Edmund Borlase


Life
?1620-1682 [occas. Burlace]; b. Dublin, son of Sir John Borlase, Chief Justice 1640-43; Ed. TCD; doctor of physic, Leiden 1650; studied further at Oxford; practised at Chester, patronised by Earl of Derby; MD Oxford, 1660; issued Reduction of Ireland (1675), based unfaithfully on MS of Earl of Clarendon [Edward Hyde]; The History of the Execrable Irish Rebellion (1680), an expurgated copy of same issued by Roger L’Estrange;
 
answered in Castlehaven’s Memoir ... of his engagement and his carriage in the Irish War (1680) and later pilloried in Matthew Carey’s Hibernia Vindiciae (1819); Borlase returned to the attack in Brief Reflections on the Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs (1682); also Brief Reflections on the Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs; the copy of Reduction in the Bishop Stearne Collection of Marsh’s Library is a replacement. RR ODNB DIW OCIL

[ top ]

Works
  • Reduction of Ireland to the Crown of England by King Henry II anno 1172, with some passages in the government; A brief account of the Rebellion anno Dom. 1641, and originals of the Universitie of Dublin and the Colledge of Physicians ... from a manuscript by Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon (London: Andr. Clarke for Robert Clavel 1675), 8° [Wing B3771];
  • The History of the Execrable Irish Rebellion trac’d from many preceding acts to the Grand Eruption of the 23 of October 1641 and thence pursued to the Act of Settlement MDCLXII [1662] (London: Robert Clavel MDCLXXX [1680), 138pp. [see details]

[ top ]

Bibliographical details
The History of the Execrable Irish Rebellion, trac’d from many preceding acts to the Grand Eruption of the 23 of October 1641 and thence pursued to the Act of Settlement MDCLXII [1662], 138pp. Epigraph, Spartanos ... &c.’, Sen Hipplytus; includes ‘A Collection of Murthers in several counties of Ireland, pp.109-25; also as an appendix, ‘Dr Bedel[l] Bishop of Kilmore his Information of the Papists Insolence.’ Another edn., [Do.] to which are added letters to and from Oliver Cromwell, Ireton, Preston, et al., ed. Roger L’Estrange (1680); Brief Reflections on the Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs of his engagement and his carriage in the Wars in Ireland. By which the Government at that time and justice of the Crown since, are vindicated from aspersions cast upon both [with Epistle to the King, signed ‘E. B.’] (1682). (Lon:Robrt Clavel MDCLXXX); includes ‘A Collection of Murthers in several counties of Ireland, pp.109-125. Includes an index, viz., ‘Dr Bedel Bishop of Kilmore his Information of the Papists Insolence.’

[ top ]

Criticism
Ann de Valera, Antiquarian and historical investigations in Ireland in the eighteenth century (MA thesis UCD 1978); Royce MacGillivary, ‘Edmund Borlase, Historian of the Irish Rebellion,’ in Stud. Hib., 9 (1969) 86-92; Alan Ford, ‘Past but still present: Edmund Borlase, Richard Parr and the reshaping of Irish history for English audiences in the 1680s’, in Reshaping Ireland, 1500-1700: Colonization of and Its Consequences, ed. Brian Mac Cuarta (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2011), Chap. 13 [q.pp.]

See also quotation, under Roger Boyle (Lord Broghill), - infra.

[ top ]

Commentary
William
[Archbishop Derry] The Irish Historical Library (1724), Edmund Borlase [whose Brief Reflections was in defence of his father and William Parsons, and whom Dr Nalson [has censured as] ‘being openly and avowedly a favourer of faction’ and ‘an author of such strange Inconsistency’ that he is ‘rather a paradox than a history’, noting that Clarendon’s manuscript has been ‘very unartfully blended it with his own rough and unpolish’d heap of Matter’ (Nelson, intro. to Impart. Collect., ii p.8) [56]

Joep Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (1986), gives an account of Borlase’s History noting that it reappeared in 1743 (p.483).

[ top ]

References
Henry Bradshaw Collection of Irish Books in the University Library, Cambridge (1916), Vol. 1, lists Edmund Borlase, History [printed O Nelson] 1743 Folio, in association with the bookseller Charles Connor [sic]; who is also associated with Clanricarde, Memoirs [S Power] 1744, 8o (p.247).

[ top ]

Muriel McCarthy & Caroline Sherwood Smith, Hibernia Resurgens: Marsh’s Irish Books [Catalogue of 1994 Exhibition] (Dublin: Marsh’s Library 1994), item 61, p.62: The father contributes some personal reflections, of which they mention the unforgettable picutre of Collonel Hugh Oge-Mac-Mahone, one of the rebels arrested and brought before the lord justice, drawing ‘Gibbets (in Chalk) with men hanging on them in several places in the Lorrd Borlases Hall’; finds the work less interesting than the title suggests; one his infamous History of the execrable Irish rebellion (1680), the catalogue quotes Sir James Ware (Writers of Ireland, ed. Harris, 1745), citing Dr. Nalson: ‘the copy of a M.S. written by the Earl of Clarendon happing to fall into his hands, he has very unartfully blended it with his own rought and unpolished Heap of Matter’; took ‘great pains to expunge some and alter many Passages’ to make the whole reflect what the eds. call his own rabid protestantism.

[ top ]

Cathach Books (Cat. 12) lists Burlace [sic], The History of the Irish Rebellion - traced from many preceeding Acts, to the grand eruption 23rd October 1641; and Thence pursued to the Act of Settlement [?]1592 (1793).

[ top ]

British Library holds Reduction of Ireland to the Crown of England by King Henry II anno 1172, with some passages in the government; A brief account of the Rebellion anno Dom. 1641, and originals of the Universitie of Dublin and the College of Physicians ... from a manuscript by Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon (1675); HISTORY OF THE EXCRABLE REBELLION traced from many preceeding acts to the grand eruption, 23 Oct. 1641, and thence pursued to the Act of Settlement (1682). Another ed., ... to which are added letters to and from Oliver Cromwell, Ireton, Preston, et al. [A compilation; expurgated by Roger L’Estrange and issued as Execrable Rebellion, London 1680, ODNB]; Brief Reflections on the Earl of Castlehaven’s Memoirs of his engagement and his carriage in the Wars in Ireland. By which the Government at that time and justice of the Crown since, are vindicated from aspersions cast upon both [with Epistle to the King, signed ‘E. B.’] (1682).

[ top ]

Ulster Libraries, Belfast Public Library History of the Execrable Irish Rebellion (1680); Reductions of Ireland to English Crown (1675); Belfast Linen Hall Library holds History of the Irish Rebellion 1641-1680 (1680); Library of Herbert Bell, Belfast, holds Reductions.

[ top ]

Notes
A Dictionary of Irish Writers, ed. Brian Cleeve & Anne Brady (Dublin: Lilliput 1985), contains errors under Borlase and Castlehaven.

[ top ]