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WILLIAM BALLANTINE (1812-1887)

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Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 268 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WILLIAM BALLANTINE (1812-1887), English serjeant-atlaw, was born in London on the 3rd of January 1812, being the son of a London police-magistrate. He was educated at St Paul's school, and called to the bar in 1834. He began in early life a varied acquaintance with dramatic and literary society, and his experience, combined with his own pushing character and acute intellect, helped to obtain for him very soon a large practice, particularly in criminal cases. He became known as a formidable cross-examiner, his great rival being Serjeant Parry (1816-188o). The three great cases of his career were his successful prosecution of the murderer Franz Miiller in 1864, his skilful defence of the Tichborne claimant in 1871 and his defence of the gaekwar of Baroda in 1875, his fee in this last case being one of the largest ever known. Ballantine became a serjeant-at-law in r856. He died at Margate on the 9th of January 1887, having previously published more than one volume of reminiscences. Serjeant Ballantine's private life was decidedly Bohemian; and though he earned large sums, he died very poor. . BALLANTYNE, ROBERT MICHAEL (1825-1894), Scottish writer of fiction, was born at Edinburgh on the 24th of April 1825, and came of the same family as the famous printers and publishers. When sixteen years of age he went to Canada and was for six years in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. He returned to Scotland in 1847, and next year published his first book, Hudson's Bay: or, Life in the Wilds of North America. For some time he was employed by Messrs Constable, the publishers, but in 1856 he gave up business for the profession of literature, and began the series of excellent stories of adventure for the young with which his name is popularly associated. The Young Fur-Traders (1856), The Coral Island (1857), The World of Ice (1859), Ungava: a Tale of Eskimo Land (1857), The Dog Crusoe (186o), The Lighthouse (1865), Deep Down (1868), The Pirate City (1874), Erling the Bold (1869), The Settler and the Savage (1877), and other books, to the number of upwards of a hundred, followed in regular succession, his rule being in every case to write as far as possible from personal knowledge of the scenes he described. His stories had the merit of being thoroughly healthy in tone and possessed considerable graphic force. Ballantyne was also no mean artist, and exhibited some of his water-colours at the Royal Scottish Academy. He lived in later years at Harrow, and died on the 8th of February 1894, at Rome, where he had gone to attempt to shake off the results of overwork. He wrote a volume of Personal Reminiscences of Book-making (1893).
End of Article: WILLIAM BALLANTINE (1812-1887)
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