THE BUTLERS OF ORMONDE (CONTINUED).
frtHOMAS, tenth Earl of Ormonde, was a lad Of fourteen at the j1. death of his father in 1546. He had been brought-up from his infancy at the Co-art of England, and had been educated along with Prince Edward, who was warmly attached to him. Unusual precautions were taken to secure him in his property in Ireland, the incident of the contest between Sir James Ormonde and Sir Pierce Butler being still vividly remembered. The Lord Justice was ordered to draw the English army at his com- mand towards the counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary, and the rule of these counties was committed to the young Earl's mother, his uncle Richard Butler, and other Mends. At the coronation of his old companion Edward VI., on the 20th Feb- ruary, 1547, young Ormonde was made a Knight of the Bath, and is said to have served in the Scotch campaign of Somerset in the same year which ended with the battle of Pinkie. In 1518i at the suggestion of some of the Council, " who thought the presence of a chief of a clan indispensable for their good behaviour," the King sent the Earl over to Ireland, and on September 8 directed the Lord Deputy, Sir Edward Bellingham, to make him an allow- ance of 200 marks a year during his minority. Sir Edward, an able but rather rough administrator, who was endeavouring to govern independently of the great Irish families, but who seems to have run into the extreme of ignoring their natural territorial influence, remonstrated at this step on the part of the English Government. It would have been better, he said, to have kept young Ormonde where he was, and to have brought him up with Eng- lish habits. " Authority, it was thought, would not take place without him. I pray God," wrote Bellingham, " rather these eyes of mine should be shut up, than it should be proved true ; or that during the time of my deputation I should not make a horse-boy sent from me to do as much as any should do that brought not good authority with him, how great soever they were in the land. I will not say it shall be the first day, but in small time, God willing, it shall be done with ease." Bellingham, in his anxiety to vindicate the authority of the Crown and law against the family interests of the great Chiefs of Ireland, had forgotten that no administration can be a stable one, or permanently beneficial, which treats as irrelevant the deep-seated feelings of a nation. The true question of Irish policy was how to govern Ireland with firmness and impartiality to all, asserting the authority of the law and the Government, but employing the natural channels of influence over the people while keeping them in due subordination to the central executive. Such a policy, in skilful hands, would have been found much more successful and advantageous in the end, than one which depended on separating the chiefs from their clans, and bringing them up in entirely alien feelings, so as to disable them effectually from acting on the future of Ireland, except through the medium of some Court intrigue, while the heads of Irish bureaux were pasaded as their proper substitutes in Ireland before the eyes of the dis- contented clansmen. If preceding Deputies had failed through undue subservience to Irish habits and private interests, Belling- ham failed to realize the fruits of his in many respects able administration through a hard indifference to natural feelings and local attachments. On the 17th of October, 1551, the King ordered a year's release to the young Earl of his wardship.
