James Butler [Duke of Ormonde]


Life
1610-1688 [James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde; var. Ormond]; b. 19 Oct. 1610, Clerkenwell, London [acc. C. L. Falkiner]; son of Thomas Butler (Viscount Thurles) and Elizabeth née Poyntz (dg. Sir John Poyntz); num. Catholic relations; made royal ward on death of his father by drowning, 1619; brought up in the household of George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, being removed from a Catholic tutor at that time; moved to home of his grandfather, Walter, 11th Earl of Ormonde, 1625; m. Elizabeth Preston, heiress of Richard, Earl of Desmond, apparently in a love-match, Dec. 1629; succeeded to earldom, 1634;
 
favoured by Wentworth, and supported Wentworth&146;s confiscation of Catholic lands, 1633; recruited 8,000 soldiers in Ireland for Cardinal Richelieu, 1635-40; became de facto commander-in-chief in Ireland following recall and trial of Wentworth, 1640; faced his cousin Richard Butler (Mountgarret) at Kilrush, 1642, the latter having escorted Ormonde&146;s wife and children from Kilkenny to safety in Dublin; secured the pale against the Confederation, 1642; relieved Drogheda, and received reward of Parliament; received royal authority in Ireland, Sept. 1642; won battle of New Ross, March 1643;
 
agreed a Cessation of hostilities with the Confederacy, Sept. 1643, and sent 4,000 troops raised in Cork to fight for Charles I in England, Nov. 1643; officially appointed Lord Lieutenant with authority to treat with the Confederation, both being faced with Scottish dissenters and parliamentarians in the North-East, Nov. 1643; supported Randall Macdonnell (1st Marquess of Antrim) in raising a Confederate expedition to Scotland, being led by Alasdair MacColla, 1644-45; elected Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin (1645-88, interrupted by absence); treaty or alliance signed with Confederation by Edward Somerset (Marquis of Worcester), 25 Aug. 1645; treaty opposed by Irish protestants, causing Charles to repudiate it;
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second treaty agreed by Ormonde, 28 March 1646, allowing religious freedom and removing Protestant grievances; terms rejected by the Confederation at the instance of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Rinuccini following the Irish victory at Benburb, 1645; Confederate signatories arrested; maintained diplomatic relations with Parliament, persuading the king to enter a treaty protecting Catholics and Loyalists, June 1647; surrendered Dublin to Michael Jones, Parliamentarian general [arrriving with 5,000 troops], together with royalist 3,000 troops, Aug. 1647; [var. retired to France in the wake of his defeat by Michael Smith at the Battle of Rathmines, 1650]; combined Royalists and Parliamentarians thereafter defeated the Confederation at Battle of Dungan&146;s Hill;
 
Ormonde settled at Hampton Court, Aug. 1647, but travelled to Paris with the Queen and the Prince of Wales in March 1648 to avoid arrest; returned to Ireland, Sept. 1649, and concluded peace with Confederation on terms of religious freedom, 17 Jan. 1649; declared agains the regicides on execution of Charles I [d. 30 Jan. 1649]; created Knight of the Garter by Charles II, Sept. 1649; commanded loyalist and English troops in Ireland, 1649; attempted to capture Dublin and defeated by Michael Jones at battle of Rathmines, Aug. 1650; royalist troops mutinied and joined Cromwell, May 1650; removed from command, and retired to France, Dec. 1650; suffered the confiscation of all his lands in Cromwellian Settlement, 1652; remained with Charles II and his mother in Paris, and accompanied them to Aix and Cologne when expelled by Mazarin at time of French treaty with Cromwell, 1655;
 
travelled to England in disguise, 1658; joined Charles at Fuenterrabia in negotiations with Mazarin prior to Restoration, 1659; returned to England with Charles at the Restoration and appt. Commissioner for the Treasury & Navy, Lord Steward of the Household, Privy Councillor, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset (resigning in 1672), High Steward of Westminster, Kingston and Bristol; also created Baron Butler of Llanthony and Earl of Brecknock in English peerage; created Duke of Ormonde, on 30 March 1661; appt. Lord High Steward of England for the coronation, 1661; recovered his Irish estates and received recompense for royal service; appt. Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 4 Nov. 1661; carried the Act of Explanation through Irish Parliament, 23 Dc. 1662 - essentially confirming the Act of Settlement (1652);
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granted 30,000 by the Irish Parliament, 1662 - though he purportedly lost property and entitlements to the value of £868,000 more than he regained at the Restoration (Carte); reached Ireland 27 July 1662, where he was greeted by Catholics in expectation of a reversal of the Cromwellian Settlement of 1655, which did not materialise; resisted ban on export of Irish cattle and retaliated with embargo on Scottish goods; instituted the age of public building in Dublin, establishing the modern quays of the Liffey and laying out the Phoenix Park; fnd. the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal Kilmainham Hospital; dismissed through influence of Duke of Buckingham, 1669, becoming Chancellor of Oxford, 4 Aug. 1669; attacked by Capt. Blood and associates with a view to assassination at Tyburn, 6 Dec. 1670, and escaped through his own efforts; Buckingham accused by Lord Ossory (Ormonde&146;s son) of setting Blood on in presence of the king;
 
