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Thomas Spring-Rice Edit Profile

also known as 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon

politician , statesman

Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon, was a British Whig politician and statesman.

Background

Thomas Spring-Rice was born at Limerick on 8 February 1790, the elder son of Stephen Edward Rice and Catherine, heiress of Thomas Spring.

Education

He went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and then studied law, but was never called to the bar.

Career

He became Whig M.P. for Limerick in 1820, and represented it until 1832, when he became M.P. for Cambridge. He held the latter seat until he was elevated to the peerage in 1839.

Considered an expert on Irish affairs, SpringRice became undersecretary to the Marquess of Lansdowne at the Home Office in 1827, and he was responsible for most of the subsequent Irish reforms. He left office in January 1828 when the Duke of Wellington became prime minister in place of George Canning. Spring-Rice then became secretary of the Treasury in Earl Grey’s administration in 1830, holding the post until 1834. In 1834 he restated in the House of Commons the unionist case against Daniel O’Connell. In the summer of 1834, he became secretary of state for war and the colonies in Lord Melbourne’s first ministry. He became chancellor of the exchequer in April 1835, in Lord Melbourne’s second administration, and held that office until September 1839. It was a thankless task, for the government majority was too small to permit him to deal effectively with the deficit budgets that he faced.

He died on 7 February 1866 at Mount Trenchard, near Limerick.

Achievements

  • Spring-Rice’s only major achievement was the introduction of the penny-postage scheme in July 1839.