Co. Tipperary


Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Background Information

Number of registered freeholders:

8,767 in 1829; 2,900 in 1830

Number of voters:

1,098 in 18301


 Hon. George Lionel Dawson888
 James Roe660
 John Hely Hutchinson I537
12 May 1831THOMAS WYSE 
8 Aug. 1832ROBERT OTWAY CAVE vice Hely Hutchinson I, called to the Upper House 

Main Article

Tipperary, noted for its ‘depressed and turbulent peasantry’, had an ‘extensive’ export trade in agricultural produce, particularly butter and other dairy products, but apart from one cotton factory was ‘wholly devoid of manufactures’. There were several market towns, including the disfranchised borough of Fethard, the parliamentary seats of Cashel and Clonmel, the venue for county elections, and Cahir, Carrick-on-Suir, Thurles and Tipperary.2 The leading magnates were the 2nd earl of Landaff, on whose interest his brother Montague James Mathew had sat from 1806 until his death in 1819; the 2nd Baron Dunalley, Tory Member for Okehampton, 1819-24, whose brother Francis Aldborough Prittie had been returned on the ‘popular interest’ from 1806 until his defeat in 1818; and the Bagwells of Marlfield, patrons of Clonmel, who had been ousted from the representation in 1806 but remained a constant threat thereafter. The earls of Donoughmore (Hely Hutchinson) and Glengall (Butler) and Viscount Lismore (O’Callaghan) could also command votes, and there was a significant absentee interest, including that of the 3rd earl of Kingston and Lady Caroline Damer, daughter of the 1st earl of Dorchester, whose considerable estates were entailed on her kinsman, the 2nd earl of Portarlington. In 1818 Glengall had managed to seat his pro-Catholic heir Viscount Caher after a three-week contest against Prittie, who had initially declined but then ‘polled to the last man’ with the support of Donoughmore, much to Glengall’s fury. (Caher later complained that the election cost him £17,000.) Caher’s success had been shortlived, however, for in 1819 he had succeeded as 2nd earl of Glengall, whereupon William Bagwell, head of his family since 1816, had vacated Clonmel and been returned unopposed with the backing of Landaff. On Mathew’s death later that year Prittie had been re-elected without opposition.3

At the 1820 general election Prittie offered again, having secured the active support of his brother Dunalley following the death of Lady Dunalley the previous year. Bagwell also stood for re-election with the backing of Landaff, expecting to be assisted again by Glengall, who had gone abroad. It had been rumoured that Lismore’s brother, George O’Callaghan, and Donoughmore’s nephew, John Hely Hutchinson, might start, but Donoughmore’s brother Lord Hutchinson dismissed talk of opposition as a ‘dream’, observing that Hely Hutchinson

would not have the slightest chance. Donoughmore, entre nous, is particularly disagreeable to all the heads of the great interests. Glengall and Landaff know he was at the bottom of the opposition which took place at the [1818] general election and will never forgive him for it ... O’Callaghan is not liked in the county and would spend no money ... A contest would cost £14,000 or £15,000 ... Landaff and Glengall and Prittie have decidedly the county between them. I cannot contemplate the possibility of any opposition. 1,200 votes made in Ormond since the last election now come in for Prittie ... as his brother will support him.4

No contest was anticipated until three days before the election, when Glengall returned unexpectedly from the continent and ‘prevailed upon’ George Lidwell of Dromard to stand, promising him the single votes of his tenants. At the nomination Lidwell declared himself ‘unpledged’ to any party line and called on the electors to ‘put one of the Members out’, regretting that he had not had time to address the county properly. In an ‘extraordinary’ and ‘sensational’ development, he then invited Prittie and Bagwell to allow their proposers and seconders ‘to retire into a private room’ and, ‘laying their hands upon their hearts, say which two, out of the present three candidates they would wish to represent the county’, with the sheriff having ‘a casting voice’, and ‘so let the contest be terminated’. Prittie and Bagwell, who had been proposed respectively by O’Callaghan and James Massy Dawson, the new Member for Clonmel, both agreed, but after a short consultation their proposers and seconders declined ‘to take upon them such responsibility as to make the election’. It was anticipated that a ‘most arduous struggle’ must then ensue, in which Lidwell would probably succeed, but that evening Glengall was persuaded by his friends, many of whom had already pledged their support to the sitting Members, to ‘waive his pretensions for the present’, leaving Prittie and Bagwell to be returned unopposed.5

During 1822 there were a series of protracted disputes between Donoughmore and Glengall over appointments to the bench and the refusal of Hely Hutchinson, sheriff from February, to hold a county meeting for the commutation of tithes.6 On 14 Jan. 1823 Donoughmore complained to Lord Kingston that Lord Manners, the Irish lord chancellor, to whom ‘Lady Glengall has been whispering ... has done some scandalous jobs, by one of which it was intended by the little bitch to put me down’.7 Both Members supported Catholic claims, for which petitions were presented to the Lords, 18 May 1824, 26 Apr., 11 May 1825, and the Commons, 28 Feb. 1825.8 Petitions against the Tithes Composition Act reached the Commons, 22 Mar., and the Lords, 2 Apr. 1824.9 That September the Catholic press reported ‘some talk of a contest’ occurring at the next election between the sitting Members and John Trant of Dovea and Lidwell, who was supported by Glengall and Landaff and was ‘besides extremely popular’.10 Petitions were presented to the Lords for a continuation of the Irish linen bounties, 25 Mar., 2 Apr. 1824, and the Commons against alteration of the Irish butter trade regulations, 28 Mar., and the corn laws, 29 Apr. 1825.11 That year Lord Hutchinson, who considered the Tipperary ‘country gentlemen, with very few exceptions’ to be ‘a most degraded set of beings’, succeeded his brother as 2nd earl of Donoughmore, but declined to take up residence at the family seat of Knocklofty, observing, ‘I hate the county Tipperary and everything belonging to it’.12 A petition for the abolition of slavery was presented to the Commons, 12 Apr. 1826.13

