BAGWELL, William (c.1776-1826), of Marlfield, co. Tipperary and Eastgrove, co. Cork

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Constituency

Dates

13 Feb. 1801 - 20 Feb. 1819
2 Mar. 1819 - 1826

Family and Education

b. c. 1776, 1st s. of John Bagwell†, MP [I], of Marlfield and Mary, da. of Richard Hare of Ennismore, co. Kerry; bro. of John Bagwell† and Richard Bagwell†. educ. Westminster 1787. unm. suc. fa. 1816. d. 4 Nov. 1826.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1798-1800.

Jt. muster master gen. [I] 1807-d.; PC [I] 17 Jan. 1809-d.

Gov. co. Tipperary 1807; trustee, linen board [I] 1818.

Lt.-col. co. Tipperary militia 1794, col. 1805-d.

Biography

Bagwell, whose father had sat for county Tipperary, 1801-6, had vacated the family’s close borough of Clonmel and slipped in unopposed for the county in 1819 with the support of the outgoing Member Lord Caher, who had succeeded as 2nd earl of Glengall.1 At the 1820 general election he stood again. A last minute attempt by Glengall to introduce another candidate came to nothing and he was returned unopposed.2 Bagwell was described in 1823 as ‘one of the treasury phalanx’ and recalled by Thomas Wyse’s* agent as a ‘ministerial Member’, but when present he gave only general support to the Liverpool government, who observed that his sinecure produced about £1,000 per annum, that he had obtained a fishery inspectorate for ‘a protegé of his’ and was seeking ‘some place’ for a Mr. Alleyne and church promotion for his brother Richard, dean of Clogher, recently appointed collector of Clonmel.3 (A statement of 1825 that he voted ‘generally against government’ was misleading.)4

He was appointed to the select committee on Irish election expenses, 3 May 1820, when he made ‘some observations’ about the objections raised by Irish grand juries to the cost of voting booths.5 He voted in the minority against the appointment of an additional Scottish baron of exchequer, 15 May, but against an opposition call for economy and retrenchment, 4 July. On 14 June 1820 he urged the chancellor of the exchequer to address the ‘calamity’ of bank failures in the south of Ireland. He divided for Catholic claims, 28 Feb. 1821, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825, and asserted that emancipation would promote ‘tranquillity and security’, 29 Mar. 1821. He presented a Tipperary petition in support of the Union, 7 Mar.6 He voted against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821, but for abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 2 May 1822. He presented Tipperary petitions for additional butter import duties, 16, 20 May. On 28 June he brought up a petition from Irish clerks of the peace against the grand jury presentments bill.7 In December 1822 he and Lord Henry Seymour Moore† jointly wrote to Lord Liverpool to complain that their muster mastership salaries had been withheld since 1816 ‘without any revocation of their patent from the crown and without any intimation whatever’, and to demand that the ‘unissued salary’ be treated as ‘an arrear due to them’, adding that if Liverpool had ‘any doubt’ about their claim, it should be ‘submitted for the opinion of the law officers of the crown’.8 The outcome is unknown. He presented a Tipperary petition for the commutation of tithes, 17 Feb. 1823. Next day he protested that government’s proposed Irish militia reductions ‘amounted to a breach of faith’ and ‘would plunge a large body of men, with wives and children, into a condition of deep and undeserved distress’.9 He voted against parliamentary reform, 20 Feb., and further tax reductions, 3 Mar. He presented a petition from the tanners of Clonmel against the leather tax, 11 Mar.10 He complained that the duties on Irish coal made it ‘an extremely dear commodity’, 27 Mar., and that no tax ‘pressed more heavily on the people of Ireland’, 2 May. He spoke in support of the Irish Insurrection Act, 12 May.11 He divided for the grant for Irish churches and glebe houses, 11 Apr., and against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., but was in the minority of 14 for inserting a clause in the Irish county treasurers bill to prevent the reappointment of insolvent collectors, 2 May. He voted against inquiry into chancery delays, 5 June 1823.

