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Prospectus of the Scots New Zealand Land Company

Prospectus of the Scots New Zealand Land Company
Title: Prospectus of the Scots New Zealand Land Company
Release Date: 2018-05-29
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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Transcriber’s Notes:

The Table of Contents was created by the transcriber and placedin the public domain.

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at theend.


The object of the Scots New Zealand Land Company, isto lay out the Capital of the Shareholders to the greatestadvantage, in transporting them, their families, and friends,to New Zealand, and in purchasing Land and other Property,and to obtain Protection and other Social Advantages.

At a Meeting of intending Shareholders, held at Perth, on the24th of August 1839, Patrick Matthew in the Chair, the followingProspectus of the Scots New Zealand Land Company,moved by William Gorrie, and seconded by William Taylor,was unanimously agreed to, and ordered to be published, theprincipal portion of the same having previously been examinedand approved of by intending Shareholders in various parts ofScotland.


1st, Because a new country, free of debt and ancient encumbrances,with a plentiful supply of virgin soil at a low price, underall the advantages of modern science and art, affords a superiorfield for human industry, higher wages for labour, and greater returnsupon capital, and also more healthful occupation, than anold densely-peopled country, where all the land is already appropriated,cultivated, and high-priced,—where capital is renderedcomparatively unproductive, science in a great degree unavailing,and industry is crushed to the earth by a load of public debt, and[2]where a great portion of the population follow unwholesome occupations,shut up from the fresh air of heaven.

2d, Because, in a new country, free of slavery, almost everyman is a holder of property,—deriving an income at the same timefrom property and from labour, a state of things propitious to liberty,and where a family of children is of the utmost value in assistingtheir parents (the happiest condition of human existence, alikefavourable to the development of mind and body, and increase ofpopulation); whereas in an old country, at least in Britain, themany are entirely dependent for support upon labour-hire alone,and a family in too many cases the entailment of misery and starvation.

3d, Because, in the case of small capitalists, or middle-class menof circumscribed income having families, to remain in this country,is merely to sacrifice their children to their own selfish loveof present ease, and cowardly vis inertiæ,—it being the lot of thegreater portion of their children here to sink prematurely underthe wasting confinement and miserable prospects of the counting-houseclerk and shopman, and the small portion of them who maysurvive, and struggle up to a condition to support a family, are forthe most part become diseased or aged,—finely illustrating theworking of the destructive and preventive Malthusian checks, theadmiration of certain political economists.[1]

4th, Because, in the present peculiar condition of Britain, greatcapitalists are enabled to undersell small capitalists, rendering it amatter of necessity for small capitalists to emigrate, or to sink tothe condition of hired labourers.


The climate of New Zealand is more temperate than that ofany other country, and pre-eminently healthy. The soil is rich,and the supply of rain being regular, capable of producing all thegrain and fruits of Europe in great perfection,—potatoes two crops[3]in the year, good pasture at all seasons, and wool much superiorto that of Australia. New Zealand is, besides, most advantageouslysituated for obtaining a market by disposing of its produceto the numerous South Sea whaling vessels which frequent itsshores, and in supplying the wants of Australia at all times, butespecially during the terrible visitations of drought and injuries byblight, to which that great island is so liable,—natural disadvantageswhich will limit Australia, at least for a long period, to agrazing country, rendering it more profitable to import agriculturalproduce from New Zealand than raise it at home.

Nothing is so important to the success of a new colony as atemperate climate. In New Zealand, the thermometer (Fahrenheit),during the day in winter, is seldom known to fall below 40°,and any slight frost which may occur during the night disappearswhen the sun has arisen. The summer heat generally ranges from60° to 75°, very rarely reaching 80° in the parts of the northernisland nearest the equator,—neither the cold of winter, nor heat anddrought of summer, causing any serious check to the pasture fields,which continue in a growing state all the season round, renderinga hoarded winter supply and housing for bestial unnecessary.This is of the utmost consequence to the husbandman, as avast deal of labour is required, in nearly every country suited tothe British race, to construct houses to contain the stock, and to layup provender for their sustenance during the inclement winter, andis more especially advantageous in the case of new colonies, wherethe industry of the husbandman is directed chiefly to the rearingof stock. In New Zealand, the labour of the emigrant will bedoubly productive to what it is in almost every other emigrationfield suited to the British race.

The Islands of New Zealand are estimated to be nearly of theextent of Great Britain and Ireland,—about seventy millions ofacres. They contain numerous friths and rivers, some of which arenavigable to a considerable distance inland,—the Waikato Riversfor about 200 miles, with a great extent of country along the banks,of exceedingly fertile soil. The whole native population of theseextensive regions does not equal that of Edinburgh. The nativeshave exhibited much barbarity and ferocity against their enemies,or those they considered to be such; but where Europeans haveappeared, not in the character of an enemy, they have been toleratedto live amongst them, and even treated with kindness. The[4]Missionaries, with their families, now about 100 individuals, have residedamongst them without personal injury for more than twentyyears, and about two-thirds of the Northern Island is said tobe under their influence. During the last fourteen years, with avery considerable number of sailors, lumberers, and traders, roamingover these Islands, and mixing with the natives, not one wellattested case of murder has been laid to the charge of the natives,evincing a degree of forbearance and respect on their part, which perhapswould not have been equalled in any country of Europe. Theextreme healthiness of the Missionaries and their families, consideringthat they have been the first Colonists in a very remotewilderness, almost destitute of the comforts of civilized life, andtheir success in agriculture and grazing, several of them possessingfine productive grain farms, and thousands of cattle, is conclusivein regard to the salubrity and steady fertility of New Zealand,—perhapsno first colony in any other country has ever been so successfuland healthy. We extract the following account of NewZealand from “Emigration Fields,” a work recently published byAdam Black, Edinburgh.

