Cohen, Arthur

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COHEN, ARTHUR (1829–1914), English lawyer. Born in London, a grandson of Levi Barent Cohen, Cohen was admitted to Magdalene College, Cambridge, after his uncle Moses *Montefiore had persuaded the prince consort to sponsor his candidacy. He became president of the Cambridge Union and was Fifth Wrangler in 1853 but was able to take his degree only in 1858, after the passage of the Cambridge University Reform Act. In that year he became the first practicing Jew to graduate from Cambridge. Admitted to the bar in 1857, he built up a substantial practice and in 1872 he was named junior counsel in the critical Alabama arbitration between Great Britain and the United States. In 1874, Cohen was made a queen's counsel and sat in Parliament as a Liberal from 1880 to 1887. In his later years he received many honors, becoming a member of the Privy Council (a rare distinction for one who held no governmental position) and being elected chairman of the Bar Council. From 1893 until 1914 he was standing counsel to the India Office.

Cohen was active in Jewish affairs and from 1880 to 1895 was president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in succession to Moses *Montefiore.


L. Cohen, Arthur Cohen (1919); P. Emden, Jews of Britain (1943), 178–84; I. Finestein, in: J.M. Shaftesley (ed.,), Remember the Days: essays … C. Roth (1966). add. bibliography: odnb online; C. Bermant, The Cousinhood (1971), index; I. Finestein, Jewish Life in Victorian England (1993).

[Moshe Rosetti]