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The Rosanna Settlers, by Hilda McDonnell

The New Zealand Company of 1825
Chapter 3

Contents: introduction | chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Journal | Sources

Captain Herd would have been back in London by 1823. Two years later there were moves afoot in the City of London to launch a small colonising venture in New Zealand, with Captain Herd as its agent. By March 1825 a New Zealand Company had been formed by leading people in the City: merchants, members of parliament and shipowners, some of them already associated with the East India Company.

The directors of the New Zealand Company were: John George Lambton (chairman), John William Buckle, George Lyall, Stewart Marjoribanks, George Palmer, Robert Torrens, Edward Ellice, James Faden, Edward John Littleton, William Mannings, Hon. Courtenay Boyle, Russell Ellice, Ralph Fenwick, James Pattison, Aaron Chapman and Abraham Wildey Robarts. Several of them had connections with the north of England.

The politician John George (“Radical Jack”) Lambton (1792-1840), was the most prominent of the directors. An aristocrat and a wealthy man, he was interested in colonisation for philanthropic reasons. (His grandmother Lady Susan Lyon was a daughter of 8th Earl of Strathmore.) When their father William Lambton M.P. died at Pisa in 1797 the two little Lambton boys were sent home to England to live for two years in the household of Thomas Beddoes (1760-1808), the Bristol physician. Doctor Beddoes was regarded as progressive. He was married to Anna Edgeworth, a sister of the writer Maria Edgeworth. Beddoes collaborated with the Edgeworths (Maria and her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth, who was a former president of the Royal Society) and contributed notes for the first two chapters of the Edgeworths’ treatise Practical education (1798). Their idea was that children should be furnished with practical things: pencils, scissors, paste, tools, work-benches and manageably-sized implements for gardening.

Lambton was twice married. His second wife Louisa Grey (born 1797) was the eldest child of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, Lord Howick (1764-1845) and his wife Mary Ponsonby. The Greys (he was at one time Foreign Secretary) were a prominent Northumberland family. Their permanent residence was Howick in Northumberland.

In 1811 Lambton’s sister Francis Susan married Frederick, third son of 5th Earl of Carlisle, Viscount Howard of Morpeth, Northumberland. Lambton’s brother-in-law Francis Richard Grey (born 1813), was a future clergyman, later rector of Morpeth. He later married a daughter of the sixth Earl of Carlisle.

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The other directors of the New Zealand Company were as follows:
John William Buckle, solicitor for the 1825 Company, partner in the shipowning firm of Buckle, Buckle, Bagster and Buchanan. Many of the firm’s vessels were employed in the convict service to New South Wales. Buckle was at one time chairman of the Shipowners’ Society.

George Lyall (1779-1853), a politician and a merchant. He became head of a family firm of East India merchants and shipowners. In the 1820s he was chairman of the Shipowners’ Society. He represented the City of London in several parliaments and was a sometime chairman of the East India Company.

Stewart Marjoribanks (1774-1863), also a politician and merchant, was connected with the East India Company and a founder of the Pacific Pearling Company of 1825. His eldest brother was, from 1814-1825, Lord Provost of Edinburgh.

George Palmer (1772-1853), a politician and merchant; in the East India Company naval service. He entered a family partnership of East India merchants and shipowners.

Robert Torrens (1780-1864), political economist; later a founder of the colony of South Australia.

Edward Ellice (1781-1863), brother-in-law of Lambton, an M.P. with radical sympathies, 1818-1826.

Admiral Sir Courtenay Boyle (died 1844), urged and encouraged Alexander McLeay, Thomas Shepherd’s friend, to accept the position of Colonial Secretary of New South Wales.

James Pattison, chairman of the East India Company, 1818 and 1822.

Edward John Littleton (1791-1863), 1st Baron Hatherton,a landowner and politician; M.P. for Staffordshire from 1812 and friend of financier Sir William Huskisson (1770-1830), the leading advocate of free trade: Huskisson was M.P. for Morpeth. In 1821 he was appointed to the committee set up that year to enquire into agricultural distress. It was Huskisson’s friendship with Lord Carlisle that in 1796 procured him the representation of Morpeth. The Littletons had family estates at Oxley in Staffordshire.

At a meeting on 24 March 1825 between the New Zealand Company directors Lambton and Littleton and the Colonial Secretary Earl Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary saw no reason why the Company should not load a ship and send it off to explore trading prospects in that country (New Zealand). By next day however, Bathurst had changed his mind: there was no question of military support for the traders.

The New Zealand Company venture may have been financed by Quaker bankers John Wakefield and Sons of Kendal, Westmoreland. This was a local bank in the northwest of England, later Martins. The bank was established in Kendal in 1788 and eventually became part of Barclay’s.

In New Zealand, Hokianga resident Kruzo Phillips (a late twentieth-century descendant of Rosanna settler Alexander Gray), wrote to the author quoting Rev. Clementina Gordon, another Hokianga local, asserting that it was Clementina’s family’s bank (she was a Wakefield) who financed the New Zealand Company, Captain Herd and the Rosanna settlers.

This idea sounded far fetched but it was supported by Four centuries of banking, a massive two-tomed work by George Chandler (1968), which a librarian produced from the depths of the Wellington Pubic Library. Volume 2 dealt with the northern constituent banks of Martins Bank. In his preface Chandler acknowledged assistance from descendants of these early English bankers, including a Mrs P.Gordon. Chandler’s book included illustrations of banknotes and cheques from John Wakefield and Sons, Kendal, a forerunner of the Kendal Bank.

According to Chandler, Wakefield’s bank was established in 1788 by John Wakefield I (born 1738), a leading opponent of the slave trade, as were other Quaker bankers. His son John Wakefield II (1761-1829) also had progressive views, and in the parliamentary elections of 1818 supported the Reform candidate Henry Brougham.

Wakefield’s creditworthiness was such that many preferred a “Jackie Wakefield” note to one from the Bank of England. This credit rating was used by his relative Edward Gibbon Wakefield during the financial crisis of 1826, during which the latter persuaded an heiress to elope with him.

During 1826 John Wakefield II was senior partner of Wakefield’s bank. The Carlisle and Cumberland Banking Company Ltd was also described in Chandler’s book. As already mentioned, Captain Herd and some of the Rosanna settlers were said to have come from the border county of Cumberland.

The Bells were another branch of this Quaker banking family. Priscilla Bell, a grandaughter of Quaker bankers David Barclay and Priscilla Freame, married Edward Wakefield (1750-1826). Priscilla and Edward were the grandparents of Edward Gibbon Wakefield. The two Bell sisters Priscilla and Catherine (later Mrs Gurney, mother of the prison reformer Mrs Elizabeth Fry) together with Priscilla’s husband Edward appear in a painting ascribed to Gainsborough and reproduced in a Wakefield family history. It was Elizabeth Fry who about 1819 began to interest herself in the transportation of convict women to New South Wales.

As Mrs Priscilla Wakefield, Priscilla Bell was a pioneer in savings bank history. Her Tottenham Benefit Bank opened on 1 January 1804. One of the first trustees was Eardley Wilmot, M.P. His son, Sir Eardley Wilmot, was briefly governor of Van Diemens Land, and first president of the Hobart Savings Bank, founded in 1845.

Another member of the same family, Francis Dillon Bell (1822-1898), whose father was a cousin of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1840s and eventually became lands claims commissioner in New Zealand, thereby investigating land claims made by surviving Rosanna settlers.

Chapter 4.......

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