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Early Wellington

Founders of Wellington

Founders of Wellington.

(Extracts from Garnett's Edward Gibbon Wakefield.)

Wakefield, in his evidence before the Parliamentary Committee of 1840, stated:— “We met and formed a society. The first principle which we laid down was that the society should be rather of a public than of a private character; and that at all events no member of it should have any pecuniary interest in the object in view. The only object of the society was to bring the subject before the public and Parliament, and not to take any part as individuals in what might be the result.”

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Garnett, page 141, continues:—“We must distinguish, therefore, between the association formed for the purpose of promoting colonisation, but whose members, united for a public object, were in this capacity entirely disinterested persons, and the body of actual settlers constituted under its auspices. The plan proposed to the Government contemplated the annexation of New Zealand and the entrusting of its administration for ten years to a council elected by the founders, which should have full authority, subject to disallowance by the Colonial Secretary and by Parliament, to whom its proceedings must be reported. The association was indeed an influential body, its first chairman,

Mr. Francis Baring, was of world-wide fame as a banker and merchant prince. Many of the directors were of the same type; others were theoretical colonial reformers, like Buller, Hutt and Molesworth. A man more calculated to impress the popular imagination was then in the background. This was Lord Durham, who returned from his St. Petersburg embassy on 24th June, and forthwith joined the direction.

Mr. Chas. Buller delivered a great speech on colonisation in 1843, and a special proposal was made that the House should resolve itself into a committee to consider the case of the Company, which the Government chose to regard as a vote of censure on the Colonial Secretary. He was author of an able pamphlet on Responsible Government for the Colonies, 1840. (Garnett, pp. 180–258.)

Lord Durham was a director of the first New Zealand Association, 1825. Chairman at the dinner at Lovegrove's Tavern at the West India Docks, and took a very active part in the affairs of the company until his death, 19th July, 1840. (Ibid, pp. 142–183.)

Lord Elliot was chairman in 1840 to a committee of the House of Commons set up to investigate New Zealand questions. His draft report was entirely favourable to the Company, but was rejected by the majority. (Ibid, p. 222.)

Dr. G. S. Evans, together with Dr. Samuel Hinds, represented the New Zealand Company while Wakefield and Lord Durham were in Canada. Dr. Evans, who was a barrister, versed in international law, advanced £1000 towards the expenses of the company. (Ibid, pp. 138–150.)

Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone was a member of the committee of 1840, and had it depended upon him, its proceedings would not have been abortive. He voted for the statesmanlike draft report of the chairman, Lord Elliot, which the majority shelved without putting anything into its place. (Ibid, pp. 248–330–331.)

Dr. Samuel Hinds, later Bishop of Norwhich, associated with Dr. Evans gave a luminous statement of the circumstances under which a civilised State is justified in extending its authority over barbarous countries, and dwelt on the humane intentions of the Association towards the natives. He advocated the proposal of a Bishop for New Zealand, and revived the idea of colonisation by religious bodies. (Ibid, pp. 138–299.)

Sir William Molesworth, an early colonial reformer, was chairman of Committee on Transportation, but opposed the New Zealand Constitution Bill, 1852. (Ibid, pp. 88–330.)

Robert Stephen Rintoul, editor of the “Spectator,” and one of Wakefield's principal supporters. (Ibid, pp. 88–90, 343–345.)

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Lord John Russell, as Colonial Secretary, concluded an arrangement with the New Zealand Company, and supported its claims. (Ibid, pp. 201–223, 255–256.)

George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand, was sent out by Lord John Russell late in 1841. Bishop Selwyn learned Maori from a native during the voyage, and arrived speaking it fluently. The Bishop is referred to elsewhere in this work. (Ibid, 224–316.)

Joseph Somes, M.P., succeeded Lord Durham as chairman of the New Zealand Company, 1840. (Ibid, 224.)

William Swainson was appointed the first Attorney-General of New Zealand. He and Sir William Martin, first Chief Judge, went out in the same vessel in 1841, and ere they landed, the two had prepared a legal system adapted for an infant colony, which shortly bore fruit in abundant legislation. (Ibid, pp. 224, 355–356.)

Colonel Torrens, one of the founders of South Australia, was not altogether friendly at first. “But,” he told the Colonial Lands Committee, “I very soon, in discussing the question with the Colonisation Society, removed my opposition. The more I consider, the more I entirely approve. I have a strong and growing conviction that at no distant period the country will have to acknowledge a large debt of gratitude to the author of this plan—that is, to Wakefield.” (Ibid, pp. 90–107.)

