The Social and Political Structure of North Antrim in 1869 by J. R. B. McMinn

( This article originally appeared in Vol 10 of The Glynns and is reproduced here in full)

The Social Structure

North Antrim was essentially rural in character, bounded by the sea on two sides and by the river Bann to the west. The only relatively large urban centre was Ballymoney which was the natural capital of the four baronies of Upper and Lower Dunluce, Carey and Kilconway. The north eastern part of the area was largely self-contained, separated as it was from Ballymoney by the basaltic hills of the Antrim Plateau.

Traditionally, the Glens of Antrim area had looked to Ballycastle, and even to Scotland, for contact with the outside world. The geographical isolation of the Glens had been reinforced by religion – the majority of the population of the northeastern corner of the county were Roman Catholic, whereas elsewhere in North Antrim there was a large Protestant preponderance. The building of the narrow gauge railway lines to Ballycastle and to Parkmore and Retreat did, however, help to break down the separation of Ballymoney from its administrative and political hinterland to the north-east.1

In 1812, Ballymoney was a small settlement of the 309 houses with a population ‘of about 1,800 persons’. 2 It acted as a market centre for linen and butter produced locally. 3 Its location and site were good. It stood on a low ridge some three miles east of the river Bann at the half way point on the mail coast route from Belfast to Londonderry, and was described in 1835 as having a ‘pleasing and lively appearance’, distinguished by the spires of the parish church and market house and by the wooded plantations of the O’Hara Brook and Leslie Hill demesnes to the north and west of the town.

By 1835, the town could boast of a number of public buildings – an Anglican parish church which had been constructed in 1783; a Presbyterian meeting house erected in 1777 and another in the course of erection; a seceders meeting house (the forerunner of Second Ballymoney Presbyterian Church); two Roman Catholic chapels (the new one having been consecrated on 11 May 1834); and two other meeting houses which served the needs of Covenanters and Unitarians. There was Bridewell, a public school (erected in 1813), a market house and a grain store which had been built by Thomas McElderry in 1831.

The town’s social needs were supplied by two hotels and an assembly hall. Most of the 400 houses appear to have been two storey and built of stone. Few had rear access and this necessitated farm animals and manure having to pass through the domestic accommodation. The condition of the streets and of sanitation was poor. The total population in 1835 was around 2,200 and most depended for their livelihood on the retail trade, servicing the needs of the surrounding rural population. Markets were held on the first and middle Thursday of each month, of which the former was the most important. 4

Ballymoney in the 1820s was a Presbyterian town – only one tenth of the population were Anglican and one tenth was Roman Catholic; there were a few Methodists and Unitarians but the rest were Presbyterians. The compiler of the Ordinance Survey field memoirs for the town, J. McCann, remarked on the distinctive religious harmony that was prevalent, and on the fact that all denominations had contributed to the building of each others place of worship. ‘They are in great measure free from those party dissensions and bickerings which happily prevail in most of the neighbouring parishes. Whatever may be the religious or political creed of any man it is not suffered to affect social intercourse with his neighbours. 5

Despite the famine, which was quite considerable in the Ballymoney area, 6 the town continued to develop and expand even though the population of the parish was a whole was falling as the following table shows:

Table 1: Population of Ballymoney Parish and Town 1851-917

  1851 1871 1891
Population: Ballymoney Parish 10,404 9,555 8,255
Population: Ballymoney Town 2581 2603 2975
Inhabited houses: Ballymoney Parish 1710 1807 1664
Inhabited houses: Ballymoney Town 433 540 596

By 1869, Ballymoney had undergone a transformation. It remained as before a non-industrial market centre for flax, butter, pork and oats, but its physical appearance had greatly altered. The streets were now clean and well lit; a gas works had been built; a railways station gave easy access to Belfast, Coleraine and Ballycastle; the parish church had been rebuilt in 1868, and as a symbol of the town’s new pride, a large town hall had been completed in 1867 with offices for the town commissioners, a newsrooms, library and assembly hall. The town could also boast braches of Belfast and Ulster Banks, a model national school, a model agricultural school, a dispensary house and a workhouse. As before, the market on the first Thursday of the month remained very important. 8

Apart from Ballymoney there were a number of smaller towns and villages in the North Antrim area – Ballycastle, Bushmills, Cushendall, Armoy, Dervock and the rapidly expanding seaside resort of Portrush. However, the bulk of the population depended on the land for their income and lived in scattered farms and cottages.