At the 1826 general election Prittie and Bagwell offered again. On 15 June Portarlington’s brother George Lionel Dawson came forward on the interest of Lady Caroline Damer, his father’s first cousin, allegedly ‘at the instigation’ of Lady Glengall. Fearing the expense of a ‘threatened contest’ Bagwell resigned next day, citing the actions ‘of a certain titled lady, who possesses and exercises a very considerable influence’ and endorsing the candidature of Hely Hutchinson, who was propelled into his place.14 ‘His election is secure’, Donoughmore assured Hely Hutchinson’s father Francis, 18 June:

It would have been an act of base cowardice on my part ... if I had not seized this opportunity. Besides I owed it to the memory of my brother to defeat the machinations of a woman whom he justly detested ... I have now discovered that the family have long been popular in this county ... Portarlington ... is gone over to his friend Landaff this morning, who will desire him in the strongest manner to withdraw his brother, and will prove to him that he has not the smallest chance ... Dick Butler ... told Portarlington in the presence of Lady Glengall that the gentlemen of the county were nearly unanimous in their opposition to the pretensions of his brother, to which her ladyship replied that she had the votes, which is the most impudent assertion ever uttered by a lying and venal woman ... I have no idea that the poll can last above three or four days [and] some doubt whether Dawson will ever appear at all ... I send you Bagwell’s address on retiring and John’s ... a hurried composition of mine ... There is nothing I hate so much as elections, but ... if you had been here yourself you would have seen at once that it was impossible to avoid entering into the conflict. No time was left either for consideration or doubt. I did not absolutely know till Friday morning [16th] that Bagwell himself might not be induced to stand ... The Clonmel papers are only published twice a week on Tuesday and Friday evening and it was therefore necessary to have the address with the printers at 5 o’clock ... Had that woman kept back Dawson till Monday, she would have succeeded in all her machinations and Bagwell and Dawson would have been returned. If Dawson comes to a poll he will be placed under very awkward circumstances. He has not only all the gentlemen of the county against him, but the mob of Clonmel are furious that a stranger and an absentee should have the audacity to offer himself.15

At a crowded nomination next day Dawson refuted allegations by Prittie, who had formed a coalition with Hely Hutchinson, that he was a ‘non-resident’, saying that both he and Hely Hutchinson were connected with local families, and declared that he was a ‘strenuous friend of Catholic emancipation’ who had seen ‘the practical good effects of toleration’ in America. The fourth candidate was James Roe of Roesborough, a solicitor, who stressed his ‘constant residence’ and observed that if he and his ‘friend’ Dawson had ‘not put themselves forward, the other candidates would be little thankful to the electors for their return’. Hely Hutchinson spoke of his family’s long support for Catholic claims and accused ‘a certain lady’ of attempting ‘to rob the electors of their privileges by smuggling a candidate upon them’. He then demanded that Dawson ‘name the person by whom it was settled that he should stand’, to which Dawson replied, ‘Lady Caroline Damer and others’. ‘What the word "others" meant was very well known’, Hely Hutchinson retorted, asking the assembled crowd, ‘Will you suffer this great county to be set up to barter?’.16 Writing to his wife later that day, Dawson reported:

The Hutchinsons had filled the court house with their friends, but they received me well and heard me with patience. I never thought I could have sounded so well, but in their addresses they had made personal allusions about my being a stranger and this set my blood up to answer them. Had we 5 or £10,000 more to throw away, they declare we could bring in both Members. Prittie retiring is looked upon as certain when the poll has been opened for a day or two, and Hutchinson and myself will be elected.17

It was expected that the contest would be ‘sharp but short’ owing to the ‘strangely neglected registries’ of ‘many respectable interests’, but legal disputes over the validity of Donoughmore’s tenants repeatedly delayed the poll, which dragged on for eight days.18 Commenting on Dawson’s poor performance at the end of the third day, 22 June, Donoughmore noted:

I doubt very much whether Lady Glengall has any legal freeholders. They have been already guilty of forgery ... It would never have come to the poll at all if it had not been for the clerk of the peace, by which we have lost 700 votes, as they are not legally registered ... having been omitted in the affidavit. The additional misfortune is that they are our near voters. Lismore’s and Kingston’s freeholders are every one of them disqualified and many of Bagwell’s. If it had not been for this error John would have come in and it would not have cost £300. There never was such an unprincipled, profligate attempt as that of Dawson’s, but all the Portarlington family are bad root and branch ... Do not send voters from Dublin, unless some gentleman who would choose to come in order to make his disapprobation of the attempt to force a representative on the county.19

