1857 - Hursthouse, C. New Zealand, or Zealandia, the Britain of the South [Vol.I.] - CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY.

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  1857 - Hursthouse, C. New Zealand, or Zealandia, the Britain of the South [Vol.I.] - CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY.
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THE character, credibility, and antecedents of an author must generally be matters of indifference to a reader; and any remarks on personal history or motives for writing, would generally be obtrusive. The philosopher, the historian, the novelist, seek to instruct or amuse us; but they do not ask us to risk life or fortune in any new pursuit. We read their works with profit and delight; but we still keep our money in the funds, open our shop, go round our farm, and pursue the even tenor of our way. But it is not so in emigration. Here, the object of the writer is to root us up and transplant us to a new land, perchance ten thousand miles away from the land of our birth. He who writes on such a subject incurs grave responsibility; and

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would do well at the outset, to seek the confidence of his readers by showing them that he has had ample opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of his subject, that he is sincere in what he says on it, and practises what he would preach. To this end therefore, I shall take leave to mention so much of my personal history as may relate to emigration, and briefly state the circumstances under which this work appears.

Some years ago, a mixed expedition of pleasure and business led me to America; and foreseeing then that a decayed family like my own might eventually emigrate, I lost no opportunity of acquainting myself with the emigrational advantages of the various districts I traversed in journeying through Upper and Lower Canada and the United States. Soon after my return, an elder brother determined on bettering his fortunes in New Zealand; and I, disappointed with America, and having meanwhile graduated as a carpenter, determined to accompany him. Touching at the Cape of Good Hope to purchase horses, we were wrecked and detained there three months; when we made the acquaintance of various Cape settlers, and saw something of the emigrational prospects of this African colony. On arrival in New Zealand we bought wild land, and at once commenced the work of creating a little estate. After leading an active colonial life of this nature for four years, during which period I was twice over in Australia, private matters called me to England; when I induced my

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father and various members of the family to emigrate and join our pioneer party in New Zealand. Compelled to remain in England for some time and not wishing to be idle, I partly employed myself in promoting New Zealand colonisation; and thus, brought into personal communication with numbers of emigrants of all grades and classes, acquired some further experience of the various requirements and details of emigration. Some little works on colonial and emigration subjects which I had written being rather favourably received by the press and the public, the "cacoethes scribendi" was inflamed; and having reason to believe that a practical work descriptive of the "New Zealand of to-day" might interest a portion of the reading world, I was induced to attempt the production of one. Feeling, however, that I could not satisfactorily perform the task without revisiting the colony and seeing for myself what progress had been made in my absence, I made a second trip to New Zealand, from which I have lately returned.

And, now, having compared notes with relatives settled in almost every colony of the empire-- having read almost every modern work on colonies and emigration--having seen various emigration fields and arrived at the deliberate conclusion that New Zealand, as a "Home," is preferable to any-- I intend returning thither, as soon as circumstances will permit, and settling down finally, for good.

In discussing the great question of emigration, sceptical advisers of the intending emigrant are apt

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to remark, "O, don't put faith in that book, the person who writes it is interested!" Of course he is; but does that make him unworthy of belief? The dentist advises a tooth out--are we to turn away in agony because he would be paid for drawing it? The family solicitor tells us of a ten per cent, landed investment--are we to distrust the bargain because he would pocket the conveyancing fees? Your wife's milliner displays a new bonnet-- does your wife refuse it because Madame Crinoline would pocket a pound by selling it? I am interested in New Zealand; the population approaches 50,000; if it were 500,000, the value of any property I might have there would be quadrupled. But I hold the belief, and on no light grounds, that thousands of down-going people, clinging to ruin in this competition-stricken country, would be saved by timely emigration to New Zealand; and that, though their going thither might benefit me in common with every colonist, their going thither would most benefit themselves. In emigration, as in other things, there is a reciprocity of advantage; and this argument of the "stay-at-home-and-sink" wiseacres would have been worthy of the classic fool who refused to go into water until he had learned to swim.

