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IT is not my intention to enter into any lengthened detail of the state of affairs in New Zealand, during the last twelve years of its eventful history; but merely to convey some real and truthful impressions to the intending emigrants of the actual state of the different settlements, as they appeared to me. There are so many books written, describing all the events connected with its history, that it would be quite superfluous in me to travel over these old trodden paths again; and especially as a gentleman has returned to England, after a ten years' residence in the colony, and who, I am aware, has published a book upon the subject. The few remarks made upon the settlements may be taken as truthful impressions conveyed to an old traveller, and one, I am happy to say, who is quite unconnected with any of those powers that have played such a tragical part in the murdering of a fine country,
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instead of developing its various resources; viz., the New Zealand Company, the Missionaries, and the Government.
I can only compare the colonising qualities of the above bodies to three bull-dogs, of different kinds of ferocity and appetite, suddenly pouncing upon a fine fat sheep,--each taking as much of the fine creature as he wanted, if not prevented by the greater appetite, and the more savage growl, and more powerful bite, of his ferocious neighbour. If, however, any friendship for the colony can be claimed by the above-named bodies, it is due, certainly, to the Goverment.
I landed at Auckland, the capital of New Zealand, August 25th, 1850, after a most tedious stormy voyage of five months, very near the end of their winter. The Honourable Mr. Dillon, who was Civil Secretary for some time at Auckland, returned last year to the Nelson Settlement. He informed me that the population of Auckland, including the whole of the settlement, amounted to 10,000. The town is situated on lofty hills
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and pretty little bays, consisting chiefly of wooden houses. The shops are numerous, and plentifully supplied with all the luxuries of civilised life. There are many houses in different parts of the town tastefully constructed, standing in the middle of excellent gardens, and grounds nicely ornamented, although not in all cases very well kept, as gardeners were scarce, and labour expensive. Some of these pretty villas stand on high ground, commanding lovely prospects of the many bays which form the excellent harbour of the town of Auckland.
Nothing struck me more than the improved condition of some of our English fruit-trees; they were more branched, altered in the colour of their bark, and so changed, that I could scarcely recognise them. These changes applied most especially to the apple-tree. I saw the aloe, Banana, sugar-cane, and two other plants, all tropical, which I have now forgotten, growing in the open air. The first excursion I made was to Onehunga, a distance of eight miles (passing through the pretty village of Epsom), on one of the finest and best constructed roads I ever
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travelled on, but which, I was informed, cost (some portion of it, at least,) 8000l. per mile.
Here were to be seen sixty and seventy acre fields of fine grass, well divided with substantial stone walls, formed of the scoria, the natural rock of the country, which lies too plentifully scattered on the land, and which requires removing prior to its being cleared for artificial cultivation. The natural vegetation surrounding the town is not beautiful by any means, being very scrubby, and scarcely at all timbered, as a tree is rarely to be seen, and the appearance of the soil is anything but flattering as to richness; but when cultivated, it produces excellent crops of grain, grass, and potatoes--is admirably adapted for the kitchen-garden, as well as for the growth of the apple, pear, peach, nectarine, and plum; all of which may be seen growing most luxuriantly and abundantly. Nothing can surpass the beauty of the grass fields in this neighbourhood--hilly, undulating, with numerous herds of cattle, quietly feeding in immense numbers on land artificially cultivated, and not laid down with grass more than two years' standing, capable of maintaining,
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the year round, one head of cattle, or its equivalent of six sheep. The published statistics of the settlement states that, in the year 1850, there were in cultivation 243 acres of wheat, 795 acres of oats, 134 1/2 acres of barley, 103 acres of maize, 376 acres of hay, 267 acres of garden, 1067 of potatoes, and 5078 acres of pasture; total 8082 1/2 acres. The stock numbers: horses, 725; horned cattle, 6803; sheep, 3281; goats, 345.
