WYNNE, Owen (c.1756-1841), of Hazelwood, co. Sligo
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Family and Educationb. c. 1756, 1st. s. of Owen Wynne, MP [I], of Hazelwood and Hon. Anne Maxwell, da. of John, 1st Bar. Farnham [I]. m. 20 Jan. 1790, Lady Sarah Elizabeth Cole, da. of William, 1st earl of Enniskillen [I], 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 4da. suc. fa. 1789. d. 12 Dec. 1841.
MP [I] 1776-1790, 1791-1800.
Collector, Sligo 1784-1801; gov. and custos rot. co. Sligo 1789-d.; sheriff 1819-20, 1833-4.
Trustee, linen board [I] 1795-1824.
Capt. Carbery vol. cav. 1796.
Wynne, the patron of the pocket borough of Sligo, resumed the seat he had vacated in 1806 at the 1820 general election. A silent Member who ‘attended seldom’, when present he generally supported the Liverpool ministry, who listed him as seeking promotion for a Henry Philips in the tax department and noted the appointment of his nephew as collector of customs in Sligo.1 He was granted six weeks’ leave on urgent private business 12 Feb., but was present to vote against Catholic claims, 28 Feb. 1821, as he did again, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. At the 1822 county Sligo by-election he backed the unsuccessful Tory Alexander Perceval*, and at a dinner of his supporters ‘laid aside his usual frigidity, and favoured the company with some excellent songs during the night, particularly one written extempore for the occasion’, and ‘made a neat and appropriate speech’.2 He divided against repeal of the Foreign Enlistment Act, 16 Apr., but with opposition for inquiry into the prosecution of the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr. 1823. He divided for suppression of the Catholic Association, 15 Feb. 1825.
At the 1826 general election he was again returned unopposed.3 He signed the petition of Irish landed proprietors against Catholic claims in February 1827 and voted thus, 6 Mar. 1827, 12 May 1828.4 He was granted three weeks’ leave on urgent business, 23 Mar. 1827. In a letter to Peel, the home secretary, welcoming the recent ‘happy change’ of government, 20 Apr. 1828, he hoped that the duke of Wellington, the premier, and Peel would ‘protect us from the speculative legislation of some of the opposition Members’ and complained about the ‘grossly unjust’ parish rates payments bill:
One great object of a resident gentleman is to improve his estate. How does this projected law operate? Every improvement induces a higher valuation and imposes an additional annual tax upon him and it is therefore his interest to prevent instead of encouraging and paying for the improvement of his farms ... It really would not surprise me to see a bill to enable vestries to levy money to build Catholic chapels ... This country (at least this part of it) is certainly improving and will I trust continue to improve if we are only suffered to go on without too much legislative interference, and if we could be rescued from the government of the Catholic Association, which is doing more mischief than you can be aware of.
Peel referred the matter to Goulburn, the chancellor of the exchequer, and promised to give it his ‘very serious’ and ‘unprejudiced consideration’.5 In February 1829 Wynne was listed by Planta, the patronage secretary, as ‘opposed’ to Catholic emancipation, though likely to support securities when the principle was carried. He duly voted against emancipation, 18, 23, 26, 27, 30 Mar., but was in the minority of 16 to raise the new minimum county freehold qualification from £10 to £20, 27 Mar. In August 1829 he applied to Peel for promotion in the church for his son William, which Peel recommended be given to ‘one of the most valuable and respectable country gentlemen in Ireland’, citing ‘his support of the government and forbearance in asking favours’. The duke of Northumberland, the Irish viceroy, and Leveson Gower, the Irish secretary, both agreed to assist.6 He was granted two months’ leave on account of family illness, 15 Mar. 1830. There is no record of any parliamentary activity that session.
At the 1830 dissolution Wynne made way for his eldest son John at Sligo, probably on account of his wife’s declining health. He assisted the return of a local Tory against a reformer in the county election, and at the declaration welcomed the ‘triumph of the aristocracy’ over ‘modern liberalism’ and refuted charges that he operated a ‘system of oppression’ or had threatened to ‘make the grass grow on the streets of Sligo’:
I have been in Parliament longer than any man in this kingdom now alive ... It has been asserted that I am not in the habit of making speeches in Parliament, but a man who attends to the superior information of others may ... give a better vote and be more useful than gentlemen who are fond of pronouncing pieces of oratory ... Such bad taste have I seen in the House of Commons that ... I have frequently seen the unfortunate orator, who, at the commencement of his speech had a crowded House, left speaking to empty benches.7
At the 1831 county Sligo nomination he spoke against the Grey ministry’s ‘impracticable’ reform bill, denounced the Whigs as ‘factious anarchists’ and warned the electors, ‘Do not break down what you know to be good, adhere to the constitution you have’.8
Wynne, who was ‘constantly resident’ in county Sligo, died in December 1841 in ‘his 86th year’, when an obituarist claimed he was ‘amongst the first to introduce improvements in the system of agriculture’, but incorrectly named him ‘the oldest living representative of the Irish Parliament’.9
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Philip Salmon
- 1. Black Bk. (1823), 207; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 492.
- 2. NLI, O’Hara mss 20316.
- 3. Dublin Evening Post, 22 June 1826.
- 4. Add. 40392, f. 5.
- 5. Add. 40396, ff. 159, 162.
- 6. Add. 40327, f. 53; 40337, f. 185; NAI, Leveson Gower letterbks. M. 737/93, Leveson Gower to Peel, 31 Aug. 1829.
- 7. Sligo Jnl. 6 Aug. 1830.
- 8. Ibid. 20 May 1831.
- 9. Add. 40502, f. 57; Gent. Mag. (1842), i. 329.