Thomas O'Hagan, 1st Baron O'Hagan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Australian Judge, see Thomas O'Hagan (Australian judge).
The Right Honourable

The Lord O'Hagan

KP, PC, QC
1stLordOHagan.jpg
Lord O'Hagan, c. 1868.
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
In office
1868–1874
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by Abraham Brewster
Succeeded by In commission
In office
1880–1881
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone
Preceded by John Thomas Ball
Succeeded by Hugh Law
Personal details
Born 29 May 1812
Belfast
Died 1 February 1885
Hereford House, London
Nationality British
Political party Liberal

Thomas O'Hagan, 1st Baron O'Hagan KP, PC, QC (29 May 1812 – 1 February 1885), was an Irish lawyer and judge. He served as Lord Chancellor of Ireland from 1868 to 1874 and again from 1880 to 1881.

Background and education[edit]

O'Hagan was born in Belfast, the son of a trader. He was educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and was called to the Irish Bar in 1836.

Career[edit]

Between 1838 and 1841 O'Hagan was the editor of the Newry Examiner.[1] In 1840 he moved to Dublin, where he appeared for the repeal party in many political trials, becoming an Irish Queen's Counsel in 1849. His advocacy of a continuance of the Union with Great Britain, and his appointment as Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1860 and Attorney-General for Ireland in the following year, lost him the support of the Nationalist party, but he was returned to Parliament as Liberal Member of Parliament for Tralee in 1863.[2] In 1865 he was appointed a judge of common pleas, and in 1868 became Lord Chancellor of Ireland in William Ewart Gladstone's first administration.

O'Hagan was the first Roman Catholic to hold the chancellorship since the reign of James II, an Act of Parliament admitting Roman Catholics to the position having been passed in 1867. In 1870 he was created Baron O'Hagan, of Tullahogue in the County of Tyrone,[3] and held office until the resignation of the ministry in 1874. In 1880 he again became Lord Chancellor on Gladstone's return to office, but resigned in 1881.

His tenure as Lord Chancellor saw several major legislative reforms in Ireland, of which the most notable was the First Irish Land Act 1870, providing for compensation for tenants in the event of eviction. It was also notable for his continual clashes with the other judge of appeal, Jonathan Christian, a bitter-tongued man with a deep contempt for most of his judicial colleagues, including O'Hagan. O'Hagan seems to have regarded Christian as little more than a nuisance, but on taking up office for his second term did not hide his relief that Christian had retired.

On his retirement from office Lord O'Hagan was in 1882 appointed a Knight of St Patrick, having become Vice Chancellor of the Royal University of Ireland the previous year. He was president of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland between 1867 and 1870.

Personal life[edit]

Lord O'Hagan died at Hereford House, London, in February 1885, aged 72, and was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. He was succeeded in the barony by his eldest son, Thomas. The Liberal Unionist editor of the Belfast Norther Whig, Thomas Macknight, who had been a personal friend of O'Hagan, states in his memoir ULSTER AS IT IS (London, 1896) that he believed O'Hagan would have opposed Gladstone's conversion to Home Rule had he not died when he did. O'Hagan's sister Mary was Abbess of the Poor Clare convent at Newry and later at Kenmare. Her biography was written by her protege MF Cusack "the Nun of Kenmare".

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Daniel O'Connell, Jnr
Member of Parliament for Tralee
1863–1865
Succeeded by
Daniel O'Donoghue
Legal offices
Preceded by
Rickard Deasy
Solicitor-General for Ireland
1860–1861
Succeeded by
James Anthony Lawson
Preceded by
Rickard Deasy
Attorney-General for Ireland
1861–1865
Succeeded by
James Anthony Lawson
Political offices
Preceded by
Abraham Brewster
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
1868–1874
Succeeded by
(in commission)
Preceded by
John Thomas Ball
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
1880–1881
Succeeded by
Hugh Law
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron O'Hagan
1870–1885
Succeeded by
Thomas Towneley O'Hagan