Past and Present, and Men of the Times.
The Queen's Hotel, London, and its proprietor—I interview Sir Julius Vogel—A change, of Government mid its consequences—A long lecturing tour—I meet the Tichborne claimant—Not Orton, hut Castro—I address a big meeting at Nottingham—My book is published—I return to New Zealand—I settle in Dunedin and stand for Parliament—My address to the Electors—I write to Mr. Rolleston for recognition of my services in England.
It is a singular coincidence that, shortly after my arrival in London, I made the Queen's Hotel, St. Martin-le-Grand, my headquarters, little thinking that the site of the hotel was that of the Bull and Mouth, where, in 1828—when a boy of ten years of age—I put up with Sir John Alcock, previous to our leaving England in the "Red Rover." The landlord at that time was the celebrated Edward Sherman, then the largest coach proprietor in England. I have a vivid recollection of the old house, and my astonishment was great to find it transformed into the present noble and commodious hotel, "The Queen's" kept by Mr. Quarterman East. This gentleman was, I understand, Sheriff of London in 1876-77, and is deservedly one of the most popular hotel proprietors in England. The Queen's is situated in the very centre of London, and almost the entire population of a village can sleep within its walls, as it "makes" over 250 beds every night. I can state, from personal experience, that every attention is paid to the comfort of its patrons, and the charges are most moderate. The Queen's is a favourite resort for colonists, and certainly they who visit the Mother Country, from time to time, cannot find a more comfortable home in London. Mr. East, the proprietor, is also well known as a breeder of blood-page 189stock, on his beautiful estate at Epsom, which I have visited, and I must say that finer meadow-land there cannot be in England for the purpose. I saw thoroughbred mares of the value of 1600 guineas, with their foals. This stock is well worth the attention of my fellow-colonists, who, like myself, visit England, and I am sure the same courtesy will be extended to them as was shown to myself and friends on our visit to Epsom.
I was a few days in London before I called on the Agent-General for New Zealand, at No. 7, Westminster Chambers. When I arrived there, I met Mr. Kennaway, Secretary to Sir Julius Vogel, and I presented my credentials from the New Zealand Government. Sir Julius had been laid up with gout, and I had to call several times at the office before I could see him. At last I got an interview. He asked me what had kept me so long on the road, as over eight months had passed away since I got the letters from the Government. I told Sir Julius that I had been laid up in Sydney over two months with gout. He said, "Do you know there has been a change of Government since you left Now Zealand? The Grey Government is out of power. It is the Hall Government now, and they are retrenching, and I have to retrench, so I would advise you to go back to New Zealand. It may be some time before I can help yon."
I told Sir Julius I had a manuscript I had brought Home with me to be put into book form. He had a look at it, and said he would introduce me to some of the large publishers in London. I thanked him, and he also said it would cost a large sum of money to bring it out. I told him that I was sent Home to lecture for the New Zealand Government, and I intended to do so, and get good men to come to the Colony and bring plenty of cash with them. I said if I cannot get instructions from you I will start a lecture or two hers in London. I have plenty of money to pay my expenses, and I intend to do some good for New Zealand now that I am in England. I then took a cab and drove to my hotel. I had a good look round London for a few days before I made a start on my lecturing tour through England.
One night, in the smoking-room of the Queen's Hotel, I was having a smoke, when three gentlemen came into the room and stood before the fire, conversing about Arthur Orton, the Tichborne Claimant. I looked up and said, "I should like to see page 190this Arthur Orton; he was in my employ in Victoria." The gentlemen looked at each other, but made me no reply. One of them made the remark, "Let us retire to another room," which they did. I thought they were three business-men when they first came into the smoking-room. They had not long left when the proprietor, Mr. East, came in and said, "Captain Barry, come with me, I wish to introduce you to some of my friends." I went into a room with him, where the three gentlemen and a number of others were present.
