CHAPTER XXXVII. BEGINNING OF THE LAST CHAPTER...
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BEGINNING OF THE LAST CHAPTER--MR. VOGEL'S SOUTH SEA ISLANDS SCHEME--THE PREMIER OF NEW ZEALAND IN LONDON--ARRIVAL OF A NEW SECRETARY--HOW THE GREAT LOAN WAS RAISED--MR. VOGEL AT THE OFFICES-- MY INTERVIEW WITH A GREAT MAN--HIS MARBLE BUST--A LETTER RESPECTING HIM--HIS APPETITE--MY RESIGNATION--SIR JULIUS RETURNS TO LONDON--HIS FINANCIAL PERPLEXITY--AN IMPORTANT TELEGRAM--CONCLUSION.
AT length I have arrived at the beginning of the last chapter of the third volume of my Autobiography. Time presses, and my remarks are now intended to be brief. I am still an official at 7, Westminster Chambers, but purpose, shortly, giving up my appointment, in the hopes of seeing New Zealand again.
I have formed so many plans in my life-time, and so many of them I have not been able to carry out, that now I propose to float through the remainder of my existence guided by the current of events as they arise.
At page 237 of this volume I speak of Mr. Vogel's scheme for colonising the South Sea Islands. At that time I was not aware that he had won over to his views, on this and other subjects, Sir James Ferguson, the then Governor of New Zealand. However, such was the case.
To the surprise of many, Sir James Ferguson resigned his
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Governorship during the year 1874, and was succeeded by the Marquis of Normanby--who in Wellington had a "Lord for his private secretary, and was born in the year 1819.
Sir James Ferguson gave as his reasons for resigning, that he was desirous of entering the British Parliament, as his friends, the Conservatives, were once more in power. I am inclined to think, that, in warmly supporting Mr. Vogel's proposed bubble scheme, he expected a Directorship, if not the Chairmanship of a London Company to be formed with the object of carrying it out. If so it does not speak well for his judgment or his abilities. I do know he was anxious for Directorships, for directly he arrived in London he was announced as having joined the board of direction of a half-bankrupt company called the Emigrants' and Colonists' Aid Corporation, which was trading and living on English and New Zealand credulity.
He, Sir James, may have been piqued at Sir Hercules Robinson, Governor of New South Wales, being appointed by the Imperial Government, instead of himself to annex the Feegee (or Figi) islands to the British Empire. Was this the case? I ask this question, but cannot positively answer it. At all events I do now know that Mr. Vogel telegraphed to the Agent-General in London for the latter to use his influence with the Colonial Office to prevent New South Wales taking the lead in the matter instead of New Zealand. The telegram was received in London on the 25th of October, 1874, and ran thus:--
"Sydney papers state Fiji will be governed from Sydney. Great slight to New Zealand; which nearer to Fiji--besides having knowledge of governing native races in which Sydney quite deficient. Try get decision delayed till Governor Ferguson arrives."
These intrigues had no effect on the Imperial Government, which annexed the Fiji islands to the Empire--regardless of the forward suggestion made by Mr. Julius Vogel.
Mr. Vogel soon followed Sir James Ferguson to England;
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but not before having--in company with other Auckland M.H.R.'s--his effigy publicly burnt in that city -- and afterwards on the eve of his preparation, via Sydney and Suez--he abruptly quitted an angry public meeting of his Auckland constituents without replying to their questions.
On the 24th of December, 1874, Mr. Vogel, the Premier of New Zealand, was expected and might have then arrived in London; but he lingered on the continent at Florence and Paris, and was further delayed by an attack of gout at the latter place. However, he arrived there on the 28th of January, 1875, and took up his abode at 49, George Street, Baker Street. Here he was very unwell, not suffering much pain, but unable to walk, except from one chair to another close at hand. Gradually he got better, and finally, and for the first time on the 3rd of March came to the office on crutches. His room door was opposite to that of mine. So I saw a good deal of him. The "Doctor" came down stairs to see and ask me if the room was ready for the "great man." I replied "Yes!" He then went in to see Vogel, and found his only topic of conversation was "loans."
On the 2nd of January Mr. Kennaway came to the office, but really did not commence business till six weeks afterwards. It was amusing to see how the Agent-General played with him. The latter had evidently made up his mind not to part with his private secretary, Mr. Hoey, whose fate appeared to be sealed, as I mentioned at page 238. The A.-G. was willing to allow Mr. K. to control the Emigration or Public Works Departments down-stairs; but upstairs--where the former, his private secretary and chief clerk were--must not be interfered with. Mr. K.--whose official position, under an appointment signed by the Governor, was secretary to the Agent-General--submitted to the fates above and descended to the position assigned to him below, where he came into contact with four heads of departments, of whom I was one.
