Hutt City Libraries Online Heritage Collection > Texts

The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, August 15 (1840)

194

Correspondence.

New Zealand.
Extracts From A Letter By A Passenger On Board The Cuba.

(From the Colonial Gazette.)
"Kawia, New Zealand, 14th February, 1840.—I wrote to you from St. Jago a short letter, and another long letter on the voyage, which, however, I had no opportunity of sending before my arrival at Port Nicholson. Another opportunity now offers. * * * During the whole of the voyage, and since my landing in New Zealand, I have had excellent health. The climate, so far as I have experienced it, is very agreeable and salubrious, so that nothing is to be feared in the shape of disease more than might occur in England; and from the natives nothing is to be feared. They are wild-looking enough, and in their encounters with each other, sufficiently ferocious: but there is not, so far as I can learn, a single instance in which a white man has received any injury from them unless he has been the aggressor. Every case of quarrel between the natives and Europeans has been caused by the violence or fraud of the latter; and in all, the natives have suffered far more than the Europeans. This is confessed by the white people themselves; and their testimony is at least free from suspicion of any bias towards the native population. With common prudence, and with that consideration for the manners and habits of strange people which merely gentlemanly feeling, to say nothing of any higher motives, would prompt, I am convinced that any white man might traverse New Zealand from one end to the other, not merely without being exposed to insult or violence, but with a certainty of meeting the utmost kindness. The best proof of this is that the whalers and traders who have constant quarrels with the New Zealanders, arising most frequently from some drunken outrage or some attempt to cheat in their transactions, trust themselves in any part of the country and with any tribe without the smallest reserve or precaution.
"It is now nearly a week since I left Port Nicholson, after having been there for a little more than a month. When I left, the work of settlement was proceeding with great rapidity. Along a beach of about two miles in length several tents and houses have been erected, and other houses are in the course of erection. Among these was one intended for my temporary residence, not quite a palace, but quite large enough for comfort. It is to be 30 feet in length by 18 in breadth, and to be divided into five apartments. I am not certain but that I may have seen in England houses better laid out; but for Britannia, as our town is to be called, it is quite a mansion; it will be built of posts, with wattles interlaced, and the walls and roof covered with a sort of thatch; so .that it will be both warm and dry. The cost of erecting it will be about £6. It is placed in a very beautiful situation, just at an angle of the river on a small rising ground, close to fresh water, and commanding a view of the
195
valley and harbour. Further on from the beach and upon the spot to be hereafter occupied by the London of the Southern Hemisphere, Petre and Molesworth, with about a dozen others, are clearing a place in the woods, where their houses are to be erected. The beach was full of busy men landing the goods of the settlers or removing them from the landing-place to the houses; and every thing was animated and hopeful. The ladies, however, did not seem quite at home; and I suspect that in their hearts not a few of them would willingly have found themselves again in England; but day by day, as the first feeling of strangeness wore off, they were becoming reconciled to their situation, especially as they found almost every day some improvement in their circumstances.
"One great convenience in the new colony is, that provisions are comparatively abundant and cheap. I have no doubt that before this time fresh pork will be sold there at 6d a pound, and potatoes at £4 per ton; the settlers, therefore, will be free from the most serious obstacle to the prosperity of South Australia, where pork and indeed all fresh meat has been from 1s. 6d to 2s 6d a pound, and potatoes from £10 to £50 per ton. In consequence, too, of the willingness of the natives to work for a reasonable price, labour has hitherto been abundant and cheap. There is plenty of work for all who are willing to work, but the labourers do not obtain exorbitant wages. This is equally advantageous to the labourer and the capitalist; because when an uneducated man finds himself on a sudden able to command by two days' work enough for a week's subsistence, the novel position in which he is placed tends ordinarily to generate habits of idleness and improvidence, and he is a poorer instead of a richer man, from the very facility with which he obtains money.
"The harbour of Kawai, where our vessel is at present, is one of the most beautiful places I ever saw. It is a sheltered sheet of water, about five miles in breadth and perhaps rather more in length, bounded on every side by low wooded hills of every variety of shape, and intersected by small valleys, each with a small stream of water running through it. Further back, the country rises into hills of great elevation, at a distance of from four to ten miles, which bound the prospect. The weather, too, since we arrived here, has been most delightful; warm, but without being oppressive; and fresh and cool in the mornings and evenings. The moon is getting near the full; and the nights are equal in beauty to the autumn nights in Canada.
"The day after my arrival I went to visit Mr, Whitby, the Wesleyan Missionary, and deliver a latter with which I was charged to him. I found him very civil; but, so far as I could judge, very averse to lend me the assistance which I had been led to expect from him. Where there are two reasons to be given for the conduct of any man, I always endeavour to give full weight to the more favourable one, and I am therefore willing to believe his reluctance to assist me might arise in a great degree from his feeling doubtful as to the effect which the establishment of a large settlement in the place would have upon the natives. I fear, nevertheless, that other less worthy motives may have had a share. It is certain that he has been assisting Mr. White, formerly a Missionary in connexion with the Wesleyans, but dismissed from that body for conduct grossly inconsistent with his Christian professions, in making very large purchases from the natives; and the natives themselves say that they have sold him considerable tracts at very low prices on account of his sacred character as a messenger from God to them. Now, I do not know that there is any thing in this on his part; because he may consider that as he ministers to them in spiritual, so they should minister to him in temporal things; and in taking land, he takes that which is of the least value to them and most to him; but it has the effect of making him look with an unfavourable eye upon any plan which, though it may ultimately benefit the natives, would interfere with this source of profit to himself; and it certainly very greatly injures the cause of religion among both the white people settled in the country and the unconverted natives. However, I do not believe that he is in the least aware of this effect of his conduct; and having a young family growing up about him, he is naturally and justifiably anxious to provide for them. The only real ground of objection is, perhaps, that the acquisition of any land by any Missionaries sent out by the Wesleyans is most directly at variance with the engagements entered into by them on leaving England.
"The house in which Mr. Whitby resides is a very comfortable frame-house with reed partitions, which look clean and neat. He invited me very cordially to dinner; and it was quite delightful sit down to a plain but clean repast with an English lady at the head of the table and three pretty English children round it; to say nothing of the unaccustomed gratification of bread, fresh butter, and a plain baked rice-pudding, made after our fashion, with plenty of milk. At tea, too, we had thin bread and butter and 'Sally Lunns,' toasted. These are little matters in themselves, but they are gratifying from association. They were homelike, and my thoughts often flew home to all of you while sitting there. I visited him twice; and the second evening, in returning, we got a ground on a sand-bank, where, as the tide was ebbing, it appeared possible that we should have to pass the night. Happily, however, my boat's crew dragged the boat over it, and we regained the ship in safety. It was a most beautiful night; but, in spite of the fineness of the climate, it would have been any thing but agreeable to have passed the night in an open boat upon a low sandy beach. I confess I pity Missionaries' wives, unless they have great internal resources, and are supported by a strong sense of duty and a firm reliance upon God.
"The Missionary natives are, almost without exception, honest and peaceful. The property and persons of Europeans are perfectly safe among them, and they never undertake a war of aggression. Nor, when compelled to take up arms in self-defence, do they conduct the war with the ferocity by which in former times their conflicts were characterised, The drawbacks to these undoubted benefits appear to be spiritual pride, a superstitious observance of days and times, and an imperfect conception of some important moral obligations. I mention these, not as detracting from the services of the Missionaries, not as questioning the reality of the effects which they have produced, but because I think it important for the cause of missions that the whole truth should be stated, and the real character of missions should be known.
"On Monday next I am going to leave the ship, for a journey of six weeks into the interior. I shall be accompanied by two Englishmen and from thirty to forty natives, who will carry any baggage. During the whole of this time I shall have to sleep upon the ground, either in native huts, which swarm with fleas and other more offensive insects, or in a rude hut erected for the night by my New Zealand attendants. I shall have to walk over hills and through swamps, exposed to all sorts of weather and often suffering great fatigue; and yet I look forward to the expedition with positive pleasure, and expect to come back much healthier and stronger than when I started."

