Cary, Sir Henry, first Viscount Falkland d. 1633, lord deputy of Ireland, descended from a family long seated in Somersetshire and Devonshire, was the son of Sir Edward Cary, knight, of Berkhamstead and Aldenham, Hertfordshire, by his wife, Catherine, daughter of Sir Henry Knevet, knight, master of the jewel office to Queen Elizabeth and King James, and widow of Henry, lord Paget. At the age of sixteen he entered Exeter College, Oxford, where, according to Wood, by the aid of a good tutor he became highly accomplished. Subsequently he served in France and the Low Countries, and was taken prisoner by Don Louis de Velasco, probably at the siege of Ostend, a fact referred to in the epigram on Sir Henry Cary by Ben Jonson:When no foe, that day,Could conquer thee but chance who did betray.
In the following lines Ben Jonson draws a very flattering portrait of him:That neither fame nor love might wanting beTo greatness, Cary, I sing that and thee,Whose house, if it no other had,In only thee, might be both great and glad;Who, to upbraid the sloth of this our time,Dost valour make almost if not a crime.
On his return to England he was introduced to court, and became gentleman of the bedchamber. At the creation of Charles prince of Wales in 1616 he was created a K.B. In 1617 he became comptroller of the household and a privy councillor, and on 10 Nov. 1620 Viscount Falkland in the county of Fife, in the Scottish peerage, which title, with his naturalisation, was confirmed by Charles I by diploma in 1627. He was elected M.P. for Hertfordshire 11 Dec. 1620. Chiefly through the favour of Buckingham he was appointed to succeed Viscount Grandison as lord deputy of Ireland, being sworn 18 Sept. 1622. In office he showed himself both bigoted in his opinions and timid in carrying out a policy which continually dallied with extremes; though conscientious, he was easily offended, and he lamentably failed to conduct himself with credit when confronted with any unusual difficulties. Urged on by a sermon of Ussher on the text He beareth not the sword in vain, Falkland, greatly distressed at the number of priests in Ireland and their influence over the people, issued a proclamation, 21 Jan. 1623, ordering their banishment from the country. Such a proclamation was at the time specially inexpedient on account of the negotiations for the Spanish marriage, and in February 1624 he received an order from the English privy council to refrain from more extreme measures than preventing the erection of religious houses and the congregation of unlawful assemblies. On account of the difficulties of maintaining the English army in Ireland, an assembly of the nobility of Ireland was convened by Falkland, 22 Sept. 1626, before whom he laid a draft of concessions promised by Charles, which were subsequently known as the Graces. They promised the removal of certain religious disabilities and the recognition of sixty years' possession as a bar to all claims of the crown based on irregularities of title. The negotiation was not conducted by Falkland with much skill, and for a long time there seemed no hope of a satisfactory settlement, but at last, in May 1628, a deputation from the nobility agreed, before the king and privy council at Whitehall, on certain additional concessions in the Graces, then confirmed, that Ireland should provide a sum of 4,000l. for the army for three years. Falkland believed that his difficulties with the nobility had been largely due to the intrigues of the lord chancellor, Lord Loftus of Ely, and, after the dissolution of the assembly of the nobility in 1627, brought a charge against him of malversation, and of giving encouragement to the nobility to refuse supplies. After the case had been heard in London, Lord Loftus was allowed to return to his duties pending further inquiry. Meantime Falkland had for some years been engaged in tracking out what he supposed was a dangerous conspiracy of the Byrnes of Wicklow, and in August 1628 was able to announce to the king that the result of his protracted investigations had been successful, a true bill having been found against them at the Wicklow assizes. The aim of Falkland was to set up a plantation in Wicklow on the confiscated estates of the Byrnes, but as his designs were disapproved of by the commissioners of Irish causes, the king appointed a committee of the Irish privy council to investigate the matter more fully, one of the members of committee being the lord chancellor, Loftus. At this Falkland took deep offence, refusing to afford any assistance in the investigation on account of the high indignity offered to himself (see A Copie of the Apollogie of the Lord Viscount Faulkland, Lord Deputie of Ireland, to the Lords of his Majestie's Privie Counsell, the 8th December, 1628, printed from the Harleian MS. 2305, in Gilbert's History of the Irish Confederation, i. 210-17). When, as the result of the inquiry, it was discovered that the Byrnes had been the victims of false witnesses, Falkland was, on 10 Aug. 1629, directed to hand over his authority to the lords justices on the pretext that his services were required in England. The king, recognising his good intentions, continued him in favour. From having accidentally broken his leg in Theobalds Park, he died in September 1633, and on the 25th of that month was buried at Aldenham. Falkland continued throughout his life to cultivate his literary tastes. An epitaph by him on Elizabeth, countess of Huntingdon, is given in Wilford's Memorials. Among his papers was found The History of the most unfortunate Prince, King Edward II, with choice political observations on him and his unhappy favourites, Gaveston and Spencer, which was published with a preface attributed to Sir James Harrington in 1680. Falkland was in the habit of ingeniously concealing the year of his age in a knot flourished beneath his name, a device by which he is said to have detected a forger who had failed to recognise its significance.
