1937 - Deans, J. Pioneers of Canterbury: Deans Letters, 1840-1854 - CHAPTER III. SETTLING AT RICCARTON, p 66-99

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  1937 - Deans, J. Pioneers of Canterbury: Deans Letters, 1840-1854 - CHAPTER III. SETTLING AT RICCARTON, p 66-99
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Wm. Deans to John Deans, Sen.

Wellington, 6th September, 1843.

I have yours and James' letter of the 12th of January last per the Mary which arrived here about three weeks ago. You will have learned long ago of John's safe arrival in the colony, both by letters he wrote you from Nelson by the Clydeside, and from John at Sydney.

On the 10th of February last I started to the neighbourhood of Banks Peninsula for the purpose of making arrangements for settling on land in that district, as the letters I mention would pretty fully inform you both John and I intended doing. We had a good run down to Port Cooper and soon effected an arrangement with the natives and Mr. Robinson, the magistrate of Akaroa, who had instructions from the Government to give us what assistance he could. We have since been engaged in putting up dwelling and farm buildings, which are now nearly completed. We are settled behind Banks Peninsula, within a day's walk of the French settlement at Akaroa, and about an equal distance respectively from Port Levie, Pigeon Bay and Parake, 1 other harbours in the Peninsula, and only two hours' walk from Port Cooper, also a harbour in the Peninsula to which a cart and horse can now be driven, and to all the other harbours cattle can easily be driven. If you have the New Zealand Gazettes of about August or September two years ago, you will see the description Captain Daniel (who went to look out for a site for the Nelson settlement) gives of it; and on the chart of New Zealand just behind Banks Peninsula you will see it marked "Land very fertile." It has been so marked since the days of Cook.

John arrived from New South Wales with the cattle, etc., on the 17th of June after a long and rough passage of 21 days; nevertheless only six steers and heifers and one mare died during the passage, although after landing the weakness consequent on the tedious and stormy passage caused the death

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of twelve more, so that we have now left sixty-one head of cattle, three mares and forty-three sheep. This is not more unfortunate than the average run of cattle ships, and John having made a very judicious selection they are much better than those generally brought here. We have had five cows calved since they were landed, but two of them from the knocking about in the vessel, had their calves too early, in consequence of which both the calves died, but the other three are fine strong healthy calves and doing well. The three mares are very good ones and fit either for carting, ploughing or the saddle, the one which died on board the ship being more a saddle one. John is now ploughing them every day for a few hours. We will not get in very much grain this summer, for we have neither food enough to give the horses nor would it be advisable to work them too hard, as they are far gone in foal, about three months from foaling. We have seed, however, to sow five acres of wheat, three of barley, and three of oats; the wheat will be now all in, and we anticipate that we will have the barley and oats in by the end of next month, this with some lucerne for the horses, and two or three acres of potatoes will be all we will get in this season; the ground for the potatoes will be ploughed, and the potatoes put in with the plough, but we will have to work them afterwards with the spade and hoe. The parties who were settled on this land formerly were sent down by some Sydney people, but their affairs getting disarranged in Sydney the parties whom they had sent down were forced to leave it after the first year, but during this time they had turned up about 20 acres of land with ploughs drawn by bullocks, part of which was sown with wheat and barley and produced excellent crops; part of some of their stacks still remain unthreshed, and what was not cropped of the plough land we are now again turning up. I am taking down a mill with me from here by which one man can grind about 40 lbs. an hour of flour.

If you look at the chart of the Middle Island you will see a place marked on it "Lookerson," "appearances of a fine harbour." At this place the country begins to get very open, and about here there is splendid pasturage for herds of cattle or sheep. This continues about 40 miles further down, and at the back of "Cook's Mistake" or "Pegasus Bay" and behind the Peninsula, there is an immense district of fine land about 30 miles by 40 all as level as your or Robert Miller's holm. On this large flat is our establishment. After this and on the

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other side of the Peninsula, down as far as Wikowiti 2 (where a Sydney merchant has 150 or 200 head of cattle, 1,000 sheep, 40 or 50 mares, besides stallions) near to Port Otago, likewise marked on the chart, a distance of about 150 miles along the coast, the country is very fine, and near to the sea coast perfectly level. In fact it is estimated that within the distance I have mentioned there is not less than from 700,000 to 900,000 acres of perfectly level land with groves of trees here and there and these sufficient for house-building and firewood, the remainder with little exception can be ploughed without any previous clearing, and it is covered with luxuriant grass, in fact in many places too luxuriant, because it is inclined to be coarse. However, it is astonishing how soon the feeding it with cattle and sheep improves its quality. Mr. Ebenezer Hay and family and his cousin with whom you sent a letter to me, are settled at Pigeon Bay with about twelve head of cattle.

Close behind our house is a fine grove of trees of about 200 acres, and in the front of the house there is a stream a little larger than the Avon where the Gavel joins it at Snabe. Across this stream in front of the house we have made a bridge, and thereby have separated the dwelling from the farm buildings, and likewise the cattle, etc., from the land in crop, which will save us from the expense of fencing for some time to come. There are several other streams watering the plain within a short distance of our house, and we have taken advantage of them to put such of the heifers as we do not wish to breed from into one lot, the milk cows and those near calving in another, and the bull and steers with the rest of the cows and heifers in a third, so that we have them in three distinct lots and without any danger of intermixing. We have erected a stockyard on the opposite side of the stream from the dwelling houses, 144 feet long by 72 broad, divided into three separate compartments. Here we have a large shed with ten double stalls for milking, a stable and a calf house, and although within twenty yards of our door yet all are completely separated by this stream.

This stream runs into Pegasus Bay at the northern side of the Peninsula within a mile and a half of the Heads of Port Cooper. When we went down at first we landed our things first at Port Cooper and afterwards took them in boats up this river, by its winding a distance of ten miles or more;

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a large boat carrying four tons can go up this river with care to within one and a half miles of the house, and here we took them out into a large canoe, and took them up a mile further, from whence we were obliged to carry them in hand barrows to the house. Now we have got horses and a cart we will do mostly by carting, but it is a great advantage having this river watering the flat, because in time, as the country gets inhabited, it will serve as a canal for taking away large quantities of produce. There are three other rivers running through the flat which will be useful for the same purpose. The weather is quite different to what it is here. We have only had six days' rain all the winter and very little wind. John and the servants like the place very much.

I came here nine days ago for some supplies, and will return home again in three or four days. Everything here is rather dull, both from the settlers being kept in suspense about their land titles, and on account of the massacre at Wairau, near Cloudy Bay, full accounts of which you will see in the papers sent; twenty of the Nelson settlers were killed by a party of the natives in a dispute about some land, and amongst those were some of the principal people in the place, including Mr. Thomson, the Police Magistrate, and Captain Wakefield. It seems to be the general opinion here that the unfortunate sufferers were somewhat to blame in the matter by having first fired; by accident a gun went off it is said and killed some of the natives. It appears that although the Nelson party were armed, they did not go there to fight, and in fact never imagined it would come to that, but that after this musket went off, there was a skirmish in which the white party, forty in number, put to flight five times the number of the natives, but that Captain Wakefield or Mr. Thomson, not wishing to continue it in hopes that they might come to terms with the natives, who seeing this imagined that the white party were defeated, and orders were given to take them prisoners. A good many of the Europeans were then killed in cold blood. This party is very strong and will not allow themselves to be brought to trial except by force. Application was made to the Governor at Auckland for a force to do this and likewise to the Governor of New South Wales; from the former fifty-four soldiers (the half that were there) were sent down, and yesterday the North Star ship-of-war of 28 guns, arrived here from Sydney with sixty more, but they have no orders to land from the vessel or to go in pursuit of the native chief,

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but only to assist the settlers if they are threatened with any further attack. Indeed it does not seem probable that these 110 soldiers would be sufficient for the capture of the ringleaders who would be supported by their tribe, and it would be madness to send anything but a strong party after natives who are so well acquainted with the intricacies of the bush, as they might be taken at a disadvantage. Perhaps it may be necessary to wait for a further force from home, before the parties can be brought to justice, but surely sooner or later they will be so; both the survivors of the white party and the natives should be brought to justice, and the guilty punished. The Maoris are quiet enough now and seem to view the Wairau murderers in a very bad light, and in fact the murderers themselves are in great consternation about the affair, and many of them are in the interior under hiding. There are parties of surveyors again on the Wairau who are not molested and white people pass every day the headquarters of the Maoris travelling betwixt Wanganui and this place without the least molestation; they are only anxious to learn what steps the white people are taking for their apprehension, and always give out they would be happy to make it up. I do not imagine there will be any further outbreak.

