Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Pery, Edmund Henry

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PERY, EDMUND HENRY, Earl of Limerick (1758–1845), was the only son of William Cecil Pery, lord Glentworth (1721–1794), bishop successively of Killaloe and Limerick, who was raised to the Irish peerage on 21 May 1790, by his first wife, Jane Walcot. He was a nephew of Edmond Sexton Pery, viscount Pery [q. v.], speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Born in Ireland on 8 Jan. 1758, Edmund was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, but did not take a degree. He travelled on the continent of Europe, and in 1786 entered the Irish House of Commons as member for the county of Limerick. He retained this seat till 4 July 1794, when he succeeded to the Irish peerage on the death of his father, Lord Glentworth.

Though of overbearing manners and small talent, Pery was a successful politician. He closely attached himself to the protestant ascendency party, which monopolised all power after Lord Fitzwilliam's recall in 1794. For his services to the government Glentworth in 1795 was made keeper of the signet, and in 1797 clerk of the crown and hanaper. On the outbreak of the rebellion of 1798 he raised a regiment of dragoons for service against the rebels at his own expense. He strongly supported Lord Clare in furthering the scheme for a union between England and Ireland. He spoke frequently on its behalf in the Irish House of Lords, and did much to obtain the support of influential citizens of Dublin. In return for these services he was created a viscount in 1800, and was one of the twenty-eight temporal lords elected to represent the peerage of Ireland in the parliament of the United Kingdom after the legislative union had been carried out. On 11 Feb. 1803 he was raised to the dignity of Earl of Limerick in the peerage of Ireland; and on 11 Aug. 1815 he was made an English peer, by the title of Lord Foxford. Subsequently Limerick resided greatly in England. He took a prominent part in Irish debates in the House of Lords, and steadily opposed any concession to the Irish catholics. He died on 7 Dec. 1845, in Berkshire, and was buried in Limerick Cathedral. Barrington describes him as ‘always crafty, sometimes imperious, and frequently efficient,’ and adds, ‘He had a sharp, quick, active intellect, and generally guessed right in his politics.’

Limerick married, on 29 Jan. 1783, Alice Mary, daughter and heiress of Henry Ormsby of Cloghan, co. Mayo, by whom he had issue. He was succeeded in his titles and property by his second grandson, William Henry Tennison Pery.

[Lodge's Peerage; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biography; Sir Jonah Barrington's Historic Memoirs of Ireland; Cornwallis Correspondence; Irish Parliamentary Debates; English Parliamentary Debates.]

G. P. M-y.