Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ivory, James (1792-1866)

IVORY, JAMES, Lord Ivory, (1792–1866), Scottish judge, son of Thomas Ivory, watchmaker and engraver, was born in Dundee in 1792. Sir James Ivory [q. v.] the mathematician was his uncle. After attending the Dundee academy he studied for the legal profession at Edinburgh University, was admitted a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1816, and in that year was enrolled as a burgess of his native town. When, in 1819, the select committee of the House of Commons was engaged in making inquiries into the state of the Scottish burghs, Ivory was examined with reference to the municipal condition of Dundee, and strongly advocated the abolition of self-election, which was then prevalent in the town councils of Scotland, and continued in force till 1833. Ivory was chosen advocate-depute by Francis Jeffrey, lord advocate, in 1830; two years afterwards he was appointed sheriff of Caithness, and in 1833 was transferred to a similar office in Buteshire. He was solicitor-general of Scotland under Lord Melbourne's ministry in 1839, was made a lord-ordinary of session in the following year, and sat as judge in the court of exchequer. In 1849 he was appointed a lord of justiciary (taking the title of Lord Ivory), and served both in the court of session and the high court of justiciary until his retirement in October 1862. For several years before that date he was the senior judge of both courts. Ivory died at Edinburgh on 18 Oct. 1866. He married, in 1817, a daughter of Alexander Lawrie, deputy gazette writer for Scotland. His eldest son, William Ivory, has long been sheriff of Inverness-shire.

As a lawyer Ivory was distinguished by the subtlety of his reasoning, his minuteness of detail, and profound erudition. He was not a fluent orator, but in the early part of his career, when legal argument was conducted in writing, he obtained a high reputation.

[Millar's Roll of Eminent Burgesses of Dundee, p. 249; Norrie's Dundee Celebrities, p. 273; Dundee Advertiser, 19 Oct. 1866.]

A. H. M.