James Butler, 12th Earl and Duke of Ormond

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Butler, James, 12th Earl and Duke of Ormond, the "Great Duke," grandson of preceding, eldest son of Thomas, Viscount Thurles, and Elizabeth Poyntz, was born at Clerkenwell, London, 19th October 1610, in the house of his grandfather, Sir John Poyntz. Shortly after his birth, his parents returned to Ireland; whither he was brought by his nurse when but three years of age. To the last year of his life he remembered being carried through Bristol on this occasion to take shipping for Ireland.

He was often brought to visit the 10th Earl, at Carrick, and ever after distinctly recollected his caresses, and the several circumstances of his long beard, his being blind, and his wearing a George about his neck. Upon the shipwreck and death of his father in 1619, the lad was by courtesy styled Viscount Thurles. The year following that disaster, his mother brought him back to England, and placed him, then nine years of age, at school with a Catholic gentleman at Finchley — this doubtless through the influence of his grandfather, the 11th Earl. It was not long before James I., anxious that the heir of the Butlers should be brought up a Protestant, placed him at Lambeth, under the care of the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Ormond estates being under sequestration (as noted in the life of the 11th Earl) the young Lord had but £40 a year for his own and his servant's clothing and expenses. He appears to have been entirely neglected by the Archbishop — "he was not instructed even in humanity, nor so much as taught to understand Latin."

When fifteen he went to live with his grandfather (then released from prison) at Drury-lane "who through length of his confinement and his advanced age, was grown very infirm, and never troubled him in matters of religion." Having now more means at command, he entered into all the gaieties of the court and town. At eighteen he went to Portsmouth with his friend the Duke of Buckingham intending to join the expedition for the relief of Rochelle; a project abandoned upon the assassination of the Duke. It was during his London residence that he set himself to learn Irish, a partial knowledge of which language proved most useful to him in after years. About six months after his visit to Portsmouth, he first saw at Court, and fell in love with, his cousin, Elizabeth Preston, only child and heiress of Sir Richard Preston. [See WALTER, 11TH EARL OF ORMOND.]

The affection between the young people was reciprocal. She was then an orphan, scarcely fourteen. Her father, like his, had been drowned near the Skerries on a passage to England. As the King's ward, she was under the care of Henry, Earl of Holland. The Duke of Buckingham had intended her for a nephew. It was only by a bribe of £15,000 to Lord Holland that Lord Thurles was able to smooth away the many difficulties opposed to his suit. In September 1629, King Charles issued letters patent consenting to the match, on the ground that it would put a "final end to all controversies between Walter, Earl of Ormond, and Elizabeth, daughter of Richard, Earl of Desmond." By the marriage, which took place in London, at Christmas 1629, the lands his ancestor had been obliged to divide with Sir Robert Preston came back to him. He was then but nineteen; his wife (born 25th July 1615) but fourteen. The following year, passed at Acton with her, he devoted to study, making up somewhat for the deficiencies of his education. At the end of 1630 he went over with his lady to Ireland, and resided at Carrick with Earl Walter and his Countess, who had returned some years before. Next year he purchased a troop of horse in England. After Strafford's arrival in Ireland, there was an open breach between them, consequent on Ormond's refusal to comply with Strafford's order that the Lords should attend Parliament without their swords. It was not long, however, before the young lord's abilities were recognised by that astute statesman; and at twenty-four, now for some years entered on the enjoyment of his title and estates, he was made a Privy-Councillor.

He endorsed strafford's Irish policy, and assisted him materially in the House of Lords. In 1638 he was given a regiment of horse, and shortly afterwards made Commander-in-Chief of the Irish army, collected ostensibly for the pacification of Scotland. The difficulties in the way of clothing, arming, and victualling troops in Ireland were then almost insuperable: we are told there was not cloth in the whole kingdom even for the clothing of 1,500 men. Ormond, however, by unceasing activity and the exercise of tact and forbearance, managed to have, by the middle of August 1640, a well disciplined army of some 8,000 men, including 1,000 Protestant officers and subalterns, at Carrickfergus. Had Strafford's advice been taken, Ormond would at the end of the same year, have been made Lord-Deputy, in place of Lord Wandesford, deceased. One of the last requests Strafford made before execution was that his Garter should be conferred upon Ormond.

