Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Symons, Jelinger Cookson

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SYMONS, JELINGER COOKSON (1809–1860), miscellaneous writer, was born at West Ilsley, Berkshire, on 27 Aug. 1809. His father, Jelinger Symons, born at Low Leyton, Essex, in 1778, became vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire, in 1838, and died in London on 20 May 1851. He was the author of ‘Synopsis Plantarum insulis Britannicis,’ 1798 (Gent. Mag. 1851, ii. 211–12). The son was educated at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, whence he graduated B.A. in 1832. In 1835 he received a commission from the home office to inquire into the state of the hand-loom weavers and manufacturers. To carry out this inquiry he traversed Lancashire and Scotland and parts of Switzerland. He subsequently held a tithe commissionership, and was a commissioner to inquire into the state of the mining population of the north of England. On 9 June 1843 he was called to the bar at the Middle Temple. He went the Oxford circuit, and attended the Gloucester quarter sessions. During this period of his life he was editor of the ‘Law Magazine’ until its union with the ‘Law Review’ in 1856. In 1846 he was appointed a commissioner to collect information as to the state of education in Wales. Lord Lansdowne was so much impressed with his reports that on 11 Feb. 1848 he made him one of her majesty’s permanent inspectors of schools, an office he retained through life. In the establishment of reformatories for juvenile criminals he took great interest. He died at Malvern House, Great Malvern, on 7 April 1860, having married in 1845 Angelina, daughter of Edward Kendall, by whom he had Jelinger Edward, born in 1847, and other children.

His chief works are: 1. ‘A Few Thoughts on Volition and Agency,’ 1833. 2. ‘Arts and Artizans at Home and Abroad, with Sketches of the Progress of Foreign Manufactures,’ 1839. 3. ‘Outlines of Popular Economy,’ 1840. 4. ‘The Attorney and Solicitors Act,’ 6 & 7 Vict. cap. 73, with an analysis, notes, and index, 1843. 5. ‘Parish Settlements and the Practice of Appeal,’ 1844; 2nd edit. 1846. 6. ‘Railway Liabilities as they affect Subscribers, Committees, Allottees, and Scripholders, inter se, and Third Parties,’ 1846. 7. ‘A Plea for Schools, which sets forth the Dearth of Education and the Growth of Crime,’ 1847. 8. ‘Tactics for the Times, as regards the Condition and Treatment of the Dangerous Classes,’ 1849. 9. ‘School Economy,’ a practical treatise on the best mode of establishing and teaching schools, 1852. 10. ‘A Scheme of Direct Taxation,’ 1853. 11. ‘The Industrial Capacities of South Wales,’ 1855. 12.‘Lunar Motion, the whole Argument stated and illustrated by Diagrams,’ 1856. 13. ‘Sir Robert Peel as a Type of Statesmanship,’ 1856. 14. ‘Milford, Past, Present, and Future,’ 1857. 15. ‘William Burke, the author of “Junius,”’ 1859. 16. ‘Rough Types of English Life,’ 1860. With R. G. Welford and others he published ‘Reports of Cases in the Law of Real Property and Conveyancing argued and determined in all the Courts of Law and Equity,’ 1846.

[Law Times, 14 April 1860, pp. 61–2, 28 April p. 78 ; Law Magazine and Law Review, May 1860, pp. 193–4; Times, 12 April 1860, p. 10.]

G. C. B.