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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Past Premiers

Past Premiers.

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Although since the establishment of Responsible Government in the Colony, there have been twenty-six Ministries—excluding the Seddon Administration, which is now in Power—there have been only fourteen Premiers. Of these, eight held office only during the lives of single Ministries, three were twice called upon to occupy the position of Prime Minister, and the remaining three gentlemen held the office respectively during three, four, and five Governments. Sir Edward William Stafford, C.M.G., though occupying the Prime Minister's place in but three Cabinets, was in office for little short of nine years, the exact time being eight years, ten months, and twenty-one days. The Hon. Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, K.C.M.G., was the gentleman who became Premier five times, but the total period of office as such was but five years, three months, and twenty-six days. In point of time Sir William For came next, having held the reins as head of the Government of the Colony for four years, four months, and twenty-one days in all, during the continuance of the four Ministries in which he held this high office. The Hon. Sir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G., the Hon. Sir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G., and the late Hon. Sir Frederick Whitaker were each Premier of the Colony twice, the total periods of office being respectively about three years and two months, two years and ten months, and two years and a-half. Of those who became Prime Minister on one occasion only, the Hon. Sir John Hall, K.C.M.G., held office for over two and a-half years, the late Hon. John Ballance for over two and a quarter years, and the Right Hon. Sir George Grey, K.C.B., P.C., for nearly two years. The other five gentlemen retained the Premiership for shorter periods.

Mr. Henry Sewell, Premier from the 7th May, 1856, to the 20th May, 1856, was conspicuous in colonial politics for many years. During his parliamentary career he belonged to several Ministries, and was associated with Stafford, Weld, Richmond, Whitaker, and Tancred. He came to New Zealand with the Canterbury settlers in 1853, and for some time managed the business of the Association in the Colony. When the Provincial Government of Canterbury absorbed the functions of the Association, Mr. Sewell, who wound up the affairs of the Association, was instrumental in securing the large educational endowments for which Canterbury is now so well known. In 1854, when the first representative Parliament assembled in Auckland, Mr. Sewell represented Christchurch, and held office as Solicitor-General, under the Premiership of Mr. J. E. FitzGerald, in the first Ministry formed in New Zealand. Some time after this he became Premier himself, but soon resigned rather than yield his demand for responsible government, which demand the Governor would not allow. In addition to his political works, Mr. Sewell was well known for his legal acquirements and his literary tastes. He died in England in 1879.

Sir William Fox, K.C.M.G., who was Premier of New Zealand four times, was born in England in 1812, and educated at Wadham College, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in his twenty-seventh year. He was admitted at the Inner Temple in 1842, but did not long practice his profession, for in the same year he sailed for Wellington, New Zealand. In 1843 he received from the New Zealand Company the appointment of Resident Agent at Nelson, and continued to discharge the duties of this office until 1848, when he became Attorney-General of the Southern Province. On the death of Colonel Wakefield he rose to the position of Principal Agent of the Company, and controlled all its affairs in the southern districts of the Colony. In this capacity he soon showed such political wisdom and administrative power that on the passing of the new Constitution Act in 1853 he was elected a member of the first Parliament convened in the Colony. In 1856 he became Premier, but his Ministry lasted only a few days, and was succeeded by that of Mr. Stafford. Serious trouble with the Maoris in Taranaki was imminent in 1861, and the Stafford Government was defeated on the native question: Mr. Fox then formed a Ministry, which lasted until the middle of the following year. In 1863 he became Colonial Secretary in the Whitaker-Fox Ministry, but in the following year his Government resigned, owing to a disagreement with the Governor, Sir George Grey, relative to the management of the Waikato war, and the confiscation of the lands of the rebel natives. In 1869 he was again at the head of the Government. The following year, which marks the initiation of the Public Works policy, he included Sir Julius Vogel in his Ministry. In 1872 his Government resigned. Sir William was Premier of the Colony for the fourth and last time from the 3rd of March to the 8th of April, 1873. Being now well advanced in years, he allowed the active work of Parliament to fall into the hands of younger men. In 1880 he was appointed to the West Coast Commission to enquire into the native land titles, and to settle questions relative to the confiscation of Maori lands. His recommendations on this vexed question were regarded by Europeans and Maoris alike as eminently satisfactory, page 58 and he will long be remembered for the services he thus rendered to the Colony. To the younger generation Sir William Fox was better known as a social reformer than as a politician, and in later years he took a warm interest in the Temperance movement. He died at his home in Auckland in 1893.

Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns. Sir William Fox, K.C.M.G.

Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns.
Sir William Fox, K.C.M.G.

