The Founders of Canterbury
Reigate, 29th November, 1849
My Dear John Abel Smith,
—Hearing just now that you were at the New Zealand House to-day, and therefore can hardly receive till Saturday a letter from me addressed to you in Scotland, which was posted in London last night, I write again because a day may be of importance.
The object of my former letter was to convey to you a suspicion which has lately got possession of me, and from which I cannot escape. It is founded on a great deal of circumstantial evidence, too long for recital here. It is that both in Downing Street and Broad Street Buildings, the project; is entertained of putting an end to the Canterbury Association, and perhaps to the Company, with the view of securing the Southern Plains near Banks Promontory for exploitation by the Colonial Office and Governor Grey. It is by this suspicion only, that I can account for a number of things that have happened lately. I do not believe that Lord Grey is a party to the scheme; but I do believe that the scheme exists, and has been concerted by some who profess the deepest page 152anxiety for the progress of the Canterbury colony and for the maintenance of the Company as a colonizing body. If the suspicion should turn out to be unfounded, let it be attributed to my state of health, which is apt to be attended by an insanity of suspicion. If it should turn out to be true, you will indignantly join those who will have to defend the colony and Company from the treason. And at all events, when it got strong enough in my mind to be, as it is, a confident suspicion, I was bound to communicate it to you, from whom I have never had a concealment in matters of importance that concerned us both, and who are entitled to my frankness. Others must entertain the suspicion, less confidently perhaps than I do; but I avow it to you, because the concealing of it from you would be a kind of treachery similar to that which I suspect and will denounce if my fears should be confirmed.
If I am wrong, call me mad. But I think you would agree with me if you knew all that has passed whilst you have been away.