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SETTLEMENT OF NELSON.
COLONEL WAKEFIELD TO THE SECRETARY OF THE COMPANY.
Wellington, New Zealand, July 22, 1848.
I have the pleasure of forwarding to you for submission to the Court of Directors, the accompanying Despatch and Statistical Returns from the Company's Agent at Nelson.
I have laid the documents in question before Lieutenant-Governor Eyre, who has been pleased to express his high opinion of their merits, and to direct, that for the future all Returns of Population, as well as any others of a similar description, shall be at the service of the Company's Agents.
Mr. Fox has been authorised by me, to have published in the "Nelson Examiner," any portion of the Returns and Remarks he may think fit.
When acknowledging the receipt of the above-named documents, I have requested Mr. Fox to supply a list of Deaths, since the establishment of the Nelson Settlement.
I have the honor to be, &c,
The Secretary of the New Zealand Company.
MR. FOX TO COLONEL WAKEFIELD.
NOTES ACCOMPANYING STATISTICAL RETURNS OF THE NELSON SETTLEMENT.
Blind Bay, Nelson Harbour, &c.
The Eastern Coast of Blind Bay, at the Southern extremity of which Nelson is, consists of a series of high bluffs, till you come within ten or twelve miles of the bottom of the bay, where they cease, and the shore
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assumes a less abrupt appearance, but still rising to a considerable elevation at a little distance from the water's edge; the land here offering no great advantages for cultivation, though two or three Settlers' houses with white walls, surrounded by a few acres of farm and garden, present themselves to the eye, indicating the more available portions of that part of the coast. At the point where the high bluffs cease, a very singular bank of boulder-stones detaches itself from the main land, and at the distance of about half a mile runs parallel with it for eight or nine miles, nearly to the bottom of the bay. The space between this boulder-bank and the main land, for the first two miles, is filled by a flax swamp of about 800 acres, which, from the quantity of roots and dead timber buried in it, has evidently, at one time, been covered with a dense forest, though now there is not a living tree upon it. In all probability, when the forest flourished, the ground was dry, though now extremely wet at all times of the year. Below this swamp commences a mud-flat, which extends for about five miles, and is covered with water at high tide. The last mile and a half between the boulder and the main, forms the harbour, at the head of which the town of Nelson stands, and in which there is always abundance of water for vessels of 500 or 600 tons, perfect shelter in every wind, and excellent holding ground. The boulder-bank at its termination again approaches the main to within about 200 yards, forming by its curve a fine bight, affording the best lying place for vessels in the harbour, equal to any wet-dock in the world, and where they can be laid ashore on a smooth beach, and floated off again for purposes of repair or examination. Between the end of the boulder-bank and the main, stands the Arrow Rock, fifty or sixty feet high; and between this rock and the boulder-bank is the narrow though not dangerous entrance of the harbour.
The formation of the boulder-bank is curious, and has afforded a good deal of speculation as to its origin. There is not, between it and the main, any considerable stream which might have hollowed out the intervening space, one small river or brook only existing; and that, being within two miles of its lower end, could never account for the upper portion of it. It seems as difficult to regard it as having been cast up by the action of the waves of the Pacific, for no very heavy sea rolls so far down the bay; nor is there any reason why the waves should have left the boulders half a mile from the main land, instead of depositing them on the shore; besides which, the bottom of the bay consists of sand and mud, not rock or stone, such as the boulders. No cause sufficient to account for its existence appears to be in operation at present, and the easiest, as well as perhaps the most probable solution is, to refer it to the Deluge; or if New Zealand be of later origin, to the circumstances of general commotion which must have attended the elevation of the country, or the depression of the adjacent country from or below the waters.
At spring-tides, that portion of the bank which joins the harbour is covered to a depth sufficient to float a whale-boat, with the exception of five or six acres at the extremity, to which the name of Fifeshire Island has been given, and about an acre half a mile further up the harbour, on which a powder magazine was built by the direction of Mr. Shortland; an exposed location, which seemed to hold out an
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invitation to the Natives or other depredators to appropriate its contents at their leisure. Another magazine has since been erected in a more secure place.
The latitude of Nelson Harbour is S. 41 degrees 15 minutes; longitude E. 173 degrees 16 minutes, as correctly laid down in the charts. The Master of a Vessel which was lost in fine weather on the sand-spit in Massacre Bay, while on her voyage to Nelson, endeavoured to account for the mischance by asserting that the harbour was laid down thirty miles out of its true position. Observations have since been taken to ascertain whether there was any foundation for the assertion; among others, I am informed, by the Officers of H. M. S. Racehorse, and the result confirms the accuracy of the charts.
Notwithstanding the narrowness of the entrance of the harbour, there is very little, if any risk in taking it; though it should not be attempted without a pilot, unless by the smallest class of vessels. It can only be entered on the flood tide, the ebb running too strong to allow of it. The time to leave it is just at or before high water; after the ebb has commenced, it is dangerous to attempt it, the stream not running true to the channel, but setting upon the Arrow Rock. The Barque Fifeshire was lost in 1841, in consequence of attempting to go out with the ebb, not having a regular pilot on board. No other serious accident has occurred; a few small vessels have been laid ashore on the boulder-bank in entering, but have always been got off (generally during the same tide) without damage.
The voyage to or from Port Nicholson is occasionally shortened by small vessels running through the French Pass, the channel which separates D'Urville's Island from the main. By this means the rounding of that island and Stephen's Island is avoided, which in some winds is desirable. It should, however, never be attempted by any but small craft, and by them only when in charge of some one acquainted with the Pass. In 1842 the Barque Brougham, of about 250 tons burden, succeeded in getting through, but was nearly lost in the attempt, being forced by a strong eddy on to a reef near the entrance.
A sunken rock, awash at low water, has more than once been reported to exist in the centre of the bay, but very careful examination of the locality by the harbour-master has satisfied that Officer of its non-existence, and that the report had arisen from a hasty observation of a floating tree, a whale, or some such other object. Indeed, as the rock was reported to be right in the track of vessels running down the bay it is certain that its existence would long ago have been ascertained, and no doubt have caused the loss of some vessel, had the report been true.
It is high water at Nelson full and change at nine o'clock, rise and fall of the tide twelve feet. Depth of water in the channel of the entrance, fifteen to eighteen feet. On the bar, two miles outside, twenty-two feet at springs.
Vessels of too great a draught to enter the harbour, may lie in safety outside the bar in seven fathoms, or inside of the bar in Bolton Roads, just at the entrance of the harbour. There is good holding ground, and no sea ever rises so far down the bay sufficient to endanger a vessel. Vessels drawing more than seventeen feet should not attempt the inner harbour.
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There are two other harbours in Blind Bay, Croixilles on the East side, and Astrolabe Roads on the West, both easy of access, with ample depth of water, and perfectly safe. H. M. S. Castor in 1846, not liking her berth outside Nelson Bar, in a heavy gale from the N. W., got up her anchor, and beat up to Croixilles, where she lay till it moderated. Captain Graham is understood to have expressed himself in high terms of that harbour. The true name of it is probably "Trois Isles," there being three small islands in the entrance: but the other has found its way into all the charts.
