Walter Butler

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Butler, Walter, was a scion of the family of Ormond, who, with his brother James, emigrated to Germany early in the 17th century, and entered the Imperial service. Both obtained command of regiments, and served with distinction under Tilly and Wallenstein in many of the actions of the Thirty Years' War. When it became evident to Walter that Wallenstein was turning traitor to the Emperor, and going over to the enemy, he conspired with several other officers, and caused the assassination of that great commander, at Egra, on 25th February 1634. For this crime he was created a Count of the Empire, and large estates in Bohemia, still held by his descendants, were settled on him. Mr. F. Prendergast, who gives an exhaustive account of the transaction, thus apologises for him: "This deed of Walter Butler may have prevented a train of consequences the most momentous; and if the manner of executing it forbids us to call the act, with Carve, heroic, the circumstances, as now stated, will, I trust, go far to relieve Butler's character from the infamy which has hitherto rested upon it, and to exhibit him in the light of an officer impelled by a stern sense of duty, in a critical hour, to use the best and only means remaining to him to protect his sovereign's crown." He died in Wirtemberg shortly after the battle of Nordlingen, at which he distinguished himself, in September 1634, and was buried with great pomp at Prague. He or his brother left a bequest to found a college of Irish Franciscans in that city.

Sources

10. Archaeological and Historical Association of Ireland, Journal. Dublin, 1853-'77.

39. Biographical Dictionary, Imperial: Edited by John F. Waller. 3 vols. London, N.D.

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