BROWNLOW, Charles (1795-1847), of Lurgan, co. Armagh.
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Family and Education
b. 17 Apr. 1795, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Lt.-Col. Charles Brownlow of Lurgan by Caroline, da. and coh. of Benjamin Ashe of Bath, Som. educ. R. sch. Armagh; Trinity, Dublin 1812; Trinity Coll. Camb. 1815. m. (1) 1 June 1822, his cos. Lady Mary Bligh (d. 18 June 1823), da. of John, 4th Earl of Darnley [I], 1da.; (2) 15 July 1828, Jane, da. of Roderick MacNeill of Barra, Inverness, 2s. 1da. suc. fa. 1822; cr. Baron Lurgan [I] 14 May 1839.
PC [I] 8 Mar. 1837.
Trustee, linen board [I] 1817.
Capt. Lurgan inf. 1817.
In 1816 Brownlow’s father informed the chief secretary that his son was likely to be returned for Armagh at the next general election and that ‘as he has the inclination of supporting your administration would like to be appointed 1st captain of the Lurgan yeomanry’. In 1818 he was duly returned as a friend of government, after a contest in which he was a staunch opponent of Catholic relief.1
On 28 Nov. 1818 Castlereagh informed Charles Arbuthnot: ‘By the bye, I have an offer from Mr Brownlow, Member for the county of Armagh, to move the address. As he is a young man of promising talents and perfect independence, I do not think we could do better.’ On 21 Jan. 1819 Brownlow moved the address in what Edward John Littleton characterized as ‘a good speech, delivered with much twang’. Huskisson, remarking that Brownlow ‘had never before been in any house of Parliament, even as a spectator’, added: ‘He was not embarrassed. This shows good nerves.’ Lambton assured Lord Grey that, although Brownlow had some experience at a ‘debating club’ at Cambridge, he appeared to be a ‘raw Irishman’.2
Brownlow went on to combine a general support for ministers with a virulent opposition to Catholic emancipation, being the first Member to style himself an Orangeman, until in 1825 ‘a new light beamed on his mind’ and he startled the world by announcing his conversion to Catholic relief. His plea for the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland may have cost him his seat in 1832.3 He died 30 Apr. 1847.