The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Chapman, Hon. Henry Samuel
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Chapman, Hon. Henry Samuel
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Chapman, Hon. Henry Samuel, came of a family which had amassed wealth in commerce with the American colonies, but became impoverished by the War of Independence. His father was a Civil Servant in the Barrack Department, and he was born at Kennington on July 21st, 1803, and educated at a school at Bromley, Kent. He was a clerk in Esdaile's Bank, and subsequently with a bill broker. In 1823 he went to Canada, and became a merchant in Quebec, and in 1833 started The Daily Advertiser in Montreal, the first daily newspaper in Canada. He returned to England early in 1835 as the delegate of the popular party in Canada, who instructed him to confer with Hume, O'Connell, and Roebuck, whom he had known in Canada. Along with the last named he took a prominent part in the agitation for securing representative government for Canada, and was the friend of John Stuart Mill and Richard Cobden. During his residence in England, which lasted till 1843, he contributed many political and economical articles to magazines and newspapers, edited the works of Jeremy Bentham, in conjunction with Dr., afterwards Sir John, Bowring, and wrote the articles on "Weaving" and "Wool, and its Manufacture" for the Encyclopædia Britannica in 1842. Having acted as an assistant commissioner for inquiring into the grievances of the handloom weavers in 1838, and having in 1840 been called to the English bar, he joined Edward Gibbon Wakefield in his plans for the colonisation of New Zealand. On Feb. 8th, 1840, he started The New Zealand Journal, which lasted for some years, and in 1843 he was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, and sailed for Auckland. For the following nine years he lived in Wellington. In 1852 he was appointed to the Colonial Secretaryship of Tasmania, but lost his office owing to his sympathy with the Anti-transportation party. Returning to England, he rejected an offer of a West Indian governorship, and went out in 1854 to Victoria, where he entered the Legislative Council in 1855. On March 11th, 1857, he was appointed Attorney-General in the O'Shanassy Government, but went out of office on April 29th in the same year. The O'Shanassy Government came into power again on March 10th, 1858, when Mr. Chapman resumed his office, holding it till Oct. 27th, 1859. He was also Law Lecturer at the Melbourne University, and acted from 1862 to 1863 for Sir Redmond Barry, as Judge of the Supreme Court. He formulated and introduced the Ballot Bill into the Victorian Parliament, from which it has spread into use all over the British Empire. In 1864 he was reappointed Judge of the Supreme Court of New Zealand, and lived in Dunedin till his death, on Dec. 27th, 1881. In 1875 he retired from the Bench, and was subsequently Chancellor of the University of Otago. Mr. Chapman was the author of many pamphlets and papers, including "The New Zealand Portfolio" (1843)and "Parliamentary Government or Responsible Ministries of the Australian Colonies" (1854). In regard to his connection with the ballot, it may be stated that he drafted for Mr. Nicholson in 1855 the clauses which created the special form of the device known as the "Australian ballot," which simply leaves the voter to strike out the names of those candidates for whom he does not intend to vote. This form has been very generally adopted in America. Mr. Chapman married first, in 1840, Caroline, daughter of Mr. J. G. Brewer, barrister-at-law; and, secondly, Miss Carr, a sister of the wife of Mr. R. D. Ireland (q.v.).