1958 - Torlesse, C. O. The Torlesse Papers: Journals and Letters... 1848-1851 - 1. Arrival in New Zealand, p 29-38

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  1958 - Torlesse, C. O. The Torlesse Papers: Journals and Letters... 1848-1851 - 1. Arrival in New Zealand, p 29-38
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1. Arrival in New Zealand

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The Torlesse Papers 1848-51

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Arrival in New Zealand

2nd November - 11th December 1848

The Bernicia, barque-rigged, of 548 tons, commanded by Captain Harford Arnold and bound for New Zealand, is 118 days out from Gravesend. Among the passengers are the surveyors, Captain Joseph Thomas, Thomas Cass and Charles Torlesse, sent out by the Canterbury Association to find a site and prepare the way for the proposed Church of England settlement in New Zealand. Torlesse began his journal on 6th July, the day he boarded the Bernicia at Gravesend, but the voyage has been uneventful and we take up the story on the day that the Bernicia sights the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. During the voyage Cass and Torlesse have worked the ship's latitude and longitude daily, read works on geology and studied survey methods.

2nd November. Very fine. Light breeze from the Southwest. 4 a.m. made sail and stood East. 9 a.m. land seen right ahead. I went onto the foretopsail yard and saw the peak of Mt. Egmont. 5 p.m. fired two guns and ran up signal for a pilot. 6 p.m. rounded to off New Plymouth. Mr Watson, 1 the pilot, came off in a whaleboat with Mr Webster, the Collector of Customs, and Mr Watt, a merchant and Doctor, which two latter soon went ashore again accompanied by Blaschke. 2 Mr

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Watson remained on board to stand off and on till the next morning.

Heard of death of Colonel Wakefield, 3 and settlement that the Wairarapa to be site of Canterbury. Row Captain and Bumsky about gun being fired off. Worked two Altitudes and two Longitudes... Up at 4 a.m. Turned in 10.

3rd. Very fine. Very light breeze from the SE. Up at 4 a.m. and sketched Mt. Egmont. 8 a.m. went ashore in the seal boat which came off for cargo. Ditto Capt. Arnold, Capt. Thomas, Cass, Sir W. C., Milne, Mrs, Mr & Miss Ward, Miss Field, Taylor & Hunt. Shipped a little water in the surf.

Breakfasted Ship Hotel--1/6. Con and I went off to Miss Wickstead's, 4 promised to write to her from Nelson. Then round the bush and past Captn King's. 5 Saw the Church, pah, Cook, 6 Veritas Browne, Hursthouse, Webster. Blaschke and wife landed with their effects at New Plymouth.

Company's 7 Agent (Halse) sent off some sheep--cow landed. Grey taken a house at New Plymouth. Heard from Miss Wickstead that Selina Wakefield died three months after landing. Bell 8 up Mt. Egmont. Came off to the ship at 8 p.m. Mr Watson left ship at 10 p.m. Stood off the land with a light wind from the NE. Turned in 11.

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4th. Rain. Light wind from the Eastward. Mt. Egmont in sight early in the morning. Prepared things for Nelson--wrote letters, &c. School of blackfish. Read Major Jackson. Light wind from the North towards the afternoon. Soundings in mid channel 50 fathoms--dark mud. Turned in 11--read 11 1/2.

5th. Sunday. Rain. Good breeze from the NE. 6 a.m. Stephens and D'Urville's Islands 10 miles distant to Eastward. Sk [?] thought Kapiti. Ran down the bay under twice reefed tops. Hills clouded. 12 hove to, standing SW., and kept driving towards Motueka and fired two guns. 2 p.m. went on the other tack. 3 1/2 p.m. Mr Stirling, the Nelson pilot, came on board and anchored us in Bolton Roads, just outside the Arrow Rock. 4 1/2 p.m. I went ashore in pilot boat--Poynter's 9 --Empson lent me his mare. To Songar's, 10 and with Stafford 11 to Aldourie. Long conversation with Stafford about affairs in Ireland, &c.

6th. Very fine. 6 a.m. started upon Harley's horse to Songar's; breakfasted there and then went into town with Naomi and William--on board Bernicia. Miss Field, Mrs Selmes and boat, &c. Dined Wakatu, saw Budge. To Songar's at night on Stafford's bay mare. Mrs Renwick and Margaret McCrea.

