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1865 – Free Press Aims Some Digs at John Bagwell and The Whigs

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Tipperary Free Press, 14 July 1865


The Bagwell connections to Clonmel go back to Cromwellian times, when the Quaker merchant family established itself in the town. The progression of the 18th Century saw the Bagwells grow ever closer to ‘extreme right Protestantism’, to the point where they were heavily involved in the execution of Fr. Nicholas Sheehy in 1766. There was a softening in the family stance afterwards however, and John Bagwell had become a sometime supporter of the Catholic cause by the beginning of the 19th Century. It was this John that built Marlfield House and made a fortune by selling his vote to support the Act of Union in 1800. His grandson, also John and dealt with below, was a member of the Whigs, which became the Liberal Party during his time as an MP. He succeeded John O’Connell, ‘The Liberator’s’ son. His political career spanned 17 years and saw him rise to the height of a Lord of the Treasury. His popularity waned, however, when he refused to lend his support to then emerging Home Rule cause, and his star was eclipsed by Count Arthur Moore, who enjoyed something he desperately needed by this time: the backing of the clergy. The backing of the Tipperary Free Press was also, clearly, beyond him, and despite the favours he was seen to have bestowed on his locality the paper was bitterly opposed to his party, which managed to retain its grip on power after the 1865 election.

TFP 14 July 1865 Bagwell

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