MATHEW, Francis James, Visct. Mathew (1768-1833), of Thomastown, co. Tipperary.
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Family and Education
b. 2 Jan. 1768, 1st s. of Francis, 1st Earl of Landaff [I], by 1st w. Ellis, da. of James Smyth, MP [I], of Tenny Park, co. Wicklow; bro. of Montague James Mathew*. educ. Corpus Christi, Oxf. 1784. m. 10 July 1797, Gertrude Cecilia, da. and coh. of John Latouche I*, s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Earl of Landaff [I] 30 July 1806; KP 8 Sept. 1831.
MP [I] 1790-2, 1796-1800.
Lt. army 1785; lt. 18 Drag. 1787; lt.-col. 114 Ft. 1794; col. 99 Ft. 1805-11.
Mathew was returned for the county after a contest in 1790, unseated in favour of John Bagwell I*, but re-elected in 1796. He opposed the Union, to his father’s distress, as it damaged expectations of a marquessate, to redeem which he promoted a loyal address from the county and brought in two loyalist Members. Failing to achieve his aim through Cornwallis, Lord Landaff, who did become a representative peer, subsequently applied to Lord Hardwicke in May 1801 and August 1802, but nothing came of it, perhaps because his son was reckoned in opposition at Westminster.1 The Castle noted in 1801, ‘complains his father not a marquis’. Yet Mathew, whose father had contemplated replacing him by his brother Montague to placate government, visited France in 1802, and did not make his opposition obvious by speech or vote, until 4 Mar. 1803 when on his voting for the inquiry into the Prince of Wales’s debts, the official comment was ‘to be expected’.2
In the spring of 1804 it was noted that Mathew was raising a regiment, had been well disposed to the Ponsonbys, but would probably support government. He had been among the Prince of Wales’s parliamentary recruits from Ireland in February 1804.3 On 29 Dec. 1804 he was reckoned by the Castle ‘doubtful. Professes to be friendly, but cannot be relied upon.’4 He was in Ireland on 27 Apr. 1805 but came over in support of Catholic relief on 14 May. He was an acknowledged supporter of the Grenville ministry at the time he succeeded to the peerage, though the ministry had to excuse itself from supporting his brother Montague in his place. He remained pro-Catholic and Whig in his sympathies. His ambition was to be a representative peer and he was alienated by the Prince Regent’s failure to obtain this for him. He died 12 Mar. 1833, extinguishing the title.