1849 - Brees, S. C. Pictorial Illlustrations of New Zealand - [Front Matter]

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  1849 - Brees, S. C. Pictorial Illlustrations of New Zealand - [Front Matter]
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DURING the period that the Author was professionally engaged in New Zealand, and residing at Wellington, he had numerous opportunities of witnessing the trials and difficulties of the Colonists, and in some measure of participating in their hopes. He left New Zealand with reluctance, charmed with the country and climate, but grieved that this favourable field for the enterprising Colonist and refuge for the industrious Emigrant, should have failed in its early stage in commanding the consideration that was expected. It is with much deference that the Author mentions this oversight, as most unfortunate both for the Mother Country and the Colony: such an opportunity for the display of colonial statesmanship may never occur again. The fostering hand of Government can, however, do much towards restoring confidence and success. The prospects of the Colony are already brightening, from the good judgment and active measures of the present Governor; hence, a great improvement in the condition of the Settlers may be confidently anticipated.

In the meantime, so many conflicting accounts of the country--more especially of Port Nicholson--the heart of the islands, having appeared, the Author has regarded it in the light of a duty to lay the results of his experience before the public, together with his sketches of the country, which he trusts may be depended upon as faithful representations.

If he should succeed in conveying a correct idea, although slight, of the general character of New Zealand, his labour and expense will not have been in vain; and it

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will be a great satisfaction, should his humble efforts be of any service to the Colonists, or assist in clearing up some of the doubts and difficulties connected with the Colony.

The Author has the honour to acknowledge his obligations to the Court of the New Zealand Company, in affording him access to their official maps, and his best thanks to Mr. Henry Melville, who engraved these Illustrations, for the ability with which he has carried them out, and to his son, Mr. Harden Sydney Melville, late Draughtsman of Her Majesty's ship "Fly," for his able assistance, in drawing several of the figures introduced in the subjects.

Mr. S. C. Brees will be happy to afford any information in his power respecting the Colony or land to parties interested, if they will address a note to his Offices, 43, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London.


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IT is not the intention of the Author to give any more than a short description of the scenes represented in the Plates, interspersed with anecdotes of the Natives and Life in the Bush, principally from a desire of avoiding the many controversies connected with the management of the Colony, as foreign to the intention of this Work, and the want of time to execute such a task satisfactorily. He may, however, be allowed to observe, that as the redemption and occupation of Waste Land may be considered a subject of almost vital interest and importance at the present time, the closest attention of the Government should be devoted to it; and, regarding our Colonial Possessions in this light, what an inestimable blessing would an extensive and systematic scheme of Emigration be to the people, constituting, as it does, a legitimate mode of relieving the distress of the country arising from a redundant population. It would open new markets for capitalists, mechanics, and labourers, and undoubtedly extend the general influence of the Crown by strengthening its possessions. The comparative failure of the New Zealand Company is to be attributed purely to its want of power. Experience has clearly shown, that the offices and obligations originally undertaken by it were not capable of being fulfilled without the Government first delegating due authority to the Company, conditionally and for a certain period. The general principle of the new system of colonization introduced was most promising, although probably not perfect in matters of detail. There is no doubt that the Colony need not have cost the Mother Country one shilling beyond the expense of keeping up a sufficient military and naval force for the maintenance of the Queen's authority. The islands of New Zealand presented great facilities for such a scheme, and the country would have realized, under judicious management, all that could have been anticipated or desired.

That New Zealand, from its position, must ultimately become a great country, there can be no doubt, and the seat of numerous manufactories; being possessed of a vast amount of water power, with a climate admirably adapted for the English constitution. The hills will soon be covered with sheep and cattle, and the valleys occupied by agricultural farms, when the colony once gets properly settled. As the islands possess few navigable rivers, and the interior is so mountainous, the sea will probably continue the common medium of transit between distant parts for some years to come.

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If there were no Natives, or they were reduced to a, thorough state of submission to our laws, so that the Colonists could rest perfectly assured of their security, the country might be settled from each port as a nucleus; but as circumstances are otherwise, the Author thinks concentration should be the order of the day; the country being well formed by nature for comparatively minute subdivision, since a large number of people and animals are capable of deriving support from a small quantity of land. Until one settlement is securely founded, self-supplied, and in a measure self-defended, others should not be commenced. The remote parts might be left to Squatters for the present, as they are just the class of men adapted to the Natives in their natural state, and the Natives to them; but the Colonist should never seat his family on any other spot than where he believes them to be perfectly secure from any collisions with the Natives.

The descriptions of the Views are preceded by a sketch of the country, which the Author trusts will be found sufficient; he is aware that he cannot add anything important to the accounts of previous travellers, but he trusts that his observations, and the results of his personal experience in the Colony, will not be wholly uninteresting to his readers.

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