WELLINGTON (including WANGANUI etc.)
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LETTERS FROM SETTLERS AND LABOURING EMIGRANTS AT WELLINGTON, NELSON, AND NEW PLYMOUTH.
From MR. FRANCIS BRADEY to the Editor of the New Zealand Journal.
4, Coldbath Terrace, Greenwich,
Feb. 3rd, 1842.
KIND SIR,--The numerous applications I have for information respecting New Zealand (I mean the Company's first and principal settlement, the City of Wellington) induces me to give this brief account for general information. It is from actual experience, as I went out with the first colony in 1839, and left on the 5th of May last, with the intent to take back all my family. At the same time, I am anxious and at all times ready to give information to all persons who may please to call upon me respecting the country and its capabilities. There cannot be a finer climate, or a more healthy, or productive one in the world; as a proof of this, the doctors are compelled to turn either farmers or publicans,
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as they have nothing to do but to attend upon lying-in-women. The larger a mans family, the better are his prospects; if his children are brought up to industry, any man with two or three hundred pounds, with a useful family, may buy a snug freehold farm become an independent proprietor, and leave his children independent after him, in one of the most delightful countries in the world. The title to the land is derived from the Crown, and the country is governed by British laws, and with very light taxes; in fact, either small or great capitalists, or industrious labourers, cannot go to a finer country or a better market than to Wellington. There are fine pickings for capitalists if they watch the markets for the sale of land, as well as of merchandize; they may frequently make one hundred and fifty per cent, on their bargains. A great deal may be also made upon loans, on the very best security; and I am sure that both person and property are as secure in New Zealand as in any country, for the natives are true friends to the English; indeed, they are never the first aggressors, but are a very harmless race of people. Again, we are an independent colony: we are free from convicts, and Wellington is now become a populous and thriving place. We have the sons of noblemen among us, and we are backed by an influential Company, comprising some of the first gentlemen in England, who have, so far, acted with great honour and liberality to all purchasers of land, and all classes of emigrants. No town in England can be more perfect for respectable society; the people are quite united, and a number of clubs and associations, and excellent institutions are already established, such as the Working-men's Land Association; the Freemasons' Lodge, and others: indeed, any stranger arriving in the colony cannot do better than go to the Freemasons' Tavern (Mr. Monteith) as they can have the best of
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accommodation, and valuable information given them how to proceed.
I advise all persons to take garden seeds with them, the sweetbriar and the hawthorn-berry in particular; though the country abounds with the most beautiful shrubs and myrtles, there is nothing so suitable for hedges. I wish to make known that there are no wild beasts, neither snakes nor reptiles of any kind,--no crows nor sparrows, nor any insects that will injure the crops, and very few pernicious weeds, so that the ground being once cleared and planted, wants but very little management: but all persons interested cannot do better than read the Hon. H. Petre's work on New Zealand, as I can testify that it is a correct statement; and as to the capabilities of the country, it will grow anything, and when we saw our first crops of wheat and barley and all kinds of vegetables, we were greatly delighted, and the most competent judges declared they had never seen such fine productions before; and they further said, that one acre of land in New Zealand, would produce as much as any two acres in England. I should, moreover, advise all persons going, to take their money with them, as the market is over-stocked with goods, and great bargains of both goods and land may frequently be had by the various changes that take place; and those that intend to emigrate cannot possibly go to a better market, or a finer country, as Port Nicholson is proved, by so many, to surpass all other parts of New Zealand, for situation and fertility, and every settler there feels well satisfied. I beg to say that I intend to return myself, some time in the spring, 1 and anyone wishing for further information may obtain it by applying to me, at No. 4, Coldbath-terrace, Greenwich, without fee or reward.
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I may add that I was carrying on the business of a master boot-maker for 20 years, in the Old Kent-road, and a rate-payer of the parish of St. George's, Southwark, and a freeholder of the county of Surrey; and I transferred the whole of my property to New Zealand, and it was the most fortunate speculation I ever made.
I remain, Sir, yours obediently,
From J. M. TAYLOR to his Sister.
Wellington, February, 10, 1842.
MY DEAR SISTER,
The last letter I received from you was brought by Mrs. C---------. It was rather long on its road--short and sweet, and though short, nevertheless very acceptable. We have been very gay since I wrote you last--too gay, for there has been very little business doing. On the 26th was the anniversary of the arrival of the first settlers, and a day of rejoicing. A fete was in consequence; I was on the committee and made myself pretty active. The morning was rather gloomy, with a light breeze from the south-east, which generally brings rain. By nine o'clock, however, the clouds which darkened the horizon, and seemed likely to fill every one with disappointment, disappeared, and the day became as fine as could be wished for-- every one was abroad in their best; I should say from 3,000 to 4,000 persons were assembled on the beach, at 11 o'clock, when the sailing boats started. As soon as they were fairly off, away went the whale-boats like lightning, and you may imagine they were good hands, when I tell you they were composed of men picked from the whaling stations, where they are at the work from day-dawn to sunset. It was a well contested race. They reached
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the goal before the sailing boats, who had to beat back against the wind, and a prettier sailing match never could have been seen. Five minutes before the termination of it, it was impossible to say which one of them would win, and the whole then came in one after the other, nearly touching. Then came a hurdle race, and as we had given them a pretty brook to go over, there was a considerable deal of ducking; fortunately, no accident. There were many other sports, such as running a wheelbarrow a certain distance blindfold--one turned round and ran away from the post, fancying he was winning the race; jumping in sacks, &c of which I send you a card. But the great triumph of the day was the horticultural show which took place in the Exchange, ornamented for the purpose with shrubs, flowers, &c.; the show of vegetables would have done honour to the London show. One cabbage measured four feet in diameter, and weighed upwards of 20 lbs. Turnips, potatoes, peas, oats seven feet high, flowers, &c, all proved what the soil of New Zealand could produce. There were many lady visitors, and the scene was as enlivening as can be imagined. In the evening there was a ball, which was kept up with much spirit until five o'clock next morning. I am quite enchanted with the place: we have had most lovely weather for the last six weeks. At present every thing seems to prosper with me, which I am sure you will be pleased to hear; and I only wish that I could prevail on you to come out, the only thing that remains to complete my happiness being to have you or one of my sisters, until I take unto myself a wife. I do sincerely hope, my dear girl, you are well and happy. Remember me to all friends, and tell me all and every thing you can think of--it is sure to please me; and believe me to remain, ever your affectionate brother,
J. M. TAYLOR.
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From a Gentleman at Wellington, to a Friend in England.
February 14, 1842.
"If I were in London, I would endeavour to get --------- and some others to undertake a private loan business. There has been no overtrading or overworking here; but people have actually land and but little money, and they are leading useless lives because they have not enough to start. We have not the class of emigrants that go to Canada, who put before themselves the task of working in the bush for a certain number of years. Life is too easily maintained here, and even the fine climate won't tempt them.
There ought to be great inducement for people to bring all the land about Port Nicholson into cultivation next year. Molesworth, notwithstanding his expense of clearing, must have made a very large sum of profit. I have made careful inquiries, and I believe next season there will be ------ acres laid down in wheat, which ought to go a long way to feed the population of Wellington. The potatoes this year are as good as any I have eaten in England; but even supposing that we can undersell Van Diemen's Land potatoes, in the Sydney and Adelaide markets--which there is no doubt of, for the draught would be but a drop in the bucket--what are we to do with the enormous surplus? It is said that a potatoe crop is necessary to clear the ground. I am certain we could ship 5,000 tons of English and mauri grown potatoes next year. I have contracted, myself, for 200 tons. After all, this is the best evidence of a fit country for the population of England to emigrate to: I firmly believe it will be one of the cheapest countries in the world.
Port Nicholson people deserve something at the
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hands of the Company, for the staunch way they have gone through the establishment of the first colony; and however many of us may have been reimbursed by chosen town and country land falling to our lot, there is no doubt that the bulk of the people who came with the first expedition are in a far worse condition than those in the second settlement or succeeding ones; for a large part of the town acres extending back towards Cook's Straits are of little value, and their country choices partake of the same inferiority. However, I will amend my opinion of the country land; for I believe every single section, up to 1100, may receive a valuable 100 acres out of the extent of country at our disposal.
There is a considerable reliance placed here upon what the Company will do for the place; and people hear, without envy, of the establishment of new settlements, while they feel convinced this will be the principal settlement. If the Company should establish a colony at Port Cooper, they ought to reserve the sale of the town for the Emigration Fund. It would bring £100,000 for that purpose, and would be a moderate protection to the old settlements. Very little land will, of course, be sold in the districts already surveyed, whilst people can purchase land with a town acre attached.
We have a fine district at Wydrass, to the east of Port Nicholson--a country eight miles broad, and nearly forty miles back (i. e. 20,000 acres), but, I believe, with hardly shelter for a boat. The road round the beach, however, may be made so as to drive cattle round; across the hills it will be almost impracticable, until population warrants expense. With this district on the east, and the country along the coast on the north-west, Port Nicholson stands in the centre of a good district, as well as being at the eastern mouth of the Straits."
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From G. FELLINGHAM, journeyman printer, to his parents.
Wellington, March 12th, 1842.
DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,
The model that you sent was of no use here in the preparation of flax, as it requires to be scraped and soaked, and other preparations, before it is fit for use; the only use it could be put to is in making the flax finer after it is hackled. The way the rope-makers do here is to boil it for some hours, and then beat it with a mallet, after that they hackle it. The flax, were they to take trouble to properly prepare it, would fetch double the price they get at the present time. I am sorry to say, there is very little of this most valuable article brought to a marketable state, considering the abundance that is growing in the town and its vicinity. It is a great pity but what some person was out here with a machine to dress it: they might make a fortune in a short time.
Since the arrival of the last three emigrant vessels, our town has begun to look quite lively. Every person seems to have an inclination to build houses and fence in their ground; others are letting it, so that the town seems all life. Brick and wooden houses are springing up on ground that appeared deserted; gardens fenced in and cultivated; and roads, bridges, and drains are being made. There are, at the present time, several brick houses in course of erection, and one belonging to Mr. Guyton is just finished, and another, belonging to Mr. Hort, is in a very forward state. Was I to take a walk through the town once a week, I have no doubt I should see three or four wooden houses being built on ground that appeared, a few days before, neglected. As a proof of this, the immigrants by the Birman, although only arrived within the last
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two weeks, have already begun to fence in, build, and cultivate four acres on Wellington Terrace. The Company are having a new Depot built of brick, for the reception of immigrants.
As I have before told you the particulars about the piece of ground which I purchased of Mr. Revans, part of 336, and on which I am now living, I think it unnecessary to say any thing farther about it. 1 have, since I last wrote, got a piece of Town Acre, No. 400, (being the eighth part) which I received as my share in the Town Land Association, and it will cost me about £8. 15s. It is on the rise of a hill, with a beautiful view of the town and harbour, with a reserve at the back of the acre.
