Henry George's New Zealand Campaign
[Reprinted from typewritten copies of original
correspondence by G.M. Fowlds, June, 1949 and October, 1949. This
material was discovered November 2005 among archived material stored
at the Henry George birthplace, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]
NOTE BY G. M. FOWLDS
ON March 1st, 1890, Mr. and Mrs. Henry George passed through
Auckland, N.Z., on their way to Australia, where Mr. George was to
conduct a lecturing tour, and Mrs. George to visit her birthplace,
Sydney. A small gathering of his adherents, headed by the Rev.
Gulliver, Chairman of the Anti-Poverty Society, met him on the steamer
"Mariposa," which was held for two hours while he had an
interview with. Sir George Grey. In the course of conversation, Sir
George Grey is reported to have said:
Mr. George is, I may say, an old friend of mine. I have
corresponded with him for years, and I have to thank him for many
ideas. I have to thank him also for a copy of his first book, Progress
and Poverty, and that has been my companion for years.
Writing to Henry George from Auckland, on 27th Jan., 1880, Sir George
I have already read a large part of the book, Progress
and Poverty, I regard it as one of the ablest works on the great
questions of the time which has come under my notice. It will be of
great use to me.
It has cheered me much to find that there is
so able a man working in California upon subjects on which I believe
the whole future of mankind now mainly rests.
Speaking in the N.Z. Parliament in 1882, Sir George Grey said:
I saw enough there (in Ireland) to give a bias to my mind
forever as to the necessity for change and reform. It was really
from a desire to find relief from that misery that I went to
Australia. In all my walks on deck in my first voyage, my mind was
filled with the thought of what misery there was in the world, the
hope there was in the new lands, and the greatness of the work of
attempting to do something for the hopeless poor. The efforts to get
land made by single individuals seemed to me a wrong to humanity. To
prevent such a monopoly in the new countries has been my life work
between Henry George and Sir George Grey
3 July, 1880
I have not yet received the speeches you were so kind as to say you
would send me; but would much like to have them. Your position and
large opportunities for observation lead me to attach peculiar value
to .your: opinions, and I would like to know how far they accord with
I am sorry to hear that you are not likely to come this way. I hoped
for the pleasure of seeing you, and I hoped also that you intended to
make your influence felt in England. There is a great work there to
do, for England is still the centre and radiating point of Anglo-Saxon
thought, and in New Zealand as in California we are on the
circumference of the world. Though local influence may be exerted, it
is talking against the wind. And they need in England some men who
have had experience out of England -- in these newer Englands which
are in America and the southern Hemisphere growing up.
Your appreciation of my "book (N.B., Progress
and Poverty, published in 1879) was very grateful and
cheering. When you shall have fully read it, I should, if not too much
trouble, like to know your opinion. The book is doing well in U.S. -
much better than I had any right to expect, and is going into its
third edition in New York; but though I have sent a few copies to
England it does not yet seem to have attracted much attention there.
Should it be in your power to bring it to the notice of any there whom
it might interest, it would be to me a great service. With much
respect, Yours very truly, Henry George
To: Sir George Grey / 30 November, 1880
Your letter reached me here. I came East intending to make a brief
stay but have concluded to remain here for a while. I am not advised
whether the Hansard (N.Z. Parliament Report) you sent me is in San
Francisco, but have sent for it, so that if it has come all right I
will shortly have it.
I am not sure whether I ever, saw the term "New Crusade"
Used in that sense before. Perhaps in some, indirect way your thought
has reached mine, and that in this as in other things we see things
alike simply because they are there to see. (In the first clause of
this sentence Henry George seems to have anticipated modern
discoveries in telepathy. Ed.)
It would please me very much to meet you. I regret you are not in
England now. I believe a movement has commenced there of which neither
side yet see the importance.
I am much gratified by your appreciation of my book (Progress and
Poverty) and I have sent you two copies of the new edition. May I
ask you to send them to some of your newspapers or periodicals, where
they will be noticed. I am in hopes that there will soon be an English
Edition. The German translation is being published in Berlin in parts,
some two or three having already appeared.
