Ref NoLE16
TitleThe Clancarty Papers
DescriptionA collection of sixty-five letters addressed to the second and third Countesses of Clancarty by members of the Le Poer Trench Family and other related persons including Louisa Connolly, Charles Napier and Emily Bunbury. The letters describe international and local events and concern family and domestic matters in the first seventy years of the nineteenth century. In 1982 a similar and compementary collection of letters was deposited in the National Archives of Ireland [Ref No. 999/347.]

The Trench family, originally of French extraction, were resident at Garbally, near Ballinasloe, Co Galway from the 1630s. William Power Keating Trench (1741-1805) was a great great grandson of the first Trench of Garbally and was created first Earl of Clancarty in 1803. He was given this title according to Burke's "Peerage" (1932) 'in consequence of his descent from Elena MacCarty, wife of John Power, daughter of Cormac Oge MacCarty, Viscourt Muskerry and sister of Donough MacCarty, Earl of Clancarty, temp. Charles II'. He inherited teo fortunes through his mother, a secendent of the Power and Keating families. Only one item in this collection relates to the first Earl of Clancarty, which is an account of the Garbally rents, dated 1777 [see LE16/1/1]. Fourteen children of Willliam first Earl of Clancarty and his wife Anne Gardiner are recorded in Burke's "Peerage" (1932).

The eldest son was Richard 2nd Earl of Clancarty (1767-1837), who represented Co Galway in the Irish House of Commons from 1798 until the Act of Union. Although initially opposed to the Union he supported it in 1800 'being persuaded by Castlereagh'. After the Act of Union he represented Co Galway in the English House of Commons. In December 1808 he was chosen as a representative peer for Ireland. The previous year, in May 1807, he was appointed postmaster-general for Ireland. On 14 October 1807 he was granted by royal licence the additional surname of Le Poer, which he took in accordance with the will of David Power of Coorheen, near Loughrea Co Galway and from that date his particular branch of the family were known as Le Poer Trench. From 1810-1812 he was a frequent speaker in the House of Lords and in November 1813 accompanied William Prince of Orange [see LE16/2/1/1/6]. He was also involved in the incorporation of the Belgian adn Dutch provinces into the new state of The Netherlands. In August 1814 he was one of the four English plenipotentiaries to the Congress of Vienna, in which he played a prominent role. After peace was restored to Europe in 1815 he was created a peer of the United Kingdom. In 1816 he was appointed ambassador to the new kingdom of The Netherlands and was honoured by King WIlliam in 1818 with the title Marguis of Heusden and a pension. In early 1822 he resigned his poet and returned to his Irish estates. Two of his brothers were employed at various times as agents on these estates, namely Charles Le Poer Trench, Archdeacon of Ardagh, and William Le Poer Trench, who was a Rear Admiral in the navy before his retirements and who appears to have lived in Dalystown in 1835. Richard 2nd Earl of Clancarty built the Georgian mansion, now known as St. Joseph's College in 1819. William 3rd Earl of Clancarty re-landscaped the grounds in 1835 and succeeding years [see LE16/3/1/25].

In 1796 Richard 2nd Earl of Clancarty married Henrietta Staples [known as Harriette] daughter of John Staples of Lissan, County Tyrone and his wife Ann, daughter of William Conolly of Castletown, County Kildare. As a result of the Conolly connection, letters from Louisa Conolly, Charles Napier and Emily Bunbury are found in this collection. Louisa Conolly (1743-1821) was formerly a Lennox and daughter of Charles 2nd Duke of Richmond, was married to Harriette's uncle Thomas Conolly of Casstletown, County Kildare. One letter, dated 1804, to Harriette from her husband, the Viscount Dunlo, was written from Castletown [see LE16/4]. In 1814 following the death of her siter Emily, Duchess of Leinster, Louisa Conolly paid a visit to the Continent. In a letter to Harriette she describes the reaction of the Belgian people to the proposal to unite them with Holland to form a new kingdom of The Netherlands [LE16/26].Charles and Emily Napier were the two eldest children of the second marriage of Louisa Conolly's younger sister Sarah. Sarah married George Napier in 1781. Emily Napier (1783-1863) grew up in the care f her aunt, Louisa Conolly and it is apparent from her letters that both she and Harriette spent time together as children [see LE16/32]. In 1830, by a strange twist of fate, Emily Napier married Sir Henry Bunbury, 7th Baronet of Barton in Suffolk, nephew and heir of her mother's first husband Sir Charles Bunbury, from whom her mother had separated rather acromoniously. She was Sir Henry Bunbury's seond wife by her own account [see NA 999/347/6/1] embraced the children of his first marriage as her own. She had previously taken the mantle of mother to the daughters of her brother George Napier fallowing the death of his firt wife in 1819. George Napier had two daughters, Sarah and Cecilia (Cissy), the latter of whom Emily frequently refers to in her letters as her 'beloved child'. Both girls suffered from bad health during childhood and spent long periods of time recuperating on the Continent. On one occasion, before leaving to spend the winter in Italy with them, Emily wrote to Harriette of a secret engagement between her nice Sarah Napier and her stepson Edward Bunbury [see LE16/35]. No letter reveals why this marriage did not take place but in 1852 her 'beloved' Cissy married Edward's younger brother Henry Bunbury and they were the parents of Sir Henry C.J. Bunbury, 10th Baronet.

