Butler, James, twelfth Earl and first Duke of Ormonde 1610-1688, was the eldest son of Thomas, Viscount Thurles, and Elizabeth Poyntz, and grandson of Walter Butler of Kilcash, eleventh Earl of Ormonde in 1614 [qv.]. He was born on 19 Oct. 1610 at Clerkenwell. His pedigree reaches back to Theobald Butler [qv.], hereditary butler of Ireland. His earliest infancy was spent at Hatfield under the care of a carpenter's wife, during his parents' absence, but in 1613 they sent for him to Ireland. In 1619 his father was drowned at sea, and his mother then took him back to England and placed him at school under a Roman catholic tutor at Finchley. On his father's death he became, by some legal subtlety, a royal ward, although holding no lands in chief of the crown. The king, anxious to bring up the head of so powerful a family as a protestant, placed him at Lambeth under the tutelage of Abbot, archbishop of Canterbury, where, however, he appears to have received a very meagre education, and where, the whole estate of his family being in sequestration, he was in great want of money, 40l. a year being all that was allowed him. His grandfather [see Butler, Walter] was released from the Fleet prison in 1625, and the youth, who was termed by courtesy Lord Thurles, went to reside with him in Drury Lane. Here he continued for two years in the enjoyment of town life, and in constant attendance on the court. Upon the occasion of the Duke of Buckingham's projected expedition to Rochelle, he went to Portsmouth in the hope of being allowed to volunteer for service, but the duke refused permission on finding that he had not secured his grandfather's consent. Six months later he fell in love with his cousin, Elizabeth Preston, the sole daughter and heir of Richard, earl of Desmond, and Elizabeth Butler, the daughter of his grandfather's brother, Earl Thomas. She was herself a ward of the crown, or rather of the Earl of Holland, upon whom Charles I had bestowed the wardship. A marriage between them appeared a convenient way of putting an end to the lawsuits between the families, and of uniting the Ormonde and Desmond estates. The opportune deaths of the Duke of Buckingham, who had warmly espoused the cause of the Desmond family, and of the Earl of Desmond, the lad's guardian since 1624, removed the chief obstacles to this step; while Lord Holland's approval was purchased for 15,000l. Charles gave his consent by letters patent of 8 Sept. 1629, and the marriage took place at Christmas of the same year. The following year Lord Thurles spent with his wife at his uncle's, Sir Robert Poyntz, at Acton in Gloucestershire, where he studied Latin for the first time, and at the end of 1630 they went to live with his grandfather, Earl Walter, at Carrick, until his death in 1632, when James succeeded to the earldom of Ormonde and Ossory. He then made a journey to England, travelling through Scotland, and showed his activity by riding from Edinburgh to Ware in three days. In the beginning of 1633, his grandmother too having died, he returned to Ireland, accomplishing the whole journey to Carrick between four in the morning of Saturday and three o'clock on Monday afternoon. Throughout his life he was distinguished for his physical strength and comeliness, for his attention to dress, and for the dignity of his carriage. His own tastes were simple—it is recorded that his favourite dinner was a boiled leg of mutton (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. 486 b)—but he was careful always to observe an almost regal display in the conduct of his household.
Upon the arrival of Wentworth in Ireland as deputy in July 1633, Ormonde at once attracted his attention, as much by his distinguished appearance as by his readiness to assist in raising the supplies of which Charles was in need. On 14 July 1634, at the opening of parliament, he carried the sword before Wentworth. There shortly occurred a characteristic instance of his independence of spirit. Wentworth, fearing scenes of violence in the parliament, had ordered that none should enter wearing their swords. Ormonde refusing to give up his sword, and the usher insisting, the earl told him that if he had his sword it should be in his guts, and so marched on to his seat, and was the only peer who sat with a sword that day in the house. When sent for by Wentworth he replied that he had seen the proclamation, but was only obeying a higher order, inasmuch as his writ summoned him to come to parliament cum gladio cinctus. It was clear to Wentworth that he must either crush so independent a man or make a friend of him; wisely enough he determined to take the latter course, and shortly reported most highly of him to the king, finishing the eulogium with He is young, but take it from me, a very staid head. Ormonde and Wentworth lived on the best terms until the latter's death. Ormonde actively supported the deputy in the parliament of 1640; and when Wentworth left the country in April to join Charles, he committed to Ormonde the entire care of levying and raising the new army. Since 1631 he had been in command of a troop of horse, and in 1638 had raised a second troop of cuirassiers. A regiment of cavalry was now given to him; he was made lieutenant-general of the horse, and commander-in-chief of all the forces in the kingdom during Strafford's absence. So active was he in his charge that by the middle of July the troops came to the rendezvous at Carrickfergus in complete readiness for action. Ormonde was, however, unable himself to join them in consequence of his wife's illness.
