1851 - Hursthouse, C. New Zealand: the Emigration Field of 1851. - [Front Matter], p i-xvi

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  1851 - Hursthouse, C. New Zealand: the Emigration Field of 1851. - [Front Matter], p i-xvi
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Third Edition.





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IN offering to the public a further Edition of the "Account of New Plymouth," in a cheaper form, I am induced to preface it with a Lecture which I have had the pleasure of delivering in various parts of England, before large and influential audiences. I may observe that the aim of this Lecture was to give a correct general idea of New Zealand, as the flourishing colony of 1851, to that great body of our countrymen who, by gradual descent in the social, or rather in the money, scale, are involuntarily becoming members of what the Author of the "Art of Colonization" aptly terms the "uneasy classes"--families just awakening to a sense of their false position, and beginning to contemplate emigration as the bold short cut through their difficulties; but who, having hitherto paid little attention to colonies, are either quite ignorant of New Zealand, or regard it as still the country of unsettled land questions, native troubles, and Fitzroy misrule.

The Lecture does not profess to give the special and minute details guiding the New Zealand Emigrant's choice of the particular locality, the particular pursuit, &c. (for such information Earp's excellent Hand-book should be consulted), but as it gives a succinct description of the colony as an Emigration Field, I trust that it may form an appropriate introduction to other matter--imparting correct first ideas of New Zealand to readers as above described, and paving the

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way for the more effectual reception and understanding of that portion of the book specially devoted to New Plymouth and Canterbury.

In order to effect such reduction in price as would bring the Book within reach of all classes of Emigrants, this Edition has been compressed. In fact, the settlement of the Land and Compensation questions, the dissolution of the New Zealand Company, have effected such improvements and alterations, that happily much of the original matter has no longer any practical relation to New Plymouth matters.

In other respects, and with some trifling additions, the "Account of New Plymouth" remains the same as when written three years ago; and in now offering it as a plain, honest guide to the Garden of New Zealand, the author would beg to express a hope that, whenever practicable, all classes of New Zealand Emigrants will endeavour just to see New Plymouth before they hastily settle down elsewhere.

I trust I am guilty of no exaggeration, in saying that almost every one who actually visits the settlement to judge for himself, is alike surprised at the fertility of the soil--charmed with the beauty of the scenery--gratified with the good tone, the plain unpretending respectability, of the community--and astonished that a place so intrinsically good should number so small a population. This apparently paradoxical circumstance may be thus explained.

The New Plymouth settlement, unlike Wellington and Nelson, was not founded by the great unfortunate New Zealand Company--that past horror of colonial ministers, and present puzzle of financiers-- but by a comparatively obscure, if not rival Provincial Company, called the Plymouth Company of New Zealand--an Association of Cornish and Devonshire

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country gentlemen, which managed to preserve a feeble existence just long enough to plant the Infant Settlement, and which then snuffed itself out by merging into the great London Company. New Plymouth was thus handed over, as a kind of step-child legacy, to the indifferent care of new proprietors. By ill-starred birth, the settlement belonged to the Plymouth Company; by subsequent misfortunes, it came to belong to the New Zealand Company; by position, it was held to belong to the Local Government.

Thus, for some years, it was regarded as a kind of "no man's land." The handful of West of England Emigrants--the New Plymouth "pilgrim fathers"-- whom design or accident had cast on its shores, finding the new country a sort of Canaan, set themselves down, with patient, but by no means oppressive, toil and industry, to the plough and the axe, took things easy, and quietly ate and drank of the fatness of the land.

Knickerbocker's immortal history of the early Dutch settlement of New York, has a singular and affecting relation to the early days of New Plymouth. The young Vrouws certainly did not adorn their fair proportions with the red-clock-stocking and voluminous petticoat; nor did the settler ennoble his goodly person with the manifold breeches; no Mynheer Wouter Van Twiller despatched his "Jack knife" 1 as a warrant for evil

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doers, or cast the constable in costs; and the Dutchman's foot was not held to be the standard weight of the Indian's pack of beaver skin. But, in either place, you would have marked the gentle conquest of the plough over the forest--the soft advance of primitive civilization on the pristine wilderness. There was the same still repose of rude plenty, the same simple-hearted hospitality, the same homely joys. In either

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place, the settler tilled his own land, fattened himself and his family on the produce, bartered away the surplus, and gave no thought of the outer world beyond his fence. Fair long pipes, too, and short ones also, were common to both; whilst, to complete the likeness, there was the Red Man, ever ready to trade or smoke.

