Butler, Sir Richard (1761–1817), 7th baronet, MP, was born 14 July 1761, probably at Garryhunden, Co. Carlow, eldest son among four sons and four daughters of Sir Thomas Butler (1735–72), 6th baronet, of Garryhunden, MP for Co. Carlow (1761–8) and Portarlington, Queen's Co. (1771–2), and his wife Dorothea (d. 1824), the only daughter of the Rev. Edward Bayley, archdeacon of Ardfert and dean of St Patrick's cathedral, Dublin. He succeeded his father in October 1772 and entered TCD in October 1778. He was MP for Co. Carlow (1783–90, 1796–1802) and county sheriff (1784). Most observers believed that he had neither the resources nor the popularity to win a closely fought county election, and the support of the popular and influential Beauchamp Bagenal (qv) was crucial in helping him win the 1783 contest and establish himself as a county MP. In parliament he was independent, and generally opposed the government, voting for parliamentary reform (1783–4) and supporting the motion by Henry Grattan (qv) to reduce the influence of the crown (1790). In 1798 he was appointed a JP, and as captain of the Carlow cavalry yeomanry corps (from 31 October 1796) he was active in suppressing the 1798 rebellion in Co. Carlow, purging his corps of nine catholics who were suspected rebels, and hanging seven of them. Local tradition had it that because he coveted the horse of Paul Cullen (1774–98), a popular local catholic and uncle of Cardinal Paul Cullen (qv), he took the opportunity during the rising to hang him as a rebel. He opposed the union, having first indicated to the government that he would support it; opponents claimed that his vote had been bought with cash. It is possible that he never attended Westminster – he certainly made no mark there, and failed to be elected for Co. Carlow in 1802. He died 16 January 1817 at Garryhunden and was succeeded by his eldest son Sir Thomas Butler (1783–1861), 8th baronet and sheriff of Co. Carlow (1818).
He married (23 August 1782) Sarah Maria, the only daughter of Thomas Worth Newenham (1762–1831), of Coolmore, Co. Cork, MP for Clonmel (1797–1800); they had six sons and two daughters.