Leaving Epsom, I proceeded on to Onehunga, and delivered a letter of introduction to Major Kenney, who has the command of the pensioners, who have got a village of their own, consisting of most beautifully constructed wooden houses, with grants of land, who, with the assistance of their pensions, are enabled to live in comparative luxury and ease, and are at the same time ready to handle the sword to put down the refractory natives if it should be required. Judging from all that I could gather upon the subject, I should say that there is little likelihood of any more war between the natives and the settlers. The native New Zealander, in the Auckland country, possesses all the money-getting propensities of
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the white race, by which he is surrounded; and is too much occupied in the cultivating of his land to spare the time for the bloody and unprofitable exercise of cutting throats and smashing the valuable brains of the white man. During the war, the military, anxious to put an end to it, sent a challenge to some of the natives to come and fight it out. Their reply was that they were then too busily engaged getting in their harvest, but that after they had finished, they should be most happy to have a turn with them.
I then went to Otahuhu, another village of pensioners, a distance of twelve miles from Auckland. I returned by another route, exhibiting the native tea-tree and fern, which cover the ground in every direction, forming a dreary and wild-looking country; contrasting singularly with the highly cultivated parts previously described. I passed miles of this barren district without seeing a single house or an acre of land in cultivation, and could not account for its being thus wild and unbroken so near to the town. It was explained, however, from the fact of an Archdeacon Williams, one of the
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missionaries, who had got possession of it, and would not sell it; thereby putting an end to cultivation and rural industry in that part of the country.
There was a good Government House, with pleasant grounds, at Auckland, which was burnt down; after that, Sir George Grey contented himself with living in a humbler residence. I delivered a letter to Sir George Grey, who honoured me with an invitation to dine the very day I left Auckland. He is certainly not popular here; while the bishop seemed to be a favourite with them; and, in a great degree, from the fact of the bishop probably not being too fond of the Governor.
I walked down to the bishop's place, a distance of seven or eight miles from Auckland, to deliver a letter of introduction; but unfortunately he was out, and his lady indisposed. I was recommended to go at one o'clock to make sure of a dinner, being told that there were always covers laid for two or three strangers. After a long walk, during a hot day, I found my appetite at its meridian when I arrived at the bishop's place; and finding
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there was no chance of the one o'clock dinner, I said to the person who took my letter, "Be good enough to show me where I can get a bit of bread." The fellow made application at a house where I heard the musical intonations of a beefsteak singing loudly in a frying-pan, when a very lovely woman came to the door; my cicerone said, "This gentleman is hungry." He was a native New Zealander. I said, "My good woman, permit me to have the contents of that frying-pan, for I am famishing;" to which she agreed. She afterwards took out of the cupboard half a bottle of wine, which soon had the honour of being M. T. After this, I journeyed on foot to Auckland, more like a quadruped racer than a biped, and as elastically as if I had been made of India-rubber and Geneva watch-springs. I had the pleasure of dining with Major Kenney, who commands the pensioners, and who lives in one of the best houses in the settlement; the Colonial Secretary, a very good naturalist; the Brigade-Major; and at the mess of the 58th Regiment.
The meteorological observations show that in
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Auckland, during the year 1850, there were 183 days without rain, 146 showery days, and 36 wet days. The highest temperature was 87, in February; the lowest, 34, in July.
The settlement has a great grievance to con-tend with: viz., that of the sale of land; for between the natives and the Government, both proprietors of a vast extent of land, not agreeing as to terms, the sale of land is with difficulty effected. It has suffered, also, two successive drains of its population--to the El Dorados of California and Australia. Notwithstanding all this, and the loss of the seat of government, there is still reserved for it, a successful future. It boasts now of a steam-boat of fifty tons burthen, which will tend not a little to its commercial advantages, as well as the convenience of its inhabitants. In conclusion, it is necessary to inform the reader that Auckland was not founded by the New Zealand Company, but by the British Government. I quitted Auckland at the latter end of the month of September, and arrived at Wellington in the beginning of November.
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The town of Wellington, with the Settlement, contains a population of 5000; it is delightfully situated in a perfectly land-locked harbour, surrounded with high hills. The land in the immediate neighbourhood, with but few exceptions, is so mountainous as to be quite unfit for either agriculture or grazing purposes, but well adapted for goats, which may be seen in different parts surrounding the town, with an occasional cow for a companion. The valley of the Hutt, about twelve miles from the town, is exceedingly rich and heavily timbered; and great numbers of acres have been cleared by the industry of the settlers at a very great and serious cost. It has a very fine road through it, with a couple of good inns, where I found excellent accommodation. The valley of the Hutt is almost entirely laid down in farms, and produces most excellent crops of most kinds of grain. The best land has been sold as high as 10l. per acre. It has a very serious obstacle to contend with, from the river which runs through it not containing itself within certain
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boundaries or banks, but in many parts altering its course so as to take possession of cultivated lands, and thereby proving itself a very bad neighbour.