Wakefield, Edward Gibbon, eldest son of Edward Wakefield, Esq., of Burnham Hall, Essex, was born in 1796, and educated for the bar. In 1833 he wrote a careful work on “England and America” and “A View of the Art of Colonisation.” He then effected the colonisation of South Australia and New Zealand by means of associations founded on his system. With the aid of Robert Rintoul, editor of the “Spectator,” and Sir William Molesworth, he attacked the institution of convict transportation, to abolish which he gave the first effective blows. He was ostensibly, as well as virtually, the director of the New Zealand Company, although his name will seldom be found appended to the official documents which he drafted or inspired. When the New Zealand Land Company was formed, a dinner, accompanied by much oratory, was given at Lovegrove's Tavern, at the West India Dock. On the 29th April, the Colonial Secretary was informed of the project, and the “Tory,” the expeditionary or pioneer ship, which was to meet the emigrant ships at Port Hardy by the 10th January, 1840, was four days late in starting, and as she cast anchor at Plymouth, a stout, fresh-complexioned middle-aged gentleman, with a countenance expressive of intelligence and resolution, left London in a post-chaise, driving rapidly to the south-west. This was no other than Edward Gibbon Wakefield, whom rumours had reached that the Government intended to stop the departure of the vessel. He urged the “Tory” off, and she sailed unmolested on the 12th May, 1839. Wakefield's action was the fittest crown of a series of vigorous actions which won for Queen Victoria as bright a jewel as any of her diadem, and saved the Britain of the South from becoming a French convict settlement.

While the “Tory” was ploughing the waves, the Company was not idle on shore. Their prospectus had appeared on the 2nd May, 1839, and on the 14th they held a meeting. The most important of the nine items also conveyed the company's apology for its energetic action.

Wakefield wrote to his father in October, 1841, thus: “I have not time to attend to details; almost every hour of my day, to say nothing of nights, from year's end to year's end, being engaged in taking care of the principles and main points of our New page 445 Zealand enterprise, and in what Arthur calls the management of people which means the persuading of all sorts of dispositions to pull together for a common object.”

Superior ability and the fact that he was the only director able to devote his whole time to the company, kept him at the head of affairs until his breakdown, in August 1846. After that date no responsibility for any of its doings can be imputed to him.

In a letter addressed to the colonists of Wellington, dated April, 1849, he prophesied that the Company would not survive 1850, and added that its disappearance would be the best thing for New Zealand interests. He had resigned his directorship in preceding January, and consented to have his portrait painted and hung in the Board Room. It was executed by Collins, and was identical in attitude with the daguerreotype which was in the possession of Sir Frederick Young, K.C.M.G., and including his favourite Talbot hounds and pet King Charles. It came into his possession at the dissolution of the company, and was ultimately presented by his son Edward Jerningham to the Provincial Hall at Christchurch. It is now in the Canterbury Museum. Wakefield arrived at Lyttelton in the “Minerva” on the 2nd February, 1853, and at Wellington on the 9th March the same year, and became a member of the Provincial Council of Wellington, and M.H.R. for Hutt in 1854. His ultimate breakdown is described thus in a letter from his son to Catherine Torlesse. Wakefield's sister:— “Wellington, 8th May, 1855. About the first week in December last he attended a meeting of his constituents in the Hutt Valley, and spoke with great earnestness and vigour for five hours consectively in a densely crowded room. In order, I suppose, to get away from the noise and excitement consequent on such a political meeting, he drove home in an open chaise, nine miles in the face of a cold southeasterly gale, at 2 o'clock in the morning. Although he began to feel ill, he accepted an invitation a day or two afterwards to dine with the members of an Oddfellows' Lodge in Wellington, and sat in a hot room with an open window at his back. Next day he was attacked with rheumatic fever. At first he was attended by Dr. Prendergast and sent for me in January.”

Fig. 278.—Edward Gibbon Wakefield, 1850.

Fig. 278.—Edward Gibbon Wakefield, 1850.

His niece Alice, daughter of his brother Daniel, and afterwards Mrs. Harold Freeman, was a great deal with him in 1862. William Schmidt was his devoted man-servant.

Mrs. Freeman mentions that they moved from the Tinakori house to Wellington Terrace, and Wakefield died there on the 16th May, 1862. She states: “He was laid by the side of two brothers who had been devotedly attached to him—Colonel Wakefield and my father—also my sister. The four graves are close together” (Bolton Street Cemetery, Wellington).

