TALBOT, Richard Wogan (1766-1849), of Malahide Castle, co. Dublin

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

Constituency

Dates

1807 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 1766, 1st s. of Richard Talbot of Malahide Castle and Margaret, da. of James O’Reilly of Ballinlough, co. Westmeath (cr. Baroness Talbot of Malahide [I] 28 May 1831). m. (1) lic. 28 Nov. 1789, Catherine (d. c.1800), da. and h. of John Malpas of Chapel Izod and Rochestown, co. Dublin, 1s. 1da. both d.v.p.; (2) 15 Mar. 1806, Margaret, da. of Andrew Sayers, timber merchant, of Drogheda, co. Louth, s.p. suc. fa. 1788; mother as 2nd Bar. Talbot of Malahide [I] 27 Sept. 1834; cr. Bar. Furnival [UK] 8 May 1839. d. 29 Oct. 1849.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1790-1; PC [I] 28 Dec. 1836.1

Maj. Ward’s Ft. 1794; lt.-col. 118 Ft. 1794, 23 Ft. 1800; capt. commdt. Malahide vols. 1803, col.

Biography

Talbot, whose father’s family had held the castle and lordship of Malahide, on the coast north of Dublin, from the earliest period of English occupation under Henry II, was also illustriously descended through his mother, who came from the Milesian princely house of Breffney. Born a Catholic, he converted (as a child) with his father in 1779, and, after unsatisfactory army, cotton manufacturing and banking careers, in 1807 he won back the county Dublin seat which he had briefly held in his mid-twenties.2 A relatively inactive Whig, he was narrowly returned again, with the backing of the independent interest, at the general election of 1820. On 11 May 1820 he attended the city dinner in honour of the Whig Alderman Thomas McKenny, but no trace of parliamentary activity has been found for that session.3

He was criticized for missing the meeting held at Kilmainham on 30 Dec. 1820, when the sheriff forcibly adjourned the proceedings rather than allow the county to pronounce in favour of Queen Caroline, but he chaired another which met to deplore this outrage, 11 Jan. 1821.4 Having voted for her name to be reinstated in the liturgy, 23, 26 Jan., 13, 15 Feb., and to censure ministers’ conduct towards her, 6 Feb., he spoke and voted in condemnation of the sheriff’s actions, 22 Feb. He divided for Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. As well as siding regularly with opposition in its campaign for economies and reduced taxes in 1821, he was in minorities for information on Naples, 21 Feb., and lowering the number of place-holders in the Commons, 9 Mar. He was granted six weeks’ leave on urgent private business, 1 May. He voted for parliamentary reform, 18 Apr. 1821, 25 Apr. 1822, 24 Apr., 2 June 1823. He divided for abolition of one of the joint-postmasterships, 2 May, but, out of personal regard for his distant kinsman the duke of Buckingham, he abstained on the opposition attack on the costs of Henry Williams Wynn’s† embassy to the Swiss Cantons, 16 May 1822.5 Talbot, who missed the county Dublin meeting in January 1823 to address the lord lieutenant after the Orange theatre riot, was criticized not only for failing to instruct his tenants to vote for the Whig Henry White*, but also for giving his own to the Tory candidate Sir Compton Domvile* at the by-election there the following month.6 He voted for lower taxation and reductions in the national debt, 28 Feb., 3, 6, 17 Mar., and repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr. He was in the majority for inquiry into the legal proceedings against the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. He was listed in the opposition minority for an inquiry into chancery administration, 5 June, but in the government majority against one into the currency, 12 June 1823. He voted for an advance of capital to Ireland, 4 May, repeal of the assessed taxes, 10 May, and inquiry into the state of Ireland, 11 May 1824. His praises were sung at a meeting of the Catholic Association, 16 Oct. 1824, when his contribution to the Catholic rent was received.7 He divided steadily against the Irish unlawful societies bill, which was designed to suppress the Association, in February 1825. He accepted the invitation to attend the O’Connellite dinner of the friends of civil and religious liberty in Dublin, 2 Feb., signing the ensuing pro-Catholic petition from the Protestants of Ireland; he brought up the city manufacturers’ petition for reduction in the coal duties, 3 Mar. 1826.8

