James Butler, second duke of Ormonde, 1665-1745

James Butler, second duke of Ormonde, 1665-1745


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James Butler, second duke of Ormonde, 1665-1745

A supporter of William of Orange against James II (1688), present at the battle of the Boyne (1 July 1690), and a loyal supporter of William; present at his deathbed. Military career peaked with his appointment as commander-in-chief and captain-general in 1712, but by 1714 he was out of favour as a recognised supporter of the Jacobite succession over the Hanoverian. He was impeached in June 1715, and fled to France on 8 August, weakening the Old Pretenders chances in England during the first Jacobite Revolt. Twice in 1715 he attempted to land on the Devon coast and raise revolt, but on both occassions he failed to gain any support, and was forced to return to France. He spend most of the rest of his live at Avignon, still involved in plots against England, although he is buried in Westminster Abbey.

James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde

James FitzJames Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde, KG (1665–1745) was an Irish statesman and soldier. He was the third of the Kilcash branch of the family to inherit the earldom of Ormond. Like his grandfather, the 1st Duke, he was raised as a Protestant, unlike his extended family who held to Roman Catholicism. He served in the campaign to put down the Monmouth Rebellion, in the Williamite War in Ireland, in the Nine Years' War and in the War of the Spanish Succession but was accused of treason and went into exile after the Jacobite rising of 1715.

Birth and origins

James was born on 29 April 1665 at Dublin Castle. He was the second but eldest surviving son of Thomas Butler by his wife Emilia van Nassau-Beverweerd. [1] His father was known as Lord Ossory. He was heir apparent of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond but predeceased him and so never became duke. His father's family, the Butler dynasty, was Old English and descended from Theobald Walter, who had been appointed Chief Butler of Ireland by King Henry II in 1177. [2] James's mother was Dutch. She descended from a cadet branch of the House of Nassau. Both parents were Protestant. They married on 17 November 1659. [3]

  1. Elizabeth (died 1717), married William Stanley, 9th Earl of Derby in 1673 [5] (died 1724), married Henry de Nassau d'Auverquerque, 1st Earl of Grantham[6]
  2. Amelia (died 1760), inherited from her brother Charles and never married [7]
  3. James (1665–1745) (1671–1758), became the de jure 3rd Duke of Ormonde, following his elder brother's attainder in 1715

Early life

He was educated in France and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford. [8] On the death of his father on 30 July 1680 he became Baron Butler in the English peerage and the 7th Earl of Ossory in the Irish Peerage. [9]

Early military career

He obtained command of a cavalry regiment in Ireland in 1683, [10] and having received an appointment at court on the accession of James II, he served against the Duke of Monmouth at the Battle of Sedgemoor in July 1685. [11] Having succeeded his grandfather as 2nd Duke of Ormonde on 21 July 1688, he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 28 September 1688. [12] In 1688 he also became Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin [13] and Chancellor of the University of Oxford. [14]

In January and February 1689 he voted against the motion to put William of Orange and Mary on the throne and against the motion to declare that James II had abdicated it. [15] Nevertheless, he subsequently joined the forces of William of Orange, by whom he was made colonel of the Queen's Troop of Horse Guards on 20 April 1689. He accompanied William in his Irish campaign, debarking with him in Carrickfergus on 14 June 1690 [16] and commanded this troop at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. [17] In February 1691 he became Lord Lieutenant of Somerset. [18]

He served on the continent under William of Orange during the Nine Years' War and, having been promoted to major-general, he fought at the Battle of Steenkerque in August 1692 and the Battle of Landen in July 1693, where he was taken prisoner by the French and then exchanged for the Duke of Berwick, James II's illegitimate son. [19] He was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1694. [20]

After the accession of Queen Anne in March 1702, he became commander of the land forces co-operating with Sir George Rooke in Spain, where he fought in the Battle of Cádiz in August 1702 [21] and the Battle of Vigo Bay in October 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). [22] Having been made a Privy Councillor, Ormonde succeeded Lord Rochester as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1703. [23] In 1704 he leased and rebuilt a property that became known as Ormonde Lodge in Richmond outside London. [24]

Following the dismissal of the Duke of Marlborough, Ormonde was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Forces and colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards on 4 January 1712 [25] and Captain-General on 26 February 1712. [26] [27] In the Irish Parliament Ormonde and the majority of peers supported the Tory interest. [28]

