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).
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 (aged 71)|
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
|Spouse(s)||Lucinda Nedham (m. 1834–1844; her death) |
Elizabeth Kittoe (m. 1850)
|Parents||Thomas Sewell |
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.
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.
|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:
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.
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.
|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
|New office|| Minister of Justice
The 1855 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the New Zealand Parliament's 2nd term. It was the second national election ever held in New Zealand, and the first one which elected a Parliament that had full authority to govern the colony.1856 Sewell Ministry
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.1856 Town of Christchurch by-election
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.
The by-election was caused by the resignation of incumbent MP Henry Sewell and was won by Richard Packer. Packer had been invited to stand for election in the 1855 election, but he had declined the requisition because of the popularity of Sewell, the incumbent. Sewell resigned on 16 August 1856, the final day of the first session of the 2nd New Zealand Parliament. This was in preparation of his departure for England. Sewell was a member of the first Stafford Ministry and had agreed with Stafford to remain in Auckland, where the seat of Parliament was at the time, so that Stafford could attend to business in his home town Nelson for one or two months. Sewell left at the end of October from Auckland on the William Denny for England via Sydney, i.e. he did not return to Canterbury first.The by-election was held on Tuesday, 18 November 1856. The Lyttelton Times, one of two newspapers in Canterbury at the time, merely reported that there was a general lack of excitement about the election. The lack of reporting of the voting suggests that Packer was elected unopposed; an advertised writ would confirm whether nomination day was the same as the date recorded for the election (the two only fall on the same day if there is only one candidate), but no writ appears in the Lyttelton Times. It is likely that the writ was advertised in Joseph Brittan's Canterbury Standard, as that newspaper was printed in Christchurch.
Packer served in the 2nd New Zealand Parliament until his resignation on 28 December 1859. The resulting by-election was contested by the publican and political novice Michael Hart, and by Sewell, who had returned from England. Hart accused Packer of having been a locum tenens (i.e. a place holder) for Sewell. This may or may not have been true, but at the very least, it could not have easily been arranged before Packer's election, as Sewell had not returned from Auckland before his return to England.1860 Town of Christchurch by-election
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.1865 Town of New Plymouth by-election
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.1st New Zealand Parliament
The 1st New Zealand Parliament was a term of the Parliament of New Zealand. It opened on 24 May 1854, following New Zealand's first general election (held the previous year). It was dissolved on 15 September 1855 in preparation for that year's election. 37 Members of the House of Representatives (MHRs) represented 24 electorates.2nd New Zealand Parliament
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 (although not officially appointed) by Parliament rather than by the Governor.Attorney-General (New Zealand)
The Attorney-General is a political and legal officer in New Zealand. The Attorney-General is simultaneously a ministerial position and the chief law officer of the Crown, and has responsibility for supervising New Zealand law and advising the government on legal matters. The Attorney-General serves both a political and apolitical function. The current Attorney-General is David Parker.Christchurch (New Zealand electorate)
Christchurch was a parliamentary electorate in Christchurch, New Zealand. It existed three times. Originally it was the Town of Christchurch from 1853 to 1860. From the 1860–61 election to the 1871 election, it existed as City of Christchurch. It then existed from the 1875–76 election until the 1881 election. The last period was from the 1890 election to the 1905 election. Since the 1946 election, a similarly named electorate called Christchurch Central has been in existence.
The historic electorate was represented by 21 members of parliament. For some of the time, it was represented by one member at a time. During other periods, it was one of the few three-member electorates in New Zealand.Colonial Secretary of New Zealand
The Colonial Secretary of New Zealand was an office established in 1840 and abolished in 1907. The office was similar to Colonial Secretaries found elsewhere in the British Empire.
Along with the Chief Justice, the office was one of the first four created by Governor William Hobson when he arrived in New Zealand in January 1840. The Colonial Secretary's Office handled the creation of New Zealand's public service, and became the modern Department of Internal Affairs in 1907. The Colonial Secretary became known as the Minister of Internal Affairs from then on.
The Colonial Secretary was considered the deputy of the Governor, until the granting of responsible government. For example, Willoughby Shortland acted as administrator of government following the death of William Hobson in 1841. Henry Sewell, who is considered by some as the first Premier of New Zealand, held the position for his short tenure as head of the government in 1856.Henry Sewell Stokes
Henry Sewell Stokes (1808–1895) was a British poet. The Cornish poet was a schoolfellow of Charles Dickens; later literary friends included Tennyson and Robert Stephen Hawker. His great nephew, Sewell Stokes, was a novelist, biographer and playwright.List of Prime Ministers of New Zealand
The Prime Minister of New Zealand is the head of government of New Zealand, and the leader of the Cabinet of New Zealand, with various powers and responsibilities defined by convention. Officially, the prime minister is appointed by the governor-general of New Zealand, but by convention, the prime minister must have the confidence of the elected New Zealand House of Representatives. The prime minister is always a member of parliament, and is usually the leader of the largest political party in the House.
This list includes individuals who held the titles of colonial secretary and premier, the direct predecessors to the modern office. The title of the office was formally changed to "premier" in 1869, and then to "prime minister" in 1907 when New Zealand was granted Dominion status in the British Empire. Forty individuals have so far held the premiership, not including acting prime ministers. Henry Sewell is regarded as New Zealand's first premier. Nine prime ministers have held the position for more than one discrete term in office. The longest single term in office was that of Richard Seddon, who held the position for thirteen years between 1893 and 1906. The incumbent Prime Minister is Jacinda Ardern, who assumed office on 26 October 2017.Living Prime Ministers of New Zealand
This is a chronological list of all the living people who have served as Prime Minister of New Zealand at each moment in New Zealand history. In 2016, Radio New Zealand published a podcast series of interviews of all five of the former prime ministers, although before the series was completed, the sitting Prime Minister resigned, becoming the 6th former prime minister, but he declined to participate in the series. In 2017, four of the then-six former PMs spoke jointly about increasing refugee immigration to New Zealand.There have been four time periods when there was only one living Prime Minister, first with the appointment of Henry Sewell in 1856 and most recently during the second term of Keith Holyoake following the 1968 death of Walter Nash.
