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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
AT LOS ANGELES 




THE GIFT OF 

MAY TREAT MORRISON 

IN MEMORY OF 

ALEXANDER F MORRISON 



385Wash>nSt.Boston] 




//i the painting ky Mary Seal*.. By kind pemitsion of Earl Spencer. 

FRANCES JENNINGS, 
DUCHESS OF TYRCONNEL. 



LITTLE JENNINGS AND 
FIGHTING DICK TALBOT 

A Life of the Duke and Duchess of 

TyrconneL 
<By VHILlf W. SERGEANT 



With Seventeen Illustrations, including 
Two Photogravure Frontispieces 



VOL. L 



London: HUTCHINSON & CO, 
Paternoster Ro^ :: :: :: 1913 



PA 

H52. 



V. I 



PREFACE 



I FEAR that it may seem to readers of this book to those 
at least, who persevere to the end that its title is a misnomer, 
< that it would more aptly have been named " Materials for a 
Life of Richard Talbot, Duke of Tyrconnel, with some Details 
about his second Wife." The original plan did not contemplate 
the unequal division of the space between Richard Talbot and 
Frances Jennings which has been made in the following pages. 
But some books insist, as it were, on writing themselves, of 
developing independently of preconceived schemes. That has 
been the case with Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot. 
I have yielded to the claims of the forceful husband to over- 
shadow his wife, though aware that thereby the symmetry of 
the work has been impaired. 

Of Talbot it cannot be said, in the words of the early English 
translation of Rochefoucauld's Maxims : " Some Persons are 
so extreamly whiffling and inconsiderable, that they are as 
far from any real Faults, as they are from substantial Vertues." 
Talbot had abundance of real faults as well as some substantial 
virtues. I have in no way attempted to conceal the faults 
or to magnify unduly the virtues, but have tried to present 
the actual man, with the aid chiefly of his own writings and 
the estimates of his contemporaries. Few characters in English 
history have suffered more grievously from prejudice, and the 
only remedy appeared to me to get back to the documents 
of the period and examine in them the evidence for the charges 
brought against Talbot. In some places this has involved 
what may seem over-elaboration of detail ; but apart from the 
article in the Dictionary of National Biography there has been 

vii 

428749 



Preface 

no complete Life of Richard Talbot written hitherto, and 
therefore the present is in a sense a pioneer work. I hope that 
at least it may serve as part basis one day for a biography such 
as is merited by a very striking personality. I am conscious 
that there is still much more material to be discovered by patient 
research, for which, alas ! more time and money would be 
required than are mine. There are in existence in various parts 
of England and Ireland many unpublished letters written by 
Richard Talbot and a few by Frances Jennings which no 
doubt would have thrown additional light upon my subject, 
had I been able to consult them. Unhappily magic carpets 
are not among the goods which an author can acquire " upon 
easy terms." 

The sources of information to which I have gone are recorded 
in the Notes. I should like to acknowledge here, however, 
the assistance of the following modern books as guides to some of 
those sources, which I might otherwise have overlooked : The 
Travels of the King, by Miss Eva Scott ; Mary of Modena, by 
Mr. Martin Haile ; Revolutionary Ireland, by the Rev. R. H. 
Murray ; The Battle of the Boyne, by Mr. D. C. Boulger ; The 
English Court in Exile, by Mr. and Mrs. Grew ; and Mr. Allan 
Fea's edition of the Memoirs of Gramont. 

I have also to record my gratitude to Lady Baillie-Hamilton 
for her very kind aid and information with regard to the 
Hamilton family in the Seventeenth Century, not only on 
points mentioned in my Notes, but on many others, too, which 
do not there appear. 

PHILIP W. SERGEANT. 

December, 1912. 



POSTSCRIPT. The final revision of the proofs of this book 
had almost been completed when there was issued by the 
Clarendon Press the Journal of John Stevens, edited by the 
Rev. R. H. Murray. I need only state that my transcription of 
the manuscript was made independently, and that I was unaware 
that Dr. Murray was engaged upon the work. 



viii 



CONTENTS 

PART I 
FRANCES JENNINGS 

PART II 
RICHARD TALBOT 

CHAP. PAGE 

I. EARLY DAYS 17 

II. A PLOT AGAINST CROMWELL .... 35 

III. UNDER A CLOUD . ' 58 

IV. LIFE IN FLANDERS ...... 74 

V. TALBOT AND HIS TRADUCERS .... 93 

VI. THE IRISH CHAMPION ..... 117 

PART III 

WHITEHALL 

I. THE HAMILTONS ...... 143 

II. MISTRESS JENNINGS AT COURT .... 158 

III. TALBOT IN THE TOWER AGAIN .... 174 

IV. THE DIVERSIONS OF A MAID OF HONOUR . . 184 

V. Two MARRIAGES ...... 200 

ix 



Contents 

CHAP. PAGE 

VI. LADY HAMILTON 207 

VII. TALBOT AS IRISH AGENT 221 

VIII. INTRIGUES AND DISASTERS .... 244 

IX. VICTIMS OF TITUS GATES 258 

PART IV 

TEN YEARS TOGETHER 

I. THE MARRIAGE OF RICHARD AND FRANCES . 279 

II. THE LIFTING OF THE CLOUD .... 288 

III. PREPARATIONS FOR THE STRUGGLE . . . 300 

IV. CLARENDON v. TYRCONNEL ...... . 316 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



FRANCES JENNINGS, DUCHESS OF TYRCONNEL (Photo- 
gravure) ....... Frontispiece 

From the painting by Mary Beale at Althorpe, by kind 
Permission of Lord Spencer. 

To Face Page 

MRS. JENNINGS (FRANCES THORNHURST) ... 14 
From a photograph of the painting by Sir Godfrey 
Kneller at Althorpe, by kind permission of Lord 
Spencer. 

JAMES, DUKE OF YORK, AFTERWARDS JAMES II. . . 84 
From a photograph, by Emery Walker, of the painting 
by Sir Peter Lely at St. James's Palace. 

GODITHA PRICE 158 

From an engraving by Bartolozzi, after the painting 

by Sir Peter Lely. 
FRANCES JENNINGS, DUCHESS OF TYRCONNEL . . . 184 

From an engraving after a painting by Sir Peter Lely. 
SIR GEORGE (COUNT) HAMILTON ..... 200 
From a photograph, by Emery Walker, of the painting in 

the National Portrait Gallery, London. 

SARAH JENNINGS, DUCHESS OF MARLBOROUGH . . . 220 
From an engraving by Bond, after the painting by Sir 

Godfrey Kneller in Lord Spencer's collection. 
JAMES BUTLER, DUKE OF ORMONDE . ... . 272 
From an engraving by Robinson, after the painting by 

Sir Godfrey Kneller in Lord Strathmore's collection. 
RICHARD TALBOT, DUKE OF TYRCONNEL . . . 302 

From a photograph of the Indian ink drawing in the 
National Portrait Gallery, Dublin, after " a painting 
in the hands of Mr. Sykes, painter in Lincoln's 
Inn Fields " (by Sir Godfrey Kneller). 
xi 



" Little Jennings and Fighting 
Dick Talbot " 



PART I 

FRANCES JENNINGS 

f T is a curious fact, but by no means uncommon, 
that the record of the early years of celebrated 
women should be difficult to trace. Such is the case 
with Frances Jennings, child-beauty of the Court of 
Charles II. and one of the chief ornaments of the 
Court of his brother. For the first part of her 
story the materials are indeed scanty. They would 
be scantier still, had not her much junior sister 
Sarah, following her example in becoming maid of 
honour to the wife of James, Duke of York, attracted 
the affections of the young guardsman Jack Churchill 
and, finding in him a kindred spirit, helped him to 
rise almost to the summit of their joint ambitions. 
For, notable characters as were Frances and her 
second husband, Richard Talbot, in the circle of 
James II., so little attention was paid by writers after 

VOL. I. I I 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

the Revolution of 1688 to the truth about adherents 
of the beaten cause that the origins of Frances at 
least might have been forgotten but for the promi- 
nence of -her sister '. at- the Courts of King James's 
successprsl r. IHhJe' brilEaijce o. Duchess Sarah, however, 
was such that the memory of the Jennings family 
was made to shine by reflected light. What Frances 
deserved on her own account she obtained to a 
certain extent on her sister's, and in consequence we 
find on record a little more than, in the circum- 
stances, we might have expected. 

Unfortunately neither the date nor the place of 
the birth of Frances Jennings is preserved in any 
document now known to exist. Of the nine children, 
four sons and five daughters, born to her parents, the 
birthdays of three and the baptismal days of three 
more can be traced, and the year of birth of yet 
another can be approximately fixed. But in the case 
of Frances and her eldest brother John, we have to 
rely on deduction or conjecture. John did nothing, 
beyond succeeding for a brief while to the remains of 
the family estate, to save himself from obscurity. 
Frances, although she outlived her fame by more 
than forty years, certainly merited such honour as is 
implied in the survival of a true record of age. As 
will be seen, rumour at her decease imputed to her 
an absurdly incorrect length of life. 

Among the extant marriage licences for the month 
of December, 1643, is one which runs: "Richard 

2 



Frances Jennings 

Jenyns, Esq., of St. Alban's, Herts, Bachelor, 28, and 
Frances Thornurst, of St. Martin's Fields, Spinster, 
1 8, her father dead; consent of her mother, the now 
Lady Lister, wife of Sir Martin Lister, Kt. ; at 
St. Martin's af[ore]s[ai]d, St. Giles in the Fields, or 
St. Paul's, Covent Garden." 

The parties mentioned were the father and mother 
of the heroine of this work. Richard Jennings, or 
Jenyns, was the eldest son of one branch of a family 
whose origin (thanks to the interest aroused in all 
things connected with Sarah, Duchess of Marl- 
borough) has been traced back without a break to 
the beginning of the Fifteenth Century,* when a 
certain John Jenyn was Mayor of Guildford, Surrey, 
in 1413 and 1435. Barnard, a great-grandson of the 
mayor, was a skinner in the City of London, but 
with his son Ralph the family began to rise above 
the level of commerce to the rank of country 
gentlemen. Ralph's first wife brought him land from 
her father, Ralph Rowlat, a goldsmith, to whom 
Henry VIII. gave a knighthood and the manors of 
Sandridge and Holywell, both near St. Albans. By 
his second wife, Joan, daughter of Henry Brounker, 
he had four children. One son, John, went to 
Oxford and the Middle Temple and was afterwards 

* Mrs. Arthur Colvile, in Duchess Sarah, quotes the authority of Mr. 
Thomas Perry for the supposed descent of John Jenyn from a Genoese captain 
of archers who came to England in the Thirteenth Century. She points out 
another remote Italian strain also : Alicia Spencer, wife of Sir John Jennings, 
junior, was the great-great-granddaughter of one Anthony Cavalery. 

VOL. I. 3 I* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot < 

knighted by James I. Like his father, Sir John 
married twice, his second wife his cousin Ann 
Brounker bearing him a son, who was named after 
himself John and who also received the honour of 
knighthood. Sir John Jennings the second married 
Alicia, daughter of Sir Richard Spencer, a Hertford- 
shire neighbour, and by her had a huge family.* In 
1626, the year after his knighthood, he was chosen as 
High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, and in 1640 the mayor 
and burgesses of St. Albans elected him as one of 
their two representatives in the Parliament afterwards 
known as the Long. Two years later he died, 
leaving property to the value of about ,4,000 per 
annum. 

Richard inherited from his father not only Holy- 
well and Sandridge, but also the manors of Churchill 
in Somerset and Fanne in Surrey. He succeeded him 
too as member for St. Albans, though he was only 
twenty-two years of age. In the following year he 
took to wife, as we have seen, Frances, daughter of a 
deceased Kentish baronet, Sir Gifford Thornhurst, of 
Agnes Court, Old Romford, by Susanna, daughter of 
Sir Alexander Temple. The Thornhurst family has 

* Sarah Jennings appears to have been uncertain as to the number. In a 
letter in The Private Correspondence of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, Vol. II., 
p. 112, she writes: "My father had in all two-and-twenty brothers and 
sisters." In An Account of the Conduct of the Duchess of Marlborougb, which 
she published in 1 742, she says, " Our grandfather, Sir John Jenyns, had 
two-and-twenty children, by which means the estate of the family (which 
was reputed to be about ,4000 a year) came to be divided into small 
parcels." 

4 



Frances Jennings 

several memorials in Canterbury Cathedral, and 
Frances was her father's heiress. To Richard Jennings 
a dowry was welcome, since not only was he one of 
a host of brothers and sisters, but the Civil War had 
begun to involve his property, like that of so many 
other Cavaliers. His marriage improved his position, 
and his prospects may well have seemed to him 
bright again when he brought his bride to his home 
in Whitehall, where, when not at Holywell, the 
family had been living since Sir John had been 
elected for St. Albans. But the struggle between 
King and Parliament brought him to ruin. He had 
not long been married when he and one of his 
brothers, Charles, were obliged to raise money by 
giving a bond for 20,000 to Sir Martin Lister, 
second husband of Richard's mother-in-law. Still he 
was reduced to selling Churchill, which had been 
purchased by Ralph, son of the skinner, and other 
property in Somerset.* This did not save him, 

* Sir Winston Churchill, father of the first Duke of Marlborough, writing to 
Blue Mantle at the Herald's Office on June 22nd, 1686, concerning his pedigree, 
says : " My eldest son is the present Ld. Churchill, who has marryd Sarah, one 
of the daughters and co-heires of Richard Jennings of St. Albans, the 
unfortunate looser of the manner of Churchill., which is now to be sold, but my 
son, being disappointed of having it given to him, as Sir John Churchill allways 
did promise him, refuses to buy it." According to Sir Winston, Churchill was 
originally the property of his family 5 but Edward I. seized on the lordship 
because one of the family had been active in the Barons' War. In the reign of 
Henry VIII. the Jenningses became possessed of it. Richard Jennings sold it to 
Sir John Churchill, Master of the Rolls. The manor, complains Sir Winston, 
had come to his own son, " had it not been so unfortunately alienated by her 
[Sarah's] said father." (Historical Manuscripts Commission Reports, BathMSS., 
Vol. II.) 

5 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

however, for on December 3ist, 1650, there was an 
order in council to compel him to leave Whitehall, 
where he was sheltering himself from arrest for debt ; 
and it was so peremptory in tone that we cannot 
doubt that it was carried out. 

In spite of his vicissitudes Richard Jennings rapidly 
became the father of a large number of children. 
The registers of St. Margaret's, Westminster, record 
the baptism of his eldest daughter Susanna on 
February 25th, 1645, when he had been married about 
fifteen months. The baptismal entries relating to the 
next three children, John, Frances and Barbara, have 
yet to be discovered ; but we have evidence that 
Barbara was born in either 1651 or early 1652.* 
The births of John and Frances have therefore to be 
placed between the years 1646 and 1650. It seems 
probable, from what we hear of Frances about the 
time when she went to be maid of honour to the 
Duchess of York, that she was her brother's junior 
rather than his senior, so that we may conjecture 
him to have been born about 1647 and her about 
1649. 

Were the place of Barbara's birth known, we 
should also know something of what happened to the 
Jennings family, parents and children, between the 
time of their expulsion from Whitehall and their 

* According to her marriage license she was about twenty-two on April 1 2th, 
1673 ; according to her epitaph at St. Albans she was in her twenty-seventh 
year when she died on March 22nd, 1678. See Appendix A. 

6 



Frances Jennings 

return to the St. Albans neighbourhood.* As it is, 
we cannot show them to have been in the latter 
place before 1653. In that year a little Richard was 
baptized at the Abbey on July 5th. He died eleven 
months later, and the same name was given to 
another boy, baptized on October izth, 1654. The 
second Richard was cut off even younger, being only 
ten months at his death. In the spring of the same 
year, 1655, the burial of the eldest girl of the family, 
Susanna, is recorded. The same name, taken no 
doubt from the maternal grandmother Susanna 
Temple, was bestowed on another daughter, born on 
July nth, 1656; but within six months she was in 
her grave. On October i6th of this year occurred 
the birth of the youngest son, Ralph (or Ralfe, as he 
appears in the St. Albans register), who happily 
escaped the fate of his three immediate predecessors 
and survived beyond infancy. 

This completes the list of the children of Richard 
and Frances Jennings before the Restoration.f On 
June 5th, a week after that event, was born 
Sarah, last and best known, and alone with 
Frances the younger destined to a long span of 
life. 



* On May 6th, 1650, a Richard Jennings was granted a pass by the existing 
Government to go to Holland (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1650). 
Is it possible that this was our Richard Jennings, and that, seven months before 
bis expulsion from Whitehall, he was looking for a refuge for his family on the 
Continent in event of serious trouble ? 

| See Appendix A. 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Richard Jennings, had he not been the father of 
two such daughters, would have made no mark upon 
the history of his time. All that is known concern- 
ing him after his return to Hertfordshire is that he 
was again one of the representatives of St. Albans 
in the Convention Parliament which invited King 
Charles back to England. In view of his alleged 
military services and pecuniary losses in the Royalist 
cause, we should have expected to find Charles 
knighting Richard Jennings, as Charles's father and 
grandfather knighted those of Richard Jennings. But 
no such honour was bestowed on him. The intro- 
duction of his daughter to the household of the 
Duchess of York appears to have been the only 
favour which he obtained. Either the King was 
ungrateful, or else Jennings's impoverished condition 
was thought to be due to other causes besides his 
loyalty alone. He remained in poor circumstances 
until the day of his death, which occurred on May 
8th, 1668. Three weeks later his effects were ad- 
ministered by his chief creditor, Anthony Mildmay, 
his widow having renounced probate. It was, no 
doubt, her memories of straitened days of childhood 
in the Hertfordshire home which caused Sarah 
Jennings later in life to speak of having " raised her 
family out of the dirt." Sarah had, however, some 
reason for gratitude to her mother, if the con- 
temporary story be true which made Mrs. Jennings 
aid her youngest daughter to marriage with the man 

8 



Frances Jennings 

of her heart ; and moreover by her will she left 
Sarah everything on her death.* 

It may be imagined that the younger Frances's 
change of faith after her first marriage had something 
to do with her mother's unfriendliness to her, as 
evinced by her passing her over in favour of Sarah. 
But it was scarcely a recommendation of character to 
be the favourite of Mrs. Jennings, whose name in the 
scandalous history of her period is very bad. Some 
discount must be made, no doubt, for the virulent 
hatred of the enemies of the Duke of Marlborough, 
which extended itself to all connected with him 
including his mother-in-law. Mrs. Jennings's chief 
traducer is Mary de la Riviere Manley, author of 
The New Atalantis and The Adventures oj 
Rivella, whose savage treatment of Marlborough we 
may suppose to have been partly inspired by her 
association with the Duchess of Cleveland. While 
living with her patron at Arlington Street, Piccadilly, 
Mrs. Manley must often have been regaled with 
abuse of the gallant who " lived to refuse his mis- 
tress half-a-crown."f And Rivella, although she 

* Mrs. Jennings's will, dated February I2th, 1692, and proved January nth, 
1694, bequeathed all her manors, estate, personalty, etc., to Sarah for her sole 
and separate use, so that " my dear son-in-law, John, Earl of Marlborough, 
though I love him from my heart, shall not intermeddle therein, but be 
wholly debarred" (Steinman, Althorp Memoirs, biography of Mrs. 
Jennings). She directed that she should be buried in St. Albans Abbey Church, 
as near as possible to her " four first children " i. e., apparently, Susanna, John, 
Barbara and Ralph, omitting those who died in early infancy. 

f See My Lady Castlemaine, pp. 189-90, 274 ff. 

9 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

subsequently quarrelled with Hilaria, was too fond 
of evil-speaking to spare the latter's enemies on 
that account. 

Some of Mrs. Manley's accusations against Mrs. 
Jennings cannot be reproduced here, since in making 
them this pioneer among feminine realists in England 
gives full play to her coarseness. While calling her 
procuress, she elaborates the charge far beyond the 
limits of decency, and suggests that she would have 
been eminent at the court of the Emperor Tiberius. 
Nor is Mrs. Jennings represented by her as one-sided 
in her moral delinquency. She was " all that was 
scandalous, impious and detestable." Among other 
failings, " she was a very careless speaker, not to say 
false, and at every word us'd to reiterate and wish 
that she might rot and perish alive, when the matter 
in question was never so untrue; which accordingly 
happened," adds Mrs. Manley, giving an extraordinary 
and unpleasant account of the death which befell her. 

The most odd of the charges against Mrs. Jennings 
is to the effect that she was a dealer in magic. In 
the last volume of The New Atalantis she appears as 
Damareta, and it is related how she became a " witch 
or sorceress." Her teacher was " a person named 
Timias, whose father left him a large inheritance and 
a little ambition ; averse to the marriage-state and 
yet a votary to Venus." Timias is the celebrated Sir 
Kenelm Digby, son of one of the Gunpowder 
plotters, whose interest in " chymistry " and the 

10 



Frances Jennings 

studies then considered to be allied with it is well 
known. According to Mrs. Manley, Mrs. Jennings, 
when newly married, was a neighbour to Sir Kenelm 
Digby, and " her youth and gaiety put her among 
the number of those who had the good fortune to 
please Timias." She was very angry with a certain 
young lady who had robbed her of a lover, and 
surrendered herself to the reputed magician in return 
for his aid in accomplishing the lady's ruin. After 
this Damareta retained the affections of Timias until 
his death the Empress Irene (i. e. Sarah Jennings) 
being his supposed daughter and was taught his art 
by him. 

Whatever be the basis of this preposterous tale, in 
which the insinuation about the paternity of the 
Duchess of Marlborough can easily be disproved, it 
is a fact that Mrs. Jennings somehow or other 
obtained the reputation of being a witch, as the 
Tories of Queen Anne's reign delighted to remember. 
In a squib attributed to Swift and entitled The Story 
of the St. Allans Ghost or the Apparition oj Mother 
Haggy* published in 1712, Mrs. Jennings figures as 

* In his edition of Swift, Sir Walter Scott quotes in a footnote to this some 
lines of the period : 

No wonder storms more dreadful are by far 
Than all the losses of a twelve years' war j 
No wonder prelates do the church betray, 
Old statesmen vote and act a different way ; 
No wonder magic arts surround the throne, 
Old Mother Jennings in her Grace is known ; 
Old England's genius rouse, her charms dispel, 
Burn but the witch, and all things will do well. 

II 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Mother Haggy. The Story is a fatuous piece of 
political pamphleteering, but one passage from it is 
perhaps worth quotation, as an example of the way 
in which it was held permissible to speak of the 
deceased Mrs. Jennings: 

" Mother Haggy was married to a plain homespun 
yeoman of St. Alban's, and lived in good repute for 
some years ; the place of her birth is disputed by 
some of the most celebrated moderns, though they 
have a tradition in the country that she was never 
born at all, and which is most probable. At the 
birth of her daughter Haggite [Sarah] something 
happened very remarkable, and which gave occasion 
to the neighbourhood to mistrust she held a corre- 
spondence with old Nick, as was confirmed afterwards, 
beyond the possibility of disproof. The neighbours 
were got together a-merry-making, as they term it, 
in the country, when the old woman's high-crowned 
hat, that had been thrown upon the bed's tester 
during the heat of the engagement, leaped with a 
wonderful agility into the cradle, and being catched 
at by the nurse, was metamorphosed into a coronet, 
which, according to her description, was not much 
unlike that of a German prince; but it soon broke 
into a thousand pieces. ' Such,' cries old Mother 
Haggy, ' will be the fortune of my daughter and such 
her fall. ' " 

Mrs. Manley also credits Mrs. Jennings with insight 
into the future, making her present at the birth of 

12 



Frances Jennings 

John Churchill, " having a friendship with his mother," 
and foretell his rise to greatness.* 

We cannot hope to extract from these ferocious 
libels upon her mother any information with regard 
to the early training which the younger Frances 
Jennings received at her hands. From the description 
of her in the Memoirs of Gramont we gather that at 
least her natural gifts were well developed when she 
left St. Albans. Mrs. Manley, it may be noted, 
speaking of Sarah's first arrival at Court many years 
later, says that her mother " gave her in charge to 
make all things subservient to Interest, discreetly telling 
her that Virtue was no more than a Name, and 
Chastity less, since it was much to be doubted 
whether there ever was such a Thing." Mrs. Jennings 
accompanied her youngest daughter to St. James's 
Palace. She did not so accompany Frances. Against 
neither of them does there seem the slightest justifica- 
tion for accusations of looseness of morals; though 
such were made against them by contemporary 
enemies, as might have been expected, and have been 
unhappily repeated in more modern days, when we 
might have hoped for more decent regard of the 
truth.f 

When, therefore, Frances came to London at the 
age of about fifteen, to be maid of honour to the 

* New Atalantis, I., 28, IV., 50. In the first passage Churchill is " The 
Count " ; in the second " (the now great) Stauratius." 

f See below, pp. 189-90, 524 ; and cp. Macaulay's insinuations against Sarah. 

13 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Duchess of York, it was without the very dubious 
advantage of her mother's protection though it must 
be admitted that in 1676 Mrs. Jennings displayed a 
concern for Sarah's moral welfare which other mothers, 
of personally infamous character, have likewise been 
known to show with regard to their daughters. But 
Frances was fortunate in one respect. Coming 
" directly from the country to the Court," as 
Gramont says, and perhaps having seen no more of 
the great events which had recently happened than 
Monk's arrival at St. Albans with his army in January, 
1660, she passed under the care of the Duchess of 
York. The latter, despite the calumnies against her, 
had some regard for the character of her attendants, 
and was " reforming " her household at the time when 
she introduced Frances into it. The little Jennings 
came to Court under better auspices than the little 
Stewart, for instance, although the latter was brought 
by her own mother. Anne Hyde had a stronger will 
than Catherine of Braganza, and if both did their 
best to shield their pretty maids of honour the 
Duchess was decidedly more successful than the 
Queen. We must not detract, however, from the 
credit of Frances Jennings herself, who was able so 
early in life to hold her own with a crowd of 
admirers which began with the King and his brother 
and ended with Dick Talbot. 




From the painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller at Althorpe, by kind permission of Earl Spencer. 
MRS. JENNINGS (FRANCES THORNHURST). 



PART II 

RICHARD TALBOT 



CHAPTER I 

EARLY DAYS 

T3 ICHARD TALBOT, the man whom Lord 
Macaulay chose to make, with his brother-in- 
law John Churchill, one of the two blackest villains 
in the story of the last Stuart kings, was the youngest 
son of a very large Irish family. His father Sir 
William was a member of one of the houses of the 
Pale. Here the Talbots established themselves as 
early as the reign of Henry II., who in 1174 made to 
his follower Richard de Talbot a grant of Malahide, 
near Dublin. According to Macaulay the Talbots 
were " an old Irish family which had been long 
settled in Leinster, which had there sunk into 
degeneracy, which had adopted the manners of the 
Celts, which had, like the Celts, adhered to the old 
religion, and which had taken part with the Celts in 
the rebellion of 1641." The family's long settlement 
in Leinster and its adherence to Roman Catholicism 
are not to be denied. Its share in the 1641 rebellion 
VOL. i. 17 2 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

may be left on one side for the present. With 
regard to the other two charges, it is to be wished 
that the historian had been more explicit. He cannot 
mean by degeneracy intermarriage with the native 
Irish, for of this there is no evidence. Sir William's 
wife was Alison, one of the Nettervilles of the Pale.* 
His father Robert Talbot married Catherine Lutterell, 
also from the Pale. Further back in the pedigree we 
find Thomas Talbot, of Malahide Castle, son of Sir 
Richard Talbot and Maud Plunkett, taking to wife 
Elizabeth Buckley. Norman blood ran very strongly 
in the veins of the Irish Talbots, and it is not until 
we come to one of Sir William's daughters that we 
have proof of an alliance with one of the " O's and 
Mac's," Eleanor Talbot marrying Sir Henry O'Neil. 
Macaulay himself, it may be noted, states upon the 
authority of the Sheridan Manuscript at Windsor 
that Tyrconnel " sometimes, in his rants, talked with 
Norman haughtiness of the Celtic barbarians." 

But perhaps by " degeneracy " is intended much the 
same as " adoption of the manners of the Celt." As 
exhibited by William Talbot, these manners do not 
seem to have attracted unfavourable comment from 
his contemporaries, or we should undoubtedly have 
had it handed down to us by the countless enemies 

* In a list of nobles and gentlemen of the Pale who, in the reign of Queen 
Elizabeth, had complained of the " cess " as contrary to law and justice and 
refused to subscribe, we find side by side the names of William Talbot and 
John Newtervile (sic), who on February 7th, 1578, were fined ,100 and ,75 
respectively. (H.M.C. Reports, Egmont MSS., Vol. I.) 

18 



Early Days 

of his son Richard. His career was honourable, if 
chequered. Carte, biographer of the Duke of 
Ormonde who was so often at variance with the son, 
describes the father as " a lawyer and a man of good 
parts, who by his prudence and management had 
acquired a large estate." Talbot achieved rapid 
success in his profession and became Recorder of 
Dublin. His religion, however, brought him into 
trouble by preventing him from taking the oath of 
supremacy which was asked of him in the first year 
of James I., and he was removed from his post as a 
recusant. Turning his attention to politics, in 1613 
he was elected for County Kildare in the Irish House 
of Commons. Again he was doomed to suffer for his 
religious views. He took a prominent part in the 
protests of the Opposition when James's first and only 
Irish Parliament met at Dublin Castle in May ; and 
when the leading Roman Catholics resolved to com- 
plain to the King of the way in which their voice 
was stifled by the corrupt practices and oppression of 
their enemies they chose Talbot as one of the deputa- 
tion to proceed to London. The Privy Council gave 
him a very unfriendly reception, tendered for his 
acceptance the English oath of supremacy, and invited 
his opinion on the doctrines of the Jesuit writer 
Suarez about the lawfulness of killing or deposing a 
heretic king. The legal abilities which those who 
had sent him over to England had hoped would be 
of such advantage to their cause could not preserve 

VOL. I. 19 2* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

him from the consequences of his religious scruples. 
He would not declare the deposition of a heretic king 
unlawful, though repudiating murder. He was accord- 
ingly committed to the Tower until it should be 
decided how to punish him. 

In a communication which Talbot made to a 
fellow-prisoner, he did not mention his religion as 
the cause of his persecution.* Yet clearly it was what 
chiefly influenced his case. He appeared before the 
Star Chamber and was prosecuted by Francis Bacon, 
then Attorney-General. Still refusing the oath and 
declaring that matters of faith were for the Church to 
decide, he vainly acknowledged James as lawful and 
undoubted King, to whom he would bear true faith 
and allegiance during his own life. On November 
1 3th the Star Chamber, after listening to the Attorney- 
General's vigorous denunciation of Talbot's attitude, 
delivered its verdict and adjudged that he should pay 
the monstrous fine of ten thousand pounds. In the 
meantime he returned to the Tower, to " attend on 
His Majesty's pleasure." 

Happily for William Talbot, the injustice with 

* Talbot told John Cotton that " he thought the cause of his trouble was 
because he was sent with others out of Ireland upon complaint of matters of 
that country, whereunto he said he was hardly drawn, and against his will." 
(H.M.C. Reports, Ancaster MSS.) In the funeral oration on the Duke of 
Tyrconnel in 1692, Messire A. Anselm says of William Talbot : " His intrepid 
wisdom made him so formidable to the ministers that their cruel policy con- 
demned him to prison for several years, for the sole reason, they said, that it 
would never be possible to subdue Ireland while she had such a defender." 
Very probably it was the tradition in the family that William Talbot suffered 
rather as an Irish patriot than as a Roman Catholic. 

20 



Early Days 

which he was treated was not carried to an extremity. 
After more than a year in the Tower, he was per- 
mitted to return home in 1614, and it does not 
appear that payment of the fine was exacted. With- 
out changing his faith, moreover, he obtained pardon 
for his offences, whatever they were. It has been 
suggested that the price of his forgiveness was that 
he should no longer act against the Government, and 
it is true that we do not hear of his doing so after 
his release. In February, 1622, he was honoured with 
a baronetcy, and subsequently he received gifts of land 
in Ireland, so that on his death on March i6th, 1633, 
he left a considerable estate to his heirs. 

Sir William and his wife had in all sixteen children, 
eight sons and eight daughters.* The daughters do 
not figure prominently in history, although the eldest, 
Mary, by her marriage with Sir John Dongan, or 
Dungan, became the mother of some well-known 
personages at the Courts of Charles II. and James II. 
Of the sons we shall, in the course of this book, 
meet five others besides Richard. The eldest, Robert, 
who at the age of twenty-six, succeeded his father as 
second baronet, is described by Lord Chancellor 
Clarendon as " much the best ; that is, the rest were 
much worse men " not high praise, perhaps it may 
be said, except as coming from the pen of one who 
admits that he was looked upon as an enemy of the 
whole family. However, Carte, little more inclined 

* For the complete list of the family, see Appendix B. 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

than Clarendon to extol one of the Talbots, allows 
him to have been " a gentleman of very good sense, 
strict honour, and great bravery." 

Of John, who was probably the second son, we 
shall hear but little; of Garrett and James less still. 
But Peter, whom Clarendon calls the second of the 
brothers,* played no small part in intrigues both 
before and after the Restoration, while Gilbert and 
Thomas, the black sheep of the family, both made 
themselves conspicuous for a time during the long 
exile of Charles II. 

Richard, if the commonly accepted date of his birth 
in 1630 be correct, was not more than three years 
old when his father died. In the family home at 
Carton or Cartown, Kildare, now the property of his 
brother Robert, his early years were passed ; and here 
presumably he was, at the age of eleven, when the 
Irish insurrection under Owen O'Neil broke out. 
Through his tender years he took no immediate part 
in this rising against the English Government. But 
his family, like so many others belonging to the Pale, 
was soon drawn into it. As early as 1611 Lord 
Carew, sent by James I. to Ireland on a special 
mission of inspection, had the wisdom to foresee a 
drawing together, through community of faith, of the 
old English settlers and the native Irish, and 
prophesied that they would rebel " under the veil of 
religion and liberty." Thirty years later his forecast 

* The second of those known to himself, Clarendon must mean. 
22 



Early Days 

proved true. The Roman Catholic invaders from 
Ulster, on entering the Pale in December, 1641, called 
on the inhabitants to join those who had the same 
interests as themselves and suffered the same injustices. 
The plea prevailed, and the Anglo-Norman Papists, 
including Sir Robert Talbot, ranged themselves on the 
side of the insurgents. But it must be stated that 
all intention of rebelling against the King was from 
the first repudiated. The very Ulstermen claimed to 
be supporters of the royal prerogative, on which the 
" malignants " in the English Parliament had en- 
croached, and the nobles and gentry of the Pale 
looked upon themselves, not the officials at Dublin 
Castle, as the loyalists. In spite of Charles's hostile 
proclamation of January ist, 1642, the celebrated 
Confederation began its career with a protest that it 
was making war on behalf of religion and the King. 

Sir Robert Talbot quickly came to the front among 
the Confederates, as an eloquent advocate of their 
cause rather than as a righting man. Indeed, in the 
warfare against the Marquis of Ormonde, either before 
or after he was made Lord Lieutenant, Sir Robert 
appears to have taken no part.* But he was 
prominent in council. He was one of the Irish 

* Carte says : " Sir Robert .... having been driven by the lords justices' 
treatment unwillingly into the rebellion, and retaining always a true affection 
to his country, and good inclinations to the King's service, had constantly 
laboured to dispose his countrymen to peace, and persuade them to sub- 
mission to His Majesty's authority. He was very active in promoting this 
end, whenever an opportunity offered." (History of the Duke of Ormond, 
IV., 67.) 

23 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

representatives selected to present their grievances at 
the conference at Trim in March, 1643. He was, 
with Ormonde's brother-in-law Viscount Muskerry, one 
of the ten who signed the articles with Ormonde for 
the "Cessation" on September I5th, securing a year's 
truce. Next month he and Muskerry were also 
members of the commission of seven sent over to the 
King at Oxford. The Confederates' demands, includ- 
ing relief from the penal laws against Roman Catholics 
and freedom of the Irish Parliament from English 
interference, were more than Charles dared grant, had 
he wished to do so. The question of terms being 
referred to Ormonde, now Lord Lieutenant, Talbot 
was one of the twelve negotiators appointed by the 
Irish to meet him. 

But the struggle was becoming at once more bitter 
and more complicated. The early barbarities of the 
Ulstermen against the settlers (in which the inhabit- 
ants of the Pale were in no way implicated) led to 
brutal reprisals, and to an order by the English Parlia- 
ment that no quarter should be given to any Irish 
taken in arms. The dissensions in England, however, 
made for the advantage of those who had been pro- 
claimed rebels across St. George's Channel. The Irish 
had already been soliciting aid from foreign nations, 
and the arrival of the Papal nuncio Giovanni Battista 
Rinuccini, armed with vast powers from Rome, 
rendered the chances of reconciliation with the 
dominant party in England much poorer. But the 

24 



Early Days 

King could not afford to be exacting. In his 
desperate plight at home he was anxious to gain 
Irish support, and Ormonde was commanded to con- 
clude peace on the best terms which he could get. 
The result was the treaty of 1646, one of the 
signatories to which was Sir Robert Talbot. This 
treaty did not end the warfare, except as between the 
Lord Lieutenant and the leaders of the Pale. The 
fighting between the Irish and the troops of the 
English Parliament continued, while on the Con- 
federate side the Papal nuncio and the clerical party 
in general denounced the peace with Ormonde. In 
vain the Lord Lieutenant endeavoured to gain over 
Owen O'Neil. Rinuccini's influence was too strong. 
Ormonde, after having been welcomed at Kilkenny, 
the Confederate headquarters, was driven back to 
Dublin, while Rinuccini deposed and for a time 
imprisoned the old Supreme Council. So hopeless 
did Ormonde's position become that he surrendered 
Dublin to the forces of the English Parliament and 
at the end of July, 1647, retired from Ireland for 
fourteen months. 

It was little more than a week after Ormonde's 
departure that the youngest of the Talbot brothers is 
first heard of in the Confederate ranks. Aged now 
about seventeen, Richard was serving as a cornet of 
horse in the army of Thomas Preston, who disputed 
with Owen O'Neil the command of the Irish, and 
like him had been placed by Rinuccini on the new 

25 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Supreme Council. Carte says that Sir Robert 
Talbot's " prudence, credit and influence first brought 
his youngest brother into the world, where the favour 
and eminent worth of their sister's son, Sir Walter 
Dungan, contributed to advance him." Mary Talbot, 
eldest daughter of Sir William Talbot, as has been 
said, had married Sir John Dongan, and several of 
their sons served in the Confederate army with their 
father. The most prominent of these was Walter 
Dongan, the first-born, in whose troop Richard 
Talbot his junior, though his uncle was " standard- 
bearer." According to Carte, Walter Dongan came 
to Ormonde in 1645 with letters from King Charles 
recommending the extraordinary services of himself 
and his father and was given a commission to raise 
men and join Preston, who was better inclined than 
O'Neil to the King's side, and whose rather hesitating 
loyalty was hereafter to be rewarded by Charles II. 
with the title of Viscount Tara. After the treaty of 
1646 and its rejection by the Irish clericals, Dongan 
sent to Ormonde to ask what he should do and was 
commanded to remain with Preston's army in hopes 
of bringing it over to the King. 

Accordingly Dongan and his young uncle were with 
Preston at the beginning of August, 1647, when 
Colonel Michael Jones, the Irish Protestant, marched 
against him at the head of a Parliamentary force. 
On the 8th of the month the battle known by the 
name of Dungan Hill took place, the Confederates 

26 



Early Days 

being utterly routed, with a loss of five or six 
thousand men. As was usual in this ghastly struggle, 
little mercy was shown after victory, and perhaps it 
was only owing to his youth that Richard Talbot's 
life was spared, though he was taken prisoner. 
Whether he was released or exchanged or, as 
frequently afterwards, managed to make his escape, 
does not appear. At any rate, he was able before 
long to rejoin the army and to fight once more 
against the Parliamentarians. 

Ormonde, on his return to Ireland in the autumn 
of 1648, found the split in the Confederate party 
much more pronounced than when he left, and he 
was heartily welcomed to Kilkenny by the General 
Assembly. Already O'Neil had been proclaimed a 
traitor by his former friends for treating with Jones 
for peace. The families of the Pale, true to their 
professions of loyalty to the King, would have no 
dealings with the Parliament. 

In spite of all Rinuccini's efforts, the Confederates 
concluded another treaty with the Lord Lieutenant 
on January i/th, 1649, the terms being almost the 
same as those of the treaty of 1646. The murder of 
Charles I. only helped to cement the alliance; and 
Rinuccini, unable to procure the money he required 
from Rome and having completely lost his influence 
over the more solid of the Irish leaders, gave up the 
struggle and left Ireland, while Ormonde proclaimed 
Charles II. king. 

27 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

The Parliamentarians replied vigorously. Denounc- 
ing Ormonde's allies once more as rebels and 
repudiating all treaties with them, they patched up a 
kind of truce with O'Neil and even supplied his 
forces with gunpowder and provisions. Moreover, 
Cromwell himself landed at Dublin with the title of 
Lord Lieutenant on August I5th, and took the field 
at once. The first place which he attacked was 
Drogheda, where Ormonde had put Sir Arthur Aston 
in command and where Richard Talbot was among 
the garrison. The siege began on September 3rd, but 
Cromwell's big guns were not in position until the 
loth. As soon as the bombardment began, however, 
all was over. The besieged were hopelessly out- 
numbered, and their gallant resistance could not 
survive the assault next day. A massacre followed, 
the extent of which is disputed, although it is 
admitted by the victors to have gone on for two 
days, and to have included many non-combatants. 
Cromwell, on his own confession, ordered no quarter 
to be given to any found in arms, and the escape of 
Richard Talbot was almost miraculous. Seriously 
wounded and thought to be dead, he owed his 
preservation, amid the general butchery, to the 
compassion of Commissary-General John Reynolds. 
But for his luck in falling into the hands of a 
merciful man, his chance of life would indeed have 
been small, since, apart from the general refusal of 
quarter, the " old English " were if possible even 

28 



Early Days 

more obnoxious to the Parliamentarians than were 
the native Irish. 

In the dress of a woman the disguise must have 
been good for this tall young Irishman to pass as 
such Richard Talbot made his way into safety. 
The Irish and Royalist cause was lost, although the 
struggle still continued for a while and Talbot's 
kinsmen still played various parts in it. Ormonde had 
been making unceasing efforts to gain over Owen 
O'Neil to his side. Charles II., to assist him in the 
attempt, sent over from Saint-Germain a letter to 
O'Neil, entrusting it to Father Thomas, one of the 
two Talbot brothers who had chosen the church for 
their career. Ormonde despatched Thomas Talbot to 
O'Neil, and at last in October a treaty was made. 
But it was too late. O'Neil was very ill and died 
only a fortnight after he had agreed to act as 
Ormonde's representative in Ulster. 

