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The Founders of Canterbury

Redhill, 22nd January

Redhill, 22nd January.

My Dear Godley,

—I wish I had received sooner your letter of yesterday—that is, before transferring to you the "old" shares and cancelling the former transfer, and before dwelling on your wish to be a real shareholder along with your colleagues. The change took place yesterday when the salary question was discussed, and finally settled except that it was thought right to let you see before handing to you the letter of security which is to insure your receipt of the salary for the whole period. For in order to go back again to the former position, I must take some way of unsaying what has been said about your preference of a real to an apparent qualification. This is one difficulty. Another is, that these repeated changes will call attention to the fact of the unreality of the qualification, which would have been a fact known only to ourselves if there had been no change from the first arrangement, but which everybody will know, and to which a sort of prominence will be given, if we change again. And further, your object in the change is to make the fact of unreal qualification known "out of doors," which is still more objectionable.

All these objections appear to me to more than counterbalance the one objection to your having a real interest. For so very small an interest cannot be deemed a bad-motive one; and besides the possession of a mere qualification is indispensable. It cannot hurt you more than it does Lord Courtenay or F Baring, who would merely laugh at any imputation of bad motive founded on it.

And here again, whilst I am "writing it strikes me that the page 24only ground on which any Director of the Company ever holds an unreal qualification, is that the holding of a real one would be pecuniarily inconvenient to him: whereas, after what has passed, I could not avoid putting it on a ground which others might not like—that of your wishing to be free from an imputation of bad motive to which you deem your colleagues exposed.

There would have been no difficulty if we had stuck to the first arrangement, and held our tongues. But now, having stated my view of those which grow out of the unavoidable publicity and palaver, I will just do whatever you wish. Personally, I am quite indifferent about it; and perhaps I may have gone out of my province in presenting to you the difficulties on your account which I cannot help seeing. Merely tell me what to do.

I think we exhausted the question of the "monstrous" scheme of Lord Grrey with respect to N. Zealand.