7th. Very fine. E. and Songars to McCrea's... Stafford's in evening. Rain. John Maher.

8th. Very fine. Kerr's; Palmer and Osborne to Monro's place. Lunched party at Stafford's. Dined Duppa's in Dillon's house, Capt. Thomas, Cass, Congreve, Stafford and Duppa.

9th.Very fine. Duppa's; Monro, Richmond, Otterson, Barnicoat, Bell, Hammond. Dined Cantley's. Same party and Shepherd and Wither. Lunched at Wither's. To Stafford in evening.

10th. Very fine. Stafford and I to Songar's and Nelson.

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Dined Maj. Richmond. Hooper's Brewery. Spittle. Dr Renwick. Mrs Selmes there. Slept Wakatu Hotel. Fell and Seymour.

11th.Very fine. Up at 5 a.m. --Maitai Valley; Newth, Hughes, Bumford, Spittle. Settled business Songar and Fell and Seymour. On board Bernicia in Poynter's dinghy. Dined Mrs P. and White. To Jollie 12 at Taylor's at night. Slept Wakatu. Puppy for Stafford. Wakefield's Ireland for Stafford.

12th. Sunday. Very fine. Spittle, Marsh. Long conversation with Capt. Thomas. Fell and Seymour. Brook St. Valley. Sam Wells' puppy from him--Mrs Selmes. Missed church in morning, none after. Dined Wakatu. Budge. Renwick. Slept Wakatu.

13th. Very fine after a shower in the morning. Despatch from Capt. Thomas to Harington. 13 Writing letters all day for despatch to-morrow to C. G. T., E. T., C. M. T., E. J. W., E. W., & W. E. W. Blundell arrived from Wellington. Slept Wakatu.

14th. Very fine. Finished up letters and posted them--4/6. Breakfasted Stephens. To Songar's. Hack race on Weimea course between Empson and Cook's of Comet mares. Slept Stoke.

15th.Very fine. Kinsett, Holland, Hop ground--collected flowers. Slept Stoke.

16th. Very fine. To Nelson. Fells, Elliot. Dined Wakatu. Capt. Wing. Dr Renwick in evening. Marg. Macrea & Cass. Slept Wakatu.

17th. Very fine. Wrote specification of Wairau Surveys. Letters to Miss Wickstead and Hursthouse. On board Bernicia at 3 p.m. Goodbye to Nelson. Stafford and Macshane 14 passengers to Wellington. Rain in evening. Wind NW.

18th. Rain. Wind NW. Saw D'Urville's Island. Letters to

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Eyre and Fox. Tacking out of the bay. Specimens of flowers obtained at Nelson. Read account of Brunner's exploring tour. 15 Reefed courses and tops. Light winds.

19th. Sunday. Rain. Tacking against light wind NW. and NE. Thick weather. Just saw D'Urville's Island. Packed books.

20th. Very fine. Off Stephens Isl. in morning. Light NW. breeze to run through Straits. Pilot on board at 5 1/2 p.m. Anchored Evans Bay 11 p.m. Beating in against a light North Wester to Port Nicholson.

21st. Very fine. Anchored Lambton Harbour 5 a.m. Ashore 10 a.m. Mr Fox. Lunched McDonald's. Flower show. Brittania Salloon. Dined Stafford. Dan's 16 in evening. Slept Stafford. Wind NW. Hot.

22nd. Fine. Strong breeze from the NW. Mr Cook, Fitzgerald. Dined Dan's. Tea Mrs Taine. £5 from Dan.

23rd. Very fine. Bathed 6 o'c morning. Saw Dan. Packed. To Fox 17 and office. On board with Capt. Thomas and Cass; brought off traps from Bernicia. To Cridland's 18 in the evening.

24th. Fine. NW. To Bank. Armstrong (horse cloth). Saw Donald Drummond. Saw Dan. Packed in the morning. Arranged effects at Baron's. Dined Baron's--Capt. Thomas, Cass, Capt. Arnold, Milne, Brown, Williams, Moore, Dr Dorset, Baron & ego.

25th. Very fine. NW. Company's offices in morning. Heard

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that Bell wanted running survey of the Wairarapa district. Capt. Daniell. Walked with Domett. Dan's in the evening. Copied short memoir of W. W. 19 from his private Journal.