Town after town fell into the hands of the 
Parliamentarians. Ormonde was unable to save even 
Kilkenny, and Cromwell was so satisfied with the 
progress of affairs that at the end of May, 1650, he 
put the command into the hands of Ireton and 
quitted Ireland. The new general carried on the 
work vigorously. At Tecroghan in Meath he found 
Sir Robert Talbot in charge of the castle. The siege 
was entrusted to Reynolds, Richard's preserver. Sir 
Robert held out over a month and only capitulated 
on June 25th on condition that he and the garrison 

29 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

should go free. Dissensions among the Irish led to 
talk of treachery, but Ormonde refused to believe it 
against an honourable man, and doubtless he was 
justified in his confidence.* The Irish extremists had 
grown proportionately stronger as the Royalists went 
on from defeat to defeat, and unhappily they 
hesitated at little that would damage those who were 
nominally fighting the same enemies as themselves. 
Ormonde himself soon suffered at their hands. He 
quarrelled with the Roman Catholic bishops, who 
now after O'NeiPs death had the strongest hold over 
the native Irish, and they excommunicated all who 
followed him. Charles's miserable submission to the 
Scots' demands and consequent denunciation of the 
Irish as rebels completed the breach. Very naturally 
the Irish Roman Catholics, for their own safety, 
demanded a Lord Lieutenant of their faith. 
Ormonde was forced to yield, though he managed to 
persuade the Irish to accept Lord Clanricarde with 
the title of his " deputy." Having obtained this con- 
cession, he sailed from Dublin for the French coast 
on December nth, not to revisit Ireland for nearly 
twelve years. 

The Irish prolonged the hopeless contest for 
another two years after Ormonde's retirement, but 

* It may be noted that when Athlone Castle fell a year later, Talbot's enemies 
revived their accusations against him. But Lord Muskerry, writing to Ormonde 
on August 25th, 1651, though speaking of " the treacheroui surrender of the 
castle of Athlone," declined to hold Sir Robert guilty. (H.M.C. Reports, 
Ormonde MSS., Vol. I., New Series.) 

30 



Early Days 

they could scarcely any longer be said to have been 
upholding the King's cause. There were Royalists 
among them still in the field, such as Sir Robert 
Talbot and the Dongans. Of the latter Carte says 
that Walter, with his brother William and his father 
Sir John, took Ormonde's advice " to make themselves 
as considerable as possible among the Irish and keep 
an interest among them until his own return to 
Ireland." " They were all valiant, active, and faith- 
ful," he continues. " Sir Walter was wounded and 
taken prisoner in the service ; but after being 
released and appointed commissary-general of the 
horse, he held out against the usurper, till enforced 
with the rest of his party to transport himself 
according to articles to Spain, where he gave signal 
testimonies of his duty, affection, and loyalty to His 
Majesty's service." 

Considerable (it may seem excessive) space has been 
given here to the Irish Rebellion and to the part 
played therein by the kinsmen and connections of 
Richard Talbot. But it is impossible to understand 
the future attitude of Tyrconnel towards the politics 
of his day without seeing what were the influences 
which worked upon him in boyhood and youth and 
moulded his opinions. We have found him brought 
up among a class of men with high aristocratic 
traditions, who tried to solve the terribly difficult 
problem how to remain loyal at once to the religion 
of their ancestors, to the land of their birth, and to 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

the King of whose right to the throne they had no 
doubt. The Talbots, like so many others of the Pale, 
were staunch to their church, but possessed too much 
independence of mind to accept the extreme papal 
claims. Rinuccini met with no acquiescence from Sir 
Robert when he endeavoured to make him bow with 
the Celtic Irish to the unlimited authority with 
which he had been entrusted by Rome. In 1687 
Tyrconnel may seem, if we accept a certain document 
as good evidence, to have abandoned the principles for 
which the Roman Catholics of the Pale strove. But 
it will be shown that this document does not merit 
the importance which has been attached to it. 

With regard to their patriotism, the Talbots never 
ceased to uphold what they considered to be the 
rights of Ireland. That they, with their pride of 
another race, should not have been able to satisfy the 
Celts as to their whole-heartedness is not surprising if 
we consider how long the wall of exclusion had stood 
round the Pale, how slowly the " old English," as 
they were so often called, admitted an admixture of 
native blood into their families. The descendants of 
the former invaders, nevertheless, clung to the land 
of their birth with a devotion which has been 
paralleled by that of later invaders of Ireland. They 
had no wish to return whence they came. Nor have 
the Protestant Ulstermen of to-day, it seems. But 
the inhabitants of the Pale had the additional reason 
for desiring to remain where they were, in that 

32 



Early Days 

James II. was not the first to dream that Ireland 
might be a safe asylum for Roman Catholics when 
circumstances should render it impossible for them to 
live elsewhere in the Three Kingdoms. The Talbots 
and others had remained Roman Catholics partly 
because they were born Irish. They wished to remain 
Irish because they were born Roman Catholics. 

Naturally their faith and their love of country 
hung together. The struggle was to combine the 
two with their loyalty to their King when that King 
persecuted their faith and misgoverned their country. 
But they had an ingrained attachment to the Crown, 
which their conquered Celtic neighbours could not be 
expected to share. Such a sentiment is impossible to 
analyse. It may be either laughed at, pitied, or 
admired. In any case, it must be accepted as a fact. 
Sir William Talbot's sons, it might be thought, could 
look back with little gratitude on the memory of 
James I. Adherence to Charles I. brought nothing 
but disaster to Sir Robert. Charles II. at Dunfermline 
in August, 1650, at the dictation of the Scots, classed 
all implicated in the rising as " bloody Irish rebels, 
who treacherously shed the blood of so many of his 
faithful and loyal subjects." No exception was made 
in favour of the Pale. But the Talbots could make 
a distinction between the King and his acts, and hold 
unwavering to their allegiance in the midst of their 
sufferings. Branded as rebels, they upheld the royal 
prerogative. Of them Tyrconnel had the best reason 
VOL. i. 33 3 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

for thankfulness to the master whom in particular he 
served. It might have been expected, therefore 
since the study of political history encourages cynicism 
that he would have proved ungrateful. He did 
not. But the cynics may be satisfied, for his lot in 
consequence has been to be branded with ignominy. 

In vindicating Tyrconnel's character from unjust 
charges it is not necessary to deny that there were 
some serious stains on his record. To one of these, 
which is far more grave in modern estimation than it 
was in that of his contemporaries, we are now 
coming. 



34 



CHAPTER II 

A PLOT AGAINST CROMWELL 

A T the age of nineteen Richard Talbot had already 
- ^ taken his share in two of the greatest disasters, 
one a pitched battle, the other the storming of a 
stronghold, which befell the enemies of the English 
Parliamentary party in Ireland. Following the fortunes 
of Walter Dongan, he had been once made prisoner and 
once left for dead. With nothing more than his life 
he had succeeded in escaping from his native land, 
having before him no better prospects than those of 
a soldier of fortune. A period of obscurity follows 
his departure from Ireland. The next news heard of 
him is that in March, 1653, he is in Madrid holding 
the rank of captain and in the company of his 
nephew. Walter Dongan, we have seen, continued 
the struggle in Ireland until the treaty of 1652 
compelled him to leave. He then entered the 
Spanish military service, like so many of his exiled 
fellow-countrymen. Richard, before they met again, 
VOL. i. 35 3* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

seems to have been in the company of his brother 
Peter. Indeed they may have left Ireland together. 

Peter Talbot, had he not been a natural intriguer, 
little troubled with scruples, might have come down 
to history as a martyr ; for he was destined to die as 
Archbishop of Dublin, a prisoner in the Castle for 
pretended complicity in the " Popish plot," and 
suffering from an agonizing disease. He was about 
ten years older than his brother Richard, and had 
been sent to a Jesuit college in Portugal at the age 
of fifteen. From Portugal he went to Rome, from 
Rome to Antwerp to lecture on moral theology, and 
from Antwerp back to Portugal. When he returned 
to Ireland he was already an accomplished and subtle 
man. With the other Jesuits, he did not bow to the 
claims of the nuncio Rinuccini, but endeavoured to 
keep the peace with the Viceroy though, it is 
clear, never at any time succeeding in inspiring 
Ormonde with confidence in him. After the ruin of 
the royalist cause he appeared in Madrid, and we 
find from a still-surviving letter of his in Latin that 
he and a brother, whom we may suppose to be 
Richard, had reason to thank one of the Irish bishops 
then residing there for good offices done to them.* 

Peter Talbot to the Bishop of Clonmacnoise, Antwerp, July 3rd, 1654, 
quoted in Cardinal Moran's Spicilegium Ossoriense, II., p. 133. On his mission 
to London the Jesuit was no doubt protected by his diplomatic quality ; but, 
proceeding from England to Ireland on a political scheme of his own imagining, 
he tells the bishop that he " underwent the same danger as others." By the 
Act of July, 1650, rewards had been offered for the discovery of priests or Jesuits 
as for highwaymen. 

36 



A Plot against Cromwell 

Peter Talbot left Madrid for London on a mission 
from the King of Spain to his Ambassador in 
England, while Richard, who had perhaps already 
joined the Spanish ranks, remained behind. 

Spain, glad as she was to welcome the Irish 
exiles into her army to aid her in the struggle with 
France, was in no position to keep her promises to 
the new recruits. Soldiers of fortune expect some- 
thing besides the mere opportunity of fighting. 
Now the Irish regiments under the Spanish flag got 
as much fighting as they could want, but little or no 
pay or food. The breach of faith quickly aroused 
discontent among the Irish. And there was another 
reason which increased the discontent of those of 
them who were loyal adherents of the Stuarts. In 
1652 the young Duke of York had obtained permission 
to serve as a volunteer in the French army under 
the Vicomte de Turenne. When the exiles saw him 
an officer in the opposing ranks they were disgusted 
with their own position, and some of them were not 
slow to translate their desires into action. Foremost 
was Thomas, Viscount Dillon of Costello, colonel of 
an Irish regiment in the Spanish forces under the 
Prince of Conde. He set the example, which was 
rapidly followed by numbers of his compatriots, of 
going over with his men to the French side, and 
soon the Duke of York had a fine body of auxiliaries 
to place at the disposal of his hosts. 

It does not appear that Richard Talbot was one of 

37 

428749 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

those who early deserted the Spanish for the French 
army. Walter Dongan remained in the ranks of 
Spain, and his uncle may have done so too. Events 
came to pass which not only tempered any enthusiasm 
that royalist exiles might feel for France, but even 
converted the French government into the chief 
obstacle, on the continent of Europe, to the restora- 
tion of the Stuarts. The all-powerful Mazarin's 
policy of friendship with Cromwell involved a French 
refusal of asylum to Charles II. In July, 1654, the 
unfortunate King was obliged to seek for a new 
shelter. His pension from France was no longer to 
be paid to him direct, and in any case was precarious 
henceforward in view of the desire to please Cromwell. 
To hasten his departure Mazarin paid up the 
arrears for payment was always much behind the 
time on condition of secrecy; and with a sum totally 
inadequate to meet the needs of himself and his 
immediate followers on their travels, Charles wandered 
about in search of a spot secure from the reach of 
the Protector's enmity. Debarred, through the fear 
of England, from French, Spanish and Dutch 
territory, and despised by the Vatican as a heretic, 
he had only the German Empire left to him ; 
and even Ferdinand was in no wise prepared to do 
more than tolerate his presence in his dominions as a 
private individual, promise a grant (at some future 
date) for his personal maintenance, and allow col- 
lections to be made from the princes of the Empire. 

38 



A Plot against Cromwell 

On such charity as he could beg from various sources 
Charles was compelled to subsist and to keep up his 
semblance of a household. In the winter following 
his removal from France, after a season spent at Spa 
with his widowed sister Mary of Orange, Princess 
Royal of England, he took up his abode at Cologne, 
the city which offered him the kindest welcome and 
provided him with at least the bare necessities of life 
gratis, though its Bishop-Elector persisted in rudely 
ignoring him. 

Cologne now became the centre of the royalist 
plots about which so much information is preserved 
in the collections of documents known by the names 
of the Clarendon, Thurloe and Nicholas Papers. 
Innumerably more schemes were planned than ever 
saw the light of day ; but, roughly, they were all of 
two kinds. There was the plot for a rising against 
the Commonwealth in various parts of the three 
kingdoms, combined with or preparatory to a landing 
of the King. And there was the plot to assassinate 
Cromwell. Often the two were carried on side by 
side; for, to the Royalist, at least, there was no 
point in removing Cromwell unless it were to make 
way for the restoration of King Charles. The 
co-operation of such people as the " Levellers," for 
instance, who hated Cromwell not as a regicide but 
as a tyrant, was not rejected, but difficulties always 
arose when the non-monarchical conspirators began to 
suggest terms. The thorough loyalists would consent 

39 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

^0 no imposition of limitations upon the King. It 
was this obstacle which doomed to failure the 
strenuous efforts of Peter Talbot, who was convinced 
that Charles could best be restored by the joint aid 
of Spain and the Levellers. When Edward Sexby, 
the most influential man among the latter, made his 
escape to Antwerp from the hands of Cromwell in 
May, 1655, he and Peter Talbot at once set to work 
to find a basis of agreement. But the Jesuit never 
succeeded in convincing his fellow-exiles that an 
alliance with the Levellers might be secured which 
would not compromise the authority of the King. 

The necessary condition for the success of plots of 
either kind was secrecy particularly, of course, for 
the success of an assassination plot. And this 
condition was never secured, owing to the network of 
spies which Cromwell was able to spread about his 
enemies in every quarter, at home and abroad. 
Never was the truth of the maxim " Fore-warned is 
fore-armed" better appreciated by anyone than by 
the Protector, and thanks to his command of money 
he bought for himself the warnings which the 
poverty-stricken Royalists in vain tried to keep from 
his ears. Like other men of iron, he well knew 
the power of gold. His intelligence in preventing 
dangers to his government and himself often appears 
superhuman, yet can always be traced to the adroit 
use of cash placed in the right hands.' Many 
engagers in conspiracy against him were brought to 

40 



A Plot against Cromwell 

realise this bitterly, and Richard Talbot very nearly 
found himself among the company of those who paid 
with their lives for a failure which their intended 
victim had purchased with money escaping by a 
miracle which seems as remarkable as Cromwell's own 
constant escapes from the death which threatened him. 
According to Clarendon's Continuation, young 
Talbot was brought by Daniel O'Neil* to Flanders 
it should be to Cologne " as one who was willing to 
assassinate Cromwell." Since his presence in Madrid 
with Sir Walter Dongan in March, 1653, until his 
appearance now, Talbot is lost to sight in the 
records of the royalist exiles. That he did in 1655 
take part in a plot to end the Protector's life we 
have abundant evidence apart from what Clarendon 
says. As to his introduction for that purpose by his 
countryman O'Neil we have no confirmation, and the 
deduction which has been made from the Chancellor's 
statement that he went to England with the King's 
sanction of the assassination scheme is unwarranted in 
itself and unsupported by surviving documents of the 
period. There is evidence, on the contrary, that 
Charles lent no countenance to such schemes. 
" Manie are for assassinating the ^Protector," Thurloe 

* Colonel Daniel O'Neil (nephew of the celebrated Owen O'Neil, though a 
Protestant) was one of Charles's leading supporters in exile, a gentleman of 
his bedchamber, and a busy promoter of plots for risings against the Common- 
wealth. He was one of the seventeen Royalists expressly excluded from France 
with the King and the two Royal Dukes by Cromwell's treaty with Mazarin 
in November, 1655. O'Neil was afterwards the third husband of Catherine, 
Lady Stanhope, mother of the second Lord Chesterfield. 

41 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

was informed by his spy Manning in May, 1655, " but 
Ch[arles] St[ewart] is not forward in having it don." 
And from the letters of Sir Edward Nicholas to 
Thomas Ross, the royalist agent, in February, 1656, 
it is clear that Charles's Secretary of State made a 
point of keeping him in ignorance of a similar plot 
which Richard Hopton wished to get up that year. 
The ardent servants of the King had no scruples of 
conscience against the idea themselves. Nicholas, a 
man with a most honourable record, could talk of 
Hopton's suggestion as " so glorious a work " and " so 
charitable a deed." Other very prominent Royalists 
were at least familiar with the idea, as is proved by 
the frequent mention of it in letters received by 
them, and did not feel called upon to repudiate it. 
But the King himself, as indeed we might expect 
from the general humanity and unvindictiveness of 
his character, is nowhere shown to have given his 
approval to attempts on Cromwell's life. His enemies 
endeavoured to implicate him by means of a forged 
Royal Proclamation of May 3rd, 1654, but there is 
no trace of this document beyond an alleged copy 
supplied by a spy of Thurloe ; and to the spy the 
temptation to make " revelations " was as irresistible 
as it is to the modern sensational journalist. The 
King of course knew that there were conspiracies 
against the life of the usurper, just as the latter 
knew of schemes against the life of the King. To 
admit this, however, is very different from saying 

42 



A Plot against Cromwell 

that either directly plotted the other's death. But it 
must be remembered that, after the battle of 
Worcester, Cromwell at least had set the price of a 
thousand pounds on Charles's head and threatened 
with death any who should venture to conceal him 
in his flight. 

The King was privy, no doubt, to part of the plot 
with which we are now dealing. James Halsall, the 
chief agent in it, was commissioned to raise money 
from royalist supporters in England, some of which 
was to be spent on the purchase of horses in view of 
a Scottish insurrection against Cromwell at the begin- 
ning of 1656. And Richard Talbot, like his brother 
Peter, is credited with hopes of setting on foot a 
similar insurrection in Ireland, though it cannot be 
said for certain that he actually entertained the idea 
at the time of his visit to England in the summer of 
1655. Anyhow, it is clear- enough that Cromwell's 
assassination was but a portion, if the most urgent 
portion, of a wider plan to upset the government 
established in London.* 

The year of the enterprise in which Richard Talbot 
took his share was a very busy one with the royalist 
conspirators. 1654 had been full of disappointment 

* The English government recognised this. A paragraph, apparently official, 
in a news-letter of December i ith, 1655, says : " Wee are yett in the examina- 
tion of the late designe of Halsall and others, and have in custody and in our 
power five of those who were particularly designed to assassinate my Lord 
Protector, and other [sc. schemes] there are which depended on this, but this 
to bee done in the first place, as that which was so necessary, as all would 
miscarry without itt." (Clarke Papers, III., 61.) 

43 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

for them. Early in that year the first scheme con- 
cocted by the committee in England known as the 
Sealed Knot was a complete fiasco. Another attempt 
was delayed first by the discovery of Henshaw's assas- 
sination plot against the Protector and then by the 
detection of plans of the Levellers and other republican 
malcontents. A general uprising of Royalists was 
nevertheless arranged for January and postponed until 
February I3th (old style), 1655; but divided counsels 
and dilatory tactics caused the day to pass without a 
stir, and so the government had time to get on its 
guard and prevent immediate action. Undeterred by 
these failures, the English monarchists fixed March 
8/1 8th as the day for another attempt, and in spite 
of the miscarriage of plans elsewhere the West 
Country actually broke out into insurrection, though 
three days after the appointed date with fatal results 
to many. An anonymous letter from England, dated 
February I9th (old style), preserved among the 
Clarendon Papers, says that " any wise man might 
have foreseen the ruin of this business, from the buy- 
ing of arms and ammunition in London and the 
communication of the design to a large number of 
persons, many mean in parts and condition, and many 
mad and drunk." 

The failure of the Spring Rising of 1655, although it 
led to much recrimination among the Royalists, did 
not check even temporarily the hatching of schemes 
against the Protector and his government. But the 

44 



A Plot against Cromwell 

severities inflicted on the King's friends for their recent 
attempt led to the increase of assassination plots rather 
than of plots for further insurrections. Cromwell 
acted with great vigour after the executions in the 
West of England, beginning with those of Colonels 
Penruddock and Grove, with eight others, at Exeter on 
May 1 6th. The end of May and the whole of June 
saw constant arrests of leaders of the beaten party in 
London. By an order of July 6th all adherents of 
either Charles II. or his father were banished from 
the capital. In August the entire country was 
parcelled out into districts, each under the control of 
a Major-General with extraordinary authority to 
maintain the peace. These " Bashaws," as they were 
nicknamed, had powers of life and death over the 
Protector's enemies. Cromwell's treaty with France 
on November 3rd, 1655 (which stipulated, among 
other things, for the exclusion of Charles, his two 
brothers, and seventeen of his chief supporters from 
French territory), was followed by edicts disarming 
the Royalists and imposing a ten per cent, tax on 
their estates. 

The disarmament order in particular aroused among 
the Cavaliers bitter fears of a general massacre. But 
already yet another desperate plan to remove the 
tyrant out of the way had been set on foot and had 
failed. When this conspiracy took its rise is not 
certain. As early as February 6/i6th one of Thurloe's 
spies at Cologne, -Sir John Henderson, informed him 

45L 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

that he was assured by Massonet, a treacherous 
secretary of Charles II., of designs against the 
Protector's person, though he could not learn particulars. 
On May 15/251!! a certain Richard Hannam, under 
examination in London, gave particulars of a plot 
which is certainly not that in which Talbot was 
involved. In the same month the Duke of York 
wrote to his brother from Paris, mentioning a plan 
which had been proposed to him by " fower Roman 
Catholiks that have bound themselves in a sollemn 
oath to kill Cromwell and then to raise all the 
Catholiks in the citty and the army." But this, again, 
is not the plot of Talbot and his companions, for the 
details do not agree. 

Well posted as was Cromwell as to designs against 
himself, he was quite unable to prevent royalist 
agents, even when credited with such designs, from 
making their way into England from abroad. They 
came in, indeed, with surprising facility, and, if they 
did not accomplish anything, at least they avoided 
capture. The spies on the Continent attributed this 
ease of entry to the connivance of a secretly pro- 
royalist official at Dover. But Cromwell's tyranny had 
made many careless in his interests who were yet in 
no way inclined to the King. Nothing shows this 
more plainly than the whole story of the conspiracy 
in which Talbot was involved. 

The beginning of this plot, or at least of the 
attempt to put it into execution, may be seen in the 

46 



A Plot against Cromwell 

departure from Cologne in early July, 1655, of a 
certain James Halsall or Halsey, described by Manning 
to Thurloe as " a little black man," " about 35 years 
of age, round face, in short hair or a periwig, and a 
round man ; " and, again, as " one of our chiefest agents." 
Halsall, whom we find a member of Charles's house- 
hold at Cologne in 1655, had been prominently 
engaged in the arrangements for the Northern section 
of the Spring Rising and was among the lucky ones 
who escaped over sea after a period of hiding in 
London. He now started on another and still more 
dangerous errand, yet so full of confidence that he 
borrowed a pistol from Lord Gerard, one of Charles's 
household, saying he would pay a hundred pounds for 
it unless the Protector were killed in three months' 
time. In the journey to England he was preceded 
by Colonel John Stephens, who had also taken part 
in the Spring Rising and had escaped, and by Richard 
Rose, servant to Lord Rochester. He was followed 
by " one Captain Talbot, a tall young man and an 
Irish," as Manning describes him in a letter to 
Thurloe, and by Robert Dongan. 

The last-named who frequently appears in letters 
of the period as " Robin " Dongan, which, as in the 
case of " Dick " Talbot, argues that he was familiarly 
known among the royalist exiles was one of the 
younger members of the family of Sir John Dongan 
and Mary Talbot. He had been page to the Marquis 
of Ormonde and more recently had accompanied as 

47 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

second-in-command that romantic cavalier Edward 
Wogan on the desperate enterprise into Scotland 
which ended in his death in January, 1654. We 
know little of Robert Dongan beyond what is men- 
tioned in the following pages, save that he is the 
" Duncan " of the Memoirs oj Gramont. On the whole 
he appears to have been a rather unpleasant character. 
All five conspirators made their way safely into 
England by way of Dover. Proof of the danger 
which they ran was quick in coming, however, 
Stephens and Talbot being arrested on suspicion after 
their arrival in London.* Stephens was soon at 
liberty again, and about the middle of September left 
England for Dunkirk, where he fell seriously ill. 
Nothing incriminating can have been found upon him 
or Talbot, for the latter also obtained his release; 
though it would appear that he was not, as is usually 
stated, set free at the same time as Stephens. When 
we consider what efforts the spies at Cologne had 
made to secure their arrest and the precise informa- 
tion which they had supplied about them, it is 
difficult to understand how either of them got off 
without at least a long term of imprisonment; unless 
it was that, in order to discover Halsall, his colleagues 
were released to act as unconscious decoys. 

* Perhaps the earliest allusion to their arrest is to be found in an intelligence- 
letter to Thurloe dated Cologne, July z8th (new style), 1655. Speaking of a 
journey of Lord Gerard to France, the spy writes : " If you sent somebody 
to observe his actions you would do well ; for hearing Talbot, Stephens, &c., 
to be taken, he intends to attempt the murther of the Protector/' (Tburloe 
State Papers, III., 659.) 

4 8 



A Plot against Cromwell 

After his fortunate escape from punishment, Talbot 
went to Halsall, who had remained successfully hidden 
in lodgings in London, attended by a confidential 
servant, William Masten in whom he trusted, as he 
says himself, " to the letting him know all his 
business " and urged him to take some action at 
once. But Halsall hung back ; and he was supported 
from headquarters at Cologne in his contention the 
present was a bad time for any attempt. Rose having 
dropped out of the plot and departed from England 
like Stephens, Halsall was left alone in it with the 
two young Irishmen, both eager for something to be 
done. From Talbot's letter to Ormonde after he had 
reached Brussels, and also from what he told George 
Lane, it seems that he made great efforts to persuade 
Halsall, meeting his argument that funds were lacking 
with an offer to pawn for 600 a lady's jewel worth 
.1,500. Halsall still put him off notwithstanding his 
bet with Lord Gerard and much to Talbot's disgust 
and so completed the ruin of the plot. Cromwell's 
agents had apparently been watching for their 
opportunity to strike, while the conspirators had been 
quite unaware that they were threatened by any 
special danger. On November i6th Halsall was 
outside the door of his London lodgings, in the 
company of a young man named Prescott, when he 
was made prisoner. His clothing was searched, and 
inside the lining of his hat were found compromising 
papers, including his cipher, with the names of a 
VOL. i. 49 4 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

number of prominent Royalists, and other evidences 
of his intrigues in England. Next day Talbot and 
Dongan were also seized. It might have been 
expected that all three would now pay the penalty 
for their failure with their lives. The surprising fact 
is that none of them suffered death. 

Two traitors had contributed to the capture of the 
conspirators. One was William Masten, whose share 
in the betrayal included no doubt the revelation of 
the lodgings of his master and his friends. Halsall 
guessed who had played him false, but as a captive in 
Cromwell's hands had no means at the moment of 
putting the Royalists on their guard ; so that the man 
was able to go on posing for a time as still loyal and 
anxious to carry out the assassination scheme,* while 
arranging with the Protector's government to entrap, 
if possible, other friends of his master. He was hand- 
somely rewarded for his services. " He may well be 
full of gold," writes Halsall later, " for I am almost 
confident he had 2,000, if not more, for his service." 
Early in 1657, after having kept out of danger so 
long, Masten fell into Spanish hands, but seems to 
have avoided punishment by declaring that he was a 
Roman Catholic. 

The other traitor was not so lucky. He was Henry 
Manning, one of the most contemptible of spies in 

* Writing to Edward Halsall to inform him of the disaster which had over- 
taken his brother, Masten said : " I have a nopertunity once in the weeck that 
I may with ese kil the roge, therefore let me know what I shall do therin." 
The " roge " is, of course, Cromwell. 

50 



A Plot against Cromwell 

Cromwell's pay. Son and brother of royalist officers 
who had lost their lives in the Civil War and himself 
formerly in the King's army, Manning, being short of 
money owing to his father's debts, according to his 
own account allowed himself to be engaged by 
Colonel William Hawley to act as Thurloe's intelli- 
gencer at the Court of the exiled King. Soon after 
Charles's arrival in Cologne Manning had come with 
an introduction to Dr. Earle, one of the royal 
chaplains; and, being a man of good appearance and 
manners " a proper young gentleman," says Claren- 
don plausible and seemingly candid, he soon made 
his way into Court society at Cologne. He was further 
aided by that rarity at the Court, a well-filled purse, 
for his employers appear to have paid him 120 a 
month. With the assistance of his ready money he 
made for himself friends, especially among the more 
gay and indiscreet of the cavaliers, and from what he 
learnt through them and others he was able, from 
March, 1655, onward, to send to Thurloe in London 
important news of royalist visits to England. He 
was responsible, in part at least, for the betrayal of 
the names of many of those implicated in the Spring 
Rising, and now again he betrayed Halsall, Talbot 
and Dongan. It was not his fault, as can be seen 
from his numerous letters to Thurloe, that those 
concerned in this assassination plot were not all seized 
at the beginning. But while Manning was contriving 
their ruin, someone else was doing the same for him. 
VOL. i. 51 4* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Eighteen days after Talbot and Dongan were taken in 
London, Manning was arrested in Cologne. Accord- 
ing to a letter written to Sir Edward Nicholas by a 
Colonel Whitley, royalist agent at Calais, the dis- 
covery of Manning's guilt was fathered in England 
upon Don Alonso de Cardenas, Spanish Ambassador to 
the Protector. Don Alonso had been " extreamly 
slighted by Cromwell " ; and, having been recalled 
from England when a definite breach was provoked 
by the Protector, after his arrival in Brussels on 
November 2ist he told the Earl of Norwich all he 
knew as to the way in which Cromwell got his 
information about royalist movements and schemes. 
In consequence of what he said, some letters to 
Manning were watched for and intercepted at Antwerp, 
and on December 5th the spy himself was arrested in 
his lodgings at Cologne, at the very moment when 
he was writing a letter to Thurloe. 

Abundant evidence was found in Manning's papers 
to prove him guilty, and his own admissions confirmed 
it, although he protested what we know from the 
Thurloe papers to be untrue that he had only sent 
trivial and misleading intelligence to England so as to 
get money to live upon, while his real desire was to 
serve the King. He underwent a searching examina- 
tion by Lord Culpepper, the Marquis of Ormonde 
and Secretary Nicholas, and was apparently condemned 
to death by them. The last of his letters preserved 
in the Nicholas Papers, dated December I4th, 1655, 

52 



A Plot against Cromwell 

speaks of " sad rumoures of a suddein end intended 
me, nay, too morow morning," and begs Nicholas to 
intercede with the King on his behalf. He no longer 
makes any defence of his " horrid " and " too heynous " 
crime, but beseeches to be allowed to end his days in 
some cloister or dungeon. His prayers were without 
avail. Very soon after this letter was written, if not 
on the following morning, he was " pistolled " in a 
wood near Cologne by two of the King's household, 
Sir James Hamilton and Major Nicholas Armorer. 
An intercepted letter from a Cromwellian correspon- 
dent, dated Leyden, December 24th, states in a 
postscript that " a Dane just come from Cologne says 
that on passing through a wood two hours short of 
Cologne they found a young Englishman dead, who 
was said to be Manning." Although previous to his 
sentence Manning had been confined in the city 
prison, Maximilian Henry, Bishop-Elector of Cologne, 
strongly objected to the execution taking place in his 
territory, and the wretched man had therefore been 
conveyed to the wood, which was in the duchy of 
Juliers, the territory of the friendly Philip William, 
Count Palatine of Neuburg. 

It cannot be said that Manning's fate was un- 
deserved, whatever opinion may be held of the legality 
of his execution on foreign soil. If ever capital 
punishment be justifiable it was so in his case. He 
had brought the Cavalier victims to the scaffold at 
Exeter and elsewhere in May and did his best to put 

53 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

other lives in jeopardy between July and November. 
In one of his " Statements " under examination at 
Cologne he contended that he did not know of any- 
one being arrested in England on his information, 
and that he only wrote about some whose names had 
already been suggested to him by his employers. He 
also tried to make out that it was only after Hawley 
had mentioned his suspicions that the brothers Halsall 
had come over to England to murder Cromwell that 
he had replied that one of the brothers was there as 
an agent of the King. With regard to Richard 
Talbot, all that is to be found in the records of 
Manning's examinations is the sentence : " In one 
letter I was desired to write if I knew anything of 
one Coll. Talbot's being employed hence, to which I 
could make no other answer than that I knew 
nothing more than he was one of my Lord Ormond's 
officers in the king of Spain's service." 

As has been said, however, Manning's own letters 
prove the falsity of his protestations that he had sent 
but trivial and misleading information to England.* 

* Doubtless he mixed up fact and fiction in an extraordinary manner. To 
quote only one letter, on November I7th the very date of Talbot's and 
Dongan's arrest Manning had written to Thurloe : " This I dare assure you, 
the main is to murder the Protector, and to seize such sea-ports in the nation 
as they find most feazible. Ormond and Hyde are the engines who drive on 
this design, to preserve themselves in play here. . . . They are confident of 
having something executed very suddenly ; and Charles Stuart daily tells us 
in private, ' Have patience a little, and you will not fail of action, both in Eng- 
land and Scotland, or else adieu Ormond and Hyde 1 ' " (Tburloe State Papers, 
IV., 169.) His method was to convey a certain amount of valuable intelligence, 
embellished by inventions of his own designed to magnify his own value 
and increase his salary. 

54 



A Plot against Cromwell 

In one, which had been intercepted, he accused 
Ormonde, Hyde and Culpepper, who " rule the 
roaste," of " endeavouring the Protector's murther 
(the actors, most of them, I have often named), 
which is yet generally thought would be of much 
advantage to any action." Now the " actors " whom 
he had often named were, as we know, precisely the 
men who had fallen into Cromwell's hands. 

On their arrest Halsall, Talbot and Dongan were 
taken to Whitehall, so that they might be examined 
by Cromwell himself. Halsall, as the chief of the 
conspiracy, was brought up first, on November 25th. 
His captured papers were very important, but they 
did not prove anything as to the assassination plot, 
and Halsall steadfastly asserted that his business in 
England was the collection of money on behalf of 
the King. This was true, if not the whole truth, 
for Halsall was entrusted with that task apart from 
his share in the other plot. He admitted that the 
money was partly to be devoted to equipping an 
insurrection in Scotland in a month or two, though 
he would not reveal the names of those implicated 
except in cases where he knew that they were out of 
reach. 

Unable to get anything to the purpose from Halsall, 
Cromwell had Richard Talbot brought before him. 
He began the interview (according to the account 
furnished by Peter to a friend, Harding, in Cologne) 
with an attempt to win him over, offering " great 

55 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

preferments," claiming that he himself was related to 
the Talbots of the Shrewsbury branch, and promising 
secrecy as to any confession which might be made. 
This having no effect, he asked suddenly why Talbot 
should think of killing him, seeing that he had never 
prejudiced him in his life. The other might have 
alluded to Drogheda, but did not. He contented 
himself with denying any knowledge of a plot. 
Cromwell produced the captured cipher, but, though 
it had the names of Dongan, Wogan, and others, 
Talbot's was not there. Cromwell pretended that 
Halsall, nevertheless, had betrayed it to him. If so, 
retorted Talbot, let Halsall be brought face to face 
with him. Cromwell told Thurloe to fetch him, but 
then, realising that this would lead to nothing, 
revoked the order and descended to threats of the 
rack. He would spin it out of Talbot's bones, he 
menaced. " Spin me to a thread if you please," was 
the answer, " I have nothing to confess, and can only 
invent lies " whereon the baffled captor abandoned 
his efforts and commanded the prisoner to be taken 
away. 

After he had been removed from Cromwell's 
presence, Richard Talbot was visited in his cell by 
both Lambert and Thurloe, the latter of whom 
(according to Peter Talbot) made him great offers of 
money, to which he replied that he only desired back 
his own ^240, of which the soldiers had robbed him, 
doubtless " mistaking them for papers." Twenty 

56 



A Plot against Cromwell 

pounds was all that he was given by Thurloe, but of 
this he was able to make good use. He learnt that 
it was intended to take him from Whitehall to 
the Tower the next morning, and therefore thought 
it time to escape, as he wrote to Ormonde from 
Brussels on January 3rd. " That night," says Peter 
in the letter to Harding, " he bestowed much wine 
upon Cromwell's soldiers, who waited on him and 
served him like a Prince, slipped down to the Thames 
by a cord, where he had a boat prepared, and in 
that little thing was ten days at sea ; landed at last 
at Callis [Calais], still nayled and shut up between 
some boards of the boate." 

So ended Richard Talbot's second and last bout 
with Cromwell, decidedly more remarkable than the 
first. At Drogheda they had not met face to face, 
Talbot had been merely one of the many hundreds 
ruthlessly denied quarter by the conqueror ; and he 
had escaped the sword merely because he was thought 
already dead. At Whitehall, Talbot, completely at 
the Protector's mercy, had defied his threats of 
torture and rescued himself from his jailers by bribing 
and intoxicating them. After Drogheda he had fled 
in the dress of a woman; from Whitehall he smuggled 
himself away boxed up in the bottom of a river-boat 
and so sailed across the Channel. No one else could 
boast that he had cheated Cromwell thus. 



57 



CHAPTER III 

UNDER A CLOUD 

A FTER his adventurous and uncomfortable voyage 
** across the English Channel and arrival at 
Calais, Talbot made his way towards the royalist 
headquarters. On December 2jth he reached Brussels 
and on January 3rd he was at Antwerp. Before 
leaving Brussels he wrote a letter to Lord Ormonde, 
in which he gave certain details about his examination 
by Cromwell and his flight from Whitehall. With 
regard to the failure of the plot he expressed himself 
confident that if Halsall should have the good luck 
to escape he would confess that it was not through 
him that " the business " was not attempted. As for 
Dongan and the rest that were prisoners Prescott 
had been arrested for supposed complicity, and there 
was also a fifth, a friend of Halsall named Charles 
Davison, whom Masten had hastened to denounce to 
the authorities in London there was no danger, if 
they themselves did not by their confessions destroy 

58 



Under a Cloud 

one another. For when he came away, he added, 
Cromwell " had no other ground to proceed upon 
than bare suspitions, and consequently, for the safety 
of theyr lives, it's necessary that nothing be said of 
it." 

Richard Talbot arrived in Antwerp in the company 
of his brothers Peter and Gilbert. There they met 
George Lane, Clerk of the Council to the King, who 
wrote to Ormonde enclosing Richard's Brussels letter 
and speaking of the satisfaction of Gilbert with 
Ormonde's friendship to his family. Gilbert, as will 
be seen, had reason to be particularly anxious for this 
friendship. 

At Antwerp the brothers remained until they 
should be able to see Ormonde, to whom Peter 
wrote insistently on January yth that he should come 
before a million crowns which had just arrived there 
should be distributed. While waiting, Richard 
received a letter signed " Donna Francisca," informing 
him that Robert Dongan had escaped. Donna 
Francisca was probably Lady Isabella Thynne, an 
ardent intriguer among the English Royalists,* who 
had by some means managed to rescue Dongan from 
his prison about the end of December or beginning 
of January. But Dongan himself had not yet 
succeeded in leaving England, and in the meanwhile 

* Manning had written from Cologne in the April of the previous year men- 
tioning " the ladies Thin and Shanon " as having their parts in a royalist plot, 
" to carry letters and goe up and down on errands." (Thurloe State Papers, 
III.) 

59 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

his uncle Richard was unaware that a storm was 
hanging over his own head. 

In the second week of January Ormonde arrived in 
Antwerp and found two of the three brothers very 
intent on their plans. Peter, as usual, was busy with 
a scheme to combine the Levellers in England with 
Spain on the Continent in restoring Charles to his 
throne. He was negotiating with Fuensaldanha, 
commander of the Spanish forces in the Netherlands, 
of whose " promises " he wrote to Charles enthusi- 
astically, while at the same time he urged on the 
King how much his restoration would be facilitated 
by his conversion to Catholicism " the only way to 
Heaven for persons of your Majestie's understanding." 
Ormonde was not impressed by Peter's diplomacy. 
On January nth, after having had an interview with 
the Spanish commander at Brussels and discovering 
him to be by no means as eager as was represented, 
he wrote to Nicholas in Cologne : " You will finde 
that ether the Father is a most exquisite forger or 
the Counte [Fuensaldanha] a great desembler; but I 
am led to beleeve the former, out of the unhappy 
experience I have had of the Irish cleargy, and for 
other reasons." Ormonde was not so severe on all 
the brothers as Hyde, who wrote to him on January 
yth that " they are all in the pack of knavery," and 
on the I4th that " hardly anything can be more 
evident than that they are all naught ; " but he 
probably would have agreed with Hyde's remark in 

60 



Under a Cloud 

the second letter that " the Jesuit should be sent to 
a remote convent and kept close from farther 
activity." 

Gilbert's scheme was of a very different kind, and 
our belief in his own account of it must depend on 
what view we take of his character. Hyde speaks 
well of him neither in his letters nor in the 
Continuation, where he says that he, " being a half- 
witted fellow, did not meddle with any thing or 
angered [sic] any body, but found a way to get good 
clothes and to play, and was looked upon as a man 
of courage, having fought a duel or two with stout 
men." Hyde is here talking of Gilbert Talbot a 
few years later. It is peculiar that he should write 
of him not meddling with anything, seeing that he 
must have known, if only through Ormonde, that in 
1655-6 he was most distinctly " meddling." 

Gilbert, who held the rank of colonel since the 
days of the Confederation in Ireland, was at the 
time, like the majority of his fellow exiles, very ill 
provided with money to live upon and he conceived 
the idea, which Manning had pretended was his also, 
of getting some from the English Government. 
Among the Clarendon Papers is a letter, mostly in 
cipher, from Thurloe under the name of Johnson to 
" Mons. Burford " at Antwerp, in which he says 
that he will send some money soon, but that it is 
very dangerous. He desires " Burford," if possible, to 
get hold of Sexby's papers and send them to England 

61 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Sexby being then in Brussels. A second letter a 
fortnight later says that Burford's mother and sisters 
are still at Carton, and that the writer hopes that 
they will not be transplanted.* What was expected 
from Burford (i.e., valuable information) wholly fails, 
which discourages them (the English government), so 
that the writer cannot send money or any other 
commodities if the trade be no better. " Upon such 
slight terms men will part with nothing, but if they 
find gain coming will spare for nothing." 

Burford is Gilbert Talbot, and from the fact that 
the letters appear among the Clarendon Papers it 
may be presumed that they were intercepted. Gilbert 
was obliged, therefore, to exculpate himself. On 
December 2Oth he went to see Ormonde, and on the 
following day he wrote to him asseverating that in 
getting into correspondence with Thurloe and Crom- 
well his intention was perfectly loyal. " I wish that 
I may at this instant sincke into Hell fire," he says, 
" if it was not purely my intention to serve His 
Majesty when this was first mentioned, and to deceive 
Cromwell." It was too late for him now to think 
of any base thought, after serving His Majesty for 
twelve years, " with the loss of my blood often and 
my friends." He did not desire to ask the King for 
money, but to obtain it from the enemy for His 
Majesty's service. 

* As a matter of fact they were transplanted to Connaught next year, their 
names appearing in the lists preserved among the Ormonde manuscripts. 

