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William Sharman Crawford

(1781—1861) politician and landlord in Ireland


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(1781–1861), radical politician. A Protestant landowner in Co. Down, William Sharman added his wife's name of Crawford to his own in 1805. From 1830 he campaigned to have the Ulster custom given legal force throughout Ireland. As MP for Dundalk 1835–7, he criticized O'Connell for compromising on tithes to preserve the Whig alliance, and he later advocated federalism as an alternative to repeal. He participated in the drafting of the People's Charter in London in 1837, and was elected radical MP for Rochdale (1841–52) with Chartist support. In parliament he regularly proposed land reform bills for Ireland and was a consistent opponent of coercion. He was involved in the establishment of the Tenant-Right Association in Ulster in 1846, and subsequently of the Tenant League in 1850. After being defeated for Co. Down in the 1852 general election he retired from public life.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.


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