On the eighth day Dawson resigned, claiming overwhelming support from the ‘respectable’ £50 freeholders, denouncing his opponents’ ‘unconstitutional’ coalition and promising to offer again. Roe, who had trailed throughout, also withdrew, leaving Prittie to be returned in first place and Hely Hutchinson in second.20 ‘Though we lost near 800 votes by an error of the clerk of the crown in the register’, Donoughmore explained to Francis, 9 July 1826:

We could have polled we learnt 2,400 - probably more - so that in point of fact we could have beaten Dawson four to one, notwithstanding the defective state of the registry ... However, the election will cost about £3,000. It would not have cost so much but for the misconduct of Duckett [who] has done things which would have set twenty elections aside ... without any previous consultation with me, because I should have told him that I would never bribe, that our election did not require it, and that had it been a close contest I never would have entered into it ... Anything more than the law directs cannot be paid till next March, after the period of petitioning has expired ... It would be imprudent to place our election in the hands of Lady Glengall. Duckett is not only the most expensive but the worst electioneering agent in the world.21

Later that month Dawson assured Mrs. Fitzherbert, who had provided his family with private financial assistance, that

Glengall has promised to repay me the £700 I expended at the election as soon as he can and in failure of this, my eldest brother [Portarlington] has promised to do so, as soon as he comes into the estates in this country. I hope this statement will convince you that by no act of mine ... can we lose a farthing.22

‘By a mere accident Hutchinson slipped into the county seat’, Glengall later complained, ‘which event will not probably occur again from the small property possessed by that family in Tipperary, not being more than £3,500 per annum’.23

In the House Hely Hutchinson joined Prittie in supporting Catholic claims, for which petitions were presented to the the Lords, 21 Feb., 7 Mar. 1827, 2 Apr. 1828, and the Commons, 2 Mar. 1827, 28 Feb., 17 Mar., 5 May 1828.24 One reached the Lords in support of the corn laws, 31 May 1827, and the Commons against alteration of the Irish butter regulations, 7 July 1828.25 Petitions for repeal of the Irish Vestry Act were presented to the Commons, 11 Feb., 5 May 1828.26 In February 1828 the Catholic press protested that the registries were ‘miserably defective’ and urged the freeholders to ‘possess themselves of the vote’, otherwise at the next general election an attempt would be made to ‘thrust an anti-Catholic stranger into the representation’.27 More appeals followed and at a Munster meeting of the Catholic Association chaired by James Scully of Tipperary in August, a county Liberal Club ‘for the purpose of securing the due registration of freeholders’ was established by Roe, who became its president, with the assistance of Scully’s kinsman Thomas Wyse* of Waterford. Resolutions were also passed denouncing Hely Hutchinson for his letter refusing to attend, in which he described the Association’s activities as ‘prejudicial to the speedy and final adjustment’ of the Catholic question and ‘unconstitutional’.28 ‘I rather regret ... Hutchinson giving so many reasons in his letter to the Munster people, but nothing ever was so annoying to anyone who really wishes well to the Catholics as their attacks upon the Hutchinsons en masse’, observed Henry Brougham*.29 Following a series of outrages and fatal affrays that summer and rumours that Daniel O’Connell’s* ‘brave Tipperary boys’ were about to mobilize, Richard Sheil* of Long Orchard, one of the leaders of the Association, met with representatives of Lord Anglesey, the viceroy, and agreed to ‘use his influence’ to stop a large Tipperary meeting in support of emancipation.30 In September O’Connell called on the county to ‘discontinue’ its ‘processions, immense assemblies, and counter marchings’ for the present year, explaining that ‘the cause of your country depends in a great measure on your compliance’ and that ‘if you obey ... within the space of one or two years at the utmost, we shall see all we want’.31 At the first dinner of the Liberal Club attended by Roe and Wyse, 9 Oct., a campaign to oust Hely Hutchinson at the next election was initiated. Later that month a Brunswick Club was also started.32 Meetings were convened in support of Anglesey following his recall, 18, 24, 25 Jan., and the Wellington ministry’s concession of Catholic emancipation, 11, 18, 21, 25 Jan. 1 Feb., for which both Members voted.33 Favourable petitions reached the Lords, 16 Feb., 19 Mar., and the Commons, 26 Feb., 17 Mar.34 By the accompanying alteration of the franchise, the registered electorate of 1829 was reduced from 8,767 to 2,900, of whom 449 qualified at the new minimum freehold value of £10, 793 at £20 and 1,658 at £50.35 Commenting on the effects of the reduction that October, Thomas Spring Rice* reported that Robert Otway Cave of Castle Otway ‘it is said ... will try in strength in Tipperary and against his relation Prittie’ at the next opportunity.36 In February 1830 Michael Quinn of Thurles, a former member of the Association, was appointed to prepare the campaign against Hely Hutchinson.37 Petitions for repeal of the Irish Vestry and Subletting Acts were presented to the Lords, 2, 24 Mar. 1829, and the Commons, 16 Mar. 1830. Petitions against increases of Irish stamp and spirit duties reached the Lords, 17 May, 7 June, and the Commons, 10, 11, 18 June 1830.38

