1877 - Pratt, W. T. Colonial Experiences - CHAPTER I: RETROSPECTIVE AND DISCURSIVE.

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  1877 - Pratt, W. T. Colonial Experiences - CHAPTER I: RETROSPECTIVE AND DISCURSIVE.
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AFTER an uneventful passage of 125 days the welcome cry of land 0! was heard on board the ship Indus, 420 tons, McKenzie master, bound from London to the at that time recently formed settlement of Nelson, New Zealand.

It was Saturday morning, February 4th, 1843, when this heart-stirring sound sent an electric thrill of expectation and delight through the whole ship's company, galvanizing into sudden activity nerves and susceptibilities rendered almost torpid by the comparative confinement and monotony of a four months' voyage. Though

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such a voyage would be deemed a long one now, and seemed long enough to the voyagers, yet in point of time it was considered a fair average one in those early trips to the antipodes.

During the night Cape Farewell was rounded, and on Sunday--a beautifully fine summer day, conveying a pleasing assurance of the salubrity of the climate--we were sailing pleasantly along in smooth water with a light wind down Blind Bay. About 4 o'clock a boat was observed approaching with two occupants; on coming alongside, I learnt that one was Captain Moore, and his companion a Maori waihine or native woman, who remained in the boat nursing a cat. This was my first introduction to an aboriginal, and a very comely specimen she appeared, notwithstanding the partial disfigurement of the tattooing. The ship was brought to an anchor shortly afterwards off the Boulder Bank, the tide not suiting to enter the harbour until 10 A. M. next day. There were great numbers of dogfish disporting round the vessel, and many of the passengers amused themselves by

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capturing them. Next morning, just at break of day, I was startled by hearing the crow of a cock on shore; it was so unexpected as, so far, no houses had been seen, the township not being visible from where the vessel lay at anchor. Anchored in that calm bay, in the quiet of the early morn, with no perceptible movement of the ship, and no sound save the gentle lapping of the water at the side, as with the strong ebb-tide it rippled and gurgled by the ship, it seemed as if the peace of Heaven had suddenly fallen around and upon us; the reaction was so great after the perpetual unrest--the continuous heaving, and surging, and creaking of the labouring vessel, to which we had been subjected the past four months; it was like entering upon a new existence. I hastily dressed and hurried on deck, having made an appointment to witness the first sun-rise upon this prospective new home. As day advanced, wreaths of vapoury mist rolled majestically away, detached fragments like a beaten host lingering in the valleys until finally dispersed, while the lofty

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peaks of neighbouring hills caught the golden flush of the rising sun.

Gradually the golden flood descended the hill-sides, lighting up the valleys; the blending light and shade causing the varied ridges and low points to stand out sharply defined in the cool clear morning air. Though several years have passed away since then, I never hear the shrill clarion of the cock at morn, but the whole scene and its sweetly tender associations are brought vividly to my remembrance in all their former freshness and beauty. And then the hearing at such a time and place that old familiar sound, with its human associations, on this otherwise apparently desolate shore, giving evidence of English homes, and all that is comprised in that word, but cannot be expressed, was sufficient to profoundly stir sympathies especially attuned to such influences by the recent abrupt severance of all old ties, and the subsequent irksomeness of a protracted voyage. And by my side was one who shared my sentiments and feelings, and whose mind I had long learnt to lovingly regard as the counterpart and re-

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flex of my own--for by pre-arrangement we had romantically agreed to witness together the rising sun shine for the first time for us upon our adopted country, our future home.

And hand in hand we gazed upon this new world opening out before us, feeling in leaving the old one a new and exquisite sense of freedom in the present, and a trustful faith in the future, that forcibly contrasted with the trials and difficulties that had sorely oppressed us, and that appeared at one time almost insurmountable and from which we appeared to have miraculously escaped. To us the glad vista of the future assumed all the roseate hues of the opening day, which with hearts too full for converse we were silently absorbed in witnessing, and deeming its splendour in some way prophetic of our future happiness.

Alas! that hopes so bright and promising should soon prove so fleeting and delusive; ere many months had passed the hand then fondly clasped in mine was given to another, and as his bride she sailed gaily away to old England, bidding, it was supposed, a final adieu to New

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Zealand. And yet a few brief years saw her returned with a widowed heart, and for many years the grass has grown green above her, upon one of those sunlit points that we were all unconsciously gazing upon that summer morning, thirty four years ago.

