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The Founders of Canterbury

The Editor of the Wellington Spectator

The Editor of the Wellington Spectator.


Reigate, 3rd July, 1849.


—I inclose, and beg that you will publish for the information of the colonists of New Zealand, a document relating to colonial government.

The principles, which it sets forth, will be brought into debate in the House of Commons on the second reading of the Australian Constitutions Bill, which now stands for Monday, the 16th instant.

If these Resolutions of Mr. Adderley's should meet, as I expect they will, with general approval in New Zealand, some assistance would be aflorded to Mr. Adderley in his efforts to give practical effect to them next year, if petitions from New Zealand praying that they may be adopted in any act for the government of the Colony, were transmitted without delay to Mr. Adderley.

page 85

I am anxious in particular to direct attention to the 6th Resolution, which relates to the disposal of the waste lands. Lord John Russell announced in the House of Commons yesterday that the Government intends to alter the Bill relating to the Australian Colonies by giving some control over the waste lands to the colonial governments. This concession may, I think, be attributed to Mr. Adderley's Resolutions, which though not yet published, have been in circulation for some days. It is a very important concession as regards the principle of colonial control over a matter of the utmost importance to colonies. This matter, the mother-country regards with perfect indifference. The impossibility of inducing Parliament to consider the matter and legislate upon it in earnest, and with that intelligeuce which earnestness alone can bestow, has at length induced me to recur to an old doctrine of mine—which is that the whole subject of the disposal of the waste lands is a colonial matter which ought to be handed over to the colonists without any kind of reservation.

The colonists of New Zealand will see how the question bears upon them and the exclusive control over the waste lands of the Colony by the New Zealand Company under the provisions of an Imperial Act. If the colonists agree with me on this question, they will adopt Mr. Adderley's sixth resolution. The Company really does nothing with the waste lands. The colonists, if they had full control over them under true municipal government, would do everything with them that would most conduce to colonial prosperity and progress. Their case exactly resembles that of the colonists of New South Wales, Port Philip, and South Australia, upon whom present laws relating to the disposal of waste land operate as a great tax upon and discouragement of colonization: and I trust that all the colonies of the Southern Pacific will petition together for the adoption of the principle of Mr. Adderley's sixth Resolution.

With this view, allow me to beg that copies of your journal, page 86containing the Resolutions and this letter, may be transmitted to the editors of newspapers at Sydney, Hobart Town, Launceston, Melbourne, and Adelaide, by the earliest opportunities.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

E. G. Wakefield.