SHEIL, Richard Lalor (1791-1851), of Long Orchard, co. Tipperary

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



4 Mar. 1831 - 1831
1831 - 1832
1832 - 1841
1841 - Feb. 1851

Family and Education

b. 17 Aug. 1791, 1st s. of Edward Sheil of Bellevue, co. Waterford and Catherine, da. of John McCarthy of Spring House, co. Tipperary. educ. privately; Kensington House sch., Surr. 1802-4; Stonyhurst 1804; Trinity, Dublin 1807; King’s Inns 1809; L. Inn 1811, called [I] 1814. m. (1) 1816, Miss O’Halloran (d. Jan. 1822), niece of Sir William McMahon, master of the rolls [I], 1s. d.v.p.; (2) 20 July 1830, Anastasia, da. and coh. of John Lalor of Cranagh and Long Orchard, wid. of Edmund Power of Gurteen, Clonmel, co. Tipperary, s.p. Took name of Lalor before Sheil 1830. d. 25 May 1851.

Offices Held

KC [I] 1830; commr. Greenwich Hosp. 1838-9; vice-pres. bd. of trade Aug. 1839-June 1841; PC 29 Aug. 1839; judge adv.-gen. June-Sept 1841; master of mint July 1846-Nov. 1850; minister plenip. to Tuscany 1850-d.


Dubbed ‘the little spiteful, snarling Sheil’ by Thomas Creevey*, but widely regarded as one of the ‘most effective’ and ‘brilliant’ parliamentary speakers of his age, Sheil was credited with ‘an inborn gift of oratory’, which he cultivated with ‘great care and nicety’, although his ‘horrible’ high-pitched voice, likened by William Gladstone† to ‘a tin kettle battered about from place to place’, and his ‘detestable’ Irish brogue, meant that he was ‘not pleasant to listen to’, and his speeches were ‘better on paper than in the House’.1 His father had been a successful merchant in Spain, and on returning to Ireland had purchased an estate in county Waterford and married into a family connected to Count MacCarthy of Toulouse and the earls of Clancarty. Educated by a refugee French priest, the Abbé de Grimeau, Sheil later attended the Jesuit schools at Kensington and Stonyhurst, where he recalled that there was a ‘strong rivalry’ between the English and Irish boys and the ‘Jesuits themselves were all Englishmen’ and ‘occasionally exhibited that contempt for Ireland, which is exceedingly observable among the English Catholics’. In 1807 he entered Trinity, Dublin with ‘a competent knowledge of the classics, some acquaintance with Italian and Spanish, and the power of reading and writing French as if it were his mother tongue’.2 He was a member of its historical society, where a witness to his debut speech recounted how he ‘jumped into the middle of the floor’ and ‘stamping violently, squealed forth the most inflated rhetoric that had ever been heard, in the most discordant voice that could possibly be imagined’.3 Following the bankruptcy of his father in 1808, relatives assisted with the cost of his studies in Dublin, where he had started to speak at meetings of the Catholic Board, and at Lincoln’s Inn, where he joined the Eccentrics debating club. On returning to Ireland in late 1813 he delayed his call to the Irish bar in order to write Adelaide (1814), the first of a series of tragic dramas by which he attempted to make his fortune over the next decade. They enjoyed considerable success on the stage, aided by the performances of a celebrated Irish actress Eliza O’Neill, and in total netted him ‘about £2,000’.4 In 1816 his fortunes were further boosted by his marriage to a wealthy niece of Sir William MacMahon, the Irish master of the rolls, but his activities in support of emancipation were disapproved of and he derived no professional benefit from the connection, later remarking that the only thing he ever got from McMahon was breakfast.5 His legal career was slow to develop, and in the lulls between briefs he wrote many of the popular ‘Sketches of the Irish Bar’ and other articles for the New Monthly Magazine that were posthumously reprinted as Sketches, Legal and Political (1855).

In January 1821 Sheil, who had steadily supported the vetoists on the Catholic Board in arguing that a crown veto over episcopal appointments would facilitate emancipation, launched a scathing attack on Daniel O’Connell*, the leader of the anti-vetoists, and his plan to set aside emancipation in favour of a campaign for parliamentary reform. ‘I regret to see that his vetoistical folly is unchanged’, observed John Barclay Sheil to O’Connell, 17 Jan., but ‘if he knew how little is thought of such qualifying measures ... he would, I think, become an apostate from his present political creed and be forgiven’.6 In a savage retort, O’Connell ridiculed the ‘tragic wrath and noble ire of this Iambic rhapsodist’, and it was only with difficulty that Sheil was dissuaded from challenging him to a duel.7 Soon afterwards O’Connell was advised that Sheil had prepared an address for the next aggregate meeting ‘full of the worst politics ... a kind of ode in prose in favour of the Pitt system’, and that he should ‘bring as many honest men as possible to the meeting to enable us to control any political rascality’.8 In February 1821 Sheil welcomed William Plunket’s relief bill, to which O’Connell was opposed, but the subsequent lack of progress reunited the Catholic factions.9 On 8 Feb. 1823 he was formally reconciled with O’Connell at a dinner party at which it was decided to launch a new campaign for emancipation through the Catholic Association, of which he was a founding member.10 Early the following year O’Connell’s wife observed ‘how much better’ Sheil was ‘getting on since he gave up his useless and foolish opposition’.11 He spoke regularly at Catholic meetings, including those in honour of O’Connell in Dublin and Waterford, 4, 12 Aug. 1824, and the following month he and O’Connell invaded a bible meeting of the Munster Hibernian Society in Cork, at which the Protestant proselytiser James Edward Gordon* and the Baptist Wriothesley Noel were speaking, and over two days of ‘orderly’ argument ‘routed them completely’. O’Connell later disclaimed any ‘jealousy’ at the dinner held to honour Sheil there, saying, ‘it is the greatest compliment to me that he is thus treated’, for ‘whilst he differed with me he was totally disregarded’.12

In February 1825 Sheil was one of the deputation that went to Westminster to urge the case for emancipation, although O’Connell had privately decided against allowing him to give evidence, fearing that his ‘voice, person and poetry would not answer for an exhibition at the bar’ of the Commons.13 During the debate on the Association’s petition, 18 Feb., the backbencher Hudson Gurney observed O’Connell, the O’Gorman Mahon*, Sheil and two others ‘under the gallery, a line of the most blackguard looking birds one shall see’.14 In the event they were denied a hearing by the Liverpool ministry, following which O’Connell and Sheil, who were said to be ‘very angry’, waited on leading members of the Whig opposition.15 George Tierney* believed that ministers had acted ‘very foolishly, for the chances are ten to one that O’Connell and Sheil would furnish some new handle against themselves’, but ‘as it is they go back with a fresh grievance which every man will be able to understand’.16 At the Catholic meeting at Freemason’s Hall, 23 Feb., Sheil argued vehemently against the suppression of the Association, but the subsequent account implausibly attributed to him in New Monthly Magazine described his speech as ‘a failure’, in which he ‘lost command over his throat’ and ‘wearied them with a laborious detail of uninteresting facts’.17 Giving evidence to a Commons committee on Irish justice, 3 Mar., he declared that emancipation would end ‘all religious faction in Ireland’ and that he would ‘take no further part in political concerns’ thereafter, but he was vilified for his unfounded ‘rhetorical artifice’ that pensions were conferred by the Castle purely on sectarian grounds. O’Connell considered it a ‘most comical examination’.18 Following the rejection of the relief bill that summer, Sheil was named as the source in an article by William Cobbett† ascribing O’Connell’s acceptance of the Protestant ‘wings’ to his desire for a patent of precedence, but Sheil assured O’Connell that he had ‘never insinuated anything of the kind’ and hoped that the citation of his name had ‘left no disagreeable impression’. Rumours of a breach persisted, however, and on 4 Dec. 1825 O’Connell’s wife observed that Sheil was ‘wheeling around again’.19