Towards the end of 1640 a remonstrance against Strafford's government was passed by the Irish House of Commons and published in England, but Ormonde successfully opposed a similar remonstrance in the House of Lords. On the death of Wandesford, Strafford urged Charles to make Ormonde deputy; the opposition, however, in the Irish Commons, who were now acting in a great degree under the inspiration of the English parliament, was too strong. He supported Strafford against the attacks made upon him in the parliament of 1641, and, as chairman of the lords' committee on privileges, strongly opposed the commons in the dispute which arose in the Fitzgerald case (Carte, Ormond, i. 250, Clar. Press edit.). Strafford had, it is stated, urged the king, as one of his last requests, that the garter which his death left vacant might be bestowed upon Ormonde. The latter, however, declined it on the ground that such a gift might possibly engage some other person to the crown, and desired that rewards to himself might be reserved until all danger was over. This story is vouched for by Sir Robert Southwell in his manuscripts, p. 18.
Upon the news of the outbreak of the rebellion in Ireland in 1641 reaching Charles, he at once appointed Ormonde lieutenant-general of his army. Twice also he sent him private instructions to gather into one body the Irish army which was being disbanded, and to seize Dublin Castle in his name by the authority of the Irish parliament, hoping to win the Irish to his cause by the grant of religious liberty (Gardiner, Hist. Eng. x. 7, ed. 1884). He does not, however, appear to have moved in this direction. His proposal to collect immediately all available forces and march against the rebels was overruled by the lords justices, who appear to have been jealous of his power, and who were in correspondence with the English commons. Their policy, indeed, appears to have been to employ him as little as possible in his military capacity, and the jealousy with which they regarded him was of the greatest disadvantage at the time of the disaffection of the English pale and the insurrection of Munster. In January 1641-2, however, Ormonde made a short expedition to drive the rebels out of the Naas, and, fresh forces having arrived from England, attacked and defeated a body of 3,000 rebels at Killsalghen, and in March he received orders from the lords justices to march with fire and sword into the pale, after the rebellion had drawn in the catholic gentry of English descent. He raised the siege of Drogheda, but from the further march on Newry which he proposed he was stopped by letters of recall from the lords justices. The success of the expedition was recognised by the English parliament in a letter written by the speaker on 9 April. He received their approbation a second time in a letter drawn up by Hollis on 20 July, accompanied by a jewel of the value of 620l., and it is stated that on 10 May the House of Commons moved the lords to join in an address to the king that he should offer Ormonde the garter (Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. 147). On 15 March he had fought and won the bloody battle of Kilrush with great slaughter of the rebels, displaying sound generalship and personal courage. In June of the same year he was employed in quieting Connaught. A dispute with Lord Leicester, the lord-lieutenant, on the subject of the power of appointment in the army, was ruled by the king in Ormonde's favour, and a warrant was shortly afterwards signed under the great seal, 16 Sept., whereby he was appointed to the lieutenant-generalship immediately under the crown instead of, as heretofore, under the lord-lieutenant. At the same time he was created a marquis by the king. His appointment to the independent command of the army was of great importance at this juncture, as endeavours were being made to engage the Irish forces for the parliament. The continued obstructions, however, from the lords justices, and a violent illness which threatened his life, prevented him from taking an active part in suppressing the rebellion during the autumn of 1642. Meantime Thomas Preston had landed at Wexford with abundant supplies for the rebel army, a general assembly had been held at Kilkenny, and a complete political organisation established by the rebels. The catholic nobility and gentry having desired to lay their grievances before Charles, Ormonde sent their request to the king, and in January 1642-3 was appointed with others by him to receive and transmit their statement of grievances. He therefore on 3 Feb. sent to Kilkenny to request the discontented lords and gentry to send a deputation to meet himself and his fellow-commissioners at Drogheda on the 23rd. The meeting took place at Trim on 17 March. Meanwhile, much against the desire of the lords justices, he insisted upon leading the expedition to Ross, leaving Dublin on 2 March with 3,000 men. He reached Ross, in which the rebels were entrenched, on the 12th, but in an assault was beaten off, and through want of provisions was compelled to raise the siege on the 17th, and give battle on the 18th to Preston, who had under his command nearly 7,000 men. In this battle Ormonde showed considerable generalship, and won an important victory with slight loss. He returned to Dublin, where he received from the meeting at Trim the remonstrance of the rebels, which he at once transmitted to Charles. The lords justices had taken advantage of his absence to write a letter to the king urging him on no account to consent to a peace, but they refused to accept Ormonde's motion for sending also an account of the present state of the country, and Ormonde, to counteract them, drew up, in conjunction with other leading loyalists, an account of the desperate condition of the army and the immediate need of further help. Charles, however, was not capable of sending the required assistance, nor could it be obtained from the English parliament. On 23 April, therefore, the king sent Ormonde a commission, with all secresy and convenient expedition, to treat with the rebels and agree to a cessation of arms. Meantime, in Leinster, Munster, and Connaught the rebels had been carrying all before them, and it was only in Ulster that they were severely checked in the rout of Owen O'Neile by the Scotch forces under Stewart. The treaty for the cessation began in June, but, through Ormonde's refusal to accept the conditions of the rebels, was broken off in July. The Scotch had now declared for the parliament and raised an army against the king; peace in Ireland became more than ever necessary, and on 2 July Ormonde received fresh instructions to conclude the cessation for a year. He reopened the negotiations at once on 26 Aug., and the cessation was signed on 15 Sept.