I was then introduced to Lord Rivers, Dr. Kenealy, and Mr. Guilford Onslow (Lord Onslow's uncle). Lord Rivers said, "Captain Barry, I heard you say when I was in the smoking-room that you would like to see Arthur Orton. Where did you know Orton?" I said, "In the Colonies; he was in my employ in Victoria." Lord Rivers said, "You shall see him; I will get you a permit from Mr. Cross, and you can go with us next Monday."
They obtained the permit, and when Monday came round sent for me to join the party. We drove to the station, and there found a number of gentlemen waiting for the train to go to Portsmouth, the Claimant then being in Portsea prison. We all got into one carriage, the party consisting of Lord Rivers, and two other noblemen, Dr. Kenealy, Mr. Guilford Onslow, Mr. Quarterman East, and myself.
Arriving at Portsmouth, we found two carriages waiting, and were driven to the Bedford Hotel, where we put up for the night. About ten o'clock next morning the hotel was surrounded with people. I asked what was the reason, and Lord Rivers said he thought I was the cause, as the London Times had announced that Captain Barry was to go to Portsmouth to identify the Claimant. At about twelve o'clock we drove to the prison, the crowd following us.
On leaving the carriage we were rushed by the crowd, and I was glad to get inside the prison out of their way. We all went into a room, the Governor of the gaol came in and Lord Rivers and Mr. Guilford Onslow went away with him.
In about fifteen minutes a head warder came to the door and asked for me. I left the room and followed the warder into a small yard, where about twenty gentlemen were assembled. Five prisoners were brought into the yard, all of them being dressed alike. Lord Rivers came to me and said, "Now, Captain, you page 191say you know Arthur Orton; can you see him among those five?" I had a good look, but I could not see Arthur Orton. Lord Rivers said, "He is there among those five." "No, my Lord, he is not there," I said, "but the third man from me I knew in the colony. I have seen him with Arthur Orton in Victoria." Lord Rivers and Guilford Onslow said, "That will do, Captain; you shall see him."
Four of the men were sent out of the yard, and the Claimant was put into a room by himself. He looked hard at me and I said, "Well, sir, I am sorry to see you here; do you know me?" He at once said, "No," he could not recall my name, but he thought he had met me in the colonies. I told him that I had seen him in company with a man that called himself Arthur Orton, and that he was killing cattle for me in Ballarat, Victoria.
The Claimant then called me by name, and said, "I know you now, sir, and I am glad you have come to see me. You are the only gentleman that has called on me from the colonies since I have been in prison." He then told me that he had got seven years for swearing that he was not Arthur Orton, and also seven years for swearing that he was Sir Roger Tichborne, which, he said, "I am, and you are sure that I am not Arthur Orton." I replied, "Well, sir, I have seen you in company with Orton, and you called yourself Tom Castro; and you never told me that you were Sir Roger Tichborne, nor that you had any claim to any estate. When I came into this prison I expected to see Orton, instead I have interviewed his mate, Thomas Castro."
I looked round and said, "My Lords, if this man Castro has been sentenced to seven years for swearing that he is not Arthur Orton, he is here a victim to mistaken identity; and as soon as I get outside of these gates I shall let the world know who this man is."
I promised to write to the Home Secretary, Mr. Cross, which I did, and also to the London Times. When we left the prison there were about three thousand people assembled to hear the news. We drove, to the Bedford Hotel, and the crowd followed us. I had to go outside to explain my interview to the crowd; they gave me three cheers and left.
I shall have something more to say about the Claimant further on. Mr. Guilford Onslow and Lord Rivers made an page 192appointment with me m two days time at the Queen s Hotel. It is through those two gentlemen that I got my manuscript put into book form. As soon as I found that my book would not cost me anything, I began to think I was in luck's way after all.
I made up my mind to give a lecture on New Zealand as a field for emigration. I announced that I would give an outdoor lecture at Peckham Rye. The night before Dr. Kenealy came to my hotel and arranged to take the chair. The next day we drove to Peckham Rye, and at 2 p.m. I got on to the platform that was put up for me. There were about four thousand people present.
