Sir Frederick Shaw

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Shaw, Sir Frederick, Bart., Recorder of Dublin, was born in Merrion-square, Dublin, 11 th December 1799. He was son of Sir Robert Shaw, Bart., once member of Parliament for Bannow. He entered Trinity College in 1814; but took his degrees at Oxford. He was called to the Irish Bar in 1822, for one year represented the City of Dublin in Parliament, and in 1832 was, with Sergeant Lefroy, elected member for the University of Dublin, which he represented for sixteen years. He was made a Privy-Councillor in 1834, at which time he was considered one of the most brilliant orators and ablest leaders and debaters Ireland ever sent to the Imperial Parliament. One of his greatest parliamentary triumphs was a speech in 1834 against O'Connell's motion for a select committee, to enquire into the conduct of Baron Smith in introducing politics into his charge to a grand jury.

In 1840 he supported Lord Morpeth's Irish Municipal Corporations Bill, and thereby almost forfeited the confidence of his Conservative friends. In 1845 he advocated the establishment of the Queen's Colleges, and next year spoke earnestly and at length against the repeal of the Corn Laws. In 1848 he resigned his seat, probably from failing health consequent on overwork. In 1869 he inherited the title and estates on the death of his elder brother, the second Baronet. He held the position of Recorder of Dublin for about forty-eight years, from 1828 until within a few weeks of his death. It was always matter of surprise that his splendid abilities never secured for him a higher judicial position. Even his bitter political opponent, O'Connell, bore testimony to his "able, upright and impartial conduct on the Bench." His decisions were marked by great perspicuity and common sense; and he often lightened the tedium of litigation by brilliant witticisms. Although his health had been giving way for some time, there was little to indicate the collapse that followed his retirement from the Bench in April 1876. Sir Frederick died at Crumlin, near Dublin, 30th June 1876, aged 76, and was interred in Mount Jerome Cemetery.

Sources

223. Macaulay, Lord: History of England, from the Accession of James II. [to 1702]. 5 vols. London, 1849-'61.

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