STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE LAND PURCHASERS AND SETTLERS...
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STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE LAND PURCHASERS AND SETTLERS AT CANTERBURY, NEW ZEALAND.
THAT the Canterbury Association was incorporated by a royal charter bearing date the 13th day of November, 1849, which charter expressed "that it was the purpose of the said Association to expend the whole funds which came into their hands (whether arising from the sales of land or otherwise), in founding the said intended settlement and promoting the prosperity thereof, more especially by the execution of divers works and operations of a public nature, adapted to prepare the site of the said intended settlement for the reception of immigrants, and afford peculiar facilities for the immediate beneficial occupation thereof, and by the establishment and maintenance of Ecclesiastical and Educational Institutions in connexion with the Church of England as by law established."
That the said royal charter further expressed that "it was intended to regulate the expenditure of the Association, so far as circumstances would permit, according to the following distribution and appropriation--that is to say, the said funds shall he considered as divided into six equal parts, whereof one-sixth part shall be appropriated to the acquisition of the tract of land requisite for the site of the said intended settlement, two other sixth parts shall be appropriated to the emigration of settlers, two other sixth parts thereof shall be appropriated to ecclesiastical and educational purposes, and the remaining sixth part thereof shall be appropriated to the general purposes of the Association, including the execution of such preparatory and other works and operations as aforesaid."
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That His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury became President of the General Committee of the Association; and that a Committee of Management was appointed, consisting of twenty-four members of the General Committee, the Right Hon. the Lord Lyttelton being Chairman, and Henry Sewell, Esq., Deputy Chairman of such Sub-Committee.
That the Association, thus constituted, agreed with the New Zealand Company for a certain tract of land, estimated to contain about two and a half millions of acres, situate on the south coast of the middle island of New Zealand, and contracted to pay the said New Zealand Company at the rate of ten shillings for every statute acre of such land sold or appropriated under the authority of the Canterbury Association. That the said Association, thereupon, proceeded to sell and allot portions of such land to divers purchasers, such purchasers agreeing to pay and paying to the Association a sum of three pounds in respect of every statute acre of land so allotted to them respectively, and the said Association, on its part, contracting and agreeing with such purchasers that every such payment of three pounds should be considered and taken to be paid to and received by them, and should be faithfully applied as expressed in the charter of incorporation-- that is to say, one-sixth part (or a sum of ten shillings) for each acre of the land, two other sixth parts (or a further sum of twenty shillings) towards the emigration of settlers, two other sixth parts (or a further sum of twenty shillings) for ecclesiastical and educational purposes, and the remaining one-sixth part (or ten shillings) for general purposes, including the execution of works "adapted to prepare the site for the reception of emigrants, and to afford peculiar facilities for the immediate beneficial occupation thereof."
That the Association, by its Chairman, members of its Committee, its officers and agents, as well as by means of publications under its authority, represented and held out to the public, and especially to divers persons being purchasers of land or desiring
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to become purchasers of land of the Association, that the payment of three pounds in respect of every acre of land allotted by the Association would secure to the land purchasers and settlers; first, the land they might purchase upon good and valid titles; secondly, a port, landing-places, and wharfage, for their goods and commodities in the colony, together with a traversable road from such port and place of disembarkation to the land the purchasers and settlers respectively might occupy; thirdly, churches, schools, and colleges, adequate for the provision of the spiritual and educational necessities of the settlers and their children; and that the said Association further represented and held out that a bishop and a staff of clergy of the Church of England would be sent out to the colony, by and at the charge of the said Association, and that ample funds would be set apart for the endowment of the said bishop and clergy, with suitable and adequate stipends; and that these representations had a tendency to induce, and did induce, many persons of respectability and good position to become purchasers of land of the Association, and to contribute to the Association at the rate of three pounds for and in respect of every acre of such land; and that in all and every of these respects the Association has failed to perform its contracts and engagements, or to carry out the purposes of the Association as expressed in the charter of incorporation.
