BROOKE, Henry Vaughan (?1743-1807), of Brooke Hill, co. Donegal.
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Family and Education
b. ?1743, s. of Basil Brooke of Brooke Hill by Jane, da. of Henry Wray of Castle Wray, co. Donegal. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1761. unm. suc. fa. 1768.
MP [I] 1776-1800.
Sheriff, co. Donegal 1786-7; col. co. militia 1798.
Brooke bought his way into the Irish parliament in 1776, coming in for Lord Arran’s borough of Donegal. Described in 1782 as ‘a moderate and well inclined man’,1 he came in for the county in 1783, assisted by the interests of Lord Londonderry and the Conollys, and supported opposition, having reservations about the Union. He retained his seat at Westminster and voted against government on the Irish master of the rolls bill, 19 Mar., and Grey’s censure motion of 25 Mar. 1801. Government viewed him as a country gentleman, ‘well meaning but not a party man’, and considered him ‘on sale’.2 He twice applied for patronage for relatives that year. On 28 Dec. 1801, with a compliment to Addington, he pressed for an early consideration of the Irish law courts bill.3
Brooke was out of Parliament from 1802 until 1806; despite his friendship with Lord Conyngham, he was ousted by the superior interest of Lord Abercorn. By 1806 the situation had changed and, though evidently not popular,4 Brooke was again returned with Conyngham’s support, as also in 1807. He supported the Grenville ministry and on the day after their dismissal voted with them in opposition, 25 Mar. 1807. Sir John Newport thereupon urged that Brooke should be secured in this line through the Ponsonbys, as ‘if he once attaches himself he will remain firm’.5 But Brooke went away without voting on Brand’s motion6 and the Portland ministry, after writing him off, were able to claim his support after the election. The Irish secretary reported, 6 June 1807, ‘Brooke’s friends in Donegal pledged themselves to two points—1st, that he was independent of Lord Conyngham; 2nd, that he was not hostile towards government; and I consider it certain that he will support’. By November Conyngham too was supporting ministers, though the secretary found him remiss in urging his friend Brooke to attend the House.7 The death of his colleague Sir James Stewart was then daily expected, but it was Brooke who died on 27 Nov. 1807, in his 65th year, leaving property ‘amounting to £5,000 a year’ to his next of kin.8
Ref Volumes: 1790-1820
Author: Arthur Aspinall
- 1. Procs. R. Irish Acad. lvi., sec. C no. 3 (1954), 242.
- 2. PRO 30/9/13, pt. 2.
- 3. PRO 30/9/9, pt. 1/4.
- 4. An Intro. to the Abercorn Letters ed. Gebbie, 234.
- 5. Wellington Supp. Despatches, v. 74.
- 6. Dublin Evening Post, 23 Apr. 1807.
- 7. Wellington Supp. Despatches, v. 190.
- 8. Gent. Mag. (1807), ii. 1178.