O'NEILL, Hon. John Bruce Richard (1780-1855), of Tullymore Lodge, co. Antrim.
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Family and Education
b. 30 Dec. 1780, 2nd s. of John, 1st Visct. O’Neill [I], by Henrietta, da. and h. of Charles Boyle, Visct. Dungarvan, MP [I], 1st s. of John, 6th Earl of Cork [I]. educ. Eton 1793-6. unm. suc. bro. as 3rd Visct. O’Neill [I] 25 Mar. 1841.
Ensign, 2 Ft. Gds. 1799, lt. and capt. 1800; capt. 18 Drag. 1804: maj. 19 Drag. 1807; lt.-col. Chasseurs Britanniques 1808, 19 Drag. 1810, 2 Ft. Gds. 1816; brevet col. 1814; maj.-gen. 1825, lt.-gen. 1838, gen. 1854.
Constable, Dublin Castle Apr. 1811-d.
Rep. peer. [I] 1843-d.
O’Neill sat for Antrim on the interest of his brother, a representative peer, who canvassed the Castle for him in the autumn of 1801, when O’Neill’s military duties prevented his acting on his own behalf. When he attended Parliament he gave his vote silently to ministers, but his attendance was often in doubt. In May 1806 his brother opposed the Grenville ministry by proxy and they evidently regarded O’Neill as hostile too: if so, he was unobtrusive about it. In 1808 the chief secretary reported that he ‘supports government and attends tolerably’. He certainly voted with ministers on all five crucial divisions concerning the Scheldt fiasco, January-March 1810, and was listed as ‘against the Opposition’ then. A year later he obtained an Irish place worth £365 p.a. and he was listed a Treasury supporter after 1812. It was said of him in February 1813, however, that he had scarcely given ministers a vote since his appointment, and in March 1816 that he ‘never gave six votes to the government’. He did vote against Catholic relief when present; it was doubtless the cause of his voting in April 1812 without having taken the oaths since his re-election in May 1811, a faux pas which had to be remedied by an Indemnity Act. Although O’Neill stepped up his attendance in June 1816, in the ensuing session he relapsed. He reappeared to support ministers against Tierney’s censure motion on 18 May 1819. He died 12 Feb. 1855.
Add. 40281, f. 55; 40290, ff. 118, 151; NLI, Richmond mss 66/931, 948.