0 Time! thou avenger and maturer of all things; trials, and their compensations; whose effacing fingers soften and obliterate the sharply chiselled lines on the marble, sacred to the memory of the loved one; by whose benignant and consoling power, griefs, that appear to overwhelm, are succeeded by new joys; and regrets and tears are comparatively transient when measured by the truer standard of life's possibilities.

In thus gently lifting the veil that has so long enshrouded the episode in my life, I have somewhat anticipated the sequence of events; but will resume my experiences as far as my memory will permit in the due order of their occurrence.

On Monday morning, February 6, the 'Indus' was piloted to a berth inside the Boulder Bank, passing in her course the hull of the

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'Fifeshire,' a wreck fast upon a ledge of rocks upon which she had been swept by the strong current, while attempting to leave the harbour at a dangerous state of the tide, then not sufficiently known.

I and others were landed on the beach from a boat that we were sure was the private property of the pilot, as his wife in no very choice language soundly rated the boatmen in charge for allowing its keel to grate on the stones, which with a kindly desire to lessen the discomfort of their passengers having to wade on shore, they had endeavoured to approach as near as possible, but even then, the boat being large and heavily laden, and drawing a good deal of water, it left a margin of several yards to be waded through. The boatmen very gallantly carried the females ashore, but the men had to jump out; and I, happening to alight upon a treacherous boulder, fell prone, and, like an illustrious namesake of old, thus took fief of the new land.

The family with whom I had immigrated consisted of a Mr. E-------, his wife and three daughters. There was a large quantity of

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luggage, and considerable difficulty was experienced in removing it from the landing-place to the immigration depot, at a distance of about two miles, as there were no carriers or carts available for this purpose. After some delay a hand truck was procured, and I may truthfully say my first essay at real hard work was assisting to remove that luggage to its destination.

The road was newly made, and, from the absence of wheeled vehicles, very rough; my Wellington boots very thin, and soddened with sea-water, my hands and muscles very soft; and, moreover, the temperature was about 95 deg. in the shade, and the intense glare of the sun being reflected from the white road, made the heat almost insupportable. E. took the lead with the truck, while I laboured behind. Not having expected a job of this kind, I had landed in holiday costume, under a vague impression that it was, or ought to be, a sort of gala day; and my position in the rear of that truck, wearing a black cloth cut-away coat, and a "bell-topper" must have been exceedingly picturesque and amusing to the

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onlookers, as indeed their broad grins abundantly testified during our progress along the road. E. was a shipwright and boat-builder, and it had been arranged that I was to work with him with the object of learning his business. After the preceding remarks, I need not add that my love for his eldest daughter was the irresistible impulse that had impelled me to follow the fortunes of the family to New Zealand, and to throw in my lot with them, and, like Jacob of old, I was only too happy to work and wait for my Rachael.

A few days after arrival at the depot, E. received an order to build a boat, which rendered it necessary to look out for a suitable house or shed in the vicinity of the tide-way. One was bought for I believe five pounds, which was considered a great bargain, combining as it did the advantages of size and site. It was bought from a Pakeha Maori, one who had lived a long time with Maories, until he had become almost naturalized.

The house had been probably built by Maories, as it closely resembled the houses in

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their pahs, and being situate where their canoes could approach very near, had evidently been a place of frequent resort by them. I suspect it was this fact and other supposed belongings that was the secret of its being sold so cheap. It was thatched with raupo, or native bulrush, and had sides and interior partitions of the same material. That night I carried some blankets down to sleep there, as it had been decided to make certain alterations before the family removed into it.

I had not retired to rest long when I began to experience some extraordinary and unaccountable sensations; tingling all over with a supposed rash, I nervously longed for daylight to solve the mystery; and the solution was very far from satisfactory; the place swarmed with myriads of fleas of the most active and industrious order, a race peculiar, I afterwards learnt, to Maori pahs. I seized my clothes and blankets, and after giving them a good shaking in the open air, rushed incontinently into the creek close by, as the readiest way of getting relief, and eluding my tormentors.

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On reporting the state of affairs it was decided to remove the interior partitions, to well water and sweep the floor, which not being boarded, had a layer of two or three inches of dry earth trodden into impalpable dust, and to line the inside of the rush walls at one end of the shed with blue clay that was close at hand, and by laying down a floor of concrete composed of lime, sand, and fine gravel, we hoped to get rid of the pest, and render one part at least habitable--the remainder being required for a workshop. This was accomplished in a few days, and the family and effects removed into it.

