THE HON. SIR WILLIAM FITZHER. BERT, K.C.M.G. On Saturday Now Zealand loßb one of its greatest men in the person of Sir William Fitiherbert, who expired at his residence, Lower Huttj at $5.40 p.m. Tke immediate cause of death was Biright'a disease, from which he had been sneering acutely for many weeks past, dud for BOmn tirpo it Was evident that the end woa approaching, as at hie advanced age he laekod physical strength to sustain the pain he was enduring. Hi 3 intellect, however, was clear'and uno.ouded to tho laat, and he fully realised the faot tbat recovery was impossible, although perhaps scarcely thinking- the end was so near. On Saturday, an hour or two before his death, he as usual ordered the household accounts to bo brought to him, went over ! them, and signed a cheque for the amount. j The signature to tho cheque was fairly firm, and was the last thing he wrote. His eldest Roii.Mr.W. A. Fitaherbert, and pis daughter, Mrs. P. A. Buckley, Were with him whoh he quietly breathed hie last. Sir William Pitzherhef t was the thirjl soil of the late Key. Samuel fiuherbflrt, rector of Hpjdghtoij, Dorsetshire, England. .He waa born., August lolh, 1810 He received his education -first at a dame school, then at Sherbourn Grammar School, and afterwards at, the celebrated Merohant > Taj lor 3* School, London, on leaving which he entered at) Queen's College, Cambridge, his age at that time being 18. His tutor was hia elder brother, Herbert, a j profeß*or at the University, and he , be- j caino a Senior-Optimo in , MatbejnatiO9' ( a; Brown's University medalist, 'and a double first in Classics. Ho took hia M. A. degree in 1833, and became a Fellow -* ' ' poll " He was the f^- atudont „£ ftoiKK ml~m 1~ wno fcubsequently bßOatae famous as early oolpnhl blhopsi they Werd Bishop Perry, the firai Bishop of Molbottrile, and Bishop i Mfelwyb, of New Zealand. He also tamed off athletio honours, being No. 7 of the " Queen Mab." which held the head of tho rivert and in 18a2 he. was chosen stroke of the Cambridge eight in th% inter". University iaoe which, UoweVer, Oxford ref used to rdnr that year". He waß a celebrated lightweight boxer, and on onaoocaaion, '£ a Town v. Gown row, he pluckily resoued Mr. Hugh Carleton, then a fellow student and afterwards a oolleagan in tho New Zealand Parliament, from an infuriated mob of Town roughs. Leaving the University, Mr. Fitzhc-rbert elected to study medicine, Which he began to do in Paris, subsequently walkin? St. Thomas' Hospital, Londo'il. In March, 1839, he took his M.D. degree in the Royal College of Physioians, and commenoed practice in Hanovor-ROjiarej fconddn. Two years before this he married Mis 9 Sarah Jane Leach, thB well-known Lady Fitzherbert, who died 2Ub August, 1886. In 1841 Dr. Fitzherbert determined to prdoeed to 1 Ne* Zealand, whither ho had previously eotlt some oapital for Investment, ana in April of that year he purchased the schooner Lady Leigh, 80 tons bnrden, whioh he freighted entirely with his own merchandise and stock The adventurous little party arrived, in Sydney after a voyage of four months liley then proceeded to Wellington, where Dr. Fitaherbert determined to settle, and he at once sent for Mrs. FitihertJert and, his infant qon Williath, who arrived here in due course; The family resided for several years on Mount Vlotorift, but Subsequently removed to Parish street— so oalled atter an old friend of bis— where the doctor had been for jear.B carrying on business as a general merohant, auotioooer, and brtyer of whale oil and bone. A portion of Dr. Fitfeherberii's old business premises in Farlab-street still remains to bo Been. The earthquakes of 1848, however, at tho time so alarmed Mrs. Fitzherbert, whose health was delicate, that Dr. Fitzherbeit determined to take her to Sj dnoy , and with that end in view secured passages with other alarmed settlers by the barf do Sob'doii, whib'h Ho loaded with whalßbdne and oil, forwarded from bi-s wba'ing statidnS at Kapiti and Amriri. Tito Sdbrao'ri, howeVer, did nat make Sydiiey, as in beating out of the Heads she struck on Bnr.ett's Heef at 10 o'clock at night. Fortunately no lives were lost, and tho shipwrecked crew and passengers got safely to land. After ttjia bitter, experience, Mrs FitShetbe'tt prooeeded by another vessel to Sydney, where her daughter Alice, now Mrs P. A Buokley, was born Both as a merohant and a whaler the doctor suoceeded beyond his expectations, and while in Sydney to bring his family baok, he had built for him a Echooner which he ohristened the William Alfred, after his eldest son, the well-known and popular civil engineor. In this sqhopnefr the, fattlily returned tq,Wollin§tdn; -and she] continues to tr>de between Port Nicholson and Sydney, carrying oil and bone to Port Jackson, qid . returning thence laden with ffener&l rriojohindisp. Ou, retnrnirig to Wellington the family resided in a house built olose to where the Colonial Museum now stands, and it was here that Mr. H. S. Fitzherbert, ex-member for the Hutt, was born. In one of the periodical trips from Sydney, the William Alfred brought down ' a wooden frame house, which had been constiuoted in Sydney to the order of the doctor, whioh he designed should bo erected at the I ower Hntt, where he had acquired a considerable amount of property. '1 he plaoe reoeived tho name of 'J'redenham, and as such the property is still known. Upon the Fitzherbert