(From the Morning Chronicle, Dec. 5, 1850. J
Yesterday a weekly conversational meeting of the Colonists' Society was held at the Society's rooms, 9, Adelphi-lerrace, at which it was advertised that the arrangements for the simultaneous departure of the main body of Canterbury colonists would be fully explained. Intendingcolonists, as well as strangers desirous of obtaining information, had been respectfully invited to attend ; and yesterday there was a large attendance of both sexes, who manifested the greatest interest in the proceedings. Captain Charles Simeon (chairman of the Society) having taken the chair, proceeded to introduce the business of the day by stating that the meeting had been called to hear important information relative to the sailing of another fleet of ships for the Canterbury settlement in the early part of next June. " It was evident that very great benefit would result from that step ; and in order to prove that benefit, he would just advert to the whole policy and principle of their scheme of colonisation. In the first place, colonisation was totally different from emigration. They were going out as a colony, and not as a set of squatters, who, although they might be large in number, would be dispersed over a considerable extent of territory. They were going out entirely as a part and parcel of England— j in fact, they would take out a daguerreotype minature of the mother country, complete in all its forms and institutions, whether in regard to religion, to education, to customs, or social habits generally ; and they trusted the copy of England would only be incomplete in those deformities and vices which unfortunately had crept into the society of the jarent country, ami also in the absence of that unhappy pressure from without which was felt in every class |of society, from the highest to the lowest (hear, hear). To carry out such a scheme, it was evidently necessary that the colonists should not remain strangers to each other, but should be brought together so as to form those acquaintances which might be strengthened and converted into friendships in the future home of their adoption. He was happy to see so many ladies and gentlemen now present, because it showed how perfect the social system of the new colony must be. Societies generally could easily congregate men together, but the presence of ladies could not readily be obtained; but in the Canterbury Settlement they looked to the influence of the female portion of the community, in the relations of wives and mothers, to refine and elevate the tone of feeling, to strengthen its religious element, and in a word to give an improved hue and colour to their whole society. Not unlikely some ladies were present who were not intending colonists. If so, it was dangerous for them to come there (a laugh), because if they were not already intending colonists, they were very likely soon to become so, and especially if they continued to honour the society's meetings with their presence (hear).. They had met, as
lie had before stated, to discuss the develop-? nient of a scheme for sending1 out the com-f mencement of a main body of colonists to sail in the fust week in .June. He said n " main body," because he trusted that with it would go out those persons who would (ill the second highest posilions in the Church—and those who would (ill the ■civil offices of the state. And although a large body under this plan would g-o out together in June, still the arrangement would not prevent the sailing- of individual ships in the interval, so that the supply of labour might (low on uninterrupted as heretofore, and "consequently when the main bodj arrived they would find plenty of labourers to do their work, but not at the ruinous rate which occurred under other systems of mere emigration. A correspondence would presently be read to them, the result of which was that additional privileges were to be conferred on purchasers of land, by enabling those whose land had been chosen for them by an agent in the colony, to exchange that land, or sell it, or add to it under certain stipulated conditions in the event of their being dissatisfied, on their arrival in the colony, with the situation or with any other circumstances connected with the purchases previously made in their behalf (cheers). He might also announce that the Rev. Dr. Rowley was going out to the colony as dean, to be head of the chapter, and second after the Bishop. Dr. Rowley was well known and much respected ; and all who knew him must rejoice at the kind manner in which ha had accepted the office of dean (hear, hear). The Rev. Dr. Rowley then read the correspondence between the Council of the Colonists' Society and the Committee of the Canterbury' Association, which was alluded to by the chairman. It was as follows:—