In 1603, James I had granted all of North Antrim to Sir Randal MacDonnell, who was later to become the first Earl of Antrim, 9 and in the 1870s the sixth Earl of Antrim William Randal MacDonnell, had still by far the largest estate in the northern half of the county, centred on his seat at Glenarm Castle. But there was a number of others who possessed 300 acres or more in the area:
Table 2: Landowners of 300 acres upwards in north Antrim in 1878 (land owned by them in other counties has not been included.) 10


Acreage of Estate Valuation of Estate
Antrim, Earl of (William Randal MacDonnel, J.P., 6th earl) Glenarm Castle 34292 20837
Boyd, Sir Frederick, Bart, B.A., J.P.; The Mansion, Ballycastle 5304 3501
Casement, John, M.A., J.P.; Churchfield Ballycastle 3312 1824
Cramsie, James; O’Harabrook, Ballymoney 4036 2173
Fullerton, Alexander George; Ballintoy 2297 1189
Gage, RobertJ., M.A. Rathlin Island, Ballycastle 3311 869
Hutchison, Thomas Leckey, J.P.; Manor House, Ballymoney 3390 2267
Hutchison, Willam Ford, J.P.; StranocumHouse Ballymoney 2730 2219
Leslie, James Edmund, J.p., D.L.; Leslie Hill, Ballymoney 7428 5449
McCartney (Reps of); Lissanoure Castle 12523 6355
McGildowney, John, J.P., D.L.; Clare Park, Ballycastle 3811 2449
Macnaghten, Col. Sir Francis Edmund, Bart., J.P., D.L.; Dundarave, Bushmills. 7134 7062
Magenis, Lieut. Col. Richard Henry. J.P.; Finvoy, Ballymoney 6816 3698
Montgomery, John M.A., J.P., D.L.; Benvarden, Ballymoney 6792 3481
Moore, James Stewart, J.P.; Ballydivitty, Dervock 8242 3334

According to the 1870 report on the annual agricultural holdings in Ireland, there was an exceptionally high number of leaseholders in Antrim – the figure was 34.7 per cent of the total holdings, compared with 18.0 per cent in the province of Ulster as a whole. 11In light of the evidence of the local witnesses given to the Devon Commission in 1844, it is clear that this situation had prevailed in the north of the county for at least three decades.

The manager of the Ulster bank in Ballymoney, James Boyle, had testified that the tenure in the area was generally tenancy-at-will12, as had the Reverend Henry McLoughlin P.P. of Loughguile13, whereas James Thompson, a flax spinner and land agent of Balinamore, Ballymoney14 and Alexander Burnside, a farmer of Seacon, Ballymoney15, had pointed to the fact that on some other estates the held at will.

Gladstone’s land reforms of 1870, and 1881 excluded leaseholders and this is undoubtedly one of the factors, which accounts for the high level of agrarian agitation in the area in the 1870s and 1880s.
The local witnesses testifying to the Devon Commission all agreed that the average size of holdings in the north of the county in 1844 was relatively small. James Boyle claimed that farms ranged from 6 to 50 acres, with the average being around 15 to 20 acres. 16; James Thompson suggested that 20 to 30 was the average17; while Alexander Burnside talked of farms ranging from 8 to 20 acres18. The Devon Commission witnesses were all agreed that tenant right operated in local estates, that the land was of very variable quality ranging from fertile arable fields to mountain bog and that the main emphasis was on tillage rather than pasture farming, though this varied from area to area. 19

A sample survey of North Antrim estate records available for the 1870s indicates that only a small number of tenants were in arrears with their rents, and only in the Macartney estate, Lissanoure, is there much evidence of legal ejectment of tenants owing rent. 20 In any case, this was an estate with a bad record of landlord/tenant relations. In 1844, the Reverend Henry McLoughlin, P.P., gave evidence of evictions and sectarian tensions on the estate to the Devon Commission, and the situation did not improve in the ensuing decades. 21

