Henry Sewell ca 1872
|1st Premier of New Zealand|
7 –20 May 1856
|Governor||Thomas Gore Browne|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Sir William Fox|
|3rd Colonial Secretary of New Zealand|
7 –20 May 1856
|Governor||Thomas Gore Browne|
|New Zealand Legislative Council|
|Born||7 September 1807|
Newport, Hampshire, England
|Died||14 May 1879 71) (aged|
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
|Spouse(s)||Lucinda Nedham (m. 1834–1844; her death)|
Elizabeth Kittoe (m. 1850)
|Parents||Thomas Sewell |
|Relatives|| Richard (brother)|
Henry Sewell (7 September 1807 – 14 May 1879) was a prominent 19th-century New Zealand politician. He was a notable campaigner for New Zealand self-government, and is generally regarded as having been the country's first Premier (an office that would later be titled "Prime Minister"), having led the Sewell Ministry in 1856. He later served as Colonial Treasurer (1856–59), as Attorney-General (1861–62), and twice as Minister of Justice (1864–65, 1869–72).
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand. The incumbent Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, took office on 26 October 2017.
The Sewell Ministry was the first responsible government in New Zealand. It formed in 1856, but lasted only one month, from 18 April to 20 May. From 7 May onwards, Henry Sewell was Colonial Secretary, considered to be the equivalent of Prime Minister. Thus, Sewell became the first Prime Minister of New Zealand.
The Minister of Finance, originally known as Colonial Treasurer, is a senior figure within the Government of New Zealand and head of the New Zealand Treasury. The position is often considered to be the most important cabinet post after that of the Prime Minister. The Minister of Finance is responsible for producing an annual New Zealand budget outlining the government's proposed expenditure.
Sewell was born on 7 September 1807 in the town of Newport, on England's Isle of Wight. His family was relatively wealthy, and Sewell received a good education. He eventually qualified as a lawyer. In 1840, however, Sewell's father lost a staggering sum of money when a bank failed, and died shortly afterwards, leaving the family with a great deal of debt. This put considerable strain on Sewell. In 1844, Sewell also suffered from the untimely death of his wife Lucinda (whom he had married on 15 May 1834 and had six children with). He put his sister in charge of his children and his mother and moved to London for better opportunities.
Newport is a civil parish and the county town of the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England. The civil parish had a population of 23,957 at the time of the 2001 census, which rose to 25,496 at the 2011 census. The town lies slightly to the north of the centre of the Island. It has a quay at the head of the navigable section of the River Medina, which flows northward to Cowes and the Solent.
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times, and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines.
Sewell remarried, probably on 23 January 1850, and made plans to emigrate with his new wife Elizabeth Kittoe to New Zealand, hoping for improved financial prospects in the colony.
Sewell's connection to New Zealand arose through the Canterbury Association, a British organisation dedicated to the colonisation of the New Zealand region known as Canterbury. It is probable that John Simeon introduced Sewell to the Association,and he interacted greatly with John's brother Charles. Until Sewell's departure for New Zealand, he was the Association's deputy director, and contributed greatly to its activities. The Association's plan for colonisation encountered a number of serious problems, however, and considerable debts were incurred. Sewell was instrumental in solving these problems. Sewell personally arrived in Lyttelton, the port of Christchurch (the principal settlement in Canterbury) on 2 February 1853, hoping to sort out what remained of the colony's problems. Gradually, and despite conflict with provincial superintendent James FitzGerald, Sewell managed to get the colony back onto a reasonable course. Charles Simeon and family lived in Canterbury from October 1851 to December 1855, and they were the only people who Sewell and his wife socialised with.
The Canterbury Association was formed in order to establish a colony in what is now the Canterbury Region in the South Island of New Zealand.
Canterbury is a region of New Zealand, located in the central-eastern South Island. The region covers an area of 44,508 square kilometres (17,185 sq mi), and is home to a population of 624,000.
