BENT, Jeffery Hart (1780-1852)


BENT, Jeffery Hart (1780-1852)
first judge in Australia
the son of Robert Bent and elder brother of Ellis Bent (q.v.), born in 1780, was educated at Mr Barnes's school, Manchester, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1804, and M.A. in 1807. In volume III of Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge, his first name is given as Geoffrey. He was called to the bar in 1806, was appointed judge of the supreme court of New South Wales in 1814, and arrived at Sydney on 28 July of that year. He had been only a few weeks in the colony before he was appealing to Earl Bathurst against a decision of Governor Macquarie (q.v.) to fit up one of the wings of the hospital as a temporary court house. There was much delay in holding the first sitting of the court, which was eventually fixed for 1 May 1815, and even then there were repeated adjournments because Bent had laid down the principle that anyone who had been transported could not be allowed to practise as an attorney. Macquarie was anxious that all convicts who had expiated their crime should be given every opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and lead normal lives as members of the community. Some of the men objected to by Bent had hitherto been permitted to plead before his brother, Ellis Bent, the judge-advocate, and Macquarie was satisfied that no evil consequences had resulted. He pointed out, too, that under the new regulations there would be only one attorney in the colony who would be able to plead, and that therefore one party only in each suit could have legal assistance in bringing his case forward. The tone of Bent's communications to the governor showed a great want of respect, and on 1 July 1815 Macquarie wrote to Earl Bathurst about the Bent brothers, stating that it had now become "absolutely necessary for the good of the colony . . . that they or I should be removed from it". Both of the brothers were recalled and Jeffery Bent left for England in 1817. He was subsequently chief justice of Grenada from 1820 to 1833, of St Lucia, 1833 to 1836, and from 1836 to 1852 of British Guiana. He died at Georgetown, Demerara, on 29 June 1852.
Bent was difficult and autocratic. His feelings on the employment of ex-convicts in courts are to some extent understandable, but he made no allowance for the differing views of Macquarie and the difficulties with which the governor had to contend.
Admissions to Trinity College, Cambridge, vol. III; F. Boase, Modern English Biography; Historical Records of Australia, ser. I, vols. VII to IX, ser. IV, vol. I; Gentleman's Magazine, vol. 122, p. 322; Marion Phillips, A Colonial Autocracy.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bent — /bɛnt/ (say bent) noun 1. Andrew, 1790–1851, Australian printer, born in England; published several early newspapers. 2. Ellis, 1783–1815, English barrister in Australia; judge advocate of NSW under Governor Macquarie, with whom he clashed over… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Liste de zoologistes — Attention, il n est pas d usage en zoologie d utiliser d abréviation pour les noms des auteurs (contrairement aux usages de la botanique, voir ici). Cette liste ne constitue pas une liste officielle. Nous attirons l attention du lecteur sur son… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste De Zoologistes —  Attention, il n est pas d usage en zoologie d utiliser d abréviation pour les noms des auteurs (contrairement aux usages de la botanique, voir ici). Cette liste ne constitue pas une liste officielle. Nous attirons l attention du lecteur sur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste de zoologiste — Liste de zoologistes  Attention, il n est pas d usage en zoologie d utiliser d abréviation pour les noms des auteurs (contrairement aux usages de la botanique, voir ici). Cette liste ne constitue pas une liste officielle. Nous attirons l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste des zoologistes par leur abréviation d'auteur — Liste de zoologistes  Attention, il n est pas d usage en zoologie d utiliser d abréviation pour les noms des auteurs (contrairement aux usages de la botanique, voir ici). Cette liste ne constitue pas une liste officielle. Nous attirons l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

  • The Irish (in Countries Other Than Ireland) —     The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Irish (in countries other than Ireland)     I. IN THE UNITED STATES     Who were the first Irish to land on the American continent and the time of their arrival are …   Catholic encyclopedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.