CAULFEILD, Hon. Henry (1779-1862), of Hockley Lodge, co. Armagh.
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Family and Education
b. 29 July 1779, 3rd s. of James, 1st Earl of Charlemont [I], by Mary, da. of Thomas Hickman of Brickhill, co. Clare. educ. Trinity, Dublin 1795; L. Inn 1800. m. 30 Aug. 1819, Elizabeth Margaret, da. of Dodwell Browne of Rahins, co. Mayo, 2s. 2da.
Lord Charlemont, it was recorded in 1781, ‘opposes, and will always do so’.1 His son’s political career deserves exactly the same comment. Like his father and elder brother he opposed the Union, and after his return for Armagh in 1802 was a prominent member of the Irish opposition. No speech is known, but he voted at least 12 times against Addington’s and Pitt’s governments. On 14 May 1805 he voted for the Catholic petition. He supported the Grenville administration and they him in Armagh.
His electoral interest was not of itself sufficient to secure his return and in 1807 he retired in the face of a combination of other interests against him, stating that he had supported the Grenville ministry on all but one important issue which, as he favoured the abolition of the slave trade, was probably the Catholic question. Assize duties had been his pretext for absence from the divisions on it in April.2 He did not contest the county in 1812, but on a vacancy in 1815 came in unopposed with Lord Gosford’s backing. This support was probably the result of Caulfeild’s adhering to Catholic relief, for which he voted from 1816. He remained a firm opponent of ministers.
In 1818 he was defeated by a combination of proprietary strength and anti-Catholic feeling, but was returned in 1820 and 1826. The latter election was fought almost exclusively on the Catholic question and at a celebration dinner Caulfeild spoke in favour of ‘a perfect equalization of civil rights’, but did so ‘under great embarrassment ... labouring as he did under a constitutional unfitness for public speaking’.3 Hence, no doubt, his silence at Westminster. He died 4 Mar. 1862.