REMARKS ON NEW ZEALAND, AS A FIELD FOR BRITISH COLONIZATION.
[Image of page 13]
REMARKS ON NEW ZEALAND,
AS A FIELD FOR BRITISH COLONIZATION,
(AS AUTHORITIES FOR THESE REMARKS.),
EXTRACTS FROM PARLIAMENTARY DOCUMENTS, AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS,
SHOWING THE GREAT ADVANTAGES OF THIS COLONY.
AFTER what has boon said in the foregoing "General Observations," it is not our intention here to discuss the various conflicting opinions regarding the effects of Emigration and Colonization; but assuming that the application of the surplus labour and capital of the country to the extensive waste lands in our numerous Colonies, will always be beneficial, when properly managed, as well to the mother country, which sends her people out to these Colonies, as to the emigrants themselves, we will proceed at once to endeavour to show that, as a field for our industrious working class, and small capitalists, disposed and obliged to emigrate, none promises better for success, among all the British Colonies, than New Zealand. -- and this equally from the salubrity of its climate, and its remarkable adaptation to European constitutions -- the fertility of its soil-- its extensive sea coast (not less than 3000 miles), having numerous and excellent harbours, and a great many rivers -- the number and importance of its articles of export, and its capability of producing a great many of those things which, in older colonies, serve as the great staples of export in the shape of raw materials, and in countries advanced in civilisation, and in manufacturing industry and skill, contribute highly to increase their wealth, power, and commercial greatness -- and, farther, that even the disadvantages of
[Image of page 14]
the long sea voyage are not by any means so great, all things considered, as is generally assumed, in comparing it with some of our Colonies much nearer at hand.
John Montefiore, one of the leading merchants of Sydney, after visiting New Zealand, was examined before a Committee of the Lords on the 6th of April, 1838.
"I have always compared New Zealand, and still do so, to be just as Great Britain is to the rest of Europe--the great country of that part of the world."--Lords' Report, 1838, page 60.
Captain Fitzroy was asked in the same Committee--
"Are you not of opinion, taking into consideration the position of that country, and the fertility of the soil, and the salubrity of its climate, that it must grow into great importance?--"Certainly; it corresponds in that hemisphere to Great Britain in this hemisphere. It must go on holding out temptations to settlers of all descriptions; it is quite impossible it should remain in its present state."--Lords Report, 1838, page 174.
Mr. Walter Brodie, who has been much at sea, seen most places in the Pacific, and "travelled over the greatest part of New Zealand with the view of ascertaining among its other resources available for colonisation, the natural products of the islands," says--
"No spot in the world afforded so wide a field for enterprise, or offered the same combination of advantages to the English settler."
A long string of authorities might be adduced, of similar opinions, from those who have visited the Pacific and New Zealand; but after having quoted the foregoing, some shall be given of highly instructed persons, and whose statements must have weight in the course of time.
The Hon. Francis Baring, who has travelled through Cuba, Mexico, the United States, and Canada, was asked by the Lords' Committee--
"Should not you think, considering the abundance of timber, the position of the island, the harbours, and the climate, that in all probability it will be the great seat of naval power and commercial importance in those seas?-- I have not the slightest doubt of it, if it had been originally a question of planting a colony, that it would have been very preferable to Australia or any other part of the world. It is not only preferable to Australia, but it is very important to Australia; for, in case of war, the possession of it by a foreign country would be very inconvenient to us, as the best course home from New South Wales is through Cook's Straits, round Cape Horn; the wind would be more favourable for that voyage; therefore the possession of Cook's Straits is most important to us, holding as we do New Holland; and it is important as a place for ships to touch at."--Lords' Report, 1838, p. 153.
In this Mr. Baring is supported by the opinion of a most experienced and able seaman, Captain John Robertson, who had--
"Been trading there about four years and a-half, who had been there twice from England, and three or four times from foreign ports, from South America and Sydney, and who had entered Port Nicholson upwards of twenty times, the most part against a foul wind, and repeatedly beat in during a north-west gale at midnight against the tide, and without the advan-
[Image of page 15]
tage of the moon or a single star. ''--Page 209 of Minutes of Evidence, Parliamentary Report, 24th of July, 1844.
Lord Ashburton stated, at a public dinner on the 13th February, 1841, given to Lord John Russell--
"The position of the New Zealand Islands on the map, their climate, fertility, abundant harbours, surrounded with the seas, most suited to the whale fisheries, and, above all, the character of the native population, led him to anticipate that these Islands were likely to become the great seat of wealth and naval power, --in short, to be in the Southern Ocean what the British Isles were in the Northern."
Mr. Ward, formerly Minister to Mexico, said--
"New Zealand, the queen of her own hemisphere, the Britain of the South, has been added to the domain of the Crown without a violence, &c."-- Extracted from a Report of this Meeting at pages 45 and 40, New Zealand Journal, vol. 2.
Sir Robert Peel in Parliament, 18th of June, 1845: --
"When I look to the extent of the Colony of New Zealand, the line of the coast, the quantity of land capable of cultivation and of improvement; when I look, above all, at its position, and to the new importance which it has acquired in relation to the vicinity of China, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord John Russell, that there appears every probability that this Colony, if its interests be duly regarded, and its welfare fostered, is destined to occupy a most important station in the world. Its relation with this country is most important."
And, lastly, Governor Fitzroy, since his being in New Zealand, writes to Lord Stanley, on the 16th of September, 1844:--
"Your Lordship may ask, is New Zealand, as a British colony, worth any great expenditure of public money? My Lord, its value is far greater than the public believe, or even your Lordship, with access to every source of information, can yet be aware. There is very much more available fertile, and rich land than has been supposed--expense of clearing repaid by the first year's produce--great quantities of pasture. The climate favours every kind of production, animal as well as vegetable, in an extraordinary manner --is singularly congenial to English constitutions--mineral riches abound, their extent and variety becoming more known and better ascertained every month. Since I last wrote to your Lordship and mentioned this subject, tin has been found in this neighbourhood, close to the sea. Copper, sulphur, iron, and coal had been previously known to be most abundant. It has been found that the flax hitherto sent home bears no comparison with a peculiar kind called by the settlers 'silky flax.' This is now being cultivated (though perennial, it is comparatively scarce), and promises to be a really valuable export. The improvements already made justify us in believing that New Zealand flax will ere long be a cheap and valuable substitute for Russian hemp. Whales are again frequenting these coasts in numbers, after having for a time almost deserted them. The valuable qualities and abundance of the timber here are well known. The natives are well inclined to work for very small remuneration, and are anxiously seeking for improvement. There are all the means of prosperity, except capital; but that, with our mineral wealth, is sure to be found, if good feeling is kept up between the natives and Europeans, and the security of property, as well as life, fully maintained. I have referred only to the commercial bearings of this grave question; the political aspect will be before your Lordship's eye in England."--P. 141, Parliamentary Papers, 22d April, 1843, No. 247 of the Session.
[Image of page 16]
"I have remained a quiet and retired observer of what has passed during my residence here. This is indeed a most glorious country; and notwithstanding that a faltering and imbecile Government has thrown every imaginable obstacle in the way of its advancement, there is every reason to hope that, like a hardy young Hercules, it will strangle the serpents, whose oppressive coils are now wound about it. Yet bad as things are, there is perpetually something stirring; and I should say that in no country in the world are the industrious or the labouring classes so well off, and their prosperity has in my opinion greatly advanced since the reduction of wages to a moderate scale."
"The settlements generally are thriving; live stock, and the woods of the country for exportation are the two chief occupations which pay, and we are beginning to feed ourselves."--Private Letter from Wellington (in the New Zealand Gazette), of date May 1, 1845.
"No other country possesses such facilities for the establishment of a middle class, and especially of a prosperous small peasantry, insuring greatness to the colony in times to come. It is, I conceive, no small praise to a country that in it labour and industry can procure independence, and even affluence; that in it no droughts destroy the fruits of the colonists toil--no epidemic or pestilence endangers his family; that, with a little exertion, he may render himself independent of foreign supply for his food; and that, when lie looks around him, he can almost fancy himself in England instead of at the Antipodes, were it not that in his adopted country an eternal verdure covers the groves and forests, and gives the land an aspect of unequalled freshness and fertility-- Dieffenbach's Travels in New Zealand, vol. 1. p. 4.
The Islands, three in number, known under the name of New Zealand, lie between the parallels of 34° and 47° 30' south latitude, which correspond with the latitudes of Madeira and the South of France in the northern hemisphere. From this it will follow that considerable differences of climate, with respect to temperature and other things, must exist in these Islands; and this is found to be the case, though not nearly to the same extent as is known to exist between the last-mentioned places -- the differences in latitude, as bearing on climate, being greatly affected by the greater or lesser distances of the particular places from the coast, or still more, from the lofty chain of mountains running down the whole length of the Middle Island (and generally from all the high mountains), the upper parts of which are covered with perpetual snow. Throughout all the Islands, too, there is much greater equality in the seasons, the summer not being so hot, nor the winter so cold, as under similar parallels on the old continents, or still more markedly on the American; and the range of the thermometer is smaller than it is known to be in any other part of the world-- the mean of the annual range being no more than four and a-half or five degrees, showing an equality of temperature throughout the year, unparalleled in any place beyond the tropics, where a register has yet been kept,
[Image of page 17]
The following short Table shows the mean temperature of the seasons, and also of the year, at Auckland and at Wellington, as compared with London:--
Mean of Quarterly and Annual Temperature at Auckland, Wellington, and London.
Mean of Quarterly and Annual Temperature at Auckland, Wellington, and London.
In July, the coldest month, the greatest cold during the day was 38°; the greatest warmth 57°. In January, the warmest month, the highest temperature was 70° 5'; and the lowest 57°. The mean annual range of the thermometer is 4° 6'.
The most prominent feature of the weather, more especially on the western coast, and during the winter, is the frequency of strong gales of wind. There is seldom either frost or snow of any duration on the low grounds, but in the Middle and Southern Islands, snow falls partially, and lies occasionally, on the hilly uplands, for a day or two in winter.
No local or epidemic diseases, or others peculiar to the country, such as marsh, or bilious fevers, or agues, seem to prevail, so far as is yet known. Indeed, ague has never appeared, even among persons living constantly in the most marshy parts of the islands. Everywhere the Colonists from Great Britain and Ireland, France, and Germany, who have been in the country for longer or shorter periods, have enjoyed a course of uninterrupted good health, such as none of our people in any other of our colonies (some parts of Australia, perhaps, excepted) have ever experienced, and even better than these people themselves enjoyed at home. The young, too, of all animals, the human as well as the lower, seem to thrive remarkably well; and all the breeds of cattle and sheep which have been introduced into the Colony have improved by the change--two facts strongly testifying to the salubrity of the climate. And there is another fact, which proves more directly and conclusively the healthiness of the country for Europeans, namely, that during the period of twenty-eight years, from 1814 to 1842, the Church of England Missionary Society had not to record the death of a single one of their missionaries or catechists, out of all that have been employed by them during that time (their number at present is thirty-five)--a rate of mortality, or rather an instance of the absence of all mortality, unexampled, perhaps, in the history of any separate body of men, of the same number and ages, in any other part of the world.
[Image of page 18]
"Have you not stated that 1000, out of 10,000 acres, might be good land for occupation?--It is not altogether that it is so good land; many persons, though excellent judges, would not select land in that country, from the appearance of it--it is not land, so much as the climate, which produces so wonderfully in New Zealand."--Mr. Milne's Evidence before the Commons, 4th June, 1844.
"I believe that you are well acquainted with the climate and productions of New Zealand; will you state what the climate is?--Referring to New Plymouth, where I have lived, and speaking of the way in which the climate has been described, I should say that it has not at all been overrated.
