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The Founders of Canterbury

William Fox, Esq., Wellington, New Zealand. Reigate, 7th August, 1849

William Fox, Esq., Wellington, New Zealand.


Reigate, 7th August, 1849.

Dear Sir,

—The newspapers which you will receive by the Pekin, explain to some extent why the case of New Zealand was not brought before the House of Commons at the close of the Session. Preparation was made for urging on the House the prayer of the Petition of the colonists which Sir Wm. Molesworth presented; but the opportunity did not occur. The only opportunity that at one time seemed sure to present itself, was the second reading of the Australian Colonies Government Bill: but in consequence of the interest which that Bill excited, and of the certainty that its second reading would give occasion to a debate on Colonial Government in general, and on the defects of the Constitution proposed for the Australian Colonies, the Government withdrew the Bill at the very close of the Session; and it was then too late to make another opportunity for bringing forward the complaints and claims of New Zealand. With respect to all the colonies of the South, the Colonial Office managed, by postponing their Bill from time to time and then withdrawing it, to prevent the exposure and discussion which they dreaded. They were too "smart" for the colonial reformers: they jockeyed us out of the discussion, and Mr. Hawes is happy.

You will see, however, by various papers which I send, including Mr. Adderley's Tract on the Australian Colonies Bill, that the whole subject must be discussed early next Session. The prime movers in the Colonial Reform dinner at Greenwich are preparing to be ready with a Bill of their own at the opening of Parliament in February: and I purpose page 102myself contributing something to the work by publicly addressing the colonists of South Africa, Australasia, and New Zealand on the subject of such a Bill. I intend to print the Letter here. Its main object will be to make the colonists aware of the state of opinion here on the subject of Colonial Government, and to indicate the means by which they may promote the accomplishment of their objects.