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The New Zealand Journal, Saturday, August 15 (1840)

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Paisley New Zealand Emigration Society.

In our thirteenth number of the New Zealand Journal, we printed a report of the proceedings of a public meeting, held at the Philosophical Hall early last month, for the purpose of agreeing to a memorial to Lord John Russell, on the subject of Emigration to New Zealand.
One speech—that of the Rev. Dr. Burns—was omitted in the local newspapers, but has Since been published in a pamphlet. As the speech in question has great merit, and will be interesting to many of our readers, we now print it entire; which, with the documents that follow it, places before our readers the whole of the Paisley proceedings.
The Rev. Dr. Burns rose, and said—Mr. Chairman, I feel it a pleasure and an honour to have an opportunity of advocating the cause of emigration, for the first time, at a public meeting in Paisley; and I trust it will not be the last time that we shall discuss a subject of such growing interest to all classes in our community. Hitherto the matter has not been well understood, for it has not undergone the sifting examination to which it is entitled; nay rather, it has had a fool's cap put upon it. The selection of some of the Colonies of Britain as penal settlements has done injury to the cause, by associating the very name of emigration to foreign parts with the commission of crimes against the peace of society; and particular Colonies, such as New South Wales, have thus come to be looked on with peculiar feelings. Colonization, also, has not been conducted on a systematic plan, and due care lias not been taken in the admission of members into Societies which had emigration in view; and the subject has only of late come to be taken up at all by the Government of the land as one of national importance. I rejoice that better views are now entertained, and that well-arranged and judiciously-conducted associations of intending emigrants are in the course of formation, on sound and enlarged principles. Do not dissolve your Society. I beg of you keep together. The two objects proposed this night are not incompatible. You may prosecute both, and if the one fails, the other may succeed. Did you effect nothing more than the pressing the subject on the public mind, you would do a great deal. Collect information. Meet from time to time to receive and give such information. It will be honourable to our town to have taken the lead in a cause which must command public attention, and which is allied with the political economy and the real improvement of the British empire. I can never go along with the sentiments of a friend, who has spoken so earnestly, and according to his views, so pointedly and correctly, against the influence of the aristocracy in the matter of emigration. So far from looking on this as an evil, I hold it to be one of the very best things that has happened to us. The aristocracy of Great Britain—using the term in its broader sense, and not as exclusively confined to the peerage—are directing their attention to emigration. And why not? Shall any class of British subjects be laid under a bill of exclusion It is not rather among the most hopeful signs of the times, that men of wealth, of family, of influence, in the parent land, are addressing themselves seriously to what has hitherto been looked on in a degrading light, just because it was not so before? Is this really an evil? What have the operative classes to fear from it? Can the aristocracy do without them in the far-distant Colonies, any more than at home? Look at Adam Ferguson of Woodhill—a gentleman of the very highest character and respectability in his native land—establishing himself and his family at the head of Lake Ontario, and becoming the father of a most flourishing colony of settlers from Aberdeen, and other parts of Scotland—diffusing around the blessings of peace, plenty, and contentment—and owned as the "lord of the manor," in a far higher sense than any man at home could be so owned. Look at Dudley Sinclair—the son of a most excellent senator, allied to the first families in Scotland, and with the fairest prospects—relinquishing the attachments of kindred, and making common cause with the lately embarked settlers for New Zealand. Is this to be held as a calamity in the annals of emigration?