Wellington is at present the seat of government, which has greatly contributed to make it a town of increasing importance. The inhabitants consist principally of merchants, who are doing pretty well. It is within twenty-four hours sail of the new Settlement of Canterbury, and about the same distance from Nelson. The wind blows here in strong and continuous gales, and so powerfully upon one occasion as to take a small boat which was lying upon the beach into the air, which, on its return to terra firma, fell on a poor old woman and killed her. Beyond the Hutt is the Wairarapa Valley, the Squatting district of the Wellington Settlement. I was informed that the sheep of that district amounted to 40,000. On the road to Porirua is to be seen the most romantic and beautifully wooded scenery possible, bearing a strong resemblance to many parts of Norway. Here a good deal of land is well fenced and laid down with grass, and well stocked with cattle and horses.
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Wellington has had all the difficulties to contend with consequent upon town-making, which generally begins with ruin to a good many, while the few are only fortunate. It has good society; its inhabitants emigrated principally from England, and not from Sydney, which latter place chiefly supplied the town of Auckland with its first population. Many of its houses form delightful residences, with pretty gardens in front; and some of them are as comfortably furnished as houses in England. Wellington boasts of its Mechanics' Institute, races, casino, a very fine hospital, and a Scientific Society, with Sir George Grey for its president. Conversaziones are held at Government House, where all its members occasionally assemble.
The New Zealand coast on every side presents mountain ranges so high, and so formed, as fully to entitle it to the rank of being one of the most mountainous countries in the world. The traveller, as he approaches the Settlement of Nelson, will perceive enough of mountain ranges,
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but he will also observe in a certain part that the mountains lose their lofty character and gradually descend until they assume the title of hills; the hills lessen by degrees, until they become transformed into occasional tablelands; and the tablelands, with other slight elevations, at last condescend to form a district as flat and as level as any to be found in England. This is the feature of the country round Nelson, and a very fortunate one it is, for had it been otherwise, the plough would not have cut through the many fertile acres it has done in the Wairau Plains, a fine district of country, chiefly agricultural, containing 11,000 acres of land, surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges, except where it is washed by the sea; which part is as marshy, flat, and level as any of the Lincolnshire coast.
The stranger, as he approaches the town of Nelson, will be much struck with a long neck of land running parallel to the coast, being joined to the main land at one extremity and separated from it at the other; this separation is the entrance to the harbour, while the remaining portion of it forms the harbour by shutting out the sea, This
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long narrow neck of land is called the Boulder Bank (so named from its being principally formed of boulders), varying from two to five miles from the main land, and is, perhaps, ten or eleven miles in length; it is sufficiently elevated, so as to be seen at a distance of a few miles, contrasts very singularly with the high mountains which form the coast line, to which it runs parallel, and is separated from it by that portion of the water which forms the harbour. This boulder bank has puzzled the Nelson people very much, in attempting to account satisfactorily for the causes which have produced it. The manner of its formation seems to be similar to those of sand-banks on many parts of the Lincolnshire coast; on one side, by the action of the waves of the sea, and from the circumstance of its being near to the coast, where the mountains are very high and steep, in a country where rain falls frequently for three days in succession; and where numerous rivulets would bring down boulders and mountain debris, in sufficient quantity to bank it up on that side next the coast on the main land: if this slow accumulation of boulders
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is not sufficient to account for its elevation above the sea, the volcanic action which has been going on, and is now going on, in New Zealand, will enable the geologist to look to that quarter for its cause of elevation.
