British Farmers for New Zealand Farms
James Clarke & Co. London 13 & 14, Fleet Street1886
British Farmers for New Zealand Farms,
The question of emigration is rapidly becoming one of foremost interest and importance. However reluctant we may be to leave our native land—and I yield to no one in love of fatherland, and sympathise deeply with this reluctance to leave it—it is yearly becoming clearer that sooner or later some of us must clear out. We are getting too thick on the ground. Our families are crying out for room to dwell in, and the question as to what to do with our boys and girls is in the fullest sense a burning one. Business openings are crowded. The professions are all overdone. Everywhere there is a glut of service, and from John o'Groat's to Land's End there is little to be seen but well-dressed lads and lasses standing idle as it were in the market-places because no man has hired them. Nor is it better with their fathers. Our tradesmen are being ruined by the huge co-operative stores, and a combination of untoward circumstances is destroying the agricultural interest. In all directions and in all ranks of society the social pressure is passing into the acute stage, and the demand is for some "new departure." Hence the growing importance of the Emigration Question.
It is felt by all practical men that the one answer to the universal sense of restriction, congestion, or whatever other name we give to this demand for social enlargement, are our well-nigh limitless Colonial possessions. As the facts respecting these Colonies become more known—their increasing accessibility, their wondrous fertility, their vast areas, their free constitutions, their scope for enterprise, their glorious institutions, their wealth of resources—a resistless conviction is borne in upon the public mind that the supreme need of the age is a more equitable distribution of population, in other words, for some bold scheme of national emigration. The question is no longer shall we emigrate? but rather, where shall we go to? As I have given some of the best years of my life to an elucidation of this question, it will not, I trust, be deemed an impertinence in me to venture an opinion on the subject.
In common with many others, I formed a high opinion of Canada as an emigration field. My imagination as a youth was fired with admiration of the life so graphically pourtrayed by Fenimore Cooper in his incomparable stories. A decade back I visited the Colony, and spent two months in incessant travel throughout its page 4 towns and villages. I saw the daily life of its settlers. I visited the toilers in their homes. I gauged the social circumstances. I realised the summer's toil and the winter's enforced idleness, four months' blazing heat and four months' Arctic cold, and I came to the conclusion that were I a working man, dependent for support on my daily earnings, I would not go to Canada to earn my daily bread. The worn and haggard appearance of the farmers, and the incipient discontent of the labourers, were eloquent to my ear of climatic conditions utterly unsuited to the average English constitution. I then turned my attention to the much-vaunted emigration field of Virginia. In that pre-eminently English State I thought I might find my quest—a suitable second home for the average Briton. I found, however, in the negro element a fatal objection. English settlers told me, in confidence, that it would not do, and it did not need any great gift of discernment to see that the majority of those settlers on Virginian farms would gladly make their escape were it possible to do so. My next visit was to the Australian Colonies, and it was not until I had reached New Zealand that I found what I had been looking for. I have just returned from a third visit to New Zealand, and the result of an exhaustive survey of the Colony, visiting all its leading cities, penetrating its inland settlements, living among its toiling people, and reading its well-informed Press—is a conviction that no better second home for British subjects is to be found on the face of the earth. Hence my appearance here this evening. I have volunteered my services to the New Zealand Government to set before the hard-pressed dwellers on this crowded isle—more especially the practical agriculturists—the special advantages of the Colony.