62 



Under a Cloud 

Gilbert apparently thought that he had satisfied 
Ormonde, or he would not have given George Lane 
reason to write as he did in the letter quoted above. 
But Ormonde took the precaution to have an order 
sent from Cologne to the postmaster at Antwerp to 
hold letters addressed to " Burford." On this Gilbert 
sent a letter of remonstrance. " I was much ashamed 
when [the postmaster] staggerd and lookt at me soe 
earnest," he said. God was his judge if he was not 
as real to the King as any in the world. He 
suggested that Ormonde should devise a good letter 
to the person (obviously Thurloe), so that he might 
send some money, which he would be glad to have. 
But he was willing to desist from the business, of 
which he was weary, seeing that he was suspected on 
account of it. 

On Ormonde's arrival at Antwerp, matters must 
have been smoothed over a little, for when he left 
again on January ijth for Cologne he was escorted 
as far as Breda by Gilbert and Richard Talbot and a 
Father Patrick McGinn, a friend of Peter strange 
company for his Lordship. The brothers Talbot 
returned to Antwerp, where fresh troubles were soon 
to come upon them. 

As soon as he could get away from England 
Dongan had crossed the Channel. On January 3Oth 
he reached Dunkirk, where Stephens had been lying 
ill and destitute since his departure from London in 
September. Stephens had received a visit from the 

63 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

treacherous Masten, whom apparently no one yet 
suspected except his master now a close prisoner in 
the Tower, where he was destined to remain till 
Cromwell's death and the return to power of the 
Long Parliament. Dongan and Stephens at their 
meeting must have discussed the reasons of their 
failure and agreed that Dick Talbot's early escape 
from prison was suspicious. Moreover, while he was 
still in England after evading custody, Dongan had 
heard certain rumours. He sat down and wrote to 
Ormonde a note announcing his safe arrival, in the 
course of which he said : " I make noe questione 
you have herd of them reports that were of Dicke 
Talbot, but I could not gett any ground for them. 
But every body must answer for himself as I hope 
all them that knows annything of that buisness will 
answer for mee, for I can answer for nobody but my 
selfe." 

Not content with this, Dongan wrote again : " I 
am very much out of countenance to lett your 
Lordshipe understand a thing which my duty com- 
mands mee to, which is more to me than all the 
frends in the world. The thing I mean is that there 
was strange reports of my oncol concerneing his 
betraying of Halsy and myselfe for this bisines. I 
could find noe ground at al but reports, which I 
thought it my duty to let your Lordshipe understand, 
and as for my part I will neither accuse him nor justefy 
him because I cannot doe it by profes either ways, which 

64 



Under a Cloud 

if I could I would not trubel your Lordshipe with 
giving you this relation, but would take a cours with 
him myself. My Lady Issabela [Thynne] bids mee 
tell you that shee thought him innicent now since 
Manning was put to death ; but tim[e] will bring out 
all." .... 

Having delivered himself of these ungenerous 
insinuations against his kinsman Dongan set out on 
his way to Cologne, followed by a letter to Ormonde 
from Stephens, who ventured on the opinion that 
Dongan's " relation would in no way vindicate his 
uncle." Yet Stephens on the day he wrote had 
learnt, from a message smuggled out of the Tower of 
London by a fellow prisoner of Halsall, the certainty 
that Masten was a rogue and had betrayed his 
master and the others engaged in the assassination 
scheme. 

Dongan's readiness to spread the rumour which he 
had heard among English Royalists before he left, 
that Dick Talbot was the traitor, is partly explained 
by the fact that he himself was under suspicion of 
having wrecked the plot by indiscretion. He may or 
may not have known that as early as December 9th 
Stephens had written to Ormonde, after having 
received a visit from Masten, to the effect that the 
three conspirators had been taken, " betrayed by the 
too lavish discourse of Dongan." He must at least 
have learnt of the report from Stephens at Dunkirk; 
and on his arrival in Brussels he found it was wide- 
VOL. i, 65 5 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

spread. " I here," he wrote indignantly to Ormonde, 
" Mr. O'Neil reports and tels everybody that I tould 
everybody my bisnes into England before I went, 
which is the greatest untruth that ever was." 

That Dongan should be angry at the accusation of 
talking too freely, and thereby causing the failure of 
the conspiracy, was natural ; but that he, and also 
Stephens at first, should be willing to impute to 
Dick Talbot such baseness as to betray his friends for 
Cromwell's gold is astonishing. The Royalists in 
England only knew that Talbot had made a most 
extraordinary escape from the Protector's clutches, so 
that it is less curious that they, who were not 
personally acquainted with him, should suggest an 
explanation of his good luck that reflected on 
his honour. In the case of Dongan it seems 
to have been mere selfish concern about himself 
which induced him to help in blackening his uncle's 
name. 

Dongan arrived in Antwerp at the beginning of 
February and at once communicated to Peter Talbot 
there what was being said about his brother. On 
the same day Peter wrote to Ormonde everyone 
appears to have written to Ormonde, who of those 
that, in Manning's words, ruled the roast had doubt- 
less the most sympathetic nature as follows : 

" Robin Dongan . . . tells me of a strange report 
of Dick amongst some people in London. Hee thinks 

66 



Under a Cloud 

it hath noe ground and sayes it is now [?] to Halsey's 
man or some other. Tyme will discover the truth. 
In the interim I will neyther flatter my inclination 
with judging him innocent nor bee rash in condemn- 
ing him ; but truly I will bee wary of all persons 
which lye under a cloud and such a base aspersion as 
this is. Whosoever betrays his King will betraye his 
brother. I am apt to believe that Gilbert's businesse 
hath given some occasion to this blemish of his 
brother, who came this night to mee from Brussels 
and is mad, swears and damns himselfe, wondring how 
people can as much as admit any such thoughts 
against him. Truly I thinke Gilb. would have more 
credit with his correspondent than hee hath if Dick 
were a knave." 

Dick Talbot's " swearing and damning himself " 
here is an early example of his indulgence in a 
habit for which he became sadly notorious as he grew 
older. But he might well be annoyed now. Peter's 
attitude toward him, as expressed in this letter, is 
hardly brotherly. However, in another communication 
to Ormonde, Peter appears convinced that the reports 
were untrue, for he says : " Dick hath received the 
Blessed Sacrament in confirmation of his innocency. 
Truly, all circumstances and obligations both of 
honour and conscience considered, it is not only 
improbable but morally impossible that he should not 
only betray his King, but, in His Majesty, all his 
VOL. i. 67 5* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

own kindred, friends, and country, for a little sum 
which he must never enjoy or show, unless he be 
resolved to be deemed of all the most perfidious and 
infamous rogue." 

Had he written in this strain at first, Father 
Talbot would have shown himself a better friend to 
his young brother. But, like Dongan, he seems to 
have been more concerned that his own name should 
stand well than to clear Dick's. As for the accused, 
he took up a manly and straightforward attitude at 
once. He knew of the charge against him before his 
nephew arrived in Antwerp ; for as early as February 
1st he sent off to Ormonde a vindication of himself, 
the most important part of which runs as follows : 

" I always thought that the testimonyes all those of 
our family gave of thyr fidelity to the Kings sends and 
in particular to Y r Ex cc 7 and the many hazard that 
myself hath lately run in order thearunto ought merrit a 
better opinion of mee then I find thear is held of mee 
by some of the King's ministers thear, to bee Cromwells 
onely intelligence hear; if the loss of as much blood 
as I have lost in his servis, the quitteing of my 
fortune hear the last summer to go into England to 
venter the lives of my friends and my owne, my 
imprissonment thear for six months (which is a thing 
publikely knowne to the Kings best friends thear, that 
it stood me in 400 St[erling]) and lastely my leyfe 
lost (if I had not made my escape) bee not motives 

68 



Under a Cloud 

sufficient to justify mee. My Lord, I am a gentleman, 
and if I wear soe wicked as to be soe voyd of all fidellity 
to my lawfull Prince as to turne rogue for intrest, 
yet I am not of soe despicable a sperrit as to doe an 
act so much below a Gentleman .... If I had 
stayed in England thear mought bee som more ground 
for that scandallous reporte .... I cannot imadgin 
how this should com to pass, but I hope my innocensy 
will apear, when som of those that accuse mee wilbe 
blak enow. I beleeve Robin Dongans coming hether 
now will confirme them in it and that his escape 
was permitted as being of relation to me, for it was 
that that raysed the first reporte in England of it. I 
should never have knowne that I was suspected but 
that the Chancelor thear writ to a certaine gentleman 
at Dunkerk [Stephens] to send into England to know 
the certainty from Halsy, but I am of opinion that 
Halsy is to honest a man to tax mee, if it bee not 
that he hath heard that I said that the attempt (at 
least) had beene made upon the Protectors person, 
but that hee, eyther through cowardis or some other 
private end, had obstructed it, and that I sayd to 
those that I was sure would tell him of it, and that 
I will justify .... Though I bee held now to have 
a correspondency with Cromwell I hope before many 
dayes pass that my actions will declare the contrary. 
All the favor that I beg of your LoP is that you 
will not prejudicate mee, and soe that his Ma tie and 
Y r Ex ? bee satisfied (as you may be very justly) those 

69 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

others that harbour that opinion of mee may make 
further enquiry of it and if they find any evident 
proofes for it all the favor I desire from them is that 
they will prosecute mee ..." 

Ormonde's reply is not in existence, but that it was 
not unsatisfactory may be gathered in a second com- 
munication from Talbot, dated Antwerp, February 
1 2th: 

" My Lord, 

" I expected with much impatience Y r Ex c y* 8 
letter, which came to my hands soe very late yesterday 
that I had not time by the last poast to returne you 
my humble thanks for the ho[nou]r you did mee, and 
to say further, if it wear possible to bind mee more 
faythfully to his Ma** 68 servis or more firme to y r in- 
terests, soe oblidgeing a letter would infallibly doe it, 
but that being as impossible as my being the person 
I was represented thear to bee I doe promis myselfe 
that his Ma tie and y r selfe will (at least) suspend 
y r ill opinions of mee untill you have some more con- 
vincing evidence of my guilt, and that once made 
aparent I shall very patiently submit myselfe to the 
punishment (in the publick view of the world) that 
the infamy and wickedness of my creyme doth 
requyer ; and on the other syed, Y r Ex^, I am con- 
fident, will allow that my petition is not unreasonable, 
if I beg that noe inconsidereble persons or little 
envoyes in 'England words be taken for it if they 

70 



Under a Cloud 

give not som other proofes then thyr owne base 
surmises. . . . 

" Though little, my Lord, I have scene of the 
world, I have observed that wharever thear was any 
undertakeing by any person never soe desserving and 
never soe really ment without other end then the 
publick good, and that it prooved unsuccessful, wear 
it never soe cleare that nothing was lost for want of 
care or contrivance, yet it must necessary follow that 
hee is blameable, becaus it succeeded not according to 
expectation. God forbid I should pleade the former 
and present endeavors of all those of our own familyes 
(in serveing his Ma tie ) for my owne justification. I 
will only say one word, that in my opinion is con- 
vinceing enow, that if intrest were soe prevalent with 
mee as to make mee quit all honestye it is not by 
giveing intelligence from hence that I could make my 
greatest benefit. I could before I came out of England 
by slipeing but a very few words gaine myself a 
fortune, and my friends likewise during our lives, and 
nobody know neyther who hurt him. But I prays 
God for it, I am not of soe covetous a disposition as 
to prefer mony before my contience, my loyalty and 
my hon r> I have lived hitherto without beeing a 
trouble or discredit to my friends, and I hope will 
continue it. I shall not trouble Y r Ex. furthur in 
this matter. I know not what I may suffer at 
present in y r opinion, but I hope tyme will give mee 
opertunity to make the contrary evidently apear. The 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

dayly hazard of my life shall justify mee whear (I 
fear) my accusers dare not show thyr faces, and since 
you have always been the Patron of us all I humbly 
crave y r assistance in my vindication in this particular 
that soe neerely concerns the reputation of, 
" My Lord, 

" Y r Ex^** most faythfull and obedient servant, 

" R. TALBOT." 

The arrival of further information from England, 
including letters from poor Halsall, half starved and 
threatened with all manner of tortures in the Tower, 
made it plain at last that, besides Manning, the 
chief agent in the failure of the plot was William 
Masten, and the reputation of the Talbot brothers 
was cleared. Even Gilbert's explanation must have 
been accepted, that his dealings with Thurloe and 
Cromwell had been a mere trick to get money out of 
the enemy by false pretences ; for he was visited 
with no punishment. His scheme was in any case 
spoilt by Richard's escape, as the latter had feared it 
would be, and he was unable to secure any " com- 
modities " from Thurloe. Hyde continued to rail at 
the brothers, particularly at his b$te noire, " the foolish 
Father," who ought to be sent to some distant 
convent and restrained by his superiors, unless he had 
" purposely been let loose to do mischief."* But the 

* These expressions occur in letters from Hyde to Sir Henry de Vic, Charles's 
resident at Brussels, on January I4th and i8th, 1656, but Hyde is always 
writing in this strain. 

72 



Under a Cloud 

Talbots managed to dispense with Hyde's friendship, 
and the youngest of them was destined soon to 
establish himself well beyond the power of even the 
Chancellor to harm him. 

Richard Talbot does not come ill out of the affair, 
except in so far as he consented to take part in a 
scheme to " do Cromwell's business," as Sexby 
euphemistically writes of one of these plots. And in 
that matter, it has been said already, his conduct 
must not be judged by modern standards. If as 
high-placed and high-minded Royalists as Hyde, 
Ormonde, and Nicholas, to mention no others, did 
not shrink from the idea, a young adventurer like 
Talbot could not be expected to look upon the 
removal of the usurper and regicide as a base act. 
Had he, however, consented to sell his fellow- 
conspirators or to turn spy after his capture to save 
his life and provide himself with an income, he 
would justly be condemned by both contemporary 
and modern standards of ethics. But it is impossible 
to find the slightest evidence for such a charge, and 
it can only make us think less well not only of such 
as Robert Dongan and Peter, but also of the 
Chancellor Hyde, that they should have entertained 
the ignoble thought about him. Hyde was blinded 
by the prejudice of a narrow if honest man. Dongan 
and, in a less degree, Peter Talbot were actuated by 
selfish fear for their own reputations. 



73 



CHAPTER IV 

LIFE IN FLANDERS 

T N the spring of 1656 Charles's ministers, after 
long and what must have been exceedingly 
exasperating negotiations, complicated by the officious 
assistance of Peter Talbot, succeeded in bringing 
about the treaty with Spain which was to act as a 
counterpoise to Cromwell's treaty with France. The 
latter agreement had been made definite in November, 
1655. On the following April I2th Ormonde and 
Rochester signed a secret instrument with the Spanish 
representatives, Fuensaldanha and Cardenas, at Brussels. 
Spain, hard pressed by want of money and having 
already on hand as many quarrels as she could well 
tackle, had been very loth to proceed to war with 
England, great as were the outrages to which she had 
to submit from Cromwell. But she yielded at last 
to the inevitable, and now, as far as promises were 
concerned, made great concessions to Charles. His 
Majesty had already entered Spanish territory early 

74 



Life in Flanders 

in March, in anticipation of the treaty, and on its 
signature he took up his residence officially at Bruges. 

An important clause in the Anglo-Spanish agreement 
provided for the employment by Spain of English and 
Irish levies in the war against France. Certain Irish 
regiments had remained in the Spanish service since 
their first exile, among their officers being Walter 
Dongan (now by the death of his father a baronet) 
and his brother William. But their numbers had 
constantly dwindled through discontent over lack of 
pay and rations. On the other hand, France, a better 
paymaster, had a large body of English, Scottish and 
Irish troops still in her army ; and the Duke of 
York, though after the Cromwell-Mazarin treaty he 
was compelled to give up his French command, 
continued in the country, in defiance of the provision 
for his banishment. A necessary consequence of the 
Brussels treaty was the transference of all royalist 
volunteers from the French to the Spanish flag. A 
great advantage of this was that it would collect in 
Flanders a force ready to move when the long- 
projected invasion of England should at last take 
place. In the gathering together of this force the 
brothers Gilbert and Richard Talbot were assigned a 
leading part, which seems sufficient proof that they 
were both considered to have rebutted successfully the 
accusations against their loyalty. 

It is chiefly in the correspondence of that indefati- 
gable letter-writer, Father Peter, that we find allusions 

75 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

to his family's doings at this period. Undeterred by 
anyone's disapproval, secret or openly expressed, he 
continued to write constantly to the King, to 
Ormonde, and even to Hyde. In a letter to Charles 
on May loth he speaks of Gilbert's " rendezvous " at 
Ghent on the 2Oth of the month. Gilbert, and with 
him at intervals Richard, were in charge of the 
recruiting department in this town. But Richard 
also was seeing some active service in the Spanish 
ranks. The arrival of Don Juan, natural son of the 
King of Spain, as governor of the Spanish Nether- 
lands, was followed by considerable military activity, 
and for a time by unwonted success. A Spanish 
garrison had been shut up in Valenciennes. When 
Don Juan defeated the French and raised the siege 
" Dick, with some English gentlemen placed by him 
among Conde's troops," was present, as we learn 
from Peter's letter to Ormonde on June 29th. 
Charles sent a note of congratulation to Don Juan, 
using as his messenger "/<? chevalier Talbot," probably 
Gilbert. On July 24th Peter wrote again to Ormonde 
from Brussels, giving various details about members 
of their two families. Dick, he says, has found two 
German counts at Brussels, who promise to bring a 
hundred German soldiers with them as volunteers 
whenever the King shall make an attempt on England. 
Ormonde's nephew Muskerry* is still with his regiment 

* * . e. Cormac MacCarty, of whom we shall hear again soon. He was com- 
monly known as Colonel Muskerry, from his father's title of Viscount Muskerry. 

7 6 



Life in Flanders 

on the French side, under Turenne. Robert Dongan 
had been hoping to make his fortune by winning 
money at play from " a raw young gentleman," but 
those who had care of the youth refused to pay up. 

Other letters from Peter introduce frequently the 
name of " Thorn " Thomas Talbot, the Franciscan 
friar, with whom we have met already as the bearer 
of a message from Charles II. to Owen O'Neil in 
Ireland. Of this member of the stock which he so 
much disliked, Hyde draws a most unfavourable 
picture. Thomas, like Peter, had entered the Church, 
but, " being a merry fellow, was the more made of 
for laughing at and contemning his brother the 
Jesuit, who had not so good natural parts, though by 
his education he had more sobriety and lived without 
scandal in his manners." Thomas, on the other hand, 
was notorious for his debauchery, and, in consequence 
of the severe discipline put upon him by the superiors 
of his order, hated his habit, which he called his 
" fool's coat." In London after the Restoration, 
according to Hyde, he preferred to wear what he 
styled " man's clothes," i. ^., lay dress. 

Hyde's portrait is, no doubt, somewhat highly 
coloured. But in Peter's correspondence there is 
quite sufficient to show that the friar was a source 
of great anxiety to his relatives. Queen Henrietta 
Maria employed him as an envoy to the new Pope, 
Alexander VII., in 1655. But in the April of the 
following year we find Father James Talbot, a 

77 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

cousin, writing to Peter in scathing terms of Tom, 
who was in Paris on some business of raising funds 
for the royalist exiles. Tom is " a disgrace to 
his function, name and nation, in a poor and 
miserable condition, living without mass, matins or 
any other mark of a Christian, perfidious to all who 
most oblige him, and no Jew more mercenary than 
he." Father James wonders the King should impart 
his secret to one who would for gain sell both secret 
and master and who would be better in his convent 
than living as he does now. Peter forwarded this 
letter to the King, protesting that Tom is not 
altogether so bad as he is described by his cousin, 
whom he suspects of being " at cuffs " with him. 
But on July izth Peter himself writes to Ormonde 
that he sends his letter by Dick or by Robin Dongan, 
for Tom (then in Brussels) cannot be trusted with a 
letter, as he is too curious; and on July 3 1st that 
" Thorn tells so many lies that we can never believe 
him, though sometimes he may speak truth . . . 
He swears he has never said an ill word of the 
Chancellor or of Ormonde in this town [Brussels] . . . 
but his tongue cannot prejudice any man." Peter 
wrote also about the troublesome Tom to Hyde, who 
drily replied that he hoped he would persuade his 
brother to " resume his habit and sit still." The 
friar, it appears, was cherishing a scheme, of which 
Hyde did not at all approve, for levying three 
thousand men in Ireland, ostensibly for the French 

78 



Life in Flanders 

service, and preparing the nation to rise when the 
King thought fit. In this he hoped to interest the 
head of his house, Sir Robert. 

As a matter of fact, Father Tom was scarcely more 
of a terror to the royalist leaders than Father Peter,* 
about whose visit to Bruges Ormonde writes to Hyde 
at the beginning of September. He does not know 
what the Father's business in the town is unless it 
be to make provision for his brothers upon their 
raising of the regiments; but he complains that the 
Jesuit's religious zeal had transported him into a great 
passion with O'Neil for endeavouring to make a 
servant-boy of his a Protestant ; and he fears that 
Peter may do them ill offices with regard to the 
practice of their devotions a question of some con- 
siderable difficulty under the bigoted rule of Spain. 

The recruiting of the royalist regiments for the 
Spanish army, which had begun under the supervision 
of the Talbots, proceeded apace, in spite of the 
grudging support of the Spanish military authorities 
in the Netherlands, perpetually harassed by want of 
money. By November, 1656, the number of men 
gathered together was estimated at six thousand, and 

* The most amusing attack on Peter Talbot is to be found in a letter to Hyde 
from George Digby, Earl of Bristol, a few months later. Bristol (who before 
the end of 1658 was to become a Roman Catholic) hopes they may be rid of 
" the ghostly Father " by getting him sent to a more religious life, unless he 
go into England, in which case he may possibly be a martyr, which is all the 
hurt he personally wishes him. " God forgive your uncharitableness of wishing 
him in a well ! " (Calendar of Clarendon State Papers, III., art. 690. Letter 
of January i8th, 1657.) 

79 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

nearly all the Irish nobles formerly in the French 
service had arrived in Flanders. The transfer of 
troops from the French to the Spanish side was not 
accomplished without difficulty, owing to the scruples 
of some of their officers over this change of coat 
and also, no doubt, to the good treatment which 
they had received in France. Cormac MacCarty had 
at last been induced to come to Flanders, and he 
was gradually followed by the rest. It was easier, 
however, to bring the men together than to keep 
them together when brought, so meagre and unwilling 
was the provision made for them by the Spaniards ; 
and the numbers were therefore always fluctuating 
through fresh arrivals and desertions. However, four 
regiments were formed, which were respectively 
assigned to the Duke of Gloucester, Ormonde, Sir 
Thomas Middleton, and Rochester ; to which were 
afterwards added a fifth, under the Duke of York, 
when he had reluctantly yielded to the pressure put 
upon him to make him leave France, and a sixth, 
under the Earl of Bristol at first. A very unflattering 
picture is drawn of the royalist army by an English 
enemy in Flanders ; but it must be remembered that 
it was not to the interest of a man in his profession 
to represent them in an unduly favourable light. 
" Of all the armies in Europe," writes one of 
Thurloe's spies to him in April, 1657, " there is none 
wherein so much debauchery is to be seen as in this 
few forces which the said King hath gotten together, 

80 



Life in Flanders 

being so exceedingly profane from the highest to the 
lowest. The Irish are trump among them and bear 
away the bell for number and preferment." 

With the general history of the remaining period 
of royalist exile in Flanders, so full of abortive plots, 
unsuccessful negotiations, distressing quarrels, and 
miserable hardships, we are not here concerned, for 
Richard Talbot played but a small part after his flash 
into prominence in connection with the scheme 
against Cromwell in 1655. A piece of good fortune, 
however, came to him which had the utmost influence 
upon his subsequent life. He attracted the favourable 
notice of the Duke of York and was taken by him 
into his household. 

James sorely against his will, for he was sincerely 
attached to Turenne, the great soldier under whom 
he had learnt the art of war reached Flanders from 
Paris at the end of September, 1656. His position in 
Spanish territory was very uncomfortable from the 
first. Treated with distrust and jealousy by the 
Spaniards, he had really to fight his way to their 
esteem, and even his reckless bravery was a cause of 
offence to them.* Moreover, attached as Charles and 

* Concerning the personal courage of James II., which was to be so much 
called in question later, the most interesting expression of opinion is to be found 
in Pepys's Diary for June 4th, 1664. Speaking to Pepys of the Duke, William 
Coventry says : " He is more himself, and more of judgement is at hand in 
him, in the middle of a desperate service than at other times, as appeared 
in the business of Dunkirke [in 1658], wherein no man ever did braver things 
or was in hotter service in the close of that day, being surrounded with enemies ; 
and then, contrary to the advice of all about him, his counsel carried himself 

VOL. i. 81 6 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

James were to one another throughout life, their 
peculiar circumstances in exile furnished occasion for 
many misunderstandings between them. James was 
both better loved by his mother and more popular 
with a large section of the Royalists than was Charles. 
In 1659 we find Tom Talbot, and even Peter,* 
accused of attempting to magnify the Duke in 
England at the expense of the King. Perhaps it was 
fear of a " Duke's party " which prompted the 
attempt, immediately after James's arrival in Flanders, 
to remove from his household those whom he most 
trusted. Now even James's detractors and has any 
King of England had more numerous and more 
bitter ? allow that he was loyal to those for whom 
he had once conceived an affection. Charles, or his 
advisers, tried to part the Duke from the Berkeleys, 
uncle and nephew, and from Harry Jermyn, nephew 
to the powerful lord who ruled the household of 

and the rest through them safe, by advising that he might make his passage 
with but a dozen with him ; ' For,' says he, ' the enemy cannot move after 
me so fast with a great body, and with a small one we shall be enough to deal 
with them ' ; and though he is a man naturally martiall to the highest degree, 
yet a man that never in his life talks one word of himself or service of his own, 
but only that he saw such or such a thing, and lays it down for a maxime that 
a Hector can have no courage." 

* Hyde writes to Ormonde that Peter actually proposed to Colonel Bamp- 
field that James should be put in Charles's place (letter of October nth, 1659, 
among the Carte Papers). The Jesuit was aware of such charges against him. 
Among the Carte Papers also is a letter from him to Ormonde, dated July 25th, 
1659, m which he says : " The aspersions cast upon me of setting up an interest 
for the Duke of York in opposition to the King, and speaking disrespectfully 
of his Matie's person, are so contrary to the principles of honesty [and] good 
manners that I hope none who knows my conversation and education will 
believe them." 

82 



Life in Flanders 

Queen Henrietta Maria. James was even ordered to 
leave the elder Berkeley behind him in France, but 
he disobeyed the order. An attempt was made to 
undermine Berkeley's influence with the help of Henry 
Bennet, the Duke's secretary, who pleased the King 
(according to Hyde) by his " pleasant and agreeable 
humour." The result was only to make James dislike 
Bennet. To another command to banish Berkeley, on 
the ground that he was an enemy of Spain and he 
was indeed a warm friend to France James replied 
with a positive refusal to give up any of his servants 
and fled from Bruges into Dutch territory. After 
about a month's absence he was induced to come 
back, but only when Charles (who was in the utmost 
alarm lest his brother should return to France and 
so compromise him with Spain) had yielded to his 
demand for the retention of the Berkeleys and Jermyn. 
As for Bennet, he was sent to Madrid as the King's 
representative, to console him for the loss of his post 
as secretary to the Duke. 

Affairs went none too smoothly even after this 
concession of the King, and there is no doubt that 
much of Charles's wretchedness during the last years 
of his exile, which made him at times declare him- 
self weary of life, was due to his dissensions with his 
family, who almost always sided with one another 
against him when there was a difference of opinion. 

At what date the Duke of York added Richard 
Talbot to his household does not appear. Hyde in 
VOL. i. 83 6* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

mentioning the fact simply says : " He was a very 
handsome young man, wore good clothes, and was 
without a doubt of a clear, ready courage, which was 
virtue enough to recommend a man to the Duke's 
good opinion, which, with more expedition than could 
be expected, he got to that degree that he was made 
of the bedchamber." 

That Hyde does not exaggerate the rapid rise of 
Talbot in James's favour is proved by Carte's account 
of his appointment to the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 
Duke of York's Regiment. The nucleus of this force 
had been the men which Cormac MacCarty had 
taken over with him from Ireland to Spain. Cormac 
MacCarty, the eldest son of Viscount Muskerry 
(created by the King Earl of Clancarty in 1658) and 
Eleanor Butler, sister of the Marquis of Ormonde, 
was, according to Hyde, " a young man of extra- 
ordinary courage and expectation . . . and had the 
general estimation of an excellent officer." His 
regiment was composed of Munster men, mostly his 
own tenants and dependents, and had followed him 
when he changed from the Spanish to the French 
side, righting with distinction on the latter. When 
Charles after the Brussels treaty recalled his subjects 
from the French army, MacCarty's men, in spite of 
the obstacles put in their way in France, came after 
him into Flanders. Here they were renamed the 
Duke of York's Regiment, MacCarty continuing to 
command them as colonel. Again they distinguished 

84 




JAMES, DUKE OF YORK 

(afterwards James the Second). 



Life in Flanders 

themselves in active service against their old allies. 
When a vacancy occurred for a lieutenant-colonel 
MacCarty wished to promote one of his officers. 
But the ambitious Richard Talbot seized the oppor- 
tunity and " pushed to be put in that command," 
says Carte. MacCarty having rejected his application, 
the dispute ran so high that a duel took place, of 
which we do not hear the result. Talbot must now 
have appealed to the Duke and received his support, 
for Hyde and Ormonde in indignation went to the 
King and pointed out the impropriety of putting him 
into one of the highest commands in a Munster 
regiment, over the heads of its officers and in defiance 
of the wishes of its colonel, who, like his father, had 
deserved so well of the King. The post, they said, 
was not one which a man would desire unless his 
passions had got the better of his judgment. They 
lectured Charles, indeed, in a manner which reminds 
one of Hyde's many harangues as reported by him in 
the Continuation. But His Majesty remained deaf to 
their arguments, saying that his brother had set his 
heart on Talbot's appointment and that he would 
not interfere. 

Charles, no doubt, was anxious to avoid further 
interference with favourites of his brother after James 
had shown so plainly by his flight to Holland the 
obstinacy of his attachments. 

In estimating the extent of Talbot's triumph we 
may note that Pepys, in his entry for December I5th, 

85 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

1664, speaks of the very great influence exercised over 
the Duke of York by Lords Muskerry and Fitz- 
harding the former Cormac MacCarty and Charles 
Berkeley. And we know that James's friendship with 
MacCarty was already firm in 1656.* Talbot had 
therefore succeeded in persuading the Duke to give 
him the post which he coveted in spite of a strong 
sentiment prompting James to refuse the favour. The 
young man was naturally delighted. In view of the 
intervention of Hyde and Ormonde, he could not 
forbear exulting in his victory over such powerful 
antagonists. Peter, Thomas and Gilbert Talbot all 
congratulated him warmly and " made it their 
business to trumpet about their brother Dick's great 
interest with His Royal Highness." In this affair we 
may perhaps trace the origin of Dick's intermittent 
enmity towards Ormonde, which was to be manifested 
on numerous occasions after the Restoration. 
Ormonde's effort on behalf of his nephew was only 
reasonable, but this consideration was hardly likely 
to count with one who, as Carte says, was " subject 
to the common frailty of youth, vanity, and infinitely 
ambitious." 

Talbot and MacCarty, we have seen, attempted to 
settle their difference with the sword. Duels were of 
unhappy frequency among the royalist exiles at this 
period. Among the Sutherland MSS. is preserved a 
letter to Sir Andrew Newport in England from 

* See the story in Clarke's Life of James //., I., 282-4. 

86 



Life in Flanders 

somebody in Amiens, dated September 4th [1658], 
which says : " 'Tis strange to hear of the dissensions 
among the exiled English, Scotch and Irish in 
Flanders ... I saw a relation of a quarrel, under 
my [Lord Taajffe's hand, between him and a Scotch- 
man of my acquaintance, one Sir William Keith; 
the dispute was only for three royals and a half at 
tennis. Sir William Keith was slain upon the place; 
upon this great occasion also were engaged four 
persons besides the principals. Upon Taaffe's side 
Dick Talbot fought and wounded Dick Hopton in 
two places ; and on Taaffe's side, again, one Davis 
fought with Sir William Fleming, but no harm 
done." 

The Hopton whom Talbot wounded in so trivial 
a cause was the man who attempted in the year 
after Talbot to carry out a scheme against Cromwell 
similar to that in which he had been engaged. Like 
his adversary, Hopton had been captured and confined 
at Whitehall, and, like him, again, he had succeeded in 
escaping at a considerable expense of money. It may 
be gathered that it was not so much a matter of a 
debt for a game of tennis as national jealousy which 
occasioned the quarrel. The exiles in Flanders were 
disheartened by their long waiting, suspicious of one 
another, penniless and often hungry, and prone to 
squabbles. The King was always an enemy of the 
duel, but at the present juncture in his affairs he 
was powerless to prevent his adherents from letting 

87 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

loose their ill-temper in this fashion. Both the lay 
members of the Talbot family then in Flanders took 
their share in the outbreak of violence, though we 
do not hear that either killed his man. It is 
reasonable to suppose that it was at this time that 
our hero gained his name of " Fighting Dick 
Talbot." 

But the end of the evil days of exile was 
gradually approaching. The death of the Protector, 
it is true, was not immediately followed by the 
recall of the King, as had been hoped, and a 
further period of plots and disappointments inter- 
vened. New opportunities hereby offered themselves to 
Peter and Thomas Talbot for gratifying their mania 
for intrigue. The friar came under grave suspicion 
of dealing with the enemy; but it is quite probable 
that he had really no disloyal intentions, and 
imagined himself to be furthering the King's cause. 
On May 6/i6th, 1659, he writes to Ormonde from 
Paris, justifying a secret journey of his into England 
and a meeting with Thurloe the previous year. 
" Though I went into England," he says, " upon the 
score I mention, you may say I condemn myself for 
not acquainting the King. I assure you, my Lord, I 
durst not appear in Court, [as], being commanded 
from it, it was not seasonable; my intention being, 
if the treaty were real, both to acquaint the King 
and improve my endeavours for his service." Both 
Talbot's scheme and the style of his letter are 

88 



Life in Flanders 

tortuous, and it is not easy to understand what he 
intended. His protestations of innocence were 
apparently believed, for no harm came to him. 

Peter was not so fortunate. It would take too 
long to follow his persistent intrigues with the 
Spaniards, first in Flanders and then in Madrid, in 
the course of which he began by opposing and 
belittling Bennet, the King's representative, as " a 
creature of Bristol's and our enemy," and ended by 
making a friend of him and persuading him to accept 
him as a kind of unofficial colleague in the Spanish 
capital, to Hyde's loudly expressed disgust. He too, 
like Tom, had paid a visit to England in 1658 ; in 
fact, according to one account, he was in London 
for Cromwell's funeral. When he arrived in Madrid 
his enemies accused him of being an agent of the 
Commonwealth. Hyde directly affirms that he was 
sent to Spain, when the negotiations for the Treaty 
of the Pyrenees were in progress at Fuentarabia, to 
procure England's inclusion in the peace and Charles's 
exclusion and banishment from Flanders. Charles 
complained to Bennet of this, but the Jesuit pre- 
vailed so much with the Ambassador that he actually 
undertook to reconcile him to the King. In this 
Bennet did not at first succeed, if the statement of 
Peter's bitter opponent, Peter Walsh, be true that, in 
return for his attempt to " betray and utterly ruin " 
his cause in 1659, Charles brought about his formal 
expulsion from the Jesuit order. Although the 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Franciscan is a doubtful authority where Peter Talbot 
is concerned, his statement is supported by a letter 
of Hyde's at the end of July, in which he speaks of 
" Talbot, late a Jesuit." But Peter is found on 
perfectly good terms with the Jesuits afterwards ; and 
as for his relations with the King, in May, 1660, he 
acts as conveyer of a Spanish contribution to Breda, 
and Hyde himself represents him as a conspicuous 
figure at Whitehall after the Restoration, daringly 
displaying himself in his clerical robes about the 
Palace.* 

In the household of the Duke of York Richard 
was happily removed from the temptation of mixing 
himself up in the intrigues of his clerical brothers, 
and we hear little more of him before the Restora- 
tion. In August, 1659, hopes were strong that 
England would at once declare for the King's return, 
and in anticipation of a general rising, Charles 
hastened from Flanders to the French coast, with 
orders to James to come after him at once. The 
Duke left Brussels accompanied only by Lord Lang- 
dale, Charles Berkeley, and one attendant. Talbot 
followed with the elder Berkeley the same evening, 
and the rest of the Duke's household apparently soon 
after, for in September we find them all returning to 
Brussels. The expected rising proved a disappoint- 
ment, and there was nothing to be done except go 

* He proposed from the first to live there openly, " as many more do of my 
condition, who are openly winked at," but yielded to pressure until he was 
able to appear as almoner to Queen Catherine. 

90 



Life in Flanders 

back to Flanders. A letter of September I4th says : 
" All the Duke of York's people, viz. the Barkleys, 
Talbot, Bronkart [i.e. William Brounker], Leyton, 
with my Lord Langdale, &c., are returned to Bruxells, 
and the Duke himself expected to-morrow." Another 
season of gloom followed, deepened by the with- 
drawal of funds for the royalist troops by Spain 
when she came to terms with France. Poverty was 
acuter than at any period during the long exile, and 
the Duke was glad enough to accept a post as 
Admiral of the Spanish navy, though knowing that it 
was bound to be honorary unless he became a Roman 
Catholic which at this time was very far from his 
thoughts, in spite of Carte's belief to the contrary.* 

With the arrival of 1660 the end at last came to 
the distressing situation. When restoration was 
certain, first the Royal Dukes and then the King 
himself, with their households, escaped from the 
hospitality of Spain, which had inspired in them so 
few pleasant memories, and sought that of Holland, 
hitherto denied to them, but now gladly proffered 
and even pressed on them. At the Hague their 
reception was on a most lavish scale, 6,000 being 
presented to the King ; and the flocking thither of 
deputations from across the Channel added to the 
enthusiastic rejoicings over the changed state of 

* Carte even asserts that Richard Talbot " knew the secret of the Duke of 
York's religion " (Ormond, IV., 70). It is now certain, however, that there 
was as yet no such secret to be known. James had a secret at this period ; but 
that was his contract with Anne Hyde, to which we come in the next chapter. 

91 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

affairs. Then arrived the English fleet, under Pepys's 
cousin, Edward Montagu, to carry the royal party 
home. When all was ready for the journey to 
England, the Duke of York, accompanied no doubt 
by Richard Talbot, boarded the Naseby, now renamed 
the Royal Charles, and took command of the squadron 
as Admiral once more of the English navy, after a 
lapse of a dozen years. On May 24th the exiles left 
the Hague, and on the morning of the 25th they 
landed at Dover, amid a most remarkable demonstra- 
tion of thankfulness and joy. Four years and a half 
previously Talbot had made his escape from the 
country, nailed up under the boards of a boat, a 
fugitive from the enemies of the King. Now he 
returned to witness the landing of the King who had 
apparently no enemy left. 



CHAPTER V 

TALBOT AND HIS TRADUCERS 

T N the general joy of the nation over the 
restoration of Charles II. was mingled a 
pleasurable anticipation, on the part of all who 
had deserved or thought they had deserved well 
of the King, concerning the rewards which 
they were to receive. The Talbots and their 
kindred were among those who hoped for honours. 
For Sir Robert Talbot a viscountship was asked, 
if he did not himself make such a claim. 
Sir Walter Dongan did not scruple to press his 
uncle Peter to recommend him to Ormonde for a 
similar distinction.* Neither of them obtained the 
honour, though Sir Walter's brother William in 
February, 1661, was created Viscount Dongan of 

* " Sir Robert is so bashfull," writes Peter Talbot to Ormonde on June 5th, 
1660, " that if you speake not to him and persuade him to be a Viscount he will 
never move it." On the other hand, " Sir Walter Dongan . . . recom- 
mended me to put your Exce in mind of his Viscountship of Kildroght." 

93 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Clane. In truth, it would have been impossible for 
the King to gratify the wishes of all who looked 
to him for favour. Whitehall was besieged by a 
clamorous crowd, all urging their own eminent merits 
and depreciating one another. Well might Clarendon 
speak of the " unhappy temper and constitution of 
the royal party," which he believes to have had a most 
pernicious effect on the King's character, driving him 
to " leave all things to their natural course and 
God's providence," while abandoning himself to 
dissipation. 

At the restored Court Richard Talbot, now at 
the age of thirty Gentleman of the Bedchamber 
to the Duke of York and lieutenant-colonel in his 
regiment, was well placed for advancement. He 
soon succeeded in attaining higher military rank, 
being made colonel of a troop of cavalry, in 
spite of his Roman Catholicism. Yet even he, so 
great a favourite with his master, could not but 
experience the severity of the struggle for posi- 
tion, in which straightforward methods could do 
little for an ambitious man. The temptation was 
strong to have recourse to crooked ways, and 
many of the greatest persons of the period stooped 
and stooped very low indeed, in some cases 
to conquer. 

We are now brought to the examination of the 
question whether Talbot in his anxiety for preferment 
sank to the degradation which Lord Macaulay alleges 

94 



Talbot and his Traducers 

against him ; and the evidence must be examined in 
detail, for if Macaulay's accusation be proved, then 
our verdict upon Talbot's character cannot be other 
than hostile. In fact, if the charge be true, we may 
without difficulty believe almost anything against 
him. 

When Edward Hyde went into exile from England 
he took with him his daughter Anne. Mary Princess 
of Orange, whether attracted by her or out of a 
desire to gratify her brother Charles's trusted minister, 
offered to make her one of her maids of honour. 
Hyde was against Anne's acceptance of the post, but 
his wife, ambitious for her daughter, overruled him, 
and Anne went to Mary's Court. On a visit to 
Queen Henrietta Maria in Paris, Mary brought her 
maid with her; and here she was seen by James, 
Duke of York. James in his memoirs, relates the 
sequel thus : 

" Besides her person, she [Anne Hyde] had all the 
qualities proper to inflame a heart less apt to take 
fire than his ; while she managed so well as to bring 
his passion to such a height as, between the time 
he first saw her and the winter before the King's 
restoration, he resolved to marry none but her; and 
promised her to do it : and though at first, when 
the Duke asked the King his brother for his leave, 
he refused and diswaded him from it ; yet at last 
he opposed it no more; and the Duke married 
her privately, owned it some time after, and was 

95 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

ever a true friend to the Chancellor, for several 
years."* 

The secret contract between James and Anne was 
made in the autumn in 1659, and after it they looked 
upon themselves as man and wife, with the result 
that, when the Restoration took place, they must 
have known that a child was on its way to them. 
But James the exile, dependent on the bounty of 
France or Spain, and James Duke of York at White- 
hall, standing near the throne which might one day 
be his, were very different persons. The exile had 
shown considerable decision of character. The Royal 
Duke was a prey to a host of conflicting desires, and 
by his wavering attitude now brought discredit upon 
his name. 

