1937 - Deans, J. Pioneers of Canterbury: Deans Letters, 1840-1854 - CHAPTER II. IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW LAND, p 47-65

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  1937 - Deans, J. Pioneers of Canterbury: Deans Letters, 1840-1854 - CHAPTER II. IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW LAND, p 47-65
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John Deans to John Deans, Sen.

Nelson, 10th November, 1842.

My Dear Father,

We arrived here safe on the 25th October, having had a passage of five months exactly. The Olympus came in about four days after us, and the New Zealand from Glasgow on the 4th inst. I am surprised that I had no letters from James or some of you. I expected James Young in the New Zealand, but I am very glad he did not come. I will give you a few extracts from a letter I had from William, on my arrival here, which will explain the cause of my being glad he did not come. After saying he had been here for some time waiting my arrival he says:-- "You will regret when you arrive at Nelson of not having taken my advice not to purchase land in New Zealand, but to bring with you your money. However, now this cannot be helped, and you must do the best you can. Nelson has neither a good harbour nor good land and it is very unhealthy, not less than fifty deaths having already taken place. I have a situation in view that will suit us both and wish to see you as soon as you arrive. I am sorry that you had left home before receiving the letters I wrote after you first hinted your intention of emigrating; they would have given you considerable useful information. You should enquire at the Land Office as to the Nos. chosen for your town and suburban allotments and perhaps you can get information to see the ground. My advice to you is to take passage to Port Nicholson by the first vessel going there. Of course bring your things with you, and if any servants them, but I hope you have none. As you remark in one of your late letters everyone is fondest of his own settlement, and of course will try to give strangers a good opinion of it, but do not pay any attention to what the people here may tell you. Hoping to see you soon and give you the news, etc." You may imagine this rather staggered me, but I am determined not to leave until I form my own opinion of the place and hear more particularly from William of the situation he has in view for me.

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The day after the ship arrived I accompanied Captain Wakefield up to the districts where some of the Messrs. Brands' and my own sections were chosen. We intended to have a lay out in a blanket all night, but we got home, or rather back to the ship that night. We walked upwards of twenty miles, but from my being so long confined to the ship I could not stand the fatigue well. I hurt my feet a little and have not been able to undertake so long a walk since. I was not very much pleased with the look of the country that day, and from what I have seen since I think still less of it. The New Zealand Company have been guilty of the most notorious deception. The place is not at all like what it is represented to be, and I would leave were it not for the sections that I have charge of from the Messrs. Brands' and Mr. Reid in Glasgow, and that I would be obliged to return the £75 allowed me by the New Zealand Company for my passage, and which I thought they had no right to demand from me, but Captain Wakefield says if I leave within a year after my landing here, I shall be obliged to pay it with interest or forfeit my land. I am rather in a fix but I daresay will be able to extricate myself very well.

I don't agree with William about the harbour, I think it is very good, and the captain of our ship says he would not desire a better harbour. The Fifeshire to be sure was lost, but I believe this was owing to the pilot being unwell, and not being able to take her out. Of the climate I will not say so much. There have been a very great many deaths, I believe about eighty since the first ship arrived, which is not much more than a year. I think this unhealthiness is caused by the swamps which cover a good deal of the land near the town. And also the excessive heat which is sometimes very great. I have heard from several people of the thermometer having been as high as 119 in the shade last summer. The land certainly does not come up to my expectations; in the districts I have visited the land is either marshy or ferny, and up the valleys occasionally a few sections of wood. Some of the marshy land if drained would be very good, and I have no doubt the wood land is good, but the first would take a great expense to drain, and the latter is pretty much out of the way of conveyance. Some of the land is very stony and light, and when dug up would be very easily burned up so that no crops, would grow on it. Instead of being in the immediate suburbs of the town the accommodation sections are very

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widely scattered, and some of them quite unavailable. Where the rural land will all be found I nor nobody else knows; they are surveying just now at a place called Massacre Bay, about forty miles from this, and across the bay; there will not be above a third of the sections found there. Some think it possible that they may have to go to Port Cooper for the remainder. I thought my section not worth my settling on, as it is pretty much surrounded by marshes and scarcely in sight of wood, but I very luckily got it let to a gentleman who came out in the Olympus. I am to give him it two years for nothing and get £25 a year for it thereafter for twelve years. He is to have the right of purchasing it any time during the lease for £150. My section of rural land will be very bad indeed, if I am not able to get pretty clear out of the speculation.