Subjoined are the sailing directions for ships bound to Nelson, which were originally drawn up by Captain Wakefield.
"Ships bound to Nelson, if the weather be fine, should run boldly down the Eastern shore of the gulf, making Pepin's Island, which has the appearance merely of a point (or headland), as it is nearly dry at low water between it and the main. This island is situate about seven miles S. W. of Croixilles Harbour, and nine to ten miles from the entrance of Nelson Haven. Four or five miles S. W. from Pepin's Island will be seen a long shingle-spit, or boulder-bank, running in a S. W. direction, which may be approached to a mile with the lead going; this may be safely run along at that distance, until you get into seven fathoms, keeping the wood on the banks of the Maitai River well open with green point, when you may anchor and wait for a pilot. 1
Great attention should be paid to the lead, as the water shoals on the flats very suddenly.
"The leading mark for running over the flats when the tide answers, is Mount Rintoul, just open to the westward of a clump of trees near the beach, bearing S. 1/4 E., until you bring the Arrow Rock well in a remarkable hollow in the Yellow Cliff, when you may steer for the Arrow Rock, until you bring the Whitby Beacon on with a mark on the opposite land; then steer for the beacon until a ship's length from it, and give it a berth of a ship's breadth and a half, and you are in deep water. If the wind be out, put her about, and if the ship does not come round, let go an anchor, and sheer over to the starboard: run a kedge out and haul her into a berth in the eddy, or drop up to the deep water at the head of the harbour. Ships should not attempt this harbour without a pilot, if they are unacquainted with it. There will be found at spring tides twenty feet over the fiats at high water; at the neaps about seventeen. The entrance of the harbour has a foot more."
Location of Nelson Land, &c.
The circumstances which led to the location of Nelson in Blind Bay, a site inadequate for a Settlement of the dimensions contemplated, are well known. The New Zealand Company, by their Agreement of 1840 with Lord John Russell, conceived themselves entitled to select any portion of the Waste Lands of the Southern Island, for the purpose of locating their Second Settlement; and it was the intention of the Company's Agents to have selected Port Cooper for the purpose; a site reported to be admirably adapted for it. Governor Hobson, how-
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ever, insisted on their confining themselves to what was called the Company's Territory, being the portion about Cook's Strait included in their purchase from the Natives. The only alternative he would allow, was the neighbourhood of Auckland, 400 miles from the Company's First Settlement at Wellington, and where the Government expenditure would to a certainty have drawn away any Labour brought out at the expense of the Company's Settlers, had they placed their Settlement within its reach. Under these circumstances, and with the limited knowledge which was then possessed by the Company's Agents of the country, and the connection of its harbours with land available for agriculture, Blind Bay appeared to be the only place adapted in any way for the purpose; and there accordingly the Settlement was fixed.
The subsequent discovery of a connection between the upper end of Queen Charlotte's Sound with the Wairau Plain in Cloudy Bay, proves that a better site could have been obtained within the Company's territory, had it been known at the time. No blame, however, attaches to the leaders of the Nelson expedition for not having made the discovery. When they arrived in the Colony, they were under the full impression that Port Cooper and the East Coast was open to them; and it was not till after they had reached Port Nicholson, that Captain Hobson threw the obstacles referred to in their way.
Little time could then be afforded for exploring; three ships containing the preliminary expedition had arrived, and it was known that others were shortly to follow; for the establishment of the Immigrants on board of which vessels it was necessary to make immediate preparation. A sufficient site was reported to exist in Blind Bay, and thither Captain Wakefield sailed to examine it in person. A good harbour presented itself, a considerable quantity of land available for agriculture was in immediate connexion with it, and large plains were reported to exist at no great distance. So with the general concurrence of the members of the preliminary expedition (with the exception of one Gentleman, who was known to be anxious to have the Settlement in the neighbourhood of Auckland, and whose prejudices often showed themselves stronger than his judgment) the settlers were disembarked, and the survey of the town of Nelson was commenced. It is very probable that had Captain Wakefield's attention been directed to Cloudy Bay, its connection with a site for a town and harbour in Queen Charlotte's Sound would not have been discovered. It continued unknown for a long time afterwards; no indication of it exists on the spot; and the knowledge of the country possessed by the few Europeans (whalers and others) was very imperfect. One of the oldest of these residents, in 1844, when the pass was for the first time explored by some of the settlers from Nelson, described it as nothing but swamp, and impracticable for a road. But another reason for selecting Blind Bay existed --the members of the preliminary expedition laboured under considerable apprehension, that if their Settlement were placed too near Wellington, the absorption of their labour by that more advanced Settlement would follow; very strong feelings of jealousy are stated to have existed on this head; and little doubt exists among those who remember the circumstances, that any attempt to locate the Nelson Settlement in Cloudy Bay, would have met with the strongest oppo-
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sition from the land-purchasers and other members of the expedition. The consequence, however, of its present location is, that it has been necessary to have recourse to other places than Blind Bay to obtain the quantity of land required for the Nelson scheme; Massacre Bay on the West, and Cloudy Bay on the East, having both been taken into the limits of the Settlement. The connexion between these districts is by no means easy, and will eventually give them the character rather of three Settlements than one, though roads can no doubt be effected between them in time.
Massacre Bay is at present only accessible from Nelson by sea, the distance being about fifty miles; but there is a possibility of making a road over the hills which separate it from Blind Bay, by a route which was explored by Mr. Heaphy in 1844, and subsequently by Messrs. Reay and Murray. The greatest defect of Massacre Bay, is the absence of a good harbour, the rivers which exist in it only affording access for the smallest vessels; and though there is a tolerable roadstead behind the islands of Tata, it is from four to six miles from the best part of the land where shipping operations would be required. The district is a very pretty one; the greater portion heavily timbered, and the land extremely good. Coal and Lime exist in it, both accessible at the surface on the bank of a small river (the Motupipi), in which they can at once be put on board vessels of fifteen or twenty tons burden. Of the two sections known to a certainty to contain these minerals, one, on which they have been already worked, became the private property of the Company at the selection of Rural Lands; the other belongs to Major Baker, of Wellington. The gross amount of level land in this Bay is estimated at 45,000 acres, of which at least 25,000 are fit for agriculture. The greater part of it has been surveyed for Rural Sections, and a considerable number were selected there, generally with medium orders of choice.
Blind Bay contains about 60,000 acres of land sufficiently level for agriculture; but not above one-half of this is of a quality adapted for that purpose. It is generally free from timber, but covered with fern; and in the swampy parts, forming a margin half a mile deep on the South and East, near the sea, with flax. The latter description of land was considered, at the period of the original selection of Suburban Sections, as nearly worthless; much of it was selected for the very-latest orders; and some considerable portions, though only a few miles from the town, were left out of the Suburban Surveys altogether. It has now, however, proved to be the best land in the district, is easily drained and cleared, and bears very heavy crops. The fern land is also good when the fern grows strong and high, though when the vegetation is stunted, it of course indicates a poor soil. But on some fern land, cultivated on a large scale, from thirty to thirty-five bushels of wheat per acre have been grown without manure, proving that it only requires proper culture to make it good land. Much of the farming in a new Colony is done in a very slovenly way; and poor returns are sometimes charged to the soil which ought to be attributed to the want of skill in the farmer, or the want of labour expended upon it. The scanty capital of new Colonists also prevents the improvement of poor lands; and no doubt, much that for the first generation or two will be looked on as worthless, will eventually be brought
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profitably under cultivation, as the art of husbandry progresses, and the means of carrying it on more scientifically increase.
