1854 - Richardson, J. A Summer's Excursion in New Zealand - CHAPTER II, p 8-35

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  1854 - Richardson, J. A Summer's Excursion in New Zealand - CHAPTER II, p 8-35
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IT was but a few short years ago, when war had ceased to scourge and disease to depopulate, now unhappily no longer the case, that the politician, the philosopher, and the patriot cast many an anxious glance at the overflowing population of our highly favoured isle. It was evident that things could not remain as they were, depletion was necessary, or, to use language more in accordance with our commercial pursuits, it was absolutely requisite that the steam should be let off. A population increasing at the rate of five millions in every ten years; a poor-law expenditure as in 1848, for England alone of six millions, and of £3 2/5, 4/5, & 2 2/5 for each individual relieved in England, Scotland, and Ireland respectively, was a fearful picture to behold. The disciple of Malthus eyed it with dismay; the politician and the patriot bemoaned the increased dependence abroad for the necessaries of life, and convoked the past to bear testimony to the danger of the future; the agriculturist fretted at the thought of resorting to foreign countries for cereal produce and bewailed the effects on the price of corn and the evident decadence of national prosperity, a feeling in which the labourer exhibited a practical and compulsory sympathy by the receipt of lessened wages; the manu-

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facturer, perhaps, rejoiced in the greater home market, but his human machinery, his helpmates, while they joyfully acknowledged the regular demand for their toil, winced under the effect of competition and the superabundance of labour; the professions staggered beneath the profusion of diplomas and degrees; the monetary departments got bewildered amidst the heaps of unemployed capital, and the multitude of clerks; and the storekeeper among the applicants for office. The lancet was in universal requisition; the opening of the safety-valve demanded in every direction. Relief came, as is not seldom the case, from the quarter whence it was least expected. Famine and disease buried their hundreds of thousands, drove an equal number beyond the Atlantic to less densely populated lands, while the magnetic influence of gold allured as many more to the Pacific. These combined causes greatly relieved the country; but the emigration was chiefly confined to the labouring classes. There is still much, very much, anxious thought for the morrow in many an aching heart. The man of limited capital, or he who derives his subsistence from a subordinate official or mercantile situation, dependant on a breath, cannot but feel, that though he may be able to keep himself above water, the clouds lower and the horizon darkens over his rising family. He naturally and anxiously casts his eyes around to see whether there is not some harbour of refuge, some way in which he can invest his capital in which the returns would be greater, more certain, and, perhaps, afford

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some occupation for his youngsters in its employment. The colonies are represented as supplying such an opportunity, and to them he will, if wise, devote much serious and anxious inquiry. He will find no lack of works written on the advantages presented by each, and he will make his selection or a colony according to his peculiar views, microscopically investigating the advantages set before him, so that he may be assured of their reality. In fixing a steady gaze upon New Zealand I was chiefly influenced by the following considerations: its healthiness; its civil, religious, and social advantages; its affording the means for the profitable investment of capital; and its position as regards trade. Though exposed to the objection of treading on beaten paths (and which writer of some fifty who, up to 1848, have worn out the nibs of their pens in such a way, is free from the objection?) I will note down what I believe to be a few facts connected with the above points.

There is scarcely an assertion regarding New Zealand which is supported by so great an unanimity of testimony as that which describes its climateas most excellent. Independently of this consideration, which, however, is one worthy of the greatest weight, we find among the chief causes which modify climate, there are some which affect New Zealand; viz, insularity, remoteness from continents, and narrowness, by which a larger surface is exposed to the equalizing influence of the sea breeze. As an illustration we might allude to the fact that the southern shores of Italy receive the hot blasts of Africa

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much tempered by traversing the Mediterranean; and, that the north-west winds of New Zealand imbibe an appreciable amount of heat in passing over its central rocky districts. But to pass to more evident facts. If we refer to the appearance of the aboriginals we find them to be a powerfully formed race, and until the introduction of European disease, remarkably free from sickness, as are still the inhabitants bordering on Lake Taupo. It is well to bear this in mind, because an inference has been drawn from the prevalence of scrofula and consumption among the natives that there is a tendency in the climate to produce these forms of disease. Such, however, is most certainly not the case in all the northern districts; though I have heard it asserted that the changeableness in the most southern parts is not favourable where consumption actually exists. If we regard the offspring of the European and Maori we find a class far superior to any other existing mixed race, and if we look to the healthiness and increase of imported European cattle and sheep the same favourable result appears, while the European flora offers an equally high enconium. The appearance of the settlers and their children is indicative of enjoyable health; and, especially with reference to the latter, there is not that physical deterioration which is apparent in the neighbouring continent.

