Sir Edward Sullivan, 1st Baronet

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For other people named Edward Sullivan, see Edward Sullivan (disambiguation).

Sir Edward Sullivan, 1st Baronet PC (10 July 1822 – 13 April 1885), was an Irish lawyer, and a Liberal Member of Parliament for Mallow, 1865–1870 in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was also Solicitor General for Ireland, 1865–1866, Attorney General for Ireland, 1868, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, 1870. Created a baronet, 29 December 1881, from 1883 to 1885 he was Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Early life and education[edit]

Edward Sullivan was born at Mallow, County Cork, on 10 July 1822. He was the eldest son of Edward Sullivan by his wife Anne Surflen, née Lynch. His father was a prosperous local merchant, and a friend of the poet Moore. Sullivan went to school at Midleton and Portora Royal School, and in 1841 he entered Trinity College, Dublin. He obtained first classical scholarship in 1843, and graduated B.A. in 1845. He was also elected auditor of the college historical society in 1845, in succession to William Connor Magee (afterwards bishop of Peterborough and archbishop of York), and gained the gold medal for oratory.[1]

Legal and political career[edit]

In 1848, Sullivan was called to the Irish bar; within ten years (1858) he was appointed a Queen's Counsel, and two years later, became a Serjeant-at-Law. In 1861 he was appointed Law Adviser to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and in 1865 became Solicitor-General for Ireland in Lord Palmerston's last administration.

In 1865 he was elected as the Liberal Party MP for Mallow. From 1866 to 1868, while his party was in opposition, he focused on his legal career, working with James Whiteside, as leading counsel for the plaintiff in the Yelverton case; his cross-exmaination of Major Yelverton in that case was considered one of the finest examples of forensic skill in the history of the Irish Bar. In December 1868, on the return of the Liberal Party to power, Sullivan became Attorney-General for Ireland in William Gladstone's first administration.

He retired from parliament in 1870 to become Master of the Rolls in Ireland. In December 1881 Sullivan was created a baronet, Sir Edward Sullivan of Garryduff, Cork. In 1883, he succeeded Hugh Law as Irish Lord Chancellor. Sir Edward Sullivan died suddenly at his house in Dublin on 13 April 1885.

Family and personal life[edit]

Sullivan married, on 24 September 1850, Bessie Josephine Bailey, daughter of landowner Robert Bailey of Passage West, County Cork.[2] They had four sons and a daughter, including

  • Sir Edward Sullivan, 2nd Baronet (1852–1928), publisher of the 1914 edition of the Book of Kells.
  • Fr John Sullivan SJ (1861–1933)[3]

The family lived at 41 Eccles Street, Dublin. Sullivan was a book-collector, classical scholar, and linguist.

Reputation[edit]

Elrington Ball called him an immensely influential figure in Irish politics and the dominant figure among the Irish judiciary; his baronetcy was a belated reward for the enormous assistance he gave to the British Government in a particularly disturbed period. His influence over judicial appointments while he was Lord Chancellor was almost unlimited.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Book of Kells. Described by Sir Edward Sullivan (1914)
  2. ^ Estate: Sullivan (Mallow). Landed Estates of Ireland
  3. ^ Catholic Ireland. Fr John Sullivan SJ (1861–1933).
  4. ^ Ball, F. Elrington The Judges in Ireland 1221–1921 John Murray London 1926 Vol. ii p.312
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Longfield
Member of Parliament for Mallow
1865–1870
Succeeded by
Henry Munster
Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas O'Hagan
Third Serjeant of Ireland
1860–1861
Succeeded by
Richard Armstrong
Preceded by
James Anthony Lawson
Second Serjeant of Ireland
1861–1865
Succeeded by
Richard Armstrong
Preceded by
James Anthony Lawson
Solicitor General for Ireland
1865–1866
Succeeded by
Michael Morris
Preceded by
John Thomas Ball
Attorney General for Ireland
1868–1870
Succeeded by
Charles Robert Barry
Preceded by
John Edward Walsh
Master of the Rolls in Ireland
1870–1883
Succeeded by
Andrew Marshall Porter
Preceded by
Hugh Law
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
1883–1885
Succeeded by
John Naish
Baronetage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
New Creation
Baronet
(of Garryduff)
1881
Succeeded by
Edward Sullivan