The Founders of Canterbury
Sir William Molesworth, Pencarrow, Bodmin. — Reigate, 30th November, 1849
Reigate, 30th November, 1849.
My Dear Molesworth,
—After long rest prescribed by illness, during which I have been as dead to public matters, and incapable of even answering letters, I begin again as the meeting of Parliament approaches; and amongst my first tasks is that of answering your letter written just after the close of last Session. I am also roused by a visit from Adderley, to whom I had sent that letter for his information as to your views. He cordially agrees with you as to a Bill, and with me that you are the man to introduce it. But, moreover, with a view of obtaining for this measure a really effective support, he proposes to work in organizing a sort of Colonial Reform party, which should be ready to act on the very first day of the Session by then giving notice of your Bill and other measures. The state of the colonies, and the prospect of ugly news from Australia as to the disaffection of that part of the world, render it certain, I think, that some very important measures will be got through Parliament in the coming Session. The Government will try to be first in the field with some quarter-measure. But if you are first, they must needs, I fancy, give way to you: for almost universal opinion seems to declare that "the time has come" for carrying into real—not pretended—effect the principle of Representative and truly Responsible Government for the true colonies. I fully agree with you as to the expediency of giving constituent powers. The doing so will save a world of trouble, and of trouble that would be fruitless. We cannot at this distance make constitutions for these municipal dependencies, any more than we can work them when made. But with a view to good support for your Bill, there must be previous concert amongst the Colonial Reformers. This, Adderley's organization would put you in the way of obtaining. He proposes a Society with a Council, and frequent meetings—just such an Association, in short, as that for Law Reform or the Health of Towns: and he has begged me to ask you to be a member page 154of the first council. It looks as if the society would comprise men of all parties. We are preparing a sort of programme or declaration of principles, which Adderley will send to you in draft. He is strongly supported.
I wish it had been in my power to think of accepting your invitation for the last month; but I should not have been well enough even if able to form the purpose of going so far from home.
When are you likely to be in town? I would try to meet you there; but my strength fails me so in London, that I would beg of you to pay me a visit here. We could get Rintoul to meet, and have a good consultation.