"Is it very fine?--It is very splendid; it is a magnificent climate.
"Is there any part of England in which the climate is so fine?--No.
"What climate should you say that it was most like?--I have not been in the south of France, but from what I have heard I should say it was as much like that as possible, I mean in point of temperature--the climate itself is much finer than in the south of France. In the depth of winter it is very beautiful weather; the thermometer ranges between 60° and 86° throughout the year, taking the temperature at noon-day."--Frederick A. Carrington, Esq., Evidence before the Commons, 4th June, 1844.
"Is the heat never higher than 86°?--I have not met with it higher.
"Have you ever suffered from extreme heat?--I have, once or twice, in going over the country.
"Have you ever suffered from cold?--Seldom or never; I have been up to my middle in water, in the swamps, and have laid down in the same clothes at night for several nights, and have never experienced any injury.
"Is it true that the climate is so healthy that you can undergo wettings, and great exposures, without suffering any injurious consequences, which in England would make a person seriously ill?--Yes."--Ibid.
"Do not you suppose that if it (the fern) was cut a year or two, the plant would die, and the land become capable of being ploughed?--I do not think it would die by mere cutting. New Zealand is a humid climate, and many things which, when cut, would die here, would not die there. The climate frequently produces an extraordinary effect on plants; for instance, wheat in New Zealand is biennial, if not perennial. In England I am not aware that it is so.
"Do you mean that if a crop of ripe wheat is cut, it will grow again?-- Yes, if you allow the plant to remain in the ground it will spring up again.
"From the same root?--Yes.
"You are perfectly sure that it is not from seed that has been shed naturally?--I am quite certain of it; it will throw out a number of stalks."-- G. B. Earp's Evidence before the Commons, 13th June, 1844.
"Monday, August 26th, 1839. --The climate of this place very much resembles that of the north of Portugal, the most lovely days breaking out in the middle of winter, --it is now that season. The thermometer has ranged between 40° and 56° in the shade during the day."--Col. Wakefield's Report to the New Zealand Company.
"The bivouacking in the end of winter, during eleven nights, had no bad effects on any of the party; and here I may corroborate all that has been said and written of the qualities of the climate of this country. The night air, however humid, has not the same effects on the lungs and limbs as in most parts of Europe, and the most genial days occur at the worst season of the year, as was proved by our enjoying bathing in the sea, and the fresh water on the river, throughout our trip."--Ibid.
"Now, all the writers on New Zealand are at one as regards the salubrity of the climate. Mr Yates says--'That there the sickly become healthy, the
[Image of page 19]
healthy become robust, and the robust become fat.' Up to the end of last year, 1842, the Church Missionary Society had not had to record the death of a single missionary or catechist in New Zealand since the establishment of the Mission in 1814. In New Plymouth, among a thousand Europeans, only one death occurred in five months. In India the average length of missionary life is only six or seven years, and in some parts of Africa not more than four or five?--Scottish Presbyterian, No. 7, page 305.
N. B. --The number of Europeans belonging to the Church of England Mission is at present thirty-five, and the average number for the twenty-eight years may have been about twenty-five.
"It is a very singular fact that though the New Zealanders have excellent physical constitutions, and abundance of food, with other favourable circumstances, they have very few children. Large families are never seen among them--perhaps two would be a high average, compared with the number of marriages. It is very difficult to account for this fact, as the country seems in an extraordinary degree favourable to fecundity, as is proved by reference alike to the vegetable and animal kingdoms. A flock of sheep in New Zealand will produce at least one-third more lambs than, perhaps, in any other country. Europeans in general have very large families, and many have children there after having been many years married, and without them in other countries. Under these circumstances it is the more difficult to account for the small number of children amongst the New Zealanders. Infanticide, with much too early marriages, will, doubtless, in part explain, but still is insufficient to clear up, the difficulty."--Article, by a Settler, in the New Zealand Journal of December 6, 1845.
N. B.-- The causes alleged by the writer are quite sufficient to account for the smallnes of the families of the natives.
"I have frequently mentioned the climate in my letters, and in some have spoken rather unfavourably of it. This autumn (this month particularly) has been the finest and most pleasant weather I ever knew; last year was the reverse; its salubrity I have always acknowledged. Nothing shows this plainer than our children; they are the largest and finest I ever saw. It is quite a common remark that the children born here and now growing up will be a race of giants. The Maori children will bear no comparison with them. Almost the only complaints known amongst the whites are rheumatism and toothache. I seldom wear either waistcoat or neckcloth, and never feel the want of them."--Extract from the letter of a Settler at Wellington, dated 28th April, 1845.
"On Sunday the 8th January we were gliding rapidly along the east coast. Service on deck at nearly the same point at which I performed divine service on board the Bristolian on the 29th May, the day of my first arrival in New Zealand. This will give you an idea of this climate, that in midwinter and midsummer it was equally pleasant to remain uncovered on deck during the greater part of the day." --Bishop Selwyn's Letters to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, No. 4, p. 98.
"The total amount of population in this district (Wellington), not including Wanganui, Manuatu, and the settlers along the coast, is stated to be 4047; and of these 1709 are under fourteen years of age. The number of births during the year is 196, the number of deaths only thirty-two, or one in 126. Of this number 20 were above 14 years of age, and 12 of these were accidental deaths. In England the number of deaths in proportion to the population is 1 in 44. In 1840, the number of births was 22; in 1841, 103; in 1842, 158; in 1843, 231; in 1844, 196."--New Zealand Spectator, 1845.
The above extract is from regular registers, so far as these can be kept in a New Colony, and shows the extraordinary fact, that in a population of more than 4000, having, as will be seen from the births for four years, a
[Image of page 20]
very considerable proportion of children under five years of age (the period of greatest mortality), the deaths, including those by accident, are only one in 126, and excluding the accidental deaths, only one in 200--a proportion showing little more than one-fifth of the deaths of the average of all England. There can be no doubt that this very small rate of mortality is owing in some degree to a large proportion of the Colonists being young and middle aged persons in the vigour of life, but this is not sufficient to account for the fact; and it can only be fully accounted for by the extraordinary healthiness of the climate.
These are a few testimonies to the very great superiority of the climate-- did our space permit they might be increased to almost any amount; suffice it to say, in conclusion, that the reports of all the medical men who have resided in these islands uniformly declare that there are no epidemic, contagious, or local diseases peculiar to the climate, and that it is the healthiest country they have ever lived in.
Mr. Augustus Earle, a distinguished naturalist, who, in that capacity, has visited many countries in the Southern hemisphere, besides New Zealand, says--
"Although we were situated in the same latitude as Sydney, we found the climate of New Zealand infinitely superior. Moderate heats and beautifully clear skies, succeeded each other every day. We were quite free from those oppressive feverish heats which invariably prevail in the middle of the day at Sydney, and from those hot pestilential winds which are the terror of the inhabitants of New South Wales; nor were we subject to those long droughts, which are often the ruin of the Australian farmer. The temperature here was neither too hot nor too cold--neither too wet nor too dry."
The fertility of the soil on the plains and in the vallies is very great; and the luxuriance of the vegetation everywhere, arising both from the goodness of the land, and the regular and abundant supply of moisture, is mentioned by every one who has either travelled or resided in the islands, as very extraordinary. All kinds of grain and vegetables from Europe grow well, and produce as large, or larger crops than they do in this country. Maize, the most productive of all grains, may be cultivated with success in the Northern, and part of the Middle Island; and potatoes, of the very best quality, and for which there is a great demand in the surrounding markets, are produced in all the settlements to the south, and two crops of them may be raised in many places in the year. Fruits, too, of the finest kinds, grow abundantly; and there can be no doubt that the vine and olive will attain to full perfection, as at Auckland in the Northern; and at the French settlement of Akaroa in the Middle Island, grapes of excellent quality, and in great variety, are raised.
But as a considerable part of the prosperity and domestic comfort, of the Colonists of New Zealand must arise from their flocks and herds, the feature in the climate and vegetation most encouraging to them, is the great abundance and goodness of the pasturage,
[Image of page 21]
and its continuance through all seasons of the year, being as good (at least some kinds of the grasses and herbage) in winter as in summer, and affording full feeding for cattle and sheep, so that there is no occasion for housing the former at any time, and of course not the latter; and the farmer is saved the great labour and expense of providing winter provender for them, and the trouble of feeding them--advantages these which farmers in this country are hardly able to estimate, as they have never known what they are--and which may be very favourably contrasted with the case of settlers in North America, where, during a long and rigorous winter of six or seven months, no out-door work of almost any kind, or at least of an agricultural kind, can be done, and cattle, sheep, and pigs must be entirely fed in the house; whereas in New Zealand and the Australian Colonies, the farmer and labourer can prosecute their occupations all the year round, while at all seasons their flocks and herds find their food in the fields and woods.
"Is the soil extremely favourable to vegetable productions?--Yes. Was the soil near New Plymouth good for the production of corn and grass?-- Excellent. I can speak of a small patch which my brother planted in his garden; we calculated (of course it would be a very rough guess) that from ten to fifteen sheep an acre might he kept upon it."--Carrington's Evidence before the Commons, 4th June, 1844.
"Do you know whether that class of land, when cleared of fern, immediately grows good corn without the use of any artificial means?--The ear is good; the quantity I cannot answer for, farther than as to a small quantity of barley which I grew myself, and every person said that they never saw anything equal to it in England; and I was told by maltsters that it was first-rate malting barley."--Ibid.
"Do you know the land there (Petre)?--Very fertile; indeed, fertility is the characteristic of New Zealand; and even the lands of New Zealand which are said to be bad lands, are fertile. Fern land is often called bad land, but it is in fact amongst the most valuable land in the colony, or may be made so. If you turn up the fern land, you will not get a good crop off it the first year; but I consider that to arise from two causes, -- first, from the nature of it, that it is a marl, and not a clay--an argillaceous marl; and next, the mode of clearing, that is, by burning off the fern; whereas the argillaceous marl contains more alkaline salts than are good for cultivation, and by burning you add to them the alkaline salts of the plant, which contains perhaps more than any other plant; but if that land is ploughed up, and suffered to lie fallow for a year or two, I have seen enormous crops produced from it."--G. B. Earp's Evidence before (he Commons, 13th June, 1844.
"Do you agree in the estimate which Mr. Earp has given us, that the Colony of New Zealand, from its internal resources, and its mineral and agricultural productions, as well as its position, is a very valuable possession to the British Crown?--I think it is the most valuable Colony in that part of the world. I consider it equal to the whole of the Australian Colonies put together, and ought certainly to be kept by the British Crown as a most valuable acquisition. It will take longer to develope its resources, but
[Image of page 22]
eventually they will be much greater. --Will you state generally the grounds of your opinion?--They are, that from its soil and climate, it will grow all European grain to perfection, and in many respects better than this country. It is in the centre of the whale fishery; it has immense forests of timber, which will be valuable as an article of trade with China, and probably South America, before long; it is full of harbours, and it will have a great commerce, and a large maritime population; in fact, in such a way that it will be the Great Britain of that part of the world, including the vast Archipelago of Islands to the north, and will command the trade of that part of the world in future times; in the meantime, its exports of flax and other produce are likely to rise very considerably, and before long to make it valuable as a Colony."--J. C. Crawford, Esq., Evidence before Commons, 18th June, 1844.
"Average produce of 16 acres of wheat in 1843.
"My crop last year after I thrashed it out was, as near as possible about 44 bushels to the acre; in some places, where I had seeds sent me from England, and I cultivated as a garden, the return was more than that.
"Has it been in some instances as much as 60 bushels?--More than that; but that was with a great deal of care taken in the cultivation, it was perfectly a garden; forty-four bushels is the average of the sixteen acres.
"What is the value of that?--I got twenty-five pounds a ton for the flour.
