Francis Bell (New Zealand politician)
|The Right Honourable
Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell
|20th Prime Minister of New Zealand|
10 May 1925 – 30 May 1925
|Governor General||Charles Fergusson|
|Preceded by||William Massey|
|Succeeded by||Gordon Coates|
|11th Mayor of Wellington|
|Preceded by||Arthur Winton Brown|
|Succeeded by||Alfred Brandon|
|Preceded by||George Fisher|
|Succeeded by||John Rutherford Blair|
31 March 1851|
Nelson, New Zealand
(First New Zealand born Prime Minister)
|Died||13 March 1936
Wellington, New Zealand
|Relations||Dillon Bell (father)
Brenda Bell (niece)
Frank Bell (nephew)
William Robinson (father-in-law)
Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell GCMG KC (31 March 1851 – 13 March 1936) was the first New Zealand-born Prime Minister of New Zealand. Bell is one three New Zealand Prime Ministers of Jewish extraction, the others being Julius Vogel and current Prime Minister John Key.
He was born in Nelson, the eldest son of Sir Dillon Bell. His mother was Margaret Hort (who was Jewish, but became a Christian). He attended Auckland Grammar School and Otago Boys' High School. At Otago Boys he was the Dux. After finishing high school, he travelled to England where he attended St John's College, Cambridge, receiving a BA in 1873. On returning to New Zealand, he began practising law in Wellington, being involved in Bell, Gully, MacKenzie and Evans.
He served as Crown Solicitor in Wellington from 1878 to 1890, and from 1902 to 1910. He was a prominent member of both the local and national law societies. He served as the latter's President from 1901 to 1918.
He married Caroline Robinson on 24 April 1878 at St John's Church in Christchurch. She was the third daughter of William Robinson. They had four daughters and four sons. His son William Henry Dillon Bell (1884–1917) was a Member of Parliament, but resigned and volunteered for service in World War I. He was killed in 1917. Another son Cheviot Wellington Dillon Bell was appointed to the Legislative Council as a member of the suicide squad by the First National Government on 27 July 1950 to vote for the abolition of the Council, so served to 31 December 1950. The two children of his brother Alfred, Brenda and Frank Bell, became notable radio pioneers.
|Parliament of New Zealand|
His political career began with being elected Mayor of Wellington in 1891, 1892 and 1896. In his first general election in 1890, he was defeated running as an independent for the City of Wellington electorate. He was narrowly defeated by William McLean in an 1892 by-election by 3388 votes to 3245. He finally entered Parliament in the 1893 election, serving for one term.
In 1912, the Reform Party came to power, and on 10 July 1912 Bell was appointed to the Legislative Council. He became Minister of Internal Affairs (1912–1915), and Minister of Immigration (1912–1920). He was Attorney-General (1918–1926). He was the first Commissioner of State Forests, and from 1923 he would also serve as the Minister of External Affairs.
On returning to New Zealand, Bell became Acting Prime Minister while William Massey was in London. Massey's health began to fail, and Bell took over most control of the government. He officially became Prime Minister on 14 May 1925 after the death of Massey on 10 May. He would serve as Prime Minister for the next 16 days. Bell declined the party's offer to become Prime Minister and was replaced by Gordon Coates.
- Gardner, William James. "Bell, Francis Henry Dillon - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "Bell, Francis Henry [Dillon] (BL869FH)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- "Local and General". The Star (3135). 25 April 1878. p. 2. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Wilson 1985, p. 201.
- "Cenotaph Search Results". Auckland Museum. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
- Wilson 1985, p. 149.
- Dougherty, Ian. "Bell, Margaret Brenda - Biography". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- "The General Election, 1890". National Library. 1891. p. 2. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "The Wellington Election". The Press XLIX (8076). 20 January 1892. p. 5. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Wilson 1985, p. 183.
- Wilson 1985, p. 76.
- Wilson 1985, pp. 76–77.
- Wilson 1985, pp. 77–79.
- New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, Vol.202-208 (1923-1925).
- "Official jubilee medals". The Evening Post. 6 May 1935. p. 4. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- Gardner, William James (1966, updated 18 September 2007), "BELL, Sir Francis Henry Dillon, P.C., G.C.M.C., K.C.", in McLintock, A. H., An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, retrieved 2008-04-28 Check date values in:
- Stewart, William Downie (1937), The Right Honourable Sir Francis H.D. Bell, P.C., G.C.M.G., K.C. : his life and times, Wellington, [N.Z.]: Butterworth
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sir Francis Bell.|
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Served alongside: Robert Stout, John Duthie
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