You would see it reported in some of the papers about three months ago that we had been molested and that the natives had destroyed some of our stockyard at Port Cooper. It is not true. The fact is, we had built a temporary stock-yard at Port Cooper in which to land the cattle from the vessel in case they were wild. It was built on land belonging to or claimed by a sort of under chief, who for the purpose of getting some utu, or payment, threatened to pull it down, but it is not true that he did so. We are on very good terms with them all, and never had an angry word with any of them.

The whaling vessels near to Port Cooper in Pegasus Bay have been very fortunate this season, some of them having got 200 tons of oil in the last four months. It is expected that there will be a great rush of ships there next season, this one having turned out so well. We will be able to sell our fat bullocks to them at a good price.

The reason John does not write at this time is that the vessel I came up in here, left so hurriedly that there was no time. This letter will go by the Nelson and we will write you further by the Indemnity which also goes direct to London soon.

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Wm. Deans to J. Y. Deans.

Wellington, 6th September, 1843.

I have written so fully to my father that I will not do more than answer the P.S. to your letter, in such positive terms as may authorise you to call on Mr. Crawford for a retractation of his malicious assertion that I was married to a Maori woman. It is most false that I was ever married or ever for a single day cohabited with a Maori woman. It may be a joke to Mr. Crawford to make these statements, but it is not so to me, especially as it is persisted in to be true and is retailed as such to one's relations; he was no acquaintance of mine and I am certain knew nothing of my affairs. I have only once or twice about the early commencement of the colony met him in my friend Mr. Park's house, and then only casually. I believe, however, he will not deny either the respectability of Mr. Park or his wife, and as they are the persons in the colony most acquainted with my affairs and have known me intimately all the time, and likewise knew Mr. Crawford, I have asked them to sign the certificate attached hereto. If he then persists in his falsehood, he not only gives the lie to me, of whom he knows nothing, but also to Mr. and Mrs. Park. It is very easy for him to persist in his statement at the distance of 15,000 miles, but if he still persists he adds to his falsehood and merits the epithets of a coward and a blackguard, of a coward because he knows he is out of reach of being called to account for it, and of a blackguard in telling lies. When John writes he will contradict Mr. Crawford's story, and John Gebbie and his wife will do the same, so that even if he is base enough to persist in his story, I am in hopes that he will not be believed by my relations, and as for others' belief, I do not care about it.

* * *

We have intimately known Mr. Wm. Deans since the foundation of the colony and never knew or heard it reported that he was either married or cohabited with a Maori woman.

Robert Park.
Maryanne Park.

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John Deans to John Deans, Sen.

Sydney, 4th May, 1843.

In my last letter to you I said that I was to go to this place by the first opportunity, for the purpose of purchasing some cattle, etc., to take to Port Cooper. I have only been here about a fortnight, and expect to be able to return in a week or ten days. I can get cattle, horses and sheep remarkably cheap here just now, as a great many of the stockholders are obliged to sell some of their stock to pay their expenses; indeed a person that has got a little ready cash may get stock at almost any price. I bought thirty as fine heifers as I almost ever saw (from two to three year olds) for £2 a head, and can get steers of the same age, at or under 30/-. I am afraid to say at what price I can purchase good sheep, but they have been sold lately by auction at less than 1/- a head, and I believe I could buy a thousand very good sheep for half a crown any day. Good mares in foal can be purchased for about £20 each, which would have brought £50 two years ago. Without money you can get nothing, but with it here at present you can buy all kinds of stock for a mere trifle. The reason for this is that three-fourths of the settlers are either insolvent or about to become so. Everything is in an awful state, and no one knows who to trust, nor do they know what speculation to embark in with safety. In fact the people have all been so extravagant and speculated so much in land that they have ruined themselves and the country also for a time. The most of the banks are considered unsafe; for the last two days there has been such a run on the Savings Bank that a person can hardly pass on the side of the street it is on for the crowd of people going in and out. I really do not know what is to become of Sydney.

I have chartered a ship called the Princess Royal to take our cattle to Port Cooper. She is quite a new vessel, about 250 tons. I am getting her fitted up for carrying eighty head of cattle, four mares, 100 sheep and a few good pigs for breeding. I shall not be able to tell you what they will cost us, but if we are not very unfortunate, they shall be the cheapest that have ever been taken to New Zealand. I shall write you by the first opportunity after I get to Port Cooper what they cost. I am still of the opinion that we have a better chance at Port Cooper than anywhere else. It is more than two months since William went there and I heard from those that went in the vessel with him that he had chosen a very nice place

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and had got one house up within a month. Mr. Orr's friend, Ebenezer Hay, went with them for the purpose of looking out for a suitable place to settle, and he was so delighted with that part that he determined on going to a place about eight miles from our place. He bought a third of the vessel, and the captain and he with their wives and families were to leave about a week after I left Port Nicholson, for that place. It is close to Pigeon Bay; they are to take down the vessel and travel a little along the coast, and carry on their other affairs at the same time. We will have them as our nearest neighbours, and the schooner will be convenient for us all.

What a fine country this would be if it were not for the long droughts it is subject to--New Zealand would be nothing to it. There are great extensive blocks of level land, and the soil on the banks of the river is beautiful, but there are few places where a person can depend on having a good crop owing to the want of rain. The climate is very hot; even now I feel it oppressively hot in the middle of the day, and when it is so now, what must it be in summer. New Zealand is a better climate than this either for health or agricultural purposes, but I think if there was a sufficient quantity of rain this would be perhaps the finest country in the world.

I am to ship the cattle at Newcastle which is about sixty miles to the northward of this. I will have to leave to-morrow or Saturday to get them collected, and the Princess Royal will follow on Monday or Tuesday. I shall be very busy and anxious till I get them landed, but if I be fortunate I have no doubt we shall all be happy at Port Cooper.

I will not write you any more at present as I have a good many things to look after, but I shall lose no opportunity of letting you know how we are getting on.

William and I have put our heads together and go under the firm of W. and J. Deans. He had more difficulties to contend with than I have had yet, and consequently had not so much money as I had, but with God's blessing we will have as much between us as will make us happy and perhaps independent. I don't think there is anyone in New Zealand that is better liked than William and if he has not bettered himself it is not so much his fault as the circumstances of the place. He has not been extravagant in his living, either in one way or another. If we keep our heads we will be able to do a deal of work, and I daresay will be able at all events to better ourselves.

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P. S.--When my Bills are paid and you draw the interest if you consider I am entitled to it, I would like that you would send me out 100 six bushel bags, and (if there is any balance) a few pairs of strong boots. Neither of these can be got here under double the price that you can get them for. Address to the care of Mr. Wm. Lyon, Port Nicholson.

John Deans, Sen. to John Deans.

Kirkstyle, 11th May, 1843.

We received yours and a copy of the Examiner newspaper as mentioned in James' letter which accompanies this, and as James has mentioned everything that occurred to either of us, I will as usual make this letter very short.

We were a good deal disturbed from the account you give as to the climate at Nelson. But as it was always my wish and still is that William and you should be situated as near one another as convenient, I hope you and he will have found out something more comfortable before this reaches you.

