Hely-Hutchinson, Richard (DNB00)

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HELY-HUTCHINSON, RICHARD, first Earl of Donoughmore (1756–1825), eldest son of John Hely-Hutchinson (1724–1794) [q. v.], born in 1756, was educated at Oxford and Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1775. In 1777 he was called to the Irish bar, and in the same year he was elected M.P. for the university of Dublin; but, being unseated on an election petition, he was returned for Sligo, which he represented till 1783. From 1783 to 1788, when the death of his mother, the Baroness Donoughmore, raised him to the upper house, he represented the borough of Taghmon, co. Wexford. He was a man of liberal sentiments and an ardent friend of catholic emancipation, and took an active part in the debate in parliament. In 1794 he raised a regiment of foot (the 112th), of which his brother John was appointed colonel. He was created Viscount Suirdale in November 1797, and commanded the Cork legion during the rebellion of 1798. He voted for the union, hoping to secure catholic emancipation thereby; was created Earl of Donoughmore (21 Dec. 1800), and elected one of the twenty-eight representative peers of Ireland. In 1805 he was raised the the rank of major-general, and in the following year was appointed co-postmaster-general of Ireland, but resigned his office on the dissolution of the Portland administration in 1809. From 1810 till his death in 1825 he championed the cause of the Irish Roman catholics in the House of Lords, strenuously opposing every attempt to rule Ireland by purely coercive measures. On the question of the veto he sided with O'Connell and his bishops, holding domestic nomination to be a sufficient security against papal interference. On the trial of Queen Caroline, however, he supported the government, and voted for the Bill of Pains and Penalties. He opposed the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, but gave 'a reluctant consent' to the Irish insurrection Bill of 1822. In the spring of 1825 he became unwell, but recovered sufficiently to move the second reading of the Catholic Relief Bill on 17 May in the same year. He died, however, on 25 Aug. following, and never married, was succeeded by his brother John Hely-Hutchinson, lord Hutchinson (1757-1832) [q. v.] Notwithstanding a certain waywardness of opinion, Lord Donoughmore was really an enlightened man, and did much to advance the cause of catholic liberation. At a meeting of the Catholic Association on 10 Nov. 1825 a warm tribute was paid to his memory as 'the hereditary patron of the catholics.'

[Burke's Peerage; Parliamentary Debates; Alumni Oxonienses; Fitzpatrick's Correspondence of Daniel O'Connell; Ann. Reg.; Ross's Correspondence of Lord Cornwallis; and the Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh; Addit. M88, 30125 ff. 75, 87 102, 31299 f. 104. 33102 f. 47; Hist. MSS. Comm. 12th Rep. p.36.]

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