The Guiscard affair

He played a dramatic role at the notorious meeting of the Privy Council on 8 March 1711 when Antoine de Guiscard, a French double agent who was being questioned about his treasonable activities, attempted to assassinate Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford, against whom he had a personal grudge for drastically cutting his allowance, by stabbing him with a penknife (how he managed to get into the Council room with a weapon remains a mystery). [30] Harley was wounded, but not seriously, due largely to the fact that he was wearing a heavy gold brocade waistcoat, in which the knife got stuck. Several Councillors, including Ormonde, stabbed Guiscard in return. [31] Guiscard implored Ormonde to finish the deed, but Ormonde replied that it was not for him to play the hangman. [32] In any case he had the sense to see that Guiscard must be kept alive at least long enough to be questioned, although as it turned out Guiscard's wounds were fatal and he died a week later. [33]

The last campaign

On 23 April 1712 he left Harwich for Rotterdam to lead the British troops taking part in the war. [34] Once there he allowed himself to be made the tool of the Tory ministry, whose policy was to carry on the war in the Netherlands while giving secret orders to Ormonde to take no active part in supporting their allies under Prince Eugene. [35] In July 1712 Ormonde advised Prince Eugene that he could no longer support the siege of Quesnoy and that he was withdrawing the British troops from the action and instead intended to take possession of Dunkirk. [36] The Dutch were so exasperated at the withdrawal of the British troops that they closed the towns of Bouchain on Douai to British access, despite the fact that they had plenty of stores and medical facilities available. Ormonde took possession of Ghent and Bruges as well as Dunkirk in order to ensure his troops were adequately provided for. [37] On 15 April 1713 he became Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk. [38]

Jacobite

Ormonde's position as Captain-General made him a personage of much importance in the crisis brought about by the death of Queen Anne and, during the last years of Queen Anne, Ormonde almost certainly had Jacobite leanings and corresponded with the Jacobite Court including his cousin, Piers Butler, 3rd Viscount Galmoye, who kept barrels of gunpowder at Kilkenny Castle. [39] King George I on his accession to the throne in August 1714 instituted extensive changes and excluded the Tories from royal favour. Ormonde was stripped of his posts as Captain-General, as colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards and as Commander in Chief of the Forces with the first two posts going to the Duke of Marlborough [40] and the role of Commander-in-Chief going to the Earl of Stair. On 19 November 1714 Ormonde was instead made a member of the reconstituted Privy Council of Ireland. [41]

Accused of supporting the Jacobite rising of 1715, during which the rebels had shouted "High church and Ormond", [42] he was impeached for high treason by Lord Stanhope on 21 June 1715. [43] He might have avoided the impending storm of Parliamentary prosecution, if he had remained in England and stood trial but instead he chose to flee to France in August 1715 [44] and initially stayed in Paris with Lord Bolingbroke. [45] On 20 August 1715 he was attainted, his estate forfeited, and honours extinguished. [46] The Earl Marshal was instructed to remove the names and armorial bearings of Ormonde and Bolingbroke from the list of peers [47] and Ormonde's banner as Knight of the Garter was taken down in St George's Chapel. [48]

On 20 June 1716, the Parliament of Ireland passed an act extinguishing the regalities and liberties of the county palatine of Tipperary for vesting his estate in the crown [49] and for giving a reward of £10,000 for his apprehension, should he attempt to land in Ireland. [50] But the same parliament passed an act on 24 June 1721, to enable his brother Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran, to purchase his estate, which he accordingly did. [51]

Ormonde subsequently moved to Spain [52] where he held discussions with Cardinal Alberoni. [53] He later took part in a Spanish and Jacobite plan to invade England and put James Francis Edward Stuart on the British throne in 1719, but his fleet was disbanded by a storm in the Bay of Biscay. [54] [55] In 1732 he moved to Avignon, [56] where he was seen in 1733 by the writer, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. [57] Ormonde died at Avignon in exile on 16 November 1745, but his body was brought back to London and buried in Westminster Abbey on 22 May 1746. [58] [59]

Marriage and children

On 20 July 1682 he, then called Lord Ossory, married Lady Anne Hyde, daughter of Laurence Hyde, who was then Viscount Hyde of Kenilworth but became Earl of Rochester in November. [60] The couple had a daughter, Mary, who died young in 1688. [61]

