BELLEW, Sir Patrick, 7th bt. (1798-1866), of Barmeath Castle, Dunleer, co. Louth
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Family and Education
b. 29 Jan. 1798, 1st s. of Sir Edward Bellew, 6th bt., of Barmeath and Mary Anne, da. and h. of Richard Strange of Rockwell Castle, co. Kilkenny. m. 19 Jan. 1829, Anna Fermina, da. of Don José Maria de-Mendoza-y-Rios of Seville, 1s. 4da. suc. fa. as 7th bt. 15 Mar. 1827; cr. Bar. Bellew [I] 10 July 1848. d. 10 Dec. 1866.
PC [I] 17 Jan. 1838; trustee, St. Patrick’s Coll. Maynooth 1836-d.; commr. for national education [I] 1839-d.
Sheriff, co. Louth 1831, ld. lt. 1831-d.; col. Louth militia.
Bellew’s father, an ‘active but always moderate member of the Catholic body’ descended from ‘one of the oldest Anglo-Norman families settled in Ireland’, owned ‘over 5,000 acres’ in county Louth, including the Dunleer estates which he had purchased from the overstretched Foster family before 1820.1 The leader of an abortive challenge to the controlling Foster and Jocelyn interests at the 1820 Louth by-election, in 1826 he and Bellew came out in support of the Catholic Association’s candidate Alexander Dawson and helped to return him.2 They backed the formation of the pro-Catholic Louth Independent Club, where Bellew’s ‘observations’ as ‘so young a man’ were later said to have ‘astonished all who heard him’.3 Bellew succeeded his father in March 1827 and the following month signed the requisition for a Dublin meeting in support of Catholic emancipation.4 In June Lord Manners, the staunchly Protestant Irish lord chancellor, blocked his appointment to the commission of the peace, an office which his father had held ‘for over 30 years’, on account of his links with the Association, whose leaders convened a meeting to condemn the decision, 23 June 1827.5 According to Greville, Manners had been ‘strongly pressed’ to give way ‘even by Protestants’, and his ‘refusal so disgusted [Lord] Duncannon* that he was very near withdrawing his name from the commission ... but Lord Spencer dissuaded him’.6 ‘Was there anything so beastly outrageous as Lord Manners’s conduct about Sir Patrick Bellew’s commission of the peace?’, commented Daniel O’Connell*.7 Manners’s retirement later that year prompted Spring Rice, the under-secretary for home affairs, to remind William Lamb, the Irish secretary, that Bellew, ‘like other men of his creed and station’, had ‘taken comparatively little part in politics, contenting himself with giving a yearly subscription to the Catholic rent, allowing his name to be enrolled as a member of the Association, and taking the chair occasionally at an aggregate meeting’:
You will have a difficult case to consider respecting Bellew’s appointment to the Louth magistracy. If the baronet is as is stated in all respects qualified for the commission of the peace it will be a master stroke on the part of the new chancellor to appoint him. It would at once gain over the whole Catholic body. I do not disguise to myself that it might produce a reaction in other quarters and it would not be advisable would the chancellor be mistaken for an associator. But your new employee is quite free from the possibility of such a suspicion.8
The refusal of the new Irish chancellor Sir Anthony Hart to appoint him the following year provoked another outcry, it being observed by the local press that ‘for the same cause’ he should ‘have drawn his pen across the names of half the magistrates of rank and fortune in the country, for they are members of the same body’.9
Bellew took frequent trips abroad during 1828 and 1829 and regretted that his ‘being on the continent’ had prevented him from meeting Lord Anglesey, the Irish viceroy, to whom he later wrote:
By the passing of the emancipation bill to which your lordship so materially contributed we have been restored to our long withheld rights. I believe I am one of the first to take advantage of this new state of things by offering my brother as a candidate for the representation of the county ... As a Catholic I should feel a peculiar pride in having the countenance of your lordship.
Anglesey, however, was determined to remain ‘unshackled by any engagement of support’.10 At the 1830 general election Bellew’s refusal to countenance the withdrawal of his younger brother Richard Montesquieu Bellew in favour of Richard Sheil*, with whom Spring Rice had earlier noted that Bellew was ‘at issue’, earned him the ‘unmixed execration and contempt’ of local Catholics, who charged him with ‘throwing the county into Orange hands’ by splitting the Catholic vote.11 Following their defeat and the circulation of a list of ‘Brunswick Papists’ who had voted for his brother, Bellew established a fund ‘to stand by, protect, and assist, in every way in our power, the individuals named’.12
At the 1831 general election Bellew, who had attended a county meeting to petition in favour of parliamentary reform, 18 Mar., resigned his recently acquired shrievalty and came forward for Louth as a supporter of the Grey ministry’s reform bill and the extension of its principle to Ireland. Following a meeting to determine ‘who should be the popular candidates’, however, he ‘obeyed the public will’ and withdrew in favour of Sheil.13 Charles Thackeray informed the Irish primate, 4 June, that ‘Lord Plunket made Sir Patrick Bellew offer himself for the county in the name of the government’, but then ‘deserted him’.14 Bellew, who Sheil later conceded was the ‘natural representative of the county’, was widely applauded for having averted ‘the baneful results of division’, and on the vacancy created by the death of Dawson in August accepted an invitation from the freeholders to offer again, citing his support for the ‘Irish reform bill, and all others tending to the prosperity of the country’.15 On 27 Aug. 1831 the Irish secretary Smith Stanley tried to intervene, telling Anglesey, again viceroy, that ‘Bellew, who under other circumstances would be the man, would hardly do, as they have one Catholic for the county already’ and urging the claims of another candidate, but in the event he came in unopposed.16
Bellew, who is not known to have spoken in debate in this period, voted for Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, 10 Oct. 1831. On 28 Nov. Anglesey informed Lord Grey that having ‘been assured that Sir P. Bellew did not pledge himself to the repeal’, he would ‘instantly appoint him lieutenant of Louth’, which he duly did.17 He voted for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, for going into committee on it, 20 Feb. 1832, and gave steady support to its detailed provisions. He divided for the third reading, 22 Mar., the address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry the measure unimpaired, 10 May, and the Irish bill, 25 May. He had joined Brooks’s, sponsored by Lords Duncannon and Killeen*, 28 Jan. He divided against the proposed reform of Irish tithes, 8, 27, 30 Mar., and the Irish tithes bill, 13 July, but voted with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July 1832.
At the 1832 general election Bellew, whose refusal to give ‘an unqualified pledge’ in favour of repeal of the Union had lost him support, stood down in favour of his brother Richard, who was returned as a ‘repealer’.18 The death in December 1834 of the other Liberal Member created a vacancy for which Bellew was elected unopposed only five days before the dissolution. He was re-elected in 1835 and sat with his brother until his retirement in 1837. In 1839 he was appointed to the commission on Irish national education, on which he was one of the few remaining Catholics in 1859.19 He was elevated to the Irish peerage by Russell in 1848. Bellew died at Barmeath in December 1866.