Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sutcliffe, Thomas
SUTCLIFFE, THOMAS (1790?–1849), adventurer, son of John Sutcliffe of Stansfield, parish of Halifax, Yorkshire, and great-grandson of John Kay [q. v.] of Bury, the inventor, was born about 1790. He entered the royal navy and was on board the Kingfisher in the blockade of Corfu in 1809, and about that time fell into the enemy's hands, but managed to escape to Albania. He afterwards held a commission in the royal horse guards blue, and was with his regiment at the battle of Waterloo, where he was severely wounded. In 1817 he formed one of a band of adventurous Englishmen who went out to aid the patriots of Colombia in their struggles with Spain, and was appointed lieutenant-colonel of cavalry in the army of the republic. Here again he was made a prisoner of war, and was detained at Havana. Returning to England in 1821, he set out again for South America in August of the following year. He offered his services to the republic of Chili, and received the appointment of captain of cavalry. For sixteen years he remained in the military service of the republic, and took part in the operations of the liberating army in Peru. In 1834 he was appointed political and military governor of the island of Juan Fernandez, then used as a convict station by Chili. He witnessed the destructive earthquake there in February 1835, when he lost the greater portion of his possessions. Shortly afterwards an insurrection took place on the island, and Sutcliffe was recalled. Eventually, through a change of administration, he was cashiered in March 1838, and he returned to England in January 1839, with very slender means, heavy claims for arrears of pay remaining unsettled. He then endeavoured to improve his circumstances by literary pursuits. After living in the neighbourhood of Manchester, he removed to London about 1846, and died in great indigence in lodgings at 357 Strand on 22 April 1849, aged 59.
Sutcliffe published: 1. ‘The Earthquake at Juan Fernandez, as it occurred in the year 1835,’ Manchester, 1839. 2. ‘Foreign Loans, or Information to all connected with the Republic of Chili, comprising the Epoch from 1822 to 1839,’ Manchester, 1840. 3. ‘Sixteen Years in Chile and Peru, from 1822 to 1839,’ London, 1841. 4. ‘Crusoniana; or Truth versus Fiction, elucidated in a History of the Islands of Juan Fernandez,’ Manchester, 1843. 5. ‘An Exposition of Facts relating to the Rise and Progress of the Woollen, Linen, and Cotton Manufactures of Great Britain,’ Manchester, 1843. 6. ‘A Testimonial in behalf of Merit neglected and Genius unrewarded, and Record of the Services of one of England's greatest Benefactors,’ London, 1847. The last two works were published with the object of obtaining public support for the descendants of John Kay, an aim for which he laboured unsuccessfully for several years. He also published lithographed portraits of John Kay and John Greenhalgh, governor of the Isle of Man, 1640–51, as well as a pedigree of the Greenhalghs of Brandlesome.[Sutcliffe's works; Gent. Mag. 1849, ii. 102; Strauss's Remin. of an Old Bohemian, 1883, p. 172; Mulhall's English in South America, p. 246.]