The highest medical testimony, based on carefully prepared data, assures us that the amount of sickness and mortality among the European soldiery at home is double what it is in New Zealand; while pectoral com-

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plaints are nearly three times more frequent in Great Britain than they are in New Zealand. Rheumatism is sometimes prevalent among the colonists; but, when we consider the exposure to which new settlers are liable, it is only wonderful that it does not more often occur. The subjoined opinion of Dr. Dieffenbach aptly expresses the salubrity of the climate, "The purity of the air, resulting from the continual wind, imparts to the climate a vigour which gives elasticity to the physical powers and to the mind. Heat never debilitates, not even so much as a hot summer's day in England, and near the coast especially there is always a cooling and refreshing breeze. The colonist who occupies himself in agriculture can work all day, and the mechanic will not feel any lassitude whether he work in or out of doors." Considerable difficulty exists in forming any very accurate thermometrical tables, as no general plan of meteorological observations has been followed in the different settlements, and indeed with regard to the temperature of foreign cities, so much variation is found in the authorities to which reference has been made that any trustworthy result could not be prepared. The general impression on my mind arising from personal experience during an unusually rainy season, observation, and the testimony of others, is, that New Zealand possesses a genial and healthy climate, with a fair share of rain equally distributed; that, though not so bracing as that of England, it is never subject to great daily or monthly extremes of temperature, and is consequently fully entitled to the high praise accorded to it.

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In the appendix will be found a meteorological table (b) worthy of the attention of those who derive conclusions from the range of the thermometer and rain guage. The prevailing winds are either from the north-east or south east, modified by local influences; the former may be considered a warm balmy wind, usually accompanied by rain, and prevailing during the winter, and the latter, which not unfrequently amounts to a gale, during the summer. Heavy dews fall in winter, and, in the neighbourhood of lakes in the interior, fogs are by no means uncommon. Frost occasionally occurs, though with no severity, but snow sometimes remains on the ground for a few hours. The temperature of different portions of the islands is of course influenced by vicinity to the snowy ranges.

Satisfied on the subject of climate, my attention was next directed to the civil, religious, social, and educational advantages of New Zealand, and much confidence was afforded on these points from the circumstance of the high degree of favour with which the colony was regarded by Government, and by religious and philanthropic associations. The germs of these advantages are already evident, indeed under rapid developement, and, doubtless, in due course, the finely sketched outline will become a satisfactory reality. New Zealand has a liberal constitution, its social position is acknowledged to be high, its religion embraces the more reasonable forms of dissent and the isolation of high churchism, while its educational institutions, to say the least, are fully equal to the amount of population.

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The thoughtful colonist will direct his earliest inquiries to the religious aspect of his future home. He will regard all temporal advantages as but dust in the balance if their enjoyment involves a total deprivation of those privileges which his native land so richly affords. If the results of such deprivation would be serious in his own case, at what rate can he estimate them in the case of his rising family? I do not say he will too minutely examine the various phases in which true religion is embodied, but he will doubtless ascertain that the services of some Church are available in which he may worship God in purity, and in which the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel are not buried beneath an overwhelming mass of human inventions. The Church of England colonist will endeavour to ascertain that the daughter in the South Pacific, which adopts her name, is entitled to the distinction, and accepts in all their integrity those "authoritative compositions, her Articles, her Prayer Book, and her Homilies" which caused exceeding admiration in a mind so devout, so intellectual, and so catholic as that of Dr. Chalmers.

