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The Founders of Canterbury

William Fox, Esq., Wellington, New Zealand

William Fox, Esq., Wellington, New Zealand.

(Sent by the Kelso.)


Dear Sir,

—After much hesitation, I resolve to place in your hands the copies of letters which are inclosed.

Even if you should think that, in doing so, I take an unwarrantable liberty with you as a personal stranger, yet I trust to obtain your pardon in consideration of the motives by which I am actuated, and which have conquered all the motives of delicacy which made me hesitate to take this step.

The subject of the state of New Zealand, as resulting from the appointment of a Nominee Council, instead of the representative government, which had been so long promised to the colonists, will come before the House of Commons during the Debates on the Australian Bill. But nothing will be done for New Zealand this year. Though everybody except Lord Grey wishes that an Act for New Zealand should be passed this Session, he refuses to let anything be done till next year, when, as he very positively declares, the wishes of the colonists shall be gratified. If they, in consequence of my letter to Mr. Petre (sent for publication by the Cornwall to Mr. Petre, (and by the Larkins, in duplicate, to Mr. Bell) page 83should have organized a system of petitioning, and still more if they should have sent home an agent to work for them here, the labours of their friends in England will be much facilitated: but, at all events, I feel confident that something will be done by Parliament next Session: and even were I mistaken in this opinion, it would still seem impossible, considering the progress of opinion on the subject of Colonial Government, that the present miserable despotism in New Zealand should be long maintained.

I think it right to add that the agitation of the Colony in consequence of the Governor having punished the Southern Settlements in order to avoid making his own residence in the North uncomfortable, is beginning to affect his reputation here. He was deemed a man of high public spirit who would do what he considered right without regard to personal considerations: but now, his own apology for having withheld free government from the South, is thought anything but creditable to him; and by those who are acquainted with the facts he is accused of selfishness like that of any ordinary tool of Downing-street. Still, if he had kept things quiet, he would have had credit for skill and adroitness. The uproar of the Colony is now set down against him, as a proof of incapacity. It is seen, in a word, that he is beginning to fail, as all Governors do in the long run who have to administer despotic government to Englishmen: and want of success is attributed to want of moral or intellectual qualities. People are now beginning to call his adroitness "trickery"—his changes of mind, "timidity"—and his failure, "blundering." Such is the lot of Governors, who have to treat Englishmen as slaves.

I inclose the copy of a letter marked A, which I recently addressed to a Director of the N. Z. Company, and which, together with foregoing passages in this letter which I have placed between brackets, you are at liberty to get published if you should see fit. The other copies of letters must be considered quite confidential. You may show them to friends, page 84but not give a copy of them to any one, or allow them to obtain any kind of publicity.

[I bad quite made up my mind to leave England for New Zealand next September, if free government had then been obtained for the Colony. As it is, I remain here to help in the proceedings by which I confidently expect that we shall get a New Zealand Government Act next Session: but this is my only motive for remaining. Next year, at all events, I shall proceed to the Colony with a large party of relatives and friends.]

I remain, Dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully,

E. G. Wakefield.

With copies of letters as below:—

From Mr. Aglionby to E. G. W.;

From E. G. W. to Mr. Aglionby, in answer; and

From E. G. W. to Mr. John Abel Smith.