For most of the century the borough of Charlemont was in the hands of James, 1st Earl of Charlemont, who succeeded his father in 1734 when he was six years old. During his minority his affairs were looked after by his stepfather, Thomas Adderley. The borough was completely in Charlemont's control and Adderley advised him to keep it so, writing in 1750:
I would beg leave to recommend it to you that you will not allow (your brother excepted) on any account any person to be elected one of your burgesses except a dependent tenant; by this means you probably will secure it against every attempt which can be made to turn you out of it. Attacks have been made and the danger was great. It is now secured and you will do well if you prevent it from coming into the hands of gentlemen. A tenant may be bound by oath, before he is elected to give his vote agreeable to your interests or inclination: nay, his being obliged on a certain day to pay his rent will, if no other consideration moved him, oblige him to your service in hopes of being indulged, which he cannot reasonably expect should he fly in your face.64
The control of corporation boroughs was particularly vulnerable during minorities. Interest in corporations was self-perpetuating and once it had fallen into other hands it was often difficult, if not impossible, for the original patron to retrieve it.
In the aftermath of the events of 1753 Charlemont had embarked on a political plan 'of keeping one individual at least of rank and property wholly independent, as a standard to which, upon any emergency, men might resort'.65 In November 1760 Adderley, who was nervous about his return for Bandon-Bridge, Co. Cork, wrote to Charlemont asking him to return him for Charlemont and offering £600-800 for his seat should he fail to be returned for Bandon-Bridge. In reply Charlemont said that he had decided to give the seats to his family connection, the Moores of Drumbanagher, but 'affairs have now turned out so ill in county matters that I now find myself obliged to reserve a seat for my brother'. He expressed his concern that Adderley should even think that he would 'make a pecuniary bargain for any favour in my power to bestow, and least of all for a borough'.66 Although not rich, and in 1798 reputed to owe £50,000 in England,67 Charlemont never sold his borough. After the Union his son received the £15,000 compensation for its disfranchisement. Grattan (0895) - who sat for Charlemont from 1775, when Francis Caulfeild was lost at sea, until 1790 - was the most illustrious of Charlemont's protégés.