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Thomas Butler
6th Earl of Ossory
Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory by Sir Peter Lely.jpg
Born (1634-07-08)8 July 1634
Died 30 July 1680(1680-07-30) (aged 46)
Allegiance England
The Earl of Ossory.

Vice-Admiral Thomas Butler, 6th Earl of Ossory, KG, PC, PC(I) (8 July 1634 – 30 July 1680) was an Irish politician. He was born at Kilkenny Castle, the eldest son of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde and Lady Elizabeth Preston.

Life and career

His early years were spent in Ireland and France. He was an accomplished athlete and a good scholar. Having come to London in 1652 he was rightly suspected of sympathizing with the exiled royalists, and in 1655 was put into prison by Oliver Cromwell. After his release about a year later he went to the Netherlands and married Emilia von Nassau. He accompanied Charles II to England in 1660.

In 1661 Butler became a member of both the English and the Irish Houses of Commons, representing Bristol in the former and Dublin University in the latter House. In 1662 he was called to the Irish House of Lords under a writ of acceleration as Earl of Ossory. His father held the title "5th Earl of Ossory" as one of his subsidiary titles, which made Thomas Butler the 6th Earl of Ossory by courtesy. He held several military appointments;

  • lieutenant-general of the army in Ireland (appointed in 1665)
  • created an English peer as Lord Butler (in 1666). Almost as soon as he appeared in the House of Lords he was imprisoned for two days for challenging the duke of Buckingham.
  • Lord of the Bedchamber to Charles II (appointed in 1660), a post he held until his death.

In 1665 a fortunate accident had allowed Ossory to take part in the Battle of Lowestoft against the Dutch, and in May 1672, being now in command of a ship, he fought against the same enemies in the Battle of Solebay, serving with great distinction on both occasions. The earl was partly responsible for this latter struggle, as in March 1672, before war was declared, he had attacked the Dutch Smyrna fleet, an action which he is said to have greatly regretted later in life. Whilst visiting France in 1672 he rejected the liberal offers made by Louis XIV to induce him to enter the service of France, and returning to England he added to his high reputation by his conduct during the Battle of Texel in August 1673. From 1677 until 1679, he served alongside his father as a Lord of the Admiralty.

The earl was intimate with William, prince of Orange, and in 1677 he joined the allied army in the Netherlands, commanding the British section and winning great fame at the siege of Mons in 1678. He acted as deputy for his father, who was lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and in parliament he defended Ormonde's Irish administration with great vigour. In 1680 he was appointed governor of English Tangier, but his death prevented him from taking up his new duties.

One of his most intimate friends was John Evelyn, who eulogizes him in his Diary.

Marriage and issue

Ossory had eleven children, some prominent including:

See also

Butler dynasty

References

Attribution

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

Parliament of England
Preceded by
John Stephens
Sir John Knight
Member of Parliament for Bristol
with Sir John Knight

1661–1666
Succeeded by
Sir John Knight
Sir Humphrey Hooke
Political offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Ormonde
(Lord Lieutenant)
Lord Deputy of Ireland
1668–1669
Succeeded by
The Lord Robartes
(Lord Lieutenant)
Peerage of England
New creation Baron Butler
1666–1680
Succeeded by
James Butler
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
James Butler
Earl of Ossory
(writ in acceleration)
1662–1680
Succeeded by
James Butler
Military offices
Preceded by
Palmes Fairborne
Governor of Tangier
1680–1680
Succeeded by
Charles FitzCharles, 1st Earl of Plymouth

