BROWNE, Dominick (1787-1860), of Castle Macgarrett, co. Mayo.
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Family and Education
b. 28 May 1787, 1st s. of Dominick Geoffrey Browne of Castle Macgarrett by Margaret, da. and h. of Hon. George Browne, MP [I], 3rd s. of John, 1st Earl of Altamont [I]. educ. Eton 1802-5; ?Edinburgh Univ. 1805-6; St. John’s, Camb. 1806. m. 5 May 1811, Anne Isabella, da. and coh. of Henry Monck, MP [I], of Fowre, co. Westmeath, 2s. 2da. suc. fa. 1826; cr. Baron Oranmore and Browne [I] 4 May 1836.
PC [I] 7 Nov. 1834; ld. lt. Mayo 1834-42.
Described while up at Cambridge as ‘a good humoured clumsy ... student’,1 Browne owed his return for Mayo to his cousin, the other sitting Member Denis Browne, who secured him the Sligo interest and the goodwill of government, as well as to the goodwill of his brother-in-law Lord Dillon, whose succession to the peerage caused the vacancy. Denis Browne being a government supporter and Dillon in opposition, Browne, who survived a 57-day contest, was in a cleft stick; but he had seemingly made up his mind in advance, for he was not to be weaned from opposition politics of a somewhat radical complexion: indeed, the chief secretary believed him to be a ‘Burdettite’.2
On 5 July 1814 Browne was in the minority against Lord Cochrane’s expulsion from the House. He both spoke and voted against the deportation of Spanish Liberals from Gibraltar, 1 Mar. 1815. He voted for Catholic relief in the divisions of 1815, 1816, 1817 and 1819, and from February 1816 began voting steadily with opposition on all major issues, but particularly on retrenchment, Irish questions, repression, parliamentary reform and on Burdett’s motions. His only notable contribution to debate in this period was a bill to limit the duration of Irish election contests to 20 days, inspired by his own experience and urged by his constituents, for which he was given leave on 14 Mar. 1816, though reluctant to bring it in himself and doing so because nobody else would.3 After some procrastination, it became law in 1817.
As a Burdettite, he was manhandled by a Whig mob in the Westminster by-election of 1819.4 His fellow radical John Cam Hobhouse† viewed him de haut en bas: ‘absolutely at his alphabet on the subject [of parliamentary reform] ... it is quite disgusting to have to talk out of one’s abundance against any shallow pated fellow who is crammed with prejudice’.5 Browne’s politics remained oppositionist in complexion after 1820. He died 30 Dec. 1860.