Barkerville, Williams Creek, Cariboo

Begbie's Epitaph


Resolved, that the members of the Bar now assembled, on behalf of themselves and brethren throughout the Province, express their deep sorrow at the death of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie Knight, late the Chief Justice of British Columbia.

Throughout a long life he occupied a distinguished position as a lawyer and a judge and although he reached an advanced age, he was up to within a few weeks of his death, actively engaged in the performance of the duties pertaining to his high office. His removal takes away one of the most prominent figures connected with the early history of this Province, a man whose strong individuality and uprightness have left a lasting impress upon every branch of our judicial system.

At a period when firmness and discretion in the administration of justice were most needed, his wise and fearless action as a judge caused the law to be honoured and obeyed in every quarter.

When the settlement of the country advanced and the necessity for preventing lawless outbreaks became less frequent, he, as the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court, manifested an ability which showed that his intellectual faculties were as keen and active as his character was stable and commanding.

He was a man of scholarly attainments and his versatility of talent evoked the admiration of all who came in contact with him.

As a judge, the tendency of his thought was eminently logical, his judgment was prompt and decisive, his integrity was never questioned.

His private life was in every way worthy of his public position. Plain and unassuming in manner, courteous and dignified in his speech, loyal to his companions, firm in his friendships, of a generous and sympathetic nature, unostentatiously good and silently charitable, he will be missed not only by his professional associates but by many who knew him only as a kind and steadfast friend.

He has departed from us full of years and honours, but his memory will remain as that of one whose judicial career has been without stain, and whose personal worth has won our deepest respect and affection.

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