And why should I not mention Glengarry, too, who sailed with numerous retainers from the Clyde, a few days ago, for the great South land? Sir, I delight in the very thought that emigration and Christian Colonization are henceforth to be associated with the mountains and glens of my native Isle—with the recollections of ancestry—with the records of our national history—with high-born feelings—with a bold and masculine, and manly independence. (Cheers.) Will all this do you any injury, friends? Is there not also an "aristocracy of nature"—men who may not have the advantages of birth or fortune to boast of, but who may possess capabilities of mind and soul superior to both—who, it may be, cannot give from their stores what these stores do not contain, but who can contribute to the common weal out of the very bones and sinews of their own bodies? And will that aristocracy become dwarfish, and dwindle away on a Colonial soil? When attended by moral and religious habits, has it ever done so in times past? And why should any man here entertain or express the slightest suspicion that it will do so in time to come? Mr. Chairman, I have for fifteen years corresponded with all the British Colonies of America, excepting one, and that is Newfoundland; and the result of my experience is decidedly in favour of Colonization, when duly regulated by national patronage and moral guardianship; and I know that the habits of settlers in those lands are highly favourable to a sharpening of the intellect, and a raising of the working classes to a high eminence in the scale. I do feel a deep interest in Canada. I rejoice in the laudable efforts of the Canada Land Company for the Upper Province, and the American Land Company for the Lower. I rejoice, too, to see the Hudson's Bay Company, in their search after badgers and beavers, gallantly and kindly conducting bands of brawny Highlanders from Perthshire and other districts, to locate them beside the banks of their lakes and rivers, in the far distant, but not at all dreary regions of the north and west; and these men sending home to their old pastors, whom they love, to ask of them the bread of life. Hitherto, emigration to Canada was left greatly to accident and to necessity; it is now on a different looting, while obstacles which have been referred to by former speakers are in the course of removal. Look at Lord Durham's report. He rightly states the causes of the late rebellion, and he assigns causes which, if they had not been removed, or put in the process of removal, would have ended in the separation of Canada from the mother country. Need I refer to the proud dominancy of what has been long known as "the family compact"—a junto of persons who took care—while they cared for nothing else—to make a monopoly of all the good things going, for themselves and their associates? Need I refer to certain political and religious preferences, winch, though they may suit an old country, can riot live in a new one? Or need I allude to the long agitated question of Clergy reserves? By the settlement of such matters, and the adoption of an enlightened and liberal policy, the state! of things in Canada has been wonderfully changed to the better; and let us hope that Government will soon adopt measures for facilitating emigration on an extended scale to its shores. But while we thus think favourably of Canada, and the other American colonies of Great Britain in the west, where is the inconsistency of pleading also in favour of those in another and exactly opposite hemisphere? Is not South Australia a most promising colony? And what shall we say of Port Philip?—a most rapidly growing settlement, and in physical advantages very abundant. Look at its capital—the city of Melbourne—rising in the space of two years from the midst of the bush, to the condition of a place with 5,000 inhabitants—with its wealthy and respectable mercantile firms—its insurance companies—its four flourishing banks—its shipping of wool in one year to upwards of 100,000 lbs.—its two newspapers—its eighteen hotels and inns—its circulating library, and its "common good" of £20,000 a-year. And why not look at New Zealand, though last not least?—an island, or islands rather, larger than Great Britain herself—with the very best of soils, and every advantage of water supplies, and the most salubrious of climates. I have long known about New Zealand, from the records of voyagers and the journals of missionaries, confirmed as these have been by Russian, English, and American navigators; and I have no hesitation in saying, that a nobler field for the settlement of the industrious artisans and labourers from our manufacturing and over-peopled districts there cannot be. British law and British influence are now paramount there; and British schools and churches will there find a welcome abode. Let not our friends be so easily perplexed, Mr. Chairman. It amazed me to see the impression made by an odd letter from this wonderfully sensitive settler in the "mid regions" of the west—regions of which, by the way, we know wonderfully little as yet. Only recollect, Sir, the letters which were printed in our own Paisley newspapers last year, from some of our own townsmen at Adelaide; what a melancholy account they gave of that place—its streams without water—its grass without greenness—its utter sterility—its absolute uselessness as the habitation of men; and look at the letters printed last week from the same settlers; how changed their tone! Emigrants perhaps expect too much, or perhaps they do not make due allowance for changes of circumstances; or, it may be, they write before due inquiry, and on first impressions. I call the gentleman a sensitive one; for his tender sensibilities seem to have been awakened by the bite of the musquito, and the leap of a snake upon him from the roof of his bed to disturb his repose! Don't mind the musquitoes, they are old acquaintances; and as to the snake that was found nicely coiled up in the gentleman's boot: why, observe, sir, the gentleman had a boot, and that is something, and a good boot too; and I fancy the poor animal would die by the jerk of the gentleman's inserted limb, ere ever it awoke to know the horrors of its situation P Moreover, these are, we may suppose, rather rare occurrences. But as for the cannibals—why, sir, there is no denying it; there were, and there may be cannibals still, as there were once in an island with which we are better acquainted: but cannibalism ceases, as better modes of living are introduced into a land; and a former speaker (Mr. Crawford) to whom we are much indebted for the information he has given us, justly remarked, that the New Zealanders are now beginning to get roast beef and plum-pudding, and to this they have voted a preference above all other viands. I was pleading with a preacher last year to go out to that land, and he replied, that he did not like these "cannibals." "Why not," said I; "should we not go to civilise and Christianize them?" "Oh," said he, "I am not afraid of their spears,