I have been very fortunate since I arrived, which was twelve months last anniversary, (January) during which time I have not lost a day's work. At times I thought otherwise, when trade was slack; but since the paper has been published twice a-week trade has become somewhat steadier, and I hope, in a short time, to see the other printers in the colony at work at their own trade, as well as myself. I have a comfortable place, and regular wages, and what more can a man wish for in a colony?
You may have seen a great deal about our harbour, and the ground about it; some state that a vessel cannot enter with safety: others that the hills in the immediate vicinity are impassable, and that there is no flat land. This I deny; as a proof of which, we have mostly twenty vessels in port, while Auckland has only one. As to the hills, why they are the greatest blessing that we can have, as the scenery is most beautiful, as the hills are mostly covered with trees. We have flat land in abundance, more than can he cultivated for years; and we have some beautiful dairy farms in the vicinity of the town.--Yours, &c.
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From MESSRS. WAIT AND TYSER, to MESSRS. RUTHERFORD, DRURY, AND CO., Billiter Street.
Wellington, March 28th, 1842.
"We have made inquiry of Mr. Daniel Riddiford concerning Mr. Samuel Page's town land. The acre is situated in Te Aro Flat, and about a quarter of a mile from the beach. It is perfectly level and clear, and is worth about £500. An acre in this immediate neighbourhood sold, a few weeks ago, by public sale, at £700 odd. Land in the same neighbourhood is letting at 5s. to 7s. 6d. per foot of frontage, and acres are generally cut up in such a way as to realise, in many cases, very large rents."
Mr. H. S. TIFFEN to his father at Hythe.
"I have been drawing maps to send to New-Zealand House. Two fine districts are now opening, Manewatu and Wanganui; each will contain upwards of 60,000 acres, situated on the borders of two fine rivers, both navigable to coasting schooners. But little is known of the interior of New Zealand. Mr. Brees has commenced forming roads into the interior; we expect, therefore, that land will fall. We shall be ahead of the sales in July. We had a frost yesterday: to-day is quite July weather.
7th and 8th.--The Manewatu and other lands were opened for selection. On the first day, two of the natives came to look on; on the 8th, about fifty of them, men, women, and children, came to the office, requesting payment (utu) for their land. They went away very well satisfied. One of the elder chiefs looked over the plan of all the districts, and understood it well; he gave us several new names--one of them, a small river named Opau, he wrote down, and exceedingly well too. One of the natives had a black hat bound with crape, and stuck
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all round with feathers; he had whitish trowsers and a frock coat; occasionally he wears a stock. I forget the old fellow's name, but he is a great chief. I was smoking, and had half the party come to me for fire--rather close contact, a mauri's woolley head, lighting a pipe by a fellow's cigar while in his mouth. Tattooing is going out of fashion very much. Nearly all the natives have a great hole in the ears, through which they pass a bit of ribbon, and suspend a shark's tooth or some stone ornament. They are very clever carvers. Their war canoes are splendid. Their hangi (a sort of walking and shew spear) are very well finished; some of them are invaluable, as being descended from ancestors famed in war.
April 20. To-day I went into Captain Smith's garden, and received a valuable present of parsley, lettuce, lupin, French marygolds, and endive plants. He has a large garden, cabbages 12 feet round, onions 20 inches round, roses, sweet briars, geraniums, fruit trees, and all kinds of vegetables. When the proper season arrives, I wish you would send the &c. &c. seeds, and &c. &c. bulbs: I dare say the New Zealand Company will send them out cheaply.
A Mechanics' Institute was formed last night; from what I hear, (for I was prevented from attending) it was well supported. I shall be a contributor, following your example in promoting matters of usefulness, if not with purse--what is more valuable, with personal exertion. I have purchased land for a garden, and sown a lot of radishes, carrots, onions, &c, and put out 2,500 cabbages. I saw two fine wild fuchsia to-day, but not in bloom. We felt a slight shock of an earthquake on the 15th."
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THE HUTT AND TARANAKI.
From MR. JOHN WALLACE to MR. DRAKE, New Street, Birmingham.
Wellington, Port Nicholson,
April 6th, 1842.
Dear Sir, I arrived here about a week since from New Plymouth, and purpose remaining here about a month. On leaving England, I promised to write to you, giving you my honest opinions of the country, and the time has now arrived when I can do this faithfully, as well as honestly. I should say that this country has some similarity to the northern parts of Italy, and to Switzerland, in its external features, but is still unlike any part of Europe in many particulars. I imagine it bears a great similarity also to the Caucasus; and if I may be allowed to form a comparison from maps and reading, that it is more like the latter country than any other on the face of the earth. Like Switzerland and the Caucasian mountains, it will doubtless give birth to a race of freemen, and its government must necessarily be framed upon a similar plan to that of the Swiss countries. The new Corporation Bill of England may possibly be brought into operation here, provided that it is greatly modified and moulded to the habits of a mixed people, in every district, or in other words, in every isolated locality. I say isolated locality, because these islands, from their construction by nature, will always be inhabited by district-social communities, whose manners and customs will originate in, and be confined by, the peculiar habits of the native population of the respective spots, combined with the rooted English prejudices belonging to the countries, from which the Europeans emigrate. So far, any congress, or meeting of representatives from the different boroughs or corporate towns, at any future period.
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at the capital city of these islands--it may be inferred, will be one of the most perfect freedom, and the inhabitants will govern themselves to all intents and purposes. I have gone so far, prospectively, into the social economy of these countries, because I know you to be a family man, that looks more to the future welfare of his children than to his own present ease and convenience.
These islands are, in many respects, similar throughout; even where you would imagine that a flat and champagne country lay before you, the land is undulating, almost in every part. Occasionally, there are tables of flat land, consisting of some few acres; but these are uniformly surrounded by undulations for some distance--when the same thing may occur again. For instance, there is nothing here at all similar to the country between Birmingham and Dudley--I mean West-Bromwich--and there is no district here at all similar to Warwickshire. The whole surface of the land is more like the northern parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmoreland; and this very place (Port Nicholson) is as like as possible to Keswick Lake, and the valley of the Hutt to Borrowdale--only that the valley of the Hutt is much more extended, more level, and is, perhaps- one of the most even and the finest districts for agricultural purposes in all New Zealand. In fact, there is plenty of room in this one place for the exertion and capital of at least one hundred thousand Englishmen. At Taranaki, where New Plymouth is situated, there is an opening for at least a million of people; and the country there is open, so that you may have a clear view upon almost any of the rising grounds, for at least thirty miles, and in some cases you can see land fifty miles off-- as, for instance, you can see Kawia plainly from Sugar Loaf Point, or Paratutu, which is the native name. You also have a view of Mount Egmont from
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every eminence, which, with the hills running northwest from it, forms one of the most magnificent views in the world,--with which, in fact, the lithographs published in England, bear no comparison whatever. I have forwarded to Mr. Edwards of London,--(Edwards and Ball, Birmingham,)--forty of my new landscape sketches, and, amongst them, about eight of this mount, and from these you may form some idea of the scenery of this district of country; but even from these, which were hastily done on board ship, without the possibility of studying effect, and in the worst season of the year for this purpose, you can form but a very slight conception of the splendid nature of the scenery, and the richness of the foliage. The country surrounding Cloudy Bay, another district, is bold, and, on the shore, is composed of innumerable small bays; but there is one fine harbour in it, namely, Port Underwood, and this has numerous small bays along the whole line of its coast. Many of these are occupied as whaling stations, and how little soever this district may be calculated for the plough with the share, it is eminently adapted for the plough with the keel, and will serve to lighten up the dark nights of old England for many a day to come. My sons have one of these fisheries now, and I trust will be enabled to send a cargo of oil for your lamps to lighten and warm your dwellings in winter, and bone for the frame-work of your umbrellas, to shield you from the wet in the spring and autumn. I can safely say that the soil all over the various aspects of this country--for the aspects are everywhere varied by the undulations of the land--will enable the husbandman to grow almost all the products of the earth, from the gooseberry to the vine, and from the cabbage to the pine. Labour will be one essential power for this purpose--capital another; and judgment will be the most indispensable of
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all, --so that plodding English farmers would be unable to do much without better heads than their own to direct them. The latter description of persons will, however, precede the former in almost every instance, and have done so already; so that you may send out the former without any fear of the consequences. The timber here is some of the finest in the world, and is inexhaustible for ages yet to come; nevertheless, the timber land, when cleared, is generally the best for cultivation, so that it answers a double purpose, and bears a double profit. Openings will take place for tradesmen as colonization progresses, and chances of success will ever be presenting themselves as the wants of the people increase. For instance, were you here now, with your printing apparatus complete--paper, printers, &c, you would immediately commence a paper, which is now about to be established here, but which cannot possibly be commenced until all the necessary apparatus and power is sent to the Colony from England. I merely mention this as being quite in your way, and exactly to the purpose-- not to induce you to come out; respecting which every one must necessarily judge for himself. I am, your sincere friend and servant,
From one of the earliest settlers at Wanganui, and the largest Landowner there, to the Editor of the New Zealand Journal.
Wanganui, May 5th, 1842.
"In some numbers of your valuable paper recently arrived, I observed a few remarks on our settlement at Wanganui: I have the pleasure of knowing the writer, and hope he will favour you with some more accounts of the country. He has not, however, sufficiently done justice to our noble
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river. There is a fine passage all up it, though, on first settling here, we, of course, could not at once exactly define the two shores.
The Clydeside, a barque of more than 340 tons, came up, and went over the bar, going at half-ebb, without touching. Next month, our town sections at Wanganui are to be given out: the site of the proposed town is most admirably chosen; its situation is as beautiful as valuable; there are six and seven fathoms water in the river all along; some of the earliest choices must, directly, acquire a great value. We have the best clay yet found in New Zealand, it makes capital bricks, and some of it will make potting and pipes. Lime-stone has been found up the river, yielding 50 per cent. of lime. Some Scotch farmers recently came to look at our part of the country, and expressed themselves highly gratified with it; they spoke in the highest terms of the richness of the lands, especially on the left bank, and are gone down to Wellington to fetch their baggage, and set to work among us. The Nelson settlement will enhance the value of ours very much, as it is directly opposite us, and within ten hours1 sail; there, of course, is a more eligible market for our produce than at Wellington, and already there is a well-established communication.
The climate at Wanganui is far preferable to Wellington, as we are not subject to those violent winds from the south-east and north-west. The river is full of fish; wild ducks and teal very abundant, so the sportsman is never at a loss. We have now a regular overland mail to Wellington, which is of great importance. We can walk down here from Wellington in five days, easily, and there are vessels constantly running between; but steamers are most wanted."
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From a private Letter received by the Secretary of the New Zealand Company, from a respectable settler at Wellington, who had recently visited New Plymouth.