The Hon. Sir Edward William Stafford, G.C.M.G., one of New Zealand's first and ablest statesmen, was born in Edinburgh in 1820. After completing his education at Trinity College, Dublin, he sailed for New Zealand, and landed in Nelson in 1843. About the time of the Wairau Massacre, he received an appointment from the New Zealand Company, and soon displayed much ability in managing the affairs of the Company in Nelson. On the establishment of representative institutions in 1853 he was elected Superintendent of the Province of Nelson. Nor was it long before he showed his fitness for this position. One of his first and most important acts was the appointment of a commissioner to enquire into the condition of education. The recommendations of this commissioner were submitted to the Provincial Council of Nelson and passed into law. The lead thus given to the organization of education was soon followed by the other provinces, and this Act became the basis of the national system now in force throughout the Colony. In the same year Mr. Stafford introduced his ordinance creating road boards, the provisions of which were found so beneficial that road boards soon became general throughout the Colony. In 1856, when responsible Government was established in New Zealand, Mr. Stafford resigned provincial in order to assume colonial functions. He became Premier in the first Parliament that assembled after the passing of the Constitution Act, and held office until 1861. Among his colleagues at that time were Mr. Richmond, Mr. Whitaker, and Mr. Weld. The labours of the first Government were necessarily great, but they were performed faithfully and well. The loans of
The Hon. Sir Edward William Stafford,

Photo. by Wrigglesworth and Binns.

the preceding Governors were funded, and the debt owing to the New Zealand Company was provided for. The Customs revenue was apportioned between the Colony and the provinces, and the land revenue left to the provinces for public works. So ably did he administer the affairs of the Colony that although he had to provide for the needs of a population scattered over a large area, he added nothing to the public burdens. With a view to establishing a steam service between New Zealand and England he went Home in 1859, and would have succeeded had not the British Government resigned when on the eve of acceding to his proposal. On his return to the Colony he found that his Government had got into difficulties with the Maoris in Taranaki. In 1861 his Ministry was defeated in the House of Representatives by a majority of one, and he resigned. He again became Premier in 1865, continuing to hold office until 1869, and was Premier for the third time in 1872. Since retiring from colonial politics Sir Edward has for many years resided in England.

Mr. Alfred Domett, C.M.G., Premier from the 6th of August, 1862, to the 30th of October, 1863, came to New Zealand in 1842. He soon rose to eminence in State affairs, for, when the new Constitution was framed in 1848, he was appointed Colonial Secretary for the Province of New Munster (as the South Island was then called). In 1851 he became Civil Secretary for the whole of New Zealand. Subsequently he resigned these offices, and took up the duties of Commissioner of Crown Lands and Resident Magistrate for Hawkes Bay. A few years later he was elected for Nelson in the House of Representatives. In 1862, when the affairs of the Colony were in a critical condition, he rose to the position of Premier, which he held for about two years. On the resignation of his Government he accepted the position of Secretary for Crown Lands. In 1865 he was appointed Registrar-General of Lands, and a few years afterwards he also undertook the administration of confiscated lands. In 1871 he retired from the service of the State and returned Home, dying in page 59 Mr. Alfred Domett London on the 2nd of November, 1887. Notwithstanding his long political career, Mr. Domett is better known as a litterateur than as a politician. After returning to England he published many poems and other works. His “Ranolf and Amohia, a South Sea Day Dream,” was favourably criticised by such high authorities as Tennyson, Browning, and Longellow.

