The Past and Present Of New Zealand With Its Prospects for the Future
Chapter XV. Hints to Emigrants
Chapter XV. Hints to Emigrants.
Nothing need be said of the motives leading to emigration; it is felt to be necessary by tens and hundreds of thousands of our countrymen, who annually quit the shores of their native land in search of fresh homes. Emigration is going on, and will continue to do so as long as the population of Britain is in excess of its means of maintaining it, and there are fields to receive it, the man of energy, who finds there is no opening for him at home, will naturally turn his thoughts to other lands where one is presented. The family man, anxious for those depending upon him, will also look in the same direction. There are numbers who, when retiring from the Army and Navy, seek a home where there is a reasonable hope of health and happiness being attained, as well as prospect for their rising families; some accustomed to warm climates, cannot endure that of Britain; this also page 322 is the case with thousands at home with delicate constitutions; they battle on for years against an adverse climate, but feel each winter more and more trying, until at last emigration becomes a necessity; from such and other causes it continues to flow on with undiminished vigour.
The first consideration of the intending emigrant is, where shall he go to? There are four things to be considered: Economy, Success, or fair chance of getting on, Health and Happiness.
America is the nearest; that seems to be in her favor. There are the United States; but will they suit the small capitalist? If he leaves with the hope of escaping taxation, he finds it doubled there, burthened with a national debt second only to that of England; it will be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire to go there. A wonderful change has taken place in America for the worse; in the large cities living and everything is dear, and destitution equal to that at home, he must go far back to the west to obtain land, and even there he will not escape heavy taxation; nor is the prospect on these accounts very favorable. Health too is not to be expected, where fevers and agues are rife, in a country which is alternately burnt up with tropical heat, or frozen with arctic cold. Were emigrants to weigh these things before they left the shores of their native land, half of them would change their minds and go elsewhere; of this I feel persuaded, that many of those who do go, wish themselves back again when it is too late.
Another consideration is—would the change of society, customs, manners, and views, suit the British emigrant? If not, his chance of happiness there will be small? But this does not apply to British America; land is cheap and readily obtained, this is true, but the remarks on climate apply with greater force there. Excessive heat and cold generate fever, agues, and other maladies; besides, the long-continued winter seals the earth’s surface so completely that the hand of the agriculturalist is idle for more than half a year, and has but a short time for improvement of the soil.page 323
If, therefore, these four are duly weighed, the emigrant will look from the west to the south, and the Cape invites his attention. Some inducements are held out there, a hot, but not oppressive climate, cheap land, being given away, not a very good sign, for our Colonial Governments do not willingly bestow what they can get anything for, but in a country subject to droughts and hostile visits from innumerable hordes of barbarians, inducements are required to attract colonists, and even with all these, some who have the means of leaving are doing so, and seeking their fortunes in Australia and New Zealand.
Australia is a noble insular continent, but, strange to say, although so far distant from Britain, it offers little or no inducement to settlers; its land regulations hold out no attraction to draw them to its shores; it is not easy to be obtained, and everything is dear; the difficulty of visiting different localities is great; the heat of the climate and the frequent droughts are serious drawbacks. Under these circumstances the emigrant will turn his attention to New Zealand; there he finds a country about the size of his native land, but possessing a far superior climate, with mild summers and winters. In one island snow never falls except at the southern extremity, and then it never remains; the ice is seldom seen thicker than a shilling. In the Middle Island the winter’s cold is not so great as that of Britain; the most southerly part of New Zealand is not colder than the most southerly portion of England. The land is fertile, and so well watered, that droughts are unknown. Already the population is becoming considerable, and, from the limited size of the country, it will sooner assume the state of Britain than any other of its colonies. For health, happiness, and prospect of success, it is unequalled, therefore New Zealand is the colony, and it will be generally acknowledged to be so before long. To every intending emigrant, therefore, I unhesitatingly say, go to New Zealand, being far preferable in every respect to any other emigration field; and to those who make up their minds to do so, I give a few hints.page 324
The first enquiry will be how to get there, and the best way of doing so. There are now three ways; the shortest and quickest is by Panama, and the next by Suez,—both of these are effected by steam. These, however, are not only the most expensive, but the most unsuited to the emigrant, who will, doubtless, have many packages of various kinds, which could not be taken by either of these ways, except at a ruinous charge, whilst the passage money itself is considerably more than by sailing vessels. The emigrant will naturally wish to go as reasonable as is possible, consistent with comfort. By a sailing vessel he has no trouble of trans-shipment, he is, as it were, at home until he reaches his destination.