I propose in the first place glancing at the general features of New Zealand—its area, its physical characteristics, and its varied industries. I shall then give my reasons for recommending it to British agriculturists as a field for business enterprise. So much has been written about New Zealand that it seems hardly necessary to go over its facts and figures, and yet perhaps it may be well just to repeat a few of them. Let it suffice, then, that in talking about New Zealand we keep before us a couple of islands at the Antipodes about the same area as that of England and Scotland—i.e., about 100,000 square miles, or 64,000,000 acres. These islands are know as North and South, the former being about 40,000 square miles in extent, and the latter about 50,000. A small island called "Stewart's Island," situated at the extreme south of the South Island, and having an area of about 1,000 square miles, completes the group. The shape of these islands is not very unlike the British Isles. They stretch out some 1,200 miles in the Pacific, as our British Isles stretch out their thousand miles in the North Atlantic. Like the mother country also, their shores abound with harbours, bays, and mere or less picturesque scenery. All along the 3,000 miles of sea coast are found the chief cities and centres of population. The population of New Zealand is about 600,000, exclusive of the native population, which does not exceed 40,000. The chief industries are pastoral and agricultural, and the leading exports are page 5 wool, cereals, and gold. The total amount of land under cultivation in 1884 was 6,072,949 acres. The number of sheep was 14,056,265. The wool clip for the year was over 80,000,000lb., and valued at £3,267,527. The number of cultivated holdings over one acre in extent in February, 1885, was 29,814. The value of the ratable property in the colony is £65,260,338. The annual value is set down at £2,307,051. The total exports for 1884 were £6,942,486, made up as follows :—Gold, £988,953; wool, £3,267,527; wheat, provisions, tallow, timber, &c., £2,320,380; flax, £23,475; Kauri gum, £342,151. The revenue for the year was £3,707,488, and the expenditure £4,101,318. The public debt on the 31st of December, 1884, stood at £32,800,982, or £58 4s. 8d. per head of the population. This debt, however, is more than represented by the reproductive public works, differing in this respect from the English and other European public debts, which are largely the cost of gigantic wars. Among these valuable public works the 1,479 miles of railway ranks first in importance, the gross revenue not falling far short of a million sterling per annum. Then there is the electric telegraph with its 4,264 miles of line, and its £100,000 a year gross value. The 967 Post-offices of the Colony, with their annual revenue of £188,772, and the 987 public schools are permanent works of almost inestimable value. How the former are prized may be inferred from the fact that no less than 35,257,846 letters passed through them last year, and 14,093,742 newspapers, &c. The public schools also are the glory of the Colony, affording as they do free education to 90,075 children at a cost to the Government of £371,548 19s. 9d. per annum—an average of £4 3s. 2¼d. per child. I must not weary you with more statistics. Let it suffice that I state generally it is not barbarism that you find to-day in New Zealand, but an advanced civilisation almost shaming the mother country. In civil and religious liberty we have shot a long way ahead of her. Most of the reforms yet to be won here in England New Zealand has long enjoyed. We have absolutely free trade in land. It is as easy to buy or sell an acre of land as it is a cow or a horse. Thanks to the admirable Land Transfer Act of the late Sir E. Torrens, all the cumbersome abominations which impede the sale of land here are swept away. Our public schools are the common property of the whole community. No fee is charged, and no child is shut out. In politics there is the utmost freedom. Every adult resident of six months' standing is entitled to vote, and the poorest citizen may aspire to a seat in the House of Representatives. A honorarium of 200 guineas for the Session enables the poor man to take his place side by side with millionaires. Thus much for the first division of my subject.
I come now to the various local industries, and here I must be content with the most cursory glance. On my first visit to New Zealand some seven years ago I was much impressed with the need there seemed for a development of local manufactures. As I revelled amid the varied natural attractions of the Colony and drank in the inspiring influences of the bright and joyous atmosphere, I thought of those smoke-begrimed toilers of the old home, of their page 6 crowded workshops and their dreary homes, of their terrible social disabilities, and their generally joyless lives, and an involuntary aspiration escaped me—would that some thousands of those valuable toilers could be brought with their machinery to this fairy region and work out their useful lives beneath this glorious sunshine! I am glad to say that this aspiration is to-day in course of realisation. It was my privilege a few months back to be conducted over one of some half-dozen woollen manufactories which have been started in the Colony. Already over two million pounds of the native grown wool is used up in the works; and with machinery of the best and newest make, and no shoddy introduced to the fabrics, results of the most satisfactory character are attained. Many hundreds of hands are employed, and the light and spacious workrooms seemed to rob the well-requited toil of all its bitterness. A large number of other industries are now found in active operation throughout the Colony. There are no fewer than 49 carriage and harness manufactories, employing some 400 hands, a hundred printing offices with their 2,000 employés, 230 saw mills, 119 fell-mongering establishments; 99 breweries, 40 flax mills, 127 brick and tile works, 79 aerated water works, 45 furniture manufactories, and I know not how many more different openings for honest industry. Here, then, we have the Colony of New Zealand well before us.