Wellington, 5th June, 1842,
"I learned, on arrival at New Plymouth, that the Timandra emigrant-ship had been here from Plymouth--had discharged her passengers and cargo without any difficulty, or being obliged to go to sea, during a stay of nearly a month. The Timandra had also brought out moorings for large ships, one of which had been laid down at a mile and three quarters to the north-north-west of the town. These moorings are suited to the largest vessels,(the anchors and cables weighing seven tons), and render the roadstead safe and convenient for vessels visiting New Plymouth. Captain Liardet had sailed for Sydney and England, on account of his late unfortunate accident. A fine boat, built here by the Company expressly for landing in the surf, now discharges vessels with expedition. After my arrival, a gale of wind sprung up from the north-west, the first that had occurred for some months. It is not to be denied that the want of a harbour is a great inconvenience to a new settlement; but I am inclined to think that this want will prove one of the chief causes of the success of New Plymouth. It might be different, if the land were of a more varied character than it is. In that case, enterprise might direct itself in various occupations, and speculation in water-frontages and buildings might create a more stirring and apparently a more thriving state of things. But being, as this part of New Zealand is, specially an agricultural district, one feels that any diversion from the grand object of cultivation of the soil, which a port would offer, might be a positive injury to the colony. No
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one can walk over this country without being impressed with its great capabilities; and when we know that New Zealand does not offer, in combination, a good harbour with a first rate agricultural district, the settlers at New Plymouth may be considered, in my opinion, most fortunate in having the first desideratum to a legitimate settler--undeniable land, with sufficient means of exporting its produce. The moorings have already increased these means; and steamers and small craft adapted to the Waitera river, which is in the centre of the rural lands, will, every day, add to them. Such a district is peculiarly suited to emigrants from agricultural counties, and the style of farming will be similar to that pursued in the west of England. The town of New Plymouth will be very compact; scarcely any unavailable land interfering with its laying out, and the quarter-acre sections favouring concentration. The points of view are numerous and striking; and the features of the land have been judiciously taken advantage of, or conquered, in the communications between the different parts of the town. The country-land, I repeat, however, is what must make the settlement; and this is convenient for approach and location. The whole settlement of New Plymouth is comprised within sixteen miles of coast-line by eight miles inland; through which run ten small rivers, available for various purposes. One of them, the Waitera, eight miles from the town, has between twelve and thirteen feet at its entrance, at high water, and good anchorage inside. The prevailing wind, the south-west, is a leading wind in and out of this river. A road to it is in progress of formation by the Company. From the sea-coast to the wooded land, the distance varies from one mile and a half to three miles. This space is covered principally with fern, which grows, in some places, twelve feet high--but in few, less than six. It is intermixed, occasionally, with the tutu bush, which is
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indicative of good soil, and other shrubs common to New Zealand; but here growing to a size, and presenting a luxuriance, unknown in any other part of it I have seen. The country presents, from ship-board, the appearance of the best parts of the Channel coast of England. The apparently unbroken level looked over by Mount Egmont is, on inspection, found to be intersected with streams and gullies, between which are, in many places, extensive flats. None of it is unavailable for culture; and the wooded land, which here, as elsewhere, is the best, seems to have the most unbroken surface. Mr. Barrett's whaling station is at two miles from the town, and adjoining the Sugar Loaf on the main. Although close by the sea, and of a sandy nature, his garden produces vegetables of an extraordinary size. Eight hundred melons had been grown by his wife (who is a native) and children this season. The rats, however, which have lately made their appearance in the settlement, had destroyed nearly all of them. The traces of these mischievous vermin were to be seen on the sea-sand, as they were left by a night-march. They appear to migrate in bodies, like the Hampster species. In front of the whaling station is a small bay, which will be, at a future day, rendered a convenient anchorage by a breakwater between the main and one of the islands. A visit to some of the suburban sections confirmed my high opinion of the land. The reports of all I met are most favourable as to soil and climate; and every one seemed satisfied with his prospects, since the hastening of the surveys, by means of contracts, had insured an early delivery of the rural sections."
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From ALEXANDER PERRY, Esq., to his Father, Dr. PERRY, of Glasgow, written after a year's experience of Port Nicholson.
Wellington, June 10th, 1842.
"The country in this neighbourhood is only becoming known; no sooner is one valley explored and surveyed, than another is discovered contiguous to it. They seem, mostly, to turn up from the sea, and to be sheltered, at their entrance, by high, bare hills, from the winds, which blow with such violence on the coast, which three-fourths of those who come out here only see, and have no idea of the luxuriant evergreen verdure with which the country, in the interior, is covered. Looking from a high hill, on which I spent a night in the open air, the country presented the appearance of a vast, unbroken forest, with a number of Totara trees, without a single bare spot, till you come into the neighbourhood of the sea. Numbers of the trees are highly valuable for cabinet-work, and furniture of various kinds, particularly the Totara; they are highly prized, even by the natives, who, it is said, were in the habit of handing them down from one generation to another, as heir-looms in the tribe. There is also plenty of clear land suitable for grazing, in the immediate neighbourhood, within two hours' sail of the heads. There is a large valley extending for forty miles inland, clear of trees, and covered with the finest grass, capable of maintaining large herds of cattle, if once it was opened up. It still belongs to the natives, and they now prize it much, and are unwilling to sell it. It is called Wydrass, or Warepara: if a road was opened up, it would afford a large field for the investment of capital, in one of the safest and most profitable ways in which it could be invested. A great many cattle have lately been brought from Sydney, and brought good prices. It
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is quite the rage at present buying cattle, so that every cottager will have his cow at Wanganui. There are also immense tracts of clear land suitable for grazing. What would, beyond any thing, bring these places into immediate play, would be for the Company to send a few ship loads of emigrants, accompanied with capitalists, directly to the spot.
A person landed here, for instance, who has land at Manewatu, or Wanganui, finds that he must not only be at great expense in conveying himself and luggage thither, but to get labourers: he must promise them great wages, and be at great expense in taking them there; so that many, seeing this, give up the attempt, and remain here, and turn their attention to business, doing little good to themselves, and injuring the merchants already here. It is to be hoped this will soon be remedied, by sending them directly to the spots where the land lies. As an instance of the fineness of the climate, Mr. H-- brought in from the garden a dish of green peas, and the mignionette which Mr. Imerie sowed in the beginning of summer has been cut four or five times, is shot up again, and sending forth delightful perfume--and this is the very middle of winter, the 10th of June. Great preparations are at present making for the whaling season, which has just begun, and will afford a profitable remittance for the imports. A Sydney house, largely engaged in the whaling trade, has contracted to take the oil and bone caught here, at a number of the stations, at £16. per ton for the oil, and £85. for the whalebone.--Why should not a Company be got up in Glasgow, and form a settlement connected with New Zealand, in the southern or middle island, and secure to Scotland a part at least of the trade?"
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From THOMAS LOCKYER, a Carpenter, formerly of Kingston, Somerset.
Wellington, 10th June, 1842.
MY DEAR FATHER,
Wages are very good here: carpenters get from 8s. to 11s. per day; I worked 16 days at 9s. per day; I am now working for myself. Labourers get 5s. per day, a great many work for the Company, they get from 10s. to 14s. per week and rations, which is 7 lbs. of beef, and 10 lbs. of flour. John Tar works at it, and he says he can do better than in England. I like it myself and family. The Company serve us with flour at 3d. per pound. Provisions are as follows:--beef 1s. per pound, mutton 10d., pork 7d., potatoes 5s. per cwt., sugar 6d. to 8d. per pound, porter 1s. per pot, brandy 2s. per bottle, rum the same, gin the same. George Grant and Thomas Hollard, of Charlton, have done well since they have been here; they have bought five acres of land each. I can tell you, my dear father, I am happy and comfortable; give my love to all friends, and tell James Hilborne he could do well here. Tailoring is a very good trade here. If any come, I will do what I can for them. None of us have wanted for anything since we left home. Cooper, who worked for Mr. Stephen Masters of Ilchester, is here; he says he can do better here than in England. There are many of our neighbourhood here; we ail like it well, children and all; I believe it to be a very pleasant country, but it is winter now. It is about the same as October in England. Fish is plenty, we can buy a large fish, ten or twelve pounds, for 6d. or 8d. There is anything to be got as in England. Wearing apparel is not so dear as we might imagine. Shoes are the dearest things here; it is a good business, and so is black-smithing. Edge-tools and axle-making is a good trade. Plas-
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tering is not much yet, but it will be soon, as they are building many brick houses. Bricks are £3. a thousand, and lime 3s. a bushel. Shingling is a very good trade, they get from 12s. to £1. per day: it is the same as flat tiling, but wood instead of tile. New Zealand is a very healthy country. So no more at present,
From your affectionate Son,
From a Resident in Wellington, to a New Zealand Land Proprietor in England.
Wellington, 20th June, 1842.
"It is really lamentable to witness the want of courage and industry in a large number of young men who come here. They arrive with the idea that they are to have no difficulties or discomfort to contend with, yet most of them have fled from home in despair at the dismal prospect they were abandoning. All the prudent and the industrious who have arrived here are well to do. I should not mind landing in this place without a shilling, confident that I could make myself a pursuit in three months. We all feel that the best settlers came first--that is, by the fleet which sailed September 1839. They had much to contend with, and played their parts like men. They laugh at the idea of pioneers coming in these days, when all the country from this to New Plymouth and the East Coast, has been made known through their exertions.
You absentees ought to do more than feel anxious about the prosperity of Wellington--you should aid in it; as it is, you are content to sit by the fire-side and speculate upon the advance which will take place (upon the pound per acre paid) at our expense, in consequence of the exertions we are obliged to make. Not only do you not contribute to
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our prosperity, but your agents ask higher terms for leasing or selling lands than demanded by settlers. Each day makes a demand upon our purses for a contribution to some public work which will equally benefit your property, yet you contribute not a shilling. A very bad feeling is growing up here, at Nelson and New Plymouth towards your class. Why do you not combine, and form a society to be called the "Associated Land Holders in New Zealand," and ascertain if there be not modes in which you can render yourselves useful? We want capital for agricultural purposes. Why do you not form a Loan and Trust Company? it could be made to pay you 20 per cent, with the best security. Why are no efforts made to extend the British whaling? Upwards of 100 American and French ships are now on our ground, and not one English ship. Why not form a company, with a considerable capital, to own sixty or seventy brigs to fit out of this port, and have a local direction here (the directors to hold shares) and superintend the whaling? The brigs would be coming in constantly with oil, which they would discharge into immigrant ships: the brigs of course would never go home. I have computed that men employed by such a Company would expend from £80,000 to £100,000 here in the year. Why not offer a reward for a flax machine?--Why not supply us with capital to erect saw and flour mills, and breweries? Our great want is capital, and we could pay handsomely for it; such narrow policy will assuredly bring its own punishment."
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The Valleys of the Hutt, Ruamahanga, and Manewatu.
(From the report by Mr. KETTLE, Assistant Surveyor to the New Zealand Company, of the land in the interior, explored by the surveying party.)
Wellington, June 21, 1842.