At the 1830 general election Prittie and Hely Hutchinson offered again, amidst appeals by the liberals or ‘independents’, as they were now being called, for the electors to remain ‘disengaged’. (The Liberal Club, as a branch of the Catholic Association, had been officially dissolved shortly before the passage of emancipation.) Archdeacon Singleton had predicted to the Irish secretary Lord Francis Leveson Gower that

poor Hutchinson and Prittie will be molested but not unseated (if they have the money to conduct the affair) ... by a Mr. [Charles] Moore, an opulent man, who does not look for present success, but will spend a considerable sum to commence an interest. Lady Glengall has been very busy ... against the sitting Members. But I cannot learn that Mr. Moore is brought forward at her suggestion.39

In the event, Moore (subsequently Liberal Member, 1865-69) did not appear. At a meeting of the independents chaired by Anthony Ryan of Carrick-on-Suir at the Ormond Hotel in Clonmel, 7 Aug., Roe was solicited to offer again, and on the 11th O’Connell arrived to prepare an address in his support. Two days later, however, Roe declined, saying that the day of election was ‘too near’, but insisting that the county required ‘only to be contested in order to shake off the aristocratic fetters with which the late Members fancied it was bound’. ‘There was no money to be advanced’, commented the Clonmel Herald. Later that day the independents announced that they had sent a deputation to Wyse, who was ‘connected with our county by property’ and had ‘acquired an additional claim to support’ on account of his withdrawal from county Waterford in order not to impede the election of O’Connell. On 16 Aug. he formally came forward as an ‘advocate for constitutional reform’ and ‘popular rights’, promising to oppose Irish tithes, the Vestry Subletting Acts and the ‘flagrant abuses of corporations’, having been notified by the independents that Glengall had been applied to for money, 13 Aug.40 At the nomination next day Wyse was proposed in absentia by William O’Donnell of Carrick-on-Suir and Martin Lanigan of Templemore, an attorney, who denounced Hely Hutchinson’s ‘supercilious disregard of his constituents’ interests’, absence from ‘certain public meetings’ and failure to support O’Connell in the House, where he was ‘either absent or if there, only to be found behind the minister’s chair’. Prittie was also criticized for failing to oppose the Irish Vestry Act and Irish tax increases, a charge which he refuted, insisting that he had ‘been in his place’. Rejecting the ‘serious misrepresentations’ which had been ‘heaped on him’, Hely Hutchinson, who had been proposed by Matthew Pennefather, the new Member for Cashel, and Massy Dawson, denied being a ‘ministerial hack’, justified his voting record and defended his refusal to attend the Munster provincial meeting, stressing his responsibility to represent all his constituents. A violent seven-day contest then ensued during which Prittie, who obtained an early lead, abandoned his coalition with Hely Hutchinson after warnings that if he persisted the £50 freeholders would ‘strenuously oppose’ him on ‘future occasions’.41 Writing from Clonmel on the second day, 16 Aug., Wyse’s agent James Dwyer informed him:

We have just been drawn in by thousands taking us for you. The game is yours. Come forward either this evening or leave Waterford at four o’clock tomorrow morning. Be here before nine, and be no later. We (the committee) will meet you exactly at nine outside the tavern ... You are representative for the county Tipperary. Your conduct in Waterford is applauded.42

Wyse duly arrived next day and gradually secured a narrow lead over Hely Hutchinson, whose supporters complained of obstructions and intimidation at the poll. At the close, which was prompted by Hely Hutchinson’s failure to secure the minimum number of 20 votes required by law in each booth, Hely Hutchinson lodged an official protest and threatened to petition against the return, complaining of the ‘state of insurrection by which all the towns have been kept by a hireling mob, exasperated by misrepresentations of my public conduct and urged on by a religious army’. ‘Until now’, he declared, ‘I could never have supposed that the most depraved ingenuity could have persuaded any Irish Catholic that my family were enemies to his creed’. ‘The election will be set aside’, predicted the Clonmel Herald, claiming that among the ‘various informalities’ a poll clerk had been ‘detected in altering the numbers’. At the declaration Prittie promised to attend to his parliamentary duties with greater ‘care and diligence’. Wyse denied that his supporters had employed any ‘unconstitutional means’, insisting that ‘this was not like the Waterford election of 1826 or that of Clare, where stimulants were used, justified by the times’. His ‘triumphant return’, observed the Southern Reporter

may serve as a lecture to those great aristocratic interests who have hitherto managed the representation at their will and caprice ... Whatever objections there might have been to the abolition of the 40s. freeholders ... those in whom the franchise is now vested are more likely to act independently ... It is impossible that the example which has been set by Tipperary can be lost on other counties.43

It ‘appears to me as a greater victory obtained by the popular voice, and a more brilliant one under the circumstances, than even the return of Villiers Stuart for Waterford or of O’Connell for Clare’, remarked Stephen Coppinger, a former secretary of the Association, 28 Aug.44 Responding to a letter in The Times accusing the Catholics of ‘ingratitude’ towards the Donoughmore family, another commentator blamed Hely Hutchinson’s ‘lukewarmness and want of attention and ability’ for his defeat. His ‘imprudence cost him the county’, Sheil later wrote.45 ‘Wyse comes in ... without spending a shilling and what is more without being supported by a single soul who has a shilling to spend’, James Abercromby* advised Brougham, 1 Sept., adding, ‘an attorney [Lanigan] seems to have been aware of the feeling that existed and contrived some how or other to bring people to the poll’.46 ‘The glorious victory over the last of the fallen Hutchinsons has ... demonstrated the force of public sentiment in Ireland’, declared O’Connell.47 On 5 Sept. 1830 Wyse was informed of a proposal by Otway Cave for a county registration club to be established to ensure the ‘permanence’ of his victory and ‘concentrate the friends of independence’, which he agreed to chair.48

