Page:Discovery of the West Coast Gold-Fields Waite 1869.pdf/16

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had reached Nelson, that I had been hanged at the Grey, during the little adventure before described, and so great was the excitement of many people, who were glad to see me return safe and sound with a good parcel of gold, that it was with difficulty I was enabled to get away from them at the wharf; after succeeding in this, I found that it was not the last I was destined to hear of the affair. Merchants, storekeepers, and in fact nearly all interested parties, seemed suddenly to be struck with the idea that I was a martyr, that I had undergone numerous trials, difficulties, and hairbreadth escapes, in furthering their interest and the interest of the province at large by aiding the development of hidden resources in what, until lately, had always been deemed a worthless territory. Conscience seemed to prick them, and their generous hearts bled with good intent; thanks, praise, and condolence for my losses, poured in from every side; I had been unnoticed, forgotten, and now they felt in honour bound to take me by the hand. I had done the place some service, so they thought, and thus would they exalt me among their fellow-men by presentation of a handsome testimonial—with all their spotless names attached—to show the world how nobly they acknowledged, that one from out of the mass had opened out a thoroughfare to trade, and made them what they were. What open-hearted candour! what glorious resolves, if only carried out. Surely such estimable men, who place such value on their given word, could never break it, and let their generous resolves sink into oblivion? No; it were heresy to think so; they never could. But mark the sequel. In the Nelson Examiner, about the month of August, 1864, there appeared an advertisement, calling together certain gentlemen for the purpose of forming a committee to get up a testimonial to be presented to Mr. Waite, in acknowledgment of the manner in which he had benefitted the province, of the hardships he had undergone, and various other things to the same effect, in connection with the development of the South-west gold-fields. So far, so good; but what followed? For several days the excitement kept the thing alive; then, it vanished like the upward curling smoke, doomed to melt into thinner air. The noble acknowledgment, the generous resolves, had come to an untimely end; thus, after living but a few short days, the handsome testimonial was dead and buried. So much for the brittle promises of man—promises unsought, unasked for. It is not with the idea of shewing my own deeds up that I have related this circumstance, for what I did was for my own interest. I never asked for anything, it never struck me that I particularly deserved it; I merely did what many others had done before me, and it was not my wish that any fuss should be made about it. The people of Nelson brought the thing forward of their own accord, and seemed determined to reward me unasked. They wished to do it, they thought it would be right and proper