Such a state of things, such a condition of society, charming and Arcadian as it might be, was, however, little calculated to do the settlement good, by bringing it into notice and repute. Content with their quiet lot, a large family party in the midst of indolent plenty, rich in corn and fat in cattle, the settlers cared little to make that lot known, or to blazon to the world the Canaan they had found. No newspaper was ever established; and if, perchance, any adventurous burgher traded beyond seas to Wellington, Auckland, or Sydney, he deemed himself much too cunning a man ever to boast the riches of his own land, before the losel Yankees or devouring "corn stalks" 2 of such foreign parts.

As the natural consequence of such true Dutch policy, New Plymouth, until quite lately, was only known to New Plymouth. In fact, very impudent people have ventured to call New Plymouth the "Mrs. Harris" of settlements--a place of dubious if not fabulous existence.

Now, Wellington, Nelson, and Auckland--founded and fostered, the first two by the New Zealand Company, the latter by the Government--settlements more "go a-head" and commercial than "take-it-easy" and agricultural like New Plymouth, and more awake to the necessity of not going to sleep--have availed themselves

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of every opportunity of advertising their natural and imaginary advantages. It certainly cannot be said of them that their "light has been hid under a bushel." From the very first, they have had their ably conducted newspapers for the publication of their individual claims--the warm advocacy of their peculiar interests--for the expression of public opinion on all local subjects affecting their prosperity; and have thus been brought prominently forward in this country; have become well known as emigration fields; and have obtained almost exclusive attention, sympathy, and support.

But poor New Plymouth--the Cinderella, but real jewel of the family--having had no paper, no powerful company to push it or puff it in this country, no nothing--as the country girls say--to make it known, was seldom or never heard of; consequently, no fresh emigrants went there, and the population (save in the increase of births, which in any less fruitful country would have been alarming) long remained stationary, and confined to its original handful from Devonshire and Cornwall, who, as we have seen, soon waxed fat on landing, and subsided into the Anglo-Dutch.

About 1849, however, from causes which it is unnecessary to particularize, New Plymouth seemed to start from the Lethean immobility and morbid repose of years.

Since this period, the New Zealand Company has ceased to exist, and the settlement has fortunately passed over to the Crown. Sir George Grey, the excellent Governor of New Zealand, appears to have formed a high estimate of its natural capabilities, has purchased a Government residence, and frequently visits the place. The population has about doubled itself in the last two years. Many excellent families have lately gone out.

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Emigration is steadily on the increase; and New Plymouth's well-wishers may rest assured that the tide has at last turned--good times have come, better are coming.

Although the chief aim of this little volume is to assist intending emigrants in the choice of a future home, by presenting them with a plain account of the New Plymouth Settlement, as it is at the present day, I have considered it necessary to make some allusion to the Canterbury Settlement. For, as Canterbury is the "great fact" of the day in emigration matters, perhaps the grandest colonization project ever conceived, some notice of its general character and chief peculiarities is, I think, essential to the completeness of any work having even reference to New Zealand, as the flourishing colony of 1851.

There may be some little peculiarities about the Canterbury settlement, provocative of a harmless joke amongst old New Zealanders; but nothing can be more miserably narrow-minded, more hopelessly stupid, than for the advocates or admirers of New Plymouth, Nelson, Auckland, and Wellington, to regard Canterbury as a hostile rival settlement--to be sneered at, misrepresented, and run down. The founding of Canterbury will open a new and excellent home market for the surplus produce of the older settlements; and give a great impetus to the general trade of the colony; whilst the exertions of the Association in England tend most forcibly to keep the whole of New Zealand prominently before the emigrating public, and serve as a capital advertisement for each particular settlement.

