Bushe, Gervase Parker (1744–93), politician and revenue commissioner, was born probably in December 1744, the only son of Amyas Bushe (d. 1773) of Kilfane, near Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, and his wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heir of General Gervase Parker, commander-in-chief in Ireland. He entered Kilkenny College aged fourteen (on 6 August 1759), matriculated at Glasgow University (1761), then moved to Christ Church, Oxford (12 October 1763), though he did not graduate. He became a member of the Dublin Society (1766) and served as high sheriff of Co. Kilkenny (1768). At a by-election at Granard (1767) he entered parliament by purchasing the seat and became a follower of Henry Flood (qv). His marriage in February 1768 to Mary Grattan, a daughter of James Grattan (d. 1766), recorder of Dublin, and sister of Henry Grattan (qv), added to his credentials as a Patriot politician, as did acting as Flood's second in his duel with James Agar (qv), in which the latter was killed (1769). Bushe's appointment as a commissioner of accounts at £500 per annum on 12 December 1771 tempered but did not altogether undermine his independence and in 1776 he was removed from office. Briefly out of parliament (1776–8), he stood in a by-election at Kilkenny against Agar's son Charles (May 1778). Though defeated by twenty-four votes, he was declared elected on petition (July). In the late 1770s he was a member of the reformist ‘Society of Granby Row’ but became more conservative in the 1780s, while still maintaining an element of liberalism in his views. He voted for catholic relief in 1774 and 1778, but opposed Grattan's declaration of the rights of Ireland (1780) and Flood's motion for parliamentary reform (1783). He later served as MP for Fore, Co. Westmeath (1783–90), and for Lanesborough, Co. Longford (1790–93). After his appointment in 1784 as one of seven revenue commissioners at £1,000 per annum, he tended to support the government, but broke ranks to vote for a regency in 1789.
During the summer of 1789 Bushe visited France to witness the political changes occurring there and was disturbed by the arbitrariness of the revolutionaries. As a revenue commissioner he had a special interest in hearth tax. He energetically reformed its administration and in June 1790 submitted a paper to the RIA, being one of the first elected members after its foundation in 1785. In his paper he computed the population of Ireland at ‘above 4,040,000’ on the basis of hearth tax returns for 1788. Published as ‘An essay towards ascertaining the population of Ireland’ (Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, iii, 1790, 145–55), it was ‘the first considered analysis of Irish population size’ (Dickson et al.). Bushe died 13 August 1793 at Kilfane, distinguished ‘not only as a powerful speaker in the senate but as an excellent writer in the lines of politics and fancy’ and for his demographic analysis (Freeman's Journal). His wife, Mary, bore him five sons and four daughters.