As to religion, the census of 1871 revealed that in the county as a whole, the Presbyterians made up 53.2 per cent of the population, Roman Catholics 23.5 per cent, members of the Church of Ireland 18.6 per cent, Methodists 1.1 per cent and others 3.7 per cent. 22

It was Sir Randal MacDonnell who laid the foundations for this Presbyterian supremacy. Although a Roman Catholic himself, he encouraged the settlement of Scottish Presbyterian colonists in North Antrim from 1607 onwards23. The Scots came mainly from Ayrshire and Wigtonshire. The oldest gravestone commemorating a member of these immigrating families, one Kathryn Peebles, is to be found in Derrykeighin church and is dated 1615. The process of settlement continued for half a century and survived the threat of rebellion of 1641. 24 Sir Randal was anxious to improve his estates, therefore he granted long leases on favourable terms and on the instructions of archbishop James Ussher, repaired churches for the use of the settlers. 25

Until the advent of Wentworth as Lord Deputy in 1633, the Presbyterians were allowed to worship as they wished, but persecution then ensued. The arrival of General Monro’s Scottish army in 1642, with its attendant Presbyterian chaplains, greatly strengthened Presbyterianism in Antrim and elsewhere. By 1654 it was necessary to divide the original single Presbytery of Carrickfergus into 3 sections – Down, Antrim and Route with Laggan. In 1657, the Route Presbytery became totally independent and Presbyterianism was well on the way to achieving its dominant position in Antrim.26 Nonetheless, the denominational mosaic in the north of the county was still a complicated one, given the presence of Anglicans, Methodists, Unitarians and members of the Reformed Presbyterian church, and given the Catholic presence in the north eastern corner.

The Political Structure

Until 1885 North Antrim was part of the county constituency of Antrim. In addition to its two county representatives, Antrim had two boroughs with separate representation – Carrickfergus and Lisburn, both in the southern half of the county.

Before 1885, the county electorate were mainly tenant farmers and comparatively well off, since a £12 valuation was the franchise qualification. Within Ulster generally, Roman Catholics were under-represented. Brian Walker has calculated that in County Antrim although Roman Catholics made up 22 per cent of the 1881 population, they were only 19 per cent of the 1880 electorate. 27 Similarly, Presbyterians and Anglicans were over-represented. Presbyterians were 51 per cent of the electorate in 1880, while members of the Church of Ireland accounted for 16 per cent of the 1881 population and over 20 per cent of the 1880 electorate. 28

The situation was to change dramatically after the franchise reform of 1884. Whereas in England and Wales, chief beneficiaries were the agricultural labourers, in Ireland it was the small farmer as well as the labourer who gained the vote for the first time. The reform also altered the religious composition of the electorate. The denominational percentages of electors after 1885 closely corresponded to the numerical strength of the various denominations, 29 though Roman Catholics were still at a slight disadvantage because of the residence qualification since there was a higher population of Roman Catholic farm servants living in their employers homes and there was also a large number of Roman Catholic migrant labourers.30

Brian Walker also rightly stressed the key role played in Ulster politics from 1869 onwards by registration agents and societies. In marginal seats, 31 because of block voting, the electoral revision sessions could determine the result of the next election, although County Antrim was not regarded as being such a seat.

Generally, the Liberals were more active on this front in the 1860s and 1870s, especially after the formations of the Ulster Liberal Society in Belfast in 1865. 32 W.H. Dodd, the society’s secretary from 1868 to 1874, made efforts to organise registration activity in Antrim, attending a meeting of the Route Defence Association to urge action I 1870.33 His successor Matthew Wylie was even more energetic, as he personally attended the County Antrim Revision sessions in 1879. 34

From 1880 to 1885, the Liberals were less enthusiastic, and they failed to respond effectively to the challenge posed by the reforms of 1884–5, 35 although some historians have tried to argue the opposite 36 North Antrim was one of the 17 constituencies in 1885 where the liberals had no registration agents at work.37 Thus, the 1886 Liberal split over the Home Rule issue merely confirmed the party’s eclipse.