That in the month of December, 1849, the Association sent out to the settlement of Canterbury, John Robert Godley, Esq., to undertake the duty of sole agent for the Association in New Zealand, with authority to represent the Association in that colony to the full extent of its powers and privileges; that the said Association agreed to give to the said John Robert Godley a sum of five hundred pounds for his outfit and passage money, and to pay to him a salary of eight hundred pounds per annum, from the funds received from the land purchasers; that the Association represented to the land purchasers and then intending land purchasers and settlers that the said John Robert Godley was instructed as their sole agent in New Zealand, to prepare the site of the intended settlement, and to make the necessary arrangements for the arrival and reception of the intending emigrants on
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their arrival in the colony, and for their immediate beneficial occupation of the land, as expressed in the royal charter of incorporation; and that the said Association further represented that they had placed funds at the said John Robert Godley's disposal to effect these objects; that the said John Robert Godley arrived at the settlement of Canterbury in the month of April, 1850; and after remaining on shore there for the space of eight-and-forty hours or thereabouts, withdrew himself from the said settlement, and took up his residence at the port of Wellington, on the north island of New Zealand, at a distance of 160 miles, or thereabouts, from the settlement of Canterbury; that the said John Robert Godley resided at Wellington for a period of eight months from the date of his arrival thereat, having little or no communication with the settlement of Canterbury; that, nevertheless, the Committee of the Canterbury Association published amongst the land purchasers and intending land purchasers and settlers at home, a statement that the aforesaid John Robert Godley was "actively engaged in making preparations for the arrival of the emigrants more complete and satisfactory than had ever been made for a new people;" that in consequence of this and the like representations, a large number of persons, in the whole 791 land purchasers and settlers, were induced to embark for the colony in the month of September, 1850, in four ships, which arrived at the settlement of Canterbury on the 17th and 31st of December following; but that the said emigrants, on their arrival, found that no adequate preparation whatever had been made for their reception, or for the immediate beneficial occupation of their land: and that, with the exception of an emigrant's barrack for labourers, there was not suitable shelter or convenience provided for more than twenty individuals of those who had been induced to take their departure to the colony by the representations of the Association and its agent, and that much suffering, distress, and inconvenience was occasioned thereby.
That the town of Littelton, which is the port and landing-place of the colony, is situate on a piece of land of limited extent, abutting on a bay towards the west, and surrounded on all other sides by hills of great height, which render the town itself inca-
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pable of extension, and only suited for the purpose of a port and landing-place; that the land sold and allotted to the great majority of land purchasers and settlers, is situate on a plain beyond the aforesaid hills surrounding Lyttelton, which plain is called and known as the Canterbury Plain, and on which is the site of the town of Christchurch, hereafter intended to be the capital of the province; that in order to prepare the site of the settlement for the reception of immigrants, and to afford facilities for the immediate beneficial occupation thereof, the first and most essential object is to afford direct and ready communication from the port to the plain, and that in undertaking to provide for the reception of immigrants, and to afford facilities for the immediate beneficial occupation of the site, the Canterbury Association did virtually contract with the Crown and with the purchasers of land, to provide a road from the port of Lyttelton to the land sold and allotted to the purchasers of land and settlers upon the plain. That in the month of July, 1848, Mr. Joseph Thomas, who was appointed by the Association its Chief Surveyor, was sent out by the Association to the intended settlement of Canterbury, accompanied by a Deputy-Surveyor and an Assistant, to make a survey of the land and to lay out the same; that the said Joseph Thomas, as the first and most necessary object to be effected, after survey, commenced the construction of a cart and carriage road, to be carried round the hills from Lyttelton to Christchurch, and also of a path or track for foot-passengers and horses, across the summit of the hills, from the port to the same place; that the path or track was completed, so as to be traversable, before the arrival of the afore-mentioned John Robert Godley, Chief Agent, in the settlement; but that the cart and carnage road had only been constructed for a few hundred yards of its entire length. That the said John Robert Godley represented to the Association, in his first despatches, that "it was of primary importance to complete this road, as the track over the hills was hardly practicable for a horseman," and that "without the road, the plain could hardly be called fit for settlement." That the said Association thereupon placed at the disposal of the said John Robert Godley funds applicable, amongst other things, to the construction of the said road, but that nevertheless the said John Robert Godley caused the works upon the said road to be suspended, and very