The jealousy of the English Parliament regarding the Irish army in the command of the Earl was so great, that he was obliged in the early part of 1641 to disband it unpaid, except an allowance of ten shillings to each man for the expenses of returning home. This dispersion of 8,000 discontented, unpaid men, materially contributed to the outbreak of the war a few months later. Charles I. was anxious, and indeed signed warrants, for a large number of these troops entering the service of the King of Spain — a proceeding the Parliament put a stop to, notwithstanding the expostulations of the Spanish ambassador, who had, upon faith of the King's order, the vessels ready for their transportation. Some 500 men were actually shipped in Dublin Bay when the war broke out in 1641, and they were forced to land and disband. Carte, in his Life of Ormond, states very fully his views as to the causes of the War of 1641. He thus sums them up: "The Irish septs . . abounded with men proud of their ancient race, who thought every employment but that of the sword below them, liked no way of living but that of rapine, and hated the English mortally for abolishing their old barbarous customs, and turning them out of their ancestors' possessions. They did not doubt of being joined and instructed in the use and exercise of arms by the disbanded men of the late army, . . and they flattered themselves with the hopes of supplies from abroad, . . and officers, . . when so favourable an opportunity offered for regaining the estates and power of their ancestors, and for restoring the liberty and old religion of their country." Carte devotes several pages of the latter part of the first volume of his Life of Ormond to a consideration of the atrocities committed by the Irish at the commencement of the war, and appears to show conclusively that the current reports concerning them have been egregiously exaggerated.

The Earl of Ormond was at his house at Carrick-on-Suir when the war broke out in October. He was at once appointed General of the King's forces in Ireland, and set about overcoming the difficulties in which he was placed by the waste, unpreparedness, and maladministration which prevailed in the English as well as the Irish interests in the country. His desire to march immediately against the Irish forces was over-ruled by the Lords-Justices — indeed, although nominally Commander-in-chief, he could do nothing without their leave. His first decided action appears to have been on 31st January 1642, when, with a force of 2,000 foot, 300 horse, and five small field-pieces, he marched west out of Dublin — burnt Lyons and Newcastle, and gave up Naas to pillage. The Irish forces occupying the locality had retired on his approach. He brought back with him to Dublin, on safe conduct, Father Higgins, a Franciscan, a "very quiet, inoffensive, religious man . . He had distinguished himself in saving the English in those parts from slaughter and plunder, and had relieved several of them that had been stripped and robbed." About six weeks afterwards, during Ormond's temporary absence from Dublin, this gentleman was executed by Sir Charles Coote and the Lords-Justices, without trial or reason given, but their animosity towards all of the opposite party.

In February, 1,500 foot and 400 horse arrived at Dublin from England, under the command of Sir Richard Grenville, and the first operations of the spring were against a force of some 3,000 under Hugh Byrne, posted at Kilsallaghan, seven miles from Dublin. In March he proceeded northward to the relief of Sir H. Tichborne at Drogheda. From information received from that able commander, he was anxious to attempt the reduction of Newry; but to this the Lords-Justices would not consent, and he returned to Dublin, having accomplished but the reinforcement of the garrison of Drogheda — a reinforcement that eventually enabled Sir H. Tichborne to raise the siege. For these services he was thanked by the English Parliament, a jewel worth £600 was forwarded to him, and the King was asked to make him a Knight of the Garter. Early in April he marched south with a force of 3,500 men. Passing through Kilcullen, Athy, Stradbally, and Maryborough, he relieved several castles, and put to rout parties of the enemy. Returning to Athy, he received information of the presence of an army of some 8,000, under command of Lord Mount-garret. The battle of Kilrush,near Maganey, ensued on 13th April, ending in the complete rout of Mountgarret, with a loss of some 700 men, whilst Ormond's killed and wounded numbered but 60.