The Conservatives were slower to organise registration activity, partly because they lacked party organisation, which the Liberals possessed. It was only after the 1874 general election that Conservative registration agents and county constitutional associates made their appearance in the Ulster counties, including Antrim. In 1880 an Ulster Constitutional Union, with the Hon. Arthur Hill as its secretary, came into being and this was followed by the official opening of an Ulster Constitutional Club in Belfast in 1883 by Sir Stafford Northcote. 38 During 1883 and 1884 the conservatives were active in the revision courts in Antrim, 39 and unlike the Liberals they surmounted the problems created by the expansion of the electorate in 1885. 40 After 1885, with the reinforcement of sectarian voting patterns, registration was only a matter of concern for marginal seats. 41

From 1882 onwards, the Nationalists in county Antrim, as elsewhere in Ulster, took an interest in registration. Local solicitors acted for groups such as the North Antrim Registration Association and the Glenravel National League.42 There was little clerical involvement, however, in Nationalist politics in Antrim. It is of course important to remember that Nationalist candidates did not contest North Antrim in the years before 1914; therefore registration activity was bound to have seemed relatively unimportant.

Any assessment of the political situation in north Antrim in, and after 1869, must take account of the role played by the local newspapers. John Vincent has pointed out the impact of the repeal of the stamp duty in June 1855 on the English provincial daily and weekly press. He argues that this expanding provincial press helped to create grass-roots support for Liberalism. 43 It is certainly true that there was a definite expansion of the provincial press in north Antrim in the second half of the century, and the removal of the duty encouraged this. 44

The Coleraine Chronicle circulated in north Antrim as well as in Londonderry and was traditionally associated with Liberalism. On 3 December 1850, J.M. Lithgow founded a local newspaper in Ballymoney, The Balance, to support the then flourishing tenant right movement, but the stamp duty was a restraining factor. Lithgow was unable to print news and had to concentrate on literary material. His editorial column was his only means of promoting the political causes in which he was interested. The Balance was short lived, but in 1855 with the disappearance of the duty, Lithgow was able to establish a successor The Herald. It was succeeded in turn by the Ballymoney Free Press in 1863, edited by S.C McElroy but owned by The Coleraine Chronicle. The Ballymoney Free Press survived until November 1934 when it finally incorporated with The Coleraine Chronicle. Until 1906, it was to provide Liberalism with a useful local platform, after 1906 it moved into the Unionist camp.

The conservatives were clearly at a disadvantage in the local newspaper field, hence the establishment in 1874 of The Coleraine Constitution. However, it was not in any sense a local north Antrim newspaper, circulating as it did in large areas of County Londonderry. Thus it was not until 1887 that a truly local north Antrim conservative and Unionist weekly newspaper appeared – The North Antrim Standard and Ballymoney, Portrush and Ballycastle Advertiser – which was destined to survive until 1922.
The political parties could of course also rely on the Belfast press to report their activities and popularise their views. Indeed it was in the absence of their own newspaper, the local Nationalists looked to the Ulster Examiner (1868) and the Morning News (later The Irish News) to articulate their point of view. The Conservatives could rely on the Belfast News-Letter, the Belfast Evening Telegraph (founded in 1870), and The Witness and after 1885 the Northern Whig and subsequently the Ulster Guardian, at least to some extent.

In 1869, perhaps the most important political fact in County Antrim was landlord influence and in particular the power of the Marquis of Hertford, the county’s largest landowner and his agent Dean Stannus. Their influence on elections was considerable, especially since the secret ballot was not introduced until 1872. During an investigation into the running of the Hertford estate, which was located in the south of the county, 45 Stannus stated that it compromised 66,000 acres, supporting a population of about 200,000. There were 4,000 holdings, of which 1,000 were leasehold and the remainder let on a yearly basis.

