Edmund Dwyer Gray (Irish politician)

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This article is about the Irish politician. For his son who became Premier of Tasmania, see Edmund Dwyer-Gray.
Edmund Dwyer Gray
Edmund Dwyer Gray FreemansJournalPortrait April1888.png
Memorial portrait as published in the Weekly Freeman shortly after Gray's death
Born (1845-12-29)29 December 1845
Dublin, Ireland
Died 27 March 1888(1888-03-27) (aged 42)
Dublin, Ireland
Resting place
Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin
Nationality Irish
Title Lord Mayor of Dublin
Term 1880
Political party
Home Rule League
Religion Protestantism, Catholicism (see text)
Children Edmund Dwyer-Gray
Parents Sir John Gray, Anna Dwyer

Edmund Dwyer Gray (29 December 1845 – 27 March 1888) was an Irish newspaper proprietor, politician and MP in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. He was also Lord Mayor and later High Sheriff of the City of Dublin[1] and became a strong supporter of Charles Stewart Parnell.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Gray was born on 29 December 1845 in Dublin, the second son of Sir John Gray and his wife Anna Dwyer. After receiving his education, he joined his father in managing the Freeman's Journal, the oldest nationalist newspaper in Ireland. When his father died in 1875, Gray took over proprietorship of the Journal, and his family's other newspaper properties such as the Belfast Morning News and the Dublin Evening Telegraph.[2]

In 1868, Gray saved five people from drowning in a wrecked schooner at Killiney Bay, an action for which he received the Tayleur Fund Gold Medal for bravery from the Royal Humane Society. By coincidence, the rescue was witnessed by his future wife, Caroline Agnes, who he would meet shortly afterwards.[3] Agnes was the daughter of Caroline Chisholm (an English humanitarian renowned for her work in female immigrant welfare in Australia), and although Gray was descended from a Protestant family, he converted to Catholicism to marry her in 1869.[2] The couple had one son, Edmund Dwyer-Gray, who would take over from his father as proprietor of his newspapers and would go on to become Premier of Tasmania.

Political career[edit]

From 1875 to 1883, Gray served as a member of the Dublin Corporation, and in 1880 served a term as Lord Mayor of Dublin. Unusually for an Irish nationalist politician, Gray was very much focussed on urban rather than rural affairs, and like his father was heavily involved in public health and water provision for Dublin.[2] He also promoted reform in the municipal health system.[1]

Gray unsuccessfully ran for his father's seat of Kilkenny City at Westminster in the 1875 by-election that followed Sir John Gray's death. He won a later by-election in 1877, becoming a Member of Parliament representing Tipperary for the Home Rule League. At the 1880 general election, he won the seat of Carlow County. At the 1885 election, as a member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, he won representation of both Carlow and the new constituency of Dublin St Stephen's Green, and chose to represent the latter.[2]

Memorial cartoon as published in Parnell's United Ireland newspaper shortly after Gray's death.

He was imprisoned for six weeks in 1882 for remarks made in the Freeman's Journal with regard to the composition of the jury in the case of a murder trial. (Gray was actually High Sheriff of the City of Dublin at the time of his imprisonment, and – because of the conflict of office – was taken into custody by the city coroner.)[4] The defendant in the case in question was later hanged.[1]

A heavy drinker and asthma sufferer, Gray died aged 42 after a short illness on 27 March 1888, and was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Boylan, John (1998) Dictionary of Irish Biography p.153, 3rd.ed. ISBN 0-7171-2507-6
  2. ^ a b c d e G. B. Smith, ‘Gray, Edmund Dwyer (1845–1888)’, rev. Alan O'Day, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2006, accessed 7 May 2008.
  3. ^ Edmund Dwyer Gray Album, NUACHT Leabharlann Náisiúnta na hÉireann (National Library of Ireland NEWS), Spring 2005.
  4. ^ New York Times - 17 August 1882: Dublin people excited; The Hon. E. Dwyer Gray imprisoned for contempt

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stephen Moore
William O'Callaghan
Member of Parliament for Tipperary
1877 – 1880
With: Stephen Moore
Succeeded by
Patrick James Smyth
John Dillon
Preceded by
Henry Bruen
Arthur MacMorrough Kavanagh
Member of Parliament for Carlow County
18801886
With: Donald Horne Macfarlane 1880–1885
Succeeded by
John Aloysius Blake
New constituency Member of Parliament for Dublin St Stephen's Green
1885 – 1888
Succeeded by
Thomas Alexander Dickson
Civic offices
Preceded by
John Barrington
Lord Mayor of Dublin
1880
Succeeded by
George Moyers