LATOUCHE, Robert (1773-1844), of Harristown, co. Kildare
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Family and Educationb. Oct. 1773, 1st s. of John Latouche†, MP [I], of Harristown and Gertrude, da. of Robert Uniacke Fitzgerald of Corkbeg, co. Cork; bro. of John Latouche†. educ. Kildare; Harrow 1785-8; Eton 1788-90; Trinity, Dublin 8 Nov. 1790, aged 17. m. 17 Apr. 1810, Lady Emily Le Poer Trench, da. of William, 1st earl of Clancarty [I], 3s. 3da.(2 d.v.p.). suc. fa. 1810. d. 22 May 1844.1
MP [I] 1794-1800.
Sheriff, co. Kildare 1797-8.
Commdt. Kilcullen yeoman cav. 1798.
Dir. Farming Soc. of Ireland 1815-24, Barrow Navigation Co. 1837.
Latouche continued to sit undisturbed for county Kildare on the combined interest of his family and the duke of Leinster, who had sponsored his election to Brooks’s, 5 Apr. 1804. In 1810 he had succeeded to his father’s partnership in the family bank and substantial estates in Kildare, to which he had added property at Narraghmore in 1813, acquired from the Keating family for £93,000.2 At the 1820 general election he was again returned unopposed.3 A regular but mostly silent attender, he voted with the Whig opposition to the Liverpool ministry on most major issues, especially economy, retrenchment and reduced taxation.4 He voted for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He was granted six weeks’ leave on urgent private business, 1 May 1821. He divided for parliamentary reform, 25 Apr. 1822, 24 Apr. 1823, and inquiry into the parliamentary franchise, 20 Feb. 1823.
At the 1826 general election he stood on ‘the same liberal principles’ and was returned unopposed.5 He voted for Catholic claims, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828. On 19 Mar. 1827 he wrote to John Hely Hutchinson I* asking him to support the passage of two presentments for road making at the next assizes, one of which was to finish a road from Latouche’s colliery at Slieve-nar-Man, county Tipperary.6 He was granted a month’s leave to attend the Kildare assizes, 23 Mar. 1827. He presented petitions for Catholic emancipation, 23 Feb., 13 Mar., and voted accordingly, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. He presented petitions for repeal of the Irish Subletting and Vestry Acts, 13 Mar., 3 Apr. In October 1829 the Ultra leader Sir Richard Vyvyan* numbered him among those who had voted in favour of emancipation whose attitude towards a putative coalition government was ‘unknown’. On 24 Dec. 1829 Lord Anglesey was informed that Daniel O’Connell’s* endeavours to ‘make the Society for the Improvement of Ireland a debating club’ had resulted in ‘the loss of the duke of Leinster, La Touche and some others of our best members’.7 He was granted three weeks’ leave to attend the assizes, 11 Mar. 1830. He divided for the abolition of the Irish viceroyalty, 11 May, and information on privy councillors’ emoluments, 14 May. That day, in his only known spoken intervention, he presented and briefly endorsed a petition from the Provincial Bank of Ireland for abolition of the death penalty for forgery, for which he voted, 7 June. He divided for Jewish emancipation, 17 May, and parliamentary reform, 28 May. His only other recorded votes of the 1830 session were for reduction of the grants for South American missions, 7 June, consular services, 11 June, and Novia Scotia and Prince Edward Island, 14 June. On 21 June 1830 he presented a county petition against increased Irish stamp and spirit duties.
At the 1830 general election Latouche offered again, but ‘abruptly’ withdrew three days later, explaining that he found the attendance required of a Member ‘incompatible’ with his arrangements in ‘business and in personal life’. His actions were widely condemned. ‘It is very unexpected’, complained the Dublin Evening Post, and he ‘has not acted with frankness towards his late constituents’. In the ensuing contest he ‘positively’ denied charges of attempting to bring in a ‘nominee’.