In thi following letter reference is made to some old Otago settlers, who have established themselves in Fiji, The prospects of cotton planters in these islands seem to be brightening. Messrs Devitt and Hett, of London, in a recent circular on Australian and Fiji Island Produce, quote ootton which had been shipped on Taviuni account at 27d to 30d, and add, " whioh prioes must be considered satis* factory in the view of the present un« . settled value of 'Fiji ootton in the Home market" : —
The residents of Vuna have been over their eyes in bustle of late. The gathering in and the drying out of the long staplescarcely afforded us time for evenafriendly nod to a passing neighbour. The process of cotton drying here is so tedious and so trying to the temper that the planter whilst superintending this very pleasant work is hardly one remove from the maniac breed. You have heard a uiaster of a ship roaring , at an unfortunate' crew when trimming his vessel for a sudden squall, but such a scene is positively mild compared with what you witness at the "vatas" on the approach of rain. I would just as soon ask the aforesaid ahip-master for a cigar light as go near your planter while so enyaged. Don't you ask me then why I have not wasted more ink of late. Look out, I tell you—" my back's up "—l'm, drying cotton. lam glad to be able to inform you that the recent picking on Vuna, or more properly speaking Taviuni, has been satisfactory. Already we have shipped two hundred and fifteen bales, and there are about fifty bales more for the next vessel that calls in — Selia Levu is included in the above figures — and although a district not generally known, it is really a very flourishing and picturesque part of South Taviuni. A brief description of this place may not be uninteresting to your readers. By borrowing a hdrse at the Point, affixing a saddle to his back, and yourself to the saddle, you can easily reach Selia Levu in an hour and a-half. Long before reaching the place the roar of the reef is heard, giving one the idea that he is close to the shore. It is not so, however, for these noisy waters can make themselves heard at a distance of four miles inland. Emerging from the bush into the open, one of the • finest sights in Fiji stretches before you, Cotton everywhere, and the striking features of the crop are the distance at which the trees are planted, and the unerring straightness of the rows. Weeds receive no quarter from the planters of Selia Levu, who seem to vie with each other in keeping their homesteads clean. The first plantation is that of Messrs Borron and Hunter, and is the largest on the place, well laid out, and remarkably clean. Messrs Maitland and Richardson's comes next. This is the prettiest plantation I have seen in Fiji. Messrs Maitland arid Elphinstone come next in order with a plantation which does them credit. The crop is niostlyjyoung cotton, which is being well looked after. Mr Dickson follows .next, but although a very picturesque spot, the want of labour is very glaring at a glance. Mr Jones's plantation i 3 beyond Mr Dickson' s, and I "believe a very nice place. Mr Waters has a small but good plantation here also ; the proprietor persists in calling it Eden, but whether it is named after young Chuzzlewit's " Eden," or the old original, I am unable to say. This planter is death on weeds. On the whole, I think Selia Levu may, claim to be the best managed district in South Taviuni. It is not an exaggeration to state that the island of Taviuni will export four hundred bales of cotton for last season's picking.
A writar ia the Melbourne Leader on a recent date says :— "lt, is not, I believe generally, known that the Government of Sweden and "Norway have thought it worth their while to send a special Commissioner to our shores,- with the view of ascertaining what market can be found here for Scandinavian produce; and what openings there are for Swedes and Norwegians who may be desirous jof emigrating. Although, the population of these countries is small compared with their area, the number of persons who leave annually for America is very large, in 1869 it amounted to 39,064 persons, and it is not at all impossible that the result of the enquiries now being made by Mr Christophersonjmay result in Melbourne being substituted; for New York, as the Eldorado of the Uofse,mau,"
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Otago Witness, Otago Witness, Issue 1077, 20 July 1872
FIJI. Otago Witness, Issue 1077, 20 July 1872
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