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Emigration of Eight Hundred Nonconformists to New Zealand
From the Illustrated London News, June 7, 1862.
The London Docks were thronged at an early hour on Thursday week by an immense concourse of persons assembled to witness the departure of the first instalment, about eight hundred persons, chiefly members of different Nonconformist bodies, who are emigrating to the new colony of Albertland, in New Zealand. Availing themselves of the liberal offer of the New Zealand Government to grant forty acres of land to every emigrant paying his passage to the colony, with a proportionate grant in addition for each member of his family, Mr. W.R. Brame and a number of friends have organised an emigration on an extensive scale. In a comparatively brief period over a thousand persons have been duly registered. Only such persons were selected as possessed a certain amount of capital or were proficient in some valuable mechanical avocation, or were in other points calculated to prove profitable to the new colony. Should the pioneers report favourable we may expect their new settlement to become highly popular. The colony of Albertland to which they proceed is situated on the banks of a beautiful river named the Ornawharo, fifty or sixty miles from Auckland, a district of the fertility of which the most encouraging reports are given by competent authorities.
The Matilda Wattenbach, a British-built clipper-ship of 1000 tons, belonging to Messrs. Wattenbach, Heilgers and Co., of Mincinglane; and the Hanover, a ship of the same class and tonnage, and owned by George Marshall and Co., were specially selected from Messrs. Shaw and Savill's well-known passenger line of packets, and will be followed by the William Miles, 1250 tons, on the 10th of July. The Ida Ziegler, also belonging to Messrs. Wattenbach, Heilgers, and Co., follows the William Miles in the course of July. On board the Matilda Wattenbach there were about 350 passengers, including the Rev. S. Edgar, Mr. W.R. Brame, the originator of the movement, and the committee of management for "the new settlement." [On] board the Hanover there were about 280 passengers.
At ten o'clock the company began to assemble in a spacious booth erected for the purpose within the dock premises, where a public "farewell demonstration" was held, under the presidency of Mr. Harper Twelvetrees. At half-past eleven a hymn was sung, in which the vast crowd united, and they were accompanied by a powerful brass band. The Chairman then delivered a brief address, bidding the emigrants "God speed," wishing them a pleasant voyage and a happy realisation of their fondest hopes in the land of their adoption, where he trusted they would found a prosperous and important community.
The Rev. Thomas Penrose followed with a remarkably opportune farewell address, replete with sound advice, judicious cautions, seasonable admonitions, and abounding with the heartiest good wishes for their future wellbeing.
The Rev. W. Landells next spoke. He reminded the emigrants of the responsibilities of their positions, and counselled them to prepare for many unexpected difficulties and discouragements which they would have to encounter, and to acquit themselves as men. He considered that they were setting out with prospects of the most hopeful description. He spoke in the most complimentary terms of the merits of Mr. Brame, the founder of the movement, and especially of the Rev. Mr. Edgar, who goes out with the colonists in the capacity of pastor.
At this point the band, which had gone round the docks for the purpose of assembling the friends, returned, and the company collected now amounted to nearly 15,000 persons. The greatest interest was excited in the movement. The docks have not for many a day been startled from their dull propriety by such a spectacle as was then witnessed. The leave-takings were of the most exciting and sometimes painful description. The band played "Auld Lang Syne," and its plaintive strains drew tears from the eyes of many who had till then remained apparently unmoved.
Affectionate addresses were delivered by Mr. Heaton and the Rev. Mr. Edgar, and the company proceeded on board the two magnificent ships, which then left the docks, the band playing the National Anthem. Salutes were fired, and the vessels were taken in tow by powerful steam-tugs amidst deafening applause from the immense multitude assembled to bid their friends farewell. A large number of friends proceeded with the emigrants on board as far as Gravesend, which they reached shortly after four o'clock.
Mr. Ball, M.P., addressed the emigrants on board, and spoke in the most encouraging terms of the prospects which were before them. He said he had two sons who had spent many years in the colony, and had been remarkably successful. The soil was fertile, and there were no serpents or dangerous wild beasts which infested other quarters of the globe. The climate was good, and the temperature was equable. There were no extremes of cold to be feared. They had only to dig and to plant the potato, for instance, and the fruitful soil would return them in some cases tenfold, in some cases twentyfold, and in other cases even a hundredfold. If they carried out their Christian principles in their conduct towards the natives they would find a cordial response to all their kindness. Mr. Jesse Hobson also delivered an address full of sympathy and encouragement. He counselled the emigrants to expect many disappointments; but he assured them that, if their hopes were not fully realized in the precise way in which they expected, they would often be fulfilled in a manner not less advantageous to them. He eloquently placed before them their grave responsibilities as emigrants proceeding to a new country, the physical and the moral character of which would largely depend upon the way in which they discharged those duties they were expected to fulfil; and he concluded by a few words of counsel and encouragement. After a few words from the Rev. Mr. Millard, of Maze-pond, the visitors left the ships, which had now reached Gravesend, and they returned to town by rail.
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