In June, Ormond made an expedition into Connaught, and relieved the small force of Royalists stationed in Athlone. Next September he was bound still more than before to the cause of Charles by being advanced to a Marquisate,and appointed Lieutenant-General of the Irish army — nominally to hold the command direct from the King, clear of all interferences by the Lords-Justices or others. In October 1642, delegates from different parts of Ireland met at Kilkenny, and constituted themselves into a regular government — the Confederation of Kilkenny; passed laws and coined money. They divided their military command; Owen Roe O'Neill being appointed to Ulster, Colonel Preston to Leinster, Colonel Garret Barry to Munster, Colonel John Bourke to Connaught. Supplies of arms, munitions, and money, reached them from the Pope and other European potentates inimical to the English power. Although early in 1643 negotiations were on foot for a cessation of arms on both sides, the Marquis of Ormond took the field, 2nd March 1643-'4, and went south with a force of 3,000 men, and artillery. At Carlow a council of war was held, and it was resolved to besiege Ross, defended by a large force under Preston. On the 18th a battle was fought under its walls, in which Ormond was again victorious, although outnumbered three to one. Preston drew off across the Barrow, with a loss of some 500 men, baggage, and ammunition, breaking down the bridge behind him to prevent pursuit.

Ormond's army was so badly victualled, and the country was so desolated, that he was unable to reap the fruits of this victory, and was glad once more to find himself behind the walls of Dublin. Whilst this expedition was in progress, there was a meeting at Trim on 17th March, between four Commissioners on behalf of the King, and four Confederate agents, in which the latter presented a remonstrance, declaring their reasons for taking up arms, and their desire for peace if proper terms were granted -especially the free exercise of their religion. This remonstrance was, upon Ormond's return, forwarded to Charles. The summer was spent in negotiations; and on the 15th September 1643, a cessation of hostilities was agreed upon. Consequently in November the Marquis was able to send over 2,000 troops, principally Anglo-Irish, and in December 1,440 more, to the assistance of the King in England. Their services in the desultory Irish war proved but poor training, and they reflected little credit on their royal master. The Marquis's efforts to induce the Irish party to send over more troops were unavailing.

In January 1644, Charles's confidence in Ormond was shown by his creating him Lord-Lieutenant, with extraordinary powers. The burden of his instructions was, to endeavour by every means to preserve peace in Ireland, to the end that he might be able to assist Charles with men and money in his English affairs. The Irish party meanwhile endeavoured to treat directly with the King. The sum of their demands was: freedom of religion, and repeal of the penal laws; the passage of an act of oblivion; the calling of a free Irish Parliament; the raising and locating of train-bands within each county; a settlement of property. Upon concurrence with these terms, they professed themselves ready to contribute 10,000 men for the King's service in England, and to "expose their lives and fortunes to serve His Majesty as occasion should require."

The Irish Protestant party, on the other hand, sent Sir Charles Coote to the King at Oxford to demand as the price of their allegiance and assistance, legislation in an opposite direction. June 1644 found Ormond at Dublin, as Carte says, "ready to be devoured by want, almost hopeless of relief, blocked up by sea, encompassed with powerful armies, Scots and Irish, having no strength to oppose them but a very small, indigent, unsatisfied army, unfortified towns, unfaithful inhabitants for the most part, and upon the matter, empty magazines and stores." Two years were spent in protracted negotiations, and on 29th July 1646, a "peace" was concluded by the Marquis on behalf of the King, and by Lord Muskerry and others on behalf of the Confederates. It was vigorously opposed by Rinuccini, the Papal legate. Many of the chief towns refused to accede to the terms, and Owen Roe O'Neill and his army became the centre of opposition, not alone to Ormond and the Ulster Scotch, but to the old Confederates. The Commissioners and their adherents were excommunicated by Rinuccini. General Preston, with an army of 3,400 men, appeared neutral. At the end of August the Marquis marched to Kilkenny with 2,000 men; but it becoming clear that O'Neill and Preston were combining to cut off his army, he managed with considerable difficulty to return to Dublin by the 13th September, losing some of his baggage and plate, and "having," according to Carte, "reaped no other fruits from his expedition, but to be convinced, as well of the vanity of depending any longer upon the Irish Confederates, as of the necessity of applying elsewhere for succours to oppose the designs of those that governed them." He made a last effort to strengthen the fortifications of Dublin — the Marchioness of Ormond and other ladies of rank setting the example, by carrying baskets of earth. His means were, however, exhausted; he could expect no further aid from the Royalists in England; he had raised as much money as he could, some,£27,000, by mortgage of his estates. There was no choice left him but to submit either to the Irish party or the Parliament. He chose the latter; and sent word to London that if he were supplied with 3,500 troops, to be joined with those he had already under his command, with three months' pay, and if all Protestants, British, and well-affected Irish, were received into protection and preserved in their persons and estates, he would be willing to prosecute the war vigorously against any parties in Ireland in arms against the Parliament. His agents left for England, 29th September 1646; and five Commissioners were deputed to treat with him.