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shortly after his return from Wellington to the Canterbury settlement, that is to say, in the month of January, 1851, he, the said John Robert Godley, dismissed from the service of the Association the aforesaid Joseph Thomas, under whose superintendence and direction the said road from Lyttelton to the plain was in progress of construction. That, in consequence of the non-construction of the said road, the colonists on the Canterbury plains, who purchased land of the Association, were and continued to be cut off during many months of the year from all communication with the port of Lyttelton, the track over the mountains being impassable except for pack-horses. That there is a stream, called the River Avon, which flows through the town of Christchurch, and empties itself into the bay not far from the port and landing-place of Lyttelton, but that communication between Lyttelton and Christchurch, by boat or vessel, on the said river, is always difficult and frequently impracticable, by reason of the current, the rocks, and of a bar of sand at the mouth of the river; and that much property has been lost in ineffectual attempts to cross the said bar of sand. That at various times, provisions and common necessaries of life have risen to undue and inordinate prices at the town of Christchurch by reason of the impossibility of communicating with the port; that large quantities of goods and chattels are or were lying, at great expense for warehouse room, or otherwise, on the wharves and beach at Lyttelton, in consequence of the impossibility of conveying the same from Lyttelton to Christchurch without great risk and at enormous cost. That in the year 1851, Felix Wakefield, Esq., then a settler in the colony, who in England held under the Association the office of Agent for the sale of land, called the attention of the afore-mentioned John Robert Godley, as sole Agent of the Association in the colony, to the position of the colonists, and the injuries sustained by them by reason of the non-construction of the road, and the said Felix Wakefield invited the said John Robert Godley, as Agent of the Association, to take measures for the construction of the road, which the said John Robert Godley refused to do. That the said Felix Wakefield thereupon repaired to Wellington, and called the attention of Sir George Grey, Governor for Her Majesty of the colony of New Zealand, to the position of the colonists of Christchurch by reason of the want of a proper road
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to Lyttelton, and that Governor Sir George Grey thereupon directed Mr. John Roy, Government engineer, to proceed to the settlement of Canterbury, and make a report to the government of New Zealand on the Lyttelton and Christchurch road. That the said John Roy, under date 3rd April, 1852, made his report to the Governor of New Zealand, and that the said Governor, Sir George Grey, together with the Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Forces in New Zealand, personally visited the settlement of Canterbury, and offered the aforesaid John Robert Godley, as Agent of the Association, the assistance of Her Majesty's government in the construction of the road. That the aforesaid John Robert Godley refused or declined to avail himself of such assistance; that Governor Sir George Grey thereupon reported upon the subject to her Majesty's Colonial Secretary of State, and that the road remains unfinished, to the great distress of the land purchasers and settlers in the colony, and in violation of the contract of the Association with the Crown and with the land purchasers.
That, under an arrangement to which his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, and the Committee of the Canterbury Association, were the principal parties, the settlement of Canterbury was erected into a bishopric, and the Rev. Thomas Jackson, now Rector of Stoke Newington, in the County of Middlesex, was, in the year 1850, designated bishop thereof, under the style and title of Bishop of Lyttelton. That the said Rev. Thomas Jackson was, during the year 1850, an active promoter of the objects of the Canterbury Association, and of various projects connected therewith; that he attended many meetings called by the Association, and addressed those assembled in support of the Association and its objects; that the said Rev. Thomas Jackson made collections from the public in aid of various spiritual and educational designs represented by him as intended to be carried out in the Canterbury settlement, and exhorted different congregations, consisting of members of the Church of England, in aid thereof, and made collections of divers monies to promote such objects. That the said Rev. Thomas Jackson, then styled and designated Bishop of Lyttelton, embarked for the settlement of
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Canterbury, in the month of October, 1850, and arrived at Lyttelton in the month of February following; that he remained there for the space of six calendar weeks, or thereabouts, after which he left the colony and returned to England, and was not further heard of in an episcopal capacity. That in the accounts of the Canterbury Association, there appear the following charges, namely, "For the outfit and salary of the Rev. Thomas Jackson, 2000l.," "For the passage of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and their children, 653l.," "To the Rev. Thomas Jackson, salary paid in the colony, 340l.," "Rev. Thomas Jackson, balance, 14l. 14s. 10d.," "Rev. Thomas Jackson, sundry accounts, 736l. 7s. 1d." That the circumstances which occasioned the Bishop Designate to withdraw from and leave the colony have never been explained, and that the chairman of the sub-committee of the Canterbury Association has declined to make any explanation to the land purchasers thereof; that no satisfactory account has been furnished to the land purchasers of any portion of the foregoing monies paid out of the revenues of the Association to or on account of the Rev. Thomas Jackson, or his family; that no satisfactory account has ever been furnished by the Association of any monies that may have been collected or disbursed by the Rev. Thomas Jackson, in respect of various ecclesiastical or educational objects in the settlement; that since the return of the Rev. Thomas Jackson to England, there has been no appointment of a bishop to the colonial diocese of Canterbury or Lyttelton, in violation of the expectation and inducement held out to the land purchasers and intending settlers professing the principles of the Church of England; and that a sum of ten thousand pounds, which was originally set apart as an endowment for the aforesaid bishopric, has been diverted from that object, and a mortgage substituted on property in actual dispute.