A purely fern district at first affords little or no pasturage for cattle or sheep; scarcely even goats will live upon it. In Blind Bay, however, there has always been some grass, and as the stock have increased the grass increased also in a wonderful degree, so that it is now capable of maintaining a very considerable quantity. It has been owing in great degree to the semi-pastoral nature of the district, and consequent increase of stock, that the Settlement has been able to stand its ground among the difficulties with which it has been surrounded. The quantity which has hitherto been maintained in Blind Bay, and the rapidity of its increase, appears in the comparative Table of Live-Stock appended. Till the commencement of the present year (into which the Table does not extend), the whole of the stock, &c, enumerated was in Blind Bay, with the exception of about 600 sheep in the upper part of the Wairau.
Cloudy Bay, with the Wairau Plain and Valley, forms, however, the most extensive and most valuable portion of the Settlement. The whole of that district is somewhat of the shape of a skate-fish--a broad level plain, 8 or 10 miles wide, at the head of Cloudy Bay, running inland for 18 miles, when it suddenly converges to a width of 2 or 3 miles, equally level with the plain below, and extending from 40 to 50 miles further inland. Though it appears level, or may in a general description be so spoken of, there is a very considerable but gradual fall from the head of the valley to the sea, probably not less than 2,000 feet in 50 miles, but it is not perceptible to the traveller. The land for 4 or 5 miles from the sea is covered with flax and other strong vegetation, and is generally swampy, but of excellent quality, and capable apparently, like that in Blind Bay, of easy drainage; for the next 8 or 10 miles it is dry, covered with long grass, and generally of good quality; beyond this it continues grassy, the land getting lighter the further you advance up the country, till the last 16 or 18 miles, which are very poor and stony, only fit for grazing purposes. At the very extremity there are a few miles of forest. Several portions of the district (chiefly in the valley), are very stony, which were omitted from the surveys, and have no value except for pasture. The whole district, however, contains a great abundance of excellent agricultural land; but its principal value at present is to be found in the fertile pasture with which it is clothed from end to end, including the whole of the hills which bound it on the eastern side, which present some of the finest Sheep-Runs in the world, and extend all the way to the East Coast by Cape Campbell, and so Southward to the Kaikora Mountains. It is difficult to estimate the quantity of stock which may hereafter be depastured in this district, but it will certainly be very great. Since it was placed at the disposal of this Settlement, the flock-owners have been hastening into it, and considerable importations of sheep and cattle have been effected, and are likely to continue. The first flock-owner who ventured into it, did so before the district was purchased by Governor Grey, when the undertaking was not without risk of interference from the Natives. This was Mr. Morse, a Gentleman thoroughly qualified to act the pioneer in a new country.
Connected with the Wairau on the East are the Wakefield Downs,
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or Kaipara-to-hau, a district very similar to the Wairau, but containing only about 20,000 acres. It was surveyed for Rural Lands, and many sections selected there.
The whole contents of the Wairau and Wakefield Downs are about 200,000 acres of level land. Of this, from one-half to two-thirds are fitted for agriculture, though the lighter portions, for reasons already alluded to, are not at present very highly estimated by the Settlers.
There is not at present any very easy connection between Blind Bay and the Wairau, A heavy mountain ridge divides the two, altogether impassable, except in three places. The easiest of these passes, indeed the only one at present practicable for horses or other live-stock, is 50 miles South of Nelson, and enters the upper part of the Wairau Valley at a point 60 miles from Cloudy Bay, making the whole distance from Bay to Bay 110 miles. Another pass exists about 12 miles South of Nelson, and enters the Wairau 16 or 17 miles below the first-mentioned: but it is one of very considerable difficulty, and at present altogether unavailable. A third, which will probably be the road to the Wairau, enters the mountains a mile Northward of Nelson, by the Maitai River which flows through the town; it crosses the upper part of the Pelorus and enters the Wairau by the Kaituna Valley, 3 or 4 miles down the plain, and not above 15 miles from the sea. This pass presents some difficulties, but only such as moderate engineering skill and expenditure would overcome. If it should be adopted, it will bring the best part of the Wairau Plain within about 30 miles of Nelson, and give a degree of identity to the two districts which they can never possess without.
The Settlers who hear of the large sums which are being expended by Government in making roads on the other side of the Strait, complain much of the apparent partiality of those operations; this Settlement receiving no such aid; while a much less outlay than that which is going on at Wellington or Auckland would effect benefits to Nelson of vital importance. It is true that the Revenue of the former places far exceeds that of Nelson, but it arises in a great measure from the Government expenditure on roads, troops, &c, which is carried on in those places.
If the same troops and public works were stationed and carried on in Nelson, her revenue would not be behind theirs. The Settlers contend that it would be fairer that the Settlement which does not participate in the adventitious advantages which cause a large revenue, should participate a little more in the expenditure of the revenue so created.
The possession, by the New Zealand Company, of a large Private Estate in this Settlement, may possibly, at some future period, prove a great public advantage. So long as the Agencies of the Absentee Proprietors are entrusted to several hands, the competition which would exist among the Agents would probably secure a rate of rental and purchase-money sufficiently low to encourage the extension of agriculture. But if it should happen (as I think there is a tendency in all the Settlements) that the Absentee Agencies should fall almost entirely into the hands of one or two individuals, it would give those parties an absolute monopoly, and enable them to dictate whatever terms they might please. If these parties should take narrow and circumscribed
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views of the subject, and aiming only at remitting as large an amount of rent as possible to their employers, accompanied by as large a commission to themselves as possible, should not perceive that these objects would be ultimately best secured by the general prosperity of the Colony, and should for their immediate promotion insist on a high scale of rents and purchase-money, the result would be a serious check interposed in the way of industry and investment. In such a case, the Company's Agent having sufficient powers over the Company's Private Estate, and actuated by larger views for the general good of the Community, might so far compete with the Absentee Agents as to prevent such consequences as I have alluded to, by bringing the Company's Estate into the market on reasonable terms. The Agents no doubt, in such a case, would be loud in their complaints, but if the Company were satisfied that the measure contributed to the general good, they would not be regarded. The advantage of possessing, or rather of our assuming such a power, was sensibly felt during the pressure of circumstances in 1843 and 1844, when it was desirable to force the cultivation of land, and the hands of the Absentee Agents were tied for want of sufficient powers; it is easy to foresee that other circumstances may arise, rendering such "humouring" expedient. I believe that it will prove a wise measure if the Court of Directors should give to their Local Agents the fullest power over their lands, subject of course to your approbation in every case of its exercise. Had greater facilities for exchanges existed in this Settlement, I think that much of the dissatisfaction which existed previously to the late arrangements might have been avoided, and that considerable encouragement would have been afforded to the promotion of agriculture. You no doubt remember how stringent our instructions were on this subject, how pressing the applications, and how often it was necessary in extreme cases to take upon yourself the responsibility of sanctioning exchanges in this Settlement. Had the power existed of doing it in all cases at discretion, I believe it would have been very beneficial to the Settlement, and not ultimately injurious to the Company.