In fact, I hold that New Zealand may consider itself signally fortunate that, just on the semi-suicide of the New Zealand Company, a new and powerful body started

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into existence, to carry on the great work of colonization--colonization of a part, rather than of the whole, certainly; but colonization which, while it successfully accomplishes its own exclusive but grand design, cannot fail to vivify every settlement with a fructifying stream of capital and labour.



August 1, 1851.

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"No one should Emigrate to New Zealand without, first having perused this valuable little volume with care and attention. The advice to emigrants and settlers is peculiarly valuable from its sound practical character; and not less valuable are the descriptions of the settlement and its capabilities, these having been drawn up from the experience attained during a five years' residence on the spot, which may, in many respects, be looked upon as one of the most highly favoured districts in the colony. * * * * These encomiums are fully borne out by the well-executed lithographic sketches with which the volume is embellished. In three of these, the snow-crowned summit of Mount Egmont towers aloft in the background, while the scenery in some of the views is remarkably picturesque. It must not, however, be supposed that the author has filled his book with what may be termed the aesthetics of emigration; graver matters are duly attended to; and these are stated in a style perfectly well adapted for the information of plain practical men. For the collection of this information the author's residence at the settlement has afforded many advantages; and he has turned to good account the experience thus gained, by stating, in the intelligence he imparts, the actual wants of the emigrant, and by clothing such intelligence in plain language, easily understood by all. The chapter on the statistics of New Plymouth has evidently been compiled with great care, and embraces almost every topic relating to the original condition and present state of the settlement, such as the price of land, of stock, building materials, and wearing apparel, exports, government expenditure, and numerous other particulars. The directions as to the emigrant's outfit, choice and cultivation of land, mode of clearing and cropping, the management of stock, and general business of the farm, will also be found sound and practical, and consequently of equal value with the other portions of the book."--Westminster and Foreign Quarterly Review.

"The merit of this book consists in the full and impartial account it gives of the settlement, and the sound advice which accompanies it. The account is a perfectly fair one. There is no attempt to paint anything in rose colour, to under-estimate the money required to start with, or to over-estimate the returns. The reader is more plainly warned as to the rough and new appearances he must expect in a settlement, than is usual in books on colonies. The volume is illustrated by a plan, whose large scale and minute markings give a good idea of a new settlement."--Spectator.

"Mr. Hursthouse has supplied us with a plain sensible book, and has given us a fair description of New Plymouth. He gives no exaggerated description of an emigrant's life, but states the case impartially."--Economist.

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"The field Mr. Hursthouse surveys is not a very wide one, but his view of it is complete and exact. Altogether, this account is well calculated to give a favourable impression of the settlement, to which the author expresses his intention of returning."--Britannia.

"We cannot too warmly recommend Mr. Hursthouse's book to the intending emigrant and to the general reader."--Critic.

"To the intending emigrant this work will be found to supply valuable and novel information."--Weekly News.

"This book, we are happy to say, is one of the fruits of the better state of things in New Zealand; and we are glad to find it drawing attention to this, one of the most important possessions of Britain in the Southern Hemisphere."--Tablet.

"This is one of the most interesting and useful works upon emigration we have perused for a long time past. The author thoroughly understands his subject; and well he may. He has not only resided at New Plymouth for five years, but he has resided in the Canadas, the United States, South Africa, and New South Wales--investigating carefully into the advantages and disadvantages of each such field for colonization; and he may therefore fairly say, 'my estimate of the capabilities of this district, however high, has been formed neither hastily nor in complete ignorance of the countries to which emigration is generally directed.' His work is characterized throughout by candour and moderation."--Leicester Mercury.

"The writer gives a comprehensive view of the situation, climate, natural productions, inhabitants, &c., of the island; and the information therein contained will be found equally interesting to the fireside traveller and the intending emigrant. The description of the scenery in the vicinity of New Plymouth will give an idea of the author's style, as well as a pen-and-ink sketch of the country:--'The most phlegmatic admirer of the beauties of nature would be charmed with the appearance of the country. For those who prefer the grand and romantic, there is the lofty snow-capped mountain, with its noble slopes and wood-crowned ranges. The taste for sylvan scenery and quiet rustic beauty is equally gratified by the frequency of stream and forest, glade and valley, clearings and snug homesteads: few countries offer so many beautiful and convenient sites for either cottage or mansion.' This little work will, in a short space, give a fund of necessary information. The statistics, the selection of a locality, the best mode of cultivation, and other essential requirements are discussed with ability and clearness, and we know not a better guide to the settler at our antipodes than is here afforded."--Norfolk News.