I come now to my main purpose in appearing before you to-night. My mission to England is exclusively for the purpose of influencing the emigration of British fanners to the Colony. We want practical men to come and make the best of our glorious climate, and our varied natural advantages. I am well aware of the seeming risk involved in recommending fanners to try their fortunes in so distant a Colony, and I think it is only reasonable that I should be challenged to show cause for such recommendation. I proceed then to give my reasons for thinking New Zealand a good field for agricultural enterprise—premising with the statement that I have no El-Dorado to dazzle the imagination with. Farming in New Zealand to-day is pretty much the same as farming elsewhere. There is little money in it. The low prices of produce which have made such havoc of British agriculture are telling equally disastrously in other parts of the world. One fact just brought out by the eminent statistician, Mr. Giffen, is sufficient itself to explain this agricultural depression. The average prices of wheat from 1882 to 1886 have shown the following unparalleled decline :—In 1882 the price per quarter was 44s. 7d.; in 1883, 42s. 2d.; in 1884, 37s. 7d.; in 1885, 31s. 4d.; in 1886, 29s. 9d. A drop from 5s. 7d. per bushel to 3s. 8½d. is simply ruinous. Not only is profit out of the question, but a dead loss of at least 1s. per bushel is all that the producer gets for his pains. So much for British agriculture. New Zealand has not escaped the blow. There is, however, all the difference in the world between agricultural depression in a country where high rents are paid and all kinds of rates and taxes, and the same visitation in a Colony like New Zealand. In the former case it means ruin, as many a British farmer knows to his cost! In the latter it rarely means more than a temporary check to his pros- page 7 perity. The new barn will not be built, or that latest reaping machine will not be bought for another year. The wife will not get a new carpet for the best room, and the promised piano will not be had. That is about all. Except in cases where a man has overbought himself, and is consequently hopelessly entangled in the money-lenders' toils, I know of no cases of real distress in New Zealand consequent on the depression. What, then, are the arguments in favour of a British farmer's transference of his energies from this side of the world to the other? In other words, what special advantages does New Zealand offer to practical agriculturists? I reply.
1.—There is the advantage of an incomparable climate. The average temperature of New Zealand is nine degrees warmer than England in winter and two degrees wanner than the English summer. This means almost perfection of climate for agricultural pursuits. Not only can outdoor operations be carried on all the year round, but from January to December stock of all kinds can remain out of doors. The difference between this and the state of things in Canada, where for four or five months of the year the ground is hard with frost and cattle have to be hand-fed and kept under shelter, does not need to be pointed out. It is literally the difference between comfort and discomfort, the endurable and the unendurable. I shall not soon forget the haggard and worn look of the Canadian fanners whom I visited a decade back! It seemed to me that if that modern question, "Is life worth living?" were coupled with the condition of a farmer's life in the fierce cold and blazing heat of a Canadian winter and summer, there would be no difficulty about an answer. I for one should unhesitatingly say no—a thousand times no. I well remember a conversation with Lord Dufferin on this subject at Quebec. As the Governor of Canada he felt bound to say his best even of a Canadian winter: I can assure you, Mr. Clayden," said the genial and every way admirable representative of Royalty, "that, contrary to my ex-pectations, I never enjoyed a winter more." "I have not the least doubt of it, your Excellency," I replied. "With such magnificent appliances as you are surrounded with, frost and snow can have no terrors for you, but I am thinking of toiling men and women who must go out and do battle with the fierce elements for their daily bread." "Ah! that is quite another view of the case," replied his lordship. It is another view of the case! but I venture to think it is a very common-sense view of it. It is time all illusions were swept away from the Emigration Question and the light of common sense brought to bear upon it. The abundant rainfall is a leading characteristic of the Colony. I have often thought, while noticing the numberless water-courses, how fitting a description of the place those words of Moses, descriptive of the ancient Canaan, would be. New Zealand is emphatically "A good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley and vines and figtrees and pomegranates; a land of olive and honey, a land wherein thou shalt eat bread, without scarceness; thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land page 8 whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass." So much, then, for my first reason for recommending New Zealand to British farmers—its superb climatic conditions.