Following the death of his first wife (which is known to have caused him intense grief) in 1685, Ossory planned to marry again, in order to secure a male heir. He gained permission from the House of Lords for the arranging of a jointure for another marriage in May 1685, [62] and in August of that year, he married Lady Mary Somerset, [63] daughter of the Duke of Beaufort and Mary Capel. [64] The couple had a son, Thomas (1686–1689), and two daughters, Elizabeth (1689–1750) and Mary (1690–1713). [65] Ormonde's second wife was a lady of the bedchamber to Queen Anne. [66] Their younger daughter, Mary, married John Ashburnham, 1st Earl of Ashburnham. [67]


James Butler (2nd Duke Of Ormonde) - Encyclopedia

JAMES BUTLER ORMONDE, 2ND DUKE OF (1665-1745), Irish statesman and soldier, son of Thomas, earl of Ossory, and grandson of the 1st duke, was born in Dublin on the 29th of April 1665, and was educated in France and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford. On the death of his father in 1680 he became earl of Ossory by courtesy. He obtained command of a cavalry regiment in Ireland in 1684, and having received an appointment at court on the accession of James II., he served against the duke of Monmouth. Having succeeded his grandfather as duke of Ormonde in 1688, he joined William of Orange, by whom he was made colonel of a regiment of horse-guards, which he commanded at the battle of the Boyne. In 1691 he served on the continent under William, and after the accession of Anne he was placed in command of the land forces co-operating with Sir George Rooke in Spain. Having been made a privy councillor, Ormonde succeeded Rochester as viceroy of Ireland in 1703, a post which he held till 1707. On the dismissal of the duke of Marlborough in 1711, Ormonde was appointed captaingeneral in his place, and allowed himself to be made the tool of the Tory ministry, whose policy was to carry on the war in the Netherlands while giving secret orders to Ormonde to take no active part in supporting their allies under Prince Eugene. Ormonde's position as captain-general made him a personage of much importance in the crisis brought about by the death of Queen Anne. Though he had supported the revolution of 1688, he was traditionally a Tory, and Lord Bolingbroke was his political leader. During the last years of Queen Anne he almost certainly had Jacobite leanings, and corresponded with the duke of Berwick. He joined Bolingbroke and Oxford, however, in signing the proclamation of King George I., by whom he was nevertheless deprived of the captain-generalship. In June 1715 he was impeached, and fled to France, where he for some time resided with Bolingbroke, and in 1716 his immense estates were confiscated to the crown by act of parliament, though by a subsequent act his brother, Charles Butler, earl of Arran, was enabled to repurchase them. After taking part in the Jacobite invasion in 1715, Ormonde settled in Spain, where he was in favour at court and enjoyed a pension from the crown. Towards the end of his life he resided much at Avignon, where he was seen in 1733 by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Ormonde died on the 16th of November 1745, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

With little of his grandfather's ability, and inferior to him in elevation of character, Ormonde was nevertheless one of the great figures of his time. Handsome, dignified, magnanimous and open-handed, and free from the meanness, treachery and. venality of many of his leading contemporaries, he enjoyed. a popularity which, with greater stability of purpose, might. have enabled him to exercise commanding influence over events_ xx. 10 a See Thomas Carte, Hist. of the Life of James, Duke of Ormonde (6 vols., Oxford, 1851), which contains much information respecting the life of the second duke Earl Stanhope, Hist of England, comprising the Reign of Queen Anne until the Peace of Utrecht (London, 1870) F. W. Wyon, Hist. of Great Britain during the Reign of Queen Anne (2 vols., London, 1876) William Coxe, Memoirs of Marlborough (3 vols., new edition, London, 1847).


Ormond, James Butler, 2nd duke of

Ormond, James Butler, 2nd duke of (1665�). Butler, born in Dublin, was heir of the earl of Ossory. Succeeding in 1680, he lived with his grandfather, the 1st duke, in Ireland until 1682. He fought for James II against Monmouth's rising in 1685. Succeeding his grandfather in July 1688, he supported the petition to James for a free parliament, then accepted William of Orange, for whom he fought in Ireland and Flanders. A pillar of the Tory Party and Anglican church, he commanded unsuccessfully the 1702 expedition against Cadiz, and was twice a controversial lord-lieutenant of Ireland. He replaced Marlborough in 1712, restraining his troops in the field to facilitate Tory negotiations with France. Dismissed in 1714, despite his role in proclaiming George I, he was threatened with impeachment by the Whigs. Panicking, he fled to the Jacobite court. Jacobite failures to invade England deprived him of chances to display his military incompetence again, and he died exiled and insignificant.