Talbot, who had already twice authorized statements that he had formed no union with any potential challenger, was forced to deny that he had joined the Tory candidate George Alexander Hamilton† at the general election of 1826, when he successfully relied on his past record and, with the support of the Catholics, was returned in second place, behind White, after a violent contest.9 He attended the county Catholics’ meeting in October 1826, but apparently missed the division on their claims in the Commons the following March. He presented the Swords and Malahide pro-Catholic petitions, 18 Mar., and voted in this sense, 12 Mar., while he also divided for economies, 23 June, 4, 7 July 1828. But he was a defaulter on emancipation, 5 Mar. 1829, and his only known vote that session was the pair he gave for the third reading of the relief bill, 30 Mar. The following month his wife unsuccessfully applied to the prime minister, the duke of Wellington, for a peerage and a pension, mentioning that their son’s death the previous year had left them in financial difficulties.10 He divided for Jewish emancipation, 5 Apr., 17 May 1830. He sided with Daniel O’Connell against the Irish vestry laws, 27 Apr., 10 June, and divided to repeal the unpopular Irish coal duties, 13 May, and to make Irish first fruits no longer nominal, 18 May. He attended the meeting of Irish Members in London to lobby against the increased spirit and stamp duties, 6 May, and probably brought up his county’s petitions against them, 25, 28 May.11 His only other known votes were for parliamentary reform, 28 May, alteration of the divorce laws, 3 June, and reducing the grant for South American missions, 7 June 1830, when he also apparently paired for abolition of the death penalty for forgery.

It was expected that Talbot, whose inactivity and government backing now told against him, despite his 24 years’ experience, would be forced to withdraw at the general election of 1830. Although he persisted as far as the third day of the poll, this proved to be the case; Wellington commiserated with him, but no peerage was forthcoming.12 He made no attempt to regain his seat at the following election, but in May 1831 he signed the requisition for a county Dublin meeting in favour of reform. That month his mother received a barony from the Grey ministry, this arrangement permitting the title to pass to her now childless eldest son, who was thus considered a potential lord lieutenant of the county, and then to his brothers. He chaired the monster reform meeting in Dublin, 14, 15 May 1832, and voted for O’Connell and Edward Southwell Ruthven* in the city contest at the general election.13 Having inherited the Irish peerage in 1834, he spent much of that decade involved in legal cases over his claims to compensation for the loss of ancient rights to duties in the port of Malahide and to a seat in the Lords on the basis of his being heir to the receiver of an original writ of summons.14 The latter question was resolved by the award of a United Kingdom barony in 1839. Talbot, who joined Brooks’s, 3 Feb. 1841, died after a ‘long life of uniform liberal policy’ in October 1849.15 His Irish title and estates passed to his next brother James (?1768-1850), and then to James’s son and namesake (1805-83), Liberal Member for Athlone, 1832-4. Talbot’s widow, who rose from humble origins to aspire to be ‘a leading star in the world of fashion’, died in November 1861.16

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell

Notes

  • 1. Not the 25th, as erroneously given in HP Commons, 1790-1820, v. 331.
  • 2. Convert Rolls ed. E. O’Byrne, 266; Hist. Irish Parliament, vi. 373-4.
  • 3. Dublin Evening Post, 26, 29 Feb., 16, 21, 24, 30 Mar., 1, 8 Apr., 13 May 1820.
  • 4. Ibid. 2, 4, 11, 13 Jan. 1821.
  • 5. Buckingham, Mems Geo. IV, i. 322-3, 327-9.
  • 6. Dublin Evening Post, 9, 11, 30 Jan., 6 Feb. 1823.
  • 7. Ibid. 16, 19 Oct. 1824.
  • 8. O’Connell Corresp. iii. 1278; The Times, 4 Mar.; Dublin Evening Post, 23 Mar. 1826.
  • 9. Dublin Evening Post, 10 Sept. 1825, 2 Mar., 13 May, 6, 10, 13, 15, 24 June, 4, 6 July 1826.
  • 10. Wellington mss WP1/1011/7; 1013/13.
  • 11. Dublin Evening Post, 8 May 1830.
  • 12. Ibid. 10, 17 July, 5, 10, 14, 24 Aug.; Dublin Morning Post, 28 July, 14 Aug.; NAI, Leveson Gower letter bks. Leveson Gower to Brabazon, 6 July 1830; Wellington mss WP1/1135/23; 1139/5.
  • 13. Dublin Evening Post, 16 June, 25 Aug. 1831, 15, 17 May 1832; Dublin Pollbook (1837), 178.