"What would that be per acre?--About twenty pounds.
"What profit would you have?--Nearly £14 10s. per acre--F. A. Molesworth, Esq., Evidence before the Commons, 20th June, 1844.
N. B--Mr. M. refers here to the profit of the second year's crop, after the clearing of the land--the first year's crop was potatoes, and covered the entire expense of clearing, and left something over; the land being the most heavily timbered in the country.
"The wheat crop has been secured, and is even more abundant than was anticipated, both as regards the quantity of grain and yield of flour. On a portion of Captain King's farm more than sixty bushels per acre have been grown; this fact has been ascertained by the most accurate measurement and calculation.
"There are others whose crops are at least as heavy as that mentioned."-- Letter to Col. Wakefield, from J. T. Wicksteed, Esq. (the Company's Agent at New Plymouth) dated 28th Feb., 1845.
"Do you believe that New Zealand would grow very valuable wool?-- I have heard a woollen manufacturer say that the wool from the sheep in the Australian market is very fine, not averaging, I think, more than two and a half pounds per fleece in some cases; the great object is to combine length of staple with fineness of fibre, and that, in the opinion of all competent judges, New Zealand is admirably adapted for.
"From its climate?--Yes, and also from the food.
"With respect to food; have you the means of producing food to supply a great quantity of sheep?--New Zealand has no breadth of land like New South Wales. The common saying in the New South Wales is, that it takes five acres to keep a sheep; but in New Zealand, on the contrary, they say that it takes an acre to keep five sheep.
"Is the soil and climate of New Zealand adapted to grow good grasses under artificial culture?--I have frequently, when I first went out to the Colony, in common, I believe, with many others, made a point of taking out a large quantity of the finest grass seeds; but as our own lands had not been granted to us, we used to fill our pockets with seeds when we went out into the woods, and scatter them there by handfuls. These flourished admirably."--G. B. Earp, Esq., Evidence before Commons, 10th June, 1844.
N. B. --Mr Earp, it is plain, makes a very wrong estimate, in this evidence, of the quantity of land in New Zealand fit for grazing sheep; there can be
[Image of page 23]
little doubt that all the Islands of New Zealand, if brought into the same state of cultivation and completely cleared, would maintain as many sheep as England, which, it is calculated, produces nearly a hundred million pounds weight of wool--and even in the present state of the Colony a great quantity of wool, of the best quality, may be grown; and the quantity is in reality rapidly increasing at this moment, as all parties now are eagerly turning their attention to sheep farming, as will be shown in a following part of these extracts.
For the extraordinary feeding qualities of some of the native grasses, see Col. Wakefield's letter of accompanying pamphlet, page 9.
"To the Editor of the New Zealand Journal.
"HALIFAX, YORKSHIRE, January 8, 1846.
"SIR, --It may be interesting to some of your readers to learn the present cost of cultivating land in New Zealand, and to be enabled to compare it with the cost about three or four years back.
"Three years and a half ago the cost of clearing and cultivating timber land ranged from. £10 to £60 per acre, while that of clearing and cultivating the fern land was from £18 to £20 per acre. The expense in each case when I left Taranaki in February last was very much decreased, being as follows: --
Expense of felling, burning, and moving logs from one acre of timber land,--£10 0 0
Expense of breaking up by hand, do----------------------------------------2 12 0
Expense of putting in crop and expense of seed, ----------------------------1 10 0
Total, --------------------------------------------------------------------£14 2 0
Expense of cutting and burning fern,
and removing tutu stumps from one acre of fern land, -----------------------£0 12 0
Expense of ploughing first time, do. ------------------------------------------- 1 0 0
Expense of ploughing second time,
harrowing, ploughing in seed, and harrowing again---------------------------- 1 0 0
Expense of two bushels of seed at 5s., ---------------------------------------- 0 10 0
Total,-----------------------------------------------------------------------£ 3 2 0
"Now timber land yields from 50 to 80 bushels per acre, while fern land yields from 30 to 50, but when you consider that, for the sum required to cultivate one acre of timber, you can cultivate four acres and a half of fern land, and instead of 8O bushels, taking the maximum in each case, you reap 225 bushels; the advantage in the latter case is so great and apparent, that the question as to which is the more profitable investment of labour and capital cannot admit of a moment's doubt.
"I am not prepared to give an opinion respecting the wearing of timber land. I have heard some farmers say that it would require manure sooner than fern land; this I leave for experience to decide. The facts I have here stated are mentioned for the purpose of removing from the minds of intending colonists those frightful ideas of enormous outlay formerly required for the cultivation of single acre of land, and to place before them the more encouraging prospect of being able to purchase, cultivate, and crop an acre of land in New Zealand for less money that I have known paid here fur rent alone of the same quantity of land.
"I have no hesitation in stating my opinion that the farmer of Taranaki, if secured in the occupation of his land, and favoured with the assistance and cooperation of the New Zealand Company, will, in two years, be able to sell bis wheat for 3s. per bushel, and be well paid into the bargain.
[Image of page 24]
HARBOUR AND RIVERS.
We come now to the harbours and rivers. As to the former, perhaps no country in the world possesses more numerous or better harbours than this Colony; and, as it advances in population and trade, they will he found of unspeakable value to the Colonists. The Bay of Islands, Auckland, Motu Kana, Kaipara, Wellington, Nelson, Akaroa, and Otago, may be mentioned as a few of the good harbours; but there are innumerable others already known, and probably many yet unnoticed or undiscovered.
The rivers are in general bar rivers; and none of them hitherto traced are of any great length. The Manawatu and Wanganui are navigable for vessels of considerable burden, and many others for boats and small craft.
"Have you paid much attention to the condition of the harbours of New Zealand?--I have paid great attention to them.
"You before said that you had obtained charts of most of the harbours, but that they were lost on board ship?--Yes.
"Can you from recollection state your opinion of the value of these harbours in a national point of view?--I consider the harbours of New Zealand to be the finest in the world; nowhere can you show me so fine a collection of harbours within the same space of coast."--G. B. Earp, Esq, Evidence, 13th June, 1844.
"Will you state generally the grounds of your opinion of the great value, as to its position commercially, of New Zealand?--It is full of harbours, and it will have a great commerce, and a large maritime population; in fact, in such a way that it will be the Great Britain of that part of the world, including the Archipelago of the Islands to the north, and will command the trade of that part of the world in future times."--Evidence of J. C. Crawford before the Commons, 18th June, 1844.
The articles of export that may be expected soon to become of importance, or are already so, are timber for ship-building and spars, furniture, and dye-woods; the native flax, particularly if the parties from England, now engaged in trying whether it can be prepared by machinery for market at a smaller cost than hitherto, shall succeed in their object, and it shall be found possible to discharge, by chemical agents, the gum which is insoluble in water, and is the chief hindrance to its use for all purposes for which flax and hemp are used, in which events its export would soon become very great, --common or European flax, too, has been successfully grown near Taranaki, and may be produced in almost any quantity, --sperm and train oil are sent in considerable quantities from the islands; and were the whale fishery prosecuted with vigour, and on an improved system, it might be made much
[Image of page 25]
more productive, --the fishing, both for present use and for curing in a dried state for exportation, of the various kinds of fish which abound on all the coasts, may soon become a means of employment and wealth to the Colonists, --wool, of superior quality, and hides, are already articles of export; and as sheep-farming, which is fast extending, and the rearing of cattle increase, these articles will be greatly augmented, --tallow and lard also may soon be exported in considerable quantity, or made into stearine to save freight, --potash, from the great abundance of timber, underwood, and fern, in which last this substance abounds, might be made to yield largely as an export, whilst the manufacture of it would help greatly to pay the expense of clearing the land, --valuable minerals have also been discovered; copper ore of good quality is worked to some extent and sent to England; lead is found, and iron and coal seem to abound in many places; and manganese of the best quality, and sulphur, may be largely exported. These are the articles which already, or would very soon, form the staples of export from this valuable colony; and notwithstanding the length of the list, we have no doubt that, as population, capital, and enterprise increased, the number would be greatly extended.
"I believe it is known to my readers that the finest spars used in the British navy, and those most preferred by the Admiralty, are those spars which come from New Zealand, called Kauri pine (Dammara Australis). I have seen one of these pines at Wangaroa, measuring forty-two feet six inches in circumference, one hundred and ten feet high without a branch, and as straight as possible; after one hundred and ten feet, the branches shoot out to the height of one-half of the tree, covered with a richer green foliage than any other forest tree in the country. The pines generally cut for the navy are about twelve feet in circumference, and from seventy-five to one hundred feet long.......... The Kauri pine produces a large quantity of resin, of a white and amber colour, burning with a bright flame, and having an agreeable smell, and has been exported in large quantities to New York at 2d. to 2 1/2d. per lb. It much resembles the resin in the East Indies, called Damma, which is produced from a tree of the same genus, and used as varnish. Very large quantities of this pine are shipped to the Australian Colonies. It forms the best timber for ship-building, and also for houses; is of a whitish colour, and very light in weight. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of this beautiful pine, which enrich the appearance of the country with its beautiful and green tints."--From Brodie's State of New Zealand.
"Few people will believe that all the tanned leather now used in New Zealand is tanned either at the Bay of Islands or Port Nicholson. Such a thing was never known in an infant colony. Phyllodadus Trichomanorides is one of those barks. This bark is used by the natives as a red dye for the ornamental parts of their Kaitakas, their best border garments. For making a black dye, the bark of the hinau is substituted. There is also another red dye, called Tawaiwai, the bark of which is very profuse. There is a red mineral dye called Kakowai, which is found washed out of the earth on the beds of streams in almost every locality in the different forests of the
[Image of page 26]
country. Each of the above dyes, even in the rough state and manner in which the natives use them, is of an exceedingly rich hue; they are also fast colours. The barks are to be found all over the Colony.
"The hinau and tanakaka are used for tanning. The mimosa bark of Van Diemen's Land, which is almost wholly used in New South Wales for tanning, having greatly fallen off lately, on account of sufficient trees not having been planted to replace those destroyed on account of their bark, has given some of the merchants in New Zealand great encouragement in collecting their barks for the Australian Colonies, which in some cases have brought thorn £10 per ton. A captain, who lately arrived from New Zealand, was offered £20 per ton for as much as he would bring home here, similar to the small quantity he brought for samples. These barks and dyes are to be found in New Zealand in sufficient abundance to furnish a sufficient and never-failing article of export."--Ibid.
Till the experiments at present in progress in the Colony, with machinery and British skill and enterprise, shall have been concluded, it is unnecessary to say much of the native flax; though, if it could be furnished in large quantity, it would now be taken in the home market at a price which would leave a profit to the importers. If the parties engaged in these experiments shall succeed in their object, it will then become an article of very large export, as it abounds everywhere in the Islands; and, as it is now known to he greatly improved by cultivation, from the fact that it is only from the cultivated plant that the natives manufacture their finest dress mats, many of which are of the most soft and silky fineness and inimitable beauty of texture.
For information as to the prospect of the successful cultivation of European flax in the Colony, it is only necessary to refer the reader to the report of a public meeting, held at Taranaki very lately, on this subject. We shall only quote a short part of the speech of Mr. Flight, one of the gentlemen who had made one of the small experiments of sowing and preparing the flax.
