Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Plunket, Nicholas

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PLUNKET, NICHOLAS (fl. 1641), compiler, is known only as author of a contemporary account of affairs in Ireland in 1641, which Carte frequently cites in his 'Life of Ormonde.' 'It,' wrote Carte, 'would make a very large volume in folio, and is a collection of a vast number of relations of passages that happened in the Irish wars, made by a society of gentlemen who lived in that time, and were eye-witnesses of many of those passages.' In 1741, the compiler's grandson, Henry Plunket, co. Meath, issued proposals for printing by subscription 'A faithful History of the Rebellion and Civil War in Ireland from its beginning, in the year 1641, to its conclusion, written by Nicholas Plunket, esq., and communicated to Mr. Dryden, who revised, corrected, and approved it.' The subscription was one guinea per copy. The book, it was stated, would 'contain about 130 sheets, printed in a neat letter.' In Harris's work on the 'Writers of Ireland,' issued in 1746, Plunket's book was mentioned as still unpublished. No more was long heard of it, and portions of the manuscript appear to have been subsequently lost or destroyed. About 1830 a fragment of the manuscript came, with some of the Plunket estates, into the possession of General Francis Plunket Dunne, M.P. for the King's County. An account of this fragment by the present writer was printed in the description of the Plunket manuscript in the second report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. Carte seems to have somewhat over-estimated the value and impartiality of the manuscript.

[Carte's Life of Ormonde, 1736, vol. i.; Harris's Writers of Ireland, 1746; Rep. of Royal Comm. on Hist. MSS. 1871.]

J. T. G.