Mr. William Whitehouse Collins,
J.P., who was returned as a Member of the House of Representative for Christchurch
at the general election of 1893, was born in Harbourne, Staffordshire, England, and is the son of a well-known manufacturer. He inherits radical principles from his grandfather, John Collins, one of the Chartist prisoners. The subject of this notice, who was educated at a private school, at Midlaw Institute, and at Mason College, Birmingham, was intended for a minister of the Baptist Church, but found a preliminary sphere in commercial pursuits. He studied at South Kensington, in the Science and Art Department, and holds high awards for success in the advanced section. Mr. Collins became connected with the Secularists and for some time worked with Mr. Bradlaugh and Mrs. Besant, throwing himself heartily into the various movements, political and otherwise, initiated by them. He obtained a diploma as a lecturer from the National Secular Society, and came to Sydney in 1885 under engagement to the Freethought Association, and stayed in that city for five years, lecturing and organising. Subsequently he spent five years in Tasmania, where he was similarly engaged. During the ten years he spent in the sister Colonies, Mr. Collins travelled periodically, throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, lecturing at the various centres. In 1890 he settled in Christchurch, and established the Lyceum, which he still conducts, and has taken an active part in all advanced political movements. He returned to Sydney in 1893 to lead the Freethought movement, but was induced by his friends to return to Christchurch to contest one of the seats for the city, in which he was successful. At the election of 1896 Mr. Collins was defeated by a narrow majority; but in 1899 he was returned as senior member with 7,688 votes to his credit. He is a visiting Justice of the Lyttelton Gaol, and of the Deaf and Dumb Institution at Sumner. Mr. Collins was married in 1886 to a daughter of Mr. Ehenezer Skinner, of Sydney, many years president of the Liberal Association, and has one son.