Butt, Charles Parker (DNB01)

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BUTT, Sir CHARLES PARKER (1830–1892), judge, third son of the Rev. Phelpes John Butt of Wortham Lodge, Bournemouth, by Mary, daughter of the Rev. John Eddy, vicar of Toddington, Gloucestershire, born on 24 June 1830, was educated under private tutors. On 22 Jan. 1849 he was admitted student at Lincoln's Inn, where he was called to the bar on 17 Nov. 1854, and elected bencher on 11 Jan. 1869. Whilst acting as correspondent for the 'Times' at Constantinople he practised in the consular courts, where he gained an experience of mercantile and maritime law and usage which on his return to England stood him in good stead on the northern circuit and in the admiralty court. Though by no means a consummate lawyer he was an eminently skilful advocate, and, on taking silk (8 Dec. 1868), succeeded to much of the practice which was liberated by the advancement of Sir William Baliol Brett (afterwards Viscount Esher) [q. v. Suppl.] to the bench.

Butt unsuccessfully contested Tamworth in the liberal interest in February 1874, but was returned to parliament for Southampton on 6 April 1880. His maiden speech was an able vindication on broad constitutional grounds of Charles Bradlaugh's right to take the oath (1 July). On the Irish question, so long as he remained in parliament, he was an unwavering supporter of the government. He succeeded Sir Robert Phillimore as justice of the high court, probate, divorce, and admiralty division, on 31 March 1883, and was knighted on 20 April following. He succeeded Sir James Hannen as president of the division on 29 Jan. 1891, He was a member, but hardly a working member, of the royal commission appointed on 1 Nov. 1884 to investigate the causes of loss of life at sea. His health was already gravely impaired, and a painful malady, which latterly rendered continuous attention almost impossible, was complicated by an attack of influenza in the winter of 1891, and terminated in his death from cardiac paralysis at Wiesbaden on 25 May 1892. In such circumstances a greater lawyer must have failed to establish a reputation commensurate with his powers.

Butt married, on 23 Dec, 1878, Anna Georgina, daughter of C. Ferdinand Rodewald.

[Foster's Men at the Bar; Lincoln's Inn Records; Burke's Peerage (1892); Members of Parliament (official lists, App.); Hansard's Parl. Deb. 3rd ser. ccliii. 1302, cclvii. 313, cclxvii. 470; Parl. Papers (H.C.), 1 887, C. 6227; Vanity Fair, 12 Feb. 1887; Whitehall Rev. 28 May 1892; Times, 27 May 1892; Ann. Reg. 1892, ii. 174; Law Times, 4 June 1892; Law Journ. 4 June 1892; Solicitor's Journ. 28 May 1892; Men and Women of the Time (1891); Law Rep. App. Cases (1887) p. xviii, (1891) Memoranda.]

J. M. R.