All the town sections were chosen before I arrived, and two of the sections of suburban land that I had charge of and my own were also chosen. I believe the others are to be given out on the 20th of December. The town choice No. 2 is chosen on an island which forms the bar of the harbour. It is thought to be worth a good deal for the purpose of erecting a patent slip and dock, but this depends a good deal on the success of the settlement. If any one will undertake to expend £1,200 or £1,400 on it, it may become very valuable. I am glad it was chosen before I came out. Some much later choices are now bringing in about £200 a year, but I am afraid the rents won't be very well paid. My own acre is worth nothing at present. I have written Mr. Reid in Glasgow about his and his friend's sections.

I wrote William a few days after we arrived asking him to come here and give me his reasons for advising me to go to Port Nicholson, and I expect him here very soon. If he can show me anything better can be done there I would have no hesitation in leaving this place as I am afraid I could not do much good here. At present I am examining the different districts, and living near to the town. Manson is to leave the depot to-day and will find as much employment as will keep him until I fix what is to be done. His wife had another child on the passage, and both his children had measles, but they are all well now. I think they will make very good servants.

There are a good many wild ducks among the swamps here. I shot a few when looking after my land; the pigs are

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all extirpated hereabouts long ago, and the wild pigeons are also very scarce now.

I have been speaking to a lawyer here about my having to pay back the (Company's allowance for my passage if I should leave within twelve months, and he says he does not think they have any right to demand it as I was never made aware of it before buying my land. I think I will get clear off. I sold my bills for the amount of sovereigns a day or two after I arrived and the party said it might be fifteen months before they were cashed in London, so you will draw interest for me until that time.

I would not recommend anyone to come out here just now. Money is scarce and there is no sort of export. Every ship that comes here takes away gold and none bring any large quantity. The emigration is hurried on too inconsiderately, and were it not that the Company employ a good many of the emigrants I don't know what they would do. Provisions are high, and wages are lowering. How many of them wish they were back in England again! No large capitalists have come out here yet, and it is the general opinion, unless some do so soon, that the colony will sink. The Company's money cannot last for ever, and unless some rich persons come out and employ the labouring classes I don't know what will become of the place. I am persuaded there is not such a thing as a fortune to be made here. There is nothing but storekeepers and idle folks, and although they may be useful in their way, they cannot be the support of a colony.

I am in no fear for myself, I can leave before I have spent much here, and I doubt not will get on pretty well elsewhere. I hope you will write me frequently. Address to me at Nelson and if I have left I will leave directions for forwarding your letters. Let our friends know that I am a little disappointed in this place, but I am not quite cast down. I will be able to write you better news ere long.

The misrepresentations which have been made use of in regard to this place are beyond description. There are not 100 real good sections yet chosen, although about 600 have been given out. The climate is allowed by most people who have been at Port Nicholson to be much inferior. I believe they have none of the high winds that are so prevalent there, but the heat here in the middle of the day is excessive and it gets very cold and chilly in the night time. The swamps in some places are quite putrid, and no sun for the water to be

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taken off; there have been more deaths here since the first ship arrived than there have been in Port Nicholson since its commencement, although it has three times the population. I think William could never have advised me so strenuously to go out to New Zealand if it is all like this. I will not lose anything by my land I expect.

I have no more to write at present, but I shall do so again by the next opportunity. With best respects to Aunt Young, James and all other friends.

James Y. Deans to Wm. Deans.

Kilmarnock, 12th January, 1843.

In your last letter you mention that you had just chosen one of your country sections at the Manawatu. The first time you write I wish you would give us some more particular information regarding it. Has it a river frontage or how far is it distant from the river? Is it level or hilly, wet or dry, wooded or clear? If wooded, is the wood dense and heavy or otherwise? How far is it distant from the mouth of the Manawatu, and from the townships (Te Maire, etc.) advertised in the Gazette? Is it all capable of cultivation, and how much expense per acre do you think it will take to clear and make it ready for the plough? Is the soil good and of what description? How many sections were chosen before you in the Manawatu district?

You also mention that you had been upward of forty miles up the Manawatu and were pleased with it. Is it thought there will be as much available land there as to satisfy all the preliminary land orders? Is the first settlement confined to the side of the river nearest Wellington or are they allowed to take the valley on the other side? I hope there are not such frequent high winds at the Manawatu as there seem to be at Port Nicholson.