The nest day I was writing a letter in the smoking-room, when Lord Rivers, Guilford Onslow and Dr. Kenealy came in. Dr. Kenealy asked me if I could spare the time to go to Nottingham, as the Magna Charta and Tichborne Release Associations were to have a meeting. I told him I could hardly spare the time, as I was very busy about my book, which I wanted published. My manuscript was on the table, and Lord Rivers said, "Captain Barry, let me take your manuscript, and I will have it put into book form for you."
The Doctor then said: "Now, Captain, the trouble about your book is all settled, Lord Rivers will see to that." I asked him how soon he would want me. He said, In a few days." I then consented to go. One morning, at the breakfast-table, a gentleman brought me the London Times. I read the announcement of the meeting in Exeter Hall, Mansfield Road, Nottingham:—"Magna Charta and Tichborne Release Association.—A National Conference of the above association will be held on Monday, October 13th, 1879, at the above place, when the following gentlemen are expected to attend to take part in the proceedings and to further the candidature of Sir Roger Tichborne as M.P. for Nottingham at the next election, on independent principles:—Lord Rivers, Dr. Kenealy, M.P., Captain Morrison, G. B. Skipwith, Esq., Guilford Onslow, Esq., Captain Barry, of New Zealand, J. Hesby, Esq., Quarterman East, Esq. (late Sheriff of London), and others from all parts of the United Kingdom. The president, Doctor Kenealy, M.P., will preside. The conference to commence at 10.30 a.m. Captain Barry, thrice Mayor of Cromwell, New Zealand, who employed Arthur Orton in page 193Australia, will relate his knowledge of Castro and Orton whilst in the colonies, and also give an outline of his interview with the Claimant in Portsea prison, he recognising the Claimant as Thomas Castro, and not Arthur Orton, they being two distinct persons; and other important matters connected with the Claimant, Sir Roger Tichborne."
I was reading the newspaper when Dr. Kenealy came into the dining-room, and said: "Captain Barry, we leave for Nottingham to-morrow by the morning train. Lord Rivers, Onslow, and myself will call for you and Mr. East on the way to the station." He told me at the same time that Messrs. Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, Crown Buildings. Fleet Street, had got my book to publish, and I felt easy in my mind.
When I arrived in Nottingham, the town was full of people. I saw men walking about with advertisement boards on their backs announcing that the public meeting was to be held. When the meeting came off there were over four thousand people present. I was called upon and addressed the audience, for half an hour. A great many speeches were made by other gentlemen, and the meeting lasted two and a half hours. I was asked to write to the Home Secretary before I left England for the colonies. I gave my word I would do so, and also to the London Times and other leading newspapers.
I stayed in Nottingham a few days, and gave a lecture on New Zealand as a field for emigration. I had a very large audience, and was well received and listened to with the greatest attention. I persuaded many to seek the new country. I then left on a lecturing tour all through England, and visited various agricultural districts, and delivered addresses describing the advantages of the colony as a field for capital, knowing that few, or perhaps no one, has visited England after fifty years' absence, possessed more knowledge of the colonies than I did. After touring through the Midland Counties I returned to London and took train for Edinburgh.
On Sunday, 28th December, 1879, I was getting down from a tram-car in Princes Street, when I fell on my head. I was taken into an hotel, and lay there insensible for two hours. Doctors were sent for, and I was put to bed. In the morning I was just able to come down stairs. I went to the door and saw a great number of people running about and crying out—"Have you heard the news? The Tay Bridge is carried away page 194and train and passengers are all gone to the bottom!" Some said, "It cannot be true," but it was too true, and a shroud of mourning was all ever Scotland.
I was laid up a week before I could travel. I then took train for London, and, on arriving at the Queen's Hotel, I met Lord Rivers, who told me that my manuscript was now in book form. I thanked him, and went to the publishers in Fleet Street, and obtained a few books, of which I sent one to the Queen and one to Lord Rivers.
