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Pre-Famine Ireland: Social Structure Copyright © 2000 by Desmond Keenan Hard copy of book available from and

Biographical Notes


Anderson, John d. 1820 Scotsman, first to run fast coaches in Ireland.

Barrett, Richard editor of The Pilot, supporter of Daniel O’Connell, Repealer.

Beaufort, Rev. D.A. 1739-1821, rector of Collon, co. Louth, savant, adviser of John Foster.

Bessborough, Earl of  1781-1847, John William Ponsonby, Baron Duncannon, 4th Earl of Bessborough, Whig, Lord Lieutenant 1846-47.

Bianconi, Charles 1786-1875, Italian immigrant, public car operator.

Blake, Anthony 1786-1849, Catholic barrister, first Catholic appointed to high public office since 1690.

Carleton, William 1794-1861, novelist.

Castlereagh, Lord 1769-1822, courtesy title, Robert Stewart, later Marquis of Londonderry, Irish Secretary 1798-1801, Foreign Secretary.

Cloncurry, Lord 1773-1853, Valentine Lawless, 2nd Baron Cloncurry, Whig, social reformer, Repealer.

Colby, Thomas 1784-1852, English soldier with rank of major in charge of Ordnance Survey.

Conway, Frederick 1777-1853, editor and later proprietor of Dublin Evening Post, Repealer who became            anti-Repealer.

Cook, Rev, Henry 1788-1868, Presbyterian minister, Subscriber, Tory.

Cornwallis, Lord 1738-1805, Charles Cornwallis, 1st Marquis Cornwallis, army general, Portland Whig, Lord Lieutenant 1798-1801.

Crolly, Rev. William 1780-1849, Catholic archbishop of Armagh 1835-49, moderate non-political.

Cullen, Rev. Paul 1803-78, succeeded William Crolly in 1849, later made cardinal, political, Repealer.

Dargan, William 1799-1867, railway construction contractor.

Davis, Thomas 1814-45, Protestant nationalist writer for The Nation, Young Irelander, Repealer, opposed to political clergy.

Doyle, Rev. James 1786-1834, ablest Catholic bishop, reformer, died exhausted when quite young, Whig but not active politically.

Drummond, Thomas 1797-1840, Scotsman, Lieutenant in Royal Engineers, surveyor, reformer, Under-secretary for Ireland 1835-40.

Duffy, Charles Gavan 1816-1903, editor of The Nation, Young Irelander, Repealer.

Edgeworth, Maria 1767-1849, novelist, educationalist, manager of her father's estates.

Edgeworth, Richard Lovell 1744-1817, father of preceding, savant and inventor, chiefly famous for experiments with the loading of carts and wagons.

Emmett, Robert 1778-1803, United Irishman and revolutionary, executed for treason 1803, chiefly famous for his last speech as edited by A. M. Sullivan.

Fingall, 8th Earl of 1759-1836, Arthur James Plunkett, Irish Whig peer, Catholic leader, U.K. peerage 1831.

Fingall, 9th Earl of 1791-1869, Arthur James Plunkett, Lord Killeen, son of preceding, Whig. Catholic leadership wrested from him by Daniel O’Connell.

Fitzgerald, William Vesey 1783-1843, moderate Tory, last Chancellor of Irish Exchequer in 1817, defeated by Daniel O’Connell in Clare 1828, given peerage by Peel.

Foster, John 1740-1828, last Speaker of Irish House of Commons, called Speaker Foster, later Baron Oriel, High Tory, noted improving landlord.

Foster, John Leslie d. 1842, cousin of preceding, educationalist, High Tory.

Giffard, John d.1819, editor of the Dublin Journal, leader of ascendancy faction in Dublin Corporation.

Goulburn, Henry 1784-1856, English Tory, Irish Secretary 1821-28, follower of Peel.

Grattan, Henry 1746-1820, Whig, 'Patriot' leader in Irish House of Commons, rarely attended Parliament in Westminster.

Grattan, jun. Henry 1789-1859, MP son of preceding, lacked ability and sense, supported Daniel O’Connell, Repealer.

Griffith, Richard 1784-1878, geologist, surveyor, land valuator.

Harvey, Philip d. 1826, able editor of Freeman's Journal.

Hincks, Thomas Dix 1767-1865. Presbyterian minister, educationalist.

Lalor, James Fintan 1807-49, Young Irelander, revolutionary, extreme visionary reformer.

Lawless, John   1773-1837, called 'Honest Jack', Whig radical, believed that politicians should tell the truth and pay their bills, often bested by Daniel O’Connell.

MacHale, Rev. John 1791-1881, Catholic archbishop of Tuam, political clergyman, Repealer, violently opposed to every Government.

Magee, John d 1822, proprietor of Dublin Evening Post, inexperienced and exploited by Daniel O’Connell, gaoled, died young.

