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WHEN I first began this pamphlet, I had no intention of writing myself more than a few general observations introductory to or explanatory of such extracts from recent publications relative to New Zealand, or from letters addressed by settlers in those islands to their friends in this country, as might appear suited to convey useful or encouraging information to members of the middle or higher classes contemplating emigration, or in such circumstances as to make that step, if suggested by the success of others, one of benefit and blessing. And my views being thus limited, --the object being simply to do for parties competent to employ labor in New Zealand, what has recently been done for the information of the laboring classes by a little publication issued under the authority of the New Zealand Company, --I did not conceive it necessary to prefix my name to a mere compilation. But as I proceeded, giving more thought to the subject, and regarding it in more than one of its bearings
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both on Great Britain, at this very critical period, and on New Zealand, I found that I could not do it justice, without entering upon considerations of political economy, morals, and general policy, which would not only be out of place in a publication by the New Zealand Company, but in which it would have been too much to expect that a body of gentlemen--the Directors of that Company--naturally holding a variety of opinions upon such topics, should concur. Further, every hour of additional reflection impressed me with a deeper sense of the vast importance of a right understanding of the general subject of emigration, not merely to those who may be disposed to leave the land of their birth, to carve out new fortunes for themselves and their children beneath the strange stars of the southern hemisphere, but to Great Britain at large, to her statesmen and to her philanthropists, at a time of distress and anxiety which, with reference to its long duration, is, I believe, unparalleled, and which affects or threatens to affect every class of the community.
Therefore being persuaded that emigration, conducted on proper principles, and to an extent which under a judicious system might easily be effected, would afford much relief to this distress, and believing that I can place the matter in such a point of view as may tend to impress the same conviction upon others, I have thought it right to submit my views on the sub-
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ject to the public, with whatever additional weight the attachment of even my humble name to the publication may afford to such an expression of opinion.
I am well aware that by so doing I lay myself open to misconstruction: that my sentiments may be supposed to be biassed by my interests as a proprietor and director of the New Zealand Company; and that ungenerous minds may attribute rather to motives of private advantage, than to public spirit, my writing at all on the subject of emigration; and still more my earnest recommendation of the principles on which the body to which I belong has conducted its operations to that end; and my position that it is the duty of the Government to avail itself of the instrumentality of the Company, or of similar associations, for the purpose of carrying on future emigration on the scale demanded by the wants of the nation. It is probable, indeed, that but for my connexion with the New Zealand Company, my thoughts would not have been directed to the matter with sufficient force and continuity to induce me to publish them: but I lay claim to no very exalted virtue when I affirm, on the other hand, that there cannot, by possibility, exist any motive sufficiently strong to induce me to take such a course, involving much labor and trouble, if I did not conscientiously believe that all the statements which I have made, and the principles which I have endeavoured to enforce, are
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founded in truth; and that the greatest advantage would accrue to the country if those principles received the sanction and support of the Government, and if associations like the New Zealand Company, having a common interest with the public, were avowedly and largely employed in carrying them into effect.
At any rate, --however intensely and narrowly selfish uncandid persons may assume my motives to be, --I have advanced nothing which I have not endeavoured to support by reason; and that, if sound, cannot be impugned by any possible unworthiness on my part. Reason is like sterling gold, of equal value in whose hands soever it may be; whilst the worth of mere assertion, like that of paper money, is entirely dependent upon the responsibility of the party who utters or vouches for it. If I am in error, in regard either to the principles of emigration, or to the instrumentality by which the country may best carry them into effect, my arguments are open to refutation, and my own mind, I hope, to conviction; and I can declare, with great sincerity, that if any one who may do me the honor to notice this little publication can point out any plan by which the great national ends in view may be effectuated with more ease, economy, and certainty, than by the means which, in the present state of my information, approve themselves to my judgment, such a plan shall have my cordial concurrence and support.
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Let me state, also, that in drawing public attention to the attractions of New Zealand, I am very far from seeking to depreciate any of our Australasian colonies, or British North America. No one can estimate more highly than I do their value to England, -- which has abundant means of benefitting, and of benefitting by, all of them; no one can more earnestly desire both that that value were better known to the many in this country who would add to it, --to their own great advantage, -- by employing their capital in the development of the resources of one or other of the provinces of our vast colonial empire, and that it were enhanced and secured by an honest, enlightened, and energetic administration of the relations of Great Britain with her noble dependencies, and of their internal affairs. There has never hitherto been such a combination of the elements of good government in favour of the two parties concerned, -- the people of Great Britain, and the people of her colonies; though the noble Lord lately at the head of the Colonial Department advanced so far in the practical assertion of sound principles as greatly to improve the state of things which he found in existence, and to extort unwilling commendation from many of his keenest political opponents. But very much remains to be accomplished; and the successor of Lord John Russell, whilst he will be altogether without excuse if he lose a step of the ground already won, has still a
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wide field before him on which the noblest civic laurels may be gained. The times are not such as to permit him to run on--without loss of character--in the wheel-ruts of apathetic or incapable predecessors; and I trust that there is enough of public virtue, on both sides, to preserve our magnificent colonies from being made the field of miserable party conflicts, or from being sacrificed to still more miserable party patronage. National interests of the highest moment are at stake; and it is an offence of no ordinary magnitude against the public weal to permit any lower considerations to turn us aside from the single-hearted pursuit of the grand objects in view.