BLAYNEY, Hon. Cadwallader Davis (1802-1874).

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



1830 - 8 Apr. 1834

Family and Education

b. 19 Dec. 1802, o.s. of Andrew Thomas Blayney†, 11th Bar. Blayney [I], and Lady Mabella Alexander, da. of James, 1st earl of Caledon [I]. educ. Eton 1817. unm. suc. fa. as 12th Bar. Blayney [I] 8 Apr. 1834. d. 18 Jan. 1874.

Offices Held

Rep. peer [I] 1841-d.

Ensign 4 Ft. 1821; 2nd lt. Rifle Brigade 1821; lt. 7 Ft. 1825; capt. (half-pay) 1826; capt. 80 Ft. 1827, ret. 1830.


The Blayneys were descended from Sir Edward Blayney, a Welsh soldier who was created the 1st Lord Blayney, baron of Monaghan, in 1621. The 11th Baron, an Orangeman and army officer, Member for Old Sarum in the 1806 Parliament, retired to the family seat of Castleblayney in county Monaghan, where he exercised a minor electoral interest, in 1815.1 Cadwallader, his only son, joined the army in June 1821 and the following month exchanged into the Rifle Brigade. By 1822 it was known that he was likely to be set up as a candidate for the county by Lord Blayney, who that year failed in his request to ministers for an Irish representative peerage.2 Henry Westenra, one of the sitting Members, was mildly concerned at the prospect, but consoled himself with the reflection that Blayney was an unsuitable candidate and might in any case soon succeed his ailing father in the peerage; as he wrote to his wife in September 1824, Blayney himself had been ‘dreadfully ill and thought in danger, and is I am told a very wild, thoughtless, silly young man. I do not know him. The father is not liked in the county, quite the reverse, and the son is not known’.3 He announced his independent candidacy in September 1825, when a dissolution was expected, but was soon put ‘out of the question’ by a combination of other interests, and at the general election the following summer his father backed the defeated Orangeman, Charles Leslie*, and the successful newcomer, Evelyn Shirley.4 Lord Blayney, who was made president of the Monaghan Brunswick Club in October 1828, applied in vain to the duke of Wellington, the prime minister, for a vacant Irish representative peerage in May 1829.5

Having seen service abroad with his regiment, Blayney retired from the army in June 1830, when he announced his candidacy for Monaghan at a dinner in his honour at Castleblayney. He based his claim on his father’s record as a landlord, but was attacked for his youth and inexperience and for failing to declare his principles during the contest, in which he took an early lead. Despite his father’s junction with Westenra, who had favoured Catholic emancipation, he struck a deal with Shirley and was elected with him as a Tory.6 He was not expected to remain long in Parliament, where he was almost entirely silent, because of scares about his father’s health, which may have been why Westenra did not petition against his return that autumn.7 He was listed by ministers among their ‘friends’ (with ‘q[uer]y’ subsequently written beside his name), and divided in their minority on the civil list, 15 Nov. 1830. It was not known how he would vote on the second reading of the Grey ministry’s reform bill, 22 Mar.; according to John Cam Hobhouse*, in dividing in the hostile minority, he ‘voted against his promise, it is said made half an hour before’.8 He sided with opposition for Gascoyne’s wrecking amendment, 19 Apr. 1831. At the ensuing general election he was returned unopposed in alliance with Westenra after Shirley had withdrawn.9 He voted against the second reading of the reintroduced reform bill, 6 July, and for postponing consideration of the partial disfranchisement of Chippenham, 27 July. However, he divided at least once against adjourning the House on the bill, 12 July, paired for placing Dorchester in schedule B, 28 July, and was listed (probably in error) among the Members generally supporting the bill who were absent from the division on the amalgamation of Rochester with Chatham and Strood, 9 Aug. He voted for inquiry into how far the Sugar Refinery Act could be renewed with due regard to the West India interest, 12 Sept., and against the passage of the reform bill, 21 Sept. 1831.

Westenra reported to the duke of Richmond, a cabinet minister, 3 Nov. 1831, that government

may have been told that Lord Blayney was favourable to ‘the bill’, but I can tell you that, to my certain knowledge, Lord Blayney approves of every [hostile] vote his son has given and that Mr. Blayney promised Lord Rossmore to vote for reform when he (Mr. B) canvassed Lord Rossmore for his Monaghan interest.10

Early in 1832 the cabinet, who had seen through Lord Blayney’s self-serving offer of support, forced him to apologize publicly for his vitriolic attack on the supposed reduction of the household troops; the fact that a peerage was not forthcoming probably confirmed his son in opposition.11 Blayney voted against the enfranchisement of Tower Hamlets, 28 Feb., the third reading of the revised reform bill, 22 Mar., the second reading of the Irish bill, 25 May, and to preserve the voting rights of Irish freemen, 2 July. He divided for inquiry into distress in the glove trade, 3 Apr., and against the Russian-Dutch loan, 12 July, but he apparently sided with ministers for the Irish tithes bill, 13 July. Described by Rossmore as ‘worse, if possible’, than the violent Tory Shirley, he was returned as a Conservative for Monaghan at the general election of 1832 and sat until he succeeded to his father’s titles and estates in April 1834.12 An Irish representative peer from 1841, he died in the St. James’s Hotel, Piccadilly, in January 1874, when, despite an extensive search for an heir, his barony became extinct. He left his property (but not Castleblayney, which had been sold in 1853) to his sisters’ children and other surviving relatives.13

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


  • 1. E.P. Shirley, Hist. Co. Monaghan, 240-50; Co. Monaghan Sources, 26-30; Oxford DNB.
  • 2. PRO NI, Rossmore mss T2929/3/21; Add. 37300, f. 204.
  • 3. Rossmore mss 3/36, 49; 4/9.
  • 4. Enniskillen Chron. 8 Sept. 1825; PRO NI, Leslie mss MIC606/3/J/14/11-12, 66-67.
  • 5. Belfast Guardian, 17 Oct. 1828; Wellington mss WP1/1021/11.
  • 6. Rossmore mss 10B/8; PRO NI, Clogher Diocesan mss DIO(RC)1/6/13; Louth Free Press, 3, 10 July, 14, 21 Aug.; PRO NI, Barrett Lennard mss MIC170/3, Westenra to Barrett Lennard, 9 July, 17, 28 Aug. 1830; Leslie mss 3/J/17/9-10, 15-18, 31-33, 35-36.
  • 7. Barrett Lennard mss 3, Ellis to Barrett Lennard, 4 Nov. 1830.
  • 8. Add. 56555, f. 114.
  • 9. Newry Commercial Telegraph, 29 Apr., 17 May 1831; Rossmore mss 4/31.
  • 10. W. Suss. RO, Goodwood mss 1434, f. 248.
  • 11. Holland House Diaries, 116; The Times, 17 Feb. 1832.
  • 12. Derby mss 920 Der (14) 122/2, Rossmore to Smith Stanley, 13 July, Enniskillen Chron. 27 Dec. 1832; Belfast News Letter, 11 Apr. 1834.
  • 13. The Times, 20, 21 Jan., 13 Feb. 1874; E. Rowley-Morris, Blayney Fam. (1890), 1, 18.