Paget, John (1811-1898) (DNB01)

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PAGET, JOHN (1811–1898), police magistrate and author, was the second son of Thomas Paget of Humberstone, Leicestershire, where he was born on 14 May 1811. His father was a banker in Leicester, and head of the Huguenot family descended from Valerian Paget who fled to England after the massacre of St. Bartholomew (Smiles, The Huguenots, p. 517). The boy was entirely educated at home. For some years he was assistant in his father's bank, e entered the Middle Temple on 16 Oct. 1835, and was called to the bar on 2 Nov. 1838. In 1842 he published the 'Income Tax Act,' with an introduction; and in 1854 a 'Report of Dr. Radcliffe's Judgment in the Consistorial Court of Dublin,' with 'observations on the practice of the ecclesiastical courts.' From 1850 till 1855 he was secretary first to Lord Chancellor Truro and secondly to Lord Chancellor Cranworth, and in 1864 he was appointed a magistrate at the Thames police court; he was transferred from it to the Hammersmith and Wandsworth courts, and on their separation he presided over the court at West London till his resignation in 1889.

Paget devoted his leisure to literary pursuits. He was a contributor to 'Blackwood's Magazine' between 1860 and 1888. His papers adversely criticising Macaulay's views of Marlborough, the massacre of Glencoe, the highlands of Scotland, Claverhouse, and William Penn were reprinted in 1861 with the title of 'The New Examen.' Other articles, entitled 'Vindication,' and dealing with Nelson, Lady Hamilton, the Wigtown martyrs, and Lord Byron; 'Judicial Puzzles,' dealing with Elizabeth Canning, the Campden Wonder, the Annesley case, Eliza Fenning, and Spencer Cowper's case; and 'Essays on Art,' dealing with the elements of drawing, Rubens and Ruskin, George Cruikshank and John Leech, were included in a volume and called 'Paradoxes and Puzzles: Historical, Judicial, and Literary,' which appeared in 1874.

Paget was also a skilful draughtsman, and his illustrations to 'Bits and Bearing-reins' (1875), by Edward Fordham Flower [q. v.], largely helped to make the reader understand the cruelty caused to horses by the method of harnessing against which Flower protested. In early days Paget was an ardent whig, and enrolled himself among those who were prepared to fight for the Reform Bill. He joined the Reform Club when it was founded in 1836, and was a member of the library committee there for twenty-four years, being chairman of it from 1861 to 1865. On 1 March 1839 he married Elizabeth, daughter of William Rathbone of Greenbank, Liverpool. He died on 28 May 1898 at 28 Boltona, London, leaving a widow and two daughters.

[Private information; Foster's Men at the Bar, p. 349; Paget's Works in Brit. Mus. Libr.]

F. R.