Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Henry John Chitty Harper





 
XVIII
Bishop Henry John Chitty Harper. 1804-1893

 

The first actual Bishop of Christchurch was Henry John Chitty Harper, appointed in 1856. Six years earlier, during the long debates from which the Canterbury Settlement evolved the Rev. Thomas Jackson had been designated for the post. He did in fact come out to New Zealand, but, lacking the missionary spirit, he was dismayed at the prospect, the bare trackless hills and the bleak immigration buildings, and he turned to England for good. 

Henry John Chitty Harper was born at Gosport. Hampshire on January 9th, 1804, and educated in the first place at Hyde Abbey School. Winchester. Going then to Queen’s College, Oxford, he proceeded B.A., in 1826. and M.A. in 1834. After his first degree he went as "conduct” or chaplain to Eton College, where his coadjutor was George Augustus Selwyn. When at Eton that Harper evinced the characteristics which pointed him out as a man for high was the loading spirit in many reforms which, were carried through at the college in those days, and when he left he received testimonials from college authorities, and from the people of the parish of Eton, which showed the very high esteem in which he was held. He was at Eton College from 1831 to 1836, and curate in charge of the parish of Eton till 1840. There was no vicar at the time, the College holding the vicariate. Meanwhile he had been ordained deacon in 1831 and priest in 1832. In 1840 Eton College presented him with the living of Stratfleld-Mortimer, in Berkshire, where he remained until he was designated Bishop of Christchurch in 1856. 


While curate at Eton College Harper took private pupils, many whom (including Sir Michael Hicks-Beach) became famous in the public life of England. In those days, too, he made a close friend of Selwyn, and it was on his advice that the future bishop of New Zealand read for holy orders. Selwyn was ordained deacon in 1833. He was the first to go to a bishopric, and twelve years later he strongly recommended Harper as the right man for the bishopric of Christchurch. Accordingly a meeting of churchmen, held in Lyttelton in 1855 decided to send a petition to the Queen asking that Harper should be appointed. The Royal letters patent were duly issued, and on August 10th, 1856, he was consecrated in the chapel at Lambeth Palace by Archbishop Sumner. At the same time he became a doctor of divinity. With his wife and family he sailed in the ship Egmont, and on December 23rd, 1856 she dropped her anchor in Lyttelton Harbour.

Bishop Selwyn had come down to Lyttelton in his mission yacht to meet his old friend, and the scene at their meeting is faithfully depicted in one of the sculptured panels of the pulpit in Christchurch Cathedral. The Bishop and Mrs Selwyn accompanied the party across the hill from the port to the Cooksons' house at Heathcote, and thence into Christchurch. On Christmas Day Harper was duly enthroned In the old mother church of Christchurch City, the Church of St. Michael and All Angels, which became the pro-cathedral of the diocese. By letters patent of the same date as Harper's, Selwyn was appointed Metropolitan of New Zealand; and before he left Christchurch on the far-flung duties of his see he spent the whole evening of New Year's Eve discussing with the new bishop his project of a constitution for the Church of England in New Zealand.
 

Bishop Harper took up his residence first of all in house in Cambridge terrace, which was afterwards occupied by Dr. Turnbull. One of his first episcopal acts was the consecration on January 24th, 1857, of the Church of the Holy Trinity at Avonside. Six months later he laid the foundation stone of Christ's College, of which he was the first Warden. The organisation of his vast diocese was a man's work, and many a day he spent in the saddle, travelling the long journeys between the river Hurunui on the north and Stewart Island on the south. Almost every year while it remained in his charge he visited the farthest settlements of Otago and Southland. Like Selwyn, he spent many nights under the starry sky, sometimes with only a saddle for pillow. For ten years his task covered the whole of this vast territory. In 1866 the separation of Otago as an independent bishopric was initiated, and Harper was called upon to act a difficult part as mediator and peacemaker when the opinions held by the bishop-designate (the Rev. H. L. Jenner) caused his appointment to be challenged. Harper presided at several meetings in Dunedin, and on every occasion, by his tact and sympathetic advice endeavoured to induce the people of Otago to accept their bishop. When this was found impossible he had to admit that the appointment was not valid until it was confirmed by the General Synod of New Zealand. The controversy was still raging when its subject arrived in New Zealand in January 1869. Bishop Harper convened the Synod to meet in Dunedin, and presided throughout five or six days of anxious and difficult debate. One whole night he occupied the chair from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. It was unavailing. The Synod declined by a decided majority to accept the Bishop, and he (Jenner) returned to England. In due time Bishop Nevill arrived, and he was consecrated by Bishop Harper in 1871. There were several other controversies, which disturbed the even tenor of Dr. Harper's episcopate, but they were such as his genial temperament and tactful judgment were able to overcome. There was the charge of heterodoxy against the Rev. H. E. Carlyon; and there was the long discussion between 1862 and 1865 on the demand of the Christchurch Synod to be allowed full control of their own church property. Harper's opening addresses at the many Synods, diocesan and general, at which he presided, were always marked by practical common-sense. In 1867 and 1878 he attended the Lambeth Conferences in London. 

With the resignation of Bishop Selwyn, Harper was elected to the primacy of the Church in New Zealand, but he declined to enter upon it until July 1869, when he was informed by Bishop Selwyn that he had laid down the office of Metropolitan of New Zealand. The first General Synod that Harper presided over was that at Dunedin in 1871; thereafter he controlled many in different towns of New Zealand. Several new bishops at least he consecrated personally. In 1877, at Nelson, he had the great pleasure of consecrating the Rev. J. R. Selwyn, son of his old friend and chief, to be Bishop of Melanesia. In December of the same year, in the Cathedral at Napier, he consecrated the Rev. E. C. Stuart as Bishop of Waiapu. Meanwhile the work of his own diocese went steadily ahead, and the twenty-fifth year of his episcopate was marked on November 1st, 1881, by the consecration for public worship of the fine Christchurch Cathedral, a permanent memorial of the life and work of the first Bishop of Christchurch.

In 1887 Bishop Harper announced his intention of laying down his episcopate at the earliest convenient moment. He presided at another General Synod, and on September 26th, 1889, the Diocesan Synod was informed that his resignation had been accepted. On the following day Archdeacon Julius, of Ballarat, was elected to the See, and on May 13th, 1890, Bishop Harper consecrated his successor. Meanwhile Bishop Hadfield was elected to succeed him in the primacy.

Bishop Harper married in 1829 Emily, daughter of Charles Wooldridge, registrar of the diocese of Winchester. Their golden wedding was celebrated On December 12th, 1879, and Mrs Harper died in 1887. Bishop Harper died on December 28th, 1893, leaving a family surviving him of six sons and six daughters. The sons were the Ven. Archdeacon Harper, M.A., of Westland and Timaru, who died in 1922; Leonard Harper, barrister-at-law and sometimes M H.R. for Cheviot and Avon (who died in 1915). Charles John Harper, for many years chairman of the Ashburton County Council (who died in 1920); the Very Rev. Walter Harper, sometime vicar of St. Michael's and Dean of Christchurch (who died in January, 1930); Gerald Harper, M.D., (who died in London in October last); and George Harper, 0.B. E., barrister-at-law, Christchurch. The six daughters were married to the Hon. J. B. Acland M.L.C., Hon. C. R. Blakiston, M.L.C., Charles George Tripp, Charles Percy Cox, Thomas James Maling and Thomas Douglas. Mrs Cox and Mrs Douglas and Mr G. Harper are still alive. 


Some of his old pupils at Eton erected in the chapel there a monument to the memory of Bishop Harper, the Latin inscription being by the late Dr. Hornby, then Provost of Eton.
Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 19948, 7 June 1930

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

William Rolleston


VII. 
William Rolleston, 1831-1903

The fourth and last Superintendent of Canterbury, William Rolleston, was one of the large class of classical scholars who came to the settlements of the New Zealand Company and did such good service in the foundation of the colony.

Born at Maltby, near Doncaster, Yorkshire, on September 19th, 1831, Rolleston was a son of the Rev. George Rolleston, M.A., rector of the parish and squire. He was educated at Rossall, one of the principal public schools in the north of England, under the headmastership of Dr. Woolley, who was afterwards principal of the University of Sydney. He then passed on to Cambridge, entering at Emmanuel College in 1851. Next year he won a foundation scholarship, and in 1855 he graduated B.A. with honours in the classical tripos. A brother, Dr. George Rolleston, M.D., F.R.S., was a distinguished professor of physiology at Oxford, and died in 1881.