The good harvest, with the settlement of the disputes with America, and the termination of the wars in India and China, have improved trade generally over the whole country, excepting Paisley which seems to be in nearly as bad a state as ever. Provisions of all sorts are also much cheaper than they have been for a great many years. The quarter-loaf for instance, which was at 9d. last year, is now as low as 6d. Butcher's meat, butter and cheese are reduced in about the same proportion.

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P. S.--Mr. J. C. Crawford of Overton came home lately from New Zealand and intends to stay at Overton and farm his own property. James Young was here a short time after Mr. Crawford came home and he mentioned that James Struthers had said that Mr. Crawford told him that you were married to a native woman. I thereupon wrote Mr. Struthers to tell me exactly what had taken place between him and Mr. Crawford, and he answered that Mr. Crawford on speaking of the good understanding subsisting between the natives and emigrants mentioned that you were married to a native princess, or had her staying in your house, but that on being questioned on the subject he rather drew back and seemed not to know well about it. Since then John Richmond, the millwright, told my father that he had been at Hamilton and saw Mr. Brown, who said that he believed you were married. I suppose he would have his information from Mr. Crawford. I have never let my father know anything about what I had heard from James Young and Mr. Struthers and I hope there is no truth in the report, though I cannot see that Mr. Crawford could have any object in saying so except he had some foundation for it.

John Deans, Sen. to Wm. and John Deans.

Kilmarnock, 12th January, 1843.

As James has as usual written you so fully, I have nothing additional to communicate. I have been in better health for a year past than I was the year before, and am generally in Kilmarnock every day.

You ask if I had sold my land to the Duke of Portland, but it is not yet sold, and the Duke appears to be off, at least for the present. I have been tile draining the bank in front of the house, and making a thorough repair on the garden, which produced uncommonly well last year.

We expect a letter from you and John in a few weeks, and will be glad to hear you are both well, and that John likes the country of New Zealand and has fixed himself in land to his mind. --I remain, your affectionate father, John Deans.

J. Y. Deans to John Deans.

Kilmarnock, 9th May, 1843.

We received yours of the 10th November upon the 13th of April and were very sorry to see that you are so much

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disappointed with New Zealand. I hope, however, that you had only seen the worst of it when you wrote, and that by this time you are comfortably settled in a place to please you. At any rate, I don't think you should remain at Nelson on account of the unhealthiness of the climate, if there was nothing else to complain of, but I have no doubt you have left it long ago, and on that account I think it better to send this letter and my father's to William at Port Nicholson, rather than to Nelson, and if you are still there he can forward it to you after reading it himself. You express yourself surprised at having received no letters from any of us, but on seeing William he would show you the letters we had written to him which were equally intended for you, and only directed to him because he being settled at Wellington we thought they would come to hand sooner than by directing them to you at Nelson, as you might have removed before they reached that port.

In former letters I mentioned that James Young has got married. The last time I saw him was in Glasgow at our Uncle John Young's funeral about two months ago; he then proposed leaving this country for New Zealand in a very short time, leaving his wife and Lillias here, and writing afterwards on his arrival for them to follow after he had got settled. Since then I heard from Mr. Struthers that he had seen him at Avonholm a short time after the funeral, and he then proposed being off to his Uncle James Hamilton at Philadelphia about the end of March, and promised to pay him and Aunt Young a farewell visit about a week before his setting out, but neither of them have either seen or heard of or from him, and Mr. Struthers therefore concludes "that having effected the realization of all he had to expect from me he had resolved to enjoy his otium sine dignitate so long as it lasted in this country." Perhaps it is as well that he has not gone to New Zealand from what you write.

I think Captain Wakefield has been trying to impose upon you by threatening to make you return the £75 you got for passage allowance in the event of your leaving Nelson within a year of your landing. There was nothing of this sort mentioned in the Company's advertisement of the Nelson settlement, or in any of their letters or communications to you; on the contrary it was specially mentioned in the advertisement that purchasers would be entitled to a return of 25

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per cent, of their purchase money for the passage of themselves and families to the colony, and no condition whatever mentioned of their staying there any time after their arrival. This passage allowance was the principal inducement you had to purchase land in the Nelson settlement. You purchased with the intention of settling there if you liked the place, though you did not mention to the Company that you would stay there. It would be too bad to oblige you to stay in such a place as you represent Nelson to be in these circumstances, and I have not the slightest doubt but a Court of Law would decide that they have no claim upon you or your land though you should remove within a week of your arrival. Captain Wakefield will not insist on the return of the money if you are determined to resist it as you will have it in your power to expose the Company of deception, both in this respect and as to the quality of the land, which might prevent people from buying their land. This will all be settled, however, long before this letter reaches you so I need not have occupied so much paper in writing to you about it.

