Charles Butler (lawyer)

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Charles Butler.

Charles Butler KC (14 August 1750 2 June 1832) was an English Roman Catholic lawyer and miscellaneous writer.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Lawyer legal professional who helps clients and represents them in a court of law

A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney, attorney at law, barrister, barrister-at-law, bar-at-law, civil law notary, counsel, counselor, counsellor, counselor at law, solicitor, chartered legal executive, or public servant preparing, interpreting and applying law, but not as a paralegal or charter executive secretary. Working as a lawyer involves the practical application of abstract legal theories and knowledge to solve specific individualized problems, or to advance the interests of those who hire lawyers to perform legal services.


Charles Butler was born in London, the son of James Butler, a nephew of Alban Butler. He was educated at Douai. In 1769 he became apprenticed to the conveyancer John Maire, and subsequently (on Maire's death in 1773) to Matthew Duane. In 1775 he set up his own conveyancing practice and entered Lincoln's Inn.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Alban Butler was an English Roman Catholic priest and hagiographer.

Douai Subprefecture and commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Douai is a commune in the Nord département in northern France. It is a sub-prefecture of the department. Located on the river Scarpe some 40 kilometres from Lille and 25 km (16 mi) from Arras, Douai is home to one of the region's most impressive belfries. The population of the metropolitan area, including Lens, was 552,682 in 1999.

A 1777 pamphlet supporting naval impressments won him the patronage of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, but Butler withdrew from general political activity to press for Catholic relief. Secretary of the Catholic Committee from 1782, he was appointed by them to draft a new relief bill in 1788: despite controversy within the English Catholic community over the extent to which the Catholic condition should be assimilated to that of Protestant dissenters, a bill passed on 24 June 1791. In 1792 Butler helped found the Cisalpine Club "to resist any ecclesiastical interference which may militate against the freedom of English Catholics". Relations between cisalpine Catholics, minimising the authority of the Pope over English Catholics, and vicars apostolic (especially Butler's long-time opponent John Milner) were strained; in 1807 a Catholic Board was formed after efforts to repair relations, but Milner would censure Butler in 1822 as 'a rebel to ecclesiastical authority and a public sinner'. [1]

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich British statesman

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, PC, FRS was a British statesman who succeeded his grandfather Edward Montagu, 3rd Earl of Sandwich as the Earl of Sandwich in 1729, at the age of ten. During his life, he held various military and political offices, including Postmaster General, First Lord of the Admiralty, and Secretary of State for the Northern Department. He is also known for the claim that he was the eponymous inventor of the sandwich.

The Cisalpine Club was an association of Roman Catholic laymen formed in England in the 1790s to promote Cisalpinism, and played a role in the public debate surrounding the progress of Catholic Emancipation.

Cisalpinism was a movement among English Roman Catholics in the late eighteenth century intended to further the cause of Catholic emancipation, i.e. relief from many of the restrictions still in effect that were placed on Roman Catholic British subjects. This view held that allegiance to the Crown was not incompatible with allegiance to the Pope.

He had considerable practice as a conveyancer, and after the passing of the Roman Catholic Relief Act 1791 was the first Catholic to be called to the bar since 1688. His only appearance at the bar was in Cholmondeley v. Clinton at the House of Lords, which set a precedent for judgements on land removal. In 1832 he took silk, and was made a bencher of Lincoln's Inn.

Roman Catholic Relief Act 1791

The Roman Catholic Relief Act 1791 is an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain passed in 1791 relieving Roman Catholics of certain political, educational, and economic disabilities. It admitted Catholics to the practice of law, permitted the exercise of their religion, and the existence of their schools. On the other hand, chapels, schools, officiating priests and teachers were to be registered, assemblies with locked doors, as well as steeples and bells to chapels, were forbidden; priests were not to wear vestments or celebrate liturgies in the open air; children of Protestants were not to be admitted to the schools; monastic orders and endowments of schools and colleges were prohibited.

Butler married Mary Eyston in 1776; they had one son (who died young) and two daughters.


His literary activity was enormous, and the number of his published works comprises about fifty volumes. The most important of them are:

Robert Southey British poet

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Erasmus Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, and theologian

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, known as Erasmus or Erasmus of Rotterdam, was a Dutch Christian humanist who was the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance. Originally trained as a Catholic priest, Erasmus was an important figure in classical scholarship who wrote in a pure Latin style. Among humanists he enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists", and has been called "the crowning glory of the Christian humanists". Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament, which raised questions that would be influential in the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation. He also wrote On Free Will,In Praise of Folly, Handbook of a Christian Knight, On Civility in Children, Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style, Julius Exclusus, and many other works.

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He also edited and completed the Lives of the Saints of his uncle, Alban Butler, Fearne's Essay on Contingent Remainders and Hargrave's edition of Coke upon Littleton's Laws of England (1775).

A complete list of Butler's works is contained in Joseph Gillow's Bibliographical Dictionary of English Catholics, vol. i. pp. 357–364.

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  1. Frederick Charles Husenbeth, The Life of the Right Rev. John Milner, D.D., J. Duffy, 1862, p. 450.