Party and Management in the Irish House of Lords, 1713-15

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The ‘constitutional revolution’ which occurred in Ireland after 1691 meant that parliamentary management became one of the prime functions of the viceroyalty. Interest focused on the Commons, where supply legislation was drafted. But the upper House, though smaller, less busy, and on the whole more easily managed, could not be ignored, since it could still cause major problems for government. The situation for the incoming ministers in 1714 was problematic, since the Lords had been a tory stronghold, and the ‘Church party’, buttressed by the bishops, remained powerful. The situation was a mirror image of Westminster in 1710, when Robert Harley's tory ministry had to cope with a whig‐dominated house of lords. This essay analyses the means by which Lord Lieutenant Sunderland (1714–15), and his successors, Lords Justices Grafton and Galway, brought the Irish upper House under control, constructing a court party with some of the elements which Clyve Jones has identified as having been crucial to Harley's strategy in 1710–14: moderate or non‐party men, pensioners and placemen depending on government largess, new episcopal appointments and a block creation of peerages. In Ireland it was the new peers who played the most important part. The whigs were able to make some inroads into the episcopal bench, previously a stronghold of toryism, until the issue of relief for dissenters rekindled anxiety over the maintenance of the ecclesiastical establishment, prefiguring future problems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPeers and Politics, c. 1650-1850
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Clyve Jones
Place of PublicationOxford
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9781119680611
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2020


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