William Vesey-FitzGerald, 2nd Baron FitzGerald and Vesey

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The Right Honourable
The Lord FitzGerald and Vesey
PC, PC (Ire), FSA
President of the Board of Trade
In office
11 June 1828 – 2 February 1830
Monarch George IV
Prime Minister The Duke of Wellington
Preceded by Charles Grant
Succeeded by John Charles Herries
President of the Board of Control
In office
23 October 1841 – 17 May 1843
Monarch Victoria
Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, Bt
Preceded by The Lord Ellenborough
Succeeded by The Earl of Ripon
Personal details
Born 24 July 1783 (1783-07-24)
Died 11 May 1843 (1843-05-12)
Belgrave Square, London
Nationality Anglo-Irish
Political party Tory
Spouse(s) Unmarried
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford

William Vesey-FitzGerald, 2nd Baron FitzGerald and Vesey PC, PC (Ire), FRS, FSA (24 July 1783 – 11 May 1843) was an Irish statesman.

Background and education[edit]

FitzGerald was the elder son of James FitzGerald and Catherine, 1st Baroness FitzGerald and Vesey, daughter of Reverend Henry Vesey. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford.[1]

Political career[edit]

FitzGerald first entered parliament in 1808 as member for Ennis (succeeding his father), a seat he held until October 1812, when he was replaced by his father, and again between January 1813 and 1818. He was implicated in the scandal involving the Duke of York and his mistress Mary Anne Clarke, but after bringing valuable evidence of the case the courts he was rewarded when he was appointed a Lord of the Irish Treasury and sworn of the Irish Privy Council in 1810. In 1812 he was admitted to the British Privy Council and made a Lord of the Treasury in England, Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer and First Lord of the Irish Treasury. He held the Irish offices until they were marged with the English treasury in 1816. In 1820 FitzGerald was returned to Parliament for Clare, which constituency he represented until 1828. In 1820 he was appointed Ambassador to Sweden. He tried to make the Swedish King, Charles XIV John, repay the large sums of money given to him during the Napoleonic Wars, but this was to no avail and he returned to Britain in 1823. He served as Paymaster of the Forces under successively Lord Liverpool, George Canning and Lord Goderich between 1826 and 1828.[1]

In 1828 the Duke of Wellington appointed him President of the Board of Trade and Treasurer of the Navy. This required him to contest the Clare constituency once again but was defeated. The election was noteworthy in terms of Irish history because it led directly to Catholic Emancipation spearheaded by his successor, Daniel O'Connell as a result of his win. However, FitzGerald managed to get elected for Newport in 1829, and served as President of the Board of Trade and Treasurer of the Navy until February 1830, when he resigned. He briefly represented Lostwithiel in 1830 and then Ennis from 1831 until 1835.[1]

FitzGerald succeeded his mother as second Baron FitzGerald and Vesey in 1832. As this was an Irish peerage it did not entitle him to a seat in the House of Lords. However, in 1835 he was created Baron FitzGerald, of Desmond and of Clan Gibbon in the County of Cork, in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and was able to take a seat in the House of Lords. He again held office as President of the Board of Control under Sir Robert Peel between 1841 and 1843. Apart from his political career FitzGerald was Lord Lieutenant of County Clare from 1831 to 1843, a trustee of the British Museum, President of the Institute of Irish Architects and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Lord FitzGerald and Vesey died in May 1843, aged 59. He was unmarried and on his death the barony of 1835 became extinct. He was succeeded in the Irish title by his younger brother, Henry. Lord FitzGerald and Vesey's illegitimate son Sir William Vesey-FitzGerald became a successful Conservative politician.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d  Stephen, Leslie, ed. (1889). "Fitzgerald, William Vesey". Dictionary of National Biography 19. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James FitzGerald
Member of Parliament for Ennis
1808 – 1812
Succeeded by
James FitzGerald
Member of Parliament for Ennis
1813 – 1818
Succeeded by
Spencer Perceval
Preceded by
Sir Edward O'Brien, Bt
Augustine FitzGerald
Member of Parliament for Clare
18181828
With: Sir Edward O'Brien, Bt 1818–1826
Lucius O'Brien 1826–1828
Succeeded by
Lucius O'Brien
Daniel O'Connell
Preceded by
Jonathan Raine
Charles Bertie Percy
Member of Parliament for Newport (Cornwall)
1829 – 1830
With: Jonathan Raine
Succeeded by
Jonathan Raine
John Doherty
Preceded by
Viscount Valletort
Edward Cust
Member of Parliament for Lostwithiel
1830
With: Edward Cust
Succeeded by
Edward Cust
Viscount Valletort
Preceded by
William Smith O'Brien
Member of Parliament for Ennis
18311832
Succeeded by
Sir Augustine Fitzgerald, Bt
Political offices
Preceded by
Hon. William Wellesley-Pole
Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer
1812 – 1816
Succeeded by
Nicholas Vansittart
Preceded by
Charles Long
Paymaster of the Forces
1826–1828
Succeeded by
John Calcraft
Preceded by
Charles Grant
President of the Board of Trade
1828–1830
Succeeded by
John Charles Herries
Treasurer of the Navy
1828–1830
Succeeded by
Thomas Frankland Lewis
Preceded by
The Lord Ellenborough
President of the Board of Control
1841–1843
Succeeded by
The Earl of Ripon
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
The Viscount Strangford
Ambassador to Sweden
1820 – 1823
Succeeded by
Sir Benjamin Bloomfield
Honorary titles
New office Lord Lieutenant of Clare
1831–1843
Succeeded by
Sir Lucius O'Brien, Bt
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Catherine FitzGerald
Baron FitzGerald and Vesey
1832–1843
Succeeded by
Henry Vesey-FitzGerald
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Baron FitzGerald
1835–1843
Extinct