The Settlement of Nelson, in 1851, contained more than 4000 souls; and, probably, 2000 of these might comprise the population of the town. The town is delightfully situated in occasional level parts, which soon rise into undulations, then into hills, and hills into mountains, where pretty houses, with good gardens, may be seen scattered over this ever-changing surface, until the mountains commence, and where the limits of the town are well defined. A river runs through the town, but is not all navigable, being always in an extreme state of exhaustion, or in that of overflowing. The part called the Wood, next to the sea, is perfectly level, and has an exceedingly rich soil; where crops of grain, capital orchards, and good gardens, may be seen growing in the most luxuriant manner. Some of the houses have crawled as high up the mountains' side as is consistent with the comfort of the occupier;--
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possessing, however, the advantage of overlooking their neighbour, and commanding a magnificent view of the harbour and sea. The town, from not having its streets quite filled up with houses in many parts, and extending oyer a wide area, presents the appearance of a very large and lovely village, rather than a town. It possesses a very good reading-room, and an excellent library; a gaol, which is almost useless, from the few inmates to be found there; a good church, hospital, and chapels of various denominations; and one of the best hotels in New Zealand for comfort and cheapness. In the streets may be seen the policeman, in his blue dress and hard-crowned hat, more frequently engaged in talking over the news of the day than in flattening the noses of riotous subjects, which is very rarely required in this peaceful settlement. At times, however, he has long journeys to perform into the country, to look after distant rogues. On his return, he may be seen entertaining idle people with all the varied incidents of his journey, and laying down the law, as if he were one of the great judges of the district.
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Near to the town are two narrow valleys, where the mountains stand upright, in all their sublimity, and so near together, as only just to leave room for a house and garden to be snugly seated between them. These residences are most peculiarly romantic, but cheerful and comfortable at the same time. There is a good road through the hills to the Wairau Plains, to the village of Richmond, about eight miles from Nelson. A conveyance runs three or four times a-week from Nelson to Richmond.
Richmond is the centre of a fine agricultural district, studded with fine farms, where a poor man is never seen;--where many a common labourer started life without a sixpence, and who is now possessed of his own acres, surrounded with sheep and oxen, large flocks of turkeys, ducks, and geese, cocks and hens, and scores of wild fat pigs in the bush to be had for hunting for them; and where he is too independent to work for a gentleman, having become a species of country squire himself, living upon poultry three or four times a-week, and riding as good a horse as any gentleman in the settlement. The
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labourers of this settlement have become so comparatively independent, that the gentlemen are compelled, in many instances, to take their place; in plain language, a man must not be nice about what he does, and be ready to turn his hand to anything. A gentleman was hard pressed, and wanted some assistance from a working man of the name of Thomson; instead of saying, "Joe Thomson, you come and lend me a hand to-morrow"--it was, "Mr. Thomson, will you do me the favour to come and assist me tomorrow?"
This was said while I was paying a visit to a friend of mine. Mr. Thomson, after making a great favour of his labour, would come very late, leaving off very early--probably taking an hour in the middle of the day for himself, without asking the permission of his employer -- and pocket his three shillings for it. In another part of the settlement a shepherd (a very rough one too) who rode a very beautiful horse, said to me-- "I wish, when you get to London, you would send over a batch of Peat's saddles; I should like to have one, and I could sell the remainder at a
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good profit." Peat is, I believe, one of the first makers in London. The labourer would do well to go to Nelson for the benefit of himself, as well as to lend a hand to the stock-owner and the farmer.
To show, on the other hand, that there is a good understanding between the labourer and the gentry: a gentleman farming in the Wairau, found his corn ripening so quick, that there was a chance of a considerable loss if additional hands were not employed--the neighbours who could assist (chiefly originally working men) all came to the rescue of the corn-crop, and got it in at a stroke. Many of the working men obtain thirty and forty pounds, with board and lodging besides, or rations, as they term them in that part of the world: and servants of all kinds are wanted, and can obtain good wages. The people of Nelson have had great difficulties to contend with soon after they took possession of their lands as pioneer settlers. The settlement, at one time, was in such a deplorable condition, that I have heard of some people eating sow-thistles; these days, however, have long since
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passed away; and it is due to the Nelson men to claim the honour of making that settlement known in London, from the wool it has exported to that market. All the sheep-farmers are doing well, and, in a few years, many of them will have realised a sufficiency to enable them to return to England. Motueka is another part of the settlement, thirty miles from Nelson by land; it contains a population of many hundreds of people; it has 7000 or 8000 acres of the finest possible land; forming altogether a most agreeable place of abode. The Wairau is the Squatting district of the settlement, and is about 100 miles from the town. It is one of the finest valleys I ever saw in all my travels, and where everything is in a complete state of nature.. The valley itself consists entirely of luxuriant native grass without a single tree, with a width varying from one mile to several, bounded on both sides by alpine mountains not at all dissimilar to Switzerland, where the trees of New Zealand flourish in all their beauty on these summits, forming a striking contrast to the level grass valley below. Indeed it is a scene combining a comfortable
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English grass field, an American prairie, and the mountains of Switzerland, all at one single glance.
