ROUTLEDGE, ROBERT McKILLIAM

?1855 - 1907 from Scotland


judge and colonial secretary, was the sixth son of William Routledge, manufacturer of Aberdeen. He studied at Aberdeen University and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1879 and was a member of the Northern Circuit. He was appointed judge and magistrate in the Falkland Islands in 1891 and later colonial secretary.

In 1892 Routledge was reproved by the Colonial Office for asking whether he might have a private [legal] practice. In June 1892, Governor GOLDSWORTHY complained that Routledge's sentences were inadequate. Relations between the two worsened as the governor confronted the landowners who resisted the provision of further land to colonists. In November Goldsworthy wrote that the colonial secretary had 'identified himself with the sheep farmers and being in opposition to the Government, ie myself'. Goldsworthy wished to return on leave but was not prepared to leave Routledge in charge. In January 1893, Routledge was described as 'neither more nor less than the Company's [ie FIC's] legal adviser'. The next month Goldsworthy recommended the transfer of Routledge.

The Colonial Office did not share the governor's views. On 31 December 1892 one official minuted that Routledge: 'is described to me as a thoroughly respectable, hard-headed Scotchman of quiet demeanour, of a very good type'. During the governor's leave, George MELVILLE was sent out to administer the government and, as often happened, the officer administering government took a completely different view from the governor: 'I have found Mr Routledge a loyal and conscientious officer and a useful legal adviser', Melville told London. In November 1893, the Colonial Office decided that Routledge could no longer serve in Stanley 'without detriment to the public interest' and he was offered the post of stipendiary magistrate at Trinidad. He duly transferred to Trinidad where he also served as puisne judge (1901-1906) and acting chief justice in 1903. Routledge wrote an article on the Falkland Islands in the Scottish Geographical Magazine of 1896.

He married Martha Stone, daughter of John Avery, a printer and publisher of Aberdeen and gave his hobbies (in Who's Who) as gardening and golf. He died on 12 August 1907.

Authors

David Tatham