Napier, Joseph, 1804-1882Alternative names
Joseph Napier was born on 26 December 1804 in Belfast. He was educated at the Belfast Academical Institution and Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with a BA in 1825 and MA in 1828. He studied law at London University and was called to the bar in Ireland in 1831. In 1848, he was elected Member of Parliament for Trinity College, Dublin, and in 1852, was appointed Attorney general for Ireland in the administration of Lord Derby. When Lord Derby formed his second administration in 1858, Napier became Lord Chancellor of Ireland, retiring from this office the following year. On his return from his travels in Europe in 1860, he became involved in evangelical work, later taking an active part in the reconstruction of the Irish Church following its disestablishment. Napier was created a baronet in 1867, the year in which he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin. Between 1868 and 1881, he served on the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He retired to St Leonard's-on-Sea where he died on 9 December 1882.
From the guide to the Joseph Napier collection, 1857, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)