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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Stevens, Hon. Edward Cephas John

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Stevens, Hon. Edward Cephas John, M.L.C., youngest son of the Rev. W. Stevens, rector of Salford, Oxfordshire, was born on Oct. 18th, 1837, and educated at Marlborough College and at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester. Mr. Stevens settled in New Zealand in Sept. 1858. He was a member of the Canterbury provincial executive from 1863 to 1866. At the general election in that year he was elected M.H.R. for Selwyn, but was defeated at the next election, owing to his opposition to the tax on imported grain. In 1876 he was returned for Christchurch, and again in 1879, but declined to stand in 1882, when he was appointed to the Legislative Council, in which he still holds a seat. Mr. Stevens, who was a strong Free-trader and opponent of provincialism from the time he entered public life, is understood to have been the real originator of the "Public Trust Office," of which Sir Julius Vogel was the legislative sponsor. In Oct. 1887 he accepted office in the Atkinson administration without portfolio, resigning with his colleagues in Dec. 1891.