O'Neill and Preston now marched against Dublin. O'Neill took Maryborough, Stradbally,and other strong places in the Queen's County: at Athy he was joined by the Nuncio. Preston had the adherence of the Leinster gentry, who had been outraged by the depredations of O'Neill's Ulster soldiers -" Preston hating O'Neill," as Carte says, and "O'Neill despising Preston." Preston arrived at Lucan on the 9th, and O'Neill on the 11th November. Their combined armies numbered 16,000 foot and 1,600 horse. Ormond had been able to effect little for the defence of Dublin, but to burn the crops around and destroy the mills, and had O'Neill and Preston acted together, nothing could have saved the city; but their mutual jealousies appeared ineradicable; and on the 16th, when news was brought that a small English force had been received into Dublin, O'Neill retired into Meath over a bridge nastily constructed at Leixlip; and Preston, by the intervention of Clanricard, appeared not unwilling to join Ormond, although in a short time Rinuccini brought him back to act nominally in concert with O'Neill.

The Marquis was not able to come to terms with the Parliamentary Commissioners, and on 9th December marched with 1,600 men to join the Earl of Clanricard. This was a necessary move, for although too weak to overcome either O'Neill or Preston, he found sustenance for his troops in Westmeath and Longford, and was able to raise £1,000 among the gentry. The officers of his army were without pay; the soldiers had been reduced from 12d. to 9d., and afterwards 6d. a week, with 81bs. of bread. Early in 1647 he negotiated a short peace with the Irish, and sent to the Parliament, offering to surrender Dublin unconditionally. Whereupon, between March and June, the city was garrisoned by Parliamentary troops. On 28th July the Marquis, leaving the Viceregal regalia to be delivered to the Parliamentary Commissioners, took ship at Dublin, and landed at Bristol after a five-days' passage. By permission of the Parliament, he waited upon the King at Hampton Court, and gave him "in writing a summary of the affairs of Ireland, to be considered by him at his leisure." After a short sojourn in England, he proceeded to France. The 29th September 1648 found him again in Ireland, bent upon making a diversion in favour of his master, whose affairs were in extremity. The Marquis had but thirty pistoles left, having spent in ships and necessaries for the expedition the balance of the 3,400 he had received during his residence in France.

On 17th January 1649, he arranged a treaty with the Irish leaders, who agreed to act together for the royal cause. Upon the news of Charles's execution, Prince Charles was proclaimed King, and the chief cities contributed small sums to Ormond for sustaining his cause; Rinuccini's and O'Neill's policy of independent Irish action for Catholic ends appeared entirely discredited, and the former returned to Italy. In May, Ormond having ineffectually urged upon Charles the desirability of encouraging his Irish adherents by visiting the country, marched north at the head of an army of 8,000 men, intent upon recovering possession of Dublin. On 28th July he took Rathfarnham by storm, and early in the morning of 2nd August was fought the battle of Rathmines. Jones, the Parliamentary governor of Dublin, having just received reinforcements from England, made his dispositions with singular ability, and Ormond's army was routed with great slaughter; 300 officers and 1,500 soldiers (most of whom entered the Parliamentary service) were taken prisoners; the whole of the artillery, tents, and baggage, fell into the enemy's hands. Carte attributes the defeat to the inexperience of the Irish officers, the rawness of the soldiers, and the sturdy character of Jones's troops.

