Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Boyle, Michael (1609?-1702)

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BOYLE, MICHAEL, the younger (1609?–1702), archbishop of Armagh, eldest son of Richard Boyle, archbishop of Tuam [q.v.], and nephew of the elder Michael [q. v.], was born about 1609. He was apparently educated at Trinity College, Dublin, where he proceeded M.A., and on 4 Nov. 1637 was incorporated M.A. of Oxford. In 1637 he obtained a rectory in the diocese of Cloyne, received the degree of D.D., was made dean of Cloyne [(1640)], and during the war in Ireland acted as chaplain-general to the English army in Munster. In 1650 the protestant royalists in Ireland employed Boyle, in conjunction with Sir Robert Sterling and Colonel John Daniel, to negotiate on their behalf with Oliver Cromwell. Ormonde resented the conduct of Boyle in conveying Cromwell's passport to him, which he rejected. Letters of Boyle on these matters have been recently printed in the second volume of the 'Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 1641-1652.' At the Restoration, Boyle became privy councillor in Ireland, and was appointed bishop of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross. In addition to the episcopal revenues, he continued to receive for a time the profits of six parishes in his diocese, on the ground of being unable to find clergymen for them. For Boyle's services in England in connection with the Act for the Settlement of Ireland, the House of Lords at Dublin ordered a special memorial of thanks to be entered in their journals in 1662. Boyle was translated to the see of Dublin in 1663, and appointed chancellor of Ireland in 1665. In the county of Wicklow he established a town, to which he gave the name of Blessington, and at his own expense erected there a church, which he supplied with plate and bells. In connection with this town he in 1673 obtained the title of Viscount Blessington for his eldest son, Murragh. In 1675 Boyle was promoted from the see of Dublin to that of Armagh. An autograph of Boyle at that time has been reproduced on plate lxxix of 'Facsimiles of National MSS. of Ireland,' part iv. p. 2. On the accession of James II, he was continued in office as lord chancellor, and appointed for the third time as lord justice in Ireland, in conjunction with the Earl of Granard, and held that post until Henry, earl of Clarendon, arrived as lord-lieutenant in December 1685. In Boyle's latter years his faculties are stated to have been much impaired. He died in Dublin on 10 Dec. 1702, in his ninety-third year, and was interred in St. Patrick's Cathedral there. Little of the wealth accumulated by Boyle was devoted to religious or charitable uses. Letters and papers of Boyle are extant in the Ormonde archives at Kilkenny Castle and in the Bodleian Library. Portraits of Archbishop Boyle were engraved by Loggan and others. Boyle's son, Murragh, viscount Blessington, was author of a tragedy, entitled 'The Lost Princess.' Baker, the dramatic critic, characterised this production as 'truly contemptible,' and added that the 'genius and abilities of the writer did no credit to the name of Boyle.' Viscount Blessington died 25 Dec. 1712, and was succeeded by his son Charles (d. 10 Aug. 1718), at one time governor of Limerick, and lord justice of Ireland in 1696. The title became extinct on the death of the next heir in 1732.

[Carte's Life of Ormonde, 1736; Wood's Fasti (Bliss), i. 498; Ware's Works (Harris), i. 130; Journals of Lords and Commons of Ireland; Peerage of Ireland; Biographia Dramatica, 1812; Mant's Hist. of Church of Ireland, 1840; Granard Archives, Castle Forbes; Elrington's Life of Ussher, 1848; Cotton's Fasti Ecclesiæ Hibernicæ, 1851; Reports of Royal Commission on Hist. MSS.]

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  
112 ii 16 Boyle, Michael the younger : after dean of Cloyne insert in 1640
13 f.e. for 1675 read 1678