After leaving Cambridge Rolleston spent some time in private tuition, and in 1858 sailed for New Zealand in the Regina, arriving at Lyttelton on November 15th. He had made up his mind to go on the land, and without delay took up a run at Mount Algidus, in the forks of the Rakaia, close to Lake Coleridge. Despite his classical education, Rolleston threw himself heart and soul into the arduous and anxious work of landowning in those days. He took a great interest in farming, and did everything possible to improve his property, particularly in the treatment of the soil and the planting of trees. His was soon one of the best-planted stations in Canterbury. The fact that many of the surrounding natural features were explored by Rolleston accounts for the prevalence of classical names in the neighbourhood. It is even said facetiously that he was able to employ the language of the Greeks and the invective of Homer in place of the more homely and forceful words generally used in the driving of bullock teams. Later he took up the property on the sea coast near the mouth of the Rangitata River, where he lived during most of his public life in Canterbury.

Rolleston naturally found himself taking an interest, in the public affairs of the province almost as soon as he came here.  In those days the Provincial Council was much exercised over the best system of education to adopt, and in 1863 Rolleston was appointed a member of a Select Commission to suggest a scheme. His colleagues were Tancred, Dr. Lillie, and Saunders. They visited all the existing schools in the province and brought down a report which recommended placing the whole of the schools under the control of a Board of Education. Rolleston thus early had strong convictions on the subject of education. In 1875, when he held the more responsible position of superintendent and had a Colonial position as well, he said: "Our best policy would be to make education free in all Government schools; and such a result is, as I think, but the corollary upon the adoption of any responsibility by the State in the matter of education." Two years later, when the Colonial system was under discussion, he declared himself convinced that the education provided by the State should also be secular.

 At the end of 1863 when Bealey was superintendent, Rolleston was persuaded to let himself be elected member for Heathcote in the Provincial Council, and to assume the office of provincial secretary, which he held until June, 1865. In that year a great change came over the province. Before that gold, had been discovered at various points on the western side of the range, but it was not until March, 1865 that a great rush of miners set in to Westland from other provinces of New Zealand and from the ports of Australia. Though Canterbury was a quiet pastoral province, it was essential that she should take cognisance of such a portentous happening within her borders and see that her people on both sides of the range reaped the fruits of the new prosperity. As provincial secretary, Rolleston promptly proceeded across the range with Rochfort and other officers to set up the machinery of government there. Whatever may be said of the treatment accorded to Westland by Canterbury in later days, there can be no question that Rolleston and Hall, as representing the Canterbury Government, and Dobson, Rochfort and the other officials who went with them, did everything they possibly could to meet the sudden emergency. Rolleston's part was so well done that when Bealey retired from the superintendency in the middle of 1866 he was requested, but declined, to stand for the Chief Magistracy. He had, in fact, become deeply engrossed in the duties of Under-Secretary for Native Affairs, which he accepted in June, 1865, at the invitation of his old friend Weld and carried out with zeal and efficiency for three years. In this post he demonstrated not merely his interest in education and sympathy with the Maori people, but his capacity for administration. His term of office had a most beneficial effect upon the Native village school system. He resigned in May, 1868, to devote his attention to provincial affairs once more.

The Superintendency again becoming vacant in 1868, Rolleston's supporters, more than ever convinced that his natural caution and steadiness would be a useful antidote to the undue progressiveness in expenditure which they feared from Moorhouse, persuaded him to stand. He was proposed by Montgomery and E. C. J. Stevens, duly elected, and took office as a strong provincialist, but filled with uneasiness as to the inefficiency of the provincial system as it then existed. He frankly wanted it simplified, but that did not cause him to look with any favour on the proposal which was before the country at the moment for the severance of the whole of the province south of the Rangitata and its erection, for all Practical purposes, into a separate province. He was quite willing to give the southern district the who of its revenue for local works, but unity of government" (he declared) "is essential to our future greatness as a nation." He took a very strong stand also upon the administration of the railways, which he contended must be independent of the changing politics of the day.

On the constitutional question Rolleston strove hard for a solution of the friction that existed between Council, Superintendent, and executive. In common with such shrewd provincialists as Ormond and McLean, he believed that the Superintendent should have a seat in the Council so that he might be in close touch with it instead of communicating by means of messages and addresses. He actually went so far as to be nominated for a seat in the Council, but at the last moment withdrew. He then sought a solution in another direction by offering to regard the whole Council as his executive and to carry on the administration himself with the assistance of a clerk or two. From the outset of his Superintendency he saw clearly the spectre of abolition in the future and urged his Council to take steps betimes to simplify and improve a system which had enabled Canterbury to do so much for herself rather than allow its imperfections to be used as an argument for abolition. During his Superintendency Rolleston strongly promoted immigration, shrewdly arguing that the best precaution against slumps in the future was to increase the population, and so enlarge the market for the farmers and operatives of the province. Hence, though he strongly opposed the Vogel policy of borrowing, he entered heart and soul into the immigration aspect of it and was proud of the fact that whereas in 1870 the population of Canterbury was only 45,000 it had increased by 1874 to 59,000.

Rolleston had to fight for his seat in April, 1870 (when Moorhouse came out unexpectedly as a candidate for the Superintendency, and was defeated by 1800 votes to 897). At the end of that term he was re-elected unopposed, and saw the provincial system to its close. He strongly prosecuted public works throughout the province, especially the harbour works at Lyttelton and Timaru and the railways, which, however, were taken over by the General Government before the abolition. In February, 1876, he presided at the opening of the railway from Christchurch to Timaru and a few days later at the opening of the Amberley line. To meet the discontent of the out districts Rolleston agreed to the setting up of the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works, which for several years before the abolition, had the spending of the whole of the revenues raised in its district. He took a leading interest in the establishment of the museum at Christchurch, which, as Superintendent, he opened. The words cut into the stone over the entrance door were placed there by him at a later date. A provincial exhibition was held in the drill shed during his Superintendency.

The question of education was never at rest for long. In 1870, and again in 1874, bills were passed by the Provincial Council dealing with the Canterbury system, which was one of the most successful in the colony. Rolleston strongly opposed the suggestion that the administration of education should be entrusted to the executive of the day. He felt strongly that salaries of teachers and administration should be entirely removed from the vicissitudes of party politics, and when an ordinance was presented to him in 1875, which proposed to hand over the administration to the executive, he refused to sign it.

In the Parliamentary struggles on the abolition, Rolleston staunchly defended the provinces, and was able to adduce good evidence from the case of Canterbury that they had justified themselves; but it was impossible to put back the clock. When at length the provinces were extinguished in 1876 he received a valuable service of plate, as a mark of the esteem of the people of Canterbury.

A few weeks after his election to the Superintendency in 1868 Rolleston was also elected unopposed to succeed Reeves as member for Avon in the General Assembly. He went to Wellington as a member well equipped by his official experience in native matters and by his long interest in education. No sooner had he entered the House than he launched a well-informed attack upon the native policy of the Stafford Government, which he declared could never produce peace on the West Coast of the North Island. Next year he moved for the appointment of a commission to visit every native district and ascertain the position of the Natives.

During the next few years Rolleston's position in the House constantly improved; he was plainly marked out for office as soon as the party which he supported gained the ascendancy. The great popularity of Grey staved this off for a while. Many supporters of Rolleston, who had come out in 1873 as a champion against the "gridironers" in Canterbury, could not understand how he could be opposed to Grey in 1877. Still Rolleston was “our William," and he received a hearing, if not an enthusiastic one, even at a meeting in Christchurch, which expressed its "unbounded confidence" in Grey. When at length Grey's Government came to an end in October, 1879, and Hall took office, Rolleston was entrusted most appropriately with the Departments of Lands, Immigration, and Education, for each of which he had acquired special qualifications in his own province. Later he took also Justice and Mines, and for a few months in 1881 during the retirement of Bryce from the Ministry, he administered his old love - Native Affairs. Always cautious, and leaning towards clemency to the Maori, he would have been the last man to put into effect the Parihaka policy which was eventually adopted by the Government and carried through by Bryce. But though he had to bear the odium which it excited in a South Island constituency, he was returned unopposed for Avon at the general election of 1881.

This question out of the road, Rolleston had a chance in the next year or two of putting into effect some of his liberal ideas in land legislation. He believed in deferred payments, but he feared to establish a tenantry either of the moneylenders or of the Crown. Preferring the latter as the less evil, he introduced the perpetual lease into his Land Bill of 1882. Continuing to hold the portfolios of Lands, Mines, and Immigration in the Whitaker and Atkinson Governments, he got the perpetual lease extended in 1884. At the General Election in that year he defeated A. Cox for Geraldine, but on the retirement of the Atkinson Government a few weeks later he went into the ranks of the private members. At the election of 1887 he was defeated for the Rangitata seat by S. Buxton. In 1890 he fought the Halswell seat against F. S. Parker, and won and during this Parliament he was Leader of the Opposition. In 1893 he again sustained defeat in the Ellesmere electorate, his opponent being a son of his old friend Montgomery. At the next General Election, in 1896 he defeated G. W. Russell for Riccarton by 1834 to 1443. In 1899 the tables were turned. Russell winning by a single vote (1867 to 1866).