"The seed from which the present specimen was raised we purchased at Plymouth in 1841. Plymouth is not situated in a flax-growing part of England, and consequently the seed obtained there could not be such as a flax-grower would sow. We did not plant this seed till 1843. It was, therefore, too old, and such portions of it as vegetated produced plants of an inferior description. It was also sown too late, the seed, when in the process of ripening, having been attacked by the caterpillar, so that with difficulty we saved enough seed to sow 3 1/2 perches of land. That was sown last September, and the produce from it was 1 3/4 pecks of seed, and 14 1/2 lbs. of clean flax, or at the rate of 20 bushels of seed and 663 lbs. of flax per acre. The value of flax varied so much in England according to the purposes for which it could be used, that I feel some difficulty in affixing one to the present sample; but having been for many years connected with the manufacture of it in England, and having carefully calculated the expense attendant on the production of this crop, I feel no hesitation in stating that after paying all expenses, the sum of at least £9 per acre would be left to the growers to pay for preparing their land and profit. The sample of flax I intend to forward to England to the care of Mr. Robert Turner, flax-manufacturer, Bridport, Dorset, and then to Mr Wordsworth, machine-maker, Leeds, either of whom would feel great pleasure in showing it to any party interested in the flax trade. "--Mr. Flight's Speech.
"A flax-comber of great experience from England was then called in. The sample was then shown him for the first time, and elicited his unqualified approval. Several interesting questions wore put to him by Mr Flight, and his answers gave great satisfaction to the meeting. -- Ibid,
Mr Wicksteed afterwards proposed,
[Image of page 27]
"1st, That this meeting hereby expresses its great satisfaction at the prospect which now presents itself of obtaining a valuable export in the Anglo-New Zealand.
"2d, That it pledges itself, by every means in its power, to promote the cultivation of an article so likely to prove of the first importance to the Colony.
"A specimen of the Phormium Tenax, dressed by the new machine at Nelson, was afterwards laid on the table."--See Report of this Meeting in the New Zealand Journal of November 8, 1845.
But it is from the export of wool, hides, and tallow that the prosperity of New Zealand will probably first derive a great impulse in advance, as has been the case with all the Australian Colonies; and already the Colonists are eagerly turning their attention to these branches of industry. Sheep-farming, and grazing in general, is rapidly increasing; and though the quantity of land is no doubt much smaller than in the Australian Colonies, still, if its greater superiority for grazing, acre against acre, be taken into account, it will in the end be found sufficient to support prodigious numbers of cattle and sheep.
"Sheep-farming is becoming the fashion. We hear that four or five stations are about to be formed in the Wairarapa."--Wellington Independent, 1845.
"Sheep-farming is all the rage here at present; and from the high price which our wool commands in the London market, the greater weight of our fleeces over the Australian, and the much greater number of sheep which a given quantity of land will maintain than that of Australia, there can be no doubt that our flocks will rapidly increase, and that this will soon became a source of great profit to the settlers."--Private Letter from Wellington, 1845.
At Port Cooper the Messrs Deans (from Ayrshire) and others are already possessed of about 4000 sheep and a considerable number of cattle, and the following notice appeared lately in the New Zealand Spectator: -- "The Sisters last week brought a quantity of cheese and butter from Mr. Deans's station on Port Cooper plains. The cheese, which is the best sample wo have seen from any dairy in the Colony, in appearance and flavour, bears a strong resemblance to the celebrated Dunlop cheese; and we are satisfied that there will shortly be no occasion to import from England, or the adjacent Colonies this article, when it can be manufactured so well by the Settlers in New Zealand."
Extracts of this kind might be multiplied indefinitely, but our space forbids as to enlarge at present.
"Copper ore--The quantity of this ore already imported into England has been about seven hundred tons, chiefly to Liverpool.
"By accounts from New Zealand up to July 28, another copper mine is being worked, with far greater success than the Barrier Island, at Lemington Island, 45 miles north of Auckland, by Messrs. Taylor & Aberdeen."-- Brodie's State of New Zealand.
N. B. --The copper ore imported from Barrier Island to London yielded a profit of one hundred per cent, after paying a freight of £4 10s. per ton.
"Lead and silver have been found in three places--quicksilver in one-- manganese in two--coal in five--nickel in three--marble in abundance-- sulphur in one (nearly pure,)--rock salt in one--iron ore very general, and magnetic iron exceedingly rich and plentiful."--Ibid.
All these ores and minerals, it is to be noted, have been discovered almost accidentally, and that not by scientific or practical mineralogists, but by the Settlers themselves, on the few spots yet occupied by them; and is an earnest of what may be expected in the way of mineral riches, when proper researches
[Image of page 28]
are made by qualified persons. The geology of New Zealand is still a terra incognita.
The quantity of oil exported from New Zealand last year was above 1300 tons, which, at £20 per ton, amounts to £26,000.
COMPARISON BETWEEN THE VOYAGE TO NEW ZEALAND AND TO OTHER BRITISH COLONIES.
The last thing we proposed to consider was the difficulty and expense of conveying emigrants to New Zealand, from the length of the sea voyage, as compared with that to British America, the United States, or even the Cape of Good Hope. It would be vain to dispute that the mere sea voyage is not greatly longer, in both distance and time, to the former Colony than to the last-named places; but it would be equally vain to deny that it is not also much safer. More emigrant ships, and more lives have been lost on the shores of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and on the neighbouring coasts, 1 than would have been lost, according to past experience, by sending ten times the number of emigrants to New Zealand or the Australian Colonies. Indeed, by this rule there can be no comparison between the two voyages, as there has never yet been an emigrant ship lost in going to the latter Colonies. When, however, we say that no emigrant vessel from Britain to Australia or New Zealand has ever been lost, we mean rather that no emigrants have been lost; for an emigrant vessel (the Australia) was lost some years ago, on her passage from Leith to Sidney, but as the whole of the crew and passengers were saved, and as the risks of the voyage seemed to have very little to do with the loss of this vessel, we do not look upon it as a case of loss in the sense we mean, and this is the only case of an emigrant vessel we are aware of. A vessel (the India) was burnt, but this, of course, is a calamity to which all voyages are equally liable.
But besides this, it is to be borne in mind that emigrants to British America, or the United States, do not now, in general, think of settling near the coast, or at the place of debarkation, but go to the western districts of Upper Canada (the farther west the better) in the one case, which is a distance of from seven to eight hundred miles from Quebec; and, in the other, they must go to the far west--to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, or Michigan, distances of from a thousand to fifteen hundred miles, and thus encounter a tedious and expensive land journey, which, along with the previous sea voyage will, in most cases, when there is a family, be found to be as serious an undertaking for the emigrant, both as respects time and money, as the voyage to New Zealand--where, and in most of the Australian Colonies, the settler is put down at once
[Image of page 29]
from the ship, on the land where he is to be permanently located, or very near it; and the labourer in the place where he is either to be hired or to work for himself--an advantage this of the greatest importance, and which is seldom sufficiently weighed in comparing the merits of our different Colonies.
Notwithstanding all the before-named facts and grave authorities in favour of New Zealand, there is yet a subject of paramount importance, which is as applicable to all the Australian Colonies as to New Zealand, viz., the passage. The three great fields of emigration are the United States, the Anglo-North American Colonies, and of late years those on the Pacific. Floating hotels, propelled by steam, make the passage to the St. Lawrence in ten or twelve days; still that has nothing to do with the passage of emigrants. The prevalence of westerly winds is such that there is a great difference between the passage to and from America. Then again, the climate is such, that for half the year the passage cannot be made at all north of New York. Nor is this all: the ice of the northern regions breaks off, floats southward in immense masses, and renders the seas on the north coasts of America dangerous, even as late as the month of June.
The average length of passage of emigrant ships to the British North American States, as officially returned by Mr. Bushby, is 49 days; and even the finest ships of war, --for instance, the Warspite, which carried out Lord Ashburton, was 47 days between Portsmouth and New York; the Illustrious, with Sir Charles Bagot, was 51. But then of what is composed by far the greater number of the voyages which form Mr. Bushby's average? They are the voyages from the Clyde, Liverpool, Belfast, Londonderry, Cork, and Limerick; and ships sailing from these places must make the opposite shores of the Atlantic at least ten days sooner than ships from the Thames. The average voyages of ships from England to New Zealand may be calculated at 120 days, and these are placed in comparison with the vessels from the western port to the coasts of America.
Send vessels from these ports to any of the Australian Colonies, and the average voyage would be reduced to 110 days; or, calculate the length of voyage by sailing vessels only from the Thames to the St. Lawrence and New York, ten days at least must be added to Mr. Bushby's average. Whichever way you take it, the voyage from Britain to Australia and New Zealand cannot occupy more than double the time of that to America, and this alone is to be considered; in as far as maintaining emigrants is concerned, the advantage to the shipowner is greatly in favour of the Australian voyage.
1. He can work all the year round.
2. He can, in going to Australia or New Zealand, receive the freight of two voyages to America with only once loading and discharging, whilst in the American voyage this must be done twice.
It is probable that at present the want of back freight for the return voyage occasions necessarily a high price of freight outwards; this, however, is mending every day; the day is not distant when Sir Robert Peel will carry his opinion out, "that the Colonies should form an integral part of the British empire." Let England receive corn from the Polynesian Sea at the same duty as from Canada--give a title to the land of New Zealand to the Settlers, and there will be back freights enough. All this, however, is little more than a comparative examination of the interests of shipowners between America and Australia, from which it is evident that a human being can be carried, and will be in a very short time, at rather less the double price to
[Image of page 30]
Australia than is paid to America. But when landed--the sea between Great Britain and America is, as it were, the first bridge, --that passed, comes the land journey, and this is generally as far west as the funds of the emigrant permits him to go. The majority of those without, and who consequently have no means to proceed inland, beg the means to return. Upon this subject the words of Mr Buckingham, in his recent work on the United States, shall be quoted:--
"The improvement of the condition of the emigrants themselves would be as great and as certain as that of the two countries, if they pursued a right course; and that, with good advice and proper regulations, could almost be insured at present. As soon as they land in a seaport town they are beset with as many harpies as surround the unhappy sailor when he first touches the shore, especially by the keepers of low taverns and dram-shops. By them they are decoyed to their houses, made drunk under the pretence of a welcome and hospitality, their money taken from them, if they have any, and, if they have not, a debt for board and drink contracted with them. They then roam about the city in search of employment, where little or none is to be had; they become inspired with a distaste for the country, where alone a sure and certain harvest awaits them; and, like the moth which lingers around the flame until consumed by what dazzles it, they hang about the skirts of the cities and the grog-shops till their poverty tempts them to crime, when they become the inmates of the poor-house or the prison, and there end their days in neglect and misery.
"It is ascertained as a fact that more than one-third of the emigrants from Europe die within the first three years of their residence in this country, though they generally come out in the full vigour of life."
However unhuman, as is shown on Mr Buckingham's authority, emigration to the United States may be, it is impossible for an English statesman not to examine the result; the miseries which are incurred arise from its being "emigration" and not colonization; and when so many members of the united empire are ignorantly enduring so great a loss of life, as well as property, it is not very irrelevant to set forth the gain that settles itself in that infant giant State, which it is impossible to distinguish from the natural increase of its native population. No European politician can look forward to the power of the United States within the present century, but with the most appalling prospects.
In 1830 a census of the people was taken, and the numbers were 12,000,000
In 1840 it was again taken; the numbers then were................ 17,000,000
In 1850, at the same rate, there will be................................. 24,083,333
In 1860.......................................................................... 34,118,055
In 1870.......................................................................... 48,270,059
In 1880 .......................................................................... 68,292,184
In 1890.......................................................................... 96,019,364
In 1900.......................................................................... 137,102,513
Fifty-seven years is a long period in the life of man, but very little in the life of nations. As has been already stated, great individual misery occurs in this ill-regulated haphazard system of emigration. The immigrant is fleeced under the profession of advice and assistance. To the State it makes no difference, --it is so much money imported, if in the hands of the fleecers, as much as if it had remained with the fleeced; and let it be remembered that this mass of increase arises from the residue of those who reach the far west--it counts none of the dead in the way; none who, as soon as landed on the quays at New York, beg the means of returning, which in the year 1842 amounted to 10,000 from that port only. The limited knowledge and experience of the bulk of mankind may lead them to conclude that
[Image of page 31]
there is not room for such an immense population. Read what a wise man has written, before forming such an opinion, speaking of the Mississippi basin only:--
"This vast extent of very fertile territory, in which rivers navigable for 3000 miles upward from the ocean hold their course, extends from the lakes of Canada on the north to the Gulf of Mexico on the south, and from the highlands of the Alleghany and Cumberland Ranges on the east, to the Rocky Mountains far to the westward.
