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24 corrections, most recently by billinghurst - Show corrections


The late Sir John Gorrie, K.B., whose death is recorded to-day at the age of sixty-three, was born in the parish of Kettle, Fifeshire, Scotland. He was

a son of the Rev. Daniel Gorrie, United Presbyterian Minister. "He was," says Men and Women of the Time, educated at the village school, subsequently at the Madras College, St. Andrew's, and then at the Univer- sity of Edinburgh. He was called to the Bar of Scotland in 1856. To Sir John's advocacy that the volunteer movement should be made a national one, by including all ranks of the people, that force owed a great deal at its start. At the request of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh he himself raised a couple of artisan   companies of 100 men each in a single day, and this continued until a whole battalion was formed out of similar materials. The example of Edinburgh was quickly followed throughout the country, and the impulse then given has never been lost. Mr. Gorrie visited America in 1860, the year of the election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency, and all his anti- slavery views being confirmed by what he saw and heard he wad able to do effective service in the cause of the Northern States when the great Civil War broke out. Ha then became a leader-writer on the Morning Star, having as colleagues many men who have since dis- tinguished themselves in literature and politics. In 1865, on the news reaching this country of the disturbances in Jamaica which led ulti- mately to the removal and attempted trial of Governor Eyre, Mr. Gorrie was invited by the Jamaica Committee to go out to represent them before the Royal Commission in the colony. This service, which extended over several months, having been performed to the   entire satisfaction of his constituents, Mr. Gorrie returned to his usual vocations in London until 1868, when he offered his services to the Border Burghs. Finding, however, that his candidature would split up the advanced Liberal party, a portion of whom considered themselves pledged to Sir George, then Mr. Trevelyan, he withdrew. In 1869 he was offered and accepted the post of Sub- stitute Procureur-General in Mauritius, and a   few months after his arrival became a Puisne Judge. He was a member of a Commission which discovered an extraordinary system of legal oppression upon natives of India who had completed their indentures as coolies, and he also showed how properties were wasted by legal costs, because of the officials misunder- standing the spirit and meaning of the local ordinances. Mr. Gorrie boldly protected the Creoles and coolies alike from all attempted oppression ; and when, in 1870, he was removed to take the post of Chief Justice of the new colony of Fiji, he received a striking testi- monial of the respect and estrem in which he was held by the whole community. In Fiji, an altogether different native race and language had to be studied, and as thr Chief Justice was a member of the Legislative Council, a differ-

ent class of work had to be undertaken. Perhaps the most useful work done by Mr. Gorrie at that time was the application of the Torrens system of land titles to the land which had been acquired by Europeans in the new colony. Whilst engaged in these labours the High Commission for the Western Pacific wad organized by an Order in Council, the Chief Justice becoming Chief Judicial Commissioner. He also acted for upwards of one year as High Commissioner. After being knighted in l882, Sir John was appointed to the old West India Colonies, now united into the Leeward group. While there he contributed most materially to overthrow the custom of consignee's lien, which favoured the London merchant at tho expense of local creditors; and also the En-   cumbered Estates Court, which made West Indian properties change hands in London without giving people in the locality a chance to bid. Sir John drafted with great labour an ordinance to introduce Indefeasible Titles, and to give security for local advances. This ordinance ultimately became law, and Sir John received a unanimous vote of thanks from the Leeward Islands Legislature, in 1885 Sir John was transferred to Trinidad, and both in that island and in Tobago, now annexed to Trinidad, he has been energetically endeavouring to make the Courts of Justice accessible to all, to administer justice impar- tially, and to promote measures for the well being of the colony. On his return to the colony lately from a visit home, the reception accorded to him was of an impressive and enthusiastic character."