New Zealander, 12 November 1851, Page 3
"Ship "Charlotte Jane.''
December 12th, 1850.
Long. 166, Lat. 47, 20.
I am beginning a letter now, which I shall finish at Canterbury. To-day, at about five o'clock we saw and, which was Stewarts Island, in the Southern Island of New Zealand. We have had a most agreeable voyage. The only thing we have suffered from is the cold, which for some time was very severe, but during that time we had a fire in the cuddy stove. When in the tropics, we had only one week of uncomfortably hot weather, which was very fortunate. In the evenings, which were beautiful, we used to dance on deck, to the music of a fiddle, which was played by one of the emigrants ; sometimes the gentlemen danced a reel, and one night some of the steerage passengers got up a dance. For some little time we had a singing club, and we also got up a weekly paper, called the "Cockroach," which came out every Saturday, and was read aloud at the cuddy table, amidst roars of laughter at all parts of it, which were exceedingly good. Captain Lawrence is so delighted with this periodical, that he is having the whole of every number copied out; indeed, several of the passengers have taken extracts from it. There were a great many little pigeons flying about as well as a few petrels and albatrosses. The gentlemen put out a hook and line to catch these birds, and succeeded in taking several, including some enormous albatrosses, one was nine feet long. We have been most comfortable on board this ship, having fresh meat all the time, bread, and nearly every day fruit pies for dinner. I have not suffered at all from sea-sickness.
At about two o'clock in the night land was clearly seen, and those who were up say the country is beautiful. All the wind there is to-day is against us, which provokes us very much.
To-day, at about five o'clock, we were close to the land, about forty miles below Otago, and were delighted with what we saw there were no trees, the mountains were covered with grass to the very tops. The sky was lovely, and we have seen the most glorious sunsets. Mr.____ and some others wished to be landed, in order that they might walk to Canterbury, but there was no convenient place for them to be set down, so I am happy to say the idea is given up, although Mr. — is dreadfully disappointed.
Port Lyttelton, Monday, December 23rd.
We have now been here a week exactly, and I am perfectly well pleased with the whole place and all the preparations. The Randolph, arrived three hours after us, and the Sir George Seymour twenty-four hours later, just the same space of time between each as there was in leaving England. The Cressy has not yet arrived. The first night we landed here Sir George and Lady Grey came on board our ship to prayers, and were very amiable. The former says that this will decidedly be the best colony in New Zealand ; be made a great many little arrangements for us, for instance, he did away with all custom-house duties upon all things the people declared to be personal property and not intended for sale. Some things are very cheap here ; mutton is 5d. per lb; milk, 4d. per quart ; bread is cheap, but I do not exactly know the price. I am quite surprised that so much has already been done.
December 24th. — We had a tea party at Mrs. to-night, which passed off very
pleasantly. I sang a good deal, as I do every evening, both Mr. and Mrs. — are
very fond of music, Mr.___ understands German, and therefore appreciates
all my songs.
December 26th. — Yesterday (Christmas day), Mr. ___, Mrs.___ , and I, dined with Mr.___ , and after dinner, we took a row to a small island in the harbour, called Quail Island. In the evening, Mr. — came in. I think we are going on a pic-nic to the plains on Saturday, to gather " Toi Toi," grass for pillows and mattresses. To-day the weather is much cooler. We have four clergymen here and three schoolmasters, the latter understand church singing, and consequently we have the whole service chanted beautifully. To.day, Mr. and Mrs. . , with the children are going off to the plains ; they intend walking, and therefore will, most likely, to-night, sleep in the bush. I forgot to say that we had roast turkey, beef, peas, potatoes, and plum-pudding, for dinner yesterday, the only things we wanted were in nice pies. The Cressy arrived to-day, after a pleasant passage the weather is still very delightful, but we are all wishing for rain. I should recommend every gentleman who comes out here to wear a moustache ; all those who have not done so, have suffered very much from sore lips. Everybody should bring out a cart, and wheels for wheel-barrows.
Sunday, December 29th.
I have just com« from church, it was very crowded, and there were about two dozen natives present. This evening we took a walk along the beach, clambering over the rocks, and came upon a party of natives, one or two of whom were beautifully tatooed. They were playing at draughts, of which game they are very fond. They were so very amiable as to get some oysters off the rocks, and opening them they offered them to us. I begin to see that some of the men are very handsome (the women are hideous), they have dark sort of Spanish and Italian faces, like Murllo's pictures.
All the houses here are coveted with shingle (which I suppose you know are pieces of a particular sort of wood, cut like slates); they look, after a time exactly like slate, and nobody could tell the difference without touching them. The Toi-toi grass makes a beautiful thatch over the weather boarding.nnd the natives make whole houses of this grass, which is very pretty and cheap. There is at present a scarcity of timber; there is plenty sawn at Port Albert, but we have not not the means, of bringing it round here. A man who has a horse and cart is making £2 per day.
Tuesday, December 31.
