Charles Russell [Sir; Lord Killowen] (1832-1900)


Life
[Lord Russell of Killowen]; b. Ballybot [var. Killane DIH], nr. Newry, Co. Down; ed. Belfast Diocesan Seminary and Vincentian College, Castleknock; solicitor, 1854; practised in Co. Down and Co. Antrim; studied at TCD; Lincoln’s Inns, 1859; m. Ellen, sis. of Rosa Mulholland; QC, 1872; northern circuit; 1872; MP Dundalk, Independent Liberal, 1880; South Hackney, 1885, 1886, 1892; vigorous supporter of Home Rule policy; toasted ‘the health of the Pope and the Queen, the Queen and the Pope’;
 
appt. Gladstone’s Attorney Gen., 1886, 1892; New Views of Ireland or Irish Land; Grievances; Remedies (1880); dissuaded Parnell from suing The Times over ‘Parnellism and Crime’ (1887-88); in a classic of forensic pleading, he shredded Pigott’s evidence at Parnell Commission, 1888-90; as leading counsel he accused The Times of fomenting hostility between Ireland and England over generations and was opposed by Sir Henry James, acting for the paper; undertook advocacy for Britain in Bering Straits dispute, 1893;
 
Grand Order of St. Michael and St. George; Lord of Appeal and life peer (baron) Lord Killowen, 1894; first Catholic Chief Justice since Reformation, later in 1894; presided at trial of Jameson Raiders, 1896; arbitrator with others at Paris, 1899, to determine boundaries of British Guiana and Venezuala under treaty of 1897; introduced secret commissions bill to House of Lords, 1900; writings on legal and education questions; brother of Matthew Russell; there is a life by Richard Barry O’Brien (1901). ODNB DIB DIH DUB OCIL

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Criticism
Life of Lord Russell of Killowen
, by R. Barry O’Brien (Nelson n.d.), port by John Sergeant. See also Times obituary rep. in Charles Lysaght, ed., Great Irish Lives [Times Books] (HarperCollins 2008)pp.74-81.

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Commentary
Patrick Pearse: ‘When a sleek lawyer, rising step by step through the most ignoble of all professions, attains to a Lord Chancellorship or an Attorney Generalship, we confer upon him the freedom of our cities. This is really a very terrible symptom in contemporary Ireland’ (‘From a Hermitage’ [1913]; quoted in Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland, 1995, p.168.)

Seán de Fréine, The Great Silence: the study of a relationship between language and nationality (Cork: Mercier 1978), ‘[H]ad he [O’Connell] been born a generation later, and been deprived of that tradition, Ireland would hardly have had the benefit of his great talents. Possibly he, and not Lord Russell of Killowen, would have been the first Catholic Irishman to become Lord Chief Justice of England.’ (p.84.)

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References
Dictionary of National Biography nephew of Charles William Russell (1812-1880), President of Maynooth and participant in Tractarian movement. DIH notes that he was counsel to Mrs. O’Shea in the case of her aunt’s legacy.

Belfast Public Library holds Life, by R. B. O’Brien (1904)

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Notes
George Moore: Charles Russell described George Moore as a ‘night-soil novelist’ in 1887. (See Margaret Kelleher, ‘Prose Writing and Drama in English; 1830-1890 […]’, in Cambridge History of Irish Literature, ed. Kelleher & Philip O’Leary, Cambridge UP 2006, Vol. 1 [Chap. 11], p.483.)

Portraits: Charles William Russell, DD (1812-1880) Maynooth, oil, f. Gagliardi 1883; see Anne Crookshank, Irish Portraits Exhibition (Belfast: Ulster Museum 1965).

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