Rolleston then retired definitely from politics. Of his activities outside of Parliament, much might be said. Education always had him as its servant. For many years he acted on the Canterbury Education Board. For a few years (1873-75) he was a member of the Board of Governors of Canterbury College. From the foundation of the New Zealand University in 1871 until his death he was a member of the Senate. He was also of the governing body of Christ's College from its early years until his death. The foundation of the Deaf and Dumb Institution at Sumner in 1880 was due entirely to the interest which he took in the matter as Minister for Education. Many Canterbury educational buildings came into existence during his administration as Superintendent and as Minister, and he took active steps to endow them from the landed estate of the province.

After the election of 1899 Rolleston lived quietly at his home at Rangitata, where he died on February 8th, 1903. He was married in 1865 to Elizabeth Mary, daughter of Joseph Brittan, one of the most prominent of the Canterbury Pilgrims, and was survived by his wife and a family of five sons and four daughters. Two of his sons, Francis Joseph and John Christopher, became members of the House of Representatives in 1922, and the former was Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Defence in the Coates Ministry.

Gisborne says of Rolleston: "There is nothing volatile, in the ordinary sense about Rolleston; on the contrary a vein of doggedness runs through his nature. When he wavers it is from excess of conscientious doubt as to what is right, but he is firm enough in trying to do it when convinced, and that quality has made him from time to time amenable to the logic of facts. As Minister for Lands, he has been liberal, prudent, and far-sighted, and has done much to discourage mere speculation and to promote real settlement. He is a very good administrator. He dislikes red tape and procrastination, and has a horror of the system of how not to do a thing which he thinks should be done. He has a great aptitude for official business, and in its transaction he is clear, methodical, and industrious. He is intelligent, well-educated, energetic, earnest, and animated by the highest motives. What he lacks is decision of character and definiteness of purpose. He is too sensitive and emotional. His feelings are too highly charged, and move him to and fro by jerks and starts. He is so anxious to do what is right that he is more afraid of doing what is wrong; and he wavers between opposite poles. These dual forces make his political motives somewhat unsteady, and, in a party view, irregular."

Saunders says: "He was the most profound thinker, the most highly educated, the best read, and the most experienced, and well-informed Minister upon practical political questions. His fastidious determination to say exactly the right thing in exactly the right words made him usually hesitate over the selection until the main effect of his speech was spoiled; so that it was only on the few occasions on which he was sufficiently excited to risk some inaccuracy that he spoke really well. As a writer or conversationalist he was effective, interesting, and very original."

Sir Robert Stout once said of Rolleston: "I do not know anyone who gave a better example of what classical culture could do in humanising mankind. It was an education in itself to discuss with him some literary, historical, or political subject.
Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 19872, 8 March 1930 





William Rolleston. Making New Zealand: Negatives and prints from the Making New Zealand Centennial collection. Ref: MNZ-0437-1/4-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22865076


issue:
1866/14342    Rolleston     Rosamond Mary     Elizabeth Mary    William
1867/17699    Rolleston     Arthur Cecil     Elizabeth Mary    William
1869/29462    Rolleston     Lancelot William     Elizabeth Mary    William   
1871/30800    Rolleston     NR     Elizabeth Mary    William
1873/25510    Rolleston     Francis Joseph     Elizabeth Mary    William
1874/229    Rolleston     Dorothy Josephine     Elizabeth Mary    William
1878/1944    Rolleston     John Christopher     Elizabeth Mary    William
1881/6754    Rolleston     Margaret Florence     Elizabeth Mary    William
1889/9793    Rolleston     Helen Mary     Elizabeth Mary    William

Monday, December 4, 2017



 
XIX. 
Crosbie Ward, 1832-1867.

Crosbie Ward, who was one of the most brilliant figures in the early life of Canterbury and even in the colonial firmament of New Zealand, was the third son of the Hon. and Rev. Henry Ward, rector of Killinchy, County Down, Ireland, where he was born on February 10th, 1832.

Young Ward was educated in the first instance at the College School, at Castletown, Isle of Man, and then at Trinity College, Dublin, and he represents therefore in Canterbury one of the very few who were not merely Irishmen by birth but had imbibed at the Universities of Ireland that scintillating brilliance which characterises their scholars. When Crosbie was only eighteen years of age three of his brothers were swept away in the stream of emigration to Now Zealand. Edward Robert, Henry, and John Hamilton joined the Canterbury Association in London in 1850, and the first named was secretary of the Society of Canterbury Colonists They sailed with FitzGerald in the Charlotte Jane for New Zealand, and duly arrived in Lyttelton in December, 1865, full of enthusiasm. One of them at least, Edward Robert, was plainly designated for leadership, and Grey appointed him to the Commission of the Peace within two months of his landing in Canterbury.

When their turn came round to select their land the Ward brothers decided to take Quail Island, in Lyttelton harbour; and they were soon settled down there in a house of their own making, and equipped with a yawl of their own construction, the Lass of Erin, with which to keep in communication with Lyttelton and the mainland at Governor's Bay. In June, 1851, a calamity visited the little settlement. While returning from Governor's Bay in their yawl with a load of wood, the two brothers. Edward Robert and Henry, were drowned. When the news was conveyed back to Ireland by Charles Bowen (father of Sir Charles), it was decided that Crosbie should come out to wind up the affairs of his brothers. He accordingly took passage in the Stag, and on May 17th, 1852, landed in Lyttelton.

Crosbie spent the next three, years farming on Quail Island with his brother John Hamilton, and gradually became so interested in the affairs of the province that he could not refrain from taking part in them. The first provincial elections, in 1853, he allowed to pass, but when a vacancy occurred for Akaroa, in 1855, he was on the lists, and was duly elected (with Moorhouse as colleague). At the end of the same year he stood for Parliament in the Country Districts constituency, but was defeated. This rebuff he easily survived, for he was still a young man of only 23. In July, 1856, Ward joined the staff of the "Lyttelton Times," where he showed great energy in the management, and did much to tide it over its early financial difficulties.

Ward had the misfortune to lose his seat in the Provincial Council at the General Elections of 1857. Owing to a misunderstanding, he withdrew from the Akaroa contest, and stood for Lyttelton. His decision, however, was too late, for most of the votes had already been cast, and he was fifth on the poll amongst sis candidates. But fortune was turning towards him. Provincial politics were every month becoming more heated. In 1858 the great controversy of the land regulations came to a head, and Ward wrote for his paper the versos now celebrated as "The Song of the Squatters," narrating the descent of the squatting interest upon the Provincial Council, and the steps taken by them to secure the amendments they required. Ward had remained out of the Council at the dissolution in 1857, but he now wished to get back. His time was soon to come. In May, 1858, he was elected, without opposition, to represent Lyttelton in Parliament, and a few months later, the same constituency returned him also to the Provincial Council, thereby endorsing Moorhouse's tunnel project, of which Ward was a string supporter. He was re-elected in 1860.

Ward's progress to the front rank in provincial and colonial politics was immediate. Gisborne says: "He was a young man of great public promise. Had his life and health been spared he would assuredly have attained the highest political position in the colony; his qualities were admirably fitted for the purpose. He was intelligent, well educated, energetic, and persevering. He had a rare combination of perceptive and reflective faculties, and a remarkable power of attracting support and of conciliating opposition. His style of speaking was pleasant and forcible. He took at once in the House of Representatives a leading position. His mind instinctively grasped a great question, and in dealing with one that came before him showed great ability and good judgment.” Alfred Cox, in his interesting “Recollections.” says:-In his grasp of finance there were few men in our colonial parliament who came near him. He spoke on all questions, political as well as financial, with a fluency and force that has seldom been surpassed in the Parliament of New Zealand … Men who knew him thoroughly, and who still have a vivid recollection of his varied gifts speak enthusiastically of his many accomplishments and very tenderly of those other gifts that brighten the life of the possessor and account for the attachment of friends.”

His brilliant gifts and facile tongue, a rich Irish endowment, marked him out for rapid distinction: and no young man could more rapidly have moved to the van. At 26 he entered Parliament. At 29 he joined the Fox Government as Postmaster-General, and Secretary for Lands (in August, 1861). Fox took him in really to represent the interests of the South Island then side. He was uniquely conciliatory, the north, from which they felt north alone stood to gain. Ward tried on his own responsibility to get the stamp duties restricted to the North Island, but only rallied 15 members to his support. If he had any political weakness it was his capacity for seeing the point of view of the other. Indeed Fox picked him out for this very reason to visit Hawke's Bay in January 1862 to compose a dispute between the settlers and the natives, and the tact by which he achieved success fully justified the experiment. It was on this trip that he developed the first symptoms of the disease from which he died a few years later.