"The greatest labour of Hercules, the noblest deeds recorded of man in ancient or modern history, sink to nought when compared with the doings of Brother Jonathan.
"It was but as yesterday when he first stood on the highest summit of the Alleghany range, and, gazing down upon the illimitable western wilderness, boldly resolved to people the whole extent; and already cities, and towns, and villages, and innumerable clearances, are scattered over nearly a million of square miles. True to his purpose, Jonathan is progressing in a ratio of increase never before equalled, and in the course of a century, at the present increment, this great and most fertile field for the extension of the human race will contain a progeny exceeding the whole of the population of Europe."--Matthew's Emigration Fields, p.55.
It remains to say something of the Canadas and the North American British colonies. The wisdom of a Durham--a Sydenham---a Bagot, and a Metcalf, have delayed the separation of the former from the mother country. Still, never let it be forgotten that as wise a man as any one of them, and who personally knows these countries--Lord Ashburton, when bearing the proud name of Alexander Baring, when a member of the Commons, proposed offering to the Canadas their independence, declaring it better to do so without a useless expenditure of blood and treasure, and that it had better be done previous to such circumstances occurring than afterwards; that his forethought was correct there is no doubt. Lord St. Vincent, also a great authority, was to his dying hour adverse to retaining them. --See his opinions, as stated by Lord Brougham in his Public Characters, p. 41, Edinburgh Review, April, 1839, vol. 69; also Brenton's Life of Lord St. Vincent. The Canadas once independent, the other Colonies would soon adopt the example, and not long after would join the Federal Government of the United States. Putting, however, political reasons on one side, all these American countries are the same in point of climate as the European Baltic. They are all existing under the scourge of a Scandinavian climate--freezing their seas and ports between four and five months out of the year--forcing shipping and trade to partake of the same torpidity that it has imposed on its vegetation.
The Polynesian seas--the ports of Australia and New Zealand, are open the whole year round, and these Colonies are destined, under proper management, in the course of a few years, to supply our maritime empire with all the produce which half-yearly is drawn from the Baltic; and, when once colonised, all the trade which now goes to these Colonies will go all the year round to the Pacific, of which it may be well said that New Zealand is the Queen and the Britain of the southern hemisphere--From an article in the Times of the 13th November, 1845.
The above, from the space to which we are necessarily limited here, is but a very short and imperfect sketch of the valuable Islands of New Zealand, as a superior field for colonization by the surplus population of Great Britain and Ireland; but there can be no doubt that this Colony presents advantages in climate, soil, and productions, and in suitableness generally, for European settlers, that, in the opinion of the most competent judges, are not
[Image of page 32]
surpassed, and perhaps not equalled, by those of any other Colony under the British Crown.
The extracts appended to these remarks, and taken from speakers and writers of various descriptions, many of whom have travelled or resided in the country, will more than bear out all that has been said here in its praise.
We do not mean here to enter at any length on the religious and educational merits peculiar to this scheme, which have been incidentally referred to in the preface and elsewhere, as occasion will soon be taken to bring them more fully before the public in another way. Suffice it, at present, to say, that the Colonists, from the beginning, and a part of them even on the voyage, will have their minister and schoolmaster among them -- that provision is made in the plan for supplying additional ministers and schoolmasters as the population increases--that they will be governed locally from the first by municipal functionaries, chosen by themselves--and that they will have among them, persons of various grades, and fitted for almost all employments, such as labourers, mechanics, and capitalists--in short, an entire section of the middle and lower classes of the home population. These are merits which can hardly be over-estimated in any scheme, but which have been unhappily neglected at the outset in almost all our colonising enterprizes since the days of the Pilgrim Fathers, who, though they could not at the time get an official religious instructor to accompany them, 2 showed themselves far more solicitous about the spiritual provision for the Colony, than for its temporal wants; and, in the midst of the severest hardships and privations, 3 maintained the external and public ordinances of religion, as well as the practice of the sacred duties of the family and the closet, with the most unfaltering devotion--the effects of which, by the blessing of God, were light, and truth, and vital godliness among many generations of their posterity in New-England. What, therefore, may we not hope, from another British Colony, founded on the same principles in New Zealand, for Britons now and their posterity, not only in that country, but in all those around it?--Every thing, by the same blessing, which attended their labours, if we set about it with but a part of the humble and prayerful spirit, the purity and piety of motive, and the indomitable courage and untiring perseverance, of these eminently Christian men.
[Image of page 33]
It would be disingenuous not to acknowledge, in concluding these remarks, that the promoters of the Otago scheme have been met by objections to proceeding with their operations in the present disturbed state of New Zealand; or, more properly speaking, of a very small portion of that country. But it is hoped that a very short explanation will suffice to show that there are no grounds whatever of fear on this head, as applicable to this scheme, or indeed to colonization in any part of the islands, except in the northern parts of the Northern Island, where alone the natives are now found in any considerable numbers; and that with any other government, than the miserable, imbecile, and infatuated one which has hitherto misgoverned that fine Colony, there never would have been danger to either life or property.
In the first place, the locality of the proposed settlement (Otago) is between 800 and 900 miles from the scene of the disturbances, the former being near the southern end of the Middle Island, and the latter in the northern end of the Northern Island.
In this Middle Island (nearly equal in extent to England and Scotland), in the southern end of which Octago is situated, it may be almost said there are no natives at all, as it is calculated there are not more than 1000 in the whole island, and these are almost, entirely located on the shores of Cook's Strait. In the large district of Otago itself, there are only about fifty men, women, and children in all; and the opinion of some persons who have resided in the islands, and who are thoroughly acquainted with the native character, is, that it would be found there would be too few of them at Otago, at least in the infancy of the settlement, as at that time their services would be very useful in doing a great many things for the Colonists, which they could not do either so well or so cheaply for themselves.
Again, as to the disturbances, or petty warfare, that has been going on in the neighbourhood of the Bay of Islands for some time past, between the British troops and a second or third-rate chief, but a man of superior intelligence, of chivalrous bearing, and of honourable and even generous conduct, as appears in almost all he has done in this unfortunate business--as to these disturbances, we say, they have, in all probability, been brought to a close by this time, or before it; and the next arrivals from the Colony may likely bring accounts of the destruction of this brave and patriotic, though, it may be, misguided man and his small band of followers --which event, should it take place, will just add another instance to the many, alas, how many, on record, of most criminal mismanagement, which go to tarnish the military reputation of our county, and to stamp with indelible disgrace our Colonial Government, so far as the aboriginal races are concerned.
[Image of page 34]
DESCRIPTION OF THE DISTRICT OF OTAGO.
THE SITE SELECTED FOR THE COLONY.
When Captain Fitzroy received the appointment to the government of New Zealand, in 1843, he carried out instructions from Lord Stanley, in compliance with the earnest request of the intending Colonists themselves, to assign Port Cooper, on Banks's Peninsula, as the site for the Scotch Colony (at that time named New Edinburgh), provided that a better site could not be found on the same Middle Island. The following account of the exploring party is from the pen of Dr. Munro, himself one of the number:-- "Mr. Tuckett, having been appointed by the New Zealand Company to conduct the preliminary steps for the formation of the proposed settlement of New Edinburgh, suggested the propriety of previously exploring the south-western and southern coasts of the Middle Island, in order to determine the most desirable site-- a suggestion that was immediately adopted. The brigantine Deborah, Captain Wing, was accordingly chartered for this purpose; and the exploring party sailed from Nelson, on the 31st of March, 1844. Besides Mr. Tuckett, on whom the responsible office of selecting the site of the new Colony entirely devolved, and Mr. Symonds, the officer appointed by Governor Fitzroy to superintend and assist in effecting a valid purchase of the requisite amount of land, the brigantine conveyed Dr. Munro, Messrs. Wither, Wilkinson, Barnicoat, and Davidson--the two latter in the capacity of draughtsmen and surveyors. The Rev. Mr. Volhers, a German clergyman, also embraced the opportunity thus afforded him, of seeking a suitable scene for his missionary labours. The Deborah first proceeded to Wellington, whence she set sail on the 2d, and arrived at Port Cooper on the 5th, of April." Of this exploratory expedition Dr. Munro has published an extended narrative. Mr. Tuckett also kept a diary, which has been published. Colonel Wakefield, likewise, in a letter to the Secretary of the New Zealand Company, gives an able account of the district, and of his perambulation of it, previous to the final completion of the purchase of the block. From these three publications the following account of Otago is chiefly taken. Before proceeding, however, to this account, it will be proper to give a short statement respecting the Middle Island generally.
[Image of page 35]
THE MIDDLE ISLAND.
The Middle Island has, up to a very late period, been almost entirely unknown. The books hitherto published upon New Zealand, and the reports brought home by private parties, relate almost exclusively to the North Island, and to that part of the Middle Island bordering upon Cook's Strait. Major Bunbury's report of a voyage to the Middle and South Islands, in 1840; and, next after that, the report of Captain Smith's expedition to the Middle Island, in 1842; contain the first definite intelligence that we have regarding that large and valuable Island. The experience of the French settlers on Banks's Peninsula, and the testimony of Messrs. William and John Deans, two highly intelligent and most respectable Colonists, from Ayrshire, who own extensive flocks, and are growing every variety of farm produce upon the vast grassy plains behind Port Cooper, have latterly supplied us with authentic and valuable information on the subject of the climate and soil of this Island. But it is to the forementioned communications of Colonel Wakefield, Mr. Tuckett, and Dr. Munro, that reference must be made for the most minute and exact information that has yet been received.
From these accounts it would appear that, whilst the temperature of the Middle Island is, as was to be expected, less warm than that of the Northern Island, the difference is much less than the difference of latitude might be supposed to indicate. The extreme loveliness of the weather at Otago in the middle of winter, as described by Dr. Munro--the surprising richness of the winter pastures, from the trickling down of the melted snows from the hills--the green fresh growth of the potato-stems at the season answering to the very end of October, or beginning of November, in this country--the fact of both Europeans and natives growing wheat of the finest quality, far in the interior behind, and to the south of Otago, and also at the Bluff Harbour, at the very southern extremity of the Island, in Foveaux Strait--and, to mention no more, the number of parroquets that are to be seen flying about, in the depths of winter amongst the evergreen woods of Stewart's Island (the South Island), and also its being the haunt of the cassowary--these are sufficient proofs that no part of the Middle Island, not even the South Island, is severe in point of climate. Its coldest parts are greatly milder than the south of France, which is in the same latitude.
The testimony of the Messrs. Deans is very decided as to the superiority of the east coast of the Middle Island over the North Island, in that it is greatly less wet and less windy, for these are the two prevailing faults of the New Zealand climate. The truth is, that, in the wet season, the continuous heavy rains in the North Island, and particularly at Auckland and the Bay of Islands,
[Image of page 36]
partake very much of a tropical character, and are comparatively unknown along the coast from Port Cooper to Otago. The vast range of snowy mountains running down the west coast of that island, it would appear, intercept the clouds from the west and south-west--this must be the chief cause why the vast undulating prairie, extending from Otago to the foot of the snowy mountains, is not visited by such prevailing high winds and heavy rains as are known at Wellington and Auckland, particularly the latter.
