THE CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT.
(From the Morning Chronicle.) The return of Mr. Godley, whose services in connection with the establishment of the Canterbury settlement are so well known and so justly appreciated, was yesterday celebrated by a public dinner at the Trafalgar Hotel, Greenwich. Lord Wharneelifife presided, and amongst the company we observed :—Lord Monteagle, Lord Lyttelton, Right lion. Sir J. Pakington, M.P., Sir W. James, Bart., Sir Horace St. Paul, Bart., Sir F. Hopkins, Bart., Hon. Mr. Chapman, Hon. J. Duly, Hon. E. Twisleton, Hon. Captain Dentnan, R.N., Messrs. W. Monsell, M.P., A. Stafford. M.P., R. Palmer, M.P., M. Higgins, C. B. Adderley, M.P., Blackford, AytounJ" T. Cholmondeley, W". Forsyth, W. H. Gregory, Lo<ran, J. Simeon, S. Lucas. R. S. Riutoul, J. Ball, M.P., Edward Wakefie'ld. After the usual loyal toasts had been given, The noble Chairman proposed " Health and Happiness to Mr. Godley," which was responded to by loud and prolonged cheering. Mr. Godley, after expressing in the warmest language his thanks for the manner in which he had been receiver!, asked permission to pass to matters of a public nature, and to give some account of the present condition of the Canterbury Settlement. He proceeded: I have heard a good deal in this country about the settlement's being a failure, and I think it worth while to show that such is not the case; not for the sake of those who founded it, for to them personally it signifies very little whether they be considered to have failed or not; but in the first place, for the sake of the colony, which ought not to be discredited ; and in the second, lest future enterprises of a noble and disinterested kind should be damaged by the supposed precedent of our want of success. The best way in which I can meet assertions of failure is by giving you a very short and simple account of the actual condition of the colony, with a statement of what has been done there ; and if any one should think I am likely to misstate, or over-colonr, I can only say I made statements to the same effect six months ago, in the presence of 200 people, at Canterbury, and they, who know best whether I told the truth, sanctioned what I said by their unanimous applause. I am happy, too, to see here several gentlemen whose friendship I was so fortunate as to acquire in New Zealand, and before whom I could hardly venture upon any great exaggeration, even if I were so disposed. In the first place, then, there arrived from England, during my stay in the colony, 22 ships, bringing about 3,400 immigrants, well-selected, with the proportion of the sexes duly preserved, and, generally speaking, of good character and industrious habits. I calculate that from three to four hundred people came to us from neighbouring colonies, and that the gold fever and other causes have deprived us temporarily of about five-hundred. The present population, therefore, may be set down at 3,300 Europeans, and they are, take them for all in all, as good materials, morally and physically, as any colony was ever composed of. Of the site of "the colony there can be but one opinion, namely, that it was not only the best, accessible to us,in any part of the world, but that, by peculiar good fortune, it was the most advantageous, though the last selected, site for a Settlement in New Zealand. A short description will make its extraordinary advantages clear even to you. The capital of our Settlement is the town of Christchurch; the sea-port, Lytteiton, is eight miles from it. These towns form the centre of a district comprising 150 miles of coast, of which the natural boundaries are, to the west (what we call) the " snowy range;" to the north, the Kaikora mountains"; and°to the south, the Wnitangi river, and which varies in width from forty to seventy miles. I call these its natural boundaries, because such is their impracticable nature, that in all probability, for an indefinite time to come, they will not be crossed by a road accessible to commerce. Of this district, thus shut in, Lytteiton is (with the exception of the inlets of Banks's Peninsula also in our Settlement, but lying'quite out of the way) not only the best and most accessible, but the only harbour. The district consists of low hills and level prairies. Tt is not of uniform fertility, but the whole of it is admirably adapted for carrying stock. We calculate it to contain five or six millions of acres available for pasturage, which in the natural state will parry at a very low -compulation two million
