Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/721

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parison of a great mass of authorities. His judgment in The British South Africa Company v. Companhia de Moçambique, which was reversed by the court of appeal, and restored, with strong expressions of approval, by the House of Lords, is an example of his judicial power at its best. He was one of the judges requested by the House of Lords to give their opinions in the great case of Allen v. Flood in 1897. He and Mr. Justice Mathew differed from their brethren in holding that the trade combination in question was not made unlawful by the fact that it was intended to injure and did injure another person for the benefit of those who combined. The House of Lords upheld this view.

Wright's ability and possibly his limitations led to his frequent selection to sit as an extra chancery judge, as judge in bankruptcy, and as the judicial member of the railway commission. It was in the first named of these capacities that he decided in Jan. 1893 the important case of Samuel Hope and Arnold Morley v. William H. Loughnan and his brothers, in which, with the approval of the profession and the public, he set aside gifts amounting to nearly 150,000l.

During the later years of his life Wright lived at Headley Park, Hampshire, where he carried on the affairs of his home farm in the form of a small republic with himself as permanent president. Seated under a tree, he would invite the opinions of his labourers, and decide upon the course to be pursued in greater or less accordance with the sentiments of the meeting. He had the tastes of a sportsman, and being fond of shooting it was his habit to sue poachers in the county court for nominal damages and an injunction—the breach of which would lead to the imprisonment which he considered too harsh a penalty to be indiscriminately enforced.

After an operation in May 1904 Wright sent his resignation to the lord chancellor, but in the hope of his recovery it was not accepted. He was not, however, able to resume his labours, and died at Headley on 13 Aug. 1904, and was buried there. He married in 1891 Merriel Mabel Emily, daughter of the Rev. Richard Seymour Chermside, prebendary of Salisbury, and had two sons, of whom the younger, Michael Robert (b. 1901), survives.

A caricature appeared in ‘Vanity Fair’ in 1891.

[The Times, and Manchester Guardian, 15 Aug. 1904; Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Abbott and Campbell's Life of Jowett; personal knowledge.]

H. S.-n.

WRIGHT, WHITAKER (1845–1904), company promoter, was born in the north of England on 9 Feb. 1845, and at the age of twenty-one, equipped with some knowledge of inorganic chemistry and assaying, started as an assayer in the United States, and invested in a few mining shares in the west. He next bought a claim for 500 dollars, and by the sale of a half share in it covered all his outlay and provided working capital. The mine proved successful, and was the foundation of his fortune; to use his own words, ‘after the first 10,000 dollars was made, the rest was easy.’ He was one of the pioneers of the mining boom in 1879 at Leadville, where he made and lost two fortunes. Leaving Leadville, he acquired the Lake Valley mine in New Mexico, and built a branch railway to it. After these western adventures he came east and settled in Philadelphia, was for many years a member of the American Institute of Mining Engineers, and became chairman of the Philadelphia Mining Exchange; he was also a member of the Consolidated Stock Exchange of New York. At the age of thirty-one he was more than a millionaire. He had now resolved to retire from business, but his American career ended disastrously, owing to the failure of the Gunnison Iron and Coal Company, in which he was largely involved, and the great depreciation in other securities.

Returning to England in 1889, he brought out the Abaris Mining Corporation in 1891, but this enterprise gained little market or public attention, and was wound up in 1899. He became better known as a company promoter in 1894, when he floated the West Australian Exploring and Finance Corporation, a promoting concern. Next year he brought out a like venture, the London and Globe Finance Corporation. Both companies had for a time very prosperous careers. Wright's profits from these two undertakings were 238,436l. The times were favourable to Wright's special qualifications. He had personal knowledge of mining camps, could talk of them plausibly, and from his experience in Philadelphia knew the weak points of the average speculator. During 1896 the Lake View Consols was floated by the London and Globe with a capital of 250,000l. Other companies were formed for opening up mines in Western Australia, the most notable being Mainland Consols, Paddington Consols, and Wealth of Nations.