The Queen wrote me a letter, thanking me for the book. I was in bad health, and could not get about to sell my books to get a few pounds to carry me on. I had made up my mind to leave England as soon as possible, but the fall I got in Edinburgh took me some time to get over, and I was laid up in London through it. When well enough I called on the Agent-General, Sir Julius Vogel, and told him that I had laid out my last pound in paying for halls and travelling all through England delivering lectures to induct the right sort of people to go to New Zealand and settle. I told him I had lectured on one hundred and twenty-one platforms and had spent all the money I had brought home with me.
Sir Julius Vogel said, "The Grey Government sent you Home and when you are ready to go back come and see me, and I will send you back when you think fit to go."
I went back to my hotel quite down-hearted, but I met Mr. Guilford Onslow and Lord Rivers and told them I was in a fix after spending £450 in lecturing all through England for the New Zealand Government, and all I had left was £2. Lord Rivers gave me a cheque for £20 and Guilford Onslow gave me one for £10, and I was in funds again.
They drove me to their estates, where I stayed about two weeks. Twice I drove round Rotten Row. Mr. John Bright, from One Ash, Rochdale, sent me a letter to the Queen's Hotel, inviting me to his estate to stay for a few days. Seeing so many letters and reports as to my lectures about emigration he wished to see me before I left for New Zealand.
I interviewed that great statesman, and was his guest for ten days. I have letters now in my keeping from Her Majesty the Queen and sundry noblemen of England.
I had at this time made up my mind to leave England. I called on Sampson, Low, it Co., who published my book, and had page 195a number of copies sent out to Otago. I then called on the Agent-General for New Zealand to see about my passage to New Zealand. The Secretary, Mr. Kennaway, gave me a letter to the New Zealand Shipping Co. or Shaw, Saville, & Co., stating, "If Captain Barry takes a passage for Otago payment for the same will be through this office, rate of passage money charged to be subject to the Agent-General's approval."
The "City of Florence" was about to leave for Otago, and I went to the docks to have a look at the vessel. The passengers were coming on board with their luggage, and many of them knew me by attending my meetings. The captain was a fine fellow, and there were a nice lot of passengers on board. The next day I went to the office and took my passage for Otago, and put my luggage on board. The following day, the "City of Florence" was towed down the Thames, and we had a good passage, but a long and tedious one, of ninety-five days. When we landed in New Zealand most of the passengers bought land and made homes for themselves. They gave Captain Hunter a dinner for the kindness he had shown to the children on the passage. Many of my friends came round and wanted me to give a lecture, but I wanted to get to Cromwell to see my friends there.
My Dunedin friends would not hear of my going till I delivered an address in Dunedin. I consented to give one lecture; the subject was "What I saw in England." My friends engaged the Drillshed, and Mr. Horace Bastings took the chair. The house was crowded, and after two hours speaking the meeting closed with three cheers for "The Pioneer."
The lecture paid me well, as I had all the proceeds for myself, a few of the leading men of Dunedin having paid all the expenses. During my tour through England, my expenses came to very nearly £500, and my friends said, "Well, Captain Barry, write a letter to the Government, you will be sure to get back the money it has cost you. We notice that a great many of the passengers that came by the 'City of Florence' attended your lecture." I heard them say that it "was Captain Barry who caused about twenty of us to sell out our farms, and come to New Zealand, and we brought capital with us to buy farms, and settle in New Zealand."
The next day I met Mr. Horace Bastings, M.H.R., who presided at my lecture, and asked him if I could have the use of page 196his office to write a letter to the Hon. W. Rolleston, Minister of Immigration. He said, "You can have the use of my office at any time, and you will find plenty of pens, ink, and paper for use." My books had arrived, and I was busy selling them. I took coach for Cromwell, taking with me one hundred books. I was not in Cromwell many days when I had not a book left, Mr. Wilkie, stationer, in Dunedin, had five hundred sent him from the publishers. I obtained a hundred from him, and sold them at 10s 6d each.
I stayed in the district a few days, visiting ray friends, and began to think writing books was a good line. The Cromwellites wanted me to settle down and stand for the Mayoralty again; but I distinctly said no. I had lost too much money at it already, and could do better at writing books and selling-them. I went by coach to Dunedin, and took up my lodgings at the Shamrock Hotel.