The king now required all the Irish troops that could be spared for England, and in November, having first extracted from his officers an oath of loyalty to the king and the church, which only two of them, Monck being one, declined to take, Ormonde managed to send over some 5,000 men under Lord Byron, who did good service in Cheshire until routed by Fairfax, at Nantwich, in January 1644. At the same time, in obedience to special instructions, he exerted himself to keep the Scotch army from joining their fellows in Scotland. An attempt by Ormonde to induce the Irish catholics also to carry out the articles of the cessation and furnish the king with an army was entirely futile. Meanwhile the king called for Lord Leicester's resignation, and made Ormonde lord-lieutenant by a commission which he received in January 1643-4. In pursuance of his instructions he vigorously forwarded the expedition of the Irish forces, prepared by the Earl of Antrim, to assist Montrose in Scotland; and to prevent a renewal of the war gave favourable terms to the catholics. He was not, however, able to prevent many of the English troops from joining the Scotch forces in Ulster in taking the covenant, or wholly to keep the latter, a point much pressed by Charles, from joining their fellows in Scotland. In April, Monroe, who commanded in Ulster, received a commission from the English parliament to command in chief all the forces in Ulster, both Scotch and English. He at once seized Belfast, and in breach of the cessation marched against the Irish. Ormonde knew that Monroe was acting in the parliament's interest. At the same time the council of Kilkenny urged him to declare the Scots rebels, and the council offered him the command of all their forces. It appeared therefore that he must either assist the parliamentary party or that of the catholic rebels. He refused to listen to the suggestion of the Irish, and contented himself with assisting them to send agents to the king at Oxford to represent them at the treaty then being carried on. The demands, both of protestants and catholics, were referred by the English council to him for settlement on 26 July, and negotiations for a definite peace, the cessation having been renewed, were opened on 6 Sept. at Dublin. So irreconcilable, however, were the rival demands, that they were broken off in October, and not again renewed until April 1645. Ormonde meanwhile had, in despair of any favourable settlement, urgently requested to be relieved of his government. Charles refused to comply with this request, and not only appointed a commission to inquire into the amount of his personal sacrifices in his service and to arrange for their repayment, but sent him full discretionary powers for concluding a peace, even to the restoring of the rebels, who should submit, to their estates and possessions; the entire repeal of the penal statutes was alone denied him. Meantime his government was much harassed by frequent plots among discontented officers. He succeeded, however, in making a temporary arrangement with Monroe, the commander of the Scotch forces, whereby union was established until the arrival in October of Sir R. King and Arthur Annesley, who came as a commission from the English parliament.