At the 1826 general election Sheil assisted in the return of the pro-Catholic Alexander Dawson for county Louth, speaking with the ‘greatest success’.20 At one meeting outside Dundalk chapel he ‘astonished all parties’ by likening the claim of Irish landlords to direct their tenants’ votes to their feudal right ‘upon the marriage of the daughter of any of his tenants, to conduct her to his own bed’. ‘I tell you that your landlords have no more right to ask you to vote against your religion and your conscience, than they have to ask you for the virginity of your children’, he declared, warning the Catholic freeholders that they had ‘a choice between the cross and the distress warrant’.21 Thereafter he adopted a far more militant line in the relaunched Association, which he predicted would soon be the ‘master of the representation of Ireland’, and initiated the Catholic census, which became a powerful tool of propaganda.22 Describing one of his speeches at Bellinasloe, Durvergier de Hauranne recalled:

Five feet, eyes quick and piercing, complexion pale ... When you behold that little gacon figure in repose, it is impossible to suspect to what changes passion is capable of converting it ... His satire is shrewd and biting, his poetry dazzles, his enthusiasm carries you away ... His voice is meagre, harsh and shrill, but a profound emotion seems to regulate its vibrations ... Sheil possesses, in an eminent degree, the surprising faculty of exerting himself to the very verge of delirium, without once losing his complete self-possession.23

Speaking ‘under the influence of some wine’ in response to a royal toast in Mullingar, 14 Sept. 1826, he ridiculed the ‘protestations about conscience’ which had been urged against the relief bill in the Lords by the duke of York, ‘an avowed and ostentatious adulterer ... hot and reeking from the results of a foul and most disgraceful concubinage’. ‘That he should dedicate himself with an invocation to heaven to the everlasting oppression of my country!’, he protested, is what ‘sets me, and every Irish Catholic, on fire!’24 Anticipating trouble, he left for Paris, where he contributed a number of anonymous articles on the condition of Ireland to L’Étoile.25 The king, who took a ‘personal interest’ in his remarks, and Goulburn, the Irish secretary, regarded his speech as ‘libellous’, but after consulting the attorney-general the cabinet advised against prosecution, citing the effect it might have on the duke’s health.26 The ‘general indignation and disgust’ aroused by the speech, the home secretary Peel informed Lord Wellesley, the viceroy, 14 Nov. 1826, had ‘inflicted upon the aggressor a severer punishment than could be awarded by a court of law’.27 Speaking at the Association, 19 Jan. 1827, Sheil urged the Catholics to draw lessons about French military assistance from the recently published memoirs of the Irish insurgent Wolfe Tone, which Peel and Wellesley considered ‘undoubtedly a seditious libel’.28 Only Canning, the foreign secretary, doubted that there were sufficient grounds to prosecute, and on 29 Jan. Liverpool, the premier, resolved not to ‘pass over unnoticed, a libel of so treasonable a character’.29 The following month Sheil and Michael Staunton, the proprietor of the Morning Register which had printed his speech, were formally indicted, as The Times put it, for throwing out hints ‘conducive to the success of the next invasion by the French’.30 Shortly after the formation of Canning’s ministry later that year, however, the case was dropped.31

Following Canning’s death and the accession of the Goderich administration in August 1827, Sheil outlined plans for the formation of a central committee to correspond with all the parishes of Ireland where ‘there is a priest and a curate’, who, he contended, ‘constitute a sort of intellectual aristocracy’ and ‘supply the place’ of ‘rank and wealth in which we are deficient’. Urging the necessity of such measures to O’Connell, 30 Sept. 1827, he wrote:

We should not hide from ourselves, the public mind is beginning to cool. The reason is, I think, this: when Peel and Dawson and our decided antagonists were in office, the Catholics were exposed to perpetual affronts which kept their indignation alive ... But now that Lord Lansdowne is in, we say to each other, ‘What a pity that our good friends in the cabinet cannot do us any service!’ and, convinced that they cannot, we ‘take the will for the deed’. In this view it would be almost better for us to have our open enemies than either our lukewarm and impotent advocates in power ... It behoves us therefore to make double exertions and I shall not, you may rely on it, be deficient in my efforts ... Our great object should be to bring the priests into efficient and systematic action. This is my plan and I shall do all in my power to rouse them.32

Sheil initially opposed O’Connell’s plans to challenge the re-election of ministers appointed to the Wellington administration of 1828 as ‘premature’, but on 21 June he urged the Association to unseat Vesey Fitzgerald, president of the board of trade, in county Clare, on the grounds that ‘they must show an increase of vigour’ and ‘make men exclaim, this question must be settled’.33 Finding no suitable Protestant, Sheil urged O’Connell to stand and took a leading part in his campaign. In a speech described by one observer as ‘quite in the style of the French demagogues at the commencement of the revolution’, 4 July 1828, he told the electors that ‘Catholic emancipation is not the question, but it is the triumph of the people over the aristocracy, and the only way to effect it, is to make them fear you’.34 Following O’Connell’s return he boasted that ‘we are the masters of the passions of the people’ and warned the Protestants to ‘awake to a sense of your condition ... Annihilate us by concession, if you do not, tremble for the result’.35

