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The Founders of Canterbury

R. J. S. Harman, Esq., Dr. De Renzy's, Cronyhorn, Carnew (Co. Wicklow)

R. J. S. Harman, Esq., Dr. De Renzy's, Cronyhorn, Carnew (Co. Wicklow).

Reigate, 12th April, 1850.

My Dear Sir,

—I am not well enough to answer your letter at any length.

The points are two—

1st. A new colony is a bad place for a young single man. To be single is contrary to the nature of a new colony, where the laws of society are labour, peace, domestic life, increase and multiply. The hospitality is so great that a young man who can make himself agreeable, may live in idleness: and the most common lot of a young single man is to do this, till he becomes unfit for marriage by becoming wedded to his pipe and his bottle, not to mention the billiard-table. Whereas if he is nicely married, he has a sweet home to go to after his day's work, and his mind is kept tranquil enough to bear without injury the intense excitement of sharing in the page 256creation of society. All the best colonists of Adelaide, Wellington, Nelson, were either married, or they came home for wives. The good ones who were single—the gentlemen, such as Petre, Clifford, Dillon, Molesworth—could not bear to remain single. The success of a young colonist who remains single is a rare exception. Marriage is the most economical: the same capital goes further with a wife than without one. It is her moral influence that both saves the money, and stimulates her husband's energy and prudence.

2nd. There are no hardships in colonizing now-a-days. I have known most of the ladies who emigrated with the first colonists to Adelaide, Wellington, &c.—ladies who had been brought up in luxury and ease: and I never heard of a serious complaint from one of them—especially the best, and those who belonged to the highest rank in this country—who entered cheerfully into the spirit of the thing, and enjoyed the roughing for a few weeks. In that climate, the roughing is a sort of lark. But in this case there will be no roughing. At Adelaide and Wellington, the first settlers landed in a desert country, 1000 miles away from civilized habitations. In this case you will be close to mature Wellington and Nelson, and growing Otago: and by when you get to Canterbury, there will be a small town there. Marry by all means. My mother had one and my wife two children before their 18th birthday. At your age to go unmarried is a misery and a great risk: to go married to a nice girl, is the best means you can adopt to make sure of happiness and prosperity.

Yours truly,

E. G. Wakefield.

P.S.—Referring to your letter, I add that the scale of means does not affect my opinion. Whatever may be the rank and capital of the young colonist—whether a nobleman's son worth £10,000, or a labourer, let him be married for the sake of economy as well as peace and comfort. There will be no drudgery for the wife of a man with small capital—none that the daughters of men of rank and fortune have not cheerfully undergone.