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James Butler, 2nd duke of Ormonde

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James Butler, 2nd duke of Ormonde, (born April 29, 1665, Dublin, Ire.—died Nov. 16, 1745, Avignon, France), Irish general, one of the most powerful men in the Tory administration that governed England from 1710 to 1714.

The grandson of the Irish statesman James Butler, 1st duke of Ormonde, he inherited his grandfather’s title in 1688 but deserted James II in the Glorious Revolution (1688–89). He then fought in the wars of King William III. Ormonde served Queen Anne as lord lieutenant of Ireland from 1703 to 1707 and from 1710 to 1713. In 1711 he succeeded John Churchill, duke of Marlborough, as commander in chief of the British forces in the War of the Spanish Succession against the French (1701–13). Nevertheless, soon after he landed in the Netherlands, he was secretly instructed (May 1712) not to join England’s allies in offensive operations while the Tory government was trying—unknown to the Allies and the Whigs—to come to terms with the French.

Because Ormonde maintained ties with the Jacobites, who upheld Stuart claims to the English throne, he was removed from his command on the accession of the Hanoverian king George I in 1714. In June 1715 the duke was impeached by the Whigs for his complicity in the secret Tory negotiations. He fled to France in August, and Parliament passed an act of attainder confiscating his titles and estates. Shortly thereafter he attempted, without success, to land in England during an abortive Jacobite rebellion. He settled in Spain and later lived at Avignon.

This article was most recently revised and updated by Lorraine Murray, Associate Editor.


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Most Illustrious Cavalier’ or ‘U nkinde Desertor’? James Butler, First Duke of Ormond 1610-1688 by Billy Kelly

Even today, over three hundred years since the death of the Duke of Ormond in 1688, the legacy of his viceroyalty is magnificently apparent in the capital city of Ireland. The Royal Hospital at Kilmainham, built in 1677 on Ormond’s orders, was constructed to house the pensioners of the long Irish wars. St Stephen’s Green, laid out in 1663, was the focal point of those residential developments on which the elegance of Georgian Dublin later arose. That Dublin can now boast one of Europe’s great urban parks was also due to Ormond’s influence with Charles II. In an excess of romantic benevolence, the king had bestowed the lands on which the Phoenix Park now stands as a gift on a favourite mistress, the Duchess of Cleveland, and it was partly through Ormond’s determined efforts that the grant was revoked.He was three times Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in a career spanning almost fifty years, when the political and social structures of the kingdom were fundamentally altered. As a result of this long career in the service of the crown, and because of his monumental biography by Thomas Carte, his name has become synonymous with Royalism and with those aristocratic values and virtues which posterity, unhistorically and unfairly, held to be especially inherent in the cavaliers. Indeed for Macaulay, Ormond was ‘the most illustrious cavalier.

James Butler was born at Clerkenwell in London on 19 October 1610. The Butler earls were among the last of the great Norman lords of Ireland and owned vast estates in Munster and Leinster. Uniquely in the Stuart dominions, the Earls of Ormond retained the palatinate lordship of Tipperary, where they ruled ‘as the king’. Their great power was anathema to the New English administration in Dublin Castle. Moreover,James Butler’s grandfather, the eleventh earl, was a staunch Catholic, nicknamed ‘Walter of the Beads and Rosaries’, and a former leader of Old English opposition in the Irish House of Commons. Therefore Dublin Castle was on the lookout for ways to weaken the Butlers and certain officials in concert with James I’s confidant, the Duke of Buckingham, suggested to the king the possibility of rewarding a Scots favourite, Lord Dingwall, by giving him the hand of the widowed daughter of the tenth Earl of Ormond. The marriage resulted in Dingwall, raised to the Irish peerage as Earl of Desmond, petitioning the king for a grant of the Butler lands in virtue of his wife’s claims as heir-general to the estates of her father. A lengthy litigation ensued in which the odds were very much against the Earl of Ormond. Eventually, in 1619, he agreed to the personal arbitration of the king in the matter and to accept his judgement, on pain of a heavy financial penalty. In the end half the family lands, including the Butler stronghold of Kilkenny castle, was lost, the palatinate jurisdiction of Tipperary was reclaimed by the crown and the old earl was imprisoned in the Fleet for non-payment of his fine.

