Sir Maurice Eustace

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Eustace, Sir Maurice, Lord-Chancellor, descended from family of preceding, was born at his father's seat at Castlemartin, about 1590. He gained a fellowship at Trinity College, and was called to the Bar, where he soon distinguished himself. He was a clear-headed man, and lost no opportunity of advancing his own interests in those disturbed times, and received grants of Harristown and other lands forfeited by Lord Baltinglass. As sergeant-at-law he attracted the notice of Lord Strafford, and in 1639 he was elected Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. His bombastic inauguration speech, given in Flanagan's Chancellors, is singularly illustrative of the times.

In the Journals of the House of Commons under 1647, is to be found his complaint concerning the stealing of his cattle from Clontarf for the use of the army. After the Restoration, in 1660, he was appointed Lord-Chancellor; but as he was one of the Lords-Justices, Archbishop Bramhall was appointed Speaker of the Lords. He opposed some of the most unjust results of the Acts of Settlement and Explanation. He continued Chancellor until failing health obliged him to resign the seals to Archbishop Boyle. He delighted in rural affairs, and his demesne at Harristown came to be regarded as the most beautiful seat in Ireland.

The ex-Chancellor died in 1665, leaving his estates in Kildare, Dublin, and Wicklow, besides the Abbey of Cong, to his nephews, Sir John and Sir Maurice Eustace; also a "great house" (which probably gave its name to Eustace-street) in Dame-street, to Trinity College for the maintenance of a Hebrew lecturer. He was interred in St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Sources

76. Chancellors of Ireland, and Keepers of the Great Seal: J. Roderick O'Flaherty. 2 vols. London, 1870.

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