Hastie, James Morrison

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Hastie, James Morrison

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  • Hastie, Jimmie

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The Field (volume 90, 18 December 1897 p976) holds this obituary and record of his funeral:

On Monday, at the cemetery of Sunbury-on-Thames, the remains of this famous oarsman were laid to rest. Despite the fact that the weather was most inclement, rain falling with more or less persistency, there was a large gathering of his friends, but account day on the Stock Exchange kept many people away. Among those who paid the last tribute of respect to the deceased were Messrs J. W. Bashford, H. Edgell, F. E. Whitehurst, W. H. Eyre, F. Canton, S. D. Muttlebury, F. E. C. Clark, J. G. Jones, T. Young, C. Smith, T. Anderson, R. H. Forster, H. S. Crocker, J. Sutherland, A. T. Brophy, G. Hering, F. W. Long, H. J. Rust, J. Maycock, G. Yyse, M. T. Llewellyn, A. Radmall, E. A. Staines, of the Thames Rowing Club; G. D. Lister, C. Herbert, C. G. Ousey, E. Bartlett; F. A. Kent, of the London Rowing Club; W. G. Fidge, of the Vesta Rowing Club; W. Giles, W. Wilson, W. Meyerstein, J. Chambers, J. Swinson, and the professionals, W. East, W. G. East, W. J. Cobb, and H. Follett.
Mr James Morrison Hastie, who entered his f orty-ninth year last October, was of Scotch parentage, but born in Russia. At an early age he came to this country and was educated at the High School, Edinburgh. In 1871, with no previous knowledge of rowing, he joined the Thames Rowing Club —a step which was destined to be of the greatest importance to that association, for it is not too much to say that it was in a very great measure owing to him that it became the important one it now is. Mr W. H. Eyre, who, in after years, was so closely connected with him, more especially in a pair-oared boat, was captain at the time, and quickly recognising the latent oarsmanship of the recruit, in the next season gave him a seat in the eight which entered for the Thames Challenge Cup at Henley Regatta, and was the first which the Thames Rowing Club had sent there. He also then rowed in the Wyfold Challenge Cup Four, and his crew followed up the successes of the two previous years, that prize being won by the Thames, as well as the eight-oared contest. In 1873 he again rowed in both crews, but it was only the Thames Cup which was won. In 1874 the club made a bid for the Grand Challenge Cup, encouraged by their success in winning the minor event, and from that year until 1885 inclusive Mr Hastie was a member of the crew which represented it. In 1876 and 1878 the cup was gained, as also was the Stewards Challenge Cup in 1880 and 1883, Mr Hastie rowing in the Thames crews for that prize during the same years which he did for the Grand Challenge Cup, except that there was no entry in 1873. For six years, with Mr W. H. Eyre at the bow thwart, he competed for the Silver Goblets, namely from 1877 to 1882, and won on three occasions, in 1877, 1880, and 1881. He also tried for them in 1833 with the late Mr H. B. Tween, and in 1885 with Mr J. A. Drake- Smith. At the Metropolitan Amateur Regatta he was a constant competitor from 1872 to 1884. In 1873, 1874, 1876, and 1880 he was one of the winners of the Metropolitan Champion Cup for Eights, and in 1881 rowed a dead heat with the London Rowing Club. The Thames Cup for Coxswainless Fours fell to his crew in 1875, 1880, 1882,1S33, and 1884; and in the four years from 1877 to 1880 inclusive, with Mr W. H. Eyre as a partner, he won the Champion Pairs; also doing so with Mr H. B. Tween in 13S3. Like many first- class oarsmen, he was not an especially brilliant sculler, but he won his Juniors at the Metropolitan Regatta in 1873.
Of his successes at other regattas it is impossible to write, they were so numerous, and were not confined to this country; but one important event must be reterred to. It will be in the recollection of many that in 1882 the Hillsdale’s, an American four of professed amateurs, cams over here intending to compete at Henley Regatta. Their entry, however, was not accepted by the stewards of that meeting, though they were permitted to row at Marlow Regatta. Rather than let them return to America without a representative race, the Thames Club challenged them to row from Putney to Mortlake, and this cartel was taken up. The Thames crew were H. B. Tween, J. M. Hastie (steerer), H. J. Rust, F. Canton (st.), and they most decisively defeated the Hillsdales, who led to Hammersmith, and in the most unsportsmanlike manner crossed and recrossed in front of the Thames crew, washing them badly. But at Chiswick Eyot, the bow of the American four put his hand behind him and threw away his slide, claiming that it was broken. The Thames crew had, however, fairly rowed them down at the time, and were going by. From 1875 until 1881 Mr Hastie was captain of the Thames Rowing Club. Without doubt he was one of the finest oarsmen who ever sat in a boat, and he was a perfect master of the art of watermanship. As so often is the case when one especially good man, horse, or dog is to the fore, there is at the same time another of exceptional merit, and so it was with Mr Hastie, who was contemporary with Mr F. S. Gulston of the London Rowing Club, at least his equal as an oarsman and waterman, and who deprived him of many a victory which would otherwise have been his. But though the rivalry between them was keen, it was always friendly, and each had a great respect and regard for the other. Genial to a degree, and possessed of great individuality, Mr Hastie had the happy knack of making friends wherever he was, and, having once been made, they were not lost. Though he was comparatively unknown to the present generation of active oarsmen, his death will leave a void which can never be filled with many who are only in middle life. It came as a shock at last but he was known to have been in a hopeless condition for some months past, and the consolation is that it maybe looked upon as a merciful release.


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