Solomon Atkinson 1797-1865 : Cambridge critic and lawyers' lawyer.
Atkinson's virtual self-preparation for Cambridge is
described and discussed, noting the importance of respons-·
His objective was university study, a Fellowship, and
the Bar, leading to public life.
Cambridge's social and academic scene is viewed in the
light of Atkinson's 1825 account of his experience, attention
being directed to its 'alternative society', and the
major change in Mathematics associated with the Analytical
Society, betweeen 1817 and 1821, in which year he was Senior
Wrangler. Note is taken of criticism, also published
in 1825, by Cowling, Senior Wrangler in 1824.
Particular consideration is given to Atkinson's assessment
of what an University ought to offer, and his claims
as to Cambridge's failure; to his not getting a Fellowship,
and consequent difficulties when reading for the Bar.
His Letters to Huskisson, 1826, are interpreted as a
vain bid for the attention of the shipping interest, whose
patronage might further his entry to 'the arena of public
life'. He expounded the likely effects of repeal of the
Navigation Acts, particularly in the light of his recent
visit to America.
Called to the Bar in 1827, he devoted his life thereafter
to the Law, as conveyancer and equity draftsman, but,
especially, as author of legal books for practitioners. His
earliest work, 1829, was intended to caution the Real Property
Commission, set up under Benthamite influence. His
last, 1853, surveyed and offered solutions to some problems
of the Profession in mid-century, especially those deriving
from the 1846 Act, reviving the County Courts, and of which,
unlike most of the Bar, he had been a supporter. Here, He.
drew again on what he had found in Canada and the United
States during an extended visit in 1836.