There were approximately 10,000 electors in the entire county and at least 1,000 of them lived on the estate. In addition every elector in the Borough of Lisburn was either a tenant or subtenant. The estate rental in 1871 amounted to £58,000. This would appear to represent a formidable source of political power. There were only a number of other large estates owned by conservative families in the county, although none could match the Hertford acreage. They included the O’Neill estate outside Antrim (64,163), the Leslie estate outside Ballymoney (7,428 acres), the Macnaghten estate at Dundarave, Bushmills (7,134 acres), the Chaine estate outside Larne (5,010 acres) and the Ford-Hutchinson estate outside Stranocum (2,730 acres). 46

In assessing landlord influence in elections, it is important to bear in mind the conclusions reached by John Vincent about the realities, which lay behind the block voting patterns in English counties. He has stressed the fact that tenant farmers exacted a price from the landlords in return for their seemingly deferential electoral support. 47

The Liberals had nothing like an effective counterweight to the Hertford interest. The leading Liberal landowner in the county was undoubtedly Sir Shafto Adair of Ballymena Castle. 48

Well we know his feeling heart
Warms with pity for the poor,
Well he does perform his part
‘Ere affliction leave his door.
Angry winds may rob the grove
Of its fruits and foliage fair,
But our souls shall ever prove
Sure faithful to Adair. 49

David Herbinson’s ballad ‘Ballymena’s welcome to Sir Shafto Adair’ does him rather more than justice. Adair was basically a Whig of the old school. 50 The impact of the famine on Antrim in winter of 1846-7 seems to have played a major part in his political education. ‘I awoke, as from a deep slumber, to behold the measureless spread of the awful calamity which still devastates Ireland – and many better informed than myself awoke to wonder at and deplore the depth of our ignorance.’ 51

However, despite his sympathy and concern for those in distress, Adair retained his aristocratic mein. He generally allowed it to be understood that he moved in loftier regions than that of ordinary mortals. He always endeavoured to be very gracious, but he left on those with whom he was in political and personal relations the sense of being patronised.’ 52 He could not see beyond the imaginary turrets and battlements of his ‘castle’ at Ballymena. His all-consuming ambition was to secure a peerage, as his constant pleas to Gladstone reveal. 53

In the pursuit of this goal, he spent large sums of money on political contests both in Antrim and Suffolk, where he owned  Flixton Hall estate near Bungay. 54 But as he confessed ruefully to Gladstone. ‘The pronounced Conservatism of these counties’ appeared to preclude success. 55 He was therefore not very much of an asset to the Antrim Liberals. Indeed his own position as a landlord although admittedly a generous one, proved at times to be an embarrassment, given the association of Liberalism and land reform. 56 ‘It was near to me to hear the Irish Landlords denounced under the chairmanship of a landlord.57

Thomas MacKnight was even more forthright when he wrote to Gladstone on 9 October 1877.

‘Lord Waveney has good intentions; but he thinks too much of his own opinions, and does not really know Ulster as well as he ought to do.58

The Liberals never really solved the problem of finding suitable parliamentary candidates, either for the county constituency up to 1885, or for the new North Antrim seat between 1885 and 1914. In the absence of an abundance of local Liberal magnates they had to search feverishly for outsiders. In their search they were the prisoners of their deferential middle-class attitudes. Local men were chosen with extreme reluctance, yet most of the outsiders were feeble candidates. However, the distinct lack of ‘natural’ political leaders was only one of many problems, which hampered Liberal political activity in Antrim in the years after 1860. 59

