Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/1086

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1880, lie received the Order of the Crown of Italy.

VERDON, Sib George Feederic, K.C.M.G., C.B., F.R.S., eldest son of the Rev. Edward Verdon, B.A., perpetual curate of St. Ann^s, Tot- tington. Bury, Lancashire, born Jan. 21, 1834, and educated at Ros- sall College, went to Melbourne in 1851, and engaged in commercial pursuits. He afterwards was called to the bar at Melbourne in 1863, was elected to the Municipal Council of Williamstown, and appointed Chairman of the Municipal Con- ference held at Melbourne for the consideration of the laws relating to municipal institutions. He was one of the first members of the Volunteer force established in 1854 for the defence of the colony, and at the head of his company was engaged in suppressing an outbreak of convicts in 1857. For this ser- vice he received the thanks of the Government, and was appointed a justice of the peace. In 1858 he accepted the office of honorary assistant in the Astronomical Ob- servatory, and was engaged in the commencement of the geodetic and magnetic surveys of Victoria under Mr. EUery and Dr. Neumayer. In 1859 he was elected member for Williamstown, and in the following year became a Minister of the Crown, having been appointed treasurer, which office he held with little interruption until 1868. Having carried a resolution in the Legisla- tive Assembly for the appointment of a Board of Visitors to the Obser- vatory, he was invited by the Government to act as honorary secretary. Sir Henry Barkly, the then governor, being president. In this position, and as a member of the Government, he was enabled to secure the satisfactory establish- ment of the Observatory on a per- manent footing, and to aid in the acquisition of a complete set of instruments, of which the Great Melbourne Telescope forms part. In 1866 the Government and Legis-

lature of Victoria resolved upon sending a Minister of the Crown to England for the purpose of bringing the subject of the defence of the colony before the Home Govern- ment, and Mr. Verdon was selected for the mission, in which he was completely successful, having ob- tained a contribution of J6100,000 from the Imperial Exchequer to- wards the cost of a Monitor for the defence of Port Phillip, together with the Hne-of-battle ship Kelson- He was entertained at a banquet at Willis's Rooms, and was made C.B. (civil division), Nov. 23, 1866. Shortly after his return to Victoria, Mr. Verdon was appointed the per- manent representative of that colony in England as agent-general, with the consent of all political parties. Upon his departiire, he received pre- sentations and addresses from his Williamstown constituents, and from the local forces . He was elected P.R.S., in 1870, and is an associate of the Institute of Civil Engineers. He was nominated a K.C. M.S. on the occasion of his retiring from the office of Agent-General for the Colony of Victoria in 1872.

VERNE, Jit LE8, a popular French writer, born at Nantes, Feb. 8, 1828, was educated in his native town, and afterwards studied law in Paris. Turning his attention to dramatic literature, he wrote a comedy in verse, entitled "Les Pailles Rom- pues," which was performed at the Gymnase in 1850. This was fol- lowed by " Onze Jours de Si^ge," a three-act comedy, brought out at the Vaudeville, and by several comic operas. But his fame rests chiefly on his scientific romances, the first of which appeared in 1863, under the title of *' Cinq Semaines en Ballon." Its success led the author to produce a number of similar works, of which the follow- ing have been translated into Eng- lish : " Five Weeks in a Balloon ; a Voyage of Exploration and Disco- very in Central Africa," 1870, 2nd edit., 1874; "A Journey to the