Ward was one of the foremost advocates of a fast and regular mail service between Australia, New Zealand and the Old Country, and his position as Postmaster-General enabled him to promote the scheme. When Domett succeeded Fox as Premier he kept Ward on as Postmaster-General, and early in 1863 sent him to England to endeavour to make the necessary arrangements. New South Wales having declined to participate in the service, Ward took a bold line and succeeded in making the contracts for very restive under the constant demands for maintaining the wars on a service by way of Panama. While in England also he entered into important negotiations with the British Government on the evergreen controversy regarding the cost of the Imperial troops in the colony. His letter to Lord Lyttelton on the subject attracted much attention. Returning to New Zealand early in 1864, with his mission successfully concluded, Ward found his Government out of office and a Fox-Whitaker combination in its place. For some time there was a danger that the contracts would not be approved, but eventually Parliament endorsed them. Ward wished as soon as the trans-Continental railway in the United States was completed to make San Francisco the port of call, but he did not live to see that adopted.

When Weld, in 1864, offered him a seat in his Ministry, Ward felt that his views had diverged too far from those of Weld as regards the relations of the two Islands, and he remained a private member. At the elections of 1866 he was elected for Avon. He was also at that time much involved in the superintendency contest in Canterbury between Moorhouse and Lance. The fight almost resolved itself into a duel between Ward and FitzGerald, fought in the columns of the two Christchurch papers. FitzGerald was a brilliant writer and a dogmatic political mentor. Ward, on the other hand, delighted to dazzle and annoy his opponents by his occasional contributions, political squibs and crackers. His comments on that contest remain a feature of the distinguished Canterbury journalism of that time. He is also said to have had a good deal to do with the witty sketches which graced the pages of "Canterbury Punch."

Early in 1867, Ward accepted the post of agent in London for the province of Canterbury, for which he had already done good service as immigration agent. Before leaving he accompanied Hall to attend the postal conference in Melbourne, where his unrivalled knowledge of the subject and his views on ocean mail services were of great value to his chief. Returning to New Zealand he had a great send-off in Christchurch in April, and sailed for England via Panama, his favourite route. Once in London he was immediately immersed in work. Contrary to the highest expectations he succeeded in selling £160,000 of debentures on behalf of the province. He set no limits to his efforts, and Mr Selfe wrote in October that he feared Ward would never leave his room alive. The warning was fulfilled. The day before his death he saw Mr Larkworthy, manager of the Bank of New Zealand. He died on December 25th, 1867, at the early ago of 35. Mrs Ward, who was a daughter of James Townsend, of Rangiora, afterwards married George J. Cooke, of London.
Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 19954, 14 June 1930







Mundy, Daniel Louis, 1826?-1881. Mundy (Christchurch) fl 1858-1875 :Portrait of Crosbie Ward 1832-1867. Haast family :Photographs. Ref: PA2-1172. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23025763


Freeman Brothers (Firm). Freeman Brothers (Sydney) fl 1860-1867 (Photographers) :Portrait of Crosbie Ward 1832-1867. Ref: PA2-0741. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22666667


Third son of the Hon. and Rev. Henry Ward, rector of Kilhirchy, county Down, Ireland, by his marriage with Anne, daughter of Rev. Henry Mahon, and grandson of Hon. Edward Ward and Lady Arabella (Crosbie) his wife, daughter of the first Earl of Glandore. His father's eldest brother became the third Viscount Bangor, and Mr. Crosbie Ward was first cousin to the late Sir E. W. Ward, K.C.M.G.

Timaru Herald, Volume IX, Issue 346, 19 September 1868



Edward Cephas John Stevens




XXIX.

Edward Cephas John Stevens, 1837-1915.




Edward Cephas John Stevens was born in October, l837, the youngest son of the Rev. W. E Stevens rector of Salford, Oxfordshire. Educated at Marlborough College, he naturally became a cricketer. Proceeding thence to the Royal Agricultural College at Cirencester he got a thorough grounding in the stable industry of the country to which he was soon to come.

Stevens was only 21 when he sailed for New Zealand in June, 1858, on the maiden voyage of the emigrant ship Zealandia, 1032 tons. She arrived at Lyttelton on September 20th. After spending a short period on the Peninsula, Stevens came to Christchurch and established himself as a land agent, and the agent in New Zealand of a number of absent owners of land. Before long he joined R. J. S. Harman as Harman and Stevens. In December, 1863, Stevens entered provincial politics, without entering the council, by accepting office as a member of the Tancred Executive under the Superintendency of Bealey. He served throughout Bealey’s term, with a short gap. In March 1866, he was elected unopposed to the Provincial Council as member for Rakaia but when Bealey retired two months later Stevens severed his connexion with provincial politics altogether. Meanwhile, in February, 1866, he had been returned without opposition as member of Parliament for Selwyn. A supporter of the Weld Party, he came into Parliament it a moment when the separation of the two islands was a leading question, and with his shrewd financial sense he took a strong stand against it as tending to weaken the credit of the colony. He went further and demanded the abolition of the provinces, the consolidation of provincial loans and the erection, throughout the colony of true organs of local government in the form of county councils. In July, 1869, he brought forward a motion with that object, but after debate an amendment proposed by Ormond was carried by 33 votes to 22, declaring that the time was inopportune to consider far-reaching constitutional changes. In that year Stevens married the widow of H. Whitcombe, C.E. who had lost his life in 1864 while exploring on the West Coast.

Stevens had very strong views on the tariff question, which for a few years was in the forefront of colonial politics. At the general election at the end of 1870 he stood as a free trader opposing the grain duty. His opponent, Reeves, won the seat by a single vote. At the next general election, at the end of 1875, Stevens was elected at the head of the poll for Christchurch city, with Richardson and Moorhouse his colleagues. His opinions were distinctly democratic for the time. He supported the triennial parliament; he objected to the separation of the two islands; and after his re-election in 1879 he returned to his old interest - the tariff question - and moved for the setting up of a committee to consider the best means of relieving the manufacturers of the colony, and reducing the duties. His motion was carried with some amendment. Stevens took a great interest in hospitals and charitable aid, and supported the Hall Government’s Bill in 1880. Some years later he introduced a Bill, foreshadowing the ward Bill of 1906, with a view to endowing hospitals and charitable aid with reserves of 1,000,000 acres of land. It passed the House of Representatives, but was defeated in the Council by 30 votes to 6.

In 1882 Stevens was called to the Legislative Council, in which he sat until his death. Though a life member himself, he supported the Bill in 1885 by which it was proposed to limit the number of members of the Council and the duration of their office. He favoured votes for women and for the guardianship of infants. In 1887 he became a member without portfolio in of the Atkinson Ministry in which he served until 1891. He took a lively interest in the affairs of the Native race, especially in the South Island, and had an accurate knowledge of their land claims. In 1889 he was chairman of the Joint Committee on Native Affairs. As a member of the ministry he moved to improve the method of dealing with neglected children. In 1891 he proposed a new clause in a Bill to allow holders of perpetual leases to acquire the freehold, but the Lower House would not accept the amendment. He always opposed the compulsory acquisition of lands for settlement, but withdrew his opposition when the Liberal victory at the polls in 1893 indicated the feeling of the country. Finally, but not least important, it was at the instance of Stevens that Vogel established the Public Trust office, and there is a tablet to that effect in the head office of the Public Trust.

Stevens was a man of great culture, and delighted in the best of English and French literature. His interest in art was lifelong. In 1863 he was member of the committee for the establishment of the Art Society, and for many years up to the day of his death, he was its president. He was on the Board of Governors of Canterbury College from 1875 to 1893 (when he resigned). In 1894 he was re-elected, and after the new Act came into force in 1897 he was appointed a member, and acted until he retired in 1899. When Lincoln College was placed under an independent Board in 1897 Stevens was elected a member and he was chairman for some years until his death. In his later years he was a director of the Christchurch Press Company, and he succeeded Mr Geo. G. Stead as chairman. A keen horticulturist, Stevens was for many years chairman of the Horticultural Society, and he maintained a beautiful garden at his home, “Englefield.” He was interested also in acclimatisation and helped to form the society, of which Weld was president.

In the business world Stevens helped to found the Permanent Loan and Investment Association, of which he was manager and afterwards a director. He also took part in forming the Christchurch Gas Company, of which he was provisional secretary and afterwards secretary, till 1866.