Soil, Produce, and Weather.
The general character of the soil of this Settlement, as in most parts of New Zealand, is lightness. No heavy clays or stiff marls are met with, but the light lands we have, when moderately cultivated, break up as fine as garden ground.
Owing to the superior climate, and the absence of many causes of destruction to the seed while in the ground, which occur elsewhere, a high degree of fertility might be expected; and considering the inferior description of much of the cultivation, compared with what is exercised in England, such fertility does appear to exist. The average produce given in the Government Returns for 1845, which does not appear far from the truth, is--wheat, per acre, 24 bushels; barley, 25; oats, 21; potatoes, 6 tons; turnips, 24 tons. To those who have heard of "crack" farms in England giving sixty bushels of wheat to the acre, this may seem a low return; but the average fertility of the wheat land of Great Britain is generally estimated at not more than twenty-four bushels per acre, --exactly the same as is returned here, with inferior modes of agriculture. In a Return made by the Marshal
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of the State of New York, in 1845, it appears that the average of wheat in that State is only 13 bushels to the acre, of barley 30, and oats not more than 26; and it is stated that the average in Virginia, in Washington's time, was as low. The flax land in New Zealand, with very little labour bestowed upon it, is capable of returning at least forty bushels of wheat to the acre, and good fern land (when properly worked, particularly if manure be used) will probably give little, if any, less. The wire-worm is said to make its appearance in the wet grounds, but from most of the other pests of the husbandman, including the turnip fly, we are entirely free.
It is almost unnecessary to say anything of the climate of Nelson. The extreme salubrity and excellence of that of the whole Colony, is universally known and admitted. The test which King Charles applied to the English climate, that there were more days in the year when people could be in the open air than anywhere else, applies with considerably more force here. With a very great amount of sunshine, the heat is never excessive, or ever disagreeable; while, with an abundance of rain, there is no continual wet season. The only defect in any part of New Zealand, is, that there is too much wind to be agreeable; not that it blows harder than it blows on the English coast at times, but it blows hard oftener. In this respect, however, Nelson is, I believe, the most favoured place in the country The wind, though for about three months in the spring and summer it blows fresh for days together, is seldom violent or tempestuous, and in the winter it blows very little indeed; days and even weeks almost perfectly calm, with brilliant sunshine by day, and magnificent moonlight at night, occurring at that season. In the other Settlements of New Zealand it is not unusual, in extraordinarily fine weather, to hear the observation "this is Nelson weather," though their own is much above the average of English weather. I subjoin three Meteorological Tables, which I believe have been kept with much care, and which speak for themselves. They represent, however, I apprehend, a rather low thermometrical scale, both having been kept in places exposed to depressing causes, --one in the Waimea Swamp; the other in a valley on the West side of the Bay, near the Snowy Mountains, and where I believe some delicate plants which bear the winter on this side, will not grow. Of the general mildness of the climate, an idea may be gathered from the fact that the flocks of sheep frequently lamb in mid-winter in the open country; and unless there happens to be an unusually heavy rain, or severe frost at the very time of lambing, a very small per-centage of losses, --perhaps not above five to ten per cent, will occur. Geraniums, fuschias, amotheras, picotees, and other summer flowers of England, continue to blossom in Nelson during the winter months. One peculiarity of the climate may be noticed, which is, that there are in fact only two seasons, --the summer, and what we call winter. There are no transition seasons of spring and autumn, or at all events, hardly perceptible as such; and their absence is the more observed from the fact that nearly all the indigenous trees are evergreen, so that there is no periodical fall or renewal of the leaf, a circumstance to he regretted by the admirer of the picturesque, were it not compensated by the fact that the forests maintain their usual verdure all the winter long.
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The population of Nelson has exhibited very nearly the same total in every year of the existence of the Settlement; and as the proportion of births has been large, and of deaths small, it is evident that re-emigration from the Settlement has taken place to nearly the same amount as the births. The number of re-emigrants, between 1843 and 1847 (inclusive) appears by this calculation to have been 669, to which must be added 268 who re-emigrated before the Census of 1843, as I have ascertained by inquiry at the Custom-house where a tolerably correct register is kept, making a total of re-emigrants, 937. The cost of introducing these into the Settlement cannot be charged at less than 20l. per head, including contingent expenses after their arrival, expense of maintaining Immigration Offices, &c &c in the Settlement. The sum of 18,740l. has consequently been lost by this means, less, perhaps, one-tenth for the emigration of infants born in the Settlement, who had cost nothing to introduce into it, but who, of course, are included in the above totals.
This re-emigration has arisen from various causes, such as, 1st-- An unsettled and roving habit impelling the Emigrant who has once started on his travels to go on further, rather than settle down at once. 2nd--Reports of high wages, and other advantages, in neighbouring Settlements or Colonies. 3rd--The want of employment and general distress which at one period existed in Nelson after the Company ceased to employ labour. 4th--The cessation of a large amount of employment for mechanics, when the town and other buildings necessary to be erected at first were finished. 5th--The panic caused by the Wairau Massacre, and, from time to time, by rumoured threatened invasions of the Natives; the war on the other side of the Strait, &c
Until the present year, there has been a considerable superabundance of labour in the Settlement. At the commencement of the Settlement too many labourers were sent out: there was not nearly sufficient capital to afford employment for them. Much blame has been attributed to the Company for not acting with more caution in this particular. Whether such blame was merited, may admit of discussion. In the fulfilment of the duty which required them to proportion the amount of labour to the demand which might exist for it in the Settlement, it is difficult to say to what other standard they could refer, with which to gauge the demand, than the number of land-purchasers who had gone out to the Settlement, and who were to constitute the main body of employers. It was of course impossible to ascertain what amount of capital each of these possessed; but considering that several of them had purchased more than one allotment of land (some four or five), and looking to the amount of capital which had been taken out by the Wellington Settlers, it would not have been unreasonable to expect that the resident land-purchasers would possess an average capital of 1,000l. a piece. Their number was above seventy, which would have given a fund for the immediate employment of labour, of 70,000l. It is a fact, however, that no such amount of capital was in the hands of the landowners. Instead of there being an average of 1,000l. a piece, that sum seems to have been
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nearer the maximum, with at most one or two exceptions; while well-authenticated instances have been mentioned of the owners of whole allotments of 201 acres arriving in the Colony with less than 100l. of capital, and that in the case of parties unacquainted with agricultural pursuits, and unaccustomed, and unfit by previous habits, to put their own hand to the plough or spade. Whether the parties knowing the principle on which these Settlements have been founded, the proposed apportionment of labour and capital on which the success of the scheme rested, were justified in assuming the character of landowners and presumed employers of labour, while unpossessed of capital to cultivate, might admit of question; at all events, the fact of their having done so appears to shift the blame of the disproportion of labour and capital from the Company's shoulders to their own, in no small degree.