Emigration.
To The Editor Of The New Zealand Journal.

August, 10th 1840.
Sir,—My eldest daughter and her husband are about to emigrate to New Zealand. I visited the depots, yesterday, at Grove-street, Deptford, and was highly satisfied at the very judicious arrangements made by the Directors of the New Zealand Company to promote the comfort and happiness of every man, woman, and child in the establishment. Every officer in the establishment treated us with urbanity and kindness; their patience under many annoying applications was very manifest: everything, in fact, that they could do was done by them to accommodate the emigrants and their relations, who called to bid farewell to their children, relations, or friends. Contrast this with what I experienced in 1819, as an emigrant to Algoa Bay. We left London to embark at Portsmouth, in the Weymouth, Capt. Turner; we paid all our own expences and carriage of all our goods, and waited in the depth of winter six weeks on our own expences; lodging, food, warehouse room for our goods, all was paid for by ourselves, which drained the last farthing from almost every emigrant. Witness the difference now. The very day was fixed by the New Zealand Company, and most punctually adhered to—good boiled beef, plum-pudding, and vegetables were placed on the tables for dinner, and wholesome beer served to every one who desired it. In justice, Sir, to my own feelings as a parent, and the very honourable manner in which the Company have acted, induce me very respectfully to request your insertion of these plain remarks from an Old Emigrant and your Constant Subscriber,
B. Warder.
The Toulonnais publishes the following letter from Captain Dumont d'Urville, of the Astrolabe, dated Harbour of Oka-Roa, New Zealand, April 8:—"Since our departure from Hobart-town, our voyage has been prosperous. I have had nothing but light breezes in seas where I expected violent gales. We have visited the Auckland Islands and Port Otago, and have surveyed 100 leagues of the south-east coast of New Zealand. Our expedition is daily increasing its valuable collection of objects of natural history. I propose remaining here three days, and then sailing to the Bay of Islands, after which my course homeward will be more rapid. We have not lost a single man since our departure from Hobart-town."

All images and text on this website are for personal use only. No material may be reproduced, communicated or copied other than for the purposes of research or study, criticism or review, or reporting the news without the Library's permission. Use and referral of material for these purposes must include full and proper acknowledgement. Reproduction of material for other purposes may incur a fee. For more information see our contact details