Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon

Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon

Thomas Spring Rice, 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon, PC, FRS (8 February, 1790-7 February 1866) was a British Whig politician. He served as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1835 to 1839.

Spring Rice was the son of Stephen Edward Rice of Mount Trenchard, County Limerick, and Catherine Spring, heiress of Thomas Spring. Sir Stephen Rice (1637-1715), chief baron of the Irish exchequer and a leading Jacobite, was his ancestor. Spring Rice was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and later studied law, but was not called to the Bar. He was elected to Parliament for Limerick in 1820, and then sat for Cambridge from 1832 to 1839. He was Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department under George Canning and Lord Goderich in 1827 and then served as joint Secretary to the Treasury from 1830 to 1834 under Lord Grey. In June 1834 Grey appointed Spring Rice Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, with a seat in the cabinet, a post he retained when Lord Melbourne became Prime Minister in July. The Whig government fell in November 1834, but returned to office under Melbourne already in April the following year. Spring Rice was made Chancellor of the Exchequer, a post he held until 1839. However, he was disappointed in not being elected Speaker of the House of Commons in 1835 and 1838, when the office was vacant. In 1839 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Monteagle of Brandon, in the County of Kerry, a title intended earlier for his ancestor Sir Stephen Rice. Lord Monteagle of Brandon was also Comptroller of the Exchequer from 1835 to 1865. He differed from the government as regards the exchequer control over the treasury, and the abolition of the old exchequer was already determined upon when he died.

Lord Monteagle of Brandon was married twice. He married firstly Theodosia, daughter of Edmund Pery, 1st Earl of Limerick, in 1811. They had five sons and three daughters. After his first wife's death in 1839 he married secondly Marianne, daughter of John Marshall, in 1841. Lord Monteagle of Brandon died in February 1866, aged 75. He was succeeded in the barony by his grandson Thomas Spring Rice, the son of his eldest son Hon. Stephen Edmund Spring Rice (1814-1865). Lord Monteagle of Brandon's second son Hon. Thomas William Spring Rice was the father of the diplomat Sir Cecil Spring Rice, British Ambassador to the United States from 1912 to 1918. A monument still stands today in the People's Park in Limerick, in honour of Spring Rice, who was well regarded locally. His statue adorns a tall column at the centre of this public park.

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