VANDELEUR, John Ormsby (1765-1828), of Kilrush, co. Clare.
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Family and Education
b. 1765, 1st s. of Crofton Vandeleur, MP [I], of Kilrush by Alice, da. of Thomas Burton of Buncraggy. educ. Glasgow Univ. 1783; L. Inn 1785, called [I] 1790. m. 17 Nov. 1800, Lady Frances Moore, da. of Charles, 1st Mq. of Drogheda [I], 2s. 2da.
MP [I] 1790-1800.
Commr. of revenue [I] Aug. 1799-1802, of excise [I] 1802-6, of customs [I] 1806-22; PC [I] 27 Jan. 1801.
Trustee, linen board [I] 1802.
Vandeleur sat for Carlow in the Irish parliament of 1790 and was in opposition. In 1797 he came in for Ennis on his cousin Lord Conyngham’s interest and rallied to government, who gave him a place worth £1,000 a year in 1799.1 The Union ballot returned him to Westminster, where it was anticipated he would give his support to ministers. He attended in March 1801 and on 14 May asked a question in debate. He reappeared in November 1801 and several times spoke on Irish affairs, notably on the corn trade, 15 Mar. 1802, on which subject he was prepared to defer to John Foster; as a critic of the Bank of Ireland restriction bill, 26 Apr., and briefly in the debate on Irish linen regulation, 30 Apr. 1802.
Vandeleur went out of Parliament at the dissolution of 1802, being by then disqualified by his revenue place. When the Prince of Wales applied to him, through his wife’s uncle Lord Hertford, for his support for Col. MacDonnel in the county Clare election, Vandeleur wished ‘to have the concurrence of government’. The chief secretary, advised that government was not going to interfere in Irish county elections, reluctantly interviewed him, informing the lord lieutenant that ‘of all men here in Parliament, he is the one with whom I wish to have the least to do’.2
By 1813, Vandeleur was next in line to succeed Lord Castlecoote at the head of the board of revenue. The lord lieutenant thought him ‘as stupid a fellow’ as he ‘ever saw’, and chief secretary Peel believed that he had ‘no peculiar or personal claims of any description to urge upon the present government’ beyond ‘the generally admitted claims of promotion which seniority has given in the board of revenue’. When in 1817 Vandeleur was asked to support the ministerial candidates in Clare, he demurred unless his own objects were attended to. One of the candidates, William Vesey Fitzgerald, had the chief secretary’s sympathy:
Indeed, you say truly that there is not a wretched attorney in Clare or Galway more disgusting and more venal. I will not ask you to see the fellow—it might even be of mischief—because I know what your feelings might lead you to say to him ... At the same time, if he was told, as you say, that he had no chance of effecting, as you suggest, either of his objects, or any other, without he complied with the wishes of government—that might do something ... I declare I think that, considering he gives no support in Parliament for his office, that even his seat at the board would in former times have been the price of his blackguard opposition.
Then on 2 Apr. 1818, Fitzgerald had this to report:
Mr Vandeleur, about two days since, finding that I had 7,000 votes out of ten [thousand], was so good as to say he would support me. Even then, valueless as his offer was, he set out his mercenary views.3
Vandeleur died 28 Nov. 1828.