Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 42.djvu/59

This page has been validated.

[Rodger's Aberdeen Doctors, pp. 201, 301, 312; Lancet, October 1887, No. 8345, p. 739; People's Journal (Aberdeen), 1 Oct. 1887.]

A. H. M.

O'HAGAN, JOHN (1822–1890), judge, second son of John Arthur O'Hagan of Newry, co. Down, born at Newry on 19 March 1822, graduated B.A. at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1842, and proceeded M.A. in 1860. He was called to the Irish bar in 1842, and went the Munster circuit. An active member of the Young Ireland party, he was one of the counsel for Sir Charles Gavan Duffy on his trial for complicity in the rebellion of 1848. He also contributed to the 'Nation,' both in prose and verse, his poems being distinguished by the pseudonyms or initials Sliabh Cuilluim, Carolina Wilhelmina, O., or J. O'H. They are collected in 'The Spirit of the Nation,' Dublin, 1874, 8vo.

O'Hagan was appointed commissioner of the board of national education in 1861, took silk in 1860, and was admitted a bencher of King's Inn in 1878. On the passing of the Land Law (Ireland) Act of 1881 he was appointed judicial commissioner thereunder, with the rank of justice of the high court of justice, having previously qualified for the office by being made her majesty's third Serjeant (31 May). He died on 12 Nov. 1890.

O'Hagan was a good scholar and a competent lawyer, and was equally respected for his integrity and admired for his chivalrous character. He married in 1865 Frances, daughter of Thomas O'Hagan [q. v.], lord chancellor of Ireland.

O'Hagan's patriotic songs are held in much esteem by his countrymen of the Nationalist party. Besides them he published a lecture on Chaucer in 'Afternoon Lectures on Literature and Art,' London, 1864, 8vo; 'The Song of Roland,' a metrical version of the 'Chanson de Roland,' London, 1883,; 'The Poetry of Sir Samuel Ferguson,' a critical essay, Dublin, 1887, 8vo; and 'Irish Patriotism: Thomas Davis,' in the 'Contemporary Review,' October 1890. 'Joan of Arc' (an historical study originally contributed to the 'Atlantis' in 1808) appeared in a posthumous volume, London, 1893, 8vo.

[O'Donoghue's Poets of Ireland; Irish Law Times, 15 Nov. 1890; Sir Charles Gavan Duff's Young Ireland. 1840-50, pp. 293, 565, 763, and Four Years of Irish History, pp. 582, 739; Ann. Reg. 1844, Chron. p. 304; Thom's Irish Almanac; Haydn's Book of Dignities, ed. Ockerby; Cal. Dubl. Grad.]

J. M. R.

O'HAGAN, THOMAS, first Baron O'Hagan (1812–1885), lord chancellor of Ireland, only son of Edward O'Hagan, a catholic trader of Belfast, was born there on 29 May 1812. He was educated at the Belfast academical institution, where he won the highest prizes, and, being at the time the only catholic student, was awarded by the votes of his fellow-students the gold medal for an essay on the 'History of Eloquence, Ancient and Modern.' He frequently took part in a debating society attached to the institution, and there developed command of language and great readiness of speech. On leaving the institution he became connected with the press. In Michaelmas term 1831 he was admitted a student of the King's Inns, Dublin, his certificate for admission being signed by Daniel O'Connell [q. v.] This was probably the commencement of his acquaintance with O'Connell. 'In my earlier years I knew O'Connell well; I was personally his debtor for continual kindness' (O'Connell Centenary Address, 1875). He was admitted a student of Gray's Inn in Hilary term 1834, and became a pupil of Thomas Chitty [q. v.], the well-known pleader. In Hilary term 1836 he was called to the Irish bar, and joined the north-east circuit. From 1836 to 1840 he resided at Newry, editing the 'Newry Examiner,' and practising on circuit, principally in the defence of prisoners. His conduct of the paper was warmly praised by O'Connell: 'I was assailed at every turn, and defended with zeal and spirit by nobody save the "Newry Examiner," a paper to which I really am more indebted than to any other in Ireland' (Correspondence of O'Connell, 23 Oct. 1838, ii. 154). In 1840 O'Hagan removed to Dublin, and, though still contributing to the press, devoted his attention mainly to the bar. In 1842 he was retained, with O'Connell, to defend Gavan Duffy (now Sir Charles Gavan Duffy), indicted for a seditious libel in the 'Belfast Vindicator.' O'Connell, being detained in London by his parliamentary duties, returned his brief, and, by Gavan Duffy's wish, the case was left in O'Hagan's hands. He conducted the defence with such marked ability as to draw compliments from the attorney-general (Blackburne) and the chief justice (Pennefather). From this time his success was assured, and his practice steadily increased. On the trial of O'Connell and the other repeal leaders in 1843-4, he was again counsel for Gavan Duffy, with Whiteside (afterwards chief justice) as his leader. In 1845 he was junior counsel in a case that attracted considerable attention—an appeal to the visitors of Trinity College, Dublin, by Denis Caulfield Heron (afterwards Serjeant Heron), a catholic student, against a decision of the provost and fellows, refusing to admit