"Intending emigrants to New Zealand should consult Mr. Hursthouse's 'Account of the Settlement of New Plymouth,' the newly founded metropolis of a district which, if it deserves the praise bestowed upon it, must be one of the most eligible quarters to which wanderers in search of a new home can direct their steps."--Home News.


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Folly of deceiving Emigrants, - - - - 1

Lecturer's experience of various Colonies, - - - 4

Discovery of New Zealand. Size. Position and early history, 5

New Zealand Company. Early Disasters of the Colony. Present Prosperity, - - - - 6

Natural Features. No wild animals, - - - - 8

Birds. Fish. Fruit. Shrubs. Trees, - - - 9

Natives. Anecdotes of their early condition, - - - 10

Their value as Labourers. Character and advance in civilization, - - - - 14

The various Settlements. Which to choose, - - - 16

Prices. Capital. Wives. Government. Judges, - - 18

Climate of New Zealand, - - - - - 20

State of Society. Religious and Educational Institutions, - 22

Natural advantages and exports, - - - - 24

New Zealand contrasted with other Colonies, - - 28

The Voyage, - - - - 32

Industry requisite in a Colony. Emigrants must expect some first difficulties, - - - - 36

Emigrants' letters considered, - - - - - 37

Who should emigrate, - - - - 39


The founding of the Settlement. Position, - - - 48

Climate, - - - - 49

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General appearance and beauty of the Country, - - 51

Abundance of Water and Water Power. Character of Soil, - 52

Description of the Timber Trees, - - - - 53

Native Fruit. Vegetable Impostors, - - - - 55

Flax. Minerals, - - - - - - 56

Birds. Game. Fish. Insects, - - - 57

Natives. Their value as Labourers, - - - - 60

Price of Land. Advice to Land Buyers, - - - 63

Prosperity and progress of New Plymouth, - - - - 66

The Town and its attractions, - - - - 67

Social features. Pic-nics. Wives wanted, - - - - 69

Sir George Grey's residence. Mails, - - - - 70

Magistrates and Clergy, - - - - 71

Prices. Rate of Wages. Distances, - - - 72

Duties. Rate of Passage per Messrs. Willis' Ships, - - - 74

New Plymouth Roadstead. Waitera Harbour. Shipping facilities, - - - - 75

Agricultural capabilities, - - - - 80

Mode of cultivation, - - - - 81

Bush Land and Fern Land contrasted, - - - - 83

Wheat. Change of Seed. Yield of crops, - - - - 86

Barley. Oats. Potatoes, &c., 88

Cattle. Sheep, - - - - 90

Artificial Grasses. Luxuriant Pasturage, - - - - 91

Self-working improvement of natural herbage, - - - 93

Grazing and Farming combined, - - - - 94

Agricultural Implements, - - - - 96

Markets, - - - - 99

Prospects of Farming, - - - - 100

Agricultural and Pastoral wealth the first consideration in choosing the site of a Settlement, - - - 103

Resources of New Plymouth other than Agricultural, - - 104

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Steel Ore, - - - - 105 and 148

New Zealand Flax, - - - - 108

Tobacco. Hops. Brewing. Provision trade, - - - 117

Whaling. Tanning. Fruit, - - - - 118

Who should settle in New Plymouth, - - - - 120

The military emigrant in New Plymouth, - - - - 126

The Capitalist and the Per Cents., - - - - 130

The Clerk in the Garden, - - - - 131

The Devonshire Peasant in Clover, - - - - 135

Various Writers on New Plymouth, - - - - 138

The Bishop on New Plymouth, - - - - 141

Mr. Fox's testimony, - - - - 144

The fine old English emigrant, - - - - 147

Brees' magnifying Panorama, - - - - 148

Anacreon at the antipodes. New Plymouth song, - - - - 150

Character of the Canterbury Settlement, - - - - 153

"Wakefield" system of Colonization, - - - - 154

Religious features, and social stamp, - - - - 155

The Sea Rover, and the English emigrant, - - - - 157

Canterbury exports and the Times, - - - - 158

The Golden Fleece at Canterbury, - - - - 163

Terms of purchase of Land, - - - - 166

Otago, - - - - 169

Sidney Smith on Emigration, - - - - 171

Recent letter from New Plymouth. Aristocratic Omata, and Native Harvestmen, - - - - - 186

