Colquhoun, Patrick Macchombaich (DNB01)
|←Colomb, Philip Howard||Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement
Colquhoun, Patrick Macchombaich
COLQUHOUN, SIR PATRICK MACCHOMBAICH (1815–1891), diplomatist, author, and oarsman, born on 13 April 1815, was the eldest son of the Chevalier James Colquhoun, and great-grandson of Patrick Colquhoun [q. v.] His father was charge d'affaires of the king of Saxony, the duke of Oldenburg, and of the Hanseatic republics, Lubeck, Bremen, and Hamburg; he was also political agent for many of the West Indian islands, a knight of the Ottoman empire, and commander of the Saxon order of merit. Patrick entered Westminster School on 25 May 1826, left in August 1832, and was admitted pensioner of St. John's College, Cambridge, on 27 Feb. 1833. He graduated B.A. in 1837, M.A. in 1844, and LL.D. in 1851; he was also LL.D of Heidelberg (1838). On 1 May 1834 he was admitted student of the Inner Temple, and on 4 May 1838 he was called to the bar; he became Q.C. in 1868, bencher of his inn in 1869, and treasurer in 1888. Through his father's connection with the Hanse towns, he was in 1840 appointed their plenipotentiary to conclude commercial treaties with Turkey, Persia, and Greece. These duties occupied him four years, and on his return to England in 1844 he joined the home circuit. In 1845 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, during Hallam's presidency; he was placed on the council in 1846, was made librarian in 1852, vice-president in 1869, and president in succession to the duke of Albany in 1886. During his residence in England he wrote his 'Summary of the Roman Civil Law,' a substantial work in four large volumes (London, 8vo, 1849–54). In 1857 he was appointed aulic councillor to the king of Saxony, and he was standing counsel to the Saxon legation until it was abolished by the war of 1866.
In 1858 Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, then colonial secretary, appointed Colquhoun a member of the supreme court of justice in the Ionian Islands, and in 1861 he became chief justice of the court, and was knighted. In the following year the high commissioner, Sir Henry Knight Storks [q.v.], dismissed two Ionian judges. Colquhoun took their part, and in 1864, after the cession of the islands to Greece, he bitterly attacked Storks in 'The Dismissal of the Ionian Judges: a Letter to Sir H. Storks' (London, 8vo). Storks's action was, however, upheld by the colonial office. In 1875 Colquhoun published a treatise on 'The Supreme Court of Judicature Acts' (London, 8vo), which reached a second edition in the same year. This was followed by 'Russian Despotism' (London, 1877, 8vo), evoked by the Bulgarian atrocity agitation, and 'A Concise History of the Order of the Temple' (Bedford, 1878, 8vo), which was dedicated to the Prince of Wales. In 1886 he was elected honorary fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. He died at his chambers in King's Bench Walk, Temple, on 18 May 1891; his widow, Katherine, daughter of M. de St. Vitalis, whom he married in 1843, survives him.
Colquhoun was a man of remarkable linguistic attainments; he spoke most of the tongues and many of the dialects of Europe, was a thorough classical scholar and a jurist. He received orders of merit from the sultan of Turkey, the kings of Greece and of Saxony, and the duke of Oldenburg. He was also, like his brother, the Chevalier James du Colquhoun (d. 1891), who founded the Cercle Nautique at Cannes (Times, 25 March 1891), a noted oarsman. In 1837 (Woodgate, pp. 38, 296, or in 1835 according to his own account, Eagle, xi. 228) he won the Wingfield sculls, which made him amateur champion of England, and in the same year he founded the Colquhoun sculls for the benefit of the Lady Margaret Boat Club; in 1842 the prize was thrown open to the university. In 1837 he also rowed at Henley in a race between St. John's College, Cambridge, and Queen's College, Oxford, the head boats of the respective universities, and for many years he was secretary of the Leander Boat Club.
[The best account of Colquhoun is contained in the Eagle (St. John's College, Cambridge, Magazine), xvi. 567–72. See also Colquhoun's letter in the Eagle, xiv. 228 sqq.; his works in Brit. Mus. Libr.; Graduati Cantabr. 1800–1884; Times, 19 May 1891; Foster's Peerage, &c., and Men at the Bar; Barker and Stenning's Westm. Sch. Reg.; Woodgate's Boating, pp. 38, 243, 296; Men of the Time, 13th edit.; information from R. F. Scott, esq., St. John's College, Cambridge.]