Kane, Robert Romney (DNB12)

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KANE, ROBERT ROMNEY (1842–1902), writer on Irish land law, born at Gracefield, Blackrock, county Dublin, on 28 Oct. 1842, was eldest son of Sir Robert Kane [q. v.], first president of the Queen's College, Cork. His mother, Katherine, daughter of Henry Baily, of Berkshire, and niece of Francis Baily [q. v.], president of the Royal Astronomical Society, wrote (before her marriage) a well-known 'Irish Flora.' After attending Dr. Quinn's private school in Harcourt Street Kane passed to Queen's College, Cork, whence he graduated M.A. in 1862, and received in 1882 the honorary degree of LL.D. Becoming a member of Lincoln's Inn, he studied law in London in the chambers of an eminent conveyancing lawyer, W. H. G. Bagshawe, and in 1865 he graduated LL.B. with honours in London University. Being called to the Irish bar the same year he went the Munster circuit and soon enjoyed a good practice. In 1873 he was appointed professor of equity, jurisprudence, and international law at the King's Inns, and, acquiring the reputation of an authority on Irish land legislation, he was in 1881 appointed a legal assistant commissioner under the Land Law Act of that year. He retained that post till 1892, when he was made county court judge for the united counties of Kildare, Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow.

Kane collaborated with Francis Nolan, Q.C., in an admirable treatise on the 'Statute Law of Landlord and Tenant in Ireland' (1892). But the whole subject of Irish history, literature, and antiquities appealed to him. He was a member of the Royal Irish Academy, a fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, for many years one of the two honorary secretaries of the Royal Dublin Society, and a trustee of the National Library of Ireland. His edition of 'Lectures on Irish History,' by his friend A. G. Richey [q. v.], published in 1887 under the slightly misleading title of 'A Short History of the Irish People,' displayed wide reading, ripe judgment, and independence. After some years of feeble health he died at his residence, 4 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin, on 26 March 1902.

Kane married on 29 Dec. 1875 Ellinor Louisa, second daughter of David Coffey, taxing master in chancery, by whom he had two sons and three daughters. The elder son, Harold, lieutenant in the 1st battalion of the South Lancashire regiment, fell in the Boer war while fighting against great odds on the summit of Mount Itala on 26 Sept. 1901 (Irish Times, 4 Oct. 1901).

[Information from Kane's lifelong friend and brother-in-law, Mr. Valentine J. Coppinger, Dublin; The Times, 28 March 1902; Ann. Reg. 1902.]

R. D.