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Amos
Amos
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memoirs to give some recollections of Swift and of Mrs. Grierson was never fulfilled.

[Life in General Biog. Dict. 1798, slightly compressed in Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; Hazlitts Round Table, essay 18; Retrospective Review (1st series) vi. 100; Notes and Queries (1st series), xi. 58; Gent. Mag. lviii. 1062, lix. 107, 322, 372; Saturday Review, 12 May 1877.]

L. S.

AMOS, ANDREW (1791–1860), lawyer and professor of law, was born in 1791 in India, where his father, James Amos, Russian merchant, of Devonshire Square, London, who had travelled there, had married Cornelia Bonté, daughter of a Swiss general officer in the Dutch service. The family was Scotch, and took its name in the time of the Covenanters. Andrew Amos was educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge, of which he became a fellow, after graduating as fifth wrangler in 1813. He was called to the bar by the Middle Temple and joined the Midland circuit, where he soon acquired a reputation for rare legal learning, and his personal character secured him a large arbitration practice. He married, 1 Aug. 1826, Margaret, daughter of the Rev. William Lax, Lowndean professor of astronomy at Cambridge.

Within the next eight years he became auditor of Trinity College, Cambridge; recorder of Oxford, Nottingham, and Banbury; fellow of the new London University; and criminal law commissioner.

The first criminal law commission on which Amos sat consisted of Mr. Thomas (afterwards Professor) Starkie, Mr. Henry Bellenden Ker, Mr. William (afterwards Mr. Justice) Wightman, Mr. John Austin, and himself. The commission was renewed at intervals between 1834 and 1843, Mr. Amos being always a member of it. Seven reports were issued, the seventh report, of 1843, containing a complete criminal code, systematically arranged into chapters, sections, and articles. The historical and constitutional aspects of the subject received minute attention at every point, and the perplexed topic of criminal punishments was considered in all its relations. Amos's correspondence with the chief justice of Australia in reference to the transportation system partially appears in the report, and he was consulted by the chief justice as to the extension of trial by jury under the peculiar circumstances of the settlement.

On the foundation of the University of London, afterwards called University College, Amos was first professor of English law, with Mr. Austin, professor of jurisprudence, as his colleague. Between the years 1829 and 1837 Amos's lectures attained great celebrity. It was the first time that lectures on law at convenient hours had been made accessible to both branches of the profession, and Amos's class sometimes included as many as 150 students. Amos encouraged his classes by propounding subjects for essays, by free and informal conversation, by repeated examinations, and by giving prizes for special studies, as, for instance, for the study of Coke's writings. He repeatedly received testimonials from his pupils, and his bust was presented to University College.

In 1837 Amos was appointed ‘fourth member’ of the governor-general's council in India, in succession to Lord Macaulay, and for the next five years he took an active part in rendering the code sketched out by his predecessor practically workable. He also took a part as a member of the ‘law commission’ in drafting the report on slavery in India which resulted in the adoption of measures for its gradual extinction. The commissioners were unanimous on the leading recommendation that ‘it would be more beneficial for the slaves themselves, as well as a wiser and safer course, to direct immediate attention to the removal of the abuses of slavery than to recommend its sudden and abrupt abolition.’ Amos, with two commissioners, differed from the remaining two as to the remedies to be proposed. The majority inclined to leave untouched the lawful status of slavery, and with it the lawful power of the master to punish and restrain. They thought this power necessary as a check to the propensity to idleness which the situation of the slave naturally produces.

At the close of Amos's term in India, he was forced into an official controversy with Lord Ellenborough, the governor-general, as to the right of the ‘fourth member’ to sit at all meetings of the council in a political as well as a legislative capacity. When Lord Ellenborough's general official conduct was brought under the notice of the House of Commons, his alleged discourtesy to Amos was used as an argument in the debate by Lord John Russell, but this controversy was closed by the production by Sir Robert Peel of a private letter given to him without authorisation in which Amos incidentally spoke of his social relations in his usual way. It was a lasting political misfortune for Amos that by this misadventure his political adversaries won the day in a debate of the first importance.

On Amos's return to England in 1843 he was nominated one of the first county-court judges, his circuit being that of Marylebone, Brentford, and Brompton. In 1848 he was