Portrait of lames Butler, First Duke of Ormonde, 1610-1688, by Peter Lely, 1618 -1680. (COURTESY OF NATIONAL GALLERY OF IRELAND)

For the young James Butler, these events were to have momentous consequences which influenced the course of his life. His father had been drowned off Skerries some months before Earl Walter was imprisoned. On his death, the young James became Viscount Thurles and heir to the lordship of Ormond. In 1620 his mother, a devout Catholic like the rest of the Butler family, placed her son in the care of one Conyers at Finchley, to be educated in that religion. However, part of James I’s policy of furthering the Reformation in Ireland had been to ensure that noble heirs were raised in the Protestant religion, as wards of court, and it was decided that James Butler should be so educated even though he held no lands in tenure rendering him liable to wardship. Legally or otherwise, a masterly sleight of the forensic hand by Sir William Parsons, Master of the Rolls in Ireland, delivered him into the king’s care. Accordingly he was removed from Finchley to be educated by Abbot, the archbishop of Canterbury. It can hardly have been a happy time for Viscount Thurles, living in penury at Lambeth Palace, but his education was certainly a theological if not a scholarly success. For the remainder of his life, James Butler never deviated from his new religion. Parsons, whose legal expertise had enabled the crown to gain the wardship, was often to congratulate himself on the service he had done by giving Ireland a Protestant Earl of Ormond.In February 1633, James Butler became the twelfth Earl of Ormond on the death of his grandfather. Four years before, he had reunited the lordship by his marriage to the Earl of Desmond’s daughter, lady Elizabeth Preston. The marriage was the culmination of years of negotiation begun when the couple were still children. This match had been fraught with difficulties, not the least of which was the Earl of Desmond’s dissatisfaction with the terms, the Duke of Buckingham’s continued interest and, thereby, the king’s disapproval. It is an early indication of that tenacity of purpose, which later served him so well, that James Butler, even in his teenage years, refused to be deterred by these powerful opponents and wooed his intended at court in London. The way was smoothed in August 1628 by the assassination of Buckingham and the death of lady Elizabeth’s parents before the end of the year. The cost of this settlement (the payment of the enormous sum of £15,000 to the Earl of Holland for lady Elizabeth’s wardship for example) encumbered the estate with debt for many years in the future, and Ormond was dogged by financial troubles throughout his life. The strategic marriage was consolidated by affection. Apart from the great estate which formed part of his wife’s dowry, the couple were devoted to each other for over fifty years.

Within ten years of this inauspicious beginning, the young Earl of Ormond rose from virtual obscurity to become the leading royalist in Ireland. This remarkable political ascent was assisted in no small part by the arrival in Ireland in 1633 of Thomas Wentworth, later Earl of Strafford, as Lord Deputy. Indeed, Ormond was one of the few men whom he befriended rather than offended during his tenure of office. There is no doubt that initially at least their relationship was based on political expediency: Wentworth needed the prestige provided by association with the prime nobleman of the kingdom and valued the political influence of the earl Ormond recognised that Wentworth could provide powerful patronage at the court of Charles I. Ormond proved a trusted assistant in the work of government, especially in the proposed plantation of Tipperary, a project very close to Wentworth’s heart and an integral part of his policy in Ireland. Over the years, he reaped the rewards of collaboration: he was made a Privy Councillor in 1635 and lieutenant general of horse in the new Irish army raised in 1638. Most of all, co-operation with Wentworth provided Ormond with friends at court and gained the ear of a grateful Charles I. During the 1630s a genuine friendship developed between the earl and the Lord Deputy. On the eve of his execution in May 1641, Strafford recommended to the king that his garter, one of the highest honours attainable, be bestowed· on the Earl of Ormond. Ormond’s refusal of the honour, ostensibly on the grounds that toe king might use it to win someone to his cause, has been heralded by his biographers as an instance of his selfless loyalty. It may on the other hand have been a case of political sagacity and pragmatism. Shortly after this, he petitioned the king for the regrant of the palatinate of Tipperary, a more tangible and enduring, if less honorific, mark of royal favour.