After a little trial if you find a suitable place it may be as well that he and you, having already incurred the hardships of a long voyage, should remain for a few years, but if a comfortable residence cannot be got in New Zealand, after a fair trial, you and he might return home, and as you are both young you might find something in this country that might afford a tolerable livelihood.

I have been in pretty good health since you left this, and have finished my family settlement in the form of a Trust Disposition to Mr. James Struthers, Mr. Robert Alison and your brother James. It is a pretty long Deed and was wholly written on stamped paper by my own hand in. one day, and signed before witnesses about a month ago. I have been at both Kirk and market several times since, and although I hope I may yet live a year or two it was as well to have all my worldly affairs settled when I was in health. If things continue with me as they have done hitherto each of you will get at my death about £2,000 besides this £1,300 given you and the other two when you left this, so that many young men will be worse provided for in worldly means with a blessing even if you and William should find it prudent to return to your native country.

I hope both you and William will continue to write me as often as convenient.

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J. Y. Deans to John Deans--Kilmarnock, 22nd August, 1843.

We received your letter (No. 11) and William's, both dated in January last, about the 1st of July, and on the 11th of that month I wrote the Governor of the New Zealand Company a long letter complaining of the way in which you had been used in regard to your passage allowance of £75, and requesting that he or the Directors of the Company would by the next ship to the colony desire Captain Wakefield to deliver you the original land orders and titles of your section without requiring repayment of the £75. Having received no answer, I again wrote him on the 31st of July requesting an immediate answer and about a fortnight afterwards I received a letter of which the following is a copy:--

"New Zealand House,
9th August, 1843.

Sir,--The Governor of the New Zealand Company having laid before the Directors your letter of the 31st July, I am instructed to inform you that in consequence of the retirement of the late Secretary, your former letter of 11th July had been accidentally mislaid, but it has now been found and will be taken into consideration without delay. I am, etc. (Sgd.) J. C. Harrington, Secretary."

Since then I have been daily expecting an answer but have not yet received one and I am sorry at this as it will keep you longer in doubt about the result. However, I am confident that I will receive a letter from the Secretary (I think a favourable one) in a few days and will let you know by the next ship. I think you have been treated ill by the Company and should their answer not be a favourable one I will lay the matter before some solicitor in London for his opinion as to what steps should be taken. This is the best course that occurs to me. 3

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We were glad to see from your last letter that you were in better spirits than when you wrote the former one. I think you were right to leave Nelson and the plan of going to Port Cooper with William and commencing grazing and rearing of stock there seems to me as wise a thing as you could do. At the same time I have doubts if the Governor will sustain any lease that you may enter into with the natives, although I should say that you would be allowed remuneration for any buildings and improvements you might have made on the land before your lease was questioned. I suppose you would take the opinion of some lawyer at Wellington as to the sufficiency of a lease from the natives before you entered upon it, in which case if his opinion was that it would be good, I may be wrong in thinking otherwise. Before this reaches you, you will have heard of the new settlement called "New Edinburgh" to be formed by the Company. I think it likely that it will be made at Port Cooper, that is if the Governor allows them to go there. This will rather be against you, as your stock will not have increased much before the arrival of the emigrants. William mentions that he intends to sell his land at the Manawatu when the place becomes more thickly populated. I consider that he is right in this. Has he got the whole of his three sections at the Manawatu, and if so, are they near each other, and all good land? I see the Company are advertising land near Wellington for sale at £2 per acre. I suppose this is the land that was left in the district after selecting the 100,000 acres, in which case it will likely not be so good as the land that has been selected. If they succeed in getting much of the land sold the district will soon get well peopled and William's land should be worth at least £5 per acre.

I am glad to hear that you are getting some sport in the way of fishing, shooting and pig-hunting. Though the most of your time will be more profitably occupied in your farming operations, it is a very good thing to have an opportunity of spending your leisure hours in fishing or shooting, as the proceeds will be useful. Gavin Brackenridge sent me your letter to him to take a reading of it and I was rather amused with your description of some of the feats of William's dog Tiger.

The grouse shooting on the 12th of August was very good this year. From all accounts the birds are very numerous and strong. James Paxton and Tam Sampson have had better sport than any other shooters about Kilmarnock. They

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were at Mr. Aird of Cropflats muir near Muirkirk. James Paxton killed 17 1/2 Sampson 15, and Mr. Aird 10 brace on the 12th. I had a bit of a grouse pie (part of the proceeds) at Mr. Paxton's last night at supper.

You will have heard that the non-intrusion ministers have left the established church and formed a new secession, calling themselves the Free Church. Of the Kilmarnock ministers, Main, Brodie and Campbell have gone out and the most of their hearers with them. Mr. Chalmers, the Minister of Dailly and Mr. Wallace of Barr are among the seceders. Mr. Strong of Kilmarnock goes to Dailly and Mr. Porteous of Riccarton to Prestonkirk near Edinburgh to fill up churches where the ministers have seceded. They will both get better stipends than they had here. It is not known who will fill their places here. I think a great many of the ministers who have seceded bitterly regret the step they have taken, though they find it too late to help themselves now. They will have poor stipends in the Free Church in comparison to those they have left. Dr. Mcfarlane of Greenoch, who had the largest stipend of any minister in Scotland (about £1,200) has seceded. I believe Mr. McIlraith of Auchenflower is one of the Free Church men. The young ministers in want of places will be the greatest gainers by the secession and the masons and wrights who will build their church. By the bye, Johnnie Drinnan is the only Elder of Riccarton Church who has gone out.

P. S.--My father has promised to take shares to the amount of £20 or £25 in a company which some people connected with New Zealand in London propose to set going for the cultivation and preparation for shipment of the New Zealand flax according to Mr. Donlan's patent chemical method of preparing it.

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

Kirkstyle, 4th January, 1844.

I had on 15th October your (John's) letter dated Sydney, 4th May, and one from Mr. Blackwood, Dowhill, mentioning that he had a letter from you also, dated Sydney, 6th May, and that you had purchased your stock very cheap, and we have been expecting for some weeks to have had a letter from you at Port Cooper, informing us how you and the stock stood the sea voyage, and how you liked your new habitation, but no accounts have yet arrived.

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You will before this reaches you have received a letter from James in September informing that after a tedious correspondence with Mr. Somes', the Directors of the New Zealand Company came to the resolution of your getting the land order for the section at Nelson put in the original form, and giving up the claim they made on you for repaying the passage money.

We have seen from the newspapers and the New Zealand Journal an account of the disastrous catastrophe that took place at Cloudy Bay, and have been very anxious about your safety, lest the natives should after their victory have made a general rising, but as Port Cooper and Cloudy Bay are a good way distant, we are hopeful that it has not gone your length. If you had been at Nelson we would have been almost despairing of your safety, as we saw that Captain Wakefield and Mr. Patchet were among the twenty that were murdered.

By the ship Bella Marina which carries this you will receive a large box or barrel with the 100 six-bushel bags, and six pairs of boots which I purchased with £14 2s. of interest of your bills discounted at London when you were going out, and which interest was paid to me only about three weeks ago; the bags were 1/11d. each and the boots 13/- per pair, so that with the expense attending the sending them to be shipped they will amount to rather more than the interest which I received.

John Deans to John Deans, Sen.

Potarigamutu, Port Cooper, 10th January, 1844.

I received yours of the 11th and James' of the 9th and 11th May, 1843,and was glad to learn that you have enjoyed pretty good health since I left. You will have received my letter of the 16th January and also one written at Newcastle, N. S. Wales, about the 20th of May last, just before I sailed with the cattle for this place. I intended to have written you again before this time, but as we are rather out of the way of getting letters forwarded I did not get an opportunity of doing so. However, as William wrote you when up at Port Nicholson in August, his letter would answer the same purpose.