I have remarked that any exaggeration of the advantages of an emigration field is sure to be followed by a most injurious reaction and recoil. Honesty is never better policy than when it is shown in making works on emigration speak

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the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I have sought to keep this profitable maxim in view; and feel confident that three in four of those who might be partly induced to improve their fortunes in New Zealand through a perusal of this little work, would admit, after a year's residence in the colony, that I had understated rather than overstated the emigrational advantages of the New Life and the New Land.

Owing to fortuitous conjunction of external and internal circumstances, there has never been so favourable a time for emigrating to New Zealand as the present; and it is scarcely probable that there will ever be so favourable a time again. It is self-evident that Population is necessarily the first requirement, the "primum mobile," the great enriching power of all new countries and emigration fields. When the emigrant is once settled on his wild acres, the quicker population increases near his acres, the quicker and greater will be his gains. Now, population is increasing, and bids fair to continue increasing, near the New Zealand emigrant's acres at a rate that would once have been deemed incredible. In the five years prior to the last five, 180,000 more people went to Canada than to Australia; in the last five years 140,000 fewer people went to Canada than to Australia; and every emigrant who settles in Australia is near to, and increases the value of, every New Zealand emigrant's every acre. In fact, the monopoly of emigration which our American colonies long pos-

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sessed has been broken up by the poet's "auri sacra fames." The Diggings have bridged the ocean. The crowded millions of the Old World's cities may now travel to the marvellous gold plains of Australia, to the "fresh fields and pastures new" of New Zealand, in greater ease comfort and safety than our fathers travelled in from Jedburgh to Jersey, or from Limerick to the Land's End. A five months' pleasure trip to Australia and New Zealand and back, down the Mediterranean by Suez and Singapore through the summer seas of the Indian Archipelago and the South Pacific, will be an easy possibility of 1858. Some fifty millions sterling of gold have been shovelled up in Australia in the last five years; no man can say that she will not give forth as vast a treasure in the next five. Gold and a smooth highway to gold, dissipating old ideas old prejudices old fears, are virtually bringing the Antipodes to the doors of Europe; and many more seemingly improbable things may come to pass in the next ten years than that in 1867 Australia and New Zealand may count five millions of people, be within forty days' sail of London, and have an annual export of gold, wool, flax, and raw produce, of the value of thirty millions sterling.

Such are some of the external circumstances which make the present a most favourable era for New Zealand emigration. Glance a moment at the internal. The early struggles of New Zealand, the fatuous, flagitious Government, the long-lasting

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insecurity of life and property,--all those hostile causes which annihilated New Zealand emigration, though they half ruined the pioneer colonists and terribly retarded the progress of the infant colony, have nevertheless had a counter beneficial effect on the prospects of those who may be going to New Zealand now. For if this sad anti-emigration state of things had never existed, the surpassing natural advantages of New Zealand would unquestionably by this time have drawn to her tens of thousands of people instead of a handful; when, necessarily, most of the finest sites and locations for settlement which the country affords would have been pounced on, occupied, and monopolised; and emigrants of 1857, instead of having, as they now have, first choice of many best locations, would have had only second choice of inferior locations.

Happily, these fatal emigration obstructions are removed; the road to New Zealand is at last open. The young colony has won for herself an admirable representative government. With the exception of a petty tribe in a corner of the North Island, the remnant of the native population is fast changing into an industrial, productive portion of the community. The marvellous advance of the sister colonies of Australia has wonderfully advanced New Zealand; a portion of the golden shower is falling on her shores. If there be a "tide in the affairs of colonies which taken at the turn leads on to fortune," such tide seems setting towards our youngest one; and, looking both

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at these external and internal circumstances, I state nothing more than a deliberate conviction, in saying that the present is a most favourable period for New Zealand emigration; and that those who profit by it would now purchase wild lands for shillings per acre which, five years hence, they could not purchase for pounds.

In conclusion, I have only to remark, that, should the reader desire to obtain any little special or personal information touching New Zealand emigration matters which these pages may not supply, I should have much pleasure in attempting to afford it by replying to any communication sent to my town address, 28, Thavies Inn, London.

RAMSGATE, Jan. 1,1857.

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