Messrs. Willis' Improved Line of New Zealand Packets, - 188

Author's Advertisement, - - - - - 193

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Page 17. "The upset price (of Land), being £1 per acre"--See remarks at page 64.

" 47. For "present Company," read "London Company."

" 52. For "stripe," read "strip."

" 69. For "merry meetings," read "merry makings."

" 158. For "Plushe," read, "Pluche."

" 163. Instead of "four acres and four sheep," read "three acres and three sheep."

Note omitted, and relative to this alteration.

It is not intended to assert that the Canterbury Plains at first, in their untrodden pristine condition, would carry three sheep per acre; but, if the grazing portions of the Canterbury district were subjected to the course described at page 94, and if they be intrinsically at all comparable to such a tract as that to the South of New Plymouth, viz., the undulating slopes of the southern spurs of Mount Egmont (see Arrow-smith's new map), there can, I think, be no doubt that a thousand acres would carry 3000 short wools.

1   The very outset of the career of this excellent magistrate was distinguished by an example of legal acumen, that gave flattering presage of a wise and equitable administration. The morning after he had been installed in office, and at the moment that he was making his breakfast from a prodigious earthen dish, filled with milk and Indian pudding, he was interrupted by the appearance of Wandle Schoonhoven, a very important old burgher of New-Amsterdam, who complained bitterly of one Barent Bleecker, inasmuch as he refused to come to a settlement of accounts, seeing that there was a heavy balance in favour of the said Wandle. Governor Van Twiller, as I have already observed, was a man of few words; he was likewise a mortal enemy to multiplying writings, or being disturbed at his breakfast. Having listened attentively to the statement of Wandle Schoonhoven, giving an occasional grunt, as he shovelled a spoonful of Indian pudding into his mouth--either as a sign that he relished the dish, or comprehended the story--he called unto him his constable, and pulling out of his breeches pocket a huge jack knife, dispatched it after the defendant as a summons, accompanied by his tobacco box as a warrant.

This summary process was as effectual in those simple days as was the seal ring of the great Haroun Alraschid among the true believers. The two parties being confronted before him, each produced a book of accounts, written in a language and character that would have puzzled any but a High Dutch commentator, or a learned decipherer of Egyptian obelisks. The sage Wouter took them one after the other, and having poised them in his hands, and attentively counted over the number of leaves, fell straightway into a very great doubt, and smoked for half an-hour without saying a word; at length, laying his finger beside his nose, and shutting his eyes for a moment, with the air of a man who has just caught a subtle idea by the tail, he slowly took his pipe from his mouth, puffed forth a column of tobacco smoke, and with marvellous gravity and solemnity pronounced--that having carefully counted over the leaves and weighed the books, it was found, that one was just as thick and as heavy as the other--therefore it was the final opinion of the court that the accounts were equally balanced--therefore Wandle should give Barent a receipt, and Barent should give Wandle a receipt,--and the constable should pay the costs.

This decision being straightway made known, diffused general joy throughout New-Amsterdam, for the people immediately perceived, that they had a very wise and equitable magistrate to rule over them. But its happiest effect was, that not another lawsuit took place throughout the whole of his administration--and the office of constable fell into such decay, that there was not one of those losel scouts known in the province for many years. I am the more particular in dwelling on this transaction, not only because I deem it one of the most sage and righteous judgments on record, and well worthy the attention of modern magistrates, but because it was a miraculous event in the history of the renowned Wouter, being the only time he was ever known to come to a decision in the whole course of his life.--Washington Irving's Knickerbocker.
2   The white inhabitants of New South Wales, born in the colony, are called "corn stalks."

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