DALY, James (1782-1847), of Dunsandle, co. Galway.

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



29 June 1805 - Feb. 1811
1812 - 1830
1832 - 1834

Family and Education

b. 1 Apr. 1782, 1st s. of Denis Daly, MP [I], of Dunsandle by Lady Henrietta Maxwell, da. and h. of Robert, 1st Earl of Farnham [I]; nephew of St. George Daly*. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1799. m. 5 Mar. 1808, Maria Elizabeth, da. and coh. of Sir Skeffington Smyth, 1st Bt., MP [I], of Tinnapark, co. Wicklow by Margaret, sis. of Denis Bowes Daly*, 5s. 2da. suc. fa. 1791; cr. Baron Dunsandle and Clanconal [I] 6 June 1845.

Offices Held

Lt. 9 Ft. 1805-9.

Trustee, linen board [I] 1817.


Daly’s family were the senior branch of the most formidable clan in county Galway worth, in 1799, some £16,000 p.a.1 His father represented county and town for nearly 30 years and held office as muster master general from 1781. Daly was returned for Galway town, to which he nominated alternately with his cousin Denis Bowes Daly, when the latter obtained his election for the county in June 1805, with the assistance of James Daly’s interest. It was at first expected that James would follow Bowes Daly’s opposition line and the latter hoped he would, but the Irish secretary reported, 25 Dec. 1805, that he had been able to oblige Daly, who was by then commissioned in the army and ‘who is an excellent young man, very grateful, and a friend in spite of the efforts of Bowes Daly—he is the son of Denis Daly who was very popular, and is himself very much liked’.2

In May 1806, Lord Carysfort introduced him to the new minister Lord Grenville as ‘a person of great fortune and influence’ in his province, whose wish was to belong to Grenville’s party.3 Under this administration Daly’s conduct therefore coincided with that of his cousin Bowes, who obtained office. He appears also to have voted with them after they fell, on Martin’s motion 25 Mar. 1807, but to have been won over to the Portland ministry with the help of a living worth £500 p.a. for his brother; though he discouraged a tangible opposition to his cousin in the county, merely professing readiness to support a candidate approved by government.4 Bowes Daly remaining in opposition, James paired with him in the spring of 1808 when he married Bowes’s niece,5 but like him voted for the Catholic petition, 25 May 1808. Otherwise he supported government, though perhaps government fears that Bowes Daly would induce him to stay away on the division of 30 Mar. 1810 on the Scheldt question were realized, as he is not recorded as having voted then.6 The Whigs were ‘doubtful’ of recruiting his support in 1810. He was reported as one of Perceval’s Irish friends absent on the Regency question. Then in February 1811, unable to comply with Bowes Daly’s wish that he should ‘not vote against his friends’, he gave up his seat.7

In 1812 he offered for county Galway with Castle support, was first in the poll above his cousin and soon formed a close friendship with Peel, the Irish secretary, based on mutual love of shooting, but also on political candour. Peel soon discovered that Daly, though prepared to speak (26 Feb. 1813) and, after being absent on 2 Mar., to vote (13 and 24 May 1813, 21 May 1816, 9 May 1817, 3 May 1819) for the Catholic claims, was ‘one of those ... who would be very sorry if Catholic emancipation ... was carried, though he is afraid of opposing it’.8 Daly apparently underlined this attitude in May 1815, when he presented a Catholic petition from his county on the 31st, without having appeared in the pro-Catholic minority the day before. He further pleased Peel by his willingness to attend when government were being harassed, as in March 1816, though he was in fact detained en route. Moreover, while his efforts to wrest the control of Galway town from Valentine Blake proved embarrassing to Peel, he tried not to exasperate him by ‘the asking of favours’. He was himself awarded a trusteeship of the linen board, earmarked for him in May 1814.9 He gave his vote rather than his voice to ministers, speaking very seldom and then on Irish matters. He was, however, in the minorities hostile to the Speaker, 22 Apr. 1814, to the transfer of Genoa, 21 Feb. 1815, and to the public revenue bill, 14 June 1816. He promoted the address of 59 Irish Members begging Peel to remain chief secretary, 30 June 1817: but as Peel observed, ‘James Daly would do anything for me but move an address’. As if to prove it, in February 1818 he was prepared to assure Peel of the nucleus of a party of friends if he set up on his own in politics.10

Daly again headed the poll in 1818, when he had no wish to coalesce with Richard Martin, another government supporter, against his cousin Bowes, who was, however, defeated.11 He was in the minority against lotteries, 4 May 1819, but voted with government on Tierney’s censure motion, 18 May. He died 7 Aug. 1847.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. H. Macdougal, Sketches of Irish Political Character (1799), 299-300.
  • 2. PRO 30/8/328, f. 267.
  • 3. Fortescue mss, Carysfort to Grenville, 21 May 1806.
  • 4. Dublin Evening Post, 23 Apr.; Wellington mss, Wellesley to Daly, 8 Apr., Daly to Wellesley, 16 May, Clancarty to same, 18 May 1807.
  • 5. Wellington mss, Sligo to Wellesley, 20 Feb. 1808.
  • 6. NLI, Richmond mss 73/1700.
  • 7. Grey mss, Taylor to Grey, 19 Dec. 1810; Add. 40217, f. 256.
  • 8. Add. 40286, f. 172.
  • 9. Add. 40188, ff. 116, 140, 169; 40217, ff. 244, 246, 252.
  • 10. Add. 40217, f. 380; 40294, f. 92.
  • 11. Add. 40210, f. 320.