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Edward Gibbon Wakefield was a key figure in the colonization of New Zealand and South Australia. Born in 1796, Wakefield became known for kidnapping a fifteen-year-old heiress. Both Edward Gibbon Wakefield and his brother William, who helped him, were convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in 1897. Despite being imprisoned for over three years, Wakefield was able to build a prolific political career.
See the fact file below for more information on the Edward Gibbon Wakefield or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Edward Gibbon Wakefield worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Edward Gibbon Wakefield was born in London in March 20, 1796.
- He was the eldest son of Edward Wakefield and Susanna Crush.
- His father was known as a distinguished surveyor and land agent.
- Priscilla Wakefield, his grandmother, was one of the pioneers of savings banks and was also a well-known author.
- Edward attended Westminster School between 1808 and 1810 and a secondary school in Edinburgh from 1810 to 1812.
- During the later stages of the Napoleonic Wars, Wakefield served as a King’s Messenger, carrying diplomatic mails throughout Europe.
- Wakefield then became secretary to the British minister at Turin, Italy, in 1814.
- Although they were subsequently married, in 1916, Wakefield ran away with Miss Eliza Pattle, a 17-year-old wealthy heiress.
- Wakefield received a marriage settlement of £70,000 (almost $7,000,000) when Eliza turned twenty-nine.
- Eliza died four years later after giving birth to her third child in 1820.
- Wakefield was ambitious in his political career and desired to make more money.
- Wakefield endeavored to repair his fortunes by tricking a schoolgirl heiress into marriage.
THE SHRIGLEY ABDUCTION
- The infamous case of the Shrigley abduction happened in 1826.
- Miss Ellen Turner was a 15-year-old wealthy resident of Pott Shrigley, Cheshire.
- Ellen was the only child and daughter of William Turner, who owned textile printing businesses and spinning mills and also held a position as a High Sheriff of Cheshire.
- Ellen attracted the interest of Edward Gibbon Wakefield in 1826.
- Edward teamed up with his brother William Wakefield in a scheme to marry Ellen for her inheritance.
- Ellen and Edward got married in Gretna Green, Scotland.
- The couple traveled to Calais, France, before William Turner told the authorities about the situation.
- The marriage was annulled by the Parliament.
- Edward and his brother William were sentenced to three years in London’s Newgate Prison between 1826 to 1829.
- After his release, Edward Gibbon Wakefield became active in prison reform.
- Deprived of available heiresses, William started writing intelligent articles and books about Australia.
- Notably his book, A Letter from Sydney, was published in 1829 while Wakefield was still in prison.
- Wakefield maintained that sending convicts to Australia should be stopped.
- According to Wakefield, a worthwhile colony should be created by transporting people there for free, giving them good wages, and allowing them to buy crown land after a few years at a price that would pay for their emigration.
- He proposed that there would be equal numbers of men and women in a broad mixture of social classes.
- Capitalism should be encouraged and self-government would eventually follow.
NEW ZEALAND COMPANY
- Upon his release from prison in 1830, Wakefield founded the National Colonisation Society, which attracted esteemed membership, including John Stuart Mill.
- His ideas gained ground, and in 1837, he established the New Zealand Association (also known as New Zealand Company) to promote colonization and self-governance.
- n 1837, the British government refused to charter the New Zealand Association because New Zealand was not a part of the Crown’s dominion and missionaries protected Maori land rights.
- In 1839, John Hill named the Wakefield River, a river north of Adelaide in South Australia after Edward Gibbon Wakefield.
- This also led to the later naming of Port Wakefield.
- Nonetheless, before the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, a reformed New Zealand Land Company had managed to establish settlements, after acquiring land on easy terms and dispatching immigrants without parliamentary sanction.
- When its land titles were subsequently questioned by the government, Wakefield campaigned for local self-government, a proposal which the governor, Sir George Grey, successfully opposed.
- Beginning in 1838, Wakefield worked with Canadian authorities as an unofficial adviser to John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham.
- Although Wakefield had a short temper and was impatient with opposition of any kind, his ideas attracted strong support from the government.
WAKEFIELD’S LEGACY AND DEATH
- After working in Canada, Wakefield focused his efforts in promoting a settlement in New Zealand sponsored by the Church of England.
- The settlement became known as the Canterbury Settlement.
- Many Canterbury pilgrims traveled to this new settlement.
- In 1853, Wakefield arrived in Wellington, New Zealand to settle there for himself.
- Wakefield began having heart trouble the following year and lived for his retirement.
- He contended with poor health until his death in Wellington on May 16, 1862.
Edward Gibbon Wakefield Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Edward Gibbon Wakefield across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Edward Gibbon Wakefield worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Edward Gibbon Wakefield who was a key figure in the colonization of New Zealand and South Australia. Born in 1796, Wakefield became known for kidnapping a fifteen-year-old heiress. Both Edward Gibbon Wakefield and his brother William, who helped him, were convicted and sentenced to three years in prison in 1897. Despite being imprisoned for over three years, Wakefield was able to build a prolific political career.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Edward Gibbon Wakefield Facts
- Edward’s Life in Countries
- Wealthy Heiresses
- A Letter from Sydney
- Edward’s Ideas
- Colonization Word Search
- Wakefield’s Colleagues
- The Canterbury Association
- Assessing Knowledge
- History of New Zealand
- A Letter to Edward
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Link will appear as Edward Gibbon Wakefield Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 19, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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