Vaughan, John (1769-1839) (DNB00)

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VAUGHAN, Sir JOHN (1769–1839), judge, third son of James Vaughan, M.D. of Leicester, by Hester, daughter of John Smalley, alderman of the same place, was born on 11 Feb. 1769. Sir Charles Richard Vaughan [q. v.] was his brother. He was educated at Rugby school and the university of Oxford, where he matriculated from Queen's College on 17 Oct. 1785, and was created D.C.L. on 10 June 1834. Admitted on 11 Feb. 1786, he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn on 30 June 1791. He chose the common-law side, and went the midland circuit, where his address in managing common juries early secured him a lead, and on 14 Feb. 1798 he was made recorder of Leicester. A strong supporter of Pitt, he threw himself with zeal into the movement for raising funds by public subscription to sustain the war with France. On 14 Feb. 1799 he was made serjeant-at-law. To Queen Charlotte he was appointed solicitor-general on 1 May 1814, and attorney-general in 1816 (Trinity vacation). In the latter year (Easter term) he was advanced to the rank of king's serjeant. As such he conducted the case for the crown in the prosecution of Sir Francis Burdett [q. v.] on 23 March 1820. He also led for the crown in the prosecution at the Warwick assizes (3–4 Aug. 1821) of the Birmingham reformers (Edmonds and others) for seditious conspiracy. On 24 Feb. 1827 he succeeded to the seat on the exchequer bench vacant by the resignation of Sir Robert Graham [q. v.] On 24 Nov. 1828 he was knighted, and on 30 June 1831 he was sworn of the privy council. On 27 April 1834 he was transferred to the court of common pleas. Vaughan was one of the judges to whom, in the case of Harding v. Pollock, on appeal to the House of Lords in 1829, was referred the moot point whether the right of appointing clerks of the peace for a county was vested in the custos rotulorum of the county or in the crown, and on 18 May gave his opinion in favour of the crown. He was also consulted by the committee of privileges in the Camoys peerage case in 1839 as to the rules regulating the determination of abeyances, and concurred in the judgment delivered by Chief-justice Tindal. He died at his seat, Eastbury Lodge, near Watford, Hertfordshire, on 25 Sept. 1839. His remains were interred in the burial-ground belonging to the parish of Wistow, Leicestershire. A mural tablet to his memory was placed in Wistow church by his brother, Sir Henry Halford [q. v.] His portrait, by Pickersgill, is in the Leicester town-hall; another is at Wistow Hall.

Vaughan married twice: first, on 20 Dec. 1803, Augusta (d. 1813), second daughter of Henry Beauchamp, twelfth baron St. John of Bletsho; secondly, on 4 Aug. 1823, Louisa (d. 1860), eldest daughter of Sir Charles William Rouse-Boughton, bart., widow of St. Andrew, thirteenth baron St. John of Bletsho. By his first wife he was father of Henry Halford Vaughan [q. v.], of another son, and four daughters; by his second wife a son and a daughter.

[Foster's Baronetage, ‘Halford,’ and Alumni Oxon.; Burke's Peerage, s.v. ‘St. John;’ Rugby School Reg. 1881, p. 46; Lincoln's Inn Reg.; Gent. Mag. 1823 ii. 272, 1839 ii. 648; Legal Observer, xix. 33; Munk's Life of Sir Henry Halford, p. 8; Walton's Random Recollections of the Midland Circuit, pp. 12–14; Nichols's Leicestershire, i. pt. ii. p. 453; Arnould's Memoir of Lord Denman, i. 58, ii. 2; Royal Kalendar, 1815 p. 137, 1817 p. 137; Greville Memoirs, Geo. IV–Will. IV, ii. 155; Macdonell's State Trials, i. 7, 46, 788, ii. 346, iii. 12, 91; Foss's Lives of the Judges.]

J. M. R.