It has been urged, in reply to this view of the case, that even if the landowners had been possessed of sufficient capital, the inferior quality of the land at first allotted to some of them, would have prevented their capital being brought into use, in the way of cultivation. This is true to some extent, but only partially. And it is certain that if the capital had been here, it would have furnished employment in some way or other. At Wellington, where less available land was at the disposal of the landowners than here, and a less amount of agriculture carried on, no great number of the labouring class was ever entirely without employment of some sort; the capital which was there, employed them in some way, and the same would probably have occurred here. For instance, the timber trade, which has since been developed to a considerable extent, under the pressure of hard necessity, might have afforded a very extensive field for investment. Grazing pursuits might have been entered upon more extensively than they were, and a variety of other methods of investing capital, with its consequence the employment of labour, might have presented themselves, had it existed. The necessity of exchanges of worthless for available sections, would also have been more apparent, and would probably have been effected at an earlier date.
Rest the blame, however, where it may, the disproportion between capital and labour existed from a very early stage of the Settlement, to an extent which was calculated to excite great anxiety for the result. When I took charge of the Company's affairs in 1843, there were only fifty labourers regularly employed by the agriculturists, while above three hundred were employed, or rather maintained, together with their families, by the Company, from the Public Works' fund. A large expenditure had been going on from that source during the Agency of Captain Wakefield, the rate of wages with rations included being equal to from twenty-five to thirty shillings a week. The labourers generally believed that this state of things would continue for ever, and no serious difficulties occurred previously to Captain Wakefield's death; though, on one occasion of his reducing the wages, some signs of turbulence were manifested, but were quickly subdued by his personal firmness, and the power, which he appears to have possessed in a remarkable degree, of quietly influencing large bodies of men. After the Wairau Massacre, great confusion arose, and a state of absolute anarchy existed among the labourers in the Com-
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pany's employment. Their refusal to give a fair return of labour for the wages they were receiving, their acts of insubordination towards their overseers, and their armed resistance to the Magistrates, when the interference of the latter was called for, to suppress a threatened riot, are recorded at length in documents printed in the Appendix H to the Company's 12th Report.
The conduct of the labourers, however, on the occasion referred to, was not without excuse. The Leader of the Nelson expedition, to whom they had been accustomed to look up in every emergency, had been suddenly cut off in the Wairau Massacre. The Party placed temporarily in charge of the Company's affairs in the Settlement, was unfortunately by no means popular among the working men, and the Officer to whom their immediate superintendence was committed, was still less so. An attempt made by these Officers to alter the pay-days, without giving sufficient notice, led to the armed outbreak alluded to. Subsequently, sufficient notice being given, it was submitted to without a murmur. Then the Wairau calamity had created a panic, a general feeling of insecurity and alarm, which hurried many persons out of the Settlement, and left those who remained in a nervous and excitable state of mind. The labourers had become aware that the employment hitherto found them by the Company must cease before long; that the funds which they had once regarded as inexhaustible, were likely to come to au end; while they were perfectly aware that the private capital of the Settlement was unable to afford them employment when the Company might cease to do so. The method of employment pursued on the Public Works, consuming nearly the whole time of the labourers, their being obliged to attend all day and every day whether they worked or not, and the high cost of food, rendered it impossible for them, in a short time, to make any considerable provision against the day which they saw approaching. It was not difficult for them to persuade themselves that they had been brought out to the Colony to work for the benefit of a class to which they did not belong, and that as soon as the means of employing them might be exhausted, they would be left to starve, or to re-emigrate, if they were able to raise the means. The misfortunes which occurred at Swan River, or which too often await the Canadian Immigrant, were known to them by report, and the prospect of their being subjected to similar calamities here, was very generally entertained among them. It is not surprising that a body of men, who, in the home country, had had comparatively few emergencies to meet, few occasions of acting on their own resources of prudence and foresight, should give way to excitement, and be hurried on to some incipient acts of violence.
On my undertaking the Agency, I made it my business (acting on instructions which I brought with me from Colonel Wakefield) to use every exertion to induce the labourers in the Company's employment to resort to the cultivation of land, in order that the cessation of employment by the Company might not find them altogether unprepared. To this end, all who undertook to cultivate, were allowed the opportunity, by limiting the amount of work required from them on the Public Works, to what they could on the average execute in half the week, receiving a full week's wages for it; thus affording
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them the opportunity of cultivating their own land during the remainder of the time. Several sections of land were subdivided into five-acre allotments, and let to the labourers on lease, at little more than nominal rents. A great many of them, of course, did little or nothing in the way of cultivation, though they took the full wages for half-work, and notwithstanding that a system of inspection was attempted. 2 A great many of the labourers, however, honestly availed themselves of the opportunity afforded them; and the effect of their having done so was sensibly felt when the crisis came at last, which threw them on their own resources.
This crisis arrived at about the very worst period when it could, in the month of August 1844, when the scanty supplies of the previous year's harvest were nearly if not quite exhausted, and when it wanted four months to the next. Serious apprehensions of rioting and violence, on the part of the labouring class, were entertained by some; and the Magistrates, not very discreetly, gave their sanction to the alarm by proceeding to swear in Special Constables, though no act had occurred to render such a step necessary; and the want of confidence which it shewed in the temper and intention of the working class, might have been attended with the worst possible effect. I felt this so strongly, that, when summoned to be sworn as a Special Constable, I publicly objected to be so, stating my opinion to the Magistrates of the impolicy of the step. The generality of the Settlers saw the matter in the same light, and instead of calling on the Magistrates to protect them against an imaginary danger, they proceeded with one accord to put their individual shoulders to the wheel, to avert the possibility of it. A Committee was formed, one-half of employers and one-half of labourers, to consult and devise methods of employment, and, though no practical method was devised, it had the best possible effect in shewing the two classes the temper of each other, and bringing them to an appreciation of the importance of their jointly exerting every nerve to meet the emergency which had arisen. In fact, all classes of the Settlers at this time behaved admirably, the employers stretching their ability to the utmost to find work for the labourers, and the latter resolutely, and almost without a murmur, setting themselves to make the best of their unavoidable position. For sixteen months, however, the struggle was most severe, many families living almost solely on potatoes, and not a great abundance of them; and it is a most remarkable fact that, during all this long and severe pressure, only one offence against property was committed; and that was the killing of a bullock by two men of notoriously bad character, one not an Immigrant under the Company, and both having, at the time, offers of employment at their own door, and not being impelled by want. With this solitary exception, not a crime occurred. Indeed, in all particulars, it would be very difficult to find a Community meeting so great an emergency as occurred in Nelson in 1844, in a manner
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so characteristic of the better parts of the British character, and so creditable to themselves.
The severity of the distress alluded to might have been greatly alleviated, had Captain Fitzroy honestly availed himself of the authority given him by Lord Stanley to draw upon the British Treasury in aid of the difficulties which his Lordship foresaw were likely to arise in the Company's Settlements on the sudden suspension of their operations. Captain Fitzroy did draw bills on that authority to an amount exceeding, I believe, £ 1,000; and on the face of them I have heard that they were expressly stated to have been drawn to meet the emergency of the Company's suspension. Very little, however, of their proceeds was so applied. In Wellington I have heard that no Government expenditure for this purpose existed. In Nelson, during the long period of distress, only £100 was provided towards its alleviation by Government; while the rest of the fund specially applicable to the purpose, was applied by Captain Fitzroy in carrying out his scheme of reducing or breaking up the Settlement of New Plymouth. The last farthing of the Company's money at my disposal, was expended in paying the wages and other liabilities due at the time of the stoppage; most fortunately the amount was just sufficient. A little more was raised and applied towards occasional employment, and other methods of relief from time to time, by the sale of a few surplus stores, and other property belonging to the Company.