Sir John Simeon, 3rd Baronet was a British politician and naval officer.
|New Zealand Parliament|
|1853 –1855||1st||Town of Christchurch||Independent|
|1855 –1856||2nd||Town of Christchurch||Independent|
|1860||2nd||Town of Christchurch||Independent|
|1865 –1866||3rd||Town of New Plymouth||Independent|
Sewell's diary, published in 1980 as the Sewell Journal in two volumes, gives a unique insight into his life in the colony. The journal's editor, historian W. David McIntyre, calls it "the most absorbing and undoubtedly the fullest private manuscript relating to New Zealand in the 1850s".In late July 1853, Sewell decided that he would stand for Parliament in the 1853 general election; the question was whether he should run in the Town of Christchurch or the Christchurch Country electorate. There was one position to be filled in the town electorate, and two in the rural electorate. Sewell sought counsel from some friends, who recommended for him to stand in the rural electorate, but he did not want to oppose Guise Brittan, who had already declared his candidacy. Whilst Brittan was unpopular with the constituency, Sewell thought that it would be useful to have him in Parliament. The complication with the town electorate was that John Charles Watts-Russell had already received a pledge from the majority of that constituency, but there were rumours that he would not stand, and it was known that he was just about to go travelling during the time of the election campaign. Sewell talked to Brittan, who fully supported him standing in the town electorate, and Brittan pledged that he would get his brother-in-law, Charles Fooks, to canvas for him. Sewell first advertised his candidacy in the Lyttelton Times on 30 July. In the same edition of the newspaper, James Stuart-Wortley and Guise Brittan advertised their candidacy for the Christchurch Country electorate. Jerningham Wakefield reiterated his candidacy for the Christchurch Country electorate in early August upon his return from Wellington. At the same time, Fooks announced his candidacy for the Town of Christchurch electorate. With James FitzGerald, who had just been elected the first Superintendent of the Canterbury Province, apparently in support of Watts-Russell, Sewell decided to withdraw from the contest, but decided to go ahead with a public meeting to 'speak his mind'. On 4 August, he held a meeting at the Golden Fleece, a hotel on the corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets, and addressed between 30 and 40 electors. He discussed all the issues that Parliament should deal with, but finished by saying that he would not be available as a candidate, as Watts-Russell had been pledged the support of the constituency. After an awkward period of silence, Richard Packer stood up and replied:
William David McIntyre is a New Zealand historian. The son of a congregationalist minister, he attended Caterham School as a boarder from ages eight to eighteen, which coincided with WW2, perhaps inspiring his later interests. He moved to New Zealand in the late 1960's with his wife and five children, due to being offered a position as professor of history at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, where he worked until retiring from that position in 1997.. He remains a professor emeritus of history and continues to write and research.
The 1853 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 1st term. It was the first national election ever held in New Zealand, although Parliament did not yet have full authority to govern the colony, which was part of the British Empire at that time.
Christchurch Country was a parliamentary electorate in the Canterbury region of New Zealand from 1853 to 1860. It was thus one of the original 24 electorates used for the 1st New Zealand Parliament.
We are in an awkward position. Here was a Gentleman who told [us] all sorts of things which a Representative ought to attend to and then declined standing himself, because of another Candidate whose intentions no one knew anything about—and who was just on the point of starting for an excursion without giving any one an opportunity of learning his sentiments about anything.
The meeting expressed dissatisfaction with Watts-Russell and that they would not hold themselves bound to support him. FitzGerald spoke in support of Watts-Russell, but was not well received. Fooks then spoke, but mainly to attack Sewell.The following day, Sewell met with FitzGerald and discussed that either himself or Watts-Russell should retire from the contest, but that if he himself was to retire, then Watts-Russell or at least some of his friends should inform the constituency about his intentions. FitzGerald's impression was that it should be Watts-Russell who should retire. Later that day, Watts-Russell wrote an announcement that he would retire from the contest, which was published in the Lyttelton Times on 13 August.
On 9 August, the Colonists' Society held a meeting at the White Hart Hotel. Christchurch's first hotel was on the High Street (then called Sumner Road) and Cashel Street corner, with Michael Hart as proprietor. The 50 to 60 attendees were addressed by Sewell, Stuart-Wortley, and Wakefield. As a result, committees were formed that were to achieve the return of these three candidates.At this point, Sewell thought that Brittan would not have a chance of getting elected, as he was most unpopular, and he refused to go canvassing. Over the next few days, Octavius Mathias, the vicar of St Michael and All Angels, was Sewell's main antagonist.
The nominations for the town and country electorates were held together on Tuesday, 16 August.The hustings were erected in front of the Land Office (these days the site of Our City). The three candidates for the Christchurch Country electorate spoke first, with Stuart-Wortley and Wakefield winning the show of hand, and Brittan visibly offended, but demanding a poll. Sewell was proposed by John Hall, and seconded by postmaster and storekeeper Charles Wellington Bishop. Fooks was proposed by Joshua Charles Porter (a lawyer; later Mayor of Kaiapoi), and seconded by the publican Michael Hart. Whilst Sewell's speech was well received, Fooks was laughed at and interrupted (Sewell said that Fooks did him "more service than [he] could have done [him]self"). The show of hands was in favour of Sewell; no more than five hands were raised in support of Fooks.