The Hon. Sir Frederick Whitaker, K.C.M.G., M.L.C., was prominent in the political life of the Colony from its infancy until the present decade. Born in 1812 in Bampton, Oxfordshire, England, he studied for the legal profession, and was admitted to the bar in 1839. In the same year he left England for New Zealand, and, early in 1840, landed at Kororareka, Bay of Islands, then the seat of Government for the Colony. When Auckland was chosen for the Capital in 1841, Mr. Whitaker removed to that city and remained a resident there until his death. In the following year he was appointed County Judge, a position which he held for two years, when that branch of the judicature was abolished. In 1845 he was appointed senior member of the Legislative Council, and sat in the last council of Governor Fitzroy, and in the first of Governor Grey. When the insurrection of the natives in the North broke out he served in the New Zealand Militia, holding a major's commission, and was on military duty in Auckland when the Maoris threatened to annihilate the European settlers. On the passing of the New Zealand Constitution Act in 1852, he again came prominently before the public. He was elected a member of the Provincial Council, and sat in several sessions. Throughout the superintendency of General Wynyard he was Provincial Law Adviser, and a member of the Provincial Executive. In 1853 he received a seat in the Legislative Council, and in the following year attended the first session of the General Assembly. He became Attorney-General in 1855, and in the same year was appointed speaker of the Legislative Council. The latter position, however, he soon resigned to accept the Attorney-Generalship in the Bell-Sewell Ministry. This ministry lasted less than a fortnight, and the succeeding one, with Mr. Fox as Premier, was likewise ejected in the same space of time. In consequence of these rapid changes, Mr. Whitaker soon became Attorney-General again—this time in the Stafford Ministry—which position he continued to hold until his colleagues were defeated, in 1861, on the question of Native affairs. He then resigned his seat in the Legislative Council, and commenced practice in Auckland in partnership with Mr. Thomas Russell. On the formation of the Fox Ministry, in 1863, he accepted the portfolios of Premier and Attorney-General, with a seat in the Legislative Council. At the end of the following year this ministry resigned, owing to a disagreement with the Governor, Sir George Grey, relative to the conduct of the Waikato War, and the treatment of the land of the hostile Maoris. Mr. Whitaker now retired from the Legislative Council. In the following year he was elected Superintendent of Auckland, and returned to the House of Representatives as member for Parnell. In 1867 he retired from the Superintendency, and also from the General Assembly. For several years he engaged actively in the mining, timber, and pastoral industries, but returned to the political arena in 1876. On the resignation of Sir Julius Vogel he accepted the portfolio of Attorney-General in the Atkinson Ministry, and held this position (with the exception of a few months when he was Postmaster-General and Commissioner of Telegraphs) until his government resigned in the following year. Soon afterwards he accepted the Attorney-Generalship in the Hall Ministry, with a seat in the Legislative Council, and when Sir John Hall was compelled to resign on account of ill-health, Mr. Whitaker rose to the head of the Government, in which position he continued until 1883. In the
The Hon. Sir Frederick Whitaker

Photo, by Wrigglesworth and Binns.

page 60 following year he received from Her Majesty the distinction of knighthood as a token of his services to the Colony. When Major Atkinson returned to power in 1887, Sir Frederick again accepted his old portfolio of Attorney-General, and continued in this office until the resignation of his government in January, 1891. This closed his political career, and on the 4th of December, 1891, he died at his residence in Auckland.

Sir Frederick Aloysius Weld, G.C.M.G., Premier from the 24th of November, 1864, to the 16th of October, 1865, came to the Colony in 1844, and occupied a seat in the first New Zealand Parliament, which assembled in Auckland in 1854. He became a member of the Executive Council in the same year, and Minister for Native Affairs in 1860. Four years later he rose to the position of Premier, and inaugurated a policy of self-reliance. Having determined to put the military forces on a better footing, he sent Home for troops, and his decision was viewed with favour by the Imperial Parliament. In 1869, he was appointed Governor of Western Australia. From this office he was promoted in 1874 to the Governorship of Tasmania, and in 1880 to that of the Straits Settlements. The latter position he held until 1887, when he retired from the colonial service on a pension. He died in England on the 20th of July, 1891.

Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns. Sir F. A. Weld.

Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns.
Sir F. A. Weld.

The Hon. George Marsden Waterhouse, who was Premier from the 11th of October, 1872, to the 3rd of March, 1873, came to the Colony in 1869. Soon after his arrival he was elected a member of the Legislative Council, and occupied a seat in that Chamber up to the time of his resignation on the 20th of June, 1890. Before coming to New Zealand Mr. Waterhouse had held office in South Australia. He was one of the members of the first elective Assembly in that colony. Subsequently he rose to the position of Chief Secretary, and afterwards to that of Premier. He has recently resided in Devonshire, England.

