SECTION 6.--OPINIONS OF A SETTLER.
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SECTION 6.--OPINIONS OF A SETTLER.
224. THE following letters from Mr Perry, late of Glasgow, to his father, Dr Perry, will give a better idea of the state of the principal settlement, that at Wellington, than anything which could be said upon the subject:--
"WELLINGTON, 3d January, 1842.
"MY DEAR FRIEND, --I have never been able until now to command time enough to reply to your kind letter. You cannot conceive how cheering it is at this distance to receive a communication from a friend. Mr W. did quite right, having a saw-mill, to leave this. There is none of the Cowrie pine here, which is the only wood yet exported; and, although every hill and valley is thickly clothed with timber, owing to the rugged nature of the country, and the want of large navigable rivers to float it down, persons clearing land are obliged to burn and destroy the most splendid timber, which, could they manage to get it to the sea, would pay them well, so that there is scarcely enough cut here to serve the local consumpt; and we often can buy imported seasoned timber cheaper than that raised here.
"The country is much intersected with hills and deep gullies; they are unlike the hills of any other country. They do not run regularly in ranges, but are scattered
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about, and those that do run in ranges are divided by deep indentations, and, in the sides, almost into separate hills, merely connected by a ridge at the top, along which the Maoris (or natives) form their footpaths, thereby avoiding all the gullies. The valleys, too, are, in general, small and isolated, which will make the expense of roads to each very heavy. I have only had time to make one excursion into the country--for one sees nothing of it here but the precipitous ends of hills running down into the bay, like the gable ends of so many houses, and the flat at one end of the bay, on which the town is built, and the valley of the Hutt at the other, stretching away to the high mountains in the interior, which are often covered with snow. The day was very fine, and Mr J. and a number more of us set off, early in the morning, to go to a valley called the Makara, which had lately been surveyed and given out. Our way (for road there was none, except a Maori footpath, or a surveyor's line, cut through the bush), lay through Yuill's section in the Karori district. We had tea in their cottage, and they accompanied us on the day's excursion. The Karori district, as far as I saw of it, is perfectly level, and thickly covered with timber of a most gigantic growth--the trees towering as straight as an arrow to their very top, with few branches. It is situated on a higher level than the Makara, which is of quite a different character, being covered with low brushwood much more easily cleared. The soil, too, seems to be richer, with more vegetable matter and less clay, than the Karori, and would raise every plant cultivated at home, and many which we never see but in the greenhouse. Every one declared it was the finest soil they ever saw. In these valleys the wind, which blows with so much violence in the bay, is scarcely felt. It would be a beautiful place for growing fruit, surpassing even the banks of the Clyde from Hamilton to Lanark; and did any one go there with a little capital (especially a man with a good active family), they could soon raise everything they would require; but it will
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be a long time, I am afraid, before they can get a road to convey their produce to market. New Zealand is a strange country in that respect--where you find a good harbour, you have no extent of land whose produce can be easily brought to market; and where you find the largest extent of available land you have no harbour.