"It now only remains for me to give a general description of the country through which we have passed. The Valley of the Hutt, at the present termination of the survey, is nothing more than a gorge, the hills approaching the water's edge on both sides of the river. The hills, however, very soon fall back on the eastern side, where there is a great quantity of fine land extending to the foot of the Tararua. On the western side there is no available land. In crossing from the Hutt to the Pakuratahi there is some rugged, but a great deal of available land. The formation of a road from the Hutt to the valley of the Ruamahanga will by no means be easy of accomplishment: I am quite confident that there is no communication between these by a valley; a range of hills called the Remutaka must be surmounted. They are a branch of the Tararua, and run in a southerly direction till they terminate in the western headland of Palliser Bay. To carry a road over, a careful examination would be required to be made of the hills, and sections of the country taken. This would occupy some time, and the expense would be very considerable; for which, however, I consider the value of the districts it would be the means of laying open, would amply compensate.
The valley of the Ruamahanga is often called (from a large lake that is in it) the Wairarapa valley. The lake is about thirteen miles long, and of an average breadth of five miles, the lower end of the lake is about seven miles from the sea, with which it communicates by a continuation of the Ruama-
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hanga river; hut the natives tell me that the land between is of a swampy nature, and of little or no value. From the head of the lake to the top of the valley is a fine level tract of land, about forty-five miles long, and ten miles wide. The direction of the valley is about north-north-east; it is bounded on the east by the Tararura, on the west by a range called the Maungataki, on the south-east by some high mountains called Te Haurangi, which terminate in the eastern headland of Palliser Bay, on the south-west by the Remutaka, and on the north by the Rangitumou hills. Between the Maungataki and the Kuriture, there is an open space of several miles, which must lead into some fine country beyond. The greater part of the valley is covered with fern and grass, but there is a great quantity of wooded land, the timber being principally totara and mataihi. The river Ruamahanga, from which the valley receives its name, comes from the Tararua, and flows down the eastern side of the valley, receiving numerous streams until at last it falls into the lake. As we came down the western side of the valley, we saw but very little of this river. The natives inform me that it is of a considerable size, and not obstructed by timber. From the Ruamahanga to the Manewatu (a distance of fifty miles,) there are large tracts of finely timbered and level land, with a good communication, so that if we had an opening from the Hutt to the Ruamahanga, I believe we could then have a good communication with the whole of the interior of this island, by Taupo and Roturua to the Thames. On the eastern side of the Tararua and Ruahine ranges, there is that which is rather scarce on the western--materials for making roads, which the bed of every river and brook affords. The immense quantity of available land still remaining on the Manewatu--the value of the river as a means of communication, and its applicability to the purposes of
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machinery, must render it a most valuable possession.
From GEORGE BEAVAN, of Wellington, to H. HENSHALL, of Whitchurch, Salop.
Wellington, June 30th, 1842.
This place is going on very finely; they are making fine roads and grand houses, far superior to any in Whitchurch. This is the place for trade. It was the best day's work we ever did to come here, and it would be the best thing you could do when you are out of your time, to come here, for there wants a good watchmaker here. Carpentering is a fine trade here: you will see what wages they get, by the newspapers I sent you. There is nobody out of work, neither the labourer nor any other trade that is. People are beginning to cultivate their land now, and the place is going on rapidly. Our trade is going on well, and is one of the first, for our work is increasing every week. We make a great number of whale lines now, out of the New Zealand Flax: we make them 120 fathoms in length. Dear Henry, you must not be surprised to see me in Whitchurch some of these days; I shall come and see you all before long, and then I think you will come back with me. I have been at Van Diemen's Land, and over a great deal of New Zealand. I can talk a great deal of native language. They are as fine a set of clever men and women as any in the world. I am learning to throw their spears, and we have rare games too. They take us out in their canoes to learn to swim--they can swim, themselves, seven or eight miles at a time, and do it very quick, and they can dive under twenty-five fathoms of water. If any thing is the matter with the bottom of a ship, the white people get
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them to go and see what it is; if they drop a barrel of any thing to the bottom of the harbour, they will go and fetch it up; if a boat sinks, they get them to go and see how it lies. New Zealand is a fine country indeed. I often wish you were here; you would see such sport as you never saw in your life. Publicans are doing the thing here, they are rolling the money up finely. We can save ourselves about £6. in a month: our trade is a very good one I assure you: single men are getting from £2. to £3. a week, and they can live and lodge on the best of every thing for 20s. Send us some newspapers if you please. There are plenty of chances here to come back to England, so you must expect me some day to come back and stop about half a year, and then return. Now, dear Henry, do remember me to all you think I know; and now good bye, and God bless you all.
A New Zealand Paper of the 30th July, 1842, quotes the following letter from an enterprising settler at Wanganui:--
"After a year's hardships as laird of Wanganui, I now write you a few lines to let you know that my views of the place have not proved, as some thought, too high ever to be realized. Before I was nine months on the land I could live on the produce, excepting now and then having to get a pig. I met with many disappointments on my arrival, from both the white and native population; but I determined to persevere, and have at last made good my footing. Mine will be one of the best farms here; the greater part of the land is good. Several other places are better than mine for land, but I am nearest the town, at the same time, none of the surveyed lands
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are distant more than two miles and a-half, and the road is good and level. I have good wood and water; and in a very short time I hope to be able to keep my horse, and ride about and superintend my farm. I have now to hold the plough, and will do so for another season. I have had a fine crop, from the manner in which I managed the land last season. My wheat-crop that is in the ground presents a very promising appearance, and I have a good breadth more land ready for seed; and should the season and other unforeseen events be favourable, I shall, I have no doubt, ship grain to Wellington after next harvest."
Extract from a Private Letter to H. S. Chapman, Esq., dated Wellington, 30th August, 1842.
"Things are in a greater state of reformation than they have been since the foundation of the Colony. We have now some appearance of order in having a harbour-master and pilots. The government party, as it is called here, consisting of the officials, is becoming more numerous, and of course stronger.
Spain's court of claims has done a deal of mischief --more than he anticipated, and more than he can quiet. In the third year a cruel stop is putting to agricultural exertions just at spring time. Notwithstanding these obstacles, there are, I should say, nearly 1000 acres cleared for crop, and every one feels assured of the profit for his labours. Wheat is calculated to pay £25 an acre, which is about the average price here, and not likely to go much lower.
The majority of the country in the neighbourhood is so difficult, and the exertions made to get on land have been so fair, that it is said that people are denied the profits they expected to derive. A vast number of the first settlers have been obliged to change their pursuits, and though the capacity for doing this is very
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praiseworthy, yet it has been too universal to be seemly, and has been evidently mischievous.
Of the 100,000 acres, of which I know not exactly how many sections have been given out--say 70,000, certainly not more than 20 proprietors (or representatives of 2000 acres) have entered upon the cultivation of their land. This was never intended. At Nelson, now, at the end of nine months, 50,000 acres of accommodation land have been given out and will be occupied.
These are the common remarks here, and it is right you should hear them. This place has been created by the commercial people; and the checking circumstances which I have mentioned have, no doubt, encouraged commercial adventure in the people beyond what it would otherwise have been. I hope the Company's next settlement will be at Banks' peninsula. I am unaware of your information as to the geography of the Middle Island. There is no port or place of refuge between Cloudy Bay and Banks' peninsula, and none from them for 150 miles, till you reach Otago. Molyneux harbour is exposed; but a fine valley, I am told, extends into the interior 40 miles, and 12 miles broad. I have no doubt that the east coast of the Middle Island offers a very fine country for settlement.
At Akaroa upwards of 200 vessels entered last twelve months. The peninsula itself is a heap of mountains, but there is easy access to the main. The Company's purpose should be to extend to the southward, where all the valuable fisheries are. We have cargoes of stock pouring in from Sydney, all of which disappear in the bush. The Sydney people are becoming alive at last to this place, and embarking largely in the trade. I am quite certain that as many people as like may come out here to their own advantage. How many things there are in which capital and labour might be well employed--what numberless saw-mills might be set a going, and spars cut, and ships built!
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Their stock-feeding may be carried to any extent. It would almost pay to import the lean cattle of New South Wales, keep them here three months, and return them doubled in weight: I do not think this is much exaggeration."
From a Settler at Wellington, dated 5th September^ 1842.
I think you will not be sorry to hear from me, and therefore I sit down to give you news about Port Nicholson, and some of our old friends. The place is so changed since you were here, that you would hardly recognize it. The town is becoming quite considerable, and the beach is almost built round from Barrett's old house to Tear's, where, you may recollect, we were stopped by the natives. The harbour also looks well, as we have rarely less than twenty ships of all sizes in it. They have lately appointed a harbour-master (Captain Hay), and two pilots are stationed at the Heads, who, I am sorry to say, are anything but efficient; but I hope this state of things will mend. We will do our utmost to make this a free port, and an attractive one. This port has not been frequented much by whaling ships, and that because so many ships lose their men by running away. They prefer going to Akaroa, in Banks' Peninsula, where there is only a small French settlement. No less than 200 ships entered that harbour in the last twelve months. The Hutt looks very well at this season of the year (Spring), and a deal of cultivation is going on there; but we are terribly stopped in the other districts, by a want of roads. It has obliged too many people to remain in the town, and turned many a good farmer into a bad storekeeper. Your old friends are most thriving; S------ has built himself a nice house, and will probably turn to farming; R------ has imported 200 head of cattle, and 600 or
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700 sheep from New South Wales, and bids fair to become a rich man; D------ has made some money in shopkeeping. If the ------'s had stayed here, and acted with common prudence, they would have been comfortably off by this time. I have not lately heard of them. The Nelson Settlement, at Blind Bay, is getting on very well, and so is Taranaki. We are much alarmed here at the measure of Sir Robert Peel, for taking duty off foreign oil and bone, and hardly know what value to put upon it. Up to this time, the bay fishing has been almost a failure, and unless the off-shore fishing has been more fortunate, you need not look for much oil from this part of the world. The price asked for black oil delivered in Port Nicholson, at present, is £17. 10s. a ton, and £85 for bone. If the Company should form any new settlements, I should advise you to buy land in them. It is not a bad thing to buy early numbers of country land. I made a trip to the Chatham Islands the other day. It is a productive country, but deficient in any safe port, to the best of my knowledge."
From a Settler at Wellington to a Relative in England.
Wellington, 16th September, 1842.
