John Doherty

Doherty, John, Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas, was born in Ireland about 1783. He was called to the Bar in 1808, and obtained a silk gown in 1823. In 1826 his reputation stood so high that Canning urged him to enter the House of Commons. Pledged to Catholic Emancipation, he was, after a severe contest, returned for Kilkenny. He at once made a marked impression, speaking with eloquence, pertinence, and fluency. As Solicitor-General, he encountered O'Connell on the case of the Doneraile Conspiracy in 1829. A breach ensued between them, and it is said that his reply to O'Connell's sharp invective in Parliament was the bitterest opposition speech the great tribune had ever to encounter. In 1830 Doherty was, by Lord Anglesea, appointed Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas. It is said that he was afterwards urged by Sir Robert Peel to give up this position and return to his support in Parliament, but he declined, saying that when he ascended the Bench, he had cut himself off for ever from politics. In appearance the Chief-Justice was considered to bear a striking resemblance to his kinsman, Canning. He died suddenly of heart disease, at Beaumaris, Wales, 18th September 1850.


7. Annual Register. London, 1756-1877.

39. Biographical Dictionary, Imperial: Edited by John F. Waller. 3 vols. London, N.D.