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ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. To the Editors of the Otago Witness.

Sirs, — On my arrival some two five weeks ago .at your new colony, I was surprised to find Lime, amongst other things, so very expensive ; — an article so valuable to carry on agriculture or building with success is sold at present at about £3 per ton, ■while at the highest mart in Scotland — in Edinburgh — the same quantity is laid down at 10s. 6d., and this after a land-carriage of 10 miles. Probably it is impossible to produce lime as it is now being made here at a less figure ; but why continue making it at an exorbitant waste of labor, and at so much disadvantage, — scraping shells from the sea, — when under our feet, all around the town, there are the finest beds of limestone ? My first tour along the sides of the harbour discovered to me rocks and boulders of marly limestone ; and the other day when taking a walk by what is called the Green Island Bush, I found, on the high lands above Capt Blackie's section, and on across the Taieri road, towards the Forbury, abundance of calcareous spur exposed at the gullies, quite hard and sound, any of which, if properly burned, will, I have no doubt, turn out good quicklime. The rock opened by Mr. Valpy for his new house is a compact, finegrained limestone ; and, on analysing it, by the expulsion of the carbonic acid, I found it lost 44 per cent, of its weight, and calcined into quicklime.

The use of lime in agriculture is well known. It is a powerful promoter of putrefaction, or- decora^, poser of vegetable and animal matter, and enters as an element into the fabric of plants. Speaking of this remarkable fossil, Sir Humphry Davy observes — ' "When lime, whether freshly burned or slacked, is mixed with any moist fibrous vegetable matter, there is a strong action between the lime and the vegetable matter, and they form a kind of compost together, of which a part is usually soluble in water. By this kind of operation lime renders matter, which was before inert, nutrative; and, as charcoal and oxygen abound in all vegetable matter, it becomes, at the same time, converted into a carbonate of lime. * * * Quicklime, on being applied to land, tends to bring every hard vegetable matter that it contains into a state of more rapid decomposition and solution, so as to render it a proper food for plants. * * * The solution of the question, whether quicklime ought to be applied to a soil, depends upon the quantity of inert vegetable matter that it contains.'

Lime, therefore, is an exceedingly valuable ingredient to this infant colony, when the soil at first is so infested with tenacious roots. I hope the stone only reqiiires to be pointed out to our more spirited landowners for them eagerly to look after, and manufacture it at such, a rate as that any man will have himself to blame for his ground presenting anything like sterility the first year, or ever afterwards.

Limestone is burned in many parts of Scotland by farmers for their own use ; a rough circular kiln being all that is reqtiisite. Here, where firewood is much more amenable, it could be turned out at a less cost, and at the same time yield a fair return to the manufacturer. Supposing such a rude kiln, built 15 feet diameter, and 6 feet high. A cubic foot of limestone requires one and a half of a cubic foot of wood, cut and and laid down, say at ss. per load. Two days labor of two men would make up such a rude kiln, and take it down after being burnt. The produce would be about 7 tons of quicklime, and its prime cost not exceeding 9s. per ton. It could thus be sold in retail at 6d. per bushel, and at the same time yield a handsome return to the maker. I am, yours &c, Daniel Macandrew. . To the Editors of the Otago Witness. Gentlemen,— On reading the last number of your paper, we were led particularly to notice a paragraph commencing with a very flattering encomium upon the Lyttelton Times, and in which snbsequent allusion was made to the introduction of Convict Labour into New Zealand ; the whole terminating in 1 a sentence of editorial condemnation against those who might chance to favor it. The Question being treated in a manner calculated to mislead 1 and prejudice the^public mind, — not only with .regard to the Question itself, but also againt those persons who may hold opinions favorable toit, — we feel ijLOur duty to offer a few remarks upon the article referred -to, in vindication of our , own opinions (and those of others "which, for the • present, we represent)', " and the principles upon

•which those opinions are founded. It is not our present intention to discuss the merits or demerits of the ' Convict Question * in any of its - various bearings ; but merely to affirm, as a fact, that which the Witness does not suppose to exist, namely: that there are persons who firmly believe that the introduction of Convict Labor would be productive of beneficial results to the settlement of Otago generally ; and who, at the same time, scorn the imputation of having been led to the adoption of such belief by any sordid or mercenary motives. We do not hesitate to confess that we came to this place with the idea that our circumstances would, in some degree, be improved by doing so; neither do we fear contradiction when we avow our belief that ninety-nine out of every hundred of our fellowsettlers were similarly influenced. Such being the case, it surely seems manifest injustice to brand those who are as deeply interested in the present and future welfare of the colony as any of their neighbours can be, with such opprobrious epithets as those so freely bestowed upon them in the Otago Witness of 22nd ult., and for no other reason than because they differ with them as to the means to be adopted to obtain the same end, viz. — the Prosperity of Otago. We are, yours, &c, I W. H. To the Editors of the Otago Witness. Messbs. Editors,— Would you answer me the following question through your journal : — Is a ditch 2 feet wide and 1 foot deep with no rail a fence sufficient for cattle according to law ? I am, yours, &c, A Stockholder. [This being a question of law, we will inquire into • the subject and answer fully in our next. — Eds. 0. W.]

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18510308.2.8

Bibliographic details

ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. To the Editors of the Otago Witness., Otago Witness, Issue 3, 8 March 1851

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1,098

ORIGINAL CORRESPONDENCE. To the Editors of the Otago Witness. Otago Witness, Issue 3, 8 March 1851

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