Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Deane, James Parker

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DEANE, Sir JAMES PARKER (1812–1902), judge, born at Hurst Grove, Berkshire, on 25 June 1812, was second son of Henry Boyle Deane by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of James Wyborn of Hull House, Shelden, Kent. He went to Winchester as a colleger in 1824, and matriculated at St. John's College, Oxford, on 29 June 1829, as a law fellow of founder's kin. In 1833 he obtained a second class in the final classical school and a third in the final mathematical school. He graduated B.C.L. on 28 May 1834, and proceeded D.C.L. on 10 April 1839, being admitted on 2 Nov. following a member of the College of Advocates. He had previously, on 8 Nov. 1837, entered as a student at the Inner Temple, and on 29 Jan. 1841 he was called to the bar by that society. He was made a Q.C. on 16 Jan. 1858, and became bencher of his inn in the same year, serving the office of treasurer in 1878.

In 1854 Deane was appointed legal adviser to Admiral Sir Charles Napier [q. v.] commanding the British fleet in the Baltic: he was present on board H.M.S. Duke of Wellington at the bombardment of Bomarsund, and formed one of the landing party. On the abolition of Doctors' Commons in 1858 Deane transferred himself to the courts of probate and divorce, where he obtained a large practice. An effective speaker and a vigorous advocate, he adapted himself to juries and to the viva voce examination of witnesses more readily than some of his old colleagues and rivals. His most conspicuous appearances, however, were in the ecclesiastical courts, in which the practice and the traditions of 'The Commons' still flourished, and for a quarter of a century there were few ecclesiastical cases of interest or importance in which Deane was not retained, the most celebrated of them, perhaps, being those of Boyd v. Phillpotts, in which the legality of the Exeter reredos was challenged, and of Martin v. the Rev. A. H. Mackonochie [q. v.], which dragged on in one shape or another from 1867 to 1882, and in the earlier stages of which he appeared on behalf of the defendant. In 1872 he was appointed vicar-general of the province and diocese of Canterbury on the resignation of Sir Travers Twiss [q. v.]; he had already (in 1868) been made Chancellor of the diocese of Salisbury by Bishop Hamilton. In 1868 he became admiralty advocate-general. He also discharged from 1872 to 1886, under the title of legal adviser to the foreign office, the duties of the now obsolete office of Queen's advocate. In this capacity he prepared the British case in the arbitration between Great Britain and Portugal over the territory south of Delagoa Bay, and he advised his government throughout the long disputes arising from the action of the Alabama and her consorts in the American civil war. In 1885 he was sworn a member of the privy council, and received the honour of knighthood on 1 Aug. in the same year. His duties as vicar-general did not interfere with his forensic work, and he held the leading brief in the famous case of the missing will of the first Lord St. Leonards [q. v.], tried in 1876. He continued to practise at the bar until increasing deafness forced him to retire. His picturesque figure was one of the most striking features in the proceedings against Bishop King of Lincoln in the library at Lambeth Palace, when he sat as vicar-general in full-bottomed wig and doctor's robes beside Archbishop Benson and his episcopal assessors. On the occasion of the confirmation of Bishop Winnington Ingram as Bishop of London at Bow Church on 17 April 1901, the turbulent conduct of the 'opposers' got beyond his power of control. His last public appearance was at the confirmation of Dr. Paget as Bishop of Oxford a few months later; he was then in his ninetieth year, the greatest age at which any Englishman since Serjeant Maynard is believed to have exercised judicial functions.

He and Dr. T. H. Tristram, Q.C., who survived him until 1912, were the last of the 'civilians' trained in 'The Commons' and described in Dickens' s 'David Copperfield' and Warren's 'Ten Thousand a Year.' He died at his house in Westbourne Terrace on 3 Jan. 1902, having resigned his offices a few days previously. He was buried at Brackwood cemetery.

Deane was a strong conservative in politics, and in the general election of Nov. 1868 he contested the city of Oxford against Edward (afterwards Viscount) Cardwell [q. v.] and (Sir) William Vernon Harcourt [q. v. Suppl. II], but was heavily defeated.

He married in 1841 Isabella Frances (d. 1894), daughter of Bargrave Wyborn. His only surviving son is Sir Henry Bargrave Deane, a judge of the probate, admiralty and divorce division of the high court of justice.

[Foster's Alumni Oxonienses; Foster's Men at the Bar; The Times, 18 April 1901, 4 Jan. 1902; private information.]

J. B. A.