We are expecting Bishop Selwyn every day. We are still staying with Mr. and Mrs. __; the latter says that I am a " public reserve," and must not leave them for a long time yet ; but as soon as possible I shall go into our cottage on the hill. It is the most prettily situated house here, and quite out of the dust. People say here that it is very difficult to raise plants from English seeds. We have not received the box of seeds from Auckland, promised by Mr. — ; and Mrs in a great state of delight this morning at receiving a box containing parcels from England, which has come by the Cressy. The emigrants and some of the colonists are in the barracks. There are about four or five wells dug — a nice pier, with a crane for lifting goods— two public houses — a butcher's shop — a store-house, which is also a temporary church, &c. Port Lyttelton lies at the base of the mountain ; the harbour is beautifully surrounded with high mountains, covered with verdure and brush, in which grow convolvolus, clematis, &c, &c. It reminds me very much of Trieste. There are about 1,200 people here now. The land will be chosen immediately, and then numbers will go off to the plains, and to Harwood Forest. Those who have been already exploring were perfectly delighted. Everybody is charmed with the country and the richness of the land, especially Mr.__, who is Mr. ___'s Scotch bailiff. The weather is very hot, but beautifully clear, and the sunsets are wonderful. On Saturday evening I went with Mr. and Mrs. ___ to a place across the harbour, a mile up the hills— a farm house belonging to a Mr ___; he has 11,000 sheep, and is now busy washing and shearing. He employs several Maoris, who work very well, and are also engaged on the roads here. There were about a dozen of them came here the other day ; I shook hands with them and said " tenakoe" (pronounced like Italian). They admired my blue brooch very much, and afterwards they all gathered round to hear me sing and play. Most of them are very ugly, but they are very good people. I have heard that there has been as much £500 offered all ready for a town section here. The climate is certainly delightful ; perfectly dry. My hair brush, which was quite soft on board, has become quite hard, and my hair is very dry. We have engaged a very nice couple — the woman has been a schoolmistress, but understands dairy-work, dress-making, &c, the man can build, understands agriculture, and is by trade an agricultural implement maker. If Mr. ___ should come to New Zealand, I think the best outfitter he could go to would be a man of the name of ____ in London ; he served Mr.____ ; and certainly everything of his was very nice. Tell him to take biscuits, jam, &c., for cabin use; he will find the want of little things like those. The dust here is most dreadful; but as soon as possible we shall have water carts. When I get at my riding habit I shall ride up the hills. Mrs. has offered kindly to lend me her horse. The thermometer has been 93 degrees in the shade. Half of the emigrants from the Cressy are already in the barracks. The people are hard at work on the road. When Sir G. Grey was here be looked at the roads, and said (he is a good engineer) that it is the most wonderful line of road he ever saw. Certainly Captain Thomas has shown himself to be a first-rate engineer. Everything he has accomplished is excellently well done. The choices of land are going on but very slowly, for they take a long time choosing. I am obliged to write on this thick paper because I cannot get at any other.
January 1, 1851.
We have bought a Piza cottage near the bush, and have been up there to day putting it to rights. Washing is very dear ; the cheapest woman charges 3s. per dozen. A woman gets 3s. or 4s. per day for going out washing. I should say, that were Mrs. ___ here she would make her fortune, and her husband would also get on very well. We are badly off for cattle. Some people I believe are going to send an agent to Sydney, to charter a ship to send it down here full of cattle. Mr. has got a very comfortable turf cottage ; the inside is hung with calico. Several people are in tents. The insects that plague us most are fleas and blue- bottle flies.
Mr.____ , &c, drink tea here. The ladies dress much more here than I expected. After a time everybody will ride— nobody will walk. It is a country hereabouts made for riding. In the plains they will be able to keep carriages, but here they would be of no use. Our cow was safely landed this morning.
Saturday night, January 4, 1851.
Bishop Selwyn arrived last night. This morning be breakfasted at Mr.____ after breakfast I left Mr.____ altogether to go up to our cottage on the hill at the edge of the bush, much against Mr. and Mrs____ 's wishes. But I think it is much better to try and get things to rights myself. In the evening the bishop came and paid us a visit up here. Afterwards he went to Mr.____ 's to take tea, and we went also. He held a long conversation with some Maories in their own language, from the drawingroom window where we were sitting, the Maories poking their heads in at the windows. He has great influence over them, chiefly owing to his calm and dignified manner. When I sang a German song he declared that I did it to revenge myself for his talking a language I could not understand, by singing in one equally incomprehensible to him.
Monday 6th. — We are now comfortably stowed in the cottage ; the stove is up, and we make the best bread in the town. I have had several visitors to-day. Mr.____ comes sometimes to dinner and breakfast. We have only two teaspoons between six people — four servants and ourselves. When I say four servants, I include a little girl of twelve, who takes care of Mrs. ———'s baby, and a boy whom we have for the present, but I think we shall most probably send him to sea. Yesterday there was our service in the Maori language, and the bishop preached to the natives and and twice to us. He gives first-rate sermons and makes a very fine bishop, his manner is so dignified, and at the same time earnest and impressive. Mrs.___ has just gone to buy provisions. It is very hot indeed. A boat was capsized yesterday; Mr. and Mrs. ____ upset ; she would not be picked up until her husband was saved. She has bought a horse, which she has offered to lend me. We are at present squatters, the land on which out cottage stands has been selected for the college land, so I do not know whether we shall remain here or go down to the town to live. Sir George Grey has appointed Sub-inspector General of this place and Christchurch, &c, so he has that besides his Police for Registration Agency. Captain Lawrence is coming to drink tea with us tonight, so I have sent to the store for some teacups, &c. It is great fun contriving and managing to make things do. At first we only had a foot-pan to milk the cow into. I think this climate cannot be too much praised. The heat is never oppressive, for the air is fresh while the sun is burning hot. No night damps. A School is to be opened to day.
Wayside cross, erected by Mrs Godley