Karslake, John Burgess (DNB00)

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KARSLAKE, Sir JOHN BURGESS (1821–1881), lawyer, second son of Henry Karslake, solicitor, by his wife, a daughter of Richard Preston, Q.C., an eminent conveyancer and M.P. for Ashburton, was born at Bencham, near Croydon, in 1821. He was educated at Harrow; was articled to his father without proceeding to a university, and finally, joining the Middle Temple, was called to the bar in Hilary term 1846. He joined the western circuit, where he became the rival of Lord Coleridge at every step in his career. He was appointed a queen's counsel in 1861, and was then elected a bencher of his inn. In November 1866 he became solicitor-general and was knighted, but had no seat in parliament till, in the following year, being advanced to the attorney-generalship, he was elected for Andover, and held the seat and the office till the conservative ministry fell in 1868. He then unsuccessfully contested Exeter, when the seat was won by Lord Coleridge. He was out of parliament till 1873, when he was chosen at a by-election at Huntingdon. He resumed office under Mr. Disraeli in 1874, but failing sight compelled him first to resign his office in April 1875, and his seat in Parliament in February 1876, when he was sworn of the privy council. He continued to act upon the judica- ture commission of which he was a member. He was a very finished speaker, and had enjoyed a very large and lucrative practice at the bar, and was also an effective parliamentary debater, but his untiring efforts undermined his strength. After a long illness he died unmarried at his house, 7 Chester Square, on 4 Oct. 1881. He revised for publication Dr. Collyn's ‘Chase of the Wild Red Deer,’ and was erroneously reported to have been its author (see Times, 6 Oct. 1881).

[Solicitor's Journal, 8 Oct. 1881; Ann. Reg. 1881; Times, 6 Oct. 1881, and a letter by Lord Coleridge in Times, 10 Oct. 1881; Ballantyne's Reminiscences, i. 269.]

J. A. H.