COOPER, Edward Synge (1762-1830), of Markree Castle, co. Sligo and Boden Park, co. Westmeath.
Available from Cambridge University Press
Family and Educationb. 5 Mar. 1762, 2nd s. of Joshua Cooper (d. 1800), MP [I], of Markree Castle and Alicia, da. and h. of Rt. Rev. Edward Synge, DD, bp. of Elphin. educ. by Rev. Richard Norris, Drogheda; Trinity, Dublin 1779. m. 25 Jan. 1796, Anne, da. of Harry Verelst of Aston Hall, Yorks., gov. Bengal, 3s. d. 16 Aug. 1830.
Cooper continued to sit for county Sligo on the family interest, which he had managed since 1806 following the derangement of his elder brother Joshua Edward Cooper†. At the 1820 general election he was again returned unopposed. A mostly silent Member who ‘attended occasionally’, when present he gave general support to the Liverpool ministry, by whom he was listed as having secured a collectorship of excise for Major Charles King O’Hara, eldest son of his colleague.1 On 17 May 1820 he introduced a bill regulating the fees of coroners and surgeons at Irish inquests.2 He guided it through its second, 31 May, and third readings, 12 June, and it received royal assent on 30 June (1 Geo. IV, c. 28). He secured information on Irish mail coaches, 16 June.3 He was granted a month’s leave on account of ill health, 21 June 1820. He was absent from the divisions on Catholic relief, 28 Feb. 1821, 1 Mar. 1825, but present to vote against it, 30 Apr. 1822, 21 Apr., 10 May 1825. He divided against repeal of the additional malt duty, 3 Apr. 1821. He refuted allegations of illegal conduct against Sligo corporation in a petition from one Thomas Flanagan, who ‘had been sentenced to transportation’, 11 Apr., and, protesting that he had been ‘grossly libelled’ by the petitioner, ‘in order to clear his character’ successfully moved for copies of the correspondence relating to Flanagan’s conviction at Sligo assizes, 17 May.4 He divided against disqualifying civil officers of the ordnance from voting in parliamentary elections, 12 Apr., parliamentary reform, 9 May 1821, and reform of Edinburgh’s representation, 13 Apr. 1826. He voted against military economies, 28 May 1821, but was in the opposition majority for a reduction of the admiralty lords, 1 Mar. 1822. He was appointed to the select committees on Irish grand jury presentments, 3 May, and the Irish linen trade, 18 May. On 18 May he presented and endorsed a constituency petition against tithes on potatoes, to which ‘a great portion of the disturbances in Ireland might be traced’. He spoke against the poor removal bill, 31 May.5 In the 1822 county Sligo by-election he was slow to support the local candidate Perceval, who complained of his ‘hostility’ and of being ‘most cruelly treated’ by him. On the hustings, however, he preferred him to the non-resident Henry King*, whose family, it was feared, might gain such a hold over the county that Cooper would ‘become but a secondary object, from having the control of nearly everything’. Notwithstanding his belated support Perceval was defeated.6 No trace of parliamentary activity has been found for 1823. Cooper objected to the wheat warehousing bill, 21 Apr. 1824.7 On 19 May he introduced a bill to relieve the tenants of small parcels of land, but it was later deferred. That day he brought in a measure to alter the regulations for the impounding of distresses in Ireland. He guided it through the Commons and, after amendments by the Lords, it received royal assent on 10 June 1825 (6 Geo. IV, c. 43). He brought up petitions against repeal of the Irish linen bounties, 24 May, and for inquiry into the trial of the Methodist missionary John Smith for inciting slave riots in Demerara, 28 May 1824.8 He voted for suppression of the Catholic Association, 15 Feb. 1825. He was granted a month’s leave on ‘urgent private business’, 18 Feb. He obtained returns on the issue of Irish stamps, 10 Mar.9 He was in the minority against the bill to disfranchise Irish 40s. freeholders, 26 Apr. 1825. That day he presented a petition for revision of the regulations governing the Irish butter trade.10 On 10 Apr. 1826 he introduced a bill to alter the laws preventing the vexatious impounding of cattle in Ireland, which he guided through the Commons; it received royal assent, 26 May 1826 (7 Geo. IV, c. 42).11
At the 1826 general election Cooper, a ‘veteran in the cause of the constitution as established in 1688’, was re-elected unopposed.12 He signed the petition of Irish landed proprietors against Catholic claims in February 1827, brought up a hostile petition, 5 Mar., and voted thus next day.13 He and his colleague introduced a bill to relieve persons from unlawful distresses for rent in Ireland, 8 Mar., which received royal assent, 2 July (7 & 8 Geo. IV, c. 69). He divided for going into committee on the spring guns bill, 23 Mar., but against the third reading, 30 Mar. He was appointed to the committee on Irish grand jury presentments, 6 June 1827. He welcomed the salmon fisheries bill, which ‘if it was on the model of the one proposed last year ... would give satisfaction to his constituents’, 19 Feb. 1828. He presented petitions against Catholic claims, 25 Apr., 6 May, and voted accordingly, 12 May 1828. At the end of that month he left for Ireland.14 In February 1829 he was listed by Planta, the Wellington ministry’s patronage secretary, as ‘opposed’ to Catholic emancipation but likely to support securities when the principle was carried. His last known votes were against emancipation, 18, 23, 30 Mar. 1829. He was granted a month’s leave to attend the assizes, 9 Mar. 1830.
At the 1830 dissolution Cooper, ‘feeling the duties’ of Parliament ‘too arduous’ and citing his poor health, retired in favour of his eldest son Edward Joshua. Rumours that he was secretly campaigning against his former colleague, who had gone into opposition, were dismissed by the Sligo Journal. He died on the second day of the contest, following which his son was returned in absentia with his chair ‘dressed in the deepest mourning’. A local obituary paid tribute to his ‘spotless integrity’ and ‘munificent charities’, eulogizing him as ‘strictly the Protestant and the Christian’.15
Ref Volumes: 1820-1832
Author: Philip Salmon
- 1. Black Bk. (1823), 147; Session of Parl. 1825, p. 458.
- 2. The Times, 18 May 1820.
- 3. Ibid. 17 June 1820.
- 4. Ibid. 12 Apr., 18 May 1821.
- 5. Ibid. 1 June 1822.
- 6. NLI, O’Hara mss 20316, Irwin to O’Hara, 30 Sept., O’Hara to Webber, 13 Oct., J. Perceval to O’Hara, 9 Nov., A. Perceval to O’Hara, 11 Nov. 1822; Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette, 30 Nov. 1822.
- 7. The Times, 22 Apr. 1824.
- 8. Ibid. 25, 29 May 1824.
- 9. Ibid. 11 Mar. 1825.
- 10. Ibid. 27 Apr. 1825.
- 11. Ibid. 11 Apr. 1826.
- 12. Roscommon and Leitrim Gazette, 17, 24 June 1826.
- 13. Add. 40392, f. 5; The Times, 6 Mar. 1827.
- 14. O’Hara mss 20331 (2), King to O’Hara, 26 May 1828.
- 15. Sligo Jnl. 23 July, 20 Aug. 1830.