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The New Zealand Evangelist

Local Intelligence

Local Intelligence.

Waimate.—The Natives.

The winter here has thus far been very severe—gales of wind, torrents of rain, and hard frost in succession during the month of June. On the 18th I returned from Manawapou, on the coast, from visiting the people. The elements were all in commotion, thunder and lightning, rain and hail, with heavy gusts of wind driving clouds of sand, the sea tossing and roaring, reminded me of the events of the 18th of June, that day 34 years, which I remembered reading, when the French were beaten by the allied powers on the plains of Waterloo. In my interviews with the natives, I find an increasing desire among some of them to adopt European habits, others tenaciously adhere to the usages of their ancestors, the remonstrances of the missionaries and the arguments of the “Karere Maori” proving ineffectual.

An old custom called Whainga (feasting) is getting out of fashion among the better informed of the Ngatiruanui. The plan of calling together from distant places men, women, and children, for the purpose of eating, for that is the great attraction, is attended with little good. Accidents often occur; a woman and child were drowned lately in attending one at Otake or Manganuioteno, which has produced a painful sensation. The hui ought to be seldom resorted to, and great care manifested in the management of them.

The people of Manawapou and other neighbouring places are conferring with Mr. McLean, for a page 101 Flour Mill for themselves, but that gentleman has given them to understand that the money must be deposited before the work is begun. Very proper, as some might be disposed to shuffle out of the engagement, as has been the case in some previous erections, to the loss and annoyance of the contractors. Death is busy this way. Six of our people have lately died. Four were females. There is a painful disproportion in the sexes. The natives seem to be diminishing every where, as far as my observation goes. The children are fed with improper food, and disease is engendered which defies the power of medicine.

Notes Upon Gardening.


“A Garden is the purest of Human pleasures.”— So says the immortal Bacon, the greatest philosopher that the world has produced, since the days of Aristotle. It is one of those few pleasures that can be equally enjoyed by the prince and the peasant. Its enjoyments are of that peculiarly mixed nature, which is most conducive to the constitution of man. They can only be truly felt by Labour; which, although a curse upon our fallen race, in form, has been converted, by our Beneficent Creator, into a blessing—in fact. The mind and the body are alike benefited. The first is soothed, the latter strength-ened, and both of these effects produce that calm and healthy enjoyment of life, which neither wealth, nor power, nor station, can possibly impart. Its physical effects on the human frame, as a healthy exercise, are very remarkable; inasmuch as if any one class of men were singled out as long lived, that class would be Gardeners. I could cite numerous instances in proof of this assertion; but it would be superfluous. Let any one try the experiment of working in his garden, one half hour before breakfast, and he will find his health improved, his appetite increased, and his enjoyment of both augmented.

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The effect of this occupation upon the mind,—if that mind is rightly constituted,—is even more beneficial than upon the body. Some of the most beautiful analogies employed by our Saviour to illustrate his doctrines, are drawn from the vegetable kingdom. The wheat and the tares,—the “Lilies of the field,”—the grain of mustard seed,—the fig tree, —and the vine, are those which most readily occur to me at this moment. What exquisite beauty of form—colours—structure—and usefulness, and all these in the most inexhaustible variety, are lavished upon plants—even upon those which come within our daily observation! The christian in heart, no matter what his creed may be, will ever look upon these, as so many manifestations of the Lord's power, goodness, and wisdom**,—they are commentaries on the Scriptures,—simple yet touching emblems of mortality,—silent yet powerful teachers on the pomps and vanities of a tinselled world—quiet mentors on that death and resurrection, which they annually shadow forth in themselves. They are Nature's book of Homilies.

I could pursue this exordium much further, but enough has been said to show that gardening is preeminently a christian recreation; and entitled even to rank as the first, of those which tend to raise the thoughts from earth to heaven. To encourage, if not to create, a love for this innocent and useful pursuit, will be the object of this, and similar monthly notices, connected with the culture of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

So far as Gardening is concerned, the month of August must be considered the termination of winter, and the commencement of spring. All the early flowers of the English gardener, as the jonquille, primrose, double daffodil, and daisy, together with the garden anemone, open their blossoms in my garden usually about the first week in August. The page 103 deciduous trees, (excepting the hawthorn) begin to expand their buds, and every thing indicates that the vernal season has commenced. Now, therefore, is the best time for sowing allseeds which germinate in the open air, whether for the farm, the flower or the kitchen garden. Peas and beans, by being planted every three weeks, may give a supply for six months in the year, and all the varieties of the cabbage tribe should now be committed to the ground.

