The Federation Press

Sir James Martin

Premier 1863-1865, 1866-1868, 1870-1872 and Fourth Chief Justice 1873-1886 of New South Wales

Overview

Intelligence, ambition and self-belief took Martin, the son of the Governor’s Irish groom, to the pinnacles of colonial law and politics. He is the only man to have been both been Premier and Chief Justice of New South Wales.

He made his name as a fierce and partisan contributor to the vitriolic political debates of the 1840s. A brilliant young lawyer, he was in Parliament in 1848, before the age of 30. He stayed there, in and out of government, until 1873 when he made an honourable exit to the highest judicial office in the colony. Knighthood and civil honours followed.

Self-made, rich, arrogant and married to the wealthy daughter of a former convict, Martin attracted enemies so that, as Premier, he could not always guarantee the passage of his legislation, and at times lost his parliamentary seat. Through all this, he conducted a huge Bar practice and was appointed Chief Justice.

Remembered as a man “springing from the people and educated amongst them”, he showed “every quality which is necessary to a great and good Judge” in a career of rare accomplishment.

A NSW Sesquicentenary of Responsible Government publication.

Reviews

This book presents an engrossing account of a remarkable career whose achievements are so far without parallel in New South Wales, and of the social and political background against which Martin’s unique life must be considered. - From the Foreword by, the Honourable Gordon J Samuels

Table of Contents

Foreword by the Honourable Gordon J Samuels
Preface by Mr Rodney Cavalier
Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations
“Dramatis Personae”
Ministries After Responsible Government

Governor Brisbane’s Legacy
“The Supreme Court Would Soon Teach Them Better Manners”
“We Lay the Foundation of a Nation”
“The Conservative Element Was as Powerful as It Ever Was”
“De Facto Attorney-General”
“Office Has No Attractions For Me”
“The First Protectionist Government in the Colony”
“This Ministry Was One of the Strongest and Best”
“The Present Unfortunate State of Public Business”
“He Was Not Called Upon to Neglect His Private Practice”
“The First Australian Chief Justice”
“Your Ablest Man is Gone From You”

Abbreviations
Notes
Index

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