The Times/1918/Letter to the Editor/The Late Mr. J. S. Cotton
The Late Mr. J. S. Cotton
An "Old Friend" writes of Mr. J. S. Cotton, who death was announced in "The Times" of Thursday:—
Since Cotton's retirement from the editorship of the "Academy", to which he succeed on the death of his friend Charles Appleton in 1879, he had lived somewhat the life of a recluse who found satisfaction in the continuance of studies which were the ruling passion of his days. Those who were on the reviewing staff of that journal—a dwindling remnant—will bear in memory the impartiality, almost to the point of severity, which he brought to his duties, and how in his hands there failed not upholding of the high conceptions of his office which characterized the rule of his predecessor, whereby the "Academy" remained the medium of inter-communication between scholars of the East and West, its columns unsullied by any intrusion of 'ad captandum vulgus' elements.
Avoiding the public eye, he was happy in the fellowship of those who care for the things of the mind, who profited by his scholarship and his sanity of judgment. To these he unbosomed himself in warmth of friendship and geniality of soul, in an eagerness which received as gladly as it imparted. Although his birth was in India, his tastes and training gave him supreme interest in subjects which have attraction only for the few, subjects in which he was an admitted master, he was free from the defects of specialism, and those who met him were impressed by the proofs of wide knowledge never obtruded, but supplied in enrichment of the matter in hand. His estimate of the value of archaeological research in India, Central Asia, and Egypt did not less from him the significance of the spade work at Knossos and Nippur; in fact, not long before his death he expressed the belief that the discoveries in these last name might prove of greater importance in the history of culture. There remains for those who knew and loved James Sutherland Cotton the regret that his incisive talk had no record, and that his published works, from their necessary limitations of subject, can only imperfectly convey the erudition of a gifted man, memory of who is not 'writ in water'.