2.—My second reason is the general excellency of the soil, and its suitability for farming operations. "The proof of the pudding," says our old proverb, "is in the eating." Now, as a matter of fact, we can grow almost anything in New Zealand. Our wheat is equal to any that is grown in the world, and the average yield is three times that of South Australasia and twice that of any other Australian colony. New Zealand oats are too well known to need any reference, and the barley is of a very superior quality. Root crops are usually very large. I was shown over a 200-acre farm in the Auckland district, a few months since, by its owner—a fine specimen of a New Zealand settler. There was a field of beet-root which he estimated at 80 tons to the acre. I think he had overestimated it, but I certainly never saw a more regular crop. Every root seemed grown to perfection, and the rows were as regular as a line of soldiers. On another occasion I looked over a farm of 1,000 acres, owned by an old Somersetshire farmer named Best. Plucking a handful of the ripe barley, he rubbed a few ears out and asked me what I thought of it. "Think of it," I replied, "it would gladden the heart of Mr. Bass to get hold of such a sample." It was a magnificent malting barley, such as only the sunny south could produce. Then there is the New Zealand hop. In the neighbourhood of my home at Nelson there are as fine hop-gardens as any to be found in the world. Unfortunately, the low prices of the last year or two have severely depressed the industry. Three years ago prices were abnormally high, and every one was going in for a hop-garden. As much as 3s. 3d. per lb. was realised, and as all over 9d. per lb. is profit, many a little farmer was set upon his legs by the "boom." Dairy farming is probably one of the most promising of New Zealand industries. A great stimulus has been given to this department of agriculture by the action of the Government in engaging the services of an expert in dairying—I believe he was a Dorsetshire man—to go throughout the Colony and give practical instruction to farmers, and also to establish dairy factories. How these are likely to tell upon the future prospects of the New Zealand farmers may be inferred from the following figures respecting one farmer's dealings with the Edendale Dairy Factory. A Mr. James Milne, who milked from 80 to 90 cows, sent all his milk to this factory. The financial result was as follows :—From 16th October, 1883, to 31st May, 1884, he had drawn cash from the factory to the amount of £630—an average of nearly £7 10s. per cow. When it is remembered that the average price of a first-class milking-cow is only from £7 to £10, the return is, to say the least, very handsome. Some 50 tons of cheese were made at this young factory in 1883, and although the price realised—5½d. per lb.—was low, there is undoubtedly a great future before these factories in the Colony. I found at New Plymouth a butter merchant hard at work packing butter for the New South Wales market The drought had run up the price of good fresh butter in Sydney to 2s. 6d. per lb. Other markets for page 9 dairy produce are opening up. Rio de Janeiro was looking New Zealand wards for butter, the price when I was there a few months ago being 3s. 6d. per lb. As the direct steamers call there on their way to England, I see no reason why a good trade should not be done there. Then there is our delicious mutton with its ever-growing market in England. By every steamer some 20,000 sheep are brought to the London market. As it would be perfectly easy to make our 14,000,000 sheep into a flock twice as large, or even quadrupling the carrying powers of our runs, by the judicious use of English grasses and the increase of root crops, it will be at once seen that there is abundant room for agricultural enterprise in this direction. I think, therefore, I have said enough to make good my second reason for encouraging British farmers to try their luck in New Zealand—namely, the general excellency of the soil and the suitableness of the Colony for farming operations.
