The Founders of Canterbury
T. C. Harington, Esq., &c., &c. Reigate, 29th January, 1849
—I request that you will be so good as to submit to the Directors of the New Zealand Company the tender of my resignation of a seat in the Court.
It is necessary for me to state briefly my reasons for taking this step. They are three in number; and they all arise out of my intention to publish a book, which is now in the press.
In the first place, then, I believe that the publication of this book may have the effect of reviving, and perhaps aggravating in Lord Grey's mind certain feelings, with which the more active of my colleagues are well acquainted. In my own opinion, a new irritation of his passions might be hurtfully visited on the Company in some way or other, if I continued a Director after the book was published. I therefore enable the Court to act according to their view of the interests of the Company in this respect.
In the next place, I have been under the necessity of expressing in the said book, the opinions that I have always entertained of the footing on which the Colony and Company were placed by the Company's arrangement with Lord Grey as Colonial Minister. These opinions are so well known to the more active of my colleagues, that I need not state them here. As they widely differ from the opinions of the Court on that point, I feel that the publication of them requires that I should offer to retire from the Direction. This offer I conceive to be due to my colleagues, whose uniform kindness and consideration to me demand my warmest acknowledgments.
Lastly, it is one of my opinions about the arrangement with page 45Lord Grey, that it places the Company on a footing of complete dependence on the Colonial Office, rendering us in fact a subordinate branch of that department for the (I wish I could say real) colonization of a part of New Zealand. If this view of the relations of the Company towards the Colonial Office is correct, then the positions of a Director of the Company, and of the author of a book relating in a great measure to the defects and vices of the Colonial Office as the government of our Colonial Empire, are manifestly so conflicting, as to make it incumbent on the author to cease being a Director; provided always, however, his colleagues should have no reason for objecting to his resignation.
With reference to this proviso, I wish to say further, for the information of those of the Directors who may not be aware of the fact, that the state of my health would long ago have induced me to retire from a post, the duties of which I was unable to perform (except by helping now and then, as far as illness would permit, to make the arrangement with Lord Grey work well for Colony and Company), if I could have taken that step without great risk of appearing to desert my colleagues and the proprietors after the condition of the Company had become exceedingly unprosperous.
I beg your pardon for employing another hand in writing to you, and remain,
Very faithfully and sincerely yours,
E. G. Wakefield.