In glancing over the tabular statement (c) in the appendix, it will be observed that the members of the Church of England compose rather more than one half of the whole population of the country; those of the Church of Rome one seventh; of the Churches of Scotland and the Free Church, twin sisters, though estranged for a time, above one sixth; and the Wesleyans one eleventh. Choice, as well as circumstances, principally

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directed my attention to the first of these Churches; as regards the others I will merely state that, as far as I could learn, the ministry of each is ably and zealously filled. I cannot say whether the Bishop of New Zealand is a decided Puseyite or not; or whether the Church at Christ Church is decidedly Puseyite or otherwise. I have not the ability nor the inclination to grapple with points which have eluded the grasp of subtle intellects and pious minds.

From what I had heard and read I was prepared to find in New Zealand a faint reprint of some parts of the Jewish ritual; a mercy seat to which the priest had preeminently access, and from which, through him alone, or chiefly, the healing waters flowed; an altar from which, through his ministry, the grateful incense with acceptance rose; the candlestick of gold to yield the dim religious light which befits the holiest of holies; the priestly garments and the pride of power, assumed though not acknowledged. A short and limited experience did not present any approximation to a realization of such a conception; of the experience of others, with more extended means of observation and of obtaining knowledge, I cannot speak. It would be a difficult task, to me at least an impracticable one, to define which of the nine or ten classes, into which a writer in the Edinburgh Review divides the Church of England, would best characterize the Church in New Zealand; my ear is not so religiously organized as to appreciate the delicate modulations of such gradations, - I cannot run

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through the theological gamut though I instinctively recognize the key note, be the instrument what it may. One thing I know, that the devotedness of the New Zealand Church most forcibly reminded me of the brightest era of the Church of Christ.

Private feelings might induce a wish, considering the occasional emigration towards the Church of Rome from among those who, to a larger or lesser extent, follow the Tractarian views, that, not to notice other distinctions, the use of the cross were confined to baptism, and such unimportant points as crosses on Churches, Bibles, Prayer-books, and offertory bags were not re-introduced. However inoffensive its use may be, perhaps, the recollection that it is opposed to the Protestant mind of Great Britain, and that, moreover, it is generally believed, from being only an affecting memorial of the love of God it has become to millions an object of adoration, may plead powerfully in favour of abstaining from introducing it oftener than it did prevail before the Tractarian publications appeared. The exhortation to more grateful acknowledgement of the vital doctrines in which all Christians agree would do more to nourish that charity "the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before God," than the never ending notices of those points on which they unfortunately differ. But to statistics. The Church of England ministry consists of 1 Bishop, 4 Archdeacons, 1 Rural Dean, 39 Clergymen, and 5 Deacons. The Bishoprick was established in 1842. The income of the different

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orders is as follows: The Bishop's not exceeding £500; the Archdeacon's not exceeding £400; the Priest's and Deacon's not exceeding £300, commencing at £100 from the date of ordination as Deacon, and increasing £10 per annum. The Canterbury diocese will differ from the above; the Bishop will there receive £1000, the Archdeacon £600, and the Clergy £200 from a separate endowment fund. Of the two scales it is more easy to approve of the distinction made between the Bishop's and Priest's income in the former than in the latter. The incomes for the ministry in the northern island and Nelson are derivable from the funds of the different Archdeaconries, their inequalities being regulated by the Bishop's general endowment fund. Endowments involving the right of private patronage are not accepted, nor are local endowments unless the surplus, regulated as above, be transferable to the Archdeaconry fund. This latter fund is managed by five trustees: the Bishop, Archdeacon, senior Clergyman of the chief town, and two Laymen annually appointed by the Bishop, one nominated by the Clergy and the other by the communicants and approved of by the Bishop. From a note in the New Zealand Church Almanack for 1853 it appears that the lay trustees are not yet selected in any of the archdeaconries. Without entering into the question respecting the desirableness of lay influence, or the undesirableness of ecclesiastical priestly control, it can scarcely escape observation that the Bishop, possessing the power to locate the Clergy according to his own views, of nominat-

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ing the Archdeacons, and of approving of the elected Trustees, is really supreme in the Church; and when we connect this with the ordination of college students, educated under his sole guidance, an apprehension almost instinctively arises as to whether we have not lost those checks and compensations which we are accustomed to see in the constitution of the State and the ministration of the Church. Candidates for holy orders are required to place themselves under local clerical direction in the management of schools and public charities, to stay, at least, two terms in the archdeaconry college, and to pledge themselves, when ordained, to go whithersoever ordered, to abstain from acquiring land, or engaging in trade or agriculture without the consent of the Bishop, and not to leave the diocese for seven years without a similar written consent. There appears to be land in the neighbourhood of Auckland belonging to the Church valued at £4440, and other land not valued, but whose value may be estimated at about £800; also at Wellington £4394 in three per cent Stock, yielding £128 per annum; at New Plymouth £1067, yielding £31 2s per annum; and at Nelson £10,873, yielding £475 15s 8d. The Canterbury endowment may be about £10,000.

