§ MR. MAGUIRE
said, he rose to ask the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Whether, before appointing Mr. Blackburne Chancellor of Ireland, the Government consulted lawyers of eminence practising at the Irish Bar as to the present capability of that Judge, by reason of his advanced age, to deal successfully with cases either of great magnitude or of a complicated and intricate nature; and whether the Government, after full inquiry, intend to retain that gentleman as Chief Judge in Equity?
In answer, Sir, to the hon. Gentleman's Question, I have to say that the noble Lord the First Minister, in making the appointment to which the hon. Member refers, did not think it necessary to consult lawyers of eminence practising at the Irish Bar as to the capability of Lord Chancellor Blackburne. No one who knows the high character of that gentleman can imagine for a moment that he would have accepted an office the duties of which he felt himself in any way incapable of performing, or to perform, not in the ordinary manner, but in that manner in which he has for many years discharged the many, various, and highest duties connected with the administration of the law. Sir, I believe that Lord Chancellor Blackburne does possess a professional character hardly ever attained by any man—and certainly, in his own branch of the law, not attained by any other man—at the Irish Bar; and I think 2033 that I state what will give the hon. Member considerable satisfaction when I say that since his appointment as Lord Chancellor I have received communications from gentlemen who practise, and who have been in the habit for years past of practising before him, informing me that from their own observation and experience in pleading before him they can testify that the Lord Chancellor of Ireland has not shown in any way any failing whatever, but that he has, in the decisions which he has given since he was appointed, displayed all that attention, acumen, and learning for which he has for so many years been so highly distinguished.