If you are able to send these copies where they will be reviewed,
will you be kind enough to send me copies ,of the papers? My New York
address is care of my publisher, D. Appleton & Co. Unless some
thing unexpected occurs to call me back to San Francisco, I shall
remain here for some time. One can do more, at the centre than at the
circumference. I would much like to go to England, but that at present
is out of my power.
Hoping some time to see you, and in the meantime to hear of and from
I am, Yours most sincerely, Henry George
To: Sir George Grey / 26 September, 1881
My dear Sir:
My summer has been consumed in a trip to California. On my return I
found your speech of July 12th. You can imagine how much it pleases
me. I wish I had more copies of it, as there are a number of our
papers to whom I would like to send it, but I will do the best I can
with what I have.
You could ill be spared in New Zealand yet. I cannot help wishing you
were in Great Britain, where you would have a world-wide audience. It
is becoming more and more evident that the Land Question is soon to
come up in England, and, I think, will take radical shape.
I have long wanted to go to England, and, at last, my wish bids fair
to be gratified. I expect to sail in a week or two, to remain at least
three months and probably longer. I anticipate not merely the pleasure
of seeing what every intelligent American must still regard as his
mother country, but also the acquiring of much information, and I may
be able to help on the cause more even than I could here. I do not yet
know what my address will be, but as the Radical, 3 Shoe Lane, E.C.,
has been very complimentary to me, and taken a great deal of notice of
my book, I will take the liberty of making that a provisional address.
This paper, a file of which I have received since my return, is well
worth your seeing, and if you have not sent a copy of your speech to
it I think it would be well to do so.
Yours sincerely, Henry George
Maryborough, Queensland, Australia / May
My dear Sir George,
It was a great disappointment to get your despatch last evening. I
regret to leave this part of the world without seeing New Zealand, but
I still more regret leaving it without seeing more of you -- so much
so that had I realised it at the time I think it would have determined
me to accept Mr. Shine's offer.
However, I am glad that I have at last met you, and for the rest of
my life you will be to me not a name, but a living personality. I
never met a man whom I wanted so much to know, and from whom I felt I
could draw so much knowledge and inspiration. Our external standpoints
have been so different, in many respects so opposite, and your
experience so rich and varied where mine has been deficient, as to
make that which we know in common intensely attractive. And now that I
have seen your face and grasped your hand, and heard how those among
whom you have lived speak of you, I feel for you that affectionate
admiration with which the younger man looks up to the older man with
whose views and aims and struggles he sympathises.
But your faith is mine. We are really "living in eternity."
It may be that we shall live again in this world, but if not, there
must be somewhere, place and time where good men shall know each
other. And for the present it will be a good deal to me at least to
have met you here, (In the penultimate sentence
Henry George seems to have anticipated the findings of modern
spiritual science. - Ed.L.L.).
Your telegram, which I received hero on Sunday, and for which I
heartily thank you, at once determined me I would like exceedingly to
visit New Zealand, but the reasons against doing so now are even
stronger than I feel them. This trip has been a very hard one --
constant speaking and travelling, with all the faculties on the
strain, and I begin to feel it. My wife too, though she has stood it
remarkably well, begins to show that she needs rest, and while I have
no advices from home that call me there, and while it may be that I
shall not be specially needed, yet it may happen that my presence
before the important Congressional (and some State) elections that may
come this year will be exceedingly useful.
We leave Maryborough this p.m. for Brisbane. I speak there Friday, at
Ipswich Saturday, in the Brisbane Presbyterian Church on Sunday, at
Armidale Monday, then two other places; and then get to Sydney, where
I am to speak on the Saturday. Unless something unforeseen occurs, we
will take passage in the "Valetta," going overland, speaking
once in Melbourne and Adelaide, leaving finally on the 11th, and
getting off the steamer at Brindisi.
Unless letters or telegrams call me home more speedily, we will take
about three weeks, to London, and a couple of weeks in England, where
I will not do any speaking if I can avoid it, but want to see Michael
Davitt and a few of our friends. I have not been able to keep track of
what has been going on there, but it looks to me as if the day of
reconstruction lines (Not clear -- perhaps "for"
reconstruction lines) has about come.