No account of Stevens would be complete without mention of the great part which he took in fostering the game of cricket in Canterbury. In 1863, with J. H. Bennett, he was instrumental in arranging for the visit of the All England team, for which object they raised £500 in one day. Both of them played in the match at Hagley Park on February 9th, 1864, when the English eleven defeated a Canterbury twenty-two by an innings and two runs. Sale and A.F. N. Blakiston also played. Stevens helped to inaugurate the Otago-Canterbury matches, and played in them off and on until the end of the seventies. He again played against England in 1878, when he made top score for Canterbury. He played in the North Island with the Wanderers, and last wielded the bat for Canterbury against Wellington and Auckland, in 1883. He was for many years president of the Canterbury Cricket Association and chairman of the management committee for visiting tours. He was one of the promoters of Lancaster Park and an early director, and was for some years president of the New Zealand Athletic Association.

Stevens died on June 6th, 1915.

Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 20014, 23 August 1930


Head and shoulders portrait of Edward Cephas John Stevens by Charles Henry Manning. Ref: 35mm-00134-A-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22381828





Sunday, December 3, 2017

Thomas Cass


XIII.

Thomas Cass, 1817-1895. 
 
Canterbury has always been able to respect the memory of those who pioneered the way for the young colony, and has not been disposed to make any distinction against those who came in advance of the Pilgrims, although their choice may not have been directed towards Canterbury as their future home.
Thomas Cass is one of these. Born in Yorkshire in 1817, he received his education at Christ's Hospital (the old Bluecoat School), where he was for four years on the Royal Mathematical Foundation. On leaving school he went to sea by choice, and for the next three years (whether as apprentice or before the mast we do not know) he sailed the seas, chiefly in the East India trade. On finally returning home he followed a course of instruction in architecture and surveying and was employed as an assistant in the Tithe Commission Office at Somerset House. This involved a great deal of surveying and land valuing, and Cass received a through grounding in outside work as well as the office duties of the Commission. There he remained until early in 1841, when, on the recommendation of Captain Dawson, R.E., he was appointed a member of the new staff for New Zealand under the authority of the Colonial Office. His salary as assistant surveyor was £200 a year.

Charles W. Ligar, the Surveyor-General, embarked with his staff in April, 1841, in the Prince Rupert, a ship owned and commanded by Sir Henry Esch Atkinson. Amongst the passengers were William Spain, the chief Land Claims Commissioner for New Zealand; his septuagenarian mother-in-law, Lady White; Ligar's wife, and his brother-in-law (Mr Flood or Proud). Contrary winds spun out the passage, provisions ran short, sickness invaded the ship, and finally Atkinson decided to put into Bahia, in Brazil, for supplies. His own health being poor, he left the vessel there and returned to England. His son remained in her as second officer, and the first officer, Ramage, took command. On September 4, when about to enter Table Bay, the Prince Rupert struck a rock and became a total wreck. With some difficulty the passengers were all saved, but the following morning a boat approaching the wreck was swamped, and seven persons, including the chief officer of another ship, and Ligar's brother-in-law, were drowned. Cass and the other surveyors lost much of their outfit. They were brought on by the Antilla and reached Auckland in December, nine months after leaving England.

For some months after arriving in the colony Cass was employed on surveys under the authority of the Land Claims Commission, first on the North Shore of Waitemata harbour and then in the vicinity of Bay of Islands. He assisted in surveying the town of Kororarika, and then in exploring the country to the northward and cutting lines for the proposed roads to Hokianga, Whangaroa, and Mangonui. After this was completed he came back and was engaged in and about Bay of Islands until the end of 1844. Then a sudden reduction of the survey staff threw him out of employment. Falling back upon his early experience at sea, Cass signed on to the Government brig Victoria, first as second officer and then as chief. In this capacity he saw much rough work, and not a little fighting, first in connexion with the sack of Kororarika in 1845, and later in the operations about Cook Strait against Te Rauparaha and Rangihaeata. While on the coast of the South Island in 1846 Cass was called upon to take custody of two bad characters who had stuck up the Greenwoods' station at Purau and threatened the Deans family at Riccarton. One of the gang had been killed and the others were captured and taken by Cass to Auckland for punishment.

Next year, 1847, Cass left the employ of the Government and returned to England. There he represented to the New Zealand Company the loss be had sustained by the termination of his employment on the staff, and as a result of these negotiations he was appointed assistant surveyor under Captain Thomas on the new staff about to be sent out to prepare for the Canterbury settlement. Taking his passage in the Bernicia, he reached Canterbury in December, 1848. The other members of the party were E. Jollie, C. O. Torlesse, Gollan, S. Hewlings, and John Boys. During the next year Cass took a large part in the survey of the harbour of Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula, and then pursued the triangulation of what afterwards became known as the Canterbury block. His name was given to various natural features - a river flowing out of the Alps, a peak in Banks Peninsula and one of the bays in Port Cooper. Shortly after the arrival of the Canterbury pilgrims at the end of 1850 Captain Thomas retired and Cass was appointed to succeed him as chief surveyor. In that capacity he was present at the first allotment of town and country lands to the land purchasers. He lived then at Riccarton Bush. Until failing health compelled him to retire on pension in 1867, Cass continued to administer with efficiency and vigour the position of chief surveyor. As soon as settlement promised to cross the Rakaia southward, he proceeded in advance of it and did what was necessary to prepare for the coming pioneers. In 1854 he went to the site of Timaru and in consultation with W. Guise Brittan reported on the steps that should be taken there.

Though holding an important official position Cass was not debarred from membership of the Provincial Council, and he was one of the first members elected for the City of Christchurch in September, 1853. Standing for cheap land and improved communications, he was at the head of the poll with 77 votes; S. Bealey 74, Packer 71, Fooks 51, Dobson 21. During the second session he occasionally acted as chairman of the Council in committee. He retired from the Council in 1855, but was again elected in 1857 by one vote from Hart, and continued a member until July, 1860. During this term he was repeatedly a member of the provincial executive - under Packer, Tancred, Ollivier, and Blakiston - while on two occasions he led an executive of his own. In 1858 he was on a commission appointed by Moorhouse (Bray and Harman being his colleagues) to report upon the best route for the railway to the port. In 1853, in consultation with Sewell and the Rev. R. B. Paul, he was instrumental in fixing the site for Christ's College.

For ten years Cass was a Commissioner of the Waste Land Board, and in 1858 he was appointed a Commissioner of native reserves in the province. Even after retiring from the Council he was called upon again and again to do duty in the executive, under the presidency of Wilkin (1868), Tancred, Stewart, and Jollie. Again for a few weeks in 1863 he led an executive of his own. In 1863 he was chairman of the Railway and Bridge Commission. Indeed, few men bore a heavier load than he did through all those early years of the province. Cox remarks that he was "the lightest-hearted and youngest man that ever went through thirty years of the toughest work." However, he did in 1867 feel that he had overtaxed his strength, and he retired on pension and paid a visit to Great Britain. There again his services were requisitioned. Owing to the death of Crosbie Ward he was asked to take up the duties of emigration officer, which he carried out until the work was abandoned in 1868. He then returned to Canterbury and served a further period of three years as a member of the Waste Lands Board. He was also for many years a church warden at St. Michael's.

Cass's health was never robust after his first breakdown, and for many years before his death he was practically an invalid. His wife, whom he married in 1856 was the widow of David Theodore Williams, manager of the Deans estate. She died in 1886, and Cass then went to live with his stepson, C. Hood Williams. He died on April 17th, 1895, leaving no family.




Lyttelton Times, Volume IV, Issue 198, 23 September 1854





London Photo Copying Company (London) fl 1870s:
Portrait of Thomas Cass 1817-1895. 
Ref: PA2-1019. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22913684

  Edmund Wheeler and Son (Firm). Edmund Wheeler & Son (Christchurch) fl 1872-1914 :Portrait of Thomas Cass 1882. Ref: PA2-1898. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23223130



























SIR JOSHUA STRANGE WILLIAMS


MAKERS OF CANTERBURY.
PIONEERS OF THE PROVINCE.
 (Specially written for the Press)
[By Annalist.]
(All Rights Reserved.)
 XXXII.
SIR JOSHUA STRANGE WILLIAMS, 1837-1915. 

A Canterbury pioneer who was destined to make his name famous far beyond the confines of the Province was Joshua Strange Williams.
 