Two contemporary accounts of what followed are 
to be found, in the Memoirs of Gramont and in the 
Continuation of the Life of Clarendon; the one 
sparkling and malicious, the other sober and senten- 
tious. The version in the Memoirs may be dealt 
with first. 

Gramont, or Anthony Hamilton, whichever of 
them we may consider responsible for this particular 
story, asserts that the Duke of York, at first, " was 
so far from repenting of his secret marriage with 
Anne Hyde that he seemed only to wish for the 

* Carte's Extract from the Memoirs, in Macpherson, Original Papers^ I., 17. 
Concerning James's admission of the aptitude of his heart to take fire, see his 
instructions to his son in Macpherson, I., 77, where he acknowledges with shame 
and regret that he was too much a slave to the passion. 

96 



Talbot and his Traducers 

King's restoration, that he might have an opportunity 
of declaring it with splendour." But when he saw 
himself enjoying a rank which placed him so near 
the throne and reflected on the indignation which 
the announcement would create at Court, and indeed 
throughout the whole kingdom, the matter looked 
otherwise to him. He knew that his brother would 
refuse his consent. On the other hand, his 
conscience bound him to adhere to his marriage 
contract, even if, after the early fervour of his 
affection for Anne Hyde had passed away, he had 
eyes for the many beauties of Whitehall. 

In his perplexity James " opened his heart to 
Falmouth " that is to say, to Charles Berkeley, for 
Gramont anticipates by more than four years his rise 
to the rank of Earl. The Duke " could not have 
applied to a better man in his own interests, nor to 
a worse in Miss Hyde's. For at first Falmouth 
maintained not only that he was not married, but 
that it was indeed impossible that he could ever 
have conceived such an idea ; that any marriage was 
invalid for him which was made without the King's 
consent, even if the party were a suitable match; 
but that it was a mere jest even to think of the 
daughter of an insignificant lawyer,* whom the favour 

* The " insignificant lawyer " was made Lord High Chancellor of England 
on Sir Edward Herbert's death at the beginning of 1658 having been for 
fifteen years previously Chancellor of the Exchequer to Charles I. and his son ; 
but he was not raised to the peerage (as Baron Hyde of Hindon) until November, 
1660. 

VOL. i. 97 7 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

of his sovereign had lately made a peer of the realm, 
without any noble blood, and chancellor without any 
capacity; that, as for his scruples, he had only to 
give ear to some gentlemen that he could introduce, 
who would inform him thoroughly concerning Miss 
Hyde's conduct before he became acquainted with 
her ; and, provided that he did not tell them that 
he really was married, he would soon have sufficient 
grounds to come to a determination. The Duke 
of York consented, and Lord Falmouth, having 
assembled both his council and his witnesses, led 
them to His Royal Highness's cabinet, after having 
instructed them how to act. These gentlemen were 
the Earl of Arran,* Jermyn, Talbot and Killigrew, 
all men of honour, but who infinitely preferred the 
interest of the Duke of York to Miss Hyde's 
reputation, and who, besides, were greatly dissatisfied, 
like the whole of the Court, at the insolent 
authority of the Prime Minister." 

The story goes on that the Duke informed the 
assembled gentlemen that they could not be unaware 
of his affection for Miss Hyde, but they might not 
know that he was under an engagement to perform 
certain promises to her. Therefore, as the innocence 
of persons of her age was generally exposed to Court 
scandal, and as some reports, false or true, had been 
spread abroad concerning her conduct, he asked them, 
both in friendship and in duty, to tell him sincerely 

* *'. e., Richard Butler, Ormonde's second son. 
98 



Talbot and his Traducers 

all they knew upon the subject. " All appeared 
rather reserved at first," continues Gramont, " and 
seemed not to dare give their opinions on so serious 
and delicate a matter; but the Duke of York having 
renewed his entreaties, each began to ' relate the 
particulars of what he knew, and perhaps more than 
he knew, about poor Miss Hyde; nor did they 
omit any circumstance necessary to strengthen the 
evidence." 

We need not follow the Memoirs of Gramont into 
all the unpleasant evidence which they allege to have 
been brought forward by the four witnesses against 
Anne Hyde's moral character. But, since Lord 
Macaulay finds in Gramont's accusation against 
Richard Talbot here the ground for his most 
virulent abuse of his victim, it is necessary perhaps 
to quote the actual words of the Memoirs. " Talbot 
said that she had made an appointment with him in 
the Chancellor's cabinet, while he was at a council 
meeting; and that, not paying so much attention to 
what was on the table as to what they were engaged 
in, they had spilt a bottle of ink upon a despatch 
of four pages, and that the King's monkey, which 
was blamed for the accident, was a long time in 
disgrace." 

When he had heard what the four had to say, the 
Duke thanked them for their frankness, enjoined 
secrecy upon them, and went to the King's apart- 
ments. Berkeley, waiting in the presence-chamber 
VOL. i 99 7* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

while the brothers conversed long in private, told 
Lord Ossory, eldest son of the Duke of Ormonde, 
what had just happened. At last the Duke of York 
came out and told them to meet him in about an 
hour's time' at the Chancellor's. When they arrived, 
Berkeley and Ossory found Anne Hyde weeping, and 
her father in rage and despair. But the Duke said 
to them, with the serene and pleasant countenance 
generally accompanying the announcement of good 
news : " As you are the two men of the Court 
whom I most esteem, I desire that you should first 
have the honour of paying your respects to the 
Duchess of York. There she is ! " 

Gramont concludes the tale by saying that, while 
the four coxcombs who had slandered Anne Hyde 
were much afraid of the consequences of their 
conduct, she, though fully aware of their accusations, 
so far from showing resentment, treated them with 
studious kindness and told them that nothing was a 
greater proof of the attachment of a man of honour 
than the putting his friend's or master's interest 
above his own reputation. Gramont's comment is: 
" A remarkable example of prudence and moderation, 
not only for the fair sex, but even for those who 
value themselves most upon their philosophy among 
the men." 

Perhaps it is hardly necessary to remark that this 
narrative is not of such a kind that we should be 
willing to accept it implicitly, coming from so 

100 



Talbot and his Traducers 

generally untrustworthy a source as the lively com- 
position of Gramont and his brother-inrlaw.,.. unless 
we could find some contemporary 'corro&o'r'ation.'' "Now 
the quarter in which we should/V-riJat^ralliyf ' &c& * &Jr 
corroboration is the autobiography of the maligned 
lady's father. If anyone had reason to inveigh against 
the conduct of Anne's traducers it was Edward Hyde. 
We cannot go far wrong in assuming that what Hyde 
does not say about the matter could not truthfully be 
said ; for, honest man as he was, he was a bitter 
enemy, and with regard to the Talbots he himself 
admits that he was considered to be biassed against 
the whole family. Let us see therefore the 
Chancellor's account of the plot against Anne Hyde, 
confining ourselves to a brief paraphrase, for the 
most part, of the narrative of a very verbose 
writer. 

According to the Continuation " the first matter of 
general and public importance " after the Restoration, 
apart from Parliamentary affairs, was the discovery of 
the secret marriage of the Duke of York and the 
Chancellor's daughter " with which nobody was so 
surprised and confounded as the Chancellor himself, 
who being of a nature free from any jealousy, and 
very confident of an entire affection and obedience 
from all his children, and particularly from that 
daughter whom he had always loved dearly, never 
had in the least degree suspected any such thing ; 
though he knew afterwards that the Duke's affection 

101 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

and kindness had been much spoken of beyond the 
seas,.buf without; the, least suspicion in anybody that 
it could ever ; tend to marriage." (Absorption in 
pubhc iajfairs, no doubt, accounts for his ignorance of 
what was going on in his own household ; for it is 
related that Ashley Cooper, dining at the Hydes' 
one day with Southampton, told him that he was 
convinced Anne was married to one of the Royal 
brothers, her mother's only half-suppressed respect for 
her proving this.) Hyde goes on to state that the 
Duke's fondness was encouraged by his own declared 
enemies, who hoped to see disgrace falling on him 
and his family through it. Chief among these was 
Sir Charles Berkeley, who was abetted by most of 
the others of the Duke's household. James himself, 
in spite of his love for the daughter, was unfavourably 
disposed toward Hyde, sharing the prejudice of Queen 
Henrietta Maria. The Chancellor's foes, therefore, 
had no very difficult task in exerting an evil influence 
in the matter. 

At first, however, the Duke of York acted 
honourably enough. When it was reported that 
Hyde was desirous of making a good match for his 
daughter, he went to the King, informed him of 
the secret contract and of Anne's expectation of a 
child, and begged permission for a public marriage. 
If consent were denied, he protested with many tears, 
he would immediately leave the kingdom and spend 
his life in foreign parts. Charles, very much troubled, 

102 



Talbot and his Traducers 

called to him Ormonde and Southampton, as bosom 
friends of the Chancellor, and told them to bring 
him into his presence. Ormonde explained what the 
business was, whereon Hyde " broke out into a very 
immoderate passion against the wickedness of his 
daughter" and swore he would turn her out of his 
house, using some very strong language and calling 
fDr her execution ! In the midst of his agony the 
King came into the room and attempted to calm 
Hm, " looking upon him with a wonderful benignity." 
Indeed, Charles, on the Chancellor's testimony, 
behaved most admirably. He put aside Hyde's 
reiterated demand for his daughter's instant punish- 
ment, and at every discussion of the matter urged 
that, there having been a marriage, there was no 
remedy but to make it public. To show how little 
affended he was personally, he was most gracious 
in his manner toward him and very soon after- 
wards bestowed on him a present of .20,000 and a 
barony. 

A visit to London of the Princess of Orange 
caused a temporary silence at Court over the affair, 
though a rumour was industriously spread about the 
town that the business was broken off, " the Duke 
being resolved never to think more of it." Further 
it was reported " that the Duke had discovered some 
disloyalty in the lady, which he had never suspected, 
but had now so full evidence of it that he was 
resolved never more to see her ; and that he was not 

103 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

married. And all his family, whereof the Lord 
Berkley and his nephew were the chief, who had 
long hated the Chancellor, spake very loudly and 
scandalously of it."* 

Further trouble arose with the arrival in England 
of Queen Henrietta Maria. The Princess Mary could 
not have been expected to look with pleasure on the 
admission of a commoner's daughter to the Royal 
circle. But she was at least personally friendly to 
Anne Hyde. With the Queen, on the other hand, 
this was not the case. As early as July I5th, 1655, 

* John Berkeley, knighted by Charles I., was appointed Governor to the Duke 
of York in exile at Paris and succeeded in gaining his pupil's affection, as we 
have seen in the last chapter. Having refused to allow Sir John to be removed 
from his household in Flanders, James persuaded the King in 1658 to make 
him Baron Berkeley of Stratton. On the Restoration he was appointed Comp- 
troller. Pepys describes him as " the most hot, fiery man in discourse, without 
any cause, that ever I saw." (Diary, December 3rd, 1664.) Hyde says of 
him : " If he loved anyone it was those whom he had known a very little while, 
and who had purchased his affection at the price of much application and very 
much flattery ; and if he had any friends, they were likewise those who had 
known him very little." (Clarendon State Papers, III., Supp., p. 80.) We shall 
meet with Lord Berkeley again. We must suppose him to have had some 
redeeming points of which his critics do not tell us. His nephew Charles i 
even more severely handled by some of his contemporaries, and what we hear 
of him in this chapter is certainly disgraceful enough. Some of the comments 
upon his character may be found in My Lady Castlemaine, p. 80 and footnote. 
To supplement King Charles's testimonial to him there might have been quoted 
James's remark : " The Earl of Falmouth in the highest favour [in 1663], mind- 
ing his master's, not his own, concerns. He was killed at sea, and died not 
worth a farthing, though not expensive." (James's Memoirs in Macpherson's 
Original Papers, I., 24.) And Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, writing to her 
brother Charles on June 22nd, 1665, says : " I cannot end without expressing 
my sorrow at the death of poor Lord Falmouth, whom I regret as much for the 
sake of the friendship you felt for him, which he so justly deserved, as for his 
goodness to me. Indeed, I had to weep with all my heart for him, on the very 
day the news of your victory gave me the greatest joy." 

104 



Talbot and his Traducers 

Hyde writes from Cologne to Lady Stanhope concern- 
ing his " poor girl " and the Queen's " old dislike " of 
her. Henrietta Maria never disguised her hatred for 
Hyde himself, and it may have been merely on his 
account that she was unkind to his daughter. But, 
whatever the reason, James could have no doubt as 
to how his mother regarded Anne. When she heard 
the report of the marriage she wrote to him in deep 
anger she was wont to express herself strongly at 
such times to reproach him for having fallen so low, 
and threatened to come over in person to prevent so 
great a stain and dishonour to the Crown. James 
quailed before her, and, when she fulfilled her threat 
and reached England in November, he went so far as 
to deny his marriage, or at least its validity. As a 
matter of fact, as early as September 3rd, he had 
fulfilled his promise at a secret wedding, which took 
place at Worcester House, the unsuspecting Chancellor's 
own residence! The reasons for haste were obvious 
when, on October 22nd, still at her father's house, 
Anne gave birth to a son. By the special desire of 
the King, the Marchioness of Ormonde, the Countess 
of Sunderland, and some other ladies were present at 
the event. The Bishop of Winchester was also at 
Worcester House, and to him Anne solemnly declared 
that she was married to the Duke. The ladies were 
convinced of her innocence, and Lady Ormonde went 
to the King and informed him so. 

In spite of this, the enemies of the Hydes did not 

105 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

relax their efforts. " And it was now avowedly said 
that Sir Charles Berkley, who was captain of his 
guard, and in much more credit and favour with the 
Duke than his uncle (though a young man of a 
dissolute life, and prone to all wickedness in the 
judgment of all sober men), had informed the Duke 
* that he was bound in conscience to preserve him 
from taking to wife a woman so wholly unworthy of 
him; that he himself had lain with her; and that 
for his sake he would be content to marry her, 
though he knew well the familiarity the Duke had 
with her.' This evidence, with so solemn oaths 
presented by a person so much loved and trusted by 
him, made a wonderful impression on the Duke; and 
now confirmed by the commands of his mother, as 
he had been before prevailed upon by his sister, he 
resolved to deny that he was married, and never to 
see the woman again who was so false to him." 
Henrietta Maria expressed her satisfaction with James, 
and there was exultation among the foes of the 
Chancellor. The only hindrance to their joy was 
the King's persistent graciousness to his minister, 
" which," says Hyde, " made it evident that he 
believed nothing of what Sir Charles Berkley avowed, 
and looked on him as a fellow of great wickedness ; 
which opinion the King was long known to have of 
him before his coming into England, and after." 
The correctness of the last statement we may take 
leave to deny ; but His Majesty may well have 

106 



Talbot and his Traducers 

disbelieved the scandal without hating the scandal- 
monger. 

Since the Princess Mary's arrival James had not 
spoken to his father-in-law. Now he asked for an 
interview. Obviously still very much under the 
influence of others, he remonstrated with him warmly. 
He had been informed that Hyde was shortly about 
to bring before Parliament evidence of the marriage. 
James threatened him that it would be the worse for 
him if he did so. As for his daughter, " she had 
behaved so foully (of which he had such evidence as 
was convincing as his own eyes, and of which he 
could make no doubt) that nobody could blame him 
for his behaviour toward her." Hyde made a dignified 
reply, denying any intention of bringing the matter 
before Parliament and saying that he was not concerned 
with the vindication of his daughter, which he would 
leave to God Almighty. 

According to the Continuation, Hyde's ill-wishers 
had expected that his attitude would provoke in- 
dignation against him ; but they were disappointed. 
" On the contrary, men of the greatest name and 
reputation spake of the foulness of the proceeding 
[to annul the marriage] with great freedom and with 
all the detestation imaginable against Sir Charles 
Berkley, whose testimony nobody believed." Queen 
Henrietta Maria did her utmost to keep the Duke to 
his resolution; but the Princess of Orange, falling a 
victim to smallpox (of which she died in December, 

107 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

1660), " in her last agonies expressed a dislike of the 
proceedings in that affair, to which she had contri- 
buted too much." 

The Duke now grew so melancholy and discon- 
tented that everyone noticed it, and at last Charles 
Berkeley, touched by conscience and by the distress of 
his master, came to him and confessed the falsity of 
his accusation, declaring that he had only acted out 
of pure devotion to the Duke and had tried to 
prevent a marriage which would be mischievous and 
inconvenient to him. He begged pardon for what 
he had done. " The Duke," says Hyde, " found him- 
self so much relieved in that part that most afflicted 
him that he embraced him and made a solemn 
promise that he should not suffer in the least degree 
in his own affection for what had proceeded so 
absolutely from his good-will to him, and that he 
would take so much care of him in the compounding 
that affair that ... he should receive no dis- 
advantage." 

After this remarkable scene with Berkeley James 
wrote to Anne that he would speedily visit her ; and 
to the King, expressing his joy at the turn which 
affairs had taken. Berkeley apologized to Anne, who 
gave him a gracious reception. " He came likewise to 
the Chancellor with those professions that he could 
easily make ; and the other was obliged to receive him 
graciously." 

There only remained Henrietta Maria, who was 

108 



Talbot and his Traducers 

highly offended with her second son, and more bitter 
than ever against the Hydes. Recourse was had to 
diplomacy to convince her of the unwisdom of her 
conduct. As she was going back to Paris, it was 
suggested that her welcome at the French Court 
would be by no means warm if she left England on 
bad terms with the King and Duke and at enmity 
with the chief minister. She gave way and agreed to 
a reconciliation with her daughter-in-law and Hyde 
before she departed. So the affair which was to have 
effected the ruin of the Chancellor led only to an 
increase of his influence. In April, 1661, Charles gave 
a token of his great regard for him by creating him 
Earl of Clarendon. He would also have bestowed on 
him the Garter and 10,000 acres of Crown land, had 
not the Chancellor refused to accept these. 

We have now had Hyde's version of the plot to 
ruin his daughter, wherein there is not one word of 
accusation against Talbot. The evidence being before 
us, it remains to see how Macaulay has dealt with 
it. In his sixth chapter, after mentioning Talbot's 
readiness for " the infamous service of assassinating the 
Protector," he goes on : 

" Soon after the Restoration, Talbot attempted to 
obtain the favour of the royal family by a service 
more infamous still. A plea was wanted which might 
justify the Duke of York in breaking that promise of 
marriage by which he had obtained from Anne Hyde 
the last proof of female affection. Such a plea Talbot, 

109 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

in concert with some of his dissolute companions, 
undertook to Jurnisb. They agreed to describe the 
poor young lady as a creature without virtue, shame 
or delicacy, and made up long romances about tender 
interviews and stolen favours. Talbot in particular 
related how, in one of his secret visits to her, he had 
unluckily overturned the Chancellor's inkstand upon 
a pile of papers, and how cleverly she had averted a 
discovery by laying the blame of the accident on her 
monkey. These stories, which, if they had been true, 
would never have passed the lips of any but the 
basest of mankind, were pure inventions. Talbot was 
soon Jorced to own that they were so ; and he owned it 
without a blush. The injured lady became Duchess 
of York. Had her husband been a man really upright 
and honourable, he would have driven from his 
presence with indignation and contempt the wretches 
who had slandered her. But one of the peculiarities 
of James's character was that no act, however wicked 
and shameful, which had been prompted by a desire 
to gain his favour, ever seemed to him deserving of 
disapprobation. Talbot continued to frequent the 
Court, appeared daily with brazen front before the 
Princess whose ruin he had plotted, and was installed 
into the lucrative post of chief pandar to her 
husband." 

The last statement may be left alone for the 
present. With regard to the charge against Talbot 
of bearing false witness against Anne Hyde, it can be 

no 



Talbot and his Traducers 

seen that Macaulay not only takes the veracity of 
Gramont's account for granted, but introduces a few 
extra touches* to heighten the blackness of the 
picture. Of these extra touches, it is true, two are 
borrowed from Hyde's account, with this difference, 
that Hyde is speaking not of Talbot, but of Charles 
Berkeley. Such perversion of the evidence is 
characteristic of Macaulay's way of dealing with one 
whom he dislikes, particularly if he be a Jacobite. 
Much as Macaulay reprobates the judicial methods of 
Lord Jeffreys, he is singularly prone to imitate the 
Jeffreys manner when he sits in judgment upon a 
political opponent. And no one, except perhaps 
Talbot's master, James, receives unfairer treat- 
ment than Richard Talbot at the hands of this 
judge. 

The truth of the whole matter is that there are 
two witnesses only in the case against the slanderers 
of Anne Hyde; the lady's own father, and either 
Gramont or Anthony Hamilton. Hyde, whose good 
faith we cannot impugn, does not implicate in the 
disgraceful business the man whose person and very 

* Indicated by the italics in the above passage, which are of course ours, 
not Macaulay's. Gramont does not say that Talbot undertook to furnish 
the necessary plea for the Duke of York, but that Berkeley did so. Gramont 
does not make Talbot's the chief evidence ; on the contrary, he calls Arran's, 
Talbot's and Jermyn's depositions " trivial " compared with Killigrew's (which 
is frankly disgusting). And, lastly, Gramont does not say that Talbot was 
forced to own that his story was a pure invention and that he did so without 
a blush. He speaks of no confession on the part of the conspirators. Hyde 
makes Berkeley undertake to furnish a plea, as we have seen, and afterwards 
confess that his story was false. 

Ill 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

name he detested. Gramont, according to his fellow- 
countryman Cominges, was " the most bare-faced liar 
in the world," and the graces of style and the wit 
which Anthony Hamilton imparted to the Memoirs 
of his brother-in-law should not blind us to the fact 
that the work was designed to amuse and often, we 
may suspect, to pay off old scores, like some 
notorious memoirs of the present day. Gramont was 
not in England at the time of Berkeley's plot. As 
for Anthony Hamilton, the year of his birth is fixed 
by some as late as 1646, which would make him 
only fourteen in the autumn of 1660. Even if he 
were a little older than this, he could not be looked 
upon as a first-hand authority on the occurrences of 
that period. Therefore the story in the Memoirs 
may be dismissed as mere gossip, unworthy to be 
considered for a moment beside an obviously genuine 
account. 

Yet the vile charge against Richard Talbot is 
almost universally accepted. Why ? Mr. Andrew 
Lang has, somewhere, well called the Muse of 
English history a " Whiggish Muse." And in the 
affairs of the Stuart period our historians have nearly 
all been content to follow the beaten track beaten, 
chiefly, by the stately feet of Macaulay. Macaulay 
takes as trustworthy Gramont's tale against the man 
of whom he believed nothing too bad to be true. 
Therefore Talbot must be immortally branded as the 
infamous traducer of Anne Hyde. It would not be 

112 



Talbot and his Traducers 

necessary to dwell so insistently on this point in our 
story, were it not that no one down to the present 
day who has walked in the steps of Macaulay has 
considered it incumbent on himself to inquire 
whether, after all, the evidence on which Talbot has 
been convicted is enough to hang a dog.* 

We may now turn to the statement that after the 
affair of Anne Hyde Talbot was " installed into the 
lucrative post of chief pandar to her husband," for 
which the support of Bishop Burnet and of the 
Memoirs of Gramont again is claimed. Burnet in one 
place speaks of " Richard Talbot, one of the Duke's 
bedchamber men, who had much cunning, and had 
the secret of his master's pleasures for some years." 
In another he says : " The Duke had always one 
private amour after another, in the managing of which 
he seemed to stand more in awe of the Duchess than, 
considering the inequality of their rank, could have 
been imagined. Talbot was looked on as the manager 
of those intrigues." Surely not much weight can be 

* For instance, in Dr. R. H. Murray's Revolutionary Ireland and its Settle- 
ment (1911) it is simply stated that Talbot's "services were at the disposal 
of Charles II. and his brother James, then Duke of York. When the latter 
wanted to break his promise of marriage to Anne Hyde, Talbot undertook to 
blacken her character, and, on the failure of the attempt, it is astonishing to 
find that the Duke kept him as his friend " (pp. 52-3). Similarly, in The 
English Court in Exile (1911), by E. and M. S. Grew, it is said : " We need not 
be astonished to find that he [Talbot] was a boon companion in James's vices. 
The worst that can be said of him is that, when James was meditating a way 
of escape from the consequences of marrying his first wife, Anne Hyde, the 
Irishman allowed himself to be one of a party of four ' gentlemen of honour ' 
instructed by Lord Falmouth to give personal testimony against her reputation " 
(P- I 57)- 

VOL. I. 113 8 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

attached to vague remarks like these from one who 
had such views of history as Burnet.* 

Gramont is certainly more definite in his charge 
than Burnet, and at the risk of provoking the feelings 
aroused by crambe repetita we must give a brief 
abstract of the narrative concerning the Duke of 
York, the Carnegies, and Richard Talbot in the 
eighth chapter of the Memoirs. Robert Carnegie, son 
and heir to James, second Earl of Southesk, had 
married Anne, daughter of the loyal Duke of 
Hamilton who lost his life at the battle of Worcester. 
Anne Hamilton, friend in girlhood of Barbara Villiers, 
was already notorious before her marriage; but as 
she brought him 30,000, her husband perhaps did 
not at first inquire too closely into her character. 
After the Restoration the Duke of York was attracted 
by Lady Carnegie, as she was called. Gramont says 
that, having quieted his conscience by the declaration 
of his marriage with Anne Hyde, he " thought himself 
entitled by his generous effort to give way a little to 
his inconstancy " ; and Lady Carnegie, " still tolerably 

* In his Reflections on the History of Mr. Varillas Burnet says : " An historian 
that favors his own side is to be forgiven . . . and if he but slightly touches 
the failings of his friends, and severely aggravates those of the other side, though 
in this he departs from the laws of an exact historian, yet this bias is so natural 
that if it lessens the credit of the writer, yet it does not blacken him." Lord 
Ailesbury, in his Memoirs, remarks of Burnet, " As to the history of his own 
times, I could give him the lie as many times as there are pages in his book." 
It might perhaps have troubled Ailesbury to prove the numerical correctness 
of his statement ; but, speaking generally, he was justified in his language. 
It is a sad example of how political views warp the standard of honesty that a 
scurrilous creature like Burnet, whose evil tongue and evil mind were a disgrace 
to his cloth, should be elevated to the position of a censor of hit fellow-men. 

114 



Talbot and his Traducers 

handsome " she was little over twenty ! was the first 
he could lay his hands upon. She was not obdurate. 
But Carnegie, who had been away in Scotland, lost 
his father suddenly and returned to London with the 
title of Earl of Southesk. He was informed of what 
had happened in his absence and now began to keep 
a strict watch upon his wife. The Duke, therefore, 
took the precaution of always calling in the company 
of a friend, for appearances' sake. One day Talbot, 
who had recently come back from Portugal, was the 
friend selected. " This connection had taken place in 
his absence, and, without knowing who Lady Southesk 
was, he had been told that his master was in love 
with her." The Duke took him into the house and 
introduced him to the lady, after which Talbot 
" thought it his duty to give His Royal Highness an 
opportunity to pay his compliments," and accordingly 
retired into the ante-room, which looked into the 
street, and sat looking out of the window at the 
passers-by. " He was on such occasions," remarks 
Gramont, " one of the best-meaning men in the 
world." A coach drove up to the door and a man 
got out and came upstairs. It was the new earl, 
who was much surprised to see Talbot carelessly lolling 
in his wife's ante-room ; for the Duke had dismissed 
his coach, and Southesk was not aware that there were 
any visitors. Talbot had not met him since they were 
both in Flanders and, knowing him only as Carnegie, 
greeted him warmly by that name and asked him 
VOL. i. 115 8* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

what he was doing here. If he came to see Lady 
Southesk, he might go away again, for the Duke was 
now with her. Southesk was so confounded that he 
went downstairs again, got into his coach, and drove 
away. Talbot waited for the Duke's reappearance 
and, having told him what had occurred, " was very 
much surprised to find that the story afforded no 
pleasure to those who had the principal share in it." 

Such is Gramont's account. There is not much 
that need be said about it. It is unfortunately true 
that the Duke of York had an intrigue with Lady 
Carnegie soon after the Restoration. (Creed tells 
Pepys in 1668 about her husband " finding her and 
the Duke of York, at the King's first coming in, too 
kind.") And as Talbot returned from Portugal in 
April, 1662, he might have found his master engaged 
in this discreditable affair then. But the whole tale 
falls to the ground for this reason, that the second 
Earl of Southesk did not die until the beginning of 1669, 
by which time the intrigue had long ago come to an 
end, to be followed by some very unpleasant rumours 
about the lady. We have here, therefore, a mere 
piece of invention on the part of Gramont or 
Hamilton. And this is the sole basis, apart from the 
two passages quoted above from Burnet, on which is built 
the most degrading accusation against Richard Talbot. 
Again we may ask whether the evidence is enough on 
which to hang a dog. Yet it has been accepted with- 
out hesitation, as far as we can see, by our historians. 

116 



CHAPTER VI 

THE IRISH CHAMPION 

~\ T O more difficult problem awaited solution by 
* Charles II. and his ministers after the 

Restoration than that of the settlement of Ireland. 
And no problem received more attention with less 
satisfactory results.* Charles inherited from his 
father and took over from the Commonwealth a task 
which it was probably beyond human skill to perform. 
The tangle of conflicting rights and wrongs would 
have defied the efforts of the most impartial justice 
to unravel it. Justice had hitherto played but little 
part in the composing of Irish affairs. That they 
should have been unable to see their way to an 
arrangement acceptable to all parties is not fair 
ground for censure of Charles's advisers. There was 
no such acceptable arrangement, and those who 
started with the best intentions in the world to find 

* Edward Hyde, it may be noted, so well appreciated the hopelessness of the 
Irish settlement question that, as he says, he " made it his humble suit to the 
King, that no part of it might ever be referred to him." His son Henry wa 
destined one day to recognise how great was his father's wisdom in the matter. 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

one were at last forced by sheer weariness to content 
themselves with putting expediency in the place of 
justice and bringing about a settlement which might 
at least be called a compromise, though one very 
unevenly balanced between the parties. 

Towards the end of 1660 the government of 
Ireland was put in the hands of three Lord Justices 
pending the appointment of a Lord-Lieutenant in 
place of the absentee George Monk, Duke of 
Albemarle, who had accepted the post among many 
other gifts from his grateful sovereign, but valued 
his ease too much to care to take up the work. 
The King, having been furnished with a favourable 
estimate of the amount of land available in Ireland 
to be restored to the loyal natives after the settlers 
had been confirmed in their possessions, expressed his 
delight that it would be in his power to satisfy the 
interests of all his subjects. " His inclinations," as 
Carte says, " led him to make them all happy ; and 
he eagerly embraced a scheme which flattered those 
inclinations." On November 3Oth, 1660, he signed a 
Declaration, in which he made promises to the 
Adventurers (who had formerly lent money in 
England on the credit of Acts of Parliament, receiving 
security in the shape of land in Ireland) ; to the 
soldiers settled by Cromwell ; to the officers who had 
served in the army in Ireland previous to June 5th, 
1649; to any Protestants, not being rebels, who had 
lost their land to soldiers or Adventurers ; to 

118 



The Irish Champion 

" innocent papists " who had taken land in Connaught 
in exchange for that of which they had been dis- 
possessed ; to those Irish who had faithfully served 
him abroad (such as Richard Talbot and the Dongans, 
for instance) ; and to thirty-six of the Irish nobility 
and gentry by name, hence known as the Nominees. 

The King's amiable intentions were frustrated. The 
Adventurers' and soldiers' party, indeed, was satisfied. 
But the Irish were not, and made a great outcry. 
Particularly was offence taken over the question of 
" innocent papists." Commissioners had been ap- 
pointed to carry out the Declaration, and in their 
instructions the qualifications of an innocent Papist 
were made very strict. There were numbers who had 
never drawn sword against the King, but, living in 
rebellious districts, had kept themselves apart from the 
rebels entirely ; others who had actually been driven 
out of Dublin by the Lord Justices of the day on 
pain of death into the rebels' country, and still had 
not opposed the King. Yet they were, by the 
instructions to the Commissioners, not " innocent." 
In contrast to them, Cromwellian soldiers who had 
fought against the King were confirmed in the 
possession of the land assigned to them, unless actually 
regicides or notoriously disloyal. 

Again, it was soon found that the stock of land 
available for distribution was at an end ; the hard- 
ship falling on the Irish, whose restoration to their 
estates was to follow the " reprisal " elsewhere of the 

119 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

dispossessed Adventurers and soldiers. An official 
protest, however, was impossible. In the Irish House of 
Commons at the time the Roman Catholics were not 
represented at all. The Corporations of the towns 
having been filled by Cromwell to his own liking, 
the Adventurers' and soldiers' party was in a great 
majority. These arrogated to themselves the name of 
" the English interest " and designated the settlers 
who had preceded them as mere " Irish." Nothing 
would have pleased them better than to drive the 
earlier colonists out of the island. The older 
Protestant proprietors, however, though a small 
minority in the Lower House, were the more in- 
fluential in the Upper, and had means of self-defence 
which the Roman Catholics had not. 

When the question of interpreting the Royal 
Declaration arose the Adventurers and soldiers wished 
for a literal interpretation, which would put them in 
the same position as the greatest loyalists. They 
hurried a draft Bill of Settlement through the 
House of Commons and decided to send commissioners 
to the King and Privy Council in England to press 
for its immediate passing into law. To back their 
commissioners' endeavours they raised a sum of 
between twenty and thirty thousand pounds amongst 
themselves. The Lords also sent agents to London to 
present their views, and on the prorogation of the 
Irish Parliament on July 3ist, 1661, the scene of the 
struggle shifted to England. 

120 



The Irish Champion 

If the Irish Roman Catholics, both of the Pale and 
outside, were at a disadvantage in their own land 
through the control of their enemies over Parliament, 
they were still worse placed when the fight was 
transferred to London. They had no abundance of 
funds at their command like the Adventurers and 
soldiers. They could count but a scanty number of 
friends at Court, where few Papists had even as high 
a position as Richard Talbot ; and public opinion was 
prejudiced against them, not merely on account 
of their religion, but also as being Irish. The 
rebellion and the massacres of 1641 had not been 
forgotten, nor would be for many more years to 
come. 

In such a plight their best step was to secure as 
powerful a patron as possible. The ideal man, had 
they been wise enough to moderate their demands, 
would have been Ormonde. He was admirably fitted 
by blood and interests to negotiate between the 
English and the Irish. James Butler could trace his 
descent to a grandchild of Edward I., and one Queen 
of England, Anne Boleyn, was great-grandchild to 
Thomas, seventh Earl of Ormonde. Though he had 
an English mother and had been brought up at 
the English Court, he had great estates and a host 
of kinsmen and dependents in Ireland, where the 
Butlers had been since the time of the first conquest. 
Himself a Protestant, he was the only one in his 
immediate family circle, and yet he was on good 

121 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

terms with his brothers and sisters.* He was 
sympathetic with the Roman Catholic nobility and 
gentry of Ireland, far more than with the later 
settlers, and, as we have seen, had fought side by 
side with them when the struggle between England 
and Ireland had changed to one between Royalists 
and Parliamentarians. 

Of his great influence now at the age of fifty-one 
there could be no doubt, especially when Charles II. 
in the spring of 1661 bestowed on him such tokens 
of his esteem as an Irish Dukedom and the Lord 
High Stewardship of England. But, with all his 
qualifications and inclinations to be of service to 
them, Ormonde was not allowed by the Irish Roman 
Catholics to help them. Persuaded of their own 
merits and their claims on the royal favour, they 
took high ground and claimed, if not much more 
than was just, at least more than it was reasonable 
to expect at a period when the English Parliament 
had forced the King to break the liberal promises of 

* Writing to Sir Robert Southwell on November joth, 1678, Ormonde says : 
" My father and mother lived and died Papists, and bred all their children so, 
and only I, by God's merciful providence, was educated in the true Protestant 
religion. . . . My brothers and sisters, though they were not very many, were 
very fruitful and very obstinate (they will call it constant) in their way. Their 
fruitfulness hath spread into a large alliance, and their obstinacy has made it 
altogether Popish. . . . But I am taught by nature and also by instruction 
that difference in opinion concerning matters of religion dissolves not the 
obligations of nature ; and in conformity to this principle I own not only that 
I have done, but that I will do, my relations of that or any other persuasion all 
the good I can." (H.M.C. Report*, Ormonde MSS., II., Old Series.) For a very 
favourable report on Ormonde by an English Roman Catholic, see Carte, 
Original Letters found among the Duke of Ormondes Papers, II., 63-4. 

122 



The Irish Champion 

his declaration from Breda. Ormonde was a Protestant 
and would not indeed, could not go as far as they 
wished to go. Moreover, so far from attempting to 
conciliate him, they did their best to drive him into 
opposition against them. Carte's explanation of this 
mistaken policy seems reasonable. He says that the 
Irish now in London included very many who had 
formerly belonged to Rinuccini's party and who still 
cherished their hatred for Ormonde. They considered 
that they had purged their former offence of rebellion 
by the military service which they had done with the 
other Irish in Flanders, and now claimed to be most 
deserving loyalists. 

In their hostility to the Duke of Ormonde these 
men looked about for someone to plead their cause, 
through whom they could at the same time strike at 
him. They settled upon Richard Talbot, although 
he had belonged to the section of the Confederates 
which had resisted the Nuncio. Carte says that 
Talbot had been careful not to damage himself up 
to now by favouring the Roman Catholics, which 
was a point that Sir Nicholas Plunket and the other 
Irish agents took into consideration in choosing him 
as their patron. " His vanity and zeal," he continues, 
" made him forward to undertake everything ; as his 
enmity to the Duke of Ormonde, whom he had 
injured, and the habit he had contracted of railing 
against him, moved him to render His Grace's friendly 
and wise advice to the agents suspected." 

123 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

It is difficult to reconcile Richard Talbot's later 
professions of regard for Ormonde and his continued 
friendship with Ormonde's sons, Ossory and Arran, 
with his conduct now, for which we do not have to 
depend on Carte's account alone. We can only 
suppose that his very impulsive nature led him, in 
his advocacy of the case of his countrymen and 
co-religionists, to greater lengths than he realised 
himself. There was already a soreness between him 
and Ormonde over the affair of the lieutenant- 
colonelcy in the Duke of York's Regiment. Now he 
threw himself whole-heartedly into the campaign 
against one whom he had called " the patron of us 
all." Besides, another failing of his came into play. 
Carte says : " The vanity of appearing considerable 
and making himself popular induced him to espouse 
the cause of these men and to join with them and 
his brothers in openly bespattering the Duke of 
Ormonde with all the calumnies imaginable and 
treating the Chancellor with satirical reflections not 
easy to be digested." In the case of Hyde, or, as 
we must now call him, Clarendon, there was little 
reason for the Talbots to spare him, particularly 
as he was now very hostile to the Irish claims. But 
gratitude should have induced them to treat Ormonde 
better.* 

* Even Sir Robert seems to have been estranged, at least for a time. 
Clarendon says that Ormonde had recommended him to the King as a person 
fit for his favour, but because he did not ask everything on his behalf " this 
refusal was looked on as the highest disobligation." (Continuation, III., 117.) 

124 



The Irish Champion 

So disgusted was Ormonde, " seeing that his advice 
would not be followed and that his character was 
every day torn in pieces by some or other of their 
country," that he refused to take a prominent part in 
the adjustment of the Bill of Settlement, and until his 
appointment as Lord-Lieutenant, in November, 1661, 
confined his activity in Irish affairs to helping his 
personal friends and giving certificates of good 
behaviour on behalf of those Irish whose loyalty was 
unjustly questioned. 

Richard Talbot's influence was unavailing to help 
his clients, who indeed ruined their own chances. 
While insisting on their personal fidelity, they violently 
attacked those who had formerly taken the Parlia- 
mentary side. They spoke of them as if they had all 
been regicides, provoking the obvious retort that they 
themselves had been guilty of the 1641 massacres, and 
had attempted to put Ireland under foreign domina- 
tion. They offended the Privy Councillors, before 
whom they had to plead ; for the Council included 
several Commonwealth men. They alienated the 
King, in spite of his secret Roman Catholic sympathies 
and his desire to please all he could, in Ireland as else- 
where, by insistence on their rights and his duties. 
They threatened him with a charge of breach of faith 
if he did not observe the terms of the treaty of 
1648. Charles was not a man to be treated in this 
way; and the Adventurers' and soldiers' representatives 
knew better than to act so, being effusive in their 

125 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

protestations of loyalty and submission. The result was 
what was to be expected. Charles declared himself in 
favour of the maintenance of an " English interest " 
in Ireland, which, as Carte says, " showed the Irish 
plainly enough who were likely to be the sufferers " 
from the lack of land to go round. Policy carried 
the day. 

So unsuccessful were the Irish agents that they 
could not even obtain a modification of the qualifica- 
tions of " innocent papists," the most unjust point 
in the Instructions given to the commissioners ap- 
pointed to execute the King's Declaration. They 
vented their mortification over this in a fresh attack 
on Ormonde, whom they accused of persuading the 
King against them, or at least of not using his in- 
fluence at the Privy Council to save them from 
injustice. Their champion was called upon to do 
something for them. So, in Carte's words, " Colonel 
Talbot went to expostulate with him [Ormonde] 
upon the matter. He came in so huffing a manner, 
and used such impertinent and insolent language in 
his discourse, that it looked like a challenge ; and His 
Grace, waiting upon His Majesty, desired to know 
if it was his pleasure that at this time of day he 
should put off his doublet to fight duels with Dick 
Talbot." 

However strong Talbot's influence might be with 
the Duke of York, the provocation of a Privy Coun- 
cillor to a duel could not be overlooked by a King 

126 



The Irish Champion 

who was steadfastly opposed to all duelling at his 
Court. Charles ordered the offender to be sent to 
the Tower, apparently some time in October, 1661. 
This was the first time Talbot went to the Tower 
on account of Ormonde, but not the last. He did not 
now stay there long, however, but, having duly offered 
his submission, was released. Ormonde could indeed 
afford to disregard him. In council, on November 
4th, he was declared Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. 
Albemarle had persuaded the King to appoint him his 
successor and Ormonde to accept the post. Clarendon, 
who had not been consulted, and was annoyed 
at being deprived of the support of his friend in 
English affairs, frankly told Charles that he would 
do very ill in sending Ormonde to Ireland and 
Ormonde that he would do much worse if he desired 
to go. But this failed to produce an alteration of the 
decision. Ormonde, it was true, could not yet be 
spared from England, but his appointment stood, 
the Lords Justices remaining in control of Irish 
affairs until he should cross to Dublin. 

