Hill, Matthew Davenport
HILL, MATTHEW DAVENPORT (1792-1872), English lawyer and penologist, was born on the 6th of August 1792, at Birmingham, where his father, T. W. Hill, for long conducted a private school. He was a brother of Sir Rowland Hill. He early acted as assistant in his father's school, but in 1819 was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn. He went the midland circuit. In 1832 he was elected one of the Liberal members for Kingstonupon-Hull, but he lost his seat at the next election in 1834. On the incorporation of Birmingham in 1839 he was chosen recorder; and in 1851 he was appointed commissioner in bankruptcy for the Bristol district. Having had his interest excited in questions relating to the treatment of criminal offenders, he ventilated in his charges to the grand juries, as well as in special pamphlets, opinions which were 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 Hill (1803-1896), whose Amount, Causes and Remedies of Crime, the result of his experience as inspector of prisons for Scotland, marked 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 Magazine. He died at Stapleton, near Bristol, on the 7th of June 1872.
His principal works are Practical Suggestions to the Founders of Reformatory Schools (1855); Suggestions for the Repression of Crime (1857), consisting of charges addressed to the grand juries of Birmingham; Meltray (1855); Papers on the Penal Servitude Acts (1864); Journal of a Third Visit to the Convict Gaols, Refuges and Reformatories of Dublin (1865) ; Addresses delivered at the Birmingham and Midland Institute (1867). See Memoir of Matthew Davenport Hill, by his daughters Rosamond and Florence Davenport Hill (1878).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)