"I have read with great pleasure and attention all your letters to me, and am highly delighted to find how great an interest you take in the prospects of our adopted land. For, although I shall probably return to England early next year, I am so much pleased with this country, that 1 think it will be only to make arrangements to remain here as my home. Your suggestions for the formation of societies and public institutions here, as calculated to raise interest in England, are most valuable; and I shall certainly do the best in my power to get them, or parts of them, adopted: but 1 am afraid that people here have got tired of
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subscriptions, of which we have had a great many collected. By working the Horticultural Society first, on a proper footing, we can, however, pave the way for other societies of a scientific character, corresponding with similar ones in England. As to the hospital, an attempt was made some time ago to raise subscriptions for the purpose; but, after a clergyman, who was sent down here to us by the Bishop of Australia, had embezzled £40 of the collections, I heard no more of the affair. Before you receive this, you will have read in our papers that we have a Mechanic's Institute in full work. The sainfoin which you sent me is growing nicely at Newry, Mr. Molesworth's farm, in the Valley of the Hutt; and I hope to have some seed from it for sowing my father's land, when I get it into cultivation. The Messrs. Mathieson have as yet done nothing in ship-building; but have constructed a slip, on which their own vessel, the Clydeside, of 230 tons, is hauled up to be repaired--this is at Kai Warra-warra, about three quarters of a mile from town. I do not know the twin-brothers Robinson, and can hear nothing of them on inquiry among their own craft; perhaps they went to Nelson, and not to this place. Apropos of farms, Mr. Molesworth raised last year at the rate of eighteen tons of potatoes (kidneys) to the acre, and ninety bushels of wheat to the acre. 2 This is in the Valley of the Hutt, on land newly reclaimed from the forest, and flooded two or three times in every winter! We are just going to have a municipal election in the borough of Wellington, which affords considerable amusement to the idlers. I am happy to say that this class is daily lessening, and many are taking to the bush instead of wasting their substance by parading the beach. Notwithstanding all
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the difficulties we have experienced, all the settlements in Cooks Straits are prosperous to an amazing degree. You will be pleased to read the accounts from Nelson, where Captain Wakefield is doing excellently. We expect -----here on a visit in the course of a week or two, and I think we shall be able to persuade him to join the family circle which we form in our adopted land. We can find no one to manage the Phormium tenax. It seems odd, that no one of mechanical genius can discover a quick, cheap, and easy method of obtaining from this plant "the fibre, the whole fibre, and nothing but the fibre:" could this once be accomplished, we should have at once an inexhaustible article of export, which seems the great thing needful to our permanent prosperity. I shall write to you again by the first opportunity, and hope to be able to give you a favourable account of the result of my endeavours to carry out your views."
Extract of a Letter from a "Producer," dated Wellington, 17th September, 1842.
"I have recently been absent for a month at Nelson. The settlers were a leetle jealous of Port Nicholson, and boast of their buildings: this led me to the question, and on examination, I was astonished to find that a large proportion of the best houses were built and occupied by Port Nicholson people; and the most of the trade was in their hands;--a very large portion of the enterprise of the place was borrowed from us. There is no comparison as to the daring of the people between the two places, and the folks of the North, even acknowledge our superiority over them in this respect. Captain Wakefield is a superior man; his whole time is employed to advance his settlement, and every thought is on the same subject. The more I become acquainted with him, the more I think of his qualifications for the post he fills. I wrote to
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you last year a long letter on the subject of forming a whaling company in London, having a depot here, and a local directory of persons holding shares in the Company. I named £15,000 as the capital; and went to show that it would benefit this place to the extent of £70,000 per annum. I worked the subject out fully, but you made no allusion to the letter, and as its contents were important, I do not think it would have remained silent; I therefore think the letter has never reached you. Press the subject at home. * * * Captain Smith has just sailed in the cutter Brothers, to examine all the harbours and districts in the Middle Island, under instructions from Colonel Wakefield. The plan of inquiry was drawn up before he sailed, and if he can carry it out you will say it is complete. If zeal and disregard of self be sufficient, I am sure he will carry it out."
From WILLIAM DEW to his brother MR. JAMES DEW, Gardener, Ham, near Richmond, Surrey.
Wellington, 2nd October, 1842.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
I have received your kind letter which I long looked for. I am very happy to find that you and your wife and all my brothers and sisters are well. I am very happy to hear that my dear mother is so well, and I hope she is comfortable with Benjamin. I hope she will not make herself uncomfortable about me, for I and my wife and family are all well; I have not had one day's illness since I have been in New Zealand; my family are all growing very fast; Ann and Harriett are two good girls; they have both kept their places since they have been in the colony, and Ann is grown taller than her mother. She is living with a Dairyman, and is getting very useful in the dairy. Harriett, also, is growing very tall and stout; my two boys also are growing very stout;
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they will very soon be very useful, as they take great delight in using the axe, which is the pride of the colony. I am very glad to hear that Benjamin is doing so well, and am glad he broke up the meadow, as it must have been of great assistance to him. Give my duty to Mr. Algernon Tollemache: I shall be very happy to see him in New Zealand, as he is the sort of man we want here, to support the cultivation of the land, as it is a thing that is much wanted.
There is plenty of land that is fit for agriculture; it is a beautiful soil and a beautiful climate; all kinds of corn will grow well. You may grow pease all the year. That small portion of wheat which I brought with me yielded after the rate of seven quarters to the acre. I saved the whole of the seed, and made myself a hat with the straw, which I believe to be the first that has been made of straw grown in the colony. I have sown the seed on twelve rods of ground, and it is growing beautifully. I have got half an acre of land in cultivation. We sow the wheat in July, and reap in January. I am sorry to say, there are but few who support cultivation; they seem to be afraid of the bush, which is not half so fierce as it is represented.
Rutter has got nearly an acre of land in cultivation, he had a prize for his barley the first year. Philps has opened a brick-yard, and is likely to do well. Howell is a bullock driver, and is going on the same as usual; you wanted to know if he was my partner, but he is not. I have had two different partners; they were men who understood the saw. I am getting quite master of the saw, which I find great delight in. Our trade is not quite so good as it was, the timber is getting farther off. I am about to take some land in the country.
Mr. Sinclair wished me to take some of Mr. Algernon's land, but it is so far off; the natives will not allow any one to go there at present. They are
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very civil in the neighbourhood of Port Nicholson. You wish to know what I did for a house until I built mine. There is a depot for all emigrants for one month, so that they may, in that time provide themselves. It is better now than it was, as there are plenty of houses to let. I have one nearly finished, which I intend to let at five shillings a week. I did not hold any situation on board, as my little family required a great deal of attendance, which took up the whole of my time.
I did not receive any money on landing. Philps held the situation as cook, which he received £10. for. There is a great deal to put up with on board, which requires a patient temper. If you think of coming, you must make up your mind to put up with difficulties, for things are not so straightforward as at home. I am getting very comfortably settled, and have no wish to return to England again. I have enjoyed the sweets of a sober life since I have been in New Zealand, which I intend to continue. We have got a bishop in New Zealand, and we expect to have a church very soon, which is much needed. Our town is in a flourishing condition; we have a great deal imported, but nothing exported, which robs us of all the ready money. We want the cultivation to go a-head. Very many of the young gentlemen which come out, walk the beach and smoke their cigars, and spend their money in the grog shops which are very plentiful. If every one was to try a little, the colony would very soon support itself; there is plenty of cattle now in the colony, and fowls. I have bought some fowls and a pig, and I intend to get a cow as soon as I can. There is but very few labouring men that take delight in anything but the grog shops. We have got a mayor elected in for the borough at Wellington. My dear brother, if you should come, don't overload yourself with tools, as they can be bought as cheap here, as at home. Shoes
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are very much wanted, as strong as are usually worn at home; and bring all the money you can. So no more at present from
Your affectionate brother,
From MR. R. STOKES, of Wellington. 3
3rd October, 1842.
"I am very glad to find you approve of our Agricultural Society which has found very general favour with our colonists; and with the munificent assistance of the New Zealand Company, who have very liberally presented us with a donation of fifty pounds, I think it may now be considered to be established on a permanent basis. The aspirations of its founders, in establishing the society, were not quite so lofty as those in which you indulged. They were satisfied if they could, in the first place, make it useful to the colony by exciting a spirit of emulation among the settlers in the cultivation of their lands, and by promoting the formation of gardens; they hoped, by means of the Society, to promote the more rapid introduction into the colony of those fruits and flowers usually cultivated in England, and also to render the productions of New Zealand better known in the Mother-country, by sending home from time to time, as opportunity might offer, favourable specimens of our ornamental woods, plants, &c. I think the exhibitions of the Society during the last season, will fully justify me in claiming for it the merit of having accomplished the two first-named objects. All were agreeably surprised at the collection of vegetables and other productions displayed on each
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occasion, embracing all the varieties in ordinary cultivation, and which, in point of size and quality, could not be surpassed in England. Indeed, many kinds of vegetables, as the varieties of the cabbage, turnip, pea, &c, grow here much more luxuriantly. In the mean time, the formation of new gardens has continued steadily, and the spirit of improvement is rapidly spreading; during the autumn and winter, fruit trees and other valuable plants have been introduced into the colony, and I confidently anticipate that the exhibitions of the ensuing season will be productive of still greater interest, in the variety of flowers and fruit which they will display. From different inquiries which I have made, I find there cannot be less than two thousand fruit trees in the colony, the greater part of them in the town and its vicinity, but a considerable portion of them in the Valley of the Hutt. The greater part of these have been brought from Sydney and Van Diemen's Land; but some have been sent from England, and I am very anxious to see a still greater importation from thence, as the very best varieties may there be selected, and (with ordinary care in packing them and sending them in the proper season, and in putting them on board a vessel which is sure to sail near to her appointed time) no fear may be entertained as to the result. I think too much pains cannot be bestowed in procuring the best varieties, as they can be easily multiplied by grafting; but if we satisfy ourselves with inferior kinds at first, we shall lose much time in retracing our steps and correcting our mistakes, and the right application of time in a new colony is the unum necessarium. In this respect (I mean the contribution of fruit-trees and other plants useful to our colony) our friends in England, and those who desire that colonization should prosper, may materially assist us. Contributions to the Wellington Horticultural Society of fruit-trees and other useful
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plants, will be of more service than subscriptions; they need not be afraid of sending too many, as, after the first and principal settlement is supplied, we have our friends at Wanganui, Taranaki, and Nelson to think of. All that I would suggest on this head would be that fruit trees should be of the best varieties, which may be readily procured from a respectable nurseryman. Peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples, pears, plums, gooseberries, and currants, are all useful, and will bear the voyage; they should be packed in cases lined with zinc, so as to be air-tight, the roots well packed with damp moss, and the plants well secured from moving with the same substance; no straw should be used, as it ferments with the moisture, to the serious injury of the plants. This I have ascertained from experience, as in a collection of fruit-trees I received from England by the Indemnity, which were nine months out of ground from the vessel's not sailing until March instead of November, as advertised, and which were very carefully packed, those packed in moss only were in very good condition; those packed with straw and moss were, from the cause above mentioned, many of them dead, and all more or less injured. It is hardly necessary to add, they should be taken out of the ground before germination commences in the spring. If a quantity of the plants of the quick-set were sent similarly packed, they would also be most useful. The thorn, I am certain, would grow better here even than in England; there can be no dispute about its making the best and most lasting hedge, or the advantage we should receive from having the opportunity of forming our enclosures with this most useful fence; but as yet, I regret to say, we have been unable to obtain any, though I hope before the end of another season we may be more successful. Any boxes of plants intended for the Society, if sent carriage paid to the New Zealand House, will be duly forwarded
