justice hundreds of thousands of men and women sought escape by way of emigration. At first they went to the United States and Canada, because those lands across the Atlantic were the nearest region which English people had already colonised. In the forties two factors tended to divert this stream of emigration towards the Antipodes. Edward Gibbon Wakefield's system, which he called the art of colonisation, was making steady headway. Organised migration was coming to be recognised as a venture in which men and women of the middle classes, and even professional people, could engage. Some of the colonies founded at Wakefield's instigation were destined to languish in the humdrum of the agricultural phase, but the discovery of gold in California and Australia made a hopeful appeal to enterprising men and women, and a strong rush set toward the distant shores. The flush of the diggings was in some cases followed by intenser agricultural development and the permanent settlement of miners on the land and in the towns.
The Richmond-Atkinson papers emanated from a group of middle class families the members of which had been engaged in the professions (mainly law), in business or in industry. The Richmonds in normal circumstances would have been considered comfortably off. In two generations they had accumulated some capital, and they had
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been educated with a view to continuing in the professions. The Atkinsons, whose grandfather had established himself in London as a building contractor, were conscious of their shrinking income and the threat to their capital investments arising from the prolonged depression. The correspondence of these families in the forties graphically illustrates, from an unusual angle, the impact of working class unemployment upon the wellbeing of the middle classes. As the years passed this brash influence loosened the attachment of many such families to their homeland, and so presented to the British colonies a rich dower of energy, intellect and character.
The Richmonds were descended from a line of enterprising sea captains and merchants in the north of England. They made their entry into professional life in London in the person of Christopher Richmond (1785-1832), the second son of Robert Richmond (1748-91), master mariner, of Stockton-on-Tees, and his wife Ann Richardson. Ann Richardson's sister Elizabeth was married to James Crowe (a solicitor of Stockton-on-Tees) and it was he who paid for the legal education of his nephew. Young Christopher became a barrister of the Middle Temple (7 Feb 1812) and occupied chambers at 4 Garden Court, London. He married in 1819 Maria (the "Lely" of these letters), daughter of William Wilson, a merchant of Stockton. At their home, 56 Doughty Street, were born the four children who survived. 1
When he died (on 3 Apr 1832) Christopher Richmond left his wife a modest competence to be administered by his brother Thomas. The eldest son, (Christopher) William, then aged ten, was a delicate child, and Maria's means, not at any time more than sufficient to educate the children, were strained by a series of removals for the sake of their health.
At the age of seven William went to a boarding school in Hackney kept by Mr and Mrs Clennel (a Unitarian couple from the north country). About 1829 the family moved to Upper Clapton, and for a year or so William and James were day pupils at the Hackney Grammar School, where William made good progress under the second master, the Rev. Mr Dry. After a few months at Mr Malleson's school at Hove the family moved, about 1831, to the Isle of Wight. On the
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death of the father in the following year William was sent on a long visit to his grandfather Wilson, who had retired from business and was farming at Richmond, Yorkshire. Attending a church school there, he was excused the catechism on account of his Unitarian parentage. At the age of sixteen he became a pupil to Sydney Asp-land, a special pleader in London, and a year later he entered the office of Winter, Williams and Williams, solicitors.
In 1841 the state of William's health induced Mrs Richmond (who was herself a sufferer from asthma) to take him abroad. They spent two winters at Argelles in the French Pyrenees. Comfortably lodged with a bourgeois family, William applied himself systematically to the study of law, history and literature (including French and German), and to sketching and outdoor exercise. When his health showed no improvement Mrs Richmond let her house in Burton Street and joined him at Argelles. Meanwhile the daughter, Jane Maria, had completed her education at Mrs Lailor's school in Highgate, where a close friendship began with the Taylors, Margaret and Katherine (later Mrs Whittle). Jane Maria and her youngest brother Henry Robert (aged 12), now joined the group at Argelles, where the household was maintained till 1843. During this time there was no urgent reason to draw them back to England. On the contrary, family letters constantly reminded the emigres of the deplorable conditions prevailing at home and adjured them to remain where they were and be thankful.
During this gloomy period, in 1842, the first breach was made in the family circle by emigration. As early as 1836 young Charles Flinders Hursthouse, doubtful of the future of the family business at Norwich, sailed for North America with a view to emigration. He returned to assert with confidence that neither Canada nor the United States offered such advantages to people of their class and station as the British colonies at the Antipodes which were already established, or were being projected on Wakefield lines. The opinion of this self confident young man was decisive. He had sown a seed which germinated in a succession of hekes from England until the whole of the associated families had made their homes in New Zealand.
It was on 14 Mar 1842 that the elder brother, John Hursthouse
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(who had married Maria Richmond's sister Helen and had a young family) announced their decision. In July they sailed in the Thomas Sparks - John and his wife and children and his brother (Charles Flinders himself). Shipwreck in South Africa and other vicissitudes which this gallant company suffered might have justified the apprehension of those who were to follow, but on 29 May 1843 they reached New Plymouth.
The Richmonds were still at Argelles in 1843, when William made walking tours with Henry and their cousin Robert Richmond. The cheerful buoyancy of his impressions - which persisted throughout his life - seemed to be evidence of better health, yet before the tour ended the tone was again despondent: "I have lost all hope that I shall grow stronger by taking care of myself. I look forward quite without hope to the resumption of my studies. This is not a moody expression of my discomfort, but my calm conviction." Nevertheless in the following month he was entered as a pupil in the chambers of Lewis Duval. After that came a period with a conveyancer, Charles Hall, before he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, on 29 Jan 1847. Sir Charles Hall, who was afterwards vice-chancellor, assisted many young men to fame, including William Fox (later prime minister of New Zealand) and Richard Holt Hutton.
Richmond took chambers at 54 Chancery Lane. There he slowly acquired a practice that would have brought him a competence, possibly affluence and distinction. The waiting years, however, disastrously affected his health. In August 1849 he had "little paying business". Harassed by relentless asthma and by anxiety for the situation of the family, he thus early considered giving up law and seeking a more kindly climate.
Maria Richmond's second son James meanwhile pursued a vacillating course of study. When he finished at University College school (in 1839) he favoured art as a profession but the outlook was so discouraging that he was apprenticed to Samuel Clegg , 2 civil engineer. There he became interested in railways, and collaborated with the younger Clegg in drawing engines for a prospective publication. In
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1842 he transferred to the employ of Samuda Brothers at the Southwark ironworks and Blackwall shipbuilding yards. He worked again on engines (for the Dalkey and Kingstown railway). His disappointment in not being sent to join the works in Ireland coincided with the departure of the Hursthouse group for New Zealand, and no doubt as he bade them farewell James's mind too dwelt upon emigration. He remained with Samudas, however, till 1845, when he entered the service of I. K. Brunel 3 on the engineering staff of the South Devon railway. James was keenly interested in the atmospheric system which was being installed there, 4 and his spirits were subject to constant alternations of optimism and despondency as the experiment progressed. Eventually it was abandoned and he had to replan his career. 5 In 1849 he was advised by one of the Stephenson family to make engines rather than railways. At the end of the decade he was still undecided, wavering between emigration on the one hand and a devotion to art which was so compelling that in 1849 entered at a studio in London.
In order that she could have her family together again Maria Richmond in 1846 took a long lease of Springholm House at Merton. Henry finished his schooling at University College school in 1848, spent a few experimental weeks in a factory at Blackheath and then studied mathematics in view of his entering University College. There his mathematics professor was Augustus de Morgan, a brilliant scholar who by rejecting the theological test was denied his M.A. and a fellowship at Cambridge. The Latin professor was Francis William Newman (a brother of Cardinal Newman) who had taught at Manchester New College (the Unitarian seminary) before coming to London. Henry's main interest, however, was chemistry and electricity. Inspired by the lectures of Michael Faraday, he conceived theories of his own which he tested in a laboratory in the garden at Merton.
The Unitarian faith, which they had followed for generations, was a strong influence in the lives of the Richmonds. They favoured
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the education given by nonconformist schools, and for that reason none of the family entered the older universities, which required a religious affirmation. Essentially intellectual, broadminded and tolerant, they were free from certain of the social conventions of the professional classes. In London they attended principally the Unitarian chapel in Little Carter Lane, where they became close friends with Dr Joseph Hutton (1790-1860) and his family, notably Richard Holt Hutton (1826-97) afterwards editor of The Spectator. Other friends were the Martineaus, Walter Bagehot and W. R. Greg. Deeply cultured herself, Maria Richmond encouraged her family to read in all branches of philosophy, theology and social science. They kept closely abreast of contemporary thought, art and literature and were much influenced by the writings and personality of Frederick Denison Maurice.
As the hungry forties drew to a close Maria Richmond's family problem was still unsolved. William's health was menacing. James, at 29, was still undecided. Jane Maria, who would be 26 in 1850, had almost reconciled herself to becoming a governess, the only profession, it seemed, that was open to ladies of refinement and education. Her friends Margaret Taylor and Marcella Nugent were governesses, and her aunt Helen Hursthouse (now in New Zealand) had married a son of the Norfolk family in which she was a governess. Through these friends Jane Maria was well aware of the indignities which seemed inherent in such employment.
As early as the autumn of 1848 the idea of a family emigration occurs in one of Jane Maria's letters. "Poor Lely cried because William thought we might all have to emigrate some day soon - half earnest half jest, I think."
THE ATKINSONS OF FRINDSBURY
The chance meeting in 1845 of two young engineers on railway construction in the west country had significant consequences for their families and, through them, for New Zealand.
The Atkinsons, like the Richmonds, came from the north of England, but from quite a different stock and background. The founder of the London branch of the family, John Atkinson (1762-
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1827), was a son of Robert (1738-81), who is described in the parish records as a cloth manufacturer. The records go back to Robert's grandfather, William Atkinson, who was born about 1670 at Horsforth, in the Yorkshire parish of Guiseley, near Leeds. He was warden of the Horsforth chapel, which he had assisted to restore. Traditionally the family had engaged in weaving, but two of the five sons in John's generation contrived to escape the toils of the industrial revolution. John himself mastered the craft of a stone mason and migrated to London, while his younger brother Joseph a few years later was residing in Copenhagen.
In London John collaborated with his uncle, Sir William Staines, 6 as structural contractors and stone masons. They did exceptionally well in the prevailing spate of rebuilding, one of their undertakings being a portion of the new House of Parliament and another Nelson's vault in St Paul's. John was a member of the Paviours' Company and in 1823, during the lord mayoralty of William Heyget, he was sworn a freeman of the City. With freehold property in Whitecross street and Goswell street, Islington, he acquired also a good deal of house property and at the time of his death is said to have enjoyed a rent-roll of £900 per annum. In 1797 John married Elizabeth Goadby, of St Giles's, Cripplegate, and they had a family of three.
The son who succeeded to this substantial estate, John Atkinson (1798-1856), was also a freeman of the city and a liveryman of the Carpenters' Company, and he had a residence at Frindsbury, in Kent. The business, however, had languished. The flush of rebuilding in London was over and the firm had to go afield to carry out contracts in distant parts of the country. On some of these missions Atkinson was accompanied by his wife (Elizabeth, a daughter of William Smith, of Highbury, and Fanny Chillingworth). Hence we find that one of their sons (Harry) was born in Cheshire in 1831 and the next (Arthur) in Durham in 1833.
With a growing family to provide for and a shrinking income from house rents Atkinson was acutely aware of the uncertain prospect. Fortunately he perceived the danger early enough to trim his sails to the gathering storm. His forbears had worked with their hands,
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and his own children were young enough to be trained for such occupations as he might choose for them. 7
In 1839 the eldest son, John Staines, was apprenticed to engineering at Samuda's, and about that year the second, William Smith, began his career at sea. The education of the family was irregular and unconventional. Harry and Arthur were sent about 1840 to a school in Gravesend kept by a retired naval officer, then to a dame school, and from there to the Blackheath proprietary school. This institution was under the control of Nicholas Wanostrocht, who played cricket for Kent and All England under the name of "Nicholas Felix". It was he who fostered in the young Atkinsons a love of the national game which in fine weather and foul, in peace and war, was later to be played in every township and camp in Taranaki. Harry Atkinson was good at cricket and hockey, but educationally the school was far from satisfactory. 8 A day school in Rochester was also indifferent.