Although the Settlement of Ireland was far from 
being effected yet, Richard Talbot's active interest 
in it was temporarily checked by the punishment 
which he had brought upon himself by his indis- 
cretion. With or without him, the cause which he 
had embraced was lost when, before the Privy Council 
one day, Sir Nicholas Plunket was suddenly confronted 
with his signature on a document authorising the 

127 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

offer of Ireland in 1647, first to the Pope, and if he 
should refuse, then to any Roman Catholic prince 
willing to protect her. Plunket was banished from 
Court, all further addresses from Roman Catholics 
to the Council were forbidden, and the Bill of 
Settlement, with the clauses to which the Irish so 
much objected, received the royal assent. The only 
cause for Irish congratulation was that the King 
appointed a good solid commission to administer the 
Act,* including Sir Winston Churchill, future father- 
in-law of Sarah Jennings. 

On his release from the Tower, perhaps to soothe 
his injured pride and no doubt through the influence 
of the Duke of York, Talbot was sent on a small 
diplomatic mission to Portugal. This is the mission 
of which we hear in Gramont, who says that Talbot 
" was so subject to forgetfulness and absence of mind 
that he once left behind him in London a compli- 
mentary letter which the Duke had given him for the 
Infanta of Portugal, and never recollected it until he 
was going to his audience." It would be interesting 
to know what Talbot did when he found that he had 
not the letter. The oversight was rather grave, see- 
ing that the said Infanta was soon to be Queen of 
England. 

Talbot's return home is fixed by Pepys, in the only 

* " All men of good parts, learned in the laws, and clear in their reputation 
for virtue and integrity," says Carte. The offence which they gave to the 
soldiers' party, by the number of " innocent papists " whom they admitted, 
is a testimony to their impartiality. 

128 



The Irish Champion 

entry in the Diary which mentions him. Under 
the date April loth, 1662, he says : " Yesterday came 
Col. Talbot with letters from Portugal that the 
Queen is resolved to embarque for England this week." 
Catherine's start from Lisbon was delayed, however, 
and it was not until May 2ist that the marriage took 
place. It does not appear where Talbot was at the 
time of the royal wedding. As the Duke of Ormonde 
stayed for it and did not leave to take up his 
Lord-Lieutenancy until early July, it is possible that 
Talbot thought it best to avoid meeting him for a 
time, and therefore went to his relatives in Ireland.* 
Anyhow, we know that he was in Dublin in the 
autumn of the year, for two letters written by him 
there survive to prove it. In one, dated September 
3Oth, he says that he hears his brother Peter is under 
the King's displeasure. It is reported that either 
Peter or he had said that he (the writer) was often 
" employed by the King to Lady Castlemaine." He 
denies having discoursed with the Queen about the 
matter. The second letter, dated November 2Oth, 
also refers to the King and Lady Castlemaine. 

Richard obviously resented being accused of having 
informed Catherine possibly while he was at Lisbon 
on his mission that he had acted as a go-between 

* Since the above was written, I have discovered an entry in the Calendar of 
Treasury Books, 1660-67, which shows Talbot to have been in England as late 
as July : " 1662. July zist. Warrant for Treasurer Southampton to Customs 
Commissioner for Colonel Richard Talbott to ship a coach and ten horses and 
six trunks for Ireland, he being commanded by the Duke of York to go thither." 

VOL. i. 129 9 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

from the King to the royal mistress, like Charles 
Berkeley. Now as Catherine expressly told Clarendon, 
when he came to her at Hampton Court to persuade 
her to accept Lady Castlemaine as Lady of the Bed- 
chamber, that she did not think, when she arrived in 
England, to find the King engaged in his affections to 
another lady, the accusation was no doubt unjust. 
But the Talbots were out of favour again at this time. 
Through the friendship of the Duke of York they 
had managed to live down the ill reports against them 
before the Restoration and to enjoy their share in the 
sunshine of the Court. The Chancellor, however, con- 
tinued their unrelenting foe, and struck when he 
could. With regard to Richard, Clarendon says himself 
that he " had sometimes at the council-table been 
obliged to give him severe reprehensions and often 
desired the Duke [of York] to withdraw his coun- 
tenance from him." As for the Jesuit, who to his 
indignation " walked with the same or more freedom 
in the King's house (and in the clergy habit) than 
any of His Majesty's chaplains did," Clarendon 
" declared very loudly " against him. Father Peter's 
efforts to conciliate him by letters and through the 
medium of friends were unavailing. Once he so far 
prevailed with the King that Peter was " forbid the 
Court." The same fate befell the friar, of whom 
Clarendon complained that he saw him too often in 
the galleries of Whitehall, and sometimes drunk 
there. 

130 



The Irish Champion 

Peter's disgrace, if this be the same occasion to which 
Clarendon refers, was not solely due to the Chan- 
cellor's representations. After Henry Bennet had per- 
suaded Charles to forgive him for his dubious conduct 
in connection with the Treaty of Fuentarabia, and to 
allow him to frequent the Court, he managed in 1662 
to secure for himself the post of almoner to the young 
Queen. " His busy nature did not suffer him to 
continue long in that post," says Carte ; " he was 
always telling the Queen some story or other, and the 
uneasiness which she suffered in October, 1662, upon 
Lady Castlemaine's being put about her, was imputed 
in a good measure to his insinuations." (Richard's 
two letters from Dublin confirm Carte here.) Once 
he said to Catherine that the lady was an enchantress, 
speaking in Spanish, which was the only other lan- 
guage besides Portuguese that she understood at 
present. The simple, ill-educated girl took the 
remark literally and cautioned the King against the 
sorceress. The puzzled Charles took the trouble to 
get to the bottom of the affair, and, finding that the 
Jesuit had once more been officious, banished him 
from Whitehall no doubt with the hearty appro- 
bation of the Chancellor. 

After making a vain effort to get himself reinstated, 
Father Peter crossed over to Ireland, where he dis- 
covered that his young brother had been by no means 
idle since they had parted. An opportunity for making 
money had come his way, and from this he was no 
VOL. i. 131 9* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

more averse than most other men of his time. The 
Irish House of Commons had drawn up and trans- 
mitted to England a Bill of Explanation, designed to 
make clear the meaning of the King's Declaration 
of November, 1660. Among other things the Bill 
endeavoured to " make provision for eminent and 
deserving persons who were cut off from all manner 
of relief by the power of the Court of Claims being 
determined." This Court of Claims had been set 
up to investigate the pretensions of the " innocent 
papists " who wished to come under the Declaration. 
The Court's commission, however, only extended 
down to August 22nd, 1662, by which time out of 
four thousand claims entered not more than four 
hundred had been heard. 

Now there was a great opportunity, both during 
the sitting of the Court of Claims and in connection 
with the Bill of Explanation, for a man of influence 
to make money. However conscious of their own 
innocence great numbers of the Irish Roman Catholics 
were, they were aware of the difficulty of their restora- 
tion to their estates if they relied on that alone. So 
many of them were willing to give bonds at least for 
payment in event of their successful restoration. For 
the insertion of provisos in the Bill some gave pro- 
mises of as much as 800, ^1,000, or even more. Of 
course they expected to secure very influential patrons 
for such prices, but there were plenty of well-known 
men ready to undertake the work. Indeed, they had 

132 



The Irish Champion 

their agents employed in looking out for clients in 
Ireland. Among those thus selling their influence 
were the old Earl of St. Albans, one of whose proteges 
was the afterwards famous Patrick Sarsfield of Lucan ; 
Sir Charles Berkeley, Sir Gilbert Gerard, Lord Car- 
lingford, and Sir Audley Mervyn, Speaker of the Irish 
House of Commons and spokesman of the " English 
interest " party before the Privy Council recently. 

None had more dealings in this scandalous traffic 
than Richard Talbot, says Carte. His credit with 
the Duke of York was well known, and he was supposed 
to be great at Court, which procured him an infinite 
number of clients so many in fact that some, after 
applying to him, went elsewhere for a patron, think- 
ing that he was engaged on behalf of too many to give 
the necessary attention to their particular business. 

In addition to this work for the dispossessed Irish, 
there was a great opportunity for making money 
through commissions from Englishmen wanting estates 
in Ireland at the smallest possible cost to themselves. 
Henry Bennet, now Secretary of State, was one of 
those who entrusted Talbot with a " job " of this 
kind, and there are letters among the Irish State 
Papers of the period which show that Talbot exerted 
himself strenuously to earn his money. The King had 
granted Bennet the reversion of the forfeited property 
of Viscount Clanmalier, but there were others in 
possession, and the difficulty was to effect a compromise 
with them. This Talbot was able to do in 1665, but 

133 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

we do not hear what was his reward. He also en- 
deavoured to interest the Secretary in another affair. 
" I am promised," he writes to him on March 25th, 
1663, "a discovery of a great sum 10,000 to be 
got here, and hope to be able to send particulars by 
next post. The discoverer only desires a third. You 
may have the rest, and treat me as you will." We 
may be sure that Bennet was nothing loth to hear of 
this discovery, nor of another matter which Talbot 
reveals to him on April 28th. The Jesuits are alarmed 
about the security of their mortgages in Ireland, and 
have made them all over to Talbot, desiring him to 
get a grant from the King for them. " You and I 
are to have half, about 4,000, and they the other 
half. It's good money : therefore pray despatch 
it."* 

Altogether Talbot spent his time in Ireland, whether 
it was virtual exile or not, to his great profit. In the 
summer of 1663 he returned to England to prosecute 
the work which he had undertaken, carrying with him 
18,000 in bonds and other securities from fellow- 
countrymen desirous of restoration to their estates. 

Things did not go smoothly, however, for the 
" undertakers," as they were called. The King and 

* In this same letter is an amusing reference to the activities of Peter Talbot. 
" I find," says Richard, " Don Pedro hath been too free in talking there [in 
London], as if I intended to take a wife. If I had a fortune and did think of 
one, I could not dispose of myself better than where he proposes. Pero, Senor, 
no estoy yo aun para cassar me, no tengo mucbo el cassamiento en la cabeza, [But, 
Sir, I am not one to marry myself, I have little thought of marriage in my 
head.]" 

134 



The Irish Champion 

the Privy Council, on examining the Irish Bill of 
Explanation, entirely disapproved of it, and orders 
were sent to Ormonde and the Council in Dublin to 
draw up a new Bill for transmission to England. 
Richard wrote from London to his brother Peter, 
whom he had left behind him, that " the King had 
resolved in council not to leave the obliging of his 
subjects to any minister, and the Lord-Lieutenant 
only proposed to restore about thirty of the Irish 
nation." This was an over-statement of the case, but 
the writer was doubtless labouring under feelings of 
disappointment. 

We do not know on how good terms Richard Talbot 
had been with Ormonde in Ireland after the Lord- 
Lieutenant's arrival in July, 1662. In one of his 
communications to Bennet he mentions that he has 
had an hour's private converse with Ormonde at the 
Castle about the Clanmalier estate, and the interview, 
as reported by him, was peaceful and even genial. 
After his return to London he wrote a curious letter 
to Ossory, with whom at least he seems always to have 
maintained friendly relations. (Seeing how high stands 
the character of " the Bayard of the Restoration," 
by the general consent of his contemporaries,* this is 
certainly a point in Talbot's favour.) The letter is 
preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and is 
interesting as an example of the writer's style, apart 
from the light which it throws upon his sentiments 

* His only vice was gambling, if we may believe Carte. 
135 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

towards Ormonde and Ossory. The principal part 
of it is as follows : 



" Whytehall, Oct. I3th, 1663. 

" Yrs. of the i6th of the laste came unto my hands 
but Saterday night laste, and by this doe make you 
my humble acknowledgments for concerneing yrselfe 
soe perticularly in yr. serv te concernes as you seem 
to doe. I never expected less from you ; nor I hope 
will never deserve less. 

" When I gave you the troble of my first letter truely 
it was to the end you shoulde speake to my Lord Duke 
of the whole perticulers I had writ to you, for I know 
hee last writ to S r George Hamilton what I writ 
to you, and I know hee would not have writ to him 
what hee did if hee had not beene misinformed by 
som malitious tonges that doe make it thyr busines 
to doe people ill offices because they have practiced it all 
thyr leives. You may easily guess who I suspect to have 
done mee this good turne, hee did me just such another 
a little before I came away from thence. I am sure 
I could render him laparreye [la pareille] very justly 
and saye nothing but the truth, but hee is so despicable 
a person (though a great one) that I swear unto you 
I doe pitty him. 

" My Lord, I have often repeated an ould Spanish 
proverb to you, and that is La meyor politica es la verdad* 
and nothing is more true ; whearfore I would now so 
farr put that in practise at this time that I would desier 

136 



The Irish Champion 

you to knowe of yr. father upon what grounds hee 
did express his dissatisfaction to mee to yr. unkle 
Hamilton. It must bee that somone did mee good 
offices to him, and truely all that ever I asked his Grace 
for myself was that hee would tell myself of any thing 
hee tooke ill from mee, and hee was pleased to promise 
mee hee woulde. I knowe I doe not want enemyes 
thear that perhaps will buss in his earres upon every 
occation the worst things they can of mee, and if it 
shall be in the power of such little flutterers to doe 
honest men ill offices I knowe noe gentleman safe. . . . 

" My Lord, you know as much of my soule as any 
man liveing. You may doe in this what you thinke 
best, and notwithstanding what you say to mee I 
knowe something sticks by him, but what it is God 
is my judge I know not. 

" For what you say of my Lady Dutchess* being soe 
just to mee is that I never doubted, and I hope I 
may expect that from her Grace. I wear the un- 
worthyest man liveing if I did not honor her as much 
as any creature in the world, haveing beene used so 
kindlye by her. I hope she doth not doubt it. . . ." 

It is not as easy for us as for Ossory to guess who is 
the " despicable person (though a great one) " suspected 

* Elizabeth Preston, a cousin of Ormonde's, whose parents had been at 
serious dispute with the Butlers over the Ormonde estates in Ireland ; James I. 
espousing the cause of his favourite, Preston, created by him Earl of Desmond. 
When left an orphan Elizabeth became a royal ward, and her secret marriage 
in 1629 with her cousin, then only Viscount Thurles, gave great displeasure 
to Charles I. It was, however, a happy union. 

137 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

by Talbot of having misrepresented him to the Duke 
of Ormonde. His affected ignorance of the cause 
of Ormonde's dissatisfaction with him is amusing, 
in view of the incident which only two years before 
had occasioned his imprisonment in the Tower. 
Having himself a short memory, he seems to have ex- 
pected the Duke to have the same. And, as a matter 
of fact, Ormonde was not of a nature to cherish 
grudges. Clarendon once told him, with his refresh- 
ing frankness, that he and King Charles suffered from 
the same infirmity, " an unwillingness to deny any 
man what they could not but see was impossible to 
grant, and a desire to please everybody, which whosoever 
affected should please nobody." 

The work of the Royal Commission on the details 
of the Irish Settlement dragged on slowly. At the 
beginning of November, 1663, the commissioners re- 
turned from Ireland. On the 3rd of that month, 
Arthur Annesley, Earl of Anglesey, wrote to Ormonde 
from London : " Dick Talbot's coach with six horses 
went yesterday to meet the commissioners and bring 
them this day to town, upon notice whereof one jested 
they might have come on foot before an English coach 
would have been sent to meet or fetch them." This 
coach of Talbot's seems to have been rather celebrated, 
for we hear of it on various occasions as when Sir 
Nicholas Armorer in 1668 writes to Sir Joseph 
Williamson returning to London from the country : 
" You may come through in a day if met by Dick 

138 



The Irish Champion 

Talbot's coach at St. Albans, but you must send 
orders to bespeak it." 

Talbot, therefore, was not neglecting the interests 
of his Irish clients, for it was most important to con- 
ciliate the royal commissioners, in whom rested so 
much power over the fortunes of the " innocent 
papists." His hands were certainly not clean in the 
matter of his championship of his fellow-Irishmen, 
and Macaulay is at least justified in saying that he 
" took care, when pleading the cause of his country- 
men whose estates had been confiscated, to be well 
paid." With a mixture of truth and gross injustice, 
Macaulay goes on to state that Talbot " succeeded 
in acquiring, partly by the sale of his influence, partly 
by gambling, and partly by pimping, an estate of three 
thousand pounds a year." A gambler he undoubtedly 
was, like many other men Ossory, for instance 
who play a not unworthy part in history. The lack 
of grounds for the third, and most unpleasant, accusa- 
tion we have seen in the last chapter. 

The Memoirs of Gramont draw a picture of Richard 
Talbot about this period which may perhaps be taken 
as Gramont's personal verdict upon him, since the 
Count was at the English Court on his first visit, 
from the time of the royal marriage to nearly the 
end of 1664. If so, the Chevalier considers Talbot 
no mere money-grubber. " There was no man at 
Court who had a better appearance," the Memoirs 
say. " He was, indeed, but a younger brother, of a^ 

139 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

family which, though very ancient, was not very con- 
siderable, either for its renown or its riches. Yet, 
though he was naturally of a very careless disposition, 
being bent, however, on making his fortune, and 
much in favour with the Duke of York, and fortune 
likewise being propitious to him at play, he had im- 
proved both so much that he was in possession of about 
40,000 limes [2,000] a year in land." * 

* It should be noticed that Marshal Berwick, who as a young man knew Richard 
Talbot in his old age only, says in his Memoirs (I., 103-4) : " Although he had 
acquired great property, it could not be said that it was by ill means ; for he 
never seemed greedy for money." Berwick is accused of being unduly favourable 
to Talbot. On the other hand, those who paint him as dishonest and grasping 
were certainly unduly prejudiced against him. Talbot's desire for money was 
that of an intensely ambitious, not of a grasping and miserly, man. 






140 



PART III 

WHITEHALL 



CHAPTER I 

THE HAMILTONS 

ON his return to London from Ireland with his 
valuable collection of bonds, Richard Talbot 
took up his duties again in the household of the Duke 
of York, where he was soon to meet the future partner 
of his honours and misfortunes. But the little Frances 
Jennings did not make her appearance at Court until 
some time after his return, and his attentions were at 
first attracted elsewhere. Or perhaps we should say 
his honourable attentions, if the Memoirs of Gramont 
are to be believed when they make Talbot offer him- 
self to Elizabeth Hamilton with his fortune of 40,000 
livres, " together with the almost certain hopes of 
being made a peer of the realm by his master's credit ; 
and, over and above all, as many sacrifices as she could 
desire of Lady Shrewsbury's letters, pictures, and 
hair curiosities which, indeed, are reckoned as nothing 
in housekeeping, but which testify strongly to the 
sincerity and merit of a lover." The notorious Anna 
Maria Brudenel, daughter of the second Earl of 

143 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Cardigan " this beauty less famous for her con- 
quests than for the misfortunes which she occasioned," 
as the Memoirs rightly say had married the Earl of 
Shrewsbury* the year before the Restoration and 
after it had soon made herself conspicuous at White- 
hall. Gramont mentions among her admirers, besides 
Talbot, Ormonde's son Arran, Captain Thomas Howard 
(brother of the Earl of Carlisle), the younger Jermyn, 
Harry Killigrew and, of course, the Duke of Bucking- 
ham. With regard to her hair, there were " three or 
four gentlemen who wore an ounce of it made into 
bracelets." 

This intrigue with Lady Shrewsbury, it may be noted, 
is the only one actually reported against Richard Talbot 
during his whole life, although another is implied by 
the existence of an illegitimate son.f Even if both 
cases be considered proved, the record is sufficiently 
remarkable for a handsome and popular young man 
at a period of such licence. His suit to Miss Hamilton 
was perfectly honest, as, indeed, it was bound to be to 
one who was above reproach in matters where her sex 
so failed at the Court of Charles II. 

The Hamiltons were a remarkable family, of whom 
we shall hear much in the course of this book, so that 
we may conveniently stop to speak of them here. Sir 
George Hamilton married a sister of the future Duke 
of Ormonde, Mary Butler, a Roman Catholic like all 

* Francis Talbot, eleventh Earl, a very distant connection of the Irish Talbot?, 
f See pp. 518, 588 below. 

144 



The Hamiltons 

her family except Ormonde and like her husband him- 
self. Sir George was the fourth son among the nine 
children of James Hamilton, favourite of James I., 
who, after the union of England and Scotland, made 
him Earl of Abercorn and gave him estates in Tipperary, 
which were settled on his younger sons. James Hamil- 
ton was a grandson of James, second Earl of Arran, 
Duke of Chatelherault in France, and, as " second 
person of the realm of Scotland," Regent during the 
minority of Mary Queen of Scots ; so that, as far as 
nobility was concerned, Sir George was no less well 
descended than the Butlers with whom he intermarried, 
and the young Hamiltons had some of the best Scottish 
and Irish-Norman blood in their veins. 

Sir George was faithful to the royalist cause. 
Although arrested as a Papist in 1641, during a visit 
to England, sent to the Tower, and deprived of his 
commission in the army, after his release on bail he 
crossed over to Ireland and took up arms under his 
brother-in-law the Lord-Lieutenant. For some reason, 
when the rebel leader Owen O'Neil took Roscrea, 
Tipperary, the home of the Hamiltons, in September, 
1646, and put the inhabitants to the sword, he 
spared Lady Hamilton and her young family to 
which act of clemency we owe, incidentally, the 
Memoirs of Gramont, Anthony being then but newly 
born. After the English Parliament's triumph, Sir 
George did not immediately follow Ormonde out 
of Ireland, staying to pass his accounts as Receiver- 
VOL. i. 145 10 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

General, a post to which he had been appointed 
in 1648. This he did, says Carte, " to the satis- 
faction of all parties, notwithstanding much clamour 
had been raised against him." In the spring of 
1651 he took his family to Normandy and settled 
down temporarily with the Ormondes near Caen. 
Here all lived in great poverty and distress until, 
in the middle of 1652, Ormonde consented to his wife 
going to London, where she obtained from Cromwell 
a grant of .2,000 a year out of the estates of her 
husband and herself in Ireland. The secret of Lady 
Ormonde's influence with the Protector we do not 
know. She was a woman of high character, and is 
said to have inspired him with great respect. But 
her husband was the King's right hand,* and his dealings 
with the Royalists remaining in England were well 
known to Cromwell. Lady Ormonde took no share 
in any plot, to our knowledge ; but, whether or not 
her residence in London was at last considered in- 
convenient, before the end of 1655 she retired to Ireland, 
accompanied by her younger children. 

The Hamiltons moved with Ormonde to Paris. 
Sir George, however, was seldom at rest from missions 
on behalf of the King, of which evidence may be found 
among the vast collection of Ormonde manuscripts 
surviving to this day. An interesting letter is one 
sent by Ormonde to Lord Jermyn in February, 1652. 

* Down to the time of the Restoration Ormonde was certainly this and a 
considerable part of the brain of the royalist party as well. 

146 



The Hamiltons 

" Sir George Hamilton," he writes, " goes toward 
you with, all the recommendations from this to that 
Court [i.e., from Charles's to Saint-Germain] that can 
be thought necessary. . . . He has made many ex- 
pensive and dangerous voyages for the late and this 
King, and entirely lost his fortune by his faithfulness 
to them against the rebels of all their kingdoms, but 
his not going the last voyage he was designed for* and 
his attendance so long upon it will conclude his ruin 
if he prevail not in his pretensions to the French 
Court, or will cast him as a very unseasonable and 
unwilling burden upon His Majesty's care, who, God 
knows, had need to bestow it wholly upon himself." 

Sir George was troubled not only by want of money, 
but also by the problem of finding some employment 
for his two elder sons, James and George Frances 
Jennings's future first husband. Ormonde did what 
he could to help his brother-in-law in both difficulties. 
Before the move to Paris we find Hamilton writing to 
thank Ormonde for " your care to place my son George 
in a condition that I hope may enable him to acknow- 
ledge it with better service than I have ever been in a 
condition to do you." As for James, he " begins early, 
as your Excellence is pleased to advertise me, of which 
I will be at care to prevent as I may, though I know 
nothing so like to prevail in that case as good counsel 
and some way of employing his time to divert idleness, 

* Apparently the expedition planned to set out from St. Malo in August, 
1651, which was abandoned after the battle of Worcester had ruined royalist 
hopes. 

VOL. I. 147 IO* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

which is the greatest curse of that gentlemanly- 
vice." The scheme to keep James out of mischief is 
revealed in the same letter. " You have been pleased 
to put the place of the Janedarme to a very probable 
condition of success, if the business do serve right," 
says Hamilton. But it seems as if the plan of making 
the young man one of the gens d'armes, or lifeguards, 
to the little King Louis was not immediately carried 
out, for three years later Sir George writes expressing 
the fear that Ormonde's care of his sons is heaping 
still more trouble upon him. " I hope you will see it 
so ordered as if the eldest, whose fancy is flown a little 
high, may through that passion set a higher value 
upon a good face and some quality of blood than 
upon a fortune, of which he stands much more in need 
at present ; that in this case, I say, I hope you will 
provide that such an unhappiness in him, if it should 
fall out, might not prejudice the advantage may be 
made of this occasion for his second brother George." 

Sir George Hamilton can scarcely be called a lucid 
writer. But it seems possible to gather that some love 
affair or matrimonial idea made James unwilling to 
fall in with the views of Ormonde and his father 
and his mother, too, who wishes to " induce her son 
Jamie to lay hold of such a providence from God which 
is by your Lordship thought fit for him to embrace." 
If it were not that this was only 1654, we m ight imagine 
that it was already the attraction of Lord Culpepper's 
daughter which caused " Jamie " to be reluctant to 

148 



The Hamiltons 

enter the French service, and so be cut off from 
proximity to his charmer. He succeeded in getting 
his way, helped, no doubt, by the estrangement of 
the exiled Charles from the French Court ; for in 
October, 1659, ^is f atfter writes to Hyde, describing 
as " a great cordial in this sad time " some information 
about his two sons and their master's favour towards 
them. Whenever it was that he first fell in love with 
his future wife, he allowed her to have a great influence 
upon him ; and finally he gave up Roman Catholicism 
to espouse her. His mother's disgusted reply to 
Ormonde's announcement of the marriage still exists. 
She writes : 

" I must confess I never was more afflicted or sur- 
prised then when I found in your leter the unworthy- 
ness of Jamy, who I know two well to beleeive from 
him that he had anny other motive to dislike the 
Religion he has left than that he could not profess 
it liveing soe great a libertine as he did and the assur- 
ance he did [? had] that it would be an obstacle to his 
mariage with M re Culpeper, for whom he had this 
unhapy affection about foure yeares agoe (as I can 
shew in his leters), and at that time did he resolve to 
become an apostate rather then not have her. He has 
a deare bargain of her if she be soe unfortunat as to 
be engaged to him, and I am confident she will never 
have much satisfaction in one that has forsaken God 
for her. I am most certaine it was noe aprehention 
of his being out of the way of salvation made him 

149 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

thus base, he has no such tender conscience, as you 
will finde in a little tieme. I humbly begg your 
pardon for being thus bitter when I writ to you, and if 
I have sayd annything against your religion that may 
offend you it was not my intention. . . . God's will 
be don in all things. I am much troubled that I 
know not wheare S r George is. I feare he will be 
sencible of this misfortun as it will drive him to som 
sicknes. Excuse me, I beg you, and beleeive that I 
shall never be other then 

" Your ever affectionate Sister and most humble 
servant, 

" MA. HAMILTON."* 

George junior does not appear to have caused 
anxiety to his parents like his brother James. A post 
was found for him, through Ormonde's influence, as 
page of honour to King Charles, in which position he 
is mentioned to Thurloe by one of his spies in April, 
1655, at Cologne. In it he continued down to the 
Restoration. 

Of the four younger boys, Anthony, Thomas, 
Richard and John, we do not hear anything in these 

* Letter of May I4th, 1660 (quoted in Spicilegium Ossoriense, II., 182, from 
the Carte Papers). The very change which grieved Mary Hamilton so much 
caused James to be looked on with benevolence by other good people. Hyde 
writes to Ormonde, November ist, 1659 : " Your nephew James ... is a 
very honest, and I think a very pious young man, and will proceed with that 
wariness that you advise, tho' in the main he is fully resolved, and truly, I think, 
upon right principles, severed from passion or appetite." (Carte, Original 
Letters, I., 252.) 



The Hamiltons 

early days ; and the same is the case with Elizabeth 
and her two sisters. 

The great event of May, 1660, brought to the 
Hamiltons, if not wealth, at least a certain material 
prosperity to which they had long been strangers. 
Being very numerous, Gramont says, they lived in a 
large and commodious house near the Court. " The 
Duke of Ormonde's family was continually with them ; 
and here persons of the greatest distinction in London 
constantly met." Of the sons, James obtained first 
the rangership of Hyde Park and then a place as 
groom of the bedchamber to the King, as well as a 
colonelcy of a foot regiment. George, having given 
up his post of page, and having received a retiring 
pension of 120 a year, was appointed to " the King's 
Owne Troope of Guards." In this, which may be 
called the first regiment of the present-day British 
Army, George Hamilton received his four shillings 
a day as one of the two hundred gentlemen troopers. 
His younger brothers seem similarly to have joined 
the ranks as time went on, except Thomas, who 
entered the navy. 

Elizabeth Hamilton, although unattached to either 
of the royal households, quickly made her mark at 
the Court of Charles II. Her beauty was famous. 
Gramont describes her and Frances Stewart as the 
chief ornaments of that Court in its early days, and 
the glowing account of her charms at the beginning 
of the seventh chapter of his Memoirs is familiar to all 



Litrle Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

readers of the book. She was full of accomplish- 
ments,* and the only blots upon her character which 
can be discovered are her excessive love of practical 
joking (for this the Memoirs are sufficient evidence) 
and very great pride of race, both of which failings 
led her to be somewhat regardless of the feelings of 
others. Had her head been turned, it would have 
been no wonder ; for not only did the Duke of York 
press attentions upon her for a time, but her honour- 
able suitors included the Duke of Richmond, Henry 
Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk, Charles Berke- 
ley, Harry Jermyn, Lord Arundel, the two Russells 
John, son of the Duke of Bedford, and his nephew 
William Richard Talbot and Gramont, who won her 
in spite of this distinguished competition. 

Philibert, Comte de Gramont, when he arrived in 
England, was forty-one years of age. A reputed grand- 
son of Henri IV., and, in any case, of high extraction, 
he had been a favourite at the French Court, until 
he was banished for making love to a young lady on 
whom Louis XIV. had previously smiled. With regard 
to the other sex he appears to have been, previous 
to his conquest of la belle Hamilton, a rather ineffectual 
Don Juan. But he evidently had the ability to make 
many male friends. He was recommended to White- 
hall not merely by his gallantry and lively humour, 
but also by the fact that he had served under the Duke 

* Dangeau in his Journal (I., 241) describes her as having " a most lively wit, 
the most extensive information, the greatest dignity, the utmost ease, and the 
mot polished elegance at Court." 

152 



The Hamiltons 

of York's idol, Turenne. The Hamiltons were among 
those who gave a warm welcome to the French visitor, 
and Gramont confesses not only to spending much 
time at their house, but to astonishment that he spent 
so much time elsewhere. He soon was on intimate 
terms with James and George. " He had a great 
esteem for the elder," according to the Memoirs, " no less 
esteem and far more friendship for his brother, whom 
he made the confidant of his passion for his sister." 
For he had soon fallen in love with Elizabeth, after a 
brief attachment to the more notorious beauty Mrs. 
Middleton. Cominges, in one of that series of surely 
the oddest communications ever sent by an ambas- 
sador to his royal master, tells Louis XIV. of the 
Chevalier's " very ridiculous affair." Gramont, it 
seems, bribed Mrs. Middleton's maid to carry a love- 
declaration to her mistress. The maid took both the 
bribe and the declaration to herself, and when the 
mistress heard of this she told Gramont to " keep quiet 
and look elsewhere." Cominges adds : " Gramont 
did not fail to take her at her word, and he is now, six 
months after his coming, in a fair way to marriage."* 

* Cominges to Louis, August, 1663. In another letter to Louis, Cominges 
(who is far from being an admirer of Gramont) says : " As he has noticed 
that his age is becoming a great obstacle to all his imaginary pleasures, he has 
resolved to secure himself more solid ones by marrying. With this view he has 
cast his eyes on a beautiful young lady of the house of Hamilton, niece to the 
Duke of Ormonde, adorned with all the graces of virtue and nobility, but so 
little with mere material wealth that, according to those who give her most, 
she has none. I think that at first the Chevalier did not mean to go so far 
in this business, but, whether conversation has completed what beauty began, 
or the noise made by two rather troublesome brothers may have had something 
to do with it, certain it is that he has now declared himself publicly." 

153 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

It is only in the Memoin of Gramont that we hear of 
Richard Talbot as a candidate for the hand of Eliza- 
beth Hamilton ; and there is great difficulty in making 
Gramont's account fit in with the known facts of 
Talbot' s career at this period. Yet we can hardly 
suppose that Gramont and his biographer invented 
the story of his pretensions, however inaccurate they 
may have been in the details. We are told that 
Gramont looked on Talbot as a rival not to be despised 
and " thought him the more dangerous as he per- 
ceived that he was desperately in love ; that he was 
not one to be discouraged by a first repulse ; that he 
had too much sense and good breeding to draw upon 
himself either contempt or coldness by too great 
eagerness." And, besides this, his brothers began to 
frequent the Hamiltons' house the one " an in- 
triguing Jesuit and a great match-maker " ;* the other 
" what was called a lay-monk, who had nothing of his 
order but the immorality and infamy of character 
which is ascribed to them, and withal frank and free 
and sometimes entertaining, but always as ready to 
speak bold and offensive truths as to do good offices." 

On the whole Gramont found good reason for 
uneasiness over Talbot's competition with him for his 
lady's favour. " Nor was the indifference which Miss 
Hamilton showed for the addresses of his rival 
sufficient to remove his fears ; for, being absolutely 

* This agrees well with what is said of " Don Pedro " in Richard Talbot's 
letter of April z8th, 1663, to Bennet. 

154 



The Hamiltons 

dependent on her father's will, she could only answer 
for her own intentions." 

But, according to the Memoirs, Fortune, who seemed 
to have taken Gramont under her protection in Eng- 
land, now delivered him from all uneasiness. Then 
we get the story of Talbot's quarrel with Ormonde 
over Irish affairs and his imprisonment in the Tower. 
" By this imprudent conduct he lost all hopes of 
marrying into a family which, after such a proceeding, 
was not likely to listen to any proposal from him. 
It was with great difficulty and mortification that he 
was obliged to suppress a passion which had made far 
greater progress in his heart than the quarrel had done 
good to his affairs. This being the case, he was of 
opinion that his presence was necessary in Ireland, 
and that he was better out of the way of Miss Hamil- 
ton, if he was to remove those impressions which still 
troubled his repose." 

Obviously there is a great confusion here. Talbot 
went to the Tower, the first time, six months before 
Gramont reached London. If he abandoned his hopes 
after his imprisonment and went to Ireland to forget 
Elizabeth Hamilton, then he was never a competitor 
with Gramont for her love. On the other hand, if 
he ever was a rival to him, it must have been between 
his own return to London in the summer of 1663 and 
the Chevalier's marriage to Elizabeth in December. It 
would not be surprising in view of the letter to 
Ossory quoted in the last chapter to find Talbot still 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

aspiring to the hand of Ormonde's niece, in spite of 
having so seriously offended Ormonde. It is perhaps 
the simplest solution of the difficulty to suppose that 
this was the case, and that Gramont or Anthony 
Hamilton, when the Memoirs were being written, 
erroneously introduced Talbot's imprisonment and 
departure to Ireland into the story. 

Before leaving the subject of Gramont and the 
Hamiltons we may notice a tale about Frances 
Jennings's first husband, which may be true, because 
George is a favourite with his brother-in-law and 
receives kinder treatment from him than do most 
people. George Hamilton has been represented in 
recent literature as a great rake, but there does not 
appear anything to justify such a portrait. Certainly 
on the present occasion he was not particularly iniqui- 
tous. At the time when Richard Talbot returned 
from Ireland Elizabeth Hamilton was paying a visit 
of charity to a cousin, Elizabeth Whetenhall, living 
near East Peckham, in Kent. Thomas Whetenhall 
the husband, though a layman, was profoundly in- 
terested in theology and very little in his wife, who 
being young and very pretty, pined for a change of 
scene. She persuaded her cousin, at the end of her 
visit to East Peckham, to take her back to town with 
her, and on the road they were met by George Hamil- 
ton and Gramont, who had ridden to meet them. 
The former, being " both agreeable and handsome, 
made a great impression upon Mrs. Whetenhall, and 

156 



The Hamiltons 

he was struck in his turn. Amid the amusements of 
London the acquaintance ripened, but at the last the 
lady began to show scruples. Hamilton immediately- 
ceased his siege, and Mrs. Whetenhall, extremely 
mortified, returned to " her cabbages and turkeys at 
Peckham." Hamilton " suffered himself to be intoxi- 
cated with visions which unseasonably cooled the vigour 
of his pursuit and led him astray into another unpro- 
fitable undertaking " which was nothing less than 
falling in love with Frances Stewart, who was causing 
such uneasiness to Lady Castlemaine just now. 
According to Gramont, Hamilton proceeded very far 
indeed in his suit to the little favourite, until at length 
he was obliged to warn him that such conduct could 
only ruin him. The young man took the advice very 
philosophically and ceased his dangerous attentions. 
It was another and a less easily captivated Frances 
that was destined to secure his affections finally. 



157 



CHAPTER II 

MISTRESS JENNINGS AT COURT 

WE have now reached again the time of Frances 
Jennings's arrival in London, though we cannot 
date this event precisely. The occasion of it was the 
determination of the Duchess of York to form a new 
court for herself. Gramont says that she " resolved to 
see all the young persons that offered themselves and, 
without any regard to recommendations, to choose 
none but the handsomest." This sounds as if the 
Duchess took her maids of honour, so to speak, without 
a character. Such was not the case, however. Cir- 
cumstances combined to reduce her household, and in 
1664 there appear to have been vacancies for three 
new maids. Mary Bagot, who was one of the greatest 
beauties of the day and at the same time a virtuous 
woman in that year married Charles Berkeley, recently 
created Viscount Fitzharding. Goditha Price had been 
dismissed in disgrace, and Miss Hobart, whose Christian 
name we do not know and whose morals are painted 

158 




From an engraving if/ F. Bartolotti, after the painting by Sir Peter Lely. 
GODITHA PRICE. 



Mistress Jennings at Court 

a very peculiar colour by Gramont, had been removed 
by the Duchess to other duties in her household, to 
shelter her from certain scandals which were afloat. 
The only one of her former maids of honour still re- 
maining was Mary Blague, who is found still with her 
in 1669, and must therefore have commended herself 
better to her mistress than she did to Gramont and to 
Elizabeth Hamilton, who played so cruel a joke upon 
her at the masquerade described in the seventh chapter 
of the Memoirs. 

In place of those whom she had lost, the Duchess 
of York took . Frances Jennings, Arabella Churchill 
and Anne Temple. Arabella Churchill, " a tall, pale- 
faced, skin-and-bone creature," as she is called by 
Gramont, was possibly the eldest of the three, being 
born in 1648. Of Miss Temple, who was about the 
same age as Frances Jennings, Gramont says : " She 
had a good shape, fine teeth, languishing eyes, a fresh 
complexion, an agreeable smile, and a lively air. Such 
was her outward form, but it would be hard to describe 
the rest ; for she was simple and vain, credulous and 
suspicious, a coquette and a prude, very self-sufficient 
and very silly." She and Frances entirely eclipsed the 
other two maids, while Frances as completely eclipsed 
her in person and still more excelled her in mental 
accomplishments. In fact, except with regard to 
Elizabeth Hamilton, the Memoirs are nowhere so 
enthusiastic about any beauty of the Court as 
about Frances Jennings. That with regard to her 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

appearance Gramont's description was a true one may 
be gathered from its close agreement with that written 
by the French envoy Courtin in 1665.* The surviving 
portraits of Frances are somewhat disappointing when 
we compare them with these glowing accounts of her 
charms. Judged by them alone, she would not stand 
out among the fair ladies of her time. Clearly they fail 
to do her justice. Frances Jennings is not the only 
one of the Restoration beauties whom the Court 
painters somehow could not manage to catch on their 
canvases. On the other hand, some whom their con- 
temporaries considered plain astonish us by their good 
looks. But Lely, of course, knew how to flatter as well 
as other and more recent fashionable portrait-painters. 

Stripped of verbiage, Gramont's description repre- 
sents Frances as having beautiful flaxen hair and a 
dazzlingly fair complexion, with an animated expression, 
which redeemed her from the insipidity often accom- 
panying such fairness. Her nose and her hands were 
her weakest points. Nor was her mouth very small, 
but it was beautifully shaped. The comparison she 
suggests is " Aurora, or the goddess of spring." 

" With this amiable person," continues Gramont, 
" she was full of wit and sprightliness, and all her 
movements were unaffected and easy. Her conversa- 
tion was charming when she had a mind to please, 
subtle and delicate when she was disposed to raillery ; 
but as she was subject to flights of the imagination 

. * Quoted below, p. 191. 

160 



Mistress Jennings at Court 

and frequently began to speak before she had finished 
thinking, her utterances did not always convey what she 
wished." 

As the little maid of honour was probably not more 
than fifteen, it is not surprising to hear the last state- 
ment. It is surprising, however, to find what was 
expected of girls of fifteen in those days ; and still 
more surprising how often they answered expectations. 
It assuredly required a budding woman of the world 
to go through the temptations of Whitehall without 
serious scandal. And yet many girls did so (in spite of 
their " mad freaks," of which Lady Sandwich once 
talked to Pepys) and reached the haven of marriage 
without shipwreck on the way. 

Doubtless, owing to the extremely gossip-loving 
character of so many of our informants, we get an 
over-coloured picture of the life of peril through which 
the maids of honour had to walk. But, even if we make 
a considerable allowance for credulity and malice 
in our authorities, we are still bound to admit the 
grave dangers attending on the office of the maids, 
and to admire the wisdom which many of them dis- 
played. Frances Jennings was severely beset from 
the first and yet is never seen to falter. The Memoirs 
of Gramont are not wont to overload chastity with 
praise, but they are warm in their admiration of her 
conduct, which soon, they say. " left her companions 
no other admirers but such as remained constant from 
hopes of success." 

VOL. i. 161 ii 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Gramont's account of the Duke of York's persecu- 
tion of Frances and the careless way in which she put 
aside his attentions and dropped his love-letters is too 
well known to need quotation. How much truth or 
fiction there is in it is impossible to say. We do 
not hear anything about it elsewhere. When the Duke 
had failed, Gramont makes the King attempt to 
fascinate her, thinking it unnatural that she should 
be beyond the power of temptation when, " in all 
probability, she had not imbibed such severe precepts 
from the prudence of her mother, who had never 
tasted anything more delicious than the plums and 
apricots of St. Albans." (This picture of Mrs. Jennings 
as the country housewife is scarcely what we should 
have expected to find in the Memoirs of Gramont ; but 
evidently they knew nothing about " Mother Haggy.") 
Charles exerted himself to please ; and he was not 
only a wit, but a king also, whereas James was neither. 
" The resolutions of the fair Jennings were commend- 
able and very judicious ; yet she was wonderfully pleased 
with wit, and royal majesty prostrate at the feet of 
a young lady is very persuasive. Mile. Stewart, 
however, would not consent to the King's project. 
She immediately took alarm, and desired His Majesty 
to leave to the Duke his brother the care of tutoring 
the Duchess's maids of honour and only attend to the 
management of his own flock " unless he would consent 
to her getting married. " This menace being of a 
serious nature, the King obeyed ; and Mile. Jennings 

162 



Mistress Jennings at Court 

had all the honour arising from this adventure, which 
both added to her reputation and increased the number 
of her admirers." 

