Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paget, John (1808-1892)

PAGET, JOHN (1808–1892), agriculturist and writer on Hungary, son of John Paget, by his wife, Anna Hunt, was born at Thorpe Satchville, Leicestershire, in 1808. He entered Manchester College, York, as a lay student in 1823. In 1826 he proceeded to Edinburgh University, studied medicine, and graduated M.D., but never practised or used the title of doctor, though he further pursued the study of medicine in Paris and Italy. In Italy he met the Baroness Polyxena Wesselényi (d. 1878), widow of Baron Ladislaus Bánffy, whom he married in 1837 at Rome. After travelling in Hungary he devoted himself to the development of his wife's estates, and gained a high reputation as a scientific agriculturist and a beneficent landlord, introducing an improved breed of cattle, and paying special attention to viniculture. To the unitarian church of Transylvania, of which he was a zealous member, he rendered many important services, especially at the time (1857) when its educational system was threatened by the measures of the Austrian government. He died at Gyéres on 10 April 1892, and was buried at Kolozsvár on 12 April. His elder son died in childhood; his younger son, Oliver (b. 5 Sept. 1841, d. 19 Oct. 1863), served under Garibaldi in Sicily, married in 1861, and left issue.

Paget published: 1. ‘Hungary and Transylvania,’ &c., 1839, 8vo, 2 vols.; 2nd ed. 1855, 8vo, 2 vols.; translated into German by E. A. Moriatry, Leipzig, 1842. 2. ‘Unitarianism in Transylvania,’ in J. R. Beard's ‘Unitarianism Exhibited,’ amp.c., 1846, 8vo. He occasionally contributed to the ‘Christian Reformer.’ His wife published ‘Olaszhoni és Schweizi Utazás,’ amp.c. (journey in Italy and Switzerland), Kolozsvár, 1842, 8vo, 2 vols.

[Inquirer, 30 April 1892, p. 278; Keresztény Magvetö, 1893, pp. 90 sq. (memoir, with portrait); information from Rev. Denis Péterfi, Kolozsvár.]

A. G.