Home Biographies History Places Documents Letters Family Tree Misc. Contact NEW Blog


Sir Henry BLAKE honoured Sir Thomas JACKSON at a private Tiffin Party at Givernment house, and presented him with the letters patent for his knighthood. His accomplishments were grouped with two other Irishmen: Sir John McLeavy BROWN, and Robert HART. JACKSON points out that 2/3rd of his life was lived "here". He referred to the Bank as his No. 1 wife.
Sharon Oddie Brown. April 2, 2014.


1899 October 31
I believe that this clipping is from the China Mail, but I neglected to note the source.



Sir Thomas Jackson.

Private Tiffin party at Government House.


On the invitation of his Excellency the governor Sir Henry Blake G. CMG[1], a large and representative company assembled to Government House yesterday for the purpose of witnessing an interesting and unique ceremony so far as Hong Kong is concerned, mainly the presentation to Sir Thomas Jackson[2], chief manager of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, of the letters patent conferring on him the dignity of knighthood.

Viscount Suirdale his Excellency’s private secretary read aloud the letters patent, which are inscribed on vellum and have attached to them the Great Seal of England, and they were then handed amongst applause to Sir Thomas.

The company then sat down to tiffin, Sir Thomas occupying the seat of honour to the right was Excellency.  Subsequently

His Excellency arose and said – Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to join with me and drinking the health of Sir Thomas Jackson – (applause) – to whom it was such a pleasure to me a short time ago to hand her Majesty’s letters patent.  In saying that the dignity conferred upon Sir Thomas Jackson was richly merited I speak not alone for my personal observation, but from the tongue of good report, that crystallize estimate of a man who has been for many years in a prominent position before the public, and whose acts and thoughts and feelings have become factors in the general welfare (Hear. Hear). I may say I think without exaggeration that from the times Sir Thomas Jackson became manager of that institution which his financial genius has placed in such an enviable position, he has been a very prominent factor in the advancement of British political and commercial interest in this Far East, of which people at home hear so much and know so little.  In conferring this dignity upon Sir Thomas Jackson, her Majesty the Queen has but given expression to the opinion of the community in these regions – that is of all who know him, and when I say all who know him I mean everybody whose interest has brought him here or who is represented in Far Cathay, for who does not know TJ! (Applause)  I believe ladies and gentlemen, that if letters were dropped in the post in St. Petersburg, Berlin, Paris, London, Disco, Santa Fe, and the little post office of the Straits of Magellan addressed TJ, China they would find their way into the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in Queens Road – (Applause) – and I’m further assured that if these letters were on business matters the writers would receive answers showing a wide grasp of general principles, a complete mastery of details, and a level headed determination that whatever action was taken or advice given should be honest and just (Hear. Hear).  I may be forgiven in feeling a patriotic pride in welcoming my countryman Sir Thomas Jackson to the brotherhood of knighthood, because while fully representing the energy and the capabilities of the many Scotchman and Englishmen who are affording British interests and the Far East, I think it can hardly be denied that the three names which stand out most prominently in these regions are the names of three Irishman – McLeavy Brown[3], Robert Hart[4], and Thomas Jackson (Applause). We may assume that successful in business, supremely happy in his family relations – (Hear. Hear) – enjoying the confidence and esteem of the community reaching over 30° of latitude, even the evidence of her Majesty’s appreciation of Sir Thomas Jackson can hardly add to the happiness of which it would seem that the cup must be nearly full – (hear, hear) – but it must be a satisfaction to the community to know that even in this farthest point of our worldwide empire good work for the general interest of the empire will not be forgotten – (hear, hear)– and the order of Knighthood may welcome Sir Thomas Jackson as a member, because ‘an honest man is the noblest work of God’.  (Applause) I ask you to join as me and tricking the health of Sir Thomas Jackson and wishing him a long life and enjoyment in the future of the happiness and success which is always enjoyed in the past.  (Applause)

