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OBITUARY.

JAMES HUTCHINSON SUTTER. It is with very great regret that we announce the death of Captain ■ butter, which took place at half-past 9 o'clock yesterday evening, at his residence on Lebrens lerrace. For several weeks the , state of the deceased gentleman's health had caused his friends much anxiety, which increased as the days passed by, and it became evident that he was making no progress towards recovery. In spite of all that medical skill could effect, he became gradually weaker, and at length passed away peacefully and painlessly, though he had suffered a good deal for* some weeks previously. There was also failure of the vital • forces consequent upon the burden of many years, during which, until a comparatively recent date, he had been a strong vigorous man. To the very last he retained his mental faculties unimpaired. A gentleman with whom he had a long conversation only a few days belore the commencement of the final" illness, remarked upon the wonderful freshness of Captain Sutter's memory, and the pleasure which he took in calling up reminiscences of the past, much; of what he related being of a highly interesting character. James Hutchinson Sutter was bom in Aberdeenshire in 1818, and was therefore about eighty-five years of age at the time of his death. He commenced a seafaring life at a very early age, in a ship belonging to one of liis relatives. In that employ he made a number of voyages, and obtained his master-mariner's ," certificate when he was either twenty-one or twentytwo years of age. From that time onward ior a period of about fifteen years he pursued his profession in various parts of the world, his experiences including voyages to the East Indies, the West Indies, the Straits Settlements, and China. On his last voyages to the East he was in command of a China tea clipper. Finally he became part owner and commander of a vessel engaged in the Greenland whale . fishery, and we have heard him say that lie was one of the first to take a steamship into the arctic ice. After several successful voyages to the arctic regions, i Captain Sutter determined to abandon a sea life, and to settle in one of the British colonies. He sailed for New Zealand, in 1859. and fi.r about four years was engaged in business in Dunedin and on the Otac>o goldfields. He came to Timaru in 1863, the town having at that time scarcely commenced its existence, though the capabilities of the locality, its accessible roadstead, and the magnificent adjacent country, were already attracting outside attention, and gave promise of that marvellous development which has since taken place, i »nd to which Captain Sutter contributed in many ways. He made Timaru his home till 1866, when he sold his business and paid a lengthened visit to the Old Country. He returned to New Zealand in 1871, and again carried on business in Timaru for a number of years. He revisited the Old Country" in 1887, and was absent for eighteen months or thereabouts. Since Captain Sutter's return he has not taken a prominent part in public affairs, either colonial or local, although it was clear from his conversation that he maintained a I*een interest in them ; but for more than twenty years he had been a good deal in the public eye. and had filled many offices with much credit to himself and advantage to those whose interests were more or less in his keeping. He was a member of the House of Representatives for the Gladstone Electoral District in two Parliaments. His politics were moderately Conservative. He did " not speak often in the House, and never at much length, but he was invariably listened to with attention, for his great natural shrewdness, his business aptitude, his faculty for picking out the real points of a controversy and' his persistence in sticking to them, and the fact that he never rose in his place unless he - had really something to say. combined to secure him the respect of all parties. This is the testimony of one who knew him well as a member of the House, and who was o.'ten

struck by the superiority of such a representative to some members who talked a good deal more, but not so much to the purpose. In matters affecting Timaru or South Canterbury generally, he was in-

variably active and energetic as a member, and rendered excellent service to the people. Captain Sutter was first returned to Parliament in 1881. Very early in the first session of 1884 a dissolution ■ took place in consequence of the defeat of the Wh<-taker-Atkinson Ministry, who had been deserted by some of their usual folio-wing over the question of railway rates, especi ally for the carriage of grain. A Genera 1 Election was held as soon as possible, the Whitaker-Atkinson Government _ still re taining office, pending the result of th< contest. Captain Sutter was again a can 1 didate for the Gladstone seat, his opponent: ■ being Messrs J. M. Twomey, D. Ander ■ son,, and G. Morris. Captain Sutter wa: returned by a substantial majority. As sooi as the new Parliament met, it became evi dent that the constituencies had endorsed tin verdict which had been pronounced by th defunct House. The Whitaker-Atkinso; " Ministry resigned, and after a great dea of trouble and several unsuccessful attempt at Cabinet-making, the Stout-Vogel Minis try came into office. Captain Sutter ma; ; best- be described as an Independent in tha I Parliament, for the coalition between Si ! Robert Stout, an advanced Radical and ■ Socialist, and Sir Julius Vogel who vra (if anything) a Conservative, and had cor tested the Falmouth seat in the House c Commons in the Conservative interest

pleased no one. The coalition was a failure, though' not in every sense, for the Ministry were permitted' to remain in office merely because there seemed no prospect > of making a more satisfactorv arrangement , in the then state of parties "in the House. At the next General Election Captain Sutter was not a candidate, nor has he ever tried to obtain a seat in Pailiament since his return from Britain. Our reference to Captain Sutter's connection with local public affairs must necessarily be very brief. We have already said that his active participation in them came to an end a long time ago. He was one of the members of the Timaru Road Board, which was the first attempt at local self-government in this part of the country. He was a member of the Harbour Board for nine years, during two of which he was chairman. He always exhibited the greatest faith in the future of the port, confidently foretold the approaching enormous expansion of its tiade, and did his utmost to urge on the completion of the breakwater. For thirteen years he was a member of the' Borough Council, and six times was chosen Mayor of Timaru. He exerted himself strenuously on behalf of the waterworks scheme, a public seivice which should never be forgotten. He was chairman of the Timaru Permanent Building Society for fourteen years and for five years was chairman of the Timaru Cemetery Board. Captain Sutter was one of those who interested themselves m bringing about the lighting of the town by gas, and was chairman of directors of the Gas Company for seventeen years, a position which 'he held up to the time of his death. We are not sure that we have exhausted the list of public or quasi-public undertakings to which Captain Sutter-gave encouragement and active .support. • But the record as it stands is a long one, and it is clear that through an extended period much of his time w*s devoted to furthering the interests of the people amongst whom his lot was ca*t His was emphatically an active and a useful life—one of diligent work and service continued until the lengthening tale of years demanded we 1 deserved leisure and rest. He will be held in kindly remembrance for E,vS \ ft only hy his P ersocal ££? i * ,' £ y $* Col "mu«ity which profited largely by his exertions ' Captain Sutter leaves a widow and three ' sons to mourn their loss.

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Bibliographic details

OBITUARY., Timaru Herald, Volume LXXVIII, Issue 12040, 14 April 1903

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1,363

OBITUARY. Timaru Herald, Volume LXXVIII, Issue 12040, 14 April 1903

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