11th May.

Not having closed this letter I may mention that we received this morning from William Gazettes from 26th August to 24th September, and Colonists from 18th October to 1st November. I observe in one of the Gazettes two short notices of William's trip to the east coast of the Middle Island, in one of which a hint is given that an account of his trip in the shape of a report or letter would be acceptable, but he does not seem to have taken the hint.

P. S.--We have had no letters from William of later date than April, 1842.

John Deans to Gavin Brackenridge.

Port Nicholson, 16th January, 1843.

I embrace the opportunity of a ship going direct to England to let you know how I have been getting on.

I arrived at Nelson on the 25th of October after a passage of five months in a very leaky ship. My brother had been there waiting for me but left before the ship arrived. He advised me to leave Nelson as it was a very bad place. After being there about a month I took his advice and came to this place. I let part of my land and left the other in charge of a gentleman there to sell or let for me first opportunity,

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and I don't think I shall visit it again. The land at Nelson is not good and there is not enough of it for the settlement. This place is not very good for agricultural purposes either, but it never was my brother's intention to remain here permanently. He has been round a great deal of both islands looking for the best places. His surveys are in favour of Port Cooper which is on the other island, within thirty miles of the French settlement and about 150 from this place, and whither we mean to go in about a month. We are going to take with us a flock of cattle and sheep, a few working bullocks and a couple of mares, and take a lease of land from the natives, who are very willing to give us as much as we wish at a very moderate rent. I am going to Australia in a week or two for the cattle, etc. We mean to take about 50 heifers, 2 bulls, 300 sheep, with bullocks and mares, a lot of pigs, plenty of poultry, 5 dogs and as many cats. William is going down with the servants and baggage, provisions, etc., in the meantime to construct houses, stockyards, etc. I expect James Young with a wife and his sister out immediately. If he will go with us we will take a good many more sheep and horses.

Port Cooper is described by every person to be a splendid place for a settlement and I have no doubt there will be one formed there in a few years by which time we will have a pretty extensive stock and be able to supply settlers with butcher meat, working bullocks, vegetables and a great many little things. We will be the only settlers there except a few whalers who are stationed there. It is a beautiful port and of easy access, and there is a large extent of good land around it, and I have not the least doubt but that it will be the best settlement in New Zealand. I expect both Wellington and Nelson will advance slowly, but I don't think there will be as much done there as if the land were more concentrated.

New Zealand is a beautiful country but in general far too hilly for cultivation. It reminds me of the Highlands of the Old Country, but the hills instead of being covered with stunted heather, are clad with large timber to the top. The wooded land is very rich but takes an immense expense to clear. The fern land is not good; there is too much of it at Nelson. All kinds of crops grow well on the wooded or grass lands; you would be surprised how fast they come to maturity. The climate is splendid here. At Nelson it is not so good. From its situation it is very warm, and there are a

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good many swamps near the town which have a bad effect, consequently there has been a great deal of trouble there and more deaths in the last year than in Wellington since its foundation although the population is about three times as large.