“Estimating the advantages of position, extent, climate, fertility,adaptation for trade,—all the causes which have tended to renderBritain the emporium of the world, we can observe only one otherspot on the earth equally, if not more favoured by nature, and thatis New Zealand. Serrated with harbours securely insulated, havinga climate temperated by surrounding ocean, of such extent andfertility as to support a population sufficiently numerous to defendits shores against any possible invading force, it, like Great Britain,also possesses a large neighbouring continent (Australia), fromwhich it will draw resources, and to which it bears the relation ofa rich homestead, with a vast extent of outfield pasturage. Inthese advantages it equals Britain, while it is superior to Britainin having the weather-gage of an immense commercial field,—theinnumerable rich islands of the Pacific,—the gold and silver producingcountries of Western America (by far the richest in theprecious metals of any of the world),—the vast accumulations ofman in Japan and China—all these lie within a few weeks’ sail.

“The south temperate zone, from the excess of ocean, has a muchmore equable temperature throughout the year than the north. NewZealand, considering its territorial extent, participates in this oceanicequality in an extraordinary degree, by reason of its insularity and[5]oblong narrow figure, stretching across the course of the prevalentwinds from lat. 34° to 48° south,—the most enviable of latitudes.On this account, it enjoys a finer, more temperate climate thanany other region of the world; and, in consequence, the trees,from the principle of adaptation, are only biennially deciduous, andpresent, as well as the herbage, a never-failing verdure. The greatmountain-chain, or back-bone ridge of New Zealand, which extendsthrough nearly fourteen degrees of latitude, attracting and condensingthe high-towering clouds and vapour of the Southern Ocean,affords a constant source of showers and irrigation and freshness tothe lower country; and this regular supply of moisture, under themost balmy atmosphere, and the generative influence of a sunbrilliant as that of Italy, produces an exuberance of vegetation surpassingthat of any other temperate country,—the richness andmagnificence of the forest scenery being only equalled by that ofthe islands of the eastern tropical Archipelago;[2] and the mountainsthemselves, the sublime southern Alps, more elevated thanthe highest of the Alps of Switzerland, upheaved, from the depthsof the great south sea, in some places to more than three miles ofaltitude, and, from their volcanic character, of the boldest, mostabrupt outline, are perhaps unequalled in all the world. The characterof surrounding objects must exert a powerful influence uponthe genius of a people. These stupendous mountains, with innumerablerills pouring down their verdant slopes,—their great valleysoccupied by the most beautiful rivers,—their feet washed bythe ceaseless south-sea swell,—their flanks clothed with the grandestof primeval forests,—their bosoms veiled in cloud,—and theirrocky and icy scalps piercing the clear azure heaven,—must go tostamp, as far as earthly things can have impression, a poetical characterupon the genius of the Austral British. The small portionof New Zealand already under cultivation, yields, in luxuriantabundance and perfection, all the valuable fruits and grain of Europe;and, unlike Canada (where the husbandman has to endurelife-consuming toil in the very hot enervating summer, to lay upprovender for the subsistence of all his bestial during the long andrigorous winter), stock of all descriptions fatten in this favoured[6]region, at all seasons, upon the spontaneous produce of the wilderness.[3]The climate is also the most favourable to the developmentof the human species,[4] producing a race of natives of surpassingstrength and energy. From the mountainous interior, the countryis, in a wonderful degree, permeated by never-failing streams andrivers of the purest water, affording innumerable falls, suited tomachinery, adjacent to the finest harbours. The forests abound intimber of gigantic size, peculiarly adapted for naval purposes andfor house-building, and, from its mild workable quality, much moreeconomically convertible and serviceable than the timber of anyother country in the southern hemisphere; most of which, fromextreme hardness, is almost unmanageable.[5] Millions of acres, itis said, are covered with the famed New Zealand flax (the greatvalue of which is now coming to be appreciated, and which, in caseof necessity, will render Britain independent of the Russian supplyof hemp and flax); and around the shores are the most valuablefisheries, from the mackerel to the whale; in the pursuit of whichlatter, many of our vessels resort, though at the other extremity ofthe earth. Combining all these natural internal advantages withthe most favoured position for trade, New Zealand must ultimatelyreign the Maritime Queen of the South-eastern hemisphere.

“Estimating these surpassing natural advantages in their peculiaradaptation to the energetic maritime British race, it is somewhatremarkable that no regular attempt has been made by Britainto colonize New Zealand. This must have arisen from the numbersand barbarous character of the native population; a populationso small, however, reduced as it now is, as to be quite out

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