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A First Year in Canterbury Settlement   By: (1835-1902)

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A First Year in Canterbury Settlement by Samuel Butler offers readers a fascinating and insightful account of the author's experience in the newly established settlement of Canterbury, New Zealand. The book provides a unique perspective on the challenges and triumphs faced by the early settlers as they navigate the unfamiliar landscape and attempt to create a thriving community.

Butler's captivating writing style immediately draws readers into his narrative, painting vivid pictures of the rugged Canterbury region and the people who inhabit it. His descriptive language allows us to vividly imagine the lush landscapes, from the vast plains to the dense forests, and the awe-inspiring beauty of the Southern Alps. It is evident that Butler had a keen eye for observing the natural world and his talent for capturing the intricacies of his surroundings shines through in his writing.

What makes A First Year in Canterbury Settlement particularly compelling is Butler's honesty and candidness in recounting the challenges faced by the settlers. He does not shy away from discussing the difficulties of building a new community from scratch, including the harsh climate, unfamiliar terrain, and limited resources. The author's firsthand experiences of the trials and tribulations of settlement life highlight the resilience and determination of the early pioneers.

Additionally, Butler provides valuable insights into the social dynamics within the settlement. He delves into the interactions between different groups of settlers, including their shared struggles, conflicts, and eventual cooperation. His keen observations and nuanced understanding of human nature provide a deeper understanding of the social complexities that emerge in such challenging circumstances.

While A First Year in Canterbury Settlement is a compelling historical account, it also serves as an intriguing reflection on the nature of colonization and its impact on indigenous populations. Butler does not shy away from discussing the Maori people, their struggles, and their encounters with the European settlers. By including these perspectives, he urges readers to consider the complexities and consequences of settlement on the native inhabitants of the land.

In conclusion, A First Year in Canterbury Settlement is a captivating and thought-provoking memoir that offers valuable insights into the trials and triumphs of early settlement, as well as the social dynamics of a developing community. Samuel Butler's vivid descriptions, honest storytelling, and nuanced perspectives make this book a must-read for those interested in New Zealand's colonial history.

First Page:


by Samuel Butler

INTRODUCTION By R. A. Streatfeild

Since Butler's death in 1902 his fame has spread so rapidly and the world of letters now takes so keen in interest in the man and his writings that no apology is necessary for the republication of even his least significant works. I had long desired to bring out a new edition of his earliest book A FIRST YEAR IN CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT, together with the other pieces that he wrote during his residence in New Zealand, and, that wish being now realised, I have added a supplementary group of pieces written during his undergraduate days at Cambridge, so that the present volume forms a tolerably complete record of Butler's literary activity up to the days of EREWHON, the only omission of any importance being that of his pamphlet, published anonymously in 1865, THE EVIDENCE FOR THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST AS CONTAINED IN THE FOUR EVANGELISTS CRITICALLY EXAMINED. I have not reprinted this, because practically the whole of it was incorporated into THE FAIR HAVEN.

A FIRST YEAR IN CANTERBURY SETTLEMENT has long been out of print, and copies of the original edition are difficult to procure. Butler professed to think poorly of it. Writing in 1889 to his friend Alfred Marks, who had picked up a second hand copy and felt some doubt as to its authorship, he said: "I am afraid the little book you have referred to was written by me... Continue reading book >>

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