CAULFEILD, Hon. Henry (1779-1862), of Hockley Lodge, co. Armagh

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



1802 - 1807
23 Sept. 1815 - 1818
1820 - 1830

Family and Education

b. 29 July 1779, 3rd but 2nd surv. s. of James, 1st earl of Charlemont [I] (d. 1799), and Mary, da. of Thomas Hickman of Brickhill, co. Clare. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1795; King’s Inns 1799; L. Inn 1800. m. 30 Aug. 1819, Elizabeth Margaret, da. of Dodwell Browne of Rahins, co. Mayo, 2s. 1da. d. 4 Mar. 1862.

Offices Held

Sheriff, co. Armagh 1832-3.


Caulfeild was a younger son of the distinguished Irish patriot leader Lord Charlemont, whose second son James Thomas died in 1793.1 He intermittently represented county Armagh, where his elder brother, the 2nd earl, who had represented the county in the Dublin Parliament and been elected a representative peer in 1806, had a large but not commanding interest. An almost silent Whig, Caulfeild joined Brooks’s Club in 1816. The retirement of one of the anti-Catholics who had defeated him in 1818 and the withdrawal of another Orange candidate enabled him to be returned unopposed at the general election of 1820.2 He divided against the appointment of an additional baron of exchequer in Scotland, 15 May, and the following day Sir Edward O’Brien* reported to his wife from London that ‘Henry and Mrs. Caulfeild are come here and seem as much annoyed at being obliged to attend Parliament as I do’.3 Caulfeild voted against the aliens bill, 1 June, and was granted a month’s leave on urgent private business, 24 June 1820.

He continued to vote in sporadic bursts with opposition, particularly in its campaign for economies and retrenchment early that decade. He divided for restoring Queen Caroline’s name to the liturgy, 13 Feb., and inquiries into the conduct of the sheriffs of Cheshire, 20 Feb., and Dublin, 22 Feb. 1821. On 14 Mar. 1821 he was again given a month’s leave, this time on account of illness in his family. He voted for more extensive tax reductions to relieve distress, 21 Feb., and to make it a breach of privilege to interfere with Members’ mail, 25 Feb. 1822. The death of Charlemont’s sole surviving son in January 1823 made Caulfeild the heir presumptive to the earldom. He divided for parliamentary reform, 20 Feb., 24 Apr. He voted for inquiries into the Irish church establishment, 4 Mar., the legal proceedings against the Dublin Orange rioters, 22 Apr., and the state of Ireland prior to the introduction of the insurrection bill, 12 May 1823. He again divided for inquiry into the state of Ireland, 11 May, and to abolish Irish pluralities, 27 May 1824. He voted against the Irish unlawful societies bill, 15, 18, 21, 25 Feb., and (as he had on 28 Feb. 1821) for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He divided to reform the representation of Edinburgh, 13 Apr., and for revision of the corn laws, 18 Apr. 1826.

Certain of his return, Caulfeild ‘professed neutrality’ during the county Armagh contest at the general election of 1826 between his colleague Charles Brownlow, who now favoured Catholic relief, and the Orange challenger, William Verner†. Yet on the hustings, where he was proposed as an ‘independent character and firm patriot’, he expressed support for Brownlow, with whom he was elected.4 He spoke in favour of the Catholic cause at a celebratory dinner in Newry, 2 Aug. 1826.5 He presented and endorsed petitions for relief from the city and county of Armagh, 26 Feb., and its Protestant freeholders, 2 Mar., and voted in this sense, 6 Mar. 1827.6 He divided against the duke of Clarence’s annuity bill, 2 Mar., and was allowed a month’s leave, 9 Mar. 1827, on account of the death of his niece Maria.7 He voted for repeal of the Test Acts, 26 Feb., and again for Catholic relief, 12 May 1828, and the emancipation bill, 6, 30 Mar. 1829. No trace of parliamentary activity has been found for the 1830 session, during which he was apparently in Baden. He had returned by the time of the dissolution that year, but declined to stand again because of continued ill health.8 He used this pretext to absent himself from a dinner in Armagh on 14 Oct. 1830, when he was toasted as one ‘whose parliamentary conduct was a model of integrity and patriotism’.9

Despite a promise from Edward Smith Stanley*, the Irish secretary in Lord Grey’s administration, Caulfeild did not receive a coronation peerage in September 1831, and Charlemont, who had long expected a British peerage from the Whigs, had to be mollified by being made a knight of St. Patrick.10 He declined to offer in place of the retiring Brownlow at the general election of 1832, when he was sheriff, and it is not known if he ever attempted to return to the Commons.11 He thereafter played a minor part in Irish Liberal politics; for example, he chaired the inaugural meeting of the Ulster Constitutional Association in Belfast, 14 Aug. 1840, and a private conference of Federalists there, 26 Oct. 1844.12 He died at Hockley, near Armagh, in March 1862. Remembered as ‘by inheritance of opinion a staunch Whig, and by personal feelings something more’, he was a steady opponent of the Union and for this reason never presented himself at the viceregal court.13 His estate presumably passed to his elder son James Molyneux (1820-92), Liberal Member for county Armagh, 1847-57, who in 1863 succeeded his uncle as the 3rd earl of Charlemont [I] and Baron Charlemont [UK]. Both these peerages became extinct on his death, when his cousin, James Alfred Caulfeild (1830-1913), succeeded as the 7th Viscount Charlemont [I].

Ref Volumes: 1820-1832

Author: Stephen Farrell


  • 1. Gent. Mag. (1793), ii. 870.
  • 2. HP Commons, 1790-1820, iii. 414; PRO NI, Paterson mss D236/534/1.
  • 3. NLI, Inchiquin mss T23/2972.
  • 4. Add. 40387, f. 212; Belfast Commercial Chron. 24, 26 June, 1 July 1826.
  • 5. Dublin Evening Post, 10 Aug.; The Times, 14 Aug. 1826.
  • 6. The Times, 27 Feb., 3 Mar. 1827.
  • 7. Gent. Mag. (1827), i. 378.
  • 8. Belfast Guardian, 6, 13 July 1830.
  • 9. Belfast News Letter, 22 Oct. 1830.
  • 10. PRO NI, Anglesey mss D619/31D/65; Holland House Diaries, 50, 52.
  • 11. Northern Whig, 30 Aug., 3 Sept.; Newry Examiner, 1 Sept. 1832.
  • 12. O’Connell Corresp. vi. 2733; vii. 3110.
  • 13. The Times, 7 Mar. 1862.