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THE SETTLEMENT OF NELSON,
A FEW PLAIN FACTS
PURCHASERS OF LAND.
PETITION OF THE NELSON SETTLERS,
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
T. C. NEWBY, 72, MORTIMER STREET,
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A FEW PLAIN FACTS
CONCERNING THE SETTLEMENT OF NELSON, NEW ZEALAND. 1
In the prospectus of the proposed settlement, published in 1840, to induce persons to buy land of them, the Directors of the New Zealand Company undertake, that the best remaining site in New Zealand shall be selected for the settlement of Nelson.
The New Zealand Company had then no authority to make such an unlimited selection--consequently in this respect they received money of the land purchasers under erroneous representations.--(Vide 53 D., No. 40.)
The selection of a site was entrusted by the directors to the resident agent, and to the chief surveyor, who sailed from London in the Whitby and Will Watch in 1841.
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On their arrival at Wellington, New Zealand, (Sept. 1841), they met there the Governor, Captain Hobson, R.N.
The principal agent of the New Zealand Company applied to the governor to point out a district suitable for the proposed settlement.--(Vide 59 D., No. 44.)
The governor offered for the site of Nelson, three Districts, at Maoranghi, on the river Thames, or on the river Waipa, he having permission from Lord J. Russell to give the New Zealand Company an extension of their previous limited field of selection.--(Vide 6l D. No. 45, and 55 D. No. 42.)
The New Zealand Company's agent demanded of the governor to form the settlement of Nelson, in the middle island.--(D. No. 46.)
The New Zealand Company's agents, in a personal interview with the governor, specified Port Cooper, Middle Isle, as the site which they had determined on for the settlement.
The Governor refused to give the agents of the New Zealand Company permission to form the settlement at Port Cooper, or in the Middle Island.--(D. No. 47.)
The Resident Agent of the New Zealand Company, without examining the Districts offered by the Governor, or any other, proceeded to form the settlement of Nelson on the shores of Blind Bay, although warned by the Governor that the lands there, and in the vicinity, were claimed by other parties.--(D. No. 47.)
The Chief Surveyor explored the land from the shores of Blind Bay, and reported to the agent of the New Zealand Company (Captain Wakefield) that the quantity and quality of land requisite for the settlement, could not be there obtained, and requested to be allowed to explore New Zealand for a suitable site.--(Vide First Report, On Land.)
The agent of the New Zealand Company, in reply, ordered the chief surveyor to execute there the survey.
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The coast line of Blind Bay is about eighty miles, and from its shores the accessible land, available in point of level, was about 70,000 acres, of which, in respect of quality, not more than 20,000 acres were suitable.
Two hundred thousand acres of fertile land was required for the settlement.
The chief surveyor then explored and surveyed the land on Massacre Bay. These lands other persons claimed to have purchased previously to the alleged purchase of the New Zealand Company.--(Third Report, on Lands.)
The natives residing in the district asserted that the land had not been sold by them to the New Zealand Company; and but for their Christian profession, they would probably have forcibly prevented the survey. They forbade and endeavoured to prevent the removal from their land to Nelson of coal and limestone.--(Third Report, on Lands.)
The lands on Massac Bay, available in point of level, both good and bad in quality, proved wholly inadequate to complete the settlement.
The chief surveyor then explored the Wairau Plain, a district on the shores of Cloudy Bay, about 100 miles east of Nelson's Town, and opposite to that of Wellington.--(Fourth Report, on Lands.)
Native chiefs from the Northern Island, and also chiefs resident at Cloudy Bay (Middle Isle,) visited Nelson Town, and warned the agent of the New Zealand Company not to survey the Wairau, because it had not been sold to the New Zealand Company.
The Chief Surveyor was directed to commence the survey of the Wairau. The resident natives professing Christianity remonstrated, but abstained from maintaining their right by force.
A body of armed natives, (not professing Christianity) crossed from the Northern Island, and stopped the survey.
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The agent of the New Zealand Company made an unsuccessful attempt to arrest the native chiefs, who had interrupted the survey of the Wairau--and with many others was there killed.
The chief surveyor received notice from the government not to enter the Wairau until the claim of the New Zealand Company to it had been investigated and established.
In 1846, the Wairau and other lands on Cloudy Bay were purchased of the natives by Governor Grey, which fact establishes the native right to them in 1843.
The natives had requested that the survey might be deferred until the Land Commissioner (Mr. Spain) had investigated the New Zealand Company's claim.
