light loam, resting on gravel and a substratum of blue clay; much of it well adapted for agricultural purposes, and capable of yielding excellent crops of all kinds of grain, potatoes, and European fruits and vegetables.
The whole of this extensive and almost uninhabited tract of plain country affords excellent natural pasturage, and is particularly well adapted for the depasturing of cattle and horses.
The produce of a very extensive country, extending along the sea coast for 200 or 300 miles, will have Port Cooper as its market and harbour.
Banks's Peninsula contains no less than four good harbours—viz., Akaroa, Pigeon Bay, Port Levy, and Port Cooper. The country is hilly and well wooded; and the three former harbours are separated from the plain country, excepting by forming long and expensive hill roads; thus. Port Cooper alone is of any value with reference to the plains adjoining.
The harbour of Port Cooper, situated in the N.W. angle of Banks's Peninsula, though open to the eastward, affords good and safe anchorage. Large ships anchor about four miles up, whilst brigs and large schooners lie off the port town of Lyttelton. It has no bar, is easy of access and egress, and has been frequented by whalers of all nations for the last twenty years, and no accident is on record; and with a lighthouse on Godley Head (which I should most strongly recommend), might be entered with safety in the darkest night.
The districts, Lincoln, Stratford, Mandeville, Ashley, Oxford, and Buccleuch, are for the most part grassy or partially covered with flax, and can be brought into cultivation at a very moderate expense; and I recommend these districts to be first occupied, not only on account of the quality of the land, but the first three with regard to the relative position of the harbour, as also of their possessing in many instances the advantages of water-communication for the transport of their produce and supplying them with timber and firewood from Banks's Peninsula: and the last two with reference to the large extent of forest land adjoining.
We were agreeably surprised to find that mosquitoes, which are common in many parts of New Zealand during the summer season, were seldom found on the plain; and we attributed their absence to the very small extent of swampy land.
The best time for colonists to arrive is from October to January; they then arrive in the summer months, have the summer before them to house themselves, and probably form a garden, or break up some land and get in a crop. They should, therefore, sail from England during the months of June, July, and August, and to the middle of September, and I would strongly advise no body of emigrants to leave later than those months.
In conclusion, I would offer to the Association my sincere congratulations on its having obtained so excellent a site for its Settlement, and one which possesses the advantages considered to be so essential to the future prosperity of the Colony, viz.: —
A harbour of its own, instead of being dependent upon one appertaining to another Settlement; an immense extent of land easily available for cultivation; removed from danger of disturbance from natives; possessing an extent of outside grazing country unequalled in New Zealand; and being in every way suitable for being formed into a distinct province with a separate legislature.
Extract from a Despatch of Captain Stokes, R.N.
H.M.S. Acheron, Wellington, New Zealand,
May 1st, 1840.
Sir,—By an opportunity which occurs to-morrow, viâ South America, I have the honour to inform you very briefly of the Acheron's arrival here to-day, and that in the interval between our last visit, nearly 300 miles of the eastern coast of the Middle Island have been examined, commencing forty miles north of Banks's Peninsula. I have to regret the paucity of anchorages in that extent of