G.V. Hudson's original proposal to the Wellington Philosophical Society on 8 October 1858, inspired by his amateur etymological fancying.
“In order to more fully utilise the long days of summer, it is proposed on the 1st October of each year to put the standard time on two hours by making 12 (midnight) into 2 a.m., whilst on the 1st March the time would be put back two hours by making 2 a.m. into 12 (midnight), thus reverting to the present time arrangements for the winter months. The effect of this alteration would be to advance all the day's operations in summer two hours compared with the present system. In this way the early-morning daylight would be utilised, and a long period of daylight leisure would be made available in the evening for cricket, gardening, cycling, or any other outdoor pursuit desired. It will no doubt be urged that people are at present quite at liberty to make use of the early-morning daylight in summer without any such drastic alteration in the established order of things as is here suggested. To this objection it may be pointed out that, living as we do in a social community, we are unable to separate ourselves from the habits of those around us. We cannot individually alter our times of going to bed or getting up, but must fall in with the habits of the majority—at all events, to a great extent, Again, under the present arrangement, those who desire to utilise the early-morning daylight are compelled to take some of their recreation before their daily work and some afterwards, which in many cases results in their having to forego pursuits that they would be enabled to follow successfully if their daylight leisure were continuous.
“At present it may be said that people on an average rise, at about 7 a.m., and retire to rest at about 11 p.m. Under the new summer régime those would become equal to 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. of present, time respectively. Breakfast is usually taken at about 8 a.m., which, under the proposed system, would become equal to 6 a.m. Work begins in most eases at 8 or 9 o'clock in the morning, equal to 6 or 7 o'clock respectively. Dinner, again, is taken at 12 or 1, and would become equal to 10 or 11, and while, at present, work is not ended until 5 or 6 p.m., leaving at the most but three hours, of daylight, under the proposed system it would cease at a time equal to 3 or 4 p.m., leaving five hours daylight at the end of the day, the average bed-time becoming, as before stated, equal to 9 p.m.
“The system we now employ has probably been adopted as a convenient one in the winter, and carried on during the summer, when it ceases to have application. With regard to the inconvenience of altering the time twice a year, it does not appear that it would bear any proportion to the advantages gained. The community would certainly be deprived of two hours' sleep on the night of the 30th September in each year, and probably a certain, amount of inconvenience would be experienced in. altering all the clocks for the following day. The same would apply in a lesser degree on the 28th February, when there would be an additional two hours' night, but people would, no doubt, soon become accustomed to the periodical adjustments. On ship-board, when travelling east or west, constant and extensive alterations of time have to, be made, and but little inconvenience is experienced by those concerned. The alteration of time in the transmission of telegrams to and from foreign countries may possibly be urged as an objection, but to this it may be answered that equally extensive alterations have to be made already.
“In favour of the scheme, special attention is directed to the saving of expense in the lessened employment of artificial light; the greatly increased health and enjoyment to the numerous classes, who are obliged to work indoors all day, and Who, under existing arrangements, get a minimum of fresh air and sunshine; and the probable resultant increase in the health, morality, and happiness of the community? generally.
“The foregoing remarks are framed to apply to us in the Southern Hemisphere, but with the seasons reversed they’ would, of course, apply with equal force to the Northern; Hemisphere.”