"It has been commonly supposed in England that the winter must be severe in the more southern parts of New Zealand. This is not the opinion of persons who have resided there; as I cannot give any information from my own experience, I will only refer to the statements of others. According to the accounts from captains of whaling ships, who had visited Port Otago, and who were questioned on the subject by Colonel Wakefield, the winter there is scarcely less mild than at Port Nicholson; and native inhabitants of the place have concurred in declaring that snow remains only on the hills. The growth of vines at Akaroa, in Banks' Peninsula, which were planted by the French colonists in the depth of winter, almost proves the mildness of the winter climate in that place. And Major Bunbury, in his report to Governor Hobson of a voyage to the southward in Her Majesty's Ship Herald, dated 28th June, 1810; (the dead of winter,) in speaking of Stewart's Island, the southern extremity of New Zealand, says, 'In some excursions I made, I was much pleased with the fertile appearance of this beautiful island; and although the winter was so far advanced, it was not so cold as I had anticipated, from its being so far to the south. Indeed the number of parroquets seen flying about gave it rather the appearance of a tropical island.'
"The cassowary has also been seen in different parts of the island; and I am told by Captain Stuart, that he has seldom found snow to lie here for any number of days, even in the depth of winter."--. The Hon. Henry W. Petre on New Zealand, p. 84.
"In this way settlement after settlement will be formed on both Islands. On the Middle Island there are several very eligible sites for the purpose, though little known. The soil is excellent; there is abundance of coal, and I believe the climate is much milder than that of England. Major Bunbury, in the report which I have already quoted, speaks as follows of this island:-- 'At Akaroa we found a native village, and some Europeans connected with whaling establishments. A Captain Lethart of Sydney, also here since the 10th of November last, has established a cattle run with about thirty head of horned cattle, and has two stock-men in charge of them. From the appearance of this herd, I am inclined to believe the pasturage much better than at the Bay of Islands. Potatoes grown from this to the southward, are unquestionably of a superior quality, and in no respect inferior to those grown in Van Diemen's Land.
"'The country has a very picturesque and park-like appearance, and seems well adapted for farms where both arable and pasture lands are required, yielding a mixed produce.
"'On leaving Tavai Poenammoo, or the Middle Island (continues Major Bunbury,) I was forcibly struck with the bleak and savage appearance of its chain of mountains covered with eternal snow, as viewed from the sea, and contrasted with the real amenity of its climate, and fertility of the soil near the coast. I am inclined to believe that the capabilities of this island for purposes of
[Image of page 37]
agriculture have been much underrated, to say nothing of its splendid harbours, and mineralogical productions.'"--Ibid., pp. 86, 87.
"I have omitted to mention, that from Mooraki to this place the stalks and leaves of the potatoes, wherever cultivated, were as verdant as at midsummer, the distance of the snowy mountains west of these parts of the island more than compensated, in respect of climate, for its southern latitude; whilst, in superiority of soil, it possesses a decided advantage over most of the districts of available land on the island adjacent to Cook's Strait."--Tuckett's Rep., p.34, 35.
"The village of Tuturou (that lies far in the interior, in the route from Otago to the Bluff Harbour in Foveaux Strait) is spoken of by whites and natives as being situated in a district of remarkable fertility. The natives residing there are reported to be extensive cultivators of wheat. Indeed the whole country between the Bluff and the Clutha (Molyneux) inland is said to be available, and such as to present no serious obstacle to the formation of a road."--Munro in New Zealand Journal, p. 55.
"On the whole, the result of this interesting trip must be the firm conviction in the minds of all who took a part in it, of the ample field for colonization afforded by the Middle Island of New Zealand. It may be considered as ascertained that a vast tract of country extending from sixty miles north of Port Cooper to Jacob's River, at the southern extremity of the island, admits of occupation in one unbroken line. How far into the interior such country may extend, it is still undetermined; but the great success attending this expedition cannot but have generated a belief that farther exploration will be rewarded by farther discoveries."--Ibid, p. 50.
"On the large plain, from what I learnt, the climate appears to be a good deal like our own.
"The summer is said to be very warm, with much bright weather, and less rain than could be desired; and the frosts of winter are sharp. This is, in fact, what is generally observed on large open levels: the thermometer is higher in summer and lower in winter, than in countries of irregular surface; at the same time, within the twenty-four hours, its range is greater. The frosts, as might be expected, set in sooner on the Port Cooper plain than to the northward. A fortnight before we arrived, there had been a frost which withered the potato stalks. At Otago, on the other hand, which we did not reach till the 24th of April, though so much farther south, and later in the season, we found the potatoes still green and flourishing. It thus appears that the frost set in at Port Cooper at least a month sooner than at Otago.
"The prevalent winds, we were informed by Mr. Deans, are north-easterly, which bring the finest weather: from the N. W. it blows hardest, and the S. W. is the rainy quarter. Snow sometimes falls, but never lies throughout the day."--Ibid, p. 57.
"The weather, while we lay in Otago, was most beautiful. (It was the end of April, answering to October in Europe.) The sky, a great part of the time, was without a cloud, and not a breeze ruffled the surface of the water, which reflected the surrounding wooded slopes, and every sea-bird that floated upon it, with mirror-like accuracy. For some hours after sunrise, the woods resounded with the rich and infinitely varied notes of thousands of this and other songsters. I never heard anything like it before in any part of New Zealand, It completely agreed with Captain Cook's description of the music of the wooded banks of Queen Charlotte's Sound.
"During this fine weather, we amused ourselves by boating about and visiting different parts of the harbour. Though everywhere beautiful, its scenery is all alike--steep wooded banks, with projecting rocky promontories, enclosing those beautiful little bays with sandy beaches so characteristic of New Zealand."--Ibid, p. 95.
[Image of page 38]
"On the whole, the east coast of the Middle Island much exceeded my anticipations; which, however, I may mention were by no means extravagant. It offers a large extent of level and undulating land; while the circumstance of its being covered with grass is of the greatest importance, as affording to industry a natural production of inestimable value, capable of being converted, with the smallest amount of labour or outlay, into a source of wealth and abundance.
"It is a remark which has been put into the mouth of Dr. Dieffenbach, that we came here to colonise New Zealand one thousand years too soon. Applied to the North Island, any one who has seen it must have been struck with the justice of the remark. But it is much less applicable to the east coast of New Munster. Altogether this portion of the country has much more the appearance of being matured, and has an older and more respectable look. You do not see those numberless sharp, fresh-fractured looking ridges which cut up the surface, and render it hopeless to any thing but goats, who alone might live there if there were any thing to eat. On the contrary, the outline of the hills is more rounded and swelling, with expanded tops, while plains lie at their feet, resulting from the same causes which have produced the rounded outline of the former, what geologists term 'degradation,' viz., the washing down of the more elevated portions of the land by the long-continued action of the elements. The geological structure of the country appeared to me of an older character than that of the North Island. Thus in Banks' Peninsula we find an old vesicular trap--at Moeraki, Waikouaite, and Otago, we met with the coal formation and old basaltic rocks--between Molyneux and Totoes the coast consists of grand and lofty cliffs of dark red sandstone, the strata of which rise not towards the interior of the country, but towards the sea.
"The east coast of the Middle Island seems to me to hold out greater attractions to the colonists than any part of New Zealand. There is a very large field for the production of wool along the east coast of this island, and I am convinced that it can be grown with greater profit there than in any part of Australia. There are no native dogs, which are the principal cause of the expense of the shepherding in Australia. (There are, however, I should mention, a few Maori dogs, run wild, hut these might soon be got rid of.) There is abundance of water enabling the flock-master to wash his wool thoroughly; and the climate of this country is particularly favourable to the constitution of the sheep. Having seen most of the Australian colonies, and acquired a little experience at some expense, I see no occupation which affords so good a prospect of rapid return upon the money invested as sheep-grazing in this country, wherever pasture is sufficiently abundant; and there is a great extent of grass land between Banks' Peninsula and the Bluff.
"This district of country possesses also a great advantage in this, that there are almost no natives. On the great plain to the south of the Peninsula there are not, we are told, more than thirty or forty altogether. Otago and its neighbourhood and Robuki are their head-quarters, and there their numbers are very inconsiderable. In the fine district behind Molyneux Bay, there are only four men. To the southward along the coast, there are hardly any. So that settlers in this part of the country have nothing to fear from claims to land or annoying attempts at extortion."--Ibid, p. 234.
"Early in September Mr. Deans (from Ayrshire) who had formed one of the exploring party which travelled by land from Wellington to Taranaki about two years before, returned from a trip to the cast coast of the Middle Island. He was so pleased with the district near Port Cooper, which had been described by Messrs. Daniell and Duppa, that he began to make preparations for squatting there with a herd of cattle. ***** In the course of the next two months he disposed of his lease and improvements (at Ward Island, near
[Image of page 39]
Wellington,) and fulfilled his intentions. he visited Port Nicholson towards the end of the next year, and spoke in raptures of the country where he had been living. He was in quiet possession of a vast tract of rich pasture, where he could ride about and see his cattle increase and prosper rapidly; and he soon returned to his chosen location, disgusted with the tangled web of difficulties in which he found his old fellow-settlers still involved."--E. Jerningham Wakefield's Adventure in New Zealand, p. 201.
"On the 23d of November, Captain Smith returned from an expedition to the Middle Island on the Company's service--Colonel Wakefield had despatched him in a small cutter about the time that he himself sailed for Auckland, to examine and report upon the coast, the harbours, and adjoining country along the whole east coast of the Middle Island. We had made a very careful and interesting report, with accurate sketches and maps of the principal harbours and rivers. Unfortunately the cutter, in entering the port of Akaroa on her return, had been suddenly upset by a squall and sank in deep water; so that all his maps, books, journals, and valuable instruments were irretrievably lost. Captain Smith's report to the Company, made partly from memory, and partly from materials which he had sent to Wellington by another opportunity, is still a most interesting document, and causes the reader to lament the accident which prevented it from being complete. ***** In short words, it proved that a very large and promising field was open for colonization in the Middle Island, with excellent harbours and inland water communication, scarcely any native occupants, and a climate, perhaps not so warm as that of Cook's Strait, but equally productive."--Ibid, pp. 311, 312.
THE OTAGO BLOCK.
This well-defined block of land, comprehending 400,000 acres, is situated on the cast coast of the Middle Island, about 150 miles south of Banks's Peninsula, extending from S. lat. 45° 40', to S. lat. 46° 20', with a noble harbour; abundance of untimbered fertile land, and open grassy pastures interspersed with an adequate supply of wood; a navigable inland water communication running up the centre of the block for nearly its entire length, with the richest land lying on cither side of it; remarkably well watered; with an ample field of coal; and to the west, and stretching away to the feet of the snowy mountains, an unbounded sheep-walk, open to the farmer and flock-owner; --these constitute a series of combined advantages rarely to be met with within such a moderate compass.
"The block from which it is proposed to select the lands of the New Edinburgh settlement, has a coast line of from fifty to sixty miles in length, lying between the mouth of Otago harbour and a headland called the Nuggetts, about three miles S. W. of Molyneux. It extends an average distance inland of seven miles. The more hilly portions being omitted, the sections will be taken in one continuous line, extending throughout the whole district, branching out at various points so as to include all that is most desirable. The most remarkable feature in this district is the great facility of internal water communication. To so great an extent will this invaluable privilege
[Image of page 40]
be enjoyed, that no section will be far from, and many will be adjacent to, a navigable river or lagoon. In point of land, certainly there need not be an inferior section in the whole settlement.