The agent of the New Zealand Company (following his instructions), refused in this case, as he had in every other, to acknowledge the right of the Land Commissioner to investigate the land claims of the New Zealand Company.--35(E.--E. No. 21, and C. No. 52.)
Had the survey of the Wairau been completed in 1843, parties who had purchased of the New Zealand Company an allotment of 201 acres in the settlement of Nelson, would have had that quantity offered to them for selection, but in respect of quality the greater part would not have been worth having for the object for which they were induced to purchase it.
At present, in 1848, the purchasers of land have only received 51 acres, for the most part inferior; and the remainder of the allotment can only be obtained in remote districts, (as Massacre and Cloudy Bays,) difficult of access, and not available without the establishment of other towns and ports, not contemplated in the scheme of the settlement.
The purchasers of land in the Settlement of Nelson have no title in 1848. Governor Hobson, in 1841, offered the New
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Zealand Company the choice of separate districts, with a title from the government; and gave his authorities for believing them to be suitable districts for the requirements of the settlement of Nelson.--(65 D.--D. No. 48, vide D. No. 32.)
Early in 1844 the completion of the survey of the Wairau being prohibited, the chief surveyor resigned his appointment for the settlement of Nelson.
Subsequently he undertook to explore the Middle Island, and select for the New Zealand Company a suitable site for a settlement.
He examined the district at Port Cooper, and found that it would have been as unsuitable for the requirements of the scheme of Nelson Settlement, as is the district of Blind Bay; and also that it was wholly inadequate for those of the proposed settlement of New Edinburgh.--(Vide Report on Land, June 1844.)
Proceeding with the journey of exploration, he discovered and obtained for the New Zealand Company a very suitable district, south of the Harbour of Otakau, and found also a district north of the Harbour of Otakau, very preferable to any district which the New Zealand Company had elsewhere desired to appropriate in its previous attempts to form settlements in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Company placed the settlement of Nelson at Blind Bay, without the sanction of the governor or of the natives, in a district utterly unfit for the settlement, and consequently could not give to the purchasers either the requisite land, or a title.
The New Zealand Company might have delivered suitable land, with a title, and formed the settlement elsewhere, with the sanction of the governor; or the New Zealand Company might have acquired from the natives, without the sanction of the governor, a district suitable for the settlement (as that
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south of Otakau), and thus, except in regard to title, have immediately fulfilled their covenant with the land purchasers.
But they placed the settlement of Nelson so as to best sustain the prior and equally worthless settlement of Wellington, and refused to examine those districts pointed out by the governor, Captain Hobson, R.N., and by their own acts and design, not by that of the governor, the land commissioners, or the home government, they are unable to fulfil their engagements to the land purchasers.
Up to 1848, the New Zealand Company have failed to deliver the land for which they received the purchase money in 1841, and the district in which they attempted to form the settlement of Nelson, will not afford, including the whole southern shores of Cook's Straits, Blind Bay, and Massacre Bay, that is, from Cape Farewell to Cape Campbell, the requisite quantity of suitable land.
The New Zealand Company received the purchase money at the rate of 30s. an acre, not for Land only, but in trust for other specified objects which the New Zealand Company undertook to fulfil, and which are unfulfilled.--(Vide Prospectus, and 49 C. No. 32.)
The amount expended by the New Zealand Company in emigration, cannot be charged to the Trust funds created by the land purshasers, because the New Zealand Company sent out more than 800 labourers to Nelson, whilst the number and capital of the emigrant purchasers was inadequate to the employment of 200, and thus the New Zealand Company had to maintain an excessive number of labourers to prevent their starvation.--(C. No. 21.)
Many of the emigrants left the settlement for Valparaiso, Van Dieman's Land and Australia, or for other parts of New Zealand. To prevent this re-migration, and also to escape from the burthen of their maintenance, the New Zealand Com-
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pany induced as many as possible to become cottiers, and this in direct violation of the distinguishing feature of the scheme of their settlement, and of the inducement for which the New Zealand Company had invited the public to purchase land: viz. --Its profitable occupation under their system.
The emigrant labourers having a claim on the New Zealand Company for maintenance, received a rate of wages, with which they were discontented, without performing any adequate labour; and at the same time would not work for the resident proprietors for any reasonable rate of wages.
The amount expended in the establishment of the settlement, or in the survey of lands, cannot be charged to the trust funds, as no selection of a site was made, and the land surveyed was for the most part unsuitable.
