New Zealand Minstrelsy
In offering this little work to the Nobility and Inhabitants in general of Port Nicholson, as Memory; Colonya tribute to the memory of the early settlers of our Colony, I confess it is not without some compulsion in my own mind that I thus make my debut, though several, long before this, have asked me to do so, and which I hitherto had declined. But as certain circumstances unforseen, and which I could not avert, will now force me again out of my obscurity into the arena of the literary circle, I beg thus coolly to submit myself to the sympathies, merited or unmerited, of a generous yet impartial public. Yet now, as it must be, in appearing again as an author, it is not, I confess, without some slight Poetry; Colony; Societyhope that this little attempt in the matter of song may tend not only to add to the literature of our Colony, thereby extracting some of the sweets which lie hid among the many asperities of colonial life; but also to endear our adopted country the more to the bosom of the bonâ fide settler; as such, in days of yore, has often induced a people to take a firmer hold of their country, by not only inspiring them with a spirit of patriotic magnanimity, but also in making them the more connected as a people in the eyes of others. For instances of which, I need not here refer the intelligent reader to the ancient history of any other nation than the one to which he as an individual may belong. But even although no such great distinctions may be mine, yet Memory; Future; Colonymay we not endeavour to hand down to our posterity some familiar remembrance page vi of the beginning of our Colony, and the struggles its first settlers had to contend with when perhaps those in a future age may be reaping the benefits arising from the toils of the past with comparative ease and comfort? Should such be the result of this humble attempt, the original object of the author, in composing some of the pieces in the work, will be so far attained.
Allow me here to say that Poetrymost of the contents of the present offering were written several years ago, with no idea of ever seeing them published in this country, but merely as a pleasing pastime picturing out experiences and observations, for want of better employment, when I used to sit in my lonely bush cottage musing over the fire in the long winter evenings. As the composing of the several pieces then gave me pleasure, I hope they will not fail to impart some of the same enjoyments to those who may now favour the work with their patronage and perusal; and that the work itself might, as some have hoped, form a pleasing gift of remembrance to a distant friend.
I have also given, by way of Appendix, some pieces selected from my “Recreations for Solitary Hours,” which I published before I left home, most of which were written in early years.
In conclusion, I beg to return Societymy grateful acknowledgements to those distinguished persons who have deigned to assist me forward with the work; and also to my subscribers in general for their wellwishes and patronage hitherto conferred upon their humble servant,
The Author.Hutt, September 22, 1852.