Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnell - Encyclopedia

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RICHARD TALBOT TYRCONNELL, EARL [TITULAR [[Duke] Of]] (1630-1691), Irish Jacobite, came of an ancient Anglo-Norman family, the Talbots of Malahide. His father, Sir William Talbot (d. 1633), was a Roman Catholic lawyer and politician of note. His brother Peter was Roman Catholic archbishop of Dublin. Richard Talbot served as a royalist during the Great Rebellion. He was present in Drogheda (Tredah) when it was stormed by Cromwell on the 3rd of September 1647, and was one of the few members of the garrison who escaped from the massacre; he fled to Spain. He then lived like many other royalist refugees, partly by casual military service, but also by acting as a subordinate agent in plots to upset the Commonwealth and murder Cromwell. He was arrested in London in November 1655 and was examined by Cromwell. Once more he escaped, but it was said by his enemies that he was bribed by the Protector, with whom one of his brothers was certainly in correspondence. After the Restoration he had a place in the household of the duke of York (James II.). He was actively engaged in an infamous intrigue to ruin the character of Anne Hyde, the duke's wife, but continued in James's employment and saw some service at sea in the naval wars with the Dutch. He accumulated money by acting as agent for Irish Roman Catholics who sought to recover their confiscated property. He was arrested in connexion with the Popish Plot agitation in 1678, but was allowed to go into exile. He returned just before the death of Charles II., and during the reign of James II. he was the chief agent of the king's policy in Ireland. He was appointed commander-in-chief and created earl of Tyrconnell in 1685. The duty assigned him was to create a Roman Catholic army which might be used to coerce England. In February 1687 he was appointed lord deputy, and became the civil as well as the military governor of Ireland. Tyrconnell, who foresaw the revolution in England, entered into intrigues for handing Ireland over to the king of France in order to secure the interest of his fellow Roman Catholics. For a time he made a pretence of protecting the Protestants, but when the revolution of 1688 occurred in England he threw himself, after some hesitation, into the struggle against William III., and when James fled to France Tyrconnell was left as his representative. When William raised the siege of Limerick, Tyrconnell went over to France to seek help, and after his return (January 1691) he was little more than a spectator of the military operations. When he did act it was to thwart the French General St Ruth and his own countryman Sarsfield. He became so unpopular that he was compelled to retire to Limerick, where he died of apoplexy on the 14th of August 1691. In 1689 King James created him duke of Tyrconnell, but the title was recognized only by the Jacobites.

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