Russell, James (1790-1861) (DNB00)

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RUSSELL, JAMES (1790–1861), law reporter, born in 1790, was the eldest son of James Russell, esq., of Stirling. After graduating with distinction at Glasgow University, he was called to the English bar from the Inner Temple in June 1822. Having been introduced by Henry Lascelles, second earl of Harewood, to Lord Eldon, he was appointed in the following year a reporter in the courts of the lord chancellor and master of the rolls. In 1824 he became sole authorised reporter. He gradually acquired a large chancery and bankruptcy practice, and took silk in 1841. He had ceased reporting in 1834. He ultimately became leader of Vice-chancellor Knight Bruce's court, but overwork destroyed his eyesight, and for some years before his death he was blind. He was on four occasions asked to become a candidate for parliament, but declined each invitation. While not a brilliant pleader, Russell held a high position at the bar, owing to his learning and acuteness.

Besides contributing to the ‘Quarterly Review,’ Russell, together with his younger brother, John Russell (see below) of the Scots bar, was for some years editor of the ‘Annual Register.’ James Russell died at Roxeth House, near Harrow, on 6 Jan. 1861, and was buried at Kensal Green. He married, in April 1839, Maria, eldest daughter of the Rev. Robert Cholmeley, rector of Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, by whom he had issue three sons and five daughters.

Russell published: 1. ‘Reports in Chancery,’ 1826–8, 4 vols. 8vo, and 2 parts, vol. v. 1827–30. 2. With George J. Turner, ‘Reports in Chancery, 1822–4,’ 1832. 3. With James W. Mylne, ‘Reports in Chancery, 1829–31, with particular cases in 1832–3,’ 2 vols. 8vo, 1832–7. All these volumes were reprinted in America.

The reporter's brother, John Russell, published in 1824 an account of ‘A Tour in Germany and some of the Southern Provinces of the Austrian Empire,’ which was highly praised by Christopher North in ‘Noctes Ambrosianæ’ (August 1824), and by Chancellor Kent. A second edition appeared in 1825, in 2 vols., and an American edition at Boston the same year. In 1828 a reprint, with additions, formed vols. xix. and xxx. of ‘Constable's Miscellany.’ He was called by Lord Robertson ‘the Globe and Traveller,’ on account of his round bald head. His friend Jerdan says he was ‘exceedingly well informed, and a most agreeable companion.’

[Solicitors' Journal and Reporter, 12 Jan. 1861; Law Times, 16 Feb. 1861; Ann. Reg. 1861, Append. to Chron. p. 488; Wallace's Reporters; Marvin's Legal Bibl. (which gives christian name wrongly); Sweet's Cat. of Modern Law Books; Catalogues of Brit. Mus., Edinburgh Advocates' Libr. and Incorp. Law Society; Allibone's Dict. Engl. Lit. ii. 1897–9; Jerdan's Autobiogr. iv. 180.]

G. Le G. N.