Among these admirers was soon reckoned Richard 
Talbot. Seeing that one was attached to the Duke, 
the other to the Duchess of York, we should have 
expected them to meet soon after Frances's arrival 
in London. But Gramont, when he brings them 
together, says : " I do not know how it was that he 
had not yet seen her, though he had heard her much 
praised." When they did meet Talbot found her so 
exceeding what he had been told that he fell in love 
with her at once and soon proceeded to a declaration. 

Before making the acquaintance of Frances Jennings, 
however, Talbot had first come across another maid 
of honour this one attached to the Queen who was 
also destined to be his wife. Among the six maids 
appointed to the household of Catherine of Braganza 
after her arrival in England occurs the name of 
" M" Boynton." Katherine Boynton was the elder 
daughter of a Colonel Matthew Boynton, who had 
lost his life fighting on behalf of Charles in 1651, 
after a brave defence of Scarborough Castle, and her 
appointment in the Queen's household was no doubt 
a recognition of her father's merit, on account of which 
pensions had been assigned but apparently not paid 
with more regularity than most other Restoration 
pensions to her mother, herself, and her sister. Judged 
by her surviving portrait, which is at Malahide Castle, 
VOL. i. 163 n* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Katherine was a beautiful woman. But Gramont, for 
some unknown reason, is very spiteful about her. In 
his first mention of her he classes her with " Mile. 
Levingston and Mile. Fielding " as little deserving of 
mention in the Memoirs .* Speaking later of Talbot's 
endeavour to banish thoughts of Elizabeth Hamilton 
from his mind, he says that he saw no one in the 
Queen's new Court whom he thought worthy of his 
attention. " Mile. Boynton, however, thought him 
worthy of hers. Her person was slender and delicate, 
to which a good complexion and large motionless eyes 
gave at a distance an appearance of beauty, which 
vanished on closer inspection. She affected to lisp and 
to languish and to have two or three fainting fits a day. 
The first time that Talbot cast his eyes upon her she 
was seized with one of these fits. He was told that she 
had swooned on his account, believed it, and was eager 
to afford her assistance ; and ever after that accident 
he showed her some kindness, more with the intention 

* Gramont is quite inaccurate in his account of the Queen's maids of honour. 
He makes the original list consist of Frances Stewart, Miles. Warmester, 
Bellenden, de la Garde and Bardou. The four last were replaced, he says, 
when the Queen altered her household, by Miles. Wells, Levingston, Fielding 
and Boynton. Now we know, from a letter written by Lord Cornbury 
at Hampton Court on June loth, 1662 (H.M.C. Reports, XII., App., Pt. 9, 
Beaufort MSS., pp. 52-3), that Gramont's memory played him false. " We 
have yet a very unsettled household, nothing at all in order," says Cornbury 
(who was himself in attendance on the Queen). " Not one Lady of the Bed- 
chamber named besides my Lady Suffolke. . . . The four dressers are fixed, 
who are my Lady Wood, Lady Scroope, M re Fraizer, and M re La Garde. 
The Maydes of Honour are likewise in waiting, viz., M re Gary, M Stuart, 
M re Wells, M 1 * Price, M re Boynton, M Warmestry. The Maydes of the 
Privy Chamber are but two, my Lady Mary Savage, my Lady Betty Levingstone 
my Lord Newbrugh's daughter." 

I6 4 



Mistress Jennings at Court 

of saving her life than to express any affection he felt 
for her." 

The writer of the above description was evidently 
no admirer of the type of young lady which was later 
to become common both in life and in literature. 
Whether or not the picture was exaggerated there is 
no means of judging. The only allusion to Katherine 
Boynton in Pepys's Diary is at least consistent with 
what Gramont tells of her ; for should we not expect 
a journey down the Thames to upset so delicate a 
creature ? Pepys is describing the State visit to 
Woolwich, on October 26th, 1664, for the launching 
of the Royal Catherine. The King, Queen and Duke 
of York were all present, but we do not hear of 
the Duchess. The behaviour of the Court does not 
impress the diarist favourably. " M r3 Boynton and 
the Duchesse of Buckingham," he says, " had been very 
sicke coming by water in the barge (the water being 
very rough) ; but what silly sport they made with them 
in very common terms, methought, was very poor, and 
below what people think these great people say and do." 

The fragile beauty, according to Gramont, was visibly 
affected by Talbot's apparent tenderness for her and 
sufficiently showed him her willingness to become his 
wife : an event which might have come about now, 
instead of five years later, had not Frances Jennings 
appeared on the scene and captivated Talbot's heart to 
such an extent that he felt compelled to declare his 
love to her. 

165 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

His suit prospered at first. Gramont suggests a 
trait in Frances's character, of which we shall hear 
again, and which was prominent in her sister Sarah's. 
" Talbot," he says, " was possessed of a fine and bril- 
liant exterior ; his manners were noble and majestic ; 
in addition to this he was particularly distinguished 
by the favour and friendship of the Duke ; but his 
most essential merit in her eyes was his 40,000 livres 
a year in landed property, besides his employments. All 
these qualifications came within the requirements of 
the rules which she had resolved to follow with regard 
to lovers." She gave Talbot, therefore, a better 
reception than her earlier admirers, and, with the 
Duchess's approval, decided to marry him, though 
" her reason was more favourable to him than her 
heart." 

The actual writer of this cynical remark, it must 
be remembered, was George Hamilton's brother ; and 
we do not find evidence of any particular friendship 
between Anthony and Talbot, such as there was 
between yet another brother, Richard Hamilton, and 
Talbot later in life. In fact, to judge by the Memoirs 
of Gramont alone, we may imagine that Anthony 
cherished some grudge against his connection by mar- 
riage, to pay off which he gladly collaborated with 
Gramont after death had safely removed Talbot out 
of the way. 

Nevertheless, her suitor's income, added to his 
good looks and his influence, may well have entered 

166 



Mistress Jennings at Court 

into the reckoning of Frances Jennings. Her father's 
struggles cannot have failed to make her appreciate the 
value of money, and now she had tasted the luxuries 
of the life at Court. 

Talbot was accepted. But he soon spoilt his chances. 
He did not discover any personal fault in the lady 
of his choice ; but he did not like her acquaintance 
with Miss Price, whose dismissal had made one of the 
vacancies in the Duchess of York's household. Goditha 
Price suffers badly at the hands of Gramont. She was 
no beauty, being " short and thick," and, " as her 
person was not very likely to attract many admirers 
(which, however, she was resolved to have), she was far 
from being coy when an opportunity offered." One 
of her lovers was the Robert Dongan of whom we have 
already heard. Gramont, who calls him " Duncan," re- 
lates with gay malice the struggle for him between Miss 
Price and Miss Blague, and the victory of the former. 
But Dongan died, leaving Miss Price " plunged in a 
gulf of despair," and bequeathing to her a sealed box 
Not having the heart to open this herself, she took it 
to the Governess, or mother as she was also called, 
of the maids of honour. The Governess suggested 
that the Duchess of York should be asked to open 
the box, which she did, in the presence of a number of 
ladies. Inside she found all kinds of trinkets which 
Miss Price had sent to Dongan, and some packets of 
letters so " tender " that the Duchess, after the public 
discovery of the scandal, was obliged to dismiss her 

167 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

maid. This is Gramont's account ; but as Pepys, 
two years later, speaks of Miss Price as being " mistress 
publicly to the Duke of York," we may assume that 
the Duchess had another reason for wishing to get rid 
of her. 

On her dismissal Goditha Price transferred her 
services to Lady Castlemaine a proceeding which 
scarcely tends to vindicate her character. She was, 
however, a lively young person, full of wit and in- 
fectious spirits, and understood well how to make 
herself pleasant. It was not long before she met her 
successor in the Duchess of York's household and 
charmed her. Frances Jennings, though not herself 
gay, in the bad sense of the word, was amused to 
hear all the gay stories of the Court, and Goditha 
Price knew them and could tell them vivaciously. 

Talbot, however, not unnaturally was afraid that 
this intimacy with Miss Price would damage Frances's 
reputation. " In the tone of a guardian rather than 
a lover," says Gramont, " he took upon himself to 
chide her for the disreputable company she kept. Mile. 
Jennings was haughty beyond conception when once 
she took it into her head ; and, as she liked Mile. Price's 
conversation much better than his, she ventured to 
ask him to attend to his own affairs, and told him, 
if he only came over from Ireland to read her lectures, 
he might take the trouble to go back again as soon as he 
pleased." Talbot left her abruptly and sulked for a 
time. Then he altered his conduct and became 

168 



Mistress Jennings at Court 

very humble, but without producing any effect upon 
her. 

At this point the Memoirs make Harry Jermyn first 
reappear at Court after his departure in disgrace for 
having made love to Lady Castlemaine. He had left 
at the end of 1662, whether actually banished or, as 
Gramont states, forced by his uncle to anticipate the 
King's command by a previous retirement into the 
country. Gramont has not much that is good to say 
about either uncle or nephew. Henry Jermyn, senior, 
" a man of no great genius, had raised himself a con- 
siderable fortune from nothing, and by losing at play 
and keeping a great table made it appear still greater." 
Harry, though the youngest of all his nephews, was 
adopted by him and found his uncle's wealth of great 
service to him, even in his favourite pursuit of love- 
making. " For though [the younger] Jermyn was 
brave, and certainly a gentleman, yet he had neither 
brilliant actions nor distinguished rank to set him 
off ; and as for his figure there was nothing advantage- 
ous in it. He was little ; his head was large and his 
legs small ; his features were not disagreeable,* but 
he was affected in his carriage and behaviour. All his 
wit consisted in expressions learned by rote, which 
he occasionally employed either in raillery or in love. 

* Wissing's painting of him at Rushbrooke Hall, Bury St. Edmunds, bears 
this out. Later in life, when, as Lord Dover, he was about to be attainted 
for high treason i. ., for fidelity to James II., a witness before the House of 
Lords Committee describes him as " an indifferent, gross man, with black 
hair." (H.M.C. Reports, XII., Pt. 6, House of Lords MSS., p. 231.) 

169 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

This was the whole foundation of the merit of a man 
so formidable in amours." 

No doubt professional jealousy coloured Gramont's 
description of Harry Jermyn ; for the latter had cer- 
tainly more conquests to boast of than the Chevalier. 
Lady Castlemaine, perhaps, was not much of a feather 
in his cap. But the Duchess of York was assigned to 
him by the scandalmongers as an admirer, and there 
can be no question that Mary, Princess of Orange, in 
her widowhood was considerably attracted by him. 
When James visited his sister at Breda in 1658, taking 
his friend with him, rumour coupled their names 
together so much that Charles heard of it and angrily 
summoned the young man back to Bruges. An 
acrimonious correspondence passed between the King 
and his sister, ending in a violent quarrel when 
they next met. Charles was not altogether unreason- 
able, for Mary confessed to her friend Lady Stan- 
hope that " she was pleased with Harry Jermyn's 
love and had a kindness for him." In view of the 
gossip occasioned by Queen Henrietta Maria's depen- 
dence upon the elder Jermyn, it was certainly undesir- 
able that there should be any occasion for talk about 
another royal widow and another Jermyn. 

The Memoirs of Gramont make Harry Jermyn, 
spurred by the tales of Frances Jennings's pride and 
powers of resistance, come back to town just at the 
time when she had quarrelled with Talbot. She had 
also heard of him already, through her friend Miss 

170 



Mistress Jennings at Court 

Price, and when she saw him, promptly fell in love 
with him. Jermyn, " not surprised at this victory, 
though not a little proud of it," felt his heart affected 
in turn. The Duchess of York, who had taken Frances 
under her protection ever since she had declined placing 
herself under that of the Duke, asked Jermyn his inten- 
tions and was satisfied with his assurances. The young 
man, moreover, let it be publicly known that he was 
willing though he seemed in no hurry to marry. 
So Frances received congratulations from everyone on 
her victory over " the terror of husbands and the plague 
of lovers." 

Her triumph, however, was not destined to last 
long ; and, indeed, neither side seems to have been 
very serious in the affair, if Gramont (the only writer 
to mention it) tells the story truly. They tired of 
each other about the same time. Jermyn, hearing of 
the naval raid planned under Prince Rupert against 
the Dutch that " Guinea Expedition " which never 
sailed any farther on the way to Guinea than Ports- 
mouth harbour offered himself as a volunteer and 
went to Frances to tell her about it. But his manner 
of paying his addresses, " as though by habit," had 
already disillusioned her, and now his resolve to join 
the expedition without previously consulting her com- 
pleted her disgust. When he acquainted her with his 
" heroical project," so far from giving him an oppor- 
tunity for consoling her, she rallied him unmercifully. 
Nothing could be more glorious, she told him, for him 

171 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

who had triumphed over the liberty of so many in 
Europe than to extend his conquests to other regions 
of the world, and she advised him to bring home all 
his female captives to replace the beauties who would 
die of grief for him in his absence. Gramont also 
makes her write a burlesque epistle to Jermyn from 
" a shepherdess in despair," in imitation of Ovid's 
epistle from Ariadne to Theseus, of which he says that 
an English verse translation had lately been published. 
But here Gramont anticipates by sixteen years the 
publication of the first English verse translation of 
the Epistles, so that the value of this testimony to the 
wit and education of Frances Jennings is at least 
doubtful. 

Realising that Frances no longer cared for him, and 
confounded at his dismissal, Jermyn felt his love revived 
and even increased. But it was in vain. She continued 
to ridicule him, and ridicule is not a weapon which 
Don Juan cares to face. On October 5th, 1664, 
Prince Rupert sailed down the Thames in the Henrietta 
and proceeded to Portsmouth. Here the fleet stopped, 
not being sufficiently strong to put out to sea in face 
of the Dutch warships in the Channel. There was 
not even a brush with the enemy. The only danger 
run was from smallpox, which carried off one of 
Jermyn's personal companions at Portsmouth. Early 
in December the idea of the raid was definitely aban- 
doned, and the Duke of York, who had taken over the 
command from Prince Rupert, returned to London. 

172 



Mistress Jennings at Court 

The inglorious end of the " heroical project " 
probably inspired the sharp tongue of Frances Jennings 
to further gibes against the bold volunteer. Jermyn 
did not at once give up all hope. But, " notwith- 
standing all the efforts and attentions which he prac- 
tised to regain her affections, she would never more 
hear of him." 

Thus within the first year of her arrival at Court, 
not only had the country maiden of fifteen succeeded 
in putting aside the compromising attentions of the 
King and his brother, but she had also engaged herself 
in turn to two rising young men and sent them about 
their business. Such a record in itself is remarkable ; 
in fact, may almost be called admirable when we con- 
sider what the careers of so many of her fellow maids 
of honour were like. And we shall see that she con- 
tinued for more than another year in the atmosphere 
so fatal to the reputation of beauties without giving 
occasion to any worse reproach than that her high 
spirits made her easily led into adventure by a gay com- 
panion. Richard Talbot early discovered this weak- 
ness in her ; but it did not prevent him from marry- 
ing her in the end and living with her happily, as far 
as we know, for the last ten years of his life. The 
period of her youth was pre-eminently an age of 
scandal, and many a good woman was foully slandered ; 
yet to the last only one of the bitterest enemies of her 
second husband ventured to breathe a suspicion about 
her chastity. 

173 



CHAPTER III 

TALBOT IN THE TOWER AGAIN 

A LTHOUGH Jermyn had suffered the same fate as 
^~A- himself at the hands of the coquettish young 
maid of honour, Richard Talbot was not in a position 
to take immediate advantage of his rival's humiliation 
to renew his suit. For now he came into conflict 
again with the Duke of Ormonde over Irish affairs. 
In the spring of 1664 the Lord-Lieutenant had received 
a summons from the King to cross over to England, 
and he quitted Dublin at the end of May, leaving his 
son Ossory as Deputy. The matter requiring his pre- 
sence in London was still the slowly dragging Settle- 
ment of Ireland. On his arrival he was set to work 
with a committee on the Bill of Explanation which he 
and the Irish Privy Council had drafted at the King's 
command the previous year. This laborious task 
occupied Ormonde and his colleagues until the May 
of 1665, so numerous were the petitions and provisos 
to be considered., 

174 



Talbot in the Tower again 

The collision between Talbot and Ormonde was 
not long in taking place. The committee commenced 
its sittings in August. Now Talbot had been working 
hard since his arrival in England with the .18,000 
in bonds, etc. Carte, while censuring him for his 
behaviour toward some of his clients, admits that he 
was not negligent " in cases of real difficulty, and 
where there was real guilt of the party as an obstacle 
to restitution." To prove that a former rebel ought 
to be included under the head of innocent Papists 
was obviously a hard matter, and of course among 
those who had applied to Talbot and the other " under- 
takers " were many such. It was to hide the fact of 
their guilt that they had been willing to promise so 
much money to their patrons. One of Talbot's clients 
was a certain James Allen, of St. Woolston's, alias 
Allen's Court. He had succeeded in getting on his 
behalf a decree from the Court of Claims, restoring 
him to his estate.* But he only managed this, his 
enemies said, by the corruption of witnesses before 
the Court.f Unfortunately for him, the case interested 
Hugh Montgomery, second Earl of Mount-Alexander 

* Allen proceeded to sell it to Lord Berkeley and Richard Talbot (Calendar 
of State Papers, Ireland, 1663-5, under date April i3th, 1663). Talbot's anxiety 
about the matter is therefore easy to understand. 

t It is but fair to Talbot to state that he alleged corruption on the other 
side. He writes to Bennet on February 4th, 1663, concerning Allen: 
" Though he was as innocent a person as could be, yet the horrid practices of 
my Lord of Mount-Alexander suborning witnesses against him will. I fear, 
prove him nocent." Mount-Alexander, he says, is " the greatest cowhycrd 
living." (Calendar c.f State Papers, Ireland, 1663-5.) 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

who was in possession of Allen's property. Lord 
Mount-Alexander by some means got hold of some 
letters from Talbot to his brother Peter and to Sir 
Brian O'Neil, which revealed the fraud that had been 
practised. These he laid before Ossory and the Privy 
Council in Dublin, demanding a reversal of the decree 
of the Court of Claims. 

About the same time that Ormonde's son in Ireland 
was asked to disturb Talbot's work on behalf of Allen, 
Ormonde himself in England made a suggestion to the 
Privy Council that a clause should be inserted in the 
Bill of Explanation to annul all decrees of restitution 
already obtained by bribes and perjury. Talbot, 
taking this suggestion to be aimed at him and his 
conduct in the Allen case particularly, was foolish 
enough to make public threats against the Lord-Lieu- 
tenant's life ; taking care, says Carte, that the Duke 
should hear them. His brothers, too, " lay and eccle- 
siastical," echoed the threats. Ormonde disregarded 
them, believing no doubt correctly that they were 
only intended to frighten him into withdrawing his 
proposed clause. The publicity of the outrage, how- 
ever, as in 1661, made it impossible for the King* 

* Charles was first told of it, according to Clarendon, by Ormonde's brother- 
in-law, the Earl of Clancarty (the former Donogh MacCarty, Viscount Mus- 
kerry) ; and it was Sir Robert Talbot, anxious to keep his brother out of more 
serious trouble, who first went to Clancarty. With regard to the conduct of 
some other members of the family, there are two instructive letters to Ormonde 
in the summer of 1664 from one Patrick Moore, whose duty it was to keep the 
Lord-Lieutenant posted as to affairs in Dublin during his absence. Moore 
was friendly with John Talbot, who, though busying himself in finding 

176 



Talbot in the Tower again 

to treat the matter thus lightly. He accordingly 
applied to the Lord Chancellor for his advice as 
to what should be done. And here Clarendon's 
Continuation supplements Carte's account. 

Clarendon relates that the King and the Duke of 
York came together to him, the former telling him, 
" with a very visible trouble in his countenance," how 
Dick Talbot had a resolution to assassinate the Duke 
of Ormonde, and had sworn in the presence of two or 
three persons that he would do it to avenge some 
injuries which he pretended the Duke had done his 
family. He had said that he would rather fight 
Ormonde, who he knew would be willing enough ; but 
that he should never be able to bring to pass, and so 
he would take his revenge in any way that offered. 
" And every body knew that the man had courage 
and wickedness enough," says Clarendon. 

The Chancellor considered Richard Talbot's conduct 
scandalous enough to deserve exemplary punishment, 
but he advised moderation. He did not believe 
Ormonde in any present danger of his life, but he was 
afraid that what would happen would be that Talbot, 
after first denying his threats, would repent and, 

clients for his brothers among the dispossessed Irish, was apparently willing to 
make certain disclosures concerning them. On August i3th Moore says: "I 
have perused some letters written to John Talbot by his brother Peter from 
Court " Peter had ventured back into England, but was in a cautious mood 
" wherein he writes that Thomas Talbot so exclaims against Your Grace that 
they are all like to be lost, and that he wonders he is not banished." In the 
other letter Moore relates, on John Talbot's authority, that Lord Orrery had 
advised " Dick " at least to show Ormonde a " good outside." 

VOL. I. 177 12 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

giving any satisfaction that might be asked of him, 
obtain the forgiveness of the King and the Duke of 
York ; for he represents James as being equally angry 
with Charles. He, therefore, was in favour of hush- 
ing the matter up rather than calling attention to it 
only to inflict some light and ordinary punishment. 

The King, however, protested that there need be 
no fear of inadequate punishment. The offence was 
unpardonable, and both he and the Duke had deter- 
mined to take the opportunity of freeing themselves 
from the whole family's importunity. " All the 
brothers were naughty fellows," said Charles, " and 
had no good meaning." He went on to speak severely 
of Father Peter and Father Tom, while the Duke 
spoke against Dick. Both asserted that they would be 
in great ease by the absence of them ail. 

If Clarendon's recollection of this interview be 
accurate, it is tantalizing that he does not tell us why 
the Duke was so provoked with his Gentleman of the 
Bedchamber at this moment that he was thoroughly 
in accord with the King as to the necessity for stern 
action. He merely says that he " knew there was 
something else, which was not so fit to be mentioned, 
that had offended them both as much." The Duke 
of York had only recently returned to town from the 
fleet. We do not hear that Talbot had gone with him 
when he went down to Portsmouth in November 
to supersede Prince Rupert. But, even if he did not 
go, this does not necessarily show that he was then 

178 



Talbot in the Tower again 

in the Duke's displeasure, as he might well have 
obtained leave to remain in London to look after his 
clients' interests. Still Clarendon, prejudiced though 
he was, would not have invented the circumstance 
of the Duke's anger against his favourite, so we must 
allow that Talbot had managed to give offence to 
James, without attempting to guess how. 

Seeing that the royal brothers were resolute in their 
intention, Clarendon advised that Dick should be 
sent to the Tower, and that the Privy Council should 
be told the story the next day, when it would no doubt 
order a prosecution. " Thereby the gentleman would 
be put in such a condition that he should not trouble 
the Court with his attendance ; and other men should 
by his example find that their tongues are not their 
own, to be employed according to their own malicious 
pleasures." 

The same night, says Clarendon, Talbot was sent to 
the Tower, both King and Duke declaring them- 
selves determined on the full rigour of the law. The 
warrant still survives, dated December 22nd, 1664, to 
the Lieutenant of the Tower for the imprisonment of 
" Richard Talbot, esq., committed for high mis- 
demeanours."* 

* Gramont's story of Talbot and his gambling debt, if there be any bails 
of fact in it, must belong to this period ; for Gramont was not in England in 
1 66 1. He says : " Talbot played deep and was tolerably forgetful. The 
Chevalier de Gramont won three or four thousand guineas of him the very 
evening on which he was committed to the Tower. That accident had made 
him forget his usual punctuality in paying the next morning whatever he had 
lost overnight ; and this debt so far escaped his memory that it never once occurred 

VOL. I. 179 12* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Ormonde's rash opponent was likely to spend much 
longer in the Tower on his account this time than he 
had spent three years before. And not only he, but 
also two more of his family were involved in the punish- 
ment ; for Carte says that Sir Robert and " the other 
brother " (Thomas, it appears) were simultaneously 
sent to the Fleet prison. This is the only instance 
of which we hear of Sir Robert Talbot falling into 
disgrace in the company of his juniors. Possibly he 
had allowed himself to be carried away by momentary 
irritation to the extent of speaking indiscreetly against 
Ormonde ; though we must remember that Clarendon 
makes him already alienated from Ormonde because 
he had not asked sufficient on his behalf from the King. 
It is clear, however, that Ormonde had not lost his 
kindness for Sir Robert, for he now appealed to the 
King and persuaded him to release him before the 
Christmas holidays were over. 

Dick's Christmas was perforce spent in jail. But 
his friends were not idle on his behalf. Clarendon 
says that from the first day of his imprisonment those 
most closely attached to the King and the Duke of 
York, in violation of the rule against such civilities 
being paid to persons under His Majesty's displeasure, 

to him after he was released." So the Chevalier took an occasion to remind 
him politely. Talbot was going on a journey to Ireland, when Gramont came 
to bid him farewell, and besought him not to fall sick on the road or, if he 
did, to remember him in his will. Talbot at once recollected the debt and, 
embracing him, promised to send the money instantly. " The Chevalier 
possessed a thousand of these genteel ways of refreshing the memories of those 
who were apt to be forgetful in their payments." 

180 



Talbot in the Tower again 

presumed to visit the prisoner and to censure those 
who had advised his commitment. And after a few 
days, when it was thought that the Duke's passion 
had in some degree abated, Lord Berkeley summoned 
courage to tell him that his reputation was suffering 
for allowing a servant so near to him to be imprisoned 
for a few hasty words, to which he had been provoked. 
Berkeley said also that it was well known to be the doing 
of the Chancellor, an enemy of all the Talbots and no 
great friend of any of the Duke's servants, who might 
expect in a short time to be few in number if he had 
power to remove them. The bystanders supported 
Berkeley ; and though the Duke did not at once yield, 
his resolution was weakened. The same method was 
then tried with the King. Finally the brothers grew 
weary of their severity, and appealed to Ormonde to 
forgive his enemy. They had no difficult task here. 
Although he had previously made no effort on behalf 
of any but Sir Robert, now Ormonde " disdained to 
make himself a prosecutor in such a transgression. 
And so the prisoner returned to Whitehall, with the 
advantage which men who have been unjustly im- 
prisoned usually receive : and all men thought he 
triumphed over the Chancellor." 

The approximate date of Talbot's release is fixed by 
a letter written on January 28th, 1665, from Sir John 
Perceval in Dublin to Robert Southwell. " We hear," 
says Perceval, " that R. Talbott is out of the Tower, 
the two friars being taken and owning the words and 

181 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

acquitting him." The Dublin version of the affair, 
it seems, was not quite the same as Clarendon's ; and 
we cannot tell who were the two friars who owned the 
words, though one may be Father Thomas. 

Richard Talbot came out of the Tower, after about 
a month's detention, with no sense of defeat. He 
found himself strong enough, moreover, to get the 
decree in favour of Allen confirmed, the claim of Lord 
Mount-Alexander being settled by compensation being 
awarded him in a clause of the Bill of Explanation. 

Nor did the affair damage the rest of the family ; 
at any rate, not Sir Robert. When Ormonde, before 
the end of the sittings of the committee on the Bill 
of Explanation, presented to the King in council some 
lists of persons who had been recommended to him as 
worthy of His Majesty's grace and favour, among the 
five men to whose recommendations Ormonde had 
listened one was Sir Robert. 

The exertions of the youngest of the Talbot brothers 
on behalf of the Irish concerned in the Settlement 
were not yet over, as we shall see. But for the present 
there was nothing more for him to do. The com- 
mittee having finished its discussions on May 26th, 
and the King having inserted in the Bill twenty 
" nominees " from the lists submitted to him, Ormonde 
left England and on September 3rd landed again in 
Ireland. The Irish Parliament passed the Bill of 
Explanation as presented to it, and on December 23rd, 
1665, the royal assent was given and it became law. 

182 



Talbot in the Tower again 

All that remained was its execution, for which a com- 
mission was appointed, one of whom was Sir Winston 
Churchill again. 

So the Settlement was at last legally effected a 
weary compromise which pleased no section, least of 
all that which it most favoured. The Protestants 
of the Soldiers' and Adventurers' party, who were 
called upon to give up comparatively little of what 
they claimed, were very dissatisfied ; and at the begin- 
ning of 1666 there was a " fanatic " plot in Munster, 
soon followed by a mutiny of troops in Ulster. The 
Roman Catholids, who were heavy losers by the 
Settlement, worked to upset it by other ways than 
by futile rebellion. And the youngest of the Talbots, 
hot-headed though he had shown himself on various 
occasions, was able to adapt himself to the needs of 
the time. " Fighting Dick Talbot " had as keen a 
liking for the methods of diplomacy as either of his 
professionally peaceful brothers. 



183 



CHAPTER IV 

THE DIVERSIONS OF A MAID OF HONOUR 

FRANCES JENNINGS had clung so firmly to 
her friendship with Miss Price that she had 
for its sake broken off her engagement with Talbot. 
It was not long before she paid the penalty for her 
attachment to so volatile and reckless a person ; though 
it is improbable that, at her age, she therefore thought 
any less of her dangerous friend or put an immediate 
end to the intimacy between them. 

The scrape into which Frances was led by Goditha 
Price is a very well-known story, thanks to the Memoirs 
of Gramont. But it is necessary to mention it here, 
if at less length than Gramont devotes to it, because 
it has been made the foundation of an attack on the 
moral character of the younger girl. The occasion of 
the adventure was one of the freaks of that extraor- 
dinary character John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester. 
During his short life of thirty-three years Rochester 
made himself famous for his wit, his literary achieve- 
ments (however little they may appeal to modern 

184 




From an engraving, after a painting liy Sir Peter Lely. 
FRANCES JENNINGS. DUCHESS OF TYRCONNEL. 



The Diversions of a Maid of Honour 

taste), his masquerading, and his debauchery. In 
1665 he was only eighteen years of age, but he had 
already taken his degree at Oxford and spent a year 
or two in travels through France and Italy. When 
he came to Court he had the recommendations of 
his late father's services to Charles I. and his own 
brilliant qualities. His ready tongue appealed to 
Charles II. and his courtiers, and in return for the 
amusement which he gave them they initiated him 
into the life of pleasure which occupied so much of 
their days. But his satire was too undisciplined and 
frequently got him into disgrace. At the beginning 
of 1665 he was in retirement at his country seat at 
Adderbury, Oxfordshire, having been banished for the 
third time, according to Gramont. Bishop Burnet 
(who had an odd friendship with him, imagined that 
he prepared his soul for death, and wrote a biography 
of him) merely says that Rochester was " under an 
unlucky accident, which obliged him to keep out of 
the way." He wearied of his exile before he was re- 
called by the King and came up to town to live incog- 
nito, making himself agreeable to the merchants and 
their wives and railing before them against the ways 
of the Court a favourite topic with the City people : 
as we may see from Pepys's Diary. But this disguise 
did not satisfy Rochester for long ; so he suddenly 
changed his personality again, took rooms at a gold- 
smith's house in Tower Street, and gave himself out 
as Alexander Bendo, an Italian wonderworker, with 

185 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

infallible remedies (for women in particular) and a 
knowledge of palmistry and the stars. His fame 
quickly spread from the City to Whitehall, first to the 
servants and then through them to their mistresses. 
Miss Price's woman came to her with a tale of the 
facts which he had read from her hand. Goditha 
passed the news on to Frances, who was at once fired 
with a desire to go to the magician's. " The enter- 
prise was certainly very rash," says Gramont, " but 
nothing was too rash for Miss Jennings, who was of 
the opinion that a woman might despise appearances, 
provided she was in reality virtuous." 

It was necessary, of course, for them to disguise 
themselves for their excursion into the City, and 
Frances needed a good disguise to hide her brilliant 
fairness. They decided to go as orange-girls. Orange- 
selling in those days (though probably lucrative, with 
oranges at sixpence apiece) was scarcely a reputable 
pursuit, owing to the freedom with which the gentle- 
men were wont to treat the sellers. Dressed in their 
novel attire and with a basket each, the two slipped 
through St. James's Park and took a hackney-coach at 
Whitehall Gate. The Duchess of York was going to 
the theatre that evening, and had excused Frances from 
attendance at her request. As the coach passed the 
playhouse, Miss Price was seized with a fresh idea, and 
suggested that they should go in and sell their oranges 
under the very eyes of the Duchess and the rest of 
the Court. Frances accepted the challenge at once. 

186 



The Diversions of a Maid of Honour 

The Memoirs of Gramont have now a graphic account 
vivid enough to have been written from notes made 
at the time or to have been invented by a clever 
romancer of how the girls reached the theatre door 
and offered their wares ; first to the handsome Henry 
Sidney, soon to be Master of the Horse to the Duchess 
of York, who was too busy adjusting his own curls 
to attend to anything else ; and then to Harry Killi- 
grew. This latter young man, whom some of his 
contemporaries liked so much, but whom the refer- 
ences in Pepys alone suffice to prove a complete black- 
guard, replied, as might have been expected, with 
offensive suggestions to Frances. Upset and agitated, 
she had no longer any wish but to get home. Miss 
Price took her away hurriedly from the theatre, but, 
being still eager to continue the adventure, persuaded 
her not to go back yet. So they took their coach 
again and drove on to the City. They had almost 
reached the astrologer's in Tower Street, and had 
already ordered the coachman to pull up, when by ill 
chance there appeared on the scene Henry Brounker, 
just starting on his way back from dinner with a city 
friend. This man, a remote connection by marriage 
of the Jennings family, is described by Clarendon as 
" never notorious for anything but the highest degree 
of impudence and stooping to the most infamous 
offices." Clarendon is supported by Pepys (who at 
this very time was terribly afraid that Brounker would 
get the post of treasurer at the Navy Office, which he 

187 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

wanted, and obtained, himself) and Gramont. The 
last-named, after speaking of Brounker's disagreeable 
character and his passion for women his harem at 
Sheen Abbey, the former Carthusian Abbey at Rich- 
mond, was a byword concludes with the strange 
remark : " In other respects he was a very honest 
man and the best chess-player in England." 

Whatever Brounker's strength at chess, it was cer- 
tainly safer for an opponent to meet him across the 
board than for unprotected women to meet him in 
the street at night. When the two companions saw 
him they tried to escape his eye and drove on a little 
way. But he followed them, and when they alighted 
came up to them. Gramont says that he noticed that 
their shoes and stockings were better than women of 
their assumed station usually wore. He had first taken 
them for a girl and her " mother-abbess." But their 
endeavours to avoid him and their disregard of his 
advances caused him to look so hard that he recog- 
nised them. He did not betray this fact at once, but 
tormented them awhile, releasing them at last with 
an enigmatic remark, from which they could not tell 
whether he knew them or not. 

The oranges then brought down on them the final 
disaster. They had handed their baskets to the coach- 
man when they got out. Having shaken off Brounker 
and abandoned all thought of visiting the astrologer, 
they returned to the coach, to find the man in the 
midst of a mob of young ruffians, who were trying 

188 



The Diversions of a Maid of Honour 

to steal the fruit. With difficulty they persuaded 
him to abandon these and to drive them home, assailed 
with low abuse as they fled. They then got back 
to Whitehall, vowing never to attempt a like 
adventure again. 

In comparison with Gramont's elaborate tale, 
Pepys's account in his entry for February 2 1st, 1665, 
is very brief. Lady Sandwich, his cousin's wife, talks 
to him that day of " what mad freaks the Mayds 
of Honour at Court have," and tells how " M" 
Jenings, one of the Duchesse's mayds, the other day 
dressed herself like an orange wench, and went up 
and down and cried oranges ; till falling down, or by 
such accident, though in the evening, her fine shoes 
were discovered, and she put to a good deal of shame." 

It is upon this orange-girl story and this story 
alone that Lord Macaulay builds his statement that 
Frances Jennings was " distinguished by beauty and 
levity even among the crowd of beautiful faces and 
light characters who adorned and disgraced Whitehall 
during the wild carnival of the Restoration." A more 
preposterous deduction from the silly escapade of a 
girl of fifteen, led away by an older companion, could 
scarcely have been imagined. Macaulay continues : 
" Sober people predicted that a girl of so little dis- 
cretion and delicacy would not easily find a husband." 
This is an obvious reference to Lady Sandwich, whom 
Pepys records to have observed that few men would 
venture on these maids of honour for wives. Now 

189 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Lady Sandwich was doubtless an estimable lady ; but 
she was forty years of age and scarcely likely therefore 
to look with sympathy on the frivolity of fifteen. Yet 
she only describes the affair as " a mad freak " which 
is a very suitable description of it. 

If anything be required to disprove the imputation 
that Frances Jennings was pre-eminent among " the 
light characters who adorned and disgraced Whitehall 
during the wild carnival of the Restoration," it may 
be found in the next episode in her career, in which 
she figures, on unimpeachable authority, as an innocent 
child, indulged and petted by the Court in general. 

In the April of 1665 Hugues de Lionne, Foreign 
Secretary to Louis XIV., sent over on a visit to Eng- 
land his first-born, Louis, Marquis de Berny, aged 
about nineteen, who, he thought, would be the better 
for such polish as he might acquire at Whitehall, then 
recognised as the centre of the polite world. The 
young man was far from brilliant, and his father put 
him in the charge of Courtin, one of the celebre Am- 
bassade which strove in vain from April to November 
to prevent the unofficial Anglo-Dutch hostilities ex- 
tending so far as to involve the intervention of France, 
at this time bound by treaty to help the Dutch in 
case of war. Courtin and Cominges, the regular 
French Ambassador in London, bestowed on the 
youth a paternal care, as is proved by the most enter- 
taining letters preserved in the French Foreign Office 
amid much that is of the greatest political importance. 

190 



The Diversions of a Maid of Honour 

Louis de Berny received a warm welcome at White- 
hall on account of his father's eminent position in 
France, and was duly pleased with it. He also lost 
no time before starting his education as a man of the 
world. The first letter which interests us is one 
dated May 24th (new style), 1665. in which Courtin 
tells the father of his son's good beginning : 

"He is rather bashful, but we have put courage 
into him and ... he has at last made his declaration, 
which was well received by one of the prettiest girls 
in England, Mademoiselle Genins, who is of the 
household of the Duchess of York. She is small, but 
has a fine figure, a splendid complexion, hair like 
Madame de Longueville's (you will remember), quick 
brilliant eyes, and the finest and whitest skin I have 
ever seen. The Duchess, who is somewhat severe 
towards others, finds the pair so well matched that 
she is the first to favour them. The Queen-Mother, 
King and Court are of the same opinion. People 
laugh, but I assure you that the affair progresses well, 
and that you need feel no anxiety, for you may be 
certain I will give due warning if our cavalier goes 
too far. His gallantry has just reached the right point 
to make him a man of the world. I will let you know 
how things go." 

Gifts of strawberries were sent every evening by 
the young Frenchman to his lady-love, and he himself 

191 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

was sick once from an over-indulgence in cream 
which at least suggests that he shared the repasts. 
But the envoy, while he smiled benignantly on such 
conduct, recognised that de Berny had come to White- 
hall for polish, not for an entanglement. Only four 
days after he had written the above-quoted letter, 
Courtin remembers his promise to give due warning 
if the cavalier goes too far. 

On May i6th/26th the Duchess of York went 
down to Harwich to meet the Duke, who was expected 
there with the fleet after a coasting raid along the 
Dutch coast. Anne took her Court with her, and de 
Berny was anxious to accompany her in order to see 
as much as possible of Frances Jennings. He was 
not allowed to have his way, however. " I opposed 
your son's plan of visiting the fleet with the Duchess 
of York," wrote Courtin to Lionne on May 28th (new 
style). " He is of so ardent a temperament that I 
did not think it right to trust him for five or six days, 
from morning to night, in the company of a young 
lady, with whom he might perhaps get on more inti- 
mate terms than I could wish." Instead of flirting 
with Frances, de Berny was set to write to the French 
Ambassador at the Hague, on lines laid down by 
Courtin, informing him of the progress of political 
affairs in England. The assistance of Cominges was 
also called for to keep the youth employed and out of 
mischief. 

To judge from what he wrote, Cominges looked on 

192 



The Diversions of a Maid of Honour 

the love affair with a more indulgent eye than Courtin. 
He confessed in a June despatch to Lionne that he 
had not the heart to cut it short when it might make 
a man of the boy, " especially as he could not make 
a better choice than his little mistress." Already, he 
said, he noticed more ease in de Berny's conversation, 
a greater care of his person, and less shyness in society. 

But sufficient discipline was exercised over de Berny 
to make him at least restive, and he showed this in a 
peculiar way. " Your son is faithless," wrote Courtin 
on June 8th, " and the King has discovered it. The 
truth is, as I have told you, that he felt his honour 
touched, and did not wish us to be suspicious of his 
exceeding due bounds. So there is nothing to fear 
on this score." The one pity was that, on his own 
confession, de Berny could only love young ladies, 
whereas, according to Courtin, persons of his age 
should be taken in hand by the mature to cure them of 
their bashfulness and slowness to act. 

How the faithlessness of Lionne's son was shown 
we are told in another of Courtin's letters. " Your 
son," he says, " will inform you what Mistris Bointon 
is like.* He pretended to be in love with her to spite 
Mistris Genins. It is true Mistris Genins was quite 
in the wrong. She would not let him kiss her hands, 
but in the end she saw that it was better to yield her 
hands than to lose her gallant, and so the quarrel was 
made up." 

* Courtin himself calls her very pretty. 
VOL. I. 193 13 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

It is certainly curious that, in order to pique the 
maiden who afterwards became Richard Talbot's second 
wife, Louis de Berny should have elected to flirt with 
her who was to be his first. We may at least take this 
as a tribute to the good looks of both ladies. 

This innocent love-making, however, was brought 
to an end very soon. The plague intervened, and 
although the French ambassadors stayed on to accom- 
pany the Court in its flight, first to Hampton Court, 
then to Salisbury, and finally to Oxford, it was thought 
advisable to send Lionne's son home to France, ad- 
vantage being taken of the fact that the Queen-Dowager 
Henrietta Maria was leaving for France at the same 
time. Before the Court left Whitehall at the end of 
June, according to the English calendar, de Berny 
had made his farewells. On July I2th (new style) 
Courtin writes to Lionne, from the temporary lodgings 
of the French envoys at Kingston, that on the previous 
Thursday evening the King of England had greatly 
teased " Mistris Genins " about her admirer, causing 
her to blush and to appear more beautiful than ever. 
As for de Berny, the King related to Courtin that he 
had asked one of the courtiers who saw him off at 
Calais to let him know how Frances looked on the day 
he left. Charles declared he himself had never seen 
such a picture of desolation and woe as the young gallant 
made on the Queen-Mother's yacht. 

