|4th Premier of New Zealand|
6 August 1862 –30 October 1863
|Preceded by||William Fox|
|Succeeded by||Frederick Whitaker|
|Born||20 May 1811|
Camberwell, Surrey, England
|Died||2 November 1887 76) (aged|
Mary George(m. 1856)
Alfred Domett, CMG (20 May 1811 –2 November 1887) was an English colonial statesman and poet. He was New Zealand's fourth Premier.
Domett was born at Camberwell Grove, Surrey; the fourth son of Nathaniel Domett,a ship-owner. He entered St John's College, Cambridge, but left the university in 1833. He entered at the Middle Temple, 7 November 1835, and was called to the bar on 19 November 1841.
Domett published one or two volumes of poetry from 1833, and contributed several poems to Blackwood's Magazine , one of which, A Christmas Hymn, attracted attention. He was called to the bar, but for ten years he lived a life of ease in London, where he became the intimate friend of Robert Browning, of whose poem Waring he was the subject. 'How much I loved him, I find out now I've lost him'. In the poem Browning asks what has become of his friend, but is sure he will gain some fame in far-off lands:
...so I saw the last Of Waring! ... Oh, never star Was lost here but it rose afar!
An account of the friendship between the two men appeared in The Contemporary Review for January 1905, by W. H. Griffin.Thereafter, with the approval of Browning's son, Frederick G. Kenyon edited correspondence between and relating to Browning and Domett, after purchase of the letters in an auction, by Reginald Smith, head of publishing firm Smith Elder and Co in 1904.
Among his books of poetry, Ranolf and Amohia, a South Sea Day Dream (1872), about Māori life, is the best known, and Flotsam and Jetsam (1877) is dedicated to Browning.He continued to write poetry all his life, in the style of rhyming panegyrics such as An Invitation, with its allusions to the sub-tropical flora and threatened inhabitants of countries such as New Zealand:
And if weary of mists you will roam undisdaining To a land where the fanciful fountains are raining Swift brilliants of boiling and beautiful spray In the violet splendour of skies that illume Such a wealth of green ferns and rare crimson tree-bloom; Where a people primeval is vanishing fast, With its faiths and its fables and ways of the past: O with reason and fancy unfettered and fearless, Come plunge with us deep into regions of Day -- Come away -- and away! --
Decadent poet Ernest Dowson was his great-nephew.
|New Zealand Parliament|
|1855 –1860||2nd||Town of Nelson||Independent|
|1860 –1866||3rd||City of Nelson||Independent|
In 1842 Domett emigrated to New Zealand, where he filled many important administrative posts, being Colonial Secretary for New Munster Province in 1848,secretary for the colony in 1851, and the fourth Premier of New Zealand from 1862 to 1863. He represented the electorate of Nelson, first as the Town of Nelson 1855–1860 and then City of Nelson 1860–1866 (retired). Unusually, as electorates at this time returned multiple members, Domett shared representation of Nelson with Edward Stafford, who had also served as Premier.
The most noteworthy change Domett brought about during his tenure in office was the moving of New Zealand's capital from Auckland to Wellington in 1865. In November 1863 he moved a resolution before Parliament that "it has become necessary that the seat of government... should be transferred to some suitable locality in Cook Strait."He returned to England in 1871 and became a CMG in 1880.
Domett was a member of the New Zealand Legislative Council from 19 June 1866 until 3 July 1874, when his membership lapsed through absence.
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| Premier of New Zealand |
|New Zealand Parliament|
| Member of Parliament for Nelson |
Served alongside: Edward Stafford