Over the next three months Wyse and his agents engaged in a lengthy correspondence about the prospects of Hely Hutchinson’s petition, to contest which a fund was launched by James Scully on the understanding that ‘any surplus’ could be applied to unpaid election bills.49 By early November, however, only £160 had been raised, it being noted that O’Donnell and many others had been ‘disgracefully backward’ in their subscriptions on account of Wyse’s refusal to join O’Connell’s campaign for repeal, in which Roe, who was said to be ‘disappointed in his expectations of a seat’, had taken the lead.50 On 11 Sept. a series of affidavits appeared in The Times describing the intimidation suffered by Hely Hutchinson’s voters, but James Scully assured Wyse that ‘if they have nothing else, I think you are safe, not one freeholder swears he was prevented from voting as he wishes’, 16 Sept.51 ‘If Hutchinson has no other grounds but the foolish affidavits published in the newspapers I imagine he will pause long before he throws away any more money’, noted another correspondent.52 In early October it emerged that a petition had been lodged, whereupon James Scully wrote to Wyse:

The Hutchinson lads who attacked your men at Knocklofty will be tried at Clonmel ... next week. It is most important that they should be convicted. Get ... your friends in Carrick to attend closely to it but it must not appear to be at all a party made by us. I know that the Hutchinsons will work hard for an acquittal.53

‘I am rejoiced the Knocklofty lad was convicted’, James Scully remarked the following week, ‘it will be a complete answer to the vague charges of violence by us’.54 On 16 Oct. he noted that the petition relied ‘almost entirely’ on errors in the books and that since Prittie ‘as custos for this county is accountable for all the public records ... if through his negligence or connivance irregularities have occurred ... I should think the committee will be inclined to punish him ... and I should not be surprised if Prittie was unseated’.55 ‘There must be a new election’, Edmund Scully agreed that day:

As O’Callaghan, Hutchinson, or Prittie will not start, as I am well informed, you should inquire in London if ... Dawson, the brother of Portarlington, will. He will have a most powerful interest and you should ... stick by him. If he does not, I think Massy Dawson would be called on by the independents and ... we will have a Catholic and liberal Protestant to represent this county.56

‘I doubt very much whether Donoughmore will be disposed to throw away a thousand or two, to attempt unseating you and Prittie, when there is not the most remote chance of his nephew ever being returned again’, commented another supporter.57 A petition alleging that Wyse had obtained a ‘colourable majority’ by ‘unconstitutional means’, that ‘affidavits of registration’ had been used instead of the original registry books and that the assessor had ‘illegally’ rejected many votes for Hely Hutchinson was presented, 4 Nov., but discharged, 19 Nov. 1830.58 Petitions for repeal of the Union, for which meetings were held, 10, 28 Nov., were presented to the Commons, 16, 22 Nov. 1830, 19 Mar. 1831.59 In February it was reported that Wyse, who had defended his stance against repeal at a Tipperary meeting and in the House, had become an object of O’Connell’s ‘factious animosity’.60 Both Members supported the Grey ministry’s reform bill, for which petitions were presented to the Commons, 19 Mar., and the Lords, 24 Mar., 12, 21 Apr.61 ‘I need not observe how much pain the finish of the last election caused me’, Baron Bloomfield, minister to Sweden, wrote to Donoughmore following the bill’s introduction, noting, ‘if the reform question fail ... we shall have a dissolution and the opportunity ... wherein the independence of the county may again be recovered’.62 Petitions for the abolition of slavery reached the Commons, 12 Apr., and the Lords, 18 Apr. 1831.63

At the 1831 general election Prittie and Wyse, who had been warned repeatedly that the ‘feeling in Tipperary’ was ‘not altogether’ in his favour, offered as reformers, amidst complaints that both had yet to settle their election debts. On 29 Apr. Anglesey, again Irish viceroy, wrote to Donoughmore ‘to discourage him from entering a contest against Wyse ... and Prittie ... lest some fourth candidate should turn up and beat them both’. Hely Hutchinson nevertheless started as a reformer, prompting fears among Wyse’s supporters that the death of Lanigan, whose ‘talents and influence’ had ‘contributed’ to his previous triumph, ‘would strip him of all likelihood of success’.64 On 2 May Wyse was assured by a leading agent that

if you have fifteen or sixteen hundred pounds, there is not the slightest doubt of your return ... The feeling is in your favour in preference to Hutchinson, though you did not go [to] the lengths they wished, but for consistency they will to a man vote against Hutchinson ... Your return is certain if you have the money, but without it there is not a shadow of chance.65

Promising Wyse that Hely Hutchinson’s ‘hostility’ was ‘entirely against Prittie’, James Scully added:

