Charles Hemphill, 1st Baron Hemphill

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Charles Hemphill
"The Irish Serjeant"
Caricature of Charles Hare Hemphill by "Spy" (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, August 1904

Charles Hare Hemphill, 1st Baron Hemphill, PC QC (August 1822 – 4 March 1908), was an Irish politician and barrister.

Career[edit]

Born in County Tyrone, Ireland, Hemphill was the son of son of John Hemphill. He was made a Queen's Counsel (QC) shortly before being appointed Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1892, a post he held until 1895. He then sat as Member of Parliament for North Tyrone from 1895 to 1906, after which he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Hemphill, of Rathkenny and of Cashel in the County of Tipperary. While most Irish Law Officers could confidently look forward to promotion to the Bench, Hemphill's age apparently ruled him out of serious consideration.

As Solicitor-General, he is remembered mainly for the somewhat malicious " compliments" paid to him by the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Sir Peter O'Brien in the celebrated 1894 case of R. ( Bridgeman ) v. Drury. Hemphill, who appeared for Dublin Corporation, had argued, apparently with a good deal of hyperbole, that the members of the Corporation were entitled to charge the ratepayers of Dublin for an especially lavish picnic. The Lord Chief Justice paid ironic tribute to Hemphill's eloquence and persuasiveness but added drily that he had entirely failed to persuade the Court that the members of the Corporation would " starve " if they were unable to make the ratepayers foot the bill for fine claret, whiskey and cigars.

Family[edit]

Lord Hemphill married Augusta Mary, daughter of Major the Hon. Sir Francis Charles Stanhope, in 1849. He died in March 1908 and was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son Stanhope Charles John Hemphill (m. the Hon May Hamilton (1879-1970), daughter of James, 9th Lord Belhaven and Stenton).[1]

His daughter, Mary Hannah Augusta Hemphill, was the mother of the decorated R.A.M.C. officer and surgeon, Lt. Col. Herbert St Maur Carter, D.S.O., M.D.

Hemphill was a cousin of John Hemphill, a Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court, and a United States Senator, whose father was the Rev. John Hemphill from County Tyrone.

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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Lord Frederick Spencer Hamilton
Member of Parliament for North Tyrone
18951906
Succeeded by
William Huston Dodd
Political offices
Preceded by
Edward Carson
Solicitor General for Ireland
1892–1895
Succeeded by
William Kenny
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron Hemphill
1906–1908
Succeeded by
Stanhope Hemphill