Submitted by Asha Murphy, [email protected], letters originally transcribed by Molly Osborne Knight
Below is a copy of letter written by George W. Owen to his father 2 months after his arrival in New Zealand.
Auckland, New Zealand
July 13, 1859
My dear Father9,
Two months has passed since I arrived in Auckland and it is time that I should give you some account of my doings, my prospects and that opinion I have formed of New Zealand from the slight acquaintance two month's residence in it has given me. I first mention my doings; often I feel dull enough and think I would be better off on the Island. I have no stock of goods to work on and even if I could purchase have not the means to do so. The steam engine is yet unsold and has cost me a good deal of money and the trade here although greater is far more cut up than in Charlottetown. Had I the stock of stationery I would do well but the meagre lot I have - not half the things enquired for - operated against me and again, having to contend against old hands in the business Auckland is unlike Charlottetown. Charlottetown is supported by back country with a population ten times greater than ht town. Now the city of Auckland is as populous as the country around it and is more supported by the natives than the white people. Again all the immigrants arriving here finding all the accessible land in the hands of landjobbers , and the difficulties almost impossibilities of going into the woods to settle away from the roads, the settlers are, many of them - compelled to open small shops and eke out a living, and one wonders how all the little and big shopkeepers find customers and more so, how they make a living paying the high rents they do. My rent is almost as much as all my other expenses. There are also auction sales every day and frequently goods forced off at less than they cost in England. Again, this country has no export and specie is remitted continually. We do not even raise produce sufficient for our own consumption but import from Australia. The New Zealand ��(undecipherable) is not so good as reported to be and many have lost large sums of money trying to farm. The most general report is that the intending farmer should have sufficient means to support himself for two years exclusive of the sum he expends on his farm. That the soil will not at first pay the farmer and that he can expect but a little return for some time - I think it is opinion of the several of the P.E. Islanders that they would be as well off at home bad as the times are. For myself I must make a business here and if I can get my stocks direct from England and the knowledge I have of this business, with the help of God I will make a living. God has helped and provided for me hitherto and I am confident that I shall not now lack. I often feel very dull on my prospects but I look back on mercies received abundantly and gather strength for the struggle. Here I say I must make a business. In Charlottetown customers came to us. Here I must go to them make myself known and what I can do. It answers and it will answer but my petty stock hampers me and I am daily devising some new scheme to be as often abandoned. I screw down my expenses to the lowest penny and have not dared to speculate yet until I am more conversant with the markets and the class of goods so continually sold at auction -----
(Rest of letter missing).
END NOTES: See endnotes.html