CUFFE, James (by 1780-1828), of Deal Castle, co. Mayo.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1790-1820, ed. R. Thorne, 1986
Available from Boydell and Brewer



29 May 1819 - 29 July 1828

Family and Education

b. bef. 1780, 1st illegit. s. of James, 1st Baron Tyrawley [I], of Castle Lacken by Miss Wewitzer, a London actress. m. 12 Aug. 1796, Harriet, da. of John Caulfeild of Donamon, co. Roscommon. suc. fa. 1821.

Offices Held

MP [I] 1800

Trustee, linen board [I] 1815.

Custos rot. co. Mayo 1801, gov. 1818.

Capt. commdt. Kilmaine and Rathlacken inf. 1821; col. N. Mayo militia 1822.


Cuffe’s father, described in 1782 as a ‘pleasant libertine’, was MP for Mayo, 1768-97, until he was created a peer. He supported the Union and extracted for his services a promise from the lord lieutenant that he would recommend Cuffe for a peerage. In June 1800 Cornwallis did so, remarking to the Home secretary that Tyrawley was prepared to forego his own election as a representative peer in order to secure ‘this favourite object of his life’. As Cornwallis anticipated, however, Portland did not press an illegitimate son upon the King.1

Cuffe’s seat in the Irish parliament, for which he was returned by his wife’s nephew, was disfranchised at the Union and he did not immediately seek a return to Westminster. In May 1807 his father wished to bring him into Parliament and thereafter obtain a place on the revenue board for him, but the Castle objected to Tyrawley’s ‘character and habits’.2 In 1813 there was some talk of his contesting a by-election for county Mayo, but it came to nothing. The viceroy was disappointed, commenting that, if returned, Cuffe would have been a friend of government and a staunch ‘Protestant’.3 Six years later Cuffe was returned—for Tralee, a seat he probably purchased with the Castle’s agreement. He made no known speech in this period, but voted with government for the foreign enlistment bill, 10 June 1819, and also for legislation against sedition in December 1819. He died 29 July 1828.

Ref Volumes: 1790-1820

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Procs. R. Irish Acad. lvi., sec. C no. 3 (1954), 259; Cornwallis Corresp. iii. 246, 257, 319.
  • 2. Wellington mss, Wellesley to Hawkesbury, 8 May 1807.
  • 3. Add. 40186, f. 201.