Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Tomlins, Thomas Edlyne

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TOMLINS, Sir THOMAS EDLYNE (1762–1841), legal writer, born in London on 4 Jan. 1762, was the eldest son of Thomas Tomlins (d. 1815), solicitor and clerk to the Company of Painter-Stainers, descended from the family of Tomlins in the neighbourhood of Ledbury in Herefordshire and of Hereford. Thomas Edlyne was admitted a scholar at St. Paul's school on 21 Sept. 1769. He matriculated from Queen's College, Oxford, on 27 Oct. 1778, and was called to the bar by the society of the Inner Temple in the Hilary term of 1783. For some years he was editor of the ‘St. James's Chronicle,’ a daily newspaper, and on 30 May 1801 he was appointed counsel to the chief secretary for Ireland. In the same year he became parliamentary counsel to the chancellor of the exchequer for Ireland, a post which he retained until the union of the British and Irish treasuries in 1816. He was knighted at Wanstead House on 29 June 1814, on the recommendation of the Duke of Wellington, and in 1818 was appointed assistant counsel to the treasury. In Hilary term 1823 he was elected a bencher of the Inner Temple, and in 1827 he filled the office of treasurer to the society. In January 1831, on the whigs coming into office, he retired from his post in the treasury. He died on 1 July 1841 at St. Mary Castlegate, York.

Tomlins was the author of:

  1. ‘A Familiar Explanation of the Law of Wills and Codicils,’ London, 1785, 8vo; new edition, 1810.
  2. ‘Repertorium Juridicum: a General Index of all Cases and Pleadings in Law and Equity hitherto published,’ London, 1786–7, fol. (only the first part was published).
  3. ‘Cases explanatory of the Rules of Evidence before Committees of Elections in the House of Commons,’ London, 1796, 8vo.
  4. ‘A Digested Index of the first Seven Volumes of Durnford and East's Term Reports in the Court of King's Bench from 1785 to 1798,’ London, 1799, 8vo; 4th edit. carried down to 1810, published in 1812.
  5. ‘Statutes at Large, 41 to 49 George III,’ being vols. i. ii. and iii. of the ‘Statutes of the United Kingdom,’ London, 1804–10, 4to.
  6. ‘Proceedings of the Court of Enquiry upon the Conduct of Sir Hew Dalrymple,’ London, 1809, 8vo.
  7. ‘Index to Acts relating to Ireland passed between 1801 and 1825,’ London, 1825, 8vo; new edit. carried down to 1829, published in 1829.
  8. ‘Plain Directions for proceeding under the Act for the Abolition of Imprisonment for Debt,’ 2nd edit., London, 1838, 8vo.

He also superintended several editions of Jacob's ‘Law Dictionary,’ edited Brown's ‘Reports of Cases on Appeals and Writs of Error determined in the High Court of Parliament’ (London, 1803, 8vo), and, as sub-commissioner of the records, took a chief part in editing the ‘Statutes of the Realm’ (9 vols. 1810–24).

His sister, Elizabeth Sophia Tomlins (1763–1828), was born in 1763. In 1797 her brother published ‘Tributes of Affection by a Lady and her Brother’ (London, 8vo), a collection of short poems, most of them by her. Besides contributing several pieces to various periodical publications, she was the author of several novels, of which the most popular was ‘The Victim of Fancy,’ an imitation of Goethe's ‘Werther.’ Others were ‘The Baroness d'Alunton,’ and ‘Rosalind de Tracy,’ 1798, 12mo. She also translated the ‘History of Napoleon Bonaparte’ from one of the works of Louis Pierre Anquetil. Miss Tomlins died at The Firs, Cheltenham, on 8 Aug. 1828 (Gent. Mag. 1828, ii. 471).

Sir Thomas's nephew, Thomas Edlyne Tomlins (1804–1872), legal writer, born in 1804, was son of Alfred Tomlins, a clerk in the Irish exchequer office, Paradise Row, Lambeth. He entered St. Paul's school on 6 Feb. 1811, and was admitted to practice in London as an attorney in the Michaelmas term of 1827. He died in 1872. He was the author of:

  1. ‘A Popular Law Dictionary,’ London, 1838, 8vo.
  2. ‘Yseldon, a Perambulation of Islington and its Environs,’ pt. i. London, 1844, 8vo; complete work, London, 1858, 4to.
  3. ‘The New Bankruptcy Act complete, with Analysis of its Enactments,’ London, 1861, 12mo.

He also edited Sir Thomas Littleton's ‘Treatise of Tenures’ (1841, 8vo), revised Tytler's ‘Elements of General History’ (1844, 8vo), translated the ‘Chronicles’ of Jocelin of Brakelond (1844, 8vo) for the ‘Popular Library of Modern Authors,’ and contributed to the Shakespeare Society ‘A New Document regarding the Authority of the Master of the Revels’ which had been discovered on the patent roll (Shakespeare Society Papers, 1847, iii. 1–6).

[Gent. Mag. 1841, ii. 321; Alumni Oxon. 1715–1886; Gardiner's Register of St. Paul's School, p. 145.]

E. I. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.267
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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17 ii 32 Tomlins, Sir Thomas E.: for Shropshire read Herefordshire