The Marquis, who received a musket shot on his armour, retired to Kilkenny; but almost immediately set about reorganizing his forces to oppose Cromwell, who landed at Dublin on 15th August, commanding a well-appointed army of 17,000. Although making the best possible dispositions in his power, he was able to offer but a feeble opposition to Cromwell's march, and was compelled to fall back before him; Waterford and some other Irish cities were even unwilling to admit Ormond's garrisons. In the spring of 1650 the Marquis's efforts to secure prompt and united action among the different Irish parties were unavailing; whilst town after town in the central part of Ireland surrendered to Cromwell's veteran troops. Limerick and Gal way now refused Ormond's garrisons, and he was denounced by a convocation of the clergy at Loughrea, on 6th August 1650. On 15th of November he called a general assembly, explained the hopelessness of affairs, appointed Clanricard Lord-Deputy, and on 11th December sailed from Galway Bay for France, in the Elizabeth, a little 4-gun frigate of 24 tons, which had, by the Duke of York's orders, been awaiting him for some time. With him sailed Lord Inchiquin, about forty officers, and several other gentlemen. After a three-week's passage, they landed at St. Malo in Brittany. He delayed a few days with his family at Caen, and then proceeded to Paris to pay his duty to Queen Henrietta Maria. During his ensuing residence in France he was in the greatest straits for money; and he and his family could scarcely have subsisted were it not that the Marchioness was allowed by Cromwell to visit Ireland in 1653, where after two years' negotiations she secured a reversion of a portion of her jointure. We are told that Cromwell "treated her, indeed, always with the greatest civility; never refused her an audience; and when she went away, he always waited on her to her coach or chair." After a short imprisonment in the Tower, her eldest son, the Earl of Ossory, and her second son, Richard, were permitted to retire to Holland; while "she lived at Dunmore, applying herself to tillage and country affairs, and never saw her lord till he came over to England in the June after His Majesty's restoration."

Meanwhile, the Marquis was engaged in constant negotiations. In 1657 he risked his life by visiting London in disguise, to consult with the King's friends, and appears then to have discountenanced armed opposition to Cromwell's government, as likely to prove ineffectual. Upon his return to Paris, he lay concealed until April 1658, " almost in as much danger of the Bastile there as he had been of the Tower of London," treaties between France and England having obliged Charles and his adherents to leave France in 1656, and take up their abode in Holland and elsewhere. In 1660 came the Restoration, and Carte concludes his 5th Book with the words: "The King was invited over without any condition, and the Marquis of Ormond, who had attended him in the whole course of his exile, attended him likewise in the latter end of May on his happy return into England." The same author thus opens his 6th Book: "The Marquis of Ormond, after ten year's banishment and a long-continued series of adversity, now found himself in his native country, happy in the favour of his prince, and in the esteem of the world, and dignified with various honours and employments." He was sworn in Privy-Councillor, and made Steward of the Household, and in March 1661 was created a Duke.

The Duchess joined him in London; and he saw himself at Court with all his family about him. All was confusion in Irish affairs. It was found impossible to make such easy terms with the Cromwellian adventurers in Ireland, as with the adherents of the Commonwealth in England. On 27th September 1662 the Act of Settlement was passed; and Ormond, as the Lord-Lieutenant, became Referee to the Commissioners of the Court of Claims, instituted for the carrying out of the provisions of the measure. This Act, qualified by the Act of Explanation passed shortly afterwards, created what has been described by Mr. Prendergast as "a counter revolution, by which some of the royalist English of Ireland, and a few of the native Irish, were restored to their estates."

By the Act of Explanation, says Smiles, in his History, "which closed the settlement of Ireland, thousands of the most respectable and ancient inhabitants of Ireland were consigned to hopeless ruin and wretchedness: 3,200 claims, the investigation of which Charles had guaranteed according to his own Act of Settlement, were summarily got rid of; and the applicants were stripped of their property, without so much as the form of a trial. Their repeated applications for a hearing of their cause were pertinaciously refused by the monarch for whom they had sacrificed their all; while the men who had rebelled against his father, and resisted his own authority, were rewarded with at least two-thirds of the best lands in Ireland."

The Cromwellians also felt themselves aggrieved; and the Duke found it necessary to suppress more than one of their plots. Several officers were executed in 1663, for a conspiracy, in which Colonel Blood was engaged, to seize the Castle of Dublin; and three years afterwards a mutiny at Carrickfergus was suppressed after considerable bloodshed, by the Duke in person and his son, the Earl of Arran. While Charles was squandering thousands in licentiousness, the army in Ireland was in chronic discontent, from arrears of pay, and want of a proper commissariat, and the Duke was occasionally obliged to smooth matters over by supplying deficiencies out of his private estate. During his temporary absence in London upon business relative to the Act of Explanation, the Earl of Ossory acted as Lord-Deputy.