I daresay William would write you that I had a very long and rough passage with the cattle, and lost a good many about the time of landing, but considering the length of the

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passage we cannot complain much of our luck. I believe there have never been cattle of the same description landed in New Zealand at so low a price. Since we got them round here they have improved wonderfully. We have now of those shipped, three mares, eighteen bullocks, forty-one heifers, one bull and thirty-three sheep. The mares all proved to be in foal and they are now running about with three as fine foals as I could wish to see; the one we lost on the passage was also in foal, which made the loss so much the greater. We have only got seven calves as yet, but almost all the heifers are with calf, so we expect this year to have about forty more. From the two sows I brought we have now nineteen and will soon have some more; there is no trouble with these as they require no food, besides what they can gather, unless when they have young ones.

Our field crops of two and a half acres of wheat, one of oats, and two and a half of barley, are very light, as we were too late in getting them sown, but we have about five roods of potatoes in the field, and one in the garden, which look pretty well. As the mares were getting heavy with foal and we had no indoor food to give them, we could not get on just as fast as we could have wished this season, but there is no fear of our being behind next one.

This is certainly by far the best place I have seen in New Zealand, and for squatters like ourselves no place could be better, as there is plenty of level land with good pasture for cattle of all descriptions, and many places where there is plenty of wood and water. As a place for a settlement it will certainly be much better than any of the other settlements in New Zealand, but a great many of the sections must be a long way from wood, and a considerable number of them from water, unless it can be got by sinking; these are certainly drawbacks to an infant colony, but not so great as having bad land, no way of making roads, or even being obliged to clear heavily timbered land. It is certainly the finest block of level land that I ever saw. I daresay some of it will be rather light for cropping, but there are many miles of first rate soil in different places on the flat. The place where we are squatted has many advantages; there is a wood about 200 acres in extent at the back of our houses, and a river of water clearer than crystal (indeed the finest water I ever saw) running close past the front. The river divides into several different branches near to our houses, and it is between them that our cattle feed;

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they serve as fences. But I have walked about twenty miles further inland, and did not see a single drop of water, although if I had turned a few miles either to right or left I would have seen plenty of rivers that never run dry. I have never seen the river that passes our door rise or fall more than four or five inches, although during the winter we had some five days rain at one time, and now there has been six weeks of very dry weather. It is as cold, too, in summer as winter as it all flows from springs about two miles farther up.

We will have more cows this year than we will be able to milk, but we intend to select about twenty of the best milkers and make cheese and butter, and fatten pigs with the whey and butter milk, for all of which we should be able to get a ready market among the surveyors and any shipping that may come into the harbour. We will just allow the other cows to suckle their calves. I reckon calves worth as many pounds here as shillings at home; the keep costs nothing and they are worth a great deal more than cows at home, when they grow up.

The first year or two after the settlement is commenced will give us a pretty correct idea how things are likely to go on here, but, as you advise, if we cannot see that we are able to better ourselves by staying, I would not have the least hesitation in selling off, and returning home. We get on very well here, seldom seeing any strangers, but we do not weary on that account, as we have always plenty to do. I have acted as yet as stockman and ploughman, and doing a few odd turns in the garden, and I have been learning to milk cows as we will have a pretty busy time when they come to calf. William is generally pretty busy gardening, making fences or something else. John Gebbie has charge of the milk and a great many odd jobs, and Samuel is still erecting houses and other small things in the carpenter way.

So James Young is not likely to come out here after all. It is perhaps just as well that he does not, for I expect he is turning rather a little wavering and changeable in his opinions. For a person that wishes to enjoy their otium sine dignitate, New Zealand is not the best place in the world.

Long ere this you will have heard the full particulars of the dreadful massacre at Wairau. It caused a deal of alarm among the settlers at Wellington and Nelson, indeed I think much more than there was any occasion for. The

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From a Photograph

JAMES YOUNG DEANS of Kirkstyle, Ayrshire

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From sketch by J. W. Barnicoat

The house in the centre is still standing (1937)

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Maoris say that if the white men had stood their ground for another fire, they would all have run, and I have not the least doubt they would, but when the Pakehas began to fly, and the Maoris saw they were frightened, they took courage, and when the Pakehas delivered up their arms they were murdered. It is to be hoped that the most active ringleaders will be hanged, but so far as we have heard there have been no steps taken to capture them. However, they are too frightened to try any more of the same tricks. I consider it fortunate that I left Nelson when I did, as I would very likely have been at Wairau and shared the same fate as those that were there. This disaster has hurt almost every person in New Zealand more or less, as a great many would be for purchasing land but are afraid of the natives. It was this that obliged William to draw upon you when at Port Nicholson as he went up there quite sure of getting £120 for one of his country sections which he had sold to a solicitor there, but who told him on account of the disaster at Wairau those people that were to have advanced the money would have nothing to do with it. We were so sure of getting that and some other little sum that we expended all our money on the cattle and other things we required to bring down here, but I hope it did not put you to much inconvenience. I expect to get the price of my suburban land at Nelson sometime this year if the same panic has not affected the gentleman I let it to. I understand he has been building on and improving it, so I think there is no fear.

We have got about three roods of garden ground cleared and in crop, cabbages, peas, potatoes, onions, leeks and parsnips look very well, but carrots, turnips, melons, cucumbers, etc., are eaten up by a small fly as soon as they braird. It is worse than the May fly and much more numerous; they have been annoying us for the last two months. We have also got a good many fruit trees, only a few of which are yet grafted, and a number of strawberry plants. Next year we expect to have plenty of strawberries and perhaps a few apples and plums.

29th January, 1844.

I intended to have written a few more trifles, but as I have an opportunity of getting this forwarded to Port Nicholson I have no time to add more. I will write soon again. With best respects to all friends in which William joins.

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J. Y. Deans to Wm. Deans.

Kilmarnock, 27th July, 1844.

We have received your letter dated Wellington, 6th September, and John's dated Port Cooper, 10th and 29th January last. I lost no time on receiving your letter in writing Mr. Struthers to question Mr. Crawford of Overton regarding the statement he was alleged to have made concerning you having been married to a native woman and I now send enclosed his answer. I think Mr. Crawford at a dinner party in his own or Mr. Gebbie's house at which I understand Mr. Struthers and Leighton of Hamilton were present had said that it was a general practice in New Zealand for the settlers to have a native woman staying with them and he may have said something which led those present to suppose that you had followed the same practice. At least I cannot account for it in any other way. Mr. Crawford was lately married to a daughter of Admiral Dundas; she is blind. He intends to set out to New Zealand about this time to remain for a couple of years so as to settle his affairs.

I yesterday morning received a letter from the Rev. Mr. Burns, lately minister of Monkton, who goes out as the clergyman of the New Edinburgh settlement about to be formed at Port Cooper, of which the following is a copy:--

New Prestwick,
25th July, 1844.

My Dear Sir,

I have this instant received a letter from London and as there is no time to lose I merely quote from it in hopes to catch the 11 o'clock train to give you as much time as possible to write your brothers. "A fast sailing ship the Caledonia was laid on for the Company to sail for New Zealand on the 30th inst. with important dispatches. Your friend Mr. Deans may wish to write, and if he posts his letters under cover to Mr. Wm. Bowler of this office (i.e., New Zealand House I presume) they will be carefully forwarded. His sons could not do better (so far as it goes) for themselves and those that will join them than to have as many pairs of oxen broken in to harness as they can, persuading also their neighbours to do the same. Some horses especially for the saddle will also be in immediate demand. Have they ever mentioned what quantity of timber accessible to Port Cooper is to be found in the Peninsula itself which is hilly? Or as to water power? These might be important points in regard to taking out machinery for saw mills, etc., etc." Please let me know as to this at your leisure.

I think besides the trained oxen you should have as many pigs and poultry and cabbages, etc. as possible ready for the settlers when they arrive.