Fortunately John Atkinson now had time to attend to his family's schooling, and his wife, who had inherited Calvinistic leanings, willingly left this to him. John had been brought up in the Church of England. He did not attend, but he had a reverent mind and was not an aggressive freethinker. "The Governor", as he was called, drew up for the home school a curriculum that was essentially modern. He had many books of reference, current literature and periodicals, and bought the works of standard novelists as they appeared. Natural history appealed particularly to the younger boy, Arthur, who made apt friendships with Dr Arthur Henfrey and the Richmonds.
William Atkinson, now third mate of the Runnymede, returned to England in 1844 after having been wrecked on the Andaman Islands while carrying troops from Australia to India. 9 It appears probable that during his early years at sea William paid a visit to New Zealand, but the idea of emigration did not occur to the family until after the meeting of John Staines Atkinson and James Richmond. The boys left Blackheath school in 1849, and in that year William left the sea
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and sailed, with another contingent of the Hursthouses, to make his home in New Zealand.
The two younger Richmonds now thought of emigration as the brightest prospect for their future. Early in 1850 the impulse took shape, to the relief of their sister Jane Maria and also, possibly, of William. Writing to Margaret Taylor on 21 Jun 1850, Jane Maria announced jubilantly that she bade them farewell without regret since a family migration was part of the plan. If they were disappointed with the state of society in Taranaki and did not wish the others to follow they would probably return "to recommence the struggle in the crowded old country", but if it was satisfactory the others would follow them in 1852. "They do not go to make a fortune," she added, "but to found a home where they can have abundant employment and where we may all live in health and at ease."
On 3 Oct 1850 James and Henry Richmond sailed from Gravesend in the ship Victory. The Atkinson family then warmed to the idea of emigrating, and "The Governor" reluctantly assented to Harry (aged 19) and Arthur (17) accompanying the main body of the Richmonds a year or two later. Meanwhile they devoted themselves with added enthusiasm to their studies. Harry had been reading fairly deeply in theology, philosophy and economics. In the family reading serious attention was paid to the Reflections of the French Abbe Fenelon, who tutored the sons of Louis XIV and examined The Conscience of a King. Arthur, with a bent towards the classics, studied with avidity Latin, French, Greek and German and thus early evinced a taste for philology by compiling a Hebrew alphabet. On the practical side both lads applied themselves to crafts which would be of service in colonial life - carpentry, pitsawing, hurdlemaking, blacksmithing, cobbling, poultry keeping, gardening, surveying, clockmaking, even a little tailoring. Several members of the family were already, in the forties, keeping methodical diaries.
In May 1851 the first letters arrived from James and Henry Richmond, and in September Harry Atkinson received £150 from his grandfather "for fares to New Zealand." The intimacy between the two families flourished in a frequent exchange of visits.
The Atkinsons were on the average several years younger than
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the Richmonds. William Richmond was ten years older than the eldest of the Atkinson colonists, and to him the others instinctively turned for advice. Arthur Atkinson records in his diary: "There is no one else talks to me as he does about such things, and it is the more refreshing because it comes but seldom." The influence of the delicate intellectual was gentle but decisive, and his advice was generally confirmed by the "strong sense" of his sister Jane Maria, which was often manifest in later years.
Though the letters from New Zealand were inspired by the optimism and enthusiasms of the young colonists, they did not firmly advise the rest of the family to take the step. Now and again, indeed, a hint of the roughnesses of colonial life raised new doubts, which damped the ardour of all but Jane Maria. Yet it was mainly on her behalf that close friends questioned the wisdom of emigrating. John Lalor for one, did not believe that a woman of her artistic taste and cultured mind could possibly adapt herself to colonial life. That fear was joyfully rebutted in every letter of Jane Maria from New Zealand, written in whatever sort of danger and turmoil. The matriarch Maria Richmond, for whom the prospect was precarious enough, seems generally to have withheld her counsel, waiting upon the march of events. As William's frail health weakened, other considerations dwindled in importance: professional success could be too dearly bought if the price was the remnant of his health, or if he was to be an invalid for life. Nevertheless his personal sacrifice was the greatest of all. Not only was he fully established in his profession but he was surrounded by an intellectual coterie - thinkers like Richard Hutton, Frederick Maurice, the Martineaus, Walter Bagehot, the Lalors and others who shared his views on literature and art. He was strongly attracted to Christian Socialism, as expounded by Kingsley and Maurice. Like some of his friends he was not content to be merely a student of these theories; he felt some of the reformer's guilt for the social state of England and was moved to cooperate in remedying it.
Three strong reasons conspired to force the Richmonds to a decision: First the frail health of their leader. Second the blank outlook in England for intellectuals and middle-class professional people. Third,
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their capital was limited and it could obviously not be increased, or even conserved, if they remained in England.
Before the winter ended the decision was made. In Apr 1852 William Richmond went the rounds of chambers in London paying his farewell calls. His resolve touched off the plan of a family migration and brought the Atkinsons in as fellow colonists. Thereafter life moved along at a tempo which can be judged from the diary of Maria, the matriarch, recording meticulously all correspondence and calls. Only rarely does she strike a note of misgiving. On 1 May, for example: "Poor J.M.R. hard at work packing. When will all this turmoil end? My heart sickens at it." Maria was then 61, older even than "poor darling Hetty" was when she braved the unknown ten years earlier.
On 15 Sep William Richmond and Emily Elizabeth, the eldest of the Atkinson girls, were married in Frindsbury church. On 1 Nov Harry Albert Atkinson came of age.
On 28 Nov there was a family party on board the Sir Edward Paget. The emigrants were Maria Richmond and her daughter Jane Maria, C. W. Richmond and Mrs Richmond, H. A. and A. S. Atkinson, Charles and Calvert Wilson, and two other young men, Edward Patten and James Brind. The average age of the four Richmonds was 27 1/2 years, and of the Atkinsons who emigrated then or later 20 years. 10
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C. W. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - Pau, 4 May 1841
I determined to proceed by land, because it never occured to me to take lodgings at Havre, and I knew that my expenses at the hotel would more than counterbalance the difference between the fares by land and by sea. I was a big donkey but I am glad that I was a big donkey now that it is all over. The £12 covers everything from 56 B.T. to 38 rue de la Paix ... I slept one night in the Jimmy [James Watt], 6 at hotels and four in diligences . . .
So far all is in favour of your coming, but I should not be doing my duty were I not to mention the disagreeables. If you come you must give up British comforts and habits of life, you must leave James solitary (not in such a wilderness as this certainly, where I know none who speak my own language) and you must quit your quiet little circle of friends, to make at best a few watering-place acquaintances. Maria must not let her imagination run riot in vines and snow covered mountains and rushing torrents and sylvan retreats and all manner of lusciousness . . . There is a deal done in the dressing and staring way at Pau. Almost all the English here are rich people; many keep their carriages ... If you come here I fear you will find few acquaintances to your taste, and for me I want introductions to nobody unless they are quiet people. . . . But it is easy enough to live to ourselves if you are content to give up society altogether for a season. John Hutton would long ago have expired had he been in my situation. Even I - I the hermit - sometimes tire of my communion with the mighty dead, and can say with Solomon that much reading is a weariness of the flesh. . . .
One evening I drank tea with the Peyronnats. . . . [They] are very different from the common run of lodging house people here, indeed I should not class them with those veritable descendants of the daughters of the horse leech whose cry is 'Give! Give!' They have not lived here a year, and they formerly resided at Paris . . . They are quite disposed to make me one of the family, and in the days of fires and candles I regularly joined their fireside circle in the evening and chatted half an hour or so . . .
I am the same old humdrum here as I am in England. . . . My appearance I suspect is desperately English. Maclntyre's last abominable coat is enough to betray me. . . . Walking out in the evenings the peasantry often greet me with a 'Bon soir' as they pass, which I can easily return without betraying my origin.
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C. W. Richmond to J. C. Richmond - - - 4 May 1841
I cannot sketch the Pyrenees. I never saw any painting that gives a good idea of their appearance. The shadows are so sharp, and the dark outline of the nearer ranges makes such a heavy line in a drawing - you must make them faint or perspective is violated. However I shall persevere.
The James Watt is a fine old ship . . . more than twenty years old, and yet the Company have just put a pair of 75's or 70's into her . . . She cost £28,000 and was not built for the 'General Steam' but for the old Scotch Company .. . The Company asked
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the permission of James Watt's son before they named her. He stipulated that he should be allowed to change the engines as often as he liked till he got a pair to his mind, as he was determined that the vessel should not disgrace her name. . . .
Havre turns out splendid ships. The great builder is Le Normand . . . They think the British can't build fast ships, and certainly the French quite cut us out in the port of Havre.
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C. W. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - Pau, 18 May 1841
Are you made of gold that you continue to make use of heavy paper and pay double French postage? Is not 2/7 enough in all conscience for a letter? . . .
As far as education is concerned you may go further and fare worse than at Pau. There is a Royal College here, and Mme Peyronnat tells me the terms for day scholars are 7 fr. 50 c. (rather more than 6/-) a month! . . . Henry would learn French there like wildfire.
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C. W. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - Pau, 7 Jun 1841
Stockton views do not amaze me. My uncle's caution will almost always enlist him on the conservative side. I wonder how he ever became Liberal in politics, . . . Should James fulfil his intention of taking a trip northwards, the Chartist engineer and the Conservative conveyancer will find themselves at issue on two or three points.
Does my uncle think that you meditate a ten year's sojourn in France? On no other supposition can I account for his fears for Henry's morals, ... As to the kind of vice that is likely to sap the foundations of moral rectitude in boys, I venture to say that he will nowhere be exposed to greater temptations than at the University College School. I quite agree in all my uncle says about the superiority of an English education for Englishmen . . . But all this is beside the question, for who wants to give Henry or Maria a French education? Exotic ways are not so easily acquired as my uncle imagines, ... I have always heard and can readily believe that the effect usually produced is directly the reverse and that the English return to their old ways with redoubled affection. The real and weighty objection is, in leaving poor James all alone. . . .
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C. W. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - Pau, 22 Jun 1841
Pau strawberries would feel perfectly ashamed of themselves at Covent Garden, M. Peyronnat is incredulous as to London fruit. In the eyes of a proper Frenchman England is a country constantly enveloped in fogs, inhabited by a nation of men with fat, heavy faces, large limbs, dull eyes, ravenous appetites, and barbarous manners, and who drink hot tea to cool themselves. The English are supposed to have no energy
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because they don't gesticulate; but somehow or other, whilst the vivacious Frenchman, the quintessence of intellectuality, is sipping his eau sucree on the Boulevards of Paris, the dull masses of flesh called Anglo Saxons is pretty sensibly felt from the frozen St Lawrence to the burning Ganges. This stubborn fact must lead us to conclude that energy and vivacity mean different things, and are not perhaps equally valuable. But I wax prosy and national.
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C. W. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - Pau, 13 Jul 1841
If I should winter here I must make some acquaintances, ... I already feel the effects of solitude very sensibly in mind and consequently in body; the weather has been very disagreeable . . . and I am never without a cold which affects my breathing.
I seldom do more than take a listless dusty walk in the park; but one or two nights when the moon was most beautiful I have spent half an hour in pacing up and down the unfrequented corner of the promenade, stopping now and then to gaze at the dim outline of the unfrequented Pyrenees and bright reflections of the moonbeams in the river; and have felt excessively poetical, excessively misanthropical and excessively homesick. This is solitude.
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C. W. Richmond to J. C. Richmond - - - Pau, 13 Jul 1841
The Commandant gave a 'swarry' the other night, consisting of burnt wine, cake, tea, etc, etc, and 36 officers of the 5th quartered here; they had a harper in the street to entertain them . . . French officers are almost all big, French privates all little, drum-major enormous . . . The peasantry hate the conscription, and hereabouts are almost all rich enough to provide a substitute. Never heard anything equal to the 'Sacre Christ-ing' of a Bearnaise I overtook and walked home with one evening, when I told him we had no conscription in England . . .
If Mamma decides on coming, will you look out some good books on physics that Henry can read with me . . . Never mind its being too difficult for his unassisted powers if I can understand it; also some book of deductions from Euclid Props. . . . Get me Orellius' edition of Cicero's selected Orations, Taylor and Walton, and send the De Senectute and De Amicitia.
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C. W. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - Argeles, 31 Jul 1841
I am in the happy vale of Argeles at a primitive auberge . . . Here I have society enough . . . This and the change of weather and mountain air, have worked a marvellous change in me in spite of the cooking . . . which in London would have upset me in twelve hours. If I am not quite happy, I am something very like it. ...