Since 1843 there have been 17 students of the Auckland college ordained as Deacons, and 5 as Priests; and it is designed that the whole clerical demand of New Zealand shall be supplied from the same quarter.

The college is chiefly intended for educating candidates for holy orders, but students are admitted at an

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expense of £36 per annum, for education, commons, and attendance. Industrial occupation in the intervals of study is compulsory. The Propagation Society have made a donation of £1000 to the College, and an additional £1000 to a similar College at Porirua near Wellington.

Some years since an interruption of the friendly feeling which formerly existed between the Missionaries of the Church of England and those connected with other denominations is represented to have taken place owing to the Bishop designating the latter as schismatics, their ordination as invalid, and their baptism as the act of laymen. Such statements have appeared in print under high sanction; whether the charge be admitted or denied I do not know, but experience much pleasure in observing in the New Zealand Church Almanack a reprint of a portion of Prince Albert's speech at the Third Jubilee of the Society for Propagating the Gospel: it is as follows, -- "I have no fear for her (the Church's) ultimate safety and welfare so long as she holds fast to what our ancestors gained for us at the Reformation, the Gospel and the unfettered right of its use." Again, when visiting the northern islands, 26 in number, containing 200,000 inhabitants, and conveying the Presbyterian Missionary to his destination in the new Hebrides, we find a remark that "the work undertaken (by the Presbyterian Missions) is now beginning to be blessed with fruit in the rapid increase of converts;" and further on it is written, --"this is evidently a field in which each body of Christian Mis-

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sionaries may carry on its work without collision with the others, and upon this principle the operations of the Australian Board have always been conducted. May the Holy Spirit so guide and bless the work of all that the multitudes of the isles of the Melanesians may be added to the Lord." The Bishop designate of Canterbury declares that "there is nothing in her (the Canterbury Settlement) to hinder a Dissenter from presenting himself on her shores, but much to enable her so to enlarge herself as to take him if he were a true brother; or, if he were unwilling, to bear with him, or at least to tolerate him." Here we have language explicit enough: can we believe that it is only used to obscure and mistify?

Having considered its climate, religious, social, and civil advantages, and being impressed with a conviction that if the liberal political treatment which New Zealand had lately received were continued its connection with England, involving some of the best and purest associations of thought and feeling, would be as durable as the mutual interests of the two countries required, I turned my attention to the question of its affording a fair opportunity for the safe and judicious investment of capital and labour. This inquiry appeared to divide itself into two branches; the one including the freedom from taxation--a freedom which I dare say few will have any difficulty in fully appreciating, especially under a double income tax pressure, the reduction in the number of competitors, and the more economical mode of living;

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the other, embracing the means which the country afforded for agricultural, pastoral, and commercial pursuits.

I had not the means of obtaining any information on the extent of the export trade of the country, nor indeed of so analysing the coasting trade as to present any statement which would lead to the formation of a trustworthy judgment. When considering the exports of a new country particular reference should be had as to whether it possesses the materials for producing an export trade. But a few short years ago the surface of the entire country was covered by dense forests, and in the possession of wandering tribes who, clearing a favourable spot, merely culled a passing harvest from the almost spontaneous productiveness of the upper soil, exacting from the earth only a few pigments to beautify, or rather disfigure, the body, and flax with which to envelope it; making war upon, and devouring, his fellow man, birds, and the generally rejected class of inferior animals and reptiles; while of the sea was lazily demanded those fish which would yield themselves the most ready prey. With the introduction of Christianity, in 1814, attention was directed to the capabilities of the country, and it was found that its forests contained some of the finest timber for shipping purposes; that the direction and nature of its hills gave the promise of mineral riches; that the land was well covered by alluvial deposits, decayed vegetation, and the resultants of volcanic action, thus presenting an alluring picture of agricultural abundance; that the lux-

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uriant grasses and genial climate spoke intelligibly of sheep and cattle; while the sea, indignant at its resources being confined to a few edible fish, spouted forth volumes in praise of the commercial value of the oil and whalebone of which its very bays were full.

