RAM, Abel (1753-1830), of Clonattin, co. Wexford.

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



1801 - 1806
1807 - 1812

Family and Education

b. 1753, 1st s. of Andrew Ram, MP [I], of Clonattin by Mary, da. of John Digby, MP [I], of Landenstown, co. Kildare. educ. Clare, Camb. 1771; L. Inn 1773. m. 1775, Elizabeth, da. of Capt. Joseph Stopford, bro. of James 1st Earl of Courtown, 4s. 3da. suc. fa. 1793.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1783-90, 1797-1800.

Lt.-col. co. Wexford militia 1795-1801.


Ram’s childless uncle of the same name was patron of the boroughs of Duleek and Gorey and he succeeded his father to a seat for the former in the Irish parliament, where the family acted with opposition.1 In 1797 Ram, whose marriage gave him Lord Courtown’s interest, was returned for the county. He voted against the Union in 1799 but supported it in 1800 and ceased to act with opposition: in fact, the Castle expected him to support government. He did so unobtrusively—he was evidently not a regular attender—until 23 Apr. 1804, when, influenced possibly by Lord Moira,2 he voted with the minority for Fox’s defence motion. He was subsequently reckoned a supporter of Pitt’s second administration. On 14 May 1805 he voted against Catholic claims. While there is no evidence of his opposition to the Grenville ministry, he failed to secure their support at the election of 1806, though he claimed to have it as an election ploy and made a bid to replace one of the two candidates favoured by government. It was reported that command of a battalion of the Wexford militia, if it were carved up for the purpose, would prevent his making a nuisance of himself. He in any case declined a poll, for which he sought merit with Lord Grenville, and unsuccessfully applied for the militia battalion, as well as for a borough seat ‘to serve the present government’.3

Ram recovered his seat with Castle backing at the contested election of 1807 and was reported to be attending in support of the Portland government soon afterwards: but the evidence for this is very thin. His name was absent from all the crucial government divisions in that Parliament, except on the address, 23 Jan. 1810, and on 30 Mar. 1810 he appears to have voted with the minority against ministers on the Scheldt inquiry, though the Whigs listed him ‘Government’ at that time. He declined a contest for the county in 1812, ‘not having the means for coming in’, though he waited till the ‘last moment, to take chance of the chapter of accidents’. In his farewell address, 7 Oct., he professed surprise at a premature dissolution and a dislike of disturbing the peace of the county, but called his retreat ‘a suspension only, not a surrender of my claims to your favour’. The chief secretary inquired whether Ram wished to secure a borough seat, but nothing came of it, nor did he stand for the county again.4 He died in 1830.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: Arthur Aspinall


  • 1. Procs. R. Irish Acad. lvi, sec. C, no. 3 (1954), 261.
  • 2. Prince of Wales Corresp. iv. 1842.
  • 3. Fortescue mss, Ram to Grenville, 1 July, reply 4 July; 21 Nov., reply 26 Nov.; NLS mss 12917, Newport to Elliot, 27 May, 30 June, 2, 9, July, 29 Oct. 1806.
  • 4. Add. 40222, ff. 12, 94; 40280, f. 48.