Rumours that month that Sheil would come forward for an expected vacancy at Galway prompted the retiring Member to write to Peel, again home secretary, with an offer to ‘hold over for some time’.36 To the alarm of ministers, however, Lord Anglesey, the new viceroy, advised Lord Francis Leveson Gower, the Irish secretary, that he saw ‘no possible means’ of ‘depriving the demagogues of the power of directing the people’, other than ‘taking ‘O’Connell and Sheil and the rest of them from the Association and placing them in the House’.37 On learning of Sheil’s candidacy he remarked, ‘What harm will he do? None I verily believe’, adding, ‘he is to my mind a much more formidable character than O’Connell’ and pointing out to Peel that he ‘is the least likely of all the agitators to be caught’, being ‘in the habit of writing and well weighing what he means to say’.38 The vacancy did not occur. That August Sheil, by now an occasional dinner guest at the Castle, privately agreed to use his influence in the Association to halt the growing number of processions of the peasantry which were threatening the peace of the country, including a grand Tipperary meeting in support of emancipation, which was called off.39 On 18 Sept. 1828, in a widely circulated speech intended as an appeal for calm, he warned of the imminent danger of a civil war between the ‘semi-Protestant north’, where the Orangeman took up his ‘blade clotted with the rusty blood of 1798’, and the ‘utterly Catholic south’, in which ‘a holocaust of Popish victims’ would ‘be offered up to the Moloch of orthodoxy’.40 Reporting to Wellington a few days later, Maurice Fitzgerald* stated that he had ‘announced explicitly, that if an affray should take place between the Orangemen and the Catholics of the north of Ireland ... it would be followed by a massacre of every Protestant man, woman and child in the south’, and recommended immediate military preparations. Subsequent consideration of using the speech to expedite a prosecution of the Association came to nothing.41 On 25 Sept. Sheil, notwithstanding complaints that he was an ‘alarmist’, successfully proposed resolutions halting the processions.42 Commenting on the subsequent arrest of John Lawless, who had failed to heed the Association’s recall, Sir Joseph Laffan observed to Anglesey, 16 Oct., ‘I am sorry the lot had not fallen to Sheil instead of Lawless’, as he has ‘exasperated the Protestants’ and ‘lost the Catholics their cause’, and ‘matters would have been much more easily adjusted if he had been out of the way’.43 Three days later, however, Anglesey assured Lord Holland that he was ‘certain’ that O’Connell and Sheil could be ‘depended upon’ and were ‘sick of the present state of the country’, although they had been ‘provokingly foolish in not stopping after the Clare election’.44

On 24 Oct. 1828, in a move which Leveson Gower considered would ‘do more to hurt his own cause by offending the English Protestants’, Sheil attempted to speak at a Brunswick meeting at Penenden Heath in Kent, where he had recently acquired a freehold.45 Denied a proper hearing by a hostile crowd, he retorted, ‘You are afraid to hear me! You Brunswickers are afraid even of my voice, feeble as it is ... Is the argument on my side so strong that you will be deaf to it? They say justice is blind, but you make her deaf also’. Denying charges of personal ambition, he said that the object of emancipation was ‘not for a few individuals to get into Parliament, nor to put a silk gown on my back, but to give tranquillity to Ireland and to restore the religious peace’.46 Lord Darnley, who noted the ‘disadvantage’ to the other pro-Catholic speakers of his presence, wondered ‘what could have provoked ... [him] to attend? I tried to stop him by remonstrance with a friend at whose house he was, but in vain. His reception must have mortified him much’.47 Another commentator noted that ‘Sheil, whom they would not hear, has the voice of a ventriloquist and the ways of a mountebank’.48 The following day, however, Sheil insisted to O’Connell that ‘although the Brunswickers had a majority in Kent, yet we had the preponderance of rank and wealth and also an immense body of the people’.49 A copy of his intended speech appeared in the press that day and later as a pamphlet, much to the amusement of Mrs. Arbuthnot, who observed that he had written it ‘the day before ... and sent it to be printed ... interlarding it with "(applause), (cheers), (immense cheering)", whereas he was hooted, and his brutality about the duke of York so exclaimed at, that not one word was heard. This has caused great ridicule against him’.50 Jeremy Bentham, however, commented that ‘so masterly an union of logic and rhetoric as Mr. Sheil’s speech, scarcely have I ever beheld’.51 Writing to Holland about the Catholic leaders, 28 Oct., Anglesey complained that they ‘really are too indiscreet and put it almost out of the power of anyone to help them’, but he hoped to take O’Connell ‘in hand’ as ‘well as Sheil’, who ‘is more to be depended upon’.52 The following month Sir James Mackintosh* reported a rumour that Sheil, a widower for six years, had come to London ‘to marry a great Popish fortune, a Miss Byrne’, but no wedding took place.53 He was back in Dublin by 18 Nov., when a German visitor recorded that ‘as a speaker he is too affected, too artificial, and all he said too much got up’, and that he was ‘evidently jealous of his colleague O’Connell’.54 Soon afterwards Greville heard that ‘O’Connell and Sheil detest each other, though Sheil does not oppose him’.55 In December 1828 Curtis, the Catholic primate, privately showed Sheil a letter indicating Wellington’s willingness to settle the Catholic question.56 Declaring that ‘nothing can so well become us as mild behaviour and humility, when the least intimations of national pacification are held out’, Sheil called for an immediate cessation of the Association’s agitation, 3 Feb. 1829, but was asked to wait by O’Connell, who feared that a ‘precipitate dissolution’ would destroy his bargaining position in London with respect to the Irish 40s. freeholders.57 Contrasting their attitudes, 8 Feb., Matthew Forde* noted that O’Connell ‘is very wrong in using the violent language he still does’ and that ‘Sheil and Lawless seem to have a much better feeling’.58 Four days later, to the fury of O’Connell, Sheil secured a resolution suspending the Association’s activities with the aid of the ‘Orange Papists’, with whom the O’Connells alleged he had been ‘conspiring’.59 As he later explained to Pierce Mahony†, a former parliamentary agent of the Association who had the ear of government, ‘it is ... much wiser to let the bill pass as it stands, and afterwards endeavour to modify it’, as ‘even the individuals who are most zealous in the cause of the forty shillingers ... admit that their franchises ought not to be weighed against the liberty and consequent tranquillity of the country’. On 29 Mar. he assured Mahony that where ‘we were formerly interested in awakening, we are now equally interested and bound to allay the popular ferment’, and predicted that ‘in a few months time Ireland will be a new country’, adding, ‘what a relief it is to me to be liberated from the necessity of attending aggregate meetings’. Describing the advantages of emancipation to his friend William Curran, 28 Mar., he boasted of having recently received ‘five briefs from an Orange attorney’, and recalled how

formerly, when I was about to leave Clonmel, a deputation of greasy liberals used to wait on me to beg that I would ... hold forth at a Catholic meeting ... I was then dragged to the Great Chapel, where some 5,000 peasants with a few Clonmel shopkeepers at their head were gathered in one dense and steaming mass of agitation. Placed by a couple of brawny priests upon the steps of the altar, I held forth ... and was of necessity obliged to adapt myself to my audience. This was a dreadful need. I am now emancipated from it ... the perpetual reiteration of the same matter and of the same phrases was as wearisome to the repeater, as to the public.60

The previous month he had successfully defended Michael Staunton, who had been indicted by the Protestant archbishop of Tuam for a libel on himself and the church, and made what was described as a ‘splendid’ speech impugning the prosecution’s motives.61 On 7 Apr. 1829 he apprised Mahony that ‘it would be of very great importance to me, especially after my recent success upon circuit, to get a silk gown’, but that as it would probably ‘not be given ... it behoves me to take a bold step’.62

In June 1829 he announced his intention of standing for a vacancy for Louth against a local Catholic proprietor, but offered to withdraw if a member of Anglesey’s family came forward.63 Later that month an anonymous informant advised Wellington that Sheil was ‘disposed to be conciliatory’ towards government, and suggested making him a king’s counsel ‘to ensure his loyalty’.64 Wellington dismissed the notion and Sheil’s apparent opposition to O’Connell’s new anti-Union agitation, observing to Peel that ‘they quarrel and reconcile their differences as frequently as children’, and ‘in the meantime they may separate the two countries’.65 On 24 Oct. he added:

I don’t think that any promise or even appointment would give the government the support of Mr. Sheil, nor do I think it would be desirable to seek it ... It might be practicable to neutralize him and to separate him from any active co-operation with O’Connell by the promise or grant of a silk gown. But neither could be done without the consent of the king [and] the language of Sheil about the duke of York not yet three years old, his appearance last year in Kent, and his pretensions to the representation of ... Louth, founded on the radical Roman Catholic interest, are all topics of which we should never hear the end if we were to get into discussion ... I don’t believe that in this country it has ever been the practice to appoint demagogues to be king’s counsel.66

On 9 Nov., however, Greville reported that Leveson Gower was to meet Sheil with the approval of Peel, who was ‘rather inclined ... to do anything to win him’, despite the ‘king’s horror of the man’.67 The previous month Mahony had urged Anglesey to support him in Louth in the event of his son declining, explaining that he ‘is at heart a liberal Tory, one of your lordship’s party’, and that his ‘character as a public man will not be safe until he is seated as a free representative in the House of Commons’, where ‘I am convinced he would be as useful as he is talented’ and ‘would be as much your lordship’s nominee, as any member of your noble house’.68 On 19 Oct. 1829 Lord Cloncurry wrote in similar terms, saying that Sheil had ‘good principles and great talent’ and had ‘never affected more of retirement or disinterestedness than he really felt: when an agitator he said he would not think as an Irishman but only as a Papist, he now says he must think only as a lawyer learning his trade’.69

It was in the ‘pursuit of the regular path’ of his profession that Sheil that month agreed to act as counsel for the Tory Lord George Thomas Beresford* in the forthcoming county Waterford by-election, prompting O’Connell to launch a ‘ferocious attack’ on him.70 In a ‘vindicatory letter’ to the Dublin Evening Post, 8 Dec., Sheil insisted that by acting for the Protestant Beresfords he was helping to bury sectarian divisions made obsolete by emancipation. ‘What is Sheil about?’, asked one of O’Connell’s supporters, observing that if he

comes here for the Beresfords, I trust in God that our election will take place before that of Louth, and then I think you will see an address from the priests of Waterford to the priests of Louth to reject the claims of a man who roused the 40s. freeholders against the landlords, and who when emancipation is gained by their insurrection, joins those Beresfords whilst visiting the dupes of his fallacious promises with their direst vengeance. I warrant you I have something in store for Master Richard.71

His canvass at the end of the year was described as ‘particularly successful’ by Mahony, who informed Anglesey that ‘Sheil now leads the aristocracy, the gentry, and the intelligent Catholics’, 9 Dec. 1829.72 Shortly thereafter Leveson Gower intimated to Arbuthnot that the duke of Northumberland, Anglesey’s successor as viceroy, thought

it would be an advantage to the government to have Sheil in Parliament as a supporter of its measures, and would be ready to furnish the money to buy a seat for the session if he could get one. This is entirely his own idea, but although he wishes to keep the whole transaction to himself, he would not consider himself justified in it unless he knew that it would not be disagreeable to the duke of Wellington ... If you think it too romantic to submit to the duke, put my letter in the fire.73

Writing to Peel, 23 Jan. 1830, Northumberland suggested that Sheil, ‘having gained a dangerous, and as he now feels a detrimental notoriety in politics, is I suspect inclined to look for, and earn in due season the legitimate honour of his profession’, and that ‘he is viewed with great jealousy by O’Connell, and is an excellent counterbalance to him’.74 Commenting on his work for the Beresfords at Waterford the following month, James Dwyer observed, ‘Were I in his place I would not want to be seen much in public ... as the people will say that the hero of ‘26 is for the "unchanged" Beresford in ‘30’.75 Beresford told Wellington that he was ‘indebted to Sheil’ following his return.76 He was ‘nearly murdered at Thomastown’, reported Dywer, but ‘his fortune is made’.77 In April Leveson Gower was informed that Northumberland was keen to promote Sheil to be king’s counsel.78 Peel agreed that he ‘ought not to be passed over’, but advised Northumberland that the king had ‘on several occasions expressed great and natural indignation at the gross insults’ he had ‘offered to the duke of York’. In reply, Northumberland assured Peel of Sheil’s sincere ‘penitence for his unjustifiable speech’ and contended that his promotion would not only ‘gratify the people of Ireland’, but also put his ‘comparatively quiet conduct’ in a ‘very beneficial contrast with the renewed agitation of O’Connell’.79 The king’s approval was secured and he took silk, 13 July 1830.80 Later that month he married his second wife, a widow of ‘considerable fortune’.81

At the 1830 general election Sheil came forward for Louth with the personal backing of Anglesey, but the claims of another candidate deprived him of the ministerial support he sought.82 In a controversial four-day contest, he unsuccessfully fought the brother of a resident Catholic proprietor and a Protestant for second place, enabling the latter to slip in by splitting the Catholic vote.83 ‘I am not at all sorry for his defeat’, a correspondent informed Thomas Wyse, the newly elected Member for county Tipperary, ‘regarding it simply as the disappointment of his personal ambition and feeling no confidence whatever in his principles as a politician’.84 The poet Thomas Moore reported ‘great anxiety among his friends ... to get him into Parliament’, but rumours of a petition against the return and plans to seat him for New Woodstock for the ‘requisite’ sum came to nothing.85 In September Sir Henry Hardinge, the new Irish secretary, obtained assurances that he would ‘support the government’ in opposing repeal and considered seating him, ‘not so much for his own individual value, as the advantage of separating him from O’Connell’.86 Peel, however, cautioned:

We dread a parliamentary connection with Sheil, that is, we dread being instrumental in effecting his return, and thereby assuming the responsibility of whatever vagaries he may hereafter commit. We have no confidence in the discretion of Irish orators and (between ourselves) the communication made to you by Sheil does not encourage much confidence in his political honesty. He makes a reservation on the score of reform, which he calls moderate reform, but this very question of reform may be the all-important, vital question.87

Following the fall of the Wellington ministry, Anglesey, the reappointed viceroy, warned the new Grey administration that having Sheil against them ‘and even lukewarm upon the question of repeal would leave us quite helpless’, and suggested that they enlist him, as he ‘would be an immense card for us’.88 Grey felt that government assistance might ‘not be quite safe in this instance’, as

there are sufficient grounds for a reasonable distrust of all these gentlemen. Sheil I hope is, and I believe him to be, from all I hear of him, a man of honour, but Melbourne has a letter from him today, which has rather the appearance of a threat, and we cannot be too careful.89

Sheil’s letter concerned the approach made to him by Hardinge, but Anglesey assured Grey, 29 Jan. 1831, that it should not

be considered as a threat. What he tells me is that Hardinge was very anxious to have him in Parliament, that he promised him a seat gratis upon the express terms that he was to be at liberty to sit with the opposition, and to vote freely, except upon the repeal question, which he undertook to oppose with all his power, as also O’Connell in all his mischievous projects. I continue to think Sheil’s being in Parliament of almost vital importance, and it is hardly possible that any question could arise with the present ministers that he would not warmly support. Upon the subject of reform, I should only fear that he would not go far enough ... Universal suffrage, vote by ballot, annual parliaments, he deprecates, and he is much averse to getting rid of the close boroughs of Ireland and thinks that if the right of voting were much more increased, none but Repealers would be returned ... Depend upon it, he will be worth his hire. It would be better for all parties that Sheil be enlisted by your government than by me.90