"Here, in consequence of the small quantity of available land in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, many people are living about as regardless of agriculture as if they were in a large town at home; in this way many who came out with a little capital have spent their all; there is a good deal, however, of clearing going on about the Hutt, and the land, judging from the crops, is of the greatest fertility. If there is any failure of the crops, it will be from over-luxuriousness, the grain has stooled so much; one-fourth of the seed required at home will do here. In a walk of a few miles up the banks of the river Hutt we were quite delighted. The trees are of immense size on the uncleared parts, and very thick set. We could not help looking back on Wellington, and, seeing the improvements going on around, thinking here they are doing something substantial for their living. There they are living one upon another. We dined with S-----, who came out with us; he lives with his cousin, who saws timber. We drank tea with Dr L-----; he seems pretty comfortable, and is as sanguine as ever about the country, although he is getting very frail and can do little. I spent New-year's-day with Mr S-----; we had a pleasant party, and most excellent hotchpotch made by Mrs S-----, as good as ever we had at home; they are very kind, and would have me oftener than I can spare time. The people here are unfortunately divided into two parties, called the Company's and Governor's; the one blames the Company for everything wrong, and the other the Governor, not always with right judgment. You will see by the newspapers I have sent the result of the inquiry into the circumstances of Milne's murder; it is said little
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doubt rests with those who were on the inquest but that it was perpetrated by a native, yet the authorities seem afraid to apprehend him for fear of offending the rest, although I believe nothing is to be apprehended from them, as they neither, as a body, approve of the deed, nor would interfere to prevent him being punished, if found guilty. The whalers and others who know them best laugh at the cowardliness of the authorities, and say, that, if any one of them were desired, they would apprehend the suspected native amongst five hundred. They are perfectly aware of the power of the law, and always, when wronged or assaulted by Europeans, claim its protection; as for fighting and quarrelling with one another in the same tribe that is what you never see; they live in their pahs like one family, having all things in common, and come nearer to Owen's idea of Socialism than any other people I know of; they are a very good-natured people, great mimics, and have a keen perception of the ludicrous; the young children are the best behaved of any I ever saw; you seldom hear them crying or squalling like European children; they repose quite peaceably on the backs of their parents, covered with their mat or blanket. Many of the natives have great quantities of European clothing, but they seldom wear it, preferring their mats or blankets. I have seen Warepori one day dressed in a fine suit of blue clothes, trousers, waistcoat, and surtout, and the next day with nothing but a blanket, and I confess I like him better in the latter than in the former dress. Their seriousness and attention whilst in church is most remarkable, and during the time of prayer every one's head is buried in his blanket; many of them can read and write. They are a most shrewd people, and the veriest Jews alive in their dealings. When they adopt our customs, and turn their attention to business, the Europeans will have no chance with them. Few of them act as servants to the whites here. They stay altogether in their pahs and cultivate potatoes, catch fish, &c., which they sell for their own benefit. In the middle
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island it is said they are more serviceable to the Europeans, and have adopted more of their customs, living in houses and wearing European clothing, and instead of the native canoe they have well appointed whale boats. Although not Christians, they seem to be more civilized than those here, from the fewer number of themselves, and the greater number of whalers settled amongst them. Their language is much different from that spoken here, so that those who understand the one often do not understand the other. The climate of the middle island nearly equals this, and surpasses that of Port Nicholson in one respect, which, from its position, is the most variable in New Zealand. Have the New Zealand Company an agent in Glasgow? Are the Company's means to be squandered in sending out unfit people from the large towns of England, when plenty of emigrants of the best class could be got from the country districts of Scotland?
"MONDAY, 24th January. --This has been a most joyous and merry day to the settlers, the 2d anniversary of the first settlement, warm, the sun brilliant, with a gentle breeze. The turn-out of people was surprising. I am certain there were upwards of two thousand collected on the flat to witness the different sports of the day-- boat-racing, horse-racing, hurdles, &c. The natives joined in the sports; of all the sights and sports what pleased me most was the horticultural exhibition. It was truly gratifying to see such splendid vegetables raised in a colony of such short standing, and reminded me of the passage in Numbers describing the return of the spies, with specimens of the produce of the land of promise. I left the rifleshooting, pole-climbing, &c., &c., and went on board of the Fifeshire, arrived from London, to make inquiry about a young man who had been asking about me, expecting to hear some news from home, but missed him. I have got off from the evening party, and am occupying the time in writing you, but I must to bed; so good night, wishing you many happy returns of the season. --I am, &c., "A. PERRY."
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"WELLINGTON, 10th Feb, 1842.
225. "DEAR FATHER, --On the 7th, the Auckland arrived and brought me letters and papers from home, which, you may be sure, have proved a great treat. I am happy to see you continue all well. Mr Imrie has gone from Wanganui to Nelson, and writes me in high spirits about that settlement, but I expect him here again soon.
