Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Burgh, Ulick de

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BURGH, ULICK de (1604–1657), fifth Earl and Marquis of Clanricarde, born at London in 1604, was the only son of Richard, fourth earl of Clanricarde, by his wife Frances, daughter and heir of Sir Francis Walsingham, and relict of Sir Philip Sidney and of Robert Devereux, earl of Essex, who was executed in 1601. Richard de Burgh, fourth earl of Clanricarde, actively served Queen Elizabeth against the hostile Irish and their Spanish allies. He was appointed governor of Connaught, member of the privy council in Ireland, and, in 1624, created Viscount Tunbridge and Baron of Somerhill, a manor which he owned in Kent. The titles of Viscount Galway and Earl of St. Albans were conferred on him in 1628. The treatment which he experienced from the lord deputy, Wentworth, was said to have accelerated his death in November 1635. Richard de Burgh was succeeded by his son, Ulick de Burgh, as fifth earl of Clanricarde, who in 1622 had married Lady Anne Compton, only daughter of William, earl of Northampton. Clanricarde sat in the parliament of 1639–40, and accompanied Charles I in his expedition against the Scots. By patent from the crown Clanricarde was governor of the town and county of Galway, and, as owner of vast estates in that district, he exercised great influence there. During the movements which commenced in Ireland in 1641, Clanricarde resided chiefly at his castle at Portumna in the county of Galway, and maintained communication with the administrators of the government at Dublin, some of whom were believed by the Irish to be in the interests of those in England adverse to Charles I. Clanricarde did not join the Irish confederation, of which his heir and several of his relatives were members. Many of the Irish confederates doubted the sincerity of Clanricarde's professions of loyalty to the crown. His estates in England were at that time under the control of the parliament, which employed his uterine brother, Robert, earl of Essex, to act as captain-general, after he had been proclaimed traitor by Charles I. Notices of Clanricarde's proceedings from 1641 to 1644 will be found in the ‘History of the Irish Confederation and War in Ireland,’ by his contemporary Richard Bellings [q. v.], which was published in 1882. Under authority from Charles I, Clanricarde was in January 1642–3 nominated a commissioner to meet the representatives of the Irish confederates and receive a statement in writing from them. At this interview, which took place at Trim in Meath on 17 March 1642–3, the ‘Remonstrance of Grievances’ of the Irish Roman catholics was received by Clanricarde as the chief commissioner, and subsequently transmitted to the king. Clanricarde was appointed by the viceroy, Ormonde, to command the English army in Connaught in July 1644. The title of marquis was conferred on Clanricarde in February 1644–5, and he was made a member of the privy councils in England and Ireland. He aided in promoting the treaty of peace between the confederates and Charles I in 1646, and, after its rejection by the Irish, endeavoured to have negotiations reopened. Clanricarde, influenced mainly by Ormonde, opposed the views of Rinuccini, nuncio to Ireland from Pope Innocent X. Rinuccini and his adherents believed that Clanricarde's professed neutrality was but assumed, and considered that his proceedings had been productive of disastrous results to the cause of the Irish catholics. A cessation of arms with Lord Inchiquin, president of Munster, concluded in 1648, was repudiated by the people of Galway, under the advice of Rinuccini. Clanricarde, in conjunction with Inchiquin, laid siege to Galway, and, having cut off its supplies of provisions, enforced the proclamation of the cessation and exacted a considerable sum of money from the town. Ormonde, previously to quitting Ireland, executed a commission on 6 Dec. 1650, by which he appointed Clanricarde to act as his deputy in the government there on behalf of Charles II. Clanricarde accepted the office on Lord Castlehaven's representations. His efforts against the parliamentarians were ineffective, owing mainly to the distrust with which he and his associates were regarded by a large section of the Irish royalists. They condemned his action in relation to Galway, the last Irish town which held out for Charles II. The surrender of Galway to the parliamentarians in May 1652 was followed by the dissolution of the chief military organisations of the royalists in Ireland. Clanricarde, having communicated with Charles II at St. Germains through the Earl of Castlehaven, received the king's directions to accept the best conditions he could obtain from the parliamentarians for himself and his adherents. On 28 June 1652 articles, by which Clanricarde was permitted to leave Ireland, were concluded between him and the commissioners authorised by the parliament of England. Clanricarde's rental in Ireland at this time is stated to have been 29,000l. per annum. He was included among the persons ‘excepted from pardon for life and estate,’ under the ‘Act for the settling of Ireland,’ passed in the parliament at London on 12 Aug. 1652. After his withdrawal from Ireland, Clanricarde resided at his seat at Somerhill, Kent, where he died in July 1657, and was buried at Tunbridge. Having left no direct male heir, Clanricarde's title devolved upon his cousin Richard, eldest son of his uncle William, who became sixth earl of Clanricarde under Charles II. Clanricarde was eulogised for his loyalty by his contemporary Clarendon, and by Carte. A different estimate of the acts and character of Clanricarde was entertained by a large proportion of the Irish royalists. In their view he was largely actuated by a regard for his own interests. Some of Clanricarde's letters and papers, relative to Irish affairs from 1650 to 1652, were printed in octavo at London in 1722, under the title of ‘Memoirs of the Right Honourable the Marquis of Clanricarde, Lord Deputy-general of Ireland … published from his Lordship's original MSS.’ This, which Bishop Nicholson styled a ‘lean, loose, and incoherent’ collection, was reprinted at Dublin in 1744. John, eleventh earl of Clanricarde, published at London in 1757 a large folio volume, which he entitled ‘Memoirs and Letters of Ulick, Marquis of Clanricarde, Earl of St. Albans, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland …,’ printed, for the first time, from ‘an authentic manuscript.’ In a dedication to the king, the Earl of Clanricarde stated that the volume contained the ‘genuine memoirs’ of his ancestor. The letters in the first part of the volume date from October 1641 to the end of August 1643. The second part, consisting of sixty-five pages, is composed of letters and papers which commence in February 1650–1 and terminate in August 1652. A manuscript volume of the seventeenth century, containing matter similar to that thus printed in 1757, was for a time in the possession of the Library Company of Philadelphia, which in 1866, at the suggestion of the late Hepworth Dixon, presented it to the British government. Other collections, which Clanricarde is stated to have left, in relation to his public transactions, are not now known to exist. Many original documents in connection with Clanricarde and his career were published for the first time in 1881 in the work entitled ‘A Contemporary History of Affairs in Ireland, 1641–52.’

[Carte and Clarendon MSS., 1641–52 (Bodleian Library, Oxford); Ormonde Archives (Kilkenny Castle); Manuscripts of Royal Irish Academy and Trinity College, Dublin; Rinuccini MSS. (Holkham, Norfolk); State Papers, Ireland (Public Record Office, London); Vindiciæ Catholicorum Hiberniæ, 1650; Vindiciæ Eversæ, 1653; Alithinologia, 1666–7; Memoirs of Earl of Castlehaven, 1680; Clarendon's Hist. of Rebellion and Civil Wars in England and Ireland, 1720, 1843; Carte's Life of Ormonde, 1736; Collins's Letters and Memorials of State, 1746; Peerage of Ireland, 1789; Nunziatura in Irlanda, 1844; Genealogies of Hy-Fiachrach, 1844; Description of West Connacht, 1846; Annals of Kingdom of Ireland, 1851; Hist. of Viceroys of Ireland, 1865; Documents illustrative of Hist. of Scotland, 1870; Hist. of Irish Confederation and War in Ireland, 1641–3, 1882; Reports of Royal Commission on Hist. MSS.]

J. T. G.