The Times/1918/Obituary/James Sutherland Cotton

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Mr. J. S. Cotton

We regret to announce the death of Mr. James Sutherland Cotton, formerly editor of the "Academy" and the writer and compiler of various valuable books and publications on Indian life and history, which occurred yesterday at Salisbury.

He was born on July 17, 1847, at Cooner, Madras, , the third son of Joseph John Cotton, of the Madras Civil Service, his mother being a daughter of James Minchin, Master in Equity of the Supreme Court at Madras. The late Sir Henry Cotton was his brother. After being at school successively at Magdalen College School and Brighton College, he went to Winchester, in 1860, and became a colleger there in the following year and in 1867, he was elected a scholar of Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1870, after a first-class in Classical Moderations and a first in 'Literæ Humaniores'. From 1871 to 1874 he was a Fellow and Lecturer of Queen's College. Among his Oxford friends and contemporaries were E. W. B. Nicholson, Bodley's Librarian, F. T. Richards, first of Queen's and afterwards of Trinity, and Grant Allen of Merton, and he was in pronounced sympathy with the rather uncompromising views of that academic and philosophic Liberalism which had set in strongly years before.

In 1874 he was called to the Bar of Lincoln's Inn, and in 1881 he began the work for which he was well suited — namely, the editing of the "Academy" then a critical journal of high repute, which under his able guidance became famous for it signed reviews and scholarly criticism. From a worldly point of view it was, perhaps, a little too scholarly, and after 15 years of editorship, Cotton left it to other hands.

For many years he was the principal assistant of the late Sir William Hunter in his manifold literary undertakings in exposition of Indian life and history. He helped Hunter to compile the first general Gazetteer of India, published in nine volumes in 1881, and to revise and expand it in a second edition of 14 volumes in 1885-87. His chief work in the last few years was the cataloguing of the European MSS. relating to India in the India Office Library. The ample material he had collated remains to be put in final form for publication. He had remarkable tenacity of memory for exact details, and a striking facility for the coordination of his material.

Mr Cotton married in 1873, Isabella, daughter of Mr. John Carter, of Clifton, Bristol, who survives him.


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