Hill, Matthew Davenport
HILL, MATTHEW DAVENPORT (1792-1872), was born August 6, 1792, at Birmingham, where his father, T. W. Hill, was at that time assistant in a charity school. He made such rapid progress in his education that in his thirteenth year he rendered his father efficient assistance in conducting a private school in Birmingham, and in his seventeenth year became the principal teacher. Resolving, however, to adopt the legal profession, he in 1814, while still continuing his scholastic duties, became a student of Lincoln's Inn, and in 1816 began to devote his uninterrupted attention to legal studies. He was called to the bar in 1810, and went upon the Midland circuit, where his ability was soon generally recognized, although for various reasons his acquisition of a profitable practice was not so rapid. In 1832 lie was elected one of the Liberal members for Kingston-upon-Hull, but he lost his seat at the next election in 1S31. On the incorporation of Birmingham in 1839 lie was chosen recorder ; and in 1851 lie was appointed commissioner in bankruptcy for the Bristol district. Having in the course of his professional duties had his interest excited in questions relating to the treatment of criminal offenders, lie in his charges to the grand juries, as well as in special pamphlets, ventilated opinions which have been the means of introducing many important reforms in the methods of dealing with crime. One of his principal coadjutors in these reforms was his brother Frederick Bill, whose Amount, Causes, and Remedies of Crime, the result of his experience as inspector of prisons for Scotland, may be said to mark an era in the methods of prison discipline. Hill was one of the chief promoters of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, and the originator of the Penny Magasine. He died 7th June 1S72.
His principal works are Practical Suggestions to the Founders of Reformatory Schools, 1855; Suggestions for the Repression of Crime, 1857, eonsisting of charges addressed to the grand juries of Birmingham; Mettray, 1855; Papers on the Penal. Servitude Acts, 1864; Journal of a Third Visit to the Convict Gaols, Refuges, and Riformatories of Dublin, 1365; Addresses delivered at the Diming-ham and Midland Institute, 1367. See Memoir of Matthew Davenport Hill, by his daughters Rosamond and Florence Davenport Hill, 1378.