The usual rate by sailing vessels is, for the saloon passengers, from forty to fifty guineas each; for the stern cabins an extra charge is made. The intermediate passengers are charged from sixteen to twenty-five guineas, and the steerage ones from fourteen to sixteen guineas. For the saloon passengers the owners engage to provide a good table, with fresh meat and milk, with every little comfort required; wine, spirits, and malt liquors being extras, but supplied at a reasonable price on board. Saloon passengers should always stipulate that there shall be a cow, or at any rate goats in milk, on board, and a plentiful supply of desiccated milk; these are necessaries which must be attended to before paying the passage money, or it will be too late; the value of them cannot be overrated when there are children on board. If an emigrant is willing to take a cow himself, the owners will not charge for it, provided the passengers in general have the benefit of it, and a well-bred cow will always be valuable on reaching New Zealand. It is also necessary to see that there is a medical man on board, and whether there is divine service on the Sabbath. For the second and third classes there is a regular dietary, and each passenger should be supplied with a copy of it.
In some vessels there are two kinds of stores, old and new, good and bad; the latter, perhaps, have made several trips round the globe, or have once been on board some of page 325 H.M. ships, from whence they have been discarded; after some time, specimens of this kind will make their appearance at the table, such as bad fusty tea, sugar, or flour, rancid butter, but when complained of better will be produced; it is as well to know this beforehand, as having to put up with bad articles of food not only greatly adds to the discomforts of a long voyage, but also endangers the health.
There is also a great difference in Captains. As much of the comfort of a voyage depends upon him, it is well, if possible, to know something of him beforehand. At sea he is supreme, and if of an irascible temper, and not sober habits, being shut up with him for a three months’ voyage is anything but agreeable; he may forget the usual courtesies of civilized life, and use his temporary power in such a way as to render his passengers as miserable as possible; whilst on the other hand, a kind considerate Captain can render a voyage, even to New Zealand, a regular pleasure trip.
When the emigrant reaches his port, it matters little where it may be, every part of New Zealand offers its peculiar advantages. If he possesses means, and intends turning his attention to sheep, Ahuriri or Wanganui, in the North Island; Port Cooper or Otago, in the Middle Island, are the best for him. If he goes to obtain a mild and enjoyable climate, Auckland, Taranaki, Wanganui, or Ahuriri. If his means are small and his family large, Auckland is decidedly the most desirable province for him to go to, as for every adult in his family he will have a free grant of forty acres given him, and twenty acres for each child, forty acres will also be allowed to the settler for each servant he may bring our, as a compensation for his introduction. This is an arrangement much to the credit of the province, which is already reaping the benefit of this wise regulation by thus giving rise to many little communities in it composed of highly respectable families. For officers of the Army or Navy, four hundred acres are given; for soldiers or sailors, sixty acres; warrant officers and schoolmasters obtain eighty; and the parties are allowed to select their own lands, they can also add to the quantity at the fixed rate of ten shillings per page 326 acre. The land regulations of Auckland are liberal and judicious, and entitle that province to the first consideration, as there is not another equally so. In this respect, those who decide upon Auckland should call at the office, Messrs. A. F. Ridgway and Sons, 40, Leicester Square, London, to obtain particulars, and certificates of their being entitled to the quantity accorded to their position and rank; those gentlemen are the agents for that province; in that case they will select a vessel bound for the Port of Auckland. The land regulations for Taranaki Province are nearly as liberal, free grants being made to naval and miltary officers, but there the land is put up by auction. In Wellington, no free grants of any kind are allowed, but as much made from the sale of land as possible. So also at Hawke’s Bay or Ahuriri, at Nelson and Marlborough. At Canterbury, country land is sold at £2 per acre; free grants of thirty acres are made only to old soldiers, wounded in the Crimean War, or their widows; but assisted passages are given to good laborers, mechanics, and domestic servants; for particulars, apply to T. Marsham, Esq., 32, Charing Cross, W.C., the agent of that province. At Otago, land is sold as at Canterbury, but no free grants of any sort made. So also in Southland; but I believe there is now a more liberal arrangement for obtaining land in that province at the fixed price of £1 per acre.