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If you are determined to join me somewhere or other, I say leave England - but then James - if he be low-spirited with you, what will he be without you? Oh that cursed Atmospheric; it will be the death of James. Solitude is sad, but hope deferred and deferred till it sinks into apathy, is enough to undermine the strongest constitution. Why need Uncle Wright wonder that James seems to take no interest in his profession? . . . When I left England I fully expected that the Atmospheric would prosper, and that you would follow me; all would then have been well.
I should not be at my ease at Bagneres as I am here; I can climb too . . . My strength is fast increasing, and I am certain that toiling and panting up the mountains is expanding my chest . . .
What a quantity of things I want that I can't have - weapons amongst the number. What with fierce dogs . . . and a bare possibility of wolves, and faint rumours of thieves in the Defile de Lourdes, I wish I were somewhat more warlike - humbug!
Bring some poetry. How I have longed for some poetry and some little Shakespeares with the best plays. I have never read 'Childe Harold' - I want to know something of Shelley too. Bring what you please; I cannot recommend you books, you duck, that have read 'The Deserted Village' and 'Passing Rich on £40 a Year' and all the poetry in the world - hasn't she James?
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J. C. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - London [25 Aug 1841]
I am informed by Uncle Wright that I do not appear fond of my profession. The fact is that his cautiousness of expressing an opinion is quite infectious, also that I cannot get on with him much because I don't know what he thinks of me and he is so observant that he makes me quite uneasy . . . Aunt Wright likewise kept saying young cousins were better than old aunts . . .
Before winter some change in my prospects must take place; people cannot live for ever on nothing . . .
Mr Barton called a few days ago to tell all about Mrs Wicksteed. 11 She is very happy and finds more society than could be expected. Altogether life in New Zealand would seem very like life in England ... I play on the piano a good deal - overtures to Titus, Don Juan and Haydn's Symphony - tell the flourishing Maria.
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J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond London, 20 Sep 1841
The Atmospheric stops much where it did; we have put in a new boiler at Mr Pim's desire and expense.
We had a great many guns to see the railway today - Sir J. South - Astronomer Royal or something - Professor Wheatstone, Dr Robinson of Armagh - one of the
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sweetest and nicest of men I ever saw - also Lord Sandon and various members of the Board of Trade. But an Act of Parliament is necessary to enable the Railway to be made on the level of the turnpike roads . . .
Yesterday was one of the clearest days I ever saw. The air was as if regenerated, the landscape was surpassingly lovely, the purity was in fact quite Italian. I dont know what you see at Argeles, but I could hardly stand anything more lovely. It was a day that extracted a sort of involuntary worship from you. I am convinced that this world is not a fleeting show. It contains quite enough to satisfy me at present. . . .
There is a new Society established called the 'Young Man's Antimonopoly Association', in which William Shaen is a member, and I think of joining. O that I had regular and useful employment; how I do love my profession, and how hard I could work in it.
v 1, p 11
Marcella Nugent 12 to Maria Richmond - - - Beechwood, 9 Oct 1841
... I dined with the family the first day of my arrival and we had venison from the forest. Mrs Duckworth who is ever kind & considerate proposed my dining with family at 6 o'clock for the first month or two, but I declined this preferring to conform to the rules of the house at once; so that we from the schoolroom always have our dinner at the wholesome hour of half past one. I am sure if I can get over the chilling influence of etiquette I shall be very happy - besides have I not a grand piano in the schoolroom! & nice children to teach!
v 1, p 13
J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - Beechwood, 9 Oct 1841
. . . I went to Winter Williams and Co. to-day as to a seat at Hopper's for Wm. William Winter said he wod. be happy to attend to it. He inquired particularly after Wm. as did J. Brewer and Esdaile . . .
There is no chance of any advance in the . . . Atmospheric railway till February at earliest ... I might learn more by myself going once a week to Mr Clegg than as I do, his blessed gas meter is such a nuisance . . . For all the last fortnight I have been at Samuda's but they have no instructive job on hand at present . . .
v 1, p 13
J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - Beechwood, 26 Oct 1841
... I hope Henry will keep up German. Also William would do well to try and induce him to handle his pencil on anything, no matter what, for should he hereafter like engineering it will be of great service to him. He must likewise ride. I wish the dickens I could. Mr Brunel was induced by Pim to come and see the Atmospheric a few days
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since ... on condition that he shod, not be detained above 1/2 an hour. He staid however of his own free will for 2 hours and came next day stopping from 4 till making . . . experiments by moonlight ... He seems to us to respect the claims of the atmospheric to notice. I think it has made a decided impression on him. He is not a talking man but he talked of the Boxhill tunnel in connection with it . . .
v 1, p 13
Richard Holt Hutton to H. R. Richmond - - - 4 Nov 1841
I am attending the Latin, Greek, Mathematics, German & Chemistry classes at college; as I intend trying to matriculate in July . . . Joseph Henry & James still continue hard workers in the good cause as Sunday-school teachers. . . . The Queen is expected to have a descendant every day, there is much excitement in the scientific world as to whether it will prove a prince or princess.
J. C. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - London, 6 Nov 1841
Richard Hutton called a day or two ago and seems overworked. Say what you will, a lad with so young a mind, so childish a mind, should not have any part of it taxed so much; he won't be the more learned for it thirty years hence if he lives so long.
Mr Clegg's gas meter is everlasting, Bless it. Brunel . . . says 'I am not giving you all this trouble and expense out of mere idle curiosity . . .'
The distress over the whole country seems very great indeed; at Paisley the numbers of unemployed are awful and increase daily. The streets there are full of men singing, by full I mean that there are more by a great deal than usual.
v 1, p 13
J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - London, 4 Dec 1841
We have had two Madrigal evenings. Yesterday we did (we did indeed do) Mozart's 12th Mass ... I want to know whether I could join the Institution of Civil Engineers, the fee is 3 guas per annum . . . All included I have not yet outrun the 2 guas per month . . .
When the Dublin job will commence I know not ... It is 1 o'clock a.m. and I have just returned from Southwark where I have been some time past and have to-day been drawing pretty hard from 9 1/2 a.m. to 11 1/2 p.m. There is another scheme on hand. Sir M. I. Brunel . . . not I.K.B. of G.W. Railway, is hot about the A.R. in the tunnel and for lifting up and down goods in the shaft. Do you understand? William will explain and that'll do. Samuda's sweet apprentices have run away and so I have gone to work for them and I have to be there at 8 tomorrow morning . . .
If William thinks he can never stand the fag etc of a conveyancer's chambers why he is losing no time by thinking of some other plan, and if he thinks he will be enabled
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to stand it by staying [another] winter in the name of all that's unpleasant why does he talk of coming away?
v 1, p 14
J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond 4 Jan 1842
I was to have made my debut as an equestrian but the fates forbad it. I fired however at a bit of paper stuck on a tree and out of two barrels of the gun managed to lodge one shot in afsd. paper from a distance of 100 yards. We went shooting rabbits for dinner & we shot 8 rabbits and poached also killing a hare and a pheasant. We also some of us tumbled down in an exciting chase upon the moderately muddy & sludgy grass ... we also gave the coachman ... a sovrn. for a shilling in the dark which has not a little embarassed our finances. We also lost a shirt & a brush & comb & tooth brush out of our carpet bag. . . .
Atmospheric looks well . . . Jos Samuda is in Dublin where he is expected to settle everything at once . . .
In my desperate poverty I am tempted to sell some of the blessed old coins.
v 1, p 15
H. R. E. Wright to Maria Richmond - - - Stockton, 14 Jan 1842
You may congratulate yourself on being in a foreign country at a time of unexampled distress in this. All our manufacturing towns share in that distress more or less. London is by no means exempt. Famine arising from want of employment has succeeded war in committing ravages on our people - our rulers are at their wits end.
Catherine Wilson to Maria Richmond - - - 3 Feb 1842
Charles is going on some business to Scotland, but, poor fellow, he has no regular employment - and each thing everywhere in this unhappy island is now in so fearfully depressed a state that there is scarcely a hope of any good situation being found for him - how I wish funds could be raised for his emigration! . . . John Hursthouse has I believe resolved upon emigration & nearly made up his mind to sail for N. Zealand in June next - poor, darling Helen! ... It seems John Hursthouse has £250 a year . . . he detests the control of such a man as one of his masters, & is, Helen says, so disgusted with the immorality of trade, that he cannot any longer be persuaded to remain as he is, & is very glad his uncles have not offered to take him into partnership.
J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - 8 Feb 1842
I went a few days since to see some of Field's double cylinder engines ... I also went an excursion down to the Nore & a bit further in a new steamer the Little Western
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. . . she is a beautiful creature but very ugly to look at built by the builder of G.W. . . . She beats the hitherto fastest boat 'Railway' which is of iron . . . They have been making the iron ships too light they buckle and cramp and so loose their speed e.g. Rainbow.
Sam [Clegg] has made an agreement with Weale to make drawings and descriptions of various forms of engines setting out the details . . . By the bye we had a regular spread on board the little W. pink champagne & heaven knows what. We returned from Formidable moored 3 miles off Nore, to Blackwater in 2deg 25' first slack water and fair tide after, distance run about 48 miles. . . .
Samuel Clegg has also hopes of obtaining a situation at Bombay as superintendent at the erection of gas works there . . .
v 1, p 16
J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond & others - - - 4 Mar 1842
When you look up into the sky on a fine night and see all the countless worlds at immeasurable distances from us . . . does it never occur to you that it was a loose saying (not to say presumptious) of Jesus Christ, whom you believe to have been a mere man, to assert that he knew the secrets of the Creator of all these, that he was in any sense one with the Maker of all this? Do not you think that if the Christian doctrines are revealed from God that even Christ mixed ideas of his own with what he received from God, & therefore does not it seem that a revelation cleared of these private notions is necessary? It seems to me that in no part of the Bible is the utter impossibility of a compact between a creature and the creator sufficiently brought home.
I am afraid I don't make myself clear but the notions have been running in my head for some time past and the result is that I am sceptical as to the truth of a great deal of the Bible histories. They clash with my fundamental notions & the result is not exactly disbelief but a sort of bewilderment and in consequence such a feeling of littleness as I cannot describe.
v 1, p 17
R. H. Hutton to H. R. Richmond - - - 9 Mar 1842
Think of us on the 16th or 17th or 26th for on one of those days according to some accounts England is to be swallowed up by an earthquake & Paris reduced to a speck, according to another account London & 60 miles around will be destroyed ... So that you see we are almost certain to perish. Many people are really leaving London on account of it. ...
The class in which you would be are . . . doing the 2nd book of Virgil ... & I am learning Latin, greek, German & Maths, but shall not, you will be sorry to hear, attend the class of botany ...
Mr Patterson has left the school ... Mr Willich has left the school though he still
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teaches us in the college & a Mr Hyman supplies his place ... he has more translation from German into English, attends to the German characters, makes the boys learn the German grammar ... It is very confidentially reported . . . that Mr Hay will, after the present session, retire from the Professorship & give his attention wholly to the school ... Mr Maiden will give up the school & only remain Professor of Greek in the college.
Helen Hursthouse to Maria Richmond - - - Norwich, 14 Mar 1842
It is indeed true, my dearest Maria, that the decision is made, and we are about to leave the land of our nativity. You know that John has thought of it and talked of it long, and since his grandfather's death, when a small sum of money was bequeathed him, the desire to go has become more and more intense. He has now given regular three month's notice to his uncles and ... we shall quit England in June - Charles goes with us - I think there is little doubt the Smiths will follow, if we are successful, and I quite expect Mr H. sen. will not be long behind . . .
Our plan is, John and Charles join their funds, and we hope after paying passage money etc. etc. to land in our new country with a capital of five hundred pounds . . . With this sum they propose purchasing land in the immediate neighbourhood of Port Nicholson or Wellington and commence farming - it is possible that John may get some surveying appointment on his arrival if he approves of it ... I hope to take a servant with me - they go passage free, with a family, and I am afraid I should scarcely be able to do without one . . . indeed if she costs only her wages, it would be folly to attempt going without . . . We have some friends here, Capt Hornebrook and family -his eldest son Major Hornebrook emigrated with the first colony in 1839 ~ he has now realized £300 a year and if the next accounts are as favourable as heretofore and he expresses any wish for his sisters' company two of them . . . will be put under my care on the passage out - that will be pleasant, they seem nice girls, and are ladylike, well connected people. A very intimate friend of Charles and a very clever scientific youth about twenty, John Newbegin of this city will also go when we do . . .