What a tremendous fight it is that we have entered upon, with all the
forces of conservatism and socialism against us. But I have a perfect
confidence in the result -- whether that comes quicker or slower.
I think my trip has been really useful, though it has been badly
arranged and with a large waste of force, I wish I could go through
this country without admissions (presumably "prices" or "admission
tickets" is meant.) I don't like lecturing, and have never
regularly engaged in it, but it is the only way in which I can do such
In New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland, circumstances
favour us, and I look for a step in advance in each of these colonies.
In Victoria I think some opposition to protection ("protective"
tariffs) has been aroused which will take form and excite discussion.
I found in the Adelaide Public Library Wakefield's "Letter/Between
a Colonist and a Statesman," which are remarkable as showing how
clearly he perceived the relation between land and labour, though as
it were "hind end foremost," and shall try in London to get
this and some other of his works. I also saw, though I could no more
than glance at them, some most interesting volumes of official papers
relating to the early days of South Australia. I trust you are taking
steps to leave behind you some record of your life. The most
interesting and instructive form of history is biography -- and yours,
it seems to me, would be interesting and so instructive that it ought
not to be lost to the world.
I am sorry that I could not have made my trip through these colonies
more one of observation than of speaking; of taking in rather than of
giving out. There is much in their institutions that interests, and
much that, to a certain extent, perplexes me -- their centralisation,
their proneness to State administration, and their fixed Civil
Service. It is hard to form an opinion by inquiring of men who are
used to one set of institutions, and have hardly thought of any other.
But it seems to me that the people are remarkably well satisfied with
the structure and workings of their governments.
The permanent Civil Service seems to have undoubted good features,
but as to how far the tendency is to harden into a bureaucracy I
cannot clearly toll.
I heard Sir Henry Parkes1 speech on Federation, but it seemed to me
that what he had in his mind was rather the formation of one big
colony than true federation. And so far as I can observe, there is no
strong desire for it among the people, though there may be
acquiescence bring it about.
There is so much, however, that I would like to talk over with you I
must stop my pen. I look forward to the letter from you, and though
both of us are too much pressed for much correspondence, I shall have
the pleasure of hearing from you again.
Yours sincerely, Henry George
P.S.: My wife joins me in the warmest regards, and we both desire to
be remembered to your neice, and to the Auckland friends whom we met.
By the way, the paper which one of them got for me on your suggestion,
was either a wrong number or I mislaid it in some way, for when in the
steamer I came to look for the article you spoke of, I could not find
it. If you can readily get it, will you send me a copy? Will you also
enclose with it another copy of your speech just before I arrived?
|Telegram to Henry
George, 16 May, 1890
Cannot take responsibility of advising change of plan. Cannot assert
that such change would be repaid by advantages gained. If you desire
to come and do so, members would be delighted to welcome you. - Grey
To: Sir George Grey / 18 June, 1892
My dear Sir George,
I was glad to get your kind note, and to receive the copy of your
biography, from which I anticipate much delight and instruction. I am
glad that a record has been made of such a life.
I had hoped to have met you in this hemisphere, but as you say
nothing about coming I presume I must abandon the hope. But we look
eagerly to New Zealand and the good work that is doing there.
You probably know as well as I do how great is the advance in our
direction that is going on in England. Mr. Saunders writes me that
over ninety per cent, of the Liberal members who will be elected to
the new Parliament will be pledged more or less definitely to the
taxation of land values. Of course, with this there will be a good
deal of admixture of ideas which you and I cannot approve, but my hope
for Great Britain is that where discussion goes on it is truth that
always shows the staying qualities, and that in the conflict of all
sorts of schemes the natural order must prove the line of least
resistance. In the United States we are making very good progress,
although this may not be clearly perceptible to us at a distance. But
the progress is there in that which endures -- thought, and which is
certain to bear fruit in action. I have sent by this mail some
documents which I ask you to place among some of your prominent men
whose addresses I cannot give from memory -- that give some indication
of this. The Congregational reprint of my Protection or Free
Trade? is very important: 700,000 copies are now being
distributed, and in a few weeks it is certain to go to a million,
which may well be 2,000,000 before the campaign is over. You will see
that it bears the semi-Democratic endorsement, which will have great
effect in turning the campaign on radical lines, as the Republican
Party will denounce them for distributing so radical a document. I
hope soon to send a copy of a book on which I have been recently
engaged. I have been working very, very, hard, for there is much to do
-- but quietly. My wife joins me in warmest regards.