Upon the Duke's return to Dublin, 17th October 1665, he was received in state by the Corporation and citizens. Along the route from James's-gate to the Castle, emblematic "mysteries" were enacted, and at Corn-market, we are told, there was a "conduit whence wine ran freely." Some days afterwards, the Act of Explanation, already referred to, was passed by the Irish Parliament. In June 1663, a Bill was brought into the English Parliament to prevent the importation, alive or dead, of Irish sheep or cattle. There had been an importation since the war, of cattle alone, of 61,000 per annum. The Duke vigorously opposed this measure, believing it would be destructive to the commercial interests of Ireland; yet it was carried, including a clause against horses, in the autumn of 1666, by 165 to 104 in the English Commons, and 63 to 47 in the Lords. A subscription of 30,000 cattle from Ireland for the relief of the sufferers by the Fire of London, rather hastened the passage of the measure; such importation being felt by the English country party to be a direct infringement of their profits. After the passage of the Act, we are told that in Ireland horses fell from 30s. to 1s., and beeves from 50s. to 10s. each.

The Duke endeavoured to lighten the gloom that settled down upon the country consequent on this and other measures fettering its trade and commerce. He fostered the linen and woollen manufactures, and encouraged the opening up of commercial relations with the Continent. Reflections upon Ireland by the Duke of Buckingham, in the course of debates upon the Cattle Bill, precipitated differences long brewing between him and the Duke of Ormond, whom Buckingham felt to be his opponent in the King's graces. Lord Ossory especially resented an expression of Buckingham's, that none were against the Bill "but those who had either Irish estates or Irish understandings," and a duel would have been fought but for Charles's intervention on behalf of his favourite. The influence of Buckingham and others was so powerful, that early in 1669 Ormond was dismissed from the Lord-Lieutenancy. The opinion entertained in England of the frivolous character of the pretences upon which this change was made, and of Ormond's high character, was shown by his being almost immediately chosen Chancellor of the University of Oxford. To rebut charges of malversation and aggrandisement, Carte gives, in his 7th Book, a table showing that the Duke was a loser to the extent of £868,590 during the war. An attempt to assassinate Ormond was made by Colonel Blood and his associates, in London, on 6th December 1670.

So certain was the Earl of Ossory that Buckingham was mixed up in the transaction, that he took the first opportunity, in the King's presence, of charging him with complicity in the crime, adding: "If my father comes to a violent end by sword or pistol, if he dies by the hand of a ruffian, or by the more secret way of poison, I shall not be at a loss to know the first author of it; I shall consider you as the assassin; I shall treat you as such; and wherever I meet you I shall pistol you, though you stood behind the King's chair." Afterwards, when Blood was forgiven by the King for stealing his regalia, Ormond, who was requested to condone the attack, drily replied, that "if the King could forgive him the stealing of his crown, he might easily forgive him the attempt on his life." His deprivation of the Lord-Lieutenancy did not appear to lessen the Duke's interest in the affairs of Government.

The Stewardship of the Household kept him much about the Court, and he took a prominent part in the deliberations of the Council, labouring "more zealously, and with better judgment, integrity, and success than any of the Ministers to advance the King's service, and to prevent the ill effects of the measures of administration in which he was not concerned. . . The Duke's resolution was never to be out of humour with his prince, however his prince might be out of humour with him. . . Nothing provoked the Duke's enemies more than that all the mortifications they threw in his way did neither, on the one hand, humble and make him crouch to them, nor, on the other, drive him to offend the King, to fling up his staff, or join with the disaffected." The Duke's mother, Lady Thurles, "a lady of admirable sense, virtue, and piety," died in May 1673, aged 86.