3.—My third reason for this recommendation is the certainty of the New Zealand farmer getting at least a fair share of the result of his toil and enterprise. I have no wish to say unpleasant things of the British landlords. They have their full share of trouble and anxiety just now, and it would be like striking a man when he is down to say a word respecting their relations with their unfortunate tenants. This, however, I will say—that in my judgment every tiller of the soil has an inalienable right to every tittle of improvement which his labour and capital have produced. It seems to me—and I do not say it offensively, but as a simple matter of right between man and man—that the 150 millions sterling which, we are told, have within the last 25 years gone out of the pockets of the British tenant farmers into those of the British landlords, has gone wrongfully. Now, in New Zealand this thing cannot be. Undoubtedly a good deal that rightly belongs to the toiling producer finds its way into the pockets of those who "toil not, neither do they spin," but this is largely the toiler's own fault. If in his greed of land he overshoots the mark and has to mortgage his farm, he must take the consequences, and when, as at the present moment, the prices of produce are low, while the price of money keeps about the same, these consequences are serious enough. I cannot, however, admit them as arguments against New Zealand farming. They are simply the results of errors of judgment. I repeat, therefore, that the supreme evil of the British tenant farmer—his loss of the result of his toil and enterprise, or, at any rate, of a large proportion of it—is unknown in New Zealand. What a man puts into his land is his and his children's inalienable possession. And what an incentive to thrift and industry this is! I know of nothing more inspiring than the enthusiasm with which I have seen the New Zealand settler clearing his land. It has brought to my mind the noble lines of the poet, for in the kindling eye and bold mien you see—
The pride to rear an independent shed,
And give the lips we love unborrowed bread;
To see a world from shadowy forests won,
In youthful beauty wedded to the sun;
To skirt our homes with harvests widely sown,
And call the blooming prospect all our own;
Our children's heritage, in prospect long—
These are the hopes, high-minded hopes, and strong,
That beckon England's wanderers o'er the brine
To realms where foreign constellations shine.
4.—A fourth argument that I would use in this direction is the cheapness of the New Zealand land. I know this is denied by some. One would think to hear what men of a certain school even in New Zealand assert, that all the agricultural land in New Zealand was already swallowed up by the "land grabbers." Such, however, is not the case. I have been riding through tens of thousands of acres of New Zealand soil within the last six months which may be bought at from £2 to £3 per acre, and my attention was called just prior to leaving Auckland in January last to a Government block of over 100,000 acres which might be bought for £1 per acre. I accepted an invitation to visit a large block of land on the Auckland and Rotorua Railway, situated some 120 miles from Auckland, and I there found, to my astonishment, a vast area of land which, unquestionably, would make splendid farms. That land I am actually empowered to sell to bonâ fide settlers at £2 per acre, and with the easiest terms of payment. And so of various other parts of the Colony. Even in the South Island I found myself riding for scores of miles through virgin soil. As a matter of fact the total area of land sold by the Government up to March, 1884, was 17,477,765 acres, realising £12,397,509, and I suppose it is safe to assume that at least an equal quantity remains to be sold. This, however, is but half the case. Of this alienated area a large part is held by land speculators, and Nemesis has overtaken these grasping adventurers. Much of these millions of acres of sold land is to-day in the market at less than its cost price. The cry of land monopoly is, therefore, an exceedingly hollow one. There is plenty of good land to be had, and the price is ridiculously low.
"Tis a glorious charter, deny it who can,
That's breathed in the words, I'm an Englishman.
Before I sit down I ought to anticipate one or two inquiries of a practical character which will probably occur to some present. For instance, it may well be asked, "Does farming pay in New Zealand?" I have gone to considerable trouble in getting at the truth on this all-important point. I addressed the following letter to a leading paper in the Colony—the Otago Witness:—"Does New Zealand Farming Pay? Sir,—The above question is no new one; but just now, when the Government is preparing to encourage English farmers to come over here with their skill and capital, it is all-important that there should be no mistake in the matter. . . . Could you not invite an expression of opinion from practical men in your free and independent columns?—I am, &c." The editor promptly entered into the spirit of the inquiry, and invited replies from his wide circle of agricultural readers.
In response, the following valuable testimony was given :—By a Canterbury farmer (from the Otago Witness, June 28th, 1884). "I have had placed before me a letter on the above subject, written by Mr. Arthur Clayden. I have now been farming for more than twenty years in Canterbury, and my experience has been of the most practical character. My first acquaintance with farming was made on a farm on the Canterbury Plains of considerably less area than 200 acres in extent, the soil of which was below the average in quality. I have had experience of good seasons and bad seasons, and indeed there are few, if any, of the trials and vicissitudes which fall to the lot of a farmer beginning with a capital of less than £500 that I have not been through. I am at present in a position which enables me to stand the strain of a bad season or two without difficulty. Looking back over my last twenty years of experience, I have no reason to regret that I put my hand to the plough as a Canterbury farmer and did not look back. For my own part, I am of opinion that a practical farmer, with a capital of from £500 and upwards, could choose no better time for coming into the country. The time to sell is when the season and the prices are good, but the time to buy is when things are depressed."
