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HAWKINS, Sir HENRY, Baron Brampton (1817–1907), judge, born at Hitchin on 14 Sept. 1817, was son of John Hawkins, a solicitor with a considerable 'family' practice, by his wife Susanna, daughter of Theed Pearse, clerk of the peace of Bedfordshire. After education at Bedford school, Hawkins was employed in his father's office long enough to take a dislike to legal work of that character, and with the reluctant consent of his parents on 16 April 1839 entered himself at the Middle Temple, and took out a special pleader's licence as soon as he was qualified. In 1841 he was the pupil of Frederick Thompson, a special pleader, and later of George Butt, who eventually became a Q.C. On 3 May 1843 Hawkins was called to the bar, and forthwith joined the home circuit and the Hertfordshire sessions. It appears that owing to his practice under the bar he was never quite without business, and although his earlier progress was not exceptionally rapid it was unbroken from the time of his call until he took silk in 1858. For the next eighteen years Hawkins occupied a place of increasing importance among the leaders of the bar. His lively intelligence, well-chosen language, and admirable manner made him exceedingly successful in winning the verdicts of juries, and he was the equal of his contemporaries, Serjeants Ballantine [q. v. Suppl. I] and Parry, in the forensic arts of which they were masters.

Hawkins was engaged in many cases of great ephemeral importance. In 1852 he was counsel for Simon Bernard, who was acquitted on a charge of complicity in the Orsini conspiracy against Napoleon III. As junior to Serjeant Byles [q. v.] he defended Sir John Dean Paul [q. v.], who was convicted in 1855 of fraud and sentenced to penal servitude. In 1862 he was junior to (Sir) William Bovill [q. v.] in Roupell v. Waite, in which Roupell confessed himself guilty of forgery and was subsequently sentenced to penal servitude for life. He also appeared for various defendants in the prosecutions instituted after the failure of Messrs. Overend and Gurney in 1866, all of them being acquitted. He was largely instrumental in securing the establishment by secondary evidence of the will and codicils of Lord St. Leonards, a case in which, with Frederick Andrew Inderwick [q. v. Suppl. II] and Dr. Henry Baker Tristram as his juniors, he appeared for Miss Sugden, and was able to hold his judgment on appeal (1875-6). He appeared in all but the earliest stages of the litigation of which Arthur Orton [q. v. Suppl. I], claiming to be Sir Roger Tichborne, was the principal figure (1871-2). When he was originally retained for the defence in the action of ejectment, it was no doubt intended that he should cross-examine the plaintiff, but before the case came on for trial John Duke Coleridge [q. v. Suppl. I], who had been instructed as one of the leaders of the western circuit, became solicitor-general, and as such the leader in the defence. In all the rhetorical art of cross-examination Hawkins was the greatest master, and he maintained his reputation in his cross-examination of several important witnesses, but the accident which deprived him of the right to cross-examine Orton was probably one of the bitterest disappointments of his life. When the trial at bar for perjury followed the collapse of the 'claimant's' action, Hawkins led for the crown (23 April 1872). His opening speech lasted six days and his reply nine days, while the prosecution lasted 188 days and Cockburn's summing-up eighteen days (Feb. 1874); in the action at nisi prius Coleridge had occupied twenty-three days in opening the case for the defence. There is no doubt that Hawkins's handling of the whole matter was worthy of the extraordinary occasion. From the time of his taking silk in 1858 to the end of the Tichborne case in 1874 he had no superior in the public estimation as a fighting advocate.

Besides his prolonged and lucrative practice in the courts, Hawkins was continually employed in compensation cases, before either juries or arbitrators. In particular he appeared for the royal commissioners engaged in the purchase of the site where the Royal Courts of Justice now stand. He had also a considerable practice in election petitions, being perhaps the most conspicuous counsel available for the purpose when, after the general election of 1868, those disputes were first tried before judges and decided independently of political considerations. Hawkins had stood as one of two liberal candidates for Barnstaple in 1865, but had not been returned; he made no other effort to enter the House of Commons.

In November 1876 Hawkins was appointed a judge of the queen's bench division, and being knighted was almost immediately transferred to the exchequer division. He was the first judge appointed to the exchequer division since the Judicature Acts had superseded the court of exchequer. Hawkins and Chief Baron Kelly deeply resented the provision of those acts by which every judge of the high court was to be styled 'Mr. Justice' and the old style of baron of the exchequer was dropped. Hawkins, who made vain efforts to secure the appellation of 'Baron Hawkins,' invariably called himself for private purposes 'Sir Henry Hawkins,' instead of *Mr. Justice Hawkins.' The exchequer division was absorbed in the queen's bench division in 1880.

