Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/William Monsell, Baron Emly

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 10
William Monsell, Baron Emly

by Edwin Hubert Burton


Born 21 Sept., 1812; died at Tervoe, Co. Limerick, Ireland, 20 April, 1894. His father was William Monsell of Tervoe; his mother, Olivia, daughter of Sir John Walsh of Ballykilcavan. He was educated at Winchester (1826-1830) and Oriel College, Oxford, but he left the university without proceeding to a degree. As his father had died in 1822 he succeeded to the family estates on coming of age and was a popular landlord, the more so as he was resident. In 1836 he married Anna Maria Quin, daughter of the second Earl of Dunraven, but there was no issue of the marriage. After her death in 1855 he married Bertha, youngest daughter the Comte de Martigny (1857), by whom he had one son and one daughter. In 1847 he was returned to Parliament as a member for the County of Limerick in the Liberal interest and represented the constituency till 1874. In 1850 he became a Catholic and thereafter took a prominent part in Catholic affairs, especially in Parliament. As a friend of Wiseman, Newman, Montalambert, W.G. Ward, and other eminent Catholics, he was intimately acquainted with the various interests of the Church, and his parliamentary advocacy was often of great advantage to the hierarchy. In the House itself he was successful and filled many offices. He was clerk of the ordnance from 1852 to 1857; was appointed privy councillor in 1855; was vice-president of the board of trade in 1866; under-secretary for the colonies, 1868-1870; postmaster-general, Jan., 1871, to Nov., 1873. Finally he was raised to the peerage as Baron Emly on 12 Jan., 1874. He lost much of his popularity in Ireland during his later years, owing to his opposition to the land league and to the Home Rule movement. His work being chiefly parliamentary, he wrote little, but published some articles in the "Home and Foreign Review" and a "Lecture on the Roman Question" (1860).

WARD, W.G. Ward and the Oxford Movement (London, 1896); IDEM, W.G. Ward and the Catholic Revival (London, 1893); IDEM, Life of Cardinal Wiseman (London, 1898); PURCELL, Life of Cardinal Manning (London, 1895); IDEM, Life of Ambrose Phillipps de Lisle (London, 1900); COURTNEY in Dict. Nat. Biog., Supp. Vol. III (London, 1901).

EDWIN BURTON