This farmer then goes into calculations as to the relative cost of producing wheat in America and New Zealand, and arrives at the conclusion that it can be grown much cheaper in New Zealand than in America, the average yield being double. Quoting from a Mr. page 12 Randolph, the secretary to the Chicago Board of Trade, he gives the net cost of a bushel of wheat in the West at 3s. 0½d., and the cost of transit to Liverpool, including insurance and other charges, 2s. 3d. more, making 5s. 3½d. per bushel, or 42s. 4d. per qr., the net cost at Liverpool. The net cost of wheat in New Zealand is given by Messrs. Ellis Brothers, large farmers in Otago, as follows:—Taking the low estimate of 16 bushels to the acre—cost of putting in crop, 15s. 7½d. per acre; reaping to stacking, 16s. 4½d.; threshing and delivering on board ship, 11s. 4d.; rent and seed, 10s. 5d.; making in all 53s. 9d. per acre, or 3s. 4d. per bushel. In 1883, however, their average crop was 22½ bushels per acre, and owing to improved machinery and other causes the cost was less. Putting in crop to stacking, 25s. 3d.; threshing and delivering on board ship, 11s. 11½d.; making in all, 37s. 2½d. per acre, or about 1s. 8d. per bushel. It should be added, however, that Messrs. Ellis had no less than seven of McCornick's reapers and binders running night and day throughout the harvest, thus cutting on an average 140 acres per day.
This Canterbury farmer gives some interesting details as to his experiences. He had learnt as an English farmer the value of sheep on a farm and from the first had kept a flock. His first flock consisted of fifty store wethers for which he gave 19s. a head—about double what they may be bought for to-day. "My flock," he says, "has been steadily on the increase to this day. Whatever success I have attained as a farmer I attribute largely to my having combined sheep farming with grain growing. I have experienced some seasons during which my grain was from various causes little better than a failure, and it was then that I found the advantage of having a second string to my bow. At the worst of times I never failed to make some profit, greater or lesser, from my flock."
This practical man winds up his letter as follows : "I think there is no pleasanter way of making a living than by farming in New Zealand. With moderate capital there is no necessity of any great amount of physical exertion on the part of the farmer; he is very independent, and if he is moderate in his desires and content to live well within his income, a bad season need not be to him an object of dread. This is supposing that he has not gone in deeper than his capital warrants, and has not allowed himself to be carried away by the prevailing spirit of speculation. Fanning is one thing and land speculation another, but the two things are often confounded, and failure and losses are attributed to the climate, the soil, the taxes, the country generally, which, properly speaking, are due to rash speculation in land. In cases where farming is not found to pay, it is seldom, if ever, the fault of the country, but is mainly due to impatience of steady work, to extravagant habits, and to that feeling of restlessness and discontent which seems to pervade all classes of the population. Our agricultural statistics show conclusively that there is no other country in the world in which the land yields a larger increase of produce in return for each day's labour expended upon it, and this I think is proof enough that when farming does not pay it is not the country that is at fault, neither page 13 do I think it is the taxes, notwithstanding the recklessness with which the public funds have been spent during the last twelve years. We are, it is true, paying interest on a great deal of unproductive outlay, but much of the public expenditure has been highly productive. The taxes are higher now than when I began farming in Canterbury, but farmers have conveniences and labour-saving appliances which were not dreamt of in those days. The cost of production has been reduced immensely. In my early farming days, too, if a man wished to educate his family he had to stand the whole expense. There were no free schools either in town or country, and as my family was a large one the cost of giving them a plain education was a considerable drain upon my means. I beg leave to conclude with a quotation from a writer of shrewd and homely wit, but whose works are somewhat out of date. 'Friends and neighbours, the taxes are indeed heavy, and if those laid on by the Government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others and much more grievous to some of us—we are taxed as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly, and from these taxes the Commissioners cannot save us.'"
