6 Annotations

First Reading

helena murphy  •  Link

Thomas Butler,Lord Ossory,was the eldest son and heir to James Butler,Duke of Ormonde and Lord Deputy of Ireland. When Ormonde attended the court in London,Ossory ruled in his stead ,and when the former was in Dublin his son went to London in his capacity as Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles II,thus ensuring that a Butler always had the ear of the King.Ossory was also Lord-General of the Irish army,was awarded the Garter ,and in 1673 made a rear-admiral.

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

THOMAS, earl of Ossory, is well known to have sought fame in every part of Europe, and in every scene of action where it was to be acquired. In 1666, upon his return from Ireland, he paid a visit to the earl of Arlington, at his seat at Euston in Suffolk; where he happened to hear the firing or guns at sea, in the famous battle that began the first of June. He instantly prepared to go on board the fleet, where he arrived on the 3d of that month; and had the satisfaction of informing the duke of Albemarle, that prince Rupert was hastening to join him. He had his share in the glorious actions of that and the succeeding day. His reputation was much increased by his behaviour in the engagement off Southwold Bay. In 1673, he was successively made rear-admiral of the blue and the red squadrons: he having, in the battle of the 11th of August, that year, covered the Royal prince, on board of which Sir Edward Spragge commanded, and at length brought off the shattered vessel in tow. On the 10th of September following, he was, by the king, appointed admiral of the whole fleet, during the absence of prince Rupert.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

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.
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.

Ossory had eleven children, some prominent.


Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

James Butler, Earl of Ormonde was leader of the Irish loyalists during the Civil Wars, subsequently playing an even more hazardous part as emissary to the royalist conspirators in England.

His son, Thomas Butler, 6th Earl of Ossory (1634-80) was educated abroad from 1648 to 1652, when he returned to England with his mother, Elizabeth Preston Butler, Lady Ormonde. His courtesy, temperance and numerous accomplishments won him enduring popularity.

Ossory was arrested in 1655 as being ‘conversant among the dangerous men’, but allowed to go abroad in 1657 on giving security not to act or contrive anything to the prejudice of the Protectorate.

In 1659 Ossory married Amilia, the daughter of Lodewyk van Nassau, lord of Beverweerd, which was an illegitimate branch of the house of Nassau, with whom he lived in unbroken fidelity all his life. They had 5 sons and 6 daughters; they lived at Moor Park, Herts., and Dover House, Whitehall.

Ossory accompanied Charles II to England at the Restoration, and gave away Anne Hyde at her secret marriage to the Duke of York.

After the dissolution of the Convention Parliament, the mayor of Bristol offered to Ormonde, who had been appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, a seat for his son. There was a double return, but Ossory was allowed to sit, because his rival Sir Humphrey Hooke had subscribed to his indenture.

He was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, being appointed to only 13 committees. He was among those appointed to consider the bill for drainage of the fens, where he had acquired a substantial interest as tenant to the crown. He acted as teller for a Lords amendment to the security bill. He helped to manage the conference on an alleged conspiracy on 19 Dec., 1661.

In May 1662, Ossory quarrelled with Philip Howard II. The cause is unknown, but, fearing a duel, the House asked Charles II to intercede.

Althouth Ossory was listed as a court dependant in the Commons in 1664, he was by then fully involved in the administration of Ireland as deputy to his father, in complimentary missions abroad, and in a career of arms, in which his courage and generosity won him unsurpassed popularity, especially among seamen.

When he was called up to the House of Lords in 1666, the Commons proceeded with the consideration of the double return of 1661, and seated Hooke on the merits of that election.

In the Lords, Ossory distinguished himself by the violence of his attacks on all the CABAL ministers, except Sir Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, who had married his wife’s sister, Isabella.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


After a debate on the Irish cattle bill, Ossory challenged Buckingham for insulting the whole Irish nation, and he reminded the Lords (contrary to order) of the past record of Sir Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Ashley, under the Protectorate.

Ossory accompanied Charles II to Dover in 1670, although he took no part in the negotiations with Henrietta Anne, "Minette", the Duchess of Orleans. He commanded William of Orange’s naval escort later in the year.

Ossory reluctantly served under Sir Robert Holmes in the attack on the Dutch Smyrna fleet which preceded the declaration of the third Anglo-Dutch war in 1672, and later in the year was wounded at Sole Bay.

His most distinguished naval action was under Sir Edward Spragge at Texel in 1673, but his proposed attack on the Dutch fleet at Helvoetsluys was vetoed by Charles II, probably at the insistance of Buckingham.

When his brother-in-law Lord Arlington was in danger of impeachment by the Commons in 1674, ‘Lord Ossory stood every day like a solicitor in the lobby, pressing the Members with the most earnest entreaties, and stirring heaven and earth in his behalf, till he carried the point in his favour’.

Ossory was appointed to the Admiralty board in 1675, and was given £14,000, ‘in consideration of the great losses and charges sustained, and the many debts contracted by him’, allegedly in Charles II’s service, but really at the gaming table.

He served with distinction under William of Orange in the Flanders campaign of 1677-8.

As chamberlain to Queen Catherine, Ossory strenuously defended her against the insinuations of Titus Oates during the Popish Plot, and he was the only courtier who did not spurn Lord Treasurer Thomas Osborne, Earl of Danby on his dismissal.

Ossory lost his other offices in the spring of 1679, when Charles II was trying to conciliate the Whigs; but when Lord Ashley (now the Earl of Shaftesbury) attacked his father (now the Duke of Ormonde) in the Lords, Ossory turned the tables on Shaftesbury by reminding the House of his record in the Cabal.

Ossory was restored to the Privy Council in 1680 and was then appointed governor of Tangier with a hopelessly inadequate force. Before he could take up his post he fell ill of a violent fever, probably typhus, and died on July 30, 1680, aged 46.

Thomas Butler, 6th Earl of Ossory was buried in Westminster Abbey amid universal eulogies of his courage, probity, and modesty. ‘It is a very strange thing’, commented Henry Coventry, ‘in so very bad an age to see so good a man lamented by so many of all sorts.’

See more info at https://www.historyofparliamenton…

Pepys mentions Thomas Butler, Earl of Ossory 5 times. However, some of his correspondence with his father -- and mentions of his beloved Moor Park -- have been posted in our annotations, so you'll hear a lot about him.

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