Through great difficulties the treaty of peace gradually drew to a conclusion. As the weakness of the king became more apparent the demands of the rebels increased. On the subject of the penal laws they insisted upon entire freedom being granted, and they refused Ormonde's demand for the restoration of the churches to the protestant clergy; while they further insisted upon the maintenance of their provisional government until every article had been confirmed by act of parliament. These demands Charles utterly refused, and Ormonde then drew up a list of the concessions which he thought proper for the king's consideration. There were exemptions from penalties and incapacities on the score of religion, concessions of places of command, honour, and trust, and the removal of many minor grievances. It was at this point that the Glamorgan episode occurred which cut the ground from Ormonde's feet. On 25 Aug., representing himself as empowered by the king, who had given him merely a roving commission, Glamorgan signed a private treaty with the Irish agents, by which the catholics obtained the entire repeal of the penal laws, the possession of all the churches which they had seized since 23 Oct. 1641, exemption from all jurisdiction of protestant clergy, and the enjoyment of the tithes, glebes, and church revenues then in their possession. In return they promised a force of 10,000 men for England under Glamorgan's leadership. The warrant which Glamorgan produced was utterly repudiated by Charles and his ministers as a forgery, and Glamorgan was imprisoned at Dublin. This naturally excited the Irish to the utmost, and the difficulties in the way of the treaty were rendered still greater by the indefatigable efforts of the pope's nuncio to defeat it. Nevertheless Ormonde succeeded in bringing it to a conclusion on 28 March 1646, upon the basis of the above-mentioned concessions, with the condition that it should not be held of force until the Irish had despatched 10,000 men to England by 1 May. Meantime Charles, now in the hands of the Scots, sent to Ormonde, through the Prince of Wales, private assurances of his full confidence; and Digby, on the king's part, declared that the immediate conclusion of the peace was absolutely necessary. The peace was therefore published, although the conditions had not been fulfilled, on 29 July. Supported, however, by the pope's nuncio, the Irish rebels strongly opposed it, and it seemed probable that Dublin would fall into their hands. In this extremity Ormonde determined to apply to the English parliament for help. By 2 Nov. Dublin was for a few days besieged by Preston and O'Neile. On the 14th the parliamentary commissioners arrived, and a treaty with them was immediately begun, but conditions could not be arranged, and the commissioners were forced to retire to Ulster. The agreement between Preston and the nuncio, however, and the rejection of the peace by the general assembly of the catholics at Kilkenny in February 1646-7, on the nuncio's advice, determined Ormonde again to approach the parliament. Dublin was relieved by an English force in the spring, and on 7 June the commissioners of the parliament again arrived. On the 19th the treaty was concluded. Ormonde was to give up the sword on 28 July or sooner, on four days' notice. The protestants were to be secured in their estates; all who had paid contributions were to be protected in person and estate; all noblemen, gentlemen, and officers who wished to leave Ireland with Ormonde were to have free passes; popish recusants who had remained loyal were to be in all respects favourably regarded by the parliament; and the debts he had incurred in the defence of Dublin were to be paid. This last condition was very imperfectly fulfilled. On the 28th Ormonde delivered up the regalia and sailed for England, landing at Bristol on 2 Aug. Having reached London, he had an interview with Charles at Hampton Court, when he received a full approval of his conduct in Ireland, and where he had directions to agree, if possible, upon measures with the Scotch commissioners, who had just arrived in London. Warned in February 1647-8 that the parliament intended to seize his person, he escaped to France, and at Paris found the Irish agents who had been sent by the Kilkenny assembly to treat with the queen and Prince of Wales, with the particular object of inducing the latter to come over with arms and money, but also with wide demands for the restoration of the native Irish to their estates. Under Ormonde's advice an answer was returned that the queen and the prince would send a representative to treat with the assembly on the spot, and in August he himself began his journey thither. On leaving Havre he was shipwrecked and had to wait in that port for some weeks; but at the end of September he again embarked, arriving at Cork on the 29th. At the end of October he received full instructions from Charles, who was in the Isle of Wight. He was ordered to obey the queen's commands, and to disobey all issued by the king publicly till he should give him notice that he was free from restraint. On 6 Oct. Ormonde had published a declaration against both the rebels and the independents, promising equal favour to all who remained loyal. Having pacified the mutiny which had broken out in the army under Inchiquin, he succeeded in bringing about a general peace between the royalists and the Irish rebels on 17 Jan. 1649.,,$.
