Talbot, James (DNB00)

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TALBOT, JAMES, first Baron Talbot de Malahide in the peerage of the United Kingdom (1805–1883), born at Tiverton on 22 Nov. 1805, was the son of James Talbot, third baron Talbot de Malahide in the Irish peerage (1767?–1850), who married, on 26 Dec. 1804, Anne Sarah (d. 1857), second daughter and coheiress of Samuel Rodbard of Evercreech House, Somerset. His grandmother Margaret (d. 1834) was created Baroness Talbot de Malahide in 1831 [see Talbot, Sir John (1769?–1851)].

James entered Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1823, and graduated B.A. in 1827 and M.A. in 1830. After an extended tour in southern and eastern Europe, he repaired to Ireland, where his family influence lay, and was in 1832 chosen M.P. for Athlone; but O'Connell's influence rendered it impossible for him to contest the election in 1835. He succeeded to the Irish peerage upon his father's death in 1850, and on 19 Nov. 1856, upon the instance of Lord Palmerston, he was advanced to a peerage of the United Kingdom. Through the same influence he held the post of lord-in-waiting from 1863 to 1866. In the House of Lords he generally spoke upon measures of social reform, such as the acts to prevent the adulteration of food (1855–60), and in 1858 his archæological interests led him to introduce a bill respecting treasure-trove (based upon a similar measure in force in Denmark), by the provisions of which, upon the finder of any archæological remains of substantial value depositing the same before a justice of the peace, machinery was provided for a valuation, with a view to purchase by the state, if deemed desirable, for the national collections, the full value to be remitted to the finder. But owing to the difficulties raised by the treasury the bill was only read a first time on 5 July 1858. Lord Talbot was an active member of the Royal Archæological Institute from 1845, and he filled the office of president with energy from 1863 until his death. His special interest lay in the direction of Roman and Irish antiquities. He formed a collection of Irish gold ornaments and enamels, some specimens of which he presented to the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. Among his later memoirs were one upon the circular temple of Baalbeck, and another upon the antiquities, and especially upon the epigraphy, of Algeria (1882). He gave help and encouragement to John O'Donovan [q. v.] in his Celtic studies, and he collected extensive materials for a monograph upon the Talbots. His own estate and castle of Malahide, co. Dublin, had been in the family's hands since the Irish conquest. His reputation as an archæologist procured his election as F.R.S. (18 Feb. 1858) and F.S.A. He was also president of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Anthropological Society, and a member of numerous other learned bodies. He died at Funchal, Madeira, on 14 April 1883. He married, on 9 Aug. 1842, Maria Margaretta (d. 1873), youngest daughter and coheir of Patrick Murray of Simprim, and was succeeded in the peerage by his eldest son, Richard Wogan Talbot.

[Times, 17 April 1883; Men of the Time, 1868; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. vii. 320; Gent. Mag. 1852 i. 197, 1857 ii. 54; Archæological Journal, passim; Dublin Review, September 1875 (with portrait).]

T. S.