Elizabeth Cary, Lady Falkland 1585-1639, famous for her learning and her devotion to the catholic religion, was the sole daughter and heiress of Sir Lawrence Tanfield, lord chief baron of the exchequer, and Elizabeth, daughter of Giles Symondes of Claye, Norfolk, and was born at Burford Priory, Oxfordshire, in 1585. In very early years she manifested a strong inclination for the study of languages, mastering French, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Hebrew, and Transylvanian. At the age of fifteen she was married to Sir Henry Cary. As the result of her study of the fathers, she, when about nineteen years of age, became a convert to the catholic faith, but she did not acknowledge the change in her opinions till twenty years afterwards. She accompanied her husband to Dublin, where she took a great interest in the establishment of industrial schools. On her husband learning her change of faith they quarrelled, and she left Dublin in 1625. She was allowed by the privy council a separate maintenance of 500l. a year. After her husband's return to England they became reconciled, but continued to live separately. On account of her change of faith her father probably passed her over in his will [for the circumstances see under Cary, Lucius]. When her husband died she had only the annuity of 200l. a year given her by her parents. She died in October 1639. One of the most intimate friends of Lady Falkland was Chillingworth, but after his conversion to protestantism she blamed him for endeavouring to pervert her children. She published a translation of Cardinal Perron's reply to the attack on his works by King James, but the book was ordered to be burned. Afterwards she translated the whole of Perron's works for the benefit of scholars at Oxford and Cambridge; the translation, however, not being printed. She also wrote in verse the lives of St. Mary Magdalene, St. Agnes the Martyr, and St. Elizabeth of Portugal, as well as numerous hymns in honour of the Virgin. The collected edition of the works of John Marston (1633) is dedicated to her.
Of the eleven children of Lord and Lady Falkland there are records of eight, four sons and four daughters. His son Lucius, second viscount, is the subject of a separate article. The father's petition to the king praying for the release of his son, who had been confined in the Fleet prison, is preserved in the Harleian MS. 1581, where there are also four letters to Falkland from the Duke of Buckingham, has been printed in the Cabala. The second son, Sir Lawrence, was killed fighting under Sir Charles Coote at Swords in 1642. The other two sons, Patrick [qv.], who was the author of some poems, and Placid, took orders in the catholic church. The four daughters, Anne, who had been maid of honour to the queen, Lucy, Elizabeth, and Mary, ultimately became nuns in the convent of Cambray.
Wood's Athenę (Bliss), ii. 565-6
Fuller's Worthies (ed. 1811), pp. 431-2
Lloyd's State Worthies
Douglas's Peerage of Scotland (Wood), i. 567-8
Biog. Brit. (Kippis), iii. 290
Chalmers's Biog. Dict. viii. 335-6
Walpole's Royal and Noble Authors, v. 65-6
The Lady Falkland, her Life, from a Manuscript in the Imperial Archives at Lille
Life, by Lady Georgiana Fullerton, 1873
Cal. State Papers, Dom. Series, containing many letters both of Lord and Lady Falkland
Cal. Irish State Papers, 1615-25
Cal. Carew MSS.
Harleian MSS. 1581, 2305
Add. MS. 3827
Gilbert's History of the Irish Confederation, i. xi, 24, 170-6, 210-17
Gardiner's History of England, viii. 9-28.
Contributor: T. F. H. [Thomas Finlayson Henderson]