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The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892.


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The suggestion that a book should be written to record the history of the Settlement of Nelson, whilst yet there were among us some of those who took part in laying its foundations, and whose testimony is still available, originated with Mr. Charles Yates Fell, who was bora here, and is the son of one, and the grandson of another, of Nelson's earliest settlers; and he undertook to collect the materials for the book. He did collect a good deal, and in other ways he has rendered the writer, at all times—and often, no doubt, at some times very inconvenient to a busy professional man—the most kind and ready assistance.

Some facts and figures have been borrowed from "Brett's History of New Zealand," "Pratt's Colonial Experiences," "The Official Handbook of New Zealand Mines," the files of the "Examiner" from 1842, and later on of the "Colonist." Added to these sources of information the writer has had access to such of the records of the New Zealand Company as have escaped destruction; and last—though very far from least— he has had before him the written statements of some of the survivors of the first settlers, and the advantage of obtaining oral testimony from others. To all these old settlers he desires to express his earnest gratitude.

He wishes also to thank others, whose ready courtesy has enabled him to rescue many details from forgetfulness, and to do what he could in a limited space, and at short notice, to make this book a faithful record of the past. Of these, he wishes to make especial mention of the Hon. J. W. Barnicoat, M.L C., and Mr. Alfred Saunders, M.H.R.; both having taken considerable trouble to supply valuable information. He has likewise to express his acknowledgments to Mr. John Sharp, who revised some of the proof-sheets; and also to the various religious bodies, and Friendly Societies, for the particulars respecting each, appearing in the work.

It is matter for regret that the very interesting papers written by some of those who in the early days "bore the burden and heat of the day," could not be printed in fall; and many valuable original documents, which are of historical interest, could only be cursorily referred to. There are also some few papers sent in too late to be of use, which are worth preserving.

This history is principally written for those who know the place, and are proud of it; who looking back at the good which has been done, are thankful for it; and who—knowing what a wealth of nature is around us, how vast are our only very partially developed mineral resources, and how active is the spirit of enterprise and industry—look forward with confidence towards the future—a great future, as we all hope, not only of material prosperity, but of national life.