GREENE, William (1748-1829), of Lota, co. Cork and Janeville, co. Waterford.
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Family and Education
b. 17 Jan. 1748, 4th s. of John Greene of Greenville, co. Kilkenny by Frances, da. of Joseph Nicholson of Richardstown, co. Tipperary. m. Oct. 1789, Hon. Jane Massy, da. of Hugh, 2nd Baron Massy [I], 4s. 4da.
Cadet, E.I. Co. (Bengal) 1769, ensign 1769, lt. 1772, capt. 1779, maj., res. 1785.
Sheriff, co. Kilkenny 1823-4.
After military service in the East India Company’s employ, for which Lord Bessborough evidently sponsored him, Greene returned to Ireland and invested in land in Kilkenny and Waterford. Writing to congratulate Warren Hastings on his acquittal, 30 Apr. 1795, he informed him that he devoted his time to farming.1 His eldest brother Godfrey (1742-98) had sat for Dungarvan, where the Greenes had property, on Lord Waterford’s interest until 1790. He himself professed hostility to that interest and friendship to the Duke of Devonshire’s in 1795 but contested the borough, unsuccessfully, against both in 1797. Yet in 1802 he followed his brother’s example at Westminster, behaving generally like other members of Lord Waterford’s squad in supporting — silently — Addington and Pitt in turn.2 He was absent, though in England, on the division of 4 Mar. 1803 on the Prince of Wales’s debts, and on 15 Mar. 1804, when the Beresfords were rallying to Pitt, apparently voted for the latter’s naval motion.3 Soon afterwards Pitt’s friends commented on him: ‘present—has voted with government—will vote with Lord Waterford’. Greene was in the government minority against the censure on Melville, 8 Apr. 1805, but voted in favour of Catholic claims on 14 May.
He did not seek re-election in 1806 when his seat was snatched from Lord Waterford by his competitor at Dungarvan, the Duke of Devonshire. He encouraged Richard Keane to stand as a locum tenens for his son, but nothing came of this plan. The duke’s agent claimed that Greene was ‘extremely unpopular in the town, from his being an harsh landlord, and from his having been long in India he has contracted some very arbitrary habits’. He added a story of Greene’s having cut off the fresh water supply to Dungarvan to avenge his defeat there in 1797. In 1807 he offered his Dungarvan property to Lord Waterford for £60,000.4 Greene died 3 June 1829.