sheep. These will produce seven millionjiounds of wool, worth at present prices, say, £500,000. Add £100,000 for tallow, hides, and farm produce (a very low estimate), and you will have on the whole, produce to the amount of £600,000, necessarily exported from Lyttelton, and you will have on the other hand the supplies which the producing- population will require, drawn either from the same place, so far as they are seaborne, or from the agricultural district of Christchurch. And this prospective trade, very much larger as it is than the whole export trade of Van'Diemen's Land before the gold discoveries—larger than the whole export trade of the Cape—equal, if my memory be correct, to the export trade of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick put together, is not, humanly speaking, problematical or uncertain. It must come. The land wants nothing to be done to it; there are sheep enough on it already to stock it fully, even if there were no further imports, in eight or nine years, and the rest follows as a matter of course. I have used round numbers, it is true, and my estimate may be a little too high, or a little too low, but that does not affect my argument, which is, that by the necessary co*urse of things, the Canterbury settlement must become in a few years one of the richest colonies, and its port one of the most flourishing places of commerce in the South Seas. Now I will take the state of the case at the present time. The number of sheep in the district I have been describing is at this moment at least 100,000, which will yield, after the next shearing, exportable produce to the value of £25,000, to which must be added a considerable sum as the value of cheese, which is now bringing 14d. a pound, for export to Melbourne ; so that the exports of the district during the ensuing year , that is, the third year after the foundation of the colony, will be not less than at the rate of £S per head of the population, or three times as much as the proportion of exports to population in the United Kingdom. Again, notwithstanding the immense enhancement in the price of stock, consequent on the gold discoveries, importation into Canterbury still proceeds with great rapidity. The week before I came away two ships landed 2,700 sheep, besides a good number of cattle, at Lyttelton, and were immediately taken up for another trip. On our way to Wellington we met another stock ship going*down with a full cargo. It is difficult, perhaps, for you to realise as I do, the full value of this increasing import trade in stock, both as a symptom of present enterprise and as a sure earnest of future prosperity. As regards agriculture, I assert unhesitatingly that no body of first colonists ever set to work with so little delay and so much success to provide food from their own soil. The obstacles to cultivation in a new country are such as generally to extend longer than you would deem possible the period of imported subsistence, New South Wales did not feed itself, I think, for twenty years; Wellington does not feed itself now. Well, the people of Canterbury raised last season potatoes enough for their consumption. There were 500 acres under wheat, which will give about two-thirds of the consumption. After next harvest, the settlement will cease to import the main articles of subsistence. This is a true picture of the state of the colony as regards its industry ami its commerce. I ask you, does it look like a failure ? And now let any fair-minded man just take up any number of the Lyttelton Times —let him observe, in the first place, its tone and style ; in the second, the number of its advertisements ; then the varied record that it exhibits of the sayings and doings of the colony—let him at the same time remember that that colony was only two .years old, and contained little more than 3,00 V people, and then let him say whether it is possible to come to any other conclusion than that the community of which it is the organ must be not only advancing and flourishing in a material point of view, but also intelligent, moral, and civilized in a very high degree, Where will you find a rural parish in this country, of equal population—aye, though such a parish, by being placed in the midst of an old and rich country, would have immense advantages over a colony, that could produce a newspaper like this I hold in my hand ? I brought it because a speech of mine was published in it, from which I thought I might wish to quote.; but I find in looking through if, ample illustration of what I have been saying. I f,,,d recorded, for example, the meeting of a horticultural society, which is said
to have been so successful that they meant to have another on an extended scale in March ; the performances, of a Choral Society, with an elaborate and well-written critique on them: a long account of horse races (for we have oufcj English sports, too) ; and finally, an enter-™ tainment given to myself, at which 150 people silt down, and which I can assure you was got up in a way that would have done no discredit to the old country. These things are trivial in themselves, but they are collectively inconsistent with the notions of depression, apathy, and failure. But it may be asked, assuming the colony to be as you say, how much of all this is due to the Canterbury Association^? Now this is, strictly speaking, beside the present question, my object being not to defend or extol the association, but to describe the actual state of the colony. But I will, nevertheless, in a few words, tell you what the association has done. In the iirst place, its agent explored and selected the site, which, up to that time, had been utterly neglected, and almost, unknown ; it set on foot a survey, which, Captain Stokes told me, was unparalleled for excellence in the southern hemisphere; it organized, with vast labour, one of the best bodies of colonists that ever left these shores; it conveyed those colonists, with comfort, and security, to New Zealand ; it provided for them accommodation so ample, that the hardships ordinarily suffered by