successfully resisted Richard Talbot&146;s attempt to overturn the Act of Settlement, 1671; visited Ireland to advise Charles II, and reinstated in Lord Lieutenancy, 1677; rendered Ireland safe at time of Gunpowder Plot, 1678; defended against Shaftesbury&146;s charges of leniency towards Catholics in Ireland by his son Ossory; summoned to court, 1682; issued A Letter, from a Person of Honour in the Country, in answer to the earl of Anglesey, his Observations upon the earl of Castlehaven&146;s Memoires concerning the Rebellion of Ireland (1682); received an English dukedom, 9 Nov. 1683; returned to Ireland, though subject to intrigues; proclaimed James II in Dublin, before retiring in favour of his successor Rochester; settle at Cornbury, Oxfordshire in a property of Lord Clarendon; opposed James&146;s imposition of a Catholic candidate at Charterhouse; opposed the King&146;s Indulgences but was not removed from office;
 
d. 21 July, Kingston Lacy, Dorset; bur. Westminster, 1 Aug. 1688; there is a portrait by Peter Lely in the National Portrait Collection and a mezzotint by R. Williams (fl.1680-1704) after William Wissing (1656-1587) in the National Gallery of Ireland; Ormonde figures as Barzillai, in Absalom and Achitophel (1681) by John Dryden, while the Earl of Ossory, is the subject of an elegy in that poem. RR ODNB DIB OCIL
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Criticism
Monographs, Thomas Carte, The Irish Massacre Set in a Clear Light (1714); Carte, History of the Life of James Duke of Ormonde [with] a very valuable collection of letters [proving the things related], 3 vols. (1736); Richard Ryan, Biographia Hibernica, Irish Worthies (1821), pp.275-77; D. O’Coffey, O’Neill and Ormonde (1914); Lady Winifred Burghclere, The Life and Times of James First Duke of Ormonde, 2 vols. (London 1922) [var. 1912]; Brian Fitzgerald, The Anglo-Irish: Three Representative Types 1602-1745: Cork, Ormonde, Swift (London: Staples 1952); J. C. Beckett, The Cavalier Duke: A Life of James Butler, First Duke of Ormond, 1610-1688 (Belfast, Pretani Press 1990), 163pp.; Toby Barnard & Jane Fenlon, The Dukes of Ormonde 1690-1745 (London: Boydell & Brewer 2000),

Articles: James I. McGuire, ‘Why was Ormonde Dismissed in 1669?,’ in Irish Historical Studies, 18, 71 (1973), pp.295-312.

See also Thomas Herron & Michael Potterton, eds., Ireland in the Renaisance c.1540-1660 (Dublin Four Courts Press 2008) [incls. case-study]; Micheál Ó Siochrú, God’s Executioner: Oliver Cromwell and the Conquest of Ireland (London: Faber & Faber 2008),

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Commentary
Maurice Craig
, Dublin 1660-1860 (1952; 1969), writes: ‘James Duke of Ormonde stepped out of his pinnace on to the sands of Dublin bay. The Renaissance … had arrived in Ireland. It was July the 27th in the year 1662. The peasantry welcomed him on the shore, dancing and strewing flowers in his path. They sang, in Irish, ‘Thugamar féin an samhra linn’, we have brought the summer with us.’

W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; this ed. 1984), Ormonde led the way in garden design with 20 Renaissance statues ‘which shall be in full proportion of posture, dimensions, and full as large as those figures … now standing and being in his Majesties privie garden.’ (Historical MS Commission, 7th report, 1879, p.752.) They include Diana, Hercules, Commodus, Antoninus, and the Sabine Women. [119] Inventories of the Duke of Ormonde’s possessions show that in France in 152 he acquired 35 tapestries on biblical and classical themes; later, after his return to Kilkenny, we hear of others depicting Achilles, Vulcan, Neptune, Diana and Cyrus, and a finest of 6 pieces portraying the life of Publius Decius Mus who devoted himself to the infernal deities to save the Roman army. [120] Note, Ormonde Papers for 1682/83 also mentions tapestry of Octavius (Hist. MSS Commission, n.s., vi, 1911, p.538).

