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The Founders of Canterbury

Reigate, 6th May, 1849

Reigate, 6th May, 1849.

Dear John Abel Smith,

—I enclose the promised heads of a charter.

The second is the most important. It accords with Lord Grey's emphatic declarations as to the policy of "returning to the wise practice of our ancestors, with respect to local self-government." We mean that the "local self-government" shall be real and unmistakeable, not a show of it in words, with all sorts of restrictions and outside interferences that would destroy the reality. Nothing but the real thing will be accepted, because we think that a time is fast coming when the real thing will be gladly offered by the Imperial Government. With the real thing as to government, we shall be able to do wonders in colonization; without it, nothing. The granting of a real unadulterated Penn or Baltimore Charter would greatly strike the public imagination and make even Lord Grey popular. I do not expect it; it would be too good for everybody to come true.

With the next news from New Zealand, the Canterbury Association must either go on or be dissolved. It will not go on without the charter as proposed.

After we parted on Wednesday, I regretted not having told you what follows. By the last ship to New Zealand, I sent a long public letter to the colonists fully setting forth my page 54view of the Arrangement made in 1847, and of the position and prospects of the Colony, and of the Company in its relations with the Colony. I have offered to show the letter to Aglionby; and any Director is welcome to see it. I have not made it public here, only because I was sure that its publication would defeat the present efforts of the Company to resume colonization. When these efforts shall have failed—as they must do under present circumstances—its publication here can do no harm. There is nothing new in the letter, to those who know fully what my opinions have always been about the Arrangement of 1847: but from the Directors, who already know my view of that subject, I am unwilling to conceal that such a letter has been sent to the colony for publication.

[Inclosed in the above letter.]
Heads of a Charter.

1.A considerable portion of New Zealand to be allotted to the new colony.
2.Powers of local government truly resembling in extent and completeness those given by the charters of Penn and Baltimore.
3.Responsibility of the Executive to a Representative Legislature, to be secured.
4.All imperial subjects—such as foreign relations, relations with other colonies, trade with the mother-country—to be excluded from interference by the local government.
5.Full regulations for guardiug the interests of the mother-country with respect to waste lands and emigration.
6.Separation of the Settlement from the New Zealand Company, provided the conditions be such as fully satisfy the Company.page 55
7.All expense of colonization and government, excepting only defence from foreign aggression, to be borne by the colony; and imperial troops, if ever required by the Colony for local purposes, to be paid for by the Colony, as now by India.