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There have been some disagreements between the Government and Company which led to a total stop of the Company proceedings some time ago. A Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to enquire into the matter and they have now finished their labours. Lord Howick, the Chairman, is preparing the report to be given in to the House and till this is done none of the evidence of views of the Committee will be made public, but I have learned from Mr. Burns that the report will be very favourable to the Company and inculpatory of the Government, so much so that resignations in the Colonial Office here and also at New Zealand are inevitable. And the seat of Government will be removed from Auckland to Wellington. It is probable that the report of the Committee will be given out to the House before the sailing of the Caledonia, and you may in that case be enabled to learn its contents.

The quarrel between the Government and Company naturally prevented the New Edinburgh settlement from progressing, otherwise the emigrants would likely have been at Port Cooper before now. At one time it was proposed to establish that settlement under the Government and independent of the Company, but some obstacles prevented this. About two months ago I received a letter from Mr. Burns mentioning that Messrs. Dempster and Hume, two of the principal parties connected with the New Edinburgh settlement had resolved to wait no longer but would immediately set out for New Zealand and squat beside you, and they wished that my father would give them introductions to you or write recommending you to give them any assistance or information in your power, which last I promised to do, but have had no opportunity of sending a letter till now. Mr. Dempster is I understand an advocate, and he intended to proceed by the first ship direct to New Zealand, and Mr. Hume being a judge of stock intended to go to Australia and to take over cattle and sheep from thence.

I should think if the Company obtain such a favourable arrangement with the Government as they seem to anticipate, the value of land in Wellington and Nelson should rise considerably so that John and you may have reason yet to be glad that you have not sold your land there during the panic. No doubt the lands near Wellington will rise greatly in value if the seat of Government is removed there. Perhaps the Company may endeavour to dispossess you of your land, but

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I hope they will not attempt it; you should oppose them doing so as much as possible. I suppose in case you are removed you will be indemnified for your outlay in buildings and improvements. Probably you may be able to purchase the land you occupy from the natives as I see Governor Fitz Roy means to authorize them to sell their lands. If you should have particular occasion for a sum of money to invest in this or any other secure way, I might be able to procure and lend you and John some (say £500 or £600) at 7 1/2 per cent., but I would not advise you to borrow anything except you should see that it would be very much to your advantage, and that you would have a speedy prospect of repaying it.

John asks for some particulars regarding the new Edinburgh settlement, which is intended to be composed principally of emigrants from Scotland. If I remember aright, the settlement was intended to comprise 2,000 allotments, each consisting of 50 country acres, ten suburban and 1/4 town acre. The price of each to be £120. I understand, however, that not more than from 200 to 300 of these allotments have yet been disposed of. I believe it is intended that the settlers shall leave the country in September or October. Instead of allowing the purchasers to select their land out of the whole 420,500 acres there will be a block of land a little larger than the extent sold submitted for their choice. We will write you by the next vessel what has been resolved in regard to the New Edinburgh settlement and the Company's colonising affairs in general, and we will also write you by some of the settlers at the time of their leaving this country.

I hope both of you will write us fully as often as you have opportunities giving accounts of the country and your own proceedings.

J. Y. Deans to John Deans.

Kilmarnock, 28th September, 1844.

We wrote by the last vessel from London (the Caledonia) on 27th July since which we have received no letters from you. The report of the Committee of the House of Commons on New Zealand was given in to the house a few days after the date of my letter and it is very favourable to the views of the Company, but it is doubtful yet what Lord Stanley will do, whether he will act in accordance with the report or cast it to the winds and proceed in his own way. The House is not sitting just now and will not meet for the transaction

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of business until the beginning of February, and it is very probable that nothing will be known for certain what is to be done until the meeting of Parliament, when the subject will be brought before it by some friend of the Company and the future policy of the Colonial Office in regard to New Zealand elicited. Lord Stanley has retired from the House of Commons and is to be created a Peer, however it was mentioned by Sir R. Peel that he is to continue in the Cabinet, but whether as Colonial Secretary or not is unknown. Some think that he will be removed from that situation to some other unconnected with the colonies. In the meantime nothing will be done regarding the New Edinburgh settlement and it is probable that the emigrants will not leave the country before spring. If the misunderstandings between the Government and Company were once satisfactorily arranged it is the intention of the Company to form another new settlement (in connection with, the Church of England) on a large scale. It is proposed to make it an inland settlement in connection with Wellington and to place it in the Wairarapa District. I have no doubt but that the present misunderstandings and difficulties in New Zealand matters will soon pass away and that the colony will be put in a more flourishing situation than it has ever yet been.

From the Gazette and other accounts from Auckland I observe that the native claims to land in the Port Nicholson district have been settled and that Governor Fitz Roy has authorised the settlers to purchase land direct from the natives on paying a tax of 10/- per acre to the Government and being at the expense of the necessary surveys and measurements. I should suppose that 5/- per acre will cover the price to the natives and the expense of surveying, making the net price 15/- per acre. I think William and you should endeavour to purchase the place where you are squatted, including the wood behind the house, to the extent of about 1,000 acres; no doubt it will rapidly increase in value. I think that owing to the circumstances of you occupying the land as squatters or tenants of the natives the Government would sell it to you at a less price than 10/- per acre; at least to the extent of the passage from this country of your servants. You should try it at any rate. [no footnote found] It is very probable that this plan of purchasing land from the natives as authorised by Governor Fitz Roy will not be long in force. By the report of the Commons Committee, it is declared that the natives of the Middle

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and Southern Islands have no title to any lands in these Islands except such as are actually occupied or made use of by them. The reason of this is that the Middle and Southern Islands were never recognised (as was the case of the Northern Island) as independent states, and they were no parties to the Treaty of Waitangi whereby the title of the natives to the land in the Northern Island was guaranteed to them on them surrendering their independence and becoming subjects of the Queen. In this way if the report of the Committee is to be of any force, the Government will assume the title to the whole lands in the two southern islands except such as are occupied by the natives, as part of the waste lands of the Crown. Again in reference to the lands in the northern island it is recommended by the report that the Government should without delay extinguish the native title to all the lands in that island except such as are occupied by the aborigines. By the report it is recommended that all actual occupiers of lands should immediately receive crown titles and I should suppose if that were acted upon, you the only squatters, would on payment of a sum of money receive a crown title to the land you occupy. You should get a copy of the report of the Committee of the House of Commons if you have not one already. By the time this reaches you the mode of selling land in the colony will in all likelihood be put in a more settled position and you will be able to act accordingly.

Our friends are all well. I send this letter through the New Zealand Company and my father will write you by post by the same vessel to the care of Mr. Lyon enclosing a bank bill on London to William for £125. We are to get two sets of the bill and will send the other by the next ship to the colony.

Write soon and give full particulars of the country in your neighbourhood. I see a great discrepancy between William's letter and yours in regard to the extent of the wood at your place. He calls it 200 and you 20 acres. Mention in your letters if it is thickly covered with trees and if they are large and the timber of good quality. Mention also the character of the soil in your own occupation and the probable extent of land between the different divisions of the stream and how much you occupy. Are there any game such as ducks and quails and any fish in your neighbourhood?

I expected to have letters to enclose with this to John Gebbie and Samuel Manson, but have not yet received them,

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and as I must send off the letter this afternoon it is probable they will not reach me in time. John Gebbie's wife's father and mother called at the office about a month ago and promised to write at this time.

Samuel Manson's mother also promised to write. His wife's mother called at the office yesterday enquiring for news and wondered at never having received any letters.

I intend to write again by next ship and with compliments to William and best wishes.

P.S.--Since the alteration of the rates of postage in the colony, very few of the Gazettes have arrived, certainly not one-third of them, so that I do not think William should continue his subscription for it at least so far as we are concerned. We would rather you would write fully and frequently.

J. Y. Deans to Wm. Deans.

Kilmarnock, 10th October, 1844.