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We all privately resented his interference, which really impeded the business of the office instead of forwarding it. In short-- though he could not help it--his appointment was a most useless one. I protested to the A.-G. against being placed under him, and asked to leave in June last but the A.-G. would not consent to this. Mr. Kennaway, however, did not further interfere with me and seemed wishful to make himself useful in the office; and so he would, if there had been anything suiting his position for him to do. Another sore point with the four officers in question was that while each of them had worked hard for nearly four years to raise the establishment to its present state of efficiency, and were severally in receipt of salaries varying from £300 to £400 a year, Mr. Kennaway was to receive £800 for three years and to have much less work than any of them had to get through, and that work they had to teach him how to do. There was one fault or want in the organization of the office--this was a want of proper discipline. The clerks did too much as they liked, but this in a great measure arose from every one in the office considering the service and their engagements of a very temporary nature. In fact, half the number of our clerks had once been under a month's notice to leave at last Christmas, then Mr. Vogel after his arrival gave orders to send out 23,000 emigrants in the period between 30th of April last, and 31st of May next. Now the Ministers, his colleagues in the Colony, have countermanded --for once--his orders, and only 13,000 are to be sent. At the same time, probably, 70,000, at least, will, altogether, have then been forwarded; and as the Agent-General wishes to complete the last order at once, it is likely that nearly the whole 13,000 will be sent out this year. From July 29th, 1871, to September 30th, 1875, the total number of Emigrants despatched to New Zealand by the Agent-General--during the period I was with him--was a little over 67,000. Up to June 30th, 1875, the nationalities of those sent out were as follows:--
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English, 34,166 Welsh, 590 Swedes, 865
Scotch, 9,671 Germans, 1,668 Norwegians, 885
Irish, 12,350 Danes, 1,306 Other countries, 1,718
Various, 78 Total number of souls, 63,297
From June 3Oth, 1872, to August 31st, 1875, the Agent-General expended on Emigration and Public Works, £2,439,587.
How the four-million loan was negotiated I have stated in a previous chapter, but some things which took place behind the scenes I have here to briefly relate. Dr. Featherston told me that Mr. Vogel was the first to open negotiations with the Messrs. Rothschild, and just before the arrangements with that Firm were completed, the Agent-General, Dr. Featherston, Mr. Vogel, and the Agents for the Crown Colonies held a meeting of themselves--when Mr. Vogel proposed that Messrs. Rothschild should have the Loan at £88 for each £100. The A.-G. protested against this being done, as he believed other brokers would float it for a larger amount than £88, so the great brokers, Scrimgeour & Co., were next applied to. They were willing to place two millions at once, at the price of 91, and another two millions twelve months afterwards at the same price. Suddenly Mr. Vogel withdrew from the offer made by Scrimgeour & Co. and once more placed the whole loan in the hands of the Messrs. Rothschild--who, feeling annoyed that other brokers had been placed in competition with them, and likely to finish a loan contract begun with their Firm--still claimed the right to negotiate it. Dr. Featherston at a meeting with the Rothschilds then proposed that the price this Firm might have the loan at should be handed in a letter to Rothschild by Mr. Vogel in the presence of Dr. Featherston. This was done, and the price, 91, was accepted by the great Financial Jew House. Thus was Dr. F, I consider, the means of saving the difference between 88 and 91, or in all a sum of £120,000. I think, that as the originator and prime mover in getting this great loan through the N.Z. House of Parliament was a Jew, and the contractors and floaters of this
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loan were Israelites, it may not be inappropriate, to distinguish it from other loans, to call it the "Jews' Loan."
On the 10th of March Mr. Vogel made his second appearance at the office. He was also there on the two succeeding days. He seemed in good spirits; his legs might be a little weak, but his mind was active, and his appetite keen. On this occasion he had lunch brought into his room from the restaurant below, and attached to Westminster Chambers: he seemed to enjoy that lunch very much. Undoubtedly he was a capital trencher-man. The waiter brought him two large chops, some potatoes and bread, with soda water and brandy, the whole of which he consumed; yet he had to go home and dine at six o'clock on the same evening.
On the 12th of April, at twelve at noon, I was sent for by the great man to confer with him about emigration matters at 87, Gloucester Place, to which furnished house he had removed. I was there at the time indicated. His Japanese boy servant admitted me, and in broken English told me Mr. Vogel was ill in bed from a fresh attack of gout. I sent my name up. "Tell Mr. Carter that I will see him in a quarter of an hour," was the reply brought down.