The natives are a queer lot. You would laugh to see some of them with their tattooed faces, wrapt up in a blanket, and occasionally a swell coming along with a shirt, coat and trousers on, making his arms go like a pair of paddles, and fancying himself a man of some consequence. A good many of the men are well-made fellows and if they had always been well fed would have been very strong, but the women are neither so well looking nor so good figures. They are in general lazy and love on a warm day to bask in the sun. They are not fond of working at any one thing for any length of time, but you will get them to work pretty hard for an hour or so if you promise them some ki ki (food) when they have done. They all smoke, men, women and some little children. William is a great favourite with them, but he does not like the most of them. They will do anything for him. He has been kind to them, and they know as well as possible who is good to them. There is generally a few of them living close to his place, and if he wants to go or send to Wellington they would go with him in his canoe any hour of the night. They are great cowards, although they fight a good deal among themselves. Sometimes when William was going into the country he has quarrelled with one or two of them in a crowd of two or three hundred when he thrashed them without any danger of the others interfering. Some of them are very unreasonable, and if you give them a good pummelling they will behave better in future. There is one very good young fellow comes here once or twice every month and stays a day or two. He is always clean and well dressed; last time he was here he had on a dark coloured surtout, a fancy vest, and pair of tweed trousers, clean shirt with a due proportion of the collar and wrist bands seen, and a pair of good boots, and over all a native mat. He always sleeps on the floor of my bedroom. He speaks a good deal of English and teaches me the Maori language. When I came over here from Nelson I got a small schooner to take over my servants and baggage to my brother's place which is about six miles from Wellington. When I came to anchor near the house about a dozen of the Maoris came off in a canoe to take us and our things

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on shore, and then carried them up to the house about 200 yards from the beach. Some of my boxes weighed about five or six hundredweight, and to see how they took them up was rather amusing; two of the stoutest of them got in below one end of it and the others lifted it up and steadied it. They said they were "too much heavy," but they were glad to see the Brother of Edeani (as they call William) and some of them had been promised a cap or some trifle before I arrived.

We have plenty of very good fish in the port; they are very easy caught, but I don't see any of them exactly the same as those at home. I often go out in the canoe and have an hour or two at them. We can have splendid shooting, although there is no grouse, hares nor partridges there are as fine wild ducks as ever I saw in Scotland. They are very plentiful at Port Cooper. There is also a large sort called Paradise ducks, but they are not so fine eating as the common sort. There are lots of quail in the Middle Island. In the woods we have pigeons very like the Cushats at home, but not so wild. If you come upon a dozen or two sitting on a tree you may shoot them all, one after another, as the shot does not put them away unless they are wounded. There are a great many very pretty birds; parroquets are very plentiful and others just as rare and handsome. I mean to preserve a collection of skins to bring or send home. Dr. Wylie of Ballantrae taught me the way to skin them. But what you would count the best sport of any is wild pig hunting. There are thousands of them within twenty miles of William's house. He has about the best dog I ever saw and he is a pretty fellow. He unluckily got himself hurt in the bush with a large boar before I left Nelson, but he is now better. I believe he has killed some hundreds of them. About a fortnight ago the men went into the bush with him a mile or two from the house when he found two immense large boars. He got them hemmed into a sort of hollow place till the men came up to him (he knew it would not do to fasten on one while the other one was loose as he would get a drubbing), but whenever the men came up to him he fastened on the large one and the men soon dispatched him. They say he would be about 20 stone weight; his hide near to the neck was about an inch in thickness. These old ones are not good so they left him lying. I intend having a day or two at them this week. Tiger has a great fancy to bite the Maoris but he won't do it unless he is told; he is the most tractable of his species I ever saw. He

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is a bull terrier. I thought we had lost him a few days ago. Some of the men were taking some cattle to a station along the beach, when one of them, a wild sort of heifer, passed the dogs and swam into the sea. They sent Tiger after her, and after they were out a long way they lost sight of both dog and heifer and sent a message to us that they were both drowned. William was in a dreadful rage at the loss of Tiger. Some of the natives got into the canoe, although it was blowing half a gale at the time, and made for the place where they were last seen, but they had to come inshore without seeing them. We were just about to give them up when they were seen all right about half a mile along the beach. The heifer used to attack everything she came near, but I think she rather got a cooling. Tiger's teeth and her skin were pretty well acquaint before they came on shore. But it takes as long to describe these scenes as they are in acting.

William has got a very pretty little place here and a good house erected on it. He has not done much to it as he never intended staying long on it. He has about 200 fowls besides ducks and turkeys and he gets 2/- a dozen for eggs. He sold some of his potatoes last year at £18 8s. a ton, but lost about £60 worth by the swamping of a boat. He raises fine vegetables. When all things fail at home, Gavin, come out to New Zealand. You can live as happy and comfortable here as anywhere in the world.

I will have to close this epistle. I will write you when I have seen Port Cooper, but I will not be able to tell you much news you know, such adventures as the cow and the dog will have to pass as the chief part of my letters.

John Deans to John Deans, Sen.

Port Nicholson, 16th January, 1843.

