SNEYD, Nathaniel (1767-1833), of Bawnboy and Ballyconnel, co. Cavan.

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



1801 - 1826

Family and Education

b. c.1767, s. of Edward Sneyd, MP [I], wine merchant, of Dublin, by Hannah Honora, da. of James King of Gola, co. Louth. m. (1) 5 Feb. 1791, Alicia (d.1793), da. of George Montgomery (formerly Leslie), MP [I], of Ballyconnel, co. Cavan, s.p.; (2) [Aug.] 1806, Anne, da. of Thomas Burgh, MP [I], revenue commr., of Bert House, co. Kildare, s.p. suc. fa. 1781.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1794-1800.

Dir. Bank of Ireland 1802, dep. gov. 1816-18, gov. 1818-20.

Sheriff, co. Cavan 1795-6, custos. rot. 1801.

Trustee, linen board [I] 1815.

Capt. commdt. Ballyconnel vol. cav. 1798, 1803.


Sneyd was an eminent wine merchant in Dublin and a director of the Bank of Ireland. His first wife was the daughter of George Montgomery, Member for Cavan for nearly 20 years on the independent interest until his death in 1787. She was also the niece of Robert, 1st Earl of Leitrim, on whose interest Sneyd, like his father, first sat for Carrick in the Irish parliament. He opposed the Union, resigning his seat and coming in for Cavan at a by-election in January 1800 in which he defeated Lord Farnham’s cousin John Maxwell Barry* with the help of the same ‘popular’ interest that had returned his father-in-law. The Castle reckoned him friendly to government and he voluntarily attended the session of 1801-2, obtaining a legal office for a friend as a mark of government favour.1 Yet apparently he did not contribute to debate in this period, nor did he vote with ministers on the Prince of Wales’s debts, 4 Mar. 1803, though reported to be in England, and in the spring of 1804 he was allegedly ‘indisposed to government’. His votes with the minority on 15 Mar., 23 and 25 Apr. 1804, on the defence questions that brought down Addington, attested to this.

Sneyd promised support to Pitt’s second ministry from the start, and, though one of the Prince of Wales’s friends thought he might prove ‘accessible by a little notice’, voted with the ministerial minority against the censure of Melville, 8 Apr. 1805, and in the majority against Catholic claims, 14 May. He then returned to Ireland, but the viceroy informed Pitt, 1 June, that Sneyd had ‘very handsomely promised to return to London, though at considerable inconvenience to himself’. He was reported to have sailed on 5 June. On 17 June he was in Dublin offering to sail ‘tomorrow night’ if needed, and wishing to ‘make a merit of going over’. Such firm support was doubtless the basis of his claim for a pension, acknowledged by the ministry but not then realized.2

Sneyd went on to support the Grenville ministry and was prepared to pay £5,000 for a seat at Enniskillen, in case he was not secure for Cavan in the election of 1806. He transferred his vote to their successors on Brand’s motion, 9 Apr. 1807. In December the Irish chief secretary applied for the pension promised Sneyd to be implemented, but was advised against referring it to Perceval who would be unlikely to approve it: ‘but if it is of great importance to Mr Sneyd’s interest in his county, it may still be mentioned to Mr Perceval’. In 1808 Sneyd was ‘a cordial friend, and attends well when in London’. His second marriage had connected him with John Foster* and the second Mrs Sneyd was a government pensioner. His firm supplied the Castle and in 1809 he was asked to value the wines that Sir Arthur Wellesley had left behind, so that his successor as chief secretary could make an offer for them. He appeared in the minority on Perceval’s motion regarding the Duke of York’s misconduct of army patronage, 17 Mar. 1809, but returned to Ireland by May, being ready to return ‘when it is necessary’. He voted with ministers on the Scheldt inquiry, 26 Jan., 23 Feb. and 30 Mar. 1810, and was listed ‘against the Opposition’ by the Whigs that year. He was described as one of Perceval’s friends who absented themselves on the Regency question in December 1810. In May 1811, when he applied for a writership for a nephew, he was characterized by the viceroy as ‘a steady supporter and one we are anxious to be of service to’. He was in the government minorities of 4 May 1812 on sinecures and 21 May against Stuart Wortley’s motion for a stronger administration.3

Sneyd voted against Catholic relief on 22 June 1812, 2 Mar., 11 and 24 May 1813, 21 May 1816, 9 May 1817, 3 May 1819, and otherwise, when present, with ministers, though on 5 May 1819 he was in the minority against the Irish window tax and on 3 June against the foreign enlistment bill. Sneyd was ‘a great favourite’ in county Cavan, addressed Chief Secretary Peel as his ‘dear friend’, and, after Peel had helped avert a contest at the election of 1818, his ‘dearest friend’. Peel continued to order his wine from Sneyd after leaving Ireland. He died from a lunatic assassin’s bullet in Dublin, 31 July 1833.4

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Add. 35781, ff. 89-90.
  • 2. Corresp. Rt. Hon. J. Beresford, ii. 288; Prince of Wales Corresp. v. 2003; PRO 30/8/328, f. 153; Add. 31230, f. 20; Dublin SPO 528/199/12.
  • 3. HMC Fortescue, viii. 404; Wellington mss, Sir A. to H. Wellesley, 8 Dec., reply 24 Dec. 1807; Add. 40297 (Sneyd); 40298, f. 6; NLI, Melville mss, Saxton to Saunders Dundas, 10 May 1809; SRO GD51/1/349/14; Grey mss, Taylor to Grey, 19 Dec. 1810; NLI, Richmond mss 61/319.
  • 4. Add. 40278, ff. 93, 214; 40298, f. 6; 40327, f. 9. Gent. Mag. (1833), ii. 183.