On 2 Feb. Anglesey was told that Grey disliked ‘putting it in Sheil’s power to say that government money had been applied, from secret funds, to bring him in’, but that ‘if matters could not be otherwise arranged’, this should not stand in the way.91 Plans were accordingly made to seat him for Cashel, where the son of the proprietor was ready to vacate, but with Sheil only able to provide £1,000 of the market price of £1,500, Anglesey insisted that Grey ‘must meet any further demand’, adding that if there were objections he would make his nominee George Stevens Byng ‘give up Milborne Port and take Cashel instead’. Assuring Grey that Sheil would ‘never take advantage of being assisted by government money’, he added that

his first explicit declaration in Parliament will have a powerful effect here, and particularly with the Catholic bar. At present he is paralysed. He was to be seated by the late government, and he has lost much at the bar by ... separating himself from O’Connell, whose followers amongst the attorneys no longer give briefs to Sheil.92

A lengthy negotiation ensued, during which Grey insisted that Anglesey ‘must not tell Sheil’ that ‘anything is to be paid by government’.93 Anglesey considered returning Sheil for his own nomination borough to be the ‘worst possible arrangement’, but on 12 Feb. Smith Stanley, the Irish secretary, advised him that there was probably no alternative.94 Two days later Anglesey informed Holland, ‘I am sending over Sheil and [Philip] Crampton*. I think you will like them both. I shall be most anxious about their debut’.95 ‘We shall have an agitator against an agitator’, commented Creevey, adding, ‘I shall be very curious to see how our one answers, he is a most powerful chap in private’.96 A last minute attempt to find a berth for him at Saltash proved abortive, the ‘Saltashites’ making ‘some difficulty about returning a Papist’, and on 26 Feb. Smith Stanley reported to Anglesey that Sheil had ‘set off without loss of time for Milborne Port’, though he wished ‘it could be otherwise’.97 He was returned unopposed. ‘Ministers have brought Sheil in to oppose O’Connell’, remarked John Wilson Croker*.98 On 7 Mar. Smith Stanley informed Anglesey that Sheil ‘seemed highly pleased’, but owned that he had ‘some misgivings about him’.99 He took his seat the following day, to the irritation of O’Connell, who reported to his wife, 10 Mar.:

Sheil sat again last night perfectly silent. He does not speak to me. Indeed I believe, that is, I merely conjecture, that he was sent into the House for the very purpose of abusing me ... What other business could Lord Anglesey have of sending him here? But of course I do not care. If he attacks me I promise you he shall have his answer. I will not spare him of all men, as a renegade is the worst species of traitor.100

On 21 Mar. Sheil delivered his maiden speech in support of the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill. Speaking, according to the Whig Mackintosh, ‘very cleverly and with a harsh voice and with much of our applause’, he denied that the bill would destroy the influence of the aristocracy and, reminding the opposition of the ‘evil’ results of the ‘years of agitation’ and ‘madness of delay’ in Ireland, warned, ‘let us beware how we put England through a similar process ... Concede, and that we may concede in safety, concede in time’.101 Denis Le Marchant† later recalled that ‘after a few sentences, he nearly broke down, but ... by a great effort, he recovered the attention of the House, and from that time might be considered as one of its most eloquent Members’.102 Thomas Macaulay*, with whom Sheil was on ‘very civil terms’ and had talked ‘largely concerning Demosthenes and Burke’, thought it ‘an excellent speech, too florid and queer, but decidedly successful’.103 The whip Lord Duncannon* considered it a ‘most extraordinary speech, some of whose sentences were the most wonderful display I ever heard’, but the minister Thomas Spring Rice* observed that although he had ‘succeeded’, it was ‘more from physical than rational motives’, and likened it to ‘a bravura movement in a Jew’s harp’.104 ‘It showed great readiness and imagination with some quick turns of pointed wit’, noted the Tory Henry Bankes*, ‘but his manner and attitudes were pantomimical, and his voice shrill and most unpleasing in its tone’.105 The following day Smith Stanley informed Anglesey:

Sheil did very well last night, brilliant in language, almost too brilliant ... I think he is landed as a debater, as an orator there is no doubt of him. Most people, however, are warmer in his praise than I am, and Plunket, who heard him, is quite delighted.106

He voted for the bill’s second reading, 22 Mar., and against Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. He denied that reform would destroy Protestant influence in Ireland, 29 Mar., and predicted that it would diminish support for repeal, 20 Apr. 1831.

At the ensuing general election he was first returned unopposed for Milborne Port and then for Louth, where the independent club invited him to stand and the Catholics reunited.107 Afterwards Charles Thackeray complained to the primate that Sheil ‘could not think his triumph perfect without an attack upon the church and its pastors’, whom he denounced as ‘pampered and bloated’.108 He chose to sit for Louth, where, at his celebration dinner, 19 May, he promised not to offer again, except for Dundalk.109 On 21 June he warned ministers of the growing support for repeal and urged them to ‘pacify and conciliate’ Ireland and ‘tax the absentee’. He protested that the Irish freeholder franchise was ‘far smaller’ than in England, where the 40s. county franchise was to be preserved, 30 June. On 3 July he joined Brooks’s, sponsored by Duncannon and Lord Sefton*. He voted for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 6 July, spoke and divided at least twice against adjournment, 12 July, and gave steady support to its details, though he voted against the division of counties, 11 Aug. Following the Newtownbarry massacre he demanded ‘immediate action’ against the yeomanry, 1 July, and he spoke and voted for printing the Waterford petition to disarm them, 11 Aug. He divided against the grant for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospels in the colonies, 25 July. He voted against disqualification of the Dublin election committee, 29 July, and with ministers on the controversy, 23 Aug. He demanded repeal of the Irish Subletting Act, 5 Aug. He clashed repeatedly with James Gordon, Member for Dundalk, over his ‘offensive remarks’ against Catholic priests and defence of the Newtownbarry yeomanry and Carlow grand jury, and called for Smith Stanley to ‘always be present in the House when the affairs of Ireland are discussed’, 9 Aug. He contended that the government had an ‘obligation’ to the ‘phalanx of 40 popular Irish Members’ who supported them, 10 Aug., and urged them to address the ‘great grievances’ of Ireland ‘instead of rebuking us’, 15 Aug. That month he was one of the deputation of Irish Members which threatened Grey with ‘opposing the government’ if ‘their views of the policy fit to be pursued’ in Ireland were not adopted.110 Answering their critics in the House, he denied having tried to ‘awe him into concession’ with ‘menacing language, menacing gesture, and menacing look’, insisting that they merely wanted ‘to tell the truth in a tone equally respectful and firm’, 26 Aug. He wanted more Catholics to be appointed to Irish juries, 16 Aug. He argued against the grants to the Kildare Place Society, 23 Aug., and the Dublin Society, 29 Aug., but welcomed the new plan of Irish education, 9 Sept. In a speech which he boasted to Curran had been delivered ‘in my old Association style, without fear’, scoring ‘a decided hit in the House’, 29 Aug., he denounced the ‘long and vitiated misrule’ of Ireland and argued that ‘something must be done to alleviate the dreadful sufferings’ of a ‘nation that stretches forth her hands for food’.111 Calling for reform of the ‘present system of pride and pomp’ in the Irish church, 31 Aug., he asked, ‘Shall the Whigs of parliamentary be the Tories of ecclesiastical reform? Shall there be no schedule A for my lords the bishops?’ He divided for inquiry into the conduct of the Hampshire magistrates during the arrest of the Deacles, 27 Sept. He argued that improvements in the administration of English justice should also be applied to Ireland, 29 Sept. That month Anglesey observed to Holland that the Irish Members ‘do not like Stanley’ and that ‘I suspect Sheil’s course, which is not what he promised, proceeds from some slight in that quarter’.112 Sheil doubted that there was any peaceful method of enforcing Irish tithes, 6 Oct., and was a minority teller against the ecclesiastical courts bill, 14 Oct. He voted for the third reading of the reform bill, 19 Sept., and its passage, 21 Sept. On 27 Sept. he denied that its progress was being needlessly delayed by ‘Irish local affairs’, explaining that Irish Members had given ministers a ‘persevering, undivided, unflinching sustainment’ and were ‘entitled to reciprocal fairness’. On 10 Oct., in what Greville termed a ‘violent’ speech, he supported Lord Ebrington’s confidence motion, refuting ‘insinuations’ that Grey had ‘resorted to reform in order to sustain the weakness and decrepitude of his government’ and citing his bill of 1797 as evidence that it was not a ‘new scheme’.113 He believed that the Irish people ‘unanimously’ supported reform, but complained that ‘justice had not been done to their country’, which was ‘entitled to 150 representatives’, 17 Oct. 1831.