I wrote you soon after my arrival at Nelson, giving you a rather unfavourable account of that settlement. Since which time I have not changed my opinion of it. The more I saw the less I thought of it. At least three-fourths of the suburban land is in my opinion not worth cultivating, and the greater part even of that at a distance of at least twenty miles from the port. And of the country sections only about 150 are surveyed, which are all (except a few on the hills near the town) at Massacre Bay, a distance of sixty miles from Nelson. You will probably see a report in the newspapers of one of

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the surveyors, who was on an exploring expedition, having discovered a large tract of level land near to Cloudy Bay. I expect they will not be allowed to take any of it for the Nelson settlement, as such a harbour as Cloudy Bay would take away a great many of the settlers from Nelson, and so divide the settlement. William has been at Cloudy Bay and seen this land, he says it is often flooded and is not of much value. From many letters in the New Zealand Journal you will see a very different opinion of Nelson. I think they are written by parties deeply interested, or people who know nothing about it. Any of those who have commenced farming the fern land have been very much disappointed; their crops look miserable. A young gentleman who was out a few months before me, and who commenced operations on one of the fern sections, and was held up as a pattern to all newcomers, has found to his cost that it won't do. The day after I arrived Captain Wakefield took me up to see him, and said he was sure to do well. I said at the time that I considered no crop would grow well on it unless it was limed and manured, but they laughed at me. I went to see him again about the 1st December, and he was quite chop-fallen; he said he was sorry he had ever put a plough in it, and I am pretty confident he will not have more than his seed from any crop he has got. He was thinking of disposing of everything and going to Taranaki. This section is nearly all dry land, on the side of the river, and nearly as level as a bowling green. The wooded land may pay the clearing, but the fern land (although you may burn and plough it at the very first) will not pay; at least that is my opinion, in which I am joined by a great many, indeed all those who have seen it tried either there or at any of the other settlements. It is a very sore crop on the land, and does not produce a fine vegetable mould like the wood. I think you will consider I am justified in leaving Nelson. I think if I were to commence farming there I would soon lose all I have. I am sure a good many of those who have gone on their land will be ruined in a few years. They are almost all young men who are new from college, been in the army or navy, or merchants at home, and consider anything that is easy done is best.

I wrote you that William had advised me to leave Nelson, which I did after I got all to rights. He came down to assist me and give his advice, and we arrived here in the second week of December. I left Mr. Reid's and the other Glasgow

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sections, as well as my own, in charge of Mr. Patchett, the person Mr. Reid was to have sent them to before he knew of my going. He is a very good agent, and will be able to make better selections than I could have done as I could not have time to see all the districts properly before the selections took place. Mr. Brand's No. 2 town acre was chosen on a small island at the mouth of the harbour with the view of making a dry dock or patent slip on it, but I much fear it will not be in request. It is worth nothing for anything else. If I had been out in time for the selection I would have chosen it close to the emigration houses at the port. It would have been within 200 yards of the shipping, and have let at a high rent for building stores, etc., but this is not the only instance in which the Company's agents have made bad selections for absentees. Choice 12 of suburban was chosen on a hill too steep for cultivation, and 46 on a plain more like a macadamized road than any other thing. I am glad to hear from James' letter of the 24th August, which William duly received, that James Young is not to buy any land at Nelson. You know William never thought much of this place for agricultural purposes, neither do I, but both would prefer it to Nelson in every respect.

But I must now inform you what William proposed for me to do. It was to join him and go to Port Cooper with a flock of cattle and sheep, and commence grazing. I have resolved to do so. I think it is a surer speculation than farming either here or at Nelson; the expense is chiefly in the first outlay, and the increase of stock will be the profit. Port Cooper is described by every person who has seen it, to be a splendid place for a settlement. William has been at it twice; he says it is different to any place he has seen in New Zealand. It is covered with rich waving grass, and clumps of trees interspersed among it; there is quite enough of wood for building houses, etc., and firing, and that is sufficient. The soil is very rich and will be easily wrought, and there is very little fern. You would observe in how high terms Dudley Sinclair speaks of it (in a letter to his uncle published in the New Zealand Journal), calling it the best place in New Zealand and hoping it would soon be colonized. We don't care although there should not be a settlement formed there for a few years; it will be all the better if there is not, as our stock would increase a good deal before the settlers came out;. William will go there immediately after he gets Okiwi fairly

