1st. February 1851.
In obedience to instructions, I have taken the returns for the year ending 31st. December 1850, and beg to enclose the same for your information, with a few observations on them, in following order; which I hope will not be deemed intrusive:-
Under this head, there is an increase during the year, of 223 souls, which may be accounted for chiefly by the arrivals from Great Britain, and discharged soldiers of the 65th. Regt. as shown in the Immigration Return enclosed herewith. The Births are a usual average of preceeding years. The Mortality, compared with former returns, has been very heavy; seven of whom were adults.
Our population this year, 1851, is still increasing; 24 having arrived by the "Sir Edward Paget" also a great many births during the last month have taken place.
The Education Return is in a corresponding
ratio with the increased population.
Mr. Sharland gave up his school at Christmas. It is reported that two new ones are about to be established.
The numbers here quoted are those who have their Capital employed under each head.
The Return is the same as last year; in addition to which a Priest of the Romish persuasion, performs Divine Service at Fishleigh's house in Devon Street, and has done so for several months past.
A great many cases were arranged out of Court, between parties; summonses having been obtained for hearing before the Magistrates, that are not included in this Return, besides the numerous cases wherein the Aborigines are concerned.
On comparing the Returns for the year 1850 with the previous one of 1849, it will be seen that a total
increase of 515./4 acres has taken place during the
year, viz:- Increase in Barley
Increase in Barley Oats
Increase in Barley Potatoes
Increase in Barley Turnips
Increase in Barley Pasture
Increase in Barley Gardens
Increase in Barley Maize
Deduct decrease in Wheat 68./4
Deduct decrease in Tallow 79
Deduct decrease in Bush Clearance 26
From causes not yet ascertained, the Wheat crop has, in a great many instances, failed. Upwards of 200 acres have gone off, and have been cut for fodder. Other crops have been tilled in its place, or the ground turned for a Summer's fallow. The wheaten grain is very small this year.
In Bush, Fern-land, and land that has been fallowed and well worked, failures have taken place, even in the Mongarte and Omata districts. In the Omata district I found the finest show of wheat in the settlement, on the farm occupied by Mr. Good, who had 40 acres almost without a fault, and to appearance, will produce nearly 35 bushels to the acre.
On the other hand, in the same district, Farmer Allen, who has had such heavy crops of wheat for 2 years past, has this year lost the whole of his till-age.
This opens a wide field for experimental farmers.
LIVE STOCK -
A steady increase of stock appears to be going on, although a great number of cattle and sheep have been slaughtered for the market, more particularly the latter, as we have daily supply of mutton at the Butcher's shambles.
The Malt Houses and Breweries continue to be employed as usual.
Regarding the Flour Mills, greater quantities might be ground, could the wheat be obtained; but we have had large imports from Kawhia during the year.
The Exports shew an increase on the estimated value over the previous year (1849), of £541.14.0.
AVERAGE PRICES -
I have given the retail prices; the articles of flour and wheat being considerably higher than previous years; it may be remarked that the commencement of this year 1851, is not so favourable for the consumee as former periods.
A Departmental Return is enclosed hereiwht.
The Amounts paid by the Sub-Treasurer during the year were £3077.7.41/2.
This is no criterion for a yearly expenditure; some of these being arrears for 1849, while others for 1850 have been paid in January 1851.
I have, from good authority, that the Ngamotu, Henui, Town and Waiwakaiho natives received during the year, upwards of £200 for wheat sold;Oliver and Rundle having paid them £150.
I beg to enclose a copy of a Resolution passed at a Public Meeting held on the 29th. January, the object of which was to consider the question of removing this district into the Southern Province. The principal speakers were - J.T. Wickstead, G. Cutfield, Abrahams, Esquires, (the latter a Barrister lately arrived) and others, for continuing in the Northern; and Messrs. Brown, Watt, etc, in the opposition.
The Resolution was carried with 5 dissenting voices only.
There is now, residing in the settlement, about 15 strangers or beach combers, ad they are termed, and upwards of 30 discharged soldiers, most of them being dissolute and disorderly characters, which make the quiet part of the community afraid of what may occur. It may be observed that the young men of the place mingle with those that arrive, thereby undergoing a sort of tuition, which will, in the end, I fear, disturb the tranquil state of our hitherto peaceable agricultural district.
In an hasty note forwarded on the 20th. inst. (Monday) to your Worship, I therein stated that I was to be in readiness for the arrival of the "Shepherdess" from Kawhia, and provided she came in, on or before the following Thursday, to take a passage in her for Wellington; but my disappointment at her not coming here until the Sunday following, was very great and vexatious' and truly sorry I am at not being permitted to take the overland trip, as I have not been in better health and vigour for a long time since. I humbly trust that no blame may be attached to me, as I was in readiness to have started on the 27th, December, having furnished Captain King's Office with the Returns required by Government of the 26th.
Within the last month symptoms of a fever has made its appearance in the settlement, and several are now suffering from the disease, but as yet nothin fatal has occurred.
I humble enteat to be excused for the foregoing troublesome remarks, and trust they will be received as intended.
I remain, Sir
Your very obedient, humble servant
D. McLean Esq.
Inspector of Police.