In a speech described by Le Marchant as ‘not very forcible’, 12 Dec., he questioned preserving the rights of Irish freemen created by birth and servitude and called for similar consideration for the 40s. freeholders who qualified in towns.114 He voted for the second reading of the revised reform bill, 17 Dec. 1831, and gave general support to its details, but repeatedly pressed for more English nomination boroughs to be disfranchised and additional Members to be given to Ireland. His frequent recourse to statistics to support his case prompted O’Connell to hope that he would ‘not keep us till August or September in summing up vulgar fractions’, 23 Jan. He criticized the examination of voters at the poll with ‘no formulae’, 27 Jan., and urged Lord John Russell to adopt the Irish affidavit system rather than ‘leave this matter to the bias, ignorance, or, perhaps, corruption, of the returning officer’, 11 Feb. He voted against the enfranchisement of £50 tenants-at-will in the English counties, 1 Feb., when he observed that the enfranchisement of trustees ‘in actual possession or receipt’ of rents and profits related to their ‘own profit’ only and suggested that the word ‘trustee’ be struck out. On 21 Feb., in order to expedite the progress of the bill, he reluctantly agreed to withdraw his amendment to transfer Petersfield from schedule B to A, which he had hoped would establish a precedent for doing the same to Eye, Midhurst, New Woodstock and Wareham, much to the disappointment of the opposition.115 He opposed similar proposals by other Members, saying the ‘time has gone by for the discussion of this question’, 2 Mar. He voted for the bill’s third reading, 22 Mar., and for the address calling on the king to appoint only ministers who would carry it unimpaired, 10 May. He wanted the Irish bill to be made ‘as far as possible the same’ as the English, 25 May, but voted for its second reading that day. He asked why the Scottish universities were not to have ‘even one Member’ and divided for a Conservative amendment to increase Scottish county representation, 1 June. He campaigned steadily for the assimilation of the English, Irish and Scottish bills and the restoration of the 40s. freeholder franchise to Irish counties, for which he was a minority teller with O’Connell, 13 June. Attacking government plans that day to give one of the ‘miserable five’ additional Irish seats to Dublin University, where Catholics were ‘excluded from fellowships and scholarships’, he exclaimed, ‘Whigs! Why do you do this? Is it because Ireland has deserved so ill, and Dublin ... so well at your hands that you are determined on offering a palpable affront to the one by conferring this baneful favour on the other?’ He presented a petition for extending the franchise to all Dublin graduates, 13 July. He complained that ‘no reason’ had been given for setting the Irish leasehold qualification at £20 rather than the English level of £10 and was in the minority for O’Connell’s motion to extend the Irish county franchise to £5 freeholders, 18 June. He protested at the ‘constant evasion’ of the property qualification for Members and called for its abolition, 27 June. On 29 June he argued that English and Irish £10 householders should qualify on the same basis and was a minority teller for his own amendment against the liability of Irish electors to pay municipal taxes before they could vote, which was defeated by 59-21. He pressed for the 40s. freehold voters in towns with a county status to be allowed to ‘retain their right’ as a ‘counterbalance’ to the Irish freemen, most of whom were Protestant and ‘in favour of one political party’, 2 July. He welcomed O’Connell’s suggestions for improvements to the Irish leaseholder clauses and questioned the policy of making electors state the ‘name of the street’ where they lived at the time of registration, citing the ‘20 or 30 persons’ who had been ‘disfranchised’ at the last Clare election ‘because they lived in no street at all’, 9 July. That day he urged that Newry be given the same boundary treatment as Dungarvan. He objected to Catholics swearing an oath of allegiance to the crown at registration, as it would perpetuate an ‘unfortunate feeling of religious distinction’, 18 July. In a speech criticised in the House by Hudson Gurney for being ‘as full of non sequiturs as any speech can be’, he asserted that the bribery clause was inoperable and ‘a complete nullity’, 30 July 1832.

In what was described by Holland as ‘not only a good but a friendly and useful speech on the tithe question’, he argued that it was ‘folly to think of pacifying Ireland without an utter change in the ecclesiastical system’, 15 Dec. 1831.116 He objected to the Irish Subletting Act amendment bill, 20 Jan., and the ‘impropriety’ of holding its second reading at half-past-one in the morning, 17 Feb. 1832. He campaigned relentlessly for abolition of the Irish tithes system, condemning the Protestant composition of the committee, 24 Jan., and their ‘ignorance of tithe matters’, 8 Feb., and warned that any attempt to enforce payment would be ‘unjust in principle, preposterous in policy, and impossible of application’, 14 Feb. He was a minority teller against their report, 8 Mar., when he contrasted the eagerness of ministers to press ahead with the reform bill, even at the expense of ignoring many of its defects, with their refusal to consider tithes, and urged them to ‘awake, for God’s sake, to a sense of the condition of Ireland’, otherwise ‘come the general election ... reform will have thrown the close boroughs open, the democracy will have become gigantic’ and ‘then will the people have their revenge’. Le Marchant afterwards overheard Lord Althorp saying that ‘Sheil’s speech has done us more harm than the division good’ and congratulated Sheil for the ‘valuable’ support he had given the Tories:

‘What would you have us do?’, he replied. ‘We shall get nothing by the reform. The Catholics and liberals return all the Members they can. The people insist on the abolition of tithe and unless we speak to that effect we shall have very little chance of being here the next Parliament. Besides the government have no claim upon us, we are quite different from Lord Killeen*, Sir Pat[rick] Bellew*, and others who have received favours’. This is the key to Sheil’s conduct. He is, I fear, a mercenary man.117

On 13 Mar. he upbraided Smith Stanley for his ‘infelicitous’ language when he ‘spoke of putting turbulence down and giving Ireland a lesson’, and urged him to ‘avoid all precipitate legislation’. He voted steadily against the tithes composition bill, condemning the ‘haste’ with which it had been ‘concocted’ and asking, ‘Why, if you complain of boroughs without constituencies, may not we complain of churches without congregations?’, 6 Apr. He was a minority teller against it, 16 Apr., 24 July, 2 Aug., but one of the Members ‘usually opposing ministers’ who supported Crampton’s amendment regarding the payment of arrears, 9 Apr.118 In a speech denounced by Smith Stanley for its ‘hollow subterfuge’ veiled in ‘flowery eloquence’, 16 Apr., he denied that his opposition to tithes betrayed his oath not to subvert the Protestant church. He condemned the tithes bill as a ‘mockery of reform’ which would ‘East Retfordize the church’, 5 July, presented numerous hostile petitions, 13 July, 2 Aug., and observed that the Protestant inhabitants of Lower Canada were exempt from supporting the established Catholic church, 23 July. He defended the legality of Irish anti-tithes meetings and insisted that Smith Stanley would need additional powers to suppress them, 20 July. On 24 July he called for the ‘opulence’ of the church to be ‘cut down’, arguing that the ‘cry’ from Ireland on this issue was as strong as that which had produced the ‘concession on parliamentary reform’. That day he was a teller for his own amendment for the application of surplus church revenues to ‘education and charity’, which was defeated by 76-18. He criticized the false economy of sustaining the ‘crozier by the bayonet’ and paying ‘an army of 30,000 men to protect the church’, 26 July, but withdrew his motion to appropriate surplus revenues, 2 Aug. 1832, saying it was a ‘subject that ought to be reserved for the new Parliament’. That day he spoke and was a majority teller for the reception of a petition urging the Irish people ‘to resort to force’ if troops were used to enforce tithe payments.

He voted with ministers on the Russian-Dutch loan, 26 Jan., 12, 16, 20 July, and relations with Portugal, 9 Feb. 1832. He was appointed to the select committee on the East India Company, 27 Jan. He defended the legality of charging fees to newly commissioned Irish magistrates, 7 Feb., and conjectured that a ‘permanent committee’ on Irish affairs would ‘save much time’, 15 Feb. He divided for information on military punishments the following day. He welcomed the anatomy bill, 27 Feb., but demanded its extension to Ireland in order to prevent the ‘export of dead bodies’ to England, 11 Apr. He condemned the unwarranted expense of the Irish registry of deeds bill, 3 Apr., was a minority teller against it that day and 9 Apr., and called for a reduction of the registrar’s salary, 18 July. He was a minority teller against the establishment of a nisi prius court at Dublin, 3 Apr. He defended the Maynooth grant, 16 Apr., and refuted claims that the college fostered an ‘anti-national and revolutionary spirit’, 27 July. He welcomed the Irish party processions bill, 14 June, when he was a minority teller for giving king’s bench the power to adjudicate student admissions to the inns of court. He spoke and voted for a tax on absentee landlords to provide permanent provision for the Irish poor, 19 June. He divided to make inquests public the following day. He spoke against Alexander Baring’s bill to exclude insolvent debtors from Parliament, which was ‘calculated to excite alarm’ among the ‘new class of constituents’, 27 June, and presented petitions against it, 13 July. He voted for a system of representation for New South Wales, 28 June. He spoke and was in a minority of 12 against the retrospective effects of the ecclesiastical courts contempts bill, 3 Aug. 1832.

On 21 Oct. O’Connell was informed that ‘the great little patriot Sheil’ had been ‘burned in effigy’ at Dundalk, following his last minute decision to withdraw and offer instead for county Tipperary at the 1832 general election. Four days later O’Connell declared that unless he gave ‘the most explicit and unequivocal pledge to the repeal’, which ‘could not be explained away’, he ‘would not support him’.119 A pledge was forthcoming and he was returned unopposed, Lord Rosslyn remarking to Wellington, 22 Dec. 1832, that Sheil

had proposed to Duncannon not many weeks or months ago to recommend to government to pass an Act to make it high treason to moot the repeal of the Union, and when the election came on he pledged himself to vote for the repeal in the strongest manner possible. When reproached ... he said only you may have other ways of getting into Parliament, but I have none and there I will be upon any terms.120

Sheil, who distanced himself from O’Connell’s repeal agitation after 1835, sat for Tipperary until 1841, when he came in unopposed as a Liberal for Dungarvan. His ‘career faded away into second class ministerial office’ under the Liberal administrations of Melbourne and Russell, by whom he was appointed British plenipotentiary to the court of Tuscany in 1850.121 He died in Florence ‘of gout in the stomach’ in May 1851, an obituarist recalling the ‘expressions of delight with which he escaped from Downing Street to enjoy the fine vintages and bright sunshine of the south’. His remains were returned to Ireland for interment aboard a navy vessel, 24 Feb. 1852.122

