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The New Zealand Survey

Canto II — , Page 13.

page 72“New Zealand Survey”: Page 72.

Canto II.

Note 1, Page 13.

“Time verily there was, as all around
Can testify, ’gainst risk of much dispute,
When o’er those summits rolled the ample waves
Of boundless ocean.”

Science; LandAlthough I have not been more than about 60 miles of a radius away from Wellington, still in that compass much may be observed to shew that New Zealand as a country has nothing to boast in regard to its antiquity. For instance—its sandstone rocks are but in what may be termed a puerile state. In a sandstone formation, at the depth of about two feet I have come upon a species of granite boulders, three in number, which had no appearance of being connected with the locality; they were incrusted with a substance similar to oxide of iron, and seemed to have been dropped there together, and so got thus embedded when such formation was in a soft and plastic state; which sandstone formation is on the top of a hill from five to six hundred feet high. Such sandstone formations do not shew the same shattered state as those of a harder nature, which seem as if they had not yet got over the damage they have sustained from the rendings and throes and upheavings of the earthquakes, which forced the mountain framework of the country from beneath the waves. Nothing as yet have I seen as a consolidized rock, from which a grindstone or a gravestone, or a piece of pavement can be made; or from which building material can be had like what is obtained in other countries, whose geological records tell of earlier dates. Again, Science; New Zealand Flora and Faunalooking at the “Flora” of New Zealand. There is no appearance of its birth being beyond a thousand years, and probably not yet exceeding two-thirds of that period. For instance when we range the forests of the country, even upon the hills, how few old fallen trees comparatively, are to be found; and those that are standing do not shew much appearance of any great age. True it is that the remains of some ordinary sized trees are to be found in the Hutt Valley buried, some of them about twelve feet below the surface, and over which other sizable trees have grown: but such a climate as this country enjoys gives vegatation generally a rapid growth, so that trees shoot up and grow in bulk more rapidly than in a colder climate, where it would take a hundred years to effect what forty or fifty years would produce here. Taking into consideration the nature of the periodical floods taking place several times a year, and leaving behind, over the valley, goodly layers of mud; in a very few years, after the sea had retired, a page 73“New Zealand Survey”: Page 73. good accumulation of soil would be raised, to allow the growth of forest seeds to take place; so that the forest of the Hutt, as it appeared when the colony was first planted, could scarcely boast of a tree whose age was much over 300 hundred years, while many which shewed dimensions large enough especially those of soft woods, might not reckon half that age; though on the hills where the soil is of a more sterile nature, and the clime somewhat colder, the trees of a like girth of those in the valley might claim a greater age, but not comparatively “old.”