Founder of the Home Rule movement. At the outset, Butt was a vigorous defender of Orange Toryism. Increasingly, however, his unionism and his commitment to property right were tinctured with a strong national feeling. Defending the Young Irelanders in May 1848, he urged that the detrimental economic consequences of the British connection might be offset through a subordinate parliament in Dublin. Although he sat for Youghal (1852–65), he languished for a time on the margins of national politics. His defence of the Fenian conspirators in 1868 restored his patriotic reputation. He was returned to Parliament in 1871 as a Home Ruler, representing Limerick. Butt helped to create a national organization through the Home Rule League (1873), but by the time of his death he had been superseded by more militant lieutenants.
Subjects: European History.