"Notwithstanding the rage for Nelson, and the general agreement as to the seeming extent of available and flat land in the neighbourhood, and the snugness of its harbour, I am inclined, from all I have learned, to think that Port Levi, or Port Couper, which the Company would have gone to in preference, had they not been hindered by the Governor, would have been a more eligible place. These are two ports on the north of Bank's Peninsula, separated from each other merely by a headland, forming a sort of angle. They run up until they nearly meet. Port Couper is the largest and most sheltered.
"None should come out to this colony without capital, except as labourers, and the two ought always to go together. It is worse than folly to send out labourers without capital to employ them. It should not, therefore, be undertaken by government. Much of the land here is owned by absentee proprietors, who expend no capital upon it. This is a great evil to a colony, as small capitalists, who wish to become farmers, are unwilling to lease land when they can buy it out and out at a cheap rate, and clear it as their capital increases.
"I have thus sketched out a scheme of emigration, and urged the occupation of Port Couper by a Scottish Company, because I think it would be of immense benefit to both countries, and this is probably the last and best opportunity a Scottish Company will have. It is a good thing to secure a good harbour. Look at the Plymouth Company's settlement at Taranakie, which, although located in confessedly the finest agricultural district in New Zealand, yet, from want of a port,
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will be many years before it does any good. A vessel could, on an average, run down to Port Couper as soon, if not sooner, than she could enter this port, and be snugger when she is in. A newspaper, bank, and other companies, would require to be established from the very commencement of the settlement. These the directors could keep in their own hands. They would be a profitable way of investing any capital they might choose to advance. Your last letter was written in autumn, and you complain of the coldness and wetness of the weather. This is written in our autumn, and if one could think about complaining of such delightful weather as we have had for some time past, it would be that it was too dry and warm. What crops have been harvested have been got in, in the finest condition, without a shower. I saw a crop of oats which was beginning to ripen (before Colonel Wakefield's house, in one of the most exposed situations here), before it was cut down for cattle, sending up a second vigorous growth from the same roots; indeed, I believe both wheat and oats turn perennial in most parts of the country after they have been once sown. What I have admired most in the weather lately is the cessation of the high winds which generally prevail, and which, were they to continue to blow as they sometimes do, would shake and scatter the ripened grain. But it seems wisely ordered by Providence that they should cease about this time, and that the weather should be dry and warm, in order to allow the crops to be secured in good condition. What shows that this is the usual weather we may expect about this time is, that the Maoris wait till this time to burn the trees they have cut down in clearing the land. There is just as much rain as is required to bring forward the crops, after which it clears up, and the sun shines in an unclouded sky of ethereal blue. If we had just a country with as much level available land as Great Britain, and such a climate as this, it would be the first in the world; but nothing here below is perfect, Providence having wisely balanced the advantages which one country or one situation has
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over another, by countervailing disadvantages, so as to call forth our faculties into exercise. I have just now got a letter from my friend Mr Imrie at Nelson. He is quite in raptures with it, and says he feels confident, from what he has seen, that it will become one of the most flourishing settlements in New Zealand, and you know he is not one of the most sanguine. Should the middle island he colonized, the seat of government must be changed. The governor, in the new Municipal Bill, has given universal suffrage in the election of councillors. But I must close this, and believe me, dear Father, yours,
226. "I THINK the climate even here, although from its situation and exposure, not nearly so good as that of other parts of the island, is delightful; and were it not for the high winds which prevail as much, I am told, in summer as in winter, would be unexceptionable, otherwise the weather is most excellent. Enough of rain, succeeded by warmth and sunshine, vegetables of all sorts, and animals, grow and thrive surprisingly; indeed, I think they are in general more indebted to the climate than the soil, for you see vegetables growing luxuriantly amongst mere sand and gravel, which at home would produce nothing.
"Before the house in which I lodge, there is a little plot of ground about 17 yards long, by 13 broad, which supplies us with as many vegetables as we require, so that we have very frequently broth. We have always a new crop of pease, turnips, and cabbages, coming forward in succession to supply the place of those we are using. Mr Imrie has taken the whole charge of it, and it is certainly one of the best kept little gardens in the colony. I content myself with showing a proper appreciation of Mr Imrie's labours, by consuming the fruits of them.
