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The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, November 07 (1840)


Opinion in Sydney Respecting Port Nicholson.

We have in our possession a letter dated Bay of Islands, April 12, containing a somewhat curious passage indicative of the state of opinion in Sydney respecting Port Nicholson; and showing how little reliance can be placed on opinion when subject to the influence of interest-begotten prejudice. The writer, for some time previous to the first settlement of Port Nicholson, had been residing at Sydney, and he was engaged in making inquiries as to an eligible Colony in which to embark his fortunes, or, more properly speaking, his hopes. For some time he had a disposition to fix upon the Company's projected settlement on the shores of Port Nicholson, but the accounts which were current at Sydney deterred him, and he chose the Bay of Islands, at the cost of a heavy pecuniary loss on his first speculation. At the time of writing, nothing had occurred to affect his original opinion, and he wrote under the impression that every man, woman, and child in Port Nicholson must at that time be in a state of absolute starvation. "The Colony at Port Nicholson," he wrote, "is a complete failure; there is nothing but sand to be found, and the goods brought out by the settlers are buried on the shore where they were landed. The first letters received from the settlers will announce their ruin, and there will be a general outcry against the Colony and the Company."
Now, if this letter had reached us six months ago, it would undoubtedly have created alarm in our minds; but having had not only the settlers' first letters, but their second and their third letters, which, instead of proclaiming barren sands and certain ruin, discourse eloquently of fertile vales, a serene sky, and of health and contentment unexampled in the history of Colonisation, we are enabled to attribute our friend's opinions to the right source, and to expect that our next advices from him will announce his altered views.
Some portion of his opinion may have been formed by the state of opinion at the Bay of Islands, connected as that part of New Zealand is with the Sydney land jobbers, and the whole tribe of land sharks, lay and clerical. This jealousy is exceedingly foolish. The Bay of Islands and Port Nicholson are deeply interested in each other's welfare. Each enjoys its peculiar advantages, and it should give great uneasiness to the inhabitants of either to hear aught to the disadvantage of the other. The Bay will hereafter be a great commercial station, and every accession of strength made by Port
Nicholson must add to the wealth and prosperity of the older settlements.
In the first instance the speculators in Sydney may have fancied they had an interest in running down Port Nicholson, but when once the Colony was founded, that senseless jealousy should have been abandoned, and all possible encouragement should have been given to the establishment of friendly intercourse and friendly feelings between the two Colonies. It may be admitted that it requires some philosophy on the part of the people of Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne, to see people and capital leaving their shores for the new Colony; but a liberal and enlarged view of Colonial migrations must tend to show that they are ultimately beneficial to all.

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