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The New Zealand Spectator and Cook’s Strait Guardian, Saturday, March 15, 1851

Dinner of the Hutt Settlers
to Sir George Grey

On Thursday last a dinner was given by the Hutt settlers to his Excellency Sir George Grey, the Governor-in-Chief, to express their respect and esteem for him personally, and their grateful sense of the benefits conferred upon the district by the different improvements undertaken by him during his administration of the Government. The whole management of the dinner was entirely in the hands of the settlers of the Hutt, and except the invitation to the suite of the Governor-in-Chief and Lieutenant-Governor, and the representatives of the two local papers, the tickets were strictly confined to those who lived in the district or owned property there, and among the latter were to be found many of those included in the invitations. For some days previously the work of preparation had been actively carried on, and the arrangements connected with the entertainment were most complete. The dinner was given in Newry Barn, the sides and ceiling of which were tastefully decorated with evergreens, two tables extended the length of the barn with a cross table at the upper end, while a large tent had been fitted up as a wing to the barn to provide adequate accommodation for the numerous guests. The preparations for the repast were most substantial and would have done credit to any entertainment, all the cooking was done on the spot, and where every one was eager to lend a helping hand in promoting the object in view, there was no lack of assistance. One man gave the firewood, another sent his cart to draw it, the finest vegetables of the different gardens, the finest fruits produced in the valley were freely offered as willing contributions to the feast which was abundant enough to have sufficed for nearly double the number of those present. The vegetables and fruits were very fine, of the latter there were several first-rate varieties of apples and pears, and some grapes grown by Mr. Hard Udy (Black Prince and Sweet Water) in the open air, in size and flavour were equal to those produced in a green house. In order, however, to enable those who were not present to form some idea of the hospitality of the settlers of the Hutt we print the bill of fare as follows:

3 rounds Beef, 6 large roasting pieces beef, 6 boiled legs Mutton, 2 saddles Mutton, 4 Hams, 4 Tongues, 5 Geese, 12 Ducks, 3 Turkies, 3 Sucking Pigs, 4 Chickens, 12 Fowls, 3 Pigeon pies, 6 Beef Steak pies, 6 plates cucumber, 4 bowls Salad, 6 Apple tarts, 4 Raspberry tarts, 18 Puddings, (plum), 1 Cake (superb), 6 dishes Custard, 10 do. Apples, 4 do. Pears, 4 do. Grapes, 1 barrel Ale, 36 galls., 1 do. do. 15 do. 36 dozen Ginger Beer, 3¾ dozen Sherry, 1½ dozen Port, 2 gallons Martell's Brandy, 6 bottles Lemon Syrup, 1½ cwt. Potatoes, 70lbs. Turnips, 50lbs. Carrots, 20 Cabbages, (large), 20 lbs. Parsnips, 4½ dozen Bread, 2 Cheeses, &c.

As the hour of dinner approached, the guests assembled in front of the barn waiting to receive Sir George Grey, who got there shortly after half past three o'clock, and was welcomed with loud cheers and the most hearty demonstrations of good will, the settlers forming a line on either side, between which he entered to the banquet, while the band of the 65th Regt. which was in attendance, played the national anthem. At a quarter to four the chair was taken by Mr Renall, of the Newry Mill, who had been unanimously chosen by his fellow settlers for this office, and who discharged its duties in a most able and efficient manner. On the right of the chairman were his excellency Sir [sic: George] Grey, K.C.B.,. Lieut. Col. McCleverty, Hon. C. A. Dillon, Civil Secretary, E. Wakefield, Esq., Attorney-General, and W Wodehouse, Esq., Private Secretary to the Governor-in-Chief. On his left sat his Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor G. Thomas, Esq., Auditor-General, J.D. Ormond Esq., Private Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor, Hon. H.W. Petre, Colonial Treasurer, and H. St.Hill, R.M. Among the visitors and those connected with the Hutt district were Hon. A. Tollemache, A. Ludlum Esq., J.P., C. E. Alzdorf, Esq., Rev. J. Aldred, J. Taine, Esq., Dr. Knox, R. Stoke, Esq., while the body of the room and the tent were filled with the settlers of the Hutt, a most respectable body, the greater part the owners of the land they occupied. One hundred and eighty persons sat down to dinner; one hundred and sixty-two tickets had been purchased at five shillings each which, we understand, covered all expenses. Grace was said by the Rev. J. Aldred

After dinner the Chairman proposed the health of “Our Lady the Queen” with honours.

After the toast had been duly responded to, the whole of the company rose and sang the National Anthem.

The Chairman then proposed the health of Prince Albert and the rest of the Royal Family, which was drank with loud applause.

The Chairman, in rising to propose the toast of the evening, the health of the guest whom they had met that evening to honour, said that in the observations he was about to make he should avoid, as far as possible, touching on any political differences, his desire was rather to gather [gap — reason: illegible] stray sheep than to scatter the flock. The progress that had been made during the years in the valley of the Hutt surpassed belief and was such as, then the obstacles they had had to contend with were considered no one, even the most sanguine, could have anticipated. He thought that when men eminent for their abilities were set over them as their rulers they were bound to receive them with respect and, when they [gap — reason: illegible] their plans were calculated to promote the good of the country, to give them their confidence and go hand in hand with them in aiding the development of those plans. It was in this spirit that they met his Excellency the Governor-in-Chief this evening (Cheers.) The Chairman then alluded to the disturbances which existed among the maories on his Excellency's first arrival in the country, disturbances which were mostly, he thought, to be attributed to bad government, but he would refrain from dwelling too strongly on this point, as they were unable to judge whether the faults that had been committed were to be laid to the [gap — reason: illegible] of the preceding Governors, or to the instructions they had received. He would prefer to tread lightly on the past, and look forward in hope and confidence to the future. In alluding to the numerous practical discussions which had taken place in the settlement, he observed that whenever they appealed to ancient history or to preceding events, it would be found that the licentiousness of Freedom was generally extinguished by despotism. In France, after the struggles and sufferings of the Revolution, they found themselves worse off in the end than they were at its commencement and the wild excesses committed in the name of Liberty were put to an end to by the despotism of Napoleon. Nor did the French appear to be better off now than they were in the times he had referred to. Some [gap — reason: illegible] were who were always referring to the publican Institutions of America as patterns to be followed, but these institutions, however free in theory, were found to be tyrannical in practice, and he thought in the present state of the colony the less patterns were copied the better. (Cheers.) The main business, the chief occupation which engrossed the time and attention of [gap — reason: illegible] country settlers and employed all their energies was the clearing of the land, and providing comfortable homes for their [gap — reason: illegible] and families. The Hutt settlers were a united body and he hoped no agitator would come to disturb them. (Cheers.) [gap — reason: illegible] he saw a gentleman amongst them (alluding to the reporter of the Independent) who was putting his spectacles on, he hoped he would wipe them well that he might see and get at the truth, for it was strange [gap — reason: illegible] trouble some people would take to [gap — reason: illegible] falsehood when the truth lay so plainly before them. (Cheers and laughter.) [gap — reason: illegible] alluded to the anxieties and sleeplessness which the Governor must have endured establishing peace, in preventing [gap — reason: illegible]tion of the native race and in securing the confidence of both races, so that[gap — reason: illegible]