Richard Coote

Coote, Richard, Earl of Bellamont, nephew of the 1st Earl of Mountrath, was, it is believed, born in Ireland in 1636. He sat as member for Droitwich in the English Parliament of 1688, and was among the first to espouse the cause of William of Orange, for which he was advanced from being Lord Collooney to the Earldom of Bellamont. He was attainted by James's Irish Parliament of 1689. In May 1695, he was appointed Governor of New England, but did not arrive at his post until 26th May 1699. He succeeded by affability and condescension in thoroughly ingratiating himself with the people — wisely avoiding all differences with the legislature, and was voted a larger salary than any of his predecessors. He did much to suppress piracy. Captain Kidd, an American trader, well acquainted with the coasts and the resorts of the pirates, had been, in 1695, fitted out with a vessel at a cost of £6,000, and commissioned under the Great Seal to apprehend and execute such malefactors. He proved himself a traitor to the Government, and became the most dreaded freebooter of the Spanish main. The Earl induced him by delusive promises to surrender at Boston in 1699, whence he was soon after transmitted to London for trial. His immense stores of booty fell into the Earl's hands, and were scrupulously consigned to Government agents. The Earl of Beaumont's death at New York, 5th March 1701 (aged about 65), was regarded as a public calamity. The title became extinct on the death of the 3rd Earl in 1766.


37a. Biographical Dictionary—American Biography: Francis S. Drake. Boston, 1876.

52. Burke, Sir Bernard: Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages. London, 1866.

216. Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, Revised and Enlarged by Mervyn Archdall. 7 vols. Dublin, 1789.