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the judges were obliged to leave their coach, and to ride to Listowel, several miles off. There the High Sheriff had prepared a splendid entertainment of 120 dishes; but before the company had sat down many minutes, word was brought that the river Feale was rising, and 'they had to take horse hurriedly in order to cross the river and get to Tralee that night.
The puisne judges of the Commou Pleas then were George Gore and Robert Lindsay. George Gore was a member of the Earl of Arran's family, and was the father of Lord Annaly, who was Chief Justice of Ireland during the viceroyalty of the Marquis of Townshend. On the accession of Queen Anne, Gore had been returned to Parliament for Longford; and on the accession of George I. he was appointed Attorney-General. Six years later, in 1720, he accepted the position of a puisne judge in the Common Pleas.
At first his hopes of further promotion ran high. He was universally and deservedly beloved, Bishop Nicolson says, for his great worth and integrity, and had the support of Sir Ralph Gore, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was his cousin, and of William Conolly, the speaker of the House of Commons. But in spite of all those advantages he was unsuccessful. He was well off; and Mrs. Delany speaks of one of his sons (whom she calls “ a pretty butterfly man") as heir to a great estate. In 1745 he retired from the bench, as he had not been able to go circuit for five years, but he survived until the year 1753.2 His brother judge, Robert Lindsay, who was a graduate of Dublin University, and a polite and elegant scholar, is well known to readers of Swift's Life as one of the Dean's intimate friends, and was a collateral ancestor of the Lindesays of Loughry, in the County Tyrone. Some poetry by Lindsay appears in the Dean's works; and verses in reply were written by Swift. Before his elevation to the bench in 1733, Lindsay represented his native county in Parliament for three years. He died at a comparatively early age after a few days’ illness at his house in Suffolk-street in 1743, and is said to have been much lamented on account of his
many excellent virtues.3 1“ Dictionary of National Biography,” vol. xlviii., p. 46; Foss's “ Biographical Dictionary of the Judges of England," p. 553 ; “Letters of Hugh Boulter, D.D., i., p. 167; “ Letters of Bishop Nicolson," p. 608 ; Sundon Correspondence, British Museum MS. 20,102, f. 136; Newcastle Correspondence, British Museum MS. 32,692 ff. 210, 413 ; Duhigg's “ History of the King's Inns,” pp. 285, 300 ; Circuit Returns ; Irish Pamphlets preserved in Trinity College Library, vol. v., ff. 31, 35, 36, 44 ; Dublin Erening Post, March 20–24, 1733 ; August 11-14, 1739 ; April 19-29, 1740 ; Dublin Weekly Journal, Sept. 6, 1729 ; Pue's Occurrences, May 6-10, and May 24–27, 1740.
2 Burke's “ Peerage” under "Arran "'; Smyth’s “Law Officers of Ireland”; Letters to and from Bishop Nicolson, pp. 560, 580; Bishop Nicolson's Letters to Archbishop Wake, British Museum MS. 6,116, ff. 221, 263 ; Newcastle, Correspondence, British Museum MS. 32,888, f. 289, 32,889 f. 421; Mrs. Delany's “Life and Correspondence,” vol. i., p. 286, Dublin Journal, January 13-16, 1753.
3 Burke's “Larded Gentry” under “ Lindesay of Loughry”: “Swift's Works,'' edited by Sir Walter Scott, vol. xiv., pp. 237, 243, vol. xix., p. 294, vol. xviii., p. 278 ; Dublin Evening Post, February 13-17, February 24-27, and June 26–30, 1733; Prie's Occurrences, January 15-18, 1742-3.
We come next to the Court of Exchequer, the last, although not the least in importance, of the Common Law Courts, which, owing to its control of the business of the revenue, was usually presided over by judges-puisne as well as chief-drawn from the English bar. At the time of which I write, the chief seat was, however, occupied by an Irishman in the person of Thomas Marlay. His principal claim to remembrance now is the fact that he was the maternal grandfather of Henry Grattan, but in his day he was one of the best-known of the judges, and was recognised as a gentleman and scholar, with a sense of humour, who upheld the reputation of the Irish Bench for dignity and learning as well as native wit. The polished Lord Chesterfield, although he refers on one occasion to the rigour of Marlay's Court, took great delight in Marlay's society, and, while viceroy of Ireland, visited the idler of Celbridge Abbey," as he calls Marlay, in the home of Vanessa, which had become Marlay's country seat. Marlay was descended from a merchant of Newcastle-on-Tyne, known as “the rich knight," who lost his property in fighting for the royal cause in the Civil War, and was son of an officer who settled in Ireland during the Restoration period. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, of which he became a Scholar, and his University conferred on him, while practising at the bar, by special grace the degree of Doctor of Laws. Like other Irishmen, Marlay sought promotion to the Judicial Bench through Parliament, of which he became a member on the accession of George I., as representative of the borough of Newtown Limavady. Six years later, in 1720, he was appointed Solicitor-General, and some years later was promoted to the Attorney-Generalship, then sitting in Parliament for the borough of Lanesborough, for which he was returned after a contested election. In some verses on the members of the Irish bar, written in the twenties of the eighteenth century, Marlay, who was placed first, is thus referred to
“ Thomas Marlay the great,
Who, in primitive state,
Your French gibberish he
Takes great nonsense to be,
When a vacancy occurred in 1730 in the chief seat in the Exchequer, Primate Boulter had apparently nothing to urge against Marlay's promotion, except his political views, which widely differed from the Primate's, as is shown in his having stated on one occasion that it would be a lasting reflection on an Irishman to apply for a British Act of Parliament to regulate property in Ireland; and, owing to his commanding merit, Marlay was appointed Chief Baron.
