Te Ika a Maui, or New Zealand and its Inhabitants
Concluding remarks. — Hints to intended emigrants
Hints to intended emigrants.
The subject of Emigration is one of the greatest interest to thousands in this over-populous country. Archimedes only required standing room to move the world; but there is now none for numbers at home. To obtain one, the first object is to move off to lands which furnish space for exertion, and it is to the colonies the attention is naturally directed. Then the next enquiry is, What are the inducements to emigrate? The answer is, To find a home; this is the desired object with many; provision for an increasing family is another; and, lastly, health is with others the grand desideratum. To gain such inquirers, the advocates of each colonization field advance their several claims. The American speaks in glowing terms of his unbounded realms in the far west, his fertile plains, his priméval forests, his rising cities, his roads, his rivers, his free constitution, and so many other advantages, that he has no time to tell us of the contraries. Few of those who emigrate to America properly reflect on the step they are page 459 taking, or I am persuaded they would hesitate before they renounce the protection of the British flag, and their connection with the land of their forefathers. Is this no little sacrifice? Let those who talk of emigration, weigh well the extent of it. But there is another question also to be put to such: Have you thought of the difference in manners, customs, and views between you and the Americans? Will you like to hear the honored institutions of your country ridiculed, and that a “Britisher” is a constant butt for them to pass their jokes on, and that until you can be considered fairly naturalized, there will be little peace for you; and to become so, your feelings must be so changed as to be able to view everything in the same light they do? If you be ever so free and independent, and opposed to aristocracy, still, let me inquire, are you any more attached to democratic rule? But, without speaking of slavery in that boasted land of freedom, let us ask what are the advantages to be gained by settling there. If you wish to live in the older inhabited states, the price of land will there be found to be increased in proportion to the population; if you go back, you are shut out from the world, your lot will be cast amongst the advocates of Lynch law. Then, again, there is something more than the mere acquirement of land to be considered. The labour of clearing the primæval forest, and all the early difficulties of a settler's life in the back woods, are also to be taken into account.
But, who would emigrate if he knew the risk he ran of losing his health. How seldom do we hear of those who fall victims to the fearful agues, and still more fearful fevers, which rage in those forest lands, when first exposed to the sun's rays, after ages of seclusion;—its fierce beams draw forth the earth's vapours, so long locked up in its breast, and carry off numbers of newly-arrived settlers, who, in fact, only go to make a clearing for others to inhabit.* But the summer's page 460 heat has passed away, and is suddenly succeeded by an almost arctic winter. We talk of cold in England, but what is it when compared with that of an American winter. I am not writing these remarks to prejudice the mind against America; there is much to admire in it, and it is, and will be, a great nation; but my remarks are for those who want to find a new home, lest the temptation of a short passage, and cheap land, should lead them to lose sight of more eligible spots. It is true, in Canada there is British rule and cheap land, but still the climate is a fearful drawback, and the health of the settler must necessarily be very much tried, so much so, that numbers are now actually emigrating from New Brunswick and Canada to New Zealand, and a few even from the United States on this very account.
Therefore, in respect both of climate and general health, the settler will find no country so suitable as New Zealand, and even Australia itself does not offer the advantages which it does, for no colonization field has so mild a climate, or so fertile a soil to recommend it as this Austral-Britain.
If, therefore, the intended emigrant gives the same weight to these reasons which the writer thinks they deserve, he will at once make New Zealand the country of his selection, and then the following hints are given him.
First.—With regard to preparation, let him take whatever he does of the best, and select only really useful things; as a general rule, he should have as little as possible, except money. Take gold, it occupies no room, and everywhere preserves its value; in fact, if anything, it is increased abroad. The less the settler carries beyond his purse, the less anxiety he will have, and the less expense; for freight and warehouse charges are very heavy abroad, and it is desirable that the emigrant should look about him before he finally decides upon his permanent location. On landing, look after your property yourself, and see it safe through the Custom-house, for although there may not be the same danger of losing a portion of it which there is in London, from bad management, or rather total want of it, as many have experienced to their loss, still the emigrant will find the advice given to be good.
Before deciding on the spot you are going to settle in, page 461 see that you have some probability of obtaining the means of grace; for those who there go to lonely places in the bush, do themselves an incalculable injury; they soon lower their standard of morality, and in throwing aside the observance of religion, they also reduce themselves to a lower mental position. I have repeatedly noticed this, and remarked, how soon families have lost their high tone, and become assimilated to the worst classes of colonists; in fact, it is religion which elevates the man, and be his family or his fortune what it may, cast away religion, and he will not maintain his position. A man without the fear of God, and concern for his soul, is a poor pitiable creature, wherever and whatever else he may be. Let the emigrant bear this advice in mind, and he will ever thank the giver of it.
Next.—With regard to land, be contented at first with a little; at any rate, lay not out more than one-fourth of your principal in its purchase. A greater extent of land than you can make use of, will be of no advantage, but a positive incumbrance. Enclose some as soon as possible, and keep cattle upon it; they will increase without much labor being required, and labor in the colonies is money. Before leaving England, be careful in selecting your ship, and in knowing what kind of a man the captain is; your lives as well as comfort depend, in a great measure, upon him. Know in what way you are to be provisioned; and if you have children, whether there will be any little comforts provided, such as milk, preserves, and fresh provisions sufficient for the voyage; also ask what will be your allowance of fresh water: do not esteem these to be trifling things; you will not regret having thought of them.
To single men intending to emigrate, I would say, marry before you go out; a good wife is a great treasure and stay to a young man. Many have been ruined, because they have not had a bosom friend to sustain them in times of trial, besides the social comfort thus derived, for none can tell how dreary a young settler's home is without a wife, and how many temptations she saves him from. Therefore, to every single man I again say, marry, for wives are not to be had abroad; property is of little consideration, compared with that of a partner.page 462
And lastly, with regard to the part which offers the most advantages: the province of Auckland holds out many; it has a fine climate, a good port, good society. The town is the largest in the colony, the province is also free from earthquakes, which are felt in every other part of the islands; all the fruits which can be raised in Sydney—the orange, lemon, banana guava—can be raised north of the Bay of Island. Taranaki, or New Plymouth, holds out, perhaps, fewer inducements, as there is so little land for sale in that province; but its scenery is very beautiful. Wanganui presents more, from its having a greater extent of land for selection; Ahuriri, on the eastern coast, is a fine field; much land still remains there for selection; Canterbury, if you intend feeding sheep, will do, provided you have capital. Otako is highly spoken of; in fact, every part of New Zealand offers great inducements; but those which have most land are best suited to the settler. To the artizan, all hold out the prospect of high wages, and certain employment. The steady must get on.
It is amusing to see how surely settlers have advanced from small means to a competency—agricultural laborers, to be substantial farmers; sailors and artizans to be merchants, and men of substance; and the same means which were available for them, will be so for others. The ladder by which they mounted, still remains for others to use, and that is industry, temperance, and perseverance.
The settler finds every day something to cheer him on; he sees his farm progress, and his prospects advance; everything he does improves his place, and as he gradually changes the wilderness into a comfortable home, he has the certain prospect of leaving a competency for his family, however large it may be, with the knowledge that as the colony rises, it will rise with it, and, before long, possess all the comforts of the parent country, with an exemption from many of its attendant evils.
* My dear husband, my servant, the poor babe, and myself were all at one time confined to our beds with ague. You know how severe my sufferings always were at home with intermittents, and need not marvel if they were no less great in a country where lake-fevers and all kinds of intermittent fevers abound.—See Lettes from the Wife of an Emigrant Officer, page 222.