Talbot/Gregory Papers

Personal and political correspondence of Sir Charles Chetwynd Talbot (1777-1849), second Earl Talbot of Hensol, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, 1817-1821, and William Gregory (1762-1840), Under-Secretary in Dublin Castle, 1812-1831. Talbot, the great-grandson of Charles Talbot, a former Lord Chancellor, first came to prominence in 1803 when he took an active part in organising a volunteer force in his home county of Staffordshire in opposition to Napoleon’s threat of invasion. He was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of that county in 1812, a position he retained until his death in 1849. He is, however, best known for his services as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. Appointed in 1817, he took a particular interest in agricultural matters and, though he steadily opposed catholic emancipation, received much credit from Daniel O’Connell for his impartiality on the subject. William Gregory, on the other hand, was of a more liberal persuasion. A fluent Irish speaker, he is best remembered as one of the longest serving Under-Secretaries in Dublin Castle, holding his position from 1802 to 1831, and as a trusted adviser to successive viceroys and Chief Secretaries. Indeed, he was described by O’Connell at this time as the real ruler of Ireland. Other positions of note included Sheriff of Galway, 1799, and Secretary to the Inland Navigation Board, 1801-11. From the correspondence, it is clear that Talbot and Gregory were close friends and that their families were also on intimate terms. The majority of the letters cover the period when Talbot was Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. They concern many of the prinicipal issues and events of the time, most notably: negotiations with the 1st Viscount Sidmouth and the 2nd Earl of Liverpool (Home Secretary and Prime Minister respectively); the Catholic Question; Ribbon and other disturbances; appointments (mostly ecclesiastical); William Saurin's controversial career, including his resignation from the Attorney-Generalship in 1822; George IV's post-coronation visit of 1821; and Talbot's unexpected recall from office in December 1822 as a result of growing political discontent in Ireland. Letters written in 1821, mainly from Talbot to Gregory, discuss the withdrawal of troops from Ireland which the former was opposed to and also 'the lamentable poverty of the Irish Peasants'. A number of letters from the end of the 1820s concentrate on the important issue of Catholic Emancipation. Nine letters are to Talbot from family and other friends.


The principal strength of the collection lies in its analysis and coverage of the major issues at the beginning of the 19th century from the perspective of two of the leading political figures of the day.

Physical characteristics

139 letters, 1819-1835, occupying 2 PRONI boxes.

Description or Catalogue

See PRONI reference D/4100 for catalogue of the papers. The catalogue is available for consultation in PRONI's Public Search Room.


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Added by PRONI | Last updated on: 09 February 2018