Time will most fully develope the latent powers of the country, and I will not, therefore, say anything of its wines, oil, iron ore, and other promised articles of export. The attention of the settler should be mainly attracted towards sheep, cattle, corn, and wood; and to them he will do well to confine it. Of these, the cultivation of the land and of live stock are the settler's sheet anchors.

A few words on each in its order. The capitalist, the professional man, the man engaged in commerce, each and all think that they are not in the road to independence unless they can speak of their cattle or sheep, their carcase or their wool. There are two methods of working capital in this line; the one, by personally superintending its employment; the other, by devolving that superintendence on another. In the first of these you are isolated from the world; your companions by day are cattle and sheep; your associates by night your pipe and pillow. Occasionally a friend may drop in on passing, or to solicit your assistance in the marking season; you may receive him for a similar purpose, or run into a distant town to settle about your wool, to sell your cattle, or to purchase the few necessaries of a bush life; but temper it as you may be able, it is undeniably a solitary

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life; still, if the voyage be somewhat tedious, it must never be forgotten that the harbour once reached is snug and secure, In the second method much caution is requisite to avoid revelling in the possession of sheep which do not exist, and of wool which has not grown. The system which is usually followed is to give one third of the increase of the sheep and one half of the wool to another person for his superintendence: but by some evil, perhaps inherent in it, or in human nature, your two thirds of the one have a strange tendency to premature decay, decline to increase in number, and present too powerful an attraction to the native dog, and your one half of the other is found only in the workings of a brain which has gone "wool gathering." If the capital be in cattle by a melancholy fatality they have taken to the bush and are not; in this mode of investment so much is given per head to the person in charge. I do not say that this method of non-realizing an income is usually the case; but instances of cattle and sheep appearing only on paper are not unknown, and therefore the intending purchaser will do well to receive the stock before he parts with his cash and to become personally acquainted with his flocks and herds. The profits on sheep farming are often represented as so great that the realizer is overwhelmed with anxiety as to their disposal, and figured statements arithmetically demonstrate that of all occupations in which a person can be engaged, sheep will undoubtedly produce the largest and most valuable nuggets. I have read that money thus invested doubles

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itself every third year; that £15,000 would become in ten years £421,600, averaging at simple interest over this period £2,911 per cent per annum; that £1,100 employed in the purchase of 1000 ewes and the formation of a station yielded £3,273 from the sale of increase besides a healthy flock of 12,000 ewes and 8000 wethers remaining on the runs. Minutely analyzing some, of these my faith was much shaken by finding that some the data were based upon the supposition of the lamb ewes yielding produce within the first year. I further found that in ten years no decrease was allowed for age or accidents. I annex in the appendix (d) a table prepared with considerable attention, and which has been looked over with approval by some gentlemen engaged in sheep farming; the result places the profits below the least favourable of the above.

Sheep may be either imported from Sydney or purchased in New Zealand; in the former case the purchase money should be paid on those only which are alive from four to six days after arrival; an agreement to that effect being previously entered into. They have been purchased under these circumstances at 12s a head. If imported before the 1st of May, they should be shorn and not in lamb; if in winter, they should he unshorn. If the sheep he purchased in the colony, it is as well to ascertain that the wool has hitherto brought a good market price as the transit to a shipping port and other incidental charges are the same whether the wool be good or bad; the purchase money would, of course, as in Sidney,

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be deposited with a third person until the sheep are delivered and approved of; the price varies from 20s to 25s a head. In selecting sheep, much depends upon the purpose for which you breed; if for wool and carcase combined, some have recommended the fine Merino, which, moreover, is said to be the best suited to the climate; while others speak highly of the improved Leicester and Teeswater. The characteristics of the pure Merino have been thus described: --they should be well woolled with a heavy fleece; springy, fine, close, long, and wavy fibre; without any inferiority in the breech and belly wool, and an absence of hairs; the face should be of a silky or satin colour, with a well woolled head and legs, at least in the upper part; the head should be fine; the eyes full and expressive; the chest deep and wide; body deep, well ribbed, level on the back and not too long; thigh rather long; bone fine and flat; skin under the thigh and brisket clear and bright. The ram should be polled or with spiral horns.