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but it is the idea of being eaten that I don't like." "If that is all," I replied, "there is an chase of alarm; keep away from me the spears, and the teeth will not be long enough to reach me; and is it not the most effectual way to put down both the spearing and the eating propensities to bring these poor but noble aborigines within the reach of British civilization? Yes, sir, the process is going on, and New Zealand has already been pushed forward in the march of civilization. Say not it is a far-off land. In the estimate of an enlarged philanthropy—in the prospects of futurity even as to the globe itself on which we dwell—in the arrangements of a benevolent Providence for helping forward the career of human improvement—distances are nothing. Look at the map of this terrestrial ball, and New Zealand you see in a most central position as to the commerce and relations of the human family. It is the order of Providence—it is the command of Jehovah, that the earth shall be replenished—that the improvements of one race shall be imparted to another—that the loveliest islands of the ocean shall not for ever be condemned to absolute solitude, or to the dominion of savagism—that Scotsmen and Scottish Christians shall go forth to do some real good to the common family who lie beyond the bounds of their own nice little nutshell—that a cold and contracted selfishness shall not always mark the movements of brethren having a common interest—that British capital, British enterprise, and British principle, shall contribute, and contribute effectually, to that most likely of all means of human advancement, a scheme of well-considered, well-arranged, and benevolently conducted Christian colonization. (Much cheering.) Again, I say, don't dissolve your Society; keep together; cherish mutual affection, and avoid every appearance of discord or unfriendly feeling. Do not count much as yet on the patronage you may have received from such as are able to help you. It may be "respectable" as to quality, but it is wofully slender in quantity. The public are in a dead sleep upon the subject—there is an absolute apathy; yea, there is rather a determined resistance to every movement. In 1827, we collected in all the Established Churches for the Canadian emigrants; and what did we get, sir? Just the mighty sum of thirteen pounds in all! Yes, Mr. Chairman, whole thirteen pounds! And I wonder if with all our dunning we would get more even now. Go rather and knock at Lord John's door; keep knocking; perseverance will do much. Did not the Paisley Reform Society do much by their importunity and determination? And is the present not a cause worthy of the same? I am utterly amazed at the apathy of people on the matter. What are we to do with an industrious but ill-requited labouring population? Are they to starve? Are they to be precipitated on the pauper roll? Are you to stop the progress of machinery, in order to keep hand labour? You may as soon stop the planets in their movements. And what are you to do? Don't you see that every new colony that is formed, becomes ere long an outlet for your manufactures?—Don't you know that the exports to Britain's Colonial possessions are tenfold beyond our exports to all the world besides? Why not then encourage, on a large scale, a healthful and well-conducted emigration? Why not petition Parliaments its favour? Why not diffuse information regarding it? Why look on an intending emigrant as an object of pity? That man is to be pitied, whose little soul sees nothing beyond its narrow cell save darkness and gloom. That man is to be pitied, who will rather pine in poverty and dependence at home, than settle in another apartment in the family mansion which the Almighty has provided, and where there is ample space for a comfortable location, and where there is bread enough and to spare. In the artificial and factitious state of society at home, there is much that we deplore, and much that we would wish to see altered. But there are difficulties which to human skill seem insuperable; and among all the schemes of improvement that are afloat—many of them patriotic and wise—not a few far otherwise—I see nothing superior to the plan of enlarging our bounds; giving free scope to the energies of our people; multiplying their advantageous means of colonial settlement, and sending with them the arts, the literature, the religion of that empire on which, even now, the sun never sets.
The memorial of the Society appeared in our number of the 18th July, but the following body of rules and the appeal were not then in our possession:—
Rules Of The Paisley New Zealand Emigration Society.
I. This society shall be called "the Paisley New Zealand Emigration Society," and its object is declared to be, to persevere in the employment of all proper means, to procure from Government free passages for its members, with a grant of land for their location, with a view of founding a Scotch Colony in New Zealand.
II. All working men desirous of going out with their families, and settling in New Zealand under Government regulations, and not disqualified on account of bad character, shall be eligible as members of the society. The admission of members to be by a poll vote of the society; it being in the power, however, of any single member, on this as well as all other points, to call for the ballot; and should the conduct of any member be declared refractory by 9-10ths of the members present at any meeting, he shall be liable to expulsion.
III. Individuals not belonging to the labouring classes shall be eligible as honorary members of the society, and shall be entitled to attend the meetings, and take part in the proceedings, and to vote the same as other members.
IV. Meetings of the society shall be held in the Philosophical Hall, or other suitable place, every Saturday evening; and those meetings shall be public, and reporters of the public press may attend; but none but members shall be entitled to speak or vote.
V. The affairs of the society shall be managed by a committee of six honorary and twelve ordinary members, from whom shall be chosen a Chairman, Vice-chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Committee of Finance.
VI. The funds of the society shall be collected by public subscription, and by voluntary contribution of its members, and of the public at each meeting—it being understood that no member shall ever contribute less than one penny at each meeting; and two members of the committee shall be appointed to superintend the collections at the door every meeting.
VII. The funds of the society shall be paid, as they are collected from time to time, into the Glasgow Union Bank, Paisley, in name of the treasurer; and shall not be drawn there from, except by an order from the Finance Committee; and the secretary and treasurer shall keep proper books, in which shall be inserted all minutes of meetings, and all sums received and paid on account of the society.
