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Fatal Accident.

DEATH OF MR SEATON M.H.IS. A sad buggy accident occurred on Saturday afternoon, resulting in the death of Mr James Seaton, M.H.R. ior the Peninsula district, The deceased had in the morning purchased a horse at Tattersalls Saleyards, and was driving it in his buggy for the first time. When nearly opposite the Post-office, the animal, from some unexplained cause, took fright, and bolted up Stafford street at a high rate of speed, subsequently turning off into Hope street. The trap kept fairly well in the centre of the road for some distance, and Mr Seaton was observed to be making strenuous efforts to check the horse. When near the junction of Walker street, hovvever, the animal s>verved, taking the buggy on to the footpath, and opposite the Caledonian Hotel it came into 'violent collision with a lamp-post. The vehicle was here overturned, and the horse became detached from it. Mr Seaton, when picked up, was lying at some distance from the trap, owing doubtless to the violence of the shock, and to the tight grip which he had of the reins. Two constables were the first to reach the injured man, and found him cut severely about the head and neck, and quite unconscious. He was at once removed to Scott's hotel, and Dr De Zouche was summoned. The deceased, however, had sustained a severe fracture of the skull, and lived only for a very short time after the accident. The horse, after becoming freed from the vehicle, continued its course down Princes street south, and was stopped near the Cricket-ground, after running into a trap. A passer-by who witnessed the occurrence gives the following account : — " I was crossing the street about a quarter or 20 minutes past 2 o'clock, and noticed a trap with a white or light-grey horse coming down Hope street, having crossed Walker street. The pace was lively, but not unusual. I ttirned my head a second time, and saw the trap increase its specd — leaving the centre of the street for the pathway, — and from the angle formed, saw that it must come in contact with the lamp-post. I jumped across the pathway to lay down a parcel of books I was carrying, and in the interval — not more than a few seconds — the trap had come into collision with the lamp-post, and the horse had freed itself and was galloping down the street. My impression at the moment was, and is, that Mi* Seaton had pulled* the wrong rein, forcing the horse from the middle of the road to the pathway. A horse bolting will invariably aim for a clear course, unless otherwise influenced, and there can be no doubt that the momentum, aided by the springs of the trap, pitched Mr Seaton clean out of the seat on to the hard road, a distance of about five yards from where the trap struck the lamp-post.' Mr Seaton's body was removed from the hotel to the morgue on Saturday afternoon, and was thence conveyed to his private residence yesterday morning. An inquest has been considered unnecessary. The gentleman whose sad deatli is chronicled above was born in the parish of Sorn, Ayrshire, Scotland, in May, 1822, and was one of the original settlers of Otago, arriving here by the ship Philip Laing in 1848. Like all the other arrivals, he had the not very inviting task of making a living for himself and family in a land where his trade of cotton manufacturer was of no use to him. Endowed, like most of his fellow passengers, with a spirit of strong self-reliance and energy, he did not settle down in despair at the prospect, but will-

ingly turned his hand to whatever he could find to do to work out a livelihood. After many vicissitudes in his career, he eventually made his selection at Portobello, and by dint of hard work and considerable roughing succeeded in not only keeping his feet clear, but also in accumulating a small amount of worldly gear. Occupying a position as a member of the General Boad and Education Boards of the province, he entered the political arena as a member of the Provincial Council in ISG7, being elected as their representative by his fellow settlers In the Peninsula district, and again re-elected in 1871 against influential opponents. He continued as member for the district until 1872, when he resigned, and was appointed, in conjunction with the late Thomas Birch, one of the agents for immigration from Britain to the Colony. In 1875 he was elected member of the House of Representatives for Caversham district, and continued in office till the dissolution of Parliament in 1879, but at the following election did not again offer himself as a candidate. At the general election, 1881, for the new district of Peninsula he was returned as M.H.R., after a keen contest, by a substantial majority. Now, by his death, the electorate is again vacant — the first vacancy that has, after an undisputed election, occurred in the present Parliament, and, strange to say, the third time this constituency has been deprived by death of its representative, the two previous cases being those of Mr Cantrell and Mr Tolmie ; for although the name has changed, the whole territory was included in the old division. Mr Seaton was not a man who made any pretension as a public speaker. That role was not in his lino. He possessed the quality of common sense so well as to know he was not an orator, hardly even a commonplace speaker, so that neither in the Council nor Assembly was his voice often heard. But as a worker he was thorough and indefatigable. Devoted to his constituents, he wrought out for them, as far as lay in his power and commended itself to his judgment, all they required of him. Both in the rural portion of the district — viz., the _ Peninsula County, and in the burghal portion — South Duuedin and St. Kilda — hisworksspeakforhim. Whether all are satisfied or no is not the question. The endowment for the library in the former, as well as other matters, are a lasting testimony to his merits ; whilst in the latter the 10-acre endowment wrenched from the Harbour Board, his efforts for railway-station improvements, and details less prominent in their character will keep his memory fresh before the minds of councillors and burgesses whilst the present generation exists. To his party in the Council and the Assembly he was equally attached and valuable. Strict in his attention to legislative duties, both in the House and in committees, he was equally valuable and vigilant as whip to the party with whom he was allied, and ofttimes his friends advised him that too close attention was ruining his health. Worn out and weary he used to return from his duties in Wellington, and a visit to the hot springs or to a warmer climate was necessary to recruit his strength. In private life he was thoroughly sociable and domesticated, occupying his leisure with his favourite .studies in botany and photography. His tragic and comparatively early death (in his Gist year) will leave a great blank in the society of his family and friends, and his constituents have been deprived of the opportunity of testifying their value of his merits, as the public demonstration arranged to be given to-morrow in his honour cannot take place. Mr Seaton leaves a widow and a family of 12 grown-up sons and daughters to mourn their sad and unexpected bereavement. The funeral took place on Tuesday, Mr Seaton'sremains being interred in the cemeterynear the Presbyterian church at Portobello. JSo purer testimony of the great and general esteem in which the deceased gentleman was held could have been given than was presented. A great mauy old settlers, nearly all our public men, and a large number of the pei-sonal friends of Mr Seaton attended his funeral. The steamer Iron Age, which had been granted for the purpose by the Harbour Board, conveyed a large number of gentlemen to Portobello, and others went there from town in traps and on horseback. Upwards of 300 persons must have formed the funeral procession, amongst whom we noticed Messrs W. Montgomery, H. S. Fish, M. W. Green, J. Bathgate, T. Bracken, H. Driver, J. Macandrew, J. W. Thomson, and W. Ban-on (M.H.R.'s), the Hon. W. H. Reynolds, Hon. Capt. Fraser,- Capt. Thomson, his Worship the Mayor (Mr J. Gore), Capt. Baldwin, Messrs Cutten, Larnach, R. K. Murray, H. Bastings, A. Rennie, A. H. Ross, G. Turnbull, J. Sibbald, J. Muir, Jas. Barr, G. T. Clarke, A. Grant, R. B. Martin, John Mouat (solicitor), M'Kinlay, R. Short, J. L. Gillies, and Dr Coughtrey. The service at the grave, which was brief' but impressive, was conducted by the Rev. Mr Greig.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18821125.2.21.5

Bibliographic details

Fatal Accident., Otago Witness, Issue 1618, 25 November 1882

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Fatal Accident. Otago Witness, Issue 1618, 25 November 1882

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