Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ARMSTRONG, James, Canadian jurist, born in Berthier, province of Quebec, 27 April 1821. He was called to the bar in 1844, became queen's counsel in 1867, was nominated crown prosecutor for the district of Richelieu in 1864, and was appointed chief justice of St. Lucia, West Indies, by the imperial government in 1871. Subsequently he was appointed chief justice of Tobago, West Indies, which office he held conjointly with the chief justice of St. Lucia until his resignation in 1882. St. Lucia was one of the French colonies acquired French laws were allowed to remain in force. Some unimportant changes were afterward made, but as far back as 1845 the chief justice made a report upon the laws, in which he said that no one knew what the law of the colony really was. Such was the state of the law when Mr. Armstrong became judge, partly owing to the appointment of judges who knew nothing of French jurisprudence, and particularly of that of ante-revolutionary France. The criminal law of France before the revolution was in force in St. Lucia for many years, portions of the English law being from time to time introduced. Chief justice Armstrong convinced the imperial government of the absolute necessity of introducing the English criminal law into the colony, subject to the enactments of the colonial legislature. A code of civil law, based in great measure upon the civil code of Quebec, was compiled by Mr. Armstrong and the governor of St. Lucia. Mr. Armstrong afterward prepared a code of civil procedure, which the legislature adopted, and passed resolutions thanking him for his labors. He was created a companion of the order of St. Michael and St. George in 1857. He is the author of a treatise on the law of marriage in the province of Quebec, written before the civil code came into force, and a treatise on the laws of intestacy in the different provinces and Northwest Territories of the dominion (1886). He is president of the Montreal and Sorel railway.
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