The writer of the following pages, having resolved on emigrating to New Zealand, took his passage in the ill-fated ship Burmah, which never reached her destination, and is believed to have perished with all on board. His berth was chosen, and the passage-money paid, when important alterations were made in the arrangements of the vessel, in order to make room for some stock which was being sent out to the Canterbury Settlement.
The space left for the accommodation of the passengers being thus curtailed, and the comforts of the voyage seeming likely to be much diminished, the writer was most providentially induced to change his ship, and, a few weeks later, secured a berth in another vessel.
The work is compiled from the actual letters and journal of a young emigrant, with extracts from two papers contributed by him to the Eagle, a periodical issued by some of the members of St. John’s College, Cambridge, at which the writer took his degree. This variety in the sources from which the materials are put together must be the apology for some defects in their connection and coherence. It is hoped also that the circumstances of bodily fatigue and actual difficulty under which they were often written, will excuse many faults of style.
For whatever of presumption may appear in giving this little book to the public, the friends of the writer alone are answerable. It was at their wish only that he consented to its being printed. It is, however, submitted to the reader, in the hope that the unbiassed impressions of colonial life, as they fell freshly on a young mind, may not be wholly devoid of interest. Its value to his friends at home is not diminished by the fact that the MS., having been sent out to New Zealand for revision, was, on its return, lost in the Colombo, and was fished up from the Indian Ocean so nearly washed out as to have been with some difficulty deciphered.
It should be further stated, for the encouragement of those who think of following the example of the author, and emigrating to the same settlement, that his most recent letters indicate that he has no reason to regret the step that he has taken, and that the results of his undertaking have hitherto fully justified his expectations.
Langar Rectory June 29, 1863
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