In Queen Mary's reign he held a command in a troop of horse, and is said to have acted as a lieutenant in their ranks when Sir Thomas Wyat entered London in 1554. He is said to have behaved well on this occasion, bn,t if so, his conduct was an exception to that of the mass of his mili-
tary associates. In the November of this year Ormonde returned to Ireland, and in July, 1556, accompanied the Lord Deputy Radcliffe, with a body of 200 horse and 500 foot, which the Earl maintained at his own charge, in an expedi- tion against the Scotch islanders, who had made a descent into Ulster and besieged Carrickfergus. He is said to have behaved gallantly at the battle fought on the 18th of that month, in which the Scots were routed. On the 10th of August, 1557, he served against another body of them which had invaded Tyr- connel, and after gaining several successes on his own account, on the 20th of June, 1558, attended with many gentlemen, joined the Lord Deputy in the county of Limerick, and marched with him against Donald O'Brien, the Earl of Thomond's uncle. On the 13th of December, 1557, Queen Mary, in acknowledgment of these services, besides confirming former patents in his favour, granted him the religious houses of Athassil, Jerpoint, Callan, Thurles, Carrick, Kilkowle, and Tulleophelim, in the counties of Tipperary, Kilkenny, and Waterford, and the manor of Kilrush, in the county of Kildare ; the monastery of Athassil to him, his heirs, and assigns, and the rest to him and his heirs male, held by the service of the twentieth part of a knight's fee, and the yearly rent of 491. 3s..9d. Irish, Queen Elizabeth remitted this reserved rent, and gave a general discharge to the Earl for All arrears due to the Crown on that and all other accounts, &c. The same Queen, in reward for the Earl's services against the insurgents in Leix, gave him and his heirs male, on the 28th of February, 1563, the abbey of Leix, in Queen's County, with all its lands, estimated at 8201. ; and on the 3rd of October in the same year she gave him in fee farm all the possessions of the monastery of the Holy Cross, advowsons of churches excepted. His brothers, with the usual insubordina- tion of these times, having endeavoured to possess themselves forcibly of some disputed territory claimed by Sir Peter Carew, the Earl acted against them, and in acknowledgement, on the 30th of June, 1569, was restored to the prisage of wines for Youghal and Kinsale, which had been sequestered in 1563, on a claim laid to them by Gerald, Earl of Desmond. This claim had been the cause of a great feud between the Butlers and the Desmond Geraldines for several years, and the cause of a good deal of bickering between the Queen and her Deputy, Sir Henry Sidney, in 1566. The Queen also discouraged Sir William St. Leger, because his father, Sir Anthony, had been on bad terms with the father of Ormonde, insisting that Sidney should show favour to the Earl, "in memory of his education with that holy young Solomon, King Edward." Sidney was not inclined to hazard the loss of Desmond's services, and his probable hostility in the difficult contest in which he was engaged with the celebrated Shan O'Neil. Desmond was quite willing, as it was, to put down a rival aspirant —particularly a native aspirant—to the chieftainship of the Irish natives, but he might postpone his future advantage to the desire of immediate personal revenge, if the Deputy decided at this conjecture in favour of Ormonde; so Elizabeth insisted onimmediate action in the matter, and Sidney, while admitting and valuing Ormonde's high qualities, still delayed, and begged for the assistance of some English lawyers on the disputed point. But no English lawyer would go to Ireland. The Queen complained that Sidney was partial to Desmond, and required him to make an exception in Ormonde's favour in the county of Kilkenny to the general suppression of that most mischievous and oppressive impost, " coyn and livery." Sidney protested, and again and again tendered his resignation. Ormonde repaired to the English Court to prefer his complaints, and not all Cecil's real sympathy with Sidney's view could prevent the reiteration of Elizabeth's complaints and demands on the subject, which Sidney met with pro- testations that there was no one in Ireland of whom he thought more highly than of Lord Ormonde, anti no one that he would more gladly help, but still he declined to adjudicate at that time on the disputed point, and as we have seen, the Earl did not obtain a decision in his favour till the year 1569. Ormonde had also an exemption from all impositions except subsidies to the Crown, and King James confirmed this in 1611. He received other considerable grants from Queen Elizabeth, partly forfeited lands, partly grants of lands of a certain value in money, and various rectories in the counties of Kilkenny, Tippe- rary, Carlow, and Wexford. He also filled several responsible positions during her reign. He had been created Lord Treasurer of Ireland in her first year, and continued so to the close of his life. He was also a Privy Councillor, and acted on many com- missions, civil and ecclesiastical, and indeed was generally one of those named on commissions of importance. In 1575 Lord Deputy Sidney made him Lord-Lieutenant of the counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary. In 1578 he was made Governor of the province of Munster, where he gave a great defeat to the Earl of Desmond, and took him prisoner. In 1581 the Queen constituted him High Marshal of England, but he obtained a discharge from this office,. as it might entail an attendance at the English Court inconsistent. with his