Maria dearest, it is to me an awful step. As it is fixed that we are to go, I have quite made up my mind to look at the plan in the brightest light I can, but you can imagine how intensely anxious I feel. I have been very, very low about it, but that I trust has passed away - I will endeavour to be so no more. I almost think it is better as it is, not to have a parting interview with you - yet I shall want you dreadfully the short time I am in London. With respect to preparations, Dr Stanger 13 advises me not to attempt to have anything got ready at home - go to a fitter he knows in London and it will be all done in twenty four hours, and cost less than stitching at home as many weeks . . .
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Mr Hursthouse in his heart would like to go . . . the Smiths approve as they think we shall pioneer for them . . . My dear Mother thinks we are doing right though she regrets the necessity . . . John says we shall all return in ten years if we like, but he's too sanguine.
How rejoiced I am to hear that William is so much better. I do not think you will ever be able to endure smoky London again after the delicious Pyrenees. I think you had all better emigrate too - what say you?
J. C. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - London, ig Mar 1842
I don't think I made myself understood as I wished but can't help it for I can't write my ideas in the least . . . with regard to gambling I have gambled twice I won two shillings one evening & lost 1/6 the other & in consequence vowed never to gamble more. I am very glad to hear that you sing, ... I have been engaged for some time in endeavoring by potations of heavy wet at a public house near Suffolk street to prevail on my voice to do the duty of tenor, which I make shift to imagine it does . . . Your arguments on the subject of painting from nature are inconclusive to a degree. If the sky is cloudless the colouring of the landscape will be more steady than where clouds cross the sun & mist the earth, the case is simply this you are impatient, if you would clean your box & colour, take plenty of water, a sharp lead pencil and a large whole sheet of imperial, grudging not an hour or so for a sketch in the first place as elaborate as possible, I am satisfied that it will be easier & more straightforward to sketch at Argillez where no scumbling & rubbing in of cobalt is necessary than here in England . . .
He [J.C.R.] has been at Woolwich Dockyard where he stayed all day working at the Geyser & Firebrand etc. Geyser has direct action engines by Seaward as has Gorgon . . . The Styx which was taking a governor out to Canada broke a connecting rod in bad weather & returned. If this railway would come to a head ... I should be very . . . well content to study engine making it is at present very interesting. I should like to go a voyage as assistant stoker or something of that sort in one of the W.I. mails. I was over the Isis one of their engines by Miller Ravenhill & Co. Mr Miller . . . has laid out £5000 in tools for making the engines for two of these packets . . . All M & R's workmanship is excellent, the factory is exquisitely clean & well ordered, the foundry & forges being cleaner than Samuda's shop a good deal.
v 1, p 18
C. Wilson (Norwich) to Maria Richmond - - - 22 Mar 1842
Have you heard that a coloured drawing of James's sold for £5, at the Anti-cornlaw bazaar. He marked 1/6 on it, as its price, but Mrs Holland bought a frame for it & it sold for the above sum . . .
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J. C. Richmond to Richmond family - - - London, 14 Apr 1842
Ah Charles Hursthouse he plays on the clarinet . . . Having had some most harmonious concerts of two flutes, a clarinet and a piano which were all within half a note of each other, having talked a good deal on this subject of New Zealand, whither I shall have some day to bend my course for want of employment here, having made several attempts to sketch the city and cathedral ... Mr Hursthouse seems pretty well, tho it is easy to see that he is not easy poor man. I think he will lose considerably by the reduction of the timber duties ... I think Aunt Helen is in pretty good spirits about going; she does not enter into it with the spirit and energy of Mrs Wicksteed, indeed she seems rather to have made up her mind that as it must be gone through it's no use . . .
By the bye the youth of the College have established a magazine called the London University Magazine. They have received communications from Mr Wordsworth and Dr Magin approving of the plan ... I was at a dinner at the Crown and Anchor eaten to celebrate the success of the first no, which passed off with great sobriety . . .
I have been a good deal at Woolwich dockyards lately measuring the engines of the Gorgon arrived lately from the East . . . James' India hopes all up, engine making shares the general depression. Acramans, Morgan & Co. whose establishment was the largest in the world have stopped, and many of the Lancashire makers can do with one-fourth their usual complement of men.
v 1, p 20
Marcella Nugent to Maria Richmond - - - 2 May 1842
I saw James about three weeks ago ... He is not always tractable and he hurried away from the Cleggs where we were assembled in spite of the clamorous vociferations of a dozen of us. I am told he is just now in high spirits . . . Atmospheric, as James calls it, is again holding up its head ... It was resolved at a meeting ... of the shareholders of the Dublin and Kingstown railways to adopt the atmospheric on that line or on an extension of it to Dalkey . . .
J. C. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - London, 7 May 1842
. . . The two titles of Sam Clegg's works will be grand to a degree, Clegg's practical and mechanical treatise on Gas, Essay on the Architecture of Machinery. The latter work is beautifully got up but as it is internally a piece of systematic humbug I forbear further criticism. . . .
I think you have Shelley's Poems, have you read Prometheus Unbound? Barring some weaknesses in the language this is a beautiful poem, but as usual with curses . . . There is one phrase, a most vile phrase to the use of which Shelley is much addicted, a misplacing the negative in such a way as this - speaking of a modern house he called it 'Time un-honored', . . .
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It just occurs to me that your friend Emma Martineau has according to the gossip of her friends become orthodox. This I don't know anything about myself, she goes to plays etc still, . . .
Joseph Henry Hutton is gone to Rouen with the Bonham Carters ... for a quarter of a year and may remain longer if their old tutor (who is alarmed at the idea of crossing the channel) cannot screw his courage to the sticking place by that time.
v 1, p 21
J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - 13 Jun 1842
Samuel Clegg Junior is on his way to Alexandria. He goes in the Gt Liverpool as supernumerary engineer. He wants a certificate that he has worked engines at sea in order to [secure] an appointment as engineer to a W.I. Mail packet ... I am going to Samuda's every day to draw Dalkey engine, which is beginning in earnest. Samuda's sweet apprentices have mizzled, amputated their mahogany, cut, gone utterly so he is left lamenting. Well money is raised sanction of general meeting got ... as to Kingstown and Dalkey, and unless our friend Pim is beyond possibility slippery I think the matter is settled & I shall go to Ireland in less than a month.
Brunel talks seriously of A.R. for part of a railroad in Italy for King of Sardinia ... to cross the Apennines ... I have lent S. Clegg £10 on the security of his theodolite . . . He was required to pay his mess to Alexandria & his expenses to Southampton, but had no money so was for selling his theodolite. ... I am earning a little, 5/-a week.
v 1, p 24
C. Wilson to Maria Richmond - - - London, 20 Jun 1842
Our kind and most charming friend Dr Stanger took me to St. Katherine docks, and we went over two vessels bound for New Zealand. The passage is dreadfully high; if they go in the stern cabins, their passage alone . . . will cost them upwards of £350. John of course feels this is a very heavy sum, . . . tho' a passage in the intermediate cabins might perhaps be a saving of £100, ... everybody agrees that . . . they will be extremely uncomfortable on the voyage, and that they will undoubtedly lose caste on their landing at Wellington. John and Charles seem to think that it is quite as easy for Helen with those three little children 'to rough it' as it is for themselves to do so. Now they really prefer everything in the roughest and most uncomfortable way possible . . . Poor, poor Helen! It is quite undecided as yet which ship they will go by ... I feel that no one can ever have gone out with fewer chances of comfort than she. It is very doubtful whether John will allow her a servant; she will indeed have hard work.
v 1, pp 41-2 (t.s.)
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Mrs N. Clegg to Maria Richmond - - - 23 Jun 1842
. . . You will I am sure be thankful to hear that the Atmospheric is in a more active state than when you left ... A few days ago Mr Pimm invited Mr Jacob Samuda, James Richmond, Mr Clegg, Margaret & myself to a white bait Dinner at Blackwall. We all attended the summons, it was a glorious day & was all enjoyed exceedingly & liked the White Bait as well as any Non. Con. could do.
F. J. Wilson to Maria Richmond Norton, - - - 26 Jul 1842
Yesterday was the day fixed for poor Helen's embarkation, but a short note this morning announces a change in the plan. John & Charles were to proceed by the vessel (the Thos Sparkes) to Portsmouth & Helen & the children join them there on Saturday. How very sorry I am that you have not been at home to see them before they went. Mamma has felt it much . . . The Hon Mr Petre & his newly married wife (eighteen years of age) occupy the corresponding cabin to theirs. Helen takes her piano but was unable to procure a decent handmaiden for the children, & is therefore obliged to run the risk of receiving the services of any 'intermediate' passenger who may like to earn wages during the voyage.
C. W. Richmond to J. C. Richmond - - - Argeles [Jul 1842]
You will be surprised to learn that you are likely to see Mamma and Maria almost immediately, as circumstances have occured here which render such a step most advisable, nay absolutely necessary. Dupre has become most strongly attached to Maria, and has proposed for her. Her sense of duty has led her to refuse him, but it is a sacrifice which has cost her much and has most deeply disturbed us all. Argeles would seem a wilderness to her now, she must have a change of scene. Just at this crisis a letter from Aunt Helen arrived which informed us of the delay of her departure. This was a strong additional reason for Mamma's wishing to quit Argeles, . . . But for that letter indeed matters would not have been precipitated as they have been. . . . You must give out then that Mamma is coming home earlier in order to see Aunt Helen before she leaves England.
v 1, p 67
H. R. Wright to Maria Richmond - - - Stockton, 5 Aug 1842
. . . [James] hopes to be in Ireland during the course of the Autumn. Should the atmospheric fail he means to go to New Zealand, having no desire to remain among a tame, aristocracy-ridden people. . . .
Mr T. Richmond] is much as usual, but about to plunge himself into a series of annoyances . . . You must know that he and others of the Liberal party were appointed Justices of the peace for the county by the late lord lieutenant the Duke of Cleveland
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but they did not qualify, as it is called, by taking the oath of office and performing other ceremonies. The duke dies and is succeeded by a Tory lord lieutenant the Marquess of L. who, finding that the newly appointed Justices are distasteful to the old magistracy, is contriving every means of getting them thrust out. They are now about to qualify and, I expect, will be insulted and annoyed in the same way as was adopted in regard to the Borough Justices, who by a conspiracy among the Tories have been reduced to a state of annihilation . . .
You may deem yourself fortunate in being exempted from the misery of having the cries of famishing thousands continually assailing your ears, and seeing the walking spectres that everywhere abound in this country, sent forth by distress from the manufacturing towns. At present every eleventh person in England is a pauper! Can you give me the proportion of paupers among the French? There is I believe some public provision made for the poor in that country which I suppose may cause the numbers to be ascertained . . .
T. Maxon to Maria Richmond - - - 12 Aug 1842
You will hear from other sources all Unit. Intelligce & of the blow wch. the Liberty of Conscce. has reced in the decision of Lady Hewley's case 14 - on that account I lament it. In politics we are in a most degraded state - in fact the country is in the hands of the aristocratical capitalists. Bribery at elections has become a thing of impunity. If you return make up your mind to pursuits of retirement from a distaste of the aspects of social life wch. is mottled to a very disagreeable extent & much in my opinion beyond what it has been for a long period . . . you may judge from the infliction of an income tax during peace of the financial condition of the country & of which few are heard to complain.
T. Maxon to Maria Richmond - - - 18 Sep 1842
When I had Henry at Windm. 15 I felt satisfied that with the least guidce. he would attain the Science with as much success as my young friend John Prescott of St Petersburg, who was wholly his own preceptor and botanist & corresponded with many difft. individs & societies on the subject in difft. parts of the world . . . Lindley of the Hortl. Soc. of London . . . wod. be valuable & we must try to obtain the introd. by some other source if Mr Henry still continues his enquiries in the Garden of Nature. How enraptured I was to read that part of your letter wch. spoke of his domestic qualifications wch. whatever sphere of life we are in are certain to be useful - they may be more or less so but never can be useless . . .
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C. Wilson to Maria Richmond - - - Stockton on Tees, 2 Dec 1842
Our dear Helen arrived at the C. of Good Hope on the 4th of October. Till within two days of the Cape they had a reasonably fine passage, but poor darlings, on the 3rd they were all but wrecked. The wind prevented them from taking the right and safest channel, and . . . they struck upon a reef of rocks called Whale Rock and were there all night in a tremendous gale of wind on a lee shore in the most imminent danger. In the morning they got off and anchored off Cape Town but the vessel was so much injured that she was obliged to be unladen & it is very probable would have to remain two months to be repaired . . .
