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OBITUARY.

DEATH OF MR THOMAS KING.

We have lost another of our old colonists, and one of the leading men of this pace, by the death of Mr Thomas KiDg. Tiie colony way, perhaps, have had more prominent men in the political arena, but in less exciting spheres of social and political activity Mr T. King has during tho last half century been amongst the very foremost. The present generation of politicians are apt to forget the extent to which the institutions in which wo aro accustomed to pride ourtelves are indebted to a raco of men now rapidly passing away. For some time it has been a patent fact to most persons that Mr ThctnaB King was failing in hi alth, but up to about five weeks ago lie was able to walk into town and transact his business. Gradually his weakness has increased, and he at last quietly passod away this (Friday) morning, about 4 o'clock. . Mr Thomas King was born in London on November 21, 1821, and was, therefore, in his 73rd year. He received a sound c lucation at one of the Commercial Schools in the Metropolis, and at a comparative!) early age entered the office of a merchant in the Coal Exchange. Before he was eighteen he had almost the whole control of tho business, showing his financial ability even as a youth. He was, how ever, of a delicate constitution, and tearing that tho English climate would be tho cause of his goin,£ into a decline, he decided to come to New Zealand. About two years since Mr Seffern wroto tho following biography of Mr King for tho Nno Zcalam (trophic, which In" a pain ul interest owing to the fact that i!ic deceased geutleman revised the copy himself, and in some places re wrote it — "When a joungman of about twenty jejrs of nge. the ' Plymouth Company' was being formed for the purpose of colonis-ing New Zealand from Iho West ot England, and being of an ad venturous disposition Mr T. King made up his mind to em'grate. Ho put chased two 50 acre section*, and made arrangements for loav. ing England by the first vessel fvr New Zealand. Mr King sailed with his friend Mr Rich rd Chilman (whose sister he afterwards mairied) in the barque William Bryan on November 19 1840, and they reached their destination on March 31, 1841. Having bionght out with him a small quantity of goods which were soon sold, he got employment as opportunity offered, and in 1843 commence 1 importing from England on a considerable scale at that time. In 1844, in conjunction witli the late Mr liorsett, ho engaged also in the coasting trade by chartering a small schooner called the " Uarbon"' a 12 ton boat- In this cockle shell tho two partnen exported the produce of tho di-trict from New Plymouth to Manukau, Nelson, and Wellington, an<l with the proceeds broughl return cargoes oE such good^ as were ir demand in those priinitivo days. The first whoat grown in New Plynu ull was threshed by flail, or whipped across a cask ; and was ground by Hit late Mr Samuel Oliver in the mill lie had erected on tlie Huatoki River, the stonef of which were made out of b uldera or the beach. In 1844 flour was imported but in the following year tho p»rtnera ; frcm the surplus prdtluco grown in the place exported a hundred tons in parcels ol about ten tono. In 1848 Mr King took iij some land in the Mangorei district, ant commenced farming. It was hero thai Lord Robert Cecil (now the Marquis ol Salisbury and ex-Piimo Minister ol England) during bis tour round the work in 1852, found Mr King, and where tbf two, seated on a log of a fallen tree, had t long chat respecting tho state of the Colo' ni s and New Zealund in particular. Wlier the Constitution Act was brought intc force in 1852 Mr Thomas King was elected a member of the House of Representative* and attended the first session of tin General Assembly in Auckland ia 1854 also the one held in 1855. During the years between 1856 and 1860 Mr King toot part in the local politics of Tar.inaki, and represented the town of New Plymouth it the Provincial Council, and held the posi tionof Provin.ial Treasurer. In 1860 he was again returned a member of tin House of Representatives, and il was ho who exposed in a letter to the Nthon Examiner what was known as the ' Royal Hotol Conspiracy.' In it, he dos cribtd a meeting that was held in the Royal Hotel, Auckland, by tho ' Peace al Any Price Party, 1 to concoct a scheme tc go down to Waikato unknown to the Government, and negotiate terms of peace with Wireaiu Tatnihana upon any terms whatever. The letter caused a groal sensation at the time, and no doubt affected the rosult of the election, which was on the eve of coming off On the Bank of New Zealand being started in 1831, Mr King was appointed manager of! the Now Plymouth branch, which position he hold foi sixteen years with consi erable ability ami : re at advantage to that institution ; and on his retirement he was proscnted with n hundboine Bilvor sorvice of plate by the custom'. rs. Sin.c 1880, Mr King has occupied iiis time with local matters ; being a member of several of tho local boards, Ho has always taken a groat interest in the Harbour works at Moturoa, aud fo« the last ten y< are lias been Chairman of the Now Plymouth Harbour Board. By his careful financing he succeeded in staving off for a considerable time the Board's default in not meeting the coupons on its loan ; notwithstanding tho endowment fund was being gradually confiscated by the central General Government. And when the Government refused to enquire into the merits of the casb, of tho relations of the Harbour Board with tho bondholders and tho ratepayers, he strove to prevent tho Taranaki district from being unjustly treated. Mr Thomas King has been a great reader in his time, and ho sti 1 keeps himself we'l posted up in all affairs going on at Homo and in the colonies. He is full of information, and his retentive memory enables Irui to relato numerous amusing ane 'dotes connected with the o rly tettlement of Now Zealand. Dr Truby King, in charge of the SeacliU: Lunatic ABjlu'i>,noarDunodin, MrNewton King, tho well known merchant and auctioneer oE New Plymouth, and Mr Henry King, one of the successful farmers in Turanaki, are Rons; and tho wife of Mr t\ W. Marclmnt, CE., of Tiuiaru, ia a daughter of the gentleman to whom we liave been referring. We can add little to tin above. Mr King whs universally est otuod, and every sign of mourning was visible in town today. The Ban 8 and oilier commercial institutions had their blinds down, and flags at half in ist woro to-be seen in tvery direction. At the harbour the shipping in port had tlnir flags lowered as a mark of respect for the deceased gentleman, who dovoted so much time during i lie later years of his lifo in looking after their interests, as Chairman of tlio iluibour Board. The funeral will take pace on Snnday next, leaving for the Honui Cemetery at 1.45 p.m.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/TH18930428.2.11

Bibliographic details

OBITUARY., Taranaki Herald, Volume XLII, Issue 9684, 28 April 1893

Word Count
1,235

OBITUARY. Taranaki Herald, Volume XLII, Issue 9684, 28 April 1893

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