necessary presence in Ireland. In 1594 he was appointed. (during the Deputy's absence) Commander of the Forces in. Leinster, and in 1595 he served with the Lord Deputy against the Earl of Tyrone, with eighty horse and 200 foot, raised and supported at his own expense. On his return, from this service to. Dublin he was made, on the 23rd of May, 1596, a, Knight Com- panion of the Garter. In the following year he acted on several military commissions, and on the 29th of October, 1597, was. appointed Captain and Lieutenant-General of all the Queen's- forces in Ireland, by sea and land. Having brought Tyrone to ask terms and submit, the latter received a pardon on the 11th of April, 1598 ; but he never pleaded it, and in 1600 was outlawed. Ormonde continued to act with vigour,. and on the whole with success, against the rebellious native chiefs during the years that immediately followed. Once he fell_ into the hands of his enemies through an ambuscade, and was. detained prisoner three months, and obtained his liberty then only on leaving hostages for the payment of 3,0001. if he should seek to avenge this injury. However, the hostages escaped, and the. Earl paid no regard to this forced engagement. He was occupied. in operations of this kind for the rest of the reign of Elizabeth, and in 1603 King James confirmed him in his office of Lieutenant- General. It is said that he had lost his sight about the year 1599, but this early date seems a little inconsistent with his. active operations and important appointments subsequent to- that year. The great Earl, for such he undoubtedly was, died. at his house in Carrick on the 22nd of November, 1614._ He had raised again the fortunes of the House of Butler from their comparative depression under Henry VIII. to a high point, and his early English training seems to have had exactly the desirable effect of modifying without entirely des- troying the characteristics of a great resident proprietor. " He was a very comely and graceful personage," which may pro- bably account for his great favour with Queen Elizabeth. His. dark complexion made the Irish give him the sobriquet of Duffe, and the Queen laughingly called him her black husband. He kept a great and hospitable house, repaired his castle of Kilkenny and house at Carrick at considerable expense, made a deer park at. the Earl's Cragg, near Kilkenny, built the castle of Drehedne- farney, near Holy Cross, as a defence for the county of Tipperary against the O'Mulrians, and by his will directed his nephew, Sir Walter Butler, to build a hospital at Kilkenny, leaving lands for its maintenance, and also that it should be incorporated with licence of Mortmain. He left his family in great prosperity, but this prosperity was not destined to be of long duration. Though three times married, his two sons died before him, and an only daughter, Elizabeth, alone survived him. She had been married. first to her first cousin, Theobald, son of Sir Edmund Butler, of Roscrea, and in July, 1603, the titles of Ormonde and Ossory had been entailed and secured to this Theobald in the event of the death of Earl Thomas without male issue ; and in the August- following he had been created Viscount Butler of Tulleophelim, in county Carlow.. However, Lord Tulleophelim died before his uncle, in January, 1613, and thereupon King James com- pelled the Earl most unwillingly to bestow his widowed daugh- ter and heiress on one of his favourites, Sir Richard Preston, whom he created on the 6th of June, 1614, Lord Dingwall, in Scotland, and Earl of Desmond, the great House which had borne the latter title having finally fallen. On the death of Earl. Thomas, a question arose between the true heir, Sir Walter Butler, of Kilrush, who for his devotion was styled " Walter of the Beads and Rosaries," son of John Butler, third son of James, ninth Earl of Ormonde, and Richard Preston, Earl of Desmond. Sir Walter had distinguished himself and been wounded in a successful con- test with the Bourkes in Elizabeth's reign, but he found that the new Earl of Desmond was a formidable claimant for the estates, and that he himself was likely to succeed to the barren title of eleventh Earl of Ormonde. The King, determined that his favourite should not be the loser, assumed to himself the decision of the case. Earl Walter proudly refused to submit to this tribunal, and thereupon James, like a true Stuart, seized on all his estate, and threw him into the Fleet Prison, where he continued fat eight
years in a dreadfully destitute condition. " The palatinate of Tipperary had been entailed by the Crown grants on the male line of Ormonde for nearly 400 years, and had ever so deseewled, yet James, adding one oppression to another, forced the captive Earl to submit to his award, and by a pretended right of his own -took this also away from him, nor was it restored to the family till the time of Charles II., who enlarged the privileges annexed to it." The Earl did not survive his release from prison many years, dying in his house at Carrick on the 24th of February, 1633. He had married the eldest daughter of the second Viscount Mountgarret, but his eldest son by her, Thomas, Viscount Tharp, was unfor- tunately drowned in his father's lifetime, on his passage from England to Ireland, near the Skerries, on the 15th of December, 1619, leaving by his wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Point; Baronet, of Acton, 'Gloucestershire, three sons and four daughters. The third of these sons, Richard, is the ancestor of the present Marquis of Ormonde. The eldest, James, was the restorer of the fortunes of the Butlers, which had now sunk to the lowest point.