As families were only allowed to remain a limited time at the depot, houses had to be procured somehow, and they were improvised in many instances after a very peculiar fashion, and in such variety that it would be almost impossible to attempt to describe them.

Fern about two feet high still covered the greater part of the township, small clearings being made round the homesteads to protect them from fire, and the roads, with the exception of the two main streets, were merely

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tracks cut or trodden through the fern. In some instances the fern was used for closing in the sides and even roofs of shanties.

I was passing one of this description one day situate on low land near the river, and ventured to express an opinion that fern thatch could not afford much protection from rain, and that I thought some danger was to be apprehended from the rising of the river, when the matron of the house replied: "Oh! the river often rises, and the rain pours through the roof, and then we stand on the top of a big box, and hold up an umbrella all night," and this was said with a tone and manner as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do, and really all that was possible under the circumstances.

Those whose means enabled them to procure timber, and employ carpenters, came out in all the glories of a weather-boarded building in the prevailing style, a door and two windows in front, a lean-to behind, and the luxury of a brick chimney. But sod chimneys were the rule, brick ones the exception, some contenting themselves with little more than the

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fire-place only. I remember an amusing incident connected with one of these low chimneys that is worth narrating here. A young fellow, a single man, who shared a small whare, with another robust youth like himself, full of fun and practical jokes, was strolling round one Sunday morning when his attention was attracted by a very appetising flavour proceeding from the low chimney of a neighbour, a young simple-minded bachelor, who was often made a victim of practical jokes.

A. at once confided to his mate Joe, his opinion that so-and-so, whom we will call B. was roasting a duck for dinner, and they forthwith devised a scheme to possess it.

Joe provided himself with a piece of hoop-iron turned up at one end to form a hook, and a fork securely fastened to a stick, both being about three feet in length.

A, then sauntered leisurely round to the front of the house where the duck was roasting, and engaged the amateur cook in conversation, meanwhile Joe, leaning over the low wall of the fire-place, with the hook quietly raised the lid of the camp oven

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hanging over the fire, then dexterously inserted the fork, and the duck was won. When A. was satisfied that Joe had effected a masterly retreat, he took out his pipe and walked in towards the fireplace to light it, and was in the act of retiring again when he heard a hurried exclamation of "By Jove, the duck!" and B. rushed past him, and to the rear of the house, and after gazing vacantly round returned very much concerned for the loss of his dinner, vowing vengeance against the delinquent. A. condoled with him in his loss, and said that Joe had snared a duck that morning, and generously invited him to come and share it with them, and having slily noticed some potatoes in the camp oven looking nice and brown, added, "By the bye, we haven't got any potatoes, so you had better bring these along and we'll make a jolly good dinner." Joe had so manipulated the duck that there was no suspicion. Dinner disposed of, pipes alight, and conversation brisk, B. remarked that as powder and shot was expensive he would like Joe to show him how he snared ducks; Joe, with a knowing smile, produced the hoop-iron

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and fork, and the perpetrator of the petty larceny was discovered, B. declaring he would be even with him before many days had passed.

There was another of these low chimneys the architect of which, either to prevent depredations like the foregoing or to secure privacy in his culinary operations, had ingeniously arched it over about five feet from the ground, and inserted a bouilli soup tin (minus the bottom) in the clay, near the top of the back wall, at an angle of 45 degrees as an aperture for the smoke. It was facetiously called the one-gun battery, and its menacing appearance may have tended to excite the bellicose proclivities of young New Zealand, as it was frequently the object of attack, which was commenced by clapping a lid or some kind of stopper on, when it was belching forth volumes of smoke; at such times the irascible inmate impelled alike by the stifling smoke, and a desire to be avenged upon his tormentor, would be seen to shoot out like a rocket, stick included, and vainly attempt the capture of his agile assailants.

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After ordering the planking for the boat, E. and I with hand-saws and axes proceeded into the bush to cut the needful crooks and knees. For this purpose, titoki was deemed the most suitable timber, from its hardness and crooked growth resembling English oak.

As we had to select from the limbs of trees already felled, and consequently dry and hard, it was like sawing bone.