Rebellion and civil war

The turmoil of the years which followed cast Ormond into the forefront of political affairs in all three kingdoms. As the crisis of the Stuart monarchy deepened, the Earl of Ormond’s advancement to high office Engraved portrait of King Charles I. accelerated. Ormond was only thirtyone years of age at the outbreak of the rebellion in Ireland when the king entreated him to resume his post of lieutenant general of his forces there. Although the great majority of Ormond’s family, friends and tenants joined the Irish Confederacy, he showed no reluctance in performing his duties as commander of the king’s forces and defeated them on a number of occasions. Indeed, even after the beginning of civil war in England in August 1642, Ormond was feted by both Charles I and a party in the English parliament, in the hope of gaining his allegiance. After defeating the Confederate forces at Kilrush in April 1642, he was voted an expensive jewel by the English House of Commons. In the month civil war broke out in England,

Engraved portrait of King Charles I.

Charles I made him Marquis of Ormond as a public mark of his favour (and, the Venetian ambassador alleged, to retain his loyalty). This honour was much enhanced, and Ormond made considerably wealthier, by royal assent to his petition that all those lands held by his relations in Kilkenny which reverted to the king on their rebellion might be given to him. Although opportunism rather than selfless loyalty would seem to have been the guiding principle here, Ormond remained a royalist throughout the war. He kept the army loyal to the king in the face of bribery and subversion by commissioners of the English parliament and their sympathisers in the Irish government. During the next decade of desultory warfare in Ireland, Ormond continued in this command, almost always denied the means of prosecuting the war to a conclusion by a king who had not the wherewithal to give them, and an English parliament whose main concern was to prolong the fighting there, to deny the king the assistance Ireland might provide in his war against them. As Charles I’s military situation deteriorated, he determined to bring over an army from Ireland to his aid and ordered Ormond to make peace with the Irish Confederates. The marquis seemed ideally placed to represent the king in these negotiations since a large part of the Confederate forces were officered by members of his immediate family. The Confederate Assembly and Supreme Council included so many of his relatives and friends that their party was known, disparagingly, as the ‘Ormondists’ by their opponents. However, Ormond was personally detested by the papal nuncio, Rinuccini, whose party distrusted Ormond and opposed a settlement with him, mainly on the grounds of his refusal to compromise on the religious issues at stake. Ormond’s reservations on this score have generated lengthy debate and it seems certain that at one stage, in 1645, the increasingly desperate Charles I tried to circumvent him by sending the Catholic Earl of Glamorgan to represent his terms in person to the nuncio. Although a cessation of arms was eventually agreed in September 1643, and Ormond was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland shortly after, negotiations and intermittent warfare dragged on until the Ormond Peace of 1646, by which time it was too late to assist Charles I who was a prisoner of the Scots.

Map of Rathmines 1649

Preferred Protestant rebels to Catholic rebels

The shaky peace of 1646 soon collapsed and Confederate armies advanced on Dublin. Only the lateness of the season and divisions amongst the Confederates prevented the capture of the capital as Ormond was without supplies and would have been unable to withstand a siege of any length. Fearing he would soon be forced to surrender to the Irish, he entered into negotiation with the English parliament and handed Dublin over to their forces on the grounds that he preferred to give up the city to Protestant rather than Catholic rebels. Although his action was later endorsed by the king, it was alleged by the Irish that his negotiations with the parliamentary commissioners were facilitated by his receipt of a bribe of £3,000. The earl’s defenders have always held that this money was to meet the demands of creditors for debts incurred on behalf of the king. Ormond always maintained that his loyalty to the king had ruined him financially. As he prepared to leave Dublin to join the king in July 1647, Ormond reputedly expressed the hope ‘that he was destined to return to Ireland in such force as to efface the shame of leaving it a beggar.’ Indeed, all hope was not yet lost. When the Scots declared for Charles I and initiated the second civil war, Ormond returned to Ireland in September 1648 to rally the anti-parliamentarian forces in the king’s name. The great shock occasioned by the execution of the king in January • . – 1649 and the uncompromising attitude of the parliament towards the Confederates was an enormous fillip to the work. The Confederates had always maintained that they were loyal subjects of the ·king and they readily joined with Ormond to resist a common enemy. Hampered by a lack of funds and supplies as always, Ormond nevertheless invested Dublin but was quickly routed at Rathmines in August 1649 by the parliamentarian commander, Colonel Jones, amid rumours of treachery by supporters of the papal nuncio. The way was thus cleared for the arrival of Cromwell with a well equipped and well paid army two weeks later. Ormond tried in vain to rally his scattered forces but one by one the royalist strongholds fell to parliament.