Upon the death of the king Ormonde at once proclaimed Charles II, and strongly urged the young king to come to Ireland. With the utmost difficulty he collected forces to attack Dublin. He took Drogheda, and in July blockaded the capital, but was defeated at Rathmines, with the loss of all his artillery, by Jones, who commanded in Dublin, and who made a determined sally. He thereupon managed to conclude a treaty with O'Neile, who had kept aloof from the general pacification; but all dreams of reconquering the country were finally ended by the landing of Cromwell on 15 Aug. On 9 Sept. Drogheda, which Ormonde had strongly garrisoned, was stormed by Cromwell, Ulster was overrun, Wexford betrayed, and Ross surrendered. So hopeless were the king's affairs, that in December Ormonde requested to be recalled. Charles, meanwhile, had come to terms with the Scots at Breda, and Ormonde was commanded to remain until it was seen whether the alliance would not bring about a more favourable state of things in England. Cromwell's uninterrupted successes again brought Ormonde to the necessity of leaving the kingdom. To the last, however, he held haughty language. To Cromwell, who had sent a pass to him to leave the kingdom through Dean Boyle, he replied: ‘I have by this trumpeter returned your papers, and for your unsought courtesy do assure you that when you shall desire a pass from me, and I think fit to grant it, I shall not make use of it to corrupt any that commands under you’ (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1650, p. 236). The bishops in August 1650 requested Ormonde to give up the government, and raised forces independently of him. Under the pressure of the extreme covenanting party in Scotland, moreover, Charles had on 16 Aug. unwillingly annulled the Irish peace of 1648 (Hist. MSS. Comm. 6th Rep. 695 a), and in his letter announcing this step urged Ormonde to mind his own safety and withdraw to Holland or France. This advice he repeated in November. Leaving Clanricarde therefore as his deputy, Ormonde set sail on 6 Dec., and, after delaying to consider some proposals made by a number of nobles and bishops assembled at Loughreagh, arrived, after a three weeks' voyage, at Perose in Brittany. He had left his family at Caen on his return to Ireland, and after a short stay with them joined the queen at Paris on 21 Jan. 1650-1. In June he was again at Paris waiting upon the Duke of York. After settling the duke's household he returned to Caen, and remained there until the young king's arrival at Paris after the battle of Worcester (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1-11 Nov. 1651), when, being at once placed on the privy council and consulted on all important business, he took up his permanent residence there. He was at this time in such dire straits for money that his wife went over in August 1652 to England to endeavour to claim Cromwell's promise of reserving to her that portion of their estate which had been her inheritance. After many delays (ib. 1652, 25 May, 1 June, 1 Aug.) she succeeded in getting 500l. in hand and an allowance of 2,000l. a year from estates around Dunmore House (ib. 1653, p. 145). Ormonde meanwhile had been in constant attendance on Charles, and accompanied him to Cologne when driven from France by Mazarin's treaty with Cromwell in 1655. He probably incurred at this time the queen mother's enmity by frustrating, at Charles's request, the attempts which she made to induce the Duke of Gloucester to become a catholic. During his absence at Paris on this mission he was reduced to such straits for money as to be compelled to pawn both his garter and the jewel presented him by parliament (Carte, but cf. Lodge's Portraits). He was employed also in negotiating a treaty with the Duke of Neuburg. In May he was at Antwerp (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1656, p. 319). In the end of 1656, when the king was residing at Brussels, he had the command of one of the six regiments formed out of the English and Irish on the continent for the service of Spain (ib. 1657, p. 5), and in October 1657 was quartered at Furnes. He attended Charles when the latter accompanied Don John in a reconnaissance on the works at Mardyke, and had his horse killed under him by a cannon-shot (Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. 149). In 1658, after being employed in Germany (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser. 1658, p. 259), he volunteered to go in disguise to England to collect information, and landed at Westmarsh in Essex in the beginning of January (Evelyn, 8 June 1658). Finding the chances of success in a rising very small, he persuaded the royalists to risk nothing at present, and after a month's stay in London succeeded in reaching Dieppe in March; thence he went to Paris, where he lay in strict concealment from Mazarin until the following month. With great difficulty he finally succeeded in joining Charles once more at Brussels in May. He was continually employed in all important transactions, such as the correspondence with Montague, the reconciliation of Charles with his mother, and the conference with Mazarin in 1659. He afterwards attended Charles at the treaty of Fontarabia. It was at this time that Ormonde discovered Charles's change of religion, and it was his revelation of the fact to Clarendon and Southampton that led to the insertion in the act for the security of the king's person of a clause making it treason to assert that the king was a catholic. He was actively engaged in all the secret transactions with the English royalists and Monck immediately before the Restoration, upon which event he went in the king's train to England.