As we did not make much progress, it occurred to E. to borrow a cross-cut saw of the sawyers who were engaged to cut the rest of the timber required, and the loan was readily granted. The saw was six feet in length, with very large sharp teeth, and a great deal of what is technically called "set" upon them, being especially adapted for cross-cutting green, soft, sappy white pine logs, and as I afterwards learnt quite useless for the purpose for which it had been borrowed; at that time I was ignorant of this, and meekly accepted all the blame of the failure, it being attributed to my awkwardness; but the way that saw danced about upon a hard titoki log was truly marvellous to witness, at the same

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time it seemed endowed with the power of a galvanic battery, judging by the shocks communicated to my arms and shoulders. After spending some time in a vain endeavour to control its vagaries, E. sent me to the sawyers with his compliments and the saw, I feeling at the time that I had sunk immeasurably in his opinion of my capacity and usefulness.

This was an unfortunate commencement of my new occupation, but I soon acquired fair skill in the use of the tools, and being actuated by a strong desire to learn and make myself a necessity in the business, matters progressed very fairly, I even winning occasional commendations from E.

The boat was finished in good time, and its spirited owner gave a supper to a select party of friends upon the occasion of the launch and christening, to which we were invited; one of the most genial and hilarious of the guests, named McGregor, was shortly after numbered with the victims slain by the Maories in the massacre at the Wairau. The building of another and larger boat, suitable for trading

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across the bay was next undertaken for a Mr. H., a young man, a fellow-passenger in the 'Indus.'

At the same time arrangements were made by the E.'s to admit him as a lodger, and then commenced the insidious advances that resulted in his supplanting me in the affections of the girl for whose sake I had left home, friends, and country to come sixteen thousand miles to win and wed.

Turning for a time from purely personal matters, it will be of more general interest to refer to the social and political prospects of the young settlement at this time, which I shall endeavour to do as far as my humble ability and limited opportunities for observation will permit.

The first anniversary of the founding of the settlement had come and gone, and considering the backward state of the surveys, owing to the natural and physical difficulties of the country to be surveyed, and the disadvantages of the system adopted for the choice of sections, it was not surprising that at this time only about half-a-dozen enter-

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prising men had begun farming operations at the Waimea.

It was generally admitted that the system of deciding orders of choice by a species of lottery in England, had resulted even at that early date in retarding settlement, and in many other ways to its great detriment; and it required all the energy and tact of the resident agent, Captain Wakefield, to devise remedial measures to avert the total collapse and failure of the settlement.

To encourage farming operations, and show the fertility of the soil, he had established a model farm at the Waimea, which was well managed, and the experience gained was doubtless of great advantage to new comers contemplating entering into farming pursuits. Very little attention was paid at this time to pastoral matters.

This may have been owing to the absence of the Australian element that was subsequently so favourable to the Canterbury Settlement, but more particularly from the infrequent communication with the Australian colonies. Enormous prices had been

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paid per head for the few cattle and horses in the settlement, working bullocks were about £30 each, and cows £50, and a carter, I knew well, paid £110 for an ordinary carthorse, and for a long time his was the only horse and cart in the town available for general carting work.

Salt and fresh pork were plentiful, but mutton only occasionally procurable, and then at 1s. per lb. Bread was reasonable, being sold at 1s. the four-pound loaf, but this was entirely due to the Company's agent keeping a vessel especially chartered to go to Valparaiso for flour, and retailing the same at the Company's store at 20s. per hundred pound's weight; butter 2s. 6d., and milk too scarce to enter into general consumption. Groceries and ordinary stores at very moderate prices for so young a settlement.

At this time nearly all the labouring population were in the employ of the Company, forming and making roads, and with the exception of a few families located at Motueka and Riwaka on the opposite side of the bay,

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were concentrated in and about the township, entirely dependent upon the Company employment; and to show its eleemosynary character, married men with families were paid according to one scale, and single men another and lower rate, while each class was expected to execute the same amount of work. It was well-known the Company's labour expenditure could not be long continued, and reductions and fresh regulations were frequently being made, with the object of forcing the men to find other employment, but with only partial success. Those who had commenced farming, having been accustomed to the scale of wages prevailing in the agricultural districts of England, were not disposed to give even as much as the Company, otherwise I think they would have attracted all the labour they required. The scale of payment for married men was 14s. per week and 10 lb. rations, and single men 14s. per week and 7 lb. rations, the ration in each case being 10 lb. meat and 10 lb. flour, and 7lb. meat and 7 lb. flour, with tea and sugar in proportion.