26th. Sunday. Very fine. To Church at Te Aro Flat in the morning. Walked with Dan to Drummond's. Slept Drummond's. The Havannah arrived in Port Nicholson, having Governor Grey with a Constitution for the Southern Province and Colonel Bolton on board.

Over the hills about Evans Bay with Drummond, driving away stray cattle.

27th. Very fine. NW. Walked in from Evans Bay. Parade and Guard of Honour for Colonel Bolton. Copied Wills' Report of Port Cooper. 20 Dined Fox--Mr & Mrs Kelham and Doctor Williams. Learnt that Acheron 21 which is now surveying Hawkes Bay, would be here in 10 days and would take us to Port Cooper. Slept Stafford's.

Grey came down here with Bolton 'to repair the earthquake damages...' Capt. Thomas interview with Governor who proposed that the selection of site of Canterbury should be left to the former, the Governor's functions being gubernatorial and the Bishop's spiritual. Dined Mr Fox.

28th. Very fine. NW. Overhauled cases of stationery and instruments for articles for the exploring expedition. Band played. Dined Stafford. Dan's in the evening with Stafford. Wrote to Poynter, W. Sr. and Miss Field. Judge Chapman left card for me.

29th. Very fine. NW. Ordered boots at Famour's. Ludlam drove me to the Hutt. To Daniell's--Swainson and Petre's garden. Slept Ludlam.

30th. Very fine. NW. morn, evening cold and SE. with

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slight rain. Walked to Wai-wetu native clearings and stockade --Swainson, Burcham, Trotter. Slept Ludlam.

1st December. Very fine. Wind SE. Walked from the Hutt. Found that Bell had returned (yesterday) from the Wairarapa. Dined Stafford--Bell, Domett, Thomas, Featherston, ego & Stafford. Macdonald in evening.

2nd. Very fine. Wind NW. Copied Letters. Capt. Thomas on board Dolphin and afterwards with ego to Evans Bay, Burnham Water, &c., and afterwards dined Stafford's.

3rd. Sunday. Very fine. Wind NW. To Thorndon Church--Governor, Lieut.-Governor and Col. Bolton. Walked with Dan to Chapman's at Karori. To Featherston's in evening with Stafford. Proposed to Capt. Thomas to be Secretary to him.

4th. Rain morning. Calm fine afternoon, wind NW. light. Letter book written up. Capt. Thomas enquired about Dolphin --too small, £40 per month. Saw Col. Bolton. Dan's in the evening and went to see Cass at Cridland's.

5th. Fine. Calm and light South wind. Got Heads of Despatch No. 2 to Harrington. On board the Dolphin. To Dan's for Twelfth Report. 22 Band played at 2 1/2 to 4 1/2. Wrote Despatch No. 2 to Harrington.

6th. Fine. Strong breeze NW. Inquired about the cutter Fly. Called at bankers. Dined Capt. Thomas. Ormond at Baron Alydorf's. Cass ill--attended by Featherston.

7th. Very fine. Strong breeze from NW. Chartered cutter Fly (£55 per month, penalty £10). Lunched Brandon. Dan's in evening. Saw Cass--blister better. Governor dined on board the Havannah, salute of 17 guns to him.

8th. Very fine. Strong breeze NW. Charter party of Fly. £5 from Dan. Took traps to Company's offices. Dined Mr Fox, Macshane, Dan and Mrs W. Weld at Stafford's. Letter from Miss Wickstead. Saw McLean.

9th. Very fine. Light breeze SE. Engaged 5 men and took provisions &c., on board the Fly in Canterbury whaleboat, which was placed in Allen's charge. Dined Stafford, Domett, Bannatyne, Kelham. Wrote Despatch No. 2 to Harrington.

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10th. Sunday. Cloudy. Wind NW. Wrote Despatches. Walked with Dan. To Capt. Collinson's in evening. Cornelia arrived from Auckland. Cass recovered.

11th. Cloudy & rain. Gale NW. Despatches &c. re-written. Barrett's in evening. Letters home written.