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by the Company's vessels, as from the liberal interest the New Zealand Company have taken in the Society's welfare, I feel assured that any contribution sent through them would reach their destination. In a very short time I confidently expect that, in the Valley of the Hutt and the valleys surrounding the town, we shall have extensive orchards formed; there are many sheltered spots peculiarly adapted for the purpose, and in summer (about the period when the fruit may be expected to ripen) we have no wind. Indeed, I do not see why cyder and perry may not be made here as readily as in England; and I have little doubt the experiment will be tried within the next two or three years. In the New Zealand Colonist (a paper recently established at Wellington, and of which I send you a number,) you will see we intend to form a botanical garden, of which a present of plants from Sydney will be the nucleus, and also that we intend to have two series of drawings prepared of the most interesting New Zealand plants, which will be accompanied by dried specimens of the plants, and specimens of our ornamented woods. The drawings (judging from those I have seen) will be beautifully executed, and one series will be forwarded to the New Zealand Company, the other to the London Horticultural Society. In the same paper you will also see a copy of a letter I have received from Messrs. Harris, the eminent nurserymen of Hackney, who have promised, with their usual liberality, to promote the interests of our society. While on the subject of horticulture, you may feel interested in an account of the different fruit trees, and plants now in my garden, which I give not from any feelings of vanity, (as I believe many of these things are to be found in other gardens in the settlement) but because a few facts like these form the best data for judging both of our progress, and of the climate in which such things flourish, and afford
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the most conclusive answer to those detractors, who ignorantly assert that all is barren. I have then now in my garden at Wellington, besides an ample supply of vegetables, the rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry, gooseberry, black, red and white currant, the peach, nectarine, apricot, and fig, the varieties of the plum, and several varieties of apples and pears. I have also cherries, filberts, mulberries and quinces, the magnolia, camellia, daphne, oleander, passionflower, honey-suckle, jasmine, ranunculus, tulip and pickotee, and a very nice collection of roses, and also the elder, the privet, the water-cress, a few blackthorns, and a good sized asparagus bed, the plants of which have been reared from seed and will be fit for cutting next Spring. These were mostly obtained from Sydney, and I have every reason to think will do well. Some peaches, figs, apples, and other fruit-trees procured last season from that colony will, I think, produce fruit this year, as they have now an abundant show of blossom. I have also a few vines from cuttings from Sydney, and a few that have been brought from England; and I am sanguine enough to expect they will thrive well here and produce grapes for the table, as the thermometer from the end of December to the middle of February, is usually between 75 and 80 degrees. I may mention as a curious horticultural fact, that the carnation has never yet been introduced into Sydney; they have the pickotee, but not the carnation. I fear you may consider me almost tedious in my details, but I am persuaded that in these matters to dwell fully on details has its use. The readiest way to insure assistance from your friends is to show how they can be useful to you, and when we are all labouring for one common object--the prosperity of the colony--the best way is at once to state your wants and how they may be supplied. In a former letter you suggest a doubt as to the fitness of land subject
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to floods for grain crops. In my last visit to the Hutt, I ascertained a very interesting fact relative to this point. I should state that this winter we have had more rain than in the two previous ones, and the Hutt has several times overflowed its banks. I saw wheat that had been four times covered with water, and yet was in beautiful order. 4 But the point to which I wished to direct your attention was in the instance of Mr. -------'s barley; that which has been flooded is, I understand, in first-rate order, that which has not been flooded has been attacked by the grub. Now a flood in New Zealand seems to produce an opposite effect to what it does in England, or a colder climate to ours; it produces a fertilizing effect in the deposit which it leaves, and, as it would appear, a salutary effect in destroying the grub, while the frosts which usually succeed floods in England, and nip the young blade, are unknown here. This is important to be known, because in the district of the Manewatu, more to the north and still warmer than Port Nicholson, on either side the river there are at least 100,000 acres of good land easily drained and still more easily brought under cultivation, but which must be occasionally subject to overflows from the river. Now if these overflows (as are proved by our experience in the Hutt) are beneficial, they must remove any apprehension or doubt from the mind of the cultivator. I have to thank you for the sainfoin seed which you obligingly sent me, every grain of which succeeded; in due time I transplanted the whole of it, so that I expect a good return of seed this summer. I am now on my way to Valparaiso on private business, but, while there I shall not neglect the interests of our Society at the colony, but I shall endeavour to procure such plants and seeds as may be likely to flourish in Port Nicholson, particularly the Spanish chesnut, and the Alpaca grass, a species of lucerne, which I understand has been extensively introduced from
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Chili to the south of France, and which is considered very valuable. The settlement of Port Nicholson has everything to hope for from its situation, its natural advantages, and the liberal and fostering aid of the Company. Without referring to the settlement at Wanganui, or the more remote but magnificent extent of rich cultivable land at Taranaki, or the land in the immediate vicinity of Wellington, we are inclosed on the one side by the valley of the Manewatu, watered by a noble river, nearly half a mile in width, the land on its banks of the richest description, and not so thickly timbered or so difficult to clear as the land on the banks of the Hutt, and on the other by the valley of the Wairarapa, extending to Hawke's Bay (a distance of 120 miles); there the land is partly open, fern and grass, and partly covered towards the banks of the river with groves of timber of the more valuable kinds. All that we require is that liberal consideration with regard to our lands from the local government which we have a right to expect, and a judicious plan to be laid down and acted upon for opening the country by means of roads. I shall be happy at all times to supply you with such information of our progress, and such facts connected with cultivation as may be likely to interest you."
CHARLES BROWN, Bricklayer, to the
HON. A. TOLLEMACHE, Ham, Surrey.
I send my respects to you, and all of us. I hope this letter will find you well, as it leaves us all at present. We had a pleasant voyage, and arrived on the 19th of May, after a long voyage of 136 days. We don't regret coming, as I myself get 10s. per day, and William Smith the same; for we had the pleasure of building the first brick-house in the
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colony. We are happy to say there are plenty of brick-houses going on at present, and there will be more yet. John Philps has got a brick-yard of his own; and as he makes them, we lay them. If you should come out, I hope we shall have the pleasure of building you one. We have had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Sinclair. Give my kind love to my mother, and tell her that I am doing well. I have heard that work is very dull in England, and tell her not to fret about me. Tell Mr. Smith's father that he is doing well: he lives close by us all, as I am living with John Philps. Tell my mother to write to me as soon as she can, with all the news. As for the natives, they are a very civilized sort of people: they come and sit in your house, and talk in their language as if the place belonged to them; but will take nothing without asking for it. We was, soon after our arrival, put under arms, in consequence of a native being found dead in the flax, all owing to the Chief, Wara Pora; 5but he is now Matu Matu, (that is, meaning dead). There are great many of them dying, and others leaving for the bush, since we first landed. Wellington is very much improved, new houses starting up every day; and we have now a Corporation of twelve Aldermen, Mayor, &c. &c. I am summoned on the Jury. Our election is just over, this day being the day for swearing in the Town Clerks, &c.: they are about chartering a vessel to bring them turtle. There is a great deal of cattle here now, and more expected. Tell my mother to give my best respects to Mrs. Tanthony, and also to Henry Dodge: also John Philps wished he was out here with him. We have plenty of potatoes, but the price is dearer than with you: at the present time, 8s. per ton. They are commencing growing wheat, barley, oats, &c, much better than in
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England, where they can clear the land. The price of provisions are very dear indeed: beef. 1s. 6d. per lb.; mutton the same; pork 9d.; butter 3s. 6d. to 4s. per lb.; and most things in the same proportion. Bread 8d. the two lb. loaf; tobacco 2s. 4d. per lb. Tell Mrs. Hartfield that her son is doing very well, and thinks it very hard that he has not heard from them. And the Andersons are all well: Thomas is married. Mrs. Philps wishes you to see Mrs. Whightman, and give her kind duty to her, and particular Mary, and all the family, and tell them she is quite well; and also Mrs. Sight--and tell them Mrs. Philps is practising nursing, attending upon the ladies, and getting £4. to £5. per month. I also send my respects to Mr. Wills, Banfield, and Sawyer. I must now conclude by wishing that you may soon be here, and now remain.
Your obedient Servant,
From W. FERGUSON to a Friend in England,
Wellington, Nov. 1st, 1842.
MY DEAR SIR,
On Sunday evening, the 16th of October, ------called upon me to know if I would accompany him on the following day in a walking expedition, through the bush, as far as Otaki, distant from Port Nicholson, upwards of 50 miles, in order to see a new vessel launched, which was built up there, and return in it. To this I assented; and the following day, taking with us three of the natives,, partly as guides, and also to carry blankets, tobacco, &c, to trade with the Mauris, we set off. We had a good road along the sea side, as far as Kaiwarra-warra, about a mile and a-half from home. Here we were joined by a Mr. Anderson, one of the ship's carpenters, who was
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going to the vessel, and by a Mr. Box, who was going as far as Buccarra, and here our labours begun. Kaiwarra hill took us about an hour to get to the top, and from its summit we had a splendid view of Port Nicholson, and the harbour. We then entered the bush, and one of the grandest and finest sights I ever imagined, of wild wood scenery, began to unfold itself. Porirua river, which begun to wind its way like a small stream, gradually getting larger, until at Porirua it became navigable, lay many feet below our path, the trees tall and gigantic, of all shades of green, towering one above the other with flax growing in tufts on every branch; flowers of every hue scattered about, and parrots, and numberless other birds adding a charm to the scene by their melody. The walk to Porirua, twelve miles from Port Nicholson, where we halted to dine, became, nevertheless, fatiguing, as it was all up and down hill, and the roots of trees which lay across the path rendered walking both difficult and irksome. We dined off some pork-chops and potatoes at a warrie (house) of a person named Jackson; and after resting about an hour, took his ferry-boat across the river, which saved us about five miles. After about two miles walk along the beach, we came to Buccarra wood, which was much like that of Porirua, with this exception, that there were no trees thrown across the brooks, as in the latter, and we were consequently obliged to wade through, sometimes up to our arm-pits. This bush was about twelve miles through, and we then came to Buccarra Pa, (the native town), and entered the house of a chief. We were obliged to go through the hole into it, on all fours, and found two fires in the middle of the hut, no outlet for smoke, except the door, and after they had boiled us some tea and tiven (potatoes) we had supper, and lay down to sleep--men, women, and children, altogether. During the night, through
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fatigue, &c, I was very sick, but had no occasion to get out of bed, as a hole through the wall enabled me to put my mouth through: we were not disturbed by rats more than twice during the night, but then they walked over us most gloriously. In the morning, after saying Taraqua, which answers either for "how do you do," or "good bye," we started off, and walked four miles farther, when we came to the rocky settlement Pa, and had our usual meal, potatoes and tea, which we drunk out of our tinder boxes. Our road from there lay along the beach, which, for six miles, was dreadful walking, the road being formed of sharp stones jutting up like knives, and afterwards of innumerable shells. About mid-day, we arrived at a house kept by a whaler of the name of Jenkins, where we fared better, having wild-ducks and salt beef for dinner, but no liquor of any kind to be got. While dinner was preparing, H------ and myself lay along the floor, and overcome with fatigue, fell asleep. A few miles further brought us to Wanganui Pa, the largest we had yet come to; and there, the river being very deep, we had a boat to go over. The rest of the road being dry, hard sand (along the beach) was very very hard, and at seven o'clock at night we came to Otaki, and saw the Kibukka (Ship). After staying a few minutes on board, we arrived at last, after going a mile further to another Whaler's, (Mr. Taylor's) where our journey ended. With the exception of Wanganui, the whole of the country we saw previous to coming to Otaki, was hill and bush; but at Otaki, there was full seven acres of beautiful flat land over-run with wild oats and wheat, potatoes and cabbages as high as myself. Here, too, was a large Pa. The natives called us "Pacha." 6 About this place fish and wild fowl abound. The greens are the most delicious I ever tasted. The day after we walked, I walked up to Otaki Pa, and we were surrounded by about 300 of
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the natives, men, women, and children. One of the Chiefs, called Rippa, wanted to "taboo" my head, that is, make it sacred, but I did not like the idea of his hatchet so near my sconce, and politely declined. The natives are very hospitable and very civil; and it will certainly be our own faults if we come to a rupture with them. After staying four days, the winds being against the vessel going out, we tramped it home; and passing through the same sort of scenery, arrived at Port Nicholson all safe, after being absent a week. Although day after day, I was wet through, I experienced no inconvenience from it, not even getting a cough; and although the spring is not come on, I am leaving off wearing flannel, &c. This, certainly, is a most healthy climate. You will have a long letter also by the Clydeside, entering into details of our prospects, &c. I do not regret coming out. I miss the society of our friends, but my health is re-established, my spirits good, my notion of independence of feeling and action realized, and every day makes me like the place better.
