EMIGRATION TO NEW ZEALAND. [From the Times, August I.]
A column in our yesterday's paper related the incidents of an occasion which it might be supposed was by no means uncommon in this country. The small but active band of noblemen and gentlemen
who are attempting to transplant a slip of the mo-
ther country, under the name of the Canterbury Settlement, to the shores of New Zealand, gave a
■v aledictory entertainment on Tuesday to a portion of the colonists about to sail at the end of this month. There was nothing, and there could be nothing, very remarkable in the outward show of a festivity in which the company were such as one
might have met at a concert or a horticultural fe"te, in which the tables were spread from the inexhaustible resources of the London Tavern ; and the only peculiarity was, that instead of a tent, or a saloon, the scene of the festivity was between the decks of a noble emigrant ship. Doubtless there was some oddity in the comparison suggested between the present holyday look of the vessel and its possible state three or four months hence, when it may be driving before a north-wester off the Cape, its cabins and cribs all peopled with sickness and sorrow, its hatches battened down, its windows closed, and the sounds above, associated with the idea of actual danger. Such a comparison was obvious enough ; but there was another with quite as much reason in it, and much more propriety. Half a century hence some of that company may be dwelling in the midst of thickly peopled countries, surrounded by their children and grandchildren, and venerated as
the founders of cities, and the sacred links between England and her colonial offspring. There is almost a human certainty that some of them will be in that happy and honorable position, How often will their memory and their tongues revert to the scene of Tuesday last — how often will they dwell with an almost superstitious interest on such points of the
addresses as might take root in their minds ! A public breakfast in these days can be got up on almost any occasion, but it is not often that it associates one hemisphere with another, a new world with an old one, and the British empire perhaps with one of its worthiest and most genuine offspring. The rank and Hie of the settlement, indeed, were not there. They are still scattered over the old country, taking leave, winding up their little affairs, ■ making their humble preparations, and possibly, about to lend a hand at one more English harvest, before they depart to sow a new soil. So there were no agricultural families, no store of implements, no chests and bedding, no tearful partings ; all this was left to the imagination, and many who desiderated these realities, would, probably, have been too glad to dispense with them had they been present. There is no disguising the bitter truth — emigration is a great leap, and a leap almost in the dark- It is not half, but the whole convex ocean that is to roll between the Canterbury settler and the land of his birth. Our sailing vessels now make the distance only a hundred days, and before long it is probable that letters will be conveyed in half that time. The moral distance, however, is greater. The best thing a New Zealand colonist can do is to give up all idea of return to his native country, to do all he can td carry his country with him, and. to knit, as far as Heaven will permit, new ties^ new affections, and new associations in the land of his adoption. Colonisation is justly called a heroic work. But what heroic work was ever pleasant to begin with ? A hero is a man who does something arduous, painful, and perilous — who' denies his feelings f renounces present comfort, and stakes his life or his fortune for some great thing in prospect. One hears enough of heroism. Everybody is praising it. We have novel heroes, and Church heroes, and Dissenting heroes, and political heroes, with saints, martyrs, and confessors, enough and to spare. In-deed,-there is scarcely anybody who does not think himself a bit of a hero. We presume, then, that the world in general will not take it amiss that emigration is generally accompanied with mental pain and bodily discomfort ; and that we shall not be expected to disguise its rugged features. Well, then, let it be said that the Canterbury settlers are heroes in their way. A body of gentlemen and ladies, of clergymen, of small proprietors and small farmers, and others tendered by English refinement, undoubtedly incur a very great risk when they transplant themselves en masse to an almost desert shore at the other end of the world, Society is not made in a day. A few months may disclose not only great errors, but evils it would have been impossible to provide against. A short supply of manual labor may throw the better sort of colonists entirely at the mercy of the working man. A want of capital may spread general ruin, and compel the purchasers of lots to sell them for what they will fetch. At least a twelvemonth must pass before the colonists can begin to live from the land ; and in the ' meantime he must live on his capital. We will take for granted that all is made straight as regards the land, bilt we need not remind our readers that New Zealand vies with England herself in territorial monopolies, defective titles, and speculative claim-ants.-But we have gone on longer than we intended with these sinister auguries. A,.f00l can prophecy more evils than a wise man can secure against. Why is any one J;o fix his attention on the dark side of tie coloniaTprospect ? We will meet the objection, with anothir. ( Is the prospect before the middle and the working classes of this> country so en- " ..tirely comfortable, or so, secure, as to make it either ' silly or wrong to run the risks of ? On ' the contrary, there are riskjs^and disagreeables in - " staying at home, just as there are in. emigrating. A j.man does not escape death, or^aisease/pr poverty, or - embarassment by staying aj'liome: He does not - escape- the spirit of gambling^and the chance of , -utter ruin. "He has not'ithe, certainty of prospering -in-,his profession or -ir^iis'trade. If he has an increasing family dependent on his exertions, he is - ' noV,certain:of .bringing ,up nis children in his own ;/,' stati6:ui>l4ite^^ sons, and settling
his daughters. He may see his sons sinking lower and lower, and his daughters growing old as governesses or companions. If we descend to a humbler class, it cannot be said that the prospects of a village laborer and his wife are either very agreeable or very secure ; for there is scarcely an imaginable misfortune, humiliation, sin, or disgrace, that is not within the scope of an ordinary British laborer's expectations. "We maintain, then, that for all classes, if there is risk in a colony, there is risk at home. There is misery and uncertainty everywhere, and we cannot say that the prospect of affairs in this country is such as to tempt a bold man from trying his fortunes elsewhere. The trades, the professions, are stocked ; public employment is out of the question for the commonality, and as for the army and navy, they call for reduction rather than increase. We shall be told of course, that this is all free trade, and that we are driving to the colonies the dupes of our own folly. But have things ever been better in this country ? "Was it ever easy for a man with a large family, whether he was a laborer, a tradesman, a clergyman, or member of any learned profession, to provide for them all ? "Were there no grown-up families of unsuccessful sons and portionless- daughters before 1845 ? It is our humble opinion, then, that the noble band mustered on board? the Randolph last Tuesday, and ready to start on the 29th of this month, for the longest voyage possible to man, are taking not only a bold, but also a prudent venture. They cannot escape jostling anywhere, so they are going where there is more elbow-room. Emigration is a public necessity ,"so they are making a virtue of it, and taking it up in right Royal fashion. "Without inquiring too minutely, into the rules of their association, it must be said that they are attempting what has never been attempted before, — to carry England with them, — that, as Spain was reproduced in South and Central .America, France in Canada, and British Puritanism in New England, a completer and less exceptionable development of our national character may be established in New Zealand.
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EMIGRATION TO NEW ZEALAND. [From the Times, August I.], Otago Witness, Issue 2, 22 February 1851
EMIGRATION TO NEW ZEALAND. [From the Times, August I.] Otago Witness, Issue 2, 22 February 1851
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