To Sir George Grey / 19 June, 1892
My dear Sir George,
Permit me with this to introduce you to Major A.R. Calhoun of
Brooklyn, New York. Major Calhoun saw service in our Civil War, and
has since been engaged in literary occupations. He visits the Southern
Hemisphere for the purpose of writing some newspaper letters, and as
on his trip -- which will include South Africa --, he will at least
have the opportunity of stopping at Auckland, if not of visiting New
Zealand, I trust he will have an opportunity of calling upon you,
especially as he is a single-tax man, and therefore specially
interested in the progress you are making in New Zealand, and of which
he will have opportunity of making our people better informed.
Anything you can do to put him in the way of learning of the working
and reception of your new law, which so far approaches the single-tax,
will be especially useful to him and much appreciated by
Yours with affectionate respect, Henry George
This concludes the Letters. The next pages comprise reports and
reminiscences kindly supplied by Mr. G. M. Fowlds. - Editor, Liberal
Leader of New Zealand)
|Visit of Henry
George to Auckland, New Zealand, 1 March, 1890 (from the Auckland
Upon the arrival of Mr. And Mrs. Henry George by the "Mariposa,"
on their way to Sydney (the birthplace of Mrs. George), a reception
was held in the "Star" Hotel, when there were present: Sir
George Grey, Rev. E. H. Gulliver, Dr. B.C. Beale, C. Wright, G.
Peacocke, W.J. Napier, F.M. King, A. Kelly, H.W. Farnall, E. Withy
(later M.H.R.), -- Baulf, -- Jennings, -- Dunne, R.H. Hooper, W. E.
Hay, W. White, R.A. Hould (late editor of the "Liberator"),
and others. After Mr. George had been made an honorary member of the
Auckland Anti-Poverty Society, an address of welcome from the
Anti-Poverty Society, the Knights of Labour, and the Proressive League
of Auckland was presented: --
To: Mr. Henry George:
"On the occasion of your first arrival in New Zealand, we who
have long watched with heartfelt sympathy and admiration your able and
fearless advocacy of the common right of every man to a just share in
the soil of the country to which he belongs, desire to welcome you as
the foremost leader in the great cause of land reform, upon which, as
we believe, the social amelioration of civilised humanity in great
We desire to express our sincere gratification that you have been
enabled to visit these Australasian colonies, feeling assured that the
personal promulgation of your views in our several centres of
population will materially hasten the achievement of a social and
political reform which is based upon principles of common sense and
natural justice. We trust and believe that the result of your mission
will be to powerfully aid in dissipating the cloud of prejudice
through which many, even in these new lands, view the existing land
tenure, and the fiscal policy with which it is connected -- a
prejudice born of ignorance, and the false impression concerning the
aims and objects of the single-tax party, assiduously fostered in the
public mind by the influence of a self-interested section of society.
As self-respecting Anglo-Saxons, we desire to gain nothing by
violence that can be achieved by legitimate political action. We claim
to be the champions of the truest public honesty, and the sacred right
of every man to the undisturbed possession and enjoyment of the entire
fruits of his own-industry. As the acknowledged leader in the cause we
all have at heart, as brother in race, and as the friend of man, whose
brilliant genius, dauntless spirit and warm human sympathies command
the respect and esteem of all good men and true, we joyfully greet
your coming amongst us, and wish you God-speed in your labours, until
in due course you again reach this city to give us, we trust, a public
exposition of the great question with which the name of Henry George
is so indissolubly and honourably associated."
