Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/East, Edward Hyde

EAST, Sir EDWARD HYDE (1764–1847), chief justice of Calcutta, great-grandson of Captain John East, who was active in the conquest of Jamaica and obtained an estate there, was born in that island on 9 Sept. 1764. He became a student of the Inner Temple, and was called to the bar 10 Nov. 1786. He sat in the parliament of 1792 for Great Bedwin. He steadily supported Pitt. In 1813 he was chosen to succeed Sir Henry Russell as chief justice of the supreme court at Fort William, Bengal (such is the correct designation). Before he left England he was knighted by the prince regent. Besides performing his judicial duties he interested himself in the cause of native education, and was the chief promoter of the Hindoo College. When he retired from office in 1822 the natives presented him with an address and subscribed for a statue of him. This, executed by Chantrey, was afterwards placed in the grand-jury room of the supreme court. On his return East was made a baronet, 25 April 1823. He represented Winchester in parliament, 1823–31, was sworn of the privy council, and appointed a member of the judicial committee of that body, in order to assist in the disposal of Indian appeals. He was also chosen a bencher of the Inner Temple and a fellow of the Royal Society. East was married in 1786, and had a son and daughter. The son, James Buller East [q. v.], succeeded him in the title. East died at his residence, Sherwood House, Battersea, on 8 Jan. 1847. His wife predeceased him three years. East is chiefly known as a legal writer from his ‘Reports of Cases in the Court of King's Bench from Mich. Term, 26 Geo. III (1785), to Trin. Term, 40 Geo. III (1800),’ 8vo, 5 vols., 1817, by C. Durnford and E. H. East. These were the first law reports published regularly at the end of each term. Hence they were called the ‘Term Reports.’ They were continued by East alone in his ‘Reports of Cases argued and determined in the Court of King's Bench from Mich. Term, 41 Geo. III (1800), to Mich. Term, 53 Geo. III (1812),’ 1801, 1814. There are various American editions of both series. ‘No English reports,’ says Marvin, ‘are oftener cited in American courts than these’ (p. 282). East also wrote: 1. ‘Pleas of the Crown; or a General Treatise on the Principles and Practice of Criminal Law,’ 2 vols. 1803. This, the result of fifteen years' labour, is based partly on a careful study of previous writers and on private collections of cases. 2. ‘A Report of the Cases of Sir Francis Burdett against the Right Hon. Charles Abbott,’ 1811.

[Gent. Mag. April 1847; Lodge's Genealogy of the Peerage and Baronetage (1859), p. 671; Marvin's Legal Bibliography; Soule's Lawyer's Reference Manual (Boston, 1883); Addit. MS. 19242, f. 147.]

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