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Curious Consistencies: the Shaping of the Literature of Emigration, Colonisation and Settlement

  • Robert D. Grant

Abstract

The literature of colonial promotion ranged from penny pamphlets to shilling handbooks, limited-edition illustrated volumes to expensive hand-coloured prints. At the cheaper end, publications were often little more than a few pages in length, with paragraphs on each of a colony’s main settlements and a few statistics thrown in for good measure. Frederic Algar was particularly adept at this. His tracts on the British colonies have a modular composition that allowed him to re-use sections across a range of colonial/publishing permutations. Introductory sections from his Handbook to the Colony of South Australia, for example, were split off to provide the introductory sections to his Handbook to the Colony of New South Wales, published the same year. A number of works on Britain’s colonies took the form of surveys of particular colonies, their attention to the purely local no doubt giving them credence, while their apparent comprehensiveness appeared to offer readers a choice between a colony’s different destinations, although they almost always favoured one location over all others. William Fox’s Six Colonies of New Zealand, for example, appeared to offer an overview of the different colonial opportunities of that country but, in fact, plumped quite resolutely for the New Zealand Company’s settlements of Nelson and Wellington. Fox was Company Agent in Nelson from 1843 to 1848, and Principal Agent for the entire Company from 1848 to 1851, so it should perhaps be no surprise that he should be so partisan in his outlook.

Keywords

Indigenous Population Title Page Content List Settlement Figure Modular Composition 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Frederic Algar, Handbook to the Colony of South Australia (London, 1863); Handbook to the Colony of New South Wales (London, 1863)Google Scholar
  2. William Fox, The Six Colonies of New Zealand (London, 1851)Google Scholar
  3. Patrick Matthew, Emigration Fields. North America, the Cape, Australia, and New Zealand (Edinburgh & London, 1839)Google Scholar
  4. W. H. Leigh, Travels & Adventures in South Australia (London, 1839).Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    Godfrey Mundy, Our Antipodes, 3 vols (London, 1852) vol. 1, frontispiece.Google Scholar
  6. On the role of the middle-class in ‘making’ these prospects, see Linda Young, Middle-Class Culture in the Nineteenth Century (Basingstoke, 2003).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    Edward Jerningham Wakefield, Illustrations to Adventure in New Zealand (London, 1845).Google Scholar
  8. 5.
    Edward Wilson, Rambles at the Antipodes (London, 1859)Google Scholar
  9. Charles Hursthouse, New Zealand, or Zealandia, the Britain of the South, 2 vols (London, 1857). Latin translation provided by Dr. Carolinne White, Oxford Latin, 28 Duns Tew, Oxon. OX25 6JR.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    Edward Jerningham Wakefield, Hand-Book for New Zealand (London, 1848), p. [ii]Google Scholar
  11. Hursthouse, New Zealand, or Zealand’s, vol. 1, frontispiece; William Westgarth, Victoria; Late Australia Felix (Edinburgh & London, 1853) frontispiece.Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    Hursthouse, New Zealand, or Zealandia, vol. 1, pp. v–vi; James Brown, Views of Canada and the Colonists, 2nd edn. (Edinburgh & London, 1844) flyleaf.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Joseph Pickering, Inquiries of an Emigrant (London, 1832) title page; Henry Butler Stoney, Residence in Tasmania (London, 1850), pp. vii & 1.Google Scholar
  14. 12.
    Conjectured connections to ancient races were something of a commonplace: see, for example, Richard Taylor, Te Ika a Maui, or New Zealand and its Inhabitants (London, 1855) pp. 8, 68, 71 & 465–6Google Scholar
  15. Michael Russell, Polynesia: A History of the South Sea Islands, rev. edn. (London, 1852), pp. 63–7 & 471–4Google Scholar
  16. Emmanuel Howitt, Letters Written During a Tour through the United States (Nottingham, 1820); Thomas Pringle, African Sketches (London, 1834) p. 414; Harriet Ward, The Cape and the Kaffirs (London, 1851) Contents, n.p; Westgarth, pp. xi–xvi; Hursthouse, New Zealand, or Zealandia, vol. 1, pp. vii–xvGoogle Scholar
  17. Arthur Thomson, The Story of New Zealand: Past and Present Savage and Civilized, 2 vols (London, 1859) vol. 2, p. 283Google Scholar
  18. Chris Hilliard, ‘Stories of Becoming’, New Zealand Journal of History, vol. 33, no. 1 (April 1999), pp. 3–19 (although Hilliard is dealing with texts from the 1930s, this trope can be traced to earlier writings, where it offered to resolve some of the tensions between Māori and European claims on the New Zealand landscape)Google Scholar
  19. William Holden, History of the Colony of Natal (London, Graham’s-Town, Cape-Town, Natal & Durban, 1855), p. vi.Google Scholar
  20. 14.
    See, for example, Richard Taylor’s treatment of government pre-emption over Māori land sales: pp. 278–280. The passage starts out advocating Māori rights but ends with the promise of European settlers pouring into the land: pp. vi, 1, 11, 300 & 307; Ernst Dieffenbach, Travels in New Zealand, 2 vols, (London, 1843) vol. 1, pp. 61 & 247.Google Scholar
  21. 15.
    Stoney, p. 21; Robert Semple, Walks and Sketches at the Cape of Good Hope (London, 1805); Eliot Warburton, Hochelaga; or, England in the New World, 2 vols (London, 1846) vol. 1, pp. 81–114.Google Scholar
  22. 16.
    John Centlivres Chase, Cape of Good Hope and the Eastern Province of Algoa Bay (London, 1843) p. 23. His reference is to the anonymously authored ‘Public Health and Mortality’, Quarterly Review, vol. 66, no. 131 (June 1840) pp. 115–55.Google Scholar
  23. 18.
    William Swainson, New Zealand and its Colonization (London, 1859).Google Scholar

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© Robert Grant 2005

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  • Robert D. Grant

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