Mr & Mrs William Witt's Golden Wedding, 1883

Hobart 'Mercury' report of Golden Wedding celebrations of William WITT and Harriet MERRY

Transcribed by Verity Baylis.  Some of the print is very faded and impossible to read.  Question marks replace the unreadable text.
Mr. and Mrs William Witt, Sen.
A very social and interesting gathering took place on Monday evening in the Mechanics Institute, in the shape of a complimentary tea-meeting tendered to Mr and Mrs W. Witt, in celebration of their Golden Wedding.  Mr Witt was born in London on the 31st January, 1814 and is hence, nearly 70 years of age.  He married on October 7th 1833 and left London on that day three years later in the "Royal George".  The couple arrived in Hobart on Sunday the 7th February, 1837, so that they are colonists of over 46 years standing.  During the long term of years that Mr. Witt has spend in this colony he has worked actively in numerous movements having for their object the relief of suffering and the suppression of vice, and he has become known and esteemed amongst all sections of the community as a thorough-going philanthropist.  Hence the assemblage which filled the hall last evening on the happy occasion of the close of 50 years of wedded life was representative of all circles and denominations and numbered fully 300 persons.  The tables were laid my Mr. C.D. Hayward in excellent style, the preliminary arrangements having been carried out by a committee of ladies.  Over the Chair was the following phrase, worked in confectionary, and surrounded with ferns -w?  "May the sacred tie which has stood the test of 50 years be still preserved for years to come".  And on a large and handsome wedding cake the words, "May the eventide of your married life be the happiest of your wedded days".
The Chair was occupied by the Hon. P.O. Fisk who in well chosen phrases congratulated Mr and Mrs Witt on having passed through the span of 50 years together.
Mr. J. H. Mather also spoke as an old friend of Mr. Witt, having known him for nearly seventy years.
Mr. Witt, who was warmly received said, "Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends all, I know you will bear with me tonight, for my heart is too full to utter all I feel.  If I did so you would say that I was making a long sermon.  But I do feel deeply humbled and truly grateful for the receiption of such numbers of friends here present to honour my dear wife and myself.  It is true that, as our repected chairman has said, we do not possess much wealth of this world, but we can say that both of us for upwards of 50 years have enjoyed the true riches which will abide forever. (Applause).  When all earthly treasures are swept away and we have to leave them by death, that treasure which is above will last to all eternity, and therefore, dear friends, I must say this evening that it is not William Witt or Harriet Witt that has accomplished this but the Old Book says, "They that honour me, I will honour", and that is the grand secret of our life of happiness, and, I trust in some humble measure of usefulness.
I do feel that I have not lived for nought in many respects, which is not my place nor duty to mention just now.  But, in returning my heartfelt thanks, on behalf of my dear wife and myself, for the entertainment that has been got up so spontaneously - in a way so far beyond my expectations - I do assure that it has been almost too much for my sensitive nature.  It may be thought that sometimes I am not very sensitive in the discharge of duty, but on such occasions as this I do feel deeply sensitive; and therefore I am sure that everyone present who has honoured us in this nature will take, as they are meant, our heartfelt thanks and gratitude, especially the ladies, my dear wife's friends in particular for I would just say that when we began to think about those fifty years of married life, happiness, and prosperity, yes, I am rich.  I will qualify that expression that I just now dropped, we felt rich for the Lord hath spared me to see all my family grown up and but one infant, that thirty years ago went home to Heaven, that is a link in the invisible chain, but tonight I have before me my children, their husbands and their wives and my grandchildren, my children's children, so that I do feel that I am rich in this respect. (Loud Applause).  I will not take up further time, for I have already been told that there are other duties for me to perform.  How I shall go through them I don't know, (laughter), and therefore on behalf of my dear wife and myself, I give you our most hearty and loving thanks for your kindness to us this evening. (Hearty Applause).
Mr. Crouch then presented the guest with ???ad trusts from the Benevolent Society of which Mr. Witt is Registrar.
During the evening the congratulations of the Good Templars were tendered by Mr. G. T. Taylor to Mr. Witt, as Chaplain of the Order.  Mr. Blundstone presented a purse of sovereigns on behalf of the Wesleyan church; and the Rev. Geo. Clerk another purse contributed to by members of all Churches.  Dean Bromby, the Rev. F. E. Stephenson and Mr. William Waterhouse also addressed the meeting, all the speakers testifying to the worth of their guests in all relations of life - as reliable members of different associations, as large hearted and active friends of humanity, as ernest public servants, and as sincerely God fearing Christians in their daily private life.  The Rev. J. Scott and Father Hennebry were unavoidably absent, but their congratulations were received.  Mr. Witt responded to the various addresses in warm language, expressing his appreciation of the marks of esteem he had received, and promising life long activity in the work to which he is so devoted.  The evening closed with some musical selections and cheers for the guests.
Mr. Witt thanks the trustees of the Institute for the use of the building.
At a united meeting of the town and suburban lodges of the Independent Order of Good Templars, held at the Alliance rooms, last evening, after the usual business had been gone through, Bro. S. T. Taylor, G.W.C.T., presiding on behalf of the members of the Excelsior Lodge, No.8, presented Bro. William Witt, the chaplain of the lodge, with an illuminated and ??????? address.  In doing so, he congratulated the recipient upon being spared to celebrated his Golden Wedding, and expressed the pleasure he felt in presenting the token of the esteem and love in which Bro. Witt is held by the members of his Lodge.  It was he said, now over 10 years since the Excelsior Lodge was formed, and during nearly the whole of that time Bro. Witt had filled the important position of Chaplain.  The dignified and courteous manner in which he had discharged the sacred duties of this office had won ?????????encomin??? not only from the members, but also from friends who had from time to time visited the lodge.  During the whole of that time Bro. Witt had set an example to the members of the order by the regularity and punctuality with which he had at all times attended to his office.  All these facts, coupled with his high and moral character, had exercised an influence for good, the value of which it would be difficult to estimate.
Mr Witt having suitably replied, a deputation from the Tasmanian Temperance Alliance, consisting of Messrs. P.Facy, G. Wolfe and G. S. Crouch were admitted.
Mr. Facy presented Mr. Witt with a token of their esteem and regard, in the shape of a suitably illumined motto, handsomely framed and mounted.  In doing so, Mr. Facy alluded to the time when Mr. Witt, in 186?5 gave up the wine trade in which he was then engaged, for conscience sake, and he reminded those present that Mr. Witt had been connected with the Tasmanian Temperance Alliance for many years past, and had always been found identified with all good  ?????? and  ????? works.  He asked Mr. Witt to accept the testimonial, not for any ??????? value, but as a token of their respect and esteem, and as en????lying the sentiments of the committee.
Mr. Witt in reply, expressed the pleasure it gave him to receive so many tokens of ???????????????? (a whole line of words unreadable here), and for which he would ever feel grateful, far beyond what he could find words to express.
During the course of the evenings proceedings, addresses were delivered by Messrs. G.Wolfe, Crouch, Lodge, Andrews, and others, and musical and vocal selections and recitations were also rendered.
----Mercury, October 10th 1883.

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