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Richard "Lord Westbury" Bethell
Birth: Jun. 30, 1800
Death: Jul. 20, 1873

British Statesman. Born in Bradford-on-Avon in Wiltshire, he was educated at Corsham School near Bath and, at the age of fourteen, "whilst still wearing a jacket and frill", presented himself at Wadham College, Oxford, where he matriculated and, within a few months, gained a scholarship. Just after his nineteenth birthday, he graduated with First Class Honours in Classics and a Second in Mathematics. In 1823, he was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple and, in 1840, became a Queen's Counsel. The following year, he became the leader of the Chancery Bar, earning 20,000 a year. In 1847, he stood for Parliament as the Liberal candidate for Shaftesbury in Dorset; he failed but, in 1851, was elected for Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire and, the next year, found a safer seat at Wolverhampton. At the same time, he became Solicitor General and, in 1856, Attorney General in Lord Palmerston's Government, a position which he held, with the exception of a few months in 1858-9 when the Liberals were out of office, until 1861, when he became Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and head of the judiciary, and was given a seat in the House of Lords with the title of the first Baron Westbury. The Dictionary of National Biography wrote of him: "The judgments which he has left are in many ways unique. Our law reports contain no more perfect examples of precise and lucid statement, of concise reasoning, or of polished English." Unfortunately, in 1865, he was accused of having used his position to benefit his relatives. He was acquitted by two select committees of having acted from unbecoming motives, but it was found that he had been inattentive to the public interest. In spite of there being a Liberal majority in the House of Commons, a vote of censure was carried there, and he resigned at once "in a speech so full of grace and dignity that it turned indignation into sympathy." He retired to his villa in Italy, but returned to sit on appeals in the House of Lords and the Privy Council. He died at his house in London, just one day after his old adversary, "Soapy Sam" Wilberforce, the Bishop of Winchester. (bio by: Iain MacFarlaine) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Ellinor Mary Abraham Bethell (1802 - 1863)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
New Southgate Cemetery and Crematorium
New Southgate
London Borough of Enfield
Greater London, England
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Iain MacFarlaine
Record added: May 20, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7469055
Richard Lord Westbury Bethell
Added by: Medora
 
Richard Lord Westbury Bethell
Added by: Iain MacFarlaine
 
Richard Lord Westbury Bethell
Added by: Iain MacFarlaine
 
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