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John Horatio Lloyd

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John Horatio Lloyd (1798-1884)

1860 Joined the Inst of Civil Engineers; of 20 Dorset Square, London[1]


1884 Obituary [2]

JOHN HORATIO LLOYD was born at Stockport on the 1st of September, 1798. He was the son of John Lloyd, who was an attorney and Town Clerk of that town, a man of remarkable energy of character, and a Tory of the old school, intensely loyal to Church and King. He took a very active part in putting down the Luddite insurrection, and for his services rendered to the Government was appointed to the ancient office of Prothonotary of the counties of Chester and Flint. His eldest son was born at a time when Lord Nelson was the popular hero, and on this account the name of Horatio was given to him.

He received his first education at the Grammar School of Stockport, and at once showed great aptitude for learning, especially in the Classics, which at that period, even more than now, formed the groundwork of education.

When about twenty years of age he assisted his father in his efforts to restore order, and in later days used frequently to speak of those stirring times. His father was hated by the lower class of the people of Stockport, and on one occasion owed his life to the circumstance of another man being shot in mistake for him. At the time Mr. Lloyd was away from home, in another part of the town, and his son John Horatio went to warn him that the people were much excited against him, and to recommend him to return home by back-streets. This, however, Mr. Lloyd positively refused to do, and, accompanied by his son, he marched through the streets, which were filled by an angry and excited mob, who gnashed their teeth at him with rage, but forbore to attack him.

John Horatio Lloyd was sent up to Oxford in 1818, and matriculated at Queen’s College. His father, whose professional interests had suffered by his untiring exertions in the cause of the Government, had not the means of maintaining his son at the University, but the expenses were privately met, with well-timed generosity, by Lord Sidmouth, a Minister of the Crown, and Mr. William Hobhouse, the brother of Lord Broughton. The advantages thus acquired were not thrown away upon him, for in the year 1822 he obtained a first-class both in classics and mathematics, after which he was made a Fellow both of Queen’s and Brasenose Colleges. He remained at Oxford two years longer, taking pupils, of whom he had always as many as he could undertake.

He took his degree as M.A. in 1824, and then came up to London in order to study for the Bar. He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple on May 6th, 1826, and on the 1st of September of the same year he married his cousin, on his mother’s side, Caroline, daughter of Holland Watson, a magistrate of the counties of Chester and Lancaster, and Major of the Stockport volunteers.

He joined the North Wales circuit, and gained a considerable practice there. He soon became well known in London, both on account of his legal abilities, which obtained very early recognition, and also from his earnest interest in politics. He was a member of, and frequent speaker at, the Union Debating Society, where he was associated with J. S. Mill, Charles Buller, J. A. Roebuck, the late Lord Clarendon (then Mr. Villiers), and his brother, and many others whose names have since become famous. He entered Parliament in 1832, after the passing of the Reform Bill, when he was returned for Stockport, then a new borough, in the advanced Liberal interest. He took part in many interesting debates, arguing in 1833 against giving magistrates the power of summarily convicting in cases of felony, and supporting a petition presented by the attorneys of Westminster for a committee of inquiry into the conduct of the Benchers of the Inns of Court, relating to the admission of students to the Bar. He also took a leading part in connection with the Patent Bill of the same year, the subject of patents having always been one of great interest to him ; and in 1834 he introduced a Bill to abolish the punishment of death for setting fire to buildings where life was not endangered. His efforts were especially directed towards the mitigation of the severity of the punishments which at that time disgraced our criminal code.

He used to relate that, on one occasion when he was on circuit, a poor woman was tried for her life for stealing a loaf of bread. Shoplifting was at that time very prevalent, and the presiding judge was determined to exercise the full rigour of the law. The circumstances were such as to awaken the compassion of all present in the court, many of whom were visibly affected, whilst Mr. Lloyd remained dry-eyed. A friend turned to him, and said, “Lloyd, what hard-hearted fellows you and I must be, that we are not in tears.” "Tears! I am too indignant for tears!” was the reply. Such an outrage to humanity could not fail to give a powerful stimulus to philanthropic efforts in the direction mentioned. He also, when in Parliament, voted for any measure that was brought in for the better government of Ireland. He was, at that time, an ardent Radical; and there was, indeed, much that needed thorough reform. It was his hatred of oppression, and his desire to secure the just rights of the people, which enlisted him in the ranks of the reformers. In later days he used to say that all the measures he had then advocated had become law; but he remained a consistent Liberal to the end.

