King’s Inns Library finds an interesting title while updating our catalogue records at home during Lockdown
One project King’s Inns Library staff have been working on over the past couple of months while at home is upgrading the catalogue records for our collection of law tracts and trials as a single series.
In his own words, George Guilfoyle (Library Assistant at King’s Inns) writes about the historic significance of an interesting find while carrying out this task.
Collection of Law Tracts and Trials
These volumes can contain reports of trials, statutes, essays or notices (amongst other things), with some dating back as far as the 1690s. They might be printed as one volume, more common in recent times, or as a collection of original pamphlets bound together, often as many as ten or twelve in one volume. These can be particularly tricky as they have often been previously catalogued as separate entities with no record of their physical connection, or even been overlooked completely when there are numerous titles pages per volume! This is a particularly difficult habit to break as a modern reader handling older material, we rarely encounter a separate item bound with another not described on the initial title page or cover, a sign of the cost of printing even just a century ago. Our task is then to give each volume its own call number and to record every title within that volume with that unique call number, so that any title may be easily retrieved no matter in what order they come within a given volume.
Thomas 15th Baron Trimlestown
During this project we came across a particularly interesting title, interesting in general and to the Inns in particular, as it was donated by John P. Prendergast. It is the text of the speech given by Charles Kendal Bushe in defence of Thomas 15th Baron Trimlestown over a contested will brought by his step–mother and sister citing undue influence. The late Lord Trimlestown, Nicholas Barnewell, was born in Ireland but had been raised mainly in France. He married there to the only daughter of Joseph d’Aguin, president of the Parliament of Toulouse, had two children and lived comfortably before being widowed early. However, at the outset of the Revolution, he and his two adult children were forced to flee back to Ireland penniless, relying on the generosity of a cousin, the 13th Baron Trimlestown. When this cousin died leaving no will, Nicholas inherited the peerage and the families’ fortunes changed for the better. Around this time both children married, Thomas, his son, happily, but Rosalie, his daughter, far less so. Possibly owing to his improved circumstances, Nicholas Barnewell, now Lord Trimlestown, found the means to remarry at the age of 73, to a young woman nearly 50 years his junior. After this, things begin to get complicated.
Shortly after this second marriage Lord Trimlestown made a will leaving the majority of his estate to his son and heir, Thomas, while also providing for his daughter, Rosalie as well as his new wife and any future heirs. As time went by his young bride, Alicia Eustace, became dissatisfied with her future inheritance and arranged for a friend of hers to aid Lord Trimlestown with a codicil to the original will. While this did improve her allotment, in his later years and to keep his young wife happy, Lord Trimlestown began to inflate the amounts due to her so that upon his death there was some dispute as to what was owed to whom. Later Alicia Dowager Baroness Trimlestown remarried, to a Major General Evan Lloyd, and in conjunction with her step–daughter, Rosalie Countess Dalton, who was also aggrieved at the terms of the will and now estranged from her husband, Peter Count Dalton, brought this claim against John Thomas Barnewall, now Thomas Lord Baron Trimlestown.
Charles Kendal Bushe’s Defence of Lord Trimlestown
This is Charles Kendal Bushe’s defence of Lord Trimlestown in the Court of King’s Bench and what John P. Prendergast describes as a ‘master–piece [sic] of forensic eloquence’.
Usually we derive all of our main cataloguing information from the title page and cross check with other online catalogues for copies but this title page offers very little detail and in a subsequent hand–written introduction to the case, John P. Prendergast notes that ‘this copy of the speech of Charles Kendal Bushe in the case of Lloyd and Lady Trimleston against Lord Trimleston [sic] is grown very scarce’. Indeed, I could only find two other copies in existence and so have to note ‘imprint based on place and date of trial’, and conclude that as Dublin, 1818 but with no publisher identifiable. The title page is also heavily notated, this copy having been passed on several times. First from Thomas Barnewell himself, signed and dated 12th March, 1836, to W. I. Cooper, a solicitor who worked on the case. And later from Cooper ‘to his friend John P. Prendergast’, again signed and dated, 17th October, 1882.
John P. Prendergast has hand–written an introduction to the case describing how it was given to him, his fascination with it and his subsequent presentation of it to King’s Inns Library on 20th October, 1882.
John Patrick Prendergast (1808–1893) was an Irish land agent and historian. Prendergast’s manuscript collections were bequeathed to King’s Inns.
Prendergast has also written out Lord Brougham’s ‘eulogy on this master–piece [sic] of forensic eloquence’, from his Life of Lord Chief Justice Bushe.
Henry Peter Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, PC, QC, FRS; 19 September 1778 – 7 May 1868) was a British statesman who became Lord High Chancellor and played a prominent role in passing the 1832 Reform Act and 1833 Slavery Abolition Act.
Finally, we have the text of ‘Mr. Bushe’s Speech for the Defendant’, in front of the Court of King’s Bench, Ireland, June, 1818. A fascinating case of family infighting decided in the most public way.
Charles Kendal Bushe (1767 – 10 July 1843), was an Irish lawyer and judge. Known as “silver–tongued Bushe” because of his eloquence, he was Solicitor–General for Ireland from 1805 to 1822 and Lord Chief Justice of the King’s Bench for Ireland from 1822 to 1841.