Born in London on September 19th, 1837, he was the son of Joshua Williams, Q. C., author of a well-known book on real and personal property. He was educated at Harrow during the headmastership of Dr. Vaughan, and had as tutor, B. F. Westmacott, afterwards Bishop of Durham. Williams then went on to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he got a good sound classical education. In 1858 he was second in the first class of the law tripos; in the following year lie was junior optime in the mathematical tripos, and he was awarded the gold medal of the Chancellor (the Prince Consort) for legal studies. Having taken his B.A., he left Cambridge in 1859. He read his law in the chambers of his father and of Hobhouse (afterwards Lord Hobhouse), and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in November, 1859. He afterwards graduated M.A. and M.L.

His health being poor, Williams was advised, shortly after being called, to go on a long sea voyage, and accordingly in July, 1861, he sailed from London in the emigrant ship Derwentwater, 522 tons. After a tempestuous and eventful voyage, the vessel arrived off Otago Heads to learn that gold had been discovered, and that everyone in the Province was off to the diggings in search of a fortune. Fearing that he would lose his crew, the captain declined to enter the port, but landed his emigrants in the ships' boats and proceeded to Banks Peninsula.

On landing in Canterbury, Williams was admitted to the Bar by Mr Justice Gresson without delay, and in March, 1862, he entered into partnership with Thomas S. Duncan, who, at the time, was Provincial Solicitor and Crown Prosecutor. In October, though a colonist of less than twelve months' standing, he was elected to the Provincial Council for the Heathcote district, A few months later Moorhouse resigned the Superjntendency. Samuel Bealey was elected to succeed him in March, 1863, and there was a change of Government. Wilkin remained leader of the Executive, but Duncan resigned the Provincial Solicitorship, and Williams was appointed to that important post. He remained in the Executive to the end of the year under Wilkin and Cass, and in December witnessed the opening of the first railway in the Province, or even New Zealand, In January, 1864, with the intention of visiting England, Williams resigned from the Provincial Government, and dissolved his partnership with Duncan and it was this vacancy for Heathcote that gave another great Canterbury pioneer (Rolleston) the opportunity of entering public life.

After his return to the colony, towards the end of 1864, Williams started practice on his own account, and continued so until he accepted office under the General Government twelve years later. In 1865 he married Caroline Helen, daughter of Thomas Sanctuary, of Horsham. Sussex, Early in 1866 Moorhouse was re-elected Superintendent, and in May of that year Williams re-entered the Provincial Council as member for Heathcote, A few months later he became Provincial Solicitor in the JoJlie Executive, which, however, lasted for only a few weeks, When Stewart came into office in March, 1867, he called Williams in as a colleague, and this association lasted until March, 1868. Williams retired from the Council at the dissolution of 1870. He was a most useful and sagacious adviser, well versed in the forms of the Council, and qualified to advise on knotty points of law. He spoke seldom and briefly, but exercised a great influence on the deliberations of the Council. Later in 1870 he was appointed District Land Registrar for Canterbury, to which was added, in 1872 the post of Registrar General of Lands. It was while thus employed that Williams wrote his handbook on the Land Transfer Act. In 1873, on the foundation of Canterbury College, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Governors, which position he held until March, 1875, when he was appointed to the Bench.

Shortly after this appointment, Williams was posted to the Otago judicial district to replace Mr Justice Chapman, and there he worked for the next 39 years with great distinction, lending lustre to the Bench, and gaining much credit for his sound law, He presided at many of the most famous criminal trials in the annals of New Zealand law, and incidentally at the investigation of the Colonial Bank's affairs. He was never an orator or a fluent speaker, but he said what he intended to say in simple English, easily understood, He had a fund of wit and humour, was well versed in French and Italian literature, and made some good translations from Dante. In 1895, when the Arbitration Court was established, Williams was chosen as its first President in the belief, which was well fulfilled, that he would establish its proceedings and found its traditions on a basis of sound law. He vacated the post in 1898 to return to the Supreme Court. In 1911, Williams was created a Knight Bachelor, and two years later he was appointed to represent New Zealand on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He left for London.to assume that position in February, 1914, and in the short time that still remained to him his sound judgment gained recognition in the highest Court of the Empire

While in Dunedin Williams took his place in society as one of its leading citizens. In 1877 he was appointed a member of the Council of Otago University. Two years later he became Vice Chancellor, and in 1894 he succeeded the Rev. Dr Stuart as Chancellor, a position which he held until his resignation in 1909. In many societies of a social and philanthropic nature he took an active interest. He was, for example, president for many years of the Shipwreck Belief Society, the Patients' and Prisoners' Aid Society and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. In the Dunedin Philharmonic Society he held the highest position.
Williams's first wife having died while he lived in Christchurch, he married again in 1877, Amelia Durant, daughter of John Wesley Jago, of Dunedin. She and a family of one son and five daughters survived when he died in London, on December 23rd, 1915.
Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 20032, 13 September 1930


 Otago Witness, Issue 3224, 29 December 1915, Supplement


Thursday, November 30, 2017


MAKERS OF CANTERBURY.
PIONEERS OF THE PROVINCE.
SPECIALLY WRITTEN FOB THE PRESS.)
[By Annalist.]
IV.
EDWARD DOBSON, 1816-1908. 

The settlers of Canterbury certainly found no Native trouble to contend with, but in the long distances of the plains, the many rivers, torrential in their freshes, and the steep hills separating the plains from the natural port of the settlement, they had need of bold and skilful engineers to advise them. This need was accentuated in the 'sixties, when the portion of the province across the high Alps suddenly became of the greatest importance through the discovery of gold and the inrush of population from all the colonies.

The man upon whom the young province chiefly relied for the solution of its engineering problems was Edward Dobson. Born in London in 1816, Dobson was the son of a Mediterranean merchant. He was educated in London and articled to a well-known architect and surveyor named Herring, from whom he learned the practical side of his profession as a civil engineer. He studied also at University College, London, under Professor Vignoles, and he spent several months in a tour of Belgium and other continental countries studying architecture. In the year 1842-43 he won his first certificate in architecture as a fine art, and in architecture as a science. For two years in succession his drawings were exhibited in the Royal Academy. In 1844 Dobson joined the firm of John Rastrick, railway engineers, and he had several years' valuable experience in the construction of railways throughout England. He had married in 1839.

When the Canterbury scheme was before the public, Dobson became interested in it, and he was one of the original purchasers of land under the Association. Accordingly he left for New Zealand bv the Cressy in 1850 with his two eldest sons. On their arrival he selected 50 acres of land at Sumner, and built there and in Christchurch. Mrs Dobson followed a year afterwards with the remainder of the family in the ship Fatima.

Dobson's engineering skill was of service to the colonists from the start, and in 1854, when the provincial government was fully established Fitzgerald appointed him provincial engineer. In that position, which he occupied for the next fourteen years, Dobson not only designed and carried out many of the more important public works in the province, but he undertook much of the practical work of exploration, especially in the effort to establish communications within the province with the western seaboard, where with the discovery of gold, ships commenced to arrive direct from oversea. First and foremost came the track from the plains to Purau, at the head of Akaroa harbour, a most important link in those days, when Akaroa's relative importance was greater than it is to-day. The tunnel through the hills, and the railway to Lyttelton were probably the boldest and most impressive work that any colony undertook at such a stage of its development, and the accuracy with which the tunnel was pierced bore testimony to the skill of the engineer. In developing the port of Lyttelton Dobson commenced with the breakwater from Officer's Point, which with subsequent works, made the inner harbour safe and convenient for shipping in all weathers.

The system of railways for the province was planned by Dobson, and before he retired from the post of provincial engineer, the Lyttelton line was completed, and the southern line had advanced its railhead 29 miles to the Selwyn river. Another important work Dobson carried through was the draining of the low-lying land about Rangiora. which resulted in about 10,000 acres of this great swamp being reclaimed. His advice was sought also by the neighbouring province of Otago, which in 1865 appointed him to make a report on the small harbours of Moeraki, Waikouaiti, and Oamaru.

Dobson's work hi opening up communications with the West Coast was of the utmost value to the province. In September, 1857, he investigated a Maori track, which had been supposed to exist through the pass of the Hurunui river at Mount Noble, near what was then Mason's Waitohi station. It was so precipitous that the Natives had rope ladders or vines to cross the gully. Assisted by Mason and some of his men, Dobson set out to rediscover the path, and working with pick and shovel they soon had opened out a track along which horses could pass to a higher plateau, where they found flat laud of superior quality with several small lakes through which the Hurunui river flowed. Thus for the first time white men reached the head waters of the river. Along this track, which was nowhere more than 1600 feet in height, Dobson laid out the road which eight years later was used as the first thoroughfare from east to west.

