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

Background Information

Right of Election:

in the freemen

Number of voters:

about 30


(1831): 10,750


28 Feb. 1801ISAAC CORRY
22 Nov. 1806JOHN METGE
20 Jan. 1807 JOSIAS DU PRÉ PORCHER vice Metge, vacated his seat
4 Aug. 1807 PATRICK CRAUFURD BRUCE vice Porcher, chose to sit for Old Sarum
27 July 1808 THOMAS HUGHAN vice Bruce, vacated his seat
21 Feb. 1812 FREDERICK WILLIAM TRENCH vice Hughan, deceased
26 Oct. 1812JOHN METGE
2 Jan. 1813 LYNDON EVELYN vice Metge, vacated his seat

Main Article

At Dundalk the principal proprietor was the Earl of Roden, by inheritance from his uncle the Earl of Clanbrassill. He controlled the corporation by restricting the freemen. The return of a Member at the Union was delayed while Roden, who had supported the measure from ‘positive conviction’, came to terms with government. In the event, he returned Isaac Corry in exchange for a place at the navigation board for his brother-in-law John Stratton, one of the retiring Members. Roden was anxious not to ‘endanger the borough which was once so nearly lost to the family’, and on 16 Nov. 1801 wrote a letter of protest to the viceroy when it seemed that the collectorship of Dundalk might be removed from his patronage. In January 1802 he was satisfied when it was awarded to Stratton.1

Before the election of 1802 Roden, who thought ‘treating with the present government (situated as they are) a most hazardous experiment in every point of view’, resolved to sell the seat for £4,000 to redeem his mother’s debts, though he had wished to bestow it on his brother Percy.2 He therefore sold it for six years (until his heir came of age) to the Earl of Stair. On the dissolution in 1802 government asked him for the seat, offering as bait the next vacant ribband of St. Patrick, which Roden had solicited. Roden then induced Stair to return the government nominee, Richard Archdall.3 In 1806, when the Grenville ministry likewise bargained for the seat in exchange for the ribband, Roden persuaded Stair to return a friend of theirs, for whom his agent John Metge acted as seat warmer.4 In 1808, on resuming the nomination, Roden, whose heir was now sure of a county seat, sold the seat to a government nominee for £3,500.5 Trench, whom he returned on a vacancy in February 1812, was his own choice, since the chief secretary complained that Trench was in ‘decided opposition’ and that Roden ought to return ‘a better Member’. At the general election of 1812, Roden returned his agent as a stopgap and the chief secretary heard that a friend of the Regent was destined for the seat.6 It is clear that government obtained it then and in 1818. Stair alleged in 1806 that the electors of Dundalk had taken umbrage ‘at these repeated elections of persons who are entirely strangers to them’,7 but there was no evidence of open discontent until after 1820.

Author: P. J. Jupp


  • 1. Add. 35731, f. 208; PRO NI, Roden mss MIC147/10 (vol. 20, pp. 80, 186), Roden to his mother, 6 July, 16 Nov. 1801; (vol. 21, pp. 309, 315), J. Jocelyn to his mother, 8, 23 Jan. 1802.
  • 2. Roden mss MIC147/10 (vol. 21, p. 169), Roden to P. Jocelyn [?4 Jan. 1802].
  • 3. Add. 35713, f. 94; Wickham mss 1/46/6, 9, Wickham to Addington, 27 Apr., 19 May; 5/5, 10, Hardwicke to Wickham, 2 June, Wickham to Stair (draft), 17 June 1802; PRO 30/8/329, f. 5.
  • 4. Spencer mss, Roden to Bedford, 19 Oct., Bedford to Spencer, 21 Oct. 1806; HMC Fortescue, viii. 440-1.
  • 5. Dublin SPO 539/290/6/38.
  • 6. Add. 40280, ff. 35, 72, 81, 82.
  • 7. Fortescue mss, Stair to Grenville, 2 Nov. 1806.