Mr Hursthouse has sent us two of John's journals . . . The passengers are all very pleasant people. Mr and Mrs Petre in particular seem kind and friendly, the ship is a good one, but the Captain is anything but what might be wished: a bullying ill tempered man, occasionally getting tipsy and when tipsy almost mad. John strongly advises any who may follow them to be more careful as to the character of the captain even than of the strength of the vessel . . .
Catherine Taylor to Maria Richmond - - - Stoke-Ferry, 15 Jan 1843
We have parted with our dearest Margaret - & I know that her dear friend Maria will like to hear all I can tell her, . . . We heard very unexpectedly of an escort for her to Germany, & ... we could not for a moment hesitate as to whether she should go or not. We had one week to put all in readiness & Mr Banfield kindly waited four days to accomodate us thus far - a very delightful person who is married to a German lady & lives at Wiesbaden. ... I think of her as revelling in the society of our dear kind friends at Cassel - hearing Spohr play, & visiting in the best society there, & remembering what all this will be, to the dear girl, who has been lately so entirely shut out from Society, how can I but rejoice.
R. Richmond to C. W. Richmond - - - London, 11 Mar 1843
Mr Hopper expressed himself anxious that you should not engage a place unless you are quite certain of coming and he says he cannot reserve a vacancy for you except you can absolutely engage to fill it up . . . From what he now says I conclude that if you secure the seat for August he will expect the fee then whether you are able to go to him or not ... He said that some one had called upon him from Winter and Co's he thought and had engaged a place for you, but you did not come and that some person had called afterwards and taken a seat for you at the end of 6 months and again you never came. But there must have been some misunderstanding about this . . .
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Maria Richmond to C. Hursthouse, sen. - - - London, 15 Apr 1843
I do not know whether you have been apprised that Maria and I have returned to England after an absence of a year and a half at Argeles, south of France. We arrived home . . . when our great smoky metropolis was looking its very dingiest. For the first week or ten days we lived in constant dread of suffocation, but have at length become in some degree reconciled to our lot, and accustomed to what Mr Edgar Taylor used to speak of in terms of such high commendation, 'the fine rich air of London', which my son William affirms to be 'meat and drink and clothing' in itself. But for our pleasure at being once more with James, and meeting many kind friends, we should certainly have felt strongly disposed to set foot in the first vehicle we could find, and retrace our path to the sunny South, where we have been inhabiting one of the loveliest and most romantic valleys the imagination can conceive. But streams, rocks, trees and mountains are not all that we mortals require to make us happy; we want also kind hearts and social communion . . . Employment and the stir of the world are necessary for young people, and our first object being accomplished in the improved health of my son William, I shall be glad to see my children pursuing their occupations at home again. William and Henry I left in France, as it was too early in the season for William to return.
v 38, pp 56-7 (t-s.)
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor Merton, 17 Jun 1848
It seems quite incredible that it is only a month today since you spent that Saturday here and we wickedly devoured 'Jane Eyre' in bed.
Monday 19th. James I am glad to say, . . . has determined to remain till Wednesday evening instead of departing this morning as originally intended. He looks extremely well and seems merry and foolish for William's taste just now, ... at least the latter sees so many causes for anxiety in various ways around him that he looks on James as rather too light-hearted. Unfortunately light-heartedness seems to last but a short time in any of us nowadays, and so I cannot grumble at it under any circumstances. . . .
I can quite imagine you seated in your nice little room at Wisbaden; I wish I could as easily transport myself to your side. I should almost think what you say of the good I do you a little friendly poetic nonsense, if I had not a conviction in my own mind whilst reading it, that all my own languid, headachy, half-alive uninterested feelings would vanish at once if you and I were together pursuing our own regimen and plans of life, scolding fighting and reading German as we did three months ago ... As I cannot take so pleasant a way of getting out of my present nasty state, I intend to be very vigorous when I get away, and do what I can for myself.
I have indulged in stitching of all kinds, including millinery and dress making, and went to town in a gown and bonnet of my own contriving. ... I ought to have stayed in town on Thursday night to accompany Hetty and James to the play or go to see
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Jenny Lind with Charles, but I was so tired out and sick of London that I came straight home instead. . . .
A fortnight ago we had Emily Atkinson spending four days here; she appears to have such thorough enjoyment of her visit, it was really quite pleasant to have her. She amused Mamma and Het amazingly with her droll ways and remarks. . . .
I do not think the change of living at Blackheath with Henry will do any harm, although they [Henry & William] will both in some degree miss the pleasantness of this place in summer. It has been a greater distress to me than I can tell you to know that I have been a cause of anxiety to William when he has been quite enough oppressed by troubles of his own. 16 I might almost say I have been a cause of bitter remorse to him, since in everything he is so severe on himself that he sees sin where at most I can find but ignorance. It is greatly owing to the knowledge of this, and the desire that both he and Mamma should find distraction in total change of scene, that I have worked away on the Dawlish plan so perseveringly, but now I must confess in the sweet quiet evenings I often find a feeling of deep regret steal over me that we cannot find peace and hope together in this old place, and that the future will look so dark and uncertain as to dim the enjoyment of what is good in the present. I do believe if we all act uprightly brighter times may come in this world even; if not we shall clearly see hereafter the good reason for all that seems sad now; meanwhile patience, patience, I keep saying to myself; not always with a calming effect however.
Tell me what you read in German and English . . . What am I to read alone at Dawlish? Tell me that. I can't bear doing anything alone, but there will be no use attempting anything regular with James.
v 1, p 107
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor Merton, 3 Jul 1848
... I believe in all probability William will close today with an offer made by Mr Knill ... As he is a perfectly safe man and his family is small and quiet we think it may prove on the whole better policy to take his £50 for 12 weeks than to let at £5 or £6 guineas a week to some of the large families with troops of servants . . .
Jul 4 ... At this moment a party of abominable Knills are roaming over the house and garden, no doubt well pleased with the excellence of their bargain ... I am so reasonable as quite to dislike these people just because they are coming to take possession of our very nice old home in the prime part of the year . . . Tho' for a time I bemoan it daily in my own heart, I don't draw towards Dawlish ... I look with horror on the prospect of the dull calls and dull tea-drinkings we shall probably have to pass thro'. How much more one's own wretched little concerns absorb attention and interest than the most awful and gigantic events a little way from home, I have felt myself to be quite wickedly cold and indifferent to the terrible desolation and slaughter in Paris. This has partly arisen no doubt from the difficulty I always experience in realising at
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all anything great or unusual, but I think the way my mind has been troubled of late has made me peculiarly dead and unfeeling in this instance ... I wonder what effect Russia's movements will have ultimately on yours . . . Please take no notice of this beyond understanding from it how grieved I should be if you are forced to abandon Cassel and vegetate at Clarens all next winter. . . .
I have had one great delight and tho' all the little enthusiasm I ever had has gone to sleep or been buried long ago I can dwell on this pleasure with increasing enjoyment. I went to hear Jenny 17 on Thursday night . . . quietly and cooly into a comfortable seat, very high up to be sure, but where we could hear capitally and see very well too with the help of a good glass. She performed in the beloved red-petticoat and I longed for you just as you did when enjoying the performance of your little German non pareil . . .
Richard Hutton has arrived in town, he preached in Carter Lane on Sunday. William, Henry and I went up to hear him. He gave us an excellent sermon, but like the last almost too suggestive to be taken in thoroughly at one hearing . . .
I am rather afraid of mentioning William and his state of feeling, because I feel that in speaking of mind and emotions one's words are liable to be misunderstood. Mine I think are peculiarly so and I think you may have drawn quite wrong conclusions sometimes from what I have said on this subject. Of all tendencies I believe none is so far from William as one to weakness in thought or action, his faults and his sufferings arise I should say from a redundancy of power. It seems as tho' his life were too passive for one of his character, as if the strength of his will and his affections required greater scope than they have ever yet met with, and as tho' they wore and eat away his heart in a too passive life. Feeling as I know he does about my lot in life I can scarcely wonder that he feels some self-reproach, altho' his sternness towards self makes it too violent. If by any sacrifice however great I could gain peace of mind for him I feel as tho' I should have strength equal to it given me, but I see now no way in which I can act that would undo the past for him. I have shed many many bitter tears for him not the less bitter as you may well imagine from the thought that I might have spared him great pain but for my wretched blindness and dullness of heart. I feel as tho' I had ceased entirely to form any hopes or almost any wishes for his happiness in this world, as tho' I could only pray that his trial here might not be long protracted, but that he might be taken young to that peace that passeth understanding. And this feeling . . . has been gradually taking hold of me for many weeks past. There is that in your tone of feeling towards him which convinces me the hope and belief I once entertained that you were to be the means of teaching him happiness are vain. Not that I doubt the truth of your friendship for him at all, but I do doubt, nay I despair of your ever understanding him and loving him in such a way as could alone make him or yourself happy in a closer connection. . . .
I have omitted mentioning the Childe; 18 I think he is one of the most satisfactory
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members of our household just now, the near approach of his escape from the factory, I am sure is agreeable to him tho' he hardly admits it . . . most likely he goes to College again in October. To all appearances he is being brought up to starvation as a profession as far as engineering is concerned; times are as black as ever, and lawyers are not hopeful yet.
v 1, p 108
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Totnes, 25 Jul 1848
Now that I can sit down calmly and collectedly to write to you in this beautiful still spot I can scarcely believe I am the same person as the wretched distracted creature William brought to Dawlish a little more than a fortnight since. ... In no small measure I have to thank the soothing influence of this lovely peaceful retreat for the calm which blesses me. Then I am comforted and sustained by seeing what a load of misery and cares has been taken off William by my decision. Mamma too is I trust recovering much of that buoyancy which anxieties of all kinds have deprived her of for so long ... I could not now attempt an explanation of the reasons and motives which led me to break off my engagement with such startling suddenness. Had I not then acted as I did I think Wm's extreme distress of mind, and the great dislike to it entertained by all my best friends would have obliged me to suspend fulfilling it altogether, until the course of years or changed circumstances should have removed this dislike and opposition . . .
That I am unconditionally free again is clear, and all who love me save one, are made happy by it ... I feel as tho' by one great sacrifice I had purified and made even sacred a love which seemed so unaccountable, so frightfully unnatural to every creature I respect, . . . that I can only allude to it either to you, or to any of the beings who love me best, even to my own mother, thus on paper when far separated . . . nowhere can I meet one spark of sympathy ... I know well how I should be listened to if I ever opened my heart, with a kind utterly incredulous look, perhaps with a muttered 'poor thing, she deceives herself, it is quite impossible she should feel real love, she mistakes pity, gratitude or warm compassion' and so on I should be spoken of and to. If I did not meet with positive incredulity as to the nature of my feelings then I must meet instead a sort of wonder at, and pity for my insanity - for to love a being created solely by one's own imagination is nothing but one species of insanity . . . Now when people think you are suffering under this temporary derangement they are naturally very sorry for you but they cannot pretend to sympathise with you when they see to the bottom of your delusion.
I have been terribly afraid of late my dearest Margie, that I was sadly deficient in some important points, but I hope I have grown humbler than I once was, and more really devotional, tho' I have still much to wish for ere the uniform tone of my mind even approaches to what a true Christian's should be ... It seems to me I have somehow acquired of late a faith in the abounding love of God which makes the cold passive
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submission to His will I once fancied to be trust in Him, quite sink into insignificance. I used to think that He ordered all things for the best, often of late I have felt that He loved me and all His creatures. I shall try to cherish and strengthen this more lively faith and not let it die away and grow cold, as I have too often permitted my holier feelings and better resolutions to do when the time of sorrow was past. . . .
Berry Lodge, which is inhabited by the Duke of Somerset's woodman and his family, stands close to the entrance of a wood extending for some miles containing 500 acres of land. . . . Our landlady is the guardian of the castle key ... so we of course can have the key whenever we choose to spend whole hours, reading, working and sketching in this delightful spot. In my wildest dreams I never fancied anything more to my tastes than this life. The people are clean, honest and simple. . . .