At the risk of wearying you I will give an extract from another letter which appeared in response to the editor's appeal. A "Cluther Farmer" gives the following illustration of what any industrious man with a very small capital may do in New Zealand. "My neighbour," he writes, "leased five years ago (that would be about 1880) 300 acres of unimproved land at an annual rental of 3s. per acre. The land was about three parts fenced. His entire capital on entering his farm amounted to £80 and one horse worth about £20. Not being able to raise a three-horse team and double-furrow plough, he purchased another old horse and a second-hand swing plough cheap, thus being able to cross-plough some sixty acres which he had broken up. A small cottage to reside in, seed for his first crop, horse feed, and a set of harness, pretty well used up his little capital. From the proceeds of his first crop, which was a fair one, he was enabled to procure another horse and a double-furrow plough. Since then he has had three successive grain crops, from each of which he has been able to purchase stock and procure the necessary implements, even to a reaper and binder. At the present time his position financially stands thus—he has a comfortable four-roomed cottage, barn and stable, all his land under cultivation, one-third being down in English grass, owns a team of four good draught horses, three or four milch cows, 150 sheep, all needful farm implements, and, as the proceeds of last year's labours (this would be in 1883), £300 clear of all expenses. I may add that he is married and has a young family; his wife pulls well with him, is thrifty and industrious. These results have been attained, not through any exceptional ran of good luck, but solely from hard work, perseverance, and economy."
I think I need add nothing to these straightforward utterances. If hard-pressed British farmers who only find themselves yearly page 14 growing poorer hear not the voice which speaks to them through such simple matters of fact, neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.
One more practical inquiry which I would anticipate relates to the requisite capital for New Zealand fanning. This, however, so entirely depends upon what a man intends doing himself, and the strength of service in his household, that no absolute rule can be laid down. I know, for instance, an Englishman who seven years ago entered on New Zealand farming without any previous experience in farming and with less than a thousand pounds of capital. I found him last year the owner of some 400 acres, half of it in crop; a new eight-roomed house had just been built, and the appearance of things seemed most prosperous. But he had four stalwart sons to help him. Had he been dependent upon hired service he would have needed twice the capital to produce the same results. On board the steamer which I recently came home in there was a gentleman in the steerage department who I learnt had only recently gone out to New Zealand with capital as a saloon passenger. He had lost his money, and would probably be loud in his denunciation of New Zealand farming. But what are the real facts of the case? The look of the man told his story. There he was day after day posing as a swell among his fellow-passengers. I never remember seeing him without an eye-glass stuck in his left eye, and of all the men whom I have known I never saw one whose failure I could more confidently predict. Another of our passengers was a colonial failure, but his failure was no argument against the Colony, though of course he thought it was. Easy, self-indulgent, and indolent, it would have required a miracle to be worked daily to have made him successful. No amount of capital avails if the man himself has no business capacity, while the man who has his head screwed on right can hardly have too little.
To descend to particulars, however, I will, for the sake of argument, assume that a man goes in for 200 acres of cheap, unimproved land, such as I am authorised to offer to British farmers at £2 per acre. He gets possession of the land on payment of one-fourth, leaving the balance on mortgage at 5 per cent, per annum for two years, and 7 per cent, per annum for three years longer if required. Here, then, is a man placed on the land at an outlay of £100, and a yearly rental of £15 for two years, and £21 for the following three years. The £300 could remain on mortgage. The New Zealand Government is affording help to bonâ fide farmers with a little capital to the extent of one-half the passage money. Any farmer who can satisfy the Agent-General for New Zealand that he has a minimum capital of £100 for himself, and £50 for each child over twelve years of age, will receive a passage by the direct steamers on payment of £10 each adult—i.e., each person over twelve years of age, and £5 for each child under twelve years of age. Supposing the family to consist of husband and wife and four children over twelve years of age, and two children under twelve, on a farmer showing himself to be worth £300 he would get a passage for himself and his family to New Zealand for £70, or perhaps something less. Allowing £10 for page 15 expenses, we have the sum of £180 sunk. Now the farmer is on his land, but he is not at the end of his necessary expenditure. He must have a house to live in, and this will cost him from £50 to £100. Then his land must be fenced, and, however economically he may go to work, I do not think he will get this done under £25. If we put the house at £75 we have another £100 of the capital sunk, making in all £280, or, to be safe, say £300. Then there are the implements, household furniture, seed, and the cost of living for, at least, a year. This would bring up the expenditure to £500. Here, then, I place the limit of capital necessary to start farming in New Zealand. I think £3 per acre is the very least that a man should have, and, if it were £5, his chances of success would be all the greater. Of course, if an improved farm were contemplated a much larger capital would be required, unless the Government leasing provision were taken advantage of. I have a strong conviction that if a man does not go in for cheap unimproved land he would do better with a small capital by renting land with a purchasing clause in the lease. Full particulars of the Government system of leasing will be found in my "Popular Handbook to New Zealand." I can only venture to say here that provision is made for the fullest security of the tenants in the matter of improvements, and for all practical purposes the tenure is equal to freehold. I must not enlarge, as I fear your patience is already more than exhausted.
