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Last evening the friends and admirers of Dr Stewart assembled at the Somerset Hotel to participate in a complimentary' banquet, given under the auspices of the Caledonian Society to that gentleman, prior to his departure from the district. The tables were laid in the long room at the back of the hotel, which was most tastefully odecorated with bunting and evergreens, the spread being prepared in Host Shearman’s usual satisfactory style, and reflecting every credit on the designer of the menu. About sixty gentlemen sat down to dinner, the chair being occupied by Mr Stilt, President of the Society, supported on his right by the guest of the evening, (Dr Stewart), Mr Carter, and Dr Stewart’s successor, Dr Murdoch, on his left being the Eev. Mr Beattie and. Mr Bullock, the vice-chair being filled by Mr Williamson. Proceedings were enlivened by selections played, on the pipes by' the* piper to the Society. Graces was said by the Rev. Mr Baattie, arid full justice having been done to the viands provided, the tables were cleared and a start made with the toast list.

Apologies were read from Messrs J. Mac Lean Dunn and M. Friedlander. The usual loyal toasts having been disposed of, The Chairman proposed the health of Sir Arthur Gordon, Governor of New Zealand and Patron of the Caledonian Society. ,Ho expressed the pride he felt ■at seeing his Excellency take such a lively ■lnterest in Caledonian matters, and more especially at his so honoring their poor little society with his patronage. He was afraid it would be the means of making them too proud. The toast was drank amid cheering.

The Chairman then proposed the health of the guest of the evening, Dr Stewart. This was the toast of the evening, and he trusted they would fill their glasses to the brim. He regretted the want of eloquence on his part to enable him to do full justice to the subject. The full attendance testified to the great number of friends the doctor had in the place. He deeply regretted his departure, but felt sure, did he return at any time to the town, he would always receive a hearty welcome. He was deputed to present to Dr Stewart a testimonial from (he members of the Caledonian Society. The testimonial was illuminated on satin, bordered with Stewart tartan ribbons, and read as follows: Presented to Dr F. Macbean Stewart, by the members of the Caledonian Society, Ashburton, on the occasion of Ins departure for Christchurch. Dear Sir,—The members of the Ashburton Caledonian Society, recognising the value of the services you have rendered to the Society during the term you held the office of vice-president, de-ire to express to you their regret for the loss of your presence at their meetings, and the aid you have always been willing to lend in furthering the objects of the Society. They hope you will accept their best wishes for your success, in the new sphere you have chosen, and they heartily wish you “ God speed.” When far from Home, upon a foreign strand, Scot meets with Scot and clasps the frien 'ly hand, A thousand generous thoughts’, unbidden rise

Of that clear land which Caledonians prize; And when a few are gathered where their toil Has forced new cities from the stubborn soil. Their first fond thoughts—most emulous desires— Are to preserve the glories of their sires. Thus, when Ashburton rose from out the plains, Each kindly Scot gave something of his gains To keep the memory bright of that dear land That nurses heroes on its rugged strand. Of those who in our new-born town have been Anxious to keep old Scotia’s memory green, The kindly friend who bears the Stewart name lias foremost striven to preserve her fame. Alas ! he leaves us for a wider splice, But long his memory will be cherished here. His band of brothers beg him, ’ere they part, To take this offering to bis generous heart, That when afar from those who love him well, His thoughts, perchance, may on them kindly dwell.

Signed on behalf of [the members • of the Society, M, Stitt, President. The toast was drunk with musical honors. The Rev. Mr Beattie, in a few words, paid a graceful tribute to Dr Stewart’s abilities as a medical man and openheartodness as a citizen, and also thanked him for the courtesy he had always extended personally to him. He wished him every success in the wider sphere of action te which he was about to take his departure. Song, Mr Jacobson —" Bonnie Dundee.” Dr Stewart said he thanked them heartily for the manner in which they had drank his health. Ho had read of a gentleman who, at an entertainment similar to that at which they were, when called upon to reply to a toast, and for which he had previously prepared a most elaborate speech, got upon his legs and began with—“ Gentlemen, this is the proudest moment of my life.” Getting I confused, he repeated the sentence not I

but V wide, and then sat down. He thought this was the best thing he could do. (Cries of “ No, no.”) He would tell them why he thought so. He held most peculiar ideas on the subject, for he considered that a man who was the recipient of a banquet was a man to be pitied, and consequently to be con- . doled with. It was the case in some instances that the man had been in the position as head of a department, and as such had had it in his power to confer favors. Consequently, those interested, said to themselves, “ Well, its the least we can do, so we’llgive- him a. banquet,” - and in this method hold up an example to his successor ; in fact, dangle it before his eyes as a sort of a bait, with a kind of admonition, such as' Well,' do "you ■’ equally well, and we’ll do likewise!” This was nothing more or less there was always .an air of. inaiudeidty about the speeches" given at such' affairs. He did not care about theth, eindwouldi far rather meet one or two - who -Would . shake him by the hand and say heartily that they were sorry she was going-,,, and , f mean what they said, than bOO who would, say they were sorry aW the limb hieatf different. They how knew - hia feelings on the subject generally, but these could not apply in the present 9SKW present demonstration lie regarded as ©n« that was actuated purely % sincerity, for they had no object beyond their feelings to actuate them, and he took all.that had . , been said as having the rekl gemiine nhg of sincerity about it. VHe had done nothing which could make them, act in the light he had explained nor cbidd tfaOy : J gain anything by holding him up to Ms successor, therefore, he regarded this as a token of genuine respect, mingled with a.. dash of regret at his leaving. He had incit ' with so many expressions' of regret since he finally decided upon going out of the district that he could but regard them as genuine. Such, to a man'in his position*- v j. whs certain to be beneficial to him in his future, for in such a large expressionmf feeling there was sure tbbea 1 certain amount of respect for his qualities as a medical man, and this becoming public ! would enhance his interests. He was extremely gratified, and if it was not the proudest moment of his life it certainly ought to be. He could not .help feeling., gratified when he glanced round and saw., ameng the crowd gathered; round him., persons from far and near, for therewerrepresent seme who had come * a long diR-' J ■ tance to participate in the proceedings. ■He must indeed-be-hard hearted -if he-• could regard such as other than a testimonial to himself. He was extremely sorry to leave Ashburton—-(Hear,. hear)— for he believed it had got before it a great,, future, and he considered* that it would be the principal inland town of .New Zealand in years to come.. He had in

