Available from Boydell and Brewer
Number of voters:
about 7,000 in 1815
|1801||MERVYN ARCHDALL I|
|JOHN WILLOUGHBY COLE, Visct. Cole|
|19 July 1802||JOHN WILLOUGHBY COLE, Visct. Cole|
|MERVYN ARCHDALL II|
|17 June 1803||HON. GALBRAITH LOWRY COLE vice Cole, become a peer of Ireland|
|17 Nov. 1806||HON. GALBRAITH LOWRY COLE||1416|
|MERVYN ARCHDALL II||1260|
|27 May 1807||HON. GALBRAITH LOWRY COLE||949|
|MERVYN ARCHDALL II||513|
|9 Nov. 1812||HON. GALBRAITH LOWRY COLE||3432|
|MERVYN ARCHDALL II||2066|
|2 July 1818||SIR GALBRAITH LOWRY COLE|
|MERVYN ARCHDALL II|
Fermanagh was a largely agricultural county, populated almost equally by Catholics and Protestants. Elections were traditionally dominated by the most substantial landowners Lord Enniskillen (Cole), the Archdalls and the Brookes of Brookeborough. In fact, an Archdall and a Cole had represented the county continuously since 1731 and 1783 respectively, and a Brooke between those dates. Not surprisingly, the main feature of elections after the Union was the three attempts of Henry Brooke to recapture a county seat. The other landlords, notably the Marquess of Ely, Lord Belmore and Sir James Caldwell, counted for little.1
Henry Brooke made his first effective bid in 1806 when he and his relation Richard Brooke stood against Generals Archdall and Cole, who had united to thwart him in 1802. The Castle adopted a policy of neutrality and Brooke had therefore to rely largely upon the following claims on his behalf:
He possesses an enlightened mind and liberal sentiments. He is a good and a resident landlord, and spends an ample fortune in the bosom of his tenantry ... He has the most flourishing estate in the county; the tenants have good houses, are well clad; there are few who cannot ride a good horse to market, and many whom he is not ashamed to have at his table. A few such landlords would be serviceable in Ireland.
They were insufficient to defeat his rivals’ tenant strength and Archdall could be outspoken against government on the hustings.2
This contest was repeated in 1807 and 1812. On both occasions, the Castle did little or nothing and Lord Ely’s support of Brooke proved unavailing. In fact the only significant event was the decision of the returning officer in 1807 that freeholders were entitled to vote after 12 lunar rather than calendar months from the date of their registration. Brooke claimed that this created 295 of his opponents.3 In 1818 Cole and Archdall were unopposed, the former strenuously denying throughout that there was any coalition between them. This was probably correct, though both gave a general support to administration and strongly opposed Catholic relief.4
Author: P. J. Jupp
- 1. Wakefield, Account of Ireland, i. 259.
- 2. M. L. Cole and S. Gwynn, Mems. of Sir Lowry Cole, 25; Spencer mss, Irish list, May 1806; Dublin Evening Post, 11 Nov. 1806.
- 3. Wellington mss, Archdall to Wellesley, 12 May, reply 15 May; Dublin Corresp. 27 May 1807; Add. 40204, f. 7.
- 4. Dublin Corresp. 3 July 1818.