The Colonial Office wars no longer with him; his bust adorns one of its corridors, and his spirit in a great degree animates its policy… . When a movement does arise, whether in South Australia or by the waters of Cook's Strait, it cannot, after due page 446 acknowledgment of his special achievement as founder of the Colony, be more fitly than with words adapted from two distinct eulogies by Lord Lyttelton, who knew the man and had shared in his work: “The man in these latter days beyond widest influence in the genius and the widest influence in the great science of colonization, both as a thinker, a writer and a worker, whose name is like a spell to all interested in the subject.” (Garnett, p. 375.)

Wakefield, Edward Jerningham, only son of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, was born on 25th June, 1820, eleven days before the death of his mother. He was educated at Bruce Castle School and King's College, and became Secretary-General and attache at Paris. He accompanied his uncle, Colonel William Wakefield, as his secretary, in the “Tory” expedition in 1839. Returned to England in 1844, and Ireland in 1845, to confer with Dr. Hinds on the subject of the proposed Church of England settlement in New Zealand. On his return to New Zealand he represented a Canterbury constituency in the first session of Parliament held under the new Constitution Act, 1854; again represented Christchurch in 1876. Author of “Adventure in New Zealand,” beautifully illustrated by local artists, and published in 1848. Died at Canterbury about 1876 (Cox's “Men of Mark,” p. 209).

Fig. 279.—Edward Jerningham Wakefield. Author of “Adventure in New Zealand.” Arrived by the “Tory,” as secretary to his uncle, Colonel Wakefield, 1839; died at Canterbury, 1876.

Fig. 279.—Edward Jerningham Wakefield. Author of “Adventure in New Zealand.” Arrived by the “Tory,” as secretary to his uncle, Colonel Wakefield, 1839; died at Canterbury, 1876.

Wakefield, William, was the fourth son of Edward Wakefield Esq., Burnham Hall, Essex, and born in 1800. Educated for the diplomatic service. In 1823, sec. for the English Minister at Turin; from 1832 to 1838 was Colonel Lancers. Knight of the Tower and Sword of Portugal, and Knight of St. Fernando. In 1839 he led the first body of English colonists to the shores of New Zealand. Married Miss Sidney, of Penhurst, a descendant of Sir Joseph Sidney. His only daughter married Sir Edward Stafford (Cox's “Men of Mark,” p. 212).

Intellectually, William Wakefield is described by Gisborne (“N.Z. Rulers and Statesmen”) “as a pale copy of his brother.” He made no pretence to originality of genius, but he was as much the hand of the New Zealand Company as Edward Gibbon was its brain. William was a man of close reserve and of that baffling secretiveness which is not synonymous with taciturnity. His manner was attractive, and, in outward appearance, sympathetic, but the inner man was out of sight and hearing. Of medium height, compactly built, fair in appearance and Saxon in appearance and temperament, astute and reticent, and could make himself a very pleasant companion… . His general conduct of affairs attests his eminent talents as an organiser, and his official despatches and journals are excellent reading. These will mostly be found in the appendix to the report of the Parliamentary Committee of 1844. No man had been more fiercely assailed, but he had lived down opposition, and New Zealand has never seen such another funeral procession (1848) as that which accompanied his body to the grave.

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Fig. 280.—Colonel William Wakefield, 1800–1848. Copied from the portrait in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, New South Wales, during 1928, for Miss Irma O'Connor, 28 Omahu Road, Remuera, Auckland, N.Z. (All rights reserved.)

Fig. 280.—Colonel William Wakefield, 1800–1848. Copied from the portrait in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, New South Wales, during 1928, for Miss Irma O'Connor, 28 Omahu Road, Remuera, Auckland, N.Z. (All rights reserved.)

Wakefield, Captain Arthur, founder of the settlement of Nelson, was a brother to Edward Gibbon Wakefield. Bishop Selwyn, in an unpublished private letter, says: “I believe that a more humane and judicious man than Captain Wakefield did not exist, or one more desirous of promoting a good understanding between the two races.” In Mr. Gisborne's “N.Z. Rulers and Statesmen,” pp. 20–22, is a most beautiful character of Arthur Wakefield as the ideal colonist, written by Mr. Alfred Domett, afterwards Prime Minister of New Zealand (Ibid, p. 228).

Sir Henry George Ward , chairman of the Committee on Colonial Lands, 1839 (Ibid, pp. 126, 221).

George Frederick Young, Esq., M.P., was an active director of the New Zealand Company, 1839, etc. His son, Sir Frederick Young, K.C.M.G., chairman and mainstay of the Royal Colonial Institute, was manager of the shipping department of the Canterbury Association in 1848, and was intimately acquainted with Wakefield. He describes his cottage, near the White Hart Inn at Reigate, meetings with him, on page 324 Garnett's “Edward Wakefield.”

