Borough Electoral List of 1832
By Sean O'She
of Hobert's Catholic Relief Act 1793 conceded to Catholics the
right of forty - shilling freeholders to vote in the counties
and in the open Boroughs, to act as grand Jurors and to become
members of corporations. Catholics had been disfranchised
entirely from 1728 until that time. However, Catholics were
still debarred from Parliament from 1691, because they would not
take the oath of Abjuration and declare against Catholic
Doctrine and so remained until the Catholic emancipation act
parliament (referred to as Grattan's parliament) in 1793 was
entirely a Protestant parliament comprising three hundred
members with approximately two thirds representing Borough
constituencies. Many members were returned by closed Boroughs
(also known as Rotten Boroughs) with seats frequently bought and
sold, and were simply seats in the gift of the members and
Patron of the Borough. Though Grattan's parliament claimed to be
independent, it was distinguished by its unrepresentative and
Borough (a closed Borough) enjoyed and exercised the right to
elect two members to the Irish parliament. The Borough retained
this franchise in 1793 as a closed Borough controlled by the
Patron Lord Charlville.
of Carlow was one of twelve districts formed into shire ground
by King John and among the privileges conferred by such an
incorporation would have been the right to return two members to
parliament. Carlow County retained that privilege, with the
addition of Catholic freeholders of forty — shillings having the
right to vote.
also existed at Old Leighlin in 1793 which was controlled and
managed by the Bishop of the Diocese (known as a Bishop's
Borough), which returned two members to parliament. This
privilege was retained at that time.
members were returned to the Irish parliament from the county of
Carlow in 1793.
insurrection of 1798 precipitated the passing of the Act of
Union of 1800 which abolished the Irish parliament fror 1801.
The Irish parliament was henceforth represented in the British
House of Commons with a reduced membership of one hundred,
resulting in Carlow Borough reduced t electing one member to the
new parliament and the Borough of Old Leighlin was
disfranchised. Carlow Count retained the right to send two
members to parliament, thus reducing the parliamentary
representation for the count to three.
Daniel O'Connell was successful in a By-Election in County
Clare, defeating Fitzgerald, a protestant land lord by 2057
votes to 982. However, he could not take his seat in parliament
until the Catholic Emancipation Act was passed on the 13th April
1829 (following much opposition and hostility). To accommodate
the Emancipation Act, the Catholic Association which supported
O'Connell was required to dissolve and the forty-shilling
freeholders were disfranchised by raising the franchise to ten
pounds, but the way was now clear for Catholics to enter
In 1831 a
parliamentary reform bill was introduced in the British House of
Parliament by the Liberal Party and was fiercely opposed by the
Tories, but after much deliberation it was passed. Under the Act
(the Reform Act 1832 parliamentary seats were redistributed and
closed Borough lost their right to elect members to parliament,
consequently the political usefulness of corporations diminished
sharply. Politicians seeking to represent Carlow Town i
parliament were now dependent for election on the mainly middle
income class vote often pound free holders.
parliamentary election following the Reform Act was held in
Carlow Town on the 14th and 15th of December 1832. Many years of
agitation for the right of the middle class to vote in
parliamentary elections had come at last. The successful
candidate was N. A. Vigors.
following is the Borough List taken from the Carlo1 Morning Post
of the 3rd of that month, which names those entitled to vote,
giving their residence, occupation, religion and political
Borough Electoral List Of 1832 Analysis Of Borough List
Religion and Clergy
- Catholic, 1; Protestant, 3; Dissenters, 4; Laity - Catholics,
180; Dissenters, 6;Protestants, 80; Quakers, 5;
Politics - Conservative, 85;
Doubtful, 30; Liberals, 161.
Trades, Professions, &c.
- Apothecaries, 4; Attorneys 4; Boatowners, 4; Booksellers, 2;
Brewers, 6; Burgesses, 6;
Butchers, 3; Carpenters, 6; Chandlers, 4; Clerks, 2; Coal
Merchants and Dealers, 3; Confectioners, 3; Coopers 6; Dealers,
13; Disstillers, 2; Eating-house keepers, 4; Farmers, 14;
Fruiterers, 2; Grocers and Wine-merchants, 15; Hatters, 2;
Hotel-keepers, 2; Huxters, 7; Leather-sellers, 4;
Malsters, 9; Medical Doctors,
3; Millers, and Corn Dealers, 5; Newspaper Propriators, 2;
Painters and Glaziers, 3; Pawnbrokers, 3; Policemen, Pensioners,
Staffmen, and Yeomen, 11; Publicans, 14; Saddlers, 3; Servants,
2; Shoemakers, 10; Slaters, 1; Smiths, 6; Tailors, 2; Tanners,
2; Victuallers, 2; Watchmakers, 3; Woolen-drapers, 4;There is
one of each of the following trades &c: Boat-wrights,
Brogue-makers, Carries, Glovers, Music-masters, Pound-keepers,
Ragmen, Plasterers, Seedsman, Stonemason, Surveyor, Tinker, Vet.
Surgeons, Weighmaster, and Wireworker.
- Number of electors in each- Athy Street, 9; Barrack Street, 5;
Bridewell Lane, 13; Browne Street, 9; Burrin Street, 15; Castle
Hill, 7; Castle Street, 13; Centaur Street, 7; Chapel Lane, 5;
Charlotte Street, 3; Church Lane, 2; Coal Market, 13; Cox's
Lane, 2; Dublin Street, 35; Graigue, 19; Granby Row, 1; John
Street, 4; Kilkenny Road, 4; Montgomery Street, 3; Newmarket,2
Pollerton Road, 3; quarries, 5; Quay, 3; Staplestown Road, 8;
Street, 74; Wellington Sq, 3; and Green Lane, 3.
Carlow was a Rotten Borrough.-The Reform Bill opened it. Under
that Act were 724 notices of registry. The registry occupied six
days. viz. 29th, 30th and 31st October, and 5th, 6th, and 7th
November - at close there were 277 electors registered - one has
since died, leaving at present 276.
Source: Carloviana 2011. No. 60. p.38-44
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