The amount expended in wages, was not expended on behalf of the public works requisite for establishing the settlement, for from June 1842, and subsequently to the suspension of the New Zealand Company in 1844, the majority of the labourers worked almost as little as they pleased, or required employment to be provided in the vicinity of the land, which on that condition they consented to occupy as cottiers, to the ruin of the land purchasers, who with hired labour cannot there compete with them in the cultivation of land.
The bridges made by these labourers were all soon washed away by floods. The New Zealand Company did not find tools requisite for constructing suitable bridges, and would not allow the labourers who procured carpenters' tools any remuneration for using them. Thus the labourers were paid not for making bridges of a construction approved by the engineer and surveyor of the settlement, but because they had a claim on the New Zealand Company, for employment and maintenance.
In respect to religious endowments and education the trust is unfulfilled; a large sum of money given to one sect (the
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episcopal) cannot be charged to the trust fund, being in violation of that impartiality which the New Zealand Company had promised.--(Vide Prospectus, also 28 G.--G. 1. 2.)
The urgent and immediate necessities of the emigrants in respect to education, the New Zealand Company has neglected, and disregarded the memorial addressed to them on the subject early in 1842.--(Vide Nelson Examiner.)
The New Zealand Company not having fulfilled any of its engagements with the parties who purchased land, and having involved in distress and difficulties most of the emigrant proprietors, has furnished to other parties in England, some of them directors of the New Zealand Company, large sums of money.--(Vide 24th Report, Promissory Notes.)
The New Zealand Company represented to the government that it was unable to fulfil its engagements, and received assistance from the government, when without fulfilling its engagements, or making reparation to the injured parties, a large sum of money is appropriated to the remuneration of the directors, for past years of continued losses, their original claim for remuneration being founded on the supposed prosperity and profits of the New Zealand Company.--(Vide 24th Report--Expenditure, and Motion of Mr. A. Currie, in 1842.)
In order to induce parties to purchase land in New Zealand of the New Zealand Company, a description of the country was published for or by it, in the name of its then secretary, Mr. John Ward, in which, as in the pages of a periodical, called the New Zealand Journal, the Islands were represented to afford great advantages in point of fertility, and in other respects as a field of colonization.--(Vide also C. No. 21.)
In September, 1841, or earlier, the New Zealand Company received from its principal agent in the colony information of the great difficulty of obtaining, in New Zealand, land suitable for the requirements of the projected settlements, owing
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to the mountainous and rugged features of the country, and because the heavily timbered land was an obstacle to its profitable occupation--(39 C.--C. No. 30.)
In April, 1842, the New Zealand Company made use of this information to endeavour to obtain from the government land for itself on more advantageous terms.
Whilst in the interim and subsequently the public were kept in ignorance of the facts, and bought land on the faith of the accuracy of the early representations of the New Zealand Company.
The true causes of the failure of the New Zealand Company and of the ruin in which it involved the colonists, are not stated in the letter of Mr. Somes to Lord Stanley, dated February, 1844. The Districts which the New Zealand Company had obtained up to that date, did not afford land (that of Taranaki, New Plymouth, excepted) which could be profitably occupied--and for the most part the land was so bad that the cultivation of it was certain ruin.--(A. No. 1, and Petition to Parliament presented by B. Hawes, Esq. M.P. from Nelson colonists, 1845.)
In each of its settlements the New Zealand Company had failed to induce proprietors of land, with capital adequate to employ labour, to become residents and colonists.--(C. No. 21.)
The system of sale, selection, survey, and distribution of land, in sections of an allotment, was alone fatal to success--and kept the unfortunate colonist without land, until the little capital which remained to him after the purchase of the land, was absorbed in the expenses of his maintenance, whilst waiting for the discovery, survey, and delivery of the land.
The writer would maintain that those who have purchased land from the New Zealand Company, and others who have been induced to proceed to New Zealand, or otherwise have been deceived and injured by it in its service as surveyors
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and contractors, are the parties really entitled to reparation and compensation.
And that the government should not aid--but restrain the New Zealand Company, because it is great wickedness and cruelty (and by the New Zealand Company confessedly incompatible with the dignity of a government,) to induce persons of small capital to buy land which they have not seen--or to induce such, if unaccustomed to manual labour, to emigrate to New Zealand, where they cannot compete with the emigrant labourers who have become cottiers, or with the natives in the cultivation of land.
