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Twisleton, Edward Turner Boyd (DNB00)


TWISLETON, EDWARD TURNER BOYD (1809–1874), politician, born at Ceylon on 24 May 1809, was youngest son of Thomas James Twisleton (1770–1824), archdeacon of Colombo, by his second wife, Anne, daughter and coheir of Benjamin Ash of Bath; she died on 11 Sept. 1847, leaving four children (Gent. Mag. March 1825, pp. 275–6). Thomas Twisleton, baron Saye and Sele, was his grandfather. Edward matriculated from Oriel College, Oxford, on 14 Feb. 1826, was a scholar and exhibitioner of Trinity College 1826–30, graduated B.A. 1829, taking first-class honours in classics, M.A. 1834, and was a fellow of Balliol College 1830–8. Entering Lincoln's Inn as a student in 1831, he was called to the bar at the Inner Temple on 30 Jan. 1835, and soon obtained employment on several government commissions. He was an assistant poor-law commissioner in 1839. In 1843 he was appointed a commissioner to inquire into the Scottish poor laws, and on 5 Nov. 1845 he was nominated chief commissioner of the poor laws in Ireland, a post which he held until 1849. In 1855 he was placed on the Oxford University commission, and in 1861 became a member of the commission of inquiry into English public schools. From 1862 to 1870 he was a civil service commissioner, when he retired from the public service, having probably served on more commissions than any other man of his time. His elder brother having succeeded to the barony of Saye and Sele on 13 March 1847, Twisleton in the following year was raised to the rank of a baron's son by a royal warrant. On 29 April 1859 he unsuccessfully contested the parliamentary borough of Cambridge. He was elected a fellow of the university of London in 1862, and an honorary student of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1869. Interesting himself in the controversy respecting the identity of Junius, he employed Charles Chabot [q. v.], the handwriting expert, to report on the Junian manuscripts at the British Museum. He came to the conclusion that Philip Francis was the author of the letters, and in 1871 he published Charles Chabot's ‘Handwriting of Junius professionally investigated,’ 1871, to which he furnished a preface and collateral evidence in support of the claims of Francis. Twisleton resided at 3 Rutland Gate, Hyde Park, London, but died at Boulogne-sur-Mer on 5 Oct. 1874, having married, on 19 May 1852, Ellen, daughter of Edward Dwight, member for the province of Massachusetts. She died on 17 May 1862, apparently without issue.

Twisleton was the author of a work entitled ‘The Tongue not Essential to Speech, with Illustrations of the Power of Speech in the African Confessors,’ 1873. To ‘Evidences as to the Religious Working of the Mission Schools in the State of Massachusetts,’ 1854, he contributed a preface.

[Men of the Time, 1872, p. 927; Illustr. London News, 17 Oct. 1874 p. 379, 5 Dec. p. 547; Law Times, October 1874, p. 439; Times, 10 Oct. 1874, 4 Dec.]

G. C. B.