Bushe, Charles Kendal (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BUSHE, CHARLES KENDAL (1767–1843), chief justice of the king's bench, Ireland, was the only son of the Rev. Thomas Bushe, of Kilmurry, co. Kilkenny, rector of Mitchelstown, co. Cork, and was born at Kilmurry on 13 Jan. 1707. His mother was Katherine Doyle, daughter of Charles Doyle, of Bramblestown, co. Kilkenny. Bushe received his early education at a private school in Dublin, and entered Trinity College, Dublin, in his sixteenth year July 1782. His university career was distinguished. He won high honours both in classics and in mathematics, was a scholar and a gold medallist. But his greatest triumphs were won in the famous 'College Historical Society,' founded by Grattan as a debating society for the students of Trinity College, and at that time numbering among its youthful orators Plunket (afterwards Lord Plunket), Magee, Curran, Shiel, and others. Here Grattan heard him, and declared that 'Bushe spoke with the lips of an angel.' He was called to the Irish bar in 1790, and soon acquired a good practice, a considerable portion of the proceeds of which he voluntarily devoted to the payment of the debts left by his father, and said to have amounted to 40,000l. In 1797 Bushe entered the Irish parliament as member for Callan. The struggle on the question of the union was just beginning, and Bushe joined the opponents of the measure. So anxious was Lord Cornwallis to silence the young barrister that he offered him the post of master of the rolls. Bushe declined the offer, and remained steadfast to his party. In the list of members of the last Irish House of Commons given by Sir Jonah Barrington in the appendix to his 'Historic Memoirs of Ireland, the single word 'incorruptible' is placed after Bushes name. He wrote as well as spoke against the union, and Lord Brougham says of one of his pamphlets on this question — 'Cease your Funning' — that it reminded him of the best of the satires of Swift. For his efforts in defence of the legislative independence of his country, Bushe received among other honours the freedom of the city of Dublin.

On the dissolution of the Grenville administration in 1803, Bushe, though differing from the government on the question of catholic emancipation — a measure wliich he steadily advocated — accepted the office of solicitor-general for Ireland, and he appears to have held it uninterruptedly until 1822, when, on the retirement of Lord Downes, he was appointed lord chief justice of the king's bench. This high position he resigned in 1841, having filled it for nearly twenty years 'with a character the purest and most unsullied that ever shed lustre on the ermine' (Legal Reporter, 6 Nov. 1841). Bushe died at his son's residence, Furry Park, near Dublin, and was buried in Mount Jerome cemetery, where there is a monument erected to him with the simple inscription, 'Charles Kendal Bushe, July 10th, 1843.' He married, in 1793, Miss Crampton, daughter of John Crampton, of Dublin, and had a large family.

[Irish Quarterly Review, March 1853; Brougham's Historical Sketches of Statesmen who flourished in the Time of George III, 3rd ser.; Nation, 22 July 1848; Legal Reporter, 6 Nov. 1841.]

G. V. B.