Sir William Cusack-Smith, 2nd Baronet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sir William Cusack Smith, 2nd Baronet
Member, Irish House of Commons
In office
Constituency Lanesborough
Donegal Borough
Solicitor-General for Ireland
In office
Baron of the Exchequer
In office
Personal details
Born 23 January 1766
Died 21 August 1836
Spouse(s) Hester Berry

Sir William Cusack-Smith, 2nd Baronet FRS (23 January 1766 – 21 August 1836) was an Irish baronet, politician, and judge.

Background and education[edit]

Cusack-Smith was the eldest son of Sir Michael Smith,1st Baronet, Master of the Rolls in Ireland from 1801 to 1806, and his first wife Maryanne Cusack. He was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford.

Legal and judicial career[edit]

Cusack-Smith was called to the Irish Bar in 1788 and made Solicitor-General for Ireland in 1800. He was appointed a Baron of the Exchequer in 1801 at the remarkably early age of 35. The appointment caused some protest, both because of his youth and because he was already displaying signs of eccentricity.[1] In April 1805 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.[2]

He was an eccentric judge who offended Daniel O'Connell. O'Connell raised a motion, carried by MPs on 13 February 1834, to appoint a select committee to enquire into the conduct of Lord Smith in respect of his neglect of duty as a judge, and the introduction of political topics in his charges to grand juries. On the count of neglect, Cusack-Smith had been accused of rarely beginning his court sessions until after noon, occasionally running them until late into the night. The accusation of introducing political topics stemmed from statements made from the bench to grand juries condemning partisan agitation practices, that were themselves perceived as inflammatory due to their one-sided nature. On 21 February there was an important debate on the matter, and the resolution to appoint the committee was rescinded by a majority of six.

Cusack-Smith was a lifelong supporter of Catholic Emancipation (his mother was a Roman Catholic),[3] but moved from early rejection of the Act of Union to supporting it. Despite this reversal, his conscientious conduct as a judge was well thought of to the extent that he was even congratulated by voices among the Repealers movement on his escape from parliamentary inquiry.[4]

Cusack-Smith represented Lanesborough in the Irish House of Commons from 1794 to 1798. Subsequently he sat for Donegal Borough until the Act of Union in 1801.


William Cusack-Smith added his mother's surname before his own upon her death.

William Cusack-Smith married Hester Fleetwood Berry (29 Jan 1762 – 4 Jun 1832), daughter of Thomas Berry of Eglish Castle, County Offaly. They had four children: Sir Michael Cusack-Smith, 3rd Baronet (1793–1859), Thomas Cusack-Smith, and daughters Frances Mary Anne and Mary Anne Angelina.

Thomas Cusack-Smith followed in his grandfather's footsteps to become Master of the Rolls in Ireland. Like his father, Thomas was a notable eccentric.


  • The Patriot, or Political Essays, 1793.
  • The Anonymous, Volume I, 1810.
  • The Anonymous, Volume II, 1810.
  • The Maze, a poem, 1815.
  • Tracts upon the Union, 1831.
  • Metaphysic Rambles, 1835.
  • Ramble On; or dialogue the second between Warner Search, and Peter Peeradeal, 1835.
  • Another stroll, being the third, of W.C.S. and his alter idem friend P.P., 1836
  • The Goblins of Neapolis, 1836.


  1. ^ Ball, F. Elrington " The Judges in Ireland 1221–1921 " John Murray, London, 1926
  2. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 26 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Annual Register, 1836. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Ireland and its rulers: since 1829, part the second. TC Newby. Retrieved 7 July 2012. 
Parliament of Ireland
Preceded by
Gervase Parker Bushe
Stephen Moore
Member of Parliament for Lanesborough
With: Stephen Moore
Succeeded by
Edmond Stanley
John La Touche
Preceded by
William Keller
Humphrey Butler
Member of Parliament for Donegal Borough
1798 – 1801
With: Hugh O'Donnell 1798–1799
Charles Kendal Bushe 1799–1801
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Legal offices
Preceded by
John Stewart
Solicitor-General for Ireland
Succeeded by
James McClelland
Baronetage of Ireland
Preceded by
Sir Michael Smith 1st Baronet
(of Tuam)
Succeeded by
Michael Cusack-Smith