"Many in passing stop and look into it, and two or three of the newly arrived immigrants have come in and
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requested to be allowed to pluck a piece of the mignonette which lines the walk from the road to the house, and which, in the morning and evening, sends forth a delicious perfume.
"We have also some Indian corn which is thriving well, and beginning to send forth ears. By the time you come out we may, perhaps, also be able to give you a bunch of grapes from the same garden, as Mr Imrie has planted a vine on each side of the door. Colonel Wakefield, and others, had a quantity of ripe cherries in their gardens this year, and I have seen beautiful apples grown up the Hutt. I have no doubt the fig would thrive well if planted, so that in a few years one might "sit under their own vine and fig-tree, no one daring to make them afraid," in a land where, a few years since, one was thought to run the risk of their life even to land, amongst what was then esteemed the most ferocious of cannibals. But the New Zealanders may say, tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis, for they are now a quiet, peaceable, good-natured, well-behaved, pork-and-potatoe-eating race of savages, --if you will, although I think many at home are more deserving of the appellation. They are perfectly aware of all that is going on around them, and are much better acquainted with their own country, and its productions, than most Europeans are with theirs. They can give you a name for every plant in the country. The house in which I now write is built upon what was formerly the site of one of their pahs or village, called Kumo toti, the chief's name is Etako; he and his family, which consists of all his relations, and a number of cookees, there may be about 20 or 30 of them altogether. He lives in a house built after the European style, just one remove from where I reside. I wish all our other neighbours were as quiet and well behaved as he. Etako himself is a most gentlemanly fellow.
"As to the healthiness of the climate--I lodge next door to a young gentleman who came out, attended by a brother, for the benefit of his health, apparently
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in a deep decline, and who is now going about quite recovered. I think we shall get many to reside here instead of going home from India and China. And they will have all the advantage of a change of climate without having to undergo the severe winter which is so trying at home. Here the winter, according to those who have experienced it long, although colder and wetter, upon the whole, is as good as the summer, the weather is more equal, and not so stormy inland. At the Manewatu, for instance, where Mr J. has a fine section, the climate is described by all who have been there, as much superior to this, although even this, I believe, in winter, is superior to what you usually have in the finest summers at home. No frost or snow, and none of that continual drizzle for weeks together, more disagreeable than either. It rains heavily for a day or two, and then clears up for, perhaps, a week. In summer, although as hot in the day-time, as you have it at home, I have never been so incommoded by it at night, but that I could enjoy the warmth of a blanket.
"Farming here requires a great deal of capital, from the thickly wooded nature of the country; but the chief drawback is the want of roads on which to convey the produce raised, to market. These will not be easily formed, from the hilly or rather mountainous character of the country; however, I am in hopes that something will be done to remedy this deficiency. A great number of the labourers who have lately come out, will not, I am afraid, get employment for some time, from private individuals; and till once they are so employed, the company will have to give work, and pay them for making roads or other improvements for the benefit of the country--the great want now is capital, not labour, of which there is abundance. It is men with some capital, who have a knowledge of, and are fit for, country work, that are wanted. Had those who came out been generally of that description the colony would have been much farther advanced than it is to-day. Mr R----- has fallen into the error
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which many commit who come out with the intention of engaging in other than mercantile pursuits, of bringing out a good deal of money in goods, such as agricultural implements, which he finds will be of no use for himself or any other body for years, and for which he will never get cost price, besides locking up his money which he might be turning to better account. He has put all his things into my store for me to sell them. I would advise no one, except he means to engage in business, to bring out his money in goods, and even then he would require to have a varied and judiciously selected stock until he once knew the nature of the market. Twelve months' supply of good common clothes is all that one, not going into business, need bring, and a small assortment of the most common and useful tools; fine clothes, or large lots of seeds, and ironmongery, are of no use, and have often to be parted with at a sacrifice. Mr R-----, now that he has got his things ashore, will immediately go into the bush, and commence clearing one of his sections. And B----- intends setting out next week to see his land at Wanganui, where, if he finds he cannot get possession of it without being disturbed by the natives, who have been lately annoying the settlers there, he will either return to this, or go to Sydney and purchase some sheep and cattle, and commence grazing. Hence, nothing will yield a surer or more profitable return; indeed, that and dairy farming are just now, and likely to continue to be, for a long time, the most profitable and sure wray in the colony of investing money. As long as beef and mutton continue at 1s. per lb., and butter at 3s. 6d., those who invest their capital in cattle must make a splendid thing of it, even if prices should fall a half, which will not happen for years. M'Donald, who came out in the Blenheim with the Highlanders, sold, the other day, a lot of young cows he purchased 3 or 4 months since, at 14l. each,) and cleared nearly 10l. a-head on the lot; and sheep which can be purchased in Australia for 12s., and which will bring, when imported here, from
