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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

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Leaving out the whalers, New Plymouth's shipping history as far as colonisation is concerned may be said to date from the end of the year 1839, when the New Zealand Land Company's ship Tory, 400 tons, after visiting Port Nicholson, went north with Colonel Wakefield to spy out the land as a possible site for settlement by some of the colonists to be brought out under the auspices of the company. As students of the early history of New Zealand are aware, the path of this company was anything but a bed of roses. The promoters were practically in open defiance against the British Government, and it was their action in secretly dispatching Wakefield in the Tory to New Zealand to buy land from the Maoris that forced the hands of the British Government, and resulted in the sending out of Captain Hobson to take possession of these islands in the name of Queen Victoria.

New Zealand was attracting much attention at Home at the time, and while the New Zealand Land Company was making its chequered start a second colonising association was formed in the West of England. The Plymouth Company of New Zealand, as this second organisation was called, was initiated at a meeting held in Plymouth on January 25, 1840, at which it was decided to raise £150,000 capital for the purpose of acquiring land in New Zealand and settling it with people from Devon and Cornwall. At the head of the company was the Earl of Devon, and associated with him were a number of prominent persons, several of whom bore titles. The names of some of these leaders are perpetuated in the streets of New Plymouth, such as Courtenay Eliot, Buller, and Pendarves. Great care was taken in selecting the settlers, many of them being of good yeoman stock. It was arranged to purchase land from the New Zealand Land Company, and Mr. F. A. Carrington, surveyor, was dispatched at the end of 1840 to select a site. Mr. Carrington paid his first visit to Taranaki in January, 1841, and after having had a good look round there as well as elsewhere he finally decided in favour of Taranaki as the best site for the settlement. He and his wife and three children, and ten assistants, were conveyed in the barque Brougham from Wellington to Taranaki, anchoring off the Sugar Loaf Islands on February 12, 1841. In after years some of the settlers growled at the absence of a harbour, but Carrington wisely maintained that good land without a harbour would give more chances of ultimate success than a good harbour with poor land. He has been amply justified in his selection. When Carrington's selection had been approved it was decided to purchase a large tract of about 100,000 page 49 acres from the New Zealand Land Company. Whether the company could show title deeds is another matter, but as the two companies afterwards amalgamated they were probably both in the same boat as far as titles were concerned.