newly-arrived immigrants have been unknown ; it secured for them a cheap and secure title to their land, and made such arrangements for giving them possession, that within two months the whole of the first body were actually in occupation ; and it has effectually represented the interests of the colony in this country, especially as regarded the acquisition of Constitutional rights. On the subject of what s has been done in the way of roads, and of ecclesiastical provision, it is necessary that I should speak a little more at length. Before you can understand the demand for roads in "the settlement, or the value of what has been done to supply it, it is necessary that I should recall to your minds the formation of the country. It chiefly consists, as I have said, of level plains and undulating downs, dry, grassy, and traversable by drays in every direction. There is, however, a belt, five or six miles wide, next to the coast, north and south of Lyttelton, containing the richest part of the land,, which is thickly intersected by swamps. The plains are separated from the port by a range of hills, from 1,100 to 1,600 feet high. The only roads, therefore, which, in the existing state of population and commerce, are much required, are, first, one to cross the hills, between the port and the plains ; and, secondly, branch lines communicating with it, and leading westward, northward, and southward, through the belt of swampy land, so as to connect the port with the dry" land beyond the swamps. The first object we had in view, and that which I considered the most important, was to make the road over the hill. A large sum of money had been spent upon it before I came, and it was estimated by our chief surveyor that £7,000 would finish it. Subsequent and more careful surveys, however, made it clear to me that to finish it to Christcb.uvch.on. the scale on which it had been begun, would cost from £25,000 to £30,000; to finish it on the inadequate scale of a width of eleven feet would cost (with a bridge over the Heathcote) £ 16,000. This, of course, altered my view of the matter, because there was no prospect whatever of getting the sum required ; I saw, therefore, that it was my business not to go on sinking my small means in a work that I could not finish, but to spend them in cutting through the swamps from the head of the navigation to the dry land. I should have mentioned before that the rivers Avon and Heathcote, which flow into the sea close to the heads of Lyttelton harbour, are navigable for vessels of 25 tons close up to Christchurch, and I found after the experience of some months, that the difficulty of this water communication between the port and the plains had been greatly exaggerated, so that, in the opinion of many of the most experienced icolonists, the greater part of the heavy goods woUJR.. po round by water even if the road were fin- ' ished. Accordingly, I made a good bridle-path over the hill, and a cart-road from the other side of the hill to Christchmch, touching the head of the navigation. From Christchurch I formed roads to the west, north, and south, with the necessary bridges; so that, when I left the settlement, the country was opened in every direction, and a complete communication for
heavy goods effected, partly by road and partly by water, between the port and every part of thtyjlsiiiis.' At present, I have no hesitation in sjjPmg that Canterbury is, on the whole, not'witbstanding the want of a dray-road to the port, certainly more traversable and accessible in every direction than any other settlement in New Zealand. I will now speak of ecclesiastical and educational institutions. There are four churches in the settlement, built partly by the association, partly by subscription, in which Sunday service is performed ; in one of these there is service every day, in another on alternate days. Besides these regular places of worship, Divine Service is performed from time to time at private houses in various parts of the settlement. There is a day school at Lyttelton, and another at Christchurch, both excellently taught and well attended. I tried the experiment of having schools in two other localities, but found the population so scattered, and so busy, that the attendance was not such as to justify my keeping them up. At Christchurch there is a grammar school, conducted by the llev. Mr. Jacobs, at which there are about twenty boys of the upper and middle classes. Now this may appear not to be much, and I fully admit that it is not as much as was intended—but, on the other hand, I maintain that it is as much as there is an effective demand for. I must again remind you that the population is smaller, and, collectively, far poorer, than that of many villages in England. Now, apply this fact to the question of education. Over estimating, as we always did, the probable extent of our colonization, we thought and spoke a great deal about a college. But a college, in the English sense of the word, for three or four thousand poor and hard-working people, would be out of place. It would die for want of students. I doubt whether there are half a dozen people in Canterbury who would keep their sons at a college conducted on the cheapest possible scale. Unfortunately, in new countries, there is such a demand for men and money, that veiy