"The southernmost portion of this block is watered by the rivers Puerua, Koau, and Matou, besides a multitude of smaller streams. The two last named rivers are navigable for vessels of considerable tonnage. Connected with one another, and with the Matou, by navigable streams, are the lagoons of Kaitongata and Rakitoto, one and six miles long respectively. Their fertile shores will furnish an admirable scries of sections; the only drawback to which is the scarcity (not the absence) of wood. The head of the Rakitoto lagoon is about eighteen miles from the mouth of the Matou; and here, in this direction, water communication ceases. There is no formidable obstacle to the formation of a road between this and the plain of the Tokomairiro. The plain itself is about 1000 acres in extent, and consists entirely of grass; but the neighbouring hills are not destitute of wood. Though well watered, it is free from swamps. From this valley there is almost a level pass into that of the Taieri, where water communication again commerces; and, by means of the Waihola lagoon and the Taieri river, continues uninterrupted to within about nine miles of the Otago harbour. The Waihola and Rakitoto lagoons are about twelve miles apart. The plain of the Taieri is swampy to a large extent; but, on the whole, will be a valuable district. The river of the same name flows into the sea about twenty or thirty miles south of Otago. For the first five miles from its mouth, it is confined within lofty and precipitous hills, that barely afford it room to pass. Beyond this the valley suddenly opens, and the river branches, leading to the Waihola on the south, and passing through the bulk of the valley on the north. Like the preceding districts, this is rather bare of wood.
"Between the Taieri and Otago, the country consists chiefly of hills of moderate elevation, covered with a good soil. Over them, and through the passes between, a practicable road might readily be formed."--Munro, pp. 55, 56.
"At Port Cooper, half the labourers' time would be consumed in bringing fuel from a distance from any suitable site for a settlement; and it may be safely asserted, that a section of 50 acres there would not pay the cost of fencing, and building on it, in the course of the owner's life. The neighbourhood of Otago is, on the contrary, essentially, as was observed to me by a labouring man from Nelson, a poor man's country--containing good land and plenty of wood. The plains in the vicinity of Banks' Peninsula would be more appropriately colonised under a system of division of the land into sections of not less than a square mile each, with facilities to flock-holders and capitalists to acquire a contiguous property to an extent to meet their means and wishes. Happily, the block of land purchased by the Company for the settlement of New Edinburgh, out of which we are at liberty to select 150,000 acres to meet the engagements made with purchasers, contains, in the immediate neighbourhood of the good land that will be surveyed as properties, extensive tracts of excellent pasture grounds, which will be open to all under the sanction of the Government; and outside the boundary of the block, to the westward, there is an extent of land of the same nature--boundless to the view, untrodden by the foot of man, and affording abundant food for sheep and cattle during the whole year, with the exception of a few weeks in the winter, when the uplands are covered with snow; during which time the plains and valleys yield a more abundant herbage than in the heats of summer."--Col. Wakefield's Letter to Secretary of New Zealand Company, p. 6..
[Image of page 41]
OTAGO HARBOUR--SITE FOR A TOWN.
This harbour is thirteen miles long by an average width of two miles, with six fathoms of water for seven miles up, from the Heads to the Islands, and with three fathoms for the remaining six miles, up to the very head of the harbour; perfectly sheltered; the tide runs at the rate of three miles an hour, which will aid a vessel in working up and down the harbour. The harbour runs in a direction nearly north and south, and opens towards the meridian sun, which is justly esteemed a great advantage. The capital town of Dunedin will stand at the very head of the harbour, in a situation of great natural beauty, and connecting the rural land of the interior with the sea-port.
"The first impressions created by the sight of the harbour are extremely favourable. Lying open to the north, it is entered with a fair wind from the other settlements of New Zealand, and from Australia.
"This also prevents any delay at the Heads, on leaving the port. A fair wind out of harbour takes a vessel soon free of the land, and, if seized at the commencement, may carry a ship of average sailing qualities to Cook's Strait in forty-eight hours.
"The distance between Port Nicholson and Otago is 320 miles. There is no lee-shore, except, in the bays along this coast, with the winds that usually blow with any violence. That from the north-east is known for its mild character. Its northern aspect, moreover, renders Otago much more agreeable than if it opened to the south; 4 as do Akaroa, Port Underwood, and Port Nicholson. The morning sun enlivens every part of the harbour, which is protected from the cold wind by an amphitheatre of hills. The wind prevails from the S. W., which draws right down and out of the harbour; but this need not prevent a vessel bound to the place, and unable to enter the port in consequence of its strength, from anchoring in perfect safety at about a quarter of a mile from the eastern head (called Taiaroa's head), in smooth water of about eight fathoms depth, with good holding ground. Ample sea room presents itself to strange vessels unable to fetch into the anchorage before nightfall. The sand-banks which lie immediately within the heads are of inconsiderable extent, and have, according to Captain Wing, who sounded carefully all over the entrance, three fathoms and a half of water on them at dead low-water, spring tides. The tide runs about three miles an hour, and may be made good use of in working a vessel up or down the harbour; as the port is land-locked on three sides, the sea seldom rises on the banks; and the sandy-nature of the bottom prevents damage to small vessels touching it. Pilots and buoys will hereafter render the channel extremely easy to navigate vessels not exceeding five hundred tons burthen up to the islands: but larger vessels will find safe anchorage a mile inside the heads abreast of the village, which has sprung up there from its having been the site of a whaling station, and the residence of the Natives visiting the harbour on their voyages from Banks' Peninsula to Foveaux's Strait. An American whaler of 600 tons was lying there lately to refresh. A great advantage presents itself at Otago over Port Cooper, in the abundance of timber and fire-wood that grows on its shores."-- Col. Wakefield, pp. 4, 5, 6.
"Before leaving Hoputai, which you will observe by the chart is a small bay near the islands, and about mid-way between the entrance of the harbour and
[Image of page 42]
its head, I examined with Mr. Tuckett the capabilities it affords for the site of a seaport town. The land available for building around and contiguous to the bay consists of about 150 acres. The face towards two sides of the bay is steep, but on the top there is table land, and at the base sufficient level to afford room for a road. Warehouses might be also built almost even with the water, by excavating back into the hill. The great advantages of the site are, its being perfectly sheltered both from wind and swell of the sea, and having four and five fathoms water close to a sufficient part of its shores, for the construction of ample wharfs and quays.
"The shores of the harbour of Otago arc, as I have already said, densely wooded. The hills are not so steep as around Port Nicholson, and the soil is, generally speaking, better adapted for husbandry. The distance from the heads of the port to its termination is about fourteen miles. A channel runs throughout its whole length; but it has not yet been precisely ascertained what depth of water there is to the south of the islands, or in the upper harbour, as it may be called. Near the islands there are 15 fathoms, and a small vessel that took some of the surveyors and stores, carried three fathoms all the way up the harbour. When the channel is marked with stakes on the sand banks, similarly to the upper part of Portsmouth harbour, and with two or three buoys near the entrance, no harbour that I have seen will be more convenient; but in order to make it the most safe and commodious harbour of New Zealand, it requires a small steam tug, which, when not engaged in towing vessels in or out, might be advantageously employed in plying between the port and the town."--Ibid, pp. 7, 8.
"On the whole I consider Otago as an excellent harbour. It has hitherto been thought to have a bar at its entrance, which is not the case. For picturesque beauty Otago only yields to Akaroa amongst the harbours of New Zealand."--Ibid, p. 8.
"On the 24th of April, the exploring vessel entered the noble harbour of Otago. The entrance is narrow--a little more than a quarter of a mile only; and, as there cannot be short of thirty square miles of tidal water within, the current at the mouth is strong. The harbour is divided into an inner and an outer, by two islands that lie across it. The former is about six miles in length, and the latter about seven. The average width of either is about two miles. The channels leading from the one harbour to the other are narrow and deep. A great portion of the space within both harbours consists of shallows; and every tide discovers several large dry banks. Still, enough of deep water remains to render either an extensive and valuable harbour. Nothing can be more perfect than the shelter it affords; and its fertile shores, wooded to the water's edge, form a picture of no ordinary beauty."--Munro, p. 55.
"Saturday, 27th. --Landed at the head of the inner or upper harbour, the length of which must be full seven miles, that of the lower about six. On either side the forest continues unbroken; good timber is abundant; the soil, notwithstanding that the surface is often rocky and stony, appears to be fertile, the rock being probably a species of basalt. There is certainly more available and eligible land on the shores of this vast inland sea than on any portion of Banks' Peninsula; and in respect of the facility of constructing a road, it possesses a corresponding superiority. A space of less than a quarter of a mile intervenes at the head of the harbour between it and the ocean shore; here, for a space of two miles, there is a water frontage to the harbour of unwooded land rising gently inland. Landing, I followed the native track for about two miles towards the Taieri, and then returned to the boat at this point. It offers an ornamental and commodious site for a town, most suitable in every respect save the distance from the deep water of the lower harbour; the channel throughout is on the west side, and generally narrow, and a fathom and a
[Image of page 43]
half of water would be found to within two miles of the extremity of the harbour. Two-thirds of the space covered by the flood is left dry at the ebb. Whilst I was there the surface of the water was almost unruffled, and no swell entered from the ocean, where the entrance is narrow. The schooner lay without motion."--Tuckett, p. 37.
"To pursue the narrative of our perambulation of the boundaries. On arriving at the head of the upper harbour, an unexceptionable site for a town presents itself to the view. The character of the country here entirely changes. The land lies in long slopes or downs, upon which grows good grass mixed with shrubs, indicative of a strong soil. The aspect of the town will be northerly [facing the meridian sun,] and fronting the harbour. To the west of it some undulating slopes, covered to the water's edge with beautiful timber and copse wood, offer space for several hundred ten-acre sections, semi-circling a cove almost dry at low water. To the south the uplands, which separate the large promontory in which the harbour is found from the level pastoral country of the main, rise gradually as a protection from the cold winds. To the eastward is an opening in the chain of hills that belt the coast between the eastern head of Otago and Cape Saunders, across which extends a barrier of recent sandy formation, shutting out the sea, which in former times evidently flowed through what is now the harbour of Otago. The site of the town thus fixed at the head of the navigation of the port, and at the commencement of the rural lands of the settlement in their whole length, abounds in wood and fresh water. The waters of the harbour teem with fish of the best sort. The habouka is taken in great quantities near the shipping town; flat fish and oysters in all the bays."--Col. Wakefield, p. 8.
"We returned to Otago on 20th of July. The proposed site of the town pleased me more on a closer inspection, and the next day I had my good opinion of it confirmed by Mr. Commissioner Spain, with whom I again visited it, and who pronounced it, an admirable position for the purpose. In this particular I differ with Dr. Monro, who may possibly have not been struck with the advantages I have had to seek for the location of towns. The only objection that I can name is its distance from the shipping town and port, viz., 7 miles; but this is greatly palliated by the excellent water communication of the upper harbour. --Ibid, p. 11.
THE RIVER CLUTHA (MATOU, OR MOLYNEUX, IN THE MAPS)--PLAIN OF THE CLUTHA.
This line river is a quarter of a mile broad, six fathoms deep, and retains, it is said, that depth and width for fifty miles inland as the crow flies. By all accounts it appears to wind through extended plains of great beauty and extraordinary fertility. It forms the southern extremity of the block, whilst Otago harbour forms the northern extremity.
"The Clutha [or Matou] is a river which even an American would not contemn; its course inland is so distant that I cannot pretend to estimate the distance. The hills west of its course are certainly twenty miles from the shore, and no snowy mountains are visible. Mr. ----- informed me subsequently that he had ascended it in a boat for at least fifty miles, and that it was still navigable for a large boat; also that many navigable creeks unite with it, by one of which a boat may be taken to a lagoon, called Kaitangata,
[Image of page 44]
and then by a narrow channel to another lagoon, called Rangitoto, from whence the distance to the Tairei valley docs not exceed six miles.