The pressure brought to bear upon the

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Company's agent by the land purchasers, to still further reduce the scale, acquired for them a degree of unpopularity that was long remembered, and manifested itself upon the occasion of some memorable elections that afterwards took place upon the introduction of constitutional government. Unfortunately for the future welfare of the settlement that was not the only occasion upon which the class feeling, and antagonism engendered by the proceedings referred to, had an opportunity of displaying itself, and which I shall refer to again when treating of the compensation claims.

Some amusing scenes sometimes occurred at the attempted reductions referred to; upon the men being informed that the wages at the next pay-day would be so much less than hitherto, they would quietly smile at the information, and proceed to their work as usual, feeling confident their cause was in good hands. And when Saturday noon, the pay-time, arrived, the men's wives would muster about 200 strong, and in true Amazonian style, march in a body down the beach to the

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pay-office at the port, and sturdily refusing to submit to any reductions, keep up such a clamour that the officials, after sustaining a two or three hours' siege, would receive orders to pay the old rate, and matters would go on again in their old groove until the next fit of retrenchment came on, when a similar scene would be enacted and generally with the same result. In a settlement like Canterbury, with an almost unlimited extent of level land of good average quality, such a system of allotment as was adopted for the selection of land in Nelson, would have given general dissatisfaction to the land purchasers, and imperilled the success of the settlement; and it may be readily imagined how the evil was intensified in Nelson, when the hilly character of the country and limited extent of agricultural land are considered; disadvantages that would not present themselves to the land purchaser until his arrival in the colony, and there is no doubt had the effect of sending many away in disgust, possessing both capital and energy, who would have proved good settlers.

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Fancy the disappointment and chagrin of a small farmer who had expended nearly all his capital in the purchase of one or more sections of land, and embarked with his family, resolved to carve out for himself a new home; finding upon his arrival in the colony that his land was situated upon the top of some inaccessible mountain, or in an impossible-to-be-drained swamp, or on the extreme boundaries of the settlement, so remote that in the absence of roads it might as well be in the moon.

I have known of young men with fair prospects, possessing moderate but sufficient means to make a fair start in life, had no impediment existed to their at once occupying their lands, remaining about the township, dissipating their means, and acquiring habits of intemperance that must have seriously damaged their future prospects, if no worse result followed such indulgencies.

One spirited land purchaser upon finding it was physically impossible to put him in possession of the land he had purchased, forthwith returned to England and brought an

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action for damages against the New Zealand Company, and the matter was compromised by the Company paying him £900 I believe.

Upon the Company learning it was the opinion of their legal adviser that they were liable to a series of actions of the same kind, they resolved to compensate all the resident land purchasers by allowing them to select from the unsold lands, so much extra land in proportion to their original purchases.

This was both just and politic, and, although too late to remedy all the mischief entailed upon individuals and the settlement, would have been of far greater advantage to the latter had it not been for the intemperate and short-sighted action of one man of the "parlour orator" type, so aptly described by Charles Dickens.

This individual got up an agitation in Nelson in favour of the absentee land purchasers, that (meeting with special favour in high quarters) not only neutralised many of the advantages of the previous measure, but inflicted untold injury upon the settlement, and was mainly answerable for its subsequent depressed condition.

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This man had a morbid dislike to the resident land purchasers, whom he was in the habit of designating "land sharks"; and anything calculated to benefit them had the same exciting effect upon him as the red flag is supposed to have upon an enraged bull, and when the compensation scheme was made known in the settlement, he convened a public meeting, and having numerous followers for reasons previously referred to, was enabled to carry a string of resolutions recommending compensation to the absentee land purchasers, insanely supposing that by such action he was spiting the resident land purchaser.

These resolutions were duly forwarded to the Governor, Sir G. Grey, who upon this occasion exhibited a remarkable deference to public opinion by immediately passing an ordinance in council authorising the issue of an almost unlimited quantity of scrip to the absentees, who, having no grievance, must have been wonderfully elated at such unwonted liberality.

There was a whisper of a certain gentle-

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man, who was in the colony upon a visit at the time, receiving a large quantity of the said scrip, in his character of an absentee land purchaser, and with it becoming the almost sole proprietor of a small province not far from Wellington.

But for the miserably insignificant croakings of a few imbeciles affording a colourable pretext, even Sir G. Grey, arbitrary and despotic as he showed himself at that time, would scarcely have ventured the introduction and passing of such a measure. It was universally denounced in the colony, and was considered in England of such a questionable character, and so detrimental to the colony's interests, that the Queen's assent was withheld, notwithstanding which it was put in force, and the scrip issued.

