Location: South Shields, England
DINNER AND PRESENTATION TO MR JOHN EDGAR
Shields Daily Gazette - Saturday 31 July 1880
Last night, a farewell dinner was given to Mr John Edgar, at the Golden Lion Hotel, King Street, on the occasion of his leaving South Shields for Texas, U.S.A., and at the and the same time a beautifully illuminated address on vellum in book form was presented to Mr Edgar.
The Mayor (Mr Ald. Readhead) occupied the chair, and was supported on his right by John Edgar, Mr Ald. Stainton, Mr J, M. Moore (Town Clerk); and on his left by Mr Ald. Glover, J.P., Mr Councillor Oldroyd, J. Grabham (Newcastle), Mr.Councillor Cousins, Mr Councillor Wardle, and Mr Councillor Dale. The vice-chair was occupied by Capt. T. Graham, Third Durham Rifle Volunteers. Amongst the company were Capt. W. Guthrie. Lieut. Iveson (Winlaton), Lieut. Shotton (Winlaton), Lieut. Bewicke, Lieut. Guthrie, Lieut. Crea, Surgeon Denham, Messrs T. Binks, M. Urwin, J. Reay, James Edgar, E. Suddards, E. Leete, Matthew Hall (Borough Engineer), W. Harwood, T. Smith, T. Gentles, C. Cobham, H. Niven, James Campbell, T. Oates, F. Mackey, A. Hall, A. Hope, J. Wright, G. C. Whitfield, J. M. Milnes, W, Glover, G. S. Shotton. J. R. Hall, W. J. Stout, J. Stuart, Master of the South Shields Union Workhouse ; J. H. Morton, W. Davidson, W. J. Haggerston (Newcastle), T. W. Guest, J. Hart, and others. Letters of apology for absence had been received from Major Proctor, Capt. Douglass, Lieut Roember, Rev. J. J. Taylor (Chaplain Third Durham Rifle Volunteers), and Mr J. Annand.
The dinner was served up in the Assembly Room of the hotel, and the tasteful arrangement of the tables was greatly admired.
Upon the removal of the cloth, the Chairman proposed the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, "The Queen," "The Prince and Princess of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family," and "The Bishop and Clergy and Ministers of all Denominations."
Ald. Glover then proposed The Army, Navy, and Reserve Forces." He referred to the recent fearful disaster in Afghanistan, and said he believed that every man whose heart was in its right place was exceedingly sorry to hear about it. It was unfortunate for any country, or any body of men to meet a reverse of fortune, but we had always retrieved our misfortunes, whether connected with the army the navy. Our army and navy would continue to the end of all time if the country was true to itself. The other nations knew that we only wanted what was right for this great and glorious country, and that we did not wish to trample upon the. interests of any other country.
With regard to Mr Edgar's departure, he said was always pleasing to see people come into South Shields, but they were sorry to see good neighbour, good citizen, and good tradesman leaving the town. (Hear, hear.) Mr Edgar had chosen to go out to Texas, and to take with him his large family. He was comparatively young man, and a likely person to raise himself to an important position in the country to which he was going. He believed that Edgar carried with him the good wishes thousands of the inhabitants of South Shields.
Captain Graham, 3rd D.R.V., suitably responded to the toast, and said he believed that volunteers were now soldiers in every sense of the word. He was proud to say that the corps in South Shields was a very efficient one, and he was exceedingly sorry that in parting with Capt. Edgar they would lose one their best officers. (Applause.)
J. M. (Town Clerk) proposed the toast of the evening, "Mr John Edgar and Family." He felt that the danger before him was that in submitting their sentiments he might use words of flattery and adulation, while it would be his desire to use only words of truth and sincerity.
They were called together that evening in such gratifying numbers to say farewell to Mr 'John Edgar. That gentleman was distinguished by that quality which he (Mr Moore) believed were possessed by everybody present—the quality of absolute and tried integrity; and he also possessed public spirit and an earnest desire to perform the duties of usefulness with efficiency and conscientiousness. He had also to recognise in Mr Edgar independence and firmness of character. He had been that gentleman's near neighbour for 25 years, and therefore know him intimately, and from his official position he knew Mr Edgar's career as a councillor and as a guardian. But almost greater than that were his relations as a tradesman and commercialman Mr Edgar had performed those duties not only with ability, but with a strong determination to do that which was right and which was admirable.
