The late Mr. John Pickard, M.P.

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The late Mr. John Pickard, M.P.
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The death of Mr. John Pickard, M.P, which occurred on Monday morning at half past seven, though not unexpected, has cast a gloom over the whole community. His health had been rapidly failing him for some time past. In-fact, since his return from Ottawa, he was almost exclusively confined to the house, through indisposition, though he continued to transact whatever business was necessary. His illness was super induced by a cold which he contracted at Ottawa about nine years ago, and which settled on the bronchial tubes. His busy life gave him little time to attend to the first stages of his illness, which he hoped, like many others, he could successfully battle against. The fell disease, however, continued to make its inroads until death terminated his existence. John Pickard, the name by which he was familiarly known, had been for nearly the last twenty years a household word in this county. Perhaps there is not a family in this constituency that did not know him personally, and he was as widely respected as he was well known. In all the transactions of his life, his dealings have been characterized for generosity, candor, and integrity. Even in all his political relations he was esteemed by his opponents no less than by his friends for purity of purpose, consistency of demeanour, and unflinching fidelity to the principles he espoused. We do not believe a single individual in this constituency ever charged him, or had any occasion to charge him, with making promises which he did not strive to fulfill! The rich and the poor alike have nothing but good to say of Mr. Pickard. To the poor his charity was proverbial, through all his good deeds in this connection were without ostentation. They were all performed in the spirit of that true precept, “Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth.” Moreover, every good enterprise had his practical sympathy. He was one of those generous, kind hearted, noble minded men whose presence in a community tends to elevate men’s better nature. In short there is neither creed nor class that did not honor and respect the man whose loss to-day the whole county deeply mourns. Mr. Pickard was a descendant of a Loyalist family that came from Massachusetts after the American Revolution, and who were amongst the first settlers of the St. John River. He was a son of Mr. David Pickard, who was the father of other five son’s besides four daughters, only two of whom are living, Mrs. E.R. Moore, of St. John, and Mrs. Elisha Vanwart, of St. Mary’s. He was born at Nashwaaksis, on the 17th of April, 1824, and was therefore at the time of his death nearing the close of his 60th year. After an elementary education in his native parish, he commenced, at the age of 17, to engage in lumber operations on his own account on the Nashwaak stream, and has been thus engaged ever since. In 1851, he married Mary, daughter of Mr. Daniel Yerxa, of Douglas who survives him without issue. He removed from the Nashwaaksis to St. Mary’s in 1859, when he started a general heavy supply store in the building now owned by Mr. Whitman Haines. About the same time he bought the steam ferry boat at this place, and ran it for a number of years, and afterwards sold it to Mr. Allan Yerxa. In 1860, he entered into partnership with Sherrif Temple in lumbering operations, and in 1864 he removed from St. Mary’s to this city, taking up his residence in the house on Campbell Street now owned by Mr. Jas. Hodge. His office was at that time in the old McCausland building where his intimate friend, Hon. A. F. Randolph, now has his warerooms. In 1886 he, in company with Messrs. Randolph and Temple purchased what was known as the Marsh Mill at the upper end of Town, and operated it for a number of years. After dissolving partnership with Mr. Temple, he curtailed his lumber operations till within a few years ago when he embarked just as extensively in the business as he had ever done. During the same year that he purchased the Marsh Mill he bought the property at the corner of Charlotte and Regent Streets from Mr. Solomon Denton, in which he resided till the time of his death. He was interested to a large extent in schooners; in the “Mary Pickard,” the “Mary Temple” and several others. In railways too, he took a leading part. In 1867, he and M. E.R. Burpee contracted for the construction of the Fredericton Branch Railway. He held besides a large amount of stock in the road, which he afterwards disposed of to Messrs. E.R. Burpee and Thos. Temple. He was one of the promoters of the New Brunswick Railway and was at one time a director of the same. In this line particularly he took a deep and lively interest. He held stock likewise in the now defunct Street Railway Company in St. John. At the time of his death he was a director of the Central Railway Company, and of the Miramichi Valley Railway Company. He has also been for {illegible section} stockholder and director of {illegible} of this city. During {illegible}. Caution disturbed him not, a condition of mind which few, under such circumstances, can lay claim to. In societies and lodges he had his full share of work and of honors. At one time he was the Right Worshipful Grand Master of the Orange Grand Lodge of New Brunswick. He was a member of the Masonic Order, and for some years he was the Vice President of the York County Agricultural Society! In his political career, Mr. Pickard commanded the respect and esteem of all with whom he came in contact. He was essentially a Liberal, but having such a deep sense of right and justice he was never found to oppose measures which from his standpoint were calculated to benefit the country at large. He entered politics in 1867, when he was elected as one of York’s representatives in the House of Assembly, over the late Mr. Wm. Needham who then contested the seat rendered vacant by the appointment of the late Judge Fisher to the House of Commons. Before this, however, he opposed the late Judge Fisher for the Commons and was defeated. On the appointment of Judge Fisher to the Bench in 1869, Mr. Pickard was returned to the Commons by acclamation, again he was re-elected by acclamation at the general election of 1872; he was returned in the same way at the general election of 1874; in the general election in 1878 he was again returned, being at this time opposed by Mr. C. H. B. Fisher. The vote was Pickard 1,490; Fisher, 834. At the last general election in June, 1882, he was again returned, being on this occasion opposed by the present Judge Fraser. The vote at this time was Pickard, 2,359; Fraser, 1,442. It is evident that John Pickard lived in the hearts of the people, and that he could hold his seat in Parliament against all comers. It might here be stated that he at first opposed the principals of Confederation, but when the scheme was carried and the question fairly settled he loyally submitted and exerted himself to make the best of it. During his career in the Commons he voted against the building of the Pacific Railway, if it was to include Vancouver Island, not only in Sir John’s Government but in the Government of Mr. Mackenzie, thus showing that he was actuated more from a conviction of right than a mere party spirit. He opposed, as would be expected from a man like Mr. Pickard, the Sir Hugh Allan Pacific Scandal Scheme. He opposed the National Policy which, as he himself said, took the property of one man and gave it to another without giving value in return, a policy which no man with Mr. Pickard’s views and Mr. Pickard’s honesty could support. He voted against the Sir John MacDonald Government giving a contract to Syndicate to build the Pacific Railroad, after that Government itself had expended $50,000,000 on the road. He voted to have the contract open to competition, and he advocated that the whole terms of the contract should be submitted to the people before it should be ratified. He voted against the Government giving away $209,000 of the people’s money to Onderdonk & Co; he voted to have the duties taken off flour, meal and coal, and to reduce the duties on cotton and woollen goods for the benefit of the working classes, and he voted to reduce the duties on iron. He voted against that villainous set of the Government by which they undertook to annihilate several of the leading Liberals of Canada under the pretence of equalizing the population of the different electoral districts – a scheme which struck a deadly blow at the principles of Responsible Government. We have entered somewhat into detail in this notice of Mr. Pickard, because we know that every incident connected with his life is of deep interest to the people who have so long been proud of him as their representative. Though to-day all that remains of him have been buried in the earth by a morning throng, his memory will long be green and held in reverence by those whom he served, and by this community in whose advancement he ever rejoiced, and in whose welfare he ever took so deep an interest to promote.