Saturday, September 8, 2012

James Montague Bent Vermont, death 10 May 1904, Penang

 The Hon James Montague Bent Vermont C.M.G., ex-M.L.C., died today at half past one o'clock. The deceased gentleman was one of the oldest Straits residents in the Colony. He was here in the early sixties and from the first was associated with the Batu Kawan sugar estate of which he was manager first, and then manager and part proprietor, and later succeeded to the managing proprietorship in the late eighties. He was at the time of his death one of the proprietors of the Prye Sugar Estates. He was for many years a member of the Legislative Council, and was accustomed to take an active part in the debates, and he held besides several of the offices which fall to the lot of leading gentlemen in the minor governmental functions of the Colony, and had been a justice of the peace and Police Magistrate for Province Wellesley. Besides these duties, he took some interest in the direction of other business concerns besides his own estate work. He was granted the honour of Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1901, and when he retired from the Legislative Council, was allowed to retain the title of Honourable. He was succeeded at the Council table by the Hon J. Turner. As senior unofficial member of Council his speeches, on the estimates and in other important debates were always listened to with the attention which his long knowledge of the colony warranted, and he was a consistent champion of the planters, whom he generally represented as an oppressed and struggling body. His lengthened management of an estate employing many hundreds of coolies, gave him a full knowledge of the question of labour supply, and his insight into this important phase of the life of Province Wellesley was extraordinarily keen. Outside his own business however he did not largely interest himself in other ventures, nor was he at any time particularly prominent in the sporting side of life in the East. His death, following on that of Admiral Keppel, Dato Meldrum, Dato Hole, and others, severs yet another of the strands in the cord uniting the Straits of the twentieth century with the Straits of the nineteenth century. His death will be universally regretted by all Straits residents who take any real interest in the Colony, and keenly so by some who knew him intimately in the old days. [The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 10 May 1904, Page 2]

Penang 10th May. Mr. J.M.B. Vermont, C.M.G., died here today. He had been ill only a few days. Wide felt regret will be felt at the news of the death of Mr. J.M.B. Vermont. He was a sugar planter of long standing in Province Wellesley. For many years he represented the planting community in the Legislative Council where his speeches and remarks received marked attention. The distinction of C.M.G. was conferred on Mr. Vermont in the early part of last year. [The Straits Times, 10 May 1904, Page 4]

Penang 11th May. Mr Vermont's death was caused by a carbuncle on the back of the neck. His funeral was held here this afternoon and was largely attended. The Government officials were present, and numbers of people of all ranks, creeds, and races in the Settlement. [The Straits Times, 11 May 1904, Page 4]

The late Mr. Vermont was taken seriously ill on Friday last. [The Straits Times, 11 May 1904, Page 4]

Arrangements had been made for the departure for home by the P & O "Palawan" of the late Hon'ble J.M.B.  Vermont but he was so seriously ill on Saturday that the journey had to be postponed. We heard yesterday of the death of Mr. Vermont. He was born in Jamaica in 1827, educated at the Stocks's Boarding School, London, and celebrated his 67th birthday last January. [The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 11 May 1904, Page 2]

The late Mr Vermont was seriously ill for three weeks before he died on Tuesday last. He was a native of Jamaica, and had reached his 77th year. Mr. Vermont landed at Penang in 1845 and apprenticed as overseer of a nutmeg plantation before he took to sugar planting. [The Straits Times, 14 May 1904, Page 5]

The Pinang Gazette in its notice of the death of the hon'ble J.M.B. Vermont, says that the deceased gentleman came to the Colony in 1845, and became manager of the Batu Kawan Estate in succession to the late Mr. T. Braddell, who adopted the legal profession and became such a valuable member of the bar, and eventually Attorney General. Mr. Vermont had almost completed his sixty years of residence here, and was 78 years of age. [The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser (1884-1942), 18 May 1904, Page 2]

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