Birth of Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon

Thomas Spring Rice was born in Limerick into a prominent Anglo-Irish family with links to the Whig party. Elected on petition in 1820, Spring Rice established himself as a moderate Unionist with a knowledge of finance and Irish affairs. He supported Daniel O’Connell and the campaign for Catholic Emancipation and was a strong supporter of the abolition of slavery and for state supported education however, he opposed O’Connell’s attempt in 1834 to repeal the 1800 Acts of Union. He served in the governments of George Canning and Viscount Goderich, leaving government due to the Duke of Wellington’s opposition to Catholic Emancipation. He returned to government under Grey, reaching the cabinet in 1834 as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. Promoted to Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord Melbourne, Spring Rice struggled in the face of an of an economic downturn and a mounting deficit which Spring Rice, described at the time by Melbourne as, ‘too much given to details and possessed of no broad views’ seemed unable to tackle. Increasingly unhappy at the Exchequer, Spring Rice accepted a peerage and a sinecure and largely retired from active politics. Spring Rice died in February 1866 aged 75.