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BEINECKE RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OSB MSS 5
by Beinecke Staff
"Theobald Taaffe (d. 1677), a Catholic Irish loyalist, was the son of John, lst Viscount Taaffe by his wife, Anne, daughter of Sir Theobald Dillon, first raised to the peerage in 1642. During the English civil war, he joined the Catholic Confederation and participated in negotiations between Irish Confed- erates and the party led by James Butler, Earl of Ormond. He served as commander of the Irish forces in Munster (1647) and Master of the Ordinance (1649). In 1650, he was sent to the Continent to negotiate with Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine, for assistance to the king's followers in Ireland.
During the 1650's, Taaffe remained on the Continent, serving the exiled Charles II as informal counselor and boon companion, described by Charles II as "one of the best Dancers in the Country, and is the chief man at all the Balls" (Crist, p. 10).
Taaffe's personality, and his Catholicism, made him a useful representative of the king in both personal and diplomatic affairs. He served as a liaison between Charles II and several of his mistresses, in particular, Lucy Walter. He also met with various Catholic leaders such as Don Alonzo de Cardenas, the Duke of Lorraine, the count of Neuburg and the Papal Nuncio, among others.
After the Restoration, Charles II rewarded Taaffe for his years of loyal service, granting him an annuity of eight hundred pounds and restoring him to his estates in Ireland. On 26 June 1661, Taaffe was created 1st Earl of Carlingford in the Irish peerage.
Carlingford's final diplomatic mission took place during the second Anglo Dutch War (1665-67). In 1665, he was sent as Envoy-Extraordinary from Charles II to Leopold I, Emperor of Germany, and the prince-bishop of Munster in order to gain support for the English cause against the Dutch. He replaced Sir William Temple, who had no taste for the kind of sociability expected in German courts. Carlingford, on the other hand, was known as "a fattey man and a good Drinker, which is a condition very necessary in banquetts, where he is every day" (Lachs, p. 64). His mission, however, was not a success. The Venetian ambassador complained that Carlingford "in no way corresponded to the greatness of the occasion," being "destitute of the knowledge and ability required for such transactions" (Crist, p. 12). After he returned to England, Carlingford retired from public life. He died on 31 December 1677.
Carlingford married, first, Mary, daughter of Sir Nicholas White of Leixlip, county Kildare; and, secondly, Anne, daughter of Sir William Pershall. By his first wife he had three sons and a daughter: Nicholas, 2nd Earl, who served in the Spanish army and fell at the Boyne in 1691; Francis, 3rd Earl, page to emperors Ferdinand III and Leopold I and, later, an Austrian field-marshal; and John (d. 1689)."
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from L&M Companion
2nd Viscount Taaffe, cr. Earl of Carlingford 1661 (d. 1677). Irish Catholic; royalist commander in Ireland during the Civil War, and close friend and confidant to the King in exile. In 1666 envoy-extraordinary to the Emperor and the Prince-Bishop of Munster--a post in which his capacity for drink was said to be his best qualification.
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.