few are content, on the one hand, to pay the sum which would keep their sons as gentlemen at college ; and, on the other, to sacrifice those sons' services, just at the'age when they are beginning to be useful on a station or farm. The true criticism would be—not that we have not a college, and many other things of the same sort now—but that we so positively announced that we should hare them ; and to that criticism there is no answer,- except that we were over sanguine. We thought we should make, all of a sudden, a colony large and wealthy enough to demand these things, and that we should have means available to supply the demand ; and we have neither. Upon the ecclesiastical endowments there is, in candour, something more to be said. The committee made, in my opinion, a very serious mistake when they invested the whole of their ecclesiastical funds in wild land. There are many objections to this, but the chief is that, as all practical colonists know, wild land in a new country cannot be relied upon for producing an' annual income. No doubt, in process of time, the ecclesiastical lands in Canterbury, which have been very carefully selected, will become extremely valuable ; but they bring in very little now. The association has engaged to support the clergymen and schoolmasters now regularly employed by it for five years,and if there be not sufficient funds of a public nature to discharge this obligation, it will, I doubt not, be met by individuals. But after that time the support of ths church will depend on the rents of the church lands, and that is, in my opinion, far too precarious a source of income to be properly relied upon. I hare now said nearly all that I have to say-about the state of the colony. Ido not wish to depict it as a Utopia, either physically or socially ; but I say that, taking it as a new country, and comparing it with other new countries, it is, on the whole, the best and most desirable I have seen or heard of. It is always a misfortune to be obliged.to emigrate, but if I were obliged to i, emigrate myself, I would go to Canterbury, and it is thu place to which I should always recommend any one in whom I had an interest to go if compelled to leave England. He will find a healthy, though not always a pleasant climate ; agreeab'e society ; most, if not all, of the essential 'clcttuMits of civilization ; and—l have no doubt whatever—the best investment for a small capital now lobe had in the world. I repeat that, taking the rate of profit and the absence of risk-together, a capital of from £\SUOU>
£sooo 'cannot in my'opinion be so advantageously invested in any other way as in dairyfarming or in sheep-keeping.on the plains of New Zealand. I will now make a few remarks on the part which I took in the polities of New Zealand, especially as I understand that in some quarters I have incurred blame for it. While I was at Wellington, waiting for the means of prosecuting the Canterbury enterprise, Sir George Grey came from Auckland, and published a bill which he contemplated passing into a law for the establishment of municipal institutions in the provinces of New Zealand. These were intended to be the preparation for, and basis of, a permanent central constitution, founded on similar principles. It became of course a most serious question ■whether the colonists should accept this measure, in satisfaction of their claims, or to refuse to have any thing to say to it, and endeavour to get something else. I will not detain you by stating my reasons for objecting to the measure —for considering it, in fact, a mere mockery of freedom. It is sufficient to say that I did so consider it, and that therefore, as an honest man, deeply interested in the welfare of New Zealand in general, and of Canterbury in particular, I could not refuse to raise my voice against it. Accordingly, I strongly advocated its rejection. The colonists of Wellington took the same view ; they refused the bill. Subsequently, the other settlements pronounced in the same sense. The Governor practically withdrew it, and wrote home recommending a different and far more liberal measure; and finally, thanks to the energy and liberality of Sir John Pakington, we obtained the constitution of last year, which has been so joyfully and thankfully received in every part of New Zealand. Now, there is not one individual in the colony, or any where else, who believes that if the measure which we resisted had been carried into successful operation, and if the colony had acquiesced in it, there would hare been a chance of getting any improvement on it for an indefinite time to come; indeed there would have been in that case no reason or excuse for a change ; and therefore I cannot but regard with the liveliest satisfaction the course which I, and those with whom I acted, took, and the result to which its adoption led. I now look on the political future of New Zealand as assured. The colonists have obtained not only a large measure of actual power, but also the inestimable advantage of being able to express, with authority, their own opinions as to furtli'jr political improvements. And now, will you pardon my presumption, if I, on the ground that I am half a colonist, and have made colonial affairs my special study, venture to give, even to such men <is I see around me, men so