TIERNEY, George (1761-1830), of Bruton St., London

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1754-1790, ed. L. Namier, J. Brooke., 1964
Available from Boydell and Brewer



6 Apr. 1789 - 1790
22 Nov. 1796 - 1806
1806 - 1807
3 Aug. 1807 - 1812
29 Dec. 1812 - 1818
1818 - 25 Jan. 1830

Family and Education

b. 20 Mar. 1761, 3rd s. of Thomas Tierney of Limerick.  educ. Eton 1776; Peterhouse, Camb. 1778; L. Inn 1780, called 1784.  m. 9 July 1789, Anna Maria, da. of Michael Miller of Bristol, issue.

Offices Held

P.C. 1 June 1803; treasurer of navy 1803-4; president of Board of Control 1806-7; master of the mint 1827-8.


Tierney’s father was for many years a prize agent at Gibraltar, but spent his later years in Paris. In December 1783 Tierney attracted considerable attention with a speech at India House, which he later published, advising the shareholders to ‘throw themselves at the foot of the throne, and implore his Majesty’s protection against his ministers’.1 At the general election he and his brother-in-law, Abraham Robarts, fought Wootton Bassett on the Hyde interest as supporters of Pitt. He claimed afterwards that the Treasury had promised to share the cost, in case of failure, and to contribute three-fifths in case of success. After spending £2,500 in vain, he approached the Treasury for £1,250, and an acrimonious exchange followed, Thomas Steele denying that any such agreement had been made. Lord Clarendon intervened, writing to George Rose, Apr. 1784:2

I can but wish that it may be cordially settled, thinking, abstracted of the weight of his plea, that he has such promising talents for the House of Commons that may be one day useful to his attachments. At present he is warm and sincere for Mr. Pitt, and that must increase my wishes for him.

Tierney eventually placed the whole matter before Pitt, but apparently gained no satisfaction.3

His next attempt to enter Parliament was in December 1788, by which time his attachments were to Opposition. He stood at Colchester, a notoriously venal borough, against George Jackson, who had the interest of both Government and the corporation. After an expensive contest, both candidates polled 640 and a double return was made. Tierney was declared elected, 6 Apr. 1789, and began at once to take a prominent part in debate, particularly in the discussions of 3 May 1790 on the finances of the East India Company. He lost his seat at the general election, and it was not till 1796 that he returned to the House, to remain a Member for 34 years.

He died 25 Jan. 1830.

Ref Volumes: 1754-1790

Author: J. A. Cannon


  • 1. Felix Farley’s Bristol Jnl. 6 Dec. 1783.
  • 2. Bodl. Clarendon mss c. 347.
  • 3. Tierney to Pitt, 12 Nov. 1784, Chatham mss.