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Early Wellington

Governor Fitzroy's Levee

Governor Fitzroy's Levee.

On the evening of the 26th January, 1844, the H.M.S. “North Star” entered the harbour with Captain Fitzroy on board. Mr. F. Dillon Bell was also a passenger.

On Saturday, the 27th, at two o'clock, a Levee, which was very numerously attended, page 129 was held at Barrett's Hotel (Hotel Cecil site). Considering the short notice given it was well attended. On landing, the Governor was greeted with cordial acclamations of welcome from a large assemblage of the settlers.

The arrangements for the Levee were rather undignified; no aide-de-camp, sentries or constables had been appointed to keep the ingress through the French window of the large room in the hotel free. After thanking the deputation for the congratulatory address, His Excellency assured all parties of receiving justice, but deprecated the feelings of the settlers at Wellington against the native population.

Wi Tako and other chiefs were presented, also Colonel Wakefield and several prominent people.

On Monday and Tuesday a deputation from the settlers, with a memorial detailing their political wants, waited upon him.

Except as regards the Wairau question, which he passed over by reminding his hearers “that our countrymen were the aggressors,” his promises gave general satisfaction.

On the 3rd February His Excellency sailed for Nelson, the day after a ball which he and the officers of the “North Star” were invited by the settlers, and returned from Nelson on the 16th, but his attitude towards the settlers this time did not warrant popularity.