Hutchinson has got some of the most noisy vagabonds in pay, large placards up, ‘Hutchinson, Reform, the Whole Bill’ etc. However, he has met many refusals ... As to the people or rather the mobs in Cashel and Thurles appearing against you ... there is a great difference between the mob and the men who have the votes. But there must I think have been a deep laid and pretty general system [of] plotting this time to excite the people against you. I think O’Connell’s party and some of our own clergy are at the bottom of it ... The only reason they give at all for opposing you here is your opposition to the repeal.66

Concerned that the aristocracy might ‘resume their domination’, on 4 May another agent told Wyse:

There is not among the freeholders at large that enthusiasm that carried the last election and particularly that chivalrous devotion which induced men, agents and all to act without fee or reward ... I fear ... the best and most ingenious of your agents ... are likely to be retained by Hutchinson ... unless you at once give orders ... and [confirm] whether there are funds available to the purposes of a contest, which Hutchinson has commenced on a most liberal scale ... With something under £2,000 the county might be contested and carried ... [but] address your agents personally and soon or all chance is over.67

A few days later Wyse learnt of an ‘explicit communication from the countess Glengall’ that his return would be ‘his lordship’s first object, and Prittie next’.68

Meanwhile, a number of ‘fourth candidates’ were also spoken of, including Bloomfield’s son John, Massy Dawson, O’Callaghan, Otway Cave, Roe, who was dubbed ‘the Repealer of Roesborough’, and O’Connell, in whose support Nicholas Philpot Leader* arrived to address the county and to whom a ‘deputation’ was sent, 7 May.69 O’Connell declined, but at a public meeting two days later it emerged that at the prompting of his kinsman Stephen Egan, who was one of Prittie’s neighbours, he had agreed to issue a declaration stating ‘Prittie is your first object’.70 ‘The Protestants fume now more than ever at Prittie’s conduct and say to a man they will support you’, an agent informed Wyse, adding that ‘a deputation’ had been sent to George Lionel Dawson, by whose candidature the second votes received by Prittie and Hutchinson would be reduced.71 On 10 May Prittie resigned from the ‘inevitable contest’, citing his unwillingness to ‘draw upon that source of liberality from which I have always been so generously supplied’. That day Dawson (or Dawson Damer as he was now known) offered as ‘a reformer of long standing’, promising to ‘assist to the utmost’ the passage of the bill.72 Warning Wyse of reports circulated by his ‘enemies’ that he intended resigning unless the people would ‘return him free of expense’, John Egan of Carrick added:

The [Catholic] clergy are all for you, particularly since Prittie resigned. The feeling in this and the neighbouring baronies is that you and Colonel Dawson ought to be returned. In fact I am decidedly of opinion that Hutchinson will not get six votes from this end of the county. He is actually hated.73

At the nomination Wyse boasted of his opposition to the Irish Vestry and Subletting Acts, warned that ‘unless the question of reform was carried, his country would be a scene of blood and slaughter’ and called for additional representatives for county Tipperary. Hely Hutchinson spoke of his longstanding support for reform and denied any association with Wellington’s ministry. Dawson Damer then declined to go to a poll, explaining that ‘unknown to him’ a ‘very great and kind friend’ had written a letter assuring Wyse that he would not stand, and that he felt ‘bound to act in compliance with the dictates of a delicate sense of honour and withdraw on this occasion’. Wyse and Hely Hutchinson, who promised to resign should any difference of opinion arise between him and his constituents, were elected unopposed.74 ‘In order to ensure your return’, Edward Labarte later informed Wyse, ‘I paid off everything due ... and ... you can have no idea what a good effect it had ... The whole bill will be done for £450, that is £150 for the present and £300 due of the former election’. Reports that month of Donoughmore’s precarious health and Hely Hutchinson’s succession to the peerage prompted preparations for a by-election, in which it was stated that Dawson Damer would ‘have a good chance’, but would be opposed by Lismore’s son Cornelius O’Callaghan and ‘one of the Hutchinsons’. In the event, however, Donoughmore rallied.75

A petition against the taxes levied by Irish grand juries was presented to the Lords, 5 July 1831. Petitions for the new plan of Irish education reached the Lords, 29 July, and the Commons, 23 Aug. 1831. One against was presented to the Commons, 6 Mar. 1832.76 Both Members supported the reform bill, for which petitions reached the Lords, 4, 6 Oct. 1831, and spoke accordingly at a county meeting in November, at which the repeal issue was again raised by Roe.77 On learning that there had also been an address of thanks to O’Connell in which Hely Hutchinson had participated, Donoughmore, who had recently been appointed the county’s first lord lieutenant, urged him ‘to resign your seat. It is not worth holding. There is no submitting to be the slave of a mob, particularly an Irish mob’.78 Complaining of widespread resistance to tithes next month, Donoughmore declared that he would instruct Anglesey to send ‘a sufficient force of regular troops at once, to show the infatuated peasantry that they can have no hopes for resistance’ and ‘under the command of one of my deputies ... march cavalry, infantry and artillery, giving them positive orders not to suffer the peasantry to approach them’.79 No force was evidently forthcoming and it was later noted that a deputation of Tipperary magistrates who had called on Anglesey came away ‘quite disappointed and annoyed that a soldier in power should endeavour to maintain ... tranquillity ... by the Peace Preservation Act instead of martial law’.80 In January 1832 Donoughmore threatened to resign rather than appoint Ryan, one of the leaders of the 1830 campaign against Hely Hutchinson, to the magistracy, believing that ‘at the bottom of all this is Mr. Sheil, Lalor and Mr. Wyse’.81 ‘I will not yield to clamour or impertinence ... if Mr. Scully ... and Mr. Lalor ... are to make the magistrates, I won’t be the instrument of doing what I know to be wrong’, he protested to Hely Hutchinson, 13 Jan., adding, ‘You could have no chance of a re-election for this county ... I was quite aware that my appointment as governor would be injurious to our political interests. I don’t, however, at all repent of my conduct’.82 Petitions for the abolition of tithes were presented to the Commons, 13 Mar., 10 Apr. One for an Irish measure of reform as extensive as the English reached the Commons, 15 June 1832.83