Lionne had already received a letter written jointly 
by three of the Embassy, telling him of his son's great 

194 



The Diversions of a Maid of Honour 

success at the English Court, where he would be much 
missed, and assuring him that de Berny was " esteemed 
by the King and the two Queens, and dearly loved by 
the prettiest girl in England." Courtin was also sure 
of the little lady's love or, at least, said he was. 
Nevertheless, we need not suppose that her heart 
was deeply touched, though she may easily have 
been flattered at the addresses of the celebrated 
Lionne's son. 

Frances had played her part in the education of the 
Marquis, to the satisfaction of his various guardians. 
Cominges wrote to Paris that he hoped the trip would 
not have hurt de Berny, and that his exacting father 
would find a pleasing change in his attitude towards 
life. But whatever Lionne thought of him on his 
return home, the young man completely failed to 
make his mark in the world. He married a cousin, and 
after a fall which injured his head became incapable 
of managing his own affairs. As far as Frances Jennings 
was concerned, however, he passed entirely out of her 
life at the end of June, 1665. 

After the departure of Louis de Berny, a former 
suitor reappeared to plead his love again to the maid 
of honour. After his second imprisonment in the 
Tower Richard Talbot is lost to view for a while, in 
spite of the bold manner in which we are assured that 
he carried off the affair when he had obtained his 
release. We do not know whether he was present 
at the great naval victory of the Duke of York over the 
VOL. i. 195 13* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Dutch on June 3rd. George Hamilton we hear of as 
one of the volunteers who joined the fleet just before the 
battle. Talbot may have been present in attendance 
on the Duke on board the Royal Charles and seen the 
tragic death, at their master's very side, of Falmouth 
and Muskerry. He may, too, have been one of those 
who, on June i6th, returned with the Duke, as Pepys 
says, " all fat and lusty, and ruddy by being in the 
sun." But we cannot say for certain that he was 
with James until after the flight from London to escape 
the plague. 

It is on the northern progress of the Duke and 
Duchess that we meet with Talbot again. While the 
King and Queen went westward to Salisbury, James and 
his wife visited York. They came down on August 5th, 
according to the Memoirs of Sir John Reresby ; * on 
September 23rd the Duke left for Oxford, followed 
soon by the Duchess. No attention need be paid to 
Gramont's ridiculous story of the Duchess having 

* A very entertaining letter from Sir William Coventry to Lord Arlington, 
written from Leicester on August ist, describes the first part of this journey. 
At Northampton the Duke of York declined an invitation to breakfast at Lord 
Banbury's ; but his lordship stopped the coach as it passed and, being again 
refused, " laid hold of His Highness's leg and pulled so hard that he had almost 
drawn off his shoe." This rhetoric, with the trouble he expressed, induced 
their Royal Highnesses to go in, where a table was prepared with sweetmeats 
and fruit. He was importunate with the Duchess to see his lady, who was 
lying in, but as she was not ready to be seen the Duchess broke loose, with a 
promise to see her on her return. Coventry adds that " Lady Yerbury's sisters 
[Mary and Margaret Blague], M Jennings and M re Temple have impaired 
their beauty by heat and swelling in the face," and considers this " a providence 
to preserve those who approach them frequently from danger." (Calendar 
of State Papers, Domestic, 1664-5.) 

196 



The Diversions of a Maid of Honour 

urged her husband to go to York, in order the better 
to hide an intrigue with Henry Sidney. But it may 
be noted that Gramont says that if the move to York 
was agreeable to her (" to avoid exposing the inclina- 
tions of her heart to the scrutiny of so many in- 
quisitors "), it was also far from displeasing to any of 
her household except Miss Jennings. And Miss 
Jennings was displeased, he says, because Jermyn was 
not one of the party. (Gramont has forgotten that he 
made Frances have nothing more to say to Jermyn 
after the time of the Guinea Expedition ; or, rather, 
he has so forgotten the course of events that he places 
the Guinea Expedition of 1664 after the ride to York, 
which was really a year later.) Jermyn's absence was 
caused by an illness which he had contracted through 
an attempt to ride a horse twenty miles in one hour 
for a wager of five hundred pounds. Frances had 
therefore to go to York without seeing Jermyn, but 
" had the gratification of venting her ill-humour 
throughout the journey by appearing displeased with 
everything which seemed to please the rest of the 
company." 

In view of Gramont's confusion of dates with regard 
to Talbot's courtship of Frances Jennings, it is impos- 
sible to tell how much belief should be given to the 
details of his account of the ride to York, and what 
happened after it. The account, however, is amusing 
enough to reproduce in part, and we may presume it 
to have some foundation in fact. On the journey, 

197 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Talbot, says Gramont, flattering himself that his rival's 
absence might produce some change in his favour, was 
attentive to every movement of Frances ; while it was 
contrary to her disposition to remain long in a serious 
humour, and her natural vivacity led her into witty 
sallies which encouraged him to hope that she would 
soon forget Jermyn and remember that he himself 
was the first whose passion she had encouraged. He 
kept his distance, however, being of opinion that it 
ill became an injured lover to betray the least 
weakness. 

But " Mile. Jennings was so far from thinking of his 
resentment that she did not even recollect he had 
ever paid his addresses to her ; and her thoughts being 
wholly taken up with the poor sick man, she conducted 
herself towards Talbot as if they had never had anything 
to say to each other. It was to him that she usually 
gave her hand in getting into or out of the coach. 
She conversed more readily with him than with any 
other person, and without intending it did every- 
thing to make the company believe her cured of her 
passion for Jermyn in favour of her former lover. 
Talbot seemed convinced of this like the rest, and, 
thinking it proper now to act another part in order 
to let her know that his sentiments towards her were 
still the same, he resolved to address her in the most 
tender and affectionate manner upon the subject. 
Fortune seemed to favour him and smoothe the way 
for his intended discourse. He was alone with her in 

198 



The Diversions of a Maid of Honour 

her chamber ;* and, what was better still, she was 
rallying him about Mile. Boynton, saying that * they 
were undoubtedly much obliged to him for his attend- 
ance upon them on their journey, while poor Mile. 
Boynton had fainting fits at least twice a day for love 
of him.' ' Talbot was just on the point of protesting 
his continued love for his hostess, when Anne Temple 
came in with a satirical verse epistle by Lord Rochester, 
in which he touched on the subject of Miss Jennings, 
and said that " Talbot had struck terror among the 
people of God by his gigantic stature, but Jermyn, 
like a little David, had vanquished the great Goliath." 
Frances at first laughed heartily at this, but afterwards 
sighed tenderly, " Poor little David ! " and turned 
her head aside to shed a few tears. Talbot, stung to 
the quick, went abruptly out of the room, " vowing 
never to think any more of a giddy girl, whose conduct 
was regulated neither by sense nor by reason ; but," 
concludes Gramont, " he did not keep his resolution." 
This is the last incident of which we hear concerning 
Frances Jennings and Richard Talbot together until 
they meet again, widow and widower, in Paris, thirteen 
years later. Talbot went to Dublin ; and soon after 
Frances accompanied her mistress to Oxford for the 
long visit of the Court there to avoid the plague. 

* This was no sign of levity of character on the part of Frances, for it was not 
considered improper for ladies at Court to receive male visitors in their bed- 
rooms. 



199 



CHAPTER V 

TWO MARRIAGES 

WE have heard little of George Hamilton since 
he took his friend Gramont's advice to abandon 
his dangerous flirtation with Frances Stewart. In 
spite of the large part which he plays in the memoirs 
of his brother-in-law, his name does not figure very 
frequently in other contemporary writers during the 
period between the Restoration and his marriage. 
Pepys, for instance, only mentions him casually on 
January zoth, 1664, with his elder brother under the 
name of " the Hambletons," who, like Fitzharding 
and Sandwich, are reputed lovers of Lady Castlemaine. 
But George advanced steadily in favour. The King 
made him a grant at the beginning of 1664, of the 
curious post of joint licenser of peddlars in Ireland, 
and on April 3Oth, of the same year, ordered that 
Sir Charles Sedley's fine of a thousand marks, inflicted 
on him by the Court of King's Bench for " mis- 

200 




Photo by Emery Walker, after the picture ly an unknown artist in the National Portrait Gallery. 
SIR GEORGE (COUNT) HAMILTON. 



Two Marriages 

demeanours,"* should be given to him. He further 
obtained a commission as lieutenant in his regiment. 
As a suitor, therefore, he was able to boast of noble 
descent, a handsome person, and good prospects of a 
successful career. What was lacking to him was money, 
of which he had none apart from what he received 
from the royal bounty ; and consequently it might have 
been expected that he would have sought for a rich 
match. On the contrary, he chose a wife poorer than 
himself, and must have married purely for love. 

Nothing is known about George Hamilton's courtship 
of Frances Jennings. Both bridegroom and bride were 
favourites of the Royal Family, and the King in par- 
ticular hastened to show his approval of the marriage 
by bestowing on Hamilton a pension of 500 a year. 
The date of this grant was April 2Oth, 1666, so that 
the wedding evidently took place in the spring of that 
year. As we shall see, although Charles's intentions 
were good and he desired to supply the young couple 
with what they both lacked, payment of the pension 
soon ceased ; the King's Privy Purse, though drawing 
the unprecedented amount of six or eight hundred 
thousand pounds from the country's revenues, being 
unable to cope with His Majesty's prodigal distribu- 
tion of gifts to Lady Castlemaine and his male 
parasites. 

Frances's first marriage, however, certainly began 

* i.e., his disgusting drunken orgy in the company of Lord Buckhurst and 
Sir Thomas Ogle, to which Pepys alludes on July ist, 1663. 

2OI 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

with favourable auspices, and before a year had passed 
a child was born.* On March 2ist, 1667, a daughter 
was baptized at St. Margaret's, Westminster, under the 
name of Elizabeth, in honour, no doubt, of her aunt. 
It is noticeable, in view of what was soon to befall her 
father, that this child was baptized according to the 
Anglican rites. 

The popular agitation against the Roman Catholics 
had slumbered for some years since Charles had been 
compelled, in 1661, to break the promises of religious 
toleration which he had made in his declaration at 
Breda. The administration of the penal laws had not 
been severe, as may be seen from the history of the 
Talbots and Hamiltons up to now. The Roman 
Catholics actually received a great deal of liberty, in 
ecclesiastical, civil and military affairs, which was 
theoretically denied to them. But the Great Fire 
gave an opportunity to the intolerant to attack the 
Papists. They could not, indeed, prove the pre- 
posterous accusation that these were the authors of 
the Fire. They succeeded, however, by the dissemina- 
tion of the stories got together to support it, in setting 
in motion a wave of public feeling which carried them 
on to the victory which they sought ; and in Parliament 
they forced the King, at their mercy for want of money, 

* Perhaps it was in anticipation of this event that Charles in February granted 
to Hamilton, jointly with the Marquis de Blanquefort, the sole licensing for 
seven years of all sorts of lotteries in England, Ireland, and the Plantations. 
(Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, February 25th, 1667.) We shall see 
Blanquefort (Louis de Duras) associated with Hamilton again later. 

202 



Two Marriages 

to command the execution of the laws against Roman 
Catholics. Priests must leave the country, all suspects 
must take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, all 
known Papists must be disarmed, and all such as were 
in the Army, whether as officers or as private soldiers, 
must be dismissed. 

None suffered more heavily from this persecution 
than the Hamilton brothers such of them, at least, 
with the exception of James, as had already commenced 
their military careers. George, in particular, having 
the best prospects, was threatened with the loss of 
everything. Fortunately, his connection with France 
during his boyhood, when he had doubtless met the 
young Louis, now stood him in good stead. A private 
overture was made to him that if he could bring over 
with him to Paris the men dismissed from the English 
service he would be very welcome. Anglo-French 
hostilities, languid from the start, had ceased altogether 
at the end of 1666, and were succeeded by a secret 
treaty. So, with the consent of Charles, Hamilton 
accepted the offer, and the other Roman Catholics 
in the Lifeguards agreed to go with him. The officers 
were not deprived of their pay, but were allowed to 
compound for it with those willing to give them a 
lump sum. Hamilton thus made a bargain with the 
young Duke of Monmouth for 1,500, and we hear 
of 600 passing to him in 1670 from the Paymaster 
of the Forces, which was evidently an instalment of 
this 1,500. 

203 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Commenting on the arrangement for the transfer 
of Hamilton's services to France, Henry Savile says, 
in a letter to his brother on September lyth, 1667 : 
'* To show how men suffer for conscience sake, George 
Hamilton goes into France with 200 of the guards 
that were Catholiques, who are to be call'd there Les 
Gens Armes de Madame, and the employment will 
be worth [to] him above 3,ooo/. a year." 

Savile's allusion to the suffering " for conscience 
sake " sounds sarcastic in conjunction with the mention 
of the expected salary attached to the post. Hamilton 
undoubtedly hoped to find in his new position some- 
thing to compensate him for his exile from England. 
In a newsletter dated October ist, 1667, we read : 
" Mr. George Hamilton is assured of the very honour- 
able conditions he and his men are to have in France. 
Sir Henry Jones goes as his Lieutenant, Lord Morpeth 
as his Cornet, and Mr. Skelton as his Quartermaster." 

Among those who accompanied George Hamilton 
was probably his brother Anthony. Richard and 
John, also, either left England now or, if they were 
as yet too young, followed very shortly into the 
service of France. The best military training in the 
world was at this time to be obtained in the French 
army, and George at least took advantage of it in a 
way which promised him a fine career, had not an 
accident unfortunately cut him off. Anthony and 
Richard do not appear to have developed much mili- 
tary talent, though we shall see Richard not altogether 

204 



Two Marriages 

unsuccessful in a high command in Ireland in 1689 ; 
but John won great praise before he received his fatal 
wound at Aughrim in 1691. 

George Hamilton received, in addition to his 
appointment in France, another consolation for his 
enforced retirement from the English army on account 
of his religion. Before the close of 1667 the King 
knighted him ; and it was with his new title and the 
hopes of 500 a year from England that he left the 
country in the following February to make a home for 
his wife and infant daughter in Paris. 

If Richard Talbot was at this period as sincerely 
attached to Frances Jennings as the Memoirs of Gra- 
mont represent him to be, he must have sustained a 
severe blow when she married Hamilton in the spring 
of 1666. He did not immediately seek solace in the 
quarter where Gramont says it had long been awaiting 
him. It was not until three years later, indeed, that 
he turned to Katherine Boynton. The dates of 
marriages of Roman Catholics at this time are seldom 
to be ascertained. The nearest approach which we 
can make to that of the union between Talbot and his 
first wife is through an order from King Charles to 
Sir George Carteret, Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, on 
April 3rd, 1669, to pay 4,000 to Colonel Richard 
Talbot, without account, out of the first money 
coming into his hands of any arrears of revenue in 
Ireland ; and a warrant of the following May 2Oth 
to the Commissioners of Accounts at Dublin, which 

205 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

says, " On a marriage lately had between Colonel 
Richard Talbot and Cathrine Boynton . . . We by 
letters of April 3rd, 1669, warranted," etc. Half 
the ^4,000 was paid at once, the other half was to 
be paid in 1670 ; though, as a matter of fact, it was 
not paid until the following year. 

It seems, therefore, that the wedding must have 
taken place at some date in May. The first public 
reference to it occurs in a newsletter of June 8th, 
1669 : " It is now become a less secret that Colonel 
Talbot, of the Duke of York's Bedchamber, is married 
to M 1 " 8 Boynton, one of Her Majesty's Maids of 
Honour." 

Why there should have been any secrecy at all we 
do not know. Gramont gives no clue. He merely 
dismisses the affair with the contemptuous words, 
" Talbot, without knowing why or wherefore, took 
to wife the languishing Boynton." Talbot probably 
knew as well as most other men the why and where- 
fore of his selection of a bride. At least there can 
have been no " noise of two rather troublesome 
brothers " necessary here, as Cominges told King 
Louis was the case with the Chevalier de Gramont. 
Perhaps, however, as has been suggested, the spite 
against Miss Boynton manifested in the Memoirs is 
attributable to Anthony Hamilton, not to the Chevalier 
himself. 



206 



CHAPTER VI 

LADY HAMILTON 

SIR GEORGE HAMILTON the younger, on his 
arrival in France, found his appointment as 
honourable as had been promised. The new corps 
of Gens cFArmes Anglais was under the direct patron- 
age of Louis XIV., who was their Captain, Sir George 
being styled Captain-Lieutenant. To further his ad- 
vancement in the French service, it was thought 
advisable that he should change his nationality, and 
on March nth, 1668, a warrant was issued in England 
which permitted him to procure letters of denization 
in France. Soon after this Louis created him a Count. 
As Lady Hamilton Frances no doubt found life at 
the Court in Paris very pleasant. A casual allusion 
to her there occurs in a letter written on August I4th, 
1669, by Cosmo de' Medici, afterwards Grand Duke 
of Tuscany, to his friend Sir Bernard Gascoigne. 
Cosmo had just returned from England, where he 
had so much admired the beauties of Whitehall that 

207 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

he had commissioned Lely to paint portraits of four 
of them for him. From Paris he writes : " I have paid 
a visit to the Comtesse de Gramont, sister to Mister 
Hamilton,* and to her sister-in-law ; they are un- 
doubtedly the most beautiful women of this Court." 

Apart from her triumphs at the French Court, the 
care of her growing family occupied Frances. Not 
long after she came to Paris a second daughter followed 
Elizabeth ; and there was later a third, if not more. 
To maintain their position and rear their children 
the Hamiltons required money, and here they experi- 
enced difficulties. Frances's father had died early in 
1668, leaving the manor of Sandridge to his son John ; 
but no other effects whatever. For this Frances was 
of course prepared. But a blow which had not been 
foreseen when she and her husband had left England 
was the non-payment of the pension from Charles II. 
A letter written at the beginning of 1670 by Ralph 
Montagu, English Ambassador in Paris, to Lord 
Arlington, the former Henry Bennet, shows that the 
pension had ceased perhaps after the first instalment 
and also throws doubt on the 3,000 a year men- 
tioned by Henry Savile as the value of the French 
command to Hamilton. 

" I have been several times spoke to by Sir George 
Hamilton," says Montagu, " to write to you con- 
cerning a pretension he has to a pension of five hundred 

* i. e., James. 
208 



Lady Hamilton 

pound a year, which the King promised and gave him 
upon his marriage, and which was cut off with the 
common calamity that attended all pensions at that 
time. I cannot but confess that I think he wants it 
extremely, and that I wish extremely that he could 
get it, but I am afraid the time for pensions in Eng- 
land at present is unseasonable, and therefore I advised 
him the most I could to defer his journey for some 
time ; but he tells me his necessities are so urgent that 
he could not but try whether the King would do 
anything for him or no ; so that since I could not 
stop him, I have endeavoured to compound the busi- 
ness, and have advised him to ask but for three hundred 
pound a year, for that five hundred is a very strong 
pension as things stand in our Court. The King 
here has some way or other heard of his pretensions, 
and three or four days ago sent him six hundred pistoles, 
and told him it was to help in his journey, and that he 
hoped the King of England would do his part, and that 
between them they might help him to subsist. I know 
the King our master loves Sir George Hamilton 
very well. The employment he has here is extreme 
honourable, and at long run he will make his fortune 
in it, but in the mean time it brings him in so little 
profit that, except he is helped some other way, it is 
impossible for him to hold out long in it. Con- 
sidering your good nature, and the kindness you 
have for Sir George Hamilton, I need use no other 
arguments." 

VOL. i. 209 14 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

From another letter of Montagu's it is clear that Sir 
George Hamilton carried out his intention of visiting 
England, and that he returned to Paris again in March. 
Whether or not he had succeeded in obtaining any of 
the money due to him from his pension does not 
appear. King Charles, by assenting to a renewal of 
the Conventicle Act of which he so much disapproved, 
secured to himself in April a fresh grant of money from 
Parliament, and may have partly redeemed his promise 
of four years ago to his former page. The financial 
position of the Hamiltons, however, continued un- 
satisfactory, and the already-mentioned instalment 
of j6oo from the Paymaster of the Forces in England 
must have been very welcome when it was paid in the 
autumn of 1670. 

Sir George was now entrusted by Louis XIV. with 
a new task, the execution of which required no little 
circumspection and diplomacy. The treaties signed 
at Breda in 1667 had not been followed by peace 
on the Continent ; nor had Louis's arrangement with 
Spain in the next year checked his ambitions. By 
the celebrated Treaty of Dover England and France 
united principally to humiliate the Dutch, but the 
French King was aware of the resentment which his 
conquests in the Netherlands must rouse up against 
him in Europe and made great efforts to strengthen 
his army. Ireland was one of the principal recruiting- 
grounds of the day, the English Government being only 
too glad to see the disaffected inhabitants drafted off 

210 



Lady Hamilton 

into foreign service. No objection, therefore, was made 
when Louis asked for permission to raise a new regi- 
ment there through the agency of George Hamilton. 
The only obstacle was the unpopularity of the French 
alliance in England, where Louis was regarded with 
the utmost suspicion. For this reason it was necessary 
to keep the recruiting as private as possible. 

" To-day arrived my Lord, alias Sir George, Hamil- 
ton, from Calais," says a letter from Dover on January 
24th, 1671. There is no mention of Lady Hamilton 
either coming or returning with her husband, so that 
we may suppose her to have stayed in Paris. Sir George 
appears not to have proceeded to Ireland until June, 
for it was only on the loth of that month that 
the King's orders were issued to the Lord Justices 
then administering the country. Their lordships were 
directed " to permit Sir George Hamilton, who after 
serving for many years was dismissed by reason of his 
religion and then betook himself to foreign service, 
to raise a foot regiment in Ireland of 1,500 men, besides 
officers, for the service of the Most Christian King, 
and to embark and transport the same." And, " be- 
cause it is not convenient in this conjuncture of affairs 
that what is done in this matter be commonly known," 
they were further directed to " take care that the said 
levies be made and men transported with all the 
secrecy possible and to pass it as a matter of conni- 
vance only, avoiding as much as may be the public 
notice and observation of the world." 

VOL. i. 211 14* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

With the view of escaping publicity the French 
ships which were sent to fetch Hamilton's levies were 
ordered to Dingle, in remote Kerry, whence news 
would have taken a long time to travel. But instead 
they put into Kinsale, in consequence of which the 
government's " connivance " was made difficult, the 
jealousy of Spain was aroused, and the transportation 
of the men was delayed. The business was finished, 
however, by the beginning of September, when Sir 
Nicholas Armorer writes from Dublin to Sir Joseph 
Williamson, a Clerk of the Council and Keeper of 
the King's Paper Office, telling him that Count 
Hamilton's men are all complete. As for the Count 
himself, Armorer gives him a very high testimonial. 
" His diligence and conduct have been extraordinary, 
and I hope he will be truly so charactered to the 
French Ambassador by his friends in London. Lord 
Arlington is the chief he depends on, therefore pray 
give your mite to assist a worthy youth, whose discreet 
conduct here has done our master honour and merits 
much from the King he goes to serve, and our greatest 
fanatics pay him great respect for his civil carriage to 
all sorts of people." 

With his fifteen hundred men Hamilton returned 
to France, and before long the opportunity came for 
him to prove the military merits of himself and his 
Irish recruits. The aggressions of Louis XIV. stirred up 
feelings of alarm which resulted in a coalition in favour 
of the Dutch, headed by the Emperor Ferdinand 

212 



Lady Hamilton 

himself and joined by nearly half of Europe. In the 
resulting grand war the " Regiment d'Hamilton," as 
it was called, was given its fill of fighting against 
the Imperialists on the Rhine. In 1674 ^ was engaged 
in two desperate struggles between Turenne and the 
Duke of Bournonville, at Sintzheim on June i6th 
and at Entzheim on October 4th, on both occasions 
playing a distinguished part in Turenne's victory. 
Hamilton himself suffered severely in the latter en- 
gagement, receiving three wounds and having his 
horse shot under him, and the regiment was shattered. 
While recovering from his injuries he made a trip 
to England. We hear of his arrival at Dover on 
Christmas Eve in the company of his brother-in-law 
Gramont and Louis de Duras, afterwards Earl of 
Feversham ; and of his departure for Dieppe again 
on March 2nd with Gramont. On neither occasion is 
Lady Hamilton mentioned as travelling with him. 

It is generally stated that George Hamilton was 
present at the battle of Turkheim, the masterpiece of 
Turenne's career. But as this was fought on January 
5th (new style), 1675,* Hamilton cannot have been 
there, unless we reject the evidence for his visit to 
England. He returned to his command, however, in 
time to share in the final campaign of his chief. On 
July 27th Turenne was killed at Sassbach, on the eve 
of a victory. Hamilton was at his side when the fatal 

* Equivalent to December 26th (old style), 1674, and therefore two days 
after Hamilton had reached Dover. 

213 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

shot struck him down, and had indeed, not long before, 
warned him of the dangerous position in which he 
stood. He had the melancholy satisfaction of covering 
and helping to make good the retreat of the French 
army after the death of the great man under whom 
he had learnt all that he knew of war and had risen to 
the rank of general ; for by a brevet of March 1 2th 
he had become Brigadier of Infantry. 

While her husband was thus distinguishing himself 
at the head of his regiment, Frances was trying to 
obtain for herself a position at the French Court which 
would help to relieve the pressure of family expenses. 
A month after the battle of Entzheim Sir William 
Lockhart wrote from the English Embassy in Paris 
to the new Secretary of State, Sir Henry Coventry, 
concerning Lady Hamilton. He had called upon her 
at Coventry's desire, he said, and found that she 
" postponed the application, as there was at present 
no vacancy." 

The post which Frances had hoped to get was that 
of Dame du Palais to the French Queen. The ap- 
plication for it, if dropped in 1674, was renewed later 
and strongly supported by the English royal family. 
An interesting letter is in existence in the archives 
of the French Foreign Office, written by Courtin in 
London to Lionne in Paris and dated March 23rd, 
1676. " The King of Great Britain and Monsieur 
the Duke of York," says Courtin, " ardently desire 
that the King will please make Lady Hamilton a 

214 



Lady Hamilton 

Dame du Palais. They have expressly charged me 
to make known to His Majesty the affection which 
they have for this lady and also the pleasure which 
they will feel if it pleases him to honour her with this 
kindness on their account. I replied to these Princes 
that the King would have already done so, had there 
been a place vacant, and that this was the only reason 
which had prevented the gratification of the lady 
according to their wish ; that they might remember 
that the Marquise de la Valliere was placed in the 
Queen's household at the very time when they asked 
this favour for Lady Hamilton, and that the King's 
answer was that the number of the Dames du Palais 
was a fixed one. . . . The Princes answered that Lady 
Hamilton would be very unhappy if her husband, who 
so often exposed his life, should come to lose it, and 
that this gentleman was in the greatest anxiety when 
he thought that after his death his wife would remain 
burdened with a number of children, without resource 
or assistance, while if he saw her assured of so honour- 
able a support, his heart would be lighter and he 
would be less troubled over the risks he ran ; that they 
themselves shared these sentiments and did not doubt 
that His Majesty would do them this pleasure, if it 
were possible to do it. I assured them that this was 
so." 

Lady Hamilton's visit to England toward the end of 
1675, which is recorded in Evelyn's Diary, may have 
been made in order to obtain the support of Charles 

215 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

and James for her application. No mention of it has 
been found outside the pages of Evelyn. Speaking 
of a journey to Dover on November I2th, he says : 
" There was in my Lady Ambassadress's* company 
my Lady Hamilton, a sprightly young lady, much 
in the good graces of the family, wife of that valiant 
and worthy gentleman Geo. Hamilton, not long after 
slain in the wars. She had been a maid of honour to 
the Duchess, and now turned Papist." 

It is very curious that Courtin's above-quoted letter 
referring to the possibility of Hamilton's death in 
battle should have been written only three months 
before that possibility was realised. When Turenne 
fell at Sassbach, his former rival Conde became the 
leading French general, and it was under his supreme 
command that Hamilton made the campaign of 1676 
in Alsace. Previously, however, at the beginning of 
the year he took a trip over to Ireland with the object 
of filling up the gaps in the Regiment d'Hamilton 
a task even more difficult than the original levy of the 
regiment, since the English Parliament was now 
attempting to force King Charles into war with 
France and the Dutch and the Spaniards were pressing 
for the recall of all British subjects in the French ranks. 
Whatever was his success in Ireland, Hamilton on 
April 1 2th left Portsmouth to take up his command 

* This was Lady Berkeley of Stratton, Berkeley being " designed Ambassador 
Extraordinary for France and Plenipotentiary for the General Treaty of Peace 
at Nimeguen." 

21 6 



Lady Hamilton 

again. During his absence he had been raised to the 
position of Marechal de Camp. He did not live long 
to enjoy his new dignity. At the beginning of June 
he took part in the battle of Zebernstieg and was 
engaged in covering the French retreat on Saverne 
when he was killed by a musket-shot. 

George Hamilton left behind him in the French 
army a very honourable name, and as he was personally 
liked, he was deeply regretted. The news of his death 
reached Frances in Paris, and there is no reason to 
think that it was not a heavy blow to her. Their 
marriage had been a love-match, as has been said ; 
and those who speak of Hamilton as an unfaithful 
husband, who left his wife exposed to the temptations 
of the Court and the persecutions of royal admirers, 
ignore the dates of such intrigues as are imputed to 
him all previous to 1665 and of her residence with 
the Duchess of York. The people who saw her in her 
first widowhood had the best opportunities of judging 
how she received the news of her loss. There are three 
letters which bear witness to the depth of her grief. 
On June I3th Lord Berkeley, then in France, wrote 
to Coventry that " Lady Hamilton is in Brisbane's 
house, distracted for the loss of her husband." Brisbane 
had been sent to Paris as a commissioner to settle dis- 
putes arising from the capture by French privateers 
of vessels flying the English flag, and remained to 
become secretary to the Embassy. Why Frances 
should have been in his house it is difficult to imagine. 

217 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

The other two letters are both written by Madame 
de Sevigne, at the beginning of July. In the first she 
says that Lady Hamilton is " inconsolable and ruined 
beyond all hope " ; in the second, that she rouses 
everyone's pity, being " left with six children, without 
any resources." This mention of six children is 
curious, for we nowhere hear the names of more than 
three Elizabeth, Frances, and Mary.* Even with 
three young children, however, Frances would be in a 
bad plight, and the English Court was quick to show its 
sympathy with her. A warrant of July yth, 1676, 
makes a grant of " the dignity of a countess of Ireland 
to Dame Hamilton, relict of Sir George Hamilton, for 
her life, by the name of Baroness Hamilton of Rosse 
and Countess of Bantry." For some reason this 
honour conferred upon her by Charles II. has been 
overlooked by biographers of Frances Jennings.f 

Early in the spring following Sir George's death, 
his widow paid a visit to England. On March 29th, 

* There certainly can only have been three in July, 1677 (see the royal warrant 
quoted below), and therefore, unless three others died between July, 1676, and 
July, 1677, Madame de Sevigne must have made a mistake. She does not seem 
to have had any personal acquaintance with Lady Hamilton. 

f In the warrant to Lord Peterborough concerning her daughters' privileges 
she is styled Countess of Berebaven ; but nine days later, in a warrant to the 
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, she is again called " Baroness Hamilton of Ross 
and Countess of Bantry." (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, under dates 
July gth and July 1 8th, 1677.) Lady Baillie-Hamilton informs me that, in a 
letter to her, Mr. Ashworth Burke says : " No patent ever passed the seals for 
Dame Frances Hamilton as Countess of Berehaven or Countess of Bantry." 
Nevertheless Dangeau (Journal I., 228) states that she kept her title of 
" comtesse de Vantry " until Talbot was created Earl of Tyrconnel ; and at th 
coronation of James II. and Mary she appears as Countess of Bantry. 

218 



Lady Hamilton 

1677, a correspondent at Dover announces to Sir Joseph 
Williamson the arrival from Calais on the previous 
Tuesday's packet-boat of some " passengers of quality," 
including Lady Hamilton. The object of her journey 
is shown by a document still surviving at the Record 
Office, among the Domestic State Papers of the reign 
of Charles II. On June i8th we find referred to the 
Lord Treasurer the " petition of the Countess of Bantry 
for a pension of 5oo/. per annum, which she was in- 
formed at her marriage to Count Hamilton His Majesty 
would grant her if she outlived him." The result 
of the petition does not appear, but a warrant survives 
granting to her daughters Elizabeth, Frances and 
Henrietta (elsewhere always called Mary) the privileges 
and precedence of the daughters of a Countess in Ire- 
land. This was presumably necessary owing to Sir 
George's change of nationality nine years previously. 

After this visit to England in the hope of getting 
the money which she urgently needed for the main- 
tenance of her three little girls and the upkeep of 
her own position, Frances disappears from view for 
a while. Doubtless she returned to Paris, where we 
next hear of her four years later. In England she had 
found the affairs of her own family considerably altered 
since she had last seen them. Her sister Barbara had 
married Edward Griffith, afterwards secretary to Prince 
George of Denmark. Her elder brother John, after 
enjoying for six years only the little which his father 
had left to him of the Jennings property, had died in 

219 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

1674, handing on Sandridge to his junior, Ralph, who 
followed him to the grave in 1677, possibly while 
Frances was still in England. Sarah had been appointed 
a maid of honour to the new Duchess of York, and 
her mother had been allowed to have apartments 
at St. James's Palace to shelter her from debt, it was 
said until at the end of 1676 a violent quarrel broke 
out between the two. Mrs. Jennings was not altogether 
to blame, for she professed concern over two unfor- 
tunate accidents which had befallen two of the maids 
at Court ; and vowing her daughter should not suffer 
the same fate, attempted to take her away. Sarah, 
on her side, called her mother a mad woman and 
declared that if she were not put out of St. James's 
she herself would run away. An attempt at recon- 
ciliation failed, and the daughter was victorious, Mrs. 
Jennings being commanded to leave the Court without 
Sarah's company. 

It was thus to no united family that Frances came 
in the spring of 1677. Nor was she likely to increase 
the harmony. She was now a Roman Catholic ; and 
one of the strongest prejudices of the Jenningses, what- 
ever their personal character might be, was their hatred 
of Rome. On this point, at least, Sarah and " Mother 
Haggy " agreed. Frances alone dared to break away 
from the tradition, and, in consequence, cut herself 
off from the rest, though in later years she and Sarah 
seem always to have retained an affection for one 
another. 

220 




I 

From an engraving by H". Eond, after the painting by Sir Godfrey KneUer in Lord Spencer's collection 



SARAH JENNINGS, DUCHESS OF MARLBOROUGH. 



CHAPTER VII 

TALBOT AS IRISH AGENT 

IN a previous chapter we mentioned Richard Talbot's 
marriage out of its due place. We now return 
to the point where we previously left him, in the com- 
pany of the Duke and Duchess of York, at the beginning 
of August, 1665. Talbot must have proceeded to 
Ireland very soon after the arrival of the party at York ; 
for on August i8th we find him in Dublin, writing 
of himself to Sir Joseph Williamson as " a man here 
in a corner of the world," but manifesting his con- 
tinued activity in the task of making a fortune even in 
that corner. 

" If I could serve you in this country," he tells 
Williamson, " I would do so, and when the settle- 
ment is made here, if anything be left at the bottom 
of the basket (as you tell me there will), I may chance 
find a snip for a friend." These " snips," no doubt, 
were charged with a commission to the industrious 

221 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Talbot. But it would be unfair to brand him as " one 
of the most mercenary and crafty of mankind " the 
words are Macaulay's for his transactions in Irish 
estates. Every age has its own form of jobbery, which 
to it appears venial compared with other forms ; and 
the age of Charles II. refused to condemn this traffick- 
ing severely. Few public men refused to take a share 
in it. Williamson was no more proof against the 
temptation than Arlington. In another letter to him 
Talbot says jocosely : " I hope before long to get 
you as much land in Ireland as will make you a 40^. 
freeholder, and so a juryman here." 

As for Arlington, we have heard of some of his 
dealings with Talbot in 1662-3, including the " discovery 
of a great sum .10,000 to be got here." This 
piece of booty was evidently difficult to secure, since in 
1666 it was still uncaptured. In the August of that 
year Talbot was on a visit to Lord Orrery at Charle- 
ville, and on the 2ist Orrery wrote to Arlington: "I 
had to-day a council of war with him about your 
ji 0,000 affair. I find he has put it in the only way 
which it could succeed for you ; and I am not in despair 
of its success." 

It was only by the connivance of the Secretary of 
State and such powerful personages that the dealings 
of Talbot in Irish land were possible ; for Ormonde 
set his face resolutely against them and, despite all 
his enemies said to his discredit, was incorruptible. 
Had he been otherwise, it would not have been 

222 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

necessary, in the eyes of the money-makers, to remove 
him from Dublin Castle ; and without the help of 
these his political opponents might not have been able 
to bring about his removal. 

Talbot returned to his duties in attendance on the 
Duke of York in 1667, a year full of incident for James, 
who during its course lost his two infant sons, saw 
his father-in-law ruined, had an attack of smallpox, and 
began to feel seriously the effects of Buckingham's 
animosity towards him. The relations between various 
personages at this period are complex and subject to 
rapid changes. But Buckingham was a constant enemy 
to James, as he was to Clarendon, from long before the 
Restoration. Among others temporary alliances were 
occasionally formed in order to undermine the power 
of someone disliked by them in common. Thus 
Buckingham and his cousin Lady Castlemaine, on the 
worst of terms with one another in 1666, in the follow- 
ing year were both in league with Arlington, William 
Coventry and others to destroy Clarendon. Before 
long the cousins had reverted to their normal state 
of enmity, with the result that when Buckingham 
made his monstrous attempt to persuade the King to 
legitimise Lucy Walter's son, Lady Castlemaine became 
a friend we might almost say a patron of the Duke 
of York and his Duchess. 

Out of Ireland Richard Talbot's position was as 
yet too humble to allow him to take a great share 
in public affairs, though Marvel considered him of 

223 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

sufficient importance to mention his name in some 
doggerel verse published in 1667.* His post in 
James's household kept him under restraint. The 
Duke's party was already on the defensive against a 
growing army of assailants, and his adherents had 
little scope for intrigue compared with those on the 
other side. Fond as he was of this species of diplomacy, 
Talbot was not of such stuff as Henry Brounker and 
William Coventry, both of whom, when they had by 
their ill-conduct compelled James to dismiss them, 
turned his bitter foes. At no point in his career do 
we find Talbot engaged in opposition to the Duke's 
interests a fact which no doubt must condemn him 
in the judgment of those who take the conventional 
view of James II. 

The mentions of Talbot's name are very rare between 
the times of his return to Whitehall and of his marriage. 
In September, 1668, he is heard of at Bath, but what 
he was doing there is unknown. Where we should 
have expected to see him take a hand is in the game 
against Ormonde, which resulted in his removal from 
the Lord-Lieutenancy of Ireland. It is difficult to 
believe that Talbot was not involved at all in this, in 
view of his past quarrels with Ormonde, his activity, 
both before and after, against the cause which Ormonde 
so steadfastly upheld the maintenance of the Settle- 

* " The Papists, but of those the House had none, 
Else Talbot offered to have led them on." 

A. MARVEL, Last Instructions to a Painter. 

224 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

ment of Ireland and his close association with the 
chief enemies of the Lord-Lieutenant. But apart 
from a statement in Carte, quoted below, we are with- 
out evidence of his complicity. 

Ormonde's fall was threatened from the moment 
when the broken Clarendon walked homeward through 
the Privy Garden at Whitehall amid the laughter of 
Lady Castlemaine, Lord Arlington, Bab May and 
others. The Cabal ministry, which took Clarendon's 
place, was determined to oust Ormonde, the only one 
left of Charles's old advisers ; and particularly eager 
was Buckingham, who wanted his two posts as Steward 
of the Household and Lord-Lieutenant. Lady Castle- 
maine, still omnipotent with the King " not as a mis- 
tress, for she scorns him," says Pepys, " but as a tyrant 
to command him " had her own fierce grievance 
against Ormonde, who had stopped a grant to her of 
Phoenix Park and had persuaded Charles to make it 
the summer residence of the Lords-Lieutenant. With 
Lady Castlemaine, Talbot will before long be dis- 
covered to have some sort of compact for their mutual 
advantage. As for his relations with her cousin, 
Carte states that " he [Talbot] and all the Roman 
Catholic party joined with Buckingham in inventing 
and casting all the calumnies that could contribute 
to lessen the Duke of Ormonde's interest with the 
King." 

Ormonde was warned by his friends early in 1668 
to come to England to protect himself, but delayed 
VOL. i. 225 15 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

until the beginning of May. His arrival no doubt 
prevented his immediate fall, such was the influence 
which he had over even so inconstant a friend as 
Charles. Finally in August, 1669, Ormonde, still in 
London, was told privately of the intention to super- 
sede him at Dublin Castle by John, Lord Robarts 
of Truro, and on the following day the announcement 
was made public at a council meeting, though in 
language extremely complimentary to the dismissed 
viceroy. 

Perhaps the chief reason why we do not hear of 
Richard Talbot prominently in connection with the 
campaign against Ormonde is because he had allowed 
himself to be distracted temporarily from both politics 
and fortune-making. He could no longer boast that 
he " was not one to marry himself " ; for in the 
spring of 1669, as has already been told, he took to wife 
Katherine Boynton. Once married, he resumed his 
busy character. About the end of August he left with 
his wife for Ireland, where at last the way was clear 
for a more vigorous onslaught against the Act of 
Settlement. Carte represents him as going over 
specially to hunt up material for pretences to set 
aside the Act.* 

His brother Peter had already begun to break the 
ground. The ex-Jesuit, although his opportunities 
for exercising his political talents had been curtailed 

* His only official post in Ireland at this time seems to have been the captaincy 
of a troop of horse, to which he was commissioned about the end of 1669. 

226 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

in 1662, had devoted his time profitably to his proper 
career, and being a really clever theologian, had 
obtained high preferment. He was named by the 
Pope Archbishop of Dublin, being consecrated at 
Antwerp on May 2nd, 1669. He had no intention, 
however, of avoiding politics on his return to Ireland. 
" Peter," says Carte, " must have divested himself of 
his nature if he would have refrained from meddling 
in state intrigues." In the course of the year a 
pamphlet appeared, entitled A Narrative of the Sale 
and Settlement of Ireland, attacking both Clarendon and 
Ormonde, and complaining bitterly of the sufferings 
of the Irish. Ormonde's biographer grows very indig- 
nant over this publication, about whose authorship 
there seems to be no doubt.* The attacks on the 
late Lord-Lieutenant were, indeed, not only unjust, 
but ungrateful. But the Talbots were now completely 
estranged from Ormonde, especially as Sir Robert, 
who had generally exercised a restraining influence 

* " Whoever was the author of the narrative," asserts Carte, " has much to 
answer for an aspersion on the Duke of Ormonde, whom he represents as opposing 
the Irish being included in the English Act of Indemnity, out of the corrupt 
influence which the Irish Commissioners' promises of a great sum of money, 
and of that vast estate which he had since got by the Act of Settlement, had 
upon His Grace. ... If P. Talbot was really the author " and Carte states 
later that he admitted he was " he deserves a name I do not care to give any 
man, for he charges here a fact which he knew to be false ; for, as it was owing 
to the Duke of Ormonde's interposing in favour of the deserving Irish, when 
the Act of Indemnity was under consideration, that some clauses offered for 
excluding all the Irish Roman Catholics from a capacity of restitution by His 
Majesty's favour were not added to the Bill, so it appears under P. Talbot'* 
own hand that he then acknowledged the preservation of the Irish nation from 
utter ruin was entirely owing to His Grace," (Ormond, IV., 369.) 

