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Early Wellington

New Zealand Association. Captain Herd's Expedition, 1825

New Zealand Association. Captain Herd's Expedition, 1825.

“A project of settlement, suggested by Colonel Nicholls, and matured by Colonel Torrens, was adopted by a London company consisting of Mr. Lambton (now Lord Durham), chairman, Mr. Lyttelton (now Lord Hatherton), George Lyall Esq., Stewart Marjoribanks Esq., Ralph Fenwick Esq., George Palmer Esq., Colonel Torrens, Edward Ellice Esq., the Hon. Courtenay Boyle, J. W. Buckle Esq., James Pattison Esq., A. W. Roberts Esq., George Varlo Esq., Anthony Gordon Esq., John Dixon Esq.”

The project failed, after an expenditure of £20,000, through the incapacity of the agent in charge of the expedition. The views of this company were submitted to Mr. Huskisson, then President of the Board of Trade, who highly approved of the undertaking, and promised them the grant of a Royal Charter in case their preliminary expedition should accomplish its object.

The leader of the expedition was alarmed by a war dance of the natives, and, after purchasing some land at Hokianga, abandoned his task. (Wakefield's “Adventure in N.Z.,” p. 3.)

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Fig. 276.—Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Esq. Who in 1836 said: “New Zealand is coming under the Dominion of the British Crown.”

Fig. 276.—Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Esq. Who in 1836 said: “New Zealand is coming under the Dominion of the British Crown.”

In a work entitled “England and America,” New Zealand had been pointed out as one of the finest fields for colonisation.

A committee of the House of Commons (upon the disposal of waste lands in the British colonies) was sitting on the 27th June, 1836, when Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield made the following answer to a question put by the chairman, Mr. Ward, M.P.:—

“Very near to Australia there is a country which all testimony concurs in describing as the fittest country in the world for colonisation—as the most beautiful country, with the finest climate and most productive soil. I mean New Zealand. It will be said that New Zealand does not belong to the British Crown, and that is true, but Englishmen are beginning to colonise New Zealand. New Zealand is coming under the Dominion of the British Crown.”

Before the close of 1836, Wakefield and a few private friends, amongst whom were Lord Petre, Mr. Campbell of Islay, Mr. Ferguson of Raith, Mr. Benjamin Hawes, Mr. Philip Howard, Mr. William Hutt, Sir William Molesworth, Mr. Wolryche Whitmore, Mr. Henry George Ward, Captain Daniell, and others, met and discussed the subject.

Early in the following spring some additional co-operation having been obtained, the New Zealand Association was founded, of which the first meeting was held on Monday, 22nd May, 1837, at No. 20, Adam Street, Adelphi, where rooms were hired for the use of the Association. Mr. Wakefield presided as chairman, and resolutions were passed founding an association, consisting of two classes of members for those intending to emigrate, who undertook to pay all the expenses (although these ultimately fell upon Wakefield and Dr. Evans alone), and of public men, who, without any pecuniary interest in view to profit, and on public grounds alone, gave up their time and labour to the prosecution of a very arduous national undertaking.

A pamphlet was drawn up and published, and Bills prepared, but the death of His Majesty King William IV. at this juncture, stopped all public proceedings. In the meantime information relating to New Zealand was collected from all quarters. A volume was compiled, and put into circulation in all parts of the kingdom. Mr. Burford was induced to paint a panorama of the Bay of Islands, from drawings procured from Mr. Augustus Earle, draughtsman to H.M.S. “Beagle,” and the author of an impending work on New Zealand.

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A series of lithograph prints from drawings by the same artist was begun, at the instance of the Association.

Articles appeared in Blackwood's Magazine, and in other publications, highly favourable to the project. A large accession was made to the emigrating members of the society, and a junction effected with the members of the old company of 1825.

The following committee was agreed upon after the union of the societies:—The Hon. Francis Baring M.P. (chairman), the Right Hons. the Earl of Durham and Lord Petre, Hon. W. B. Baring M.P., Walter F. Campbell Esq. M.P., Chas. Enderby Esq., Robert Ferguson Esq. M.P., Rev. Samuel Hinds D.D., Philip Howard Esq. M.P., Benjamin Hawes Esq. M.P., William Hutt Esq. M.P., Sir William Molesworth, Bart., M.P., Sir Geo. Sinclair, Bart., M.P., Captain Sir Wm. Symonds R.N., Henry George Ward Esq. M.P., W. Wolryche Whitmore Esq.

After various troubles and difficulties, during which many new partisans joined the old body of emigrants, an association termed the “New Zealand Colonisation Company” was formed at Messrs. Wright's banking establishment, on 29th August, 1838, and on the 2nd May following the New Zealand Land Company, combining all the preceding societies, was brought before the public through the powerful exertions of Mr. Wakefield, who now resumed the part which had been sustained by others during his absence from England, with Lord Durham, in Canada.