I met Mr. Macandrew, and asked him to intercede for me, as I had written to the Hon. W. Rolleston to see if I could get back the money I had laid out in England. A few years after I petitioned the Seddon Ministry, thinking it was a Liberal Government. I shall speak about their liberality further on.
I was in Dunedin for two years auctioneering, and made a good living. I then set about writing another book, entitled:—"The Australian Colonies, and Men and Women of the Times." After completing my manuscript, I made up my mind to lecture through the Australian Colonies. About this time there was a general election for the House of Representatives. A requisition was sent to me, and I consented to stand against the Hon. Thomas Dick and Mr Downie Stewart. This was in December, 1881. After sundry meetings, I fell sick, and resigned in Mr Downie Stewart's favour.
I then wrote an apology to my supporters. The requisition that was sent to me is as follows:—
"To Captain William Jackson Barry.
"We, the undersigned, respectfully request that you will allow yourself to be nominated, as a candidate for the House of Representatives, at the next General Election, for the West Ward, and we hereby pledge ourselves to do all that lies in our power to secure your return. Knowing you as an old and experienced page 197colonist, a liberal man, a politician at heart, and after the good you have done for this Colony when in England, we feel sure and confident that you are the most fit and proper person to represent us."
It was signed by about fifty of the leading citizens of Dunedin.
The following is a copy of my apology on retiring.—
"Morning Herald, Dunedin, December 9th, 1881.
"To the Electors of Dunedin West.
"Gentlemen,—I feel that an apology is due to you, and to my supporters particularly, on account of my resignation; but it has been forced upon me by illness. Since the day of nomination I have been confined to the house, until Tuesday, and I could not consequently hold meetings and prosecute my canvas. Therefore, I felt it was my duty to my supporters to leave them free. Had it not been for my illness, I feel certain that on Friday I should have headed the poll. My meetings were the most enthusiastic of any that have been held. The requisition that was sent to me was most numerously and respectably signed, and Friday evening would have seen me carried triumphant on the shoulders of the delighted electors, as was the case when I addressed them. Gentlemen, I respect my opponents, who carried on the contest with me, as far as it went, like men; but I have a hearty contempt for such detractors as Mr. ex-policeman——, who had the audacity to attack not only myself, but the gentleman who proposed me, and whom I have known for years as an honest and respectable citizen. I would like to ask, Who is this Mr.———? He seems to be particularly fond of seeing his name in print. But, has he expended his capital in the country, as I have done? Can he say, as I can, that he has built half a town? Can he point to a single thing that will evidence the possession of an ounce of brains? Certainly his literary productions do not. I have had to bear sneers, too, of some of the penny-a-liner class. It was such people I referred to as having less brains than Mr. Inglis's monkey, and I can afford to pass them by. Had I been able to address you, I would have explained my views fully to you; and believing that, although not endowed with education, except such as has been, self-obtained, I still have learned sufficient by experience and innate common-sense to well qualify page 198me for the position of legislator in a new country like this. I shall now briefly state those views, and must urge on those fortunate enough to be elected to bring them forward in the House, as being calculated to push New Zealand along the path of progress, make her great, glorious, and free, and enable her soon to wipe off the liabilities now hanging over her head.