A banquet was given to Lord John Russell at the London Tavern on Saturday, 13th January, 1841, on the occasion of a Royal Charter being granted to the Company. Following are the names of some of the guests:—

Joseph Somes (in the chair); the Earl of Devon; Lord Ashburton; Lord Petre; Right Hon. H. Labouchere, president Board of Trade; Vernon Smith, M.P., Under Secretary for Colonies; R. H. E. J. Stanley, M.P., Secretary to the Treasury; Right Hon. Sir Hussey Vivian, M.P., Master General of Ordinance; Right Hon. R. L. Shiel, M.P., Board of Trade; Mr. Moore O'Ferill, M.P., Secretary to the Admiralty; Mr. Fox Maule, M.P., United States Home Department; Mr. Tuffnell, M.P., Lord of the Treasury; Lord Elliot, M.P.; Viscount Ingestre, M.P.; Lord Edward Howard; Right Hon. Edward Ellice, M.P.; Mr. Russell Ellice; Mr. Alderman Thompson, M.P.; Mr. Hutt, M.P.; Mr. Abel Smith, M.P.; Mr. Charles Buller, M.P.; Mr. H. G. Ward, M.P.; Mr. W. Bingham Baring, M.P.; the O'Connor Don, M.P.; Hon. Frederick Jas. Tollemache, M.P.; Mr. Aglionby, M.P.; Mr. Alexander Copeland, M.P.; Mr. Lyall, deputy chairman, East India Company; Mr. Andrew Colville; Mr. Trevelyan, assistant secretary to the Treasury; Mr. Senior, Master in Chancerys; Mr. Woolridge Whitmore; Mr. Browning, M.P.; Mr. Briscoe, M.P.; Mr. Geo. Palmer, M.P.; Mr. Easthope, M.P.; Mr. Smith O'Brien, page 448 M.P.; Mr. Edward Butler, M.P.; Mr. Leader, M.P.; Sir Chas. Lemon, M.P.; Mr. Aaron Chapman, M.P.; Mr. Raikes Currie, M.P.; Mr. Edward Rice, M.P.; Mr. Hastie, M.P.; Alderman Sir Geo. Carroll; Alderman Pirie; Mr. Buckle; Sir William Symonds, Surveyor of the Navy; Rev. Dr. Hinds; Mr. Thos. Wilson, chairman of the corn merchants trading in Colonies; Mr. G. R. Robinson, chairman of Lloyds; Mr. H. Buckle, chairman of Shipowners' Society; Mr. Thos. Tooke, chairman of St. Catherine's Dock Co., etc.; Mr. Sheriff Gibbs; Mr. Sheriff Farncomb; Mr. Mackillop, deputy chairman Canada Society, etc.; Mr. N. Gould, chairman of British-American Land Co.; Mr. John Chapman, deputy chairman Western Australian Co.; Mr. Thos. Walker; Mr. Martin Tucker Smith; Colonel Torrens, Commissioner of Crown Land and Emigration; Mr. W. Martin, Chief Justice of New Zealand; Mr. Swainson, Attorney General of New Zealand, and other Government officers; Mr. Spain, Commissioner of Titles in New Zealand; Mr. H. S. Chapman; Sir S. Glynne; Mr. Commissioner Evans; Sir Jeremiah Bryant; Mr. Leonard Rothchild; Mr. Thos. Hankey, junr.; Admiral Young; Captain Fitzroy, R.N.; Mr. Syndicus Banks; Mr. William Jardine; Mr. Consul Koch; Mr. Melville, senr., of East India Co.; Mr. Brown, chairman of Pacific Steam Navigation Co.; Mr. William Stanley Clarke; Dr. Hodgkin; Mr. Bulteel; Mr. Bryan Duppa; Captain Wakefield, R.N.; Mr. Ross Mangles; Mr. Frederick Elliot; Hon. E. Villiers; Mr. G. D. O'Callagan; Mr. Whitebread, and others.

