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

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the corporation

Number of voters:



(1821): 7,547


4 June 1804 CANNING re-elected after appointment to office
17 Jan. 1807 SAMUEL BODDINGTON vice Fitzgerald, chose to sit for co. Kerry
27 July 1807 EVAN FOULKES vice Wellesley, chose to sit for Newport I.o.W.
25 Feb. 1808 JAMES STEPHEN vice Foulkes, vacated his seat
17 June 1813 JAMES EVAN BAILLIE vice Herbert, vacated his seat
29 June 1818EDWARD DENNY
29 May 1819 JAMES CUFFE vice Denny, vacated his seat

Main Article

The prevailing interest in the fairly prosperous port of Tralee during this period was that of the most substantial landowner in the area, Sir Edward Denny, 3rd Bt.: his family’s influence was so strong that Peel once compared it with Lord Caledon’s in Old Sarum.1 Denny made a point of being present during at least one election, but he did not himself take a leading part in the choice of those who were elected. This was entrusted to his father-in-law, Judge Robert Day, who took upon himself the role of adviser on matters of state to a number of Kerry dignitaries. Day, in his turn, sold the seat on Denny’s behalf.

Moore, who had purchased the seat in 1798, was returned by ballot in January 1801, but decided to quit Parliament in 1802. Day, who had at one stage been in negotiation with a member of Addington’s cabinet,2 therefore sold the seat to Canning, who wanted an independent base from which he could launch his attacks upon ministers. It was Canning’s election that Denny attended.3 In 1806 Fitzgerald was returned as a ‘seat-warmer’ by the government, with which Day had on this occasion contracted the return.4 In January 1807 the government, after ignoring a plea for the seat from Isaac Corry*, nominated Boddington as the purchaser. Day continued this arrangement with the Portland government in May of that year and the incoming government officials sold the return for six sessions to John Maberly*. Maberly had Foulkes returned as a locum tenens for himself, but as he did not take up his option on the seat, for private reasons, he came to an agreement with the government, as a result of which Stephen was returned.5

The ease of these transactions did not repeat itself for the Parliament of 1812. In that year Day sold the seat to Herbert, a disappointed candidate in the Kerry election. The price was £5,000, instead of the usual £6,000. Their agreement was that if Herbert vacated, he would offer the seat to Day who, according to the Castle, promised to return a government nominee. Thus when Herbert decided to vacate early in 1813, Peel began to cast about for a purchaser. At this point Herbert suddenly decided that he was a free agent and expressed a wish to negotiate directly in that capacity with Peel and the prime minister. As they would, by accepting this offer, have annoyed Day and violated Curwen’s Act, the two ministers refused, with the result that Herbert surrendered the return to Day. This invoked the ‘agreement’ of 1812, except that Day suddenly announced that ‘he was only bound to give [ministers] a preference, which if declined, he had the power of returning anyone, whether friend or foe’. Ministers did not express their preference loudly enough, for Day sold the seat to Baillie, who promptly took his seat among the opposition.6 In 1818 Day’s grandson was returned, and when he vacated in 1819 Day sold the return to Cuffe, a staunch supporter of government.

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Add. 40280 f. 48.
  • 2. Fitzgerald mss 7/100, Day to Glandore, 5 Dec. 1801.
  • 3. Ibid. 8/20, same to same, 16 July 1802.
  • 4. Ibid. 10/7, Trail to Fitzgerald, 24 Dec. 1806; HMC Fortescue, viii. 398.
  • 5. Wellington mss, Hawkesbury to Wellesley, 28 Apr., Wellesley to Long, 17 May, Long to Wellesley, 23, 24 May, Maberly to same, 24 May, H. Wellesley to same, 25 May, Sir A. to H. Wellesley, 28 May, Trail to Sir A. Wellesley, 13 July 1807, Wellesley to Trail, 11 Feb. 1808.
  • 6. Add. 40182, f. 12; 40195, f. 297; 40196, ff. 12, 328; 40198, f. 283; 40280, ff. 41, 48, 52; 40282, ff. 67, 80; 40283, f. 32.