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Historical Records of New Zealand

An Anonymous Letter

An Anonymous Letter.

Pauls Wharf, April, 1828.


I have to request you will pardon my intruding some crude ideas on the subject of an emigration to New Zealand in preference to any other part of the world from the small expense at which colonies could be established there, besides many other important advantages which would be derived from colonizing that island.

I have no interest in any way whatever in now once more troubling you on this subject. I believe it is very generally admitted that the Islands of New Zealand are the best in the South Pacific Ocean, in soil, climate, timber, trees, rivers, and in a population of intelligent natives, brave, active, and, I believe, partial to the English, and many of the minor chiefs wishing to put themselves under the protection of Great Britain. The natives are an enterprising and powerful race of people, fond of the sea, and numbers of them going out in English whalers for one or more voyages. One whaler had 12 New Zealanders, and we have some who have been three or four years in our ships who behave themselves perfectly to our satisfaction.

I confess I feel considerable anxiety into whose hands New Zealand will be placed, as I am satisfied that the possession of the Islands of New Zealand by Great Britain, France, or America page 682 will give that Power the command of the South Pacific, and if in the hands of either of the latter Powers will soon disturb the peace of our colonies in New Holland. If we colonize New Zealand we shall be able to keep our convict colonies under some controul, and it will be impossible (or improbable) for any naval Power to send any expedition to trouble New Holland or New Zealand. If France takes possession of New Zealand, which she appears dispos’d to do, from the number of her cruizers which we see by the public papers are continually visiting all parts of that ocean, it will be almost impossible to retain for any length of time New South Wales as a colony, as it would be a great object with France to cripple so large a British colony, so full of bad dispos’d and combustible a population, and so near to their colony in New Zealand. France would upon all occasions endeavour to keep alive all disaffection, and with such materials to work upon they would find no difficulty in making the colony miserable. France, with the disposal of the effective population of N. Zealand for becoming useful as seamen, would, in the event of a war with G. Britain, capture all the whaling and trading ships outward or homeward bound from New South Wales, as they must pass N. Zealand in their voyages to or from New Holland, without their passages are much lengthened by going through Torres Straits.

When a colony was first sent out to New South Wales it was attended with an expence far beyond any possibility of calculating. The direct passage out and home of transports to the colony is 10 months. It took several years, by trials of livestock from Europe, Rio Janeiro, Cape of Good Hope, Batavia, and allmost from all our settlements in India, to find out which improv’d in New So. Wales. The same in trying all sorts of grain, seeds, vegetables, fruit-trees, poultry, &c., &c. By degrees, but at an immense expence by death of live-stock and failure in many articles, they at length succeeded in having every article and live-stock which all thrive in New South Wales.

New Zealand is about 7 to 10 days run from Port Jackson; that the expense of sending live-stock and the risk of death must be small, and both islands being in the same latitude, there can be no doubt of every thing thriving at New Zealand as well as they do at New So. Wales. All the above advantages must be most beneficial to those who intend to settle in New Zealand, and I think that many of the respectable settlers at Port Jackson will be glad to purchase land in New Zealand, and have a farm there, in case any insurrection of convicts should at any time take place; but if convicts are sent there, or allowed to go there, that description of settlers would soon create dissensions with the natives, and end in a war of extermination to page 683 one party. If the respectable settlers go to New Zealand many of the small chiefs will be glad to part with their land on terms on being admitted within what may be called protected missionary districts.

By establishing any number of districts, or by any other name of description, or as protecting districts along the coast at certain distances, which would not allow room for any foreigners to settle, and as missionaries they can settle all places or islands without giving just cause for jealousy, as it will not appear to be a Government or national settlement, but to be visited as heretofore by H.M. cruizers which visit those ports.

I am quite satisfied that a British settlement in New Zealand will be the greatest protection to our settlement from foreign attack or the internal rising up of the convicts in New S. Wales.

I am quite ashamed of having taken up so much of your time, and writing so decidedly on a subject of which I can know so little.

I have, &c.,

[Unsigned.] [Note.—Apparently addressed to the Under-Secretary of the Colonial Office.]