Jervis, Sir John
b. 1802-01-12
d. 1856-11-01
Jervis was a political and legal heavyweight in his day, and when he died suddenly, at the age of fifty-five, likely from lung cancer, he rattled his colleagues and profession. His education began in Westminster School in 1815; from there he enrolled at Middle Temple in 1819 and matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, that same year. However, Jervis did not complete his degree. Instead, he took a two year army commission as a carabinier, after which he returned to his law studies. He married Catherine Jane, daughter of Alexander Mundell of Great George Street, Westminster, in November of 1823. The couple had three sons and two daughters. Jervis was a staunch Liberal, but a pragmatist at heart. As a judge, he ushered in a variety of controversial law reforms, especially during the 1840s. In 1850 he was appointed chief justice of common pleas against a backdrop of professional jockeying.1
In his role as Attorney General, Jervis, along with Solicitor General David Dundas, was instrumental in the Crown's deliberations on the Hudson's Bay Company's land-grant status following the Oregon Treaty of 1846. The two men signed-off on a Case, attached to an 1847 despatch, that detailed the complex legal arguments surrounding the HBC's position.2
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Dundas, David