Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hope-Scott, James Robert
HOPE-SCOTT, JAMES ROBERT (1812–1873), parliamentary barrister, born on 15 July 1812 at Great Marlow in Berkshire, was third son of Sir Alexander Hope [q. v.], and grandson of John Hope, second earl of Hopetoun. His mother was Georgina Alicia, third and youngest daughter of George Brown, esq., of Ellerton, Roxburghshire. Hope's childhood (from 1813 to 1820) was spent at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, over which his father held command. He then went abroad with his parents and a tutor, William Mills, fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, first to Dresden, afterwards to Lausanne, and finally to Florence. He thus acquired an intimate knowledge of German, French, and Italian. At Florence he was attacked by typhus fever, from the effects of which he suffered long afterwards. At Michaelmas 1825 he went to Eton, his tutor there being the Rev. Edward Coleridge. He matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, 10 Dec. 1828. During the following year he visited Paris, and for several months resided at the house of the Duchesse de Gontant, who had charge of the children of the French royal family. He went into residence at Oxford in Michaelmas term 1829, and thought of reading for holy orders. On 15 Nov. 1832 he graduated B.A., receiving at the same time an honorary fourth class in literis humanioribus. On 13 April 1833 he was elected a fellow of Merton College. Early in 1835, abandoning his idea of the church, he studied law at Lincoln's Inn under John Hodgkin, a quaker, then eminent as a conveyancer, and under William Plunkett, a conveyancer of the Temple, and paid much attention to academical law and college statutes. On 24 Jan. 1838 he graduated B.C.L. at Oxford, and two days later was called to the bar at the Inner Temple. He proceeded D.C.L. 26 Oct. 1843. On 27 June 1838 he published anonymously a pamphlet entitled ‘A Letter to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury occasioned by a late meeting in support of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,’ 8vo. In the autumn of 1838, during the absence in Italy of his college friend, Mr. W. E. Gladstone, he saw through the press Mr. Gladstone's well-known work ‘The State considered in its Relations with the Church.’ In 1839 Hope projected, in association with another Oxford friend, Roundell Palmer, afterwards Earl of Selborne, ‘The History of Colleges,’ and published an address ‘To the Bankers, Merchants, and Manufacturers of England,’ urging the advantages of the religious education offered by the established church as opposed to the dissenters. At the request of a third Oxford friend, John Henry (afterwards Cardinal) Newman, he wrote in the ‘British Critic’ for April 1840 a review of Ward's translation of ‘The Statutes of Magdalen College, Oxford,’ published separately later on, 8vo. In 1840 Hope was junior counsel on behalf of the deans and chapters petitioning against the Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues Bill, and when on 24 July the bill was brought on for second reading in the House of Lords, he argued with such masterly effect before a full house, in a speech of three hours' duration, that Lord Brougham exclaimed at its close, ‘That young man's fortune is made!’ (see Lords' Journals, lxxii. 551 and Hansard). On 25 Aug. 1840 Hope was appointed chancellor of Salisbury by the bishop, Dr. Denison.
Hope meanwhile engaged privately with a brother-barrister and an intimate friend, Edward Lowth Badeley [q. v.], in much charitable and religious work. Between 1840 and 1843 he helped to found Trinity College at Glenalmond in Perthshire, for the education of the Scottish episcopalian clergy. He was in Italy with Badeley from 21 Sept. 1840 to May 1841. He then visited many religious houses, and examined at Rome the general organisation of the holy see. Upon his return to England the Oxford Tractarian movement was at its height. Hope at once became one of its most advanced promoters, and Newman's confidential friend and adviser. His own part in the controversy is best indicated in his published correspondence with the members of the Thurn family and with his two friends Badeley and Mr. Gladstone. Upon the establishment of the Anglo-Prussian protestant see of Jerusalem in the winter of 1841, Hope issued an emphatic protest in a pamphlet entitled ‘The Bishopric of the United Church of England and Ireland at Jerusalem, considered in a Letter to a Friend’ (second and revised edition, 13 May 1842, 8vo). Henceforth he alienated himself from the church of England. On 10 Feb. 1845 he resigned his chancellorship of the diocese of Salisbury. The Gorham trial and judgment of 1849–50 and the popular agitation roused by the creation of the catholic hierarchy of Westminster (30 Sept. 1850) finally induced him to join the Roman catholic church. He was received, together with his friend Archdeacon (now Cardinal-Archbishop) Manning, by Father Brownbill, S.J., at Farm Street, on 6 April 1851. As Newman's adviser he managed the defence in the libel action Achilli v. Newman, 31 Jan. 1852, and in 1855 the negotiations which led to Newman's acceptance of the rectorship of the Catholic University of Ireland.
