I. WHY I EMIGRATED TO NEW ZEALAND.
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TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OF EMIGRANT LIFE IN THE SOUTH OF NEW ZEALAND.
WHY I EMIGRATED TO NEW ZEALAND.
ON a dark night, twenty-six years ago, I was passing through Belmont Street, A-----, when I accidentally heard that two gentlemen from Edinburgh were to address a meeting in the Free South Church on the subject of emigration to the South of New Zealand. Having for some time entertained the thought of emigrating to America, I resolved to hear what could be said about the remote islands of New Zealand and its cannibal inhabitants. On entering the church I saw several gentlemen on the platform, one of whom, Mr. M'Combie, Advocate, was called to the chair, and introduced to the audience the Edinburgh deputation, Dr. Alcorn and the Rev. Thomas Burns. The addresses of both gentlemen were very short, and the information of a very limited kind, for they were speaking of a country they had never seen, and of a life to which they were utter strangers. I was however favourably impressed with what Mr. Burns said. This gentleman, being a nephew of the Scottish bard, might have had some influence upon Scotch emigrants, if there were any poetry in the life of an emigrant, but he made no attempt to elevate the hard facts of an emigrant's life into the region of poetry and fiction. I had sense enough to know that toil, and perhaps danger, were the concomitants of life in New Zealand; but the simple fact that Mr. Burns had resigned his charge
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and cast in his lot with the emigrants, and would sail with the pioneers, gave confidence in the statements of the reverend gentleman, so that the seed fell into soil prepared and ready to receive it. At the end of the address I stepped forward and had a conversation with Mr. Burns, who, on returning to Edinburgh, communicated to the Secretary of the Otago Association, Mr. M'Glashan, the substance of that interview, and the result was an immediate offer of a free passage to the South of New Zealand, on condition of my remaining there for a limited time--five years.