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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Dr. Isaac Earl Featherston

Dr. Isaac Earl Featherston was for twenty-five years foremost in the political life of Wellington. He was elected to fill the important office of Superintendent of the Province on its foundation, and to this high position he was regularly re-elected annually for eighteen years. An ardent Provincialist, he advocated that each Province should exercise absolute self-government within its own territory, and that the General Government should interfere as little as possible. Dr. Featherston was a man of great intelligence and ability, and though possessing a strong liking for power his constant aim was to use it for the good of the body politic. He was one of the earliest settlers in Port Nicholson, and for years before the establishment of responsible government advocated in the press and on the platform the great cause of constitutional freedom. He was elected a Dr. Isaac Earl Featherston member of the House of Representatives in the first Parliament as member for Wanganui, which he represented till 1871, and was a Minister in the second and third Fox Governments, as Colonial Secretary from the 12th of July to the 2nd of August, 1861, and as a member of the Executive Council without portfolio from November, 1869, to March, 1871. Dr. Featherston is said to have been possessed of a powerful magnetic influence. He was ever faithful to his party, but apt to be somewhat extreme at times. In 1872 he left the Colony and went to London, where he took up the duties of Agent-General for the Colony. Four years afterwards he died much regretted.