Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Marshall, James (1829-1889)

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MARSHALL, Sir JAMES (1829–1889), colonial judge, son of James Marshall, sometime vicar of Christ Church, Clifton, was born at Edinburgh on 19 Dec. 1829. He was prevented from entering the army by the loss of his right arm through a gun accident. Graduating from Exeter College, Oxford, in 1854, he took holy orders almost immediately, and for two years held a curacy. In November 1857 he joined the church of Rome, and as his physical defect debarred him from being a priest, he became procurator and precentor in the church at Bayswater, a post for which his musical talent fitted him. Later he was for a time a private tutor, and in 1863 became classical master at Birmingham Oratory School, where he won the friendship of Cardinal Newman. In 1866 he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn, and joined the northern circuit, eventually settling at Manchester. In May 1873 Marshall was appointed chief magistrate of the Gold Coast and assessor to the native chiefs. On the breaking out of the Ashanti war in 1874, he secured the chiefs' assent to the impressment of their tribesmen, and was of great use throughout the campaign in raising levies. He received the special thanks of the secretary of state, and later the Ashanti medal. In 1875 he was stationed at Lagos. In November 1876 he was promoted to be senior puisne judge of the supreme court of the Gold Coast. In 1879 he became chief justice, and on his retirement in 1883 he was knighted. In 1879 he was executive commissioner for the West African colonies at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, and received the decoration of the C.M.G. In 1887, at the urgent request of Lord Aberdare, governor of the company, he once more went abroad to Africa for a few months as chief justice of the territories of the Royal Niger Company. He died at Margate on 9 Aug. 1889.

Marshall married, in October 1877, Alice, daughter of C. Guillym Young of Corby, Lincolnshire.

[Private and official information; Times, 14 Aug. 1889: Col. Office List, 1882; a short biography by the Very Rev. Canon Brownlow, V.G., 1910.]

C. A. H.