earlier days heard Mr BullockprriisoAah- * burton, and he thought At the timethrit he ~ had an interested mfttivo for so doing. He could now see that even had Mr Bullock had such a motive he was right in'his remarks. They had gene through a gfeaiwavf of depression, which had taken Ashburton' in its curve, and he really thought*'that Ashburton had gone through the deepest J part of that curve. The whole Of New ■ Zealand had suffered therefrom y, but he really beUeved it had brought the place to its level, and in the'language of scientific writers, it was merely a survival-* of the fittest; for those who had survived .would so"''conduct’ their"affairs that “Very short time HewZealand'wourd be one of the best places on which; (by .sun , ' would shine, and Ashburton would b«r_. one of the best peaces., in ■ Now .Zealand.. (Hoar, hear.) He had been in .different , countries, and sat at tables wiflfrwmj}' of ' the highest hohilify of the' land; liat. ; in, n e portion of his career had ,he .seen a table bettor laid-.out .(ys, .regains the " quality arid, variety'of the^iahds)'than he had witnessed in their little town of Ashburton that evening, and- he waaeertain they ought to be proud of such a sueoeas. He had aßraya .done Jiis fewn during his stay here, aq4 wria,- be might, say; che of ..the^pfd^i^ & 9r^e ; |irovn| Company; which, in the first place,"'" comprised only about six persons. ■ Ife was one of the first, to moot ( the place being preplanned a borough ; sri4 -if /he . had; not done as much, as he, should have ~ liked, it was net because he lacked the . will, but that he had not the means. » (Hear, hear). All they needed to. insure success was, m. they -had it. in Scotch, to “Put, shoulder to shoulder,” and they would be surprised at the good which would accrue from their collective, efforts;- * They had great natural facilities,-, which, if taken immediate advantage of, would repay tenfold for the outlay. If, however, they . waited, as some advocated/• till timerf got* | better, or till they got rich in the mean- - time, some others ; would! step lin and occupy the places they should fill. Theris was no othertown in Ganterbury/brinNew : Zealand either, .that possessed the same resources, and if they did not tyke advantage thereof, and move onward and , upwards, and enter into larger spheres of , action, they would regret it Tor many .a long day. He had been interested in educational matters during his.residence here, and had seen the school double and treble the number on its roll, which he was certain no other town could boast of in so short a space of time. They had had their rows and quarrels on that little .«■ Committee, but they parted good friends, and if they only exerted themselves all would, he was certain, come out right. Dr Stewart concluded his speech with an allusion to the natural heritage all Scotchmen possessed, and (q the position occupied by that country "and representatives of that race in the worlds afiaira, Ha almost regretted that a great many qf the friends gathered round him had not had the good fortune to be born there, but all could not be born with silver spoons in their mouth. (Laughter.) When he heard the poetryattached to the testimonial he was surprised, and wondered where the quotation had been obtained from, or whose was the composition. It was most beautiful, and he would far sooner

hear that than the stereotyped testimonial. He thanked them for their goodwill and i wishes of success in his new held of labor, but he was certain they could not wish it • more than he did himself. Song, Mr Canning—" Pull together, boys.” 1 Mr Braddell said he was afraid, from Dr Stewart’s remarks, that it would look ' as though that gentleman was only respected by the Scotch inhabitants of the town. As a poor benighted Irishman he begged to enter a most emphatic denial in this respect, for the doctor was loved just as much by the Irish and English in the place. He would, however, leave to the Saxons, of whom there were plenty in the place, to pay their own tribute of respect. Mr. Bullock proposed the health of the President, Mr Stitt, and in so doing endoi’sed Mr Braddell’s remarks regarding the interest felt in the guest’s welfare by the English residents in the town. The gentleman whose health he proposed had always taken a lively interest in the wellfare of the Society, and a great deal was due to him for his zeal. Dr Stewart had always been to the fore in Caledonian matters, and he would ask him, though far away, not to forget them. The toast was drank with musical honors. Song, Mr Savage, . Song, Mr Oaird—"My Native Highland Home.” _ Mr Stitt briefly returned thanks. He had not done so much in the past as he should have liked to, but hoped to make amends in the future. The Rev. Mr Beattie proposed "The Press,” which was responded to by Messrs Jacobson, Mail; Tay.our, Press ; , Stringer, (huirdwn. ■ “ The Caledonian Society was. proposed by Mr Cameron, coupled with the

-- ■ ■’ , names of Messrs Reid, Anderson, and Quill . Mr Reid returned thanks on behalf i f himself and friends, Messrs Quill and Anderson having been called away. VThe Host” was proposed by Mr Garter, and responded to by Mr Shearman. - The “ Healths of the Ladies ” and “ Absent Friends,” the latter with accompaniment of “Auld Lang Syne” in Caledonian style, brought the proceedings to a termination.

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Bibliographic details

FAREWELL BANQUET TO DR STEWART., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 365, 8 June 1881

Word Count

FAREWELL BANQUET TO DR STEWART. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 365, 8 June 1881

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