As early as 1838 Hope was engaged on a Scottish railway bill, the kind of practice in which he afterwards became supreme. But from 1841 to 1843 he practised occasionally in the ecclesiastical courts, and it was not until 1843 that he began to work in earnest as a parliamentary barrister. Thenceforward his practice advanced rapidly. In 1844 he was offered eight or nine general retainers. From 1845 onwards he made a gigantic income, and left all rivals far behind. In April 1849 he was made queen's counsel, with a patent of precedence. He became standing counsel to nearly every railway company in the United Kingdom, and his activity before railway committees largely helped to fix railway law. In one year the London and North-Western Company had twenty-five bills in parliament, and Hope-Scott had charge of them all (Mewburn, Larchfield Diary, p. 170). When he retired from the profession in 1870 he held one hundred general retainers. He often conducted simultaneously several important cases, and always inspired his clients with the fullest confidence. The strain thus put upon his anything but vigorous constitution probably shortened his life. Before a parliamentary committee he was always calm, genial, and unembarrassed, and his influence with the members of the committee was greatly enhanced by his commanding presence and his easy and dignified manners. His tact enabled him, as it seemed, to read intuitively the thoughts of those before whom he was pleading, and to steer his course accordingly. Mr. Gladstone termed him ‘the most winning person of his day.’ Lord Blachford referred to his ‘flexible persuasiveness.’
On 19 Aug. 1847 Hope married Charlotte Harriet Jane Lockhart, only daughter of John Gibson Lockhart, editor of the ‘Quarterly,’ and grand-daughter of Sir Walter Scott. In August 1848 he became the tenant of Abbotsford, which he rented from his wife's brother, Walter Lockhart-Scott. His wife became a catholic soon after his own conversion. Lockhart-Scott, a young cornet of dragoons, died unmarried at the Cape on 10 Jan. 1853, and Hope thus became, in right of his wife, the possessor of Abbotsford. He thereupon assumed the surname of Hope-Scott. In 1855 he bought for 24,000l. the estate of Dorlin (of nine thousand acres), near Loch Shiel, on the west coast of Inverness-shire. There he built a new house, and between 1855 and 1857 added a new wing to Abbotsford. He sold Dorlin in 1871 to Edward George Fitzalan Howard, baron Howard of Glossop [q. v.], for nearly 40,000l. At the height of his professional success he suffered heavy domestic affliction. His wife died in child-bed on 26 Oct. 1858, the new-born child on 3 Dec., and Walter Michael, his infant son and heir (b. 2 June 1857), on 11 Dec. following. His acute grief found expression in three ‘Memorial Poems,’ privately printed in 1859, 8vo, pp. 16. Works of charity henceforward occupied much of his time. During the last thirteen years of his life he secretly gave away in charity no less than 40,000l. He spent 10,000l. on the church at Galashiels, and gave large sums to the missions of Oban and St. Andrews, and to St. Margaret's Convent, Edinburgh. On his Irish estate in the county Mayo he built the chapel and school of Killavalla, as well as stations for confession at Ballyburke, Gortbane, and Killadier.
On 7 Jan. 1861 he married again. His second wife was Lady Victoria Alexandrina Fitzalan Howard, eldest daughter of Henry Granville, fourteenth duke of Norfolk. The duke had died 25 Nov. 1860, and had left Hope-Scott guardian of his children. He and his friend Serjeant Edward Bellasis [q. v.] were also joint trustees of Lord Edmund Howard, to whom the Alton Towers estates had been devised by Bertram Arthur, seventeenth earl of Shrewsbury, upon his death 10 Aug. 1856. After much litigation a considerable portion of the property was secured to Lord Edmund [see Bellasis, Edward]. On 22 Aug. 1867 Queen Victoria visited Abbotsford. In the same year Hope-Scott bought a villa at Hyères, where much of his later life was passed. In 1867 he wrote the masterly statement which contributed to the repeal in 1871 of the Ecclesiastical Titles Act. His second wife (like his first) died in child-bed on 20 Dec. 1870, nine days after the birth of a son, James Fitzalan. From this shock Hope-Scott never recovered. He withdrew from his profession, and his health became precarious. He occupied himself with an abridgment of the ‘Life of Sir Walter Scott’ by Lockhart, published with a prefatory letter from himself, dated Arundel Castle, 10 April 1871, which is addressed to Mr. Gladstone. He died in the sixty-first year of his age on 29 April 1873. Cardinal Newman preached a eulogistic funeral sermon.
Three admirable portraits of Hope-Scott were produced by George Richmond, R.A., two in crayons and one in water-colour. They are now at Abbotsford. There is also a smaller portrait of him in oils by Sir Francis Grant, P.R.A.
Hope-Scott's only surviving child by his first marriage, Mary Monica, married in 1874 Joseph Constable Maxwell, third son of William, lord Herries, who assumed the name of Scott in right of his wife as the heiress of Abbotsford. By his second wife Hope-Scott left a son, James Fitzalan (b. 11 Dec. 1870), and three daughters, another son and daughter having predeceased him.
[Recollections of personal associates; Cardinal Newman's Funeral Sermon at Farm Street, 5 May 1873, 8vo, pp. 22; Funeral Sermon by the Rev. William Amherst, S.J., at St. Margaret's Convent, Edinburgh, 7 May 1873, 8vo, pp. 15; a Memorial by the Rev. H. J. Coleridge, S.J., in the Month, xix. 274–91; Scotsman 6 and 8 May 1873; Edinburgh Courant, 8 May 1873; Tablet, 10 May 1873; Law Times, 10 May 1873, p. 34; Professor Robert Ornsby's Memoirs of James Robert Hope-Scott of Abbotsford, with Selections from his Correspondence, 2 vols. 8vo, 1884.]