1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alverstone, Richard Everard Webster

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 1
Alverstone, Richard Everard Webster
See also Richard Webster, 1st Viscount Alverstone on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.

ALVERSTONE, RICHARD EVERARD WEBSTER, 1st Baron (1842- ), lord chief justice of England, was born on the 22nd of December 1842, being the second son of Thomas Webster, Q.C. He was educated at King's College and Charterhouse schools, and Trinity College, Cambridge; was called to the bar in 1868, and became Q.C. only ten years afterwards. His practice was chiefly in commercial, railway and patent cases until (June 1885) he was appointed attorney-general in the Conservative Government in the exceptional circumstances of never having been solicitor-general, and not at the time occupying a seat in parliament. He was elected for Launceston in the following month, and in November exchanged this seat for the Isle of Wight, which he continued to represent until his elevation to the House of Lords. Except under the brief Gladstone administration of 1886, and the Gladstone-Rosebery cabinet of 1892-1895, Sir Richard Webster was attorney-general from 1885 to 1900. In 1890 he was leading counsel for The Times in the Parnell inquiry; in 1893 he represented Great Britain in the Bering Sea arbitration; in 1898 he discharged the same function in the matter of the boundary between British Guiana and Venezuela; and in 1903 was one of the members of the Alaska Boundary Commission. He was well known as an athlete in his earlier years, having represented his university as a runner, and his interest in cricket and foot-racing was kept up in later life. In the House of Commons, and outside it, he was throughout his political career prominently associated with church work; and his speeches were distinguished for gravity and earnestness. In 1900 he succeeded Sir Nathaniel Lindley as Master of the Rolls, being raised to the peerage as Baron Alverstone, and in October of the same year he was elevated to the office of lord chief justice upon the death of Lord Russell of Killowen.