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This article mentions Thomas JACKSONs work in both Hong Kong and the Bank as well as his work with the Legislative Council, and the Victoria Recreation Club. Mention also of William KESWICK.
Sharon Oddie Brown. April 2, 2014


The China Mail Hong Kong. Monday April 12, 1886.


The departure of the Honourable Thomas Jackson[1] and the efforts on the part of the community to honour to that gentleman have been uppermost in the thoughts of the residents of Hong Kong during the last two or three weeks.  Never since the leave taking of the Honourable William Keswick[2] five years since as so strong a feeling been evoked in favour of a private or unofficial member of the community.  It is even believed by many that the flood of feeling has been almost too violent; but as it is purely spontaneous and the citizen well deserves all the honour that can be done to him, no great harm need result.  As a man of business, Mr. Jackson success may fairly be taken as a proof of his capacity for the seizure of the surrounding circumstances of the Colony and of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank – the taking of the tide at the flood, which leads on to fortune, or success – clearly shows that the Chief Manager of that Corporation was gifted with all the foresight clear sightedness and sagacity requisite for the occasions which arose.  In the power and range of his knowledge of character and individual circumstances, we find the next great faculty which has enabled him to steer the great local Corporation through the many difficult financial crises which have arisen in this part of the world.  Probably the most correct description of his business qualities would be found in the one-word ‘tact’.  This must, of course, he taken in conjunction with the wide information which guided him in the exercise of that tact.  But it may be said that, if we look only upon this side of his character, Thomas Jackson has demonstrated the maxim that nothing succeeds like success; and that, so far as Hong Kong is concerned, the success of the local bank has meant the success of the community of Hong Kong.  Naturally Mr. Jackson was selected to represent a large section of the community on the Legislative Council; and although we have had occasion to remark strongly upon what the unofficial members have recently failed to do, it must be admitted that Mr. Jackson has introduced into the Council all his clearness of vision upon financial matters.  To his steady, clearheaded belief in the prosperity of the Colony, we owe the conversion of the powers that be to the uselessness of increasing the taxation of the Colony under the Stamp Act; and had the unofficial element in Council not been unfortunately overborne by the notion of loyalty to the Colonial Office and other matters, the advice of Mr. Jackson would have been of the greatest value to the Colony.  His well directed zeal aroused the authorities to a sense of their shameful neglect of the Colonial Defences; and although they have made a very questionable use of this revival by calling upon the Colony to pay for the repair of this neglect, the honour of waking up the home authorities must fall upon Mr. Jackson.  In his private capacity it is perhaps out of place for us to make many remarks.  Of his hospitality let it be said he is a ‘son of Erin’; that is enough. He is generous to a fault, and while some have doubtless taken undue advantage thereof, many a child of misfortune has had good reason to bless him for his timely aid.  And it must be added that the wise admixture of tact and good heartedness in Mr. Jackson’s conduct of business has frequently resulted in many good and tiny bits of friendly advice and caution – hints which will be all the more felt and appreciated by those concerned because they were given quietly and without parade.  Sociably Mr. Jackson has identified himself with the Colony in a way that few have ever done.  What the Victoria Recreation Club has done in his honour is a genuine and spontaneous expression of feeling on the score of the cosmopolitan range of its Chairman’s sympathy.  Of the happy disposition himself he has the power of radiating happiness upon all whom he meets.  Hence his popularity; and hence the general desire which almost amounts to a craze, to do him honour.  The public testimonial to be given to Mr. Jackson is an honour of which that gentleman may well be proud; as he well deserves it, it’s presentation is honourable to the givers; and we may add the wish that he and his may live long to enjoy it.  He and his household carry Home with them the heartiest good wishes of this community and whether he returns to this part of the world, or settles down in the old country, his friends will never forget the name of the good-hearted and generous Thomas Jackson, who leaves our shores tomorrow.

[1] Thomas JACKSON (1841-1915. HSBC Manager.

[2] William KESWICK (1835-1912) Born in the Scottish lowlands, he came to Hong Kong in 1855 (note at age 20).. His grandmother, Margaret Jardine JOHNSTONE was a sister of Dr William JARDINE, the original founder of Jardine’s. He was also chairman of the HSBC in Hong Kong. Keswick served on the Legislative and Executive Councils between 1868 and 1887, with two gaps totalling seven years. He was taipan of Jardine Matheson (starting as a partner in 1862 – the year before Sir Thomas JACKSON arrived at Agra Bank) and when he returned to London he joined the HSBC London Committee. SEE also: 'William Keswick, 1835-1912: Jardine's Pioneer in Japan' by J.E. Hoare, Chapter 10, Britain & Japan: Biographical Portraits



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