Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Phillimore, Joseph

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PHILLIMORE, JOSEPH (1775–1855), civilian, eldest son of Joseph Phillimore, vicar of Orton-on-the-Hill, Leicestershire, by Mary, daughter of John Machin of Kensington, was born on 14 Sept. 1775. He was educated at Westminster School and Oxford, where he matriculated from Christ Church on 30 May 1793, graduated B.A. in 1797, B.C.L. in 1800, and proceeded D.C.L. in 1804. Besides prizes at Christ Church for Latin verse in 1793 and Latin prose in 1798, Phillimore gained, in the latter year, the university English essay prize by a dissertation on ‘Chivalry,’ printed in the ‘Oxford English Prize Essays,’ Oxford, 1836, vol. ii.

Admitted a member of the College of Advocates on 21 Nov. 1804, he practised with success in the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts, and in 1806–7 was commissioner for the disposal of Prussian and Danish ships seized by way of reprisals for the violation of the neutrality of Hanover by the Prussian government, and the submission of Denmark to France. In 1809 he succeeded Dr. French Laurence [q. v.] as regius professor of civil law at Oxford, chancellor of the diocese of Oxford, and judge of the court of admiralty of the Cinque ports. On 17 March 1817 he was returned to parliament in the Grenville interest for the borough of St. Mawes, Cornwall, vacant by the death of his friend Francis Horner [q. v.]; he continued to represent it until the dissolution of 2 June 1826. He was then (9 June) returned for Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, but did not seek re-election on the dissolution of 24 July 1830.

Phillimore was one of the original members of a short-lived third party formed in 1818. During his brief parliamentary career he distinguished himself by his able advocacy of catholic emancipation and his luminous expositions of international law. He was placed on the board of control for India upon its reconstitution on 8 Feb. 1822, and held office until the fall of Lord Goderich's administration in January 1828. On 23 Jan. 1833 he was named principal commissioner for the final adjudication of the French claims under the treaties of 1815 and 1818. He also presided over the registration commission appointed on 13 Sept. 1836, and drafted the report. Phillimore was appointed king's advocate in the court of admiralty on 25 Oct. 1834, and chancellor of the diocese of Worcester and commissary of the deanery of St. Paul's in the same year; chancellor of the diocese of Bristol in 1842, and judge of the consistory court of Gloucester in 1846. He retained the chair of civil law at Oxford until his death, which took place at his residence, Shiplake House, near Reading, on 24 Jan. 1855.

Phillimore married, on 19 March 1807, Elizabeth (d. 1859), daughter of the Rev. Walter Bagot, rector of Blithfield, Staffordshire, younger brother of William, first lord Bagot, by whom he had, with other issue, John George, Greville, and Robert Joseph, all of whom are separately noticed.

As a young man Phillimore appears to have had a transient connection with the ‘Edinburgh Review.’ He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the university of Cambridge in 1834, was elected F.R.S. on 13 Feb. 1840, and a trustee of the Busby charity on 23 May the same year. At Oxford he was long remembered for the golden latinity and distinguished manner in which he discharged the duty incident to his chair of presenting strangers for degrees at commemoration.

Phillimore edited ‘Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Ecclesiastical Courts at Doctors' Commons and in the High Court of Delegates (1809–21),’ London, 1818–27, 3 vols. 8vo; and ‘Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Arches and Prerogative Courts of Canterbury,’ containing the judgments of Sir George Lee [q. v.], London, 1832–3, 3 vols. 8vo.

His ‘Speeches delivered in the Sheldon Theatre, at the Commemoration holden on the 10th, 11th, and 13th of June 1834, at which the Duke of Wellington presided in Person,’ were printed at Oxford the same year, 4to.

[Barker and Stenning's Westminster School Reg.; Welch's Alumni Westmonast.; Foster's Alumni Oxon. and Baronetage, ‘Phillimore;’ Kirkpatrick Sharpe's Corresp. i. 232; Oxford Univ. Cal. 1810; Lond. Gazette, 1833, p. 883; Haydn's Book of Dignities, ed. Ockerby; Members of Parliament (Official Lists); Cox's Recollections of Oxford, p. 75; Lord Colchester's Diary, iii. 38, 283; Gent. Mag. 1836 pt. ii. 423, 1855 pt. i. 319; Buckingham's Memoirs of the Court of England, 1811–20, ii. 211, and Memoirs of the Court of George IV. i. 253, 276, 279, 314, 319, ii. 304, 367.]

J. M. R.