Sir Thomas Upington

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Thomas Upington

Birthplace: Mallow, Cork, Cork, Ireland
Death: December 10, 1898 (54)
Wynberg, Cape Colony, South Africa
Immediate Family:

Son of Samuel Upington and Mary Ellen Tarrant
Husband of Mary Elizabeth Guerin
Father of Beauclerk Upington
Brother of Catherine Upington; Johanna Upington; John Upington; Mary Ellen Upington and William Upington

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About Sir Thomas Upington

Death -

Thomas Upington

Thomas was educated at Cloyne Diocesan School, Mallow, and at Trinity College, Dublin, where in 1863 he obtained Mathematical Honours in the Hilary term examinations.

He was called to the Irish Bar in 1867. In 1868 he became secretary to Thomas O'Hagan, 1st Baron O'Hagan, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and in January 1870 he appeared as registrar to the court in Dr MacSwiney's appeal to the Visitors of the King and Queen's College of Physicians against his ejection from a Fellowship. Political career (1878-1898)

Upington emigrated to the Cape Colony in 1874, due to his fragile health, from which he suffered throughout his life.

He was elected to the Cape Legislature in 1878 and stood for several constituencies in turn; Colesberg (1878-83), Caledon (1884-91), and Swellendam (1896-98). Throughout his political career he was exceptionally close to his friend and ally John Gordon Sprigg, and served regularly as Attorney General in Sprigg's governments (1878-81, 1886-90, 1896-98)

Term as Prime Minister (1884–1886)

He became the fourth Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in 1884, after the growing Afrikaner Bond Party compelled the government of Premier Thomas Charles Scanlen to retire. He was appointed to form a government by the powerful Afrikaner Bond, but held office for only two turbulent and strife-torn years, in what subsequently became known as the "Warming-pan" Ministry

The principal issue that dominated Upington's short Ministry was the conflict over two tiny Boer mercenary states – Stellaland and Goshen – which had been established by Boer invaders in "British" Bechuanaland and which the British demanded were ejected. The issue placed Upington in a near impossible position as he owed his parliamentary support to the Afrikaner Bond which was strongly sympathetic of the Boer states, while the British Imperial authorities demanded his action.

In response, he travelled to Bechuanaland (with John Gordon Sprigg accompanying him as his Treasurer General) "in the endeavour to effect a peaceful arrangement". The sympathy which he at times expressed for the Boers in this controversy helped to maintain his parliamentary support, but made him very controversial in the eyes of the Imperial authorities and the Cape political elite. He was accused of propounding Parnellite principles and denounced by British politicians in Cape Town as a “Fenian” whose "offence is rank", and who "has been fraternising with Mynheer Van Dunk instead of sticking with John Bull". Even in less hostile circles, he was nonetheless known as "the Afrikaner from Cork".

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Sir Thomas Upington's Timeline

October 28, 1844
Mallow, Cork, Cork, Ireland
March 29, 1873
Cork, Cork City, Cork, Ireland
December 10, 1898
Age 54