Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 53.djvu/162

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he gave offence to O'Connell and the popular party in consequence of the strong language he employed in charging grand juries at the assizes, in condemnation of the tithe agitation, and his conduct was brought before parliament. Smith was a man of eccentric habits, and was in the habit of holding his court at inconvenient hours. O'Connell skilfully availed himself of this to support his political objections. On 13 Feb. 1834 it was resolved by the House of Commons, at the instance of O'Connell, to appoint a select committee ‘to inquire into the conduct of Baron Smith in respect of his neglect of duty as a judge, and the introduction of political topics in his charges to grand juries.’ It was soon felt, however, that such a resolution threatened the independence of the judges. Smith's friends brought forward the question afresh a week later, when the resolution was rescinded by a majority of six, chiefly through the exertions of Frederick (afterwards Sir Frederick) Shaw [q. v.] He received congratulatory addresses on this occasion from nearly every grand jury in Ireland. Smith survived this for two years, dying at his seat, Newtown, in the King's County, on 21 Aug. 1836. He married, in 1737, Hester, daughter of Thomas Berry of Eglish, Queen's County.

Smith was a cultivated and active-minded man. His political writings on the union and other questions are marked by great vigour of thought, though the style is somewhat turgid. As ‘Paul Puck Peeradeal’ he issued a small volume of verse entitled ‘The Goblins of Neapolis’ (Dublin, 1836). His ‘Verses’ (Dublin, 1830) were privately printed without an author's name; while his ‘Metaphysic Rambles’ (in three ‘strolls’ or parts, 1835–6) appeared as by ‘Warner Christian Search.’ Under these pseudonyms and that of ‘A Yeoman,’ he issued many other essays, tracts, and addresses of no distinctive merit. The sale of his valuable library took place in Dublin in 1837, and occupied four days.

Thomas Berry Cusack-Smith (1795–1866), second son of the above, became, like his father and grandfather, a distinguished lawyer and judge. He received his education at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in 1813. In 1819 he was called to the bar, and received a silk gown in 1830. In September 1842 he was appointed solicitor-general for Ireland in Sir Robert Peel's administration, and in November of the same year succeeded Francis Blackburne [q. v.] as attorney-general. In this office his most important duty was to conduct the prosecution of O'Connell, whom he succeeded in convicting before the Irish judges, though the conviction was subsequently reversed in the House of Lords. In the course of the trial Smith, who was a hot-tempered man, committed the indiscretion of challenging one of the opposing counsel to a duel. The matter was brought before the court, when Smith publicly apologised. It was considered that the memory of this unfortunate incident cost him the Irish chancellorship later in his career. He was christened by O'Connell, who had a talent for nicknames, ‘Alphabet’ Smith and ‘The Vinegar Cruet.’ From 1843 to 1846 Smith sat in the House of Commons as member for Ripon, having previously contested Youghal unsuccessfully against O'Connell's son. In the latter year he succeeded Blackburne in the office of master of the rolls, and retained this position till his death, which occurred suddenly at his shooting-lodge at Blairgowrie in Scotland on 13 Aug. 1866. Smith was a man of harsh manners and rough exterior, but his abilities were of a high order. Sir Robert Peel considered his speech in the House of Commons in 1844, in defence of his action as attorney-general in the O'Connell prosecution, as ranking, with Canning's Lisbon embassy speech and Plunket's on catholic emancipation in 1821, among the three speeches most effective for their immediate purpose which he ever listened to (Quarterly Review cxxx. 199). He married, in 1827, Louisa, daughter of James Hugh Smith-Barry of Fota, co. Cork. His grandson is now heir-presumptive to the baronetcy.

[For Sir William Smith: Madden's Ireland and its Rulers, ii. 98–142; Wills's Lives of Illustrious Irishmen, vi. 257; Whiteside's Early Sketches, p. 274; Webb's Compendium; Burke's Peerage and Baronetcy. For T. B. C. Smith O'Connor Morris's Memoirs of a Life; O'Connell Correspondence, ed. Fitzpatrick; Dublin daily papers, 15–16 Aug. 1866.]

C. L. F.

SMITH, WILLIAM HENRY (1808–1872), philosopher, poet, and miscellaneous writer, son of Richard Smith, barrister-at-law, was born at North End, Hammersmith, in January 1808, of parents in easy circumstances. Theyre Townsend Smith [q. v.] was his brother. He was educated at Radley school, then a nonconformist institution, and afterwards at Glasgow University, where he made many valuable friends and imbibed the habits of thought which influenced his subsequent life. After his father's death in 1823 he was placed with Sharon Turner to study law, and served out his articles as a solicitor with excessive distaste. He was afterwards called to the bar, and went circuit for a while, but obtained no practice. Having