family commencing to reside at the Lower Hutt, the doctor relinquished business, and devoted his time and talents to the service of his oo.iintry. For eleven years he Was a prominent metriber of the Constitutional Association, and when trie Const iHUjon Was at last conceded, he became a member of the' firtt Wellington Provinoial Counoil, in which he held the office of Treasurer and i?eoretary, Dr. Featheraton being Superintendent. Dr Fitzherbert was also Commissioner of Crown Lands for Wellington. He became Superintendent of the Provinoe in 1871, and remained so until tho passing of the Abolition of Provinces Act in 1875, a messare which ho moat strongly opposed Prior to the pasting of this Act he was, in 1872, created a C.M.G , and in 1877 he was promoted to XC M,Q. Dr. Fitzborberfc never practised his profession In the oolony, although he was frequently consulted by members of the fftoulty on peouliar or difficult oases, his opinion being highly valued by tho profession, and being always freely given when asked. In 1856, he was eleoted to the House of Representatives, and sat for tho City of Wellington, and afterwards for the Hutt, until bis translation to the Spoakership of the Legislative Council. In 1864 he beoame Colonial Treasurer, and as a member of the Weld Ministry took an active part in the initiation of the Selfreliant Polioy, and subsequently in the removal of the seat of Government from Auckland to Wellington. In 1866, as Colonial Treasurer, he was entrusted with a special mission to England as agent with regard to the olaim for .£750,000 raised by the Imperial Government against the oolony for the employment of British troops in the suppression of the native rebellion. After many interviews with the members of the English Cabinet, extending over several months, ho suooeeded in obtaining a remission of tho Whole amount, and Consequently was onabled to arrange for the consolidation of the New Zealand loans upon far more advantageous terms than he could otherwise have obtained Sir William waa oho3en Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1876, retiring in 1879, when he whs appointed to the Speakership of the Legislative Council, whioh position he held to within a fortnight ago. In addition to the many high positions in the State which Sir William held, he has on various occasions represented the oolony | at conferences both in England and tho sister colonies on questions of vital importance to I New Zoaland. In 1887 he was delegate to the Imperial Conference, the members of whioh were much impressed by his states manlike ability. In 1838 he was oommissioned to represent the colony ia Sydney on the Postal Conference, and again in 1890 Sir William was selected to rcpreeent the oolony at the Federal Conference noxt month. Mr. H. S. Fitzherbert, his seoond boh, saw his father for the last time last week, having to return to Polmerßton North, where he residep. He arrived in to wn again on Saturday evening. Sir William Fitzherbart was for many years a director of the Australian Mntual Provident Sooiety, and from 1372 to 1882 was President of the Star fioitirg Club The flag on the olub's boathouse was at half mast yesterday and to day out of respect for his memory. Mr. Gisborne in his " Rulers and Statesmen of New Zealand," says of the deceased statesman — " Able and aßtute, ho was the Ulysses of statesmen, and although openly he was not one of the leaders of men, he did much eeoretly to sway their action. No one could fail to recognise his intellectual fervour and the sagaoity of his counsel " The same writer add — " A great speeoh from Sir William Fitzherbert was an intellectual treat. During an exoiting and critioal debate, while opponents were violently attacking him, he , would Bit immovable, his eyes shut, and every muscle in his face as rigid as if it were out iv marble, apparently asleep. But when he rose to reply the whole soene was ohtnged. Without a note, and trusting to his memory, which no doubt from eirly training nerer failed him on such occasions, he would answer point by point every epeeoh of his opponents, covering them with ridicule and discredit, and apparently routing them by force of argument It was do pleasing prospect to be followed by Sir William Fitzherbert. His debating power was wonderful, and he delighted in oral vivisection His sarcasm, always aorid, was at times almost vitriolic. The faults ia bis spoeohes were that he was t-o wordy, too slow, and too digressivp, but he w»a on the whole logical and inoisive, and the metaphors of which he was always fond were often telling, while his phrases were well chosen and expressive Moreover, there were occasional passages remarkable for their breadth of view and for their philosophical truth." The fnture historian will probably award Sir William Fitzherbert a very high place amongst early New Zealand Statesmen, as one who has left the unmistakable stamp of his personality on the institutions of New Zealand. The funeral has been fixed to take plaoe %t the Lower Hutt cemetery at 3 o'clock tomorrow. Tho remains of the deceased knight will be interred alongside thos9 of j iU lat« wife, Lady Fitzherbert. '
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OBITUARY., Evening Post, Volume XLI, Issue 33, 9 February 1891
OBITUARY. Evening Post, Volume XLI, Issue 33, 9 February 1891
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