COTTER, James Laurence (?1787-1834), of Rockforest, Mallow, co Cork.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



1812 - 1818

Family and Education

b. ?.1787, 1st s. of Sir James Laurence Cotter, 2nd Bt., MP [I], by 2nd w. Isabella, da. of Rev. James Hingston, vicar of Aglish, wid. of George Brereton of Carrigslaney, co. Carlow. educ. Trinity, Dublin 30 Oct. 1804, aged 17; BA 1809, LLB, LLD 1820. m. 1 Jan. 1820, Helena Trydell, da. and coh. of James Lombard of Lombardstown, co. Cork, 1s. suc. fa. as 3rd Bt. 9 Feb. 1813.

Offices Held

Capt. Mallow inf. 1813.


Cotter’s father, a senior partner in the Cork bank of Cotter and Kellet, sat in the Irish parliament for nearly 25 years. His political chief was Lord Shannon, and after he had supported the Union his patron pressed government to reward him. Lord Hardwicke, noting that he resided in England, suggested an inspectorship of Irish tontines. In 1807 the Cork bank failed, with liabilities of £420,000.1

Cotter junior came in for Mallow in 1812 at Lord Shannon’s instigation.2 He gave a silent but invariable support to ministers. His main object was a place: in January 1812 the paving board had been thought of, but it was untenable with a seat in Parliament, which was already in view.3 In February 1814 Shannon applied on his behalf and Peel mentioned to Cotter the possibility of his having ‘a sinecure office of great respectability and tenable with a seat in Parliament’—the keepership of records in the Birmingham Tower, which might be vacated. The possible vacancy arose out of another at the revenue board, for which Peel excused himself from recommending Cotter on the grounds that a man of business was required and that, though Cotter might be content to give up Parliament, his seat for Mallow might then fall into enemy hands. It does not appear that Cotter obtained his object and he could be kept at bay by hints that he might not secure his own re-election.4

His tenure of Mallow was precarious owing to his inability to afford a contest and his anti-Catholic stance. It is true that on 2 Mar. 1813 he did not vote on Catholic relief, ‘because he was afraid that the Catholics would outbid him in the sale of an estate which he particularly wished to purchase’. For this the viceroy labelled him a ‘shabby fellow’.5 He voted against Catholic claims on 21 May 1816 and 9 May 1817, and on 22 June 1817 the Irish government learnt that he could not face a contest without the prospect of official remuneration.6 He went through the motions of standing for re-election in 1818, but withdrew on finding out that the Catholics were resolved to oppose him.7 He died 31 Dec. 1834.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Cork Hist. and Arch. Soc. Jnl. i. 246; Add. 35770, f. 2.
  • 2. Add. 40185, f. 225.
  • 3. NLI, Richmond mss 67/978.
  • 4. Add. 40286, ff. 25, 28.
  • 5. Richmond mss 62/435; Add. 40185, f. 182.
  • 6. Add. 40218, f. 274.
  • 7. Add. 40278, ff. 241, 243.