From the time that the distress ceased, the progress of the Settlement has been steady, and as rapid as could be expected in the absence of much capital. A very large proportion of the labouring class now live entirely on the produce of their own land and stock, and have ceased altogether to labour for hire. Others work for hire occasionally, employing themselves in the interval on their own grounds. Mechanics, who have not full employment in their trade, generally cultivate an acre or two in the town in their spare time, though many of this class have abandoned their old calling entirely, and adopted a country life. --The want of agricultural labourers and shepherds begins to be felt, --a subject on which I have lately addressed you.
The system of Cottage Husbandry which has resulted from the causes above alluded to, requires a few observations.
I am aware that that system, as it has been practised in Europe, has met with very general reprobation, though some writers, as Mr. Bulwer in his "France and the French," and if I remember rightly, Mr. Laing in his Travels in Norway, have taken a contrary view of the subject. It may, however, be admitted, that the minute sub-division of land in the midst of the circumstances which have accompanied it in Ireland, Flanders, or occasionally in England, does not tend to elevate the condition of the small tenant or proprietor, and that the amount of produce raised from the soil under that system, is less than results from the extended operations of the capitalist. But the Cottage Husbandry of Nelson differs most materially from that of the countries alluded to in many important particulars. It differs from the Irish in the absence of exorbitant rents, which being often far beyond the ability of the land to pay, drive the tenant to the English harvest-fields or manufacturing towns, where he raises the requisite
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amount; his land serving him only as a homestead, and a potato-garden, cultivated in his absence by his wife and children in the most slovenly manner. In Belgium or in England, the small proprietor or holder of a labourer's allotment, is surrounded by land, every acre of which is appropriated by some one; he has no common land, or an entirely inadequate quantity of it, on which to depasture and rear cattle; or if, as in some parts of Belgium, he uses his allotment for the maintenance of a few cows, he has not enough land for cultivation and corn-growing in addition. The consequence is, that he is without dairy produce, and without manure, or without corn if he has these. In England also, the holdings are usually very small--often not more than a quarter of an acre--high rents are exacted for them, and the tenant has no chance of enlarging his allotment, or of acquiring the fee-simple of it. None of these circumstances exist in Nelson. The rents are very moderate, seldom exceeding the value of one or two bushels of wheat per acre; the allotments are not very minute, seldom less than five acres, generally more; the power of purchasing the fee-simple is generally stipulated for in the lease: ample opportunities exist for increasing the size of the holding, or removing to a larger as capital increases; and lastly, there are many thousand acres of pasture-land adjoining, on which the tenant of the small allotment almost invariably has several head of cattle, old and young, affording him manure, if required, and constituting a growing source of wealth. On this system, the small cottager will gradually grow out of that condition, and become a more extensive holder and capitalist; reversing what is seen in the cottage husbandry of old countries, where sub-division, commencing with large estates, continually progresses, the allotments becoming smaller, and every generation of tenants or owners, poorer than the last. Here the small holder, beginning with a very small portion of land, gradually accumulates more, and will eventually lose the character with which he commenced. In the backwoods of America, there are many who begin the world with little more capital than an axe and their personal industry, but who, having sufficient elbow-room and many advantages similar to those existing here, end their days in competency, if not in riches. It is true that they have generally purchased their land before commencing operations upon it, while here the purchase-money has to come out of the soil, and be paid at the end of a term of years: but this does not appear to make any very material difference, unless it be in favour of the Nelson Cottier, whose savings, which he is presumed to have in his pocket when he commences farming, go to assist him in purchasing stock or other necessaries, instead of being sunk in the land.
I am not, however, advocating Cottage Husbandry, and a minute sub-division of land, even in a country situated like this, in preference to the employment of large capitals in agriculture. I only wish to point out, that a system into which very peculiar circumstances have forced this Settlement, need not be regarded with apprehension on account of its having worked unfavourably in communities differently constituted in most other respects. And I would observe, that in any new Colony, even where capital is most abundant, small holdings will undoubtedly prevail to a considerable extent; for where land is cheap and good, the British agricultural labourer will always, at as early a
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day as possible, invest his savings in the cultivation or purchase of it. But as I have observed, sub-division, instead of progressing in each case, as in old countries, ceases, and agglomeration follows.
There is now ample room in this Settlement for both capital and labour; and the possessors of both would find it much to their advantage to leave the narrow field of competition at home, and seek one where there is more opportunity for the employment of both. Every serious difficulty which existed in this Settlement is now removed. The arrangements effected between the Company and the land-purchasers, the distribution of the Rural Lands, the acquisition of the extensive pastures of the Wairau, and an entire absence of Native interference or annoyance, afford the best opportunity for arriving Immigrants which has yet existed in the Colony; and I should have no hesitation in urging any one whose circumstances might incline him to colonisation, to make Nelson his adopted home. Till the removal of the difficulties alluded to, I would not have done so; but now I cannot see any obstacle to the attainment of all the advantages which Immigrants of moderate desires can propose to themselves, accompanied by as few hardships and inconveniences as are likely to be encountered in any new country, --by fewer, in fact, than would meet the immigrant in many much older and more advanced Colonies. I do not recommend it (or indeed, any Colony, as far as I am acquainted with others) as a place where those who expect to grow rich quickly, or without much personal exertion, and then perhaps return to their native land, will find their expectations realised. But I think that those will; who come with the intention of making it their home, backed with a reasonable capital, and with sufficient prudence and knowledge of business to prevent their throwing it away before they have made themselves acquainted with the resources of the Colony, and the best methods of developing them. I see many persons around me, who after a struggle more severe than New Zealand is ever likely to undergo again, are now emerging into a state of competency and comfort, which I can scarcely think their apparently small capital would have enabled them to attain amidst the competition and heavy expenses attendant on an English establishment of any sort. And in social and political position (if ever a Constitution is bestowed upon New Zealand, under which the Settlers are allowed opportunities for political action) many of them have attained, or will attain, an importance at which they could scarcely have aimed in the dense communities of the old country, --a circumstance not without weight in contributing to happiness of life. Of the opportunity which offers itself to the small capitalist, I cannot give a better idea than is afforded by the letters of Mr. J. Ward (of this Settlement, but now, temporarily, in England), which will be found in the New Zealand Journal, towards the close of 1847. To the labouring class, Nelson holds out every advantage. The progress which many members of that class have made, under circumstances of great difficulty, is most remarkable. The struggles which they have undergone will not have to be repeated by new comers, the Settlement having now got its head above water, while the condition to which they have attained, and which may equally be attained by all who follow them, is such in every respect as an agricultural labourer in England could barely have
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dreamed of, --never have hoped to attain to. Their houses, clothing, food, are all many degrees superior to what their class enjoys in any agricultural county of England.
