The Sadleir Letters

Repository: Maynooth University Library

Identity Statement

TitleThe Sadleir Letters
Archive ReferenceIE MU/PP/18
Web Link to this Entry
Creation DatesNovember 1852-May 1854
Extent Medium34 items


Creator(s): Sadleir, John, 1813-1856, banker and politician

  • Administrative History ↴

    John Sadleir, banker and politician was the fourth son of a wealthy Catholic family, born in the parish of Shronnell, county Tipperary. He became a solicitor in 1837 and a successful Parliamentary agent for Irish Railways before turning his attentions to banking. In 1838 he established the Tipperary Joint Stock Bank with his brother James and his grandfather James Scully. He also decided to enter politics and offered himself as a Liberal candidate for the Borough of Carlow in the 1847 election. Along with fellow Irish liberal M.P.'s he vehemently opposed the 1851 Ecclesiastical Titles Act, earning the group the nickname of 'the Papal Brigade'. By use of a policy of independent opposition the group hoped to focus the government’s attention on Irish land issues. However, Sadleir was declared a traitor to the cause when he accepted a position as junior lord of the treasury in Lord Aberdeen's government in 1853. Sadleir subsequently lost the Carlow by-election, after much negative publicity concerning his motives. His political problems were to pale into insignificance when discrepancies in his financial transactions came to light in 1855. Sadleir had drained the Tipperary Bank with an overdraft of over £288,000, sanctioned by his brother. He lost the money through disastrous speculation, resorting to forging shares in order to cover his trail. Further borrowing and fraud led to Sadleir owing over a million pounds. Rather than face bankruptcy and ruin Sadleir committed suicide, dramatically taking poison on Hampstead Heath in February 1856.
  • Archival History ↴

    The collection was acquired by Maynooth University Library in November 2014
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Sadleir, John, 1813-1856, banker and politician ↴

    Series of letters from John Sadleir (1813-1856), banker and politician, Tipperary, to Michael Dunne (J.P. and M.P. 1850-1865) of Ballymanus, Stradbally, Queen’s County (Offaly). Topics discussed include, Sadleir acceptance of ministerial position, Gladstone’s budget, the Ecclesiastical Titles Act, land measures, the introduction of income tax and the Barrow River.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged chronologically

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Open to students of Maynooth University and Saint Patrick's College Maynooth. Open to external readers by appointment. Please contact: Please see our website for Reading Room opening hours.
Conditions Governing ReproductionBy application
Creation DatesNovember 1852-May 1854
Extent Medium34 items
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive List Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteC Joyce, January 2015
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of DescriptionsMarch 2017