Since I wrote John the Tyne direct from Wellington has arrived bringing intelligence up to 23rd May. We have got no letters by the Tyne, but two or three Gazettes. I see the Gazette has completely changed its tone since the arrival of Governor Fitz Roy in the colony, it having now become a firm supporter of Government and opponent of Colonel Wakefield and the Company.

In the Gazette dated 22nd May it is mentioned that the new settlement would most probably be located at Port Otago. I do not know whether you will consider this an advantage or the contrary, but it will certainly give your stock more time to increase before the land in your neighbourhood is settled and I have no doubt but the superiority of the place will cause it to be settled soon, but whether by the New Zealand Company or otherwise remains to be seen. The only disadvantage to you from Port Otago instead of Port Cooper being fixed as the site of the new settlement is that you will not have such an immediate market for your produce.

Secretary's Office,
Wellington, 22nd February, 1845.


Your application to be allowed to purchase from the natives land situated near Banks Peninsula has been before the Governor.

In reply, I am instructed by His Honor the Superintendent to inform you that His Excellency cannot consent to waive the right

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of pre-emption over any part of the Middle Island at present, in favour of any individual, but that your request will be kept in view.

I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient servant,
(Sgd.) C. E. Grimston, Secretary.
Messrs. W. and Deans, Port Cooper.

* * *

Note by Wm. Deans.

I am in hopes that we will be allowed to purchase in a short time and am unwilling to press the matter further till things are something more settled.

(Sgd. ) Will. Deans.

J. Y. Deans to Wm. Deans.

Kilmarnock, 25th February, 1845.

We are astonished at not having heard from John or you for such a length of time. The last letter we received from you being dated in September, 1843,and the last from John dated 10th January, 1844. Accounts have been received by the New Zealand Company that Otago has been purchased from the natives for the New Edinburgh settlement. The Rev. Mr. Burns writes me that Otago is superior to Port Cooper in respect of having a better harbour, better site for a town, better land and pasture, more wood and water, and what he could not have expected considering the two degrees higher latitude, a better climate; your potatoes being blackened with frost and the potatoes at Otago being perfectly uninjured a month later in winter. He advised me to purchase a section or two, but I don't intend to do so at present. It appears that Lord Stanley is not intending to follow out the recommendations contained in the report of the Commons committee, and the Company are about to present a Petition to the House so as to get their interposition between them and Lord Stanley. It is probable that it will not be sooner than May or June before they get the views of the House on the subject, till which time I don't think they will do anything regarding the New Edinburgh settlement. I understand very few sections have been sold in that settlement and I do not think the emigrants for it will leave this country sooner than August or September. I don't know whether you will consider it is for your advantage or otherwise that the settlement has not been placed at Port Cooper. I should think you are perhaps as well without them. I have no doubt whatever that whether

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there be a settlement formed at Port Cooper by the Company or not, the great plain on which you are settled will in a few years be covered with squatters. From your accounts I should consider it superior to any part of Australia for sheep and wool growing, and perhaps your best speculation would be if you intend to increase your stock, to get two or three hundred fine wooled ewes (young) perhaps of the long wooled sort, and in a few years you would have a very large flock of them. Perhaps I will be in New Zealand some years after this. I am shutting the office, my business being insufficient to keep it open. I will still continue to do any writing business I can get at home, but will be ready to commence any other business that may promise later. Mr. Bruce of the Commercial Bank here speaks of laying out about £200 in purchasing land in New Zealand and sending out a cousin of his to farm it. Perhaps you could give some advice whether it would likely be a good speculation and if you could undertake to purchase the land for him and at what place you would do so.

I have very little news to tell you but will write more fully by the next ship, if as we expect, we get a letter from you before then.

John Gebbie and Samuel Manson's friends have both received letters of later dates than any we have got. Indeed it is not above two months since Samuel Manson's friends heard from him. I hope you will in future take advantage of every opportunity. We allow very few ships to leave this country without a letter to you.

John Deans, Sen. to Wm. Deans.

Kirkstyle, 25th February, 1845.

Referring to my former letter of the 29th September I now send you prefixed the second Bill of Exchange for £125 on Messrs. Smith, Payne and Smith, Bankers, London, which you can use in case any misfortune should have happened to the first.

We have been wearying very much to hear from you and John how you are coming on, it having been sixteen months since we heard from you and thirteen since we heard from John. We fully expected letters by the Bella Marina; do write us often and let us know how your crops are coming on, and what extent of land is in your farm. Samuel Manson has written his friends that you had three steadings of good

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houses on the farm. I hope the cattle are thriving well and increasing rapidly in numbers.

We have heard that the New Edinburgh settlement has been fixed for Otago. I hope it will be no very severe loss to you, for although you lose their society you will have fewer competitors for your produce.

We have got a good framed profile of John from the one you sent. If you can procure one of yourself, we will give them both a place in the dining room.

Major Richmond to William and John Deans.

Wellington, 23rd August, 1845.

A reference having been made to me by the native chief "To-one" on the subject of leasing a tract of land to you for a cattle run at Putaringamotu in the Middle Island, I beg to inform you that the Government will offer no objection to such an arrangement, provided that you enter into equitable terms with the native possessors, and that the land has not been alienated by them.

John Deans to John Deans, Sen.

Port Cooper, 28th September, 1845.

We received your and James' letters of the 27th July, James' of the 28th September, yours of the 10th October prefixing a bill for £125 to William, all on one day. We have since received yours and James' of the 25th February, 1845, with No. 2 of the same bill. I had no idea it was so long since we wrote last, till you mentioned the dates in your last letter. We shall endeavour to be more punctual in future.

Last summer was a very different one from the preceding. We had abundance of rain, and our crops were all very good. The wheat sown after potatoes was about as fine a crop as I ever saw, it would yield 60 or 70 bushels to the acre; potatoes were also very fine, we had upwards of 30 tons on about two and a half acres of land, but we will not be able to get much more than half of them disposed of. None of the land has ever been manured except the garden, but we mean to manure the potatoes this year. We do not mean to sow so much of anything this year, as we find that we cannot manage so much without employing additional servants which will not pay unless we had a more convenient market than at present. We have sown two and a half acres of wheat and three roods of

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barley, and will plant about three roods of potatoes, and as much oats as will serve our own horses. We have only one man and his wife for servants now, John Gebbie and Samuel Manson having taken a bowen of fourteen cows each and gone to the head of Port Cooper; they are to bring up all the calves for us and to pay 50/- for each cow. John's time was expired four months before he left, and he had saved nearly as much as to furnish him in a steading, provisions for twelve months, and to buy a mare and two good cows. Of course Samuel had not time to lay past so much, but he made an effort to get a steading and plenty of provisions. His time was only half run, but as he was very anxious to be his own master, and had got nearly all our carpenter work finished, we thought that we could get another person that would suit us quite as well and let him go. We have sent to Sydney for cheese-making materials for them both, and if they arrive in time, they should do very well, but if they have to make butter and it should be any lower in price than last year they will have enough to do. The couple we got after they left are Scotch people and they are very good servants; they have three children, but they will manage to do all our work very well at present. We will have about 130 head of cattle this spring besides a few that we have sold, and they should continue to increase very fast now as some of the young ones will soon be having calves. Since we got them up here we have only lost one and that was a six months' old calf which was drowned. Of course there have been some dead calves but none have died after they were two days old. Our garden crops were all very good last season. I think I never saw a larger crop of potatoes than we had in it, and all the vegetables were as good as I could wish to see. Our fruit trees are getting on very well. We had about twenty very good apples on one tree and one plum which proved to be a greengage. In a year or two we should have plenty of apples, plums, cherries and peaches. We have a good quantity of strawberries, but they don't seem to bear well here, and we have also got a few gooseberry slips. We had only two grafted apple and two cherry trees, but as we had plenty of stocks I budded them and they have almost all grown. One year's growth of the apple from the bud grew about four feet long and as thick as my thumb at the bottom, and several of those have fruit buds on them this spring, but I will take them all off so that they may the sooner be able to carry a full crop. We

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have no grafted peach trees but I understand that they will bear very well here from the seed.

