Page:Dictionary of National Biography, Second Supplement, volume 2.djvu/24

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Falkiner
Falkiner
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B.A. in 1886 and proceeding M.A. in 1890. At college he wrote an essay on Macaulay as an historian, which showed that he then formed his conception of the study of history. In 1885 he was elected president of the college Philosophical Society. Much interested in politics, he entitled his presidential address 'A New Voyage to Utopia,' a kind of appeal from the new whigs to the old, which was suggested by the passing of the third reform bill. In 1887 he was called to the Irish bar, and in 1888 he began to work actively on behalf of the unionist cause. At the general election of 1892 Falkiner contested, unsuccessfully, South Armagh. He served on the recess committee whose labours resulted in the creation of the Irish department of agriculture. Devoting much thought to the Irish land problem, he mastered the intricacies of the many Irish Land Acts. In 1898 he was appointed temporary assistant land commissioner, and in 1905 this appointment became permanent. For the first half of his work his duty lay in the western counties, for the latter half in the southern counties.

Meanwhile Falkiner was spending much time and energy on the study of Irish history and literature. He diligently collected and sifted original material. His first book, 'Studies in Irish History and Biography, mainly in the Eighteenth Century' (1902), threw new and valuable light on the history of Ireland in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. But subsequently he mainly devoted himself to the seventeenth century. In 1896 he became a member of the Royal Irish Academy, and after serving on the council was elected secretary in 1907. Papers read before the academy formed the first part of his 'Illustrations of Irish History and Topography, mainly of the Seventeenth Century' (1904). His posthumous book, 'Essays relating to Ireland' (1909), dealt with the same century. In 1899 he was appointed, in the room of Sir John Thomas Gilbert [q. v. Suppl. I], inspector under the historical manuscripts commission, with the duty of editing the Ormonde papers. From 1902 to 1908 five volumes of these seventeenth-century papers appeared, containing over 3000 pages—a noble contribution to the raw material of history. The introductions show his power of handling vast masses of evidence.

Falkiner's interests extended to literature, and in this Dictionary and in Chambers's 'Cyclopaedia of English Literature' he dealt with men of letters. In 1903 he edited the poems of Charles Wolfe and selections from the poems of Thomas Moore (in the 'Golden Treasury' series), and shortly before his death he designed editions of Moore's complete poetical works and of Dean Swift's letters.

Falkiner died on 5 August 1908, through an accident on the Alps while on a brief holiday at Chamonix. He was buried in the English churchyard in Chamonix.

On 4 Aug. 1892 he married Henrietta Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Newenham Deane [q. v. Suppl. I], architect, of Dublin. She survived him with two daughters. A memorial tablet was placed by his friends in St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1910.

[Memoir by Prof. E. Dowden, prefixed to Falkiner's Essays relating to Ireland, 1909; Minutes, Royal Irish Acad. 1908-9.]

FALKINER, Sir FREDERICK RICHARD (1831–1908), recorder of Dublin, was third son of Richard Falkiner (1778–1833) of Mount Falcon, county Tipperary, who held a commission in the 4th royal Irish dragoons, by his wife Tempe Litton (1796–1888). Travers Hartley (b. 1829), an elder brother, was a well-known engineer; the fine railway line from Zurich to Chur was his design, and he supervised a large portion of the works in connection with the Forth Bridge. The family came to Ireland from Leeds in the time of the Protector, and was long engaged in the woollen manufacture.

Frederick, born at Mount Falcon on 19 Jan. 1831, was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1852. He was called to the Irish bar in the Michaelmas term of that year, and joined the north-east circuit. A man of great industry and natural eloquence, he soon won a foremost place in the ranks of the juniors and held briefs in many important cases. He took silk in 1867, and in 1875 he was appointed law adviser at Dublin Castle, an office since abolished. In the following year he was appointed recorder of Dublin, on the death of Sir Frederick Shaw [q. v.]. He threw himself with energy into the work of the court, and as the 'poor man's judge' he earned a reputation for humanity. During his early years as recorder he was called upon to decide many intricate points in the licensing laws. He took a keen interest in acts of parliament bearing on compensation to workmen for injuries received in the course of their employment, and when Mr. Chamberlain was engaged in drafting his bill on the subject in 1897 he adopted several of Falkiner's suggestions. In 1880