Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/184

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

panied- him on one of these voyages). Captain Fitzroy was Conservative M.P. for Durham, 1841-3, when he was appointed Governor of New Zealand in succession to Captain William Hobson, and arrived in the colony in Dec. 1843. At this time the colony was not possessed of responsible government, and Captain Fitzroy was called upon to adjudicate upon the Wairau affray of 1839, in which Captain Wakefield and others were killed in a skirmish with Rauparaha and his natives over a disputed section of land in the Nelson district. The Governor arrived at the decision to pardon Rauparaha, being of the opinion that the colonists had been in the wrong, the Maoris having been "hurried into crime by their misconduct." Subsequently Captain Fitzroy, with the view of allowing greater freedom in land transfer, practically rescinded a clause in the Treaty of Waitangi, by which the Maoris could sell only to the Government, by a proclamation permitting the colonists to buy on payment of a ten shilling fee per acre to the Government. This having been regarded as a heavy tax on the sales, in Oct. 1884 he reduced it to the nominal fee of one penny per acre. About the same time the Waitara difficulty came before him. Colonel Wakefield claimed to have bought certain lands in the Taranaki district, and the Ngatiawas disputed the sale. A commission under Mr. Spain reported in favour of Colonel Wakefield, but the Governor decided to have further investigations made. This course, among other things, led to a memorial, signed by many leading, public men, praying for the censure of the Governor by the Queen. Captain Fitzroy struggled with his difficulties, which included a lack of money and of troops, but the rising of a chief called Honi Heke, and his attack on Kororarika, induced the Home Government to recall him, and, on Nov. 18th, 1845, Sir George Grey assumed the reins of Government In 1857 he became Rear-Admiral, and Vice-Admiral in 1863. In 1854, when the meteorological department of the Board of Trade was established, he was placed at its head, and for many years devoted himself to the duties of his office. His assiduity has identified his name to a large degree with the science of meteorology; but it would seem that his mind gave way under the strain, for he committed suicide on April 29th, 1865. He was the author of "Narrative of Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle and the Beagle's Circumnavigation of the Globe" (3 vols.), 1839; "Remarks on New Zealand," 1846; and "Sailing Directions for South America," 1858. Admiral Fitzroy married, first, in 1836, Mary Henrietta, second daughter of Major-General B. J. O'Brien (who died 1852); second, in 1854, Maria Isabella, third daughter of John Henry Smyth, of Heath Hall, co. Yorks.

Flanagan, Roderick, historian of New South Wales, was born at Elphin, Roscommon, Ireland, in April 1828, and went with his family to New South Wales in 1840. He was apprenticed to a printer, but soon took to journalism and literature. Mr. Flanagan contributed to the Empire when edited by Mr. (now Sir) Henry Parkes, and in 1854 joined the staff of the Sydney Morning Herald. He commenced a history of New South Wales, and after four years' labour took the MS. to England to be published by Messrs. Sampson Low & Marston. He was seized with a fatal illness whilst revising the sheets of the first volume, and died suddenly in 1861 in London. The history was subsequently published in two volumes, and is a work of great interest and reliability.

Fleming, Sir Valentine, formerly Chief Justice of Tasmania, was the son of Valentine Fleming (captain 9th Foot), of Tuam, Galway, by his wife, Catherine, daughter of John Hunter Green, of Mount Nebo, Wexford, and was born in 1809. He was educated at Bangor and at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in honours in 1834. He was called to the bar at Gray's Inn in 1838, and was Commissioner of the Insolvent Debtors Court at Hobart, Tasmania, from 1841 to 1844; Solicitor-General for Tasmania from 1844 to 1848; Attorney-General from 1848 to 1854; when he was appointed Chief Justice. This post he held till May 1870, when he retired, but was Acting Chief Justice from 1872 to 1874, in which year he administered the government of Tasmania, after the resignation of Sir Charles Du Cane, from March to June. Sir Valentine married, first, in 1852, Elizabeth Oke, daughter of Charles Buckland, of Hobart, who died in 1870;