LOWRY CORRY, Armar, Visct. Corry (1801-1845).
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Family and Educationb. 23 Dec. 1801, 1st s. of Somerset Lowry Corry†, 2nd Earl Belmore [I], and Lady Juliana Butler, da. of Henry Thomas, 2nd earl of Carrick [I]; bro. of Hon. Henry Thomas Lowry Corry*. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1820. m. 27 May 1834, Emily Louise, da. and coh. of William Shepherd of Brabourne, Kent, 4s. 4da. styled Visct. Corry 1802-41; suc. fa. as 3rd Earl Belmore [I] 18 Apr. 1841. d. 17 Dec. 1845.
Sheriff, co. Fermanagh 1832-3.
Corry’s father, an opponent of the Union who represented Tyrone at Dublin and Westminster for five years from 1797, succeeded as 2nd Earl Belmore and to the magnificent Castle Coole, near Enniskillen, in Fermanagh in 1802. An influential magnate in both counties, he at last gained his desired Irish representative peerage in 1819 and thereafter supported Lord Liverpool’s government in the Lords.1 On a vacancy occurring in Fermanagh (once represented by his Corry ancestors) in the autumn of 1822, Corry, abandoning his studies at Oxford, was put forward by Belmore, who, in the absence of a suitable member of the Cole family, secured the tacit approval of their powerful neighbour and kinsman Lord Enniskillen, but not that of the independent former candidate Sir Henry Brooke. Despite being unknown to the electors, which his proposer excused on the ground of his having travelled extensively on the continent with his father, Corry was narrowly elected ahead of Brooke at the by-election in March 1823, when he denied that he had benefited from a coalition with Enniskillen.2 An inactive ministerialist, he served at least once on the committee of the Grand Orange Lodge.3
Corry presented anti-Catholic petitions from Fermanagh, 16 Apr., when he voted against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, but he divided for inquiry into the legal proceedings against the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. 1823.4 He voted against condemning the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith in Demerara, 11 June 1824. He divided for the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15, 25 Feb., and against Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He voted against the related franchise measure, 26 Apr., but conceded that it would at least greatly mitigate the evil of emancipation, 9 May 1825. No evidence of parliamentary activity has been traced for the 1826 session. With Enniskillen’s backing and no opponent coming forward, Corry was returned unopposed at the general election that summer.5 He signed the requisitions for, but apparently did not attend, the Fermanagh and Tyrone Protestant meetings in October and December, although he did represent his brother Henry, now Member for Tyrone, at an Orange dinner in Omagh, 6 Nov. 1826, and speak at another in Enniskillen, 2 Jan. 1827.6 He signed the anti-Catholic petition of the noblemen and gentlemen of Ireland in February and voted against Catholic relief, 6 Mar., but his father’s past pro-Catholic votes were held against him at an Orange gathering in his constituency, 13 Aug. 1827.7 Corry voted against repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and, despite having brought up at least one Irish petition for Catholic claims, 7 Mar., against relief, 12 May 1828. He divided with the Wellington ministry against reduction of the salary of the lieutenant-general of the ordnance, 4 July. At an Orange celebration in Enniskillen, 12 Aug., he declared that no one ‘could be more steadfast in supporting our ancient constitution than he was’, yet he seems to have absented himself from the occasions when Brunswick Clubs were established in Fermanagh and Tyrone that autumn and from the meetings in both counties that winter.8 His reticence, like that of his brother, was probably owing to the situation of their father, who was appointed governor of Jamaica that year and who informed the duke of Wellington in December 1828 that he favoured Catholic relief if accompanied by sufficient securities.9 Listed by Planta, the patronage secretary, as likely to be ‘with government’ on emancipation, he was approached to second the address. According to Lord Ellenborough, he was ‘a little taken aback’ to find that this recommended settling the religious question, but nonetheless agreed to do it, only ‘reserving his judgement as to details’. He duly praised ministers’ handling of foreign and financial matters and welcomed Catholic relief insofar as it would not trench upon the Protestant constitution, 5 Feb. 1829, when John Cam Hobhouse* recorded that he ‘spoke well and liberally’.10 However, he retracted this, citing the securities as inadequate, and voted against emancipation, 6 Mar. He divided against the second and third readings of the bill, 18, 30 Mar., the franchise bill, 26 Mar., and allowing Daniel O’Connell to take his seat unimpeded, 18 May; by contrast, Belmore’s proxy was given in the Lords in favour of emancipation, 4, 10 Apr. 1829.
Corry voted against parliamentary reform, 18 Feb., and the enfranchisement of Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, 23 Feb. 1830. He obtained three weeks’ leave to attend the assizes, 15 Mar., and that month signed the requisition for a Fermanagh meeting to petition in favour of amending the grand jury laws.11 He divided against Jewish emancipation, 17 May, presented his county’s petition for the introduction of turnpike laws to Ireland, 21 May, and voted against abolition of the death penalty for forgery, 7 June. Corry, who had acted as his father’s representative in negotiations with Wellington and Lord Aberdeen, the foreign secretary, relative to Tyrone politics earlier in the year, was expected to face a contest at the general election that summer in Fermanagh, where he was wrongly thought to have capitulated to ministers on the Catholic issue.12 But, nominated by Enniskillen’s eldest son Lord Cole*, who was now of age, he and his Orange colleague Archdall defeated Brooke and his son after a six-day poll.13 He was listed by ministers among their ‘friends’ and divided with them on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830, which led to their downfall. His last known votes in the Commons were against the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar., and for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831.
Despite being an anti-reformer, he was said to be unpopular with the Ultras and distrusted by the gentry, so allowing Enniskillen, who was concerned to safeguard his future interest by providing for his own son, to abandon his allies, regardless of the trouble and expense to which they had been put in cultivating the seat. Corry therefore resigned and was replaced by Cole at the Fermanagh election of 1831, when he was praised for his services to the county. Belmore was impotently furious at this mistreatment, but Corry seems to have acted with more equanimity and did not apparently attempt to organize any independent opposition to Cole as a means of marking his resentment. Nothing came of the request for a United Kingdom peerage for him that year, which his father wished could be made to descend via his brother, given Corry’s ‘vows of celibacy’.14 Having played little further part in local politics, he succeeded his father, who was recalled from Jamaica in 1832, as 3rd Earl Belmore in April 1841. He died at Castle Coole in December 1845. He made substantial provision for his younger children, including Henry William (1845-1927), Conservative Member for Tyrone, 1873-80, and was succeeded in his Irish estates by his eldest son, Somerset Richard (1835-1913), 4th Earl Belmore, a Conservative junior minister and colonial governor, who wrote several electoral, family and local studies.15