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20s. to 25s., are sold to the butchers after fattening for a short time, at two guineas a-head, and the butchers are obliged to go, and probably lose a day in catching them, so that I cannot see but if Mr B----- conducts himself well he will make money, provided, as I said before, he 'is not annoyed by the natives, who now, that a good deal of the land is giving out, are preventing settlers from locating themselves on their sections, saying they have never got paid by the company for the land.' The other day Rangehaiti, a chief, who has all along been hostile to the whites settling on his land, came with a band of followers, and totally demolished some houses which some newly arrived emigrants had erected at Porirua, about 8 or 10 miles from this. You will see by the papers, we have had a meeting upon the subject, and passed a resolution calling upon the sheriff to issue his warrants for his apprehension, in pursuance of an indictment which has been filed against him, and offering to turn out to his assistance if he thought the force at his disposal insufficient--but how it will end I don't know. There is no fear of the natives if they are firmly and promptly dealt with, but the authorities seem neither to have the power nor the inclination so to deal with them. Although four-fifths of the European population are now settled along Cook's straits, we have not a soldier in case of need, the whole force being kept at Auckland, "the proclamation capital," as the editor of the Gazette calls it, 400 miles off. From the neglect with which this settlement has been treated, and the tardy extension to it of the benefits of law and government, one would almost be inclined to suppose with Dr Evans, the Auckland authorities were trying the solution of the problem, at how little expense, and with how small a degree of protection, and encouragement, a community can be kept together in a taxable form. At Wanganui the settlers cannot go on their land for fear of the natives, which will be the case until they are in sufficient numbers to overcome them, or are supported by the government. Although the company
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had not fairly paid them, which I believe is not the case, they will be making fresh demands for hute, or payment, as their land rises in value by the influx of Europeans, unless restrained by the idea of a superior force. Now that the lands of the company are held like others from the government, it is surely its duty to see that the company have fairly extinguished the native title, and that settlers holding from them are allowed quietly to go on their land without molestation. People have enough to contend with in the hilly nature, and thickly timbered character of the country, and above all, in the want of roads, without being obliged to maintain their title to their land by force of arms against the natives. I hope Commissioner Spaine, who has arrived to-day in the government brig, from Auckland, to investigate the land claims, will settle this question. But, as I formerly said, there is not much to be apprehended from the natives; they are well aware of the advantages they derive from the colonists, although they are good customers to the shop-keepers, and have hitherto been of the greatest service in furnishing a supply of pigs and potatoes, yet they are not much employed by the settlers as labourers--you cannot depend upon them-- they may work well for a short time, but they have no idea of continuing at it with the perseverance of a European. They are more lazy, or rather, their wants are fewer and more easily supplied. It is different with the settlers round the coast. There European labour is not to be had, and they employ the natives, and get them to do a great deal more for them, and have a greater command over them than we have here, where, you may say, they only work for their own benefit. The natives and the settlers here have hitherto been on the best terms--people are continually travelling about amongst them, from one district to another, trading and bartering with them, and are not only not molested, but treated most kindly, and always made welcome to a share of what they have. In those parts where there are none or few European
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inhabitants, pork, potatoes, and fish, are very plentiful and cheap, so that a person can live at little or no expense, but it is different here, where the presence of so many people makes every sort of provisions very dear. Fresh pork is 8d., mutton 1s., bread 1s. 4d., the 4 lb. loaf; raw sugar 6d. to 7d.; tea varies according to the supply, from 4s. 6d. to 8s.; cheese, from 2s. to 2s. 6d.; and salt-butter, from 2s. 3d. to 2s. 8d.; fresh do., 3s. 6d.; and other things in proportion, so that the expense of living comes high.