The Hon. Sir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G., was born in London on the 24th of February, 1835, and educated at the London University School. His father was Albert Leopold Vogel, whose wife was the eldest daughter of Alexander Isaac, of Hatcham Grove, Surrey, and Wolsingham Park, Durham. After a short training in a mercantile house, the subject of this sketch emigrated in his 18th year to Victoria, when the goldfields held out attractions for the adventurous. After the usual ups and downs, incidental to life in those days, he became editor of the Maryborough and Dunnoly Advertiser, and launched out into other journalistic enterprises. In 1861, after an unsuccessful effort to gain a seat in the Victorian Parliament, he came to New Zealand when the Otago diggings were at their height, and purchased a half share in the Otago Witness, and started the first daily paper in the colony—The Otago Daily Times,—and, as editor of both, he wielded a powerful pen for many years. He soon took a leading part in the politics of the province, and in 1866 was the head of the Provincial Government, retaining that responsible position until 1869. He first became a member of the House of Representatives in 1863, and soon showed signs of that innate power which afterwards placed him at the head of the statesmen of his day. He first took office with Sir William Fox in 1869, as Colonial Treasurer, and during that administration he also held the portfolios of Commissioner of Stamps, Postmaster-General, Commissioner of Customs, and Electric Telegraph Commissioner. As soon as the Fox-Vogel Government assumed the reins of power, it was determined to alter the aggressive operations against the natives, and endeavour to settle the difficulty by a broad and peaceful policy of immigration and public works. But this could not be undertaken without opposition from various quarters. The people of the Middle Island complained bitterly of the cost of the Maori Wars; the Provincial Councils looked jealously at the propositions which threatened their powers and functions. When he expounded his immigration and public works scheme on the 28th of June, 1870, the colony was aghast at the boldness and magnificence of the proposals, but he was a leader with a vigour of mind and an intuitive knowledge of men and figures, excelling in debating power, lucid, logical and, above all, plausible, and he set his case before Parliament in so clear and convincing a manner that he disarmed opposition, and his policy was accepted by both Houses. His scheme, in its original form, although considered sensational, and altogether beyond the means of the colony at the time has, in the light of later days and riper judgment, met with general approval, but he had to bow to local demands and vary the original comprehensive and colonial character of it to suit provincial demands. The idea embodied in the policy of 1870, was that a sum of ten millions should be spent over a period of ten years on railways, roads, telegraphs, and immigration, the last named with a view of providing suitable labour to carry on the works, the immigrants thus obtaining employment as soon as they landed in the colony, and then as the waste lands were rendered accessible by their labours, they could take up sections and become producers. He did not propose to borrow ten millions in cash, for the colony was not in a position to ask for such a sum. He argued that the expenditure of one million per annum could be arranged partly by loan, partly by guarantee, and partly by payment in land, and he hoped by the time the ten years had elapsed that a trunk-line would be established through each Island. At that time, the only railway of any consequence in the colony was the line from Lyttelton to Christchurch, and thence to Rangiora north and Rakaia south, about 60 miles altogether, and it was expensively constructed on the broad guage system. The Canterbury Plains offered special advantages for railway building, and the enormous local revenues of that province, with its land regulations of £2 per acre, irrespective of locality or quality, and the high price of wheat gave an enormous impetus to page 61 that province, and Canterbury members were not long in combining to demand branch lines to feed the great South Trunk Railway. Their demands, in most cases, were reasonable enough, for settlement was marvellously rapid, and as fast as these branch lines were finished there was ample work for most of them, but the construction of them was fatal to the unity of the original scheme. Mr. Vogel continually pointed this out, but the strength of the provincialists, and the obvious advantages of constructing such lines first and leaving those like the North Island Trunk, through expensive and unsettled routes, until later on, were sufficient for Parliament, and as the work went on the original Trunk Railway gave way to a connection between Canterbury and the Bluff, with numerous branch lines. The gaps still to be constructed in either Island, even now, would hardly warrant their cost if the physical nature of the country and the value of the land to be benefited were the only considerations. The Colony's resources had become greatly strained by the expenses of the Maori Wars, and as the Imperial troops had been withdrawn, it was considered only proper that the Home Government should render some assistance to the colony as a quid pro quo, and Dr. Featherston and Mr. (now Sir) Francis D. Bell went Home as commissioners to state the case, and they succeeded in persuading the Home Government to guarantee a loan of one million for immigration and public works, the expenditure to be spread over a period of five years. Although that guarantee cost England nothing, it was of infinite service to the colony at the time. The greater Loan Bill passed both Houses, but in a different form from the original proposals, for there were provincialists and goldfields members, whose constituents would not benefit by railway construction, to be won over, and finally, after some considerable opposition and a great deal of criticism, power was granted to borrow four millions, to be expended as follows:—On railways, £2,000,000; on immigration, £1,000,000; North Island roads, £400,000; purchase of lands in the North Island, £300,000; water-races on goldfields, £300,000; telegraph extension, £600,000; and unappropriated, £40,000. Shortly after the rising of Parliament, Mr. Vogel went to England with a view of forwarding the interests of the Colony, and he succeeded in arranging matters in connection with the loans to be raised. He entered into negotiations with the postal authorities of Great Britain and the United States, and succeeded in initiating the San Francisco mail service, and was instrumental in obtaining the passage of an Act to enable the Colonies to enter into arrangements for reciprocal duties with each other, and he consulted with the Admiralty on the question of Colonial defence, the outcome of his efforts being that Colonel (afterwards Sir) W. F. D. Jervois drew up a scheme for the defence of the chief colonial ports. One matter he failed to impress the Imperial Government with the importance of—the annexation by the British Government of the Samoa group. Had those islands been taken over at that time, much bloodshed among the contending tribes and friction between England, Germany, and the United States would have been prevented. Their importance, and the general desire of the inhabitants to be subject to the British Crown is becoming more manifest year by year, but what would have been a mere matter of form in 1871, would now be a subject for the diplomatists of four great powers to deliberate on. Mr. Vogel returned to New Zealand in 1871, and devoted all his energies to the elaboration of the policy he had introduced. New Zealand began, to use his own words, to advance by “leaps and bounds.” There was a constant stream of immigrants pouring in, not only of those brought out free, but people with resources, who were attracted by the many advantages this colony offered, which were admirably set forth in a hand-book prepared by Mr. Vogel himself. At this period, his capacity for work and his fertility of resource showed at their best. He grasped all the details of the various departments he was the Ministerial head of, and, without meddling with officials, he introduced better and more systematic methods into the working of the Civil Service. On the 10th of September, 1872, the Fox-Vogel Government suffered a defeat, and the Stafford Government assumed power, but it, in turn, was out on the 11th of October, and Mr. Vogel formed a Cabinet, with Mr. Waterhouse as Premier, and himself as Treasurer and Postmaster-General. Parliament having risen, he went in January, 1873, to Sydney, to attend the Intercolonial Conference, the chief business of which was to settle the European mail service. During his absence Mr. Waterhouse resigned (the 3rd of March, 1873), on the ground that he had not sufficient influence in the Ministry, and Mr. Fox accepted the temporary Premiership until Mr. Vogel returned, on the 8th of April, when the latter assumed the position in addition to his other offices. He also became Telegraph Commissioner and Minister for Immigration later on. Among the most important and lasting monuments to his genius during this term were the Acts establishing the Government Life Assurance and the Public Trust Office. Had he
The Hon. Sir Julius Vogel

