Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/372

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Grey
Grey
360

retired to Kawau, a pleasant island in the Hauraki Gulf, which he had purchased and which he had made interesting by planting, gardening, and the acclimatising of foreign trees, flowers, and animals. After a stay of some months he sailed to England, where, after interviews with the Duke of Buckingham and Lord Granville, which did not lead to a reconciliation with the colonial office, he stood at Newark as a liberal candidate for the House of Commons. The official liberals, however, did not want him in English politics, and in order not to split the liberal vote he withdrew. Both on the platform and in writing he was active from 1868 to 1870 in opposing Mr. Goldwin Smith and the 'Little England' school, in protesting against the severance of England from her colonies, and in advocating a system of state-aided emigration from the mother country, by which the poor should be helped to settle on colonial waste lands. In 1871 he returned to New Zealand and lived quietly at Kawau, studying, collecting books, and showing hospitality, until in 1874 he consented to enter New Zealand politics, and was chosen superintendent of the province of Auckland and member of the House of Representatives for Auckland City. With eloquence and dash, but without success, he led the opposition to the centralist party, which abolished in 1876 the colony's provincial institutions. Thereafter a radical party formed round him, and in 1877 he became prime minister. The reforms for which he and his principal lieutenants, (Sir) Robert Stout and John Ballance [q. v. Suppl.], strove were adult franchise (to describe which Grey invented the term ' One-man-one-vote '), triennial parliaments, the taxation of land values, the leasing instead of the sale of crown lands, compulsory repurchase of private estates, the election of the governor by the colonists. All these except the last have been carried ; but none were carried by the Grey ministry. That, after two ineffectual years of uneasy life, was brought down mainly by the unpopularity of its land tax and by a commercial crisis, for which it was in no way responsible, but which occurred in 1879, and the effect of which did not entirely pass away for sixteen years. Grey was not a successful prime minister. He quarrelled with his ablest supporters, put his trust in incompetent men, showed little aptitude for the conduct of parliamentary business, and managed to create the impression that he was a careless and ignorant financier. After the fall of his ministry his followers deposed him from the leadership. This he did not forgive, and all through the fourteen years which he spent in the House of Representatives afterwards he never heartily co-operated with the radicals or became reconciled to those who led them. Treated with the most marked deference by the house, to which he was always re-elected almost without opposition, his influence both there and in the colony nevertheless dwindled. In 1890, however, he proposed and carried the completed form of manhood suffrage, and in 1891 he enjoyed a triumph in Australia, where, as one of the New Zealand delegates, he was a striking figure in the federal convention. There he made a stand, and a successful stand, for 'One-man-one-vote,' and fought, not successfully, to have the governor-general elected by the people of the federation. After addressing large meetings in Victoria and New South Wales, he was welcomed with enthusiasm in his old colony, South Australia. In the progressive movement of the last decade in New Zealand he took no share, except as an occasional critic, and in 1894, quietly and without any sort of notice, quitted the colony to spend the rest of his days in London. After his arrival in England he was made a privy councillor, but increasing feebleness hindered him from playing any further public part. He died of senile decay on 20 Sept. 1898, and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, where a public funeral was given him.

Before and after leaving Cape Colony Grey presented to the Cape Town public library his own collection of books and manuscripts, then said to be the most valuable private library in the southern hemisphere. For this the Cape colonists set up his statue close by the library hall. During the next twenty-five years he again got together a fine collection of books, and these, with some interesting manuscripts, he gave to the city of Auckland, where a hall was built to receive them. Grey's own writings were 'Vocabulary of the Aboriginal Language of Western Australia' (Perth, Western Australia, 1839, 4to) ; 'Vocabulary of the Dialects of South-western Australia' (2nd edit. London, 1840, 12mo) ; 'Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-west and Western Australia in 1837-8-9, by Captain G. Grey, Governor of South Australia,' London, 1841, 2 vols. ; 'Polynesian Mythology and Ancient Traditional History of the New Zealand Race (English and Maori),' London, 1855, 8vo; 2nd edit. Auckland, 1885, 8vo. Much the most important of these is the volume of Maori legends, gathered and translated in such leisure as he could find during his first governorship of New Zealand.

Good as some of his writing was, he was