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disposed of, with our servants' luggage, provisions, etc., and be getting houses and stockyards erected, and I am going off to Australia about the same time for the cattle and sheep. We mean to commence with about 50 queys (likely to have calves within a year after we arrive), 2 bulls, 4 working bullocks, 200 ewes and 100 wedders, 2 mares in foal, and a few pigs and poultry, 4 or 5 dogs and as many cats. William has been providing dogs for some time back; good cattle and sheep dogs are indispensable and difficult to be got. We have got two young ones of a first rate kind, and we have bought a very good trained one for£10. We have also a fine watch dog. The cattle are generally very wild at first, and we could do nothing among them without a good dog or two. If James Young is willing to go to Port Cooper we will perhaps take a few more horses and sheep. We are to run no risk with shipping. We will bargain to pay so much per head for those that are landed alive. The agent here for Dr. Finlay of Twofold Bay, who has got the best stock of cattle in N. S. Wales, says we will get first rate young cattle landed for about £10 a head, and sheep about £1. Twofold Bay is about 250 miles from Sydney, which I will have either to walk or ride, and I will go to Port Cooper in the same vessel with the cattle. We are to take a lease of a block of land from the natives for 99 years, paying them a small yearly rent; this the Government can't forbid, the natives having power to lease although not to sell, and the chief is very glad to give us as much as we want. Every person whom we have spoken to, thinks it will be a good speculation, and William from knowing the place is quite in raptures about it. There is no doubt if we are at all fortunate with our stock, and a settlement be formed there in six or eight years, we will be able to supply the settlers with butcher meat, dairy produce, vegetables, poultry and seeds of all kinds. We mean to make cheese and butter and raise a little grain, all which we will be able to dispose of either to whalers coming into the harbour (of which last year there was sometimes about thirty at a time) or send to Wellington. Our living will not cost us much. We will keep lots of pigs and poultry and raise plenty of potatoes and vegetables, and perhaps make our own flour; tea is cheap, and the sugar we use, which is very good, costs about 3d. per lb. We use a good deal of tea; the servants mostly prefer milk and butter to butcher meat. Taranaki is described by everyone who has seen it, to be a splendid district (perhaps

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the finest in New Zealand), but it is in want of harbours; but it will prosper independent of fine harbours. If James Young does not join us in going to Port Cooper, William will recommend him to go there, in preference to Nelson or this place. I think James has done well with his marrying. I suppose it is the same young lady that we heard of some years ago.

No place that I have yet seen in New Zealand comes up to the description given of it, in any of the books written under the Company's directions, and I must say I am rather disappointed with it, but everyone who has been out for any length of time speaks highly of it, and I daresay if I had seen Taranaki or Port Cooper I would change my mind. From all accounts I heard of this place and Nelson I expected to see a finer country, but most of the letters which are published in the Journal are from people who have either some connection with the Company or have some interest in getting people to come out. At Nelson the merchants all want to hold up the place as they have a great many goods to dispose of, but all those houses here who have branches there are selling off as fast as they can, as they have no faith in that place. The Gazette, which is a tool of the Company, takes every opportunity to stigmatize the late Governor's actions, but I think he was not so much to blame as they would wish to make him.

Do not think that I regret coming out here. It is certainly a fine country to live in, and if Port Cooper is what it is represented to be, I have no doubt I will get better on there than I could have done at home. When a person leaves their home and friends they certainly expect some recompense. I don't mean to say too much about it till I have seen Port Cooper, where I expect we will live very comfortably.

Nothing can surpass the scenery of New Zealand; the hills are somewhat like the Highlands of Scotland, but instead of stunted heather, are clad with fine large timber. There are a great many pretty birds in the woods; I intend making a collection of skins to send home.

At Port Cooper the ducks are very plentiful, and as good as any I ever saw at home. I shot some at Nelson and they were fat and good eating. Wild pigeons are also abundant in the woods; they are very stupid and don't fly away when there is a shot fired near them; they are also good eating. There are no wild pigs near Port Cooper, but they are very plentiful not far from Okiwi. William has got a fine dog

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for catching them; he is worth a score of "Hoki." He got his leg hurt with a large boar before I came here so I have not seen any caught. He is now better and we intend having a day or two at them immediately. The men took him out one day lately and killed an immense large one; they said it would be about 20 stone weight. These large ones are not good eating so they left him lying.