Photo, by Wrigglesworth and Binns.

done nothing else than brought into existence these two departments, his name would have lived as a statesman and a benefactor to the Colony. His fertile mind also conceived a project to form an incorporated company to exploit the unclaimed Pacific Islands, and to open up a trade with and exercise governing powers over them. It failed to attract capitalists, and fell through. In those days there were great opportunities in the Colony itself for investors, and the Pacific Islands were too distant and too little known. The session of 1874 was a stormy one. The provincial institutions had, up till this time done good work, each of them carving out its own destiny in its page 62 own way, but each was jealous of its neighbour, and the original six provinces had become dismembered. Wellington had split in two, and Hawkes Bay became a province, Nelson became divided, and Marlborough became independent; Southland was separated from Otago, and Westland, formerly a part of Canterbury, became a county. In some cases the new provinces plunged heavily into debt, notably Southland and Marlborough. Friction between the General Government and the Provincial Government was continual, and augmenting year by year, and at last Mr. Vogel suddenly gave notice of the Abolition of Provinces Bill. It came on the House like a thunderbolt; but he carried his resolution, giving the provinces time to put their houses in order, and when this was done a considerable portion of the old provincial service was incorporated into that of the General Government, and since that date (1874) the Administration of the Colony has centred in Wellington, the Act finally coming into operation in 1876. Towards the end of the year (1874) Mr. Vogel again visited England, his mission being to arrange for floating a large loan and the establishment of cable communication between Australia and New Zealand, and he was successful in both missions. He received the honour of knighthood in 1875, having previously been created a C.M.G. in 1872. It was during this visit that he entered into negotiations and concluded with the Bank of England and the Home Governments arrangements for the inscription of colonial stock. The Act was passed in 1877 and this has always been looked upon as one of the most beneficial and statesmanlike acts of his career. During his absence Dr. Pollen occupied the Premier's seat in the Cabinet, and on Sir Julius's return in 1876 he formally resumed it. At the end of that year Dr. Featherston, who had ably represented the Colony in London for many years as Agent-General, died, and Sir Julius went Home to fill the vacancy. He remained in England until 1881, and negotiated the five-million loan in 1879. He interested himself in Imperial politics, and never lost a chance of advocating the interests of New Zealand, both by speech and conspicuously able articles in the newspapers and magazines of the day; and he contested a seat in the interests of the conservatives in the general election of 1879, standing for Pensyn, but was defeated. In 1884 he returned to the Colony and at once entered public life again, and became Postmaster-General, Colonial Treasurer, Telegraph Commissioner, and Commissioner of Customs in the Stout-Vogel Ministry, which took office in September, 1884. The Colony by that time was suffering from depression, and with a view of relieving it he introduced the system of creating debentures to an amount equivalent to the accretions of the Sinking Funds. This plan of raising money was much criticised at the time, but it has been resorted to frequently since by other Treasurers. After over three years of power, the Stout-Vogel Cabinet fell on the 8th of October, 1887, and Sir Harry Atkinson came into office, and Sir Julius returned to London and has resided there since. He has since devoted his time chiefly to Literature, mostly in the periodicals. He made one attempt as a novelist in 1888, but the work, Anno Domini 2000, a romance of what New Zealand might be at that date, was not worthy of his talents. As a journalist he is brilliant, easy and convincing; as a financier, whatever may be said of his extensive borrowing, he had all the instincts of his race and knew the value and responsibilities of money, and in the light of the present day it must be acknowledged that if he borrowed heavily and spent freely that he gave the Colony very fair value for the money. He fostered local industries and encouraged enterprise by every legitimate means in his power, and although subjected to strong opposition, it never made him vindictive, and he never bore political malice. Some of his conceptions, which seemed wild in the days when he proposed them, have since proved to contain much that is useful and statesmanlike. Sir Julius married, in 1867, Mary, eldest daughter of Mr. W. A. Clayton, Colonial Architect, and has a family, of whom his eldest son, Mr. H. B. Vogel, is a barrister and solicitor, who had a practice in Wellington, and who is at present on a visit to London.

