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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

Sir G. Grey, K.C.B. — Late Senior Member for Auckland

page 21

Sir G. Grey, K.C.B.

Late Senior Member for Auckland,

Sir G. Grey, K.C.B.

Sir G. Grey, K.C.B.

Although Sir George Grey has recently retired from the politics of the Colony, no brochure such as this would be complete without reference to him. Born at Lisbon in 1812, the son of a soldier, he entered the British Army in 1829, and having cultivated scientific tastes, eight years later he set about exploring the North-West coast of Australia; 50 years ago he was appointed Governor of the Colony, when 32 years of age. Nine years later he went to the Cape as Governor; in 1861 came back to the Colony as Governor, but owing to differences with the Home Office was recalled. His subsequent history is familiar. He went to England and on his return retired to his island home at Kawau. Thence he emerged a political power. He became Superintendent of Auckland, then stood for Parliament and became M.H.R. for the City of Auckland. He formulated a Liberal policy with which he swept the country, but was himself incapable of giving effect to his own schemes of social regeneration. Becoming Premier in 1877, he surrounded himself with young able men like Sheehan, Ballance and Stout, but his want of practical knowledge of men and things speedily wrecked his Government, and the Hall Government on their return to power two years later, carried into effect the progressive proposals on which Sir George Grey had created the Liberal party. The work done by him has, however, remained, and New Zealand has "led the van" of the Australasian Colonies in many important matters. He held a seat for Auckland uninteruptedly until his recent resignation, when Mr. Thomas Thompson was returned.