The best time for lambing appears to be not yet decided on: some recommend September and October, by which arrangement the lambs escape the damp and cold of winter; the grass is, however, scarce at this time. Others recommend May and June, by which the ewes are better fed while suckling, and the lambs themselves are finer; but they are not infrequently exposed to the fatal effects of the rainy south east gales. The usual shearing time is in December, and the average clip from 3 1/2 to 4 lbs.

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The following gleaned memoranda on the subject of pasture may not be useless:--abundance of fine water; agreeable and temperate climate; shelter from wind and weather; good and extensive walks, bold and hilly, or, if low, stony and dry; --vicinity to a good shipping port. If wool be the chief object, select a sandstone soil; if carcase, a volcanic or limestone.

There should not be less than three acres to a sheep; or, if the pasture be improved, three or four sheep may be allowed to the acre. Such improvement may be made by clearing the ground, harrowing it well, and sowing grass seed mixed with 2 lbs. of cole or native cabbage seed in autumn. Tares also answer well. Now that the land has been handed over to the local legislature great changes will take place in the pasturage licenses, and in the terms on which land may be purchased. At present the following may be regarded as the regulations in a condensed form. A license is granted for 14 years; the run to be stocked, and to be regarded as abandoned if remaining unstocked beyond six months. A run is not obtainable for more than 25,000 sheep, or one sixth the number of great cattle.

For any number of sheep up to 500 a run will be granted for increase up to 5000.

For every additional 100 between 500 & 1000 for 500 additional sheep [For every additional 100 between] 1000 3000 [for] 400 [additional sheep] [For every additional 100 between] 3000 5000 [for] 200 [additional sheep] [For every additional 100 between] 5000 10,000 [for] 100 [additional sheep]

The least annual license fee, that is for 500 sheep, is

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£5, and £1 additional is charged for every 1000 sheep above 5000, or proportionate number of cattle. There are equitable arrangements for the purchase or sale of homesteads built on such runs if not exceeding 80 acres.

Cattle farming is also considered a lucrative occupation and moreover a healthy one. I have not the means of submitting any data as to the extent of its profits, but I have generally heard that capital so invested will realize at least 20 per cent. If united to a dairy, and the farm be eligibly situated as regards a market, good butter and cheese, equal in many parts of New Zealand to the best in the world, will fetch 12d. to 14d. the pound in the local market. The butcher will give about £8 to £10 for the full grown ox, and, hereafter, boiling down establishments will create a trade in tallow and hides.

A remark having been made, by one of the earliest and most scientific writers on New Zealand, that the chief attention of the settlers must, for the present, be devoted to agricultural pursuits, it became a main object of inquiry to ascertain whether there were any farmers who had reaped a golden harvest. Opinions were found to be much divided as to the probability of agriculture succeeding; but I could not discover any individual, being an employer of labour, who had succeeded in realizing even a competency, though I had heard of more than one who had lost not a little in thus employing their capital. This result may have arisen from an unwarrantable confidence in their own farming capacity, or from lo-

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cal circumstances, as the initial expense in clearing the land, which the formation of roads, extension of commerce, and increase of population may remove. On the other hand, I have invariably found the sober, industrious labourer, working his own small capital, the offspring of his sinews since he landed, doing not only well, but far beyond what he could have dreamed of at home. The neighbouring town offered a ready market for his limited produce, and year by year he added something to his original stock, while he was gradually transforming himself from the common labourer to the more substantial yeoman.