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Philip Salmon


W. Torrens MacCullagh, Mems. of Sheil (1855).

  • 1. Creevey Pprs. ii. 183; Lord Lytton, Life of Lytton, i. 426; J.R. O’Flanagan, Irish Bar, 272; The Times, 4 June 1851; J. McCarthy, Hist. of Our Own Times, i. 46; Glos. RO, Hyett mss D6/F32/13, Berkeley to Hyett, 25 June 1831.
  • 2. MacCullagh, i. 5-6; Sketches, Legal and Political ed. M. Savage, ii. 305-6.
  • 3. O’Flanagan, 266.
  • 4. Gent. Mag. (1851), ii. 86.
  • 5. MacCullagh, i. 91.
  • 6. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 887.
  • 7. MacCullagh, i. 150.
  • 8. Torrens, Melbourne, i. 197-8; O’Connell Corresp. ii. 909.
  • 9. W.E. Vaughan, Hist. Ireland, 67.
  • 10. O’Connell Corresp. ii. 784, 1013; Torrens, i. 198.
  • 11. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1076.
  • 12. Ibid. iii. 1105, 1112-13, 1125-6, 1132.
  • 13. Ibid. iii. 1165, 1168.
  • 14. Gurney diary.
  • 15. PRO NI, Foster mss D207/73/120/243; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1172, 1178; Sketches, ii. 19-54.
  • 16. Grey mss, Tierney to Grey, 17 Feb. 1825.
  • 17. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1174; MacCullagh, i. 233; Sketches, ii. 49.
  • 18. PP (1825), viii. 98, 101, 107; MacCullagh, i. 235; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1180.
  • 19. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1248, 1268.
  • 20. Brougham mss, Abercromby to Brougham, 12 July 1826.
  • 21. Foster mss D562/14691; F. O’Ferrall, Catholic Emancipation, 138; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1316.
  • 22. Dublin Evening Post, 6 July 1826; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1344.
  • 23. Lettres sur les Élections ... et sur la situation de L’Ireland (Paris, 1827), 158-9.
  • 24. MacCullagh, i. 306; Speeches of Sheil ed. T. MacNevin, 400.
  • 25. Add. 37304, f. 219; Oxford DNB.
  • 26. Add. 37304, ff. 215, 222, 224; Geo. IV Letters, iii. 1259, 1407.
  • 27. Add. 37304, f. 241.
  • 28. Add. 37305, ff. 15, 23; O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1436.
  • 29. Add. 37305, ff. 22, 29.
  • 30. MacCullagh, i. 333, 340; The Times, 6 Feb. 1827.
  • 31. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1436.
  • 32. Ibid. iii. 1414.
  • 33. MacCullagh, ii. 3, 13-14.
  • 34. PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/32A/2/82.
  • 35. Sketches, ii. 149-56.
  • 36. Add. 40397, f. 113.
  • 37. Wellington mss WP1/941/7.
  • 38. Add. 51567, Anglesey to Holland, 1 July; 51558, Anglesey to Lamb [July 1827]; Anglesey mss 26/C/75-8.
  • 39. J.A. Reynolds, Catholic Emancipation Crisis, 152; MacCullagh, ii. 24; Anglesey mss 32A/2/1/124; T. Wyse, Hist. Catholic Assoc. ii. p. clxxvi.
  • 40. Dublin Morning Register, 19 Sept. 1828; PRO NI, Perceval Maxwell mss D3244/G/1/56.
  • 41. Wellington mss WP1/955/16; 964/9.
  • 42. MacCullagh, ii. 27.
  • 43. Anglesey mss 32A/2/143.
  • 44. Add. 51567.
  • 45. Wellington mss WP1/961/12.
  • 46. Report of the speeches ... at Penenden Heath, 24 Oct. 1828, pp. 19-24; Sketches, ii. 211.
  • 47. Add. 51572, Darnley to Holland, 24 Oct. 1828.
  • 48. Keele Univ. Lib. Sneyd mss SC17/40.
  • 49. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1497.
  • 50. Speech of Mr. Sheil as it was intended to have been delivered (1828); Arbuthnot Jnl. ii. 218-19.
  • 51. MacCullagh, ii. 41.
  • 52. Add. 51567.
  • 53. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Holland, 6 Nov. 1828.
  • 54. Prince PÜckler-Muskau, Tour by a German Prince (1832), ii. 118.
  • 55. Greville Mems. i. 224.
  • 56. Reynolds, 123.
  • 57. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1516; O’Ferrall, 244.
  • 58. PRO NI, Downshire mss D671/C/12/381.
  • 59. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1516.
  • 60. Add. 40399, ff. 98, 108, 104.
  • 61. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1524.
  • 62. MacCullagh, ii. 73.
  • 63. The Times, 8 June 1829; Anglesey mss 32/A/3/1/212.
  • 64. Wellington mss WP1/1066/18.
  • 65. NLW, Coedymaen mss 211; Wellington mss WP1/1035/21.
  • 66. Wellington mss WP1/1054/64.
  • 67. Greville Mems. i. 327.
  • 68. Anglesey mss 32/A/3/1/219.
  • 69. Ibid. 3/1/223.
  • 70. Ibid. 32/C/6; 32/A/3/1/267; PRO NI, Pack-Beresford mss D664/A/93.
  • 71. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1623, 1629.
  • 72. The Times, 29 Oct. 1829; Anglesey mss 32/A/3/1/254.
  • 73. Arbuthnot Corresp. 130.
  • 74. Greville Mems. i. 327; Add. 40327, f. 97.
  • 75. NLI, Wyse mss 15024 (10), Dwyer to Wyse, 21 Feb. 1830.
  • 76. Wellington mss WP1/1099/7.
  • 77. Wyse mss 15024 (10), Dwyer to Wyse, 4 Mar. 1830.
  • 78. Add. 40338, f. 121.
  • 79. Add. 40327, ff. 145, 161.
  • 80. Wellington mss WP1/1122/66; 1123/44; NAI, Leveson Gower letterbks. Leveson Gower to Sheil, 3 July, to Singleton, 6 July 1830.
  • 81. Dod’s Parl. Companion (1833), 158-9; O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1786.
  • 82. Anglesey mss 32C/4-5; Leveson Gower letterbks. Gower to Sheil, 17 May 1830; Wellington mss WP1/1117/44.
  • 83. Dublin Evening Post, 17 July, 12 Aug. 1830.
  • 84. Wyse mss 15024 (7), O’Hanlon to Wyse, 2 Sept. 1830.
  • 85. The Times, 9 Oct. 1830; Add. 62081, f. 152.
  • 86. Add. 40313, ff. 67-71, 136-7; A. Macintyre, The Liberator, 17.
  • 87. Parker, Peel, ii. 161.
  • 88. Anglesey mss 29B/4-7; 28C/19-21.
  • 89. Ibid. 28A-B/37.
  • 90. Ibid. 28C/53-7.
  • 91. Ibid. 31D/13.
  • 92. Ibid. 28C/66-7.
  • 93. Ibid. 28A-B/40; 31D/14.
  • 94. Ibid. 28C/69-71; 31D/17.
  • 95. Add. 51568.
  • 96. Creevey mss, Creevey to Miss Ord, 18 Feb. 1831.
  • 97. Anglesey mss 31D/23-25.
  • 98. Croker Pprs. ii. 109.
  • 99. Anglesey mss 31D/30.
  • 100. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1784.
  • 101. Add. 51655, Mackintosh to Lady Holland, 21 Mar. 1831.
  • 102. Le Marchant, Althorp, 480.
  • 103. Macaulay Letters, ii. 11.
  • 104. Add. 51724, Duncannon to Lady Holland, 21 Mar.; 51573, Spring Rice to same, 21 Mar. 1831.
  • 105. Dorset RO D/BKL, Bankes jnl. 173.
  • 106. Anglesey mss 31D/35.
  • 107. Sherborne Jnl. 5 May; Drogheda Jnl. 21 May 1831.
  • 108. Pack-Beresford mss D664/A/245.
  • 109. Drogheda Jnl. 24 May 1831.
  • 110. Anglesey mss 28A-B/71.
  • 111. MacCullagh, ii. 114.
  • 112. Anglesey mss 27B/52.
  • 113. Greville Mems. ii. 207.
  • 114. NLS mss 24762, f. 49.
  • 115. Le Marchant, 397.
  • 116. Anglesey mss 27A/143.
  • 117. Le Marchant, 399; Three Diaries, 211.
  • 118. The Times, 10 Apr. 1832.
  • 119. O’Connell Corresp. iv. 1928-9.
  • 120. Wellington mss WP1/1239/38.
  • 121. MacCarthy, i. 47.
  • 122. Gent. Mag. (1851), ii. 88; The Times, 4 June, 26 July 1851.