"Wages are proportionally high, 5s. a-day for a common labourer, 10s. for carpenters, and other skilled workmen. One would imagine that, in such a country, enjoying such a climate, and soil, farming would be a sure and profitable undertaking, but the labour required to be employed before one can prepare the ground for a crop, comes so expensive that very few can afford it.
"The country is so thickly wooded that it takes 20l. or 30l. per acre to clear it, but even that expense will be returned with a profit by the first crop. It is as cheap, and ultimately is much more profitable, to cultivate such thickly wooded land, rather than fern land, with which all the unwooded land is covered. The fern is generally found growing either on exposed situations, or on very poor land. It impoverishes the land so much, and is so difficult to extirpate, requiring to be so often ploughed and harrowed, that the expense necessary to be incurred is little less than on wooded land, and the return is neither so sure nor so profitable; you will see by this that it requires a considerable capital to commence cultivating even a few acres. Independent of the expenditure for labour, one would require to have as much as maintain himself for 12 months, till once his crops come forward.
"The loss is, we have very few who can afford to do that, and many of those who could are afraid to begin, being quite unacquainted with agriculture, having been brought up all their days in large towns. What we want is an importation of bien farmers, with grown
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up working families, from Ayrshire, or the Lothians, --they would soon become wealthy. Were a number of such to come out and set a proper example, and the government or company at the same time to assist them in opening up the country by making roads, I have no fear but the colony would come on quickly. It is a country of great resources, were these developed, capable of supporting a very large population. Every day is discovering fresh tracts of land which were before unknown. The country is so hilly, and so thickly wooded, as to be almost impenetrable, except by the mauri or native footpaths, so that the surveyors have first to discover them, and then cut their way into the different valleys, and often in cutting through one valley they discover another.
"But business, not farming, is what you and I are more interested in, and here, I would say, you would find a field suitable to your active and enterprising disposition, You know what a new country is, and what are its drawbacks, and you can put up without repining with the loss of many of the little comforts and conveniences you have been accustomed to at home; you have done so before in a country where you lost your health, and where you were frozen up for half the year, and would think nothing of them in such a healthy and temperate climate as this, so that I have no hesitation in advising you to come out. With others it is different, and glad as I would be to see all my friends out here, I would not take the responsibility of advising them. If they had been brought up farmers at home, and could come out here with a little capital, especially if they had a large grown up family to assist them, they must do well; but for one unaccustomed to such work, or without capital, to come out, his chance of bettering his condition is uncertain, although to a pushing fellow with a little money the opportunities of turning it to advantage are numerous.
"In sight of where I write there are no less than five large three-masted vessels at anchor, besides two
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schooners, and other smaller vessels. One of the three-masters is the Maria Theresa, a Yankee barque, full of Boston notions, all sorts of provisions and furniture. This is the second barque from America, similarly ladened, which has been here since I came. They are a sort of floating warehouses. It is wonderful to see such a young country dealing in such a variety of fancy articles, as they generally have on board, beautifully finished chairs, tables, sofas, clocks, &c., which they can afford to sell at a cheaper rate than the same can be imported from England, notwithstanding our low wages, and small profits, and overcrowded population. The whaling season will soon commence; it begins in May, and a great quantity of goods will then be required for the supply of the different parties along the coast, so that I expect business to be brisker than it has been for some time past. The worst thing with me now is, that almost all my saleable goods are, for the present, disposed of, and to purchase other goods from the wholesale houses, except to sell in a retail way, would not answer. I have hitherto done only a wholesale business indeed, without going to a considerable expense. I have not convenience in my present premises to carry on any other. But were you coming out, I would advise you to open a retail place principally for the sale of provisions. If we could get a partner, resident at home, with a little cash, to send out such goods as we deal in, and beat up for consignments, a very good business might be carried on.
