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OBITUARY.

MR JAMES PATEBSOtf.

Mr James Patersou whose death we briefly chronicled in our last issue, was 79 years of age at the time of his death, having bsen born in Edinburgh in 1808. In 1833 he went to tho West Inches, and remained there 14 years, after which he returned to the Old Country. In 1854 he arrived in Dunedin by the ship Clutha, along with Messrs John Sibbald, James Kilgour, and others. Shortly after his arrival he started business as a merchant, and was subsequently joined by his brother-in-law, Mi- George Hepburn, the business being carried on under the name of James Paterson ami Co. This firm bought out Mr James Macandrew's business, which they continued till 1562, when they retired, the firm being merged into that of M'Landress, Hejiburn, and Co. In 1861 Mr Palerson commenced his political career, having 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 h« contested a seat in the House of Representatives against Major Richardson, but suffered a defeat. In November of the same year, however, he was returned for the city. In 1865 he stood for the mayoralty of the city, against four other candidates, but was defeated by Mr Mason. In 1866 he was elected to the House of Representatives, and became a member of .the Stafford Government in the same year, holding tb« portfolio of Postmastergenera.l, and in 1869 he received a call to the Legislative Council, of which he was a member until the time of his death. He has not, however, taken his seat in the Council since about five years ago, when ho received a paralytic stroke, from the effects of which he never recovered. He leaves a widow to mourn his loss, also a brother and three stepchildren.

[communicated.] Following closely after 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 in 1807, and having served his time to his trade as a saddler he left his native town for British Guiana, and remained there for about ten years. Colonial settlement was not then so common or go high in repute as it became some time afterwards, but it so happened that about the time Mr Paterson returned to his native city the late Mr George Ress, who was one of tho first Otago settlers, had returned to Scotland for the purpose of having a veSsel built to suit tho probpected development of the young colony, and on a mutual consultation Mr Paterson resolved to become a true colonist. Accordingly, having completed arrangements, he joined the new brigautine Clutha, sailed from Leilh in November 1853, and reached Dunedm 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 sbill spared in our midst.

On arriving in Dunedin Mr Paterson first started iv 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," and many other promiscuous articles suited for the wants of a young community. He afterwards removed to Princes street, and subsequently, in conjunction with the late Mr George Hepburn, purchased the the local business of J. Macnndrew and Co., and started in Manse street under the firm of James Paterson and Co., saddlers, general merchants, and commission agents, 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 "sticking to his business." It was, therefore, with considerable surprise that the announcement was made in May 1802 that Mr Paterson would contest the representation of Dunedin iv the Assembly with " the 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 public 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 1564 he occupied the position of Provincial Secretary under the superintendence of Mr Harris, and had the honour of introducing to the Council some useful measures and effecting reductions in 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 Dunudin was dissolved and commissioners appointed to carry on civ : c business.

Mr Paterson's ambition had a higher aim, however, than provincial legislation, and having once tasted the delights of parliamentary life,ho resolved to continue in their pursuit. A dissolution having occurred and a redistribution effected, he stood in June 1863 for Dunedin and suburbs south, having as an opponent Mr (now Sir) Julius Vogel, whom he defeated by 105 to 72. At the first meeting of the Assembly afterward (October 1865) he was appointed a member of the Executive Council, having as colleagues Messrs Stafford, Haultain, and Russel, and in May 1886 he was entrusted with the portfolio of Post-master-general in the Stafford Administration, which he held until August following, when the Government were defeated. It may be noticed he had been again in March that year returned as a Duuedin representative in conjunction with Mr Reynolds, the voting being— Paterson 610, Reynolds 609 ; the defeated candidates being Grant, Millar, and Birch. His subsequent parliamentry 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 and censured for his action in tho Assembly as to be unable to obtain a hearing, and had to retire under an escort. Previous to the arrival of the representatives every preparation had been made to manifest the popular ill-will, but by a fortunate move the representatives escaped both the offensive missiles prepared for them and the questionable music with which they were to be greeted. Again in returning from Wellington m November 1868, he was invited by requisition, along with his colleague Mr Reynolds to a public meeting in the theatre to pive an account of his actions. Mr Reynolds attended, but Mr Paterson considered discretion tbe better part of valour, and sent the following characteristic letter to the chairmun, Mr Mayor Birch :— J

Dear Sir,— ln reply, I have to say that the gentlemen singing the requisition must bo strangely oblivious of what took place at the last puhtfc meet-

ing which I attended in Dunedin, otherwise it U somewhat singular that they should think of invifc' ing me to attend another meeting of the same kind. However, if they have forgotten it 1 have not, and I must positively decline to put myself in a position where I shall bo exposed to a repetition of the gratuitous insults which were offered to me on that occasion.— Yours respectfully,

Jas. Fatjgrson. He did not afterwards seek re-election as a representatire; but in June 18§9, 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 his wonted seat.

Mr Paterson ,after leaving business in Dunedin tried the experiment of farming, having acquired a large tract of country at Tokomairiro, which he named Crichton estate; but the venture did not prove a profitable one, and for many years past he has resided quietly iv Dunedin. In 1859 he married the widow of Mr Thomas Bain, who survives him, but he leaves no family behind. In religious matters he took considerable interest, and was a prominent member and officebearer in the Presbyterian Church.

The funeral took place on Monday, and was largely attended by many of the leading citizens of Dunedin. Among those present were the Kovs. Dr Stuart (who conducted the burial service), Will, Watt, and Cameron, Hon. G. M'Lean, Messrs Paterson (deceased's brother), R. A. Lawson, A. Bartlemau, E. B. Cargill, DrHislop, J. L. Gillies, Mackerras, J. Davie, P. O. Neill, R. B. Martin, T. T. Ritchie, A. R. Ure» Forsyth, J. Reid, J. Mollison, Hodgkins, Sibfcald, W, Hepburn. J. Patterson (Molyneux), W. Mills, Kilgour (Pleasant Valley), G. M. Barr, R. Murray (Tokomairira),Langlands, H. Clark (Milton), A. Mercer, J. Adams (Tokomairiro), Hutchison, Lubecki, Alex. Rennie, A. C. Begg, H. Bastings, T. Dick, Mackay, W. Wilson, Professor Shand, and Major Andrew (Taieri).

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/OW18860806.2.113

Bibliographic details

OBITUARY., Otago Witness, Issue 181, 6 August 1886

Word Count
1,503

OBITUARY. Otago Witness, Issue 181, 6 August 1886

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