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Wentworth, D'Arcy (1762–1827)

from Australian (Sydney)

On Monday, the remains of D'Arcy Wentworth, Esquire, were removed from his residence at Homebush, where this much respected gentleman had breathed his last, to a vault prepared for the occasion in the Church-yard of Parramatta. At a quarter past twelve the melancholy procession began to move off along the road leading towards Parramatta. It extended nearly a mile in length, and was composed of the relatives, most of the Magistrates resident within fifty miles of Sydney, the private friends of the deceased, and others who attended from feelings of sincere respect to his memory, and of veneration for the unbending integrity and upright independence which appeared to have guided his conduct during a long and often times trying period in this country. The coffin containing the remains of the deceased was cornered with black cloth, and was borne on a hearse, drawn by four horses; until the procession reached Parramatta; when it was carried on the shoulders of men, preceded by Doctor Redfern and four mutes, and accompanied by six pall-bearers, Messrs. Piper, Lawson, Campbell, on one side; Harris, Brooks, and Throsby on the other; Mr. Charles Wentworth followed, as chief mourner, and a train of mourners in carriages, on horseback, and on foot, in pairs, succeeded. The head of the procession entered the Church at a few minutes to three o'clock, when the coffin was laid down in the aisle, and the Rev. Mr. Marsden read over the funeral service. It was afterwards removed and deposited in the Church-yard, in a family vault. A plentiful and refreshing repast was prepared, by direction of the Executors, at Walker's, to which place most of the persons composing the melancholy pageant adjourned.

This highly respected gentleman was lineally descended from the unfortunate but magnanimous Earl of Strafford. The seat of the family was originally Wentworth Castle in the County of York. His ancestors accompanied William III, to Ireland, was present with that Prince at the battle of the Boyne, and afterwards fixed his residence at Trim Castle in the County of Meath, which constituted part of the family estates. Here, during the troubles of the times, he raised a regiment under a commission from the Lords Justices of Ireland. This document, it is understood, is now in the possession of his family in this Colony.

By some of the ancestors of Mr. Wentworth, the hereditary estates were gradually dissipated, and his immediate progenitor stood only in the rank of a country gentleman of moderate income.

The late Mr. Wentworth was born at Portadown in the County of Armagh, in the year 1762, and at an early age held a Commission as Lieutenant of one of the regiments which were raised for the local service of Ireland near the conclusion of the American war.

He arrived in this Colony in the year 1790, and immediately received an appointment upon the medical establishment. At various stations he performed with ability and credit the duties of Assistant Surgeon, and upon the arrival of Governor Macquarie, in December 1809, acted as Principal Surgeon; in which situation he was, in 1812, confirmed by his Majesty, upon the death of the Principal Surgeon, Mr. Jamison.

Until the appointment and arrival in the Colony, in 1819, of Dr. Bowman, Mr. Wentworth continued to fill the office of Principal Surgeon. The following extract from the Government and General Orders of that date, will best show the estimation in which his public services in the medical department were held:—

"On the retirement of Mr. Wentworth from a department, in the various gradations of which he has served for upwards of 29 years, and in the principal situations for the last ten years, his Excellency the Governor would be doing injustice to his own feelings as well as to the merits of Mr. Wentworth, were he not to express his entire satisfaction at, and unqualified approbation of, the able, zealous, humane, and intelligent manner in which he has uniformly conducted the duties of Principal Surgeon and which his Excellency is happy to bear testimony were also conducted with the strictest honor and integrity. And whilst his Excellency regrets the retirement of so able and useful a medical officer, he doubts not that the numerous and humane and charitable acts which have so eminently distinguished his professional character during a long course of years will afford him a constant source of the most consolatory and gratifying reflections on every retrospect of his active and important public services."

As a medical practitioner, Mr. Wentworth was distinguished for the tenderness with which he treated his patients of every degree, and especially that class of unfortunate persons whom the charge of the General Hospital placed so extensively under his care. He was peculiarly skilful in treating the diseases of children.

Early in the year 1819 Mr. Wentworth was appointed a Magistrate for the town and district of Sydney, a Commissioner of the Turnpike roads, and Treasurer of the Police Fund. At the close of the same year he was appointed Superintendent of Police in the town of Sydney, and a Magistrate of the Territory.

The important duties of these several offices he continued to perform without intermission until the year 1820, when, on the 3lst of March he resigned to the late W. Minchin, Esq. the situation of Superintendent of Police, and on the 3rd of June that of Treasurer of the Police Fund.

On each of these occasions he received the public acknowledgments of the local government in the following terms —

"In receiving Mr. Wentworth's resignation of the office of Superintendent of Police, which he has filled for nearly ten years past with equal credit to himself and benefit to the community, his Excellency feels it due to that Gentleman to express in this public manner his unqualified approbation his steady, upright, and impartial conduct in the discharge of its arduous and important duties.

"His Excellency the Governor, in receiving the resignation of Mr. Wenthworth is happy to hear this public testimony of approbation of his honorable, zealous and punctual discharge of the important trust which has been confided to him upwards of ten years past as Treasurer of the Police Fund."

Nor was this encomium confined to the local Government. The late Commissioner of Inquiry, in that part of his Report which relates to the state of the revenue, has not failed to advert "to the punctuality and credit with which Mr. Wentworth acquitted himself in the discharge of his duty as Treasurer."

Upon the decease of Mr. Minchin in March 1821, Mr. Wentworth was induced again to accept the joint office of Superintendent of Police and Treasurer of the Colonial Revenue. The latter he held until the arrival of Mr. Balcombe in 1824, and the former until Captain Rossi's appointment in 1825, when he retired altogether from public life.

As an able, upright, and impartial Magistrate, Mr. Wentworth's merits are too well remembered by all classes of the community to need repetition here.

As a man, his manly and independent principles—his high integrity—his moderation—his urbanity—his public and private virtues—could not fail to endear him to his friends and fellow citizens, and to excite throughout the Colony the liveliest feelings of regret at his demise.

It might, without great exaggeration, be said of him, as was remarked by the late Earl of Cork and Orrery of Sir Horatio Mann, Minister to the Duke of Tuscany, in 1754—"He is the only person I have ever known, whom all his countrymen agree in praising."

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Citation details

'Wentworth, D'Arcy (1762–1827)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/wentworth-darcy-1545/text1593, accessed 31 August 2014.

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