That the Canterbury Association, by its members, agents, officers, and publications, represented, or caused to be represented, to the public, and especially to the then intending land purchasers, that the settlement of Canterbury would be adequately provided, out of the funds of the Association, with churches, a bishop, clergy of the Church of England, a college, schools, and all sufficient ecclesiastical and educational provision, as provided in the charter
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of incorporation; that godly-minded men were invited to contribute to certain funds specially raised in aid of such ecclesiastical and educational provision, and especially on behalf of a diocesan fund, the proceeds of which were to be brought into the general account of the Association, as required by the said charter of incorporation; that amongst other proposals and offers of the Association, a grammar school was promised to be erected "in the second or third Pointed style of architecture," at which, it was held out, as an inducement to the public to purchase land, that "the Canterbury boys, sons of gentlemen, might learn Latin and Greek, as well as if they enjoyed the advantages of Eton or the Charterhouse;" that it was further represented that "one gentleman had given a sum of six hundred and fifty pounds as a start towards an exhibition, to be identified with the name of the late Charles Buller," and to be attached to the said intended grammar school; that in a paper issued by the Association, and entitled "Scheme for the establishment of a College at Canterbury, New Zealand," and bearing date "21st May, 1850," it was proposed "that the said college should consist of two departments, one for boys of all ages, from seven to seventeen, and one for young men above the age of seventeen, both departments to be under the immediate government of a warden, fellows, and tutors, subject to the ordinary power of the bishop as a visitor;" that in violation of their charter, and of these engagements, promises, and contracts, the said Association have omitted and neglected duly to provide for the ecclesiastical and educational necessities of the settlers out of the funds at their disposal; that no steps whatsoever have been taken by them for the establishment of any grammar school; that no exhibition whatsoever has been founded, and that no information has been furnished of the application of any fund or funds applicable thereto; that no college has been established, or is in course of establishment, for either boys or young men; and that generally the ecclesiastical and educational provision is not such as is required by the charter, or such as is needful for the settlers in the colony.
That the Association, by its members, agents, officers, and publications, represented, or caused to be represented, to the land
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purchasers and the public that the land in the colony was ready for the plough, and fit for immediate agricultural operations thereupon, without necessity for any undue expenditure or outlay for the clearing of the same; and that whereas the land on the Christchurch plains requires an expenditure of three pounds, or thereabouts, for every statute acre, to clear the same of weeds and roots, before the plough can be effectively applied thereto, or other agricultural operations taken thereupon; and that the charter of incorporation is thereby violated, inasmuch as that "the site of the said intended settlement is not duly prepared for the reception of immigrants," nor are "peculiar facilities afforded for the immediate beneficial occupation thereof;" and that the Association have likewise broken their contract, agreement, and stipulation entered into between the committee on behalf of the said Association and the purchasers of land.
That the Association, by its members, agents, officers and publications, also represented, or caused to be represented, to the land purchasers and intending settlers, that the sites of the towns of Lyttelton and Christchurch were well and sufficiently provided with wood and water, and that at Lyttelton "there was excellent water at ten feet digging, and that every man might have a well in his own house for the expense of five pounds;" and whereas both the towns of Lyttelton and Christchurch are ill and insufficiently supplied with wood and water; that within reasonable distance of the town of Christchurch there is only one piece of copse or woodland, and that the said piece of land yielding wood was sold or allotted by the Association, or its agent, to William Guise Brittan, an officer of the said Association, for his sole private use, benefit, and advantage; that the colonists at Christchurch have consequently been deprived of the use of any wood except such as can be obtained by purchase from the said William Guise Brittan, and that they have been grievously injured and damaged thereby; the said sale or appropriation of the Association to the aforesaid William Guise Brittan being a violation of the charter of incorporation, and of the contract and agreement of the Association with the land purchasers.
