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The Founders of Canterbury

Draft of a Letter from the Committee of Management to Mr. Godley, given to Lord Lyttelton

Draft of a Letter from the Committee of Management to Mr. Godley, given to Lord Lyttelton.

Tuesday, 18th June, 1850.


—With reference to my letter of the ——————, relating to Mr. Brittan, I am instructed by the Committee of Management to inform you that, whilst they adhere to the principle of abstaining from interference with your judgement and discretion in the selection of persons to be employed in their service at Canterbury, they are desirous of giving you as good means as they themselves possess of forming an opinion with regard to Mr. Brittan's qualifications for holding an important office under you.

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I am therefore desired to mention that this gentleman has taken, naturally as it were, the position of leader of the Body of Colonists who are now preparing to depart from England as the founders of the settlement. His popularity and influence with them, and the marked confidence with which they regard him, have manifestly been occasioned by no design on his part to win their good opinion, but have resulted from their own observation of his valuable and amiable qualities: and I am directed to assure you that the very favourable impression which he has made on the Colonists has been so fully extended to the Committee that they would not have hesitated, if the entire responsibility of making local appointments had not been deliberately imposed upon you, to place Mr. Brittan in the most important trust and position, next to your own, in the local administration of the affairs of the Association.

The Committee are unwilling to dwell on the services which Mr. Brittan has rendered to them in the execution so far of their difficult task, because it is not on the ground of reward for past services that they think you would properly act in this case, in which superior capacity should be the only recommendation: but they place before you the fact of Mr. Brittan's assiduous and very useful labours in the organization of the colonists, and in acting as a medium of communication between the Colonists and the Committee, as the best possible evidence of his ability and worth.

With these remarks, however, the Committee leave the subject in your hands, in order that your power in such matters may be as unfettered as in justice it ought to be, considering that you have to bear the weight of an unlimited and undivided responsibility.