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PARS ABOUT PEOPLE

TWO more vacancies in the Upper House— three within a few weeks.

The Hon. Captain Morris, who died from injuries received in tripping and falling in his house at has been in public life in Auckland since 1872, first as Provincial Council, lor, then as member of the House of Representatives for the Bay of Plenty seat, and since 1885 as Legislative Councillor. < Mice lie held ministerial office — in the first Stout- Vogid Government, which lived- for less than a fortnight. In late years Captain Morris has taken very little part in legislative work. Though regular in his atten-

dance in the Council except when laid aside by illness, his voice was scarcely ever heard otherwise than in divisions.

The Hon. I)r (Jrace was one of the most influential members of the Council, and has long been its most brilliant debater. He was an astute tactician anil man of the world, and had a turn of genuine Irish humour, a fund of racy anecdote, and a happy delivery that made his speeches always worth listening to. I)r (J'ace came to the colony as an army surgeon, and after doing valuable service in the Maori war, settled in lSo'b" at Wellington, where he formed an excellent surgical practice. Successful also in investments, he became one of the wealthiest men of Xew Zealand, and, moreover, married into a wealthy mercantile family, the Johnstons, of Wellington, who have furnished three members of the Upper House. i ntil bought out by the municipality a year or two ago, he was one of the proprietors of the Wellington City tramways. Also, he was one of the leading Roman Catholics in the colony, and received from the Vatican an appointment as Count of the Holy Koman Empire.

How did -lolin Henry llumiau become a J. P. ? That is one of the things no fellow can understand. Popular report attributes the appointment to the influence of J. M. Shnra, whim he was a member, and it is also said that tliis is the rock on which Shera's political barque foundered. The funny thing is that instead of being profoundly grateful for the appointment, and kissing the toe of Pope Seddon periodically in humble gratitude, Hannan tried to get into the House in order to turn his benefactor out. The electors would stand a great deal, but they wouldn't stand llannan — J.P. or otherwise.

TiJie veterans of Parliament are thinning down. Sir William Steward and Mr J. W. Tlioinson (Clutha) are now t lie olilest members of the House of Representatives, having been sworn in in 1871, thirty-two years ago. But neither of them lias sat continuously. Sir William Russell, on the other hand, has held his seat since 1871), Mr Seddon since 1879, and Mr Duncan since 1882. Mr iJuchanan has been in Parliament, with one three - years' interval, since 1881. Most of the rest of the members are comparative newchums.

Two New Zealand pressmen have gone the way of all flesh this week. Mr P. S. Cassidy, who died at Christchurch, was an ex-American journalist, and was notable as the man who once attempted to graft Yankee methods upon New Zealand press- work, when manager of the New Zealand Times, Under the norn de, plume of "The Fat Contributor" lie opened a column of racy comment upon men and events. But the New York style of personalities proved extremely offensive to Wellingtonians, and the. experiment was dropped after a few months', trial. The other death is that of Mr George Shaw, formerly a witty member of the Parliamentary press gallery, and an out-and-out Bohemian,

London Times, the puissant Thunderer of Printing House Square, is represented in New Zealand tor newsgathering purposes by Malcolm Ross, of Wellington, who has. other claims to celebrity in the way of ■ mountaineering, and the ,work of an art critic. Malcolm has just broken a lance with the most Influential newspaper of the Far South, the. Dunedin Star, over comments which it published upon his cablegram to the Times on the subject of the Auckland cabinetmakers' dispute. The Slur heavily bludgeoned his statements, and at the same time imputed motives. In so doing, it went beyond its warrant, and now it has had to withdraw all i s imputations and apologise (<j Mr Ross.

By the way, Mr Jtoss has tingood fortune to have a wife capable of taking up his literary work slmuM occasion arise. Mrs Ross is a regular newspaper contributor. She lias°also shared wit !i her husband the perils of Alpine climbing, and in this connection is one of the few New Zealand women who have had the courage to allow their portraits to be. taken us wearers of the divided skirl, and so published.

The death of the Hon. Captain Morris having created a vacancy m the Legislative Council, there is much stir amongst the leading lights of the Lilieral and Labour Federation, in expectation of a sudden call from His Excellency. William IJ-jehan is supposed to have the best chance, l»y reason of his dumb ami patient allegiance, but lie is away in Sydney just now. Harle C,ih>s is coming into the running, while Coroner (Jresliam is nursing hopes,. and 11. A. H. Hitchens opens liis telegrams with trembling and

expectant eagerness. Hy the way, the annual report of the Federal ion consists of mi enumeration of the billets it lias secured for its members during the year. Will it capture i he Council seal ?

Whispered that George FowUl.s expects to bo. made Commissioner of Trade and Customs when he returns from his Island trip. However, George may lie disappointed, as it is understood that the new lord of the Upper House (Tommy Thompson) is also an aspirant for the coveted position, which is said to carry with it occasional trips to the islands of the South Pacific-. Who wouldn't be Commissioner of Trade under these circumstances?

