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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Sewell, Hon. Henry

Sewell, Hon. Henry, sometime Premier of New Zealand, was the son of a solicitor in the Isle of Wight, where he was born. He adopted his father's profession, and after practising for some years in England, settled in Canterbury, N.Z., in Feb. 1853. He was one of the leading members of the Canterbury Association, being deputy-chairman of the committee of management before leaving London. Mr. Sewell practised as a solicitor in New Zealand, and sat in the first House of Representatives as member for Christchurch in 1854. He held office in the first inchoate Ministry formed under Mr. Fitzgerald from June to August 1854, and himself became Premier in May 1856, resigning in the same month owing to the refusal of the acting Governor to concede full responsible functions to the administration. Mr. Sewell was a member of the first Stafford Ministry from June 1856 to April 1859, when he resigned, after holding the portfolios of Colonial Treasurer and Commissioner of Customs for varying periods. In the Fox Ministry which succeeded, he was Attorney-General from August 1861 to August 1862, and held the same post as a member of the Legislative Council in the Domett Government from August 1862 to Jan. 1863. In the first Weld Ministry he was again Attorney-General from Nov. 1864 to Oct. 1865. In the third Fox Government he was Minister of Justice, Commissioner of Customs, and Commissioner of Stamps for varying periods from June 1870 to Nov. 1871. For several years subsequently he resided in England, where he died in 1879. Mr. Sewell was the brother of that eminent scholar and writer the late Rev. William Sewell, B.D., Fellow of Exeter College, Oxford, and Principal of St. Peter's College, Radley, which was started at his instance and on his plans. His sister, Miss Elizabeth Missing Sewell, is also the author of numerous works of High Church fiction.