There have been two time periods when 12 living current or former prime ministers co-existed, with the longest being a three-year period beginning with the first appointment of Robert Stout in 1884. The most recent period was from the January 1891 appointment of John Ballance to the July 1891 death of Frederick Weld.
If one includes future Prime Ministers as well as past and current Prime Ministers, there has been only one time period when 24 different Prime Ministers co-existed (see § Statistics).Prime Minister of New Zealand
The Prime Minister of New Zealand (Māori: Te Pirimia o Aotearoa) 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 Prime Minister (informally abbreviated to PM) ranks as the most senior government minister. She or he is responsible for chairing meetings of Cabinet; allocating posts to ministers within the government; acting as the spokesperson for the government; and providing advice to the sovereign or the sovereign's representative, the governor-general. She or he also has ministerial responsibility for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The office exists by a long-established convention, which originated in New Zealand's former colonial power, the then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The convention stipulates that the governor-general must select as prime minister the person most likely to command the support, or confidence, of the House of Representatives. This individual is typically the parliamentary leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in that chamber. The prime minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their actions to the governor-general, to the House of Representatives, to their political party, and ultimately to the national electorate.
Originally the head of government was titled "colonial secretary" or "first minister". This was changed in 1869 to "premier". That title remained in use for more than 30 years, until Richard Seddon informally changed it to "prime minister" in 1901 during his tenure in the office. Following the declaration of New Zealand as a Dominion in 1907, the title of Prime Minister has been used exclusively in English. In Māori, the title pirimia, meaning "premier", continues to be used. New Zealand prime ministers are styled as "The Right Honourable", a privilege they retain for life.Richard Packer (politician)
Richard Packer (1794 – 27 July 1872) 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.St Mawgan
St Mawgan or St Mawgan in Pydar (Cornish: Lanherne) is a village and civil parish in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. The population of this parish at the 2011 census was 1,307. The village is situated four miles northeast of Newquay, and the parish also includes the hamlet of Mawgan Porth. The nearby Royal Air Force station, RAF St. Mawgan, takes its name from the village and is next to Newquay Cornwall Airport. The River Menalhyl runs through St Mawgan village and the valley is known as The Vale of Lanherne. It was the subject of a poem by poet Henry Sewell Stokes.William Henry Sewell
General Sir William Henry Sewell, (c.1786 – 13 March 1862) was a senior officer in the British Army.
Sewell was of unclear parentage, and according to some reports, was an illegitimate son of the Prince Regent (later George IV). he was educated at Westminster School and Eton College under the name of W.H. Robertson and joined the British Army in 1806 as an ensign in the 96th Foot under the name of William Henry Sewell. He then exchanged to the 16th Light Dragoons and rose through the ranks, via different regiments, to be Lieutenant-Colonel of the 6th Foot in 1817.He was appointed aide-de-camp to General Beresford, going with him in 1808 to the Peninsular War. He was present with Sir John Moore's army at Corunna, Talavera, Busaco, Nivelle, Nive, Bayonne, Orthes, Toulouse and the sieges of Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, as well as several other minor engagements.After serving on Lord Beresford's staff in Maida and South America in 1807 he stayed on to command a Portuguese cavalry regiment from 1816 to 1818. Following his return from the Peninsula, he served in India from 1828 to 1854 successively as Deputy Quartermaster General in command at Bangalore, divisional commander at Madras and finally Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army. He transferred from the 6th Foot to the 94th Foot in 1841 and was made Major-General in that regiment in 1846.In 1854 he returned to England and was made Colonel for life of the 79th Regiment of Foot (Cameron Highlanders), promoted to Lieutenant-General and knighted CB. He retired in 1856 and in 1861 was elevated to KCB and promoted full General on 26 November of that year.He died in Florence in 1862 and was buried at the Protestant Cemetery there. He had married Georgiana Hacking Hamilton, the second daughter of Sir John Dalrymple-Hamilton, 5th Baronet, in 1831 St George's Cathedral, Madras. They had several sons and daughters, of whom Henry Robert and John Dalrymple William also became officers in the Army.William Sewell
William Sewell may refer to:
William H. Sewell (1909–2001), United States sociologist
William H. Sewell Jr. (born 1940), American academic
William Joyce Sewell (1835–1901), Union Army officer and Senator from New Jersey
William Sewell (author) (1804–1874), English divine and author
William Sewell (cricketer) (died 1862), English cricketer
William Sewell (poet) (1951–2003), New Zealand poet
William Sewell (trade unionist) (1852–1948), British trade unionist
William Sewell (physician) (1781–1853), principal of the London Veterinary College
William Arthur Sewell (1903–1972), university professor of English
William Elbridge Sewell (1851–1904), United States Navy officer
William Henry Sewell (died 1862), British Army officerWilliam Sewell (cricketer)
William Henry Sewell (died 13 March 1862) was an English amateur cricketer who played first-class cricket from 1822 to 1827. He was mainly associated with Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), of which he was a member, and made 8 known appearances in first-class matches, including 4 for the Gentlemen.