Charles II (1630 – 85) by unknown artist.
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, LONDON)

Leaving Ireland in 1650, he spent the next ten years on the continent in exile with the young Charles II until the Restoration. During this time he became, with his friend the Earl of Clarendon, a trusted advisor to the king. At the Restoration, he was creat- – — ed Duke of Ormond and returned to Ireland two years later as Lord Lieutenant. His most pressing concern was the implementation of the Act of Settlement by which those who had a claim on Irish land were to be satisfied. Not the least of these were the Irish themselves, and many of Ormond’s own family, the great majority of whom had been dispossessed by the Cromwellian conquest. Those who had subscribed loans to the parliament on the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion and those soldiers who were promised lands in lieu of pay now lobbied for their respective claims at court. So great were the claims being made that an exasperated Ormond declared that ‘There must be new discoveries made of a new Ireland, for the old will not serve to satisfy these engagements.’ Most were unhappy with the eventual settlement although the Earl of Ormond had no reason to complain, having increased his lands and regained his palatinate. The enmities the settlement engendered beset Ormond for the rest of his life and in posterity. The dispossessed Irish were not the only losers. In 1663 the infamous Colonel Blood led an abortive plot by disaffected exCromwellian soldiers to assassinate Ormond and seize Dublin Castle. Foiled on this occasion, but tenacious in his hatred of the Lord Lieutenant, he came within an ace of murdering Ormond seven years later in London. Whereas Ormond professed a willingness to assist the Irish Catholics, including members of his own family, there is no doubt that they came off worst. Although he returned, on terms favourable to himself, some family lands granted to him by theIdng in 1642, he was confirmed in full possession of the rest by Charles II. The Irish and old English had hoped for much at the Restoration and from Ormond himself as viceroy. Their bitter disappointment is clearly evidenced by pamphlets such as Bishop French’s The Unkinde Desertor of Loyall Men and True Friends (1676). Ormond’s position also came under attack in England. Inveterate political intrigue in pursuit of office at court had led to the downfall of the Earl of Clarendon as Chancellor and attacks on Ormond, so closely linked to his old friend soon followed. The Duke of Buckingham at court and the Earl of Orrery in Ireland inveighed against Ormond’s management of affairs, and he was removed in 1669. This fall from favour was not perhaps as complete as it appeared. So great was Ormond’s stature at court that on one occasion Buckingham sarcastically remarked that it was impossible to tell who was out of favour with whom the king with the Duke of Ormond 0 Ormond with the king. Nevertheless, he was not re-appointed to office until 1677.

The appointment was particularly fortuitous at this time. Shortly after Ormond took up office, the Popish Plot, an alleged conspiracy by Catholics to murder the king and Ormond and invade England with a French army from Ireland, convulsed the kingdom in 1678. Ormond took all sensible precautions but refused to be goaded into any hasty action against the Catholic community which might have provoked a violent reaction and thereby give credence to the rumours of a widespread plot. Whig intrigue against him in England was fuelled by a recognition that in so doing Ormond probably prevented the hysteria which gripped England from developing into anything more serious and the crisis gradually subsided. At the end of his third lieutenancy on the accession of James II in 1685 Ormond was seventy-five years of age. He left Ireland for the last time in March and died three years later at his house at Kingston Lacey in Dorset.


