Fitzroy Kelly

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The Right Honourable
Sir Fitzroy Kelly
PC, QC
SirFitzroyKelly.jpg
Sir Fitzroy Kelly.
Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer
In office
1866 – 18 September 1880
Monarch Victoria
Preceded by Sir Frederick Pollock
Succeeded by Office abolished
Personal details
Born 9 October 1796
London, England
Died 18 September 1880
Brighton, Sussex
Nationality British
Political party Tory

Sir Fitzroy Edward Kelly PC, KC (9 October 1796 – 18 September 1880), was an English commercial lawyer, Tory politician and judge.

Background and education[edit]

Kelly was born in London, the son of Robert Hawke Kelly (died in or before 1807), a captain in the Royal Navy. His mother was the novelist Isabella Kelly, daughter of Captain William Fordyce, Groom of the Bedchamber to George III. In 1824, he was called to the bar by Lincoln's Inn, having already gained a reputation as a skilled special pleader.

Career[edit]

Vanity Fair caricature, November 1871.

In 1834 Kelly was made a King's Counsel, remarkably after only ten years' call. A strong Tory, he was returned as Member of Parliament for Ipswich in 1835, but was unseated on petition. In 1837 however he again became member for that town.[1] From 1843 to 1847 he was MP for Cambridge, and in 1852 was elected member for Harwich, but a vacancy suddenly occurring in East Suffolk, he preferred to contest that seat and was elected.

Most of his legal cases were of a commercial nature, but one was one of the great criminal poisoning crimes of the early Victorian period. In March 1845 Kelly defended John Tawell, the "Quaker" murderer (actually he was no longer a member of the Quakers, though he tried to return to that group). Tawell had poisoned his mistress, Sarah Hart, and fled from Salt Hill in Aylesbury by train. However, a description of Tawell was sent to London by electric telegraph and he was captured. Kelly did the best for his client, but was not in the type of case to which he was accustomed. His argument that Sarah Hart had eaten too many pips (pits) of her apples and got poisoned by the prussic acid in the pips led to the nickname "Apple-pip" which followed Kelly for the rest of his life. Despite his endeavours his client was found guilty and hanged.

Kelly was Solicitor-General in 1845 (when he was knighted), and again from February to December 1852, during which time he was junior to Attorney-General Sir Frederic Thesiger in the prosecution of John Henry Newman for libel, the Achilli trial. In 1858–1859 he was Attorney General in Lord Derby's second administration. In 1866 he was raised to the bench as the last Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer and made a member of the Privy Council, entitling him to sit on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

Personal life[edit]

Kelly died at Brighton on 18 September 1880, aged 83.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Allen, C. J. W. (2004) "Kelly, Sir Fitzroy Edward (1796–1880)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Morrison
Rigby Wason
Member of Parliament for Ipswich
1835
With: Robert Adam Dundas
Succeeded by
James Morrison
Rigby Wason
Preceded by
Thomas Milner Gibson
Henry Tufnell
Member of Parliament for Ipswich
1838–1841
With: Thomas Milner Gibson 1838–1839;
Thomas John Cochrane 1839–1841
Succeeded by
George Rennie
Rigby Wason
Preceded by
Alexander Grant
John Manners-Sutton
Member of Parliament for Cambridge
1843–1847
With: John Manners-Sutton
Succeeded by
Robert Adair
William Campbell
Preceded by
Robert Wigram Crawford
John Bagshaw
Member of Parliament for Harwich
1852
With: John Bagshaw
Succeeded by
Isaac Butt
John Bagshaw
Preceded by
The Lord Rendlesham and
Sir Edward Gooch, Bt
Member of Parliament for East Suffolk
1852–1866
With: Sir Edward Gooch, Bt 1852;
John Henniker-Major, 1852–1866
Succeeded by
John Henniker-Major
Sir Edward Kerrison, Bt
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir Frederic Thesiger
Solicitor General for England and Wales
1846–1846
Succeeded by
Sir John Jervis
Preceded by
Sir William Wood
Solicitor General for England and Wales
1852
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Bethell
Preceded by
Sir Richard Bethell
Attorney General for England and Wales
1858–1859
Succeeded by
Sir Richard Bethell
Preceded by
Sir Frederick Pollock
Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer
1866–1880
Office abolished