WHITE, Samuel (c.1784-1854), of Killakee, co. Dublin

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



5 Apr. 1824 - 1847

Family and Education

b. c.1784, 2nd s. of Luke White* (d. 1824) of Woodlands, co. Dublin and 1st w. Elizabeth, da. of Andrew de la Maziere of Fleet Street, Dublin; bro. of Henry White* and Luke White†. m. 4 July 1821, Salisbury Anne, da. of George Rothe of Mount Rothe, co. Kilkenny, s.p. d. 29 May 1854.

Offices Held

Sheriff, co. Leitrim 1809-10.


White may have served briefly in the army.1 He received £7,000 a year under the will of his father Luke, the founder of the family’s banking fortune, who died in February 1824. Offering to replace him as Member for Leitrim, he declared his principles to be those of his father, who he said ‘loved Ireland and belonged to no party’. As nothing came of a threatened opposition, he was returned at the by-election in April and, although silent in the Commons, he emulated his brother Henry, Member for county Dublin (with whom his parliamentary conduct may sometimes have been confused), by attending frequently and voting with the Whig opposition to Lord Liverpool’s ministry.2 He divided for an advance of capital to Ireland, 4 May, inquiries into the Irish church establishment, 6 May, and the state of Ireland, 11 May, and against the Irish insurrection bill, 14 June 1824, when he also voted twice against the new churches bill. He was one of the Irish Members added to the select committee on the state of Ireland that was appointed on 17 Feb. 1825.3 He voted against the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15, 18, 21, 25 Feb., and for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May. He divided in minorities for repealing the assessed and window taxes, 3 Mar., 17 May 1825, and for Hume’s attempt to add a clause to the promissory notes bill to enforce payment in specie, 27 Feb. 1826. Although criticized by his pro-Catholic supporters for supposedly allying with his Orangeman colleague John Clements, who in the end withdrew, he boasted of having followed his father’s liberal and independent conduct on being returned unopposed, with the Whig Lord Clements, at the general election later that year.4 He served as foreman of the Leitrim grand jury that summer, and again in 1830, and from early 1827 began to build a residence in the county.5

He voted for Catholic relief, 6 Mar., but was granted leave for a month on account of ill health, 14 Mar., and again (unless it was his brother) for three weeks after having served on an election committee, 1 May 1827. He again divided for emancipation, 12 May 1828, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He was listed in the opposition majority against the Bathurst and Dundas pensions, 26 Mar., voted for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May, and divided in the minority against Lord Ellenborough’s divorce bill, 6 Apr. 1830. If it was he, and not Henry, who was given a month’s leave on urgent private business, 3 May, he was nevertheless present to vote for a return of privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May, and to make Irish first fruits revenues no longer nominal, 18 May. He sided with opposition for reducing the grants for South American missions, 7 June, and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, 14 June. Forced to deny rumours that he would stand down at the general election, he was beaten into second place by John Clements, but, against expectations, narrowly defeated Lord Clements, to whose insulting remarks on the hustings he took grave exception.6 He was considered by Pierce Mahony† to be ‘pro-government’, but ministers only reckoned him among the ‘good doubtfuls’ and he voted against them on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. He divided for the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. Despite having to travel to France for what he termed ‘family circumstances’, he was returned unopposed as a reformer at the ensuing general election.7

White voted for the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, at least twice against adjourning proceedings on it, 12 July 1831, and steadily (sometimes by pairing) for its details. On 29 July he divided for O’Connell’s motion for swearing the original Dublin election committee, from which his brother Henry had been disqualified. He paired for the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept., but attended to vote for the second reading of the Scottish bill, 23 Sept., and Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. After pairing for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, he divided for the disfranchisement schedules, 20, 23 Jan., again usually for its details, and for the third reading, 22 Mar. 1832. He sided with government against producing information on Portugal, 3 Feb., and an amendment to the navy civil departments bill, 6 Apr., but was in minorities for printing the Woollen Grange petition for the abolition of Irish tithes, 16 Feb., and against the tithes bill, 13 July. An absentee from the division on Ebrington’s motion for an address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry the reform bill unimpaired, 10 May, he voted for the second reading of the Irish measure, 25 May, and against increasing the Scottish county representation, 1 June. He divided for making coroners’ inquests public, 20 June. His only other known votes were with ministers for the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16, 20 July. Following what he described as a struggle ‘of unexampled duration and difficulty’, he called for further reforms at the general election of 1832, when he was returned as a Liberal for county Leitrim, where he now had a sizeable personal interest.8 He died, childless, in May 1854, seven years after leaving Parliament and three months before the death of his brother Luke, former Member for county Longford.9

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


  • 1. According to the Army Lists, one Samuel White became cornet, 9 Drag. in 1801 and retired as capt. in 1808.
  • 2. Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette, 6, 13, 27 Mar., 10 Apr. 1824; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 490.
  • 3. Add. 40373, f. 187.
  • 4. Dublin Evening Post, 25, 30 May; Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette, 10, 24 June, 15 July 1826.
  • 5. A. Harrison, Leitrim Sheriffs, 10; Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette, 10 Mar. 1827.
  • 6. Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette, 17 July, 14, 21 Aug.; Dublin Evening Post, 17 Aug. 1830; Add. 40338, f. 223.
  • 7. Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette, 5, 21 May 1831.
  • 8. Ibid. 17 Nov., 8, 22, 29 Dec. 1832.
  • 9. Ibid. 3 June; The Times, 31 May 1854; Gent. Mag. (1854), ii. 393.