When the diggings broke out in 1865 it was imperative that the road should be opened up without delay and Dobson accompanied by Sir John Hall, the head of the executive, laid out the road through the Otira, setting gangs to work in the severest weather in order to make a passable way for the stream of diggers to get through. He gave it the name of Arthur's Pass after one of his sons, Arthur Dudley, who discovered the Pass in March, 1864. In later years he became City Engineer in Christchurch. He and another son did yeoman service in the investigation of routes to the West Coast. The other, George, was murdered by the Burgess and Kelly gang in 1866, under the impression that he was a gold buyer.

In 1869 Dobson resigned the position of provincial engineer, and went to Australia, where he had accepted the post of engineer to the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay United Railway Company, Two years later the Company's lines were purchased by the Victorian Government and Dobson took service under the Government. During the next few years, until 1876, he carried through the water supply scheme, and built the Anakies dam and the Malmesbury reservoir. He was also resident engineer at Geelong, and for a while acting chief engineer of the Department.

In 1876 Dobson returned to Canterbury and entered into private practice with his son Arthur. Amongst other jobs they constructed the Timaru waterworks; surveyed the railway line from Waikari through the Hurunui pass to Lake Brunner, erected many bridges, and constructed irrigation races and river protection works. Dobson, jun., retired from the firm in 1886, and went to Australia. During the next few years Edward Dobson was lecturer in engineering at Canterbury College (1887-92), and he was for some years on the Board of Governors of Christ's College. He was in 1887 one of the Electoral Boundaries Commissioners.

Dobson throughout his long, active life, never lost touch with the professional organisations. In 1842 he was elected a life member of the Oxford Architectural Society, and an associate member of the Institute of Civil Engineers (of which he became a full member in 1881). The Institute awarded him the Telford Medal for a paper on the engineering works of the Canterbury Provincial Government. In 1843 he was elected an A.R.I.B.A. He wrote many other professional papers, some of which had wide publicity, notably those on "Foundation and Concrete," "The Railways of Belgium," "Pioneer Engineering," "The Art of Building," "Museums and Stone-cutting," and "Bricks and Tiles." In the practice of his profession he showed great ability and a unique power of organisation. He was a member of the Canterbury Philosophical Institute, and was president in 1866.

Dobson was a keen volunteer. He was the first man enrolled in the Heathcote Company in 1861, and subsequently transferred to the engineers.

He died on April 19th. 1908, leaving a widow, four sons, and four daughters. Two sons predeceased him.

Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 19848, 8 February 1930



MAKERS OF CANTERBURY.
PIONEERS OF THE PROVINCE.
 [By Annalist.]
V.
Sir John Cracroft  Wilson, 1808-1881

When Canterbury was founded the services in India were already giving to New Zealand both soldiers and civilians who were seeking a congenial climate and pleasant prospects for their retirement. Amongst those who had already visited the country was John Cracroft Wilson, an officer in the Civil service of the Honourable East India Company, and he made up his mind to live here as soon as his time of service had expired. The son of Alexander Wilson, F.R.S., a distinguished judge in the Madras Civil service, and his wife Clementina Cracroft, John was born at Onore, in that Presidency, a little to the north of Madras, on May 21st, 1808. He went home for his education, as all young English boys had to, and having matriculated from Haileybury School, entered Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1826 and remained there two years. In 1828 he married at Brixton, Surrey, a daughter of S. Wall. He was then appointed a cadet in the Bengal Civil service, and with his own native ability, and the influence which a distinguished father lent him he made good progress. Before long he was assistant commissioner under Sir William Sleeman, and he made a name for himself by his successful exertions in the suppression of thuggism. While still a young man he was appointed Magistrate at Cawnpore; and in 1841 he was promoted to Moorababad as Magistrate and collector, a post which he administered until 1853.


During the War in Scinde he was attached in a civil capacity to the staff of Sir Charles Napier, and he took part in 1843 in the battle of Meanee, at which 2000 European troops after a desperate struggle defeated an army of 30,000 Baluchis and slew 6000 of them. His first wife having died, Wilson married, in 1844, Jane Torrie, daughter of James Greig.
 

In 1854, having accumulated a good deal of leave, Wilson decided to pay a visit to Australia for the benefit of his health, and he took with him, in a small ship, the Akbar, a veritable Noah's Ark of Indian animals, including some deer and a Damascus Arab horse purchased in Calcutta. He had also a number of Indian followers, some of whom settled in New Zealand in the fifties and remained here. After touching at Melbourne the Akbar sailed to Sydney and Newcastle, taking on horses, cattle, and a large number of sheep for New Zealand. The voyage was a rather unfortunate one, prolonged so that 1200 sheep had to be thrown overboard, and a call had to be made at the Croixelles for food, fuel, and water. At length, on April 6th, the Akbar reached Lyttelton, The last of the deer died that day, but the Arab Wanderer survived.
 

Wilson prospected the country, and fixed upon the rising ground at the foot of the Port Hills for his run, giving it the name Cashmere. There he made his home, working hard and long to get things into order before his leave expired. The period. ended in May, 1855, when he sailed on his return to. Calcutta, taking his wife with him, but leaving one son at Cashmere.
 

The next year passed quietly enough in his old post as civil and sessions judge at Moorababad, but early in 1875 India was convulsed by the outbreak of the mutiny amongst the native troops, which imperilled the lives of the whole of the white population and the existence of the British power. Moorababad was in the very heart of the disaffected area. Wilson was a man of action. "Without any undue appreciation of his own influence and capacity for good," says Kaye, the historian of the Mutiny, "he applied to the lieutenant-governor to enlarge his powers. The application was promptly granted and Wilson acted with characteristic resolution and sagacity." Kaye describes him as "a civil functionary of immense energy and courage, a man equal to any emergency and capable of any act of daring," As judge he had no control over executive details, but his enlarged powers gave him that. In his own district the 29th Sapoy Regiment was stationed, and the unflinching courage and resource with which he faced their mutiny made a great impression on the minds of the soldiers. On one occasion, his route lay past the lines of the native artillery, whose treachery had been known from the beginning. They laid their guns and lit their portfires, but "Wilson's clear blue eyes calmly confronted the murderous design. Without a sign of fear on his face he rode towards the guns, not from them, and waved his hat as a challenge to the gunners, who, abashed and overawed by the bearing of the intrepid Englishmen, slunk back and Wilson was saved ''
 

In his despatch of July 2nd, 1859, when the Mutiny had been suppressed, Canning referred to the services, rendered during the time of trial, and singled out Wilson for first mention amongst all the civilians who comported themselves so well. The pressure of the revolt was severer and longer in his part of India than anywhere else, and only isolated posts continued to recognise British authority. "I name this gentleman first," wrote Canning, "because of his enviable distinction of having by his obstinate courage and perseverance saved more Christian lives than any other man in India. He did this at the repeatedly imminent peril to his own life. He has since left the service of the Indian Government, and retired to New Zealand, where I respectfully hope that the favour of the Crown may follow him," Wilson was in fact made a C.B. for his eminent services during the Mutiny in the capacity of special commissioner for the trial of rebels and mutineers, and when the order of the Indian Empire was created in 1873 he was made a knight of it. The Mutiny over, he retired from the service in 1859, and came back to his quiet prospects in Canterbury, accompanied by quite a retinue of Indian servants, many of whom were to make their permanent homes in the country.
 

Wilson was not long permitted to remain out of public life in Canterbury. In 1861 he was elected member of Parliament for the City of Christchurch, which he represented until 1866, a picturesque and respected figure in the House. Then he was returned for Coleridge (1866-70) and from 1872 he was member for Heathcote. Meanwhile he was elected to represent Ashburton in the Provincial Council from 1862-66. Heathcote had his services in 1871 and again in 1875-76, and during the latter term he was for a short period, in 1870, president of the Executive. In Parliament he was for many years chairman of the Public Petitions Committee, to the duties of which he gave constant attention. Nor were local bodies beneath his notice. He served as a member of school committees for many years, some time as chairman of the Upper Heathcote Committee. He was on the road board and at the time of his death was chairman of the Amuri County Council, and of the Canterbury Saleyards Company. He imported stud sheep, (Chiefly Lincolns) and for many years exhibited at shows, and carried off many prizes. he was a model farmer. He was keenly interested, too, in acclimatisation, was chairman of the Canterbury Society for many years and also president. One of the early members of the Jockey Club, he was associated with Cass in the selection of the site of the racecourse. As a volunteer he was major, commanding the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry. As a churchman, he was a churchwarden at Halswell, a prominent member of St. John's, and a member of the Synod. He was a constant patron of the opera and the drama.

Sir John Cracroft Wilson died on March 2nd, 1881, leaving a widow and a family of two sons and two daughters.


Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 19854, 15 February 1930





MAKERS OF CANTERBURY.

PIONEERS OF THE PROVINCE.
(SPECIALLY WRITTEN FOR The Press)
[By Annalist.]
VI.
William Montgomery, 1821-1914. 

