Roger More

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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More, Roger, a prominent leader in the early part of the War of 1641-'52, was descended from the O'Mores of Leix, and was born about the end of the 16th century. He passed some years of his youth in Spain, where doubtless much of his time was spent in the company of the numerous Irish refugees. He married a sister of Nicholas Barnewall, Viscount Kingsland, and resided at Ballynagh, in the King's County.

In 1641 he joined Lord Maguire, Sir Felim O'Neill, and other representatives of the ancient families of Ireland, in organizing a general rising against English power, and against the oppression to which, as Catholics, they were subjected. The co-operation of the Irish soldiers in the Low Countries was counted upon; Cardinal Richelieu promised aid in arms, ammunition, and money; and Owen Roe O'Neill agreed to join from Spain at fourteen days' notice.

Carte says that More was tempted to take up arms "by a desire of recovering his ancestral estates, which were in the hands of the English, and with the glory of asserting the freedom and liberty of his country. He was admirably qualified for this purpose, being endowed with all the talents and qualifications proper for persuasion; he was one of the most handsome, comely, and proper persons of his time; of excellent parts, good judgment, and great cunning; affable and courteous in his behaviour, insinuating in his address, and agreeable in his conversation. He understood human nature, and knew men perfectly well... He was a man of fair character, highly esteemed by all who knew him, and had so great a reputation for his abilities among the Irish in general, that he was celebrated in their songs; and it was a phrase among them: 'God and our Lady be our assistance, and Roger More.'"

The 23rd October 1641 was agreed upon for a general rising. Though the attempt on Dublin Castle failed, in many parts of Ireland the movement was for a time completely successful. The English settlers were subjected to great cruelties and driven out, and many fortified towns were seized by the Confederates. Roger More's post was in Ulster: there he issued a proclamation setting forth the grievances of the Irish, and their reasons for taking arms, and by his address at a meeting of landed proprietors at Crofty, in Meath, he attracted to the Irish side a large number of waverers. As the war proceeded, however, More's influence declined, and he was superseded by perhaps less scrupulous men. His health became impaired, and after the siege of Drogheda in 1642 he retired to Flanders.

Upon his return to Ireland he took part in the deliberations at Kilkenny, where he fell ill and died in 1643. Even his enemies' pay the highest tribute to his noble qualities, and to the efforts he made to lighten the horrors of war.

Sources

93. Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland: John P. Prendergast. London, 1870.

196. Irishmen, Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished, Rev. James Wills, D.D. 6 vols. or 12 parts. Dublin, 1840-'7.

271. Ormond, Duke of, Life 1610-'88: Thomas A. Carte, M.A. 6 vols. Oxford, 1851.

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