Signed on behalf of the above bodies,
(Rev.) E.H.Gulliver, R.A.Hould, A.Kelly, B.C.Beale, E.Withy,
G.L.Peacocke, H.W.Farnall, C. S.Wright, R.H.Hooper, A,Withy, T. West,
J.J.Poland, A.Cowley, F.G.Platt,. J.Batty, (Rev.) J. H. Simmmonds,
J.G. Walsh, W.G. Ramson.
In reply, Mr. George said:
"The visit has peculiar interest to me as an American -- one of
the people who were the first great off-shoot from the Mother Country,
the first of the great new nations, who are destined to prove in the
coming time a power greater than that of Rome in the old civilisation.
It is of especial interest for me to come amongst the newest of these
communities, for New Zealand is the newest of_ these colonies, and of
the same age as myself. Fifty years is a long-time in the life of an
individual, but it is only a day in the life of a nation.
Your very youth, and the fact that you are the youngest among the
Anglo-Saxon nations that are springing up, gives you a very, great
advantage. The study of what you are doing, the advance you have made,
and the mistakes you have committed, are fraught with interesting
lessons, and our own mistakes in America may be of great use to you in
New Zealand. Men like your own Sir George Grey (former Governor and
Premier of New Zealand) (Applause) have been working in that
Therefore the object of the Anti-Poverty Society was no dream of
dreamers or of cranks. He believed it was possible, because God was
good, that he would not support injustice. Those who worked in this
pause were working, not merely for the good of their children, but for
the whole world. Taking Mr. Gulliver by the hand, Mr. George
concluded: "In that spirit which binds us all together, whether
it be under the North Star or the Southern Gross, I thank you."
Mr. Gulliver said an uncrowned King was among them, who really ought
to have presented the address, although he himself had been asked to
do so. He referred to Sir George Grey, who said he had to thank Mr.
Henry George for many ideas. He had been his companion for years in
working out this great question.
Mr. George said that nothing had given him greater gratification than
the fact of meeting Sir George Grey. He felt that Sir George was a
little in advance of his time; ten years ago he had given the people
of this colony that which would have made them the leading English
people in the world -- the germ of the single-tax, but it was too
early; the seed was sown, but the ground was not prepared. He hoped
Sir George Grey might yet live to see it grow and cover the whole
earth. But it mattered little now who lived or died, for time and tide
were with them. What they aimed at was simply the culmination of
Christianity, to bring into effect the Golden Rule, to bring on earth
that Kingdom of Righteousness which the Maker had designed.
Miscellaneous Comments Included
"I think, if over there was a time in the world when a man who
was capable of doing anything should feel it is a good time to live,
it is now."
"You are building up here a community which in a short time may
have a population as large as that of the Mother Country. It is not
merely the destiny and improvement of the nation that is being secured
by you, but of the whole world."
"For a long time our race must be the leading one in the world,
leading, let us hope, the van of civilisation."
From a report of an interview in the "Auckland Star," March
You should lose not a moment in joining yourselves in federation with
your British neighbours in this part of the world. I shall always be
in favour of federation of the British Colonies.
(The federation of the Australian States was then being considered,
but New Zealand declined to join.)
The reference by Henry George to the germ of the single-tax
introduced by Sir George Grey was (writes Mr. G.M. Fowlds) to the
first Land Tax of 1/2d in the £, passed in 1878, but was not
collected, because the Liberal Government led by Sir George Grey was
defeated, and when the Conservatives obtained office they rescinded
|LAND VALUE TAXATION
IN NEW ZEALAND
Note By G. M. Fowlds
The reference in the letter of Sir George Grey to the New Zealand
land- tax (of one half-penny in the £) imposed in 1878(the year
before the publication of Progress and Poverty) was that
imposed when he was Premier, and Mr. John Ballance the Colonial
Treasurer. But before the time came for the tax to be collected, the
Liberal Party, under Sir George Grey, was swept out of office, and the
land-tax immediately repealed by his Conservative successors.
This reverse was made possible by the system of plural voting in
vogue. Then in 1890, when the Liberal Party, under the leadership of
Mr. John Ballance, was returned to power under adult suffrage, it
promptly repealed the general property tax and imposed a tax on land
values of 1d in the £, with an exemption of £500. Over the
years the rate of this tax was graduated, ostensibly to break up the
large estates, but in a measure this was circumvented by family
subdivisions and in other ways, and the benefits of the Act were
further vitiated by allowances for mortgages. The advocates for the
appropriation of ground rent are opposed to the graduated tax, and
would prefer a flat rate with out any exemption for mortgages.