Correspondence relating to the Departure of the Main Body of Canterbury Colonists in the first iveek of June, 1851. ~ ' From Cap. Simeon to My. Alston. Colonists' Rooms, Nov. 21, 1850. Sir—On behalf of the Council of the Society of Canterbury Colonists, I beg- leave to submit to the Committee of Management of the Canterbury Association, a proposal,.which, in our opinion, is of much importance to the two bodies, and which ought, at nil events, to be made in writing, with suitable explanations. . The first expedition of colonists consisted of 1,200 passengers in six vessels; for though only the Randolph, Sir George Seymour, Cressy, and Charlotte Jane sailed from England at the same time, they were so closely followed by the Castle Eden and Isabella Hercus, that the whole of the first colonists really emigrated in a bod}'. Gentlemen who were members of the Society of Colonists before I joined them, have informed me, that the idea of one large expedition at the same time, instead of the dispatch of single ships from time to time, originated with the leaders of the intending colonists, and was founded on the two following considerations. It was supposed, on the principle of the force of union, that if the whole number of people landed together, they would more easily and eiiiciently accomplish the work of laving the foundations of the settlement, than if they were to arrive in six distinct sects, as would have happened if the interval of a month had elapsed between the sailing times of the six vessels; and considering how surely and easily, in these days of commercial activity, the founders of a new colony, in any part of the world, may guard themselves against all risk of those privations which once used to afflict infant settle- ! ments, the wisdom of " making war upon the wilderness in masses " appears quite indisputable. More especially does it appear so in the present undertaking-, whereof the main feature is the design of the founders to remove a complete section of English society without dissolving it. But the advantages of this cori^ centration of colonizing power are not confined to what happens in the settlement. On the contrary, they are perhaps greater and moro obvious in the co-operation at home of a large number of intending colonists, who have resolved upon emigrating at the same time. The careful completeness of organization, so remarkable in the measures of preparation and forecast adopted by the first expedition of colonists, and by the association in concert with tliera, was mainly occasioned by the fact of their being a large body, assembled and acting in agreement for common purposes during some considerable lime before their departure. For months before they sailed from PJymouth, they
were a colony of people preparing- to move, and earnestly engaged in tlie puibirit of objects in which all felt a lively interest. Nor was it ia organization and preparation alone that they gained by the arrangement which prevented them from going away by driblets. Having public business to transact of a novel and very pleasing character, they were brought together, led into familiar acquaintance, and, in fact, though for the most part until that time strangers to each other, they were bound together as a new society by ties of common interest and sympathies of the mixt powerful kind. Whilst still in the midst of the old society, they were :,. formed into a c immunity apart from it; and by that means, more perhaps than by any other, they have been qualified to act and enjoy as a social body from the.hour of entering into possession of their new home. I would mention a single fact in illustration of this view. When the first set of colonists of every class assembled in St. Paul's just before their departure, to partake of the holy communion from the hands of the Primate of all England, and to hear the Archbishop preach on the occasion of their emigration, not only were deep impressions made" on them, of a sustaining reliance on Almighty God, of loyalty to the Queen, and of attachment to dear old England—impressions which may probably descend to their children's children as traditions of that memorable society—but also, there can be no doubt that the event was calculated to help in knitting them together as a new community. Now, the whole benefit depended on the simultaneous emigration of all those people. Other examples of a like influence, founded on the same condition, will readily occur to the committee of the association. The committee will not, therefore, be surprised to learn, that the present council of intending colonists wish that the good example, in this respect, of their predecessors may be followed as closely as possible. We have considered the subject very fully, and I am requested to state the grounds, in addition to those already mentioned, on which we trust that the committee of the association will be of opinion that our suggestion is both expedient and practicable. It was, I believe, supposed at one time, that the first emigration would take off nearly the whole of the then intending colonists ; and that some considerable time might probably elapse before the materials of a new emigration on any large scale would appear. But neither of these suppositions has been realized. Many of those who have long contemplated settling at Canterbury were prevented from arranging their affairs herein time for joining the first expedition ; this Vas especially the case with regard to several families, whose property, to say nothing of their personal qualities, places them amongst the most valuable order of colonists; and, instead of our finding, in any class of society at home, a less disposition to emigrate than before the first expedition sailed, it turns out that the members of that expedition are regarded as a body of pioneers, who have gone to do whatever rough work may be needed, and to make the way smooth for their successors. We cannot - share with them the honours of the van ; we must always acknowledge. their superiority to any who may follow them as founders of'the settlement; we are greatly indebted to them for having preceded us, and made our undertaking less arduous than theirs. This anticipation of being spared the necessity of " roughing it," is no doubt enhanced by "the reports from Mr. Godley, which did not reach England till the first ships had sailed from London, and which have so well confirmed previous