I waited one hour and a quarter, when a gentleman entered the room where I was sitting. His clothes were spotted with white clay marks. He entered into conversation with me, and said he had been up to Mr. Yogel's bedroom to take his model from which to sculpture a marble bust. This sculptor was Mr. Charles Summers, the eminent artist, who has his studio in Rome. He was very affable. "Did you model him from his naked bust?" I enquired. "No!" he said, "I stood about six feet away from him, looked at him and the shape of his head and chest, and then, as he sat upright in bed, I roughly moulded his figure in clay and adding a patch of clay here and there with my fingers I pressed it into the form of his bust." "He will have to give me five or six sittings more," he
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continued. Mr. Summers and myself became friends in talking about Rome, and he gave me his address in order that I might call upon him if ever I again paid a visit to the city of Rome.
I was next ushered into the presence of greatness in bed. His bedroom was at the top of the house. As I entered he bade me good morning, and motioned with his hand for me to be seated. He was very deaf, and as was his wont, or custom, held one hand, like a fan, up to his ear, but with a voice pitched high he heard well enough. He was sitting upright in bed, with pillows at his back, and covered up to his hips with the bed clothes. He was attired in his night shirt, which was not remarkably clean, and was soiled with the yellow stains of eggs and other viands and liquids. He looked well enough but dark and swarthy. The hair of his head and his long beard appeared neglected, and here and there grey hairs were visible. I noticed the wood frame on which was the bust model just commenced, and with a white sheet thrown over it, it looked very like a ghost. Mr. Fox, his private secretary, and a press reporter, was there standing with his note-book and pencil. Mr. Vogel put several questions to me as to my duties and the details of my department: but his questions were of the most trivial kind: he appeared most anxious to know why a free passage had been given to a hair dresser who had been nominated, in the Colony, and sent for by his friends in Otago. Ought a hair dresser--or rather a common barber, which he was, to have a free passage to New Zealand? was the question that agitated the mind and exercised the mental faculties of the "First statesman" of New Zealand. (The decision of this question had been referred to him--ironically--by the Agent-General.) He paused: he put his fingers to his forehead as if he were feeling for an idea. He seemed to be at a loss what question to ask me when he had sent for me and I had come.
At last he seemed to have solved the momentous barber-
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question, for he told Mr. Fox to write down from his dictation a memorandum to the A.-G. on the subject. This memo: was worded in precise terms, flowing language and excellent composition; but after all there was nothing practical in it, and it meant nothing. In most things he was very undecided, and therefore constantly changing. He again questioned me, but he seemed so absent in mind and undecided in manner, that his questions were irrelevant. He next paused and appeared deep in thought, asked more trivial questions, and then in an authoritative way said:-- "Mr. Carter, we will not pursue the subject further, I will see you again when I have more time to spare." Thus ended my interview with Mr. Vogel. From the following extract of a letter from a New Zealand friend of mine, who also had an interview with him, shortly afterwards, my opinions of Mr. Vogel received corroboration.
"April 12th, 1875.
"DEAR MR. CARTER,
"I saw Mr. Vogel yesterday, and my opinion is that he has no definite or clear idea as to what his policy is--where it begins or ends or what shape it shall take--and consequently cannot enlighten others; it strikes me that his mind is confused or undecided as to the detail of operations.
"In fact he hurriedly made several conflicting statements which could not be reduced to practice, and led me to feel that I was no wiser for having seen him, and that although he may be a great genius, he is certainly not a practical man * * * I should imagine that what he approves to-day he may reverse to-morrow--at least in his present state of mind, which is evidently one of indecision * * *
I am yours truly, &c."
On the 29th of May the Agent-General saw Sir Julius Vogel at the residence of the latter, on business matters--and I may say here that during the present visit of Mr. Vogel to London, there has been an entire absence of cordiality between the two --he, Mr. V., was then, the Agent-General said, "as lively as a cricket," he had just been knighted and was invited to dine, next day, with Lord Carnarvon. Dr. Featherston could
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never understand how it was Mr. Vogel's knighthood had been obtained. Up to the last week before it was conferred-- Featherston understood it had been refused. The latter gentleman believes that high pressure by a city house--of course the Rothschilds--aided by the strong recommendations of the ex-Governor, Sir James Ferguson, had been put on Disraeli and Lord Carnarvon, and so the business was settled.
On the 11th of June, Mr. V. came again to the office and of course wanted lunch. He had it. It consisted of mutton, potatoes, green peas, asparagus, and bread, washed down with brandy and soda water. He ate all, and then came into my room and said, "Mr. Carter, the waiter has forgotten the cream cheese, will you send for him?" With lively alacrity I sent for the cream cheese. Quickly it was brought, soon eaten, and Sir Julius made happy--till dinner time in the evening of the same day.