There are thousands of quail in the valley, where the shepherd sometimes knocks one down, as it rises, with his whip; or, more frequently, his shepherd-dog catches him a couple for dinner. There are thousands of fine wild pigs in the mountains only waiting to be caught. What a place for either a poor English gentleman, or a half-fed English labourer! ! The number of sheep in the Wairau amounted, when I left, to 120,000, besides oxen and horses in immense numbers. The road to the Wairau is one of nature's roads, with the exception of ten miles, which have been cut through a wild wood, an extremely difficult one too, either for man or beast, from the stumps and roots of trees, gullies and streamlets, mud and bog, ups and downs, which every one must pass through, or into, who intends to visit the beautiful sheep district. The squatter, when he starts to his station (that is, where either he or his shepherd resides), takes a kettle, a pair of blankets (his only bed), tea, sugar, bread, bacon,
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and is fully equipped for a repast, which he is frequently compelled to take, gipsy-fashion, until he reaches the various sheep-stations, where, by a general agreement entered into by themselves, he claims hospitality without payment; turns his horse adrift on the wild-grass plains with a long rope round his neck, unrolls his blankets, and perhaps sleeps on the floor, if there is not a more suitable place, and sleeps as soundly as if he were in a bed. I have visited Canada, the United States, the West Indies, and New South Wales, and every county in England but two, and the whole of Europe with slight exceptions, and I have never met with any locality where society was better, in a place of the same size, and the climate finer than the Nelson Settlement in New Zealand.
THE CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT.
Before leaving New Zealand I was very anxious to visit the Canterbury Settlement to see how they were getting on with their new town; as the news of the arrival of several ships having on board the first settlers had reached Nelson, I got
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on board the brig Torrington bound for Port Cooper, in the beginning of June, the winter at the antipodes, and after having passed through Cook's Strait we caught a fair gale, which blew as New Zealand gales generally do, to use the sailors' expression, "as hard as they can."
The great objection to travelling in New Zealand is the exorbitant charge exacted for a short voyage, and also the length of time in performing it. Since my departure from Nelson I have heard that they are about to establish a steamboat, which I am sure will be of immense value to the colony. I have previously stated that the coast of New Zealand is almost invariably mountainous; but on nearing Bank Peninsula, which contains the harbour of Port Cooper, I was much pleased, to see that portion of the country present hills of moderate height, beautifully grassed, having altogether a very agreeable and inviting aspect. On entering the harbour I was much struck with the fine country which surrounded it, here consisting of little valleys gradually sloping down to the water's edge, there a headland showing beautifully horizontal strata;
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in other parts the hills rising to a great height, well green with native grass, contributed to render the scene such as was well calculated to cheer the heart of a Canterbury pilgrim after his long sea voyage.
The harbour although a good one is not perfect, as the wind blowing in a certain direction brings in a roll from the ocean; and the anchorage is bad also: it was well tested during my stay, as furious gales of wind blew for several days together, which drove seven vessels out of the twelve then lying in harbour, from their anchors, making total wrecks of two or three, and damaging very seriously the others; a most unfortunate circumstance in the early history of the Canterbury Settlement. But this disastrous state of things I was informed could be remedied by putting down moorings of sufficient strength to hold vessels of any size.
The town of Lyttelton stands at the foot of a high mountain, some part of it is level, and others disagreeably hilly, so as to make the agreeable recreation of calling upon neighbouring friends a fatigue during the hot weather, and extremely
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difficult of access to some of the straggling residents; so much so, that in walking to look at some rather pretty residences at the outside of the town, if I had not chosen my steps most carefully, I should have taken involuntarily a cold bath by tumbling into the sea before reaching my destination. The aspect of the town is altogether romantic from the mountains behind it and the harbour in front. This mountain is a very serious obstacle to the prosperity of the town and country, as it is the direct road to Christchurch, which is expected to become a place of importance from its being situated in the centre of the plain, where the college is to be, and where some of the best settlers reside, at a short distance from the town, and where many of the important functionaries of the settlement are already located.
