Page:Dictionary of National Biography. Sup. Vol II (1901).djvu/227

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FitzGerald
FitzGerald
215

Speeches of John Robert Godley,' for which he wrote an introductory sketch. He married Fanny Erskine, daughter of George Draper, and had thirteen children, of whom four sons and three daughters survived him. He died at Wellington, New Zealand, on 2 Aug. 1896 (Times, 6 Aug. 1896).

[William Gisborne's New Zealand Rulers and Statesmen (1840-97), 2nd edit. London, 1897; The Press, Christ church, New Zealand, 3 Aug. 1896. obituary notice by Hon. W. Rolleston; W. P. Reeves's The Long White Cloud, London, 1898; G. W. Rusden's History of New Zealand, Melbourne, 1896; Philip Mennell's Dictionary of Australasian Biography, London, 1892.]

W. P. R.


FITZGERALD, JOHN DAVID, Lord Fitzgerald (1816–1889), Irish judge and lord of appeal, second son of David Fitz-Gerald, a Dublin merchant (see Madden, United Irishman, 3rd ser. 2nd edit. pp. 369-378), was born in Dublin on 1 May 1816. His mother, Catherine, was daughter of David Leahy, merchant, of Dublin and London, and sister of Edward Daniel Leahy [q. v.], the portrait painter. He was educated at a private school at Williamstown, near Dublin, kept by a Mr. Mundy, and then of some repute. Choosing the bar as his profession, he was admitted a student of the King's Inns, Dublin, in Hilary term 1834, and of Gray's Inn on 1 May of the same year, was called to the Irish bar in Easter term 1838, and shortly afterwards joined the Munster circuit, then the leading circuit in Ireland. 'His progress at the bar was unexampled for rapidity' ('Recollections of the Munster Bar,' Law Magazine and Law Review, v. 269). Business first cauie to him in the court of chancery, but his practice increased so rapidly on circuit, that he devoted himself to the common law courts, and, at a time when pleading was often more important than merit, was reputed the best pleader at the Irish bar. His industry was immense, and he himself attributed his rapid success largely to the fact that he utilised the whole of his time and gave up to work the spare half-hours which other men wasted. In 1847 FitzGerald was made a Q.C., and almost immediately became the leader of his circuit and possessed of one of the largest practices in the Dublin courts. As early as 1847 Richard Lalor Sheil [q. v.] advised his entering parliament as likely to be made a law officer. This advice was not taken till 1852, when at the general election of that year FitzGerald was returned in the liberal interest for Ennis, defeating the O'Gorman Mahon [q. v.] after a severe contest by thirteen votes. In 1855, on the formation of the first Palmerston ministry, he was appointed solicitor-general for Ireland. In the same year he was elected a bencher of the King's Inns. In April 1856 he became attorney-general and was sworn of the Irish privy council. Not long afterwards a serious attack was made upon him by Thomas Berry Cusack-Smith [q.v.], the Irish master of the rolls. The Tipperary bank, of which John Sadleir [q. v.] and his brother James, M.P. for Tipperary, had been directors, was, being wound up before that judge. While the proceedings were pending, James Sadleir absconded. In a speech from the bench of an extra-judicial character the master of the rolls charged FitzGerald with having connived at Sadleir's escape from justice 'for reasons which the public well knew.' A charge so serious and unusual, made by a judge of high position against the first law officer of the crown, caused considerable sensation, and led to a discussion in parliament. FitzGerald's answer was crushing and complete. In a clear and detailed statement (15 July 1856) he showed conclusively that, as soon as information reached him of James Sadleir's suspected crime, prompt steps had been taken to investigate the case, and that Sadleir's flight' before the issue of a warrant for his apprehension had been due to the injudicious and irregular observations of the master of the rolls himself (Hansard, cxliii. 866). He concluded his speech 'amid loud and general cheering' (Times, 16 July 1856). While attorney-general he brought in and passed through parliament, in the session of 1856, the bill for establishing a court of chancery appeal in Ireland, 19 & 20 Vict. c. 92. In 1858 FitzGerald went out with the liberal government, and on their return to power in 1859 again became attorney-general for Ireland. In February 1860 he was appointed a justice of the court of queen's bench in Ireland in succession to Louis Perrin [q.v.] While attorney-general he had been informally offered the chief secretaryship of Ireland, but had intimated his desire to continue his professional career. Among the remarkable cases in which he was engaged as law officer are Reg. v. Petcherine (1805; cf. State Trials, new ser. 1086, report by James Doyle, Dublin, 1856); Reg. v. Spollen (1857), trial of James Spollen for the murder of Mr. Little, Dublin, 1857; Reg. v. Conway (Times, 16 and 22 Feb. 1858), a prosecution ordered by the House of Commons (28 July 1857) of the Rev. Peter Conway, a catholic priest, for intimidating voters at the Mayo election. While on the Irish bench some of the most important cases of the time were tried before him,