Wellington Province


CASSIDY, Patrick Sarsfield

Page 460

Mr. Patrick Sarsfield Cassidy, General Manager of the New Zealand Times and Mail, is a many-sided man of long journalistic experience. Born in the County Donegal, Ireland, on the 31st of October, 1850, and educated in his native land, Mr. Cassidy was preparing to enter the legal profession when he met a gentleman from America, who described the greatness and glory of that country so vividly that he captured the young man's fancy, and caused him to emigrate thither. Arriving in New York at the age of seventeen, Mr. Cassidy became acquainted with some young newspaper men and joined the fourth estate. He started in life as a reporter on the New York World, but soon left there for a responsible position on the staff of the New York City Press Association, where he remained for several years, leaving only to become attached to the Associated Press, at that time the largest news gathering organization in the world. He was a member of the permanent night force, and had charge principally of the European cable department. For seven years he occupied this position with great credit to himself, and then on account of changes owing to the death of the general manager, Mr. J. W. Symonton, Mr. Cassidy left and became city editor and special article writer for the Sunday Mercury and the New York Mercury, with which papers he continued for some sixteen or seventeen years. When a daily issue of the Mercury was established some years ago, he became one of the advisory committee for managing the establishment. During the time he occupied these onerous positions he found time to write several books and many poems. He was also part proprietor and publisher of a monthly magazine, which was afterwards sold to a company, and in addition to all this work, he supplied the editorial pages for two weekly papers, the Illustrated Times and the Sunday Democrat, holding regular positions in five newspaper and magazine establishments at the same time. His reputation as a rapid and brilliant writer, as well as an industrious worker, soon became widely known, while his personal reputation as a thoroughly good fellow, a steadfast friend, and an honourable and courteous gentleman, made him extremely popular in New York society, especially in the higher literary and artistic social circles, which in New York, as in London and Paris, are so charming. Back early in the seventies, Mr. Cassidy, with half a dozen other young newspaper men, organized the New York Press Club, which is now one of the most delightful clubs of that city, occupying a splendid house [rented], and with a building fund over $100 000, a charity fund of some $20 000, and endowed beds in four of the principle hospitals. In 1886, Mr. Cassidy came very prominently before, not only New York, but the whole world, by his exposure of that `peculiar' patriot O`Donovan Rossa - an exposure that happily eliminated that noisy individual from public life. Possessed of a very high sense of humour, Mr. Cassidy took action against the Brooklyn Daily Eagle for libel contained in a letter written by Rossa. The letter contained only three lines, and after a trial which occupied the New York Supreme Court for eleven days, with a large and brilliant array of counsel on both sides, he obtained a judgement for one thousand dollars and costs. In the summer of 1895-6, Mr. Cassidy paid a long-promised visit to his relatives in New Zealand, one of whom, Mr. Hugh Cassidy, of coaching fame, is a brother and an old settler. He was so delighted with the Colony, its magnificent scenery, and its wonderful progress and bright prospects, that he was induced to accept the position of general manager of the New Zealand Times and Mail Company, having complete supervision and control of all the departments of the Company's large establishment on Lambton Quay.

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