In Sept. 1877 Hawkins tried at the Central Criminal Court 'the Penge case,' when Louis and Patrick Staunton, the wife of Patrick, and a servant named Alice Rhodes were jointly indicted for the murder, by ill-treatment and intentional neglect, of the wife of Louis. The case was on the wide borderland between murder and manslaughter, and the sufficiency of the evidence of complicity against Alice Rhodes was open to question. All were convicted of murder and sentenced to death, Rhodes subsequently receiving a free pardon and the sentence on the others being commuted to penal servitude for life (cf. J. B. Atlay's Trial of the Stauntons, 1911). Hawkins tried at about the same time many other murder cases which attracted public attention, and this circumstance, together with the alliterative attractiveness of the phrase 'Hanging Hawkins,' gave rise to a loose popular impression that he was a judge of a peculiarly severe or even savage temper. For this idea there was no real foundation. Hawkins was an admirable criminal judge. Extremely patient and thorough, he took care that both the case for the crown and that for the accused person should be exhaustively stated and tested to the utmost. His summings-up — in which in his later years it was his invariable practice never to open his note-book unless for the purpose of reading to the jury some fragment of the evidence in which the actual words used were of great importance — were models of lucidity and completeness. His manner, while dignified, was considerate to the point of being almost gentle. He had a strong hatred of cruelty and of any serious and deliberate outrages against either person or property, and in the gravest cases he did not shrink from deserved severity. On the other hand the period of his judgeship practically covered the great change in the direction of leniency to criminals. In this movement Hawkins was one of the more progressive authorities. He greatly favoured the lightest punishment for first offences, even where the offences themselves were serious, but he never went to the lengths favoured by the more extreme reformers. As a criminal judge Hawkins had very few equals during twenty-two years. As a civil judge he failed to convey the impression that to do justice between the parties was his single aim. Innumerable stories were told — some of them with substantial foundation — of the ingenious devices whereby he contrived that the case before him either should be peferred by consent to arbitration or should not be tried out to a clear determination on the merits. These devices, usually extremely adroit, could hardly be described as otherwise than mischievous. Of the current explanations of this peculiarity that which was least wanting in plausibility was that the judge's principal motive was to avoid the reversal of his decisions on appeal. The author of 'The Life in the Law of Sir Henry Hawkins' states that Hawkins said to him 'I have a horror of adverse criticism, to which I am perhaps unduly sensitive.'

In another respect Hawkins's judicial character presented a strange contrast. When, while doing the work he liked, he was summing up important or comphcated evidence in a criminal case, he had a command of excellent EngUsh, accurate, forcible, and dignified, which would have stood the test of absolutely literal reproduction in print. On the other hand, in delivering a considered judgment he was verbose and tautological ; he failed to grasp the principles of the law and to deduce from them the true effect of the facts before him, and he involved himself in contradictions. Two of his judgments which establish these facts beyond question are those in Hicks V, Faulkner (8 Q.B.D. 167) on the law of malicious prosecution, and in R. v. Lillyman {[1896] 2 Q.B. 167) on a question of evidence in criminal cases. The latter judgment of the court for crowni cases reserved was so unsatisfactory that for nine years, while it remained a leading authority, it was invariably construed as meaning the contrary of what it said, until in 1905, in the case of R. v. Osborne, in the same court, it was substantially overruled.

Hawkins resigned his judgeship in 1898 and was sworn of the privy council. He was created a peer on 27 Aug. 1899 by the title of Baron Brampton of Brampton in Huntingdonshire. From that time till August 1902 he sat occasionally in the House of Lords or the judicial committee. His judgments in the House of Lords in Allen v. Flood, the famous Taff Vale railway case, and Quinn v. Leatham, exhibit to some extent the same sort of weakness as characterised his earlier performances in the same class of case. He died at his house in Tilney Street on 6 Oct. 1907, and was buried at Kensal Green cemetery.

Hawkins was a small man of slender build, but his features were handsome and imposing and his aspect eminently judicial. He was extremely fond of horse-racing. He never ran horses himself, but was elected an honorary member of the Jockey Club in 1878, and an ordinary member in 1889. He insisted to an unusual extent in enforcing his personal tastes upon those who did business before him. He shut off all access of the outer air to his court and maintained the atmosphere at the highest temperature. He not unfrequently sat while on circuit for exceedingly long hours, although in London he habitually rose quite punctually. Innumerable anecdotes were current illustrating these peculiarities. To the outside public he was probably the best known and also the most popular of the puisne judges.

Hawkins was twice married. His second wife, who survived him five weeks, was Jane Louisa, daughter of H. F. Reynolds of Hulme. He had no children by either marriage. Not long after his retirement from the bench he was received into the Roman catholic communion, and in 1903 with his wife presented the Chapel of SS. Augustine and Gregory to the Roman catholic cathedral at Westminster.

Several portraits exist. One in oils of Hawkins in judge's robes, by John Collier, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1878, and was left by Lady Brampton to the National Portrait Gallery; a second, 'Justice Hawkins sums up,' by Robert Barnes, A.R.S.A., was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1891. Two portraits by J. A. Innes, one in crayons (1879) and the other in oils, belonged to the family, but were sold after Lady Brampton's death. There is also a bust — presented by Lady Brampton — at the Old Bailey. A caricature by 'Spy' appeared in 'Vanity Fair' (1873).

[The Times, 7-12 Oct. 1907 ; Law Reports ; information from Messrs. Weatherby & Sons ; personal knowledge. In 1904 Lord Brampton caused or permitted to be published a book in two volumes entitled 'The Reminiscences of Sir Henry Hawkins, Baron Brampton, edited by Richard Harris, K.C This book is written in the first person, but is undoubtedly the work of Richard Harris (1841-1906), who had practised for many years on the midland circuit, and was the author of 'Hints on Advocacy' and other legal and literary works. It has no pretence of arrangement and is a miscellaneous collection of anecdotes wholly lacking in literary skill and in verisimilitude, many of them being demonstrably inaccurate and none of them in any degree trustworthy. A pamphlet entitled 'The Life in the Law of Sir Henry Hawkins,' by 'E.' (London, 1907), published after Hawkins's death, is an account of his legal career compiled by the author for publication in a magazine substantially from Hawkins's dictation. It was not published during his life, because when it was completed he wrote to the anonymous author that he 'would not, after serious reflection, allow it to be published as it stood.' It cannot, therefore, be considered any more authoritative than Harris's book.]

H. S.-n.