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FitzGibbon, John, 1st earl of Clare

FitzGibbon, John, 1st earl of Clare [I] (1748–1802). FitzGibbon was the son of a lawyer and Irish MP from Co. Limerick, attended Trinity College, Dublin, and Christ Church, Oxford, and represented Trinity College Dublin 1778–83 and Killmallock 1783–9 in the Irish Parliament. In 1783–9 he was Irish attorney-general and from 1789 until his death he was lord chancellor [I]. Created Baron FitzGibbon [I] in 1789, he was advanced to a viscountcy in 1793 and made earl of Clare [I] in 1795. In 1799, just before the Act of Union, he was given a British barony. He was one of the leading advocates of the Union, arguing that Ireland would then play her full part in a larger political context. FitzGibbon was a ready speaker and tough politician, a rival to Grattan, and a most bitter opponent of the catholics. In 1795 he helped to defeat Fitzwilliam's proposed concessions. After the Irish rising of 1798 he defended repression in the House of Lords: ‘happy would he be if he could go to his bedchamber at home without entering an armoury and could close his eyes without apprehensions of having his throat cut before morning.’

J. A. Cannon

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Clare, John Fitzgibbon, 1st earl of

John Fitzgibbon Clare, 1st earl of, 1749–1802, Irish statesman. He was (1783–89) attorney general of Ireland and in 1789 became lord chancellor. A resolute upholder of the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland, he denounced the Catholic Relief Act of 1793 and helped to thwart Lord Fitzwilliam in his move toward Catholic Emancipation. He was instrumental in effecting the Act of Union (1800) between England and Ireland. Clare, who was created earl in 1795, was so unpopular in Ireland that his funeral was broken up by a mob.

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Fitzgibbon, John

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