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Life of Sir George Grey: Governor, High commissioner, and Premier. An Historical Biography.

Its Death

Its Death.

We need further note only the last struggles of the expiring Company. So unprofitable had grown its transactions, and so seriously had its land sales fallen away, that its solvency was threatened, and the British Parliament had to come to the rescue. Two successive loans, amounting to £236,000, were granted in 1846 and a following year, on the understanding that they should be repaid in 1850. So unprosperous was the Company that in 1850 it could not meet its liabilities, and it petitioned to be wound up. Parliament again came to its aid and arranged that the Government of New Zealand should pay it the sum of £268,000 by reserving the sum of five shillings an acre on all future land-sales.

It is the way that colonising companies have usually ended—in virtual insolvency and in absorption by the governing State or by some other State. There is one notable exception. The Massachusetts Company merged page 74in the Massachusetts colony, and the form of government of the colony repeated the form of government of the Company. The New Zealand Company might have had a similar euthanasia. It was fashioned, and for some time it was engineered, by men who were large of heart and brain. They had conceived high ends: their object was nothing less than to annex and rule over an extensive new country, and there build up a grand new society, modelled indeed on the mother-society, but free from its defects. They rendered services of inappreciable worth: they rescued New Zealand from impending foreign domination, and they made it for ever the home of an Anglo-Saxon community. They begat on it another association of the same or a still higher type, and they aided a third association to settle still another province. Lastly, they endowed New Zealand with bodies of colonists equalled only by the colonisers of New England and never surpassed.