Topic: Brett, James de Renzie

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The Hon. Colonel de Renzie James Brett was a soldier of the old school. He combined the adventurous spirit of " warriors of old with ordered spear and shield " with their chivalrous devotion to the fair sex. Bold in battle, jovial at banquets, and irresistible in ball rooms, Colonel Brett was in his time a hero in military and social life.

DEATH OF THE HON. COL. BRETT, M.L.O.


Christchurch, June 17.1889- Colonel Brett, M.L.0., died on Saturday, at 2 p.m., at the age of 80 years. Though ailing for some time his death was unexpected, as he was able to take daily exercise.

The Hon. Colonel de Renzie James Brett was a soldier of the old school. He combined the adventurous spirit of " warriors of old with ordered spear and shield " with their chivalrous devotion to the fair sex. Bold in battle, jovial at banquets, and irresistible in ball rooms, Colonel Brett was in his time a hero in military and social life. Like most old Indian officers, Colonel Brett was hot tempered, but when, like his, a disposition is generally lovable it is all the better for a little stimulant.

He joined the British army as ensign on the 6th May, 1825, at the age of 16 years. Served in the 108 th Regiment, foot, now known as the 27th Inniskilling Fusiliers. Colonel Brett has been for 61 years on full pay without intermission.

At an early age Colonel Brett under went romantic adventures. He was taken a prisoner by the enemy in Burma and was subjected to cruel tortures. His sufferings, and his deliverance - pale, emaciated, and sentimental - caused a thrill of excitement throughout India, especially in the gentle hearts of the ladies. Colonel Brett, on the breaking out of the Indian Mutiny, served with his regiment there, and after the suppression of the mutiny, was appointed President of the Bunda and Kirwee Prize Committee, when he had under his immediate and sole charge an immense sum of money and jewellery of untold value, which realised upwards of three-quarters of a million of money.

At the commencement of the Crimean war, Colonel Brett was appointed, unsolicited, by the Minister of War, Lord Panmure, on special duty to raise a regiment of cavalry of Albanians in Syria, with no assistance except an interpreter, which commission he accomplished within a period of five months, embarking them at Alexandretta and landing them at the Dardanelles without a single desertion, or losing a horse. For this service Colonel Brett received the rank of Major- General, and Leva Pasha from his Imperial Majesty the Sultan, and was honored with the decoration of Third-class Knight of the Medjidee. He also had the rank during the Crimean War of Brigadier- General in Her Majesty's Service, and commanded a Brigade of four Regiments of the Osmanli Cavalry. This rank he continued to hold until the termination of the Crimean War. Col. Brett was on the full pay of a colonel till the day of .his death.

 On coming to the colony Colonel Brett was called to the Legislative Council, taking his seat there for the first time in 1871. In his place there he was always strong on the subject of colonial defence but was always vehement against the Volunteers, and his antipathy to what he termed " a mere amateur army" was irrepressible.

Colonel Brett also considered that good legislation of the colony depended on the state of the digestive organs of the members of Parliament, and therefore took a great interest in the department of Bellamy's, and was an active member of the House Committee. It is reported of him that in his place in the Council Chamber he on one occasion, when there was some talk of abolishing Bellamy's, said, " The State might survive a tyrannical Governor, slavish Legislative Council, and a venal House of Representatives but, with a disorganised Bellamy's, with bad cookery and questionable liquor, the whole fabric of the Commonwealth would fall ' like Lucifer, never to hope again.'"

 

 

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Brett, James de Renzie


First Names:James De Renzi
Last Name:Brett
Date of Birth:11 April 1809
Place of Birth:Wexford, County Wexford
Date of Death:16 June 1889
User Name:Selwyn Library