The Founders of Canterbury
Reigate, 10th July, 1849
My Dear Molesworth,
—I rejoice to hear that you will exert yourself for New Zealand. All that can be done this year, is to make a case, the statement of which in the House will have two effects—that of encouraging the colonists to persevere in their agitation, and that of laying the foundation page 91here for proceedings next year. I fancy that you might next Session meet Parliament with a Bill calculated to settle the whole question for the Australias and New Zealand. But in order to include New Zealand, the case ought now to be established that New Zealand is not an exception from the general rule of hot water. And this can only be done by dwelling on the close resemblance between the state of things in New Zealand now and in 1845. I see no difference except that the present Governor is a cleverish instrument of Downing-street, his predecessor having been a mere driveller; and further, that Governor Grey has had a large military outlay to work on the colonists with, which Fitzroy had not.
I was going to write something about it all for the Spectator, but hold my hand in order that your representation of the case may be fresh. Afterwards I will endeavour to work it, taking your picture as the basis. By the way, your last speech contained some capital pictures. I allude in particular to the colonial minister going the round of the colonies. Give us New Zealand as it is in that style.
In answer to your question about Adderley's Resolutions, I think that they ought to have denounced convict transportation as incompatible with free government—the ignominy and corruption as utterly inconsistent with the dignity of freedom.
I think too that the "honour of the empire" requires that the colonists should be precluded from establishing slavery within their municipalities.
It strikes me also, that some machinery should be established for communication and concert, when these should be required, as they might be occasionally, between the Municipal and Imperial Governments. This is supplied in the United States by the representation of the Municipal States in the Imperial Congress. To make Adderley's plan complete, I fancy that each Municipal Government should have an accredited Agent at home, just as the old English colonies of America had; Pennsylvania, to wit, whose Agent was Franklin.page 92
The colonists should also have authority to federate for general (not imperial) colonial purposes when they may see fit. But no colony should be compelled to federate without its consent. It is a great defect of the Government Bill, that two of the colonies would be able to compel the other three to federate whether they liked it or not. A forced federation cannot work well. There is another blot in the Bill which is perfectly monstrous; viz., the clause which goes to legalize an illegal act of the Government of Van Diemen's Land. The smuggling of this ex post facto provision through Parliament, by means of sticking it into a Constitutional Law for the five colonies, ought to be exposed. The case to which they apply this ex post facto legislation was stated in the Morning Chronicle about six weeks ago.