Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 15.djvu/192

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DOHARTY, JOHN (1677–1755), mathematician. [See Dougharty.]

DOHERTY, JOHN (1783–1850), chief justice of Ireland, born in 1783, son of John Doherty of Dublin, was educated in Trinity College, where he graduated B.A. 1806, and LL.D. 1814. He was called to the Irish bar in 1808, joining the Leinster circuit, and received his silk gown in 1823. His progress in the legal profession was not rapid, though he was generally allowed to be a man of very clear intellect, with great powers of wit and oratory. From 1824 to 1826 he was representative in parliament for the borough of New Ross, county Wexford; and at the general election in the latter year he was returned, by the influence of the Ormonde family, for the city of Kilkenny, in opposition to Pierce Somerset Butler. He became solicitor-general on 18 June 1827, during the administration of Canning, to whom he was related on his mother's side, and was re-elected for Kilkenny against the same opponent as before; in 1828 was elected a bencher of the King's Inns, Dublin; from July to Dec. 1830 was M.P. for Newport, Cornwall; and on 23 Dec. 1830 was appointed lord chief justice of the common pleas, with a seat in the privy council, on the promotion of Lord Plunket to the lord chancellorship of Ireland. As a judge he was calm and painstaking, but his knowledge of law was not thought to be profound. He was more in his element in the House of Commons, and there he became a successful debater, taking a leading part on all Irish questions, and gaining the commendation of such men as Brougham, Wilberforce, and Manners Sutton. He had a commanding figure, a fine voice, elegant diction, and great fluency. His encounters in the house with O'Connell were frequent. He especially distinguished himself against O'Connell in the debate on ‘the Doneraile conspiracy,’ 15 May 1830. An overwhelming majority pronounced in his favour, and Lord Althorp and other good judges of the question expressed their firm conviction of the injustice of the charges advanced against him. Sir Robert Peel in 1834 wished him to retire from the judicial bench, with the view of resuming his position in the house, and subsequently a rumour very widely prevailed of his own anxiety to try his debating powers in the House of Lords. Unsuccessful speculations in railways suddenly deprived him of a large fortune, and he never fairly rallied from the consequent depression. He died at Beaumaris, North Wales, 8 Sept. 1850.

[Gent. Mag. 1850, xxxiv. new ser. pt. ii. 658; Annual Register, 1850, xcii. chron. 266; Todd's Cat. of Dublin Graduates; Smyth's Law Officers of Ireland.]

B. H. B.

DOIG, DAVID (1719–1800), philologist, was born at Monifieth, Forfarshire, in 1719. His father, who was a small farmer, died while he was an infant, and his mother married again. The stepfather, however, treated him kindly. From a defect of eyesight he did not learn to read till his twelfth year, but such was his quickness that in three years he was successful in a Latin competition for a bursary at the university of St. Andrews. Having finished the classical and philosophical course with distinction and proceeded B.A., he commenced the study of divinity, but scruples regarding the Westminster Confession of Faith prevented him from entering the ministry. He had taught, from 1749, the parochial schools of Monifieth, his birthplace, and of Kennoway and Falkland in Fifeshire, when his growing reputation gained for him the rectorship of the grammar school of Stirling, which office he continued to fill with rare ability for upwards of forty years. In addition to Greek and Latin Doig had mastered Hebrew and Arabic, and was generally well read in the history and literature of the East. The university of Glasgow conferred on him the honorary degree of LL.D., and on the same day he received from St. Andrews his diploma as M.A. He was also elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Doig's first known appearance in print was some twenty pages of annotation on the ‘Gaberlunzie-man,’ inserted in an edition of that and another old Scottish poem, ‘Christ's Kirk on the Green,’ which was published in 1782 by his friend and neighbour John Callander of Craigforth. After an interval of ten years he published ‘Two Letters on the Savage State, addressed to the late Lord Kaims,’ 4to, London, 1792, in which he seeks to refute the judge's not very original views as to the primitive condition of the human race, propounded in the ‘Sketches of the History of Man,’ 1774. The first of these letters, written in 1775, was sent to Lord Kaimes, who was passing the Christmas vacation at Blair Drummond, a few miles from Stirling, and who was much struck with the learning, ability, and fairness of his anonymous correspondent. Having soon discovered the writer, he invited him to dinner next day, ‘when,’ writes Tytler (Lord Woodhouselee), a mutual friend, ‘the subject of their controversy was freely and amply discussed; and though neither of them could boast of making a convert of his antagonist, a cordial