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The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, May 02 (1840)


Conversazione of The Colonial Society—Admission of Women.

To The Editor of The New Zealand Journal.
Sir,—You are doubtless aware that the Colonial Society held a conversazione at their rooms in St. James's-square, on Wednesday, the 25th of March. I was not able to attend, but I am told the reunion was well attended, and bids fair to become an agreeable social meeting. It is in the hope of rendering it more so that I address you.
One of the most remarkable features of the present day, is the great interest taken in colonial affairs by the middle and upper classes. The law of primogeniture forces the younger branches of the landed class—the aristocracy, as I suppose I must call them—to depend for subsistence upon their own exertions; and they make up, conjointly with the middle class of the community, what Mr. Wakefield, in his admirable book, entitled "England and America," calls the uneasy class.
A few years ago, and these persons, educated, as they are, for a refined state of society, would not have endured the idea of colonizing. It was a step adapted for hard hands and coarse minds, and not for men who had been accustomed to considerable refinement, and many of whom delighted in intellectual pursuits.
Of late years a complete change has taken place in the opinions of Mr. Wakefield's uneasy class. They begin to perceive that a state of society, worth mixing with, may be created in a colony; and even the highly educated go to our colonies with a determination to emulate the intellectual pursuits of older countries. Now I believe that this change dates from the promulgation of Mr. Wakefield's principles. There cao be no doubt that those principles do provide for the emigration of society. In South Australia and New Zealand, to use your own expression, "a society complete in its constituent parts," is provided for; and the effect upon men's minds is, that emigration is no longer repugnant to. their feelings.
Another striking proof of this change of opinion—a wise change it is too—is the state of mind among intelligent women. Go into what is usually called good society, and take the opinion of the young women around you, and not only will you find no repugnance to emigrate, but in more than five cases out of ten you will find an actual desire to do so. Ten years ago, many young women of the class I am alluding to, would have refused offers of marriage to emigrate to our colonies; now, I venture to assert, that very few young women of fair education would hesitate a moment on the subject.
But, you will say, what has all this to do with the Colonial Society's conversazione? I will tell you. Seeing the great interest which intelligent and educated women now take in the subject, my proposal is, that members should be entitled to one transferable lady,s ticket, and that arrangements be at once made for their accommodation, on the evenings appointed for the Society's conversazione.
From such a course I should anticipate great advantage. Society in this country is in such a state, that great numbers must colonize. Colonization is the very necessity of the age in which we live. It not merely makes new societies, but it preserves the old. Hence it is important that the minds of women should be thoroughly familiarized with colonial subjects. Any lurking indisposition to colonize should be carefully removed:—what so likely to contribute thereto, as mixing with persons of character and intelligence who have visited colonies, and can bear witness that domestic happiness is to be found there as here, by those who are determined to secure it.
Moreover, it is our duty to contribute to the amusement of those who, after all said and done, create and constitute our greatest happiness; and in these conversaziones there is likely to be much that will interest the mind, and engage the attention.
I trust, therefore, the committee of management will take my proposal into consideration; and that you will use your influence to promote the same.
I am, &c., A.

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