Next year he left London to return to Kilkenny for a time. In 1675 complaints regarding his late Irish administration were made to the King and Council by Lord Ranelagh: after protracted proceeding he was, in 1677, fully cleared, and was shortly afterwards reinstated in the Lord-Lieutenancy. He again met a warm and respectful reception in Dublin, and about this period laid the foundation stone of the Royal Military Hospital, Kilmainham. Much of his attention was necessarily turned towards placing the revenues of the country upon a proper basis. The reputed Popish plot of the following year caused him much anxiety; the Acts for the banishment of the Catholic clergy were rigidly put in force, and the Catholic inhabitants were deprived of arms and ammunition. On the other hand, it is stated that he discountenanced more extreme measures against the Catholic gentry, strongly urged upon the Government by many of their Irish adherents. In August 1683, during a visit to London, he was made an English Duke. The policy adopted by James II., after his accession, by no means met his approval. He was, however, now far advanced in years, and absented himself more and more from public life. In June 1688 he was seized with a shivering fit, at a residence he had rented — Kingston Hall in Dorsetshire. He gradually declined — preserving, as he had all along desired, his intellect clear to the last — and died 21st July 1688, aged 77. A few hours before his departure, he remarked to his servant: " This day four years was a very melancholy day to me — it was the most melancholy I ever passed in my life — it was the day I lost my dear wife." By his own desire his remains were deposited in Westminster Abbey.

The following notes upon his personal and mental qualities are extracted from Carte: "The Duke in his person was of a fair complexion, . . a lively and ingenuous look, and a countenance that expressed a greatness of mind, and was yet full of sweetness and modesty. He was somewhat taller than what is deemed the middle size, well shaped and limbed as any man of his time, of active and clever strength, not corpulent, yet always preserving a good embonpoint. He had a noble air and mien: had he been dressed like a ploughman, he would have still appeared a man of quality; and the manner of his address was natural, easy, graceful, and engaging. . . His dress was plain, but very elegant and neat, nobody wore his clothes better, but he still suited them to the weather. . . The cheerfulness of his temper, the liveliness of his conversation, the ready flow and pleasant tarn of his wit, and the care he always took to adapt himself to the King's manner and humour, rendered him very agreeable to that prince; . . but King James II. seemed always to stand in awe of him. . . The Ministers about Court cannot be supposed to have much affection to a person whom they could not but consider as their rival in power, . . and who would never enter into any of their cabals. . . Conscious of . . integrity, and depending on the remembrance of his services, he despised all the little arts that are used about courts to get into power. . . He detested making a low court to any of the King's mistresses; and yet he was not averse to the keeping of measures with them, when it might be useful to the public service, the great end by which he regulated his own conduct in public affairs." He had a wonderful memory; was an early riser, fond offield sports, and regular and temperate in his habits.

Bishop Burnet thus writes of him: "A man every way fitted for a court: of a graceful appearance, a lively wit, and a cheerful temper; a man of great expense, decent even in his vices; for he always kept up the form of religion. He had gone through many transactions in Ireland with more fidelity than success. . . He was firm to the Protestant religion, and so far firm to the laws, that he always gave good advices; but when bad ones were followed, he was not for complaining too much of them." The Duke of Ormond had by his lady, eight sons and two daughters: (1) Thomas, born 1632, died before he was a year old. (2) Thomas, Earl of Ossory, born 9th July 1634; died 1680. (3) James, born 1635, died before he was a year old. (4) James, born 24th March 1636; died 17th April 1645; buried in Christ Church, Dublin. (5) Richard, Earl of Arran, born 15 th July 1639; died 1685. (6) Elizabeth, born 29th June 1640; married to the Earl of Chesterfield. (7) Walter, born 6th September 1641; died March 1643; buried in Christ Church, Dublin. (8) John, Baron Aughrim, Viscount Clonmore,Earl of Gowran, born 1643; died without issue in 1677. (9) James, born 1645; killed, when an infant, by falling out of a carriage in the Phoenix Park. (10) Mary, born 1646; married William Lord Cavendish, afterwards Earl and Duke of Devonshire. It will be seen that the Duke outlived all his sons. Even after the destruction of a mass of his papers by a fire in Dublin Castle, in 1683, sufficient remained to furnish Carte with materials for his voluminous and invaluable history of the Duke's life.

Sources

62a. Burnet, Bishop: History of his own Time. 6 vols. Oxford, 1833.

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