The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Stafford, Hon. Sir Edward William

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

Stafford, Hon. Sir Edward William, G.C.M.G., eldest son of Berkeley Buckingham Stafford, of Maine, county Louth, and Anne his wife, third daughter of Lieut.-Col. Patrick Duff Tytler, was born on April 23rd, 1820, in Edinburgh, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1843 he went out to Nelson, N.Z., and at once began to take a prominent part in public affairs, being twice Superintendent of the province of Nelson. Mr. Stafford formed a Government on June 2nd, 1856, in succession to Mr. Fox, and was Colonial Secretary in what was practically the first definite administration in New Zealand from Nov. 4th, 1856, to July 12th, 1861. During his premiership the trouble with regard to the famous Waitara block reached a head, and a sort of irregular war was prosecuted against the chief Te Rangitake. On August 16th, 1860, the Government carried through a resolution in favour of the prosecution of the war, and stood committed to a war policy, despite the opposition and entreaty of Bishop Selwyn. But the matter went little further at the moment, as in July 1861 the Ministry were defeated on a want of confidence motion moved by Mr. Fox. Upon the resignation of the Fox Ministry in August 1862, Mr. Stafford refused to take office. In 1859 Mr. Stafford had visited England with the objects of establishing a steam mail service from New Zealand viâ Panama, and of arranging for the planting of military settlements in the North Island. Lord Derby went so far as to call for tenders for the steam service, but his successor, Lord Palmerston, refused to go on with the scheme. Nor was Mr. Stafford more successful in regard to the military settlements. On Oct. 16th, 1865, he again became Premier, and held the office of Colonial Secretary till June 28th, 1869, that of Colonial Treasurer till June 12th, 1866, that of Postmaster-General from Oct. 31st, 1865, to May 8th, 1866, and from Feb. 6th to June 28th, 1869. The Maori troubles lasted most of this time, and Mr. Stafford had to cope with them as best he could. In 1869 the Imperial troops were withdrawn from the colony, notwithstanding the Premiers protest. For a third time he became Premier on Sept. 10th, 1872, but a month later (Oct. 11th) resigned upon a no-confidence motion carried by Mr. Vogel. He was created K.C.M.G. in 1879, and G.C.M.G. in 1887. For many years past he has lived in England; and in 1886 he was commissioner for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition. Sir Edward Stafford married first, Sept. 24th, 1846, Emily Charlotte, only child of Colonel William Wakefield and Emily Elizabeth, daughter of Sir J. Shelley-Sidney, Bart., who died on April 18th, 1857; secondly, on Dec. 5th, 1859, Mary, third daughter of Thomas Houghton Bartley, Speaker of the Legislative Council, New Zealand.