A Sort of Conscience - The Wakefields
A Sort of Conscience - The Wakefields
Temple, Philip
Auckland University Press 2002 At once notorious and visionary, Edward Gibbon Wakefield and his brothers played a key but controversial role in the early British settlement of New Zealand, Australia and Canada. Once famed as New Zealand's 'Founding Fathers', they have since become the arch-villains of all post-colonial scenarios of the past. Deciding that neither myth made good historical sense, Philip Temple saw that, astonishingly, there was no adequate biography of the family most responsible for the establishment of the Wellington, Nelson and Canterbury settlements. In stitching together a net of letters and documents, Temple has produced the most comprehensive account yet of the Wakefield family's role in colonial development and selfgovernment across the old Commonwealth. He follows not only the brothers' careers but also establishes the role of the Wakefield women and gives extensive accounts of Edward Gibbon Wakefield's first elopement and his later abduction of Ellen Turner. Temple follows Edward Gibbon's tortuous career through colonial politics from the 1830s to the 1850s and shows how his brothers and son strongly influenced, for good and bad, the founding of new nations. This engaging narrative, written in a strong and evocative:literary style, relates a story of courage and vision; cupidity and stupidity; high risk and adventure; success against the odds and, ultimately, terrible tragedy. Required reading for anyone who would better understand New Zealand's, and the Commonwealth's, early colonial history - and the role of its essential family....
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