Charles Phillips (Irish barrister)
Charles Phillips was an Irish barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 and writer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....


Phillips was born at Sligo
Sligo is the county town of County Sligo in Ireland. The town is a borough and has a charter and a town mayor. It is sometimes referred to as a city, and sometimes as a town, and is the second largest urban area in Connacht...

 about 1787, was son of Charles Phillips, a councillor of the town, who was connected in some way with Goldsmith's family, was a Roman catholic, and died in 1800 (European Magazine, lxx. 390). After receiving a fairly good education in Sligo from the Rev. James Armstrong, Charles was sent in 1802 to Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

, at the age of fifteen, and in 1806 graduated B. A. In the following year he entered the Middle Temple
Middle Temple
The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers; the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, and was called to the Irish Bar in 1812. While in London he engaged in literature, which thenceforth occupied his leisure. He joined the Connaught circuit, and speedily made a reputation by his florid oratory, which, though condemned by the bar, was very effective with juries. He was employed in most of the 'crim. con.' cases of the period, and some of his extravagant speeches were published in separate form. He took a considerable part in the agitation for Roman catholic emancipation
Catholic Emancipation
Catholic emancipation or Catholic relief was a process in Great Britain and Ireland in the late 18th century and early 19th century which involved reducing and removing many of the restrictions on Roman Catholics which had been introduced by the Act of Uniformity, the Test Acts and the penal laws...

. In 1813 he was presented with a national testimonial, and was publicly thanked by the Catholic Board. O'Connell eulogised him warmly, and Phillips almost exhausted the vocabulary of praise in his public references to his panegyrist.

In 1821 he was called to the English Bar, where his fame as a pleader had preceded him. In a comparatively short time he was leader of the Old Bailey
Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court in England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street in which it stands, is a court building in central London, one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court...

 bar. Lord Brougham professed admiration for his abilities, although he regarded his speeches as 'horticultural.' Christopher North
Christopher North
-Biography :Born Christopher North Renquist in Austin, TX on February 6, 1969, Christopher North is a multi-instrumental composer and singer-songwriter based in New York City...

, while admitting that he had faults, was of opinion that he was worth 'a dozen Sheils.' Sir James Mackintosh declared, on the other hand, that his style was. 'pitiful to the last degree. He ought by common consent to be driven from the bar,' He was nicknamed 'Counsellor O'Garnish,' and his conduct of the defence of Courvoisier,. a valet charged with the murder of his master, Lord William Russell, in 1840, was generally condemned. It is said that, though fully aware of his client's guilt, he pledged his word that he was innocent, and sought to fasten the crime on another. He was reported to have declined a silk gown and a judicial appointment in Calcutta, but in 1842 Brougham appointed him commissioner of the bankruptcy court of Liverpool
Liverpool is a city and metropolitan borough of Merseyside, England, along the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. It was founded as a borough in 1207 and was granted city status in 1880...

. In 1846 he obtained the post of commissioner of the insolvent debtors' court of London. He died in Golden Square
Golden Square
Golden Square, Soho, London in the City of Westminster is one of the historic squares of Central London. The square is just east of Regent Street and north of Piccadilly Circus....

, London, on 1 Feb. 1859, aged 70, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery is a cemetery located in north London, England. It is designated Grade I on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. It is divided into two parts, named the East and West cemetery....


That Phillips was possessed of real eloquence
Eloquence is fluent, forcible, elegant or persuasive speaking. It is primarily the power of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language, thereby producing conviction or persuasion...

cannot be disputed. His published speeches contain many passages of fine and fervent oratory, but the vice of overstatement was habitual to him. A portrait appears in the 'Pantheon of the Age,' 1825, iii. 134. He was a clever writer, as is shown by his 'Curran and his Contemporaries,' 1818, and many of his productions ran into several editions.
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