The election was held on Saturday, 20 August, between 9 am and 4 pm.The method of voting at the time was that an elector would tell the returning officer his choice of candidate. As this happened in public, a tally of the votes could be kept, and Fooks was initially ahead, but within an hour, Sewell passed him. The final result was 61 votes to 34 for Sewell, who was thus declared elected.
Sewell's legal and financial skill was of considerable use in Parliament, although he was criticised as elitist and aloof. In terms of the political spectrum of the day, which ranged "centralists" against "provincialists", Sewell adopted a moderate position, although he later became gradually more centralist. With regard New Zealand self-rule, the other major issue of the time, Sewell was strongly in favour. When the Acting Governor, Robert Wynyard, appointed Sewell and several other politicians as "unofficial" members of the Executive Council, Sewell believed that self-government would soon begin. When it became apparent that Wynyard regarded the appointments as temporary, and that he did not believe Parliament could assume responsibility for governance without royal assent, Sewell and his colleagues resigned.
A new Governor, Thomas Gore Browne, subsequently announced that self-government would begin with the 2nd New Zealand Parliament.Sewell once again stood for election, and was successful. Sewell was asked by the Governor to form a government, now known as the Sewell Ministry. He was appointed to the Executive Council on 18 April 1856, and became Colonial Secretary on 7 May. Dillon Bell became Colonial Treasurer (Finance Minister), Frederick Whitaker became Attorney-General, and Henry Tancred from the Legislative Council became a minister without portfolio.
Sewell's government was short-lived, however, due to its strong centralist tendencies. The leader of the provincialist faction, William Fox, defeated Sewell's government on 20 May 1856.Fox himself, however, did not retain office for long, being defeated by Edward Stafford, a moderate. Stafford invited Sewell to become Colonial Treasurer in the new government. In this role, Sewell was instrumental in drafting a financial compact between the central and provincial governments.
In late 1856, Sewell stepped down as Treasurer and resigned his seat, but remained an unofficial member of the Executive Council, to return to England. There, he negotiated a number of deals for New Zealand. William Richmond became Treasurer in his absence. In 1859, when Sewell returned to New Zealand, he became Treasurer once again, but stepped down again after only a month, leaving Richmond to resume the role.
In the 18 January 1860 by-election, Sewell contested the Christchurch electorate successfully against Michael Hart.He resigned towards the end of 1860 to become Registrar-General of Lands.
In 1861, he was appointed by Fox to the Legislative Council, a position that he held until 1865.
When fighting broke out with Māori in 1860 over land grievances, Sewell attempted to promote negotiation and compromise. Sewell, who was a mild pacifist, believed that conflict with Māori could only properly be resolved by introducing a fair method of land purchase, one which did not involve coercion. To this end, he twice proposed a Native Council Bill, which would have created Māori-run institutions with the authority to supervise all Māori land deals. Both attempts failed. Sewell later resigned from a post as Attorney-General over the government's land confiscation policies. Soon afterwards, he published a pamphlet entitled The New Zealand native rebellion, in which explained his views on the causes of (and solutions to) the conflict with Māori.
Later in his political career, Sewell briefly held positions as Attorney-General, Minister of Justice, and Colonial Secretary (the latter being distinct from the Premiership by this time).
During his career he represented the Town of Christchurch 1853–56 (resigned) and 1860 (retired), and the Town of New Plymouth 1865–66. He was defeated in 1866 for Lyttelton.He served on the Legislative Council from 1861 to 1865.
In 1873 Sewell retired from politics, and returned to England shortly afterwards. He died in Cambridge on 14 May 1879.
William Sefton Moorhouse was a British-born New Zealand politician. He was the second Superintendent of Canterbury Province.
James Edward FitzGerald was a New Zealand politician. According to some historians, he should be considered the country's first Prime Minister, although a more conventional view is that neither he nor his successor should properly be given that title. He was a notable campaigner for New Zealand self-governance. He was the first Superintendent of the Canterbury Province.
The 2nd New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand. It opened on 15 April 1856, following New Zealand's 1855 election. It was dissolved on 5 November 1860 in preparation for 1860–61 election. The 2nd Parliament was the first under which New Zealand had responsible government, meaning that unlike previously, the Cabinet was chosen by Parliament rather than by the Governor.
Dingley Askham Brittin (1823–1881) was an English solicitor. He spent three years in New Zealand as a runholder and during that time, he represented the Christchurch Country electorate in the New Zealand House of Representatives for one term.