2 Annotations

jeannine  •  Link

From Grammont's footnotes

Thomas Earl of Ossory, eldest son of the first, and father of the last Duke of Ormond, was born at Kilkenny, 8th July, 1634. At the age of twenty-one years he had so much distinguished himself, that Sir Robert Southwell then drew the following character of him: -- "He is a young man with a very handsome face; a good head of hair; well set; very good-natured; rides the great horse very well; is a very good tennis-player, fencer, and dancer; understands music, and plays on the guitar and lute; speaks French elegantly; reads Italian fluently; is a good historian; and so well versed in romances, that if a gallery be full of pictures and hangings, he will tell the stories of all that are there described. He shuts up his door at eight o'clock in the evening, and studies till midnight: he is temperate, courteous, and excellent in all his behaviour."
[Evelyn, who became acquainted with the Earl of Ossory at Paris in 1649-50, records the following amusing anecdote in his diary: -- "May 7th, 1650. -- I went with Sir Richard Browne's lady and my wife, together with the Earl of Chesterfield, Lord Ossory, and his brother, to Vamber, a place near the City famous for butter; when coming homewards, being on foot, a quarrel arose between Lord Ossory and a man in a garden, who thrust Lord Ossory from the gate with uncivil language, on which our young gallants struck the fellow on the pate, and bid him ask pardon, which he did with much submission, and so we parted; but we were not gone far before we heard a noise behind us, and saw people coming with guns, swords, staves, and forks, and who followed flinging stones; on which we turned and were forced to engage, and with our swords, stones, and the help of our servants (one of whom had a pistol) made our retreat for near a quarter of a mile, when we took shelter in a house, where we were besieged, and at length forced to submit to be prisoners. Lord Hatton with some others were taken prisoners in the flight, and his lordship was confined under three locks, and as many doors, in this rude fellow's master's house, who pretended to be steward to Monsieur St. Germain, one of the Presidents of the Grand Chambre du Parlement, and a Canon of Notre Dame. Several of us were much hurt. One of our lacquies escaping to Paris, caused the bailiff of St. Germain to come with his guard and rescue us. Immediately afterwards came Monsieur St. Germain himself in great wrath on hearing that his housekeeper was assaulted; but when he saw the king's officers, the gentlemen and noblemen, with his Majesty's Resident, and understood the occasion, he was ashamed of the accident, requesting the fellow's pardon, and desiring the ladies to accept their submission and a supper at his house."

And again, May 12th. -- "I have often heard that gallant gentleman, my Lord Ossory, affirm solemnly that in all the conflicts he ever was in, at sea or on land (in the most desperate of which he had often been), he believed he was never in so much danger as when these people rose against us. He used to call it the battaile de Vambre, and remember it with a great deal of mirth as an adventure en cavalier."]

His death was occasioned by a fever, 30th July, 1680, to the grief of his family and the public.

http://www.pseudopodium.org/repress/grammont/no... see note 49

Bill  •  Link

Thomas, lord Butler, earl of Ossory, general of his majesty's subjects of Great Britain, in the service of his highness the prince of Orange, and the States of the United Provinces; lieutenant-general of his majesty's forces in the kingdom of Ireland; lord-chamberlain to the queen; one of the lord's of his majesty's most honourable privy-council, in the kingdoms of England and Ireland; one of the lords of his majesty's bed-chamber; and knight of the most noble order of the Garter.
A pompous list of titles and honours, under the portraits of men of rank, sometimes compose the history of the persons represented. Here we have a man who shone with unborrowed lustre, whose merit was the foundation of his fame. Though he seemed born for the camp only, he was perfectly qualified for the court; not as a wit, a mimic, or buffoon, but by a propriety of behaviour, the result of good sense and good breeding. His courage on board the fleet was scarcely exceeded by that of prince Rupert and the duke of Albemarle; and theirs was never exceeded by that of any other sea-officer. He commanded the English troops in the service of the prince of Orange; and at the battle of Mons contributed greatly to the retreat of marshal Luxemburg, to whom Lewis XIV. was indebted for the greatest part of his military glory. He, on this occasion, received the thanks of the duke of Villa Hermosa, governor of the Spanish Netherlands, and also the thanks of his Catholic majesty himself. His speech, addressed to the earl of Shaftesbury, in vindication of his father, was universally applauded: it even confounded that intrepid orator, who was in the senate what the earl of Ossory was in the field. These his great qualities were adorned by a singular modesty, and a probity which nothing could corrupt. Poets and historians praise him in much the same terms, as prose naturally rises to the language of poetry on so elevated a subject. He died July 30, 1680, in the 46th year of his age. The duke of Ormond, his father, said, "that he would not exchange his dead son for any living son in Christendom."
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1666