Sir G. Grey's recent utterances in the House, in the debate on the Abolition Bill, and supporting his opposition to its coming into force upon the grounds of its not having been submitted to the Law Officers of the Crown, or received the Queen's assent, displays a new found reverence for Imperial authority, in

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strong contrast to his former action connected with the "absentee script ordinance."

By a singular Nemesis, the individual who had been chiefly instrumental in bringing this infliction and loss upon the settlement was twice elected to fill the highest position in the province (a sufficient leaven of the old feeling remaining to secure this result), a position of all others where the impoverished state of the finances, resulting from the extinction of so much land scrip, would most obtrude upon his notice, and he must have been obtuse indeed, if he did not then feel the full extent of the mischief which his paltry gratification of class feeling had brought upon the province.

It is worthy of remark that at the time of the issuing of this scrip, the price of the crown lands of the colony was twenty shillings per acre, and the scrip was of the nominal value of twenty shillings and representing one acre; but some time afterwards, when by the fiat of Sir George, the price of all the unsold land in the colony, except the Canterbury block, was by proclamation reduced to five and ten shillings per acre, the original nominal value

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of the scrip was insisted on by the holders, when paying for land at the reduced price, so that scrip originally representing one acre, was passed into the treasury in payment of two or four acres, according to the class of land applied for--so that for all the unextinguished scrip by the reduction in the price of land, the original evil was doubled, and quadrupled.

Nearly all the unsold available land in the Nelson province was paid for in scrip, thus leaving it without a land fund for the prosecution of public works.

It was not alone the scrip issued to the Nelson absentees, but also a large portion issued to the Wellington land purchasers, that Nelson was called upon to extinguish.

When, by what is known as the Compact of 1856, Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago, undertook the liquidation of the New Zealand Company's debt of £200,000, and having sole control of their land fund, each to become liable for one third of the amount, in a subsequent session of the General Assembly Sir David Munro advocated the justice of relieving Nelson of a considerable share of the burden,

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on the grounds that the province had been and was still specially weighted with the extinguishing of nearly all the compensation scrip issued in the colony.

It was well known at the time of the reduction of the price of the land that a Nelson land agent was the holder of about £40,000 worth of this scrip, and his standing advertisement in the 'Nelson Examiner' to intending land purchasers, by offering certain terms of credit, had the effect of intercepting nearly every pound that would have otherwise found its way to the Waste-lands Board; he, the agent, allowing the purchaser to select the land wanted, and himself paying the Government for it in scrip.

The boat which I have left so long on the stocks was finished and launched in due course, and no further orders coming in, matters began to assume an ominous aspect, as although our living was arranged upon a very frugal scale, even that involved a certain weekly expenditure for which a corresponding income was indispensable.

To show that it was not of a very luxurious

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character, but, in the words of a Paris restaurant keeper, both "fortifying and simple," I subjoin a few details, which will be fairly descriptive of the style of living that generally prevailed at this time.

Bread, no butter or milk, salt pork, occasionally a joint of fresh pork for a change, potatoes, tea and coffee sweetened with very dark Mauritius sugar, and to vary the fare sometimes, a kind of rice stew, made by boiling with rice a small quantity of fresh pork, cut into small pieces and suitable seasoning added.

The salt pork was American barrelled, very prime to look at, but possessing the remarkable property of almost vanishing in the pot, and reappearing again upon the cooling of the water in which it had been boiled in the shape of a two-inch cake of fat.

Potatoes were procurable from the Maories in flax kits, at from one to five shillings the kit, which estimated by weight would be at the rate of about £6 the ton.

They were also the purveyors of the fresh pork sold by the butchers.

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Pigs with such extraordinary long snouts I am sure were never seen out of New Zealand. They were peculiarly well adapted for rooting up fern root, their staple food, and afforded a good illustration of Darwin's theory of the "survival of the fittest," as it might be fairly concluded that all the short-nosed pigs had perished in the struggle for existence.

On Sundays, in honour of the day, and to preserve an ancient tradition of puddings of some kind or other having graced former dinners in the old country, in addition to the ordinary fare, an apple-pudding was improvised out of a pumpkin; which was done by cutting a portion of a pumpkin into small pieces, and making and cooking it in the same manner as an apple-pudding; and with the addition of a small quantity of tartaric acid we used to make believe it tasted exactly like one.

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