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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

William Mein Smith

After the Edward Hughes arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, and Lady Anne Barnard settled in to being the hostess of Cape Town, there were just a couple more significant entries about Little Mary Mein in her diary.  Both of them were happy.

November, 1797, at the Cape:  “The little Crumb to our astonishment was married soon after her arrival to the contractor for naval stores, a worthy and clever man . . . he dined with us though she did not, as he hinted there was a Family reason which prevented her.”

February 10, 1800, at the Cape. “Monday we all dined with the Smiths, it was the little womans birthday, and the wedding day [anniversary] of Anne [Elizabeth] and the Col[onel]: so we drank a bumper to each the Smiths are Happy people, and tho she is less good tempered, consequently less amiable than Anne, yet I think their Happiness is justly more likely to last than that of my two friends who I do not think so well fitted to get chearfully thro the world as the other two . . . much depends always on the Man & Smith is of an uncommon worth & gentleness of temper I hear -- they have a fine Healthy boy bigger than its mama & we may safely pronounce her a lucky woman.”

The worthy Little Mary married was William Proctor Smith, and the baby boy was none other than New Zealand's first surveyor general, William Mein Smith, the fellow who laid out the first of Wellington's streets.  The picture of him, above, is not quite as beautiful as he doubtlessly was as a fine Healthy boy, but it is the best that we have.

You can read a biography of William Mein Smith HERE.

And to read Lady Anne's diary on board ship and over her first year in Cape Town, you need to find a rather scarce copy of:

The Cape Journals of Lady Anne Barnard, 1797-1798, edited by A. M. Lewin Robinson, with Margaret Lenta and Dorothy Driver. Published in Cape Town by the Van Riebeeck Society (Second series no. 24, 1994 for 1993).  

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