evidence about measures of preparation. So far is this the case, that we know of careful persons who, though.intending to emigrate, yet also intended to wait till reports should be received from fritteds of theirs in the first expedition, and who now say that they require no more information. On the whole, we are persuaded that there exists jit this time a number of intending and halfi|ntending colonists, who, if they were drawn together, and prepared for departing at the same time, would presently form the main body of Emigrant Founders of the Settlement as compared with the pioneer body which is now approaching the shores of New Zealand. At present the greater part of the families to which I am alluding are scattered about in different places, and are not even acquainted with each other. Some of us indeed meet continually, and take an active part in matters that concern all ; but the majority, and more especially those whose minds are not quite resolved, seem to be waiting
for some external impulse that would make them members of a community preparing to move. That impulse, we are convinced, might easily be given by the association. It would be given now, by positively fixing a time for the departure of what might properly be termed the main body of first colonists. The time fixed should, as in the former case, allow somemonthsfor the making of all sorts of preparation by the various classes of emigrants, and for the growing up of friendly relations and sympathies among families of the order of leaders. We think any time late in the coming spring would be suitable; and as some time must be named by somebody, we would suggest the first week in next June, as that on which the squadron of emigrant ships should leave the Port of London.
But supposing this provision made with respect to the main body, nothing remains to forbid the despatch of a single vessel, of moderate tonnage, as often as once a month, for the purposes both of accommodating those colonists of the cabin-passage class who shall be anxious to depart, and of keeping up the stream of labouremigration by means of assisted passages in the steerage. The vessels chartered by the main body would be of greater burden, with a view to a larger proportion of chief cabin passengers. In order to anticipate a possible objection by the committee, I may observe that the unusual expense of chartering ships some time before the time of sailing, which was unavoidably incurred in the case of the first expedition (because until the ships were chartered, most people doubted whether the projected colonization would ever l>e realized), ought to be avoided in the present instance, because the actual and successful doings of the association have removed all doubt as to the reality and progress of the Canterbury Settlement. But there remains to be noticed a point of great importance, which belongs to the suggestion of a main body proceeding from England in the advanced spring of next year. Not a few of those who would gladly postpone their departure till next June for the sake of belonging to the main body, will object to any unnecessary delay in the selection of their land. It is well understood now, by those who investigate the subject carefully, that the time of choosing must be an element in determining the future market value of land. Indeed, the advantages of an early choice, as compared with a late one, must be obvious to every one who knows that, in the settlement of a waste country, the land which soonest obtains a high market value is not always the land which is most fertile by nature, but more frequently that which enjoys some marked superiority of position : such as proximity to a town or main road, or navigable stream. In any part of the settlement,*of course the best positions will be taken by the first choosers in that locality ; and until the first 100,000 acres shall have been chosen, some of the most valuable positions in the whole colony —such as the sites of future villages and towns —will still be open for selection. It follows that delay in selection after purchase is a gratuitous loss, or sacrifice of gain. Therefore every purchaser wishes to have his land selected as soon as possible. If he cannot proceed at once to the colony, so as to choose for himself, he gladly avails himself of the readiness of the association to choose for him, by means of special instructions to its local agents. But when lie does this, though he is thereby made easy on the score of profitable investment, he thinks it probable that the agents of the association choosing for him, and .choosing as they are instructed to do, with regard to nothing but value, may select a place unsuitable for his residence ; one, that is, which, however faultless as respects present or future value—as a mere property — would, for that very reason perhaps, be deficient in some of those picturesques or fanciful attributes which often constitute the principal charm of a rural home. If it were possible, he would endeavour to combine the highest value of position with the most agreeable qualities for residence ; but this he cannot attempt without proceeding immediately to the colony and choosing for himself. In order, then, to reconcile the conflicting claims of profitable investment by means of early selection, and pleasant residence by means of choosing for oneself, strangers to the rules of the association, who were not vet ready to emigrate, have suggested that the purchaser might sell at an enhanced price, the land chosen for him by the association, and then choose again for himself according to his peculiar tastes.