The old stalks of cabbage, Scotch kale, and brocoli, by being planted (if necessary to be removed from their original situations) in a compartment by themselves, will yield a plentiful crop of tender sprouts long before they run to seed, and even the ends of the flower stalks, before the buds have expanded, will be found tender and delicate eating.

Turnips and onions love an exposed open situation, having free exposure to the sun and wind; but parsnips, carrots, and rhubarb may be sown in more shady situtations. These, and all esculent roots, thrive the best where the upper soil is naturally light and sandy, or where it has been rendered so artifically by deep trenching, and judicious mixture.

Potatoes, for an early crop, are generally put into the ground, in this district, about the 24th of August, but the first week in September is still a good time. On lands liable like the Hutt valley, to inundations, the sets should be planted whole; for it has been found that if they are cut into pieces, as in England, they are very liable to rot, with the additional moisture given to the ground by occasional floods: more space should be allowed between the rows and sets than in England; because the stems grow more luxuriantly. The best distance is three feet between the rows and one between the sets.

September is still a good month for transplanting all kinds of perennial flowers, and all those deciduous trees, which, casting their leaves in autumn, have not yet expanded their leaf-buds. The moment, however, that these latter are so far advanced, their removal page 104 becomes more or less injurious, and in some instances fatal. There are nevertheless many sorts of evergreen climbing, roses which possess so much vitality that they may be safely removed all this month, for although the old leaves will generally wither, new buds will soon appear.

All the pasture grasses, not sown in March, may now be committed to the ground. But this must be done as early in the month as possible, otherwise the tender blade may be scorched by the mid-day heat, which is so often experienced at the end of September. I should always recommend that the quantity sown be never less than 1 1/2 bushels per acre,** and that as soon as weeds appear, they be as much as possible eradicated. It will be misplaced economy, (or rather eventually great extravagance,) to sow less than this, merely to save a few shillings, and thus leave room for weeds to occupy that space which should be filled with tufts of grass.

On pruning and planting I shall say but little; for both these operations should be completed early in August. Nevertheless, as this is a very backward season, the first week or ten days in September may not be too late for pruning or transplanting haw-thorn, blackberry, and furze (Ilex Europeus); and cuttings of all these may still be put into the ground, while their spring buds remain unopened. It is a vulgar, although a very prevalent notion among gardeners, (both professional and amateur,) that all stone fruit seedlings absolutely require being grafted, before they are worth any thing. The fact being, that all the finest sorts in the gardens of the world, were raised from seed! this being the only, and natural mode of producing new varieties! The process of grafting or budding is only necessary when you wish to make sure of possessing a particular established sort, and do not like the risk of rearing a new but inferior variety.

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I have now three peach trees, raised from seed, and trained on one end of the house, which yielded last year, between 250 and 300 peaches finer than any I ever grew in England, after thinning the trees of nearly two hundred others. Cuttings from grafted trees are very difficult to strike, but when they do, they produce, of course, the same sort of fruit as that of the parent branch.

W. Swainson.

Hawkshead, 24th August.


The Season.—

For some months past the weather has been very inclement, as matters go with us; the wind has blown from the south-east, and there has been more frost and snow than has been seen for several years. Upon the young, the aged, and the delicate in health, the cold, freezing, paralyzing hand of Winter has pressed with more than usual severity. Sickness has been prevailing to a considerable extent. Death has been going his rounds, especially among the natives. The average mortality has been greater than for several months. But when we compare the average of sickness and mortality here, with the average of the corresponding period in Britain and Ireland, we have abundant cause for gratitude and thankfulness. Owing to the heavy storms, several of the small coasting vessels have been wrecked, and we regret to say, that in some cases all on board have perished.

Wesleyan Chapel.—

The remaining ravages of the earthquakes are fast disappearing. The foundation of the Wesleyan Chapel has been laid, and the frame of the building has been erected. It will be an elegant and commodious building, an ornament to the town and a benefit to the community, as well as an honour and advantage to the Wesleyan Society. We are glad to learn that the spirit of liberality has been so fully displayed, both by their own members page 106 and the religious public. Our earnest hope is that it may be opened free of debt.

