Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/206

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Esher
Evans
194

attorney-general those of minister of education and minister of defence. One of his first measures was the passing of the Natal act for restraining unsatisfactory immigration. In June 1897 he joined the other premiers of colonies in London to celebrate the queen's sixtieth year of rule. Be was at this time one of the most influential men in the whole of South Africa. Shortly after his return to Natal he had to face the constituencies and was beaten ; accordingly, in September 1897, not without some satisfaction, as the treble work which he was doing had told upon him, he resigned office and made way for a new ministry under Sir Henry Binns. He did not go into opposition, but maintained an independent attitude.

On the outbreak of the Boer war in October 1899 Escombe went up to the northern part of the colony to encourage the inhabitants, and remained in or near Newcastle till the Boers pressed down and occupied that part of the colony. He hoped to the end that better counsels would prevail and that a permanent friendly understanding would be established. Shortly after his return to Durban he died suddenly on 27 Dec. 1899.

Escombe was tall and of commanding mien. In speech he was eloquent; in argument quick and searching. He was a chess player, and fond of astronomy, on which, as well as other subjects, he occasionally lectured at the Durban institute and elsewhere. (See Sir John Robinson, Life and Times in South Africa, p. xxix.) He was a keen volunteer, joined the royal Durban rifles in 1860, and became cornet in 1868; he was one of the founders and the first commander of the Natal naval volunteers; for many years up to the time when he became premier he joined them in their annual encampment. But his name will chiefly be remembered in connection with the formation of the port of Durban, which owes its successful completion entirely to Escombe's persistence, in the face of many obstacles. He was made a privy councillor in 1897, and an honorary LL.D. of Cambridge at the same time.

Escombe married in 1865 Theresa, daughter of Dr. William Garbutt Taylor of Durban, and left four daughters; a son died young.

[Natal Mercury, 28 Dec. 1899; South Africa, 30 Dec. 1899.]

C. A. H.

ESHER, Viscount. [See Brett, William Baliol, 1815–1899.]


EVANS, EVAN HERBER (1836–1896), Welsh divine, was the eldest son of Josiah and Sarah Evans of Pant-yr-onen, near Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire, where he was born on 5 July 1836. He spent several of his earlier years with his grandfather, Jonah Evans, at Pen-yr-Herber, whence, some twenty years later, he adopted his second name. When fourteen years of age, young Evan was apprenticed to a local draper, who was known as a man of literary tastes, and after four years' service in Wales he removed to Liverpool, where in 1857 he commenced to preach in connection with the Welsh congregational church (the Tabernacle), Great Crosshall Street, then under the pastorate of John Thomas (1821-1892) [q. v.] After twelve months' preparatory training at the Normal College, Swansea, he proceeded in September 1858 to the Memorial College, Brecon, where he remained for four years. He was ordained to the pastorate of Libanus Church, Morriston, on 26 June 1862, and almost immediately he stepped into the first rank of the pulpit orators of Wales. After three years at Morriston (during which time a debt of 2,000l. was paid off the chapel) he removed in the autumn of 1865 to Carnarvon to undertake the charge of a comparatively weak church, Salem, formed two or three years previously, and still burdened with a heavy debt. Before he left it, in April 1894, it was, in point of members, the largest belonging to the denomination in North Wales, the chapel having been much enlarged in 1890. In 1891-2 he filled the chair of the congregational union of England and Wales, and his first presidential address, on 'The Free Churches and their own Opportunities,' was described by Dr. Fairbairn as 'magnificent;' while his second address, delivered at Bradford, on 'A Living Church,' was by special vote of the assembly ordered to be printed in a cheap form for general circulation. In 1891 he accepted the appointment as lecturer on homiletics at 'Bala-Bangor' Congregational College, and in 1894 became its principal.

Throughout his life he took an active part in civic work; he was elected on the first school board at Carnarvon, and on the first county council. He declined, however, to stand as liberal candidate for Carnarvon boroughs in April 1890. In 1895 he was placed on the commission of the peace for Carnarvonshire, an honour never previously conferred (it is believed) on a Welsh dissenting minister.

Evans performed some useful literary work as editor of 'Y Dysgedydd' ('The Instructor'), one of the monthly magazines of the Welsh congregationalists. From 1874 to 1880 he shared its editorship with Ap Vychan, but had sole charge of it from 1880 till his death. A selection of his editorial 'notes,' which were remarkable for their freshness and racy