Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/24

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cond reading in spite of Macaulay's eloquent appeal on its behalf. On 2 Dec. 1845 Rutherfurd and Macaulay addressed a public meeting in Edinburgh in favour of the abolition of the corn laws (ib. ii. 133). Rutherfurd was reappointed lord advocate on the formation of Lord John Russell's first administration (6 July 1846). Owing to Rutherfurd's exertions, five acts dealing with Scottish law reform were passed during the following session. These were about services of heirs (10 & 11 Vict. cap. 47), the transference of heritages not held in burgage tenure (cap. 48), the transference of those held in burgage (cap. 49), the transference of heritable securities for debt (cap. 50), and about crown charters and precepts from chancery (cap. 51). He failed, however, to pass his Registration and Marriage bills (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. xc. 386–7, xciii. 230–8). On 28 June 1847 he was nominated a member of the commission appointed to inquire into ‘the state and operation of the law of marriage as relating to the prohibited degrees of affinity and to marriages solemnized abroad or in the British colonies’ (see Parl. Papers, 1847–8 xxviii., 1850 xx.). On 24 Feb. 1848 he moved for leave to bring in a bill to amend the law of entail in Scotland, the object of which, he explained, was ‘to get rid of an absurd and preposterous system which had been the curse of the country for 160 years’ (ib. 3rd ser. xcvi. 1307–13). The credit of this important measure, which received the royal assent on 14 Aug. 1848 (11 & 12 Vict. cap. 36), belongs entirely to Rutherfurd. On 20 June 1849 he supported the second reading of Stuart-Wortley's bill to amend the law of marriage (Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. cvi. 613–16), and on 9 July he urged the house to pass the Scotch marriage bill which had received the sanction of the House of Lords no fewer than three times (ib. cvii. 3, 9–18, 37). During the following session he conducted the Scotch Police and Improvement of Towns Bill (13 & 14 Vict. cap. 33) through the commons. He spoke for the last time in the house on 16 May 1850 (Parl. Hist. 3rd ser. cxi. 146–7). At the commencement of 1851 Rutherfurd was seized with a severe attack of illness. On 7 April 1851 he was appointed an ordinary lord of session in the place of Sir James Wellwood Moncreiff [q. v.] He was sworn a member of the privy council on 5 May following (London Gazette, 1851, i. 981, 1196), and took his seat on the bench, with the title of Lord Rutherfurd, on the 23rd of the same month. He died at his residence in St. Colme Street, Edinburgh, after an illness of some months, on 13 Dec. 1854, and was buried on the 20th in the Dean cemetery, under a pyramid of red granite. He married, on 10 April 1822, Sophia Frances, youngest daughter of Sir James Stewart, bart., of Fort Stewart, Ramelton, co. Donegal; she died at Lauriston Castle, Kincardineshire, on 10 Oct. 1852. There were no children of the marriage. His nephew, Lord Rutherfurd Clark, was a judge of court of session from 1875 to 1896. The fine library which Rutherfurd formed at Lauriston was sold in Edinburgh by T. Nisbet on 22 March 1855 and the ‘ten following lawful days’ (Gent. Mag. 1855, i. 391, 502). His Glasgow speech will be found in ‘Inaugural Addresses delivered by Lords Rectors of the University of Glasgow,’ 1848, pp. 147–57.

Although Rutherfurd's manner was affected and artificial, he was an admirable speaker and a powerful advocate. ‘In legal acuteness and argument, for which his peculiar powers gave him a great predilection, he was superior to both his friends, Cockburn and Jeffrey’ (Sir Archibald Alison, Life and Writings, 1883, i. 280). He was a profound lawyer, a successful law-reformer, and an accomplished scholar. He could read Greek with ease, and he possessed an extraordinary knowledge of Italian. According to Sir James Lacaita, Rutherfurd ‘and Mr. Gladstone were the only two Englishmen he had ever known who could conquer the difficulty of obsolete Italian dialects’ (Recollections of Dean Boyle, 1895, p. 27). In private life he was a delightful companion, but as a public man he incurred unpopularity owing to his unconciliatory and somewhat haughty demeanour.

There is a portrait of Rutherfurd, by Colvin Smith, in Parliament House, Edinburgh, where there is also a bust, by Brodie. A portrait, by Sir John Watson Gordon, is in the National Gallery of Scotland. Another portrait, by the last-named artist, belongs to the Leith town council.

[Besides the authorities quoted in the text the following have been consulted: Mrs. Gordon's Memoir of Christopher North, 1862, i. 185, ii. 248–9, 357–6, 367; Anderson's Scottish Nation, 1863, iii. 392–3; Grant's Old and New Edinburgh, ii. 98, 156, 174, iii. 68, 111; Scotsman, 16 Dec. 1854; Times, 16 Dec. 1854; Illustrated London News, 23 Dec. 1854; Gent. Mag. 1852 ii. 656, 1855 i. 194–5; Annual Register, 1854, App. to Chron. p. 373; Scots Mag. 1822, i. 694; Irving's Book of Scotsmen, 1881, p. 455; Foster's Members of Parliament, Scotland, 1882, p. 301; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, ii. 374, 392, 409; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. vii. 367; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890.]

G. F. R. B.