Believe me ever,
Very faithfully and sincerely yours,
Extracts from letters written by DR. GEORGE REES, late Medical Superintendent of the Lord William Bentinck.
Wanganui, December, 1842.
"The river Wanganui is one of the largest on a line of coast extending 600 miles. It is situate in lat. 40, midway between,and on the same coast as Port Nicholson and New Plymouth, being distant from the former 110, and from the latter about 90 miles, and communicating with each, and with the settlements of Manewatu, Otaki, Porirua, &c, by means
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of roads; whilst the river itself constitutes part of the great highway between the former settlement and the seat of government, and the Bay of Islands in the north. It is also opposite the Nelson settlement in Blind Bay, at about thirty miles distance, and from its position relatively to India, Sydney, and the Australian colonies, the passage through Cook's Straits is avoided in voyaging between it and those places. Within fifty miles of the entrance of the river, are the Islands of Kapita and Mana, and it is the centre of the most prolific whaling grounds.
The Wanganui is a bar river, and in Wylde's Map, twelve feet at high water is erroneously marked on the bar, whereas, from actual sounding, I find that there is sixteen feet. When the Clydeside went in she drew ten feet; it was then rather more than half tide, and twelve feet was sounded in the channel. From the size of the river, it is visited by foreign vessels, and is thus enabled to carry on an independent trade; whilst its facilities for the business of a shipwright are so great, that it has already become celebrated as the place of building most of the vessels used in the coasting trade of New Zealand. To give you some idea of the capabilities of this splendid river harbour, I may mention, that off my township of Knowsley, which is situate about seven miles from the mouth of the river, on its north bank, I have capital anchorage in five fathom water; indeed the Hutt, compared to it, is as a puddle to a mill stream.
We are not here subject to the tremendous gales, which I mentioned to you in my former letters as being particularly disadvantageous to Port Nicholson, as well from their violence as their duration (lasting two or three days,) and rendering the cultivation of fruits, &c, precarious, except in its well-sheltered valleys; and having a comparatively level track of land, our communication with the adjoining country is perfectly easy, which is not the case at Wellington,
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owing to the height of the hills, which separate the beach from the bush. We have already become the principal, as we are the nearest district, for the supply of fruits, corn, and general produce, to Port Nicholson. The farms here rival those of the best cultivated soils of England: and such is the propitious nature of both soil and climate, that sheep and cattle fatten by grazing on the wild pasturage, as well as those fed by the hand of man at home. Although New Zealand, generally, is a remarkably healthy climate, yet Wanganui and Taranaki are decidedly superior to the other settlements in healthfulness; and if invalids ever come to New Zealand from India, they must and will locate themselves in one or other of these two. The summer is very hot, but not as in England, sultry--there being a constant cool air floating about you everywhere--whilst that period which we call our winter, is with us totally devoid (as I have before written) of violent gales of wind.
Wanganui has got into notice in New Zealand, merely by the force of its natural capabilities; and now that people are looking out for themselves, we have scarcely a week pass without adding to the list of our inhabitants, the more particularly since the Clydeside brought so many of that useful class of settlers, who combine the possession of some capital with much energy--and, amongst the rest, several Scotch agricultural families, who, together with the others in that ship, had been living some time in Port Nicholson, and having explored Wanganui and other places gave the preference to this.
The expense of living is here, indeed, almost too insignificant to mention. We get plenty, not only of the necessaries, but many of what are esteemed, in England, the luxuries of life. A cow, with a calf by her side, we get for £10; a good useful horse for £35 (this price is coming down). We have an abundance of pigs, and our river abounds with white bait, eels, baracouta, karwi, plaice, soles, oysters, &c. &c,
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and though last, not least, the harbouka, the finest fish ever tasted. At the heads of our river you can see fish, weighing one cwt. each, in such quantities that it is impossible to count them. We have hanging in our smoking room, hams, German sausages, bacon, saveloys, fish, &c. In our salting tubs, pork, &c.: and we get pigeons, ducks, snipes, &c, &c, for the shooting--to these we add, from our own stock, poultry and eggs. I think you will not find fault with our "carte" of vegetables and fruits, when I tell you that in my own garden, I have growing, amongst other things, peaches, apricots, plums, melons, strawberries west ham, cabbage, peas, beans, brocoli, carrots, cauliflowers, turnips, sweet herbs, &c, &c.; in short, I can truly say, 'Here one can live in ease, without care or trouble, in one of the most genial and healthy climates in the world, and where it only requires the hand of man to make a Paradise.'"
From DAVID HARRIS to his Mother, MRS. HARRIS, Widow, Shear, near Gifford, Surrey.
Wellington, December 5th, 1842.
MY DEAR MOTHER,
We are happy to inform you and all inquiring friends, that we experienced a pleasant voyage across the sea: the different sights gave us delight all the way from London, to our comfortable little house at Wellington. When landed, I was soon employed, and received five shillings per day, since the time beginning, for my daily labour--upon the road, and going with the Surveyors in the woods and roads, &c. ---We are well; my dear son is in good health, with a cheerful spirit, with me and wife.--The provision in New Zealand is dear in--butter, 2s. to 3s. per lb.; good cheese, 2s. 6d. per lb.; beef, from 8d. to 10d. per lb.; mutton, from 7d. to 9d. per lb.; pork, 6d. to 8d, per lb.; coffee, 3 halfpence per oz.;
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tea, 7d. per oz.; bread, 6d. for two lb. loaf; tobacco, 1s. 6d. per lb.; sugar, per lb., from 2d. to 6d.; snuff, 8d. per oz.: house rent in general very high, from 5s. to 7s. per week, only with a single room.--I have met with a little house at 2s. 6d. per week; we expect a garden to be put to the house with a little advance in rent. Shoes very dear (new); soleing a pair of shoes for me cost from 9s. to 10s.--Gowns are dear--from 7s. to 8s. a common one, that might be bought in England at 3s. In my voyage, I met with work upon the vessel in Steward service, &c.--gained a sum of money, and found it useful when landed. My wife worked for gentlemen on board--with a kindness from our Captain (Pike) and when landed. The vessel leaves Wellington to-morrow for Nelson. New Zealand potatoes are plentiful and not dear. Fruit can be bought here, as apples. The gardens look well with cabbage, beans, peas, &c; the seeds for farmers, look well: rye-grass, white clover, tares, wheat, barley, turnips, &c Those who wish to come to Wellington, if they lead a steady life may do well: young women for servants are wanted, and single men. If they come to labouring work, or any other line of life, bring out with them a good stock of clothes and articles for their use, with good bed clothes, with a mattress; no feathers in Wellington can be had to make a bed, in general. My dear sister Jane would do well here, with needle-work for men and her own sex. Give our love to them, who are well-wishers towards me and my family. My wife's mother may make herself quite happy about me leading a life in New Zealand, with a sober mind, with industry. I now close my first letter to you, and hope to hear from you by the return of post, from the first ship leaving England for Wellington, New Zealand: we then will answer your letter by the same manner from us to England. The climate here is healthy, and not too hot, nor yet
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very cold; with strong winds by times. The time for our day's labour is from eight o'clock (morning) till five in the afternoon.--We now remain with our good wishes to you and all inquiring friends.
From J. PHILPS, Brickmaker.
Wellington December 15, 1842.
DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
This comes with my kind love to you, hoping it will find you in good health, as it leaves us at present, thank God for it. I take this opportunity of writing, as it is a very wet day, as I have but very little time; for when the weather is fine I am at work, from daylight till dark, for Henry and myself is making bricks, for it has been a hard task for me, for it has cost me twenty pounds for the fitting up the place and tools; but, thank God, I have burned one kiln of bricks, and have another made, and I hope in three months more I shall have more time to myself, as I intend to have a man to help me, if things go on as I expect. But the town is almost at a standstill at present, for we have had a dreadful fire, upwards of sixty houses burnt, and a great many stores of all kinds. If you know any one that is coming to New Zealand, pack the things in a box, so that the sea air don't get to it, and send it by them, as James Dew thought of coming, and I will satisfy them. If there is any money coming to me, you must send it the best way you think proper. Dear brother, I don't wish to advise you to come to New Zealand, knowing it to be much against your wife's inclination, but I do not regret coming myself; I hope, in the course of a little time, I shall be better off. I have had a great deal of trouble with sickness, with the two little boys. If you have, or know any one that has, £100 to spare for a little while,
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tell them to buy a section of land; for if they should be fortunate enough to get a good town acre, it will fetch them from £200 to £300, for I have known some of the town acres to be sold for £500 on the beach. There is some of the country land not worth having, it is so hilly. There is one Mr. Butt, has sold his acre for £900, with six maori built houses on it. It is at present bringing in from 35s. to 40s. a week. If your wife should alter her mind, I should be very happy to see you here; there is no doubt but you would do very well, as I know you have some money. A pair of bullocks would get you a good living. Bullocks is about £30 a pair; beef is from 9d. to 10d. a pound; pork 6d. Fresh butter is 2s. 9d. a pound; we can buy cows from £8 to £10 each. ------ bought one for £8, but she has slipped her calf. My wife is nursing at present, at Evans' Bay, about three miles from Port Nicholson, at a large dairy. If you know any one that is coming to New Zealand, give them my directions. I shall be very happy to see any one that I know, that I might tell them how to act, for when a person comes here, it is a very queer place, they do not know what to do. So no more at present from your affectionate brother,
From JOSEPH WHITE.
Wellington, Dec. 24th, 1842.