superior to myself in ability and position, one word of advice on the subject of colonial policy ? Alany of you have the power of exercising, directly and indirectly, great influence on the affairs of British colonies. May I earnestly and solemnly impress upon those the one great fundamental maxim >■ of sound colonial policy—it is to let your colonies alone ; not chiefly because your interference will probably be of an injudicious kind in this or that particular matter —still less because it will be costly and troublesome to yourselves—but because it tends to spoil, corrupt, and to degrade them ; because they will never do any thing, or be fit for anything great, so long as their chief political business is to complain of you, to fight with you, and to lean upon jou, so long as they consider you as responsible for their welfare, and can look to you for assistance in their difficulties. I protest quite as much against subsidies and subscriptions as against vetos and restraints ; indeed more, for the poison is more subtle, and the chance of resistance less. I want you neither to subsidize their treasuries, nor to support their clergy, nor to do their police duty with your soldiers, because they ought to do these things for themselves, and by your doing it all, you contribute to making them effeminate, degenerate, and helpless. l)o not be afraid to leave them to themselves ; throw them into the water, and they will swim. Depend upon it the greatest boon you can bestow upon colonies is what Burke calls "a wise and salutary neglect." To this rule the Canterbury colony is no exception. It is fortunate _ for it that the association's career has been brief as well ay effective: now it must go alone. It has been called into existence, it has been given its opportunities, it has been started on its way : henceforth it must work out its own destinies. Tho Canterbury Association has done its work,
and passed away. Its memory may be unhonourerf, its members reviled ; they care not; they have done their work —a great and heroic work: they have raised to themselves a noble monument —they have laid the foundations of a great and happy people. [The honourable gentleman, who had been frequently applauded in the course of his speech, resumed his seat amidst loud and prolonged cheering]. Lord Monteagle then proposed " Success to the Colony of New Zealand," coupling with it the name of Mr. Chapman. The toast was drunk with applause. Mr. Chapman, in acknowledging the toast, said that he had personally visited and inspected the settlement which had been the scene of his friend Mr. G'idley's exertions, and he was able to endorse almost every word of that gentleman's account of the position and prospects of Canterbury (hear, hear). Sir W. James proposed "The Canterbury Colonists," coupling therewith the name of Mr. Cholmomleley (loud cheers). Mr. Cliolinondeley in acknowledging the toast, said they might perhaps have failed in bringing out the kind of colony which had been contemplated, but they had got together a great and noble body of men from every part of England, who had been furnished with ail means and appliances—with churches, schools, a postoffice, magistrates, and other officials; and although the company had not done ail it wished to do, yet it was entitled to claim credit for what it'had been able to accomplish (hear). On his return from the colony he was surprised to hear;that such extraordinary misapprehension existed, and he could not conceive how such slanders had arisen. As a person holding considerable interest in Canterbury —as a farmer — as a magistrate—knowing almost every person in the colony, he must say that if ever a colony had been established, the colony of Canterbury had been established (cheers). It had been established politically, socially, and economically, (cheers). In proposing the 'c Health of Lord Lyttelton," he must be allowed to say, that his lordship's name was most highly appreciated in the colony, and it was almost impossible to describe the manner in which it was received in every part of New Zealand, for the people felt they had in every respect a most faithful, zealous, and noble supporter (loud cheers). _ Lord Lyttelton said he was the more sensible of the honour which had been conferred upon him because he felt that the Canterbury Association and himself were not the most promineut subjects on the present occasion; butasit could be only in connexion with that association that his" name could be noticed, it was incumbent on him to make a few remarks relative to that association (hear, hear). That association and himself had at one time be3n the subject of more praise than they deserved, and perhaps they were now the subject of undue attack. He" had been told that he ought to avail him<elf of every opportunity of defending himself against the attacks which had been made, but he had never been able to bring himself to that opinion. The present was not an opportunity of his seeking, nor did he wish to avail himself of it for the purpose of making a detailed defence of the association. There was only one public point of view which gave him some occasion to pause. It had been said that the obloquy to which the association had been subjected might operate as a discouragement. To that he "had but one answer to make, which he Relieved