The Hon. Daniel Pollen, M.D., M.L.C., who was one of the earliest settlers in Auckland has been a prominent member of the Legislative Council for over forty years. On the creation of the Provincial Councils under the Constitution Act of 1852, Dr. Pollen became a member of the Auckland Provincial Council, and continued to hold a seat for very many years. He was first called to the Legislative Council on the 20th of July, 1861. At this time all appointments to the Upper Chamber were subject to confirmation by Her Majesty. The appointment of the honourable gentleman was duly made under the Queen's sign manual, and was announced in the London Gazette of April, 1862. In December, 1867, Dr. Pollen resigned his seat, and was re-called in January, 1868. In 1871 he was disqualified, but in May, 1873, he was appointed for the third time. The honourable gentleman has been a minister of the Crown in no less than five Ministries. He first joined the Stafford Government in June, 1868, and held office as a member of the Executive Council for over a year. In 1873 he joined the Vogel Ministry as a member of the Executive Council, and shortly afterwards took the portfolio of Colonial Secretary. Two years later the Pollen Administration came into office, and Dr. Pollen became Premier and Colonial Treasurer, the dual position being filled by him till February, 1876. In the Vogel Government which succeeded Dr. Pollen continued to hold the Colonial Secretaryship until the 1st of September in that year, when the Atkinson Ministry came into power. He was then invited to take the same portfolio in the new Administration, and continued Colonial Secretary in that and in the reconstituted Ministry till the resignation of that Government in 1877. He had thus held the same portfolio during five consecutive administrations—a circumstance in itself unique in the annals of Government in New Zealand. In the re-constituted Atkinson Ministry, Dr. Pollen took the duties of Native Minister, which he performed from December, 1876, to October, 1877. The honourable gentleman has proved himself a skilful administrator in difficult times. A clever writer and speaker, possessed of sound common sense, he was ever a safe political adviser. He still takes his place in the councils of the nation, and renders a cheerful service in the Upper House of the General Assembly of the Colony. By profession he is a physician and surgeon, but it is many years since he retired from practice.

Major the Hon. Sir Harry Albert Atkinson, K.C.M.G., M.L.C., was one of the foremost politicians in New Zealand for a period of about thirty years. During this time, he held office in ten different Ministries, in five of which he was Premier of the Colony. Born at Hurworth a village in the north of England, in 1831, he was brought up in Kent, whither his family removed soon after his birth. He came to New Zealand in 1831, and settled in Taranaki, where he lived at the time of the Maori War. In those troublous times he came to the front, raised a band of volunteers, whom he led, and proved to be more effective than the regular troops. At Waireka, in March, 1860, Captain Atkinson and his men distinguished themselves greatly; he took part in the capture of several pas at Kaitaki, and was present at the battles of Mahœtahi and Matarekoriko. For his services he was thanked by the Government and promoted to the rank of Major. In 1863 Major Atkinson entered the House of Representatives, and in November of the following year joined the Weld Ministry as Minister for Colonial Defence. In October, 1865, his Government was defeated, page 63 and it was some nine years before the honourable gentleman again succeeded to the Treasury Benches. He joined the first Vogel Administration in September, 1874, as Secretary for Crown Lands and Minister for Immigration. On the defeat of that Government, in July, 1875, he was invited to join the Pollen Ministry with the same portfolios, and in addition the Colonial Treasurership. In February of the following year, the second Vogel Ministry was constituted, and Sir Harry continued to hold the offices of Secretary for Crown Lands and Minister for Immigration, and became Commissioner of Customs. He was soon called upon to become Premier, and on the 1st of September, 1876, formed his first Ministry, taking also the portfolio of Colonial Treasurer. After twelve days the Ministry was re-constituted,
Major the Hon. Sir Harry Albert Atkinson

Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns.