That month Hely Hutchinson’s succession as 3rd earl of Donoughmore created a vacancy, for which William Butler, brother of Viscount Galmoy, offered as a Repealer, promising to support the abolition of tithes, the suppression of corporate monopolies and more extensive tax reductions. Dawson Damer and Dominick Ronayne, a Clonmel barrister, were rumoured, but declined following reports that the independents, led by O’Donnell and Ryan, had resolved to bring in Otway Cave, who was said to have been prevented from standing in 1831 by ill health. At the nomination Butler declined to go to a poll, citing the ‘higher claim’ of a ‘tried and public man’. On the hustings O’Donnell assured the electors that Otway Cave, who had been endorsed by O’Connell as ‘one of the most ... honest public men in the British dominions’, would support repeal. He was proposed in absentia by Roe and returned unopposed. Anti-tithe meetings, including one attended by 100,000 people, 1 July 1832, were held throughout that summer, accompanied by numerous disturbances and arrests.84 By the Irish Reform Act, 226 leaseholders (179 registered at £10, 45 at £20, and two at £50) and 43 rent-chargers registered at £20 were added to the freeholders, who had decreased to 2,100 (1,255 registered at £10, 270 at £20 and 575 at £50), giving a reformed constituency of 2,369. (Lord Duncannon*, who had drafted the first Irish bill, had incorrectly predicted to Smith Stanley that ‘the effect of admitting leaseholders’ would ‘nearly double the number of voters’ in Tipperary, 3 June 1831.)85 Ministers anticipated a ‘severe’ contest between Otway Cave, Sheil, Cornelius O’Callaghan and J.L. Pennefather, an imprisoned tithe agitator, at the 1832 general election, but in the event Otway Cave joined Wyse in retiring rather than take the repeal pledge, and Sheil and O’Callaghan were returned unopposed as Repealers.86

