Co. Tipperary had been part of the great medieval palatinate of the Butlers, Earls and later Dukes of Ormonde, which had been abolished when the 2nd Duke was impeached in 1715 and his honours forfeited. Until 1715 the returns for the county would have been made with the Duke's approval. His departure, however, does not appear to have affected the returns, and the same families continued throughout the century to represent the county, with occasional later exceptions, such as the Tolers and the Bagwells. In the 1768 general election, when the poll closed at Clonmel, the county town, after an election of 11 days it stood thus: Sir Thomas Maude 696,Francis Mathew 621, Henry Prittie 596, John Bagwell (0073) 371 (gross poll 1,191). Maude and Francis Mathew were declared duly elected.357 Most of the voters had used both their votes.
In 1776 the numbers were: Henry Prittie 8?3, Francis Mathew 769, Daniel Toler 703. Mathew and Prittie were declared duly elected358 and the gross poll must have been very similar to that of 1768. In 1783 Toler was returned along with Prittie. Francis Mathew was created Lord Landaff in October 1783. In 1785359 it was said that 'The independent interest prevails. Lord Landaff, Lord Earlsfort (1891), the Provost and the Members have the chief interests.' The members, Toler and Prittie, 'are supported by the popular party'. The Provost was John Hely-Hutchinson (1001). By 1790 another element - the Bagwells of Clonmel - had appeared. They had strong mercantile and non-conformist links, which did not make them popular with the old established interests in the county. Bagwell fought at least one duel - with a Col. Lysaght - in the course of the election.360 The Bagwells represented the county for the rest of the decade and thereafter sat in the parliament of the United Kingdom. The author of the 1790 commentary obviously knew that some change was taking place, but was uncertain exactly what it was:
What operation this state of the County will have on the next election is not easily foreseen but we may be certain that Mr Prittie, one of its representatives, will be again elected to that station. Of large fortune, of great private worth, though no parliamentary declaimer and of unsuspected integrity, he long discharged it with honour and all parties appear united to fix him in it as long as he chooses. Mr D. Toler, the other Member, was chosen at the last general election with some appearance of support from an independent interest and had not the reality belied the appearance, he might be secure of his re-election, as his parliamentary conduct has in general, well merited the approbation of the spirited man.361
But as it is said that, whenever a dissolution of Parliament shall take place, the Hon. Mr Mathew, Lord Landaff's eldest son, is to appear as a candidate against him, the powerful interest which the family has long possessed may, possibly, defeat the fairest hopes which he could form from the deserved attachment of his constituents.
In fact Prittie stood down and Mathew, who was just of age, did not stand. He was, however, returned in 1797 and sat with Bagwell in the United parliament.
Tipperary had three parliamentary boroughs: Cashel, Clonmel and Fethard. Cashel and Clonmel survived the Union.