"Were a company got up at home to send out a Scotch colony to Port Couper, as I have recommended in some of my letters, that would be the opportunity to start a good business. From all I can learn, I think a company formed to colonize that Port, and the country to the south of it, would succeed better than in any other part of New Zealand. I am inclined, from all I have heard, to think that Port Levi, and Port Couper, to which the Nelson settlers would have gone in preference, had they not been
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hindered by the governor, would have been a more eligible place. There are two ports to the north of Banks' peninsula, separated from each other merely by a head-land, forming a sort of angle. They run up until they nearly meet. Port Couper is the largest and most sheltered. A river runs into it, and a large tract of fine grazing land, immediately available for grazing, is seen stretching far into the interior.
"But what renders it particularly valuable is, that it is the resort of so many whaling vessels of all nations, particularly American, who find it a very lucrative business. Not like this, and the Bay of Islands, which are resorted to solely for the purpose of procuring supplies; but there they lie off and on it, to catch the fish and bring them in to prepare the oil. 1 It is to the southward where the most vessels resort, and where the best fishing stations are. Now that there exists so much distress at home, which could be greatly relieved by emigration, could not a company be got up in Scotland to colonize Port Couper, and share these advantages? The government, I am sure, would be friendly to the scheme, as it would be the most effectual way to put down French pretensions, by swamping their colony at Banks' Peninsula, by a large British population in the neighbourhood. All the merchants in the large towns would be found to take an interest in it, as it would be a fine opening for getting quit of their surplus hands and goods; and the landlords might be got to take an interest in it, in order to get rid of their superabundant tenantry. Besides, what an opening it would be for the merchants and shipowners of Glasgow and Greenock, who are at present quite shut out by the London company from any participation in the trade or profits derived from this and the Nelson settlements. Almost all the money required would be derived from the sale of land, which they could sell at the same price as in the Nelson settlement. Very little capital would require
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to be invested, and that I think might be easily and beneficially raised by dividing it into a number of shares of small amount, so as to interest the greater number of people.
"I would recommend that the township, instead of consisting of 1100 acres, like Wellington and Nelson, should only contain 600, and those divided into quarter-acre lots which might be sold at 5l. along with 50 acres of country land, at 30s., in all 80l., quite enough for any one either to buy or cultivate for the first two or three years. As many as possible should be sold in the first place to parties actually coming out, and the remainder taken by the different boards of directors in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, and other towns.
"Their agents in those different towns should be instructed to go into the villages around, in order to beat up for emigrants, and converse with intending ones, who ought principally to be selected from the country, or country villages, where a better class of emigrants can be got than from large towns; for even tradesmen in small villages, although not so expert at any one thing, as those in towns, from being used to turn their hands to a variety of work, are on that account better fitted for a new country. The lowland Scotch, from what I have seen of them, are best fitted for a new colony. They are not only more enterprising and industrious, but being worse off at home, think less than the English of the hardships and want of comfort, which they must at first undergo on their arrival in a new country, where everything is to be done and created. I have no doubt, a Scotch colony placed in the same circumstances would sooner commence the work of production, and spend less in keeping themselves in the mean time than an English one; who, however uncomfortable their houses may be, or however shabby their clothes, must live well, and are besides more stupid and impracticable. Every encouragement may be confidently held out to farmers of small capital, who could support themselves for one
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year, till their first crop was brought home, --every year after would increase their comforts and their capital, and in a very few they would be independent lairds and none to make them afraid. What with the climate, the soil, and the abundance of moisture, there is no other colony to be compared with it for agricultural purposes, not shut up for six months of the year with frost as in Canada, or burnt up with heat and drought for four or six months as in Australia. A country in which every kind of European productions thrives. One valley has lately been discovered, near Wellington, extending for about fifty miles, covered with luxuriant grass fit for pasturing innumerable herds of cattle. And the wool of the sheep pastured in the island of Mana, in the straits, is equal to any produced in Australia. 10th June--in an excursion I lately made a short way into the country with the surveyor, I slept two nights on the ground in the open air with impunity--and, as I formerly mentioned, fevers in this part of the island are unknown. So you see there is nothing wanting in this colony but capital, and Scotch farmers, to make it the most flourishing under the British crown.