The Devonshire lanes appear never-ending, and there is no better way of obtaining a good idea of Eternity than by losing one's way among them as Lely and I did last week; how we succeeded in getting home out of such a labyrinth I cannot tell, but it was nothing short of providential, as we seemed to be in a totally uninhabited land, and met no living being for miles. James and I have made evening scrambles in the wood and enacted Paul and Virginia most romantically several times . . .
v 1,p l09
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Totnes, 10 Aug 1848
. . . Mamma sometimes talks of shortening her stay considerably on Wilm's account. He is now living in his chambers and she seems to feel very strongly the great discomfort of this place for him . . . poor Wm. will have many other disadvantages to make his residence very trying to health and spirits. . . . Lely thinks that . . . she ought to . . . take lodgings at Wimbledon or some place within reach of town where Wm. can go in and out to chambers as he chooses during long vacation. Hy has to read or work up some mathematics before the College commences . . . [James] seems to have determined that he ought not to make any attempt to leave his present situation before Xmas . . . The want of regular occupation or any living interest to fill his time and thoughts makes Dawlish insufferably weary to him. ... It is upwards of a year now since Jas has had any steady active employment, he seems to want the vigour and determination necessary to make a man follow some pursuit for the sake of improv-ment in general, or merely for some regular occupation and yet his conscience is always reproaching him for his neglect and idleness. If some good stirring active career were opened before him I am convinced he would soon find peace in fulfilling its duties, tho' they might not at first appear of a kind congenial to his tastes; he fancies now that he has rendered himself unfit for anything by his long inaction, but I know very well that if something from without forced him to exertion he would gradually recover some of his energy within . . . Mamma says that tho' my father was generally a most industrious man, he had much of the same tendency that Jas possesses, only that fortunate circumstances brought him into action early in life . . .
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Lely and I have hit upon a new scheme . . . nothing less than letting poor old Springholm again when the Knills leave for 6, 9, or 12 months. . . . Many people would think that the obvious thing to do was to get rid of our lease and remove furniture and all to a smaller house, but you can sympathize with our love for and our desire to cling to our old comfortable home . . .
Aug. 11 . . . You must not think that I am bent on shutting myself up, . . . I think I have the capabilities in me of becoming higher and better than I have yet been, if I could but increase my aspirations and exert all my powers. My whole past life has been full of time mispent, opportunities neglected and warnings comparatively unheeded. Every sorrow and trial I have endured seemed at the time to awaken and do me good, but I always sink back again into the same earthy state as before when the pain of the lesson has past. I believe I should have been very happy in my low way if I had fulfilled my engagement, but I should also have been very despicable, and having had my eyes opened completely to this conviction, it was not possible for me any longer to persist in a course which would still further increase my faults and degrade my character. My weakness does not generally consist in taking very obviously wrong steps, or in refusing to do some very plain unmistakable duty when I see it clearly before me; but rather in a constant slipping down hill, no gross commissions of wrong but a perpetual omission of right. I know very well what is good and noble in others, and I admire it in a cool way, but I have no real wish to be good or noble myself, and if outward circumstances did not keep me in the right way to a certain extent, I should be quite able to enjoy my life without feeling it.
Aug 12.1 fear what I have told you of my thoughts and feelings, dearest Margaret, may give you a much too gloomy impression of my state of mind. Do not think of me as generally melancholy and depressed, for I am not so. I am a light creature. My nature I cannot think is deep and at any rate my objects of interest and anxiety are too varied to permit of concentrating my whole heart on one grief even if I made no effort to avoid this evil . . .
Did I tell you that Richard Hutton is going to pass the winter with Mr Martineau, I think at Berlin. . . .
James has been very poorly all the morning. He has got wet thro' and thro' after wading thro' brooks, sketching in damp and wet grass. Am very angry with him.
I have not told you anything of my mental food. Whilst you are corrupting your innocent mind with George Sand I am poring over Bishop Butler and Wordsworth . . . We have been reading Macaulay's Essays aloud. He dins things into one's ears too much for my taste, and wears his subject quite threadbare before he will let it drop . . .
v 1, p 110
A fragment of Jane Maria Richmond's Diary - - - Totnes, Autumn 1848
Friday. James and I did a good deal of German. I began learning The Song of the Bell' by heart today. William read us an Essay on Johnson . . .
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Saturday. . . . James coming from Totnes met us; the poor boy is low and talks of emigrating. Poor Lely cried because William thought we might all have to emigrate some day soon, half earnest, half jest, I think.
The Berry Clergyman called this evening, his name is Cozens - a good-looking man. It seems he is unpopular in the parish. They are all the Duke of Somerset's tenantry and the Duke has had a quarrel with the Bishop of Exeter. Mr Cozens sided with the Duke. Our landlord, Mr Chaff, is the Duke's woodman and a fine specimen of his race . . .
Sunday. Spent the whole morning in a turret of the Castle reading Butler and Martineau's Sermons to James, who was sketching. . . . James ... is in terribly low spirits; I had to scold and comfort him, I fear but with slight effect, as his disease is self-dissatisfaction, most painful, most incurable except by active employment for others, which he cannot have, poor fellow ... I can imagine nothing more perfect of its kind than the sweet quiet beauty of this village [Berry] with its church, ivy-covered steeple, and gate-ways. Every barn and house in it might make a pretty sketch. After dinner we sat out in the wood, I read the sermon of Martineau's on Idol Worship; it came home to me dreadfully. . . . William read Macaulay's Essay on Milton; I only attended to the latter part referring to Milton's character, which seemed just and beautiful . . .
Monday. A very cheery letter from Aunt Helen came with Margaret Taylor's from Dawlish. New Zealand affairs grow brighter. Sat on one of the ivied turrets of the ruin after tea. James read out of 'Pilgrim's Progress'.
v 1, p 115
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Dawlish, 4 Sep 1848
Since we have arrived here a most vexatious event has occurred, no less than a sentence against the good old quiet smooth atmospheric, pronounced by the enfuriated shareholders of the South Devon railway. A most stormy meeting was held at Plymouth on Tuesday ... It is understood that by the advice of Brunel the directors abandoned the atmospheric system to the shareholders as a kind of sop to appease their rage and that by this means alone he and the directors were able to keep their places. Brunel was not permitted to open his mouth during the meeting although he was censured right and left. There is universal dissatisfaction at the abrupt and complete dismissal of the atmospheric . . . Up those heavy inclines where the pipe is laid it works now very regularly. Only think of the awful waste there will be here . . . Samuda is now trying to make a contract for running the trains himself at what it would cost the company to use locomotives ... I wake every morning fearing to hear a nasty puffing screaming locomotive tearing along the quiet beach, but beyond these next three weeks the matter really affects us not at all. James had determined on quitting Dawlish at Xmas . . .
[Later] In a few days Henry will be at College once more and in his glory I dare
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say with plenty to occupy his time and thoughts. He like the others thinks himself a wretch but he will not be always desponding I hope. Wm has had a good deal more to do lately . . . Since he got from his horrid chambers he has been much better . . .
James and Henry turn their thoughts to farming in preference to enginemaking for a variety of reasons . . . Henry thinks they would lose money more slowly in farming than engine making and could stop in time to save a remnant of the capital with which to emigrate, and that moreover the experience they would gain in attempting to farm here would be more useful to them in case of being reduced to emigration at last than any they would acquire in engine making . . . But seriously Jas must fix on some plan before long, and he seems determined on leaving the branch of his profession he is in now. It is very unlikely that he and Henry would make anything by farming, but their views are so little ambitious that I believe they would be content if usefully employed and all their tastes make a farmer's life suitable enough.
If William does not get on in the law, or if he does get on but can never warm your heart towards him, well filled as it already is with good affections and warm interests, I see no reason why we should not go in a body to some new land where we should have a wide field of usefulness, leaving behind old disappointments and finding new anxieties and interests to make us forget ill placed and chilled affections and hopes. ... I believe I should do as much good in the world as a washerwoman or dairymaid, and be more in my element than I am pretending to be a refined and educated female . . . What is the use of my understanding German after all? I think we had better all learn the New Zealand or Australian tongues.
v 1, pp 113-4; v 38, p 86 (t.s.)
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Witton-le-Wear, 28 Sep 1848
On Monday morning Mr Taylor kindly saw me off to complete my journey northwards. I had a very calm unadventurous day ... As you know I am like you, a cool collected traveller. I get into no fusses or troubles about luggage or anything. My uncle Charles met me at Darlington ... I think I shall be quite contented here. It must be my own fault if I am not of use, I think. The children are backward and will be much better off even with only my instruction than they have been for long.
Are you expecting the cholera at Cassel? It seems to be at Hamburgh and Paris and it is said will soon be in England . . . Your account of the Cassel physician is truly dismal ... I shall be more afraid of the cholera for you all amidst such ignoramuses and with such messy cooking. Eat plenty of salt at all your meals, keep yourselves very warmly clothed, and abstain from stimulants . . . Uncle Charles is going to vaccinate me tomorrow . . .
I fear James will be doing the wrong thing in leaving engineering after all. He has far more real knowledge of his profession than the majority of young men in it, and when a few years have cleared it of the supernumeraries there may be a fair opening again for those who remain and understand their work.
v 38, pp 88-90
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Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Witton-le-Wear, 4 Oct 1848
... I find I don't accomplish much in two hours and a half with three pupils in various stages of advancement; however I have determined to go on steadily doing my best for these small creatures. . . . Whatever we do teatime comes before we have finished our proper business; after tea we generally work and, if we can, make Uncle Charles read aloud to us. ... I do now and then contrive to translate a little piece of Wilhelm Meister, ... If I don't go downhill very much in German I shall be very glad . . . The idea of your mocking me in that cruel way and comparing my smattering of the language with your profound grammatical knowledge of it! Wretch, I defy your sarcasms. You, who read Faust, who compose elegant and lengthy German epistles, who converse fluently on literature, art and politics with the leading men of Germany, should be more merciful to a wretched masterless plodder, struggling and hammering out sentences alone and cheerless.
v 38, p 90 (t.s.)
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Witton-le-Wear, 11 Oct 1848
Mr W in his kind note to Jas seems to allude to the possibility of his returning to the Harpford style of life one day . . . We could not afford to make an experiment of this kind alone, whilst we keep up Springholm and if Lely, he and I could be within reach of town for Wm to come down to us on Saturdays Jas might begin by farming in a small way, taking more land by degrees if he found the plan answer . . . Lely shrinks from leaving Wm alone whilst so much uncertainty attends his future, and is naturally averse to any great sudden change . . . but meanwhile James remains completely at sea as to what he must do on leaving Dawlish ... I wanted to have some idea whether you 3 were ever likely to return to housekeeping in England for . . . it would be a great advantage if we were to adopt the plan Jas proposes to fix ourselves in a neighbourhood where we might one day have you near us.
v 1,p 114
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Witton-le-Wear, 22 Oct 1848
What stirring events are going on comparatively near you! ... I feel rejoiced at the very idea of an Austrian revolution, it must enable Italy to establish her liberty securely, and one may hope, peacefully. . . .
I think Lely and William hang back from any great change . . . they seem to dislike the idea of Jas's entirely abandoning his profession and fixing himself in such a way that he could not return to it if better days should come for engineers.
Has the cholera visited your quarter of Germany yet? It seems really to have set its foot in London and Edinbro' but I hope it will never reach the height it did 16 years ago, now that the importance of cleanliness and ventilation is so much more generally understood. I have been very much pleased to see the alacrity and good will with which the people here have set themselves to work at Uncle Charles's suggestion to remove
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dirt and nuisances of all kinds. He attended a small parish meeting knowing that the clergyman . . . would do nothing in the matter and persuaded the people to form a committee for going round the place and examining into the state of drains, yards and pig-styes and the like, so that there has been ever since a busy clearing and cleaning going on thro' the village. . . .
Marcella has led Wm a fine life about her christening ... he has had troublesome work to do of late and Lely says she never considers the inconvenience and disadvantage to young professional men of being absent from chambers on week days . . . After all he is only going to be proxy in the affair, he would not of course be godfather to the infant. ...
Sunday Oct 29.1 had a letter from Wm yesterday and he tells me that the Childe is nearly wild with some electrical theory ... He is continually in the stable when at home trying experiments and can neither sleep nor eat from excitement. Lely . . . thinks his health will suffer from such unusual mental excitement . . .
James knows and says that his besetting sin is indolence, that it obscures all his good gifts, and, as his conscience seldom sleeps for long, renders his life unhappy. The desultory half-occupied life that he has led of late has been the worst thing in the world for him . . . Everyone seems to say that a small farm can never give satisfactory employment to a man of good powers and we fear Jas would find it as difficult to get out of the pottering habits which make him so wretched when a small farmer as when a half employed engineer. One great evil of his present life no doubt is his want of companions with whom he sympathizes and unless he can one day marry I believe he is a creature never to find sufficient food for his affections . . . Were there any chance of Jas finding employment in town so that he could live at home with us I should begin with some boldness to oppose his present plans but ... it seems such a cruel thing to set one's face against the only thing that suggests itself as capable of affording him useful occupation for which one may say he has been pining in mind and heart these two years.
v 1, pp 116-7 (t.s.)
