FETHERSTON, alias FETHERSTON HAUGH, Sir George Ralph, 3rd bt. (1784-1853), of Ardagh House, co. Longford
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Family and Educationb. 4 June 1784, 1st s. of Thomas Fetherston†, 2nd bt., MP [I], of Ardagh and Catherine, da. of George Boleyn Whitney of New Pass, co. Westmeath. educ. Newcome’s, Hackney; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1801; L. Inn 1804. m. 22 Oct. 1821, Frances Elizabeth, da. of Richard Solly of Walthamstow, Essex, s.p. suc. fa. as 3rd bt. 19 July 1819. d. 12 July 1853.
Sheriff, co. Longford 1834-5
Maj. Longford militia 1810, lt.-col. 1833-d.
Fetherston, who was described by a local Tory in 1830 as a ‘very proper man’, continued to sit for county Longford on the interest of the dowager Lady Rosse, by whom he had been returned in 1819 as his father’s successor with the backing of the other Member, Lord Forbes.1 An indifferent attender, who is not known to have spoken in debate, when present he voted ‘in general’ with the Liverpool ministry, by whom he was listed as seeking promotions for Major Thomas Edgeworth of Kilshrewly, county Longford and one Tyrrell, who in 1817 had been placed on the assessor’s list, as well as a clerkship for one Given.2 He divided against economies in revenue collection, 4 July 1820, and in defence of ministers’ conduct towards Queen Caroline, 6 Feb. 1821. He voted against Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 30 Apr. 1822, 1 Mar., 10 May, 21 Apr., and the Irish freeholders bill, 26 Apr. 1825. He was granted six weeks’ leave on urgent private business, 4 May 1821. His only other known votes in the 1820 Parliament were with government against more extensive tax reductions, 11 Feb., but in the minority for inquiry into diplomatic expenditure, 15 May 1822, and the hostile majority for inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. 1823.
At the 1826 general election he offered again, the Catholic press describing him as ‘an Orangeman, though not perhaps of the extreme hue’, and was returned unopposed.3 He voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828, and was granted a month’s leave after serving on an election committee, 15 Mar. 1827. He divided against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb. 1828. Speaking at the inaugural meeting of the Longford Brunswick Club, of which he was a founder member, 3 Nov. 1828, he stated that ‘from his youth his principles were those which placed the House of Brunswick on the throne and he would carry those principles with him to the grave’, denounced the ‘evil counsels of designing demagogues’, but called for ‘firmness and moderation’.4 He was part of the grand jury which, to the ‘utter astonishment’ of a local prosecutor, refused to indict an ‘Orange mob’ which had opened fire on Catholics at Ballymahon that month.5 In February 1829 he was listed by Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, as ‘opposed’ to emancipation but likely to support securities when the principle was carried. He presented hostile constituency petitions, 23 Feb., and voted accordingly, 6, 18, 23, 27, 30 Mar. 1829. He was granted a month’s leave to attend the assizes, 8 Mar. 1830. His only other recorded vote was for repeal of the Irish coal duties, 13 May 1830.
At the 1830 general election he offered again, but Lady Rosse having put up a second candidate, shortly before the nomination he withdrew from the probable contest, boasting that ‘in the worst of times I never courted popularity by a desertion of those principles which I conscientiously entertained, nor did I ever hesitate to oppose any measure which I thought injurious to the interests of my country’.6 He died in July 1853.7 His title and family estates passed to his brother the Rev. Thomas, and on his death the following month to his nephew Thomas (1824-69).
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Philip Salmon
- 1. NLI, Farnham mss 18613 (4), C. Fox to H. Maxwell, 22 June 1830; Add. 38575, f. 34.
- 2. Black Bk. (1823), 155; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 463.
- 3. Dublin Evening Post, 20, 22 June 1826.
- 4. Westmeath Jnl. 6 Nov. 1828.
- 5. Dublin Evening Post, 10 Jan.; The Times, 15 Jan. 1829.
- 6. Dublin Evening Post, 29 July 1830.
- 7. Gent. Mag. (1853), ii. 530.