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INTRODUCTION.

THE increasing difficulty of maintaining a family in England, in which the competition for mere subsistence has become so keen; and the still greater difficulty of providing for children when their maturer years render it imperative on the parent to seek for some profession or calling on which they may rely for their future support, has excited among all classes a strong attention towards the colonies of Great Britain, where fertile and unclaimed lands, almost boundless in extent, await only the labour of man to produce all that man requires.

It seems, indeed, that there must be some strange neglect or ignorance on the part of


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the government or legislature of a state when a large portion of an active, industrious, and intelligent population, willing to work, and capable of producing more than sufficient for their own subsistence, and of adding immeasurably to the national wealth, cannot make the wealth-producing power of their labour available. It is painfully vexatious to behold in one part of the national dominions an excess of population wanting land to work on, and in continual apprehension for the next day's food, and in another part an excess of land wanting a population to work it; and that in such a state of things neither the government nor the legislature has instituted any national measure, to supply the deficiency on the one side from the excess on the other; a measure which, while it would add to the happiness of the individual, would conduce to the general prosperity of the mass of the people.

All those practically acquainted with the colonies must feel, that if one-tenth part of the annual expenditure of the poor's-rates for some years past had been directed to a


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systematic plan of national emigration, for the conversion of the wretched, half-starved pauper into the contented, well-fed colonist, all the irritation and ill-will which have been caused by the concoction of the new poor-law, for grinding the labouring man down to the lowest degree above starvation point, might have been happily avoided. Were this act of national charity and national wisdom to be even now adopted, those huge and unsightly receptacles of misery which the union workhouses present to the people's execration; those engenderers of discontents; those nurseries of Chartism; those normal schools of plots and treasons; those frowning and repulsive prisons for the poor, proclaiming in the severity of their privations how criminal in the sight of the rich is poverty; and practically complaining, as they impiously do, of the improvidence of God in allowing creatures to be born into a world which political economists have pronounced to be already overstocked; those foul blot from a hard and selfish system of short-sighted saving, on the fair country of England,


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might be levelled with the ground—amidst the shame and repentance of society, for having, even for a time, permitted so dangerous an experiment on the feelings and habits of the British people.

But it is not only on the class dependent on manual labour for subsistence that the difficulty of providing for a family presses. In this respect, all the grades of the middling classes are alike uneasy. Those with some capital, as well as those with none, are suffering under the constant anxiety of providing for their children with a regard to their condition in life, their education, and their habits, in a country in which every day the difficulty of finding suitable occupation increases. In this search, the parent feels that it would be as painful for his children, who have been brought up in a certain condition, to descend from that rank, and trust to their hands instead of their heads for support, as for the more hardy and less sensitive sons of labour to bear the extreme state of destitution and precarious subsistence to which their condition, in the old country,


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now subjects them. This drives the educated classes to seek in the more genteel professions the power of maintaining their position in society, and of obtaining, by the higher remuneration of mental over mechanical employments, the means to minister to their more refined pursuits and pleasures. For education and refinement bring with them their own embarrassments. The animal man can no more go back, suddenly, than any other animal, from the civilized to the natural state, without pain and privation. Education refines and improves the body and the mind of man; but in changing him from the natural to the artificial state, it adds to his wants, and renders the satisfying of them more costly and more difficult.

Every day, however, renders the attempt to compete in the occupations of intellect more hazardous; all, comparatively, being educated, and all being incited to push themselves forward into the educated professions, it would seem that the time is fast approaching when there will be as many barristers, physicians, solicitors, surgeons, and apothecaries,


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as of unprofessional people to practice on. This patient nation is law-ridden enough already; and at every corner of the street stands a surgeon with knife in hand, ready to amputate you if living, or to dissect you if dead; while innumerable apothecaries and druggists, from every new shop-window, thrust forward their obtrusive physic. Even the business of the undertaker is over-done; while the nails of their coffins, attractively resplendent to entice the passer-by to take possession of them, shine uselessly in the window, their owners complain of the want of trade, and eye the living customer suspiciously and complainingly as he passes by, as if he was committing a personal grievance on them by being still alive.

What, then, is to become of the masses of educated persons, striving, pushing, and jostling each other on the road of life? and the numbers still increasing! They cannot become day-labourers; they cannot go up—the passages are blocked up; they cannot go down—that their pride and their habits forbid. To remain as they are is to starve.


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What then is to be done? Fortunately, in the colonies there is room for all, of all grades and classes, and opportunities for all. In this country, to labour in the field is to the educated person a degradation, because the field belongs to another man, and that man is his master; and the condition of an agricultural labourer, from its obvious poverty, in a country where the greatest of crimes is to be poor, is a state of flagrant criminality which the union workhouses have specially been erected to coerce and punish.

But in the colonies, in a new world, and in a new life, a man may till his own land, and work in his own fields with his own hands, and neither feel it to be a degradation in his own eyes, nor in the eyes of those around him. On the contrary, in resuming the occupations of the patriarchs of old, he may be said to recover the natural dignity of man. The very solitude of the wilderness, the boundless space, the unbroken silence, the solemn repose of Nature seem to bring him in nearer contact with the great


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Creator. In his new state, his mind, so lately bowed down by care and anxiety, recovers its natural independence. He stands on his own land, the source of certain subsistence, and of almost certain wealth, for himself and for his children. Above is the light of God's sky, of which no assessed tax debars him. He is not driven to obsequious fawning on the rich or great for countenance or patronage. He has to pray to no man “to give him leave to toil.” On his own labour and his own prudence depends his own success. He finds that he is become of value as a MAN; and that where the materials to work are to be obtained, INDUSTRY is in itself a CAPITAL.

His experience soon confirms him in the important truth, that if Nature has prescribed labour to man, she is no niggard, in the absence of the restraints of man, of labour's reward. His family, instead of being a burthen, and the subject of unceasing and fearful anxiety, is a comfort, a solace, and a help to him. Each child soon becomes an illustration of the principle, that naturally


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every human being has the power of creating more than he has a necessity for consuming. He lies down to rest without fear of the morrow; no rent, nor taxes, nor rates, nor tithes disturb his dreams; and he rises after his rest, not with anxiety and apprehension for the day's employment and the day's remuneration, but with renewed strength and with freshened hope; going forth to his cheerful labour with the full reliance that, from the bounteous earth, he may always produce the abundance which Nature never refuses to her industrious children.

It is with the view of describing the process of settling in a new country; of the precautions to be taken; of the foresight to be exercised; of the early difficulties to be overcome; and of the sure reward which awaits the prudent and industrious colonist, that the editor has collected the following tales; and he may add, that he can testify to the accuracy of the descriptions which they contain from his personal experience as a resident magistrate in the colony. The first tale which is presented to the public


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is the journal of a settler, detailing, in his own homely language, the actual progress, day by day, from the beginning, of the establishment of a colonist's farm.

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