  1. The Ballymena to Cargan line was opened in 1875 and extended to Parkmore and Retreat in 1876. The Ballymoney to Ballycastle line was opened in 1880. See Edward Patterson, The Ballymena Lines, a history of the narrow-gauge railways of the northeast Ireland part two (Newton Abbot, 1968), pp. 35-7; Edward Patterson, The Ballycastle railway, a history of the narrow-gauge railways of northeast Ireland part one (Newton Abbot, 1965), p. 27.
  2. J. Dubordieu, Statistical Survey of the County of Antrim (Dublin, 1812), p. 45.
  3. Ibid., p. 475.
  4. The foregoing paragraph is based on J. McGann, ‘Natural Features – modern topography and social economy, May 1835’, in Ordnance field memoirs for Ballymoney (P.R.O.N.I., MIC6/13/4).
  5. J. McGann, ‘Natural Features – modern topography and social economy, May 1835’, in Ordnance field memoirs for Ballymoney (P.R.O.N.I., MIC6/13/4).
  6. For the impact of famine on the area see Minute book of the Ballymoney Relief Committee December 1845 – January 1846 (P.R.O.N.I., D572/21/106); Minute book of the Ballymoeny Medicity Society, 1846-9 (P.R.O.N.I., D1518/4); Minute book of the Ballymoney Board of Guardians, February 1847 – May 1848 (P.R.O.N.I., BG5/A/4)
  7. ‘Abstract of the census reports for county Antrim 1851-9’, printed in Ballymoney, sources of local history (Belfast, P.R.O.N.I., n.d.) p. 14.
  8. Slaters Directory, 1870, p. 40; Belfast and Ulster Directory, 1870, pp. 52-3.
  9. The Reverent George Hill, An historical account of the Macdonnells of Antrim (Belfast, 1873), p. 196.
  10. Table compiled from U.H. Hussey de Burgh, The Landowners of Ireland: an alphabetical list of the owners of estates of 500 acres or £500 valuation and upwards in Ireland, with the acreage and valuation of each county. And also containing a brief notice of the education and official appointments of each person, to which are added his town and county addresses and clubs (Dublin, 1878).
  11. Returns showing the number of agricultural holdings in Ireland and the tenure by which they are held by the occupiers, 1 (C32), H.C. 1870, pp. 16-17, 752-3.
  12. Report from her Majesty’s Commissioners of Inquiry into the state of law and practice in respect of the occupations of land in Ireland (Dublin, 1845) I, 619-21. (Hereafter cited as the Devon Commission Report.)
  13. Ibid., pp. 623-5.
  14. Ibid., pp. 621-2.
  15. Ibid., pp. 625-7.
  16. Ibid., pp. 619–21.
  17. Ibid., pp. 621-2.
  18. Ibid., pp. 625-7.
  19. Devon Commission report, I, 619-27.
  20. See Rental for Ballydivitty estate, May 2870 (P.R.O.N.I., D915/30); Rental for one quarter of the Henry estate, the property of Mrs. Loughead’s representatives, May 1871 (P.R.O.N.I., D915/33); rental for one quarter of the Henry estate, the property of Mrs Jane Beattie’s representatives, May 1871 (P.R.O.N.I., D915/33); Rental for Coleraine and Tullans estate, the property of William John Chruch, May 1871 (P.R.O.N.I., D915/33); Rental for the Dunseverick estate, the property of Jackson Wray, May 1871 (P.R.O.N.I., D915/33); Rental for the Bellisle estate, the property pf Mrs Eleanor Wallace Legge (P.R.O.N.I., D915/33); rental for the Bendooragh and Cabra estate, the property of Reverend James O’Hara, May 1870 (P.R.O.N.I., Greer Hamilton and Gailey papers, D1835/28); Rental for the Ballylough estate, the property pf William Traill, May 1871 (P.R.O.N.I., D915/33); Rental for the Ballymoney estate of Thomas Leckey Hutchinson, May 1870(P.R.O.N.I., Greer Hamilton and Gailey papers, D1835/1); Rental for Loughguile estate of Charles Douglas, May 1870 (P.R.O.N.I., Greer Hamilton and Gailey papers, D1835/1); Rental for the Finvoy estate of Leiut. Col. Richard Magenis, May 1870 (P.R.O.N.I., Greer Hamilton and Gailey papers, D1835/2); Rental for the Lissanoure estate of C.George Macartney 1879-80 (P.R.O.N.I., W.J. Boyd papers, D1062/2/2/1).
