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Early Wellington

New Zealand Company, 1846

New Zealand Company, 1846.

From the time that Edward Gibbon ceased, through ill-health, to take an active part in its affairs, a complete change in the Company's policy was observable. “My incapacity,” Wakefield told the New Zealand Company in 1854, “changed the whole character of the direction, which then fell into the hands of a few persons in whose minds sound principles of colonization and Colonial Government were as nothing compared with pounds, shillings and pence. They sold the honour of the Company, and the interest of the Colony for money. The arrangement to come through Parliamentary obligation upon New Zealand to recompense the Company for its losses.” The arrangement so decried by Wakefield was concluded in May, 1847. A scheme prepared by Charles Buller provided for an advance of £236,000 to the Company, subject to the condition that if the loan were not repaid by 1850, the Company should resign its charter and all its lands in New Zealand, and receive £268,000 as compensation for its expenses, to be paid out of the proceeds of land sales in the Colony.

Sir Frederick Young, K.C.M.G., whose father was an active director of the Company, from 1839, found himself frequently in communication with Mr. Wakefield. He stated that Mr. Wakefield exercised a powerful influence over all who came within his sphere, and especially over young men. His manner was striking and most persuasive. There was a peculiar fascination about him that inspired one with confidence in his views.

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The 24th report of the directors appeared in the “N.Z. Journal” of the 3rd June, 1848, and the issue of the 17th June, 1848, contains the proclamation of the new charter (Sir Geo. Grey, Governor-in-Chief, and Andrew Sinclair, Esq., Colonial Secretary).

The Special Court of Proprietors met 15th October, 1847, for the purpose of authorising a loan from the High Treasurer the sum of £136,000. Mr. H. A. Aglionby presided. The speakers to the meeting were Messrs. W. H. Burnand, Weightman, Beit and Captain Otway. Thomas Cudbert Harrington was made secretary.

An account of the N.Z. Company's Land Conveyance Act, 1st August, 1849, is in the issue of the “N.Z. Journal,” 8/9/1849.

The “N.Z. Journal” of the 17th March, 1849, copied an article from the Wellington “Independent,” regarding New Zealand Co's. shares, old series, at an auction mart, Auckland, viz., “The 40 shares, old series, N.Z. Company were sold for £7 10/- and £8 per share. Town acre 223, with Hutt sec. No. 29, was sold for £115; do. 534, 770 and 875, with sec. No. 28, Kinapora District, and 169 and 170, Manawatu, were sold for £55 each.” It adds: “So much for the grasping absentee who holds his land when he could get three or four times the price for it in the Colony and, when pinched, is forced to sacrifice it at Home. Tradition says that Queen Mary died of grief for the loss of Calais. How would Queen Victoria take the loss of her colonies?”

Mr. Aglionby occupied the chair at the annual general meeting of the Company, 31st May, 1849, held at Broad Street. In addition to the names of members mentioned in other reports are the following: Messrs. J. Pattison, T. Docker, T. Drane, W. Spiers, D. Sullivan, W. Wilson, J. Wroughtman, and Chas. Cox, auditor. Mr. W. H. Burnand proposed that Ed. Gibbon Wakefield, Esq. be requested to sit for a painting of himself, to be preserved by the Company in remembrance of his invaluable services, and that a committee be appointed to receive subscriptions for carrying this into effect. This motion was unanimously agreed to (“N.Z. Journal,” 2/6/1849).

The “Australian and N.Z. Gazette,” London, October 19, 1850, announces the dissolution of the Company, commenting thus:—“There are few persons interested in Colonial matters but must regret the dissolution of a body of men who have effected so much for colonization generally as has the New Zealand Company.”

Notification of the review of Mr. E. G. Wakefield's view of “The Art of Colonization,” by Wm. Swainson, Esq., F.R.S. and L.S., with additional observations by the editor of the “Australian and N.Z. Gazette,” appears in that paper, dated 1850, p. 25.