Important Discovery.—Simplicity.—

It is extremely satisfactory to think that, while in other places, dazzling dreams and glittering visions of Californian gold have been heating the brains, and turning the heads of multitudes, scarcely a person in this settlement has been in the slightest degree affected, by all the glowing descriptions of the precious dust, and massive ingots of this El Dorado; scarcely one has been attracted to a land, where a few will find fortunes, but where many will find a grave. Instead of risking life and property in gambling speculations about the golden sands of this modern Pactolus—the golden apples of this modern Hesperides—or the golden wedge of this modern Ophir, the adventurers here have evinced sound sense and far-seeing wisdom, by applying themselves, with painstaking perseverance, to the rearing of a goose, to use the language of Æsop, that will continue to lay golden eggs, and be a perennial source of wealth, long after the placers of California have been exhausted of their treasures, and are furnishing nothing but barren sands, and worthless dross. It has long been obvious that the Phormium Tenax, peculiar to these islands, will sooner or later be one of the staple, and most valuable exports of this country. But hitherto there was one great drawback; the slow and difficult, and hence expensive process, required to separate the gummy matter from the fibre. This obstacle, however, appears now to be removed. It is now apparently established that a simple, speedy, and consequently cheap, process of accomplishing this has been discovered. For some weeks past this question has been the all-engrossing topic of public interest; almost every person has been experimenting on flax, and several important principles have evidently been established. For years past, experiments have been tried again and again, but with little success, arising, as appears now, from a source of error deeply inherent in hupage 107man nature; a disposition to overlook the simple and easy, and admire the mysterious and obscure.— It seems to have been thought, that the separating of the gummy matter from the fibre of the flax, being a new process, must necessarily be something extremely recondite, mysterious, and difficult; and hence every easy plan, and every simple agency, were either eschewed or overlooked. This is the Scientific age, and Chemistry is one of our Dii majores, one of our great Gods. Invoke her, and she will reveal the mystery: the philosopher's stone, the talisman that will convert flax into gold, must be some chemical substance; an acid or an alkali, an oxide or a chloride; the sulphate of this, the phosphate of that, or the carbonate of something else; something bearing one of the cabalistic names; by which the modern magic astounds the ears, and captivates the imagination of childlike simplicity, and unsophisticated ignorance. But, strange! to all the invocations of her votaries, Chemistry is as mute as the image of Baal, and silent as the long forgotten oracle of Delphos. Necessity is the mother of invention; when complex and mysterious plans failed, simple ones were tried. Hope dawned, discoveries were made, and success, more or less complete, has followed. A few weeks ago it was announced, that the mysterious bond between gum and fibre could be dissolved by means of alum. In a few days after, it was ascertained that simpler and cheaper agents—sea-weed and sea-water were equally efficacious. And in a few days more, that fresh-water was as good as salt water for this purpose, and that steeping is nearly as good as boiling. Great, good, universal, beneficial to all men, are the works and gifts of Heaven. Simplicity is the first thing with God, but the last and highest attainment of man. Man tries every liquor to allay his thirst, and finds at last that water being the simplest is the best of all. He exhausts the Pharmacopcea for a cure to disease, and finds that no panacea is better than water. In the present case, the simplest and cheapest agent is pro-page 108ductive of the best results. How much better God is to us than we would be to ourselves! And the higher the interest involved, the more clearly is this seen. To one seeking deliverance from the most inveterate of maladies, the prophet said, “Go wash in Jordan seven times;” but the premier of Syria, thinking himself mocked, turned away in a rage. A wise servant mildly said, “My Father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing wouldst thou not have done it?” He hearkens, dips seven times in Jordan, and leaves his leprosy behind him. “Good master,” said an anxious youth, “what good thing must I do?” “Men and brethren,“said a conscience-stricken multitude, “what must we do?” “Sirs,” said the trembling jailor, “what must I do to be saved?” “Do! poor sinner,” says the voice from Heaven,“what could you do if you were willing? Do you not see the flaming sword, at the gate of Paradise, keeping the doer out? Do you not see the Law in characters of fire, and hear it with voice of trumpet, declaring, ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them?’ and does not the same authority say, ‘He that offends in one point is guilty of all?’ In these hopeless circumstances what can you do? But the plan of salvation like all God's works is simple in the extreme. The work has been done to your hand. The blessed Jesus has done all that is to be done. You have nothing to do; unless you call believing a promise, and receiving a gift by the name of doing.”

“O how unlike the complex works of man,
Heaven's easy, artless, unencumbered plan!
Inscribed above the portal from afar
Conspicuous, as the brightness of a star,
Legible only by the light they give,
Stand the soul-quickening words—Believe and live.”

Printed at the Office of the "Wellington Independent," Corner of Willis-street and Lambton Quay.

** The great and pious John Ray, one of the old English worthies of a purer and better age than ours, wrote largely on this subject, but his book has long been out of print.

** The usual quantity sown in England, for permanent pastures is from 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 per acre.