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The Founders of Canterbury

Reigate, 4th April, 1850

Reigate, 4th April, 1850.

My Dear Godley,

—Though the Mariner was to leave Gravesend to-day, a S.W. gale assures me that this will go by her.

The prospect improves of getting Canterbury made a reality—by means of the guarantee. From both sides I hear this morning in approval of a scheme of guarantee sent by me to them. To-morrow will decide; and I shall surely write if this wind hold.

I have a miserable letter from Hutt about his retirement. It is very distressing, as was the necessity for knocking him out of the Chair: but if you saw your own child boring a hole in the bottom of a ship full of passengers, and you could not stop him any other way, you would shoot him, would you not? I would.

I have written kindly to Hutt, as his manner of retiring enables me to do: and I would beg of you to write to him in a way to soothe his feelings. Even a year hence such a letter from you will be grateful to him.

I am now in full swing of work for Canterbury—just at this moment helping to complete the guarantee measure, which, after your friends entertained it, became the only possible means of getting things right: for of course when my objections to the unfairness of asking for a guarantee were disregarded by Lord Lyttelton, Simeon, &c., the Company was sure to insist on the acceptance of the proposal as a sine quâ non.

This settled, I shall go to Town as often as strength will page 247allow; perhaps openly join the first body of Colonists; at any rate, attend to nothing else but Canterbury.

You, I fear, will be stopped for a while by want of money. I trust that whatever you have will be spent on the survey. That is the main point. Felix's Report to the New Zealand Company has been much canvassed by intelligent minds; and the universal verdict seems to be, that he is right in all his points. Freedom and facility of selection by means of extent and completeness of survey—that is the grand point.

I have an intimate persuasion that the first Colonists will be grievously disappointed if the capital town be any where but at the best port. Why not mark out the 1000 acres at Port Lyttelton? The town there would have much more level land than Genoa the Magnificent: and there are many noble cities, such as Lisbon, Naples, and Constantinople, the main part of the site of which consists of hills more or less steep. On the other hand, if you put the Capital away from the Port—more especially if the road between shall not be level—the Capital, so called, will be an uninhabited Washington for years and years to come. At Adelaide, the distance between Port and Capital is mitigated by the perfect level of dry land of which it consists. It was a fair road, miles wide, before a sixpence had been spent on it. If you have a steep road from Port to Capital, the Port will be the Capital in spite of you.

Upon the whole, barring nervousness about this guarantee, I am in very good spirits about Canterbury.