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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Hon. Alfred Jerome Cadman

The Hon. Alfred Jerome Cadman, Minister for Railways and Mines, is the eldest son of the late
The Hon. Alfred Jerome Cadman,

Photo by Wrigglesworth and Binns.

Mr. Jerome Cadman, who was well-known to Aucklanders as a prominent member of the Provincial Council. The subject of this notice was born in Sydney, New South Wales, in 1847, and was an infant when his parents crossed over to Auckland. Educated at the parish schools of St. Paul's and St. Matthew's, and at Wesley College, Auckland, he was apprenticed to Mr. E. I. Matthews, with
The Late Mrs. Cadman.

The Late Mrs. Cadman.

whom he served his full term to the carpentering trade. When Mr. Cadman was about twenty-one he went to settle in Coromandel, where he entered into the sawmilling business, in which he did well for many years. Mr. Calman first entered politics as a member of the Tiki Highway Board at Coromandel. Here he speedily rose to the position of chairman, which he held for some years. On the coming into operation of the “Counties Act” Mr. Cadman was one of the first members of the Coromandel County Council, to the chair of which body he was at once elected. He held this position for ten years, and did a good deal to further the progress of the district. At the end of 1881 Mr. Cadman was first returned to Parliament as member of Coromandel; three years later, and again in 1887, he was re-elected for the same constituency. In 1890 the honourable gentleman was elected for the Thames electorate — which now included the main portion of the old Coromandel electorate — after a severe fight. In 1893 Mr. W. L. Rees attacked Mr. Cadman on the floor of the House stating that he had used his position as Native Minister to further his own private interests in connection with the purchase of some native lands in Hawkes Bay. The subject of this notice challenged Mr. Rees to resign his seat and contest a constituency, so that the electors might express their opinion on the charges made against him, and his conduct as a Minister. Mr. Cadman gave his adversary the choice of battle-ground; expressing himself willing to meet Mr. Rees either at the Thames or in Auckland City, the latters own constituency—Mr. Rees accepted the challenge and chose his own constituency. Both gentlemen resigned on the 20th of July, 1893, and the City of Auckland became the scene of a fierce struggle between the two politicians, the result being a victory for Mr. Cadman by one of the largest majorities, 750, ever gained before the advent of the fair sex to the New Zealand polling-booths. At the general election of 1893 Mr. Cadman successfully wooed the electors of the Waikato, for which district he still sits. It may be remarked that in the honourable gentleman's political career he has never on any occasion page 46 lost an election from a seat on a Road Board upwards. He first became a Minister of the Crown in the Ballance Ministry in January, 1891, when he became Commissioner of Stamps Duties, which position he retained for only six days. On the 4th of February, 1891, he took the portfolio of Native Affairs, and on the 28th of May of the same year he was appointed Minister of Justice. In the Seddon Government he continued Native Minister and Minister of Justice till his resignation on the 20th of June, 1893. On his return to the House he was pressed to resume his old portfolio as Native Minister, but declined to do so, and was therefore appointed Minister of Mines, and again took the portfolio of Justice. The position of Minister of Mines is a peculiarly congenial one to Mr. Cadman, as having lived the best part of his life on the goldfields he naturally takes great interest in mining legislation, and is, au fait, with matters effecting that industry. The portfolio of Railways was conferred on Mr. Cadman in January, 1895. A fact not generally known is that this was in accordance with a wish expressed by his late chief (Hon. Mr. Ballance) some time before his death. The honourable gentleman has probably held more portfolios than any of his colleagues. In 1876 he was married to Miss Bell, daughter of Mr. Joseph Bell, J.P., of Whangarei. Mrs. Cadman died in April, 1892, leaving one son and one daughter.