On Saturday, December 25th, 1841, a New Zealand fete and grand ball was held at Plymouth, in aid of supplying the poorer emigrants with clothing. This was held in the Theatre Royal, which was decorated for the occasion. A view of Lambton Harbour, painted by Mr. Cook, at the end of the stage, and a moving diorama of views and designs furnished by Col. Hamilton Smith and from Earle's sketches. The flowers on the stage were arranged by Mr. Corbett, gardener to Sir W. Molesworth. The patronesses were: The Duchess of Somerset, Lady John Russell, Lady Elizabeth Bulteel, Lady Vivian; Mesdames Ellice, Warren, Tremayne, Stanley, Carey, Calmody and St. Aubyn. The stewards were: The Earl of Devon, Lord Vivian, Lord Courtenay, Sir W. Molesworth, Thos. Gill, M.P., Captains Eden, R.N., King, Brand, Bulkeley, Chas. Trelawney, Mr. Thos. Woolcombe. Other names mentioned as being present were: Lady Buller, Mesdames Moore, Trelawney, and Lady Molesworth; Captains Furneux, Manley and Dixon; Messrs. Pengelly, Palmer, E. N. Lockyer, Scales, Strode, Symons, Jas. Moore, A. Norman, S. Carter, N. Downs, Carrington, R. Thompson and Hon. H. W. Petre. There were 600 persons in all and 450 spectators. A native Pah, “Koroarika,” Waimate, and a waterfall were exhibited, and Mr. Rowe's new set, called the “Taranaki Waltzes” and “Gallopade,” were considered beautiful, and danced twice during the night. A central device, consisting of a painting by Mr. Chapman of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, was the central ornament. (“N.Z. Journal,” 25/12/1841).

The sixth report of the Company was published in the “N.Z. Journal,” 15th Oct., 1842. Other names besides those enumerated above, mentioned in the 7th report were: Sir Isaac Goldsmid, Bart.; Sir R. Howard, Bart.; Viscount Ingestre, M.P.; Ross D. Mangles Esq.; R. E. Arden Esq.; Major Chase; J. and W. Curling; Mr. A. Currie; Major Cuphey; Messrs. Vincent Eyre, R. Few, W. G. Gover, F. T. Halswell, J. G. Hammack, J. H. Luscombe, N. McLeod, Thomas Pilcher, C. Tabor, R. Templeman, A. J. Valpy.

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The 13th report, published in the “N.Z. Journal,” 6th July, 1844, mentions four vacancies in the directorate, viz., Hon. F. Tollemache, M.P., and Messrs. A. Willis, J. W. Buckle and Wm. King. These were filled by Archibald Hastie, Jeremiah Pilcher, Geo. Lyall, junr., and Alex Currie. Other names not previously mentioned of those present were: Sir Isaac Lyon, Messrs. G. Bailey, J. T. Trimmer, C. G. White, S. Sinclair, M.D., J. H. Lance, J. Hunt, H. Aglionby, M.P., Dr. Bowring, and General Briggs.

The 14th report appears in the “N.Z. Journal,” 3rd August, 1844, resolutions 1 to 19. The 16th, do., ibid. 1 Feb., 1845. Fresh names are mentioned in the 17th report, ibid. 15th Feb., 1845: R. E. Arden, E. Dawson, Dr. Rob. Perry, C. F. White, Geo. Robins, G. Borrell, J. T. Bensusan and John Watson. The “N.Z. Journal” of the 29th May, 1846, publishes a report of the Company.

On page 177 of the “N.Z. Journal” of the 5th July, 1845, will be found the report and division list on the debate in the House of Commons, and motion by Mr. Charles Buller, “that the House resolve itself into a committee to consider the state of the Colony of New Zealand and the case of the New Zealand Company.” Ayes 172, noes 223. Appended are a few familiar names: Ayes—Algionby, Bannerman, Barklay, Baring, Butler, Chapman, B. Copeland, Courtenay, Currie, Dalrymple, D'Isralie, Ellice, Fitzroy, Gore, Grey, Hanmer, Hawes, Heathcote, Hill, Hutt, Ingestre, Labouchere, Macaulay, Manners, Marjori-banks, Napier, Palmerston, Pendarves, Polhill, Ponsonby, Russell, Seymour, Shelbourne, Somes, Stanley, Strickland, Tancred, Tollemache, Vivian, Warburton, and Ward, (H. G.) Noes—Acland, A'Court, Baillie, Col.; Baring, W. B.; Bentinck, Buck, Chute, W. T.; Collett, W. R.; Compton, H. C.; Dickinson, F. H.; Feilden, Fitzroy, H.; Gladstone. Lincoln, Mackenzie, T.; Manners, C. S.; Palmer, R. and G.; Peel, R.; Pigot, R.; Rolleston, Col.; Sandon, Seymour, H. B.; Somerset, Tennent, Trollope, Vivian, J. E.; Wellesley, Lord, C.; Woodhouse, Yorke, E. T.