Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/16

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Christie
Christie
4

added to his professional engagements, became excessive, and he found himself compelled to resign in succession the several chairs held by him. In 1866 he vacated that of political economy, in which he was succeeded by William Stanley Jevons [q. v.]; in the same year he resigned that of history; and, finally, in 1869 that of jurisprudence and law. In the present Owens College the subjects originally committed to him are taught by five professors and as many lecturers and assistant lecturers.

Christie's interest in the progress and prosperity of Owens College was in no degree relaxed by his ceasing to be a member of its teaching body. In 1870 the movement which had long been in preparation for the rehousing of the college in commodious buildings on a new site, and for the reconstitution of its system of government on broader and more suitable lines, took definite shape; and an extension committee was formed for carrying out these objects, of which Thomas Ashton, for many years one of the foremost public men at Manchester, became the chairman and the guiding spirit. With him and the principal of the college, Dr. Joseph Gouge Greenwood [q. v. Suppl.], Professor (now Sir Henry) Roscoe, and the other chief supporters of the movement, Christie worked in unbroken harmony, and there was no adviser whose counsel, whether in legal or in other matters, was more confidently followed. In the Owens College Extension Act of 1870 he was named one of the governors of the reconstituted college, a position which he was prevailed upon to hold to the last, and at the same date he became a member of the executive body, the college council, on which he retained his seat till 1886. In these capacities he actively participated in all the chief measures which attested the development of the college during the quarter of a century ensuing the incorporation with the college of the Royal Manchester School of Medicine, and the erection and subsequent enlargement of the buildings of its medical school; the reorganisation and extension of several others of its departments, including the school of law; and the efforts which in 1880 resulted in the grant of a charter to the Victoria University, with the Owens College as its first and for a time only college. Christie was elected a member of the first university court, and sat there till 1896. For the first seven years of the existence of the new university he was also a member of its council. In 1895 the university, on the occasion of the visit of Earl Spencer, its recently elected chancellor, conferred on Christie the honorary degree of LL.D.

In January 1872 the bishop of Manchester [see Fraser, James] conferred upon Christie the chancellorship of his diocese, an appointment which much gratified him and his friends. The duties of his office were performed by him with his usual care, and his decisions invariably met with ready acceptance. He was at the same time successful in considerably reducing the cost of proceedings in his court. He held the chancellorship till January 1894.

In 1879 Christie, who had two years before retired from the practice of his profession, left Manchester to reside at Darley Dale in Derbyshire. He afterwards lived for a time at Glenwood, Virginia Water, and then, after a temporary residence at Roehampton, finally settled down at Ribsden, Windlesham, a charming house on the farther side of Bagshot heath, formerly owned by Henry Cadogan Rothery [q. v.], to which he added, under his own directions, admirable accommodation for his library. In 1887, when he had for some years ceased to have his abode at Manchester, he found himself placed in a position of altogether exceptional responsibility towards the community in which the best part of his life had been spent a position so used by him that he will be enduringly remembered as one of the chief benefactors of that city. By the will of Sir Joseph Whitworth [q. v.], who died in this year, Christie was appointed one of the three legatees to whom was bequeathed a residuary estate of more than half a million, in equal shares for their own use, 'they being each of them aware of the objects' to which these funds would have been applied by the testator, had he matured the plans that had occupied him so long. (For a statement as to the appropriations actually made by Christie and his fellow legatees, see Whitworth, Sir Joseph.) Of existing institutions the Owens College was judged by the legatees to have a primary claim upon their munificence; and sums amounting (apart from that expended on the purchase of an estate to be held by the college for hospital purposes) to more than one fifth of the total at their disposal were devoted by them to the various departments of the college. These donations were made by the legatees in common; in 1897, however, Christie personally assigned a sum exceeding 50,000l. out of the final share of the residuum falling to him, for the erection of a Whitworth Hall, which should complete the front quadrangle of the Owens College, and satisfy the requirements for ceremonial purposes of college and university. The hall was opened after Christie's death, on