In 1785 Sarah and George Napier bought a house in Cebridge, County Kildare, and it was there that their eldest son Sir Charles Napier (1782-1853) spent his youth. He was groomed by his father for a military career and served with distinction in the Peninsular War, being declared dead after the Battle of Corunna in 1809 [see LE16/33]. In the early 1910s he was with the British Army in North America. He organised far reaching reforms and imprivements while 'resident' in Cephalonia in the 1820s,ably assisted by his life long friend John Pitt Kennedy [see LE16/29], who later set up a model farm at Glasnevin. He spent much of the 1830s in England ad was appointed commander of the troops in the northern district in 1839 [see LE16/29 & /35], a position he handled with considerable satisfaction. In April 1841 he accepted an Indian appointment, taking command in the Upper and Lower Sind. He was responsible for the defeat of the amirs of that country in March 1843 [see MA 999/347/6/3] and ably set up a new form of administration under British rule. He fought in the Sikh wars, finally retiring from India in 1850. Sir Charles Napier was first married to Elizabeth Kelly, a widow who died in July 1833 [see LE16/30]. He married secondly in 1835 Frances Williams Philips, widow of Richard Alcock [see LE16/31].

Harriette 2nd Countess of Clancarty had one sister and an only brother, William Conolly Staples who died in 1798. Following the death of Louisa Conolly in 1821, the Conolly estates were inherited by Edward Pakenham, who assumed the name of Conolly, eldest son of Harriette's older sister Louisa [see LE16/24]. who had married in 1785 the Hon Admiral Thomas Pakenham, third son of Thomas 1st Lord Longford. In a letter dated 3 August 1833 Emily Bunbury sympathizes with Harriette on the death of her sister [see LE16/30]. Admiral Pakenham and his wife had fifteen children. Their fifth son Richard Pakenham became a leading British diplomat [LE16/14 & /19]. His first appointment was as attache to his uncle RIchard 2nd Earl of Clancarty in Holland. Appointments in Switzerland and Mexico followed and at the end of 1843 he went as minister plenipotentiary to the USA for four years, followed by an appointment to the same position in Portugal in 1851.

The 2nd Earl and Countess of Clancarty had three sons and four daughters. Letters to Harriette 2nd Countess of Clanca rty from her three sons and two of her daughters are to be found in both this collection and the one in the National Archives. Letters from her eldest gaughter Louisa and her youngest son Robert are only to be found in the National Archives collection, while this collection contains letters from her sons William and RIchard and her daughter Emily.

William Thomas, the eldest son and later 3rd Earl of Clancarty (1803-1872) accompanied Sir Roert Gordon to Contantinople, when Gordon became the ambassador there in 1829. In a letter to his wife Harriette, Richard 2nd Earl of Clancarty writes that this was 'at Wallace's instigation' [see NA 999/347/2/4, Thomas Wallace (1768-1844) created Baron Wallace in 1828]. From Constantinople in late November 1829 William then Viscount Dunlo, write to his mother concerning what he perceived as the 'approaching downfall of the Ottoman Empire [see LE16/16]. A year later he wrote to his mother from Paris describing the devestation of Brussels, following the Belgian uprising of 1830 [see LE16/17]. In 1832 he married Lady Sarah Butler, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Carrick of Mount Juliet, County Kilkenny and they had four sons and two daughters. A series of 28 letters from William 3rd Earl of Clancarty to his wife, nainly concerned with family and domestic matters but they also give details of his work as a member of the Galway Grand Jury and in the House of Lords [see LE16/39-66].

The second son Richard Le Peor Trench (1805-1841) became a soldier and a captain in the 52nd Light Troop. Two letters record details of his posting in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1831 and his imminent departurefor Barbados in 1838 [see LE16/18 & 19].The Halifax letter is incomplete but another part of it thte National Archives collection [see NA 999/347/4/5]. Four other letters in the National Archives record his stay near Stainton, England in 1824 and his regiment's posting to Ireland in 1832 including his hopes of being oeomoted to a lieutenancy [see NA 999/347/4/1-4]. He is still hoping for promotion in October 1838 [see LE16/19].

The youngest son Robert Le Poer Trench (1809-1867) went into the Navy and appears to have caused his parents quite an amount of concern. His elder brother Viscount Dunlo wrote to their mother in onger cause his parents unhappiness and advance in the Navy [see LE16/17]. In 1835 his father arranged for Robert's appointment to the Jupiter, a ship taking the new Governor General, Lord Heytesbury, to India [see LE16/10]. Two letters from Robert to his mother are in the National Archives and describe his movements around the Mediterranean in 1824 and his request for a sextant [see NA 999/347/3/1-2]. In the 1840s William 3rd Earl of Clancarty continued to make contact with influencial persons on his brother Bob's behalf [see LE16/60].