William Montgomery came of an old Scotch family which settled in Northern Ireland about 1620. He was born in London in 1821, the son of Josias Montgomery, who four years later was killed in the hunting field. He was then brought up by his uncle, William, the head of the family, who held a homestead near Boltmaconnel, not far from Belfast. He received his education at the Royal Academical Institution in Belfast, where another uncle, Dr. Henry Montgomery, an eminent Unitarian divine, a man of character and stability and a militant Liberal, was English master.

The uncle William wished to make the boy his heir; but the boy's disposition was adventurous, and he was determined to go to sea. He was therefore apprenticed at the age of thirteen as a sailor before the mast, at the wage of £4 a year. In those days there was keen competition among shipping firms in the carriage of Mediterranean produce to England. Steamers had not come into use, and the ships engaged in this trade were often held up for days by contrary winds at the Straits of Gibraltar. Though only thirteen when he went to sea, young Montgomery soon showed marked ability. He became third mate and devoted his spare time to tho study of navigation and astronomy, for which he had distinct aptitude. When he was only seventeen, an opportunity occurred which brought him a command of his own. The.captain being habitually drunk and the first mate ignorant of navigation, Montgomery successfully navigated the vessel from the Mediterranean to London. The owners promptly made him captain over a crew of twenty-one - the youngest captain in the service. After running this ship for some years he bought it, and he afterwards had a new vessel built.

Even as early as this Montgomery had some idea of emigrating to the colonies. At one time he was on the point of joining a band of young men who Were going to settle in Chili; but after reading in 1847 Dr. Dunmore Lang's book, "Australia Felix," he decided to go in that direction.

Landing in Melbourne in 1851, he found the gold fever raging in New South Wales, where alluvial fields of fabulous wealth had been opened up. Port Philip was crowded with ships deserted by their crews. The young colonist invested some of his savings in the purchase of an acre of land at the corner of Swanson and Bourke streets; but this did hot prevent diggers from pitching their tents on it and refusing to be ejected. The growth of Melbourne into a big city seemed so remote a prospect that he soon sold his town section and bought land outside. This is now owned by the Clark family, while the town section is close to Menzies' Hotel.

The Victorian Government set up a Commission of four, of whom Montgomery was one, to search for gold in Victoria. They located "colour" some miles up the Yarra river. Unable to agree who should dig the first gold, they raced for it. A fine athlete and long jumper, Montgomery won, and proudly washed a few specks out of the first dish of dirt. He afterwards visited Ballarat, Forest Creek. Friar's Creek, and other fields, and altogether acquired sufficient money to purchase a station on the Darling Downs. Here he worked hard for some years until, in common with many others, he was ruined by a severe drought. This decided him to leave Australia for a more kindly Climate, and he crossed over to New Zealand in 1860.

Coming to Canterbury, he went into business as a timber merchant, prospered moderately, and Was soon able to devote some of his ripe experience and commonsenae to the affairs of the community. His first appearance in public life was in 1864, as a member of the Heathcote Road Board, the first of these bodies in Canterbury. For several years he Served on the road boards, the principal agents of local government in the province, and for some part of the time he was chairman. This apprenticeship to public service led naturally to his election in July, 1866, as member of the Provincial Council for Heathcote, an before the year Was out he Was appointed a member of the Executive. In 1867 he Was for a short time Deputy Superintendent. In March, 1868, he Was again in the Executive as Provincial Treasurer, an office Which he held until May, 1869, for more than a year under the Superintendency of Rolleston. When the Council was dissolved early in 1870, he retired for the time being to devote his attention more closely to his own affairs. In September, 1873, he again stood and Was returned as member for Heathcote, Which he Continued to represent until the provinces were abolished two years later. During this period he was in the Executive from January, 1874, to April, 1875, most of the time as president.


At the General Election in 1874 he had the distinction of defeating Stafford for the Heathcote seat While Montgomery was a member the Council abolished school fees and set up school districts, in which committees were elected by the householders. The Education Ordinance of 1870 was a carefully-thought-out measure providing for non-sectarian education as the considered policy of the Superintendent and the Executive. At the last moment of the election campaign, early in 1874, the denominationalists persuaded Stafford, who had recently come to live in the district, to allow himself to be nominated as a candidate. though Stafford had been Superintendent of Nelson in the early days he had never been a member or any provincial council; but he felt so strongly on this subject that he agreed to stand pledged to do all he could to have the ordinance amended. At a great meeting in the Colombo road School at which Montgomery and Sir Cracroft Wilson also spoke, Stafford appeared, supported by Sir David Monro (late Speaker of the House and his old antagonist in Nelson). The speech made by Stafford on that occasion was one of the best in his distinguished career; but he could not shake the determination of the electors of Heathcote. The Provincial Government had nailed its colours to the mist, and it was triumphantly successful. Montgomery gained 483 votes, Fisher 315, and Wilson 230. Stafford was at the bottom of the poll with 163.

A fortnight later Montgomery was returned as member for Akaroa in the House of Representatives, defeating Pilliet by 168 votes to 76. In the House he at once stepped into a prominent position, his clear thinking and obvious unselfishness gaining him the respect of both sides. A Liberal bv conviction, he was, in the words of Saunders, "the most consistent, the most unselfish, clear-headed, clean-handed member of the Party then supporting Sir George Grey. Grey offered him the position of Colonial Treasurer in 1877; but he refused to accept as Grey could not give him a definite assurance that the Canterbury Land Fund would not be absorbed in the Colonial revenue. Nevertheless he continued to support Grey; and on the Premiers Visit to Christchurch he moved a vote of unbounded confidence at a meeting which was by no means uncritical of the Government's policy.

At the election in 1881 he was returned unopposed for Akaroa. Ballance defeated, he Was elected to Leadership of the Liberal Prty, and was freely discussed as a future Liberal Premier. Montgomery sought nothing for himself. "Always too ready to efface himself," said a biographer when he died, "and to give others the honour that the work might be done, history will never record the country's incalculable debt to this true patriot and simple Christian gentleman." At the elections of 1884 when he defeated Anson for Akaroa, fifteen members of the new Parliament had declared themselves in favour of his leadership. In that year, he had once more given evidence of his utter unselfishness. In August, Vogel had submitted the names of a new Cabinet, including Montgomery, as Minister for Education and Colonial Secretary. They duly took office, but within a fortnight were defeated through the discontent of the Auckland members with the preponderance of South Islanders in the Cabinet. As it was obvious that he could regain the Treasury benches by trimming to suit this breeze, Vogel accepted the self-sacrifice of Montgomery, "the most unselfish, the most honourable, and the most patriotic." His retirement enabled the Stout-Vogel combination to return to power with a due representation of Auckland in the Cabinet. "Such self-sacrfice and self-abnegation will never be forgotten by me," remarked Stout in the House. Montgomery cheerfully remained a private member throughout the Parliament, and retired at the end of 1887 because of ill-health, and in order to pay a visit to England.

Before entering Parliament he had done noteworthy service on local bodies. Besides the Road Board he had been a member of the Canterbury Board of Education from 1866 to 1875, and was chairman from 1867. He was associated with Tancred, Rolleston, Habens and the Hon. W. C. Walker in the successful working of the Canterbury system. Later, on the introduction of the present system of education, Montgomery was a member ot ihe Education Board from 1876 to 1885, and was again for some time chairman. From 1873 to 1903 he was a member of the Board of of Canterbury College, and for ten years of that period he was chairman. During his chairmanship many college buildings were erected, and also the buildings of other institutions under the control of the Board, such as the Museum, the Boys' High School, the School of Art, and the Public Library. Like other prominent Canterbury educationists, he was strongly opposed to the Bible in schools. "The Bible is one of the grandest of books to study," he said. "It contains the history of the human race in its various phases.It contains the greatest consolation for men, whether in health or in sickness. But let it not be introduced to destroy a system of education which is a credit to the Colony."

In 1892 the Liberal Government appointed him to the Legislative Council, one of the earliest appointments under the new seven-year system. His term was renewed in 1899 and in 1906, and when he resigned in 1907 he was granted the title of Honourable for life. He was frequently consulted by both Ballance and Seddon and was for two years (1893-1895) a member of the Executive without portfolio. "An orderly and methodical rather than a forceful speaker, he rarely if ever indulged in harsh language even under strong provocation, remarks Saunders. Having supported manhood suffrage and even women's suffrage as long ago as 1879, he voted with the Liberal party on all such questions.

After his retirement the Honourable William Montgomery lived quietly at Little River until his death on December 21st, 1914.




Press, Volume LXVI, Issue 19866, 1 March 1930