Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rothery, Henry Cadogan

ROTHERY, HENRY CADOGAN (1817–1888), wreck commissioner, was born in London in 1817. His father, William Rothery (1775–1864), was chief of the office of the king's proctor in Doctors' Commons. In 1821 he was appointed by the treasury the admiralty referee on slave-trade matters, and held the appointment until his retirement in 1860. In 1830–2 he was engaged with some eminent lawyers and civilians in framing rules for the guidance of the vice-admiralty courts in the colonies, the excesses of which had become notorious. In 1840 he was associated with Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer in settling, with two French commissioners, the amount of compensation to be paid to some British subjects for the forcible interruption of their trade by the French at Portendic on the coast of Africa; and in 1844, in conjunction with the judge of the court of admiralty, Admiral Joseph Denman, and James Bandinel, he prepared a code of instructions for the guidance of naval officers employed in the suppression of the slave trade. He married Frances, daughter of Dr. Cadogan of Cowbridge, Glamorganshire (cf. Gent. Mag. 1864, i. 798–9).

The son Henry was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1840, as nineteenth wrangler in the mathematical tripos, and M.A. in 1845. After leaving the university he entered at Doctors' Commons, and from 1842 was employed in the ecclesiastical and admiralty courts. On 26 Nov. 1853 he was appointed, by Dr. Stephen Lushington [q. v.], registrar of the old admiralty court, and not long after he became registrar of the privy council in ecclesiastical and maritime causes. In 1860 he was made legal adviser to the treasury in questions and proceedings arising out of the slave trade. On account of his large experience gathered in the court of admiralty, he was in 1876 appointed by her majesty's government their commissioner to inquire into the causes and circumstances of wrecks, and to conduct investigations into casualties at sea. He entered on his duties towards the close of 1876. His inquiries indicated many preventible causes of maritime losses (Times, 3 Aug. 1888 p. 10, 6 Aug. p. 9, 8 Aug. p. 9). His judgments on fire at sea in coal-laden vessels, on certain modes of stowing grain, on stability, and on overloading were especially valuable. He retired in the early summer of 1888, and died at Ribsden, Bagshot, Surrey, on 2 Aug. 1888. He married, in 1851, Madelina, daughter of Dr. Garden of Calcutta, but had no issue.

Mr. T. F. Squarey issued in 1882 ‘A Digest of the Judgments in Board of Trade Inquiries into Shipping Casualties, delivered by H. C. Rothery from 1876–1880, with a Chapter on the Procedure of the Court.’

Rothery was author of: 1. ‘Suggestions for an Improved Mode of Pleading, and of taking Oral Depositions in Causes conducted by Plea and Responsive Allegation,’ 1853. 2. ‘Return of all Appeals in Cases of Doctrine or Discipline made to the High Court of Delegates,’ 1868. This was printed by order of the House of Commons, and is cited in modern ecclesiastical cases as ‘Rothery's Precedents.’ 3. ‘A Defence of the Rule of the Admiralty Court in Cases of Collisions between Ships,’ 1873.

[Law Times, 1 Sept. 1888, p. 308; Times, 3 Aug. 1888, p. 10; information from Israel Davis, esq., M.A., barrister-at-law.]

G. C. B.