In the distribution of honours which followed he had a considerable share; he was placed on the commission for the treasury and navy, made lord steward of the household, privy councillor, lord-lieutenant of Somerset (resigned 1672), high steward of Westminster, Kingston, and Bristol, chancellor of Dublin University, Baron Butler of Llanthony, and Earl of Brecknock in the English peerage, and on 30 March 1661 he was created Duke of Ormonde in the Irish peerage, and lord high steward of England, carrying the crown in that capacity at the coronation (see Pepys, 23 April 1661). At the same time the county palatine of Tipperary, seized by James I from his grandfather Walter, was restored to him, and he recovered his own Irish estates, which had been parcelled out among the adventurers, as well as those which he had mortgaged, and the prisage of wines, hereditary in the family, while large grants in recompense of the fortune he had spent in the royal service were made by the king. In the following year the Irish parliament presented him with 30,000l. His losses, however, according to Carte, exceeded his gains by nearly a million, a sum incredibly large (Carte, iv. 418, Clar. Press). As lord steward he was present at the birth of the Duchess of York's child. He was at once engaged in Irish affairs; the restoration of episcopacy was of course a foremost aim, and in August he secured the appointment of the four archbishoprics and twelve bishoprics, while he did much to improve the condition of the inferior clergy. He appointed Jeremy Taylor to the vice-chancellorship of the Dublin University to carry out useful reforms, and aided its prosperity in every way. He refused, however, to be mixed up in the disputes over the Bill of Settlement in 1661, until on 4 Nov. he was again made lord-lieutenant of Ireland. His journey thither was delayed by the king's marriage, when, as lord steward, he was sent to Plymouth to meet the infanta, and it was not until 27 July 1662 that he landed at Dublin after a journey characterised by the utmost pomp. He was at once occupied in dealing with the grievances caused by the Act of Settlement, in purging the army of its dangerous elements, and in quieting the presbyterians after the blow of the Act of Uniformity. His office was a most responsible one. Plots of various kinds were formed during 1663 for seizing Dublin Castle and for a general insurrection, but were crushed with firmness, though without undue severity.
Ormonde had now become the mark of much jealous intrigue in England. Sir Henry Bennet plotted against him from private pique and as the friend of Clarendon; Lady Castlemaine hated him for having stopped the king's grant to her of the Phenix Park; Buckingham was irritated at his backwardness in forwarding his ambitious schemes; and the queen mother was angered at the firmness of his refusal to regard the case of her protégé Antrim with favour. Ormonde's character made him the natural object of the attacks of all that was base in the court. He had been noted for purity of life and purpose, and for unswerving devotion, even when such qualities were not rare in the court of Charles I. But in that of Charles II he was almost the sole representative of the high-toned virtues of a nobler generation. By force of what is emphatically called ‘character,’ far more than by marked ability, he stood alone. The comrade of Strafford, one who had willingly sacrificed a princely fortune for a great cause, he held aloof while persons like Bennet intrigued and lied for office, money, or spite. His strict purity of life was a living rebuke to the Sedleys and Castlemaines, who turned the court into a brothel. Compelled to see the councils of the king guided by dishonour or greed, he acquired over him the influence which Charles was always ready to concede to nobility of character (Pepys, Diary, 19 May 1668). Proud of the loyalty of his race, unspotted through five centuries, he bore in after years calumny, envy, and his seven years' loss of court favour, waiting until his master should be shamed into an acknowledgment of the wrong. In investigating the careers of other men of this time we are always face to face with intrigue and mystery. Ormonde's and his son Ossory's are unique in their freedom from any suspicion of double dealing.
Meantime Ormonde was sorely puzzled how to frame an explanation of the Act of Settlement which should soothe the prevailing discontent. With this purpose he went to London in June 1664, and from 29 July until 26 May 1665 was busily engaged with a committee of council on the work, in the course of which he appears (Carte, iv. 211, Clar. Press) to have exhibited much self-sacrifice. This ‘explanation’ having received the seal, he returned to Ireland in August, but did not make his solemn entry, which was the occasion of excessive display, until 17 Oct. He succeeded in passing the Act of Explanation through parliament on 23 Dec., which fixed the general rights of the several parties in Ireland. Ormonde's heart was thoroughly in his government and the welfare of his country. He vehemently opposed the bill passed in England prohibiting the importation of Irish cattle; and, when it was passed, he prohibited the import of Scotch linen, and further obtained leave for a certain number of Irish vessels to trade with the foreign enemies of England. In every way he encouraged native manufactures and learning, and it was to his efforts that the Irish College of Physicians owed its incorporation. He watched carefully over its internal peace, and promptly suppressed the disturbance at Carrickfergus, where the garrison had mutinied for arrears of pay.
