Roger Boyle, 1st earl of Orrery - Encyclopedia

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ROGER BOYLE ORRERY, 1ST Earl Of (1621-1679), British soldier, statesman and dramatist, 3rd surviving son of Richard Boyle, ist earl of Cork, was born on the 25th of April 1621, created baron of Broghill on the 28th of February 1627, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and, according to Wood, 2 The orrery, an astronomical instrument - consisting of an apparatus which illustrates the motions of the solar system by means of the revolution of balls moved by wheelwork - invented, or at least constructed, by Graham, was named after the earl.

also at Oxford. He travelled in France and Italy, and coming home took part in the expedition against the Scots. He returned to Ireland on the outbreak of the rebellion in 1641 and fought with his brothers at the battle of Liscarrol in September 1642. On the resignation of the marquis of Ormonde, Lord Broghill consented to serve under the parliamentary commissioners till the execution of the king, when he retired altogether from public affairs and took up his residence at Marston in Somersetshire. Subsequently he originated a scheme to bring about the Restoration, but when on his way abroad to concert measures with Charles he was unexpectedly visited by Cromwell in London, who, after informing him that his plans were well known to the council, and warning him of the consequence of persisting in them, offered him a command in Ireland against the rebels, which, as it entailed no obligations except faithful service, was accepted. His assistance in Ireland proved invaluable. Appointed master of the ordnance, he soon assembled a body of infantry and horse, and drove the rebels into Kilkenny, where they surrendered. On the 10th of May 1650 he completely defeated at Macroom a force of Irish advancing to the relief of Clonmell, and joining Cromwell assisted in taking the latter place. On Cromwell's departure for Scotland he co-operated with Ireton, whom he joined at the siege of Limerick, and defeated the force marching to its relief under Lord Muskerry, thus effecting the capture of the town. By this time Broghill had become the fast friend and follower of Cromwell, whose stern measures in Ireland and support of the English and Protestants were welcomed after the policy of concession to the Irish initiated by Charles I. He was returned to Cromwell's parliaments of 1654 and 1656 as member for the county of Cork, and also in the latter assembly for Edinburgh, for which he elected to sit. He served this year as lord president of the council in Scotland, where he won much popularity; and when he returned to England he was included in the inner cabinet of Cromwell's council, and was nominated in 1657 a member of the new house of Lords. He was one of those most in favour of Cromwell's assumption of the royal title, and proposed a union between the Protector's daughter Frances and Charles II. On Cromwell's death he gave his support to Richard; but as he saw no possibility of maintaining the government he left for Ireland, where by resuming his command in Munster he secured the island for Charles and anticipated Monk's overtures by inviting him to land at Cork. He sat for Arundel in the Convention and in the parliament of 1661, and at the Restoration was taken into great favour. On the 5th of September 1660 he was created earl of Orrery. The same year he was appointed a lord justice of Ireland and drew up the Act of Settlement. He continued to exercise his office as lordpresident of Munster till 1668, when he resigned it on account of disputes with the duke of Ormonde, the lord-lieutenant. On the 25th of November he was impeached by the House of Commons for "raising of money by his own authority upon his majesty's subjects," but the prorogation of parliament by the king interrupted the proceedings, which were not afterwards renewed. He died on the 26th of October 1679. He married Lady Margaret Howard, 3rd daughter of Theophilus, 2nd earl of Suffolk, whose charms were celebrated by Suckling in his poem "The Bride." By her he had besides five daughters, two sons, of whom the eldest, Roger (1646-1681-1681 or 1682), succeeded as 2nd earl of Orrery.

In addition to Lord Orrery's achievements as a statesman and administrator, he gained some reputation as a writer and a dramatist. He was the author of An Answer to a Scandalous Letter. A Full Discovery of the Treachery of the Irish Rebels (1662), printed with the letter itself in his State Letters (1742), another answer to the same letter entitled Irish Colours Displayed.. . being also ascribed to him; Parthenissa, a novel (1654); English Adventures by a Person of Honour (1676), whence Otway drew his tragedy of the Orphan; Treatise of the Art of War (1677), a work of considerable historical value; poems, of little interest, including verses On His Majesty's Happy Restoration (unprinted), On the Death of Abraham Cowley (1677), The Dream (unprinted), Poems on most of the Festivals of the Church (1681); plays in verse, of some literary but no dramatic merit, of which Henry V. (1664), Mustapha (1665), Tryphon (acted 1668), The Black Prince (1669), Herod the Great (published 1694), and Altemira (1702) were tragedies, and Guzman (1669) and Mr Anthony comedies. A collected edition was published in 1737, to which was added the comedy As you find it. The General is also attributed to him.

Authorities. - State Letters of Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, ed. with his life by Th. Morrice (1742); Add. MSS. (Brit. Mus.), 25,287 (letter-book when governor of Munster), and 32,095 sqq. 109-188 (letters); article in the Dict. of Nat. Biog. and authorities there collected; Wood's Athenae Oxonienses, iii. 1200; Biographia Britannica (Kippis); Orrery Papers, ed. by Lady Cork and Orrery (1903) (Preface); Contemporary Hist. of Affairs in Ireland, ed. by John T. Gilbert (1879-1880); Cal. of State Pap., Irish and Domestic.

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