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The Founders of Canterbury

John Robert Godley, Esq., Canterbury, N. Z. — Reigate, 2nd February, 1850

John Robert Godley, Esq., Canterbury, N. Z.
Reigate, 2nd February, 1850.

My dear Godley,

—It is really not in my power to add much to the news which various publications will take to you by this time.

Upon the main point of interest for you—the prospect of making the Canterbury undertaking a reality—I am not afraid to say, that I think that more than the indispensable quantity of land will be sold. Still it is early days to speak with confidence. All depends on the number and quality of the colonists. So far (for in consequence of Lord Grey's obstinate objections to the ballot, we have only been a fortnight at work) the colonizing enlistment looks well. One provincial agitation—that of the Midland Counties—has been page 211tried by Felix; and with apparent success. The worst part of the matter is the old-womanish feebleness of 41, Charing Cross. Hutt wants the power of leading or commanding; and yet he does not like others to meddle with him; and old Alston is a mere let and incumbrance. But we have got the Colonists, headed by Captain Bellairs, into a separate domicile, and that shop works well. The zeal of your friends—Adderley, Simeon, Wynne, Cocks, &c. &c.—is unbounded; but there is not a man of business amongst them. It has ended in my going to Town, and meddling at a great rate both in Charing Cross and the Adelphi. With the exception only of helping in "the Society for the Eeform of Colonial Government," I attend to nothing else but Canterbury.

Lest others may not do so, I send copies of Wynter's Tract, Cookesley's, and the Canterbury Papers, Nos. 1 and 2, which, with the Spectator, will give you some notion of our where-abouts, both as to Canterbury and Colonial Government. Lord John told Molesworth last night, that the Australian Bill of this year will be substantially the same as that of last session. So we shall have to fight them, tooth and nail.

I also enclose a copy of your Letter in the Tract form, which Adderley and I produced. The letter has been most successful. I trust you will approve of the liberties which Bintoul and I took with it. I send Tracts to most of the leading people in New Zealand and the other colonies, by way of making you notorious and influential.

We all take for granted that you are some way across the Line, and quite well.

Nothing new about the Bishop, because we stave off decision, in the hope that Wynter may be the man.

Just at present I am working to have a Public Meeting at the Mansion House, for Canterbury.

I got Wynne to send your father a copy of Wynter's Tract.

Protectionism seems done for at last. The present Government is safe, except from Colonial assaults, which may turn out page 212Lord Grey, and so break up the concern: but I doubt, myself, whether anything will induce Stanley and Cobden (I put the names for parties) to join in a vote of censure even on Lord Grey. But, at all events, we shall work the Colonial questions: and good must come of that. Augustus Stafford, when talking the other day with FitzGerald about what his party would and would not do, said, "Of course any party would rather lose a colony than a division." That beats Maidstone in truthfulness, and is very clever into the bargain. How "the Council" of the Colonial Reform Society was ever got to let such an advertisement as their Address go forth with their names to it, is one of those mysteries that will never be cleared up. Though it was done by four at the most, they even cannot tell how it was done. Though I had a great hand in it, I can hardly believe it now.

I hope you won't fix the site of the capital till the colonists arrive; and that Thomas will work at the general survey, instead of wasting precious time and money on other matters. Extensive and accurate survey is the first point; one to which all else should be sacrificed.

With heartfelt good wishes, ever yours most truly,

E. G. Wakefield.