James FitzGerald

James FitzGerald

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James FitzGerald

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James Edward FitzGerald (circa 1818 – 2 August 1896) was a New Zealand politician. According to some historians, he should be considered the country's first Prime Minister, although a more conventional view is that neither he nor his successor (Thomas Forsaith) should properly be given that title. He was a notable campaigner for New Zealand self-governance. He was the first Superintendent of the Canterbury Province.

Early life

FitzGerald is believed to have been born in Bath, England. His parents, Gerald FitzGerald, were Irish, and FitzGerald is known to have cherished his connection with Ireland. Both his grandfathers, Colonel Richard Fitzgerald and Sir Lucius O'Brien, were MPs in the Irish House of Commons. He was educated first in Bath, and then at Christ's College of the University of Cambridge. He initially sought a commission in the Royal Engineers, but poor eyesight made this impossible. Instead, he began working for the British Museum's Antiquities department, and became the museum's Assistant Secretary.

FitzGerald gradually became concerned with the alleviation of poverty, an interest...
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