The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Vogel, Hon. Sir Julius

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Vogel, Hon. Sir Julius, K.C.M.G., sometime Premier of New Zealand, is the son of Albert Leopold Vogel, of London, and Phoebe his wife, eldest daughter of Alexander Isaac, of Hatcham Grove, Surrey, and Wolsingham Park, Durham, and was born in London on Feb. 24th, 1835, and educated at home and at London University School. At the age of sixteen he went into mercantile pursuits, but migrated to Victoria after the discovery of the goldfields in 1852. In Victoria he was concerned in various business pursuits, and subsequently became editor of the Maryborough and Dunolly Advertiser, and proprietor of other country papers. After an unsuccessful attempt to enter the Victorian Parliament, he proceeded, in 1861, to Dunedin, N.Z., and shortly afterwards purchased a half-share in the Otago Witness, and started the Otago Daily Times, the first daily paper in New Zealand. Both these papers Mr. Vogel edited for several years. In 1862 he entered the Provincial Council of Otago, and in 1866 became head of the Provincial Government, which office he held till 1869. He entered the House of Representatives in 1863. In 1869 he joined the Fox Ministry, being Colonial Treasurer from June 1869 to Sept. 1872, Commissioner of Stamps from June 1869 to Sept. 1872, Postmaster-General from August 1869 to Sept 1872, Commissioner of Customs from August 1869 to Jan. 1871 and Nov. 1871 to Sept. 1872, and Electric Telegraph commissioner from July 1869 to Sept. 1872. Upon the assumption of office by the Ministry, Mr. Fox announced the intention of retiring from aggressive operations in the Maori war. It was resolved that the better policy of the country lay in encouraging immigration, so that the colonists might soon be numerous and strong enough to be without fear in the event of fresh native troubles. With this view the Ministry decided to open up the interior of the North Island by a vigorous policy of public works and immigration. Thus was Mr. Vogel's famous public works scheme set on foot. At this time there were many difficulties to surmount. In the first place the Middle Islanders had bitterly complained that a great part of the cost of the Maori wars fell upon them, and the Government had to find proposals acceptable to them; and in the next place they had to overcome the opposition of the Provincial Councils, who would resent any intrusion on their functions. Mr. Vogel expounded his policy on June 28th, 1870, in the annual budget, and subsequently it was accepted by the Houses. Two commissioners, Dr. Featherstone and Mr. (now Sir) Francis D. Bell, were sent to England to confer with the Imperial Government, and succeeded in persuading them to guarantee a loan of one million for public works and immigration, to be spent at a rate not exceeding £200,000 a year. The proposals embraced in the scheme of the Government included the construction of a trunk railway through each island, and the expenditure of ten millions during the following ten years on these railways, on immigration, on roads, and on the extension of the telegraph lines. Mr. Vogel proposed to constitute a railway estate of about six millions of acres, the land to be taken within the provinces in proportion to the expenditure therein. He did not venture to propose a loan of ten millions, as the colony was not in a position at the time to ask it; but he maintained that the expenditure could be arranged partly by loan, partly by payment in land, partly by guarantee. The plan was adopted during the session, bat Parliament would not pledge itself to a through trunk line in each island, and the provincial interest prevailed against the establishment of a railway landed estate. Mr. Vogel also at this time established the San Francisco mail service, the arrangements for which he concluded with the United States, assisted by the Home Government. His suggestion that the Navigation Islands should be placed under British protection was not, however, taken up. During his visit to England, in connection with the loans and the postal service, Mr. Vogel was mainly instrumental in obtaining the passage of the Australian Colonial Duties Act in 1873, by which the colonies were permitted to enter into reciprocal tariff arrangements with each other. Mr. Vogel also entered into negotiations with the Admiralty upon the subject of colonial defence, and the result was that Colonel (afterwards Sir William) Jervois drew up the outlines of a scheme of defence of the principal New Zealand towns. He returned in 1871 to New Zealand. In Jan. 1873 he was one of the delegates to the Intercolonial Conference, held at Sydney, for the settlement, among other questions, of the European mail service. In Sept. 1872 the Fox- Vogel Government, being defeated, was succeeded by the Stafford Ministry; but this government retired on Oct. 11th, and Mr. Vogel formed a cabinet, of which Mr. Waterhouse was Premier, and Mr. Vogel himself Colonial Treasurer and Postmaster-General. While Mr. Vogel was absent in Sydney Mr. Waterhouse resigned (March 3rd, 1873), on the ground that he had not sufficient influence in the ministry, and Mr. Fox accepted the temporary premiership till April 8th, when Mr. Vogel returned and assumed the position in addition to his other offices. He also became Telegraph Commissioner, and was Minister for Immigration from Oct. 1873 to Sept. 1874. Among the important Acts carried through by Mr. Vogel during his tenure of office were those establishing a Government Life Insurance and a Public Trust Office. He also passed an Act for the establishment of public forests, which was afterwards repealed, and made an attempt to incorporate a company for the trade and government of the unclaimed Pacific Islands. Before the end of 1874 a resolution was passed which subsequently led to the abolition of the provinces. In the end of the year Mr. Vogel went to London to negotiate a large loan, and to arrange for the establishment of cable communication between New Zealand and Australia. In both missions he was successful. Before leaving England Sir Julius Vogel (who had by this time been knighted) concluded an arrangement with the Bank of England and the Home Government by which some time later (August 1877) an Act was passed authorising the inscription of colonial stock. Early in 1876 Sir Julius returned to New Zealand, and resumed his place as premier, which had been filled in the interim by Dr. Pollen. Upon the death of Dr. Featherston at the end of the same year, Sir Julius succeeded him as Agent-General, and returned once again to London. He remained Agent-General till Feb. 1881, and negotiated a loan of five millions for the colony in 1879. In 1880 he unsuccessfully contested Penryn in the Conservative interest. In 1884 he went to New Zealand, and re-entered public life, becoming Colonial Treasurer, Postmaster-General, Telegraph Commissioner, and Commissioner of Customs in the Stout-Vogel Government, which took office in Sept. 1884. In order to relieve the depressed condition of the colony, Sir Julius now created debentures to an amount equivalent to the accretions of the sinking funds. This plan, though much criticised at the time, has been again resorted to since. On Oct. 8th, 1887, the Stout-Vogel Government was defeated, and Sir Harry Atkinson came into office. Since then Sir Julius Vogel has lived in London. He was created C.M.G. in 1872 and K.C.M.G. in 1875. He is the author of "Anno Domini 2000" (Hutchinson, 1888), and has contributed many articles to the leading reviews, chiefly on the subject of imperial federation, of which he was one of the earliest advocates. He married, in 1867, Mary, eldest daughter of W. A. Clayton, Colonial Architect of New Zealand.