His health gave way under the double strain of a long practice, and the keen contests of Parliamentary life, and at the ensuing election he did not again offer himself as a candidate. He retired for a short time from the exercise of his profession, but when his health was re-established he returned to the Bar. The rapid development of the railway system in 1845 largely increased his practice, and he soon became known as tile chief authority in all legal matters connected with railways. His chamber practice became enormous, and he was employed as counsel for nearly all the railways in the United Kingdom. Although a sound lawyer, he never suffered himself to be trammelled by mere technicalities, but looked on questions from broad principles of equity. Thus he would often find a way out of difficulties which would have embarrassed a man more timid, or of narrower views, and it was owing to the counsel given by him that many important schemes were brought to a successful issue, which must otherwise have been stopped. If was by his advice that the means were found to establish a new company for laying the Atlantic cable, when the promoters seemed to have come to a dead-lock; and in the same way he devised the well-known security called "Lloyd’s Bonds," without which a large proportion of the existing railways could not have been constructed. It was looked upon with suspicion by lawyers at first, as an evasion of the law. It was, however, too simple and too equitable to be set aside, and is now generally adopted.

Mr. Lloyd was a very able speaker, and required very little preparation for his speeches. He had great clearness of perception, and could at once seize upon the main points of a case. These his excellent memory enabled him to retain and to bring out in due order. Having once made up his mind what to say, the words came of themselves, and it was perhaps owing to his extensive acquaintance with the masterpieces of English literature that he was always choice in his language. He prided himself on speaking thoroughly correct English. He was also a clever examiner ; his endeavour being not so much to extort confessions from unwilling witnesses, as to lead them to confession before they were aware how far they had committed themselves.

His practice brought him into connection with all the leading engineers and contractors, with many of whom he lived on terms of great friendship, and in whose society he always found much pleasure. He took a lively interest in the engineering profession, and became an Associate of the Institution of Engineers in 1860, and was a member of the Council in the Session 1867-68. For some time he was a frequent attendant at its meetings, but advancing age and infirmities obliged him to give this up, although for some time longer he continued to interest himself in their concerns. He had the satisfaction, very shortly before his death, of seeing his youngest grandson, Archibald Scott Napier, admitted a Student of the Institution.

Mr. Lloyd had a family of eight children, four sons and four daughters. Five of his children, including all his sons, preceded him to the grave, three. of them having died in infancy. He lost his second son, Frederick Watson, in 1862, at the age of thirty-three.

He was a barrister on the South Wales Circuit, and a young man of great promise, and as he inherited many of his father’s tastes, the loss of his affectionate and congenial companionship was keenly felt.

In 1874 another heavy blow fell upon him in the death of his eldest son, Horace, a Queen’s Counsel, and one whom he anticipated would have attained to the highest honours of the profession. This was followed, in 1875, by the death of his wife, to whom he was tenderly attached. He was then an old man, and although he still retained the vigour of his intellect, he was gradually breaking down, and work was more of an effort to him than formerly. He had always been subject to attacks of gout, and as he grew old his nervous system was very much affected by this malady. He retired from the practice of his profession at the close of 1876. To one of his active mind, the loss of a regular pursuit was a trial. When he was in good health, however, his time passed happily. He was extremely domestic in his habits, and his resources of mind, and intellectual tastes, were a sufficient recreation to himself, and an element of pleasure to those around him. He was an extensive reader, and preserved his love for the classics to the last. Music, painting, and English poetry were always a source of great enjoyment to him, and he excelled especially as a reader of Shakespeare. He was fond of society, and his genial temper, ready sympathy, and keen sense of humour made him a general favourite. He loved especially to have young people about him, and had the knack of always setting them at their ease with him. Although a man who thought for himself, he was a sincere Christian, and a consistent member of the Church of England. Thus, in his old age, he was honoured and beloved, and the smile with which he greeted his friends will long be remembered by them. When he was turned eighty his bodily infirmities increased rapidly upon him, but his mind was still clear, and his memory good.

In the autumn of 1882, he was taken seriously ill at Spa, in Belgium, with an attack of congestion of the liver. He never quite recovered from this illness. From October 1883 he failed rapidly, and for the last few months of his life scarcely left his room. He did not suffer much pain, but his good spirits quite deserted him, and before the end came he bad grown very weary of life.

He passed away quietly on the morning of July 18th, 1884, in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He was buried at Hendon, where his wife and two sons had been laid to rest before him, on the 23rd of the same month.



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