The Native Population in this Settlement, it will he seen, is not considerable, the total number being in 1847, only 615. They all reside at a considerable distance from the Town of Nelson; one pah or village being about 15 miles North (Wakapuaka), another 18 miles Westward (Motueka), and the rest in Massacre Bay, at a distance of 50 miles. They are extremely peaceable and well inclined, and since the settlement of the Land-Claims in 1844, have made great progress in agriculture and commerce, having last year nearly 800 acres of land in cultivation, of which 340 were in wheat. The proportion of cultivated land per head is nearly as great as among the Europeans, -- 770:615 Native:: 3,465:2,867 European. The greater part of the corn grown by them is brought to market, and they are quite up to the importance of holding their stock till towards the close of the year, when prices are high. When the Governor was here in 1846, one of them suggested to him the propriety of prohibiting the importation of flour from Sydney, complaining that it brought down the price of what they grew. Another was debating the price of some barley with a brewer; the brewer said that barley should come down, because labour was cheaper than it had been; then said the Native, "Your beer must come down too, for you get the barley for less." They show by such remarks that they understand quite enough of trade to drive a good bargain for themselves, and indeed they seldom if ever fail in getting the best price going for what they have to sell. They are very fond of horses, more for riding than for agricultural purposes, their ploughing having, I believe, been generally done by European teams working for them at £1 per acre. They will buy nothing but mares, having a great desire to have "pickaninny" horses of their own. The first foal they had at one of the pahs, was carefully put into the enclosure of their church when they were coming over to Nelson for a fortnight. There was no herbage, but they left some kits of raw potatoes with it, forgetting to give it any water. Of course when they returned, their pet was dead, to their great dismay and disappointment. I have not heard of their having any cows or other stock than horses, though at Otaki, in the Northern Island, I believe the Natives have cows, and make good butter. Their social habits will probably prevent their becoming stockmen and shepherds, those employments being of a solitary nature; but they will no doubt grow a large proportion of the corn consumed in, or exported from, the Colony. In that employment they will be able to compete with the Europeans, notwithstanding the superior skill of the latter, on account of the command of labour which they possess--having among themselves no wages to pay, and not being affected by the scarcity of the commodity which European agriculturists in Colonies so often suffer from.
The advancement in civilisation which these Natives have made, is to be attributed entirely to their juxtaposition with European Colonists, with the exception of their elementary and religious education,
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which they appear to have received chiefly from Mr. Ironside, formerly Wesleyan Missionary at Cloudy Bay. The example and success of the Colonists have stimulated their industry, and led them to imitate their proceedings. It proves in a great degree the wisdom of the scheme devised by the Company for intermixing the two Races, and judging of what has occurred here, no doubt can exist, that had not unnecessary obstacles been interposed elsewhere, the same consequence would have followed in every part of the Company's Settlements. In Nelson the Protector and Missionary influence has scarcely been brought to bear upon the Natives at all; there has been no Protector, and though two Missionaries (Church of England and Wesleyan), have been stationed here, yet having charge of the European population also, and finding it convenient or necessary to reside almost entirely in the town, which the Natives only visit occasionally and for short periods, they have in fact exercised scarcely any influence over them. The existence of a good market for their produce, and a supply of European goods purchaseable with it, have been the principal motives to the adoption by them of peaceable and industrious habits, and living as they do in the midst of an European population engaged in agriculture and other crafts, they have without any direct instruction learned for themselves as much as is necessary to enable them to compete with the Settlers. I believe that the result may be attributed almost entirely to the absence of that meddlesome spirit on the part of Government which in other Settlements took shape in the Protectorship, and to the insouciance, or engagement in other perhaps more spiritual cares, of the Missionaries stationed here. The Natives have been left to the influence of natural motives, and of the good example of a friendly, industrious, and civilised population, and the result is, that they present as favourable a specimen of the capability of the Race for civilisation as I have anywhere met with. About three years ago (when they were less advanced than they are now), I happened to be at a pah in Queen Charlotte's Sound (Okokurry), when several of our Motueka Natives, who had been to the Northern Island, arrived. There were several canoes full of them, and they came on a short visit to the Natives resident there. The superiority of the Motueka Natives in every particular, countenances, manners, and general appearance, was most remarkable. The Okokurry Natives looked really like savages--they were morose, unaccommodating, and unintelligent. The Motueka ones were cheerful, obliging, and vivacious. I know no other cause for the difference, than the intercourse with Europeans which the one enjoyed the advantage of, and to which the other were strangers.
I remember reading in the Times Newspaper a year ago, a comparison drawn by a Secretary of the Church Missionary Society, between the Native Population of New Zealand and an equal number of the English labouring class, in which he arrived at conclusions very adverse to the moral and religious condition of the latter. If that Gentleman could see, as he might see here, a community of New Zealand Natives who have been civilised to an extent fully equal to any in the Islands, almost solely by their intercourse with a community of English labourers, I think he would have some reason to doubt the soundness of his own censure of his fellow-countrymen. It may no
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doubt be true that of 100,000 New Zealanders a larger proportion are enrolled members of Churches and regular communicants than would be found among the same number of English labourers; but it is altogether a mistake to suppose, that the virtues which Christianity enjoins are displayed by them in the same relative superiority. The domestic habits; conjugal attachment; anxious care for their children; patient endurance of labour, hunger and hardship; subordination to constituted authorities; kindness to each other, and even to the animals committed to their charge--these, and many other unobtrusive features, constitute the fundamental part of the character of the British labouring class; and though they may not run together so readily at the sound of the "church-going bell," or receive so frequently the symbols of their religion, as the New Zealand Natives, they give far more evident and convincing proof of its principles having taken deep root among them; and the fact of their having in this Settlement inoculated the Natives with some at least of those virtues, is a proof of their having themselves possessed them. The capability of the New Zealanders for civilisation, is perhaps as great as has been attributed to them; the degree of civilisation to which they have actually attained, seems to me to have been vastly exaggerated and overrated in many of the reports circulated at home on the subject, and in no particular more than in their religious proficiency. There is very little in their character or habits to entitle them to rank as civilised men--very much which can only be regarded as the distinguishing marks of Savages.
As the Wairau is now a part of this Settlement, it may not be out of place to refer to the number and character of the Natives there. A very common impression appears to have existed in England, that the Savages who committed the Massacre in that district had their homes and habitual residences there, indeed, it is so assumed in more than one of the documents which proceeded from the Government both in England and the Colony; and inferences have been drawn from it, unfavourable to the conduct of the sufferers on that occasion. The statement has however been often contradicted, and has no foundation. Rauparaha, Rangihaiata, and the others engaged in that affair, are well known to reside permanently and solely on the other side of Cook's Strait, and since that event have never been across to the Wairau. The Natives who do reside there (or rather partly there and partly in Port Underwood), are only about fifty souls, consisting of a few of the survivors of the Rangitani the original possessors of the district, the rest of whom Rauparaha exterminated, and a few of his own tribe the Ngatitoas. They are perfectly pacific, and engaged in cultivating a few acres of the Reserve made for them by the present Governor when he purchased the district. Not the slightest apprehension of any annoyance from them is or need be felt by Settlers in the Wairau.