I went to -----, a boarding-house, which I was told was one of the most comfortable in the place. These comforts were comprised in the following curious catalogue of enjoyments, viz.,:-- 1. A very narrow ladder to ascend to the sleeping apartments; an ascent more suitable for a monkey than an awkward biped. 3. Bed-rooms instead
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of containing a single individual were decorated all round with strong wooden shelves, consisting of two tier, each shelf containing a man as a substitute for a bed; when the shelves or bunks: were all occupied, then the gentlemen horizontalised themselves on the floor, wrapped up in a blanket. 3. Holes in the roof of the house, admitting both wind and rain, not only into the room, but into the bed; and not stopping here, but usually administering a cold, wet air, and water bath to those extremely sensitive and inviolable organs, the eyes and nose; every puff of which seemed strongly scented with influenza. 4. The extreme difficulty of getting out of bed, especially in the dark, without poking your big toe into some gentleman's small eye, as the room was so thickly covered with sleeping Apollos as to form a novel kind of patch-work carpet, especially as the coats and waistcoats of various hues might be seen filling up the very small interval between each gentleman. 5. The dining-room, capable of containing about twenty people, generally having double that number--with the weather cold, and the roads as dirty as any
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Lincolnshire fen of olden time -- all crowding together to a small fire-place, not furnishing warmth for more than three persons at once, and those three so near the fire as to be roasted on one side of the leg, while the other was not cooked at all, or, to use the more natural expression, was quite underdone! This singular state of things might have been amusing to an old traveller capable of roughing it, but I was unfortunately an invalid for the whole of the time that I remained, and so seriously affected as to believe at times that my last remains would be deposited in the town of Lyttelton. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it when the short intervals of good health allowed me; but finding myself getting no better, I must say that I bade adieu to the comfortable boarding-house for a short time, with no small degree of debght, to make a short tour to Christchurch.
The ascent of the mountain which divides Lyttelton from Christchurch was so steep as to make me stop every five minutes to breathe; this afforded me occasional views of the town and harbour, which are picturesque in the
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extreme. On approaching the summit, I met with some very perfect specimens of augite, hornblende, trachyte, porphyry, and other volcanic rocks; and had the finest possible view of the great plain extending to the ever-visible mountains of New Zealand. On my way to Christchurch, I came to a ferry, where they charged me sixpence for a passage over the river; this I considered exorbitant, especially when I pictured to myself some poor old woman suddenly finding her stock of sugar exhausted, and consequently requiring to make a trip into the town for a pound of the sweet material. This sixpenny ferry was calculated to make the sugar so dear as to induce frugal old women to drink bitter tea,-- a thing they did not bargain for when they left the shores of old England.
The Settlement of Canterbury was six months old when I visited it in June, 1851, and its population at that time amounted to near 2000. I made the visit to ascertain if I could arrange with Mr. Godby to settle my nephew as a sheep-farmer on terms more advantageous there than in the Nelson Settlement, as well as to gratify
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myself in being an eye-witness to the curious and difficult process of modern town-making. After having crossed the ferry, I came to a carriage-road half-finished, clearly showing, from the cuttings made on both sides of it, that the Canterbury soil was one of the richest kind. I looked in vain for the cultivated spots, and my eyes became weary with the painful search for the signs of progress and vitality. No ploughs to be seen, no labourers at work; scarcely a head of cattle was visible. I questioned everybody I met as to what the people were doing, and what they intended to do, in order to have every possible information relative to the progress of the settlement; and after arriving at Christchurch, where there were to be seen some excellent houses, but the land extremely wet and damp, from the immense quantity of rain which had fallen, and from the drainage being bad, there I ascertained to my great surprise and regret that only one acre of land had been sown with wheat; and as the season for sowing was far advanced, it augured very badly for the industry of the settlers.
