Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 21.djvu/331

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Gilbert
Gilbert
325

a bad attack of scarlet fever deprived her of sight. Her parents wisely determined that she should be brought up with her sisters, although she was once severely burnt by falling against the fire. At the age of twenty she could understand French, German, and Italian, and had been thoroughly educated. She began to be keenly interested in the state of the blind poor. The invention, in 1851, of the Foucault frame enabled her to write freely, and she began to correspond with William Hanks Levy, a young blind teacher employed at the St. John's Wood school. In May 1854 she hired a cellar in New Turnstile, Holborn, at the cost of 1s. 6d. a week, for the sale of the work of seven blind men who worked at their own homes, and were paid the full selling price, less the cost of material. Levy was engaged as manager. Ultimately the institution developed into ‘The Association for Promoting the General Welfare of the Blind,’ at 21 South Row, New (Euston) Road, now 127 Euston Road. In accordance with Levy's wish, none but blind persons were employed, although Miss Gilbert rather disapproved of their isolation. She proposed in a thoughtful paper the establishment of a normal school for training teachers for the blind. Finding that much time might be saved by the use of blocks upon which baskets could be modelled, she sent Levy to France to obtain the necessary tools. In 1865 the association, now much advanced, removed to 210 Oxford Street, and afterwards to 28 Berners Street. Miss Gilbert materially assisted Levy in writing a book on ‘Blindness and the Blind,’ 8vo, 1872. She also took much interest in the foundation of the Normal College for the Blind. In November 1874 she sent a paper to a special committee appointed by the Charity Organisation Society to consider means of helping the blind, but was too ill to attend the meeting. Her delicate health caused her much suffering. She died on 7 Feb. 1885, at 5 Stanhope Place, Hyde Park, London.

[Frances Martin's Elizabeth Gilbert and her Work for the Blind; Athenæum, 17 Dec. 1887.]

G. G.

GILBERT, Sir GEOFFREY or JEFFRAY (1674–1726), judge, was the son of William Gilbert and Elizabeth, sister of a certain Mistress Gibbons, who was housekeeper of Whitehall in the time of Cromwell (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. App. 244b). Attempts have been made, but without success, to connect him with Sir Humphrey Gilbert the navigator [q. v.] Nichols (Literary Anecdotes, i. 408) says that he was a relation and an intimate friend of the nonjuring divine, Thomas Brett, D.D. [q. v.], though himself a whig. He was admitted a member of the Inner Temple on 20 Dec. 1692, and was called to the bar in June 1698. His rise in the profession was rapid. On 4 Feb. 1714–15 he was appointed a puisne judge of the king's bench in Ireland, and by patent dated 5 July following he was created chief baron of the court of exchequer in that country. His name is connected with the celebrated constitutional case of Annesley v. Sherlock, in which a conflict occurred between the English and the Irish House of Lords. The Irish house had, in 1703, solemnly and unanimously resolved (1) ‘that by the ancient known laws and statutes of this kingdom her majesty hath an undoubted jurisdiction and prerogative of judging in this her high court of parliament in all appeals and cases within her majesty's realm of Ireland; (2) that the determinations and judgments of this high court of parliament are final and conclusive, and cannot be reversed or set aside by any other court whatsoever.’ These pretensions were so far from being admitted by the English House of Lords that in 1717–18, having reversed on appeal the decision of the Irish house in Annesley v. Sherlock—a case relating to real property in Ireland—they ordered the court of exchequer in that country to give effect to their decree. The court accordingly (Gilbert presiding) issued, on 22 Feb. 1717–18, an injunction commanding the sheriff of Kildare to reinstate the plaintiff Annesley in the possession of certain lands which the Irish house had adjudged to belong to Sherlock, and, on the sheriff neglecting so to do, and alleging in justification the prior order of the Irish house, imposed on him sundry fines, and ultimately issued an attachment against him; whereupon he absconded, and afterwards (28 July 1719) petitioned the Irish house on the subject. The Irish house resolved that Gilbert and his colleagues in the court of exchequer were ‘betrayers of his majesty's prerogative,’ and committed them to the custody of the usher of the black rod. Thereupon the English house resolved that the barons had ‘acted with courage according to law in support of his majesty's prerogative, and with fidelity to the crown of Great Britain,’ and ordered that an address should be presented to his majesty recommending them for special distinction. An act of parliament followed, declaring the pretensions of the Irish house to independent jurisdiction to be null and void, which act remained in force until the concession of Grattan's parliament in 1782. Gilbert resigned the office of lord chief baron on 18 May 1722, and was appointed on the 24th to a seat on the English exchequer bench. On