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - [Oct 1848]
Will has been a good deal absorbed of late but then as his most difficult and absorbing work always comes from other conveyancers I do not feel exactly that he is most [?prosperous] in a wordly point of view when he is busiest. In his leisure moments he has been writing on his favourite point, the law of Inheritance. I don't know whether it is a labour that is to be turned to any profit but perhaps he will make his name a little known by publishing and thus get more business . . .
William has at length been to the important Ealing christening, at which he says a broomstick would have filled his place quite satisfactorily as he left all the responses to Mr Wilkins, who was the other godfather . . .
v 1,p 111 (t.s.)
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Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Witton-le-Wear, 12 Nov 1848
Joseph Henry [Hutton] continues very happy at Liverpool and they have good accounts from Rd who has commenced his studies regularly at Berlin. He attends the same classes at College with Mr Martineau and reads with him in private classes. Happy creatures say I. I wish poor Will here were with them instead of drudging in Chancery Lane, tho' he seems quite resigned to his dry life now.
Henry's first experiments were so successful that he had begun to hope his theory was a true one, however he writes me word today that he is quite uncertain yet how far his proceedings will 'affect the Thames'. . . .
We have heard many opinions just of late in favour of farming near London . . . Mr Shaen who has had a good deal of experience warns Jas against commencing without a little previous experience but how to gain it without being at a great expense is the difficulty. I keep living with a kind of vague hope that some employment for Jas may offer or something new ... to change his purpose before he takes any active steps towards becoming a farmer. . . .
v 1, p 118 (t.s.)
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Witton-le-Wear, 5 Dec 1848
... I am quite at a loss to understand the feeling which makes Mr Whittle look on teaching as a degrading employment, a feeling which greatly to my surprise I cannot but see from your last letters that you sympathize in not a little. It is a feeling quite distinct from your dislike of it as an occupation. And by the bye I cannot think that you will find teaching your own language to grown people, especially if they are in the least intelligent class, at all irksome in the way most who try it find instructing children is. If you like the study of languages so much yourself why should not exploring your own and seeking to interest other minds in its beauties have something of the same charm to you, entered on in a right spirit? . . .
I can't say I am glad you have settled at your dear Malsburgs', for that might imply I was pleased you had quitted Spohr. As you cannot be with both I feel that much as Spohr loves you and delights to have you with him you are more immediately useful where you now are . . .
(Original in Alfred and Isabel Reed collection, Dunedin Public Library)
Maria Richmond to C. Hursthouse - - - Merton, 19 Dec 1848
I was much gratified at receiving such pleasant tidings from New Zealand. It is indeed a matter of thankfulness to learn that our dear emigrants appear to be surmounting their difficulties, and that there seems a chance of their reaping the reward of their labours. I feel grieved to think that any necessity should exist for your quitting old England, but we are everywhere under the eye of a Great and Beneficent Being, and after all it is of no moment where an earthly career closes. I am sure dear Helen will always do her utmost to promote your comfort.
v 38, p 95 (t.s.)
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Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Witton, 24 Dec 1848
Uncle Wright encloses me a letter from New Zealand giving a most hopeful account of the prospects of the Colony and of our friends there. It is from Aunt Helen to Mr Hursthouse and seems to urge his giving [?sending] them all there. I believe he is inclined to do so and should he go Mr and Mrs J. Smith his son in law and daughter with their 5 bairns will accompany him. I think all the party but poor Mary Hursthouse like the idea. Aunt Charles often regrets that this family did not emigrate long ago . . . Uncle C. has no capital to commence with, and her health is very indifferent at all times or else I dare say they would be glad to go any day.
v 1, p 120 (t.s.)
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - 25 Dec 1848
I told Jas that if he could leave England and spend some time with Lely and me in some cheap spot on the continent before settling on his future course it might be a good thing for us all . . . However Jas seems to think that it would not be right or wise of him to spend any time in amusements even of an improving and inexpensive kind, he says he ought to place himself as soon as possible where he will have far less leisure ... I could have built many pleasant castles with you had he listened at all to my suggestion ... I have not the least idea what a month may bring forth for us now.
v 1, p 120 (t.s.)
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 2 Mar 1849
Everyone seems so struck by Wm's bad looks that I feel uneasy about him tho' he has no distinct complaint. He has been trying to punish the Railway Company for raising their fares by going to town all sorts of cheap ways, and this has done him no good for he has too much walking. This silly plan of punishing himself ... I am happy to say ends today for he has taken his ticket for half a year and will now go to and fro snugly in first class always. He has had very little remunerative work for some time past . . .
The farming scheme has quite died a natural death and no new plan succeeds it. We all seem resting on our oars waiting till the tide sees fit to carry us on. Old Jas . . . seems to think Wm. unnecessarily cast down with respect to his professional prospects. I don't believe Wm would trouble his head about his slow progress in this way, if it did not in a great degree cloud his prospects for life. I think ... he tries to persuade himself that he has next to no chance of professional success, at any rate until too late in life to afford any hope of its contributing to his true happiness . . . Mamma and I almost wish tho' changes are hazardous that if James meets with any opening for business or trade in the least degree promising Wm should join him ... If his profession is to wear mind and body without forming an instrument to his future happiness why pursue it? We never say this to him however at present, since I believe he has convinced himself that whether successful or not he ought now to follow the
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path before him. Henry is very submissive to his friends and will be anything he is advised to be I dare say. He has a great turn for science generally and chemistry seems a favourite pursuit ... he pursues his studies in a steady determined manner.
v 2, p 4
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 24 Mar 1849
I don't imagine he [William] is at all unfit for his profession mentally, and tho' I think a great deal of hard head work is more than his body can stand, I have no doubt that if he had a better connection among solicitors he would make a moderate income very comfortably to himself . . . but after all he has done better than the majority of young barristers and we have no right to be despairing for 2 or 3 years to come at least . . . Charles Hursthouse is now in England, he is just arrived from New Zealand. Jas often threatens to return with him but I cannot believe ... he would have the heart to leave us all. It is not as if there were any necessity for it, he can be fed and clothed in comfort here till better times. He complains however of the demoralizing effect of an unemployed life on men. We are glad to keep Charlie [Wilson] at present for the occupation of teaching him . . . keeps up Jas's spirits wonderfully . . . Everyone is struck with James's brilliant appearance, he certainly does look particularly well . . .
v 2, p 5
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 28 May 1849
James continues wonderfully easy about his affairs and has quite ceased of late to talk of N. Zealand ... I suppose Hy will take another year at College but ... he wants to be started in life and is evidently quite against the idea of taking a degree as it would envolve three years more of student life. I believe he is right for neither his mind nor body would stand it. Besides he is too much of a hermit by nature, and such a long course of study would confirm his isolation. He will be better for activity and being forced among his fellow creatures ... If James is to turn artist as Rd Hutton advises I think he must make a trip to Switzerland for the sake of sketching and I must come to take care of him and carry his colours.
v 2, p 7
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 10 Jun 1849
... I don' scold you at all for not giving me more paper, you write twice as much matter aslt do on the same amount of paper, and in short are a pearl without price. I am scribbling full tear, glorying in the thought that I may use as much space as I like. I will take care your letters are not committed to any hands but your own in case of my demise. I wish I were sure all the rubbish I have written was in the fire. I do detest the thought of my own letters . . .
(Original in Alfred and Isabel Reed collection Dunedin Public Library)
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Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 10 Jun 1849
... In these bad times many friends recommend Henry remaining at the College to take a degree as there seems little for the young men to do in any business and it is better for him to work on a definite object till he has a fairer chance of starting in life ...
John Hutton has got a new situation or a revival of his old situation . . . and will not have to come home at all as was expected. This is the first instance of good luck I heard of among engineers lately. Tom Clegg is still out of employ.
v2, p 9 (t.s.)
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor Merton, 26 Aug 1849
. . . [William] has had little regular paying business, and has been much harassed about money affairs . . . and I think he has taken too dark a view of his own prospects of worldly success. . . . Perhaps if he had had any sort of hope that you might ever care for him to stay himself by, these things might have affected him less, but he always persisted that he was too far removed from your ideal of a husband ever to raise any warmer regard from you than you had given him; moreover he sometimes talks as tho' a real proper love such as it is right and safe to marry for is spontaneous on both sides . . . This does seem to have been a most unfortunate affair for him since even if he has quite conquered his affection for you, he is far less likely to form another attachment than he would have been if he had not known you . . .
The children 19 . . . were certainly rather an arduous undertaking ... I took them to town . . . and passed the day at the Smith's lodgings in Thavies Inn in the midst of indescribable chaos. You may imagine the kind of thing from your own turn out at Harpford, only this was a more serious affair as it was a removal for life, and a packing up of every species of article needed for four grown up people and five children in a voyage of months, and in an establishment in a land where nothing manufactured is to be had. William joined the party in the afternoon and we accompanied them to Gravesend, where their ship the Pekin lay. It was a fine vessel, and ... I was more agreeably impressed than I expected with their prospects for the voyage. All the females were hoisted on board in an armchair wrapped in the ship's colours, a most new and exciting method of travelling to me. Did you ever try it? Mrs Atkinson came on board to see the Hursthouse and Smith party as she was anxious to propitiate them on her son Wm's account - he went out to New Plymouth in the June ship. She is a very odd woman; . . . and it was very amusing to see the easy manner in which she made herself useful and at home with all on board. We had a curious tea party in the cabin at which basins and small mugs, dolls' spoons and carving knives figured prominently. . . .
Old Mr Hursthouse visited us here before sailing, and a more delightful specimen of an upright, true-hearted Englishman I never beheld. It was most touching to hear him speak of his more prosperous days with no weak regrets for lost wealth, and not a
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spark of unkindly feeling towards those who have literally risen on his ruin. ... He called me aside and told me that he had received most melancholy news from Africa which he felt it right to conceal for a while from his daughters ... he had heard of the death of his youngest son William at the Cape. . . .
Are you not mad at the result of the Hungarian war? I am no peace woman - I should like England to take up the cudgels and give Austria and Russia a good drubbing. I suppose we should pay for the gratification in the form of taxes, but I should not mind for the upper and middle classes; I should consider it a cheap and wholesome luxury for them, but I fear the poor would suffer for such pleasures too severely . . .
Poor James hears of nothing to do. I don't think he is sufficiently hopeful to have much chance in taking to art seriously. 20 I wish he were engaged to some nice creature ... I have really wanted the whole family to pack up and away to New Zealand but neither Lely nor William will listen to such a project.
v 2, pp 15-6
Maria Richmond to J. M. and C. W. Richmond - - - Merton, 9 Sep 1849
Perhaps I had better give you some extracts from J.C.R's letter: 'All I hear of railway engineering has one direction, give up the profession. ... I dined at Mr Carter's with Mr Stephenson, who should be an authority thus far at least, and his advice is as I have stated. Of course manufacturing business is a safe and substantial trade, and he advised anyone entering it, to see to obtaining a junior partnership in some established business, not to commence a new one' . . .
The 'black fever' is in London, and black flags are hung in all the streets where it is prevalent; it is Mr Hudson's opinion that it is not the cholera but the black fever that the people in the Rush are dying of . . .
James says 'Mr Whitten's bailiff states that with . . . resolute attention, a year's work on a farm would qualify a man to begin on his own account . . . take a long lease, 99 years or longer, of a bog district, and reclaim it. Govt makes grants for drainage of bogs, & the whole reclamation may be done giving you an estate ... at less than £10 an acre.'
v 2,p 20
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 1 Nov 1849
We seem to have travelled in imagination over half the habitable globe since I came home, accompanying James to all the colonies in turn. The emigration scheme has been more practically discussed during the last three weeks than it has ever been before . . . New English schemes have been started within the last week, and unless
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they should all fall fruitless to the ground I think James will quite abandon his emigrating ideas . . .
It appears very evident that Jas's heart is not at all in any plan that involves his leaving England alone . . . The Shaens let us know the other day of an excellent opening at Port Phillip for William if all the family thought of emigrating ... It seems that a young barrister of any ability could be ensured £800 a year at once. The schemes for James at present are of rather an indefinite character. One is a partnership with Mr Boult, the other with your Uncle Sam . . . When nearly in a state of despair at the thought of James departing so soon to the Antipodes (as Henry justly remarked before he had the excuse of having lost money in England) Lely and I reverted to the farming plan . . .