The petition of the injured and distressed resident Proprietors of Nelson, presented by B. Hawes, M.P. Esq. to the House of Commons, February, 1847, obtained no attention, and no redress. But the writer believes that the purchasers of land, who have fortunately not emigrated, can, by union and concert, abtain compensation for themselves, and for the injured colonists.
London. 2lst July 1848.
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PETITION OF THE NELSON SETTLERS,
Presented by B. HAWES, ESQ. M.P.,
House of Commons, 8--9 February, 1847.
The humble Petition of the undersigned Owners of Land and Agents of Absentee Proprietors in the settlement of Nelson, New Zealand,
That your Petitioners purchased land from the New Zealand Company, the great majority of them so long ago as the year 1841, for which they paid £300 for 201 acres.
That they did so, relying upon the high character and position of the directors of the New Zealand Company, and upon the faith of certain letters sanctioned by them, in which it was stated that the Company possessed the right of selecting land in any part of the colony, and that a body of capitalists desirous to emigrate to New Zealand had applied to the Company to form a new settlement. These letters are published in the parliamentary papers upon New Zealand for the year 1841.
That it was proved that the New Zealand Company did not possess the right of selection assumed by it, by the fact of Governor Hobson refusing to allow it to form the settlement at Port Cooper as it desired to do.
And that your Petitioners have since had reason to believe
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that no body of capitalists desirous to emigrate, such as that alluded to, ever had any existence.
That your Petitioners bought their land in accordance with certain terms for purchase, published at the time by the New Zealand Company, and which will be found in the same volume of parliamentary papers. By these terms for purchase, the Company undertook to form a settlement, which should consist of 221,100 acres, the site of which it is stated shall be the best that may be available at the time of the selection being made, and that the position with reference to Port Nicholson and the rest of New Zealand shall be such that the land may reasonably be expected to advance in value with the utmost rapidity. The company by the same terms for purchase pledged itself to appropriate the purchase monies of the land offered for sale, amounting in all to £300,000, in the following manner, viz.:--
£150,000 to the exclusive purpose of emigration to this particular settlement:
£50,000 to defray the Company's expenses in selecting the site and establishing the settlement; any surplus of this fund to be applied to the public purposes next mentioned:
£50,000 to public purposes, for rendering the settlement commodious and attractive; as such purposes, it is intended to apply £15,000 to religious uses and endowments, for colonists of all denominations; £15,000 to the establishment of a college in the settlement; and £20,000 towards the encouragement of steam navigation, for the benefit of the settlement by way of bounty:
£50,000 to the Company for its expenses and profit on the use of its capital:
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That the site chosen for the settlement has been found to be wholly inadequate to the fulfilment of the Company's liabilities, nor can the just claims of the purchasers be satisfied, unless an equitable adjustment be effected by a remodelling of the original scheme, or by compensation.
That up to the present times only 51 acres have been offered for selection out of each allotment of 201 acres, which your Petitioners paid for so long ago, and that no title has been obtained to any part of the land.
That of the land thus distributed, one half at the lowest calculation is utterly worthless, and without any prospect of ever acquiring value.
That in consequence of these circumstances your Petitioners have sustained much loss and injury, and are not placed in that situation for the exercise of their industry which they had a right to expect.
That the New Zealand Company, although under contract to expend the public funds of this settlement in the stipulated manner above mentioned, although calling itself the trustee for the purchase money of the land in the settlement (see parliamentary papers), and although at the present time it admits, by its 17th Report, a liability to Nelson of £57,000, did in the month of June, 1844, suddenly and without warning cease all expenditure in the settlement, throwing a body of 300 labourers out of employment, causing thereby the greatest insecurity and much suffering from destitution, nor has it from that date up to the present time expended any money in fulfilment of its engagements.
That the New Zealand Company has lately communicated to the colonists some regulations for the disposal of lands in the settlement of Nelson, until further notice, which appear to your Petitioners unjust and injurious, and have produced a very general apprehension that it is not the intention of the Company
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to fulfil its contracts or make any compensation to its purchasers. That no legal redress can be obtained in this colony against the New Zealand Company, or its agents, while it is next to impossible for most of your Petitioners to have recourse to the courts of law in England.
Your Petitioners therefore pray that it will please your honourable House to pass an Act enabling your Petitioners to obtain legal redress in the colony of New Zealand, by suing the principal agent or other officer of the Company, or to take such other measures as to your honourable House may seem most fit and expedient to forward the views of your Petitioners.
And your Petitioners will ever pray.
C. A. DILLON.
&c. &c. &c.