Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Paulet, George
PAULET, Sir GEORGE (d. 1608), governor of Derry, was the second son of John, second marquis of Winchester, by his wife, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Robert, second lord Willoughby de Broke. William Paulet, third marquis of Winchester [q. v.], was his eldest brother. His contemporaries call George a gentleman of Hampshire. The king's letters of 20 and 23 July 1606, directing his appointment to the governorship of Derry, say he was ' of good sufficiency and service in the wars,' though he had certainly not become an efficient soldier. He began at Derry by buying land from the constable, Sir Henry Docwra [q. v.], who had built a town there more than thirty years after the destruction of Randolph's settlement. Docwra incurred the hostility of Charles Blount, lord Mountjoy, earl of Devonshire [q. v.], the lord-lieutenant, by taking the part of Sir Donnell Ballagh O'Cahan [q. v.], Sir Cahir O'Dogherty [q. v.], and Sir Niall Garv O'Donnell [q. v.], whom he thought ill-treated. James I saw Ireland with Devonshire's eyes, who himself desired to rule Ulster through Tyrone and Tyrconnel, and without much regard to the services or pretensions of minor chiefs. Devonshire died 3 April 1606; but he had previously approved the sale of Docwra's property to Paulet, whom he knew well, 'there being no longer use for a man of war in that place' (Docwra, p. 282). Docwra accordingly sold him his house, ten quarters of land which he had bought, and his company of foot, for much less than the house alone had cost him to build. The vice-provostship of Derry was thrown in without extra charge. The English government wished Docwra to resign his patent as constable of Lough Foyle, so that Paulet should be appointed in his stead; but this does not seem to have been actually done.
The new governor was established at Derry in the early winter of 1606, and on 20 Feb. following Chichester, the new lord deputy, told Salisbury that he was unfit for the place, and that there had been many dissensions since his arrival. He was soon at daggers drawn with Dr. George Montgomery, the newly made bishop of Derry; for he claimed not only the see-lands, the site of the ancient cathedral and the episcopal palace as part of the property bought from Docwra, but even the parish church presented by the latter to the townsmen, to the building of which they had all contributed. Nor did he get on better with the Irish chiefs. Tyrone and Tyrconnel fled from Ireland early in September 1607, and it was perhaps natural to suspect complicity on the part of O'Cahan, who ruled the greater part of what is now Londonderry county, and of O'Dogherty, the chief of Inishowen in co. Donegal. It had been Docwra's wise policy to make these magnates depend on the government, and to free them from the oppression of the now fugitive earls; but Paulet knew nothing of the country and would not listen to advice. O'Dogherty took the opportunity of putting some armed men on Tory island, but this seems to have been done with the consent of the few inhabitants. Sir Richard Hansard, who commanded at Lifford, says that Sir Cahir O'Dogherty left Burt Castle, on Lough Swilly, at the end of October to superintend the felling of timber for building; that this gave rise to a report that he was in rebellion; and that he then began to arm about seventy followers, refusing all recruits from outside his own district. Paulet made an unsuccessful attempt to seize Burt in the chief's absence, and reported all to Chichester. O'Dogherty remonstrated in a temperate letter, and subscribed himself 'Your loving friend.' Paulet falsely denied, and in very strong language, that he had ever intended to surprise Burt, and accused Sir Cahir of treason. O'Dogherty went to Dublin early in December and made his excuses to Chichester, who accepted them, but without much confidence. On 18 April the privy council ordered him to be fully restored to such of his ancestral lands as were still withheld, but this order did not reach the Irish government until he was actually in rebellion.
It has been usually said that O'Dogherty's fatal plunge into open rebellion was caused by Paulet's insults. The 'Four Masters' add, and the statement has been often repeated, that he struck the Irish chieftain; but this is not mentioned in the 'State Papers,' nor by Docwra. O'Dogherty himself said nothing about it to Captain Harte when he was making excuses for his seizure of Culmore, and the Irish authorities are divided. Revenge may have been O'Dogherty's main object, but Paulet's carelessness invited attack. Chichester warned him repeatedly to post regular sentries and keep good watch; but he neglected to do so, though he had from the first maintained that his Irish neighbours could not be trusted. His own men hated him for his ill-temper, and despised him for his incompetence. On the night of Monday, 18 April 1608, O'Dogherty, at the head of fewer than a hundred men, seized the outpost at Culmore by a treacherous stratagem, and surprised Derry itself an hour before daybreak. Paulet was killed, and the infant city was sacked and burned. Sir Josias Bodley [q. v.], who, however, was not present, reported that Paulet fell fighting valiantly; but the English government spoke of his cowardice, and said that he must have perished by the executioner had he escaped the sword. Devonshire's opinion that a man of war was not needed at Derry had at least been falsified. Paulet had been fully warned by Hansard, who held his own against the rebels at Lifford.
The peerages say Paulet died unmarried; but it appears from the 'State Papers' that his wife was with him at Derry, and the contemporary tract 'Newes from Ireland concerning the late treacherous Action' (London, 1608) says he had children there also. Lady Paulet suffered only a short imprisonment with the O'Dogherties; but her husband's death left her in great poverty, which was partly relieved out of the Tyrone forfeitures. She was alive in 1617.[Cal.of Irish State Papers, 1606-17; Annals of Ireland, by the Four Masters, ed. O'Donovan; Sir Henry Docwra's Narration of the Services done by the Army employed to Lough Foyle, 1614, ed. O'Donovan (Celtic Soc. Miscellany, 1849); Gerald Geoghegan's notice of the early settlement of Londonderry in Kilkenny Archaeological Society's Journal, new ser. vols.iv. v.; O'Sullivan-Beare's Hist. Catholicae Iberniae Compendium, tom. iv. lib. i. cap. 5 ; Newes from. Ireland concerning the late treacherous Action, London, 1608; Collins's Peerage, ed. Brydges, vol. ii.; Meehan's Fate and Fortunes of Tyrone and Tyrconnell ; Gardiner's History of England, i. 420, 421, 426; see art. O'Dogherty, Sir Cahir.]