In 1667 and 1668 Buckingham put himself at the head of all those who had grievances against Ormonde, and proceeded to find matter in the few arbitrary acts for which evidence was forthcoming whereon to frame an impeachment. In his almost irresponsible government of Ireland during troublous times Ormonde had no doubt acted now and then in a way which offered advantages to men eager for his overthrow. He had, for instance, billeted soldiers on civilians and executed martial law (Pepys, 4 Nov. 1667). Ormonde was urgently pressed to return to England, whence he had intelligence that Orrery was secretly plotting against him. He therefore left Dublin on 24 April, arriving in London amid general respect on 6 May. An inquiry into the management of the Irish revenues was at once set on foot, and Buckingham, probably with Arlington's assistance, caballed vigorously for Ormonde's removal from the lord-lieutenancy (ib. 4 Nov. 1668, and 1 Feb. 1669). To this constant insistence Charles at length unwillingly gave way, and on 14 March 1669 appointed Lord Robarts in his room. Ormonde received the dismissal, which was made with every public expression of trust and satisfaction in his services by Charles, with perfect dignity, and earnestly enjoined all his sons and friends on no account to quit their posts in the army or elsewhere, while he continued to fulfil with dignified persistence all the duties of his other offices. He speedily received every possible consolation from the public. He was chosen chancellor of Oxford on 4 Aug., while in January 1669-70 the city of Dublin, ignoring the lord-lieutenant, conferred the freedom of the city upon Ossory, his eldest son, with an address composed chiefly of compliments to himself. This followed immediately upon the publication of various libellous pamphlets and of a series of charges, similar to those brought by Buckingham the year before. In 1670 Peter Talbot, the titular archbishop of Dublin, having come over to oppose the remonstrants, or loyal catholic gentry and clergy, who were being persecuted by the ultramontane party, Ormonde was active in their favour, though to little avail in the face of the opposition of Buckingham and Berkeley, who had succeeded Robarts in the lord-lieutenancy.
In the same year occurred the remarkable attempt upon his life by the notorious ruffian Blood [see Blood, Thomas]. On the night of 6 Dec. Blood with five accomplices stopped Ormonde's coach in St. James's Street, dragged the duke from it, placed him on horseback behind one of his companions, and rode off. By whom Blood was instigated is not known, though Ossory publicly before the king laid the blame on Buckingham, and there declared aloud that should his father come to his end by violence or poison he would pistol Buckingham though he stood behind the king's chair. Nothing appears to have saved Ormonde's life but the whim of Blood to hang him at Tyburn. The delay thus caused and Ormonde's vigorous resistance gave time to rescue him (Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. 486 b). What was the mysterious connection between Blood and the court has never been known; but it is certain that when Blood was captured Charles himself asked Ormonde to pardon him.
In January 1670-1 Richard Talbot was sent by the discontented Irish gentry to obtain if possible the repeal of the Act of Settlement. Ormonde was at first placed on a committee for investigating the petition which Talbot brought; but his opposition to the petitioners led to a second committee being formed in February for a full revision of the settlement, from which he was excluded. This was, of course, at the time when Charles, by the Declaration of Indulgence, was endeavouring to dispense with the penal laws, and it is noticed that whereas Ormonde would never permit a papist to be a justice of the peace, such an appointment was now allowed. The committee was superseded in July 1673, and the attempt to upset the settlement fell to the ground.
During the seven years which elapsed between his dismissal from office and his second appointment¾seven years of coldness on the king's part and enmity from the courtiers¾Ormonde bore himself without reproach. At the end of June, however, tired of his disagreeable position, he returned for a while to Ireland, and on 14 July waited upon Essex, the lord-lieutenant, at Dublin, where he was received with enthusiasm. In April 1675 he returned to London at the special request of Charles, who wished to consult him about the course to be pursued in parliament. During the next two years he was occupied almost exclusively with refuting the charges brought against his government by Ranelagh, the mischiefs of whose ‘undertaking’ he had strongly represented to the king. For nearly a year Charles had not spoken to Ormonde, when suddenly he received a message that his majesty would sup with him that night. Charles then declared his intention of again appointing him to Ireland, saying next day: ‘Yonder comes Ormonde; I have done all I can to disoblige that man, and to make him as discontented as others; but he will not be out of humour with me; he will be loyal in spite of my teeth; I must even take him in again, and he is the fittest person to govern Ireland.’ How far this restoration was due to the desire of James to keep Monmouth from obtaining the post is uncertain.
