Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sheil, Justin

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SHEIL, Sir JUSTIN (1803–1871), general and diplomatist, son of Edward Sheil, and brother of Richard Lalor Sheil [q. v.], was born at Bellevue House, near Waterford, on 2 Dec. 1803. Educated at Stonyhurst, he was nominated to an East India cadetship. On arriving in India he was posted as ensign to the 3rd Bengal infantry (4 March 1820). Exchanged to the 35th Bengal infantry, of which he became adjutant, he was present at the siege of Bhurtpore (1826). Becoming a captain on 13 April 1830, he was on 4 July 1833 appointed second in command of the disciplined troops in Persia under Major Pasmore, who had specially recommended him to Lord W. Bentinck for this service. ‘He is sensible and well-informed,’ Pasmore wrote, ‘and his temper is mild and conciliatory.’ On 16 Feb. 1836 he was appointed secretary to the British legation in Persia, and in 1844 he succeeded Sir John McNeill [q. v.] as envoy and minister at the shah's court. That position he held till his retirement in 1854. He had been promoted to the rank of major on 17 Feb. 1841, and became a major-general in 1859. In 1848 he was created a C.B., and in 1855 a K.C.B. He died in London on 18 April 1871. He married a daughter of Stephen Woulfe, chief baron of the Irish exchequer. Lady Sheil died in 1869.

Besides contributing notes on ‘Koords, Turkomans, Nestorians, Khiva,’ &c., to a book called ‘Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia’ (London, 1856), written by his wife, he published in vol. viii. of the ‘Royal Geographical Society's Journal’ ‘Notes of a Journey from Kurdistan to Suleimaniyeh in 1836,’ and ‘Itinerary from Tehran to Alamut in May 1837.’

[Times, 20 April 1871; Military Records at the India Office.]

S. E. W.