William Atherton (politician)
Sir William Atherton QC (1806 – 22 January 1864) was a British barrister and Liberal Party politician. An advanced Liberal who favoured the secret ballot and widening of suffrage, he held a seat in the House of Commons from 1852 to 1864, and was a Law Officer of the Crown for four years.
Atherton was the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister, Rev. W Atherton, and his wife Margaret who was a daughter of the Church of Scotland minister Rev. Walter Morrison. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple and practised on the Northern Circuit, becoming a Queen's Counsel (QC) and a bencher in 1852.
Atherton was appointed as Solicitor General on 16 December 1859, having previously served as Counsel to the Admiralty and Judge Advocate of the Fleet. He was knighted on 23 February 1860, and promoted to Attorney General on 9 July 1861.
Having taken an office of profit under the Crown, he was obliged on each occasion to present himself for re-election, and was returned unopposed at by-elections on 9 January 1860 and 8 July 1861. In his acceptance speech in July 1861 he called for greater unity in the Liberal Party, and supported British neutrality in the American Civil War.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "D" (part 4)[self-published source][better source needed]
- "Death Of The Right Hon. Sir W. Atherton". The Times. London. 23 January 1864. p. 9, col A.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. pp. 118–9. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
- The London Gazette: . 16 December 1859. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- "The Chancellor of the Exchequer acknowledges". The Times. London. 19 December 1859. p. 8, col E.
- The London Gazette: . 24 February 1860. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- The London Gazette: . 9 July 1861. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- "THE DURHAM ELECTION". The Times. London. 9 July 1861. p. 5, col F.
- "THE ATTORNEY-GENERALSHIP". The Times. London. 1 October 1863. pp. 7, col A.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir William Atherton
- William Atherton at Find a Grave
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Thomas Colpitts Granger
|Member of Parliament for City of Durham
1852 – 1864
With: Thomas Colpitts Granger to Dec 1852
Lord Adolphus Vane Dec 1852–1853
John Mowbray from 1853
|Judge Advocate of the Fleet
1855 – 1859
Henry Singer Keating
|Solicitor General for England and Wales
1859 – 1861
Sir Roundell Palmer
Sir Richard Bethell
|Attorney General for England and Wales
1861 – 1863
Sir Roundell Palmer