Author: Philip Salmon


  • 1. PP (1830-1), x. 206.
  • 2. Dod’s Electoral Facts ed. H. J. Hanham, 313; S. Lewis, Top. Dict. of Ireland (1837), ii. 628-33.
  • 3. NLI, Vesey Fitzgerald mss 7857/49, 155; PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/32A/2/121; 34A/1/1490.
  • 4. The Times, 12 Feb. 1820; TCD, Donoughmore mss F/13/26.
  • 5. Dublin Evening Post, 21 Mar. 1820.
  • 6. Donoughmore mss D/26/14; F/13/66.
  • 7. Ibid. D/28/10.
  • 8. LJ, lvi. 238; lvii. 645, 792; CJ, lxxx. 134.
  • 9. CJ, lxxix. 195; LJ, lvi. 134.
  • 10. TCD, Courtown mss P/33/14/11, undated cutting from the Patriot.
  • 11. LJ, lvi. 111, 135; CJ, lxxx. 275, 354.
  • 12. Donoughmore mss F/13/83, 136.
  • 13. CJ, lxxxi. 230.
  • 14. Southern Reporter, 15, 17, 20 June 1826.
  • 15. Donoughmore mss F/13/152.
  • 16. Southern Reporter, 22, 24 June 1826.
  • 17. E. Kent Archives Cent. (Dover), Stebbing mss U924/C2/3.
  • 18. Southern Reporter, 27 June 1826.
  • 19. Donoughmore mss F/13/153.
  • 20. Southern Reporter, 29 June, 1 July 1826.
  • 21. Donoughmore mss F/13/154.
  • 22. Stebbing mss C2/4.
  • 23. Anglesey mss 32A/2/121.
  • 24. LJ, lix. 90, 139; lx. 160; CJ, lxxxii. 264; lxxxiii. 113, 176, 313.
  • 25. LJ, lix. 372; CJ, lxxxiii. 506.
  • 26. CJ, lxxxiii. 36, 37, 313.
  • 27. Tipperary Free Press, 13 Feb. 1828.
  • 28. F. O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 219; Tipperary Free Press, 2, 18, 30 Aug., 3 Sept.; Dublin Evening Post, 28 Aug., 2 Sept. 1828; T. Wyse, Hist. Catholic Assoc. ii, p. clvii.
  • 29. Add. 30115, f. 87.
  • 30. Wyse, i. 415; O’Ferrall, 227; Anglesey mss 32A/2/124.
  • 31. Wyse, ii, pp. clxxii, clxxxi-iii; The Times, 1 Oct. 1828.
  • 32. Tipperary Free Press, 11, 18 Oct.; Dublin Evening Post, 15 Oct. 1828.
  • 33. Tipperary Free Press, 10, 14, 21, 24, 31 Jan., 4 Feb. 1829.
  • 34. LJ, lxi. 41, 228; CJ, lxxxiv. 86, 145.
  • 35. PP (1830), xxix. 472.
  • 36. Derby mss 920 Der (14) 63, Spring Rice to Smith Stanley, 11 Oct. 1829.
  • 37. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1635.
  • 38. LJ, lxi. 99, 100, 270, 271, lxii. 430, 630; CJ, lxxxv. 185, 533, 540, 566.
  • 39. Add. 40338, f. 223.
  • 40. Tipperary Free Press, 4, 11, 14 Aug.; Clonmel Herald, 4, 11, 14 Aug. 1830; NLI, Wyse mss 15024 (7), Hayes to Wyse, 13 Aug. 1830.
  • 41. Tipperary Free Press, 18, 21 Aug.; Clonmel Herald, 18, 21 Aug.; Southern Reporter, 19 Aug. 1830.
  • 42. J. Auchmuty, Sir Thomas Wyse, 128; Wyse mss (9).
  • 43. Tipperary Free Press, 21, 25, 28 Aug.; Southern Reporter, 24, 26 Aug.; Clonmel Herald, 21, 25 Aug. 1830.
  • 44. Wyse mss (6).
  • 45. The Times, 31 Aug. 1830; Sheil, Sketches, Legal and Political ed. M.W. Savage, ii. 341.
  • 46. Brougham mss, Abercromby to Brougham.
  • 47. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1713.
  • 48. Wyse mss (7), Lanigan to Wyse, 5 Sept.; (10), same to same, 15 Sept. 1830.
  • 49. Ibid. (2), J. Scully to G. Wyse, Sept. 1830.
  • 50. Ibid. J. Scully to Wyse, 6 Nov., E. Scully to same, 10 Nov., 29 Dec., to G. Wyse, 30 Nov. 1830.
  • 51. The Times, 11 Sept.; Clonmel Advertiser, 15 Sept. 1830; Wyse mss (2), J. Scully to Wyse.
  • 52. Wyse mss (7), Slattery to Wyse, 24 Sept. 1830.
  • 53. Ibid. (2), E. Scully to Wyse, 3 Oct., J. Scully to same, 8 Oct. 1830.
  • 54. Ibid. J. Scully to Wyse, 18 Oct. 1830.
  • 55. Ibid.
  • 56. Ibid.
  • 57. Ibid. (1), Slattery to Wyse, 10 Nov. 1830.
  • 58. CJ, lxxxvi. 23, 24, 109.
  • 59. Wyse mss (2), E. Scully to Wyse, 10 Nov.; Clonmel Herald, 24 Nov. 1830; CJ, lxxxvi. 87, 127, 128, 409.
  • 60. The Times, 8, 9 Feb. 1831.
  • 61. CJ, lxxxvi. 406; LJ, lxiii. 370, 407, 500.
  • 62. Donoughmore mss E/373.
  • 63. CJ, lxxxvi. 230; LJ, lxiii. 445.
  • 64. Wyse mss (13), Villiers Stuart to Wyse, 3 Apr.; Tipperary Free Press, 4 May; Clonmel Herald, 4 May 1831; Anglesey mss 28C/105, 106; Sheil, ii. 339.
  • 65. Wyse mss (11), Labarte to Wyse.
  • 66. Ibid. (6), J. Scully to Wyse, 2 May 1831.
  • 67. Ibid. (13), Maher to Wyse, 4 May 1831.
  • 68. Ibid. Fennell to Wyse, Hughes to same, 8 May 1831.
  • 69. Clonmel Herald, 30 Apr.; Tipperary Free Press, 7 May; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1806.
  • 70. Southern Reporter, 12 May 1831; Wyse mss (13), Quinlan to Wyse, 12 May 1831.
  • 71. Wyse mss (13), Egan to Wyse, 11 May 1831.
  • 72. Tipperary Free Press, 11 May; Clonmel Herald, 11 May 1831.
  • 73. Wyse mss (13).
  • 74. Tipperary Free Press, 14 May; Clonmel Herald, 14 May 1831.
  • 75. Wyse mss (11), Marshall to Wyse, 13 May; (13), Labarte to same, 15 May 1831.
  • 76. LJ, lxiii. 793, 877; CJ, lxxxvi. 776; lxxxvii. 168.
  • 77. LJ, lxiii. 1045, 1067; The Times, 29 Nov. 1831.
  • 78. Donoughmore mss G/7/23.
  • 79. Ibid. 25.
  • 80. The Times, 11 Feb. 1832.
  • 81. Donoughmore mss E/383; G/7/31, 33, 38A, 38B, 40-45.
  • 82. Ibid. G/7/32.
  • 83. CJ, lxxxvii. 184, 265, 403.
  • 84. Tipperary Free Press, 4, 7, 11, 14, 28 July, 8, 11 Aug. 1832.
  • 85. Derby mss 920 Der (14) 116/7.
  • 86. Ibid. 125/4; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1929; Donoughmore mss G/6/25; The Times, 8 Dec. 1832.