We are living at the same place as when we wrote last. I have nearly declined the shoemaking trade. I devote my time to looking after the cattle, and my acre of land. We have three cows that we milk at present, one more that will calve in about ten days, and a heifer, and a very handsome bull, and four large calves; two are heifers, and two bulls. I have
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the finest herd of pigs in the colony; my land is in a fine state of cultivation, and now in full crop. One half-acre is planted with potatoes and cabbage, turnips, parsnips, carrots, peas, beans, onions, &c. &c. &c.; about twenty roots nearly ready for planting; the second crop of potatoes at the latter end of January, about the time our first crop is ripe. I have not had my country land until now, we have waited to get it near the town, with a road to convey our produce to market. We have purchased a section of land about five miles from this place, on the main road to Porirua, Manewatu, Wanganui, and Taranaki, the Plymouth settlement; the road is in progress at present. I have sixteen acres of perhaps as good land as any in the colony, which I intend to begin to cultivate immediately; it was bought very cheap, it cost about £2. the acre; there is a plenty of fine timber on it for building and fencing. I intend to work three days in the week on it, and get it cultivated as soon as I can. I do not expect to go to live on it for some time to come. Cultivation goes on very spare: the reason is, that most of the landholders are gentlemen's sons, and know nothing about farming; I have often said that two of our old English farmers would do more than twenty of them. The land produces fine crops of corn, the worst of it. I planted a piece of land to wheat, a piece to barley, and another to oats. I thought the land very poor. I have an excellent piece of wheat and barley. I cut the oats when they were coming into ear, for the cows, a month since, and they are fit to cut again now. Corn will shoot up and grow the second and third year, as well as the first. Our winters are so mild that many things will shoot up and grow without planting the second time. We have two seasons in the year, and we plant potatoes the latter end of August, they will be fit for digging in January, we then plant the later crop, which will be ripe in June.
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I sowed my wheat in September, it will be ripe the latter part of January.
We have a great deal of wind and rainy weather, but we have generally dry weather from this time until March, and then it is like another spring. Our Horticultural Society had their first show for the season on Tuesday last. I got the first prize, for having the largest garden, in the best of cultivation, and in the neatest order. I got the four first prizes for vegetables--potatoes, cabbages, turnips, onions. My potatoes were from a few early ones that I brought out with me. I took two cabbages; the worst head was 15 lbs. The prize for the garden is £1. the other prizes are 3s. 6d. each. We pay 5s. a year to be a member of the Society. The show of flowers was beautiful. We had an awful fire about six weeks since, it burnt fifty-nine of the best houses in the town; the damage was reckoned to be £16,000; it happened about midnight; it was all burnt in less than half an hour. Many were obliged to catch their children in their arms, and escape with nothing but their bed linen on. Some of the largest shopkeepers declared the next morning that they had not enough in the world to buy them a breakfast; fortunately no lives were lost. I believe nearly all the people in the colony gave something to relieve the sufferers. Some gave money, some timber, some clothes; the natives collected about £5 amongst themselves for the sufferers. I think in another month the buildings will be nearly complete again. It happened in a tremendous gale of wind. We have no houses for the poor; or laws, as I know of. When any case of sickness or destitution occurs, the party may apply to Colonel Wakefield, who will allow them a surgeon and food if required. All people in want of work are employed on the roads, at 14s. the week, and 7 lbs. of flour and 10 lbs. of meat. Our town is made a borough; we have a mayor and twelve
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aldermen, and five magistrates besides, and a body of police. We are governed by English laws. The natives are under the same laws. Most of them profess Christianity: they meet in their chapel night and morning for prayer, and, to the shame of the white people, they keep the sabbath. By all that I can see, they have but the form of godliness. We have four places of worship; one church, one Wesleyan chapel, one Independent chapel, where I attend, one of the Scotch church. Mr. R. is living seven miles from us; he does a little to the tailoring. I have not room to say more. If I should be so fortunate for five years more as I have since I came here, and it should please the Almighty to spare me, I think I shall return.
JOSEPH WHITE, Port Nicholson.
P.S. Labourer's wages, 5s.; bread. 1s. four lb. loaf; cheese, the best, 2s. per lb.; beef, 10d. ; pork, 6d.; flour, 3d.; cows and calves, £15; a good horse, £50; sheep, £20 the score. A good cow will make from 5 to 7 lbs. of butter in the week, and get her own food in the winter as well as the summer.
From WILLIAM DEW, to his brother, MR. JAMES DEW, Ham, Surrey.
Wellington, 25th December, 1842.
MY DEAR BROTHER,
I have wrote this second letter to you since I received yours, hoping that you, your wife and family, are all well, and my dear mother and all my brothers and sisters are all well. I am happy to say that myself, wife and family are all well, and we are all enjoying this day, together in a homely way, as Christmas is in the middle of summer. We have for dinner the roast beef of Old England, new potatoes, cauliflowers, plum puddings, elderberries;--
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we have none to make wine. Sugar, we have plenty, and very cheap. Beef is as low as 9d. per lb., mutton the same--flour is very cheap, at two pounds per 100. Our wheat is now in bloom; there is about 100 acres of wheat in the colony this year, which is most of it among the poor people. I have about twenty rood, which is looking very well. I have an excellent crop of potatoes, which I have had great demand for at 3d. per lb. I have a good crop of cauliflowers, which I have had the praise of the colony for second beauty: they have sold well at 6d. 4d. 3d. each, according to size. Our trade is not so good as it was, and so I fill up my time in the garden, which answers my purpose very well, as there are very few cultivators in the colony, I am sorry to say. I hope you are all enjoying yourselves in the old way. I hope my dear mother does not fret about me, for I am enjoying myself in my humble cottage that overlooks the wide sea. We have had a dreadful fire, which has burnt about sixty of the best houses down to the ground, which is a great pull back to the colony. Thank God! we lost very little flour; the wind was dreadful violent from the north-west that night, which swept the whole of the beach, which looked awful. They are building up again more substantially with brick. Money is very scarce in the colony. Give my duty to Mr. A------, I want to ask one favour of him, that is, if he will let me some ground on these terms -- if I cannot do according to the Agent's terms -- that is if I take a quarter of a section on a lease of fourteen years, to clear three acres a year, which I cannot do at present, without a little capital. I want to beg this favour, that is not to bind me down to clear so much the first year, as I cannot do so much, as my family is so small. If I could be allowed a little privilege at first, I should be able to do myself some good. I could clear about an acre the first year.
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the second year two acres, the third year four, and so on, as when I cropped the first, I should be able to work the whole of my time on the ground, with my family, which, as they will in a short time be very useful to me on the ground, if Mr. T------ will grant me that favour, I would return him many thanks, as I think it would be a good start for me. I have sent this letter by the Clydeside, that has been under repair at Wellington, which is come direct to England. She has brought with her a handsome present for the Queen, a sideboard, which is a specimen of our New Zealand woods: me and my partner sawed the stuff for it. I should like Mr. T------ to see it, as it is worth any one's while to see it, as there is no wood in England to equal it; it surpasses every thing. We have the most choice wood of any island in the world. They are going on dressing the flax, which, if it answers, will be a great interest to the colony; it makes employment for the children, which at present there is none for them. My dear brother, if you come, mind and bring all the money you can with you, as tools can be bought here as cheap as at home, and other things reasonable. Pit-saw files very dear--at 1s. and 6d. each, would be a very good speculation to bring-some. If you should have an opportunity, send me a few dozen, as they would pack in a very small compass. A quantity of shoe-nails would be a good speculation to bring, as they are 1s. 6d. per 100. Bring all the seeds you can: pack them up very carefully. Give my duty to all inquiring friends: give my love to all my sisters, and tell Benjamin to be steady and industrious, and he will prosper. Ann wishes her love to her mother and father, and would be happy to have a letter from them.
I remain, yours for ever,
WILLIAM DEW, and family.
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From a small Devonshire farmer in New Zealand, to one of the Directors of the New Zealand Company.
Petoni, Port Nicholson,
December 29th, 1842.
You were kind enough, in London, to express a wish to hear from me on my arrival here, giving you my opinion of the land. I deferred writing until I could judge fairly of its qualities, which I think I can do now. There is no doubt about it being good, very good; and much superior to any land at home. We can produce two good crops in one year, which can't be done in England: wheat, averaging sixty bushels an acre, and potatoes sixteen tons ditto.
There is no doubt about a working man doing well; thirty shillings a week being the general pay, and provisions only very little dearer than in the old country. I consider him better off than a farmer in England, who pays £100. rent. I intend going farther into the bush very soon, on a section of land I have taken of Mr. Molesworth.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient Servant,
From an Officer of the Surveying Staff.
Wellington, January 16th, 1848.
"We have now delightful weather. This month corresponds with your July, but is not so warm; neither is the winter so cold as in England. The last winter has been one of the most severe that have been known by the settlers, and I never saw ice thicker than a penny piece--it is generally melted by 10 o'clock in the morning. The forest round Port Nicholson now presents a very grand appearance.
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There is a species of myrtle here, called by the natives "rata;" this tree varies from thirty to eighty feet in height, and when in bloom, it is one of the most beautiful sights you can imagine; the top of the tree is covered with a splendid crimson flower, which nearly hides the leaves. When thirty or forty of these trees are growing together, it puts you in mind of some gorgeous pageant you have read of in fairy tales. The crops up the river Hutt are in a promising state; it is expected about eighty or ninety tons of wheat will be harvested this season, and next year there will be treble that amount. Vegetables are very fine here. Every thing you have in England will grow here luxuriously. There are now a great many fruit trees in the colony, and I dare say there will soon be a fine show. The natives along the coast grow plenty of water melons, which are of delicious flavour. A few people with plenty of money, or the loan company which is talked of in England, would do an immense deal of good. Great thanks are due to E. J. Wakefield and Mr. Partridge, who have lately prevailed upon nearly all the Mauries in Wellington, and also many along the coast, to employ themselves in preparing flax to send to England. The Mauries are to be paid well for it. I think ten or twelve tons will be ready to go home in the Clydeside, which sails for London in about ten days. This shows that there is really something being done. During the week the Governor pro tem. (Mr. Willoughby Shortland) has arrived from Auckland; also H. M. S. Favorite has come to have a peep at us. The arrival of the Governor here has made the place unusually lively. We have a capital cricket club here, of which I am a member; we played a match for a dinner about a fortnight ago, and I had the good fortune to be on the winning side. There has been a great stir in Wellington, in
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consequence of the election of the first mayor, and Alderman G. Hunter, Esq., has been elected mayor. Mr. Halswell, who you remember came out in the Lady Nugent, is one of the police magistrates, and is also native protector. Colonel Wakefield behaves very kindly to those who have suffered by the fire; being at Auckland at the time, he hastened back to Wellington, and gave, in the handsomest manner, £10 himself, and £50 in the name of the Company. I hope some one will send out a flax-dressing machine--it will be of the utmost use, and cannot, I should think, be a very great expense; I am sure the news of such a thing arriving would be hailed with delight. Some time since, while on the survey, and resting at a Maurie's, for the sake of pastime, the native and myself proposed a game at drafts: I should tell you they are very expert at this game. We had no draftsmen, so he made his out of wood, and I cut mine out of some potatoes; and on the flat of a paddle we made a draft-board. While we were engaged in our game, a little pig ran off with one of my men, at which we had a hearty laugh. I find them always kind and obliging."