Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Boyle, Henry (1682-1764)

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BOYLE, HENRY, Earl of Shannon (1682–1764), born at Castlemartyr, county Cork, in 1682, was second son of Lieutenant-colonel Henry Boyle, second son of Roger Boyle, first earl of Orrery [q. v.] Henry Boyle's mother was Lady Mary O'Brien, daughter of Murragh O'Brien, first earl of Inchiquin, and president of Munster. Henry Boyle's father died in Flanders in 1693, and on the death of his eldest son, Roger, in 1705, Henry Boyle, as second son, succeeded to the family estates at Castlemartyr, which had been much neglected. In 1715 he was elected knight of the shire for Cork, and married Catherine, daughter of Chidley Coote. After her death he married, in 1726, Henrietta Boyle, youngest daughter of his relative, Charles, earl of Burlington and Cork. That nobleman entrusted the management of his estates in Ireland to Henry Boyle, who much enhanced their value, and carried out and promoted extensive improvements in his district. In 1729 Boyle distinguished himself in parliament at Dublin in resisting successfully the attempt of the government to obtain a vote for a continuation of supplies to the crown for twenty-one years. Sir Robert Walpole is stated to have entertained a high opinion of the penetration, sagacity, and energy of Boyle, and to have styled him 'the King of the Irish Commons.' Boyle, in 1733, was made a member of the privy council, chancellor of the exchequer, and commissioner of revenue in Ireland. He was also in the same year elected speaker of the House of Commons there. Through his connections, Boyle exercised extensive political influence, and was parliamentary leader of the whig party in Ireland. In 1753 Boyle acquired high popularity by opposing the government proposal for appropriating a surplus in the Irish exchequer. In commemoration of the parliamentary movements in this affair, medals were struck containing portraits of Boyle as speaker of the House of Commons. For having opposed the government, Boyle and some of his associates were dismissed from offices which they held under the crown. After negotiations with government, Boyle, in 1756, resigned the speakership, and was granted an annual pension of two thousand pounds for thirty-one years, with the titles of Baron of Castlemartyr, Viscount Boyle of Bandon, and Earl of Shannon. He sat for many years in the House of Peers in Ireland, and frequently acted as lord justice of that kingdom. Boyle died at Dublin of gout in his head, on 27 Sept. 1764, in the 82nd year of his age. Portraits of Henry Boyle were engraved in mezzotinto by John Brooks.

[Account of Life of Henry Boyle, 1754; Journals of Lords and Commons of Ireland; Peerage of Ireland, 1789, ii. 364; Hardy's Life of Charlemont, 1810; Charlemont MSS.; Works of Henry Grattan, 1822; Hist. of City of Dublin, 1854-59.]

J. T. G.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.34
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
110 ii 19f.e. Boyle, Henry, Earl of Shannon: after neglected insert He was M.P. for Middleton 1707-13 and for Kilmallock 1713-5