[Sir James Alan Park, Georgian judge.] Two notebooks filled with modern manuscript transcriptions of 'Extracts from his Diary 1805-38'. With typescript of some of the transcriptions.

Sir James Alan Park (1763-1838), Scottish judge in the English courts
Publication details: 
The entries from Park's diary dating from between 1805 and 1838. The transcriptions apparently made in the 1970s [in Kent?].
SKU: 21380

Vol.1: [1] + 78pp. Vol.2: 8 [+ 8]pp. A total of 86pp of extracts from Park's twelve volumes of diaries. Unpublished. In two uniform stapled notebooks, small 4to, in orange card covers, with the following printed on the reverse of each: 'Manufactured by Supplies Department, Kent County Council'. Accompanied by eleven pages of typed transcriptions from the notebooks. Altogether in good condition, lightly aged and worn. Each volume titled in manuscript on the front cover, with the following shelfmark or entry number: '(M265)'. The 86pp of extracts are followed by eight more pages in manuscript, comprising: four pages headed 'Some account of Myself for the use of my children and particularly for my boys. Begun 8th Sept 1817'; with two pages from Bartlett's 'History of Wimbledon'; and two pages of notes. The whole written in blue and black ink, with a preliminary page in the first volume reading: 'Altogether there are 12 vols of diaries, an account of his life written for his children and his school essays. There are references to him in Charles Greville's journals – but there was another judge James Parke with an e. | Reference to L Guildford's footman Nov 10/22 1811 | L Liverpool Sept 31 1805'. The first notebook contains extracts ending in the eleventh volume on 27 November 1837, the second volume contains extracts dating from 20 November 1837 (vol.11) to the last entry in the twelfth volume, on 27 November 1838. Called to the bar in 1784, Park was a protégé of Lord Mansfield. His entry in the Oxford DNB states that 'in London practice his only equals for many years were Sir Vicary Gibbs and Sir William Garrow […] As a judge, though not eminent, he was fair and sensible, a little irascible, but highly thought of.' The extracts present here reveal Park to have been a high-minded, pious and principled individual (he gives £1 to the widow of a man on whom he had passed a sentence of hanging). There are occasional references to Park's family and personal affairs, as well as to political events (the 'horrible and dreadful' murder of Spencer Percival, and the acquittal of Queen Caroline: 'Obliged to illuminate. My next door neighbour Mr Gurney would not and they broke 54 panes of glass.'), but it is the numerous entries on cases in which he was involved casting an interesting light on the legal practice of the Georgian period. On 7 April 1819 he writes from Kingston: 'I passed sentence of death on 10 unhappy men & in so doing I thought happily, but undesignedly our Saviours sufferings for sinful man now commemorating in the Church. At this place I have passed sentence on 34 but have reprieved all but Dean for murder: I have left another for execution to give him a fright: but I shall send him a respite. This has been a dreadful circuit. The Kalendars of my brother Bayley & self have contained 605 prisoners all of whom we have tried ourselves except about 16 – And 130 Causes – in 5 weeks.' And three days later, 10 April 1819: 'Sent this morning a reprieve for William Lavander, whom I left for execution at Kingston. He was a most hardened depraved young man; but he is so young, that I have thought it better not to consign him to death. But I shall advise that he be transported for life. Received a letter from the Gaoler acknowledging the receipt of the reprieve, but that he will not communicate it till Monday as I desired.' On 31 July 1819: 'Wrote to Hobhouse the Under Secretary of State to see if I can get a girl of 12 years old, upon whom I was obliged to pass sentence of death into the Penitentiary.' On 1 July 1820: 'My gardener who has been 12 years with me faithfully, has been foolish and criminal to get the woman who takes care of my laundry with child - & I had him into me. I lectured him – he was penitent & there certainly was no seduction as the woman is a widow older than himself. My children & servants are all urgent with me that I should not dismiss him: but I have told them I fear the example. However they say I need not: & at present therefore I keep the matter suspended.' And on 4 March 1836: 'Attended again at the Old Bailey. Sat as before from 1 Oclock till past five. There was a miserable case of a wretched mother who had killed her child by hitting it a blow intended for another. She was convicted of manslaughter and properly so. But the poor creatures agonies were intense after conviction. I fined her only a shilling - & got a £1 conveyed to her and another from brother Gaselee.' On 11 February 1837: 'Lord de Ros the senior Baron of England after two days trial (in B.R.) before Lord Dedman, has been by a jury convicted of cheating constantly at cards by marking cards – shuffling etc. What a melancholy state of things; for all the witnesses were as great gamblers as he, & yet all honorable men.' On 22 July 1837: 'Went into court at 9 oclock, & tried one of the most shocking murders that can be conceived, a man deliberately murdering 4 Children in succession in one night & not the shadow of insanity, except it may be truly said, that no man, who was not insane would commit great crimes. He was convicted & I endeavoured in passing sentence to do it as pathetically as possible. It seemed to have a great effect upon the audience, & a great deal on myself: but little on him for whom it was chiefly intended.' On 29 September 1837: 'My poor Butler has been long afflicted with a sad drunken wife, who has at last robbed her lodgings, been tried at the Old Bailey, convicted, & sentenced to transportation. I am sorry for her depravity; & I am sorry my old servant has been so unfortunate as to marry such a woman. But as it is so, for his sake I am happy she is to be transported, for if she were set at liberty, she would ruin him, & their child'. O n 21 February 1838: 'I then went to Court to pay my respects to her Majesty [Queen Victoria] before setting out on the circuit. There was a very full levee; but she gets over it very quickly. It is quite astonishing to see with what affability & ease so young a female as our Queen is, goes through the fatigues & forms of such a ceremony. The standing for such a length of time must be itself sufficiently fatiguing.' The twelve volumes of actual diaries, from the library of Charles Benson, sold at Bonham's in London in March 2018.