Stephen Lushington (judge)

For other people named Stephen Lushington, see Stephen Lushington.
Stephen Lushington

1862 portrait (detail) by William Holman Hunt
Born 14 January 1782
South Hill Park, Berkshire
Died 19 January 1873 (1873-01-20) (aged 91)
Ockham Park, Surrey
Resting place Ockham, Surrey
Nationality English
Education Christ Church, Oxford, Inner Temple
Occupation judge
Known for Slavery abolitionist

Stephen Lushington (14 January 1782 – 19 January 1873) was a Doctor of Civil Law, a judge, a member of parliament and a radical for the abolition of slavery and capital punishment.

Early life and education

Stephen, 1789 (Richard Cosway)

Lushington was the second son of Sir Stephen Lushington, 1st Baronet (1744–1807), a member of parliament and Chairman of the British East India Company. He was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford, after which he was elected a fellow of All Souls.


He joined the Inner Temple and was called to the bar in 1806. In the same year, he entered Parliament as Whig member for Great Yarmouth, and he spoke in the Commons in favour of the bill to abolish the slave trade in February 1807, and remained a lifelong advocate of the anti-slavery cause. He was re-elected in 1808, but a few months later, after the defeat of a motion he had proposed to castigate the behaviour of Sir Home Popham, he resigned his seat and devoted his energies to his legal practice.

He returned to Parliament as the MP for Ilchester in 1820, and subsequently also represented Tregony, Winchelsea and Tower Hamlets. He continued to support all measures attempting to suppress slavery or the slave trade, and also proposed or attempted to propose motions to recognise the independence of South America from Spain (1820) and to abolish capital punishment (1840). He championed the cause of Jamaican anti-slavery activist Louis Celeste Lecesne, supported Catholic Emancipation and spoke in favour of repealing the civil disabilities which applied to Jews; he was also a strong supporter of Parliamentary reform, and advocated triennial parliaments and the secret ballot. He retired from Parliament in 1841.

His legal career continued parallel to his political one. In 1820 he was one of the counsel retained by Queen Caroline, and spoke in her defence during her trial before the House of Lords. In 1828 he was appointed judge of the Consistory Court of London. In 1838 he was made a Privy Counsellor and became judge of the High Court of Admiralty, in which post he continued until 1867. He was also Dean of Arches from 1858 to 1867, when he retired from all his posts due to ill health.

Cricket career

Lushington was also an amateur cricketer who made 3 known appearances in first-class cricket matches in 1799. He was mainly associated with Surrey.[1]


  1. Arthur Haygarth, Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826), Lillywhite, 1862

Further reading

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Sir Thomas Troubridge
Thomas Jervis
Member of Parliament for Great Yarmouth
With: Edward Harbord
Succeeded by
Edward Harbord
Giffin Wilson
Preceded by
Sir Isaac Coffin
John William Drage Merest
Member of Parliament for Ilchester
With: Sir Isaac Coffin
Succeeded by
John Williams
Richard Sharp
Preceded by
James O'Callaghan
Viscount Barnard
Member of Parliament for Tregony
With: James Brougham
Succeeded by
James Adam Gordon
James Mackillop
Preceded by
John Williams
Henry Dundas
Member of Parliament for Winchelsea
April 1831
With: John Williams
Succeeded by
James Brougham
John Williams
Preceded by
Michael Bruce
James Joseph Hope-Vere
Member of Parliament for Ilchester
With: Edward Robert Petre
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Tower Hamlets
With: Sir William Clay
Succeeded by
Sir William Clay
Charles Richard Fox
Legal offices
Preceded by
Sir John Dodson
Dean of Arches
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Phillimore
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