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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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General Account of New Zealand


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General Account of New Zealand (continued)

I have already observed, that we found great plenty of iron sand in Mercury Bay, and therefore that iron ore is undoubtedly to be found at no great distance. As to other metals we had scarcely knowlege enough of the country for conjecture.

If the settling of this country should ever be thought an object worthy the attention of Great Britain, the best place for establishing a colony would be either on the banks of the Thames, or in the country bordering upon the Bay of Islands. In either place there would be the advantage of an excellent harbour; and, by means of the river, settlements might be extended, and a communication established with the inland parts of the country: vessels might be built of the fine timber which abounds in these parts, at very little trouble and expence, fit for such a navigation as would answer the purpose. I cannot indeed exactly assign the depth of water which a vessel intended to navigate this river, even as far up as I went with the boat, should draw, because this depends upon the depth of water that is upon the bar, or flats, which lie before the narrow part of the river, for I had no opportunity to make myself acquainted with them; but I am of opinion, that a vessel which should draw not more than twelve feet would perfectly answer the purpose.

When we first arrived upon the coast of this country, we imagined it to be much better peopled than we afterwards found it, concluding that the inland parts were populous from the smoke that we saw at a considerable distance from the shore; and perhaps that may really be the case with respect to the country behind Poverty Bay, and the Bay of Plenty, where the inhabitants appeared to be more numerous than in other places. But we had reason to believe, that, in general, no part of the country but the sea coast is inhabited; and even there we found the people but thinly scattered, all the western coast from Cape Maria Van Diemen to Mount Egmont being totally desolate; so that upon the whole the number of inhabitants bears no proportion to the extent of country.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 444 - 445, 2004
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