Though tremendous increases have been made in amounts collected from
other sources, such as income-tax, Customs, sales-tax and death
duties, the land-tax has remained for many years in the neighbourhood
of £1M per annum. This is largely accounted for by reason of the
fact that during the depression periods of 1921 and 1930, at the
instance, it is alleged, of the Government, revaluations were made on
a reduced scale; and in other cases, owing to the war and shortage of
staff, revaluations have not been made in some districts for from 10
to 15 years. Despite the large increases in population since 1930, the
total valuation of the land today is still well below the figure for
that year. This indicates the complete unreliability of the assessment
figures in the Official Year Book. Prior to the advent of the Labour
Party to power in 1935, the Reform Party, led by two farmers, the Hons
G.W. Forbes and J.G. Coates, under pressure from their rural
supporters, had abolished the land-tax, but_this was restored in 1936,
though no further increases have since been made in the rate of the
In 1896, the Rt. Hon. R. J. Seddon, the leader of the Liberal Party,
took a further step by passing an Act permitting ratepayers in local
districts, on presentation of a petition signed by 15% of their number
to demand a poll on the question of rating on the unimproved value.
Since that time, half the local bodies in the country now rate under
this system, and exempt improvements, though places which had carried
it prior to 1911 only have the general, and not the special rates
also, so collected; and in those cases a further poll is necessary for
the extension to cover all cases. Local rates vary from 6d in the
counties to 1/8d in the £ in the boroughs and town districts. It
is estimated that fifty per cent, of the total revenue OF LOCAL BODIES
of £10,000,000 is collected from land value. Some of the most
progressive boroughs and counties operate under this method, and
figures show that there is a higher ratio of improvements (45-1/2 to
35%) in those districts.
:Though a number or polls have been called for since, with the idea
of reverting to the capital or annual value rating basis, in not more
than a dozen places has the attempt been successful, and in some of
these a third poll has again brought about rating on the unimproved
value. One reason why still more districts have not made the change is
that, either owing to the apathy of the local people, or not knowing
how to go about it, the ratepayers have not been given an opportunity
of making a decision on the issue. As long ago as 1906, the Rt. Hon.
R.J. Seddon (Premier) said the Government was so satisfied of the
benefits of the new system that a bill was introduced to make rating
on the unimproved value mandatory. Owing to to his untimely death it
was not proceeded with. The land value tax and rating on the
unimproved value have long been planks in the Labour Party's platform,
yet despite being in office for 14 years, though they were were
approached a few years back, they declined to adopt Seddon's proposal,
yet when the Rt. Hon. M.J. Savage (first Labour Premier) attained
office, he said they were going to carry on where Seddon Liberals left
off. (Hon. John Ballance, writing in the "Dunedin Echo" of
April 15, 1882, strongly supported Compensation, and held that
George's refusal of it was the one blot on
Progress and Poverty, -- Editor, LIBERAL LEADER OF N.Z.).
My dear Sir,
I am not very well, and cannot write at length. I have had the
pleasure of receiving two copies of the 4th edition of your work. I
have sent one copy to a friend of mine in this country, asking him to
review it -- which I have no doubt he will do -- and I will, when I
receive it, send it to you. I am glad to hear your work is being
translated into German. I trust it will have a wide circulation. Rest
assured you have done a great service to your fellow men in writing
it. The thoughts it contains are great ones, and many of them are of
very great originality, I peruse it constantly with pleasure, and thus
to know you. I am told you are writing for some monthly publications
of Messrs Apple ton. What is the name of it? I have, at your request,
sent you a few of my speeches. I do this to please you, by doing what
you ask. Truly yours, G.GREY.
PARNELL (Auckland,N,Z.) 3rd May, 1890.
