it again. My creed on this subject is, that one brother should not want while the other can supply him.’ In 1840 Michael Banim married, being then a man of ample means; but in less than a year he lost almost the whole of his fortune through the failure of a merchant. The blow fell severely upon him, and a second serious illness ensued, through which he bravely struggled. When he had sufficiently recovered, he wrote ‘Father Connell,’ one of the most pleasing of the fictions written by either brother, the chief character being a faithful delineation of a worthy priest who had been known to Banim since childhood. As a creation, Father Connell has been compared by some critics, and not unfavourably, with the Dr. Primrose of Oliver Goldsmith. In 1852 Banim's ‘Clough Fion’ appeared in the ‘Dublin University Magazine,’ and about the same time, through the influence of the Earl of Carlisle, the author was appointed postmaster of his native city of Kilkenny. Although Banim was in a very delicate state of health for some years after receiving this appointment, he fulfilled its duties; but all literary occupation was suspended. It was not until 1864 that the ‘Town of the Cascades,’ his last work, was published. In this story, which exhibited no lack of power, the author depicted the terrible effects of the vice of intemperance. Banim's health completely broke down in 1873, and he was obliged to resign his situation of postmaster. Leaving the neighbourhood, he went with his family to reside at Booterstown, on the coast of the county of Dublin. The committee of the Royal Literary Fund made him an annual allowance. But there is no doubt that his closing years were years of anxiety and hardship. He died at Booterstown on 30 Aug. 1874. The Prime Minister (Mr. Disraeli) granted his widow a pension from the civil list.
In character Michael Banim was amiable, unambitious, modest, and generous to a degree. He unselfishly thrust himself into the background, in order that his younger brother might enjoy to the full the fame that was dear to him. He even refrained from claiming his fair share in the tide of popularity which set in upon the authors of the ‘O'Hara Tales.’ ‘At the same time, it is a noteworthy fact that his contributions to the joint publications, which appeared under the well-known nom de plume of the “O'Hara Family,” were most favourably criticised by the public journals.’ While not possessing the poetic vein of the younger brother, Michael Banim was certainly his equal in the power of vividly depicting passion and character. He had also an irresistible, if at times uncouth, eloquence of style.
As there has been much misunderstanding concerning the relative share of the brothers in the composition of the various tales written by them, we may quote from a document drawn up by Michael Banim, in which he set forth his own share of their joint labours. Out of a total of twenty-four volumes, he claimed to have written thirteen and a half, including the following stories: 1. ‘Crohoore of the Billhook.’ 2. ‘The Croppy.’ 3. ‘The Ghost Hunter and his Family.’ 4. ‘The Mayor of Windgap.’ 5. ‘The Bit o'Writin'.’ 6. ‘Father Connell.’ 7. ‘The Town of the Cascades.’
[The Nation (Dublin); Cabinet of Irish Literature; Freeman's Journal (Dublin); Murray's Life of John Banim.]
BANISTER or BANESTER, JOHN (1540–1610), surgeon, was well known among surgeons in London in the latter half of Queen Elizabeth's reign. He began his professional life as surgeon to the forces sent under the Earl of Warwick in 1563 to relieve Havre. On this expedition he and William Clowes [q. v.], another surgical author, began a friendship which lasted throughout their lives. Some time after his return he studied at Oxford, and received a license to practise in 1573. For several years he practised both physic and surgery at Nottingham. Leicester's expedition to the Low Countries in 1585 gave Banister another opportunity of public service, and he served on board ship (Royal Letter, 1593; see Munk). After the expedition he settled in London, and in 1588 he and Clowes are associated in the dedication of Read's ‘Translation of Arceus.’ They saw many cases together, and in 1591 T. P., a patient of theirs, praised both surgeons in a wretched English poem. Complaints were often made at that time to the College of Physicians as to surgeons practising medicine, and, perhaps in consequence of some such difficulty, Banister in 1593 obtained a royal letter of recommendation which led the college to grant him a license (15 Feb. 1593–4) on the condition that in dangerous cases he should call in one of its fellows. Banister was famed for his kindness to the poor, especially to old soldiers, and for his extensive professional reading. He edited Wecker, with corrections, ‘A Compendious Chyrurgerie gathered and translated (especially) out of Wecker,’ 12mo, London, 1585. He compiled a collection of remedies and prescriptions, ‘An Antidotarie Chyrurgicall,’ London, 1589, in which he acknowledges the generous help of his contemporaries, George Baker [q. v.], Balthrop,