Page:A Compendium of Irish Biography.djvu/548

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He held the position of Judge of the Supreme Court of New Hampshire until 1782, "was subsequently a member of the House and of the Senate, and in 1785 of the Council. He died at Newburyport, Massachusetts, 24th June 1803, aged about 89. 37*.

Threlkeld, Caleb, M.D., author of Synopsis Stirpium Hibernicarum … The first Essay of the kind in the Kingdom of Ireland (Dublin, 1727), was born in Cumberland, 31st May 1676. After studying at Glasgow, where he acquired a taste for botany, he settled near his birth-place as a dissenting clergyman. In 1712 he took the degree of Doctor of Medicine at Edinburgh, and next year, "having a straight income, and a large family, he removed to Dublin, and settled there in the united character of divine and physician." He ultimately devoted himself entirely to medicine, and became a successful and respected practitioner. He died in Mark's-alley, Dublin, 28th April 1728, aged 51, and was buried in "the new burial ground, belonging to St. Patrick's." His botanical work, above mentioned, which claimed to be the first essay of the kind attempted in Ireland, was published in Dublin the year before his death. Dr. Pulteney, in his Sketches of Botany, from which this notice is taken, says: "Threlkeld's Flora … does not contain more than 535 species. The author appears to have been better acquainted with the history of plants than with plants themselves, and seems not to have studied botany in a systematic way." 46†

Thurot, Francois, a French privateer captain, who made a descent upon Carrickfergus in 1760, was born in France, 21st June 1727. His maternal grandfather. Captain O'Farrell, an Irishman, served in the Irish Brigade. Thurot was singularly successful in his operations against British commerce, in one year capturing no fewer than sixty vessels. In 1759 it was decided by the French government, taking advantage of the known charm of his name in Ireland, to make a diversion against England by sending an expedition thither under his command. He accordingly left Dunkirk in October, with a squadron of six vessels, and 2,000 troops under Brigadier de Flobert, Steering north, to elude the British fleet, he put in at Gottenberg and Bergen. Scarcity of provisions compelled him to cruise among the Hebrides for some weeks. On the 24th January 1760, he sighted Tory Island, but a violent storm prevented his effecting a landing on the coast of Donegal. His fleet was then reduced to three shattered vessels, and Flobert unsuccessfully urged him to abandon the expedition. At Islay a number of soldiers were landed to procure provisions, and so great was their hunger that they were glad to dig up potatoes with their bayonets and eat them raw. There Thurot received the discouraging news of the defeat by Hawke of the larger French expedition under Conflans. He however entered Belfast Lough, anchored off Carrickfergus on 21st February, and landed a body of 1,000 soldiers and sailors. The small garrison was soon overpowered, and the castle taken, the victors agreeing not to injure the town if furnished with provisions. These not being supplied, the French troops commenced pillaging, which Thurot and his officers unsuccessfully endeavoured to restrain. Lord Charlemont hurried down to the north, where his estates lay, and enrolled his tenantry in a yeomanry corps; and the principal Catholics of Ireland were induced to come forward with an address of loyalty and adhesion to the Government. The reception of this address by the Lord-Lieutenant may be said to have been the first public recognition since the Treaty of Limerick of the Catholics of Ireland as a body. The country people did not flock to Thurot's standard, as he had expected. Without their assistance he could effect nothing; and accordingly, having victualled his vessels, he re-embarked his troops, and sailed early on the 26th of February. Thurot's three vessels (the Belleisle, 44 guns; Blonde, 32; and Terpsicore, 26) were, however, intercepted in the Irish channel by a British fleet, consisting of the Æolus, 32; Pallas, 36; and Brilliant, 36, under Captain John Elliott, which had been driven into Kinsale by stress of weather, and there received news of Thurot's expedition. The vessels came to an action off the coast of the Isle of Man on the 28th. For an hour and a half Thurot, in the Belleisle, defended himself against Elliott's whole fleet; but his consorts held aloof, his dispirited and worn-out crew fought badly, and he was himself killed in the last broadside, and his body committed to the deep before his vessel struck. We are told that many even in England lamented the death of Thurot, who, even when he commanded a privateer, fought less for plunder than for honour. His successful and almost unopposed landing was remembered with great satisfaction by the oppressed Irish Catholics, and commemorated in lines commencing: " Blest be the day that O'Farrell came here." His body was washed ashore in Luce Bay, on the coast 524