Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 50.djvu/414

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1871. Scarlett's first wife died on 8 March 1829. He married, secondly, on 28 Sept. 1843, Elizabeth, widow of the Rev. Henry John Ridley, rector of Abinger, Surrey, and daughter of Lee Steere Steere of Jayes-in-Wotton in the same county, by whom he had no issue. His widow survived him many years, and died on 13 Oct. 1886.

Scarlett was neither a great lawyer nor an eloquent speaker, and yet he was by far the most successful advocate of his day. He possessed three great qualifications of a nisi prius leader—a thorough knowledge of human nature, perfect quickness of perception and decision, and imperturbable self-possession. His tact in the management of a cause was unrivalled. Some of his extraordinary success as a verdict-getter was undoubtedly due to abundance of clever artifice, but much more was due to the exquisite art which he possessed of putting the whole facts of the case before the jury in the clearest possible manner, and in the most efficacious way for his client. His manner was admirably adapted to his cases, and the effect was enhanced by his handsome person, gentlemanly bearing, and finely modulated voice. His one object was to get a verdict, and he never showed any desire to produce a brilliant effect or to win cheap applause. His opening speeches were generally confined to a clear and lucid statement of the facts. He made no attempt at eloquence, and never even prepared his speeches. He never took notes of the evidence, and cross-examined but little. In re-examination he was exceedingly skilful. His reply was short, crushing, and conclusive, and it was by his last words that he achieved many of his greatest triumphs. Nor was his influence confined only to juries; it was almost as great with the judges. Indeed, his influence over Lord Tenterden was so marked as to become the subject of complaint at the bar (Quarterly Review, cxliv. 28). His reputation as a judge was by no means equal to his fame as an advocate. He had been too long at the bar to be a great success on the bench. He had several judicial qualities in a high degree, but he rarely presented more than one side of the case to the jury, who, offended by his high assumption of superiority, frequently refused to submit to his dictation. Excessive vanity and a want of impartiality were the chief defects of his character.

He refused to take part in the defence of Queen Caroline (Memoir, p. 100; Life of John Lord Campbell, 1881, i. 394), but he defended Lord Cochrane (Townsend, Modern State Trials, 1850, ii. 1–111), John Hatchard (Howell, State Trials, xxxii. 673–756), John Hunt (Reports of State Trials, new ser. ii. 69–104), Charles Pinney (ib. iii. 11–542), and the Wakefields (Townsend, Modern State Trials, ii. 112–55). He appeared on behalf of Sir Francis Burdett (Reports of State Trials, new ser. i. 56–170), and, as counsel for the crown, prosecuted Henry Hunt (ib. i. 171–496), George Dewhurst (ib. i. 529–608), and John Ambrose Williams (ib. i. 1291–1338). His decisions will be found in the reports of Crompton, Meeson, and Roscoe (2 vols.), and Meeson and Welsby (vols. i–xii.).

He was the author of the ironical note appended to Romilly's ‘Letters containing an Account of the late Revolution in France … translated from the German of Henry Frederic Groenvelt,’ London, 1792, 8vo (pp. 359–62). He also contributed a note to Brougham's ‘Inaugural Discourse’ at his installation as lord rector of the university of Glasgow, 1825, 8vo (pp. 21–4). Several of his speeches were separately published.

A portrait of Abinger by William Derby was exhibited at the loan exhibition of national portraits at South Kensington in 1868 (Cat. No. 400). There is a mezzotint of Abinger by Henry Cousins, after a portrait by Sir M. A. Shee.

[P. C. Scarlett's Memoir of Lord Abinger, 1877, gives a very inadequate account of his father's brilliant career, but it contains Abinger's unfinished autobiography (pp. 21–90), some of his correspondence (pp. 93–169), three of his charges to grand juries (pp. 169–91), and his sketch of Sir James Mackintosh's character (pp. 195–202). See also Foss's Judges of England, 1864, ix. 255–261; Law Review, i. 79–95; Law Times, iii. 27–29, xcvi. 463–5; Journal of Jurisprudence, xxi. 442–7; Law Magazine, xxxiii. 152–68; Legal Observer, xxvii. 41–3, xxix. 157–63; American Law Review, xii. 39–68; Blackwood's Magazine, cxxii. 91–112; Illustrated London News, 4 March 1843, 13 April 1844; Ryall's Portraits of Eminent Conservatives, 2nd ser. (with portrait); Random Recollections of the House of Lords, 1836, pp. 191–7; Georgian Era, 1833, ii. 327; Henderson's Recollections of John Adolphus, 1871, pp. 182–4; Gent. Mag. 1832 i. 178, 1844 i. 648–52; Brayley and Britton's History of Surrey, 1850, v. 7–9, 11; Burke's Peerage, 1896, pp. 13, 1373; G. E. C.'s Complete Peerage, i. 33–4; Grad. Cantabr. 1856, p. 337; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890; Martin's Masters of the Bench of the Inner Temple, 1883, p. 93; Official Return of Lists of Members of Parliament, ii. 276, 289, 305, 322, 329, 343; Notes and Queries, passim; Coleridge's Table Talk, 1884, p. 215.]

G. F. R. B.


SCARLETT, Sir JAMES YORKE (1799–1871), general, and leader of the heavy cavalry charge at Balaclava, born in