Last night we had a letter from Mr Clegg asking him to name a sum which would close the Shropshire Mineral account between them. He has answered naming half the sum . . . On the strength of Mr Clegg's money James talks of attending the Suffolk St Gallery . . . and improving in drawing for a month that he may keep his mind occupied till some of his irons grow hot or cold . . .
v 2, pp 26-7
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor 6 Dec 1849
James has commenced his attendance at Mr Leigh's drawing Accadamy, he has been there a month drawing every day from casts most diligently. He seems quite in his element at this occupation.
The Childe does not look so well as he ought; the chemical atmosphere he lives in all day cannot be very wholesome. ... He has joined a debating society just formed by the young men attending the College, and is preparing an Essay on Electricity (still his favourite subject) . . .
James talks of 'spending time in Rome', 'portraits of his sister by the artist', and such like; draws from skeletons and brings home gigantic feet, hands and naked gladiators, till Elizabeth exclaims 'Patience alive! What does Mr James make them things for?' Whether all this will bear fruit remains to be seen.
v 2, pp 28-9
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Springholm, iy Feb 1850
I am tired out of uncertainties and scheming and have no heart to speak of what will in all probability fall to the ground in the course of a few weeks. James is still sanguine about the potting and has broached the matter to the Uncles . . . who will have to raise the money for him if he proceeds further. William is not without his fears, he is anxious that Jas should fit himself for the management of the business part of such a concern before sinking capital in it.
v 2,p 30
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Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 14 Mar 1850
He [James] has found many obstacles to getting his pottery scheme forward; he sees the danger of commencing without more insight into the business management . . . but he finds great difficulty in gaining admittance to anything but two little scrubby potteries that he has been warned may break and stop working at any time; and for entering either of these for 3 months he would be charged £30. . . . James is very anxious that Henry should see something of some foreign manufacturing before joining him in Staffordshire. I suppose either Sevres or Dresden would be the best. ... I am not at all easy about Hy's state of body and mind and I think a thorough change would be of enormous benefit to him ... He ... is lethargic and inanimate poor fellow, he has interest for nothing but his work . . .
v 2, p 32
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 10 Apr 1850
Jas has been induced entirely to abandon the pottery schemes. . . . Wm is just beginning to feel that he is making more way in his profession, the last quarter has been the best that he has ever had. ... Of course James will be an expense for some time and he may ultimately find that Art wont keep him ... if it comes to the worst he can emigrate with a sufficient and comfortable capital, to ensure him a livelihood without too much hardship in the Colonies. Henry I think inclines to emigration and would not be unwilling to make a voyage to New Zealand: tho' I think he would wish to consider himself as a pioneer for the family ... he feels . . . that an outdoor life is the only one that will ensure him health and vigour of body and mind. I think William's dislike to emigration will increase if he continues to grow successful in the law, but when his mind was oppressed with anxiety about Jas and other affairs he declared himself willing to throw up everything here and hoist sail for New Zealand . . .
v 2, p 34
Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 28 Apr 1850
James is quite determined to make a vigorous push in Art, he considers he has only half used his powers in this direction yet, he considers it quite uncertain what his success will be but he is going to exert all his energies before falling back on emigration. There seems to be nothing else for it and we all approve. This being the case he will go to Dresden or Rome this year. . . .
I want to know what makes you join in the unjust (as I think it) tone of people who speak of Jas as a susceptible or flirty young man. He is fond of ladies' society in the way you like gentlemen's, but he has never been smitten or fancied himself smitten with any girl but Anne Shaen. . . .
v 2, pp 36-7
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Jane Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 21 Jun 1850
I have quite given up my visit to the North for the present as it seems settled, so far as any of our affairs in this world are settled, that James and Henry sail for New Zealand in August. You may easily imagine I should not write this so calmly if I looked on their departure as a permanent breaking up and separation of our family. Should they be disappointed in the Colony or find its social and moral state prevents their desiring that Mamma Wm and I should join them I feel little fear but that both will return to recommence the struggle in the crowded old country, but if they find Taranaki is rich as we are led to believe it to be, we shall all follow them in '52 if no unfor-seen obstacle occurs to prevent it. ...
Every year communication with New Zealand is becoming more regular and secure so do not say we cannot correspond as well as we do now ... If fortunately Jas should form any attachment and marry in a few years we should certainly assist Uncle Charles to join us with his family. Emigration is going on at a rate amongst the middle class of which I had no notion till our arrangements led us to see what others were about. I do not despair of seeing many I know follow us before long ... I have very little patriotism I am afraid, I am thankful to be an English woman to live under English laws, but for these things I can be equally thankful in New Zealand, which is only a part of the British Empire possessing finer climate richer soil nobler scenery without the unpleasant picture of rents and taxes. I shall like to be where my brothers are influential men where there is ample scope for activity of mind and body, and the employment of their capital in safety, where they will be wealthy enough to feel that they can marry without the least imprudence the moment they set foot in the settlement if they so desire, and last but not least there is every hope of their being healthier. I have not a doubt that with more of an outdoor life and less pecuniary anxiety Wm will be a new creature. ... So deeply convinced are Mamma and I of this that tho' Wm's career appears to common eyes the most settled and hopeful, and indeed he is the only one at all earning a respectable income, we feel the change to be more important and desirable for him than for any of the three. Seeing the difficulty of his entering on any new course in England and feeling that his present one was leading him 'no whither' as Carlyle would say, have gradually worked a change in his views of emigration and from being a decided opposer he had become as decided an adherent for it as Henry.
You must not . . . suppose that any of the boys would be so selfish as to subject Mamma or me to any trying hardships for their own advantage. Emigrating with a capital like ours we can take every comfort with us and need work no harder than we like, we must of course expect to live in a rougher plainer style than we do here . . . but neither Lely nor I will find any hardship in that. . . . People often leave England with fewer hundreds to back them than we shall have thousands, this makes a difference in what they pass thro'. Of course we expect to rough it for a time the scarcity of female servants will make that inevitable but as Jas and Hy will have a decent house
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built with a garden laid out before we arrive we shall not perish for want of food and shelter, and have besides our families of relations and friends there. . . .
25 Jun . . . Old Jas arrived last night looking thin but pretty well and cheerful. He is off to town this morning with Henry. Hy has begun to take swimming lessons that he may not have to trouble the native ladies to carry him over rivers, he has bought a Maori grammar as he intends studying the language on the voyage when not seasick. Of course now it is known that Jas and Hy think of going so soon letters flock in recommending the United States, Canada, or Ireland in preference to N.Z. As we cannot tell everybody our views as to following them it is difficult to explain all the reasons for the selection of N.Z. They do not go to make a fortune but to found a home where they can have abundant employment and where we may all live at health and at ease.
v 2, pp 40-1
Maria Richmond to Margaret Taylor - - - Merton, 25 Sep 1850
The chances are perhaps as great against James and Henry remaining in New Zealand as returning. Then if they find New Plymouth affords a chance of a more useful and happy life than offers for them here, who knows but others may be induced to accompany us to join them, perhaps you among the rest ... I am only just beginning to realise the departure of these dear creatures. The bustle and work attendant on their outfit have kept us from dwelling perpetually on their departure and on the immense distance which will divide us. Sometimes I think I must not only appear but be very hard hearted. I receive consoling letters and people come to see me, full of kindness and sympathy, doubtless expecting to find me either drowned in tears, or wearing a woe-begone countenance. Lo and behold they find me as tranquil and placid as a lake in calm weather. It must be that throughout I have entertained the belief almost unconsciously, that this separation is not to be permanent. . . .
We go to see the Victory on Friday. I doubt whether I shall venture to Gravesend on the last sad day. . . .
P.S. 27 Sep . . . William has just rushed in, having met Maria on her way to the station . . . The Childe preceded him with his wonted steadiness and gravity of demeanour. James followed his cart load of goods to town yesterday, to see them safely on board the Victory, and has not yet reappeared.
v 2, p 43
C. Hursthouse, junior, to C. W. Richmond - - - Lowestoffe [c. Oct 1850]
The quiet of deafness and of Lowestoffe has been favourable to reflection, and I have been led to reflect a little on the important step which your brothers have wisely and manfully determined on taking. Except in the case of my own relatives it has with me been a general rule never to advise anyone to leave this country, but merely to recommend New Plymouth to those who had already decided on emigrating somewhere. . . . The opinion has forced itself upon me that you would do well all to go together.
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I gathered . . . that you are not now at all unfavourably disposed towards emigration - that you do look forward to joining your brothers ... and that in fact your chief motive for not accompanying them is the fear that Mrs and Miss Richmond may be subjected to certain unpleasant roughings like those encountered, but conquered, by dear Helen. Now on this point (a very important one, I admit) believe me there is no cause for doubt or apprehension. Consider for a moment the vast difference in the circumstances of our case and yours. We went out seven years ago before the infant settlement had assumed shape or feature, when all was wild and new, when the population was small, weak and strange, when every article of domestic consumption was enormously dear, when no man knew best how to clear an acre of land or how best to build a house, and when the whole of us might well have been likened to so many Colonial babes in the wood. Moreover we had no money, and we suffered by all those gross political misdeeds by which the early fortunes of New Zealand were so woefully blasted. You would go to a comparatively old settlement, and would enjoy the immense advantages of finding these things, to wit - the population increased in numbers double, in experience a hundredfold; professional, trading and agricultural pursuits settled in regular channels; living cheap and society regularly organised; the country opened up by roads, bridges, etc; the land question, and its host of attendant ills satisfactorily set at rest; an able governor ruling wisely until superseded by the coming representative institutions . . . and the Colony fast rising in favour. Moreover, you have capital; and remember that we went out strangers to a strange land; you would find a large circle of old friends to give you a warm welcome.
I am certain that if your going depends on the favourable report of your brothers you will go; and the advantages of going together in one party instead of two are great and manifold. In the first place there would not be the care and anxiety about each other which, in so united a family as yours, would naturally be felt if you were separated. Secondly, by going together all arrangements of outfit, voyage, etc., could be more economically and satisfactorily made, and the voyage itself would be rendered far more agreeable to all.
Thirdly, on arrival you could far better plan and carry out your future course and movements. I fancy your course would be something like this: On landing in New Plymouth you would rent a cottage near John and Helen as a temporary abiding place; then whilst the ladies were unpacking the household gods, revelling in a succession of tea parties and picnics . . . you three, staff in hand and wallet on shoulder, accompanied by John or some other man cunning in land, would stroll thro' the district and choose your 100 acres. This done, you would build your house, lay out your orchard and garden, move on to the property and take possession. Half, or one portion, of your capital might be invested in some good £10 or £15 per ct security, and the other part, backed up by the light labour and personal superintendence of 'the three,' would of course be devoted to 'converting your wild land into a complete farm.' All this might occupy say 1 1/2 to 2 years, at the expiration of which time, if any of you, rather than extend his farming or grazing pursuits, wished to embark in any other line - (you to
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combine law, James and Henry mechanics with agriculture) - why, of course you easily could do so.
Whilst creating this little estate you would also . . . have been acquiring full experience . . . you would have a comfortable home of your own and a snug little estate producing you a yearly income and on which you could live cheaply; whilst from this home you could at any time sally forth to avail yourself of any suitable opportunity which the increase of population and the general progress of the Colony might open for your respective callings . . . Think the matter over in chambers and out of chambers. It is exasperating to think that a fellow of your ability and education and means should go on inhuming himself, like an insane human chrysalis, in that dry legal cave in Chancery Lane - existing thro' long summer days in poring over some ponderous tomes of chicanery and law, when you might expand your wings in our brilliant atmosphere, really live and fly at something worthy of attainment.
J. C. Richmond to Maria Richmond - - - The Victory off Heme Bay, 5 Oct 1850
The friendly Atkinsons spent all yesterday with us and would have had us return with them, but we feared to be off the ship. Em will tell you that our berth looked so comfortable when they left as half to convert her to emigration . . . There . . . seems plenty of food though coarse enough & ladled out & handled with the dirtiest ladles & hands that man ever used for any purpose. . . .
We are supplied with abundance to do for the present by the clumsy arrangements of provisions & by the duties of keeping cabins clean. The only assistance found us is the cook's and we have in turns to sweep out the general cabin. I dont think we shall be able to gain a footing on the poop. We hear there is an aristocratic lady who is disgusted when 'common people' are seen there.
v 2, p 48