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Maguire, Thomas (1831-1889) (DNB00)


MAGUIRE, THOMAS (1831–1889), classical scholar and metaphysician, first Roman catholic fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, born in Dublin 24 Jan. 1831, was the son of Thomas Maguire, a Roman catholic merchant, subsequently stipendiary magistrate in Mauritius. Young Maguire, after attending a school in Dublin, went at the age of fifteen with his family to the colony, but returned to enter Trinity College, Dublin, in 1851. He obtained a sizarship, but being a Roman catholic he could not hold a scholarship or fellowship. He gained high honours in classics and metaphysics, including the Wray prize in the latter (1853), and the Berkeley medal in Greek literature and composition (1857). In 1855 he graduated B.A. as senior moderator in classics and in philosophy. In the same year the board of Trinity College endowed non-foundation scholarships for the relief of those labouring under religious disabilities. Maguire competed, and was elected. In 1861 he obtained the law studentship at Lincoln's Inn, and in 1862 was called to the English bar. Although highly commended by Lord Westbury, he soon ceased to practise, and, returning to Dublin about 1866, set up as a private teacher in Trinity College. In 1868 he was presented by the college with the degree of LL.D., the payment of the usual fees being remitted as a mark of favour. In 1869 the chair of Latin in Queen's College, Galway, became vacant, and Maguire was appointed to it. In 1873 ‘Fawcett's Act’ for the removal of religious disabilities in Trinity College and the university of Dublin was passed, and Maguire at once prepared to compete for a fellowship. He was elected on Trinity Monday, 24 May 1880, being then forty-nine years and five months old. His accession to the fellowship was hailed with universal rejoicing. He was personally known to all the fellows and to most of the students who had passed through college since 1851. He was held in high esteem for the courtesy of his manners, and was socially a charming companion. A special chair of classical composition was forthwith created for him, and in 1882 he vacated this to take the professorship of moral philosophy. Although no active politician, Maguire took some part in the transfer to the ‘Times’ newspaper of the ‘Pigott’ letters, which were published by the ‘Times’ in a series of articles called ‘Parnellism and Crime’ in 1887 [see Pigott, Richard], and he came to London early in 1889 to give evidence before the commission appointed by parliament to inquire into the truth of the statements made in those articles. He was fully convinced of the authenticity of the ‘Pigott’ letters. Before his examination in court took place he died in London on 26 Feb. 1889. Maguire was a thorough idealist in philosophy, Plato and Berkeley being his chosen masters. His published works are: 1. ‘Essays on the Platonic Idea,’ 1866. 2. ‘Essays on the Platonic Ethics,’ 1870. 3. ‘The Parmenides, with Notes, &c.,’ Dublin University Press Series, 1882. 4. ‘Lectures on Philosophy,’ 1885. He contributed largely to ‘Hermathena’ and ‘Kottabos;’ and many of his translations in the latter have appeared in the volume of ‘Dublin Translations,’ edited by Professor Tyrrell.

[Personal knowledge; statements of surviving sister; Dublin Univ. Cal.]

E. S. R.