1   Watson came out to New Zealand as chief officer in the Amelia Thompson, 1841, but whilst at New Plymouth quarrelled with the captain and went ashore. He eventually became Beach Master.
2   W. J. Blaschke, a Prussian, settled in Taranaki. He later became a member of the Provincial Council.
3   William H. Wakefield, brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, had been Principal Agent for the New Zealand Company. He died in Wellington on 19th September 1848.
4   Probably 'Bettina' Wickstead whose brother had been the New Zealand Company's Agent in New Plymouth. J. G. Cooke in his reminiscences (ms., Canterbury Museum) says she was red-haired, hideous and extremely anxious to be married. She had been governess to Colonel W. H. Wakefield's only daughter, Emily.
5   Henry King who was at that time farming at Brooklands, near New Plymouth.
6   Probably J. G. Cooke, referred to in Note 4. He arrived in 1841 in the Amelia Thompson.
7   The New Zealand Company, who were responsible for the settlement at New Plymouth.
8   Francis Dillon Bell, presumably, who had just been engaged in negotiations with the natives of the Wairarapa for the purchase of a large block of their land. T. M. Hocken (ms. v. 37, Hocken Library, University of Otago) states: 'Bell and Ben Carrington were the first to ascend Mount Egmont and trained for the ascent by walking barefoot on the New Plymouth sands.' Apparently Dieffenbach's description of the summit was inaccurate, making it unlikely that he had been to the actual top of the mountain.
9   John Poynter arrived in Nelson in 1842. He was Crown Prosecutor and Provincial Treasurer for the Nelson district.
10   Naomi Songar (or Songer) had been the Torlesse family's nurse at Stoke in England. With her husband, William, she emigrated to Nelson in 1841.
11   E. W. Stafford, later knighted, married Emily Wakefield, a first cousin of Charles Torlesse. He arrived in Nelson in 1843 and had a distinguished career in the colony, becoming Premier in 1855. Torlesse's letters to him during the next two years are printed in this volume. 'Aldourie' was Stafford's estate near Nelson.
12   Francis Jollie, elder brother of Edward, the surveyor, had been in Nelson since 1842. He later settled at Peel Forest, South Canterbury.
13   In this, Thomas's first despatch to the Secretary of the New Zealand Company in London, he refers to his intention of going to Wellington, and then Auckland to interview the Governor and Bishop; but his thoughts were turning to the Port Cooper (Canterbury) plains. 'I may add however,' he writes, 'that I understand the Government has extinguished the native title on very advantageous terms in the Island, extending from the Kaikouras to Otago. No delay will therefore occur on that account should we decide on Port Cooper.'
14   Dr Macshane came to Nelson with Captain Arthur Wakefield's original party, of which Torlesse had also been a member.
15   Thomas Brunner's famous journey down the West Coast to the Paringa River in 1846-8 was published in the Nelson Examiner, September-October 1848, and also separately in October 1848. It was republished in 1952 under the title of The Great Journey.
16   Daniel Wakefield, younger brother of Edward Gibbon and uncle to Torlesse. According to T. M. Hocken (ms. v. 37, Hocken Library, University of Otago) he was for twelve or fourteen years at the English Bar and then came to New Zealand under the name of 'Bowler' which he retained until he heard of the Wairau Massacre in 1843. He married Miss Atwood, daughter of a wealthy merchant, and practised as a solicitor in Wellington. He died in 1858.
17   Sir William Fox succeeded W. H. Wakefield in September 1848 as Principal Agent to the New Zealand Company. Captain Thomas was directly responsible to him, and the two maintained cordial relations throughout their association. Fox later became Premier of New Zealand.
18   H. J. Cridland, a surveyor and land-agent in Wellington, was commissioned to prepare estimates for roads, buildings and other public works in the proposed settlement, and for this purpose he shipped to Akaroa in the Acheron in February 1849.
19   William H. Wakefield.
20   Alfred Wills, a New Zealand Company surveyor, had recently been in the South Island with Mantell preparing plans of native reserves. His report to Colonel Wakefield is dated 21st September 1848, and supplies useful information on the 'Port Cooper plains'.
21   The Acheron, a barque-rigged paddle-steamer of 760 tons, had been built in 1838 to run the mail between Marseilles and Malta. After refitting at Woolwich and with Captain J. Lort Stokes in command, the steamer arrived at the Bay of Islands in 1848, and for the next three years was engaged in charting the coasts of New Zealand. She carried 4 guns and 100 men all told, including 13 marines and 13 firemen.
22   The Twelfth Report of the New Zealand Company, (London, 1844), known as the 'Fat Book', is one of the most important.

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