On the 1st of September, 1875, I resigned my appointment, and received the following reply from Dr. Featherston.
"7, Westminster Chambers,
"Victoria Street, Westminster, S.W.
"September 1st, 1875.
"I have received your letter of this day's date conveying to me your resignation of the office you have held on the staff of this Department, during the last four years. I accept it with sincere regret. In doing so, I feel bound to record my sense of the zeal, energy, readiness and capacity which you have constantly--throughout that period--exhibited in the service of the Colony, as well as to testify to the complete confidence which, in my own relations with you, I have always had in your discretion and good will.
"I remain, Sir,
"I. E. FEATHERSTON.
"C. R. Carter, Esq."
Much more of Sir Julius Vogel I have not got to say.
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Let it suffice for me to state, that on the 27th of June he left Dover for the continent. In the beginning of September he returned to London. He looked a podgy person, and used a stick, but otherwise seemed well in health. He gave out he would return to New Zealand at the end of September--then it was to be in October. Dr. Featherston remarked to me that he was waiting to see "how the cat jumped in the Colony." If his friends were in he would return, if not he would remain in England.
On the evening of the 10th of September, the Doctor told me that, during that day, he had had an interview with Sir Julius, forcibly depicted to him the grave financial condition of the Colony, and showed him a confidential telegram he (the A.-G.) had ten days before forwarded to the Government of New Zealand. When Sir Julius read this telegram he was fairly taken aback, and hardly spoke for five minutes. Then the Agent-General said to him, "You cannot return to the Colony till new financial arrangements are made. I will not be left to face demands without financial means to meet them. The four millions will be exhausted by the end of March next, and as matters now stand, if the Government draw heavily on me again--which they are certain to do-- before the expiration of that period, there will be no funds at my disposal to satisfy their requirements." Sir Julius Vogel then looked the picture of despair and humiliation. He wanted to know what the Agent-General thought should be done. The result was that Sir J. sent an urgent telegram to the Colony asking the Government to state its financial requirements.
In fact, Dr. Featherston said he quite pitied Sir Julius's prostrate mental condition on this occasion. The interview ended and Sir Julius soon recovered his usual equanimity, self satisfied air and financial audacity, for, next day, his private secretary told me how much he rejoiced that
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he was leaving England for New Zealand, and "how glad I am," he said, "that I shall be on the salt water in a month from this time." "Is Sir Julius going then?" I enquired, and "yes" was the reply--qualified by "I think it is so settled." He also told me that he and Sir Julius and family would sail --about the 9th of October--from Liverpool to New York, and then journey on to New Zealand via San Francisco.
As if to console him, at this time, he received the following telegram from the Colony, and had it inserted in the London morning papers of the 16th of September
"The revenue exceeded that of last year by £185,000, and exceeded the treasurer's estimate by £108,000, showing a surplus for past year of £120,000. Proposals for current year contemplate taking over Provinces after four months. Bill passed second reading for abolishing all Provinces by 52 Votes to 17. The estimated expenditure, including eight months' provision for Provincial service, is £2,4O0,O00, estimated revenue, £2,476,000, estimated, surplus thus being £76,000. The revenue includes £246,000 from the land revenue for interest on Provincial loans, but does not include £702,000 from land which, by the terms of abolition, will be devoted to special purposes, such as public works, immigration, and subsidies to district road boards. The cost of defence and constabulary and interest on all loans are included in the expenditure out of revenue."
This statement, though a puffing one, certainly looks as if Provincial Governments are to be abolished. The measure, if carried out, will make an epoch in the History of New Zealand; and also effect a vital change in the Constitution and Government of the Colony. It will, I believe, also have the effect of welding the Islands of New Zealand into,--first a united country and ultimately, an INDEPENDENT STATE.
In conclusion I have but little more to say. Human existence is short but varied, and I may remark that in
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youth, as a rule, we are hopeful, in middle life we are doubtful, and in old age we are desponding. Notwithstanding this I am disposed to think that there is much happiness in life, and while we live, we ought to make the best of it. The story of my life, so far, is ended. It has been written at various times, and under many difficulties. I have composed and arranged it here and there, a bit at a time, and by snatches from leisure hours and other opportunities. Occasionally,-- when riding on the top of an omnibus, when seated on the deck of a steamer, or even when walking in the crowded streets of London, an appropriate idea has struck me, which I duly chronicled in my note book--much to the curiosity of fellow travellers or passers-by. Sometimes the work has been laid aside, and afterwards resumed and continued. At last, in the month of October 1875, the book--with all its faults, imperfections and want of uniformity in its arrangement--is finished, and must take its chance of being read when the writer has disappeared from the scenes which have formed the subjects of these pages.
END OF VOL. III.