To all who have learned a trade, New Zealand presents a good opening; carpenters stand first, they will readily obtain from ten to twelve shillings a day, and farm laborers from six to eight, whilst those accustomed to the management of sheep, will obtain board and lodging with from £70 to £100 a year, and on large runs will have a horse found in the bargain,—a far better income than that of three-fourths of the Pastors of the Church of England, commonly called curates. The best mode of obtaining employment on reaching the colony, will be to put an advertisement in one of the local papers, stating what kind of situation is required. Married couples without incumbrances will readily meet with employment, at good wages; and even with families, if their testi- page 327 monials are satisfactory, they will not find it difficult to obtain situations as overseers. All such should be careful to obtain testimonials from their ministers before leaving home; these will be found of great service to them, and their best introduction on reaching their destination; to these it would be well to add one from their former employers; this would much facilitate their obtaining good situations. To those who possess some means and look for comfortable homes, it would be well to take time before they make their selection of a locality. The facility of visiting all parts of the colony are now greatly increased, and reasonable by steamers, thus a month or two so spent will enable the looker after a home to form a correct judgment of the respective merits of different places, and decide accordingly.
Relative to taking money, whilst it is desirable to have some to meet immediate expenses on landing, it will be better to pay the amount intended to be taken into the hands of the firm the vessel belongs to, which will give letters of credit on reaching their destination, without any charge.
A few words may be added about the furniture, which a family should take: as a general rule it is better to avoid encumbering one’s self with more than can be avoided, on account of freight, and expenses on reaching the colony; but there are some things to be excepted, and amongst these may be mentioned, chests of drawers, plain wardrobes, which can be used as packing cases; other articles of furniture can be obtained almost as reasonably in the colony as at home. A single man will not burthen himself with even these; still an exception might be made in favor of whatever is most prized, and most portable: linen, blankets, cutlery, and plate, a selection of good books, and whatever is most valued in the old home will be doubly so in the new. Many little articles might be selected which would pack close and be very serviceable; whatever each emigrant needs or uses the most before he leaves he will need when he arrives, whether tools or whatever belongs to his particular calling. If any furniture or property of value be taken, it is as well to insure it, but still the advice is, take page 328 as much hard cash as possible, and as little else as you can help; to single men I would recommend their going out married, in whatever way they may go, they will find a good partner their best help and best assurance of success. A wife will not be an incumbrance, but the best helpmate to future prosperity.
A new country presents several advantages over the old one. The settler, when he possesses the raw material, land, to work upon, soon changes its appearance and converts it into a cherished home; he sees beauty and order arise from his efforts, and with his increasing prosperity, it likewise becomes more and more comfortable, with the prospect opening out of leaving a competency for his family, however large it may be, and the knowledge that as his adopted country advances, his position likewise will rise with it.page 329
A Letter from one of the earliest Settlers in Wanganui.Wellington, September, 1841.
Governor Hobson arrives.—Sent immediately for me to attend him at Barratt’s Hotel. Orders given me to proceed immediately to Wanganui as Chief Constable: his last words were, “If you do your duty there as you have done at Wellington, I will not forget you.” In my instructions it was stated that the place was full of runaway convicts and whalers, and other bad characters, which I was to apprehend and bring to justice. I brought with me Mr. Henry Nathan, as my sergeant, who to this day is one of our respected townsmen. I cannot say too much for him; I always found him a faithful friend in the midst of danger, and proud I am to testify that he has brought up a fine family, who are all highly respected.
The Voyage up.—On the first day of September, 1841, we went on board the schooner ‘Surprise,’ bound for Wanganui, Captain John Mc Gregor, master. The ‘Surprise’ was built something like a large tub; the wind was aft from the Wellington Heads, which we left at 6 a.m., and arrived outside the Wanganui Bar at 6 p.m., which I believe was the quickest passage ever known; then we anchored for the night. Passing Kapiti we nearly run over a whale, the wind was so strong the Captain could not stop her; our lady passengers were rather frightened—Mrs. Bell, senior, Mrs. Crosby, then single, and Mrs. Bell’s niece.