Land uncleared and remote from a town may be had at a price considerably less than the rental of an equal quantity in England; indeed, I might have purchased 8 acres of splendid land for what I am paying for the lease of 1 acre; but then the former are remote from, while the latter are contiguous to, a village. Land similarly circumstanced in New Zealand will fetch from £10 to £60. Native labour can be had at two shillings the day, and European, when available, at four shillings. Under these circumstances it would appear that the farmer had a fair field so that he should certainly supply his adopted home cheaper than any other country could import into it; but I question whether he can at present supply New South Wales cheaper than it can be supplied from Van Dieman's Land. Wheat can be delivered to the exporter at 5s. the bushel, thus returning a fair remuneration to the farmer, and the Sydney market price averages from 7s. to 8s.

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Potatoes yield a heavy crop and of excellent quality. Whatever may be the use to which the land is now applied, I am impressed with the conviction, from considering the small amount readily available for cattle, sheep, and agriculture, that the English system of farming must be adopted, and that before the surface soil be absorbed.

The agricultural land of New Zealand is generally divided into four classes, grass, fern, forest, and scoria. The grass land may generally be regarded as rich, though a good authority, Dr. Dieffenbach, asserts of the northern island that its plains, except at the outlets or on the banks of rivers, are a table land of stiff clay, scarcely workable, deposited at the original upheaving of the land: an opinion, however, if applied to the whole country, scarcely supported by the reported richness of the extensive plains in the middle island. Generally speaking, if grass land requires a less expenditure in clearing, it requires more in fencing.

Fern land is regarded as an exhauster and sourer of the land; when the fern is high the land is considered rich. In preparing fern land the roots should be well exposed, and the land be allowed to lie fallow for a couple of years. Two pounds per acre will meet the expense of such clearing.

Forest land is chiefly confined to mountainous districts. It is, however, very generally asserted and believed that at some remote period the whole country was densely covered with gigantic trees, some traces of which I saw upon the summits of the higher ranges and distant from

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any existing forests. Most certainly the remaining forests in the middle island are gradually becoming more and more contracted, for, super-added to the devastating effects of periodical fires when the bush is burned, the brawny arm of the woodsman is levelling many a giant. This kind of land is rich, but the existence of the black birch (Batula nigra), in certain localities, indicates its poverty.

Forest, or, as it is generally called, bush land may be cleared at £4 an acre. Sometimes an arrangement is entered into with the natives to clear and rough fence such land, giving them as a remuneration the privilege to work it for the two years required to effect the clearing; but the policy of such a proceeding is very doubtful, as the soil is easily exhausted.

The Scoriae land is principally in the neighbourhood of Auckland, and is considered rich, but very expensive to clear.


It would require a man of no ordinary temerity to dive into the depths of the unfathomable questions connected with the most desirable price at which land should be offered to the public. I have no intention, and still less desire, to undertake this perilous excursion; it would be a water cure with a vengeance; still a few remarks may not be out of place.

It would be no easy matter to trace the market value of all the land which has been sold in New Zealand since

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the first European admired the productiveness of the soil. The vagaries of the compass in its variations are as nothing compared with the oscillations to which the price of the land has been subject. A few nails, clay pipes, or sticks of tobacco, has purchased what, if situated even in the least desirable part of England, would be termed a snug estate. The blocks disposed of have varied from an acre, a rich and luscious morsel, to millions of acres, stretching over hill and dale, embracing volcanoes (extinct and active), and capable of supporting an entire nation. At one time every wayfaring man who duly and relatively appreciated a pound of tobacco and a ring fence enclosure of 1000 acres, purchased direct from the aborigines on deeds, strictly legal, but so fearfully technical that the natives despaired of ever arriving at their meaning; at another time, Government became the only medium through which land could be obtained; again it was thrown open to the public, on the Government receiving a fee, varying from one penny to ten shillings the acre; and afterwards this was revoked and an association was established for the purchase: while now, the association being defunct, the Government have reassumed their sole preemptive right. In Auckland, town land at one time fetched a price almost beyond belief. The New Plymouth Company offered rural land, purchased by themselves, for about 30s. the acre; the New Zealand Company for the same price; the Otago and Canterbury Associations, with certain specified advantages attached, for £2 and £3 per acre respectively. The original specula-

