The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 24
From Mr H. W. Farnall to His Honor the Superintendent, Auckland. Auckland, New Zealand, Provincial Government Agency, 2½, Corporation-street,Belfast, July 27, 1874
July 27, 1874.
I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letters of 12th May, 1874, and 15th May, 1874, the latter covering the correspondence that has taken place between the Government and Mr G. V. Stewart, in reference to the location of his party at Katikati.
In your Honor's letter of May 12th, you inform me "the power to issue land orders under the Act of 1876 cannot be exercised."
As your Honor is by this time aware, several land orders have already been issued by me under the authority given to me in your first tetter, bearing date December 10th, 1873. In that letter I am requested to act as agent for the Provincial Government in accordance with the provisions of "The Waste Lands Act, 1867," copies of which Act were forwarded to me.
The 21st clause of this Act empowers the "Superintendent to appoint Emigration Agents who shall be authorised to grant land orders."
I have, therefore, up till the date of receiving your last letter been acting as I imagined in strict conformity with your wishes.
I will, however, now, until further advised by you, confine myself to issuing land orders only to those proceeding to Auckland to take up land in the block selected by Mr. Stewart.
I have carefully perused the correspondence between the Government and Mr. Stewart, forwarded to me by you. It appears to me to point only to one conclusion, namely, that it was extremely ill-advised on the part of the Agent-General to despatch Mr Stewart to New Zealand on such a mission as that forced upon him, and to plunge him—a perfect stranger to the workings of our complicated Governmental machinery—into the vortex of General and Provincial party politics and local jealousies.
It is unnecessary for me to point out the great gain to the Province of Auckland by locating in it such a body of settlers as those represented by Mr Stewart, in fact, were the land he has selected fifty times more valuable even than it appears to be, the wisdom of the policy of granting it for the purposes required could not be questioned.
In pressing the advantages of Auckland on intending emigrants, I have frequently been taunted with the illiberal treatment received by the holders of free-grant land orders in former years. A considerable number of what are known as "forty-acre men" were tenant farmers from the North of Ireland, and had strict faith been kept with them, and the promises made them not literally but honestly fulfilled, there would, in my opinion, be little necessity now for an Agent to advertise the advantages and capabilities of our Province.
The bulk of the settlers north of Auckland were introduced into the Province under the forty acre system, and they are a community of whom the Pro- page 31 vince and the Colony may be justly proud, for they have held their own and established themselves on their lands under an accumulation of difficulties that it is not necessary for me here to enumerate, but which your Honor is well aware, to less energetic men would have proved insurmountable. How much better would be the position of these first emigrants now, and how much better would it now be for the Province, had none but good land been offered to them for selection, and had the various settlements in which they were located been brought in direct communication with the capital of the Province?
I can assure your Honor that the settlement about being formed by Mr Stewart has excited a great deal of anxious speculation amongst the tenant farmers of Ireland; if strict faith is kept with him, and if the expectations held out to those taking part in the scheme be realised, there will be no difficulty in populating the remaining waste lands of the Province with the same class.
I am a very strong supporter of Special Settlements, and if the Province is unwilling any longer to give away her lands, these Special Settlements might still, I think, be formed on a system of deferred payments, with, if possible, assisted passages. The Government might easily recoup itself by reserving certain sections in each block so set apart for Special Settlement, for future sale. At the same time, great care should be exercised in the selection of those allowed to take part in any Special Settlement scheme, and those selected should be either bona fide working farmers with some means, or else capitalists.
It may appear perhaps to some that taking into consideration the large number of emigrants, now being forwarded to Wellington, under the auspices of the "New Zealand Emigrant and Colonists Aid Corporation" for the Special Settlement at Manawatu, that there is practically no difficulty in obtaining the class required if sufficient energy be brought to bear on the subject. The class of emigrants, however, forwarded by the above Association are not at all the class likely to prove successful in the forming a prosperous settlement, as the following extract, taken from a paper published under the sanction of the Company, and obtained by me at their office in London, will I think prove. The extract is from a paper headed "Notes of a visit to the Feilding Settlement" by a Special Correspondent, and is as follows:—
"Many of your readers will no doubt be at first sight inclined to question the wisdom of locating the Immigrants for six months in the townships. Mr Halcombe, however, decided upon this plan on good and well-considered grounds. Most, if not all of the immigrants are utterly unaccustomed to bush life and have no experience in agricultural matters, and would have no chance of success if located on their farm sections"
I may observe the passage underlined by me is not italicized in the report from which the above extract is taken.
I beg to enclose duplicate of land order (No. 9,) for 40 acres, issued by me to John Thomas Brown. This is the tenth land order issued by me in connection with the Stewart Party, the aggregate amount of capital taken to the province, by six of these emigrants, as ascertained by me is £4,450, of the remaining four, two are capitalists and two are bona fide working farmers, whose friends are to send after them whatever capital they may require.
Harry W. Farnall.His Honor the Superintendent, Auckland.