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The Founders of Canterbury

Reigate, 2nd April, 1850

page 243
Reigate, 2nd April, 1850.

My Dear Godley,

—The full occupation of my strength with Canterbury matters just at present, compels me to be very brief in writing to you.

I wrote some weeks ago, viâ Sydney, in melancholy strain, in order to wash my hands of responsibility to you, because your friends, as I supposed, were letting the whole affair go to the dogs, and quite indisposed to listen to my representations in favour of a different course. I had almost retired from the concern, disheartened and perhaps a good deal displeased. But things have had a turn. I have not cleared up, and do not wish to fathom, the mystery of a repugnance to my aid at Charing Cross, because now it seems to be completely over, and I wish to forget it. So let that pass.

My grand complaint against your friends was, that they left every thing to Hutt, who would neither do anything himself, nor let any body else do anything. The work of the Association was nil; and all seemed blind to the inevitable result—a perfect failure. At length, in great measure owing to FitzGerald, they perceived the danger, and found out its main cause—their reliance upon Hutt because he was called "Chairman." Since then, they have really acted as members of a Committee having a task in hand. This was so new and unpalatable to Hutt, that he retired: and (God forgive me, if it is wrong, for saying so of an old and dear friend) that mar-all is out of the way. But he has retired in a manner highly creditable to him: so that happily, though I am sure that his understanding is decayed, I can admire and love his goodness as much as ever.

Hutt gone, there is a prospect of work: but two months out of the three are gone; and it is now too late to do the thing in time. The grand point is to get more time, and to do away with the most mischievous provision for contingent total failure and abandonment. All about this you may learn from the official documents, copies of which I earnestly page 244begged FitzGerald to send to you. Shall we carry the point? I think we shall; or rather not we, but your friends, who are asked to incur some personal liability in the form of a guarantee so as to satisfy the Company, and who, to my surprise, and in spite of a stiff argument by me against the Jewish proposal of the Company, seem disposed to do the needful. I firmly believe that the understanding will be only nominal. So, having said what I think of it as a proposal from the Company, I shall be glad if your friends give the guarantee. If they do—and if they work (of which now I have no doubt) we shall get through—nay, you may probably have a larger first colony to plant than if this awful hitch had not occurred.

I am resting now at home from killing excitement in London, and am to be there again on Friday. "So no more at present," &c. &c. &c.

With this S. W. wind just set in after a month of N. E., you will probably know the result by this ship.

I imagine you every day approaching the land of promise. God bless you. Now that my aid is courted, I will stick to this one object till success or utter failnre prove the result.