In answer to James' questions about the country in our neighbourhood, I shall endeavour to give you full particulars. I have no doubt that the plain on which we are living was at one time covered with water and that the peninsula was an island. From the sea a person would still suppose so, as the plain is so very low and level that the land cannot be seen until you are within a few miles of it. Near to the beach on both sides the land is very swampy but inland two or three miles it is mostly quite dry land; the banks are generally about ten feet high and the rivers very deep but narrow, having no level channel banks like most of the rivers at home; these sort of rivers are fed by large springs and are always clear, neither rising much with the rains in winter nor falling low with the droughts of summer; the rivers have quite a different appearance farther inland. One that I saw near the mountains reminded me very much of the Geel, being shallow and gravelly and evidently at times much swollen by the heavy rains in winter; the largest river on the plain evidently rises among the mountains as it is very liable to be flooded, and although the land over which it runs looks to be nearly a dead level it is by far the most rapid river I ever saw; it passes within about four miles of our house below which it is deep and still as a lake. About twenty miles above our place the banks are very high and so smooth and steep that a person would almost suppose it had been cut with a spade. A little farther up, the bank, on our side of the river, is clothed with timber and it is so steep that a person could almost touch the tops of trees 50 or 60 feet high without leaving the ground. I should think the swampy land does not amount to the thirtieth part of the plain, the rest is pretty much of one character, being all dry grass land, and I think at one time must have been nearly all covered with wood as we see in many places the roots and other remains of very heavy timber. There are still remaining six or seven clumps of trees--the one at our place being about the smallest; if twenty other settlers were to use as much as we have done there would not be a good tree in the bush. Although I have not been in any but one of the others I should think from all accounts that there would be enough good timber in them for the wants of a considerable settlement. On the north-west side of the plain the hills are in many places clad with timber

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to the very bottom, but of course that would be too far distant from many parts of the plain; there could be several places got suitable for water power to drive mills, but I think sawmills would not pay now that sawyers' wages are low. On a place like this where the land can be so easily broke up corn mills could be erected at the very commencement of a settlement as sending corn to Wellington to grind would be attended with considerable expense. In Port Cooper, at least near to the beach, there is very little wood, but on some of the hillsides there is plenty and it could be carted or dragged down either with horses or bullocks, but if a settlement was formed there just now most of the sawn timber required would be brought in vessels from Wellington and Nelson. Most of the soil on the plain is rather light, and a person would think that it would not bear heavy crops of wheat, but from what I have seen I am confident that it will produce as fine crops as almost any part of the world. I have never seen any extent of heavy clay land in New Zealand; even the wooded land has not the depth of soil and vegetable mould that one would expect from the fine timber that grows on it. I have seen large trees growing where there was not two inches of good soil on the surface and the sub-soil was so impervious that a person could scarcely dig it with a strong spade. I am aware that evergreens (which most of the New Zealand trees are) neither extract so much nourishment from the soil nor do they add to its depth like those that periodically shed their leaves. The roots of the largest trees have very little soil over them but mostly creep along the surface. There is a very large lake or lagoon on this plain; 4 it is said to be seventy miles in circumference, and I should say it is not much less; it is close to the sea beach and sometimes breaks through the sandbank that divides it from the sea. There are millions of eels in it; the natives make a sort of basket for catching them and they get tremendous quantities sometimes; they dry them in the sun and are almost the only food they have at times. In places like the lagoon and some of the still running rivers a good many of the eels are as thick as a man's leg and are very fat. We get them frequently and are very fond of them. We have got one of these eel baskets and William one morning last summer caught 32 lbs. in it, but that is nothing to what the natives catch sometimes. There is a sort of fish called trout in some of the rivers, but they are the worst fish

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ever I ate; they are never almost seen in the daytime nor are the eels, and you cannot catch any till dark; the only other fish we get in the rivers are a sort of flounder and they are certainly very fine; the way we get them is to spear them on a clear day. There are a vast many sorts of salt water fish to be got in many of the bays, but very few are first rate. One called Abouka 5 grows to a very large size, I have seen them nearly as large as myself; they are as rich as the salmon and very fine flavoured. Baricouta are also to be got in great abundance and are very easily caught. I believe the best way to catch them is to have a stick not much longer than a walking stick and a piece of red cloth (or something glaring) with a large hook tied to the end of it, and when in a boat or small vessel keep splashing the water right and left with it, and if plenty they will seize it nearly as fast as you can take them off the hook; these last are not peculiar to New Zealand but may be seen often on the passage out. Of the feathered tribe, we have abundance of quail, very like the partridge but not much larger than the blackbird, they are very fine eating and would afford excellent sport to gentlemen who like the shooting better than the game. A great many descriptions of ducks; the largest, called the Paradise Duck, is as large as two ordinary ducks, but has often a sort of fishy taste from feeding near or on the beach; they have very pretty plumage; the male has a black head, dark coloured grey and white feathers on the body; the female, white as far down the neck as the tame drake has green, then a mixture of white, reddish brown, and the back a beautiful bright grey for dressing flies. A species of grey duck very like the wild duck at home; one almost all black, and a sort of teal of a brownish grey. All very fine eating; there are one or two more kinds but not so plentiful, one of which is the prettiest duck I ever saw; it is very much like some of the very pretty tame drakes, but the colours are brighter, the breast is nearly a bright red and there is some blue on the back of the wings as bright as that on the jay pyet; they have also a very large curiously shaped bill. There is a very majestic bird somewhat like the heron in shape, but pure white in colour; they are very scarce. And a large bittern, which only cries in the spring, like the roar of a bull. Some of these when moulting cannot fly and a good dog can catch as many as you choose. The Paradise duck is more of the character of the goose than the duck, and is to

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be seen as often on dry land as water; when moulting you may kill as many as you choose with a stick. When settlers first arrived at Nelson they were not the least afraid of them. These are the principal water birds and of the grey ducks I have seen more here in an hour than ever I saw anywhere else in my life, and have shot a dozen in a couple of hours. Wood pigeons are abundant; they only come here for about three months, about April, May and June. A person may shoot them often in our bush as fast as he can charge his gun, and if he misses one it will very often not fly away till he is ready to give it another shot. Some people shoot them with small pea rifles; they are nearly as large and as handsome as a cushat and fine eating; they feed when here mostly on the berries of the black and white pines trees, each of which are said to have seeds only once in two years. There is a large kind of parrot called kaka, nearly as large as the pigeon; when fat it is very good. There is a sort of bird called woodhen which are abundant in some places; they cannot fly, at least very little, are rather like the corncraik but as large as a six months' old hen pullet; they can run very fast, but are generally caught by holding out a stick with a piece of red flannel on it which they come to devour, when with another piece of stick you slip a noose over their head as you would do a trout. One would think that it would be easier to give them a blow on the head, but they are too nimble for that. There are a number of small birds in the bush and a sort of lark on the clear ground. The robin here has not a red breast, he is black and has a white breast; every country has the robin, although of many different colours; their habits are exactly alike in all I believe. The most remarkable bird of the singing species is the tui, mocking bird or parson bird, by all which names it is called. Mocking bird because it tries to imitate a great many others, and parson bird because it is nearly black and has a white tuft of feathers on its throat very like a clergyman's bands. We had one tame for a short time; in the morning before we rose it commenced mocking, at one time coughing as a person would do that had a bad cold, then laughing as if he would have split his sides, and occasionally whistling his native notes; a stranger could not keep from laughing to hear him.

