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Kenealy, Edward Vaughan Hyde (DNB00)


KENEALY, EDWARD VAUGHAN HYDE (1819–1880), barrister, son of William Kenealy of Cork, merchant, was born 2 July 1819. His parents were Roman catholics, but he in early life forsook the catholic faith. After attending a series of private schools at Cork, he entered at Trinity College, Dublin, on 6 July 1835. In 1840 he graduated B.A., in 1846 LL.B., and in 1850 LL.D. He was called to the Irish bar in 1840, and joined the Munster circuit. He offered to contest the parliamentary representation on Repeal principles of Trinity College, Dublin, in May 1847, and of Kinsale in Feb. 1848, but received too little support to persevere. Meanwhile he became a student of Gray's Inn, on 13 Jan. 1838, and paid several visits to London before he was called to the English bar on 1 May 1847. In that year he definitely settled in London, becoming a queen's counsel and a bencher of his inn in April 1868. He joined the Oxford circuit, and attended sessions at Shrewsbury and at the central criminal court. In 1848 he defended Francis Looney and W. Dowling on charges of treason-felony, and was subsequently junior counsel for the defence of Palmer, the Rugeley poisoner. In 1850 he was prosecuted by the guardians of the West London Union for punishing with undue severity Edward Hyde, his natural son, aged 6 (Morning Chronicle, 13 May 1850). He was sentenced to a month's imprisonment. He defended the Fenians Burke and Casey in December 1867, but after the Clerkenwell explosion he retired from the case; and in 1869 he led the prosecution of Overend, Gurney, and others for conspiracy to publish a fraudulent prospectus. In 1868 he unsuccessfully contested Wednesbury as an independent candidate. In April 1873 he succeeded Serjeant Sleigh as leading counsel for Orton, the Tichborne claimant, whose case he conducted in a manner so violent, and to himself so disastrous, that his mind may best be supposed to have become unsettled in the course of it. He made groundless imputations against witnesses and against various Roman catholic bodies, insulted and trifled with the bench, and mercilessly protracted the case into the longest trial at nisi prius on record. The jury appended to their verdict a censure of the language he had employed. He then started a scurrilous paper called ‘The Englishman,’ which attained an enormous circulation, to plead the cause of Orton, and brought charges affecting their private lives and morals, against the chief justice, Sir Alexander Cockburn, his early friend and frequent host, and the solicitor-general, Sir John Holker. His conduct during and after the trial was brought before the professional tribunals. He was expelled from the mess of the Oxford circuit 2 April 1874, dispatented by the lord chancellor, and disbenched and disbarred by Gray's Inn 17 Aug. 1874. Thereupon he sought to elevate his own and his client's grievances to the level of matters of national concern, founded the Magna Charta Association to avenge them, perambulated the country, delivering a lecture on the Tichborne trial in language always extravagant and abusive and often blasphemous. And after receiving numerous invitations to contest Longton, Hanley, and Stoke, was actually elected M.P. for Stoke on 14 Feb. 1875, by a majority of nearly 2,000 votes—6,110 to 4,168. On 18 Feb. he took his seat; no members introduced him, in conformity with custom, to the house, the ceremony being, on the motion of Mr. Disraeli, dispensed with. On 23 April he moved for a royal commission of inquiry into the conduct of the Tichborne case, and obtained, besides his own and his co-teller's, one vote; there were 433 against him (see H. W. Lucy in Gent. Mag. new ser. xiv. 698). He made no figure in parliament, contested Stoke again at the general election of 1880, and was at the bottom of the poll. He died on 16 April 1880, of an abscess of the foot, at 6 Tavistock Square, London, and was buried on 22 April at Hangleton, Sussex. He married Elizabeth Nicklin of Tipton, Staffordshire, by whom he had eleven children.

He was a great reader and a voluminous writer, of varied and considerable learning. His poems contain translations from the Latin, Greek, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Irish, Persian, Arabic, Hindustani, and Bengali, but he was probably not an accomplished scholar in all these tongues. He was a fellow of the Royal Societies of Hungary and Copenhagen. He published ‘Brallaghan, or the Deipnosophists,’ 1845; ‘Goethe, a new Pantomime,’ 1850; a verse translation of Matthew Horgan's ‘Cahir Conri,’ an Irish poem, 1860; and ‘Poems,’ 1864. His poetical works, mostly random writings, were collected in three volumes, 1875–9 (for criticisms of them see Gent. Mag. new ser. xii. 220). He also published a volume of ‘Prayers and Meditations’ and two works of mystic scriptural exegesis, ‘An Introduction to the Apocalypse,’ and ‘Fo, the Third Messenger of God,’ in 1878. He began in 1875 an edition, which finally reached 8 vols. folio, of all the proceedings in or connected with the Tichborne trial. The British Museum Catalogue also ascribes to him ‘Edward Wortley Montagu,’ an autobiography by ‘Y.,’ 1869.

[Besides the authorities above referred to, see Ballantine's Experiences, ii. 180; Law Times, 24 April 1880; Law Journal, 11 April 1874; Solicitors' Journal, 21 March 1874, 24 April 1880; and Times; and a pamphlet Life by H. Halloway Gill.]

J. A. H.