The only trouble which the Natives in Blind Bay have ever given us, was when Paramatta, the Wakapuaka Chief, displayed a hostile feeling towards the Settlers in his neighbourhood, and committed some acts of violence. The affair would never have assumed a serious aspect, but for the pusillanimity and vacillation displayed by the Government Representative on the occasion; the Settlers, disgusted with his inaction, at last took the matter into their own hands, and by
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the display of proper firmness, brought the Natives to their senses. They have since maintained a perfectly friendly intercourse with us, and are not likely to offend again.
In a new Colony, few subjects are of greater importance than Education. The absence of many indirect sources of civilisation which exist at home, and the necessary employment of so large a portion of the time of every individual in the production of the necessaries of life, render it very probable that a Community of Settlers in a new country will retrograde in point of civilisation, unless particular care is taken in the education of the rising generation. The business of life in a Colony has so many demands on the exertions of the young, that the period of education becomes briefer, and there is danger of it being altogether omitted. For that species of education which maybe said to arise from the intercourse of man with man, and the exercise of self-reliance, as distinguished from school education, there are no doubt more opportunities in a Colony than in an old country. The natural faculties are sharpened, the labourer ceases to be the "bumpkin," and the titles of "clod-hopper," or "moon-raker," lose their appropriateness. But this increased intelligence both renders its possessor a further object for enlightened education, and makes such education more necessary for him, lest the increased acuteness and energy of his faculties should take wrong directions. In the Instructions by which the now-suspended Charter was accompanied, Lord Grey expressly declined entering upon the consideration of the subject of education, stating that it would be left to the Councils of Settlers, the immediate erection of which he then contemplated; there is an allusion to the subject in the enumeration of the powers of Municipalities, which led to the inference that he expected that the establishment and management of Schools would be undertaken by those bodies; that they would be conducted on a local, and not a centralised system. The last Legislative Council, however, which sat at Auckland, passed an Ordinance creating a system of centralised inspection and management for the Schools of the Colony, and empowering the Governor to set apart a portion of the General Revenue in aid of education; but unfortunately for this Settlement, no Schools are to be entitled to any such assistance, except such as are in connection with some Religious Sect or Denomination. Nearly the whole of the education of the working classes in this Settlement has hitherto been, and continues to be, carried on in schools conducted on the principle of the British and Foreign School Society, from which, though the Scriptures are freely taught, without note or comment, all sectarian shades of doctrine are excluded, and which have consequently no connection with any Religious Sect or Denomination in particular. They are under the management of a Committee of Laymen, and the special superintendence of Mr. Matthew Campbell, whose zeal and exertions in the cause of education in the Settlement are entitled to the highest praise. They have been repeatedly examined by myself, both privately and publicly, and they are admitted on all sides to be giving a sound, useful, and religious education to a large majority of such of the children of the working classes as are of an age to receive it. A
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few weeks ago the Bishop examined them, and expressed much satisfaction with their progress, terminating his visit by a present of some bibles to the School. Owing, however, to their having no connection with any Religious Sect, which their supporters unanimously concur would in a mixed community be fatal to their success, they are debarred from participating in the advantages provided by the Educational Ordinance, and the burden of their support falls entirely on private subscription, and the parents of the children educated in them.
The Church of England and Wesleyans have hitherto done but little towards education in the Settlement; the latter in fact may be said now to be doing nothing, not even carrying on a Sunday School. The Church of England has erected very good buildings, but has taken little care to provide inducements to resort to them. The educational department has in fact been much neglected by it here; but, it is due to the present Clergyman to say, that he is making efforts, though I think he is too late in the field, to recover lost ground.
The Educational Returns which I forward herewith are, I am satisfied, inaccurate. They shew a considerable falling off in the number of Children educated in 1847, whereas in reality there has been an increase. It arises, probably, from the previous Returns giving the "number on the books" and that for 1847 the numbers "actually attending." The latter year, I have every reason to think, is rather under than over the mark.
The want of a good school for the upper class is much felt and complained of. It appears to be very generally wished, that the interest of the "College Fund" could be applied towards the commencement of one. Possibly from that source it might be made worth the while of some able man accustomed to tuition and school management to undertake the establishment of a school for the upper class, partly at his own risk. On the system of education to be adopted, considerable difference of opinion would perhaps exist. There does not appear to be any person in the Settlement qualified for such an undertaking. I should conceive that a Master thoroughly versed in the conduct of the Real or Burgher Schools of Prussia (if perfectly familiar with the English language) might be found to be a most useful head of such an establishment.
Among the enclosed Tables are some, shewing the comparative position of Nelson, and its progress in the particulars of Population, Livestock, and Cultivation, relatively to the other Settlements in New Zealand. These are not so complete as I could have wished, with the exception of the Table for 1845, that being the only year in which I have been able to discover any published Returns relative to Auckland on the heads mentioned. Whether such Returns are made or not, I am not aware; none such have been published except in that year, and one relative to Population alone in 1846. The comparisons to which they necessarily give rise may perhaps account for their non-publication; the overwhelming superiority of the Cook's Strait Settlements in the important staples which testify to their solidity and progress being visible at a glance. It is remarkable that the Custom-House Returns at Auckland, which, since troops were stationed there, have been of
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course very great (and unexplained by that fact convey a high idea of the relative prosperity of the place), are published quarterly, while those which might prove something as to its intrinsic merits as a Settlement, and not as a mere depot for troops, are altogether omitted. There is, however, a Return of Cases disposed of in the Resident Magistrate's Court at Auckland, from November 1846 to December 1847, which when placed side by side with the Nelson Return, conveys rather startling information, and affords the latter good ground for congratulation on its moral condition. It appears, that during that year there were no fewer than 1083 criminal and 154 civil cases disposed of by the Resident Magistrate at Auckland, of which there were 994 in which Europeans only were concerned, and 857 of these were convictions. Out of this number 529 convictions were for drunkenness! In Nelson, during the same period (nearly), the number of criminal convictions of all sorts before the Justices of Peace was only 36. The number of civil cases in the Court of Requests 20. The population of Auckland and county of Eden during the previous year 1846 (the latest Returns I can find) was 4, 655. It appears therefore that nearly 1 in every 8 persons at Auckland was during this period convicted of drunkenness, and nearly 1 in 6 convicted of some criminal offence; while in Nelson, the population being 2,853, the proportion of summary convictions of all sorts was 1 in 79. After comparing the two Returns it is not uninstructive to refer to the comments which the Editor of one of the Auckland Newspapers makes on the Returns relating to that Settlement. "On the whole," says he, "this calendar of offences may be considered light. It is altogether silent as to offences of an atrocious die. Burglary is not once named, nor is murder, nor any description of capital assault; so that we may fairly congratulate Auckland upon exhibiting the most orderly character of any maritime place of equal population within the circle of Her Majesty's dominions." With the exception, he might have added, of the fact that 1 in every 6 of her population has been convicted summarily of some offence against the laws, and about 1 in 8 of the venial offence of drunkenness.
Nelson, July 6, 1848.