James Butler, the great man of the family, was born, it would seem, in the year 1607, though a later date by three years has been assigned by Carte. There is a curious family tradition of a prophecy respecting him, which has been introduced of late years into a tale of some merit by an adopted daughter of the House. The story runs thus :—" The very last Christmas the old Earl Thomas kept at the Castle of Kilkenny, he invited all his kinsmen of near degree. Among others came Sir Walter Butler, of Kilrush, with his son Thomas, and grandson, young James Butler, then a young child. The child was playing behind the old Earl's chair, when the latter, hearing the noise, and being then quite blind, asked who it was. On learning his name, the old Earl bade them bring the child to him, and placing him between his knees fetched a deep sigh, raised his sightless eyes to heaven, and said, ' My family shall be much oppressed and brought very low, but by this boy [stroking the child's head] it shall be restored again, and in his time be in greater splendour than ever it has been.' On hearing this, Vis- count Tulleophelim, the Earl's son-in-law, in great indignation put back his chair, and flung from table, making much noise thereby. Again the old Earl asked who made the noise, and on being told shook his head sorrowfully, and said, He is a flower that will soon fade, and what I have said I am confident will prove true.'" Such is the traditional prophecy of Earl Thomas, which had been verified thus remarkably in the death of Lord Tulleophelim and the disasters of Earl Walter, and which re- ceived a still more brilliant verification in the great fortunes and eminence attained in future years by little James Butler, of Kilrush.
Certainly young James Butler became the heir of his grand- father, Earl Walter, under sufficiently unfavourable circumstances to throw discredit on any prophecy as to his future greatness. A stranger in blood held the family estates, and his grandfather was still a miserable prisoner in the Fleet. He was granted in ward, on the 26th of May, 1623, to the intrusive Earl of Desmond, but on the other band, his education was entrusted by the King to the excellent Archbishop Abbot, who trained him so carefully in the principles of Protestantism that his pupil, amidst all the vicissi- tudes of his fortunes, never swerved from his allegiance to that faith. To the same early supervision we may probably attribute the proud sense of honour and truthfulness which ever after dis- tinguished this eminent man. On the 7th of February, 1627, a ray of returning prosperity gleamed on the young nobleman, the King by Privy Seal of that date directing that he should receive the rents of his paternal lands, which had been sequestered on account of the differences between his grandfather and the Earl of Desmond. In 1628 death removed the possessors of the Ormonde estates. The Countess of Desmond died in Wales on the 10th of October, and on the 28th of the same month the Earl of Desmond was drowned on his passage from Dublin to England. The Earl and Countess left an only daughter, Lady Elizabeth Preston (born July 25, 1615), who was made a ward of the Earl of Hertford. Young James Butler, Lord Thurles, thereupon secured the perma- nence of the brightening prospects of his family by gaining the young heiress in marriage in the year 1629, paying to her guar- dian the sum of 15,0001. in compensation for this abrupt termina- tion of the wardship. Soon after his marriage he retired with his young wife to Acton, ten miles from Bristol, the residence of his uncle, Sir Robert Pointz,. where he spent much of his time in acquiring the Latin language. After a year's stay here he came over to Ireland in the latter part of the year 1630 ; in 1632, for a fine of 5661. 13s. 4d., had livery of his wife's estates there, and in the 15th of August, 1633, for a fine of 9001. Irish had livery of his own estates, and his grandfather, Earl Walter, having died in the beginning of that year, he became twelfth Earl of Ormonde.