Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Knox, Alexander Andrew

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KNOX, ALEXANDER ANDREW (1818–1891), journalist and police magistrate, son of George Knox, landed proprietor in Jamaica, was born in London 5 Feb. 1818. He was educated at Blundell's school, Tiverton, whence he proceeded with a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge. In June 1842 he was ordered to the south for his health, and he travelled with Mrs. Shelley (the widow of the poet) and her son Percy, his college friend. The party was joined by another of Knox's Cambridge friends, Robert Leslie Ellis [q. v.], and during this interesting experience of Italian travel Knox met Trelawny, the friend of Byron and of Shelley. Owing to ill-health Knox was unable to compete for honours, but graduated B.A. in 1844 and M.A. in 1847. He was called to the bar as member of Lincoln's Inn in 1844. In 1846 he became a writer of leading articles on the staff of the ‘Times,’ and continued to write for that paper till 1860, when he accepted Sir George Cornewall Lewis's offer of the office of police magistrate at Worship Street. In 1862 he was transferred to the Marlborough Street court, and remained there till 1878, when a paralytic seizure compelled him to retire. On three occasions he received the special thanks of the home office for his magisterial services.

Knox was a man of wide culture, a good linguist, and a brilliant talker. He was a frequent guest of Dr. Paris, at whose house in London he met Faraday, Sir B. Brodie, Babbage, and other men of science. Among his intimate friends were Rajah Brooke, Admiral Sherard Osborn, Kinglake, Sir Spencer St. John, Kingsley, Thomas Mozley, Wingrove Cooke, and Miss Marianne North. He died in London 5 Oct. 1891. In 1857 he married Susan, daughter of James Armstrong, esq., of the Bengal civil service. Knox published ‘The New Playground, or Wanderings in Algeria,’ in 1881. Besides his work on the ‘Times,’ he contributed articles to the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ ‘Blackwood,’ and many other periodicals.

[Article by the present writer, ‘Alexander Knox and his Friends,’ in Temple Bar, April 1892.]

C. A. H. C.