But this is forbidden by the declared purpose of the association to confine the sale of the first 100,000 acres to persons paying for their land in England. Instead of questioning the wisdom of this rule, we are satisfied that it promotes colonization, by securing emigrant purchasers against the very deterring risk of finding some indefinite quantity of the best situated land taken up by unknown purchasers in the colony. By means of this rule, every buyer here knows, at the time of his purchase, how much land precisely will have been chosen before he can choose; and this knowledge, as is proved by every day's experience, has no little influence as an encouragement to buyers. But much reflection on the point has led us to believe, that the usefulness of the rule might be safely relaxed, to the extent of allowing a particular class of persons to make purchases in the colony. The privilege should, we are of opinion, be confined to persons paying for their land here, and should be limited, as respects the quantity of land in each case, to a number of acres not exceeding the number for which the applicant had paid in this country before his departure. Supposing the rule to be so relaxed, its beneficial operation would be fully preserved, because the maximum quantity, of land already sold would at all times be precisely known in this country; and on the other hand, whilst every buyer not ready to emigrate might secure an early choice by letting the association choose for him, he would be sure of being able, on his arrival in the colony, to purchase another spot more agreeable to his tastes as the place for his residence. Of course, he would be free either to sell or to keep tlie land chosen for him by the association.
Speaking generally, then, it appears to us that the proposed alteration would make the rule not less but more efficient as an attraction to emigrant purchasers; and it would certainly remove a formidable obstacle to the working of our scheme of a postponed and large emigration, at the beginning of next June, by enabling members of the proposed main body both to secure an early choice, and to make sure of a satisfactory place of residence. We therefore request that the committee will do us the favour of taking our entire proposal into their early and serious consideration. In order that it may come before them on its own merits alone, we have deliberately abstained from consulting any member of the association on the subject of this letter. I have the honour, &c. (Signed) Chari.es Simeon, Chairman.
From Mr. Alston to Captain Simeon. Office of the Canterbury Association, Nov. 28th, 1850. Sib, —I am directed by the committee of management of the Canterbury Association, to acknowledge the receipt of your communication on behalf of the Council of Canterbury colonists of the 21st instant. The suggestion contained in it, of a plan for sending out in the spring a number of ships at one time, containing the main body of colonists, so tint they may arrive together in tliß colony, is one that entirely meets the approval of the committee. They fully appreciate the force of the reasons urged in your letter iv favour of such au arrangement. They desire me to say that they will adapt their measures accordingly, so as to effectuate the proposed object. With respect to that part of your letter which proposes an alteration in the present mode of selection of land by purchasers, they are of opinion that, with some modifications, it maybe prudently adopted. They understand the proposal in substance to be as follows :—namely, that any purchaser of land in this country, haying-entrusted the selection of his land to the chief agent of the association, but being', on his arrival in the colony, dissatisiied with the selection made, may, notwithstanding the present rule to the contrary, purchase in the colony a eovrespondin<r quantity of land, being at the same time at liberty to sell his own seleetcd allotment. It is proposed to limit this privilege'to purchasers sailing- with or before the main body of colonists iv June next. To this proposal there appears to be no reasonable objecuiw, subject to the following conditions, — (Continued on the sixth f^qe.)
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CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT., Lyttelton Times, Volume I, Issue 13, 5 April 1851
CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT. Lyttelton Times, Volume I, Issue 13, 5 April 1851
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