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Contents

Born the son of Thomas Butler, 6th Earl of Ossory and his wife Emilia (née van Nassau-Beverweerd), [1] and grandson of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, Butler was born in Dublin and was educated in France and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford. [2] On the death of his father on 30 July 1680 he became Baron Butler in the English peerage and Earl of Ossory by courtesy. [2] He obtained command of a cavalry regiment in Ireland in 1683, [2] and having received an appointment at court on the accession of James II, he served against the Duke of Monmouth at the Battle of Sedgemoor in July 1685. [2] Having succeeded his grandfather as Duke of Ormonde on 21 July 1688, he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 28 September 1688. [3] In 1688 he also became Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin [4] and Chancellor of the University of Oxford. [5]

In January and February 1689 he voted against the motion to put William of Orange and Mary on the throne and against the motion to declare that James II had abdicated it. [2] Nevertheless he subsequently joined the forces of William of Orange, by whom he was made colonel of the Queen's Troop of Horse Guards on 20 April 1689, and commanded the Queen's Troop at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690 during the Williamite War in Ireland. [2] In February 1691 he became Lord Lieutenant of Somerset. [2]

He served on the continent under William of Orange during the Nine Years' War and, having been promoted to major-general, he fought at the Battle of Steenkerque in August 1692 and the Battle of Landen in July 1693, where he was taken prisoner by the French and then exchanged for the Duke of Berwick, James II's illegitimate son. [2] He was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1694. [2]

After the accession of Queen Anne in March 1702, he became commander of the land forces co-operating with Sir George Rooke in Spain, where he fought in the Battle of Cádiz in August 1702 and the Battle of Vigo Bay in October 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession. [2] Having been made a Privy Councillor, Ormonde succeeded Lord Rochester as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1703. [2]

Following the dismissal of the Duke of Marlborough, Ormonde was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Forces and colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards on 4 January 1711 [6] and Captain-General on 26 February 1711. [7] In the Irish Parliament Ormonde and the majority of peers supported the Tory interest. [8]

In April 1712 he left Harwich for Rotterdam to lead the British troops taking part in the war. [9] Once there he allowed himself to be made the tool of the Tory ministry, whose policy was to carry on the war in the Netherlands [10] while giving secret orders to Ormonde to take no active part in supporting their allies under Prince Eugene of Savoy. [2] In July 1712 Ormonde advised Prince Eugene that he could no longer support the siege of Quesnoy and that he was withdrawing the British troops from the action and instead intended to take possession of Dunkirk. [11] The Dutch were so exasperated at the withdrawal of the British troops that they closed the towns of Bouchain on Douai to British access despite the fact that they had plenty of stores and medical facilities available. [12] Ormonde took possession of Ghent and Bruges as well as Dunkirk in order to ensure his troops were adequately provided for. [12] On 15 April 1713 he became Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk. [13]


Exile and Restoration

O rmond joined Charles II during his long exile and became one of the King's most trusted advisers. He allied himself with Sir Edward Hyde and Sir Edward Nicholas in trying to steer the King away from wild schemes to regain the throne. When Charles II formed an alliance with Spain against Cromwell's Protectorate, Ormond was commissioned colonel of an Irish regiment of foot in the British Royalist army of Flanders. He travelled secretly to London in January 1658 in the hope of coordinating Royalist conspirators and to report on the likelihood of a popular uprising against the Protectorate in support of a projected Spanish invasion. However, his presence was betrayed to Cromwell's agents and he narrowly escaped back to the Continent.

Among other honours bestowed upon him at the Restoration, he was created 1st Duke of Ormond and made a privy councillor. Ormond went on to lead a distinguished career as a statesman throughout the reign of Charles II. He returned to Ireland as lord-lieutenant in 1662, though political enmity with the Duke of Buckingham led to his dismissal in 1669. He was re-appointed in 1677 and retained the office until February 1685 when Charles' death ended his commission. With the accession of James II, Ormond retired into the country in England. He died at Kingston Lacy in Dorset on 21 July 1688, the anniversary of his wife's death four years previously. He was buried beside her in Westminster Abbey.

Ormond had eight sons and two daughters, but only his daughters survived him. His grandson, James Butler (1665&ndash1745) son of Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory, his second child, succeeded him as the second Duke of Ormond.

Sources:

Osmund Airy, James Butler, 12th Earl and 1st Duke of Ormonde, DNB, 1886

Toby Barnard, James Butler, first duke of Ormond, Oxford DNB, 2004

Jane Ohlmeyer, The Civil Wars in Ireland (in A Military History of England, Scotland & Ireland 1638-60), Oxford 1998


Watch the video: The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in Ireland by Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon


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