The plains, although damp and wet from the
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quantity of rain which had fallen, everywhere exhibited a fine rich soil, only requiring industry and capital to work it. I took the liberty of calling upon Mr. Deans, a highly respectable settler, who, with a few others, some years ago, clearly saw that the plains of Port Cooper were destined to become, at some future period, a populous place and the seat of a town. Mr. Deans had seen his prediction fully realised; and must have felt not a little flattered at the correctness of his anticipations in regard to Port Cooper, especially after having passed many years of solitude on the lonely plains; he could, however, now boast of two thousand neighbours, all of whom, more or less, contributed to make him a man of fortune. I met a number of settlers at Mr. Deans' house, who all appeared educated and well-bred people. He very kindly took me to see Mr. Russell, the great leading settler, who had built an excellent house, and who was colonising in the right way, from his possessing two of the best qualifications for a colonist--viz., plenty of money and great energy; and from what I could see of Mrs. Russell, and from what
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I heard afterwards, I should conclude that she is in every way calculated to become a heroine in the settlement of Canterbury. I there fell in with a nephew of Sir Gilbert Heathcoate, and a Mr. Brittan. The latter appeared to be well-organised in every way for his arduous enterprise of settling.
I learnt from people fully competent to give an opinion, that not one in ten of the settlers had money sufficient to go on their lands, whilst the little that remained to them was, of course, expended in eating and drinking; and that those who were colonising, with every possible industry and energy, and working their lands on the plain, found the mountain previously described perfectly impassable for a dray or cart, and were, consequently, compelled to send their luggage, furniture, and implements, by sea; which method of transit ought to have been reasonable, but for the unwarrantable and unjustifiable extortion practised by owners of vessels upon the poor settlers. I was informed, upon unquestionable authority, that plenty of land could be bought at 1l. per acre, after having cost 3l. in England. I had heard in Nelson from an old gentleman, who
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had visited the settlement, that they boasted of being a section of English society, in contradistinction, I suppose, to Auckland and Wellington, which might have some settlers from New South Wales. I can safely make the remark, that the lower portion of the English section which I saw at Port Cooper, would do well, and vastly improve themselves, too, if they would take pattern from the well-behaved and orderly people, of the same class, in the town of Sydney. I conversed with many people as to their unanimity upon religious points, and I was able to ascertain, beyond all doubt, that many of the people laughed at the thought of a town, containing a number of people, all of the same way of thinking upon religious matters; and there were scores ready to go into chapels of any other denomination. I also ascertained, to my perfect astonishment, that the Church of England was represented in Port Cooper by a batch of complete Puseyites. I invited Mr. Deans to dine with me at the boarding-house previously mentioned, in order to give him an idea of the nature and qualifications of the numerous settlers
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who frequented that establishment. After dinner I called upon Mr. A. for a comic song; upon Mr. B. for a recitation; upon Mr. C. for a sentimental song; all of which were so well executed, that had the Canterbury pilgrims required a theatre for the commencement of their settlement, many of those gentlemen were eminently qualified to tread the boards; and the great majority were spending their money, singing, smoking, and enjoying themselves in idleness, instead of having on a flannel shirt, and a good heavy spade in hand.
The system of town-making all of a sudden, upon the Wakefield plan, or by whatever other name it is designated, which had its commencement in the formation of the town of Adelaide, South Australia, has proved itself a signal failure. Adelaide, Wellington, and Nelson have suffered in such a manner, as to be a reproach to that system as long as those towns occupy a site on the face of the earth. The hardships and utter ruin which most of the earlier settlers have endured, have been better known to the struggling colonists than to their friends in England. It possesses,
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however, one great merit--if a merit it can be called,--that it must form the nucleus of a settlement; inasmuch as it effects the ruin of the first settlers, who resemble poor wounded birds, incapable of returning to their native nests, and compelled to remain to take all the chances of struggling up hill to competence or fortune;-- one or other of which may certainly be obtained, if pursued with a steady and energetic spirit, and with a hard-working hand.
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BRADBURY AND EVANS, PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.
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BENTLEY'S SHILLING SERIES,
FOR THE RAIL, STEAMBOAT, AND HOME LIBRARY.
I. THE COMIC ENGLISH GRAMMAR.
II. TURF CHARACTERS.
III. NOTES ON NOSES.
IV. JAS. MORIER'S MARTIN TOUTROND.
V. NIGHTS AT SEA.
VI. THE LOSS OE THE AMAZON.
VII. MAXWELL'S BOEDEE TALES.
VIII. COL. CUNYNGHAME'S AMEEICA.
IX. ALBEET SMITH'S COMIC TALES,
X. BEOAD GEINS EEOM CHINA.
XI. ALBEET SMITH'S PICTURES OP LIFE AT HOME AND ABROAD.
"One of the best set of books going, for lightness, readableness, and cheap copyright." --Spectator.