See also

John SADLEIR (1813-1856)

Name: John SADLEIR1,2
Sex: Male
Father: Clement William SADLEIR (c. 1775- )
Mother: Joanna SCULLY (1776-1858)

Individual Events and Attributes

Birth 17 Nov 1813 Shrone Hill, County Tipperary, Ireland
Death 16 Feb 1856 (age 42) Hampstead Heath, London, England

Individual Note

John Sadleir, `the prince of swindlers', was born in 1813 of a middle class farming family in Co. Tipperary. His father, a Protestant, married a Catholic and converted to Catholicism, and Sadleir was educated by the Jesuits. He trained as a solicitor and joined his uncle's practice in Dublin. At the age of 32 he left the law for a career in business, finance and politics. He became involved, as the chairman or a director, in various banking and railway companies, notably the London and County Bank, the Tipperary Bank and the Royal Swedish Railway Company. He was the agent for a number of landed interests in Ireland, and was an active purchaser of mortgaged estates in the Encumbered Estates Court (a mechanism thrust upon heavily indebted landlords as a means of solving the agrarian crisis in Ireland). He launched a newspaper, the Telegraph, in the Catholic interest in Dublin in 1852. He graduated from being the parliamentary agent for Irish railways to become the MP for Carlow, and subsequently for Sligo. In December 1852 he accepted office as a Junior Lord of the Treasury under Lord Aberdeen. At this, the apogee of his career, he was the coming man, perhaps the next Irish leader, consulted by Cabinet ministers and spoken of as a future Chancellor of the Exchequer.

He was, however, obliged to resign his position because of an electoral impropriety, and his troubles forced themselves in upon him. So heavily had he speculated (and lost) in Irish land, railway stocks, Californian gold companies, German coal mines and commodities that he had borrowed huge sums from the London and County Bank and from the Tipperary Bank, he had embezzled trust assets and misappropriated title deeds, he had forged conveyances and bills of exchange, and he had sold counterfeit shares in the Royal Swedish Railway Company and peculated the proceeds. Pressed for cash, with the elaborate edifice of his malfeasance crumbling, he took prussic acid on Hampstead Heath on 17 February 1856. `Thus died, by his own hand, .... John Sadleir, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, ... swindler that this or any other country has produced', wrote the editor of The Bankers' Magazine, David Morier Evans, in 1859. When the full extent of Sadleir's defalcations was revealed, they were found to have amounted to about £1.25 million (about £75 million in 2001 terms). According to Charles MacCarthy Collins, writing in 1880 on Irish banking, his death precipitated `a panic which was the greatest that ever occurred in Ireland.' The Times summarily pronounced him `a national calamity.'


Account by Brian Sadleir on The Sadleir Web3


1"Nick Heard". This GEDCOM is predominantly the work of Nick Heard, but it incorporates the collaborated work of many other family historians. You are welcome to use the information herein but please acknowledge the source. Every effort has been made to ensure the data is accurate, but any use you make of it is entirely at your own risk. (c) Nick Heard 2009
2"Ted Marrs Tree and Sadleir Jackson Corrick Crocker family tree" (Ancestry.Co.UK).
3"Genes Reunited Anthony Sadleir's Tree" (