Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 3.djvu/723

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Wright
Wroth
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March and imprisoned. After resisting extradition for some months by every legal artifice, he suddenly resolved on 6 July voluntarily to return to England, where he arrived on 5 August.

Protracted proceedings at the Guildhall ended in his committal for trial. The trial, which began on 11 Jan. 1904, was held for greater convenience at the law courts instead of at the Old Bailey. The prosecution was not under any of the Joint Stock Companies Acts, but under the Larceny Act of 1861. The issues were directed to the questions whether the balance-sheets and reports of the London and Globe Company for the years 1899 and 1900 were false in material particulars; whether they were false to the knowledge of Whitaker Wright; and if so, whether these false accounts and false reports were published for the purpose of deceiving shareholders or defrauding creditors or inducing other persons to become shareholders. The judge was Mr. Justice Bigham, afterwards Baron Mersey. (Sir) Rufus Isaacs, K.C., conducted the prosecution, and Wright was brilliantly defended by (Sir) John Lawson Walton. The prosecuting counsel alleged that 5,000,000l. capital had been lost in two years, not a penny of which had been returned to the shareholders, whilst debts of about 3,000,000l. had been contracted besides. On 26 Jan. Wright was convicted on all counts and sentenced to the maximum penalty of seven years' penal servitude. After receiving sentence he was talking with his legal adviser Sir George Henry Lewis in the consultation room, when he suddenly died. At the inquest on 28 Jan. it was shown that he poisoned himself with cyanide of potassium. He was buried at Witley, and left a widow, a son, and two daughters.

Wright acquired for his country residence a large estate at Lea Park, Witley, Surrey, four miles from Godalming. There he surrounded himself with extravagant luxuries, erecting a well-equipped observatory and a private theatre. He constantly devised new effects in architecture and landscape gardening; hills which obstructed views were levelled, and armies of labourers employed to fill up old lakes and dig new ones. He was fond of billiards, which he played in a saloon constructed of glass beneath one of the wide sheets of water in his grounds. After Wright's death the property was acquired by Lord Pirrie. Wright had also a palatial residence in Park Lane, filled with art treasures. As a yachtsman he gained great notoriety by his yawl Sybarita. Wright's persuasive manners and his abilities as a public speaker were turned to good account at shareholders' meetings, and inspired confidence in his most disastrous undertakings. He bequeathed his estate valued at 148,200l. to his wife Anna Edith, whom he made sole executrix.

[Annual Register, 1903, p. 24; 1904, p. 17; Saturday Review, xcvii. 133; Illustr. London News, 30 Jan. 1904; The Times, 20–27 Jan. 1904; Financial Times, 27 Jan. 1904; Star, 27 Jan. 1904; Blackwood's Magazine, clxxv, 397.]

WROTH, WARWICK WILLIAM (1858–1911), numismatist, born at Clerkenwell, London, on 24 Aug. 1858, was eldest son in the family of four sons and four daughters of Warwick Reed Wroth (1824–1867), vicar from 1854 to his death of St. Philip's, Clerkenwell (see preface to Wroth's Sermons, chiefly Mystical, edited by J. E. Vaux, 1869). His mother was Sophia, youngest daughter of Thomas Brooks, of Ealing, Middlesex.

After education at the King's School, Canterbury, where he had a sound classical training, Wroth joined the staff of the British Museum as an assistant in the medal room on 22 July 1878, and held the post for life. He mainly devoted his energies to a study of Greek coins, and made a high reputation by his continuation of the catalogues of Greek coins at the museum which his predecessors, S. L. Poole, Mr. Barclay Head, and Mr. Percy Gardner, had begun. Wroth's catalogues, in six volumes all illustrated with many plates, dealt with coins of Eastern Greece beginning with those of ‘Crete and the Ægean Islands’ (1886), and proceeding with those of ‘Pontus, Paphlagonia, Bithynia and the Kingdom of Bosporus’ (1889); of ‘Mysia’ (1892); of ‘Galatia, Cappadocia and Syria’ (1899); of ‘Troas, Æolis and Lesbos’ (1894); and finally of ‘Parthia’ (1903). Subsequently he prepared catalogues, which also took standard rank, of ‘Imperial Byzantine Coins’ (2 vols. 1908) and of the coins of the ‘Vandals, Ostrogoths and Lombards’ (1911). Before his death he returned to Greek coinage, and was preparing to catalogue that of Philip II and Alexander III, and the later kings of Macedon.

Outside his numismatic work at the museum, Wroth made between 1882 and 1907 valuable contributions to the ‘Journal of Hellenic Studies’ and the ‘Numismatic Chronicle.’ To the ‘Journal’ he contributed in 1882 ‘A Statue of the Youthful