Richard Le Poer Trench, Second Earl of Clancarty

President of the Board of Trade, 1812-18; Ambassador to the Netherlands, 1813-23

May 19, 1767 - November 24, 1837

Richard Le Poer Trench (1767-1837) Second Earl of Clancarty (Ireland) from 1805. First Baron Trench (UK) from 1815. First Viscount Clancarty (UK) from 1823. Marquess of Heusden (Netherlands) from 1815. President of the Board of Trade, 1812-18. Master of the Mint, 1812-14. Postmaster General, 1814-16. Ambassador to the Netherlands, 1813-23. Clancarty was an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, one of a family of nineteen children, one of whom became Archbishop of Tuam and another a rear-admiral. He was educated at Kimbolton School and St John’s College, Cambridge.

Clancarty was a protégé of Castlereagh, who thought him ‘very intelligent’ and induced him to support the Act of Union despite misgivings. He then reformed the Irish Post Office, after which Liverpool made him President of the Board of Trade at Castlereagh’s instigation. While doing little in trade matters, Clancarty became a vital aide to Castlereagh as Ambassador to the Netherlands from 1813, where he played a key role in restoring the House of Orange to the throne. He was rewarded with a Dutch marquessate.

After Castlereagh’s death, he was removed by Canning, whom he disliked, although according to Mrs. Arbuthnot, who described him as ‘very intemperate’ he was also disliked by then by William I, King of the Netherlands, because he incessantly reminded him that only British power had restored him to his throne.1 In March 1827 Clancarty attempted to persuade George IV that only Wellington could succeed Liverpool and in 1829 he was prominent among the leaders against Catholic Emancipation.

[1] Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 266-67.

© 2021 Martin Hutchinson