The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Featherston, Isaac Earl

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Featherston, Isaac Earl, M.D., sometime Agent-General, New Zealand, fourth son of Thomas Featherston, of Cotfield House, Durham, was born in Durham on March 21st, 1813, and took his M.D. degree at Edinburgh in 1836. He was one of the earliest settlers in Wellington, N.Z., under the New Zealand Company. He took a prominent part in the agitation for self-government in and about 1850. In 1852, when the province of Wellington was constituted, he was elected first superintendent, and represented Wanganui in Parliament from 1853 to 1871, when he resigned the superintendency. From July 12th to August 2nd, 1861, he was Colonial Secretary under Mr. Fox, and held office without portfolio under the same gentleman from Nov. 16th, 1869, to March 31st, 1871. In Jan. 1866 he persuaded the friendly Maoris about Wanganui to join General Chute in his campaign on the west coast, and his march toward Mount Egmont; and he himself accompanied and led the Maori contingent in the various actions at Otapawa and elsewhere. For his gallantry on these occasions he received the New Zealand Cross, on the recommendation of General Chute. In 1869 Dr. Featherston was sent home to England, in company with Mr. Dillon Bell, as commissioner to treat with the Imperial Government for a force to put down rebellion and to raise another force for colonial service. When the Vogel Government started the Public Works policy, the Commissioners were instructed to arrange with the Home Government to guarantee a loan for £1,000,000 for public works and immigration, to be spent at a rate not exceeding £200,000 a year. This they succeeded in doing. By the Public Works and Immigration Act of 1870, the office of Agent-General in London was created, and Dr. Featherston became first Agent-General. This post he held from the year 1871 till his death at Brighton on June 19th, 1876. Dr. Featherston married, in 1839, a daughter of Mr. A. Scott, of Edinburgh.