BROWNLOW, William (1755-1815), of Lurgan, co. Armagh.
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Family and Education
b. 1 Sept. 1755, 1st s. of William Brownlow, MP [I], of Lurgan by 1st w. Judith Letitia, da. of Rev. Charles Meredyth of Newtown, co. Meath. m. 1795, Charity, da. of Matthew Forde, MP [I], of Seaforde, co. Down, s.p. suc. fa. 1794.
MP [I] 1795-7.
Trustee, linen board [I] 1808.
Sheriff, co. Armagh 1787-8; capt. Lurgan yeomanry 1797.
The Brownlow family were among the largest landowners in Armagh and in 1799 possessed a total rent roll of £9,000.1 Brownlow’s father represented the county in the Irish parliament 1753-94 and was noted for his staunch independence.2 Brownlow did not display the same qualities at Westminster. His return in a by-election was assisted by Lord Gosford3 and he was probably favourably inclined towards the Grenville ministry, though he left the House rather than vote on Brand’s motion of 9 Apr. 1807. After the ensuing election, at which his return was again backed by Gosford, he was thought to be a friend of the Portland ministry and made an unsuccessful bid for a privy councillorship.4 On 1 Feb. 1808 he wrote from Ireland, detained by gout, ‘I am indeed very anxious to give every support that I possibly can, to the present administration’. In July 1808 he was still absent.5
Brownlow is not known to have spoken in debate and does not seem to have been a reliable attender, though he voted with ministers on the Scheldt inquiry, 23 Feb., and, according to a report subsequently contradicted in view of his absence,6 on 30 Mar. 1810. He was listed ‘Government’ by the Whigs. It was thought Brownlow would have liked a peerage, but he renewed his application for a privy councillorship, with the claim of a promise from the Duke of Portland. Wellesley Pole at first noted, 19 Nov. 1810, that Brownlow had ‘held off’ from supporting government, but within a week changed his mind about it and on 5 Dec. advised that Brownlow’s request be granted. Perceval toyed with the idea and then demurred for tactical reasons, as there were several other claimants.7
Brownlow was still listed a government supporter after the election of 1812. He voted against Catholic relief, 2 Mar. and 24 May 1813. He died 10 July 1815.
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: P. J. Jupp
- 1. H. Macdougal, Sketches of Irish Political Character (1799), 299-300.
- 2. Procs. R. Irish Acad. lvi., sec. C no. 3 (1954), 234.
- 3. Wellington mss, Gosford to Wellesley, 2 May 1807.
- 4. Wellington Supp. Despatches, v. 75, 83.
- 5. Dublin SPO 536/264/3; Wellington Supp. Despatches, v. 472-3.
- 6. Morning Chron. 5 Apr. 1810.
- 7. NLI, Richmond mss 63/609, 612, 614; 73/1652, 1654, 1656, 1661, 1662.