I will conclude with an earnest invitation to practical men to pull themselves together and face this great question of New Zealand emigration. I would especially urge it upon the young men of our English shores. I would ask them if they are content to repeat the losing game of their fathers; if they are willing to bury the remainder of their shrunken patrimony in the grave where so large a proportion of their father's hopes and fortunes have been buried? In yonder sunlit isles of the Pacific you may go and build up a home for yourselves untainted by the servile spirit. Free land, free churches, free institutions, free schools are there enjoyed. Every citizen has the right to a vote and a voice in the passing of those laws which he is called upon to obey. Go, then, young Englishmen, with your accumulated moral force, your superior culture, your law-abiding habits, and your instinctive reverence, and give the young community over there the benefit of your training and experience. Help in the passing of righteous laws. Help in the creation of a sound public opinion. Help to write the name of God on the public escutcheon, and, although I cannot guarantee you wealth, for the race is not always even to the swift, or the battle to the strong, I dare guarantee this—that it shall be given you to share in those acclamations of praise with which the old world shall one day greet the advent, amid the splendours of the Pacific, of a second England of transcendent glory, the home of happy millions, and the envy of the world.
W. Speaight and Sons, Printers, Fetter Lane, London,
By The Same Author. A Popular Handbook To New Zealand.
In this work will be found a full description of the resources, local industries, constitution and government, and natural features of the Colony. The aim of the author has been to compile and present, in a popular form, all that is necessary to be known by an intending emigrant. The following table of contents will show the scope of the work :—Introduction—General description of Colony—Agricultural Products—Pastoral Pursuits, with Live Stock Statistics—Wool—Sheep Stations—Minerals—Fisheries—Classification of Soil—General Statistics, Schools, Churches, &c.—Imports and Exports—Finance—Savings Banks—Manufactories—Crown Lands—Land Transfer Act—Public Works—Post and Telegraph Service—State Education—Volunteers—Government and Constitution—Woollen Mills—Frozen Meat Trade—Flax Works—Saw Mills—Colonial Products—Natural Attractions—Hot Springs, Mountains, Lakes, &c.—Leading Cities—Reprint of Letters to Daily News, Christian World, &c.—Hints to intending Emigrants—Rate of Wages—Alphabetical Index.
A copy will be sent post-free to any part of the United Kingdom on receipt of Post-Office Order for 2s. 6d. Address, Winterbrook, Wallingford, Berks.
N.B.—Mr, A. Clay den requests all persons desiring information on New Zealand to enclose a stamped envelope for reply.
Special Party To New Zealand.
Mr. Arthur Clayden hopes to accompany a party of intending settlers to New Zealand in November next, with the view of forming a Temperance Settlement in the Auckland district. Government assistance towards the passage out to the extent of £10 for each adult will be afforded all bonâ fide farmers who may accompany this party, on condition of their proving, to the satisfaction of the Agent-General for New Zealand, their possession of a minimum capital of £100 for each adult. A Prospectus, giving full particulars of the proposed Settlement, will be sent on receipt of two stamps. Address, Winterbrook, Wallingford, Berks.
Mr. A. Clayden is open to engagements for the delivery of his Lecture, "An Hour's Talk about New Zealand." Secretaries of Literary Institutes, Young Men's Christian Associations, &c., are invited to make early applications, as Mr. Clayden's stay in England may be short.