LYALL, GEORGE (d. 1853), politician and merchant, was the eldest son of John Lyall of Findon, Sussex, a merchant and shipowner of London, by his wife Jane, born Comyn. He entered his father's business, and on his father's death in 1805 succeeded to the direction of it. For several years he was chairman of the Shipowners' Society, and his experience and suggestions were of considerable use to Huskisson in negotiating his commercial treaties with the northern states of Europe. He presided over the meeting at the London Tavern, 11 Dec. 1823, at which John Marshall initiated the agitation for a reform in the system of keeping ‘Lloyd's Register’ of shipping, and he sat in 1824 as a representative of the shipowners on the committee of inquiry, which reported in February 1826. Nothing, however, was done until 1834, when the ‘Register’ was reformed and placed under the supervision of a permanent committee, of which he was an original member (see Annals of Lloyd's Register; Martin, History of Lloyd's). He was also one of the chief promoters of the great Marine Indemnity Company at Lloyd's, as well as of the London Docks and Guardian Insurance Companies. In 1830 he was elected a director of the East India Company, and was its chairman in 1841. He made an unsuccessful attempt to enter parliament in 1832, when he contested the city of London as a tory at the first election after the passing of the Reform Bill. A vacancy occurring in 1833, on the death of Alderman Waithman, he defeated the liberal candidate, Alderman Venables, and was elected by 5,569 to 4,527 votes. In politics he was a Canningite, but being a poor speaker his influence, which was great, was chiefly exerted indirectly. He, however, introduced a Merchant Seamen's Widows Bill on 25 April 1834, and having overcome the partial opposition which the ministry at first offered to it, he carried it successfully through the house. At the general election of 1835 he lost his seat, and did not stand again until 1841, when he and Masterman were elected. He retired from public life in 1847, and died at 17 Park Crescent, Regent's Park, London, on 1 Sept. 1853. Though diffident and unobtrusive, his sound judgment and mercantile knowledge gave him considerable weight in the House of Commons and in the city of London. His son, also named George, was M.P. for Whitehaven from 1857 to 1865.
[Times, 7 Sept. 1853; Gent. Mag. 1805 ii. 1179, 1853 ii. 418; Ann. Reg. 1853; Raikes's Journal, i. 165; Hansard's Parl. Debates, 3rd ser. vols. xxi. xxii. and xxiii.]
LYALL, ROBERT (1790–1831), botanist and traveller, born at Paisley in 1790, studied at Edinburgh University between 1801 and 1810, and proceeded M.D. there, but he spent some part of his early days at Manchester, studying plants, especially mushrooms. He appears to have been unsuccessful in his profession at home, although his papers on the irritability of plants, published in Nicholson's ‘Journal’ (vols. xxiv–viii.), 1809–11, attracted some attention among scientific botanists (cf. Royal Society's Cat. Scientific Papers). According to his own account, he ‘twice found an asylum from misfortune and passed some of the best years of his life’ in the Russian empire, where he seems to have married and to have grown intimate with the czar's physician, Sir Alexander Crichton [q. v.] In 1815 he resided in St. Petersburg as physician to a nobleman's family, and he afterwards travelled to Kaluga with Mr. Pollaratskii. From 1816 to 1820 he was attached to the establishment of the Countess Orlof-Tchésmenska at Ostrof, sixteen miles from Moscow, in summer, and in winter at the ancient capital. In 1821 he was attending General Natschokin at Semeonovskoyé, near Moscow.
From 22 April till August 1822 he travelled, in the double capacity of courier and physician, with the Marquis Pucci, Count Salazar, and Edward Penrhyn, through the Crimea, Georgia, and the southern provinces of Russia. He reached London from St. Petersburg in August 1823. While in England he published ‘The Character of the Russians and a detailed History of Moscow, illustrated with numerous Engravings, with a Dissertation on the Russian Language, and an Appendix containing Tables, political, statistical, and historical, an Account of the Imperial Agricultural Society of Moscow, a Catalogue of Plants found in and near Moscow, and an Essay on the Origin and Progress of Architecture in Russia,’ 4to, London and Edinburgh, 1823. In 1825 Lyall published his ‘Travels in Russia, the Krimea, the Caucasus, and Georgia,’ 2 vols. 8vo, London and Edinburgh. The journal of travel included a translation of the ‘Journal’ of General Vermótof's embassy in 1817 to Persia, portions of which had appeared in Kotzebue's ‘Voyage en Perse.’ Both works, which freely exposed the corruption and immorality of the Russian nobles and officials, gave great offence at St. Petersburg. His dedication of the first book to the Emperor Alexander was disavowed by the czar through the consul in London. In 1824 Lyall replied to the ‘Quarterly Review's’ criticism of his first work, and published ‘An Account of the Organisation, Ad-