Ormonde, James Butler, 12th earl and 1st duke of

Ormonde, James Butler, 12th earl and 1st duke of ôrˈmənd [key], 1610–88, Irish statesman, most powerful royalist influence in Ireland during the English civil war. A ward of the crown after the death (1619) of his father, Viscount Thurles, he was brought up a Protestant and in 1629 he married the heiress of the earl of Desmond. In Ireland from 1633, Ormonde gained the favor of Thomas Wentworth (later 1st earl of Strafford). In 1640, he was placed in command of the army in Ireland as lieutenant general. As lieutenant general, he fought the Irish rebels in 1641 and, although greatly hampered by the Irish lords justices, defeated the rebels at Killsalghen and Kilrush. He was made a marquess in 1642, again defeated (1943) the rebels, and, under orders from Charles I, concluded the treaty of “cessation,” placing most of Ireland in the hands of the Confederate Catholics. He then served (1644–47) as lord lieutenant of Ireland, where he skillfully maintained himself against both Catholic rebels and the Protestant adherents of the English parliament. In 1647, however, he made terms with Parliament in order to restore peace in Ireland and gave up his office. He joined (1648) the queen and Prince Charles in Paris, but in 1649 he returned to Ireland and proclaimed the prince as King Charles II. Leaving the island at the insistence of Charles, he commissioned (1650) the earl of Clanricarde as his deputy. Ormonde represented Charles in the negotiations preceding the Restoration, and after 1660 he was given numerous offices and titles, including privy councillor, lord high steward of England, earl of Brecknock (in the English peerage) and duke of Ormonde (Irish; also English in 1682). Again lord lieutenant of Ireland, he worked to promote Irish trade and to effect the complicated business of restoration of property. He was unpopular with the Restoration court, especially with the 2d duke of Buckingham, who apparently instigated (1669) an unsuccessful attempt on Ormonde's life. Ormonde was removed (1669) as lord lieutenant but was restored to office in 1677. Because of his mild anti-Catholic measures at the time of the Popish Plot (see Oates, Titus), he was attacked by the 1st earl of Shaftesbury. He was again removed from the lord lieutenancy in 1684 as a result of intrigue. Thereafter he emerged from retirement only to oppose James II's attempt to dispense with the anti-Catholic laws. He survived his son, the earl of Ossory, and was succeeded by his grandson. In an age of complex loyalties, Ormonde directed his considerable talents to the support of the Stuarts, except when opposition to Parliament seemed hopeless.

See biographies by T. Carte (6 vol., 1851) and Lady Burghclere (2 vol., 1912).

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