"Mr. Palmer informed me that he once ascended the Clutha [or Matou] in a boat for a distance, he imagines, equal to fifty miles, in a straight course (not estimated by that of the river); and he was still, he believes, very far from its head. I was much pleased with the Tautuke. It is not merely rich and picturesque in scenery, but very productive. I have no doubt but that a road might be easily formed up the valley, and over the summit ridge to the unwooded plains Tutu-rau and To-Toi. "--Tuckett, pp. 42, 46.
"A short distance farther, and the rising ground, which had hitherto been close upon our right hand, turned off towards the interior; and we had before us the long beach at the bottom of Molyneux Bay, with a large extent of level country behind it. On mounting to the top of some low sand hills, we came in view of the Molyneux river, --a majestic stream of water about a quarter of a mile broad, deep, with well-defined banks, flowing close to us parallel to the sea, with a steady, gentle current. Looking up it we could trace its course through a large extent of alluvial land, by the thick fringe of ti-ti trees upon its banks, and by numerous groves of wood, producing a most picturesque effect. At the distance of about ten miles inland, gentle slopes, apparently grassy, rose to a moderate elevation, behind which no mountains were visible, save in one direction towards the north-west, where the white summits of a very far distant range showed themselves. The landscape was altogether one of great beauty and unusually rich softness."--Munro, p. 119.
"The Clutha [Matou or Molyneux] river, is a magnificent stream of near a quarter of a mile wide, deep, and with a moderate current. It is difficult of entrance from the surf over the bar at the mouth, and from the circumstance of its having an invariable outward current. Beyond the bar it has six fathoms of water; and it is said to preserve its depth and width for sixty miles from its mouth.
"The plain of the Clutha, which is from 10,000 to 20,000 acres in extent, has a fine growth of grass, flax, etc. The land is undoubtedly good, but liable in portions to be overflown. Probably, the most desirable land will be found on the neighbouring hills, which display a series of most beautiful slopes, chiefly clothed with grass. As on the plain itself, there is a fair sprinkling of wood. In every direction there are extensive tracts of this valuable description of country. The two white settlers have grown such crops of corn and potatoes on the fine wooded slopes behind the village as leave no doubt of their great fertility."--Ibid, p. 55.
"At Ivikatea the Clutha [Molyneux or Matou] is a splendid river, upwards of 200 yards in width, with a deep steady current and definite banks. Each of the branches into which it divides is a large river, with a depth of several fathoms of water. But unfortunately at its mouth the river is contracted by a reef of rocks. What its navigable capabilities are has not yet been ascertained, but it is certain that its mouth is not easily accessible. By small vessels or steamers, it might, generally speaking, be entered, but not by sailing vessels of any burden, except in particular states of the weather. In a direction inland, it is said to be navigable for whale-boats for fifty miles, by the windings of the river, which, with deductions for exaggeration, may probably amount to about twenty-five."--Ibid, p. 233.
CLIMATE--SOIL, PASTURES, PRODUCTS, &C
Otago being situated at a distance of between 150 and 200 miles from the chilling influence of the vast range of snowy mountains
[Image of page 45]
running along the west coast, the climate is markedly warmer than at such places as Port Cooper, which, although lying 150 miles nearer the tropics, is yet within twenty or thirty miles of these mountains--which is found to be far more than sufficient to counterbalance the difference of latitude. The adaptation of the soil for the growth of wheat and other grain, and particularly of the finest quality of potatoes, and also the richness and abundance of the pastures, seem to place this district in the very foremost rank, in point of agriculture, amongst the soils of New Zealand. Coal, iron, and copper, have been found in the district.
"Went to the mouth of the harbour [of Otago]; visited the natives on either side, and engaged three to accompany me to Molyneux.
"A person named -----, an agent of Mr. -----, of Sydney, conducts a store and tavern; he has a good house and a flowery garden. There, are nearly twenty other Europeans residing here, most of whom have enclosures of cultivated land. I have not seen elsewhere in New Zealand such fine potatoes; supposing I saw only a picked sample, they excelled all other picked samples."--Tuckett, p. 37.
"Whilst at the Aparima or Jacob's river, at the very southernmost point of the Middle Island, I called on Mr. ----- to see the wheat which he has grown. It was in very good condition and heavy, grown on cleared bush-land, a nice sandy loam, but too sandy to last long without manure."--Ibid, p. 52.
(From the Colonial Gazette.)
[The envelope in which the following communication is enclosed bears the post-mark, "Monmouth." The hand is not known to us. We mention these circumstances because they convince us that our correspondent, whoever he may be, is not open to the suspicion of having a personal interest in giving too favourable an opinion of Otago.]
TO THE EDITOR OF THE COLONIAL GAZETTE.
SIR, --In the Colonial Gazette of Oct. 25, 1845, Mr. George Rennie, when disclosing the misunderstanding that has arisen between him and the New-Zealand Company, calls the attention of the intended colonists of New Edinburgh to the probability there is that, 'Although the winter at Otago (the place chosen) may never be severe, there may not be sufficient sun and dry weather to produce a fine quality of corn.' And this foreboding is with regard to a place in the very high latitude of 46 deg. S.
"As an answer to the above extract from Mr. Rennie's letter, I would offer to the notice of persons interested in this colony the following extracts from 'The Journal of the Bishop of New Zealand' (part 3, price 4d.), lately published by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts."
"'January 23. --The wind being contrary, I staid at Waikouaiti, and walked over the settlement, visiting most of the English settlers--many of whom had good fields of corn nearly ready for harvest. In the afternoon rode to a large farm belonging to Mr. Jones, a merchant of Sydney, where I saw a noble field of wheat of fifty acres, and a very large stock of cows, sheep, and horses.'
"Again, page 17:--
........."'We ran safely behind the headland, and into the little river of Waikouaiti, twenty miles from Moerangi, and ten from Otakou.'
[Image of page 46]
"Again, page 7 :--
"'Left Wellington at noon in the Richmond schooner, twenty tons, Brown, master, with agreement to he landed at Akaroa, Otakou (commonly pronounced Otago), or Stewart's Island, as I might determine.'
"The first of these extracts speaks to this fact:--That at a place called Waikouaiti, the Bishop saw, on the 23d of January, good fields of corn nearly ready for harvest.' The second extract tells us, that these fields were only ten miles distant from Otakou; and this Otakou is shown by the third extract to be the same as Otago, the intended site of the colony of New Edinburgh. I shall make no farther comment on Mr. Rennie's sad foreboding, but shall leave it and the extracts from the 'Bishop's Journal' to the consideration of the intending colonists. I would, however, recommend them to purchase this third part of the 'Bishop's Journal,' as they will find in it some very interesting information--especially interesting to such as purpose to settle near the southern extremity of New Munster. Be this, too, remembered, that, as the Bishop is not a land-jobber, any statistical information he may give, with regard to the country or the people, may be safely depended upon."
I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
"Beyond the first ridge of down, which forms the southern horizon from the harbour, lies an undulating country covered with grass. This is more or less good, according to position and aspect, and has been much deteriorated in places by extensive and repeated burnings, which impoverish the land. The worst of it, however, affords abundant food for sheep.
"The anise plant, so valuable as pasture for sheep and cattle, abounds over all the land we traversed. It is this plant that renders the plain of the Waimea, near Nelson, so propitious to the fattening of stock. I have never tasted such well-flavoured meat as that fattened on the natural pastures near Nelson. The plant is also found in abundance near Port Cooper, and in the Wairarapa valley, near Port Nicholson. I have not seen it farther north, or in any district where fern abounds. Its chief property seems to be a warming tonic. As such I believe some preparation of its seed is given in racing stables in England, as a condition ball. It arrives at its full growth during the summer; hut in many places during our journey, I found it at this season of the year 18-inches in length, and scarcely a square foot of ground without a root of it. In the uplands we found snow in some places knee deep, and the ground frozen to the depth of an inch, but on our return these indications of a severe climate had disappeared before some days as warm as those of summer. The vicinity of snowy eminences is highly estimated by flock owners, particularly where the downs are round topped and in long slopes, so that the gradual tricklings from the melting snows go to nourish the roots of the grasses. After traversing these downs for five miles from Otago, we overlooked the plain of the Taieri, which contains about 40,000 acres of land, and is intersected by the river of the same name, navigable for large boats twelve miles from the sea, which it reaches at about 25 miles from Otago. About two-thirds of the plain are now available. The remainder is subject to inundations, but may be reclaimed and rendered more valuable than the higher parts."--Colonel Wakefield, pp. 9, 10.
"The land at the head of the Waihola Lake consists of undulating downs, round topped, and covered with herbage, grass of various descriptions, and anise of larger growth than any I had previously seen. Quails are plentiful over all these downs, and in the plains adjoining, and would be more so, but for the hawks and kites.
"Hereafter it will become the business of the Scotch sportsmen to give re-
[Image of page 47]
wards for their destruction. The view from Owiti is very extensive. At its base, to the S. W., lies the plain of the Tokomairaro, containing about 14,000 acres. To the east, hills, to the breadth of seven miles, extend to the coast; to the north lies the portage of six miles between it and the Waihola; and to the west, undulating prairies of boundless extent, available for cattle and sheep three parts of the year. It would be a most advantageous and attractive thing to the settlement, if some Scotch proprietors would send some red deer to be turned out here. In the course of a few years there is no doubt they would increase largely. The sport of hunting them would be highly attractive, and would conduce to the improvement of the breed of horses, and afford a manly amusement to the young Colonists, fitting them for the more serious occupations of stock-keeping and wool-growing. The communication with this country from Otago is extremely easy. Water carriage can be made use of down the Taieri to the head of the Waihola Lake. A good road may be made without much expense from thence to Rangitoto. A short portage thence to Kaitangata Lake and to the Clutha River and District."--Ibid. pp. 10. 11.
"The tide having ebbed, we descended to the base of the cliffs, and walked along a natural pavement formed by the horizontal strata. We were not long in perceiving indications of coal in black streaks in the sandstone, and thin beds of richly bituminous shale; and we picked up several rounded pieces of pure coal cast up by the waves. But, on turning a projected point, we found ourselves in face of a black wall or cliff, which, upon examination, turned out to be pure coal. In thickness, what we saw of it could not be less than eighteen feet, while, as the pavement on which we stood was coal as well, extending out to meet the waves, it was impossible to say how much deeper it went. Mr. Tuckett was of opinion that in quality it was very superior to the ordinary New Zealand coal; but, in this opinion I could not agree with him, as it appeared to me to have the same conchoidal fracture and resinous lustre as the Massacre Bay coal, as well as that which I have seen from other districts in this country. What was rather remarkable, was its nearness to the surface. Above it lay a bed of about twenty feet of a conglomerate of small quartz pebbles, on the top of which the soil commenced. We were not able to estimate the horizontal extent of the bed. What we saw ranged only for a few hundred yards, disappearing in some small gullies, which at that point intersect the cliffs."--Munro, pp. 119.
"As we proceeded about the time of low water along shore, I was gratified to observe very abundant large pieces of drift coal of good quality, still no bed was visible in the face of the cliff. Farther on the beach became again rocky, and quantities of coal were lodged between the rocks, and soon appeared in view a black cliff. I felt certain it must be a vast formation of coal, although Mr. -----, at Waikauwaike, had declared that there was no other coal discovered along the coast, but the insignificant appearance which I had examined at Matakaea. Approaching this cliff, I found it to be a mass of coal for about one hundred yards length, in thickness from twelve to twenty feet, as seen in the face of the cliff above the sand, and to what depth it exists beneath the sand I could not ascertain; I should suppose, from appearance of coal, adjacent to the depth of low water.
"The beach is not accessible on account of the heavy swell and great surf. The coal must, therefore, be worked inland, and the bed will be no doubt discovered near the bank of the Clutha [or Matou] River, which, in a direct line inland, is probably not more than four or five miles distant."--Tuckett, pp. 41, 42.