Page:Canterbury Papers.djvu/64

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As the present papers were going to press, the following Report of a Meeting in Birmingham appeared in the morning papers of the 30th of January:—

Yesterday a meeting was held in Birmingham, under the auspices of Lord Lyttelton, Mr. Adderley, M.P., and other gentlemen who have taken part in the promotion of the 'Canterbury Settlement' in New Zealand: the object was to afford information as to the principle and details of the plan on which the colonization of this Settlement is proposed to be conducted. Mr. Felix Wakefield attended to answer inquiries, and the Hon. Frederick Gough presided. Lord Lyttelton gave a general sketch of the project. His lordship said the promoters of the Canterbury settlement had set it on foot with a desire to realize some settlement which should more worthily represent society, in its best views, than had ever been attempted before in colonization. To carry out this, a principal object had been to secure some site which should give to emigrants a secure possession in their purchases of land; this was an assurance not always given to colonists, and many persons on going out to New Zealand and other colonies had experienced the greatest embarrassment and difficulty. Now, upon the Canterbury settlement, there was no longer this drawback; the land was secured, and was situate in the southern province of the middle island on the southern coast of New Zealand. The title was complete in every respect; that of the natives was extinguished, and a crown grant had been made to the purchasers. The settlement would comprise about 2,400,000 acres of land, which was offered for sale at 3l. per acre. It must be distinctly understood that this was a church undertaking, and must therefore be confined strictly to members of the church of England; it was also an essential part of the undertaking, that all the advantages of churches, schools, and clergy, would be provided for the first batch of emigrants. For the rest, he had only to state that the land was already in possession of the Association, and that local agents would be stationed in large towns for the purpose of affording information on the subject.—Mr. Adderley, M.P., said that he regarded this as one of the greatest enterprizes of the present time. He condemned the attempt to govern distant and fully-matured colonies from the home country. He hoped that each colonist would, at the proper time, be invested with the rights of citizenship, without which no colony would prosper. With reference to this being a 'church enterprize,' the hon. gentleman said that this must not be regarded as savouring of intolerance; the measure had been adopted as an element of success, and, in fact, the Presbyterians and Roman Catholics had settlements of their own.—In reply to a question from the Rev. H. Bellairs, Lord Lyttelton said that Mr. Godley had gone out for the express purpose of making suitable provision for the reception of the labourers and other emigrants on their arrival.—Mr. Adderley (in reply to other questions) said that there was no doubt as to the excellence of the title to the land; that, in fact, it had been purchased of the natives for 2,000l., and subsequently been granted to this company by the crown, with a reserve of 2,400 acres for the natives.—From the statements made, a favourable impression was produced relative to this project.