Gough in Ireland

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Gough was proud to be an Irishman and when not serving overseas he settled in Ireland, where he owned significant landholdings by his death. Although he was serving in India at the time, he was aware of the horrific conditions occurring in Ireland during the Great Famine of the 1840s. He wrote to his son George in November 1846 expressing concern about their tenants in Ireland, describing Ireland’s affairs as in ‘a frightful state’. Although sympathetic to the unionist Protestant cause, he attempted to remain at a remove from politics. In 1832 he was invited to join a group styling themselves the Committee of Protestant Noblemen, who pledged to ‘maintain the rights of property and the union with Great Britain as established by law—to uphold the integrity of the Protestant church in Ireland and the king’s authority therein’. Gough, however, declined the invitation, stating that his position as a military man made him unwilling to engage in political discussion, ‘however highly I may approve of [or] devotedly wish for the success of any particular cause’. The committee was a covert one and Gough was requested to destroy their correspondence—a request he obviously ignored, given its presence amongst his papers.

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