Viscount Nicholas Taaffe

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Taaffe, Nicholas, Viscount, cousin of preceding, was born in Ireland in 1677. He became a Field-Marshal in the Imperial service, was Chamberlain to the Emperor Charles VI. and his successor, and fought with distinguished bravery during the war against the Turks, in 1738. Late in life he took a prominent part in the agitation for Catholic Emancipation in Ireland, and in 1766 published Observations on Affairs in Ireland from the Settlement in 1691 to the Present Time. Mr. Wyse, in his Historical Sketch of the Catholic Association, speaks of him as "the German statesman and general, the Irish sufferer and patriot; "and eulogizes "his unchanging attachment to an unfortunate country.. [at a time when] the clergy stood altogether aloof from the people... His perfect simplicity of purpose; his calm and mild wisdom; his untiring zeal for the depressed caste with which his name and birth, much more than his connexions and property, had associated him, would add a lustre to.. any country... No views of leadership mingled with his zeal. .. His rank in the Imperial court gave him access to the first circles in Great Britain. Bred in camps, and educated in Germany, he impressed on senators and courtiers the impolicy and injustice of the Penal Code, with the bluntness of a soldier and the honesty of a German. His efforts had no small weight in softening the rigour of persecution... His ardent zeal in the cause of his oppressed countrymen procured him a preponderating influence in the councils of the Catholics; that influence was exerted in the great purposes, during a long life, of promoting union, extinguishing dissension, and rousing to exertion." He died at his seat of Elishau, in Bohemia, 30th December 1769, aged 92.[146]

[His descendant, the 11th Viscount Taaffe, is an Austrian count, and Chamberlain to the Emperor of Austria.]

Sources

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

54. Burke, Sir Bernard: Peerage and Baronetage.

73. Catholic Association of Ireland: Thomas Wyse. 2 vols. London, 1829.

146. Gentleman's Magazine. London, 1731-1868.
Gilbert, John T., see Nos. 110, 335.

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