Sir Thomas who was hardly greeted on rising to respond, said Your Excellency ladies and gentlemen I very gratefully respond to the toast of his Excellency, proposing my health.  The distinction which is come to me I look upon as a very marked one.  I believe I am the very first joint stock bank manager who has ever received the declaration of knighthood.  This is no small complements not only to myself personally, but also to the Bank I serve and the colony I reside in. (Hear, hear) Coming to Hong Kong in the year 1864, I’ve spent some two thirds of of a pretty active life here.  I feel that my best efforts have been far too richly recognized, and if they had been twice as good they would not have been good enough.  In connection with the position which the bank now holds it would be very unjust in me and very inconsiderate of me to my colleagues to engross even the greater share of the credit.  The Bank has assumed a very forward and pronounced position not only in finance and commerce but also to certain extent in politics.  Of these politics I am profoundly innocent; but in this line my able colleague Mr. Cameron and my equally esteemed and able colleague in Peking, Mr. Hillier, have done sterling service to the empire.  They have been behind the scenes in a way that perhaps even her Majesty’s ministers have not always been, and everything they could possibly do to for the welfare of the empire has always been done willingly and ungrudgingly.  (Hear, hear) The Hong Kong Bank I may look upon as my No. 1 wife, (laughter).  I am more sincerely attached to her than to any other.  (Laughter) It has had my attention for 35 years, and while it would be unknightly and unwise to quarrel with any lady, such a mistress as this deserves the heart and soul and all the energy a man is capable of.  (Hear, hear) When in the north of China short time ago I met a globetrotter, an extremely nice old fellow, an American who was most genial.  He started from San Francisco, went to New York, London, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, and called at Hong Kong, and he said that wherever he went this side heaven, there he found the Hong Kong Bank.  (Applause) The Hong Kong Bank is been associated with the prosperity of Hong Kong.  When I came here in 1864 – some 24 years after the colony was formed – I found things not in so prosperous the state as they might have been.  There had been failures and a number of princely firms had disappeared.  There was a good deal uphill work but there was grit in this little colony which enabled it to pull through. Your Excellency, I have the greatest opinion of the future of Hong Kong.  I am perfectly sure, situated as we are near the great empire of China – for whatever her internal condition may be, she is and must always remain, with her 400 million people, an important factor in the politics of the world – we have the opportunity of forwarding the welfare of the British Empire and showing an example to the adjacent empire.  I thank your Excellency most sincerely for asking this company to meet me here today.  This is a red letter day to me and a day which I shall always remember.  Applause – Communicated

[1] Sir Henry BLAKE: SOURCE: Wikpedia Blake was born in Limerick, Ireland on 8 January. He was the son of Peter Blake, a county Inspector of Irish Constabulary. Blake started out as a draper's assistant at a haberdashery, but soon joined the Irish Constabulary in 1859, where he worked as an inspector and Resident Magistrate of Duff in  1876. In 1882 he was raised to the position of Special Resident Magistrate. In 1898 He was appointed Governor of Hong Kong, a position he served until in1903. Five months before Blake arrived in Hong Kong, the British Government successfully negotiated an agreement with the Imperial Chinese Government, allowing the Hong Kong Government to lease the New Territories for 99 years. During Blake's tenure, he sent in administrators to the New Territories to assert control of the colony. The residents of the area organized a tough resistance movement, which was subdued with the use of British Troops under Commander Gascoigne. Blake left Hong Kong immediately after he attended the inauguration of the Supreme Court building in 1903.

[2] Thomas JACKSON (1841-1915)

[3] Sir John McLeavy BROWN, the Chief Commissioner of the Korean Customs Department and Finance Advisor. SEE: Angus Hamilton, Korea:Its History, its people and its commerce. London 1904. Includes Sketches of Mr. McLeavy Brown,

SEE: Ian Nish: ‘John McLeavy Brown in Korea’ (Vol.2, 1992) The British Association for Korean Studies.

SEE: http://www.lisburn.com/books/hart_of_lisburn/hart-of-lisburn4.htm#Chinese%20Service Sir John McLeavy Brown was born on the 27th November 1835, at Magheragall, Lisburn, Co. Antrim and was educated at Queens' College, Belfast and Trinity College, Dublin. He graduated from the old Queen's University. In April 1873 he joined the Customs Service as a First Class Clerk, and in the following year was appointed Deputy Commissioner at Canton. After having been in charge at Takow in Formosa, he was promoted Commissioner in February 1877, and as such served in Chinkiang, Canton and Shanghai, at which latter port he acted for a time as Statistical Secretary. He was later detached to succeed the late Mr. J. F. Schoenicke as Chief Commissioner of the Korean Customs and Financial Adviser to the King of Korea. After his retirement in December 1913, Brown was appointed Counsellor to the Chinese Legation in London, a post which he held to his death on the 6th April 1926. He was created C.M.G. in 1898 and Knight Batchelor in 1906.

[4] Sir Robert HART (1835-1911) – also of Lisburn



Site Map | Legal Disclaimer | Copyright

© 2006-2023 Sharon Oddie Brown