"Purchasing cattle is the rage just now, so that I hope every cottager will soon have his cow. It has blown such a violent gale from the south-east, for the last week, that no vessel could possibly arrive from Nelson. The weather has been very stormy and cold for the last fortnight, but the wind has taken off tonight, and it feels more mild; I expect that it will be round to the north-west to-morrow morning, and then we will have fine weather again. This is our winter, but I have never seen ice yet--and I am now writing in a room without a fire--there is, indeed, neither fire nor fire-place in any room of the house except the kitchen. Mr H. has just gathered a dish of green peas from the little garden before the house; and the border of mignionette (sown by Mr Imrie), which has been cut four or five times, is sending out fresh shoots, and a most delicious perfume. We have from this
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little garden a constant succession of vegetables for the kitchen.
"Our society is good--many of the surveyors come about the house I lodge in, so that I am well acquainted with them--all the young surveyors lately come out are connected with most respectable families, and are fine looking young men, accustomed to good society. I have enjoyed good health, and feel myself very happy in Mrs Miller's. She thinks you will be pleased that I am with her. Remember me kindly to all my friends.
"WELLINGTON, July, 1842.
227. "Vessels from Sydney principally bring flour, tea, sugar, rice, &c., which are now much cheaper than they were some time ago. Most of the larger vessels which have arrived have brought down cargoes of cattle from Sydney or its neighbourhood--one from Brulee and Two-fold Bay, and others are daily expected from the same places; so that we are likely soon to be overstocked from want of land to feed them on. Not but what there are plenty of districts in the neighbourhood available for that purpose if we had access to them by roads. Indeed, I believe it will be found that the quantity of land in the neighbourhood dependent on this part for its supplies, and for an outlet to its produce, is very great, and this port is second to none in the country. Within a few hours' sail of this, running up from Palliser Bay, for at least fifty or sixty miles, is a large fine valley called the Wyrairapa or Wydrop, consisting mostly of clear land, covered with the finest grass, capable of supporting thousands of cattle.
"The surveyors having gone up the fine river, the Manuwatia, for ninety miles, found it connected with this valley by a fine level country, through which they entered it, and after coming down it a considerable way crossed the mountains to the Hutt.
"Thus proving this part to be the centre and the
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outlet to one, the finest agricultural, and the other the finest pastoral districts yet discovered in this island. Unless the Wydrop or some other grazing district is speedily opened up, many of the cottagers and labourers who have contrived to purchase a cow or two, will be obliged to part with them from the impossibility of finding food for them, --hitherto they have allowed them to pick up what they can get on the unoccupied sites of the town, and the sections round about it; but a great part of the former is getting enclosed, and the proprietors of the latter are either keeping cattle on their sections, or letting them for that purpose to others. A dairy is one of the best paying things here--and cattle have been for some time the favourite investment. Were a ship coming from the Clyde they could not bring out a better thing than a good Ayrshire cow and bull--they would fetch a high price. Mrs Miller, who purchased the cow brought out in the Bengal Merchant, for 27l., has refused 100l. for it; and she has been offered 50l. for its calf, not a year old. Good stock of any kind, either horses, cows, or sheep, would sell if brought out. I wish we had a good stallion and draught mare of the Lanarkshire breed. Land here is likely to rise rapidly. No. 116 Town Acre sold the other day for 950l. There were buildings on it worth about 300l.; and an acre at the head of the bay, with a water fontage, sold by Mr Bidwell for 1,200l.; and were this made the seat of government, lands would rise very rapidly.