Sir Harry taking, besides the Premiership and Treasurership, his old office of Secretary for Crown Lands and Minister for Immigration; the two latter offices he retained for four months only. His Ministry was defeated in October, 1877, and was succeeded by the Grey Government, who, in turn, gave place to the Hall Administration in October, 1879. In this Ministry, Sir Harry became Colonial Treasurer and Commissioner of Customs and Stamp Duties. The next Government, of which Mr. (afterwards Sir) Frederick Whitaker was Premier, succeeded in April, 1882, and the subject of this sketch took office as Minister of Marine, besides the three other offices, which he again accepted. In September, 1883, on the resignation of the Hon. F. Whitaker, as Premier, Major Atkinson was entrusted with the formation of his third Ministry. He became Premier, Colonial Treasurer, and Minister of Trade, Customs, Marine, and Stamp Duties, and this Government continued till August, 1884, when the Stout-Vogel Ministry had an innings of twelve days. The fourth Atkinson Government followed, but only lasted six days, when the Stout-Vogel party again came into power, and held office for over three years. The fifth, and last, Government which Sir Harry formed came into office in October, 1887, and remained in possession of the Government Benches till January, 1891. In this Ministry he held the offices of Premier, Colonial Treasurer, Minister of Marine and Stamps throughout, and for two years of the time he was also Postmaster-General, and Commissioner of Telegraphs, Trade and Customs, and for a short time Minister of Education. On the accession of the Ballance Ministry, Sir Harry became Speaker of the Legislative Council, which office he held from the 23rd of January, 1891, up to the time of his death which occurred in the Speaker's room of the Council on the 28th of June, 1892. Sir H. A. Atkinson was created a K.C.M.G. by Her Majesty, in recognition of his distinguished services, in 1888. He had a long and most interesting career, of which further particulars will be found under the heading “Ex-Speakers of the Legislative Council.”

The Right Hon. Sir George Grey, K.C.B., P.C., whose career is referred to at length under the heading “Former Governors,” was Premier of the Colony from the 15th of October, 1877 till the 8th of October, 1879. On the defeat of the Atkinson Government Sir George was entrusted with the duty of forming a Cabinet in which he was successful. During his Premiership the right honourable gentleman held for longer or shorter periods the portfolios of Colonial Secretary, Commissioner of Customs, Commissioner of Stamps and Colonial Treasurer. His Government was defeated, and resigned on the 8th of October, 1879, and was succeeded by the Hall Administration.

The Hon. Sir John Hall, K.C.M.G., Colonial Secretary in the Fox Ministry of 1856, member of the Stafford Government from 1866 to 1869, of the Waterhouse Ministry from 1872 to 1873, and of the Atkinson Administration, 1876, and Premier of the Colony from 1879 to 1882, was born in Hull, Yorkshire, in 1824. He landed at Lyttelton in 1852 from the “Samarang,” the last of the Canterbury Association's ships. Four years later he was appointed Resident Magistrate at Lyttelton and Commissioner of Police, and soon afterwards Resident Magistrate at Christchurch. Mr. Hall was a member of the Provincial Council of Canterbury during nearly the whole period of its existence, and was for a considerable time a member of the Provincial Government. He has always taken an active part in local governing bodies, and has represented several Canterbury constituencies in the House of Representatives. When Mr. Fox became Premier in 1856 he included, as already stated Mr. Hall in his Ministry as Colonial Secretary. In 1862 he was nominated to the Legislative Council, but resigned four years later to contest the seat in the House of Representatives for Heathcote. In the new Parliament Mr. Stafford returned to power, and Mr. Hall accepted the portfolios of Postmaster-General and Commissioner of Telegraphs. During the absence of Mr. Fitzherbert in 1868 he acted as Colonial Treasurer, and in 1872 accepted a seat in the Legislative Council in order to represent the Fox-Vogel Government there. This year saw rapid changes of Government. The Fox-Vogel Government was defeated by the Stafford Government, which in turn was defeated by the Waterhouse Government. Mr. Hall joined the last-mentioned Ministry, but resigned in the following year owing to ill-health. In 1876 he again resigned his seat in the Council, and was elected for Selwyn in the House of Representatives. Having defeated Sir George Grey in 1879, he became Premier, and continued in this office until page 64 1882, when he retired from the Ministry on account of failing health. In the latter year he received the distinction of knighthood. For many years Sir John Hall laboured hard for the enfranchisement of woman, and did more than any other man in Parliament to give The Hon. Sir John Hall effect to this reform. He represented New Zealand with Captain Russell at the first conference on Australian Federation held in Melbourne. Altogether he was in the New Zealand Parliament for nearly forty years, and retired from political life in 1893. Sir John was married in 1861 to Miss Dryden, daughter of Mr. William Dryden, of Hull. His family consisted of two daughters—one of whom survives, and is married to Mr. J. Cracroft Wilson, grandson of Sir Cracroft Wilson—and three sons, two of whom, the eldest, Wilfred, and the youngest, Godfrey, are farming in Canterbury. The second son, John Dryden, is an English barrister presently in practice in Christchurch.