would be assented to by all who had a knowledge of the facts—that whatever faults or errors the Canterbury Association might have committed, they had been committed, not in pursuance of the principles on which the association was founded, but through the misapplication or neglect of those principles (hear, hear.) He might venture to note a f ew points in the existence of the colony. The colonists of Canterbury had had given to them a site unsurpassed, if not unequalled, in Australia (hear, hear). No colonist had had a moment's delay or difficulty about the title ot his land (hear, hear). The colonists had had oiven to them a survey as complete as ever was presented to a colony'; and he believed that no colonist, since the landing of the lirst body, allowing for a few exceptional cases, had had half a day to seek for any office of the churcn he desired to attend, or, from an early p^i<'«\ a. school suitable for his children (cheeis). lhat could not be said for any colony founded wjthm the last 150 years. It had been said^ taut tbe scheme in its peculiar feature had Ut:n^. iv-
could not argue against that assertion ; but he must say that he believed the success of the scheme in its essential feature was not lost, but only deferred (cheers). He did not attribute to the matters which he had recapitulated the success of the Canterbury colony. He attributed it to the character of the people themselves. That they should be people of that character was in no degree owing to the exertions of the association, but to the exertions of others not now present. He would not dwell further ou that subject, but would simply say that the success of the colony was owing to the people themselves (cheers). Although he had been disappointed, he should never regret the part he had taken in the promotion of that settlement (cheers). The noble Lord concluded by proposing " The Health of the Chairman," which was responded to most heartily. My. Addeklt, M.P., then proposed " Success to the Constitution of New Zealand," coupling with it the health of Sir John Pakiugton (drunk amid loud cheers). Sir J. Pakington expressed the deep gratification which he felt at the kiud expressions of his honourable friend relative to the success of the constitution of New Zealand. When he was at the head of the colonial department, one of the most pressing questions was the granting of free institutions to New Zealand, and he determined that no exertions on his part should be wanting to fulfil the hopes that had been held out. By the aid of Parliament he succeeded in hi? attempt, and it was gratifying to him to say that his attempt had not been unsuccessful (cheers). He should be more than rewarded for any labour he had gone through, by the recollection that he had been instrumental in any degree in bestowing upon the colony of New Zealand those free institutions and powers of self-government, without which our fellow'subjects must feel themselves deprived of all the privileges which they ought to exercise as their birthright (cheers). New Zealand was one of the most interesting dependencies of the Crown, and within the last few days he had received a private communication, giving him the gratifying assurance that the constitution had been freadily accepted in the colony, and that every part of the colony was increasing in material prosperity (cheers). He was glad to hear that Canterbury was no exception to the general rule, and trusted that it would continue to share in the prosperity of the other parts of New Zealand (cheers). He felt satisfied that Mr. Godleyhad conferred the greatest beneiit on the settlement, and had accepted with the greatest pleasure the invitation to pay to him that honour which he so justly deserved (loud cheers). The'party then broke up, and returned to town by a special train, which had been provided for the occasion.
(From the Spectator.) The return of Mr. J. R. Godley from Lis mission in founding Canterbury, the youugest settlement of New Zealand, induced several of his friends to testify their strong personal regard by inviting him to a banquet; and the welcome home to the individual was also an opportunity for placing the affairs of the settlement right with the public—for they have been much misrepresented. Mr. Godley made an ' admirablestatement, plain and clearjfrom which it is evident, that if the most imaginative expectations of the founders have not yet been realized, a solid basis has been laid, and a lanre share of practical success has been accomplished A British co ony; exists, with a well-constructed society, withlanasalready yielding an exportable surplus, and a future of success not problem^! cal hut certain. The felicitations of the eveninowere marked by a candour which appeared coifspjcuously in Lord Lyttelton's avowal, that .here had been mistakes, not in the principles upon winch the settlement was establ shed ' « id took its foundation as amateurs, with no interested motives. Such mistakes, indeed as he
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THE CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT., Lyttelton Times, Volume IV, Issue 157, 7 January 1854
THE CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT. Lyttelton Times, Volume IV, Issue 157, 7 January 1854
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