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tors, resident or absentee, having procured the dainty pieces in close proximity to markets, offer land at from £10 to £60 or £70 an acre; while scrip compensation land may be had, with power of selection, at 10s. the acre, and of this there is not less than 180,000 acres in the market. New districts are being continually opened out and many a longing eye is cast towards the Wararapa, now in part rented from the natives, and towards the vicinity of New Plymouth, which is unoccupied. As the natives receive a good rental for their land they are indisposed to part with it; but when dissension or necessity induces them to look out for a purchaser, the policy of the present squatters, who tenaciously held their ground against the New Zealand Company's remonstrances and the Government fulminations, will be conspicuous; they will claim, what has hitherto been granted others, a favourable consideration of their long tenure. The land with a burden of £268,000 has been delivered over to the colonists, and it is extremely doubtful whether they will be disposed to regard with favour the exclusive experimental appropriations by two associations, when the land does not find a purchaser and the interest of the debt appeals strongly to their breeches pockets. It is generally believed that the local representative parliament will, sooner or later, have the disposal of the whole of the Government land, and the question of its price is becoming one of considerable interest. Speculators should be repelled, and the labourer encouraged. Enable the mechanic and the labourer to inform his

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friends that he possesses as many acres as Farmer Wheatly of Broadlands, and you will have abundance of the proper kind of labour. Capital will increase, not as vegetation in tropical countries, rapidly and transiently, but as in temperate regions, slowly, healthily, and durably. It would indeed be a blessing beyond all calculation if a branch of our British oak could be transplanted to New Zealand, and there, by a vast vegetative impulse, spring into a full formed tree, fructify and spread itself over the vast solitudes; and it would rejoice many an intending colonist if the present experiments could be proved to have succeeded, or to be in a fair way of succeeding on the removal of any well ascertained impediments.

The amount of land supposed to be capable of profitable cultivation does not exceed two thirds of its whole extent, and even that should be regarded as a high valuation when it is remembered that the land is "extremely hilly and densely wooded;" or, to use the language of one who has walked over many thousand miles of the northern island, "the general features of the country are far from being pleasing, with the exception of the interior grassy plains; the country is covered either with dense forest or with fern; the greater portion of the surface is very mountainous; in this country all the hills are sharp pointed as if nothing had disturbed them since their first upheavement. The present surface may be viewed as only the back bone of a future country."

There can be no question that the intending settler will do well to avoid purchasing land until he reaches the

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country; or it is just possible he may be in the predicament of the fortunate possessor of a fifty acre section in the "Happy Valley," who, after a toilsome scrambling on all fours succeeded in visiting his estate, the happiness of which consisted in its entire insulation from the cares and anxieties of life, and the possession of a murmuring brook which brawled at the stranger daring to intrude upon its domain; or, perhaps, his experience may resemble that of an aged settler, who, allured by the fascinating reports of an only son, sold his boat and fishing tackle, reached the antipodal land of hope, and searching for the Eden which had been so poetically described, ascended lofty hills merely to descend, and descended to ascend, until at length in meandering among a wondrous diversity of swamps, he was, to use his own expression, "nearly going home feet foremost."

The advantages which New Zealand possesses would, however, be of little avail were its situation such as to debar it from conveniently sharing in the commerce of the world. The following tabular statement, extracted from the "Hand Book to New Zealand," by a late Magistrate, will afford an idea of its position relatively to other countries.--


about 1200


about 7600

Hobart Town

" 1300


" 6300


" 1400


" 5700


" 1800


" 6000


" 2800


" 6600


" 5800


" 4300

Cape of Good Hope

" 7200


" 5400

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about 4800

Vancouver's Islands

about 6900


" 4300


" 6000


" 3400


" 5800


" 3100


" 5500

Sandwich Isles

" 4800

Wool, wood, tallow, hides, and flax will ever meet with a ready sale in Great Britain and be exchanged for manufactured goods, which may be disposed of in the vast congeries of islands which he for 4000 miles to the north east. These islands will give sugar, coffee, and tropical produce in payment. Its corn may hereafter, if not at present, successfully compete in the Australian market with that from other countries. India would readily receive constant supplies of horses, for the rearing of which the climate is peculiarly adapted; and it would be highly desirable, while the trade is in its infancy, to direct particular attention to the description of horse required, and information should be officially sought on these and other points from the proper quarter.

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