The Wellington people gave Mr. Nathan and myself one fortnight to live on our arrival; in the morning, up went the anchor, and our little craft sailed up this beautiful river, passing Putiki. I fired off two brace of pistols, to inform the inhabitants that Government had sent officers to protect them, and also to inform the runaway convicts that I had arrived; instead of those I found four magistrates and a few settlers. We anchored at Major Durie’s Creek, and went on shore; there I met with Mr. Colville, Mr. and Mrs. Stent, and Mrs. John Mc Gregor who was glad to welcome us. The boat was sent to take me across the river. The roadway from the market-place to the head magistrate’s tent was a large pig’s track, plenty of flax, tutu, fern. &c. There was a Maori pah near his tent. I went up to a man digging in the garden; he was poorly dressed, he looked as if he had just arrived from Old Ireland. I said, “Old Chap, where is your master?” He answered, “I have no master.” I said, “I page 330 have a letter from the Governor for S. King, Esq., magistrate.” “I am Samuel King, Esq.” I gave him the letter, and he said he was glad to see me at Wanganui; he gave me his tent until I could build a Ware, and also told me to go into his Ware, and cook myself and Nathan some potatoes and bacon.
I found my way back to the market-place, where was a large building, native fashion; in this lived John Nixon, Esq., and family, who kindly welcomed me to Wanganui; he brought out a bottle of good Port, which was the first I partook of, he treated me with great respect, and told me to call and see him at any time; I will say that I was by that gentleman treated with great civility, and ever since, which are many years, he has always been my friend. Mr. Mathews lives near, he was sent, I believe, as a school-master, he used to make bricks, and Carpenter a little. Near the Commercial lived Peter Wilson, Esq., magistrate, and wife, and their son; the servants were William. Pearson and wife. Opposite the pah stood J. Wakefield’s house, free for all comers, always plenty of grog; Richard Deighton lived with him likewise Thomas Ball and Richard Ball, and Mr. Samuel Deighton lived opposite on the other side of the river. There were rare games carried on by Carrington and Niblet, he went up the river, and was tattoed on the right thigh, high up. Mr. Henry Churton kept a small public-house on the spot were H. I. Jones’s house is now standing, Joseph Lockett was barman. I think these were nearly all the inhabitants at that time, until the ‘Clydeside’ brought Captain Campbell, and Dr. G. Rees and others, settlers for the place.
In December the Jail was begun, which was finished in February. The sawyers, that worked in Colville’s Bush, contributed, instead of the magistrate fining them money, he, according to their transgressions, ordered them to bring 100 feet of timber for the first, and 200 feet for the second, and so on; so the Jail cost nothing for the building, only £12, which was paid to me for my work, and acting as magistrate’s clerk. When completed I had no prisoners to put in, so I bought plenty of potatoes and pumpkins, and filled it, excepting where I slept and had my desk.
After a month or so I was shooting ducks at the Heads, when the ‘Catherine Johnson’ entered the river. I hailed them; they sent their dingey, I went on board; she was far superior to the ‘Surprise,’ I quite admired her. The Captain and Mate looked page 331 like two good men, which they have turned out, for the benefit of this our adopted place. The Captain asked me if I knew the river; I thought I did, and consented to act as pilot. Coming past the Bluff I thought the river ran straight, but, to my surprise, I brought her off the Sand Spit, near the Creek. The Captain said never mind, and so we all got out, and with a large spar we shoved her into deep water, which made my heart glad.
On arrival I introduced the Captain and his Mate to Mr. Greenacre and wife, who cured pork. I also introduced them inside the Jail, to see the potatoes, &c. They agreed with me for six tons and a half of potatoes and seven pumpkins. They sailed for Nelson, and soon returned, when I gave them seven tons of potatoes and eleven pumpkins, these also went to Nelson. I found them honorable men, and I think fairly, that if the truth is told, that John Garner was sent before them by Providence to open a way to their prosperity, and also for the prosperity of the Town of Wanganui.
My dear Sir,
I hope you will forgive me for not doing this before, but this is the first night this week that I could use my pen.