June 18, 1853.
24 Cecil Street.
Section 72 of the New Zealand Government Act vests the management of the Public Lands in the General Assembly.
The various experimental prices of land in New Zealand --- the various modes of sale and appointment of proceeds etc. have created great mistrust that the farming of some plain uniform system of sale and lease of our Public Lands will be one of the first branches of legislation to which the General Assembly will direct its attention.
I have probably more direct personal communication with intending emigrants favorably disposed towars New Zealand than anyone now in this country and I merely give the result of my experience, when I say that if some such system for the disposal of land in New Zealand, as the following were adopted and made public here, it would at once guadruple the present rate of Emigration ---: say, a General New Zealand Land Office opened in London under the direction and authority of the General Assembly where 25 and 50 acres
Crown Land orders should be issued to Purchasers at the price of one pound per acre, the Land orders giving the right of selection in any one of the six Provinces, which the purchasers might prefer on his arrival in the Colony and half the purchase money expended in assisting out any servants, mechanics or labourers whom he might desire to carry with him.
Believe me the English emigrant Public are now heartily sick of Emigration Companies and Class settlements with their complex apportionment of proceeds of Land Sales and utopian elaborations of Colonization --- and whether your price per acre were ten or fifteen or twenty shillings what we now most want for New Zealand, here, is some plain, uniform, familiar system of Land Sales under which a man could run up to London step into a public office and buy a little New Zealand freehold, just as readily as he could step into a shop and buy a hat, in fact we want a system approximating, in simplicity and directness to the American System.
As the New Zealand Company and the Canterbury Association are now defunct, and as the office of the Emigration Commissioners in Park Street remains what for
New Zealand it always was --- a mere official and some-what repulsive place, to which a stray emigrant now and again penetrates in quest of information which he seldom there gets, a great want is experienced of some public establishment, some place of resort in London where New Zealand people, intending Colonists and their friends could meet each other, have access to the Colonial papers, and give and exchange information.
It appears that the eminent New Zealand House of Henry H. Willis and Co. contemplate opening such desirable establisment --- and that too on a very complete and liberal scale, and in a conversation which passed the other day among some of we old New Zealanders, it was suggested that in case the General Assembly should determine to establish a regular "Land Sales Agency" in this country, Messrs. Willis would make most effieient agents.
Permit me to observe that I quite concur in this opinion --- Carrington has written by this mail to the same effect, and I have no doubt that Cooke would have done so too had he been at home yesterday when I called in Grosvenor Street to name the matter to him. If, in dealing with the "New Zealand Question", each province possessed and exercised the power of framing a special system of land
sales for itself and of appointing its special agents in this Country, my fellow Settlers would not I think deem me presumptions were I to become a Candidate for the New Plymouth appointment. But Article 10 Section 19 of the New Act debars (and I think wisely debars) the separate provinces from exercising such powers; and were it otjer-wise, I would rather see parties of such standing and influence as the Messrs. Willis as your accredited Agents, than hold the Office myself. For the my stay in England is becoming a protracted one, yet I have no other hope or intention than some day to return among you, and finally settle down in the Garden of New Zealand, when of course any appointment I held would have to be given up, and a change of agency must ensue which would probably be somewhat detrimental to the public service.
Under these circumstances, my dear Sir, I venture to express a hope that in case the general Assembly should eventually establish a Land Sales Agency in London, you, either in your capacity as a member of such Body, or as an influential N. Plymouth settler, will give your vote or interest in favour of such agency being placed in the hands of Messrs. Willis, I believe these gentlemen have enlisted the Auckland and Otago interest in their favour in this
matter; and feel assured it will be for the benefit of New Plymouth if, hereby they should succeed in enlisting your interest too.
I am dear Sir,
Charles Hursthouse Jr.
Donald McLean Esq. J.P.