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That pending the departure of various parties of land purchasers and settlers from England to the colony, the Association published, or caused to he published, certain papers, entitled the "Canterbury Papers," containing, or purporting to contain accounts and statements relative to, and connected with, the settlement of Canterbury, and the operations of the Association bearing on the same; and that certain publications of importance of the aforesaid "Canterbury Papers" were wilfully and scandalously false, and were wilfully designed to mislead the intending settlers as to the true facts relating to the said Association or the colony of Canterbury, to their deception and injury, and that especially the publication entitled "Correspondence relating to the departure of the main body of Canterbury Colonists," "and the publication entitled "Shipping Report, by Mr. William Bowler," were wilfully and scandalously false; that the said first-mentioned publication was fictitious, and never did in reality pass as correspondence between the parties represented to have corresponded; and that the second-mentioned publication, entitled "Shipping Report," was not the production of Mr. William Bowler, and was not published by him, or by his authority; and that the whole of such publications were issued by the Canterbury Association and its agents with intent to deceive the land purchasers and intending land purchasers and settlers, and that they were deceived and deluded thereby, to their great injury, detriment, and damage.
That by the charter of incorporation it was declared that the expenditure of the funds of the Canterbury Association should be regulated according to the distribution and appropriation hereinbefore particularly mentioned, subject only to such variations or modifications as might at any time, or from time to time, be directed or approved by the resolution of a general meeting; and that the said body politic and corporate should cause distinct and true accounts in writing, under each head of expenditure, to be kept in proper books, and to be submitted once in every year to such person as the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council appointed for the consideration of all matters relating to trade
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and foreign plantations should appoint to be inspector of the same; and whereas the funds of the Canterbury Association have not been regulated according to the distribution and appropriation prescribed by the said charter; and whereas no variation nor modification has at any time been directed or approved by the resolution of any general meeting; and whereas the accounts of the Association have not been distinctly or truly kept under each head of expenditure as required by the said charter; and whereas, the Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of matters relating to trade having appointed a fit and proper person to inspect the accounts of the said Association, the said inspector, under date "Dec. 14th, 1852," made a special report that the funds held by the Association for ecclesiastical and educational purposes had been diverted from their proper objects, and that the Association had allotted land in lieu thereof; that such proceeding was not in accordance with the charter; and that the land appropriated to the ecclesiastical and educational fund might remain for an indefinite period before it acquired a saleable value. That all such proceedings were violations of the charter of incorporation, and of the contract entered into between the Association and the Crown; that the lands in the Canterbury Settlement appropriated in lieu of the said funds are utterly unsaleable; and that until the Association replaces the money thus diverted, no proper provision can be made for the ecclesiastical or educational purposes of the settlement, as contemplated by the charter.
That the Canterbury Association recommended itself to the British public as an association established with a high religious and moral purpose,--that it constantly set forth "that the religious elements of the plan were its main attraction,"--that it promised, under the authority "of the historical name of Lyttelton and "with the pioneering of such a man as Godley," that it would "transplant the Church of England to New Zealand," and "make the Colony like Home" to a wealthy class of English people. That the result has been the delusion of between three and four thousand unfortunate individuals, who were induced to place confidence in the promoters of the project and to invest money on the faith of the assurances, who have been located on
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priation of the funds of the Association, makes no provision specially for roads. It does refer to "the execution of preparatory and other works and operations," which are defined to be "to prepare the site of the settlement for the reception of immigrants and to afford peculiar facilities for the immediate beneficial occupation thereof." It is very clear that the road from Lyttelton to Christchurch was one of the most necessary measures for these purposes; but the accounts of the Association appear to show that a sixth of the entire fund has been expended on works which may be taken to come within the same description, such as making a survey, building a sea-wall and landing-place (part of the mortgage to the Bishop's Trust Fund), as also the construction of a bridle-path, and the road from the river to the town of Christchurch. I am, therefore, inclined to fear that there might be more doubt as to the success of this portion of a suit.
Another course which appears to be open to the land purchasers is an appeal to Parliament, and the parliamentary case is so strong that I cannot doubt the House of Commons would grant a committee of inquiry upon the presentation of a petition signed on behalf of the committee of land purchasers, followed by a motion for investigation. It is, however, to be considered that although the committee might report in favour of the land purchasers, it is by no means certain that a measure of redress would result from their report. In the event of the land purchasers resorting to Parliament the Statement annexed would, with some slight modification and the addition of a prayer, serve as their petition, embodying the facts.
It appears to me worthy the consideration of the land purchasers, whether, prior to resort either to the Court of Chancery or the House of Commons, it might not be desirable to appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury and other members of the general committee of the Association, who are very probably unacquainted with the real facts of the case, but who nevertheless are deeply concerned therein. Should the land purchasers take this course, the statement annexed might, with some modification, be properly made the foundation of the appeal to their sense of the responsibility they are under to those who are suffering by the acts of the Association.
W. T. HALY.
4, St. Martin's Place, Trafalgar Square,
22nd July, 1853.