Letter 24

Edwin Harris to sister Catherine Jane Rendel. New Plymouth, 10 January 1848

New Plymouth New Zealand
January 10th 1848
Dear Kate

Since my last letter acknowledging the receipt of the 60 pounds I have received two letters from you enclosing the second and third Bills. I wrote you that I should allow two months to expire before I appropriated the money. This time has passed without hearing from Mr Eyre (my principal reason for waiting) I have therefore chosen & purchased a Rural Section from the Company at auction at the upset price of 62 pounds 10 shillings or 1/5/0 per acre. It is about 3 miles from Town, the intervening sections all occupied & in cultivation up to this point & I shall be nearly surrounded by neighbours. It is also a Timber Section which I think the best and which is now beginning to be thought so by most practising farmers. Fern land has hitherto been preferred owing to its supposed facilities for clearing but the crops do not yield in proportion being often not more than one third of what can be procured from Bush land.

I mentioned that in the event of my purchasing a section I should avail myself of Mr Rendel’s most generous offer of further sum by allowing me to draw on him for 50 pounds more. This I have done in two sums of 25 pounds each: the one is payable to the order of a Mr Chilman who has cashed it, having to make a remittance to England and is drawn in the usual way at 30 days & will probably be presented about the time this letter reaches you; the other 25 pounds has been cashed by a Mr Gledhill who returns to England and will take it with him. He will not go yet so there will be some little time elapse before the two Payments – which may be convenient to Rendel. It was a long time before I could make up my mind to trespass further on Rendel’s kindness but as I should lose 12 months if I did not commence clearing immediately, this being the season for cutting down bush land I thought it best to do so, feeling that you would consider the best plan which gave the greatest prospect of providing for the future as well as the present wants of my family.

The 50 pounds will be appropriated to clearing 6 or 7 acres, to the purchase of a Cow and removing my house which is a portable one to the section.

I am occasionally employed by government but as that employment depends entirely on the Natives & they are unwilling to sell any more at present I cannot calculate on much work from them. But should there be any for a length of time I shall then hope to be able to resend to Mr R the 50 pounds at least.

I think that a great deal of anxiety on my account will now be removed from your mind as a 50 acre section partly cleared, a cow, etc will place us above want and I shall not be prevented from taking surveying should such offer, and be in a position to make much  better terms.

The governor has not again visited us although for the last six months we have been expecting him.

With the hope that you will think I have acted prudently in the management of the money sent,

I remain Dear Kate
your affectionate Brother
Edwin Harris

July 9th 1848

Handwritten transcript of MS letter to sister Catherine Jane Rendel, [London], England. Written in New Plymouth, NZ, 10 Jan 1848. Copying date unknown. Puke Ariki. ARC2019-112. Letter 7.


This time has passed without hearing from Mr Eyre
Edward John Eyre was commissioned as Lieutenant-Governor in Nov 1846, and set sail for Wellington, where he arrived on 7 Aug 1847 (Te Ara). Edwin may have been hoping for government surveying work from Eyre that would reduce the need to rely on Rendel’s money.

I have therefore chosen & purchased a Rural Section from the Company at auction
Edwin Harris purchased Grey Block section 481 at what is now the junction of Frankley and Patterson roads in the New Plymouth suburb of Hurdon. See Statement of Land Sales in the New Plymouth Settlement from 01 Jan 1847 to 31 Dec 1848 inclusive, No. 95: ‘Sold: 01 Jan 1848 Description: Rural 481 Purchaser: Edwin Harris Price: £62 10s.’
The Taranaki Deeds Register (Book 12, 187-88) records mortgages on the property to Wood (1856-59) and to Des Voeux (1859-62). It was made a Crown Grant to Edwin Harris 10 June 1872 and was purchased by FH Arden 2 Apr 1876. Francis Hamar Arden (1841-1899) and his father Hamar Humphrey Arden (c.1815-1895) were farmers but also landscape artists. Grey 481 was known as Ardendale and stayed in Arden family ownership through to the 1920s (Taranaki Biography Files). See note for #30.

It is about three miles from Town, the intervening sections all occupied & in cultivation
Octavius Carrington’s 1844 map of the district shows Grey 481 and other rural sections, some of them in cultivation. Sections to either side of 481 were owned by James Dingle (Grey 480) and Joseph John Callaghan (Grey 482) (Taranaki Deeds Register).

Mr Chilman who has cashed it
Richard Chilman was clerk under the successive agents of the Plymouth and New Zealand Companies and was appointed Provincial Treasurer in 1853 (Taranaki Biography Files).

Mr Gledhill who returns to England
Newland 15 Jan 1848: ‘Mr Gledhill left New Plymouth for Wellington in the Cutter ‘Fisherman’ on his way to England (a Yorkshire man).’ Francis Ullathorne Gledhill (1803-1882) was a Taranaki merchant and auctioneer: ‘On the 27th May, 1844, Mr. Gledhill arrived in the ship Bella Marina at New Plymouth, where he set up in business as a storekeeper. He also started the first tanning works in the place, the tan pits being where the Criterion Hotel now stands. In 1848, he paid a visit to England, where he delivered several lectures on New Zealand; and, having been married, he left again for the Colonies, coming out in 1851 in the ship Woodstock, bound for Melbourne.’ (Taranaki Herald 4 Oct 1882).

July 9th 1848
It seems unlikely that Edwin would have delayed six months in posting his letter to Kate Rendel. The second date may be a transcription error.