The position of Chief Baron, Marlay exchanged on the death of Rogerson for that of Chief Justice of the King's Bench. While in the latter court, on two occasions his judicial impartiality was impugned. The first occasion was in connexion with a prosecution for perjury instituted against one of the principal witnesses in the well-known suit between the claimant to the peerages of Anglesea and Altham, and the then holder of those titles. The prosecution for perjury came on in the King's Bench; and after a trial which, in accordance with the custom of that time, was carried on without adjournment, and lasted from six o'clock one morning until nearly six o'clock the next morning, it resulted in the acquittal of the defendant, thus reversing the verdict which had been given a year or two before in the original legal proceedings. The second occasion on which Marlay's conduct was the subject of comment was in connexion with a charge delivered to the Grand Jury of Dublin, in which he inveighed against Charles Lucas. As regards his conduct on the first occasion, it may be observed that the case was one of the most remarkable on record for conflicting evidence; and with regard to his attitude towards Lucas, he is said by Grattan's son to have only discharged his duty. Marlay retired from the Bench in 1751 ; and five years later, in 1756, his death took place suddenly at Drogheda, where he was on a visit to another distinguished judge of that time, Henry Singleton. Although the following lines, which appeared in the Dublin press of that day, leave something to be desired as poetry, I venture to quote them in proof of the veneration in which Marlay was held
What ! Marlay gone! O death! how do I grudge
The Barons of the Exchequer were Sir John St. Leger and John Wainwright. Sir John St. Leger, who had been appointed to a seat in the Irish Exchequer on the accession of George I., belonged to an Irish family, and was brother to the first Viscount Doneraile ; but he had been educated in England at Westminster School, and at Christ Church, Oxford, and was a member of the English bar. He had been only
Memoirs of Henry Grattan,” by his son, vol. i., p. 34 ; The Irish Builder for 1887, p. 126 ; O'Flanagan's “ Lives of the Lord Chancellors of Ireland,” vol. ii., p. 47; “ A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Court of King's Bench in Ireland, relating to the trial of Mary Heath for perjury” (London, 1745), and The Charge of the Right Honourable Thomas Marlay, Esq., Lord Chief Justice of His Majesty's Court of King's Bench in the Kingdom of Ireland to the Grand Juries of the County of the City of Dublin and County of Dublin on the sixth of November, 1749," preserved in the Haliday Pamphlets in the Royal Irish Academy : Newcastle Correspondence, British Museum MS. 32,692, f. 438 ; Letters from Coghill to Southwell, British Museum MS. 21,122, f. 59 ; Dublin Journal, July 3-6 and 6-10, 1756.
seven years called to the bar when elevated to the Irish Bench; but as he had been knighted, six years before his call, at Kensington Palace by William III., he must have seen a good deal of life before he joined the legal profession. Swift, in his journal to Stella, mentions having dined in London in company with one Sir John St. Leger, an Irish knight, who followed the law there, but at a great distance, and adds that the knight was so pert that he was forced to take him down more than
Sir John's promotion to the Irish Bench was doubtless largely due to political influence, as he was elected member for the family borough of Doneraile in the last Irish Parliament of Queen Anne; but he attributed it himself to the friendship of Lord Chancellor Cowper, and of the notorious Earl of Macclesfield, then Chief Justice of England, and afterwards Lord Cowper's successor on the woolsack, with whom St. Leger carried on a correspondence for some years after he came to Ireland. At first he was an active supporter of the English interest, and was one of the judges who were imprisoned by the Irish House of Lords for upholding the supremacy of the British Parliament; but under the régime of Primate Boulter, he was looked upon as unsound politically, and his hopes of promotion, which at one time were great, were dashed to the ground. He bought much property in Ireland, including Grangemellon in the County Kildare, which was his country seat. He was twice married: his first wife, who brought him a large fortune, was a granddaughter of the illustrious Sir James Ware; but he was long separated from her ; and before she had been buried many weeks he entertained thoughts of marrying a young lady of twenty years of age, and three months after his first wife's death, consoled himself by marrying a Miss Pennefather.
By his second wife he had many children, including a son who was for a time the hero of the fashion in London, where his dashing vivacity and absurdity, with some flashes of parts," attracted the attention of Horace Walpole. Sir John retired from the Bench in 1741, and two years later, in 1743, died at his town house in Capel-street, whence his body was taken for interment to Grangemellon. The other Baron of the
1 The following quaint paragraph with regard to Sir John St. Leger's second wife appears in the Dublin Evening Post of Dec. 16-19, 1732 :-“ As Lady St. Leger was driving up Cork-hill in her chariot, a hackney coachman drove against it, by which means her ladyship was overset; she was immediately let blood ; the coachman made his escape, but 'tis believed will soon be taken.” Another paragraph, no less curious, which appeared in the same journal for Jan. 21-24, 1738, indicates that St. Leger's household affairs were not always well ordered—“Last Thursday died Mary Beagham, Cook to Sir John St. Leger, with a bottle of brandy in her hand and another half empty standing by her. She was opened and six stone of fat taken from her.”
? Probably this hero was Sir John St. Leger's eldest son. The latter was a member of the Hell-fire Club, and some of the meetings of that society are said to have been held at Grangemellon. See “Sketch of Grangemellon,” by A. A. Weldon, in the Journal of the Kildare Archæological Society, vol. i., p. 100.
3 Burke's 'Peerage" under “Doneraile"; Foster's “Alumni Oxonienses," "Letters to and from Bishop Nicolson,” pp. 559, 605 ; Thomas Amory's “ Life of John Jour. R.S.A.I. Vol. xiv., Fifth Series.
Vol. xxxiv., Consec. Ser.