1902 Encyclopedia > George Joseph Bell

George Joseph Bell
Scottish jurist

GEORGE JOSEPH BELL, brother of the preceding [SIR CHARLES BELL], was BelL born at Edinburgh on the 20th of March 1770. At the age of eight he entered the High School, but he received no university education further than attending Tytier's lectures on civil history, Stewart's course of moral philosophy, and Hume's lectures on the law of Scotland. He became a member of the Faculty of Advocates in 1791, and was one of the earliest and most attached friends of Francis Jeffrey. In 1804 he published a Treatise on the Law of Bankruptcy in Scotland, in 2 vols. 8vo, which was gradually enlarged in subsequent editions, till at length a fifth edition was pub-lished in 1826, in 2 vols. 4to, under the title of Commen-taries on the Law of Scotland and on the Principles of Mercantile Jurisprudence—an institutional work of the very highest excellence, which has guided the judicial delibera-tions of his own country till the present time, and has had its value acknowledged by such eminent jurists as Story and Kent. In 1821 he was unanimously elected professor of the law of Scotland in the University of Edin-burgh ; and in 1831 he was appointed to one of the prin-cipal clerkships in the Supreme Court. He was in 1833 placed at the head of a commission to inquire into the expediency of making various improvements in the Scottish bankruptcy law; and in consequence of the reports of the commissioners, chiefly drawn up by himself, many beneficial alterations have been made in this department of the law. He died on the 23d September 1843. A seventh edition of the Commentaries, edited by J. Maclaren, advocate, appeared in 1870. Bell's smaller treatise, Principles of the Law of Scotland (6th edit. 1872), has long been a standard text-book for law students. The Illustrations of the Principles is also a work of high value.

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