Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol III (1901).djvu/30

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Hunter
Hunter
16

Master and Servant,' and gave much attention to the interpretation of the law as it affected labour disputes. On retiring from his chair at University College in 1882 Hunter gave whatever time was not occupied in professional pursuits to political controversy. In conjunction with his friend, James Barclay, M.P. for Forfarshire, he took part in the attempts then being made by English and Scottish tenant farmers to obtain compensation for improvements. He also took up in the same interest the question of railway rates, and succeeded in obtaining important improvements in restrictions on charges and in the classification of goods and rates. He collected some materials for a work on private bill legislation, but this was never completed.

In 1885 Hunter was elected member of parliament for the north division of Aberdeen by a majority of 3,900 over the conservative candidate. His friendship with Charles Bradlaugh [q. v. Suppl.] and his intimate acquaintance with natives from India who had passed through his hands as law students had familiarised him with Indian questions, and on 21 Jan. 1886 he began his career in the House of Commons by moving an amendment to the address expressing regret that the revenues of India had been applied to defray the expenses of the military operations in Ava without the consent of parliament. This was withdrawn at Gladstone's suggestion.

At the general election in the same year Hunter declared himself in favour of home rule, and was returned for North Aberdeen unopposed. In 1888 he was appointed by the council of legal education reader in Roman law, international law, and jurisprudence. Next year the government, when legislating on local government in Scotland, appropriated probate duty to the payment of the fees of children taking the three lowest standards in elementary schools. In 1890 Hunter saw the chance of completely freeing elementary education from the payment of fees, and urged that the increase in the duties, which the government then imposed on spirits, should pay the fees in elementary schools on the standards above the three lowest. This he succeeded in carrying, and thus secured wholly free elementary education for Scotland. For this service he received the freedom of his native city in 1890. On 27 Jan, 1891 Hunter moved that the resolution refusing permission to Bradlaugh to take the oath or make affirmation should be expunged from the records of the House of Commons, and this was carried without a division. He had always been interested in old age pensions, which he was the first to press upon the attention of parliament, and gave valuable assistance to those attempting to bring forward a feasible scheme. But his health was rapidly failing, and he seldom intervened in debate during his remaining years in parliament. In 1895 he was re-elected as member for North Aberdeen by a majority of 3,548, but retired from parliament in the following year owing to the state of his health. On the recommendation of Mr. A. J. Balfour he was awarded a civil list pension of 200l. He died on 21 July 1898 at Cults in Aberdeenshire.

Hunter's most important work was 'A Systematic and Historical Exposition of Roman Law in the order of a Code embodying the Institutes of Gaius and of Justinian, translated into English by J. A. Cross,' London, 1876; 2nd edit, enlarged, 1885. The chief characteristic of this work was its order of arrangement, which was based on that recommended by Bentham for a civil code. Under the head of 'contracts' some important criticisms of Maine's theory of the origin of Stipulatio are given, and under 'ownership ' a new theory respecting bona fide Possessio is put forward entirely opposed to that of Savigny. The 'Introduction to Roman Law,' which appeared in 1880 (3rd ed. 1885), was a smaller work containing such parts of the subject as students required for pass examinations.

Besides the above works Hunter published 'The Trial of Muluk Chand for the Murder of his own Child: a Romance of Criminal Administration in Bengal. With an Introduction by W. A. Hunter, LL.D., M.P.,' 1888.

[Personal knowledge.]

E. O.

HUNTER, Sir WILLIAM WILSON (1840–1900), Indian civilian, historian, and publicist, was born on 15 July 1840. His father was Andrew Galloway Hunter, a Glasgow manufacturer, who came from Denholm in Roxburghshire. His mother, Isabella, was a younger sister of James Wilson (1805–1860) [q. v.], and he was thus connected with Walter Bagehot [q. v.], who married a daughter of James Wilson. He was educated at Glasgow, first at the academy and afterwards at the university, where he graduated B.A. in 1860. He then spent some months in study at Paris and Bonn, acquiring (among other things) a useful knowledge of Sanskrit. At the open competition for the Indian civil service in 1861, he came out at the head of the list.

On arriving in India in November 1862 Hunter was posted to the lower provinces of