TUITE, Hugh Morgan (1795-1868), of Sonna, co. Westmeath.

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

Constituency

Dates

1826 - 1830
1841 - 1847

Family and Education

b. 1795, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Capt. Hugh Tuite of Sonna and Sarah Elizabeth, da. of Lt.-Col. Daniel Chenevix of Ballycommon, King’s Co. educ. Christ Church, Oxf. 1814. m. (1) 6 Feb. 1826, Mary (d. 14 Mar. 1863), da. of Maurice O’Connor of Mount Pleasant, King’s Co., 1s. 1da.; (2) 8 Oct. 1863, Hester Maria, da. of John Hogan of Auburn, co. Westmeath, s.p. suc. fa. 1843. d. 15 Aug. 1868.

Offices Held

Sheriff, co. Westmeath 1822-3, co. Longford 1837-8.

Biography

Tuite, ‘the son of a gentleman of about £5,000 per annum’, was a permanent resident of Westmeath, where the local press commended his family for giving ‘perpetual employment to a number of our poor’ and spending ‘a splendid fortune’.1 Following the death of one of the county’s sitting Members in 1824 he made a ‘limited canvass’ as a supporter of Catholic claims, but on finding ‘the strong interests combined’ against him quit the field, hinting that he intended to stand at the next general election.2 In 1826 he duly offered as a pro-Catholic in opposition to the dominant Protestant interests, stressing his independence from ‘any particular line of politics’, his belief that emancipation would restore ‘peace and good order’ and his wish to deliver the county ‘from the degradation of being considered a sort of family property, or hereditary borough’. He was actively assisted by the Catholic Association and after a ‘severe struggle’ returned in second place, amidst accusations of widespread electoral misconduct by his supporters.3

He informed the Commons, 14 Feb., that he would not defend his return against his beaten rival’s petition, but his associates successfully petitioned to be admitted as parties for his defence, 8 Mar. 1827. He was absent from the division on Catholic claims, 6 Mar., as he ‘could not vote, not having defended his election’.4 A commission of inquiry into his return was established, 3 May 1827, but it disintegrated the following year, whereupon a committee was appointed, 18 Apr., and decided in his favour, 28 Apr. 1828.5 In his first reported action in the House Tuite, who is not known to have spoken in debate in this period, voted for Catholic relief, 12 May 1828. He divided against restricting the circulation of Irish and Scottish small notes, 5 June 1828. He was a convenor for the meeting of the ‘friends of civil and religious liberty’ at the Rotunda, Dublin, 20 Jan., and of course voted for the Wellington ministry’s concession of emancipation, 6 Mar. 1829.6 He was granted three weeks’ leave on account of ill health, 12 Mar. 1830. He was in the minorities for O’Connell’s Irish vestries bill, 27 Apr., and repeal of the Irish coal duties, 13 May. He paired for the second reading of the Jewish emancipation bill, 17 May. He voted to reduce the grants for consular services, 11 June, and Nova Scotia, 14 June, and was in the minority of 30 against the administration of justice bill, 18 June 1830.

At the 1830 general election Tuite offered again, citing his avoidance of ‘all coalitions’ and opposition to ‘every measure tending to increased taxation’. Faced with alliance between his former opponents, and abused for not pledging his unqualified support to Daniel O’Connell*, he ‘apologized for voting for the emancipation bill, clogged as it was with the disfranchisement of the 40s. freeholders’, and explained that he had withdrawn his support from the vestries bill in order to please both Catholics and Protestants. After a warm contest, in which he was ‘rather remiss’ in his canvassing, he was defeated; the Westmeath Journal observed that he had ‘sailed into the emancipation bog [and] run on vestry sands’.7 At the 1831 general election he started as a supporter o