The Corresponence of James McNeil Whistler
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Thomas Erskine Perry, 1806 or 1807-1881

Nationality: English
Date of Birth: 1806.07.20
Place of Birth: Wandlebank House, Wimbledon
Date of Death: 1882.04.22
Place of Death: 36 Eaton Place, London


Sir Thomas Erskine Perry was the second son of James Perry, proprietor and editor of the Morning Chronicle, and Anne Hull, daughter of John Hull of Wilson Street, Finsbury Square, London. He was Chief Justice of H. M. Supreme Court in Bombay and a member of the Council of India. In 1834 he married Louisa McElkiney, the daughter of James McElkiney of Brighton and the niece of Madame Jérôme Bonaparte. Following her death in 1841, Perry married, on 6 June 1855, Elizabeth Margaret Van den Bempde-Johnstone, the second daughter of Sir John Van den Bempde-Johnstone, and the sister of Harcourt, the first Lord Derwent.


Perry was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and in Munich. He became a member of Lincoln's Inn in 1827, where he was a pupil of John Patteson and then Justice of the King's Bench. He became Honorary Secretary of the National Political Union of London and founded the Parliamentary Candidate Society. He left Lincoln's Inn in 1832 and was admitted to the Inner Temple. In the same year he was called to the Bar, working as a law reporter with Sandford Nevile and Henry Davison. In 1840 he lost a large part of his fortune when his bank collapsed. He was then appointed judge of the supreme court of Bombay. He was knighted in 1841. From 1847 to 1852 he acted as Chief Justice. On his return to Britain he sought the abolition of the East India Company and the constitution of an independent council under the executive government. In 1854 he was made the liberal M.P. for Devonport. He strenuously advocated the employment of Indian nationals to official posts in India. In 1856 he campaigned for the rights of married women. In the mid 1870s Perry's name was included in a list compiled by JW's mistress Maud Franklin, which was possibly a guest list for a private view or a subscription list for JW's proposed set of Venice etchings [#12714].


Perry, Thomas Erskine, and Sandford Nevile, Reports of Cases Relating to the Office of Magistrates Determined in the Court of King's Bench, 2 vols, London, 1837; Perry, T. E., and S. Nevile, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of King's Bench, 3 vols, London, 1837-39; Perry, T. E., and Henry Davision, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Court of King's Bench, 4 vols, London, 1839-42; Perry, T. E., Letter to Lord Campbell, Lord Chief Justice of England, on Reforms in the Common Law, London, 1850; Perry, T. E., Cases Illustrative of Oriental Life, London, 1853; Perry, T. E., A Bird's-eye View of India, London, 1855; Lee, Sidney, (ed.), Dictionary of National Biography, 58 vols, London, 1896.