Thomas Sheridan (1646-1712)


Life
[called a Jacobite;] b. Trim, ed. TCD; entered Middle Temple, 1679; abandoned law and became Excise Collector at Cork; Commissioner of Revenue, 1675; DCL Oxon., 1677; A Discourse on the Rise and Power of Parliaments (1677), more economics and religion than government [DIB]; FRS, 1679; suspected in Guy Fawkes conspiracy (aka Popish plot), imprisoned for some months; released on favour of king; declared [himself] a Catholic 1686; appointed Chief Secretary for Ireland under Richard Talbot, Duke of Tyrconnell, against the latter’s wishes, 1687-88;
 
appt. Commissioner of Revenue, 1687; would not remove Protestants for Catholics, contrary to Talbot’s policy, in view of impact on revenue; accused of corruption by Talbot, and replaced by James II after court hearing in 1688; became James’s secretary after death of Tyrconnell in 1691; A Narrative (1702) is an apologia and a valued historical source; poss. d. Paris. ODNB DIW DIB OCIL

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Commentary
Katherine Tomasson, The Jacobite General [David, Lord Elcho] (Edinburgh & London: Blackwood 1958), gives an account of the Scottish Rebellion of 1745: ‘Prejudices in favour of Passive Obedience, Absolute Monarchy, the Roman Catholic Religion, and consequently the Irish who professed it had been strongly inculcated into the Prince’s head by Sir Thomas Sheridan who was infinitely fitter to bring up jesuits than Princes.’ (Quoted from Lord Elcho’s Affairs of Scotland, ed. Tomasson, p.55.) Tomasson makes further references to ‘the three Irish followers, Sir Thomas Sheridan, Sir John MacDonald, and John William O’Sullivan who ‘remained ever at his side continually poisoning his mind against the loyal Scots upon whose protection he had thrown himself.’ (p.30.) Also remarks that since Charles ever insisted that he would fight as long as any men supported him, there was no suing for terms. Sir Thomas was an octogenarian who had had three strokes; he is purported to have recommended [a] bad use of the Dispensing Act.

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References
Brian Cleeve & Anne Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985); 1646-c.1700; b. Co. Meath, d. ?Paris; ed. TCD, Fellow Royal Society, 1679; visited James in Brussels, 1679; Chief. Sec. and Commissioner of Revenue in Ireland, 1687; priv. sec. to James II in exile; left MS History of his Own Times, which passed into Royal Library at Windsor, and the famous Discourse on Rise & Power of Parliaments (1677; rep. as Some Revelations in Irish History 1879 [sic]); great-uncle of Thomas Sheridan (1719-88).

Dictionary of National Biography [ODNB]: fl.1661-1688; imprisoned in connection with ‘Popish plot’; chief secretary for Ireland, 1687; private sec. to James II in exile; his Discourse on the Rise and Power of Parliaments (1677) reprinted as Revelations in Irish History (1870). Here styled ‘The Elder’ as distinct from his son Thomas Sheridan ‘The Younger’ (d.1746), tutor to Prince Charles Edward, who is said to have accompanied Charles II to Scotland and been knighted. ODNB also cites one William Sheridan (1638-1711), br. of Thomas Sheridan (fl.1661-88); dean of Down, 1669; DD TCD, 1682; Bishop of Kilmore, 1682-93, chaplain to Ormonde; non-juror.

Belfast Linen Hall Library holds S. Bannister, ed., Some Revelations in Irish History (1870).

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