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White Wings Vol II. Founding Of The Provinces And Old-Time Shipping. Passenger Ships From 1840 To 1885

Two Leaders

Two Leaders.

It was characteristic of the Scots that they did not rush into this emigration scheme; they were typically canny, and did nothing in a hurry. There were only two ships in the first "fleet," the John Wickliffe and the Philip Laing, which between them had on board 344 people. In charge of the settlers were two men whose names are still revered in the Edinburgh of the South—Captain William Cargill and the Rev. Dr. Thomas Burns. Cargill had fought under Wellington, and had more than a suggestion of the soldier in his appearance and his manner, in spite of the fact that he was short and stumpy. He had a decided step, the firm tread that marks a man who can hold his own in the world. A bit of a martinet, and inclined by his up-bringing and training to a conservatism that at times caused him to be eyed with suspicion by the very democratic crowd that made up early Dunedin, he was still sincerely respected and admired. A man of very marked exterior, the captain did not lessen the effect of the picture by his habit of wearing a big blue Scots bonnet (tam-o-shanter), which was ornamented by a flaming red "toorie," or top-knot as a Southron would call it.

A good living of £400 a year was given up by the Rev. Thomas Burns, who was the spiritual father of the settlement, so there could not be much doubt about his enthusiasm. He was a fine specimen of the sagacious, kindly, thoughtful Scots minister, and truly the leader of his flock.

Although it was Free Church enthusiasm that first gave the scheme of settlement its impetus, it would be a mistake to imagine that the people who had decided to go overseas were actuated by any feeling of persecution. Far from it; they were off to the other side of the world with the object of bettering themselves and theirpage 79 families—and a very laudable ambition, too. At first it was intended to make the settlement wholly Free Church, but other denominations were attracted, and when the settlement was a year old there were more Church of Scotland members than Free Church, in fact the latter were outnumbered by the Anglicans.