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Archibald Hutchinson (1659-1740)

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Politician & Attorney General from Stranocum

The only son of Archibald and Christian Hutchinson of Stranocum, Archibald led a colourful life building a successful career and a sizable fortune.  As a young man he established himself in England as a meticulous lawyer and by the age of 29 he was fortunate to be offered the position of Attorney General of the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Ocean.

He is most renowned for investigating the South Seas Company financial scandal of 1720, which caused the first collapse of the British financial markets and nearly bankrupted England. Hutchinson is credited with approaching the crisis with calmness and reason.

Archibald Hutchinson is also remembered for the confusion that followed his death.  In his Will, he left £17,000 to his ‘poor relatives in Ireland’.  Despite his legal experience, the use of such broad terminology meant that his legacy was not settled for nearly 60 years and the disorder which surrounded the ‘Hutchinson Bequest’ even led to a special Act of Parliament.  He is buried in St James’ Church in Westminster.

With thanks to Peter Hutchinson, Melbourne, Australia.