Blake, John Aloysius (1826–87), politician and government official, was born in Waterford city, son of Andrew Blake, gentleman, and Mary Blake (née Gallwey). A Roman Catholic, he was educated at King's College, Waterford, and Government College at Pau in France. His political career began in local government and he served as mayor of Waterford (1855–8) and president of the Waterford chamber of commerce (1858–9). He was MP for Waterford city 1857–69, having been elected as an independent opposition candidate. His social views were seen as progressive, and he campaigned for better conditions for the insane and for reform in the judicial approach to juvenile offenders. His various articles and pamphlets included Defects of the moral treatment of insanity in public asylums (1866), and he was also noted for campaigning against cruelty to animals. He supported the concept of an Irish parliament, was an associate of Isaac Butt (qv) and became involved with the Home Rule League from its foundation in 1873. Like Butt, he preferred to adopt a gentlemanly approach in the commons and was described as ‘a typical Irish member of the old-fashioned order’ (McCarthy). Consequently, he disapproved of the policy of ‘obstruction’ practised by J. G. Biggar (qv) from 1875. When Butt died in 1879, Blake supported his successor, William Shaw (qv). He was elected MP for Waterford county (April 1880). On the election of C. S. Parnell (qv) as leader of the Irish parliamentary party in April 1880, Blake joined Shaw and seventeen others on the government benches while the Parnellite MPs supported the opposition. He felt that he could not reconcile himself with Parnellite policy and resigned from political life in 1884, but left with no animosity and was later to remark on Parnell's courteous conduct towards him on his departure. During the next two years he travelled across Australia and Asia, and published a series of articles on his experiences in the Freeman's Journal. On his return to Ireland his colleagues urged him to resume his political career and, after lengthy discussions with Parnell, he agreed to do so. In the general election of January 1886 he won a seat for Carlow county and reentered parliament as a member of the liberal–Parnellite alliance. Physicians had warned him, however, that he had a serious heart condition and should avoid the pressures of public life. This condition resulted in his sudden death in London on 22 May 1887.
He married (1874) Adelaide Mary Power of Faithlegg, Co. Waterford, daughter of Nicholas Mahon Power (qv), MP; they had no children. His main residences were at 44 Westland Row in Dublin and Queen Anne's Mansions, Westminster, in London. There are Blake letters among the Isaac Butt papers in the NLI.