"First,—I may say that I should have been an out-and-out supporter of Sir George Grey. He is, in my opinion, the ablest statesman who has ever breathed in the Southern Hemisphere. Second,—On the land question I am sound; the squatter's monopoly should be broken up, and free selection introduced at a fair price. Third,—The Otago Central Railway should be prosecuted at all hazards. Fourth,—I favour direct steam communication with Britain; but I object to dredging the Port Chalmers Bar, breaking the crust of which would Only render it a shifting bar, unless it is a reef, when it would cost millions. Fifth,—I totally object to the Bible in schools. Sixth,—I urge the introduction of diamond-drills by Government to develop our immense mineral wealth, and lead to the erection of smelting-works. Seventh,—I would have the eight-hours' system made the law of the land, being a working-man myself, and wishing justice for the poor as well as the rich. Eighth,—I am a freetrader in principle, but would encourage local industries. Ninth,—I would open publichouses during certain hours on Sunday, as in England. Tenth,—I object to squatters getting compensation where they obtain a pre-emptive right. Eleventh,—I would grant publicans compensation for the loss of their licenses through local option. Twelfth,—I would see justice done to Catholics in the matter of education, granting them aid in their private schools. Thirteenth,—I distinctly object to railways being made by private companies, and would see that the railway workshops here were kept as fully employed as at Christchurch. Fourteenth,—I look with abhorrence upon the restrictions of the Gaming and Lotteries Bill, for from my youth up I have heartily encouraged all British sports, and particularly the noble pastime of horse-racing; and how the new Bill has affected this popular branch of sport was shown on the recent race days, when the course appeared to be enveloped in mourning, from the absence of the cheerful and customary 'little games,' Fifteenth, I deplore the infliction of a beer tax, which falls upon a class, and particularly upon the working-class, to whom page 199a glass of beer is a necessary beverage. Sixteenth, I would see justice done to the Volunteers, who have proved themselves able and willing to die for their country. Seventeenth, I would severely criticise the action of the Government in Native affairs, as they have overstepped the bounds, in my opinion, altogether. Eighteenth, I would support another five million loan, and consider, had I been returned to Parliament, I could have lent valuable assistance in helping to lay it out in a right direction. "Gentlemen, at some future time I hope to solicit your suffrages, and regret, as I am sure you yourselves do, that on this occasion, through illness, I had to throw up the sponge. I may state that I intend to obtain a hearing from the House as to the rascally way in which the Government have neglected my services in England, and hope to have the support of all the Otago members, for I have been one of Otago's best friends. Had I served my own interests as I have served those of my adopted country, I would to-day have been one of the richest men in the Australasian Colonies. I expect compensation from the New South Wales Government in respect to my Bathurst property. Meanwhile, thanking most heartily the numerous gentleman who so enthusiastically supported me, and assuring you I would have been proud of the honour, which I think I deserve, of being a legislator in this rising Colony,
"I remain your obedient servant,
"William Jackson Barky."
The following is a copy of a letter which about this time I sent to the Hon. W. Rolleston:—
"Dunedin, December 7th."
"Hon. W. Rolleston, Minister of Immigration, Wellington.
"Sir,—Referring to the memorial, addressed to the Government in October, 1877, signed by many of the chief representative men of Otago, requesting that I might be engaged as an Immigration Agent to proceed to the United Kingdom, and to the fact that I have since then devoted the whole of my time and energy to the work, and have been the means of giving no inconsiderable impetus to the removal of capitalists from England to New Zealand, I have now respectfully to submit that it is only right that the Government should reimburse me for the actual outlay which I have incurred in the service of the Colony. I have a letter from the Immigration Minister to the Agent-page 200General, in which the question of my engagement was left to his discretion. When I reached Home, Sir J. Vogel had just received a telegraphic message from the Government, which precluded him from incurring expenditure. I, therefore, proceeded on my own responsibility, and at my own cost and expense, expending £500 in travelling through England and enlarging upon the advantages which New Zealand presented to labour and capital. The result I need not describe. The Press throughout the United Kingdom gave ample testimony as to this, and I have no hesitation in saying that, through my efforts and labour, a wider and more extensive interest has been excited in New Zealand than has ever been created through any individual instrumentality. I may say that Sir Julius Vogel, in a letter to Mr. Macandrew, admits the value and extent of the services which have been rendered by me. I shall not further dilate upon this now, as I trust that is unnecessary, and that the Government will see its way to reimburse me the outlay which I have incurred, either in money or in land.
"Soliciting the favour of an early reply,
"I remain, Sir, yours obediently,
"William Jackson Barry."
Copy of letter sent to Wellington 20/4/80.