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Frank Leward: Memorials

Mr. Leward to Frank

Mr. Leward to Frank.

The Shrubbery, near Southampton, Oct. 31,1842.

My dear Son,—We have just received your last letter, written to your mother, and dated February (the day of the month is not mentioned) of the present year, from lat. 50. S. long. 170, and apparently delivered to another ship about the 12th of April following.

I extremely regret that you should have found it necessary to engage yourself in the whale trade, which, from all I can hear and read upon the subject, seems to be a life of great hardship and privation. We trust by this time, or at any rate before this reaches Wellington, that you will have returned safely there, and have commenced pastoral or agricultural pursuits, or both—pursuits, I need hardly say, much more becoming a gentleman of your birth and station than those you have lately been engaged upon.

I understand from your mother that she some time ago, indeed immediately after the event, informed you of the demise of your venerable and venerated grandmother, and of the disposition which she made of her estate. page 93You, my dear son, could scarcely have been astonished that she had preferred your brother Arthur to succeed to the Glades. Your wandering life, your nomadic habits, though think not I am casting one single stone at you on that account, rendered you, well, not so suitable a master of a landed estate as your younger brother is likely to be; while the early age at which you left school, the manner in which you left, though again, let me assure you, I am not seeking to upbraid you even for that on the present occasion, and a consequent lack of education, rendered you, although the elder by the accident of birth, inferior as regards, I may say at any rate, adventitious advantages.

Arthur, on the other hand, is all either she or I could have wished for, and we had every reason to suppose that he would make an admirable landed proprietor, a model of a Christian and Protestant landlord, an example of virtue and propriety, as well to his neighbours as to his dependants. He matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, at the commencement of last Easter term, after having carried off numerous prizes from Upton, and the goodwill and approbation of his masters. He has already distinguished himself at the University, both by his perseverance and industry, and by his vigorous efforts to induce a more evangelic tone amongst his fellow-students.

Though your grandmother declared by her will that Arthur should succeed to the real estate and heir-looms, she, after providing for an annuity of £300 to be paid to Aunt Jane for her life, bequeathes all the personalty page 94to you, including jewellery and furniture, and all the money which she owned at the time of her death, both what she had in her own right, as well as that she received from her husband, and also all savings which she had accumulated since her husband's death. These accumulations ought to be considerable; but strange to say, although we have searched everywhere, and in every direction, we have so far been unable to discover what she has done with them, how she invested them, or where the securities are. Neither her solicitor nor her banker know anything about them. The latter tells me that she from time to time for the last ten years drew out various sums, which are not accounted for in any accounts she kept. We shall, however, continue the search, and I shall let you know immediately if we succeed in tracing them. As to the ready money found in her possession at the time of her death, I send that, together with an addition of my own, to enable you to buy some land in New Zealand.

At the time you wrote last, you had not so far succeeded in obtaining any of those fish for the capture of which your expedition had been fitted out. I will pause here only for a moment to point out some of the edifying lessons which even your then avocation would suggest to a thoughtful and thoroughly religious mind. The coin found in the fish's mouth and the lesson drawn from it, that we are bound to honour and do due reverence to the powers that be. The miraculous draught of fishes, teaching us that even sinners and those of little faith need not quite despair, but may pray that their faith page 95be strengthened and they perhaps be saved; also that those who deserve it, those who are amongst the chosen ones, those who work hard and faithfully for it, will have their reward even in temporal things and that to overflowing. You should also have been reminded of those sons of Zebedee who were found mending their nets, but who, when summoned, as even you at any moment might be summoned, left all to follow the voice of God. Simon Peter also and his brother Andrew were called when employed in a similar avocation by the sea of Galilee; and the missionary spirit, which was afterwards so abundantly shown in Peter especially, may perhaps instil in your mind, some day, the desire that among the savage tribes where it has pleased God your lot should be cast, that even you should some day work for the salvation of souls. Then you ought not to have forgotton how Jonah was mercifully and miraculously saved in a whale's belly for three days and nights, after his heinous sins of rebellion had, too, been so great that he had been cast out from the ship for fear that all in it would meet with a judgment You might also have been led to remember the crying sins of Nineveh, and that punishment of destruction which was denounced against her, and then you would, I think, strive to cleanse yourself from a too great love of the world.

You will find with this letter a bank bill for £500 to assist you, as I said, in your settlement in New Zealand, and I send with it a parent's blessing and prayers that you may be converted. With much love from your mother, who I regret to say has not been well lately, page 96either physically or mentally, and from your brother, who begs me to tell you that he joins with me in my prayers for your conversion, I am always your very affectionate father,

Francis Leward.

To Mr. F. Leward,

Care of the Agent of the New Zealand Co., Wellington, New Zealand.