DEPUTATION TO MR. GODLEY.
On Wednesday a deputation consisting of the Reverend O. Mathias, Captain Simeon, Messrs. Watts Russell, Fitzgerald, J. T. Cookson, Hamilton, Wakefield, S powers, Birch, Draper, Prichard, Porter, and the Hon. J. S. Wortley, waited upon Mr. Godley to present him with a Requisition to allow himself to be put in nomination as Superintendent of this Province. The Requisition, which has already appeared in our Journal of the 30th October, was, with scarce an exception, signed by every individual in the Settlement who had access to it; it was read and presented by Mr. Birch to Mr. Godley, who replied as follows: — Gentlemen, It would be most unbecoming and most ungrateful in me to answer such an address as the one before me, presented in such a manner, and under such circumstances, in the language of ordinary compliment. The relations between you and myself are, I hope and believe, of such a nature* as to justify me in talking over the matter familiarly, as with intimate friends. I have lived among"the people of this Settlement now for two years in habits of constant and unreserved intercourse ; I am acquainted with everybody, and everybody is acquainted with me ; they have had the most ample opportunities of knowing my character, public and private, as well as my views on almost every matter of public interest connected with the Colony. When, therefore, having such knowledge of me, they come forward, literally as one man, and press me, with an affectionate earnestness which evidently comes from the heart, to remain among them, and to accept the highest civil appointment in their power to bestow, I might be pardoned if such a proposal excited in my mind pride and satisfaction of no ordinary'kind. Yet, in truth, the feelings uppermost in my mind just now are not those of pride and satisfaction ;'they are, much rather, grief at being compelled to decline your offer, and a half "remorseful doubt as to whether I am right in declining it. This subject has engaged my most anxious and painful consideration for some time, and I feel it due to you, with the view of showing you that I have not arrived
lightly or capriciously at a determination inconsistent with your wishes, to explain, at the risk of appearing egotistical, my position and intentions withrespect to it. I left England in 1849, intending to remain away two years at the utmost, and making all my private arrangements with that view. Well! I have now been absent from.England for three years, and am just entering on a fourth. This prolonged absence is; extremely inconvenient to me as regards my private affairs, and is the subject of repeated and urgent remonstrance on the part of my family': and friends. It would be quite different; of course, if I had deliberately determined to become a New Zealand colonist, and had made all my arrangements and preparations accordingly ; but I have never as yet entertained any such deliberate intention, "it is very possible, nay probable, that I may be compelled by the state of my health to return here, after trying the experiment of living in England, but I havealways intended to live there, if I can. And if I am to live in England, it is really time that my return should'not be much longer delayed. A man cannot have two countries; at least^ he will not give himself fair play in the-perform-ance of his duties in either, if he has. Every year, every month, that I spend here, makes a fresh gap in my home sympathies and home interests, while from the precarious and temporary nature of my position, I am unable to take root and feel settled here. I have now performed, to the best of my ability, one definite task, that of managing the Colonial affairs of the Canterbury Association. By the last mail the Committee, have informed me that they had no further occasion for my services, and the routine duties which must be performed until their successors are appointed; do not in anyway require my presence. There comes, therefore, a sort of turning-point, or epoch, when I may, I think, legitimately and properly fulfil my intention of returning home. If I stay, I must commence an entirely new career, that of a New Zealand politician, and holder of Government office; and this, I confess, I am not prepared to do. Ido not see so distinct and positive a call of duty as to demand of me that I should radically alter, indeed abandon, my whole plan of life. For if I took the Superintendency, and determined to] stay four years and a half longer here, I might as well, and in fact would, give up all idea of England, and lay myself out regularly to make New Zealand my home. I know it has been pressed upon me from every quarter with a friendly importunity which I can never forget, that 1 might allow myself, to' be elected Superintendent, and hold office for a; few months, just to set the machine going. But I think the friends who make this suggestion will see on reflection that such a course would not be advisable, hardly even proper, or consistent with due respect for my successor or the office. The period assigned by law to the Superintendent's tenure of office is quite short enough for maturing and carrying out any thingdeserving the name of a policy. To shorten it still further by subdivision, to make one man initiate plans and appoint officers while another, immediately afterwards, would have the sole responsibility of carrying out the plans and "working with the men, would not be fair either to the former or the latter, and would, I am sure, be very detrimental to the public service. It seems, too, natural and appropriate that with the introduction of institutions of self government, the direction of public affairs should pass into the hands of bond fide colonists, men who ; are thoroughly identified with the settlement in prospects and interests, and do not look forward to leaving it more or less immediately for England. I had hoped until lately that I might be present at the first session of the Provincial Council, and assist at the transfer of the waste lands to that body. But in the first place, I now find that there is no chance of the session taking place within such a period as would allow°me to be present at it, and also to go to England next year, for it would be very imprudent in me to meet an English climate first in winter. And, besides, the intelligence lately received has made it clear to me that the waste lands will not be transferred by the Association to the Provincial Council at all. On the whole then, gentlemen, I have come to the determination of declining your offer, and persevering in my original intention of leaving the colony at the close of this year. Permit me once more to tender my most sincere and grateful thanks to you. and 'those who have deputed you, and to express a hope that you will not think the; worse of me for what I have said to-day.
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DEPUTATION TO MR. GODLEY., Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 97, 13 November 1852
DEPUTATION TO MR. GODLEY. Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 97, 13 November 1852
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