  21. Devon Commission Report, I, 623-5.
  22. Ulster Census, 1871, table xxxi from each report.
  23. Hill, Macdonnells of Antrim, p. 206.
  24. H.C. Waddell, The Presbytery of Route; the ter-centenary book (Belfast, 1960), pp. 15-19
  25. S.A. Blair, Kilraughts: A kirk and its people (Kilraughts, 1973), p.21.
  26. Waddell, Presbytery of route, pp. 15-19.
  27. B.M. Walker, ‘Parliamentary representation in Ulster, 1868-86’ (Ph.D. thesis, trinity College, Dublin, 1976), p. 124.
  28. Ibid., p. 125.
  29. Ibid., p. 128.
  30. Ibid., p. 130.
  31. Ibid., p. 137.
  32. Ibid., p. 143.
  33. S.C. McElroy, The Route Land Crusade, (Coleraine, n.d.). p. 31.
  34. Belfast News-Letter, 2 Oct. 1879.
  35. Witness, 18 Dec, 1885.
  36. See for example J.Harbison, The Ulster Unionist Party, 1882–1937; its development and organisation (Belfast, 1973), pp 7-8; J.R. Fisher, The Ulster Liberal Unionist Association: a sketch of its history, 1885-1914 (Belfast, 1913), p. 10.
  37. Walker, Parliamentary representation in Ulster, 1868-86, p. 149.
  38. Ibid., p. 156.
  39. B.N.L., 6 Oct. 1884.
  40. See B.N.L., 3 Sept, 1885.
  41. Walker, Parliamentary representation in Ulster, 1868-86, p. 163.
  42. Morning News, 5 and 8 September, 1885.
  43. John Vincent, The Formation of the British Liberal Party, 1857-68 (2nd Edition, Harmondsworth, 1972), pp. 94–101.
  44. For information on Ulster local and provincial newspapers in this period see Newspaper press directory 1884 (London, 1884); Newspaper press directory 1895 (London 1895); J.M. Barkley, ‘Belfast newspapers: vi 1860 – 74’ in P.A.C.E., vii, no. 2/3 (Summer/Autumn, 1975), pp. 15-7; B.R. Sharkie, A Biography of printed material relating to County Antrim, Thesis submitted for fellowship of the Library Association 1972 p. 12; newspapers held in Ballymoney Library special Collection (052/379796).
  45. Northern Whig, 19 and 20 Dec, 1872.
  46. de Burgh, Landowners of Ireland.
  47. J.R. Vincent, Poll-Books; how Victorians voted (Cambridge, 1967), pp. 21-2.
  48. Adair’s County Antrim estate was small – 6,546 acres. It had a valuation of £6,810. See de Burgh, Landowners of Ireland, passim.
  49. N.W., 1 Jan, 1872.
  50. Thomas MacKnight, Ulster as it is, or twenty eight years experience as an Irish editor, 2 vols (London, 1896), I, p. 104.
  51. A. Shafto Adair, The winter of 1846-7 in Antrim, with remarks on outdoor relief and colonisation (London, 1847), p. 7.
  52. MacKnight, Ulster as it is. I, p. 105.
  53. See Sir Shafto Adair to W.E. Gladstone, 17 Sept, 1869 (B.M., Gladstone papers, Add.44422/38); Sir Shafto Adair to W.E. Gladstone, 2 Dec, 1869 (B.M., Gladstone papers, Add.44423/259); Sir Shafto Adair to W.E. Gladstone, 26 Sept, 1870 (B.M., Gladstone papers, Add.44428/117)/ Adair eventually obtained his much coveted peerage and assumed the title of Lord Waveney in 1873.
  54. His brother Hugh Adair was the Liberal Member for Ipswich for 23 years.
  55. Sir Shafto Adair to W.E. Gladstone, 17 Sept, 1869 (B.M., Gladstone papers, Add.44422/38).
  56. This did not however hamper other 19th century Irish politicians who were similarily placed, for example Charles Stewart Parnell.
  57. MacKnight, Ulster as it is. I, pp. 106-07.
  58. Thomas MacKnight to W.E. Gladstone, 9 Oct, 1877 ((B.M., Gladstone papers, Add.44455/175).
  59. For a discussion of these problems see J.R.B. McMinn, The Reverend James Brown Armour and Liberal Politics in North Antrim, 1869–1914 (Ph.D. thesis, Queens University of Belfast, 1979), pp. 173 – 410.

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