Draft proof of a printed letter to William Gladstone concerning colonial affairs. Edward Gibbon WAKEFIELD.
Draft proof of a printed letter to William Gladstone concerning colonial affairs.

Draft proof of a printed letter to William Gladstone…
Draft proof of a printed letter to William Gladstone concerning colonial affairs.

Colchester: printed by Stewart and Murray, February, 1846.

Octavo, 98pp., without title page (as issued), drop title 'Draft Proof. Nayland, February 1846.' to first leaf; with the signature of magistrate John Walpole Willis and numerous manuscript notes throughout, a little browning yet very good in modern half green morocco.

A Colonial judge reads Wakefield

Very rare: printed "Draft Proof" of Wakefield's letter to the British minister (and later Prime Minister) William Gladstone, with numerous manuscript annotations by John Walpole Willis (1793-1877).

Very rare: printed "Draft Proof" of Wakefield's letter to the British minister (and later Prime Minister) William Gladstone, with numerous manuscript annotations by John Walpole Willis (1793-1877).

Willis was a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales who was later appointed as a magistrate in Melbourne, and his careful reading of Wakefield's letter is more evidence of the latter's influence. Willis' first colonial appointment was to the court of equity for Upper Canada, and several of his notes in the present volume refer to Canadian precedents. While in Canada, Willis came into conflict with judicial authorities and was removed from his office and returned to London. After serving in British Guinea, Willis was finally appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales and arrived in the colony in 1838. Here a quarrel with the chief justice Sir James Dowling led to him being transferred to Melbourne in March 1841. Despite his comprehensive ability in law and jurisprudence, Willis' strong temper and direct manner of speech alienated the legal community and powerful interest groups of Melbourne. He was removed from office by Governor Gipps in June 1843 despite an outcry from the press and a popular public meeting called to protest against his dismissal.

Willis returned to England shortly afterwards where he continued his interest in colonial affairs. Here he proof-read this draft copy of Wakefield's letter to Gladstone, adding numerous marginal notes drawing upon his significant legal experience. In 1850 Willis expounded his own views by publishing his own book titled On the Government of the British Colonies.

This draft copy of Wakefield's letter, annotated by a magistrate of several years service in Australia, demonstrates the wide influence he exercised in promoting colonial reform. There is no indication that the letter was ever actually published; this draft printing is extremely rare. Another example is in the Hocken collection at the University of Otago, but it was not known to Ferguson.

New Zealand National Bibliography, 5790.

Price (AUD): $1,500.00

US$1,124.76   Other currencies

Ref: #4107161