VIII. As it is desirable that persons of capital should go out to New Zealand, at the same time that working men are sent out, so that the proper relation betwixt capital and labour may be preserved—all such persons are invited to intimate their intention to the society, and to become honorary members. The society, however, is perfectly satisfied that employers will be more in want of labourers, than labourers will be of employers, in New Zealand.
IX. The society, being sensible of the great importance of securing the means of moral and religious instruction, in the event of Government acceding to their request, application shall be made, in the proper quarter, for the appoinment of and provision for a clergyman and schoolmaster to go along with them.
Appeal On Behalf Of The Paisley New Zealand Emigration Society.
The Paisley New Zealand Emigration Society, composed of working men, has been formed for the purpose of adopting every requisite measure for accomplishing the objects in view, namely, the transplantation of themselves and families to New Zealand, at the expense of an emigration fund, raised by the sale, or on the faith, in the mean time, of future sales of land in New Zealand, in which object they are determined to persevere until it be fully accomplished. And should the prayer of their memorial not be granted, then they intend to petition her Majesty and both houses of Parliament in their favour which petitions will be advocated and supported by the most distinguished members of the British Legislature.
The Society are assured that their object is laudable, and deserving of encouragement by the Government. They have the countenance and support, not only of their fellow-workmen, but of the Provost and Bailies, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Clergymen, and other influential persons in Paisley. It is necessary, however, that the Society have friends to carry out these objects, and (in the event of the success of their application) to procure the necessary outfits for the voyage, &c. It is too well known the members of the Society cannot raise these funds amongst themselves. The present appeal, not only to their townsmen, but to their countrymen at large, for pecuniary aid, is therefore rendered absolutely necessary, and they trust it will not be in vain.
The conduct of the Society cannot be condemned on the ground of being political. Politicians of all shades may therefore lend encouragement to the Society.
The Society feels that the supply of labour, in the weaving department at least, is far too great in proportion to the demand, even to admit of adequate wages being received, far less of regular and constant employment. No person can feel more averse than they do to apply for support from the parish poor's fund. It is their wish, as independent-minded Scotsmen, to earn a livelihood honestly and industriously, by their own labour. But unless they are enabled to transfer their labour to New Zealand, or some other of our colonial possessions, where labour is scarce, and where good wages may therefore be earned, they see no alternative, if they remain at home, but to sink into the condition of paupers and dependents on parochial bounty. To save them from this alternative it is the interest as well as duty of all landed proprietors, and heritors, and kirk sessions, to aid the Society to the utmost in their power, and from them the Society hopes to receive considerable support.
It is the wish of the Society to go forth to their adopted land as a moral and religious community, and that a minister, or ministers of the gospel, and schoolmasters for the education of their children, should accompany them. In this they will be seconded by the voice of every good man; and to the sound-thinking and religious portion of the community, they therefore trust their present appeal will not be in vain.
No class of the community is more interested in the success of the objects of the society than the shipowners, and all engaged in the shipping trade. To them the foundation of a new colony is of the most immense importance. Look only at the great amount of shipping now employed from the port of Greenock alone, to the colonies of South Australia and Port Philip—both planted but yesterday, as it were, neither literally yet four years old. No class are more directly interested in promoting emigration. The shipowners of London are alive to this. They are so convinced of the importance of emigration, that they are doing every thing in their power to draw the whole emigration of the country to London, and they are not scrupulous in employing hired writers to write down the Clyde, and every other outport in the kingdom, and to infuse into the public mind, that it is not safe even to sail in a ship from Liverpool or Greenock, for any of our colonies in the Southern Hemisphere. As an instance of the allegations of these scribblers, it is said, "in no ship from the Clyde will a clean table cloth ever be found in the cabin;" also, that all the Clyde Captains are "rough boors," whereas, all the London captains "are complete gentlemen." The Clyde shipowners, if they have the smallest spark of spirit, will put down these calumnies. What is to hinder the Clyde to excel the Thames in every thing connected with emigration, as much as it does in steam engineering and shipbuilding—aye, just as much as the breadth of its waters and the beauty of its scenery transcend the narrowness of the channel, and low mud banks, and dull dreary flats on both sides of the Thames. The Society appeals to the shipowners of Greenock and Glasgow, therefore—confident that they will see that, in extending their support to them, and in furthering their objects, they are only promoting their own interests.
To the ladies of the West of Scotland they appeal with the greatest confidence, knowing that their sympathies will be keenly excited towards their wives and children, and that on their account their helping hand will not be withheld.
When the Society thinks of the immense sums raised in this country by private benevolence, for various objects and institutions, they hope that their Society, which calls for encouragement to self-dependence and the promotion of a bold and manly enterprise, will meet with countenance and support amongst all classes, and that their call will be gladly responded to.

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