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THE writer of the following pages, having resolved on emigrating to New Zealand, took his passage in the ill-fated ship 'Burmah,' which never reached her destination, and is believed to have perished with all on board. His berth was chosen, and the passage-money paid, when important alterations were made in the arrangements of the vessel, in order to make room for some stock which was being sent out to the Canterbury Settlement.
The space left for the accommodation of the passengers being thus curtailed, and the comforts of the voyage seeming likely to be much diminished, the writer was most providentially induced to change his ship, and, a few weeks later, secured a berth in another vessel.
The Work is compiled from the actual letters and
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journal of a young emigrant, with extracts from two papers contributed by him to the 'Eagle,' a periodical issued by some of the members of St. John's College, Cambridge, at which the writer took his degree. This variety in the sources from which the materials are put together must be the apology for some defects in their connection and coherence. It is hoped also that the circumstances of bodily fatigue and actual difficulty under which they were often written, will excuse many faults of style.
For whatever of presumption may appear in giving this little book to the public, the friends of the writer alone are answerable. It was at their wish only that he consented to its being printed. It is, however, submitted to the reader, in the hope that the unbiassed impressions of colonial life, as they fell freshly on a young mind, may not be wholly devoid of interest. Its value to his friends at home is not diminished by the fact, that the MS., having been sent out to New Zealand for revision, was, on its return, lost in the 'Colombo,' and was fished up from the Indian Ocean so nearly washed out, as to have been with some difficulty deciphered.
It should be further stated, for the encouragement
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of those who think of following the example of the author, and emigrating to the same settlement, that his most recent letters indicate that he has no reason to regret the step that he has taken, and that the results of his undertaking have hitherto fully justified his expectations.
June 29, 1863.
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Embarkation at Gravesend--Arrest of Passenger--Tilbury Fort--Deal--Bay of Biscay Gale--Becalmed off Teneriffe--Fire in the Galley--Trade Winds--Belt of Calms--Death on Board--Shark--Current--SE. Trade Winds--Temperature--Birds--Southern Cross--Cyclone ...... PAGE 1
Life on Board--Calm--Boat Lowered--Snares and Traps--Land--Driven off Coast--Enter Port Lyttelton--Requisites for a Sea Voyage--Spirit of Adventure aroused . . . 17
Aspect of Port Lyttelton--Ascent of Hill behind it--View--Christ Church--Yankeeisms--Return to Port Lyttelton and Ship--Phormium Tenax--Visit to a Farm--Moa Bones . . 28
Sheep on Terms, Schedule and Explanation--Investment in Sheep-run--Risk of Disease, and Laws upon the Subject--Investment in laying down Land in English Grass--In Farming--Journey to Oxford--Journey to the Glaciers--Remote Settlers--Literature in the Bush--Blankets and Flies--Ascent of the Rakaia--Camping out--Glaciers--Minerals--Parrots--Unexplored Col--Burning the Flats--Return ...... 36
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Ascent of the Waimakiriri--Crossing the River--Gorge--Ascent of the Rangitata--View of M'Kenzie Plains--M'Kenzie--Mount Cook--Ascent of the Hurunui--Col leading to West Coast. PAGE 62
Hut--Cadets--Openings for Emigrants without Capital--For those who bring Money--Drunkenness--Introductions--The Rakaia--Valley leading to the Rangitata--Snow-grass and Spaniard--Solitude--Rain and Flood--Cat--Irishman--Discomforts of Hut--Gradual Improvement--Value of Cat ... 73
Loading Dray--Bullocks--Want of Roads--Banks' Peninsula--Front and Back Ranges of Mountains--River-beds--Origin of the Plains--Terraces--Tutu--Fords--Floods--Lost Bullocks--Scarcity of Features on the Plains--Terraces--Crossing the Ashburton--Change of Weather--Roofless Hut--Brandy-keg . 88
Taking up the Run--Hut within the Boundary--Land Regulations--Race to Christ Church--Contest for Priority of Application--Successful issue--Winds and their Effects--Their conflicting Currents--Sheep crossing the River . . . . . 114
Plants of Canterbury--Turnip--Tutu--Ferns--Ti Palm--Birds--Paradise Duck--Tern--Quail--Woodhen--Robin--Linnet--Pigeon--Moa--New Parroquet--Quadrupeds--Eels--Insects--Weta--Lizards ...... 130
Choice of a Run--Boundaries--Maoris--Wages--Servants--Drunkenness--Cooking--Wethers--Choice of Homestead--Watchfulness required--Burning the Country--Yards for Sheep--Ewes and Lambs--Lambing Season--Wool Sheds--Sheep Washing--Putting up a Hut--Gardens--Farewell .... 143