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OBITUARY.

We have this morning to lecord the death of the Hon, James Paterson, which occurred yesterday at tho deceased's residence iv Regent road, after an illness of five years. SJr Paterson was 79 years of ago at the time of his death, having b-en born in Edinburgtuu ISOB. In 1838 ho went to tho AVest Indies, and remained there 14 years, after which he returned to the Old Couutry. In 1851 he arrived in Uunedin by the ship Clutha, along with Messrs John Sibbald, James Kilgour, and othors. Shortly aftor his arrival he started business as a .merchant, and was subsequently joined by his brother-in-law, Mr Georgo Hepburn, the business beiug carried on under tho name of James Paterson aud Co. This firm bought out Mr James Macandrew's business, whioh they continued till 1862, when they retired, the firm being merged into that of M'Landress, Hepburn, aud Co. In 1861 Mr Paterson commeueed his political career, haviug been elected a member of the Provincial Council. He occupied a seat in the council for several years, and in 1864 held the office of Provincial Secretary, the late Mr John Hyde Harris then* being Superintendent. In May 1862 he contested a seat iv the House of Representatives against Major Richardson, but suffered a defeat. 'In November of the same year, however, he was returned for thi city. In 1865 he stood for tjie mayoralty of tho city, against four other candidates, but was defeated by Mr Mason. In 1866 ho was elected to the House of Representatives, and became a member of the Stafford Government in the same year, holding the portfolio of Postmastergeneral, and iv 1869 he received a call to the Legislative Council, of which he was a member uutil the timo of his death. He has not, however, taken his seat in the Council since about five years ago, when he received a paralytic stroke, from the effects of which he never recovered. He leaves a widow to mourn his loss, also a brother aud three stepchildren.

[communicated.] Following closely aftor Mr Harris, another of the old fathers of Otago has died, and the number now left to follow is becoming small indeed. Mr Paterson was born in Edinburgh iv 1807, and having served his time to his trade as a saddler he left his native to ,vn for British Guiana, aud remained there for about ten years. Colonial settlement was not then so common or so high

in repute as it became some time afterwards, but it so happened that about the timo Mr Paterson returned to his native city the late Mr George Ross, who was one -of the first Otago settlers, had returned to Scotland for the purpose of having a vessel built to suit the prospected development of the young colony, and on a mutual consultation Mr Paterson resolved to becom..' a true colonist. Accordingly, having completed arrangements, he joiued the new brigantine Clutha, sailed from Leith in November 1853, and reached D»nedin on 12th February

1854, having for his fellow passengers the late Messrs Ross, Calder, and Alexander; and also Mr James Kilgour and Mr John Sibbald, who are still spared in our midst.

On arriving in Dunedin Mr Paterson first started in business in Rattray street, his advertisement showing that he had • for sale

"Crystal and earthenware, boots and shoes, gingerbread, gunpowder, castor oil, castiron pots, herrings," aud many other promiscuous articles suited for the wants of a young community. He afterwards removed to Princes street, and subsequeutly, in conjunction with the late Mr George Hepburn, purchased the the local business of J. Macandrew and Co., and started in Manse street under the firm of James Paterson and Co., saddlers, general merchants, aud commission agonts, and in this trade he continued until the dissolution of the firm in 1862.

Mr Paterson had not identified himself very much up to this period with either. local or political matters, but was one of those who followed the advice of " stickiug to his business." It.was, therefore, with considerable surprise that the announcement was made in May 1862 that Mr Paterson would contest the representation of Dunedin in the Assembly with

" tho Major " (Richardson). At the poll he was defeated by a slender majority of eight votes. In November following, however, he was returned unopposed for the same district. This was his first publio political position. In 1863 he was returned at the foot of the poll as a member of the Provincial Council for Dunedin, his colleagues being Messrs Kilgour, Moss, Cargill, Birch, Reynolds, and Dick. In 1864 he occupied the position of Provincial Secretary under the superintendency of Mr Harris, aud had the honour of introducing to the Council some useful measures and effecting reductions iv public expenditure. He continued Secretary for about two years, and it was by his guidance the ordinance was passed through all its stages, and received the assent of his Honor in one day by which the Town Board of Duuedin was dissolved and commissioners appointed to carry on oiv'c business.

Mr Paterson's ambition had a higher aim, however, than provincial legislation, and having once tasted the delights of parliamentary life,he resolved to continue iii their pursuit. A dissolution having occurred and a redistribution effected, he stood in June 1863 for Dunedin and suburbs south, having as au opponent Mr (now Sir) Julius Vogel, whom he defeated by 105 to 72. At tho first meeting of the Assembly afterward (October 1865) he was appointed a member of the Executive Counoil, having as colleagues Messrs Stafford, Haultain, acd Russel,and in Slay 1886 he was entrusted with the portfolio of Post-master-general iv tho Stafford Administration, which he held until A ugust following, wheu the Government were defeated. It, may be noticed ho had beon again in March that year returned as a Duuedin representative iv conjunction with Mr Reynolds, the voting being—Paterson 610, Reynolds 609; the defeated candidates beiug Grant, Millar, and Birch. His subsequent parliameutry career was not a very pleasant one, as he had espoused the cause of the centralist in opposition to the provincial party, and was consequently very unpopular in Dunedin. When brought to book at one meeting in the Princess Theatre he was so hooted aud censured for his action iv the Assembly as to be unable to obtain

a hearing, aud had to retire under an escort. Previous to the arrival of the representatives ei'ery preparation had been mado to manifest the popular ill-will, hut by a fortunate move the representatives escaped both the offensive missiles prepared for them and the questionable music with whioh they were to he greeted. Again iii returning from Wellington in November 1868, he was invited by requisition, along with his colleague Mr Reynolds to a public meeting in the theatre to give an account of his actions. Mr Reynolds attended, but Mr Paterson considered discretion the batter part of valour, and sent the following characteristic letter to the chairman, Mr Mayor Birch:—

Dear Sir,—ln reply, I have to say that the gentlemen singing the requisition must be strangely oblivious of what took place at the last public meeting which I attended in Dunedin, otherwise it is somewhat singular that they should think of inviting me to attend another meeting of the same kind. However, if they lia.-e forgotten it I have not, and 1 must positively decline to put myself in a position where I shall be exposed to a lepetition of the gratuitous insults which were offered to me on that occasion.—Yours respectfully,

Jas. Patkhmox. He did not afterwards seek re-election as a representative ; but in Juno 1869, Mr Stafford being again in power, a summons was issued by the Governor calling him to a seat in the Legislative Council, which position he very worthily occupied until age and infirmity prevented him occupying bis wonted seat.

Jlr Paterson after leaving business in Dimedin !"«,1 the fvperiment of fanning, having .11 quired * large tr» : t of country at Tokomairiro, wuicn ijb naiuu,! Unchton estate; but the venture did not prove a proCtable one, and for many years past ho has resided quietly iv Dunedin. In 1859 ho married the widow of- Mr Th_>mas Bain, who survives him, but he leaves no family behind. In religious mitters he took considerable interest, and was a prominent member and officebearer in the Presbyterian Church.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ODT18860730.2.26

Bibliographic details

OBITUARY., Otago Daily Times, Issue 7628, 30 July 1886

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1,392

OBITUARY. Otago Daily Times, Issue 7628, 30 July 1886

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