The Hon. Sir Robert Stout, K.C.M.G., M.H.R. has been a member of three ministries. He first took office in the government formed by Sir George Grey, K.C.B., taking the portfolio of Attorney-General on the 13th of March, 1878. About four months later he became Minister of Lands and Immigration. These three offices he held till the 25th of June, 1879 when he resigned. Sir Robert did not accept office again till the defeat of the third Atkinson Administration on the 16th of August, 1884. Assisted by Sir Julius Vogel, K.C.M.G., the honourable gentleman then formed the first Stout-Vogel Ministry in which he was Premier and Attorney-General during the twelve days of its life. The succeeding Ministry formed by the Hon. Sir. H. A. Atkinson only lasted six days when the second Stout-Vogel Government came into power. Sir Robert became Premier and Attorney-General and held these offices from the 3rd of September, 1884, till the 8th of October, 1887. Early in January, 1885, he also accepted the portfolio of Education which he held during the rest of the life of his Cabinet. His career is referred to at length under the heading “Members for Wellington City.”

The late Hon. John Ballance, Premier from January, 1891, to April, 1893, was prominent in political life for more than twenty years. Although not one of the oldest colonists he nevertheless did much to shape the fortunes of New Zealand, and his influence will long be felt. He was a native of Ireland, and was born in Glenavy, Antrim, in 1839. After having received an elementary education at a National school, he was apprenticed to the ironmongery trade. When nineteen years old he removed to Birmingham, then the heart of the Liberal movement in politics. Here he availed himself of the opportunities for self-culture by joining evening classes and identifying himself with debating societies. It was here, too,
The late Hon. John Ballance

Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns.

that he had his first experience in connection with newspapers. Warm controversies were then raging, and Mr. Ballance contributed many articles to the local press. The knowledge and experience thus gained stood him in good stead in after life, and enabled him to turn his hand to journalism when he arrived in the Colony. He remained in Birmingham about eight years, but thinking that the colonies offered more scope for his energies, he sailed for New Zealand, via Melbourne, in 1866. On reaching Wanganui he carried on business for some time as a jeweller, but, as there was little demand for jewellery in those days, he relinquished this and started the Wanganui Chronicle. Here he found congenial work, and soon became known as a powerful writer. Nor did he confine himself to journalism. On the contrary, he identified himself from the first with all public movements. When the trouble with Titokowaru arose in 1868, Mr. Ballance was instrumental in forming the Wanganui Cavalry for the defence of the district. page 65 He served in this Company for some time, until, owing to his adverse criticism on the management of the war, his military career was brought to an abrupt end. In 1873 he entered the parliamentary lists as a candidate for Egmont, but retired in favour of Major Atkinson. Two years later, however, he was elected for Rangitikei, and represented that district until 1880. Nor was it long before he came to the front. Three years after his initiation he accepted the office of Minister for Education in the Grey Government, but in the same year resigned this to discharge the more important duties of Colonial Treasurer. In 1879, owing to a difference with the Premier, he resigned, and did not hold office again until 1884, when he joined the Stout-Vogel Government as Minister for Defence and Lands. These portfolios he held until 1887, when the Ministry retired. During the Government of the late Sir Harry Atkinson he was leader of the Opposition, and when the Liberals returned to power in 1890 he became Premier of the Colony. This position he held until his death in 1893. It is not intended here to dilate on his political achievements, but in passing it may be mentioned that he had advanced views on the land question, and endeavoured to hasten the day when the State would resume possession of all the land of the Colony. When he became Premier he endeavoured to realise his idea on a small scale by retaining for the State an interest in all land sold. The country, however, was hardly ripe for reform, and little progress in this direction has yet been made. Mr. Ballance was twice married, his first wife being a sister of Mr. W. S. Taylor, of Wanganui, and his second a daughter of the late Mr. David Anderson, of Wellington. He was married to Miss Anderson in 1870, and throughout his political life she shared his triumphs and disappointments, and during his final illness nursed him with rare fidelity.
Photo by Mr. W. C. Marchant. Kaiwarra Stream.

Photo by Mr. W. C. Marchant.
Kaiwarra Stream.