The natives are getting pretty cunning; they know the use of a shilling as well as any white man. William is a great favourite with them, and they will do as much for him as any person. He does not like them so well as he once did. All the old ones are rather lazy, but some of the younger ones are pretty serviceable. I think some of them would still like to eat a bit of human being; they say a little child is "all the same as a sucking pig." If they do any harm, the best way is to give them a good thrashing, and they are very civil afterwards. If a white man quarrels with any of them, where there are a great many together, if he can show the others that the native is in the wrong they won't interfere although he gives him a good beating. They are great folks for fighting, one clan against another, but they are generally great cowards, and unless there was ten times as many, they would have no chance fighting with white men. There are a great many fine looking fellows among them, but they cannot cope with the British at any kind of manly exercise. Some of them are very good fellows and will do anything for you for a basin or two of flour or a few sticks of tobacco. A number of them came off in a canoe and landed all our things which would have cost at least a pound if done by white men, and they were very well satisfied with a little flour and tobacco. Some of our boxes were very heavy and they had to carry them a good way, but they very soon took them to the house--they were fond to see what was in them. William has got a canoe, and he can get plenty of them to go over to Wellington with anything he wants.

I think we are very fortunate in our servants; they are very glad to go to Port Cooper. Manson has been making windows and doors for our houses at Port Cooper, and he seems a very good workman. John Gebbie has saved about £90 from his wages already and seems very happy. They are both writing home to their friends by this vessel. We expect to get our letters put into the Captain's private bag, so it will save a few shillings of postage.

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I hope you will continue to write us as often as you have opportunities, as we are always anxious to hear how matters get on at home. James must give us all the news. We shall write you every opportunity. Compliments to all our friends. I write by this ship to Mr. Reid, Glasgow, and Mr. McIlraith.

Wm. Deans to John Deans, Sen.

Okiwi, 16th January, 1843.

We have been anxiously waiting the sailing of the Clydeside direct for England to write you by her, and we are now much disappointed at her after all having to go round by Sydney on her way home, however we will still send our letters by her, and perhaps soon after we may have another opportunity by a vessel to Valparaiso and will again write you.

My own experience of New Zealand every day more and more confirms me in its eligibility for settlements formed by Europeans, and I should be sorry now to exchange my prospects in it for anything I might expect to be doing in England at this moment, for although new colonies are generally poor they seem to be in a better state than things now are at home. Many people differ with me, however, in the capabilities of New Zealand, but I always think that having come to the colony at first with over high opinions regarding a new country, they are disappointed that they do not find it more resembling the old settled country they left.

John has written you at considerable length regarding his future proceedings, and I can add little to what he has said at present; but I think we will be prepared to start for Port Cooper in about three weeks and will write you at length from there as soon as we are settled. I have more difficulty in getting the lease of Okiwi disposed of than I anticipated, but I have several parties in my eye for it. I will retain my sections at Manawatu for some time till it gets more thickly settled and will then sell them. Port Cooper is within a reasonable distance of the French settlement at Akaroa--say 40 miles by water and less by land--from Port Nicholson it is 150 miles. It is situated at the bottom of Pegasus Bay and is a great resort of whaling vessels, who are always after their long voyages anxious to purchase fresh provisions for their numerous crews. This will be a good market for us; the Frenchmen and French ships of war always laying there will

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take something more, and we can send the surplus of our produce to Port Nicholson or some of the other settlements.

J. S. Freeman to W. and J. Deans.

20th February, 1843.


I beg to acknowledge the receipt at Wellington of your letter of the 9th inst., enclosing a memorial for His Excellency, the officer administering the Government, on the subject of squatting for the purpose of depasturing cattle on a part of the Island of New Munster.

Your memorial was placed in my hands at the moment of His Excellency's departure from Wellington. I took, however, an early opportunity of laying it before him, and am now commanded to acquaint you in reply that no objection exists to your squatting on land in New Munster not occupied by or in the immediate vicinity of the cultivations of the natives.

For such use of the land His Excellency does not wish payment to be made to the natives, except in cases where damage may be done by the cattle depasturing, to their cultivations.

I am further instructed to inform you that as soon as the demesne of the Crown in the above island shall have been determined, depasturing and other licenses will be given, which will remain in force from year to year, under regulations to be then promulgated.

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