John Boyle

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Boyle, John, Earl of Cork and Orrery, grandson of Lord Broghill, born 2nd February 1706-7, is chiefly remembered for his Remarks on Swift. He was educated at Westminster, and Christ Church, Oxford. His marriage in 1728 gave offence to his father, who, when he died in 1731, left a large proportion of his property away from him. He was the author of Imitations of Horace, and many other works. He was much censured for his remarks about Swift "as it exposed to the world matters which it was thought he should, as Swift's friend, have confined to his own bosom. Warburton, in his letters to Bishop Hurd, takes the Earl to task in his usual coarse style, calling them 'detestable letters'. Dr. Johnson justified his lordship: 'My friend, the late Earl of Cork, had a great desire to maintain the literary character of his family; he was a genteel man, but did not keep up the dignity of his rank. He was so generally civil that nobody thanked him for it. . . His conversation was like his writings, neat and elegant, but without strength. He grasped at more than his abilities could reach; tried to pass for a better talker, a better writer, and a better thinker than he was.' " He died 16th November 1762, aged 55, and was buried at Frome. A large part of his life was spent in Ireland. His father, Charles, Earl of Orrery (born 1676, died 1731), in whose honour the instrument called the "Orrery" was named, spent six months in the Tower (1722-'3) on suspicion of high treason.

Sources

16. Authors, Dictionary of British and American: S. Austin Allibone. 3 vols. Philadelphia, 1859-'71.

37. Biographical Dictionary: Alexander Chalmers. 32 vols. London, 1812-'17.

47. Boyle, Memoirs of the Illustrious Family of, Dublin, 1755.

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