My dear George,
In my last letter I told you that your not coming to New Zealand will
be the cause of most serious disappointment here. You will have heard
from Wellington that a gentleman there is prepared to lay down £320
to secure four lectures from you in New Zealand. So much therefore is
sure, but others will give largely to be certain of having lectures on
the land question delivered by you in this country, where a (desire)
exists for information being spread on this subject. I could not urge
you to do anything you think wrong, but I hope you may think it right
to do so. That this may be the view you take of it is the earnest wish
of yours truly, G. GREY
Henry George , Esq., C/o E.W. Foxall, Esq.,
248 A, Pitt Street, Sydney, N.S.W.
PARNELL (Auckland) 17th May, 1890.
My dear George,
I sent you a telegram giving you my view, which I took a day to
deliberate over, as to the effect of your not coming to New Zealand.
When your decision arrived regarding your immediate visit to Europe
great disappointment was felt, "but since that, the General
Assembly (Parliament) has been called together for the 19th June, and
it is quite possible that a dissolution may take place in two or three
weeks after that date, and a general election will then follow without
a day's unnecessary delay. These circumstances have turned the public
mind altogether in that direction, and they think little of any other
political question. It appears to me, therefore, that not much good
could "be done, in the midst of the tumult of a general election,
and I feel quite satisfied in my own mind that there is almost a
certainty of a considerable majority "being returned in favour of
the Land Tax -- that is, a tax on unearned increment, and I believe
that the old Act of 1879 will be re-enacted. I have written to lave
six copies of that Act sent to you, to the care of Mr. Foxall. What I
think at least must be done, is to carry a resolution to repeal the
Property Tax, and if that is done a dissolution will take place and a
new Parliament will be returned, who then, I think, will pass the Land
Tax Act, and New Zealand will then again be the first country to have
that Act in force.
I must now remain here until the elections are over, and be present
at the short session which will then take place. From what I have now
said you will fully understand the position here. It is to me a
grievous disappointment to have seen so little of you, and to be
absent from Europe at the time when such important affairs are taking
place. To have gone with you would have been a great pleasure to me,
and I believe I should have derived some advantage from an intercourse
which would have brought under our almost hourly review such numbers
of important subjects which must be speedily settled in this, the
greatest age of advancement which I believe has swept the world for
many centuries. A foundation for a totally new state of things is
being laid, and this foundation is to rest upon a (total) basis of
almost the entire world, at least upon all those nations who now
exercise the greatest control over human affairs.
You have expanded a spark into a blaze of thought, and of unselfish
conceptions, which is spreading to every part, and ennobling countless
minds. It seems almost hard that I cannot from a nearer point of view
than New Zealand watch the progress of these great events. br>
I should like to direct your attention to one point regarding
Ireland. As far as I understand the Government's Land measure, they
will simply borrow vast sums of money on the public credit to spend
too profusely in purchasing the lands of their own friends and
supporters, and that these lands will generally pass into the hands of
the existing tenants, often still as very large estates. As far as we
know what the Act is, in this Colony, I do not see what provision is
being made for the evicted and ruined previous to this.
I sent to Mr. Foxall's address two copies of an Act I have introduced
into the Parliament of New Zealand, and could, I believe, have carried
there, had it been ever allowed to be fairly brought forward, but, by
an adroit use of parliamentary manoeuvres, it was either strangled in
a hostile committee, or prevented from coming up for discussion, by
the Government taking the day on which it was to come on, for their "business.
It will, however, yet, I think, be the law of the land. Very truly
yours, (Signed) G. GREY.
AUCKLAND (N,Z.) May 21st, 1892.
My dear Fellow-worker,
It is a long time since I have written to you, but my thoughts often
wander to you and your noble work. Do not be cast down by any apparent
difficulties that may cross your path. You have done a very vast
amount of good; and thus achieved a wonderful success. I have just
kept my eightieth birthday. I send you a life of myself issued on this
day. I send you a copy, also a copy of our local Graphic -- and a
newspaper which publishes the copy of a letter you wrote to me some
years ago, thus we keep your memory alive. I have a (badly) sprained
twist, and thus write with pain and difficulty, so I close my letter,
very kindest remembrances to your wife,
Affectionately yours, G. Grey.