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Mark Bence-Jones, The Twilight of the Ascendancy (1987), gives an account of the Ormonde family in later days, viz., pp.48, 86, 140, 148, 165 [Marchioness of]; 97 [Hunt Ball]; 100-101 [visit of Edward VII to Kilkenny Castle]; 303-04 [6th Marquess]; 304 [7th Marquess]; and end-page, ill. shows handing over of Kilkenny Castle by Lord Ormonde (acc. 1949) during first rally of Butler Society to Irish State on 12th Agu 1967. Present with other Butlers, incl. the Mountgarrets, Lady Dunboyne, Lord Carrick, Miss Marye Pole-Carew, and Sir Thomas Butler of Ballin Temple, was Hubert Butler, the historian. The event was disrupted by the arrival of the Rolling Stones, who drew the photographers off on a new quarry. [303-04]

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References
Dictionary of National Biography
, 12th Earl and first Duke of Ormonde; made Knight of the Garter when he proclaimed Charles II on the execution of Charles I; actively involved in negotiatiions for Restoration; Lord Lieutenant again in 1662; secured passage of Act of Explanation (1665) which largely approved Cromwellian confiscations; encouraged Irish manufacture; incorporated College of Physicians; dismissed by Buckingham intrigue; life attempted by Thomas Blood, 1669; Chancellor of Oxford [where he brought Smock Alley Co.], 1669; Lord Lieutenant, 1677; English Dukedom, 1682; broken by the deaths of his wife and children; . resisted some of James II’s arbitrary acts, 1687; retired after succession of James II, d. Kinston Lacy, buried Westminster.

See also Wikipedia entry [online].

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R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (London: Allen Lane 1988), p.88 [ftn.], gives bio-data: became 12th Earl of Ormond and Ossory, 1633; commanded loyalists against rebels, 1641-44; negotiate truce for Charles I, 1643-44; Lord Lieutenant, 1644; failed to make peace, 1646; truce with Parliament, 1647; treated with Irish leaders on death of King, 1649; crushed by Cromwell, 1649-50; served Charles II in exile, 1651-60; Duke of Ormond, 1661; Lord Lieutenant, 1662; ensured operation of Act of Settlement, 1662, and Explanation, 1665; defence of Irish industry, 1663; removed from office, 1669; reappointed, 1677; retired at accession of James II, 1685. ‘The only actor to remain centre-stage through fifty of the most turbulent years of Irish history, he possessed one gift essential for survival, loyalty.’

The British Library holds sundry Declarations by Ormond under Ireland, History [see supra], these include, Peace with the rebells at Kilkenney (1648), and another requesting Col. Jones to surrender Dublin, viz, A Letter from his Grace James Duke of Ormonde, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, in answer to Arthur [Annesley] Earl of Angelesey, Lord Privy Seal, his observations and reflections upon the Earl of Castlehaven’s memoirs concerning the rebellion in Ireland … with an answer to it by … the Earl of Angelesey (1682); The Declaration of His Excellency the Lord Marquis [sic] of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, together with Lord Inchequeene, and with the rest of the Kingdom, concerning the death of His Sacred Majesty who was murdered at Whitehall 30 Jan. by an usurped power of the Commons of England […] likewise his intention to crown Prince Charles King and fight in his quarrel against England (1649); History of the Life of James Duke of Ormonde [with] a very valuable collection of letters [proving the things related], 3 vols. (1736) fol. Also under Thomas Carte, The Irish massacre set in a Clear Light (1714).

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Cathach Books (1996-97) lists Marquesse of Clanrickarde, The King’s Majesties Manifesto to the Kingdome of Ireland. Undertaken and Published by the Marquesse of Clanrickarde (1647), 6pp.

University of Ulster (Central Library) holds a novel in the Augustan reprint series purporting to give details of Ormonde’s conduct in France.

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Notes
National Gallery Yearbook , notes that he was Lord Lieutenant in 1643-47, 1648-50, 1662-67, 1669-85; transformed Dublin into ‘an object of pride and of contention to Irishmen’; notably by erection of the Royal Hospital to a design by Sir Willam Robinson, Surveyor-Gen., in 1680-87; also laid out the stone quays of the Liffey. There is a handsome portrait by Edmund Ashfield.

Sean O’Casey set Purple Dust in a ‘Tudor-Elizabethan mansion’ in Ireland: 1st. Workman, ‘A nephew of the Duke of Ormond, they say, dhrank himself to death … and the supernumary wife of the older codger says she’s a direct descendant of the nephew; and she says the’ve come from the darkness an’ danger of England to settle down in what is really their proper home.’ O’Killigain, ‘And they’re going’ to have the spoons and forks an’ knives done with what they say is the Ormond crest; Ornmond’s motto will shine out from their notepaper; and this tumbledown oul shack is to be christened Ormond Manor.’ 2nd Workman, ‘The English gett, hurryin’ off with the ensign privilege of an Irish gentleman!’ [&c.] (Sean O’Casey, Three More Plays, Pan. Edn. 1978, p.126.)

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