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Lushington, Vernon, 1832–1912 (lawyer and positivist)



Vernon Lushington was born on 8 March 1832 in London, the fourth son of Stephen Lushington (1782–1873) and his wife, Sarah Grace, née Carr, and twin to Sir Godfrey Lushington, whom he closely resembled in appearance, abilities, and temperament. After their mother's death in 1837, the twins were brought up by a maternal aunt at their father's seat in Ockham Park, Ripley, Surrey, and spent a year at Cheam School. Vernon served for three years in the Royal Navy, studied at the East India College, Haileybury, and in 1852 matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he took a first class in civil law in 1854–5, LLB in 1859, and LLM in 1885. Admitted to the Inner Temple in 1852, he was called to the bar in 1857. Lushington's legal career progressed steadily. In 1864 and 1868 he published reports of Admiralty court cases during the years of his father's eminence as an Admiralty judge. In 1868 he took silk and the next year became a bencher. From 1864 to 1869 he was deputy judge-advocate-general, and in 1869 he became secretary to the Admiralty. Upon his retirement in 1877 he was named a county court judge for Surrey and Berkshire, and served until 1900. Independently, he monitored abuses of martial law. Both Lushington twins adopted Auguste Comte's positivism in the 1870s, and participated in the joint translation of Comte's four-volume Positive Polity (1875–1877) under Richard Congreve. A few years later they joined Frederic Harrison and others and broke with Congreve to found a new positivist centre, Newton Hall, which in their affluence they supported generously. Vernon lectured there on the religion of humanity, science, and the arts; arranged musical programmes; led cultural pilgrimages; and wrote hymns, sonnets, and forty-nine entries for The New Calendar of Great Men, the positivists' biographical dictionary. He also had other verse printed privately. Lushington had a happy family life. On 28 February 1865 he married Jane (1834–1884), daughter of Francis Mowatt, a former MP. After her death he found consolation with their daughters, Katherine, Margaret, and Susan, all talented musicians. Kitty, who married Leopold Maxse, was the model for Mrs Dalloway in the novel by her friend Virginia Woolf; Susan, who remained single, was made an MBE for her work with amateur musicians. He died of bronchitis at his London home, 36 Kensington Square on 24 January 1912.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


LUSHINGTON, Vernon, 16 Sep. 1910

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10286/1/48
Scope and Contents

Single letter from Vernon Lushington to Horace Darwin dated [16 September 1910] expressing sympathy on hearing the news of Ida Darwin's accident and wishing her a good recovery.

Dates: 16 Sep. 1910
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