Magee, Rev. William 1766-1831, Protestant archbishop of Dublin 1822-31, opposed Emancipation, scholar and ecclesiastical reformer.

Maher, Rev. James Catholic political priest, controversialist, Repealer.

Mason, William Shaw 1774-1853, statistician.

Mathew, Rev. Theobald 1796-1856, Catholic priest, Temperance crusader.

Manners, Lord 1756-1842, Thomas Manners-Sutton, 1st Baron Manners, English Tory, Irish Lord Chancellor 1807-27.

Mitchel, John 1815-75, inflammatory revolutionary, later supporter of Negro slavery in United States.

Montgomery, Rev. Henry 1788-1865, Presbyterian minister, Whig,    Non-subscriber, defeated by Rev. Henry Cook.

Murray, Rev. Daniel 1768-1852, Catholic archbishop of Dublin 1823-52, Whig but non-political, favoured Repeal if feasible, co-operated with Government except over Veto.

Newport, Sir John 1756-1843, Whig politician, scrutinised public finance, held office in 1806 and in 1830's.

Nimmo, Alexander 1783-1832, Scottish engineer.

Norbury, Lord 1745-1831, John Toler, Baron Norbury, Unionist and Tory, Chief Justice of Common Pleas    1800-27, mutual dislike between him and Daniel O’Connell both being forensic humorists.

O’Brien, William Smith 1803-64, Tory MP, Repealer and improbable revolutionary in 1848.

O’Connell, Daniel 1775-1847, outstanding legal and political figure, scantily educated, Catholic leader but not in a moral sense, able courtroom barrister though lacking in learning, Repeal leader.

O’Connor, Feargus 1794-1855, son of a United Irishman, radical reformer always blocked by O’Connell, Chartist leader in England, apparently not quite sane.

O’Sullivan, Rev. Mortimer 1791?-1859, Tory clergyman of Established Church, anti-popery controversialist.

Ousley, Rev. Gideon 1762-1869, Methodist preacher.

Parnell, Sir Henry 1776-1842, 1st Baron Congleton, Whig MP reformer, chiefly remembered for the construction of the Holyhead Road.

Peel, Sir Robert 1788-1850, Moderate Tory reformer, Irish Secretary 1813-18, opposed Catholic Claims  until 1828, twice Prime Minister. Always more than a match for Daniel O’Connell. Their loathing for each other was mutual.

Petty, Sir William savant and land surveyor under Charles II, best survey before the Ordnance Survey.

Plunket, William Conyngham 1764-1854, 1st Baron Plunket, moderate Tory, held office under both Whigs and Tories, Irish Lord Chancellor 1830-41.

Ponsonby, George 1755-1817, cousin of Earl of Bessborough, Leader of Whigs in Commons 1808-17.

Purcell, Peter  d.1848, leading coach operator after 1815, railway promoter, agriculturalist.

Saurin, William 1757-1839, Tory barrister, opposed Emancipation, Irish attorney general 1807-1822.

Sharman-Crawford, William 1781-1861, Whig MP, Social reformer, Federalist.

Sheil, Richard Lalor 1791-1851, barrister, playwright, Catholic leader, took office under the Whigs.

Spring-Rice, Thomas 1790-1866, moderate Tory or Whig, reformer, took office under Canning and also the Whigs, later Baron Mounteagle.

Staunton, Michael proprietor of Morning Post, Repealer.

Tone, Theobald Wolfe d. 1798, United Irishman, believed reform impossible without revolution, died after capture.

Troy, Rev. Thomas 1739-1823, Catholic archbishop of Dublin 1784-1823, co-operated with Government on Church matters, non-political, condemned United Irishmen in 1798, took Daniel Murray as co-adjutor in 1809.

Wakefield, Edward 1774-1854 English statistician.

Wellesley, Marquis 1760-1842, Richard Colley Wellesley, 1st Marquis Wellesley, eldest of Wellesley brothers, moderate Tory, Lord Lieutenant 1821-28 and 1832-34.

Wellesley-Pole, William 1763-1845, brother of preceding, added Pole when adopted as an heir, later Baron Maryborough, moderate Tory reformer, able and  active Irish Secretary 1809-12.

Wellington, Duke of 1769-1852, brother of two preceding, Arthur Wellesley, Irish Secretary 1807-9, famous general who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, later Prime Minister.

Whateley, Richard 1787-1863, English Whig, Protestant archbishop of Dublin 1831-63, ablest Irish churchman in 19th cent., ecclesiastical reformer, educationalist.

Williams, Charles Wye Promoter of Steam Navigation and the development of the River Shannon. 



Copyright Desmond J. Keenan, B.S.Sc.; Ph.D. ;.London, U.K.