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Plunket, William, 1st Baron Plunket

Plunket, William, 1st Baron Plunket (1764–1854). Lawyer. The son of a presbyterian minister at Enniskillen, Plunket was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied law at Lincoln's Inn. He was elected to the Irish Parliament in 1798 and opposed the Act of Union. In 1807 and 1812–27 he sat at Westminster, pursuing a Grenvillite line, and was given a peerage in 1827. He became solicitor-general [I] 1803–5, attorney-general [I] 1805–7 and 1822–7, and lord chief justice of Common Pleas 1827–30. Lord Grey then appointed him lord chancellor [I] and he served with one short interruption from 1830 until 1841. A wealthy and successful lawyer, Plunket (though a protestant) was an ardent advocate of catholic emancipation. Greville commended his speech in favour of the Reform Bill in October 1831, and five years after his death bracketed Plunket with Grattan and Burke as great parliamentary orators.

J. A. Cannon

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