Of the four daughters, the eldest Louisa married in 1830 her first cousin William Tranch, known as 'Billy Bishop' by the family as he was the eldest son of Power Trench, Archbishop of Tuam. William Trench suffered from ill health and three letters in the National Archives describe Louisa and William's visit to the Continent in 1834 [see NAI 999/347/5/1-2 and 8/1]. Harriette married in 1825 Thomas Kavanagh of Borris, Co. Carlow and there are references in the letters to visits at Borris [see LE16/19 & /24]. Emily formed an attachment to a Mr Warburton, which was considred unsuitable by her mother and one letter from Emily to her uncle Robert Le Poer Trench and three letters to her mother [see LE16/20-23] document her disengagement in 1835, she later married a citizen of Corfu. The youngest faughter Lucy married in 1835 Robert Maxwell of Charlecille Co Cork. Viscount Dunlo wrote to his wife on 29 March 1835 'I only hope matters may turn out for Lucy's happiness, it is certainly not a brilliant match' [see NA 999/347/9/1].

During the 19th century the Clancartys were generally resident on their estates. which in 1876 consisted of 23, 896 acres in Co Galway and 1614 acres in Co Roscommon. They were perceived as good landlords. managing their estates efficiently and developing the town of Ballnasloe and its famous fair [LE16/1 and /25]. They were disliked, however, for their active support and participation in the promotion of the Bible Societies, their schools and proselytism in general. There is very little reference to this aspect of the history of the Clancarty family in this collection.

Acquired by the James Hardiman Library in 2002.

This collection must be consulted in tandem with the Clancarty collection in the National Archives [NAI 999/347], as they ere both at one time part of the same body of records and individual letters from one collectikon fit in with a series of letters in the other collection. Where this happens has been indicated in the following list, the National Archives's letters appearing in italic and square brackets. An article relating to the Clancarty ocorrespondence 1785-1861 in the National Archives was publised in the 'Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society', vol 46 (1994).

The content of the letters is primarily family news, giving details of the professional and social lives of members of the Clancarty family and their cousins. Family members played an important role in the Foreign Service of the British government and as members of the British Army. They were concerned with the political and social matters of the day. Richard 2nd Earl of Clancarty and Louisa COnnolly both describe the situation in Holland and Belguim in 1813-4, while Sir Charles Napier, a famous soldier and champion of the lower classes, strongly condemned absentee landlords and was very concerned with administrative reform. William 3rd Earl of Clancarty was nvolved in the passage of the Irish Poor Law throughthe House of Lords and with the building of the railway to Galway. The family mixed professionally and socially with those in power, for example Lord Castlereagh and the Duke of Wellington and the letters give insights into certain political situations at a particular time. They also contain much about travel in the 19th century, both in Ireland and on the Continent. In the 1830s William 3rd Earl of Clancarty went to Dublin regularly on the mail coach, by the 1850s he was travelling by train. Other technological advances are mentioned, such as communicating by telegraph in 1870 {see LE16/65]. The letters show the importance of family relationships and how it was maintained by social interaction, such as visits and dinner parties and by writing letters/ The Earls of Clancarty were connected to such influencial amilies in Ireland as the FItzferalds (Duke of Leinster), the Butlers (Marquess of Ormonde), the Connollys, the Pakenhams and the Ponsonbys. Many of the persons mentioned in the letters were connected to the Earls of Clancarty through marriage or were important political personages. Intermarriage between members of succeeding generations helped main the family connection. Concern about the health of family members is a constant theme throughout the collection.

Two classes of documents (1 and 2) are maintained in this collection, an account and correspondence. The correspondence comprised of 65 letters, is divided into two sections (1 and 2) containing letters to the 2nd and 3rd Countesses of Clancarty and is arranged chronologically. The section containing letters to the 2nd COuntess has been divided into subsections, each subsection contaiing letters from a different person. The letters are in a good state of preservation.

The material in this collection is available to all one fide researchers and subject to the conditions of access governing the consultation of archival material at the James Hardiman Library, . The most appropriate form of reference is title of item, date of item, reference number (LE16/?), James Hardiman Library Archives, NUI Galway.

National Archives of Ireland: 999/347. Correspondence of the Trench Family, Earls of Clancarty, Garbally, Co Galway, 1785-1861, numbring 32 items and including correspondence between William, 1st Earl of Clancarty, Luke Gardiner, 1st Lord Mountjoy and Richard 2nd Earl of Clancarty; letters from Richard, 2nd Earl of Clancarty to his wife Harriette; letters from Richard, Robert and Louisa le Poer Trench and their mother Harriette, 2nd Countess; letters from Emily Bunbury to Haarriette 2nd Countess; single letters from Richard Le Poer Trench to his father Richard 2nd Earl and from Louisa Le Poer Trench to her brother Viscount Dunlo; letters from William 3rd Earl to his wife Sarah and some miscellaneous coreespondence. See also Aideen Ireland, 'Clancarthy Correspondence, 1785-1861', in "Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society", 46 (1994), 197-202.
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