One of the candidates for an Auckland suburban mayoralty (Grey Lynn) is only in the Held on second thoughts. When an influential deputation of burgesses waited upon him and urged him to stand for the seat, he begged to be excused. The demands of his business were incompatible with the claims of Mayoral oltice, and he couldn't, take the responsibility. But as the deputation withdrew they met the gentleman's wife, just returning home. She was aghast at hearing what had happened. Would the deputation mind waiting a little while? They didn't mind in the least. There was a domestic conference for afew minutes, after which the deputalionee recalled his visitors to the house, and sheepishly informed them that he had reconsidered the matter, and would now agree to nomination. Clearly a case where the grey mare is the better horse.

This reminds us that there is a somewhat similar story tj tell in connection •with the Auckland Mayoral contest. At the outset, Mr Mitchelson absolutely refused to stand, alleging as his reason the hostility of his wife. Finally, in despair, the deputation asked whether he would accept nomination if Mrs Mitchelson consented. " Yes," he confidently replied, "you get her consent and I will sta>nd." The deputation waited on Mrs Mitchelsor, convinced her of the duty her husband owed to his citizenship, and returned triumphant. He had to stand to his promise.

The snd dun death of Mr .James Kerr, of Howick, occurred under unusually distressing circumstances. His large family had assembled for the wedding of one of his daughters. On the day before that fixed for the event Mr Kerr went out into the fields, and in the coarse of the afternoon he was found dead from heart di c ease. So instead of the wedding, his house wa given over to the solemn formalities of an inquest. Mr Kerr had Jived in the district more than fifty years, and was widely respected.

Vu \X alry in fisllin g exploits is keen on the Devonport S.F. Company's wharf. >ioe Carrie, after satirising the achievements of Johnnie Croll amongst the lishes, made an expedition himself, with humiliating results. Now, the laugh is with Johnnie Croll, who says he did bring something back with him while his rival Joe Carrie left everything behind him. It is reported at the moment of writing that Mr Sanford has made arrangements with Jim Coleman to start out in theexpectation that he may be able to relieve the trawler for a week or two.

That thorn is still money in the hotel trade i.s .shown by the tact that two successful publicans, Jack Teddy of Ohaupo, and Michael O'Connor, of Aratapu, have started out to do the grand tour. Mr Teddy, who left last week, goes via Rio, and takes with him numberless cards and directions trom old Thamesites who have done the tour, .so that he is evidently in for a jolly good t j Ine

Mr O'Connor, who has gone by anotherroute, furnishes a fair example of the possibilities of the trade. He commenced business on the river practically without a bean, and is now understood to be worth sometime like £•20,000. Michael's heart is in lousiness, and apropos of this a story is told. Sometime ago, he sold out on what were considered to be excellent terms. After the deal was arranged, Michael was found in tears of remorse at having sold the hou<e, and his spirits never revived until lie had paid the purchaser £500 to cry off the bargain, and was behind the bar once "lore. He is, by the way, an old policeman, and can tell some excellent stories of the old days in the force

••• ••• ■«. Jubal Fleming, whose death at Wmstchurch is announced this week, was one of the princes of turf speculation in the colony in his time. It was lie who conducted the hig southern sweeps on the Tattersall's principle while the late H. N. Abbott, of Auckland, carried on the northern ones. But some twenty years ago a spasm of virtue came over the New 'Zealand 1 arliament, and at one stroke it made racing consultations illegal. Its scruples, however, did not prevent it from carrying on the total isator for the benefit of its own revenue.

Murdoch McLean wears a load of care on his brow just now. For, in addition to the responsibilities of the big contracting business— the McLeans have works going on from here to Cook Strait— Murdoch is steeped to the neck in masonic affairs, as the Superintendent of Auckland district under the New Zealand Grand Lodge. Just now his concern is the provision for and entertainment of the crowd of delegates who are to meet in Auckland next month for the grand lodge session. It is expected to be the greatest gathering of Freemasons yet held in New Zealand, for it will be the first under the newly-adopted representation system. By the way, they say that Murdoch cut a striking figure the other day in performing the first masonic act done in public .since the display at St. Matthew's Church. He laid thefoundation. stone of the nnw hospital at Aratapu, and did the job in a most workmanlike fashion.

Mr Richard Cameron, manager of the Auckland Savings Bank,- returned by the mail steamer this week from a short holiday trip to San Francisco, where, by the way, he has three sons in business, all of whom are doing well. He looks much better for his trip.

James BiMii.iuntoirs sensational experience at the Wai hi mine, in falling through two mullock-passes, a distance of 120 feet, and coming out alive, though fatally injured, recalls a similar occurrence at the Thames nearly twenty years ago. It happened in the Prince Imperial mine, to a member of the well-known -Brown lee family. Brownlee was trucking at one of the low levels of the mine, and came with such a rush into the chamber that he was carried right across the slippery Hat-sheet, and man, truck, and contents were hurled into the shaft. Down they went, something like 150 feet, and poor Brownlee was given up for lost. His mates went below expecting to pick up the fragments, but were amazed to find their comrade still alive, although suffering terrible injuries. For several months he lay in the Thames Hospital, but eventually he recovered, and he is still amongst the hale and hearty on the goldfields. Poor Bennington, unhappily, had no such luck.

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PARS ABOUT PEOPLE Observer, Volume XXIII, Issue 32, 25 April 1903

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