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DEATH OF MR W. H. EYES.

■ ■■(• ■ —»■ —: SOME TIME SUPERINTENDENT

OF MARLBOROUGH

[PRESS ASSOCIATION.] WELLINGTON, April 13. Th&deatn is announced of Mr W. H. Eyes, setat Bft; He was formerly a prominent Marlborough residents

[Mr William Henry Eyes, 86 years of age, at ,me time Superintendent of Marlborough, died this (Friday.) morning at a boarding-house kept by Mrs Lindeeloff., in Kent Terrace. Deceased had been boarding with Mrs Lindeeloff for about twelve months, and of late had been in failing health. At 8 o'clock this morning Mr Eyes was apparently in his usual state of health, when he was given a cup of cocoa. Fifteen minutes later, when Mrs Lindeeloff went to his bedroom, she found deceased sitting on & chair dead.-' It is believed that deceased had a married daughter at Blenheim. Dr. Gilmer was called in and gave a certificate of death. The police are anxious to receive any inioimatkm as to the whereabouts' ot deceased's relatives.—Post.]

William Henry Eyes, arrived in Marlborough about the year 1846. and engaged in the .pastoral induStrf. He immediately became manager of Richmond Brook sheep station, and it was not long before he, .in partnership with the late -Mr Enipsori, had become the owjier of tie Wither and Meadow-. Taaiik runs. It was in the late 'fjfties that he built the Netherfield (now Blythficld) homestead, which was at that time con3idered a mansion. Added to in later year by the late Mr Monro, this house still stands in its picturesque situation on the south sddo of the New ftenwick Road. The name of the deceased occupies a prominent place in the public annals of the Province. Indeed, it is stated that, from first to, last, he occupied no fewer than 12 public positions, ranging in importance from M.H.R. to sheriff. Upon the first Provincial Council being elected after the separation of the , provinces of Nelson and Marlborough an 1860, the late Mr Eyes was chosen, along with the late Mr Dodson, <to arepresent .the Lower Wairau district. These .two possessed the honour >of lhaving -recorded the first dissentient votes in the Council, the occasion being the resolution appointing Mr Wep. Adams Jirst Provincial Superintendent. The deceased thus early showed -the political fight that was in him, and •vyl'ich aiterwards made such ■clash anil clamour in the halls of Provincial legislation. Be was successful in deitating Mr Weld, part owner of Flaxbourne, as representative of the , Wairau in the General Assembly, though his majority was only four 1 AOtes; thu« robbing the constituency 'of the honour of having returned one ■of .the Colony's best Premiers, for Mr Weld, securing election immediately j afterwards for Cheviot, was made I Prime v Minister in 1863. The quarrel between Picton and Blenheim over ! £he seat of Provincial Government, which commenc3d with the inception cdf .the Council, proved a bone of conrention in proportion to which other matters of provinrial policy were only as skin and hair: every step had for 'its raison d'etre tho possibility of securing a majority in favour of Ticton against Blenheim, or vice versa. This force, narrow- but. vital, was even potent enough to'sway Marlborough's representatives in the Geneial Assembly in the direction of voting against the apparent best inter--e&ts of the Province as a whole. Thus, when the Picton Railway Bill was proposed the House Mr Eyes opposed it tooth and nail, merely because it had emanated from the Picton party! The Bill was passed, however; but the Fox Government, secured the withholding of the Royal assent, for a reason not very clear. The railway was not put in hand till 1876, when Messrs Eyes and. Seymour at last agreed to withdraw all opposition; on the grounds that the colony was to ' bear th c cost. --TKe battle for the Pro vincial seat of Government went on 'briskly during ithe first three years of the Council's existence, the Picton party proving strong enough to re tain the Tionour for the greater por-tion-of that time. Representation being about even on the two sides of the Wairau River, the prospect of a preponderance of members either way seemed us far off as ever. The conspiracies of 'the -two parties brought a¥o<ut Tfihe curious position in 1862 of the province possessing two Superintendents at the same time. The late Capt. Baillie, a Pietonite, had been retained in rthe office of Superintendent. Jby the Governor of the Colony during one of the frequent dissolution® :of the Council. A new set of members ensued from the polls, and one paiiy clove to the Stvperintendency of Capt. Baillie at Picton. Mr Eyes got together the TJlehheim party, •. neld a meeting in Blenheim, and was elected Superintendent with all the ceremonies of the function. His authority proved impotent, Tiowever, arid he decided to Save recourse to law. The case was, heard by Judge Johnston in Wellington, and for sis months, during its course, neither provincial salaries were paid nor tmblic works performed. Judgment eventually went against Mr Eyes. An early dissolution, however, together with an increased representation on the southern side of the province, secured to the .Blenheim party the victory, and the seat of Government was changed in 1865, after Mr Eyes had been elected Superintendent, on the motion of: Mr H. Godfrey, of " Woodbourne." The Picton members showed their contempt for the proceedings by leaving the chamber in a body. When Mr Eyes came to the head of provincial affairs he announced a policy of retrenchment, and, being a man of great executive ability and a keen financier, as well*as a practised speaker, he succeeded in imposing his will iipon the Council. His predecessors had spent altogether a sxim of £11,945 in excess of appropriations, and it was now plain to Mr Eyes that a halt in public Avorks must be called. At the same time he set about increasing the revenue of the Government by resuscitating a scheme of the late Mr F Carter's of leasing the ■^rown lands in the province on long tenures.. The j.ew regulations he succeeded m passing were embodied »y the General Assembly in "The Marlborough Waste Lands Act, 1867 " J he effect of this measure was to give the Province an assured tenitorial revenue ot about £3000, and hereafter things ran with greater smoothness. At about this time Mr Eyes was instrumental in securing the passage of a resolution recommending the funeral Government to abolish the Provincial form of government—six years before the abolition actually "took

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place. Mr Eyes'.s' strong personality could hot failtd make for him enemies, and he found himself one^ again in a minority in the Council. Xjpon Mr J. B. Wemyss's resigning the position of Provincial Secretary and Commissioner of Crqw:n: Lands in 1870, MiEyes accepted, at the instance of Mr A. P. Seymour, then Superintendent, the vacant positions, which he retained for many years. This necessitated his retirement from the General Assembly, and the vacant Wairau seat was secured by Mr Seymour. Mr Eyes had represented the Wairau in Parliament for ten years.

During* recent, years the deceased politician had lived _in Wellington, and was only seen m. Blenheim on periodical visits -to -his Jamily. Of the eight children, six survive the deceased. These are Mrs Duckworth, Miss Fanny --nd Miss Charlotte Eves, Messrs 1 "Septimus Eyes (Rai Falls), Millar Eyesy Clerk of the Court at-In-vercargill, and George Eyes, whose present address:.is .unknown. '

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MEX19070413.2.25

Bibliographic details

DEATH OF MR W. H. EYES., Marlborough Express, Volume XLI, Issue 86, 13 April 1907

Word Count
1,256

DEATH OF MR W. H. EYES. Marlborough Express, Volume XLI, Issue 86, 13 April 1907

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