Bagwell presented petitions against slavery, 5, 18 May, endorsed one from county Cork against repeal of the Irish linen bounties next day and presented a Tipperary petition against the bill for grinding foreign corn, 11 May 1824.12 That day he was appointed to the select committee on Irish disturbances, of whose 25 members Charles Williams Wynn* noted, somewhat inaccurately, that there were ‘only six ... and perhaps Bagwell, who are anti-Catholic’.13 He brought up a petition in favour of Catholic claims, 13 May.14 He divided against condemning the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith for inciting slave riots in Demerara, 11 June, arguing that ‘cause and effect had never been more clearly connected’ than they were in the resolutions against slavery adopted ‘last session’ by the House and the ‘recent insurrection of the blacks’, 15 June 1824. He was appointed to the select committee on the state of Ireland, 17 Feb. 1825. He presented Tipperary petitions against suppression of the Catholic Association and for Catholic relief, 28 Feb., and one from Clonmel for the establishment of Irish provincial banks, 4 Mar.15 He defended the ‘services’ of the Irish linen board, which had ‘given employment to a great number of poor persons’, 15 Mar., and was appointed to the select committee on the industry, 14 Apr. He presented a Tipperary petition against alteration of the Irish butter regulations, 28 Mar., and a contrary petition from Clonmel, 14 Apr.16 He asserted that ‘by a seasonable concession of the just claims of the Catholics, all painful recollections on both sides would be buried in oblivion’, 19 Apr. He denied allegations that Catholic priests engaged in ‘idolatrous practices’, explaining that he had voted for the disfranchisement of Ireland’s 40s. freeholders not ‘as a Protestant security’, but because the ‘present system of voting was bad’, 29 Apr. He was appointed to the committee on the Irish prison laws bill, 2 May 1825, for which he was a majority teller, 5 May 1826. He called for an increase in Irish puisne judges’ salaries, 16 May 1825.17 He believed that Liverpool ‘should have pointed out some substitute for tranquillizing Ireland’ following the rejection of Catholic relief, as he ‘could not describe the feelings with which he should return’ to Ireland, where an ‘urgent remedy’ was needed, 26 May 1825. He declined to attend the Association dinner for the ‘friends of civil and religious liberty’, 2 Feb. 1826.18 He divided with ministers on the Jamaican slave trade, 2 Mar. 1826. Presenting a county Cork petition for Catholic claims, he obtained ‘a laugh’ by introducing it as one against ‘Catholic slavery in Ireland’, 12 Apr. 1826. He presented Tipperary petitions against slavery, 20, 27 Apr.19 He voted against the emergency admission of foreign corn, 8 May 1826, and was appointed to the select committee on the Irish butter trade next day.

At the 1826 general election he offered again, but following Lady Glengall’s introduction of another candidate withdrew in favour of John Hely Hutchinson I, citing the ‘disposal of a certain interest’ and a ‘severe attack of illness’. ‘Bagwell has behaved in the most honourable and kindest manner’, commented Hely Hutchinson’s uncle, Lord Donoughmore.20 He died that November at his cottage at Eastgrove, near Cove, county Cork.21

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon

Notes

  • 1. NLI, Vesey Fitzgerald mss 7857/155.
  • 2. Dublin Evening Post, 21 Mar. 1820.
  • 3. Black Bk. (1823), 137; NLI, Wyse mss 15024 (2), E. Scully to Wyse, 13 Sept. 1830.
  • 4. Session of Parl. 1825, p. 449.
  • 5. The Times, 4 May 1820.
  • 6. Ibid. 8 Mar. 1821.
  • 7. Ibid. 17, 21 May, 29 June 1822.
  • 8. Add. 38380, f. 200.
  • 9. The Times, 18, 19 Feb. 1823.
  • 10. Ibid. 12 Mar. 1823.
  • 11. Ibid. 3, 13 May 1823.
  • 12. Ibid. 6, 7, 12, 19 May 1824.
  • 13. Buckingham, Mems. Geo. IV, ii. 73.
  • 14. The Times, 14 May 1824.
  • 15. Ibid. 1, 5 Mar. 1825.