As a member of the Council Mr Edgar supported every matter for the advantage of the town; and they were all aware how, as a member of the Board of Guardians, he had given his valuable time and ability to the plan and construction of the Workhouse that had recently been built at West Harton, and for which no less than £45,000 had been spent. His colleagues, who were the best judges, thought he performed his duties with ability, with satisfaction to them, and, with advantage to the ratepayers. (Applause.)
In the new country to which he was going there would be a wide field for the energy and determination which perhaps had had no great work to perform in South Shields—for in this town one might wait a long time before striking any iron that might be of advantage to the present or future generation—but which would in the future be of advantage in a new country. He did not think it possible for any man to have pronounced upon him a higher eulogium than that he was a man of the strict and most undoubted integrity of purpose, that he had tried on every occasion where opportunity offered to perform all the duties of life as man and as a citizen with exemplary diligence, with care, and with a. constant desire to do the greatest good in his power. (Applause.)
Mr Moore next referred to the promise Mr Edgar's son. gave of becoming a successful artist. Mr. Edgar had four other children, and to these, and to Mrs Edgar, he was sure those present wished every prosperity.
Mr Moore concluded by asking Mr Edgar's acceptance of the address. The address was then handed to Mr Edgar, and afterwards read by Mr T. Binks. A copy the address, which had been beautifully illuminated and elegantly bound in Morocco by Mr Algernon Percy, of Newcastle, has already appeared in these columns.
Mr Edgar, on rising to respond, was greeted with enthusiastic applause. He asked them to believe that this was one of the most painful and yet pleasant events of his life. It was painful for many reasons. Painful, because he was about to part with them after a connection extending over a great many years, in fact, over the greater part of his life. It was also painful because of the many very complimentary remarks that had been made by Mr Moore with regard to himself and his public career painful, because he did not think he had quite merited them. This occasion was, however, very pleasant because they had given him such a mark of their appreciation of his services, such as they had been. It was a evidence that when he left they would think of him, and probably miss him.
During the time he had been in that town and taken any part in its public affairs he had striven to do his duty as citizen—(hear, hear) —he would at all times take credit for that. He had always tried to do his best, and the address with which they had honoured him that night was a proof that they had at all events appreciated his services. He would treasure that address his dying day, and he hoped his family would retain it as an evidence that their parent was appreciated in the community which he lived before they went to their new country. (Hear, hear.) In that address he noticed that they referred to his services in the Town Council, the Board of Guardians, and also to the part he had taken in the volunteer movement.
He was for three years a member of the Council, but he was compelled to admit that he was failure, and therefore he gave it up.
He was a Guardian for a good many years, and he felt that he was of a little more use to the town in that capacity.
As Mr Moore had referred to his work in connection with the new Workhouse, he might be excused for alluding to it himself. He had a small share in promoting the scheme for the construction of the new workhouse, and he had the honour to be Chairman of the Building Committee. He was proud to say that the thing which he was present at the initiation of, had been carried to a successful conclusion ; and although some people South Shields might at the present time be rather doubtful of the benefits of that institution, and its being an advantage to them,he hoped and believed that the course the Guardians took under his pressure, and he might say, his advice, would undoubtedly prove to be good for the community at large. (Hear, hear.) During the time he was connected with the Board of Guardians he always felt a great pleasure in the work. All his dealings with the members and officials were of the most pleasant and satisfactory character, and he left the Board with considerable regret.
With regard to his share in the volunteer movement, as the address states, he had been a volunteer for great many years; in fact, since the movement was commenced twenty-one years ago ; and it was one of his greatest regrets to part with the regiments to which he had had the honour to belong. (Hear, hear.)
He asked them to accept his sincere thanks for this very valuable gift, and for the great compliment they had paid him in attending there that evening in such large numbers. He thanked Mr Moore for the very many flattering things he had said about him, and he thanked them all for the good wishes they had expressed towards his wife and family—(hear, hear) —and he assured them he would always remember with the liveliest interest the people of South Shields, and take a real and living interest in the success of that town. (Applause.)
Lieut. Bewicke proposed "The Mayor and Corporation," to which the Mayor briefly responded. The toast of " The Press" was given by Mr Ald. Stainton, and the interesting proceedings afterwards terminated.
Mr Edgar and family leave South Shields this evening in the screw-steamer Roxburgh Castle, of the Red Cross Line, bound for New York via Dundee.