GNZMS 55, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

GNZMS 55, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

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GNZMS 55, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

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Historical narrative of an attempt to form a settlement in New Zealand.

Author: Baron de Thierry
Ref No: GNZMS 55
Date Created: c1857

Charles Philippe Hippolyte de Thierry (1793-1864) was one of the more colourful – and controversial – eccentrics among New Zealand’s early European settlers. His contemporaries generally dismissed him as a madman and/or a fraudster. While this judgment is probably too harsh, sorting out fact from fantasy in the accounts that de Thierry gave of himself is by no means easy. The puzzle begins with where exactly he was born and how aristocratic his lineage actually was. As his biographer J. D. Raeside notes, ‘He claimed that he was born variously in London, France and the Netherlands, according to the particular needs of the moment.’

Sir George Grey paid him to write an autobiography in the mid-1850s. De Thierry accepted but made unflattering comments about his sponsor in the manuscript: ‘No man could better play his cards for his own advancement than Sir George Grey; he was particularly attractive in his conversation, and had the rare talent to make favourable impressions upon those who came into contact with him, but whatever he may have been to others, and however he may have feathered the nests of his friends, to me he behaved in the most unfeeling and treacherous manner, and his doing so was quite uncalled for.’ Grey seems to have borne this criticism without rancour. He wrote sympathetically about de Thierry to the assiduous collector of New Zealand books, Thomas Hocken, in 1880. Another of the Baron’s defenders was the novelist Robin Hyde, who made extensive use of the Library’s manuscript material when writing her book based on de Thierry’s singular career, Check to your king, in 1934.

Tags: 19th century, 1gfsju, 2bvmuz, 6k3rv, actfh, check to your king, cpidyzlpoydsqedb, crdngqaqpblnapof, d9jlg7, Declaration, do34x5, dpplt, duvonvmhiqaacom, eccentrics, France, fraudsters, gvesauhpkcmdcom, history, Hokianga, Independence, p1b2n, penitoa finau, Robin Hyde, rx2nqu, upnhwmmdjiwz, vvdsbr, weebsw, xvotmv

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