John [Gordon] Swift MacNeill

Life
1849-1926 [John Swift MacNeill; var. Swifte]; Irish politician and jurist; b. Dublin; ed. TCD and Christ Church, Oxon; bar, 1875; Prof. of Constitutional and Criminal Law, Kings Inns, 1882-88; Home Rule MP South Donegal, 1887-1918; Prof. Constitutional Law, National University of Ireland, 1909-26; real veneration for Parliament; lent knowledge of the law to Parnell’s obstructionist programme; campaigned against Ministers being simultaneously directors of public companies, and against flogging of boys in the Navy; left politics after the rise of Sinn Féin; The Irish Parliament: What It Was and What It Did (1885 [sic]); How the Union was Carried (1887); Titled Corruption (1894); Constitutional and Parliamentary History of Ireland till the Union (1917); Studies in the Constitution of The Irish Free State (1925); What I Have Seen and Heard (1925), memoirs in a light vein; remained unmarried, d. 24 Aug., Dublin. ODNB DIB DIH.

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Commentary
R. F. Foster, Paddy and Mr Punch (London: Allen Lane/Penguin 1993), remarking that J. G. Swift MacNeill, a Home Ruler with a Conservative background, emphasised [in 1865-66] how the policy of Home Rule could be taken up by either party.’ (p.72)

Denis Johnston, ‘The Mysterious Origin of Dean Swift’, in Dublin Hist. Record, III, 4 (June-Aug. 1941), pp.81-97, remarking facetiously that if J. G. Swifte [sic] O’Neill counts as a token of the ‘inherited genius’ of the Swift line, then the supposition that Jonathan Swift was really a member of that family must seem weaker.

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References
Belfast Central Public Library holds Constitutional and Parliamentary History of Ireland till the Union (1917); How the Union was Carried (1887); Irish Parliament (1886); Irish Unionist Whispers ... speech at Ir. Nat. Fed. Dublin 1894 (1894); John Wesley and Ireland (n.d.); W. E. Gladstone (1898); What I have Seen and Heard (1925); also A Blessed Life, Biographcial Sketch of Rev. John Gordon Swift Mac Neill, by M. C. D. Mac Neill.

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