In the beginning of August 1677 Ormonde set out for Ireland, passing through Oxford, where he held a convocation with great ceremony, and entering Dublin with royal display. His first and most important work was to get the revenue into some sort of order. On the subject of limiting the royal grants he seems to have made his own terms with Charles (Carte, iv. 532, Clar. Press), and he took a bold step in insisting that when the revenue ran short it should be the pensions and not the civil or military lists that suffered. He was enabled, moreover, shortly to increase the army, build a military hospital at Kilmainham and a fort at Kinsale, and put many others in repair. It was now too that he formed the magnificent collection of manuscripts at his house of Kilkenny (Hist. MSS. Comm. Rep. passim). Upon the breaking out of the popish terror in England Ormonde took energetic measures. On 7 Oct. he was informed that the plot had extended to Ireland. On the 14th the council met. A proclamation was issued banishing all ecclesiastics whose authority was derived from Rome, dissolving all popish societies, convents, and schools, requiring catholics to bring in their arms within twenty days, and all merchants and shopkeepers, both protestants and papists, to make a return of the amount of powder in their possession. The militia was put on guard, arms were sent from England, and Dublin Castle was jealously guarded. Ormonde was urged to measures still more severe, and refused to use them, thus raising the bitterest disappointment among those who hoped to profit by confiscations, and drawing upon himself the attacks of Shaftesbury and the other patrons of the plot. Ossory defended his father in the Lords with spirit, and Charles refused to consent to the removal of his old and tried servant. Ireland kept perfectly quiet, and the credit of the plot in England suffered in consequence, but a fictitious plot was concocted to give it support. In the midst of the trouble that ensued Ormonde heard of the death of his pure and gallant son Ossory, between whom and himself there had always existed the utmost affection and confidence. He shortly lost both his sister and his wife, the latter on 21 July 1685 (ib. vii. 498), and, later, several of his grandchildren. In the beginning of May 1682, the country having quieted down as soon as the king had mastered the exclusionists, Ormonde went to court, where he was at once employed in furnishing an answer to Anglesey's letter on Castlehaven's memoirs, in which the memory of Charles I was reflected on. He was now in constant attendance on the king, and was particularly active in securing the election of tory sheriffs for London, which compelled Shaftesbury to leave the country. On 9 Nov. one English dukedom having lapsed with the death of Lauderdale, another was conferred upon Ormonde. In the following February he was dangerously ill (ib. vii. 376 a), but recovered sufficiently to set out again for Ireland in August. Scarcely had he reached Dublin, however, before he was recalled to make way for the Earl of Rochester. This was in October. The causes of this sudden decision are not clear, though it is probable that Charles had made up his mind to favour the catholics in a manner which he thought Ormonde would not approve. Before he had time to hand over his government, however, the king died, and Ormonde's last act was to cause James II to be proclaimed in Dublin. His arrival in London on 31 March 1685 was signalised by a show of popular respect even more remarkable than on former occasions. At the coronation of James he carried the crown as lord steward, but otherwise lived as retired a life as possible. In January 1685-6 his second son, Richard, the earl of Arran, died, and in February Ormonde retired to Cornbury in Oxfordshire, leaving it only to attend James in August on his progress in the west. He signalised his loyalty to protestantism and the church of England in 1687 by opposing the attempt of James to assume the dispensing power in the case of the Charterhouse, and it is to the credit of James that in spite of Ormonde's refusal to yield to his solicitation in this matter, or to listen to endeavours now made to induce him to turn catholic (Carte, iv. 685, Clar. Press), he retained the duke in all his offices and held him in respect and favour to the last. The king paid Ormonde two personal visits when laid up with gout at Badminton. In 1688 he was taken for change of air to Kingston Hall in Dorsetshire, where in March he had a violent attack of fever from which he recovered with difficulty. On 22 June he was seized with ague, and on Saturday, 21 July, the anniversary of his wife's death four years before, died quietly of decay, not having, as he rejoiced to know, ‘outlived his intellectuals.’ He was buried in Westminster Abbey on the night of Saturday, 4 Aug. He had eight sons and two daughters, of whom only the two daughters¾Elizabeth, married to Philip Stanhope, the earl of Chesterfield, and Mary, married to Lord Cavendish, the first duke of Devonshire¾survived him. His grandson, James Butler (1665-1745) [q.v.], son of Thomas Butler, earl of Ossory [q.v.], his second child, succeeded him in the title.
The chief authorities for Ormonde's life are Carte, especially the letters in the Appendix, and the Carte Papers in the Bodleian;
Cox's and Leland's Histories of Ireland;
Pepys's and Evelyn's Diaries, and the other diaries and memoirs of the period;
the article in the Biographia Britannica;
Burke's Peerage and Lodge's Portraits;
while Mr. J. T. Gilbert's description and analysis of the Ormonde manuscripts at Kilkenny (which had previously neither been catalogued nor arranged), in the Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep., are of the utmost value.
Contributor: O. A. [Osmund Airy]