George Tierney

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The Right Honourable
George Tierney
George Tierney.jpg
Treasurer of the Navy
In office
1803–1804
Monarch George III
Prime Minister Henry Addington
Preceded by Charles Bragge
Succeeded by George Canning
President of the Board of Control
In office
1806–1807
Monarch George III
Prime Minister The Lord Grenville
Preceded by Thomas Grenville
Succeeded by Hon. Robert Dundas
Master of the Mint
In office
1827–1828
Monarch George IV
Prime Minister George Canning
The Viscount Goderich
Preceded by Hon. William Wellesley-Pole
Succeeded by John Charles Herries
Personal details
Born 20 March 1761 (1761-03-20)
Gibraltar
Died 25 January 1830(1830-01-25) (aged 68)
Savile Row, London
Nationality British
Political party Whig
Alma mater Peterhouse, Cambridge

George Tierney PC (20 March 1761 – 25 January 1830) was an English Whig politician.

Background and education[edit]

Born in Gibraltar, Tierney was the son of Thomas Tierney, a wealthy Irish merchant of London, who was living in Gibraltar as prize agent. He was sent to Eton and Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he took the degree of Law in 1784.[1] He was called to the bar from Lincoln's Inn in the same year,[1] but abandoned law and plunged into politics.[2]

Political career[edit]

In Le Boureau (1798), James Gillray caricatured Tierney as a French executioner.

Tierney contested Colchester in 1788, when both candidates received the same number of votes, but Tierney was declared elected. He was, however, defeated in 1790. He sat for Southwark from 1796 to 1806, and then represented in turn Athlone (1806–1807), Bandon (1807–1812), Appleby (1812–1818), and Knaresborough (1818–1830). [2]

When Charles James Fox seceded from the House of Commons, Tierney became a prominent opponent of William Pitt's policy. In May 1798, Pitt accused him of want of patriotism. A duel ensued at Putney Heath on Sunday, 27 May 1798; but neither combatant was injured. [2]

In 1803, Tierney, partly because peace had been ratified with France, and partly because Pitt was out of office, joined the ministry of Henry Addington as Treasurer of the Navy, and was created a Privy Councillor; but this alienated many of his supporters among the middle classes, and offended most of the influential Whigs. On the death of Fox, he joined (1806) the Grenville ministry as President of the Board of Control, with a seat in the cabinet, and thus brought himself once more into line with the Whigs. [2]

About a year after the death of George Ponsonby in 1817, Tierney reluctantly became the recognised leader of the opposition in the House of Commons. At first he was successful, with Whig gains being made at the 1818 general election. On 18 May 1819, Tierney moved a motion in the House of Commons for a committee on the state of the nation. This motion was defeated by 357 to 178, which was a division involving the largest number of MPs until the debates over the Reform bill in the early 1830s. Foord comments that "this defeat put an effective end to Tierney's leadership... Tierney did not disclaim the leadership till 23 Jan. 1821 ..., but he had ceased to exercise its functions since the great defeat".

In George Canning's ministry, he was Master of the Mint, and when Lord Goderich succeeded to the lead Tierney was admitted to the cabinet; but he was already suffering from ill-health and died suddenly at Savile Row, London.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tierney, George (TNY778G)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. 
  2. ^ a b c d Chisholm 1911.
  3. ^ Hamilton 1898.
Attribution

Sources[edit]

  • Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland 1801-1922, edited by B.M. Walker (Royal Irish Academy 1978).
  • His Majesty's Opposition 1714-1830, by Archibald S. Foord (Oxford University Press 1964)

External links[edit]

Parliament of Great Britain
Preceded by
Sir Edmund Affleck, Bt
Sir Robert Smyth, Bt
Member of Parliament for Colchester
1788–1790
With: Sir Robert Smyth, Bt
Succeeded by
Robert Thornton
George Jackson
Preceded by
Henry Thornton
George Woodford Thellusson
Member of Parliament for Southwark
1796–1800
With: Henry Thornton
Succeeded by
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Parliament of Great Britain
Member of Parliament for Southwark
1801–1806
With: Henry Thornton
Succeeded by
Henry Thornton
Sir Thomas Turton, Bt
Preceded by
Thomas Tyrwhitt Jones
Member of Parliament for Athlone
1806–1807
Succeeded by
Hon. Henry Wellesley
Preceded by
Viscount Boyle
Member of Parliament for Bandon
1807–1812
Succeeded by
Hon. Richard Boyle Bernard
Preceded by
John Courtenay
James Lowther
Member of Parliament for Appleby
1812–1818
With: James Lowther
Succeeded by
George Fludyer
Lucius Concannon
Preceded by
Lord John Townshend
Viscount Ossulston
Member of Parliament for Knaresborough
1818–1830
With: Sir James Mackintosh
Succeeded by
Sir James Mackintosh
Henry Brougham
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Bragge
Treasurer of the Navy
1803–1804
Succeeded by
George Canning
Preceded by
Thomas Grenville
President of the Board of Control
1806–1807
Succeeded by
Hon. Robert Dundas
Preceded by
Hon. William Wellesley-Pole
Master of the Mint
1827–1828
Succeeded by
John Charles Herries
Preceded by
George Ponsonby
Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons
1818–1821
Succeeded by
vacant until 1830, then
Viscount Althorp
Party political offices
Preceded by
George Ponsonby
Leader of the Whig Party in the House of Commons
1818–1821
Succeeded by
vacant until 1830, then
Viscount Althorp