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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 44

Chapter XV. Conclusion

Chapter XV. Conclusion.

These remarks may be fitly concluded by an expression of deep sympathy with the agriculturists of the United Kingdom in the severe losses which have been so general in the recent trying and calamitous years. It is a matter of regret and national concern that the dark cloud is shewing as yet but little of a silver lining. Men's minds are troubled to find a remedy for the marked depression which so generally prevails. It is not to be expected that relief will be discovered in any single panacea applicable to every case. There is no universal solvent for all difficulties; but there is a way out of them by having faith in God and learning to read aright the teachings of Providence. The horrors of the Irish famine led many away to comfort and independence. May some not see in the cloud a signal that there is a fertile land of promise far away in another hemisphere, where sunshine may bless them and prosperity follow their labours? It cannot be denied that emigration is a source from which some benefit will flow in the present crisis. Those who leave will have a better result for their exertions; and those who remain will experience the advantage of the insane competition of past years being lessened if not wholly removed, and of rents being adjusted to their proper level.

We by no means say directly to any one,' Emigrate to New Zealand.' The skill, energy, and industry of each individual form factors so potential in his personal success, that we think we have done enough when we have placed the facts before him, and enabled him to draw his own conclusions. There is a large extent of waste lands still undisposed of; and the owners of large estates acquired in early times are finding it to be to their advantage to subdivide them into convenient farms and retail them at reasonable prices. It does not pay to keep land in its natural state for sheep-pasture which is capable under cultivation of yielding large returns. We are ready to give full information on these matters to anyone who page 110 desires it; and the Agent-General of the colony in London (7 Westminster Chambers, S.W.) will at once answer all inquiries. If on carefully weighing the testimony given, any one should make up his mind to try his fortune in the Britain of the South, we may encourage him by the expression of a confident opinion, that with the capital required to manage a farm in this country, he may be the lord of his own acres in New Zealand, unchecked in his enterprise by the fear that he will not exhaust the full value of all his improvements. He will therefore carry on his business under new conditions. Gaunt pauperism will not be there to demand its increasing tithes from the fruits of his industry. He will possess a freedom and feeling of independence he cannot realise as a tenant-farmer. He will become an important unit in the body-politic, and his weight will be felt in the local road-boards, county-councils, or it may be in the halls of Parliament itself. He may be called upon to aid in the administration of justice by acting as a magistrate.

In a country where self-government is of the freest and most popular kind, there is no impediment in the way of ability taking any place to which its possessor desires to attain. A family can be reared in comfort and refinement. The means of excellent primary and high-class education are scattered broad-cast throughout the colony, under the administration of a special department of the general government. Although there is no state church, the blessings of religious ordinances are not wanting, numerous churches, through the zeal of different denominations, having been erected in every district, the members of which live in harmony with one another. The days of hardship and difficulty have passed away. There is no exile. The dreary six months' voyage has been superseded by an enjoyable six weeks' passage in well-appointed steamers. We are linked to the world by the ocean telegraph, and have the latest news and prices on our breakfast tables every morning. The monotony of ordinary life can be varied by ample sources of amusement. The sportsman has abundance of game to follow in the season, and the streams are now well filled with large trout rising readily to the fly. Every township has its race-course, and at the principal meetings the population musters by thousands. The amount of added money run for in the colony in 1878 was £30,500. Coursing-matches are now common, and the provinces strive together for victory on page 111 the cricket-ground. Our harbours have their annual regattas, and our Volunteers their encampments and prize-firing, at which the champion wins £100. A keen spirit of competition is manifested at our cattle-shows, where animals of the purest strain are exhibited. Numerous choral societies exist for the practice of high-class music.

With a climate which renders life positively enjoyable, with a fertile and grateful soil to cultivate, with a country having all the elements necessary to build up a free, a prosperous, and a happy nation, the labours of the colonist are a pleasure to him. There is no vista before him shrouded with the dark shadows of an overgrown, under-fed population. There are no political animosities rending friendships asunder. On every side he perceives manifold signs of the rapid development of the varied resources of his adopted country, and he is nerved for greater exertions by the knowledge that the fortunes of himself and his children must advance with its increasing progress. There is no strife, no crowding out, from the multitude of competitors in the struggle for existence. There is room for all comers of the right sort for many generations. He rejoices in his independence, and in feelings previously unknown to him. Much as we love the land of our birth and manhood, numerous as are the kind friends there to whom we are attached, prickly as some of the thorns in colonial life we have had to encounter have been, we candidly declare we have never regretted for a single instant the choice of New Zealand as a new home. Our faith in her advancement has enlarged with the growth of our knowledge and experience of her resources and potentialities, and we can unhesitatingly apply to the pleasant glens and valleys of that goodly land the beautiful verse of Wordsworth:

Fair scene for childhood's opening bloom,
For sportive youth to stray in,
For manhood to enjoy his strength,
And age to wear away in.