Burrowes, Peter (DNB00)

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BURROWES, PETER (1753–1841), Irish barrister and politician, was born at Portarlington in 1753. At Trinity College, Dublin, which he entered in 1774, he specially distinguished himself in the debates of the Historical Society. While still a student at the Middle Temple, in 1784, he published a pamphlet on 'Catholic Emancipation,' which introduced him to the notice of Flood and the other leading Irish patriots. In the following year he was called to the bar, where he rapidly acquired a good practice. In 1790, along with Wolfe Tone and others, he founded a society in Dublin for the discussion of literary and political subjects. In a duel which he fought at Kilkenny in 1794 with the Hon. Somerset Butler, his life was only saved by the ball striking against some coppers which he happened to have in his waistcoat pocket. Though he did not share in t he more extreme vie ws of the United Irishmen, he was a zealous supporter of all the most important measures of reform. Along with thirteen other king's counsel he, 9 Dec. 1798, protested against the proposals for a union with Great Britain, and after being elected member for Enniscorthy he continued, as long as the Irish parliament existed, persistently to oppose the measure. In 1803 he acted as the counsel of Robert Emmet, and in 1811 he was employed to defend the catholic delegates. In 1821 he was appointed judge of the insolvent debtors court. He died in London in 1841, and was buried in Kensal Green cemetery.

[W. Burrowes's Select Speeches of Peter Burrowes, with Memoir, 1850; Life and Adventures of Wolfe Tone.]

T. F. H.