I do not mind whether I wrote you before about the earthquakes we have here. I have only felt one myself, but they are pretty frequent about Wellington. The one I felt

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was about a year ago when in bed. William awakened me to say there was an earthquake coming and in a minute or so come it did; it was reckoned a pretty severe one, there was very little noise but a curious trembling feeling for a few seconds; it reminds me more than anything I know of being in one of Mr. Fulton's shops opposite the Council house in Kilmarnock when a heavy loaded cart is passing, but of course with less noise. The wooden houses yield to it, but the brick ones are thought to be rather unsafe. I should say stone ones would be still worse. I have never heard of any doing much damage; some people are rather alarmed at first, but they soon come never to mind them. Sometimes, too, there are great quantities of sheet lightning seen at night, although nothing to what is in Sydney. Of a clear starry night there a person would think there was half a dozen flashes in a minute. Once or twice, too, in the season we have thunder storms, but I do not think they are much more severe than at home; the natives say they have never heard of any accidents resulting from them, but this may be owing to the scanty population of the place; they are not the least afraid of either thunder or lightning.

You will see from the papers that our Governor is no great favourite with the settlers. He has always taken part with the natives and has forgiven them several offences which few Governors would have done. Some time ago when there was a disturbance with the natives at the Bay of Islands he sent to Sydney for 200 soldiers, intending to make an example of some of them; the principal rioter among the natives in the meantime begged the Governor's pardon and promised to take better care in future; the Governor merely reviewed the troops and sent them away back although they were supplied for six months. Since then the natives have grown more and more insolent. At last the Governor, on account of many depredations, among others destroying the settlement at the Bay of Islands and killing many of the settlers, was obliged to send for more troops and they have ever since been at war. The natives, on account of the hilly and wooded nature of the country have been able to hold out longer than any one expected, and in several instances conducted themselves bravely, and destroyed a great many of the soldiers, both officers and privates. We have since heard a report that the Maoris were obliged to retreat leaving all their stores and ammunition, and that the principal chief Hone Heke has got a shot in his knee.

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Rough Sketch Plan by William Deans of Banks Peninsula and part of the Plains in 1845, showing the Whaling Station and Riccarton.

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This list of the native names of the Avon is in the handwriting of John Deans.

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If this be true it may stop other natives from following his example, but if he is able to hold out a little longer, it may take a great deal of trouble to subdue them, as it is probable more will join them; down here there are too few natives to molest the settlers much, but if those at Port Nicholson and other places are obliged to leave, it is thought they will come somewhere hereabouts; but they will be too frightened to do any harm to the settlers down here. We also have heard that there are to be sixty soldiers sent down to Akaroa, a small settlement on the peninsula, in case any disturbance should happen; we have not the least fear of their being needed, but if they (the soldiers) do come they will do good to the place, and perhaps enable us to get some of our fat bullocks sold to some advantage. You will have heard all this and more from the papers, as it is generally a long while before we hear the news.

Prospects for the New Zealand settlers look rather dull just now, but I hope we will soon see a little clearer before us. We have reduced our establishment as much as we can till we see things brightening a little. I should not like to incur a single farthing of needless expense as we are getting little money in. If we could get a ready market even at home prices for our produce we might be induced to keep a larger establishment, but in the present circumstances it would be nonsense. Our outlay by the year now is not much, as we have only servants' wages, groceries and other small items to lay out as we have plenty of butchers' meat, flour and potatoes of our own. If we were near a market and a mill to get our articles brought in a boat or cart the expense would be very small, but having to send to Port Nicholson, what with freight and boat hire they cost much more than you would imagine; sending our wheat to the mill at Port Nicholson we have to pay 30/- a ton for a boat to take it to Port Cooper, about as much for freight to Port Nicholson, cartage, etc., and the same expense coming back makes it almost flour's price even although the wheat is our own, but of course we cannot have every advantage. At one time I thought if a settlement were formed here too soon it would do us a great deal of harm, but now I have no objections how soon, as we will then have a market for our surplus stock and crop. If a settlement should be formed here soon, and I can see no better prospects by staying here than I do now, I shall sell off all my stock at the first commencement when prices are generally high, and

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return home and I have not the least doubt I shall be able to make as good a livelihood and be more comfortable than here. If we could get a grant of land where we now live and I could see my way clearly I would not mind staying, at least for some years. If there should be a settlement formed here small sections of 50 or 100 acres would never do. Some wooded land near to harbours may be worth £1 or 30/- an acre, but grass land like this should be sold in sections of 500 to 1,000 acres and the price about 10/- an acre. There should be almost no mechanics sent out, but all farm labourers. Mechanics are already too numerous in New Zealand, and they are all sure to flock to the new settlement.

Notwithstanding the fine accounts James has heard of Otago I would dissuade him from buying any land there or in fact in any part of New Zealand on the terms that it is offered. I shall compare Mr. Burns' account of Port Otago with what I have heard of it. He says it has a better harbour. A person down here who has been in both with a vessel of his own and who has had considerable experience says that for one vessel that would be lost in or about Port Cooper there would be twenty at Otago. The Deborah, a vessel of 120 tons, was there with the surveyors, etc., three times I think, and she went aground every time, and I further hear that with some winds a vessel cannot get in. With regard to the site for a town Port Cooper perhaps has not the best that could be wished, and I believe that the place where the town is or was to be at Otago was mostly on shifting sand so that a town might be built one day and either blown away or covered up the next. Better land and pastures; there are many opinions of the best sort of land in New Zealand, and Mr. Tucket, who chose Otago, liked that best which we reckoned worst. As for the pasture, I do not believe there is better pasture in New Zealand than on this plain and on the hills around Port Cooper; there may be more wood and water, but I think there is quite enough of the latter at least. As for the climate being better any one who has ever spent a year there can contradict that statement. Mr. Tucket himself acknowledged that the spring and summer weather were boisterous and cold, but it was fine calm weather in winter. Our potatoes being frosted a month sooner than those at Otago was no criterion because at Otago there would be no potatoes planted on anything but the hilly land, whereas ours were on a place where early frosts are most apt to fall, viz., on low land near some considerable

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swamps and on the banks of a river. The potatoes at Port Levi which is close to Port Cooper, are some of them quite green through the whole winter as I saw myself about two weeks ago. A person could not say that frost had ever touched them, and why may not the few potatoes that were grown at Otago be in a sheltered situation such as those at Port Levi and be untouched for a month after ours. The block of country land laid out for New Edinburgh extends sixty miles to the southward of the harbour and the capital to be employed in making roads and bridges would not make one good road from end to end nor anything like it. William says that the land to the northward of the harbour is much better than what is chosen. The expense that would make one road there would make roads from Port Cooper over four times the extent of land. It would be a pity to see such a place as this is, cut up into their ten and fifty acre sections.

As the vessel is to leave for Port Nicholson immediately William has not time to write just now, but he will do so by the first chance; it is likely they may both go home in one vessel.

1   Peraki, one of the first whaling stations on Banks Peninsula.
2   Waikouaiti, the whaling station purchased in 1835 by John Jones, who, in 1840, established an agricultural settlement there.
3   The letter arrived from New Zealand House on 3rd November, 1843, as follows:--

Sir,--The Counsel consulted by the Directors of the New Zealand Company having given it as his opinion, that the mistake made in respect to the land orders appertaining to the allotment purchased by your brother, Mr. John Deans, would render it difficult to enforce, in this particular case, the conditions of the special land order, the Directors are compelled, most unwillingly, for the sake of the public interests of the settlement of which they are the guardians, to refrain from enforcing upon Mr. John Deans the observance of those conditions.

I am accordingly directed to inform you that, by a vessel named the Governor, which sailed, I believe, on Sunday last, land orders in the original ordinary form were sent out to the Company's principal agent, for the purpose of being delivered to Mr. Deans, in lieu of those containing the special conditions to which he has objected.--J. C. H.
4   Lake Ellesmere.
5   Hapuka.

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