Francis Blackburne

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For the Archdeacon of Cleveland, see Francis Blackburne (priest).
Francis Blackburne
PC (Ire) KS
FrancisBlackburne.jpg
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
In office
1866–1867
Preceded by Maziere Brady
Succeeded by Abraham Brewster
Personal details
Born (1782-11-11)11 November 1782
Great Footstown
Died 17 September 1867(1867-09-17) (aged 84)
Rathfarnham Castle

Francis Blackburne PC (Ire) KS (11 November 1782 – 17 September 1867) was an Irish judge and eventually became Lord Chancellor of Ireland.

Background[edit]

Born at Great Footston in County Meath, he was the son of Richard Blackburne of Great Footstown and nephew of Anthony Blackburne, Deputy Lieutenant and High Sheriff of Meath. His mother, Elizabeth, was the daughter of Francis Hopkins (1724-1778) of Gillstown, Co. Meath and Darvistown, Co. Westmeath,[1] a first cousin of Sir Francis Hopkins M.P., 1st Baronet of Athboy, Co. Meath; two of the great-grandsons of Ezekiel Hopkins, Bishop of Derry during the Siege of Derry, by his second wife, Araminta, daughter of John Robartes, 1st Earl of Radnor.

Blackburne was educated in Dublin at the school of Rev. William White before entering Trinity College, Dublin in 1798, later winning a scholarship, gold medal (1803) and other distinctions.[2] He finally graduated in 1806 (M.A.) and was a member of the Old Historical Society.

Judicial career[edit]

He was called to the Irish Bar in 1805 and practised with great success on the home circuit. Blackburne was nominated a King's Counsel in 1822 and administered the Insurrection Act in Limerick for two years, effectually restoring order in the district. In 1826 he became the King's Third Serjeant-at-law and in 1830 was advanced to the Second Serjeant.[2] A year later, he was appointed Attorney-General for Ireland and on this occasion was sworn of the Privy Council of Ireland.[2] He held the post as Attorney-General until 1834; he was readmitted in 1841 and after serving for a year, became Master of the Rolls in Ireland.[2] As Attorney General he clashed with Daniel O'Connell when he insisted, against O'Connell's wishes, on the appointment of Abraham Brewster as Law Adviser to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (in effect, a deputy to Brewster himself). Blackburne's statement that he "would not tolerate a refusal to ratify the appointment", is an indication of the influence which could then be wielded by a strong Attorney General. In 1845, he was chosen Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench.[2] Blackburne was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland in February 1852, but was replaced in October.[2] After a break of four years, he became a Lord Justice of Appeal.[2] In 1866, he began a second term as Lord Chancellor, which ended with his death in the next year.

Blackburne prosecuted Daniel O'Connell and presided at the trial of William Smith O'Brien. From 1851, he was vice-chancellor of the University of Dublin.[3]

Family[edit]

In 1809, he married Jane, daughter of William Martley of Ballyfallen, Co. Meath and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Rothwell of Berford, Co. Meath. They were the parents of three sons and three daughters. Blackburne bought Rathfarnham Castle in 1852, where his family continued to reside for three generations.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Blackburne, Edward (1874). Life of the Right Hon. Francis Blackburne: Late Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Macmillan and Co. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Dod, Robert P. (1860). The Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Whitaker and Co. p. 119. 
  3. ^ Smith 1886.

References[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Edward Pennefather
Attorney-General for Ireland
1831–1834
Vacant
Title next held by
Louis Perrin
Preceded by
David Richard Pigot
Attorney-General for Ireland
1841–1842
Succeeded by
Thomas Cusack-Smith
Preceded by
Michael O'Loghlen
Master of the Rolls in Ireland
1842–1845
Succeeded by
Thomas Cusack-Smith
Preceded by
Edward Pennefather
Lord Chief Justice of the Queen's Bench for Ireland
1846–1852
Succeeded by
Thomas Langlois Lefroy
Political offices
Preceded by
Maziere Brady
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
February – October 1852
Succeeded by
Maziere Brady
Preceded by
Maziere Brady
Lord Chancellor of Ireland
1866–1867
Succeeded by
Abraham Brewster