Samuel Bealey was a 19th-century politician in Canterbury, New Zealand.
Richard Packer was a New Zealand politician and Member of Parliament from 1856–1859 representing the Town of Christchurch electorate. He was also a member of the Canterbury Provincial Council, including its treasurer.
Isaac Thomas Cookson (1817–1870) was a 19th-century Member of Parliament in Canterbury, New Zealand. He was a prominent merchant in early Canterbury.
John Ollivier was a Member of Parliament in New Zealand, but was better known for his membership of the Canterbury Provincial Council. He was the second chairman of the Christchurch Town Council.
William Thomson was a 19th-century politician from Christchurch, New Zealand, originally from Scotland. He held office at all levels of government, from Parliament and Provincial Council to chairman of a road board. In his professional life, Thomson was an auctioneer, accountant and commission agent. He had rural holdings in Governors Bay and at the Esk River.
Dr. Joseph Brittan, a surgeon, newspaper editor, and provincial councillor, was one of the dominant figures in early Christchurch, New Zealand. Born into a middle-class family in southern England, he caused a scandal by marrying his deceased wife's sister. As was not unusual at the time, this was responded to by emigrating, and he followed his younger brother Guise Brittan to Christchurch, where he and his wife arrived in February 1852 with four children. Joseph Brittan soon got involved in the usual activities of early settlers and gained prominence in doing so. He had bought 100 acres on 10 July 1851 and took up 50 of this to the east of Christchurch that he converted to farmland. There, he built the family residence, and the suburb of Linwood was subsequently named after Brittan's farm and homestead of Linwood House.
The Town of Christchurch by-election in 1860 was triggered by the resignation of Richard Packer as the Member of the House of Representatives for the Town of Christchurch electorate, and occurred during the term of the 2nd New Zealand Parliament. The previous representative of the electorate, the politician Henry Sewell, had returned after three years in England and the general expectation was that Sewell would be the sole contender for election. The Lyttelton Times wrote several provocative editorials, generally endorsing Sewell for his obvious ability, but criticising him for not publicly talking about his policies and plans. Sewell eventually arranged a public meeting the evening prior to nomination day; this was the only public meeting during the election campaign. After a lengthy address, which was favourably received by the Lyttelton Times, a second contender for the office put his name forward at that meeting: the publican Michael Hart. Sewell, a former premier and one of New Zealand's most senior politicians at the time, was successful against the political novice Hart.
William Guise Brittan, mostly known as Guise Brittan and commonly referred to as W. G. Brittan, was the first Commissioner of Crown Lands for Canterbury in New Zealand.
Thomas Cass was one of New Zealand's pioneer surveyors.
The Town of Christchurch by-election of 1856 was a by-election held in the Town of Christchurch electorate during the 2nd New Zealand Parliament, on 18 November 1856.
Captain Charles Simeon was one of the members of the Canterbury Association who emigrated to Canterbury in New Zealand in 1851. The family spent four years in the colony and during this time, he held various important posts and positions. He returned to England in 1855. He was devoted to the Anglican church and three of his sons became priests, while two of his daughters married priests.
William John Warburton Hamilton, who generally signed as J. W. Hamilton, was an administrator, explorer, and politician in New Zealand.
The 1865 Town of New Plymouth by-election was a by-election held in the Town of New Plymouth electorate during the 3rd New Zealand Parliament, on 19 May 1865. The by-election was caused by the resignation of the incumbent, Charles Brown, and was won unopposed by Henry Sewell. Whilst Sewell was not a local resident, he was a member of the government through his appointment to the Legislative Council, the upper house of Parliament. Sewell accepted the invitation to represent the electorate, as him becoming a member of the lower house was seen to strengthen the government.
Richard James Strachan Harman was trained as a civil engineer. However, in Christchurch, New Zealand, he worked as a bureaucrat, politician and businessman. He was one of the Canterbury Pilgrims, having arrived in Lyttelton, on Sir George Seymour, one of the First Four Ships. He was a business partner of Edward Cephas John Stevens and senior partner of Harman and Stevens, and together they took financial control of the Christchurch newspaper The Press from its original proprietor, James FitzGerald, over a protracted period. Harman held many important roles with the Canterbury Provincial Council and was the last Deputy-Superintendent.
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|New Zealand Parliament|
|New constituency|| Member of Parliament for Christchurch |
John Cracroft Wilson
| Member of Parliament for New Plymouth |
|New office|| Premier of New Zealand |
| Colonial Secretary of New Zealand |
| Attorney-General |
|New office|| Minister of Justice |