VOL. I. 227 15* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

upon his juniors, was now either dead or on the point 
of death. 

Archbishop Peter Talbot's libel and another of a 
similar character, the authorship of which is not 
stated, caused Ormonde both pain and trouble ; for 
the vastness of his estates in Ireland made people prone 
to believe an accusation that he had abused his 
position to add to his inheritance. He was also forced 
to watch, with very little power now to ward them 
off, the repeated blows struck at the Act of Settlement. 
The hopes of the Irish were fixed partly on the sym- 
pathies of the King, partly on the weakness of the 
Lords Lieutenant who followed Ormonde. Robarts, 
the first of these, is called by Clarendon " a sullen, 
morose man, intolerably proud . . . and hard to live 
with " ; and by Gramont " an old, snarling, trouble- 
some, peevish fellow." According to Peter Talbot, 
on the other hand, he was " a sagacious, rather severe 
man, but an upholder of the liberty of conscience, 
although popularly considered a Presbyterian." His 
experiences in Ireland were unfortunate. When first 
appointed as deputy for Albemarle in July, 1660, his 
apparent haughtiness had exasperated the Irish, and 
Charles had been compelled to remove him, consoling 
him with the post of Privy Seal. After his second 
appointment in 1669 he made quite unsuccessful 
attempts to conciliate the Irish nobility and gentry, 
and the complaints made by those of them resident 
in London procured his recall before he had been in 

228 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

Dublin a year. He " had the hard fate," says Carte, 
" to render himself disagreeable in Ireland by his 
conduct there, and at the same time lose his interest 
at the Court of England by his absence." 

To succeed Robarts, Lord Berkeley of Stratton was 
sent to Ireland in May, 1670. Berkeley was a man 
with whom the Irish expected to be able to do much 
more than with Robarts. The Talbots knew him well 
through the association of them all with the Duke of 
York, and they believed that he, like themselves, 
would be willing to work in concert with Lady Castle- 
maine, who combined her insatiable greed for money 
and land with a desire to help those of the religion 
which she had adopted at the end of 1663. Berkeley, 
as a matter of fact, was not as pliable as was expected. 
But he was anxious to keep his post and endeavoured 
not to quarrel with those who might cause him to 
lose it. When he landed at Dublin in May, 1670, 
Peter Talbot waited upon him and was well received. 
He ventured even to appear before the Lord-Lieu- 
tenant in council in his character of Roman Catholic 
archbishop conduct unprecedented since the Refor- 
mation, says Carte, who adds that Berkeley did not 
care for Peter,* but was afraid of his influence with 

* In a letter to King Charles on September 24th, 1670, Berkeley speaks of his 
efforts against the " Kernes and Tories " infesting Ireland, and of the success 
of his blended severity and lenity towards them. As his agent in conciliating 
them he has " used one Oliver Plunkett, who is not such a bonerges [sc. 
Boanerges] as Peter Talbot or Peter Walsh." (Calendar of State Papers, 
Ireland.) 

229 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

the Duke of Buckingham and the power of his friends 
at Court. 

As for Richard Talbot, " apprehending that the 
Lord-Lieutenant was a creature of Lady Castle- 
maine's," he procured a letter from the royal mistress 
proposing certain projects which, we may be sure, 
promised pecuniary advantage to herself, and possibly 
were concerned with her long-cherished desire to 
compel Charles to carry out his early promise of a grant 
of Phoenix Park to her. " The Colonel, delivering the 
letter, was answered by the Lord Berkeley that he 
would serve the Lady Castlemaine in what he could, 
but he was afraid it was not in his power to serve 
her in the particulars recommended. Talbot upon 
this was in a great huff, and gave himself airs of 



resentment." 



According to Carte, Berkeley, unlike Robarts, ex- 
pressed his respect for the Duke of Ormonde which 
we should hardly have expected from Berkeley's 
previous record and " showed such countenance to 
those who were known to be his friends and were 
in office as became a well-bred man and an equal 
governor."* In consequence the Colonel was 
offended, and had the assurance to ask Berkeley one 
day whether he was the King's or the Duke of Or- 
monde's Lieutenant. " Lord Berkeley could not but 

* Our new Lord-Lieutenant, Sir Nicholas Armorer assures Williamson, gives 
great content to all honest and loyal folks. " Under the rosae " orthography 
is not Armorer's strong point " the Talbots find themselves to seek and are 
fallen from their hopes." 

230 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

be provoked at the insolence of the question (which 
the other bragged of publicly), but thought fit to 
smother his resentment and to keep measures with 
persons who he was apprehensive might be too strong 
for him in case of an open dispute. The two brothers, 
indeed, presumed much on their power at Court ; 
Peter corresponded constantly with the Duke of 
Buckingham, and made no scruple to show His Grace's 
letters, desiring him to hasten into England and to 
tell his friends that Lord Berkeley would not con- 
tinue in Ireland six months, that the Duke of Bucks 
was to be Lieutenant and to come over for a time, 
and then upon his return to leave the Earl of Orrery 
his deputy." 

It was a remarkable combination which included 
Buckingham, the Presbyterian (if only when it suited 
him to be so) ; Orrery, the one-time Cromwellian 
commander ; the Roman Catholic Talbots ; and " the 
Lady," an ardent proselyte to the same faith, if still 
quite an unrepentant sinner. Self-interest was the 
only bond which kept them together, although we 
do not gather that Archbishop Peter hoped for any 
pecuniary profit out of the alliance. Both he and 
Richard, indeed, may be credited with other than 
merely selfish motives in their scheming. Peter, 
after his elevation to the archbishopric of Dublin, 
forgot his early attitude of independence towards 
the Vatican and was now a zealous upholder of 
the full papal claims and a persecutor of the 

231 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Remonstrants.* Berkeley, timorous and guarded as 
he might be, was yet an obstacle in the way of 
his crusade, and he therefore wished to see some- 
one else in his place. As for Richard, it was 
doubtless difficult for his enemies to believe that 
his methods of making a fortune quickly were 
accompanied by any nobler designs. Yet the case 
is far from unparalleled, either before or after the 
time of Richard Talbot. His ambition required the 
command of money ; but, while filling his pocket, 
he did not lose sight of his political object, to over- 
throw the Settlement which involved the oppression 
of his co-religionists in Ireland. Bribes he both took 
and gave, but always in the same interest. He can 
never be said to have sold his principles. Had he 
only done so, his peculation if we must use so hard 
a name would have been forgotten. With the 
additional sale of his religious convictions, he might 
have embraced the victorious side in 1689 and become 
a character esteemed in history. 

Richard had a more difficult task in the political 
sphere than his brother had in the ecclesiastical. 
Berkeley was forced by orders from the King to call 

* i.e., those of the Irish Papist clergy who, after the Restoration, drew up 
a " remonstrance " to Charles II., acknowledging him as their rightful king, 
to be obeyed in all temporal affairs, and openly renouncing every foreign power, 
papal or princely, which should pretend to free them from that obligation or 
to license them to bear arms against the King's authority. Both Ormonde 
and Clarendon had naturally welcomed the Remonstrance, not without a hope 
that it would lead to a division of the Roman Catholics in Ireland which would 
prevent their union against the Government. See Carte, Ormond, IV., 614. 

232 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

a halt in the persecution of the Remonstrants ; but, 
as Charles's action was prompted by the advice of 
Ormonde,* Berkeley grew jealous and did no more 
than the letter of his instructions compelled him to 
do. Consequently Peter Talbot and the other ex- 
tremists in the Roman Catholic hierarchy went on 
their way with little interference from the Lord- 
Lieutenant. 

On the other hand, the task of righting the wrongs 
which the Irish claimed to have suffered through the 
Acts of Settlement and Explanation proved very 
difficult. It was easy for Richard Talbot to pick up 
estates for his allies in high office in England. But when 
it came to getting an estate, or compensation in place 
of such, for Irish Roman Catholics who had been 
ignored by the Acts, it was another matter. A just 
complaint availed little ; and bribery was beyond 
the means of most of the aggrieved parties. Earlier 
in the day, as we have seen, money had been expended 
by many, in the shape of bonds given to Talbot and 

* The Remonstrants had appealed to Ormonde in England, and he had not 
refused them the benefit of such influence as he still possessed, looking on them 
as the loyalists among the Roman Catholic clergy which they undoubtedly 
were. Peter Talbot, however, protested that any proceedings which had 
been taken against them had been at the instance of their religious superiors 
and on account of their dissolute lives. On this matter Ormonde wrote in a 
letter of July igth, 1670, to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland: "Your Grace 
well knows that that sort of people never want calumnies to load those with 
that are not of their principles, or having been of them, quit them ; which 
undoubtedly is now the case. Else why was Father Gernon removed from 
Dublin for his ill life, to make room for Ffather] Tom Talbot, for the sobriety 
and sanctity of his ? These, my lord, are subterfuges too gross to pass upon 
a state." 

233 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

other " undertakers," and a certain number of people 
had been restored or compensated. The multitude 
who remained unsatisfied after the passing of the Act 
of Settlement were faced by tremendous obstacles, 
actual possession, the power of the purse, political 
influence, and popular religious prejudice all being on 
the side of their opponents. It was decided to try 
what could be done by a direct petition to the King, 
who was still believed to be anxious to show sympathy 
towards the Irish cause, in spite of his previous aban- 
donment of it for expediency's sake. Richard Talbot was 
chosen as the representative to carry the petition over 
to England ; the signatures to the resolution of No- 
vember 25th, which authorised him to do so, including 
the names of Lords Westmeath, Mountgarret, Barne- 
wall, Netterville, Trimleston and Dongan, and forty- 
four gentlemen, one of whom was William Talbot, 
i.e., Sir William, Sir Robert's only son, who had 
recently succeeded to the baronetcy on his father's 
death. 

The petition set forth that the signatories had been 
dispossessed of their lands by " the late usurped 
powers " for their loyalty, and that they had faithfully 
served the King and suffered for him at home and 
abroad ; and that for want of a just presentation of 
their cases their estates had, contrary to His Majesty's 
declared intentions, been kept by others, so that 
they were in extreme misery for want of subsistence. 
An impartial tribunal was asked for, to hear their 

234 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

grievances, and in the meantime it was requested that 
all further grants of undisposed land in Ireland should 
be stopped. 

Carte complains of the participation of both Dongan 
and Richard Talbot in this petition. Dongan, he 
says, although he had been restored to his estate by the 
Court of Claims on Ormonde's certificate in his favour, 
was active in inspiring the Irish to attempt a repeal 
of the Acts of Settlement ; and Talbot, " who had 
received more benefit and advantage than any one 
man of Ireland of his quality, was the chief under- 
taker." 

Talbot had other business which required his pre- 
sence in London besides his commission on behalf of 
his fellow-countrymen. On November 22nd, 1670, 
Lord Aungier* writes from Dublin to Williamson : 
" Dick Talbot will soon be with you, for he resolves 
within very few days to be on shipboard and to carry 
with him, as 'tis said, severe things against some who 
sting him in his business before the House of Lords. 
Thus you see you are like to have no sport there but 
what we furnish you from hence." 

This business before the House of Lords, from which 
Aungier anticipated sport, was an echo from the earlier 
days of Talbot's advocacy of the claims of innocent 
Papists in Ireland. Among the manuscripts of the 

* Described by Talbot in a letter to Williamson as " the slyest little creature 
in the world." Talbot had probably found him a hard man to deal with in 
the affair of the Clanmalier estate. 

235 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

House of Lords, under the date April 8th, 1670, is 
a " petition and appeal of Sir Robert Nugent, Bart., 
against Colonel Richard Talbot." According to this, 
Nugent's father had an estate in Ireland Sir Robert 
appears elsewhere as of Corcreagh, county Ros- 
common which was sequestrated by " the late 
usurpers." After the Restoration, father and son set 
about recovering it. One John Talbot having repre- 
sented to them that his brother, Colonel Richard, 
was a man of great influence, it was agreed that the 
Colonel should prosecute the Nugents' claim, at his 
own expense, but on the understanding that he should 
receive 3,000 if he obtained possession of the estate 
for them before the father's death, 2,000 if after. 
Talbot spent about 10 in the matter, Sir Robert 
alleges, for which he paid him 100 ; but left him 
to prosecute the claim himself, which cost him over 
400. On the recovery of the estate Talbot claimed 
2,000 (Nugent senior being dead), and actually 
obtained a decree in Chancery for part of this. The 
case having been taken to the House of Lords, Talbot 
" hath ever since prosecuted Sir Robert more vigor- 
ously and laid wait for him in all sea-ports to prevent 
his coming into England to prosecute his appeal, 
threatening to clap him up, so that he dare not 
adventure over to attend the House, though he is 
ready to be heard." 

Such is Nugent's complaint. Talbot's answer is 
to contend that the decree in Chancery cannot be 

236 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

reversed (for certain technical reasons), and to repudiate 
the allegation that he had any influence over the Com- 
missioners in Ireland ; an allegation which he declares 
to be dishonouring to the Commissioners. " If the 
petitioner or his father," concludes Talbot, " over- 
valued his industry upon a secret opinion that he had 
such influence, which he believes no man living ever 
had (those honourable persons being never swayed, 
in his belief, by any consideration but those of justice 
and equity), yet, if the petitioner had a mind to think 
otherwise, that can be no reason to avoid his bond for 
payment of the respondent's pains." As we hear no 
more of the case it seems probable that Talbot, after 
his arrival in England, successfully used his influence 
to defeat Nugent's appeal. 

Talbot sailed from Dublin on December 6th, in the 
company of Sir Ellis Leighton, secretary to Lord 
Berkeley, and Sir John Temple. It is fortunate for 
Talbot's reputation that he had not left earlier. On 
December 6th occurred Blood's dastardly attempt to 
murder the Duke of Ormonde. Had Talbot been in 
London at the time, we should doubtless read in all 
the accepted works of history that he was gravely 
suspected of being implicated in the plot ; especially 
since the general opinion at the time of the attempt 
was, as Carte says, " that Blood was put upon this 
assassination by the Duke of Buckingham and the 
Duchess of Cleveland, who both hated the Duke of 
Ormonde mortally." Talbot being connected with 

237 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

the newly created Duchess and her cousin in some 
schemes, his enemies would naturally associate him with 
them in all, if there were an opportunity. 

No time was lost in presenting the petition of the 
Irish nobility and gentry. On January i8th, 1671, 
Talbot appeared before the King in council and de- 
livered it to him. Charles and the majority of the 
Privy Councillors considered the requests reasonable 
for the appointment of an impartial commission to hear 
the petitioners' grievances and for the stoppage mean- 
while of all further assignments of Irish land. A com- 
mittee of thirteen was chosen from the Privy Council, 
who at their first meeting on January 2 1st had Talbot 
before them, with a list of those for whom he appeared 
and his proposals for their relief. Talbot stated that 
he represented a vast number of innocent men who 
had been condemned before their cases had been heard, 
and proposed as a remedy an amendment of the Acts 
of Settlement. On this point he asked to be heard 
by his counsel. 

Ormonde, who was one of the committee, at once 
opposed the motion, maintaining that it was better 
to uphold the Settlement, in spite of its few errors, 
than to waste time and money in doing the work all 
over again, while bringing the trade of Ireland to a 
standstill in the meantime. Arlington, too, was 
alarmed at the idea of the work involved by a new 
Settlement and complained that the petitioners were 
going too far. But the majority again favoured the 

238 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

application, and Talbot was allowed to introduce 
his counsel, Ayloffe by name. According to Carte, 
Ayloffe's presentation of the case of the unrestored 
Irish was pompous and injudicious, ignored the Rebel- 
lion entirely, and made out all his clients to be loyalists, 
whose restitution could not be denied without a gross 
breach of faith. Ormonde felt compelled in reply to 
call attention to the disloyal acts of the Irish, such as 
the violation of peace terms, the repudiation of the 
King's authority, in his person, by the clerical faction 
of the Confederates, his excommunication by those 
clerics, and so on. 

Finally it was decided to submit the papers con- 
cerning the matter to the Attorney-General, Sir 
Heneage Finch. His opinion was promptly given on 
February 1st and was against the petitioners' claims. 
But Charles and the Council as a whole did not choose 
to be guided by Finch. " These obstructions," says 
Carte, " made it necessary to proceed in another 
manner, and to leave the Duke of Ormonde out of 
the committee." A new and smaller body was selected 
from the Privy Council, comprising only Buckingham, 
Ashley, Anglesey, Hollis and Secretary Trevor, with 
the addition of Lauderdale later. To these was 
entrusted the task of examining the question of the 
Settlement of Ireland, from first to last, and of re- 
porting to the King thereon. On June i8th they 
presented to Charles a report which Carte finds " very 
uncertain and general." But they would indeed have 

239 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

been a collection of geniuses had they been able to 
produce any other than a general report on such a 
question in four months' time. A recommendation 
by them, which Charles adopted, was that he should 
authorise some persons to send for witnesses, records, 
etc., and to require information from officials in 
England or Ireland without fee or expense. Such 
authority was given to the Commission itself, after it 
had been increased by Prince Rupert and Sir Thomas 
Chicheley ; and pending the collection of evidence 
matters stood over until the autumn. 

To prepare for his next meeting with the Com- 
mission, which was to reassemble on September 2ist, 
Talbot returned to Dublin, getting there before the 
agents despatched by the Commissioners to collect 
evidence.* The date of his arrival is given in a letter 
to Williamson from Robert Leigh, one of Talbot's cus- 
tomers in the estate business. " The Colonel," writes 
Leigh on July 8th, " landed here last night, but went 
straight to his house four miles off, where his lady 
is." This brief mention is the only reference which 
we find to the former Katherine Boynton between her 

* In Appendix C will be found a document stated by William King to have 
been "found in Col. Talbot's house, July i, 1671." If this date be correct, 
it is certainly curious that a search should have been made (as is implied) in 
Talbot's house at this period, when the collectors of evidence had not yet 
arrived in Ireland, and when, moreover, Talbot was not on his trial, nor even 
in disgrace. The document, which contains suggestions, from the Roman 
Catholic point of view, as to the right policy to be pursued in the government 
of Ireland, is attributed to Peter Talbot and is interesting to compare with, 
the actual procedure of his brother when he became Lord Deputy. 

240 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

marriage in 1669 and her death nine years later. As 
a wife she made no history, from which we are perhaps 
justified in inferring that the domestic life of herself 
and her husband was happy. 

Talbot found that there had been considerable 
excitement in Dublin over the idea of tearing in pieces 
the Acts of Settlement.* An instance of this is fur- 
nished by another letter from Leigh to Williamson 
in February. Leigh says : " The petition lately de- 
livered by Col. Talbot has made no small noise here. 
Yesterday morning, on occasion of discourse thereof, 
Sir Henry Ingoldsby and Mr. Thomas Cusack, nephew 
to Col. Talbot, fought a duel, when, it's said, the 
latter in closing broke his sword, but notwithstanding 
was too strong for the other. However, both came 
home unhurt, but 'tis feared the occasion will breed 
much greater animosities yet." 

The alarm continued to increase among the parties 
left or put in possession of Irish land by the Acts of 
Settlement, and petitions flowed in to the Privy Council 
in Dublin for transmission to London, all demand- 
ing the maintenance of the Acts. The Roman Catholics, 
on their side, feeling secure of favour at Court and 
in the English ministry, directed their attention to 
damaging the reputation of the faithful champion of 
the Settlement. Carte complains bitterly of " the 

* The phrase is Sir Robert Southwell's. In 1682 he writes to Sir John 
Perceval, recalling the time when " the [Irish] agent, Col. Talbot, by support 
in Court, was at the brink of tearing the Acts of Settlement in pieces." 

VOL. i. 241 16 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

idle and malicious reports spread at this time industri- 
ously by Colonel Talbot and his party." Archbishop 
Peter had laid the foundation for the assault on 
Ormonde's good name. It remained to procure wit- 
nesses to prove the allegation that he had acquired 
land by an abuse of his power. " Colonel Talbot," 
says Carte, " with all his industry and expertness in 
finding out convenient witnesses . . . and backed with 
the interest and endeavours of the whole body of the 
Irish throughout the kingdom, was not able to find out 
above two, at a time when the estates of a great part 
of the nation were at stake, and a substantial witness 
for that purpose was very sure of making his fortune." 

It must be remembered that Carte is vehemently 
hostile to Talbot, and therefore some discount should 
certainly be made before we accept his charges against 
him. Unfortunately, however, we cannot but feel 
that there was a basis of fact under the accusations, 
and the only defence which can be made for Talbot 
is that he was so blinded by zeal for his clients that he 
hesitated at nothing which might turn to their profit. 
As will be seen, however, he did not even now 
make an unrelenting enemy of the generous-hearted 
Ormonde. 

On the reassembling of the Commission in September, 
1671, the evidence collected in Ireland was brought 
forward, and Talbot appeared with his witnesses. 
The case against Ormonde was soon proved to be 
baseless. One of the witnesses absconded into Ireland 

242 



Talbot as Irish Agent 

on the discovery of a forged document. The other, 
a Captain James Nolan, was disconcerted by an order 
from the Council to produce proof of his allegations. 
All he could do was to petition the King to be pleased 
to command Colonel Talbot to declare his knowledge 
of the matter. " This was granted," says Carte, 
" but Talbot, apprehensive that it might prove at last 
a scandalous affair, and that he himself might possibly 
be involved in the censure which it deserved, thought 
fit to pretend business in Ireland, and set out for that 
kingdom." 

This was near the end of 1671. The stranded Nolan 
in January petitioned for an examination of evidence 
in Dublin ; but the Commission was tired of the 
matter, and after a last attempt by Nolan to extract 
from Sir Bernard Gascoigne a statement in writing as 
to what Talbot had said to him before leaving for 
Ireland, the complaint against Ormonde was dismissed 
as false and scandalous. 

The Commission continued its investigations into 
the general question of the Settlement of Ireland. 
But Talbot, as twice before after encounters with 
Ormonde, found it expedient to devote his attention 
awhile to other business, or, at least, to other branches 
of the same business. 



VOL. i. 243 1 6" 



CHAPTER VIII 

INTRIGUES AND DISASTERS 

ICHARD TALBOT'S work as accredited 
agent for the Irish Roman Catholics for the 
assumption of which title he was to pay dearly before 
long was not confined merely to the production of 
evidence before the Privy Council commission. But 
as, from the circumstances of the time, much of his 
labour was necessarily carried on underground, it is 
exceedingly difficult to trace what he was doing. 
Among the State Papers of Charles II. there remain 
some very curious notes in the handwriting of Sir 
Joseph Williamson, referring to some intrigue on a 
grand scale, though its precise object is not apparent. 
In it are involved Lord Orrery ; his nephew, Lord 
Ranelagh ; Lord Carlingford* ; Talbot ; and the 
Duchess of Cleveland. Orrery had been a friend of 
Ormonde until 1668, when he not only fell out with 

* The Lord Taaffe of pre-Restoration days. 
244 



Intrigues and Disasters 

him, but was impeached in the English House of Com- 
mons for fraudulent money transactions in his post 
of President of Munster. The King saved him from 
danger by a prorogation of Parliament ; and Orrery 
entered into a league with Lauderdale, then in great 
influence over Charles, and the Duke of Buckingham. 
Lauderdale was on excellent terms with the Duchess of 
Cleveland, while Her Grace, in spite of her bitter 
quarrels with Buckingham, never let them stand 
in the light of profitable combinations with 
him. Ranelagh, like his uncle once a friend of 
Ormonde, on his arrival in England in 1670 joined 
Buckingham's clique. With the aid of Ashley 
and others a very powerful league was formed, 
directed partly against Ormonde and Arlington, 
and partly to the personal enrichment of the 
leaguers. 

In making an alliance with such people Richard 
Talbot found himself in very bad company. Concern- 
ing the Duchess, Buckingham, and Lauderdale, it is 
not necessary to prove this. Orrery's connection with 
Cromwell appears to have caused many writers to close 
their eyes to the fundamental dishonesty of character 
which underlay his considerable talents. Richard Jones, 
third Viscount, and afterwards first Earl of Ranelagh, is 
described in Williamson's notes as " very treacherous 
and false, wholly his uncle Orrery's." His gross 
swindling in connection with the farm of the Irish 
revenues which he persuaded Charles to grant him soon 

245 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

after this* is sufficient evidence with regard to his 
financial corruption. As for his sexual morality, a con- 
temporary, wishing to show how bad was the character 
of Sir Edward Seymour, Speaker of the House of Com- 
mons, can find nothing more convincing to say than that 
he was " worse for women than rny Lord Ranelagh." 

Williamson's notes are attributed by the Editor of 
the Calendar of State Papers (Domestic) to the end of 
December, 1671. They are clearly written after Talbot 
had reached London from Dublin in September ; while 
they make no mention of his return to Ireland when 
the witness Nolan broke down. As has been said, the 
object of the intrigue to which they refer is not ap- 
parent. This is partly due to the fact that the 
memoranda, intended only for the writer's own eye, 
pay little regard to grammar or construction. Some 
" discoveries " are mentioned, which are to be 
" played into the Duchess of Cleveland's hand." Then 

* Talbot's help in persuading the King to grant this farm was evidently 
what purchased Ranelagh's assistance in the campaign against the Acts of 
Settlement. A paper in the handwriting of Lord O'Brien (Henry, Viscount 
Ibrackan, eldest son of the Earl of Thomond) is to be seen in the Calendar 
of State Papers (Domestic), 1673-5, containing notes apparently for a speech 
in the committee of the whole House at Dublin in 1674. O'Brien says that 
it is " notoriously known that Lord Ranelagh entered into a strict friendship 
with Col. Talbot [who] came over to negotiate and solicit the affairs of the 
Popish party in Ireland " ; that Talbot helped Ranelagh to his farm of the 
revenue ; that Ranelagh " immediately after his entrance into the Treasury 
paid the said Col. Talbot ,2,000, which Lord Aungier refused to pay " ; and 
that Ranelagh subsequently procured another ,2,000 for Talbot. On September 
27th, 1673, Lord Essex wrote to Lord Arlington, after speaking of certain 
payments of money in Ireland : " I hear also of ,2,000 more either for the Lord 
Chamberlain or Col. Talbot." Talbot was the probable recipient, being on 
the point of leaving for France. 

246 



Intrigues and Disasters 

Carlingford who, " whatever he pretends towards 
my Lord of Ormonde, is body and soul an Orreryan " 
" endeavours to play my Lord Berkeley into the 
Duchess of Cleveland's box " ; while " my Lord 
Ranelagh, D. Talbot, is [sic] in it to the ears." Car- 
lingford and Talbot are " at distance about the agency 
of the Irish Papists." They went over to England 
together, however, and agreed to take in the Duchess ; 
but Talbot " did not mean it should be in so superior 
a power, only to serve and advantage her, not to apply 
by her, but to depend on the King." 

Carlingford, according to these notes, had been 
somewhat untactful, to say the least, before leaving 
Ireland. He told the Lord-Lieutenant " strange, un- 
beseeming things, if the King hears, of [His Majesty] 
being ever to be governed by another, inconstant, &c." 
As for the Duchess, he made remarks about her which 
were certainly more true than polite, on the authority 
of her daughter the ten-year-old Anne, afterwards 
Countess of Sussex ! Berkeley was troubled and ad- 
vised with his secretary what he should do. Leighton* 
was of opinion that it was best to pass the matter over, 
as Carlingford would only charge it on him (? Berkeley 
or Leighton), if taxed with it. Berkeley, however, 
five days later told Dick Talbot what Carlingford 

* Pepys (January 25th, 1665) says that Sir Ellis Leighton was " a mad, freak- 
ing fellow . . . and once at Antwerp was really mad." The Diary, however, 
bears testimony to his wit (October i8th, 1664). Carte calls him Bucking- 
ham's " own darling favourite." As might be gathered from that, he was 
notoriously dishonest. 

247 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

had said, and Talbot, on his arrival in London, spoke 
of the affair to the Duchess and the King. Leighton, 
called into Charles's closet, " mixed it and forebore 
to say the words." We hear of no harm befalling 
Carlingford in consequence of his indiscretion. In 
this curious society much plain-speaking was tolerated 
without resentment. Later we find Talbot, when 
Duke of Tyrconnel, employing as his chaplain a rela- 
tive of Carlingford, Mr. Taaffe, " a very honest and 
discreet clergyman." 

The fiasco of the charge against Ormonde before 
the Privy Council did not keep Talbot out of England 
long. He appears again at Landguard Fort on May 
26th, 1672, on his way to join the combined English 
and French fleets off the Suffolk coast under the Duke 
of York. An amusing letter by Sir Charles Lyttelton, 
then Governor of Landguard, describes his arrival, 
as well as that of two ladies bound in the same direc- 
tion. " Yesterday," writes Lyttelton to Williamson, 
" I had the honour to have Mistress Jennings' and 
Mistress Willis' company at the Fort, whom, when 
they had dined, to get rid of I was fain to lend my 
coach to go part of their way towards the fleet. At 
night Dick Talbot came, expecting the same riddance, 
but, that being gone, I was fain to horse him (which, 
if I had been a greater spark, I should have done 
them), and he is gone by six this morning." 

We can scarcely identify the " Mistress Jennings " 
here mentioned with Talbot's future sister-in-law, 

248 



Intrigues and Disasters 

for Sarah was not yet twelve and was not introduced 
to the Court for another two years. 

The experience of Talbot with the fleet on this 
occasion was brief and unpleasant. He reached it just 
in time to take part in the second battle of South- 
wold (or Sole) Bay, and was one of the sufferers in that 
fight, though luckier than Lord Sandwich, Sir Fretche- 
ville Hollis and many other high officers. James had 
in all one hundred and seventy vessels, over a hundred 
of them warships, with him " such a gallant and for- 
midable navy never, I think, spread saile upon the 
seas," says Evelyn the White squadron being under 
the French Admiral D'Estrees, the Blue under Sand- 
wich, and the Red under the Duke himself. Standing 
into Southwold Bay, he took on board the recruits 
who had come thither to meet him. De Ruyter and 
the Dutch fleet made their appearance in the early 
morning of Tuesday, May 29th. The story of the all- 
but-successful surprise of the allies by the Dutch, and 
of the fierce struggle, lasting until sunset, is too 
familiar to need telling again here. The Duke of 
York was compelled to change his ship twice during 
the course of the day. With regard to Talbot, our 
information is derived from a letter by an unknown 
writer, dated June 1st. Describing the losses in the 
battle, of which he seems to have received first-hand 
intelligence, this writer says : " We have lost but one 
ship, the James, which was burnt after having endured 
the brunt of all the fight ; in her was lost the Earl of 

249 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Sandwich. The Catherine was taken by the Dutch, 
and in her Sir John Chicheley and Col. Richard Talbot, 
with several others, who were carried prisoners into 
other ships ; and then the Dutch going to fire her, 
the rest of the souldiers that were in her saved her and 
brought her off. . . ." 

As in this most stubborn engagement, declared by 
De Ruyter to be " the hardest fought battle which he 
ever saw," both parties made captures, it is probable 
that Talbot was before long exchanged for some 
Dutch officer, though we do not find a record of his 
release. The next mentions of him are in the autumn 
following the battle. On October i6th he is at Chester, 
on his way to Holyhead, and four days later he reaches 
Dublin ; while at the beginning of November the 
troop of which he is captain comes to do duty in 
Dublin. But far more serious matters than the 
superintendence of his men were awaiting his atten- 
tion in Ireland. Resentment in England was rising 
against the leniency shown by the governing cabal 
towards the Roman Catholics, and it was evident that 
a reaction was about to take place. Under the Lord- 
Lieutenancies of Berkeley and the Earl of Essex, who 
took Berkeley's place in August, 1672, the long- 
standing rules against the admission of Roman Catholics 
into the corporations all over Ireland had been relaxed 
and they had also been accepted as Justices of the 
Peace. Nine or ten of them, moreover, had been 
elected to the Common Council of the city of Dublin, 

250 



Intrigues and Disasters 

subject to the King's approval, which was soon given. 
Nor had Talbot refrained from boasting of the in- 
tention to " break the Settlement." But he and his 
friends could not have been unaware of the turning 
of the tide. Their proceeding at the beginning of 
1673 showed that they anticipated difficulties. A 
considerable sum of money was " collected at the 
masses throughout Ireland by directions of the priests, 
Jesuits, and friars, to be disposed of in England for 
the advantage of the Roman Catholic cause," and 
with this Talbot and two other colonels, Fitzpatrick 
and Dempsey, crossed St. George's Channel in March. 
The disposition of the money was left in the hands 
of Talbot and Fitzpatrick.* 

* Talbot and Fitzpatrick had been enemies, but had become reconciled 
This is mentioned in a letter from Essex to Ormonde, which is instructive as 
showing the methods of the Lords-Lieutenant of the period in dealing with 
the inconveniently large Roman Catholic majority in Ireland. Essex writes : 
" Soon after my coming hither Moloony, the titular Bp. of Killaloe, whom 
I look upon as the most dangerous, because the wisest, man of all their clergy, 
made a composure of all their differences which were amongst the men of their 
religion, particularly of the disputes which were between their Primate and 
Peter Talbot, as also the dissentions betwixt Collonel Talbot and Collonel 
Fitzpatricke, and had upon the matter well near made an union among them 
all. I soon found if this proceeded I should have no intelligence of any of their 
practices or acting, and beleeving it to be one of the most important things 
I could do, both for his Maj 1 * 68 service and the security of his Protestant sub- 
jects here, either to keep these men divided, or if they were united to breeke them 
again, I made use of some of their ffriers, who alwais have their little wrangle 
with the secular clergy, to set up factions against their Bp. and by encouraging 
these little annemostys among themselves at length brought them to that pass 
that they openly accused one another of exercising ecclesiasticall jurisdiction 
contrary to the laws of the land." 

Ormonde himself was no despiser of these methods. One of his letters, 
quoted by Carte, states : " My aim was to work a division among the Roman 
clergy, and I believe I had accomplished it, to the great security of the govern- 
ment and the Protestants, and against the opposition of the Pope and his 
creatures and nuncioi, if I had not been removed." 

251 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

The position of affairs on the arrival of the mission 
in London was extremely grave. A new wave of 
hatred against Roman Catholics had been set in 
motion, chiefly perhaps by the discovery on the 
Duchess of York's death that she was one and by the 
very strong suspicion against the Duke also. On 
March 8th the King had been forced to cancel his 
year-old Declaration of Indulgence, although it bene- 
fited Papists far less than other Dissenters from the 
Established Church ; and on the zoth the Test Act 
was passed. But apart from this general campaign 
against Rome, there was a particular attack on the 
Irish Romanists and on the Talbots by name. On 
March 26th the House of Commons petitioned the 
King that for the establishment of the possessions of 
his subjects in Ireland he would be pleased to maintain 
the Acts of Settlement and Explanation and to recall 
his Commission of Enquiry (which had been labori- 
ously engaged for many months in the examination 
of evidence) as calculated to disturb the peace of the 
kingdom ; and that " Colonel Richard Talbot, who 
had notoriously assumed to himself the title of agent- 
general of the Roman Catholics of Ireland, might be 
immediately dismissed out of all commands, either 
civil or military, and forbid all access to Court." The 
petition further demanded that no Papists should be 
continued or admitted as judges, justices of the peace, 
sheriffs, mayors, etc., in Ireland ; that the titular 
Popish ecclesiastical authorities, " and in particular 

252 



Intrigues and Disasters 



Peter Talbot, pretended Archbishop of Dublin, tor 
his notorious disloyalty and disobedience arid contempt 
of the laws," should be sent abroad ; that the regular 
priests also should be banished and all Roman Catholic 
convents, schools, etc., be closed ; that the permission 
to live in corporations should be recalled ; that all 
Papists in Ireland should be disarmed ; and that " His 
Majesty should give further directions for the en- 
couragement of the English planters and the Pro- 
testant interest in Ireland and the suppression of the 
insolencies and disorders of the Irish Papists, by whose 
practices, and particularly of the said Richard and 
Peter Talbot, the peace and safety of Ireland had 
been so much of late endangered." 

In view of this most comprehensive demand, it 
is not surprising to learn that Talbot and his col- 
leagues did not attempt to carry things too boldly. 
" What was the commission of those three colonels 
from Ireland," writes Sir Arthur Forbes to Vis- 
count Conway, " is not to be learnt here, for at their 
arrival they found affairs altered from what they 
expected, and found it convenient to bear a lower 
sail." 

The King, indeed, though he could not reject the 
peremptory requests of the " Country " party, which 
headed the attack on the Roman Catholics, did his 
best to temporise. He answered the petition of the 
Commons with an assurance that no man should have 
reason to complain. He dissolved the Commission of 

253 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Enquiry and declared that he was resolved to preserve 
the Settlement of Ireland and to disturb nothing 
which had been confirmed by the Acts. He ap- 
pointed, however, another committee from the Privy 
Council, with far less powers. This new body did, 
and could do, very little. A small amount was added 
to the fund for relieving the King's " nominees " 
specified in the Act of Explanation. Otherwise the 
injustices which the Roman Catholics suffered through 
the Settlement remained unredressed for the remainder 
of Charles's reign. Richard Talbot had been able, 
previous to 1673, to do some service to his co-religionists 
partly by corrupt means, it must be admitted, and 
not always to the most worthy of them but for relief 
on a larger scale he and they had a dozen years more 
to wait. 

Although Peter and Richard Talbot had been so 
pointedly marked out by the House of Commons 
petition for punishment, their influence was suffi- 
ciently strong, even in the midst of the agitation 
raging against their religion, to hold their ground 
for a brief while. The ecclesiastical brother was the 
earlier to give way, though retreating no farther than 
to England at first. In one of the numerous letters 
to Sir Joseph Williamson, while acting as English 
plenipotentiary at Cologne, Henry Ball, his clerk at 
the King's Paper Office, gives information about both. 
" On Tuesday last," writes Ball on June 26th, " landed 
att Chester Peter Talbott, pretended Archbishop of 

254 



Intrigues and Disasters 

Dublin, having been driven out of Ireland by the 
prosecution of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, as he 
pretends. The Colonell continues in towne very 
gallant." This is what we should have expected of 
the Colonel. He had, moreover, the advantage of 
the protection of a master who did not forget his 
servants. In a letter thirteen days earlier Ball, speak- 
ing of the Duke of York, tells how " all the reformed 
Irish Roman Catholiques attend him, among them 
principally Colonell Talbott." By reformed must be 
understood removed from their employments ; for 
in no other way had Richard Talbot altered. 

To remain in attendance upon the Duke of York, 
however, would scarcely have been possible, even had 
James been now popular. It was utterly impossible 
when not only was Talbot banned by the Test Act 
and the Commons petition, but also James himself 
was in a most precarious position and powerless to 
help others. There was nothing to be done except 
to leave the country. On a smaller scale the exodus 
of 1667 was repeated in 1673, but the emigrants were 
not now all military. A jocular letter to Sir Ralph 
Verney from Dr. Denton, a kinsman of Frances 
Jennings, dated September 1 8th, says : " Peter Talbot, 
the bishop, desires you to follow him to France. It is 
thought his brother Dick and Father Patrick will not 
be long after him." Father Patrick is the priest to 
whom Evelyn the diarist addressed his long letter of 
September 27th, 1671, concerning the doctrine of 

255 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

the Church of England about the Eucharist. He is 
mentioned several times at this period in conjunction 
with the younger Talbot ; on the last occasion, perhaps, 
in a letter to Williamson from a correspondent at 
Whitehall. " The priests and Papists," writes Thomas 
Ross, " now begin to withdraw, and among others 
Dick Talbot and Father Patrick (with tears in his eyes) 
are gone, they and others having provoked many 
zealous men to bee their enemies, resolving to clamour 
in Parliament against their stay here contrary to the 
desire of the Houses." The date of this letter is 
October 3rd, so that Richard Talbot had withstood 
for no less than six months the efforts to drive him 
out of the country. 

Talbot crossed over to France, where unfortu- 
nately he is lost to view. It would have been in- 
teresting to know whether he proceeded to Paris and 
renewed his acquaintance with Frances, now Lady 
Hamilton, and her gallant husband. But we hear 
nothing of his life abroad at this period. The only 
mention of his name, indeed, is in connection with 
a house which he owned at Twickenham and which 
he lent to his sister-in-law Isabella Boynton on her 
honeymoon. In November, 1674, Isabella, who was 
one of the maids of honour to the new Duchess of 
York, married the widower Wentworth Dillon, fourth 
Earl of Roscommon. The Countess of Burlington, 
writing to Lady Ormonde, describes how the wedding 
took place at six o'clock in Sir Allen Apsley's chamber, 

256 



Intrigues and Disasters 

" from whence immediately, in the dark, they went 
to Dick Talbot's at Twittnam," 

We cannot ascertain even the length of Richard 
Talbot's exile now. In March, 1676, his brother Peter 
returned to England, in spite of the danger threatening 
all Roman Catholics, and particularly the clergy. 
But Peter was suffering from a complication of diseases 
which tamed his restless spirit, and it was no doubt 
on the plea of ill-health that he obtained permission 
to come back from France. He retired to Poole Hall, 
in Cheshire, and lived there for two years in great 
quiet. As we know from a letter of Richard's, quoted 
below, that at some period previous to his accusation 
by Titus Gates in October, 1678, he was residing in 
" the north of England," we might reasonably have 
concluded that he shared, for a time at least, Peter's 
retreat at Poole Hall. But, as a matter of fact, he 
was in Yorkshire, though in what part is unknown. 
It is not strange that his movements should be obscure. 
The violence of the attack on him in Parliament in 
1673 made it only prudent that his enemies should 
hear as little about him as possible. With the reap- 
pointment of the generous Ormonde to the Lord- 
Lieutenancy of Ireland it became possible for him to 
show himself once more in the land of his birth. But 
persecution soon followed him up there, as the next 
chapter will relate. 



VOL. i. 257 17 



CHAPTER IX 

VICTIMS OF TITUS GATES 

IT does not come within the scope of this book to 
attempt a history of the anti-Papist campaign 
which proceeded through so long a period in the reign 
of Charles II. and involved so much suffering and so 
many innocent deaths. Our interest in it is confined 
to the effect which it had upon the fortunes of Richard 
Talbot. But from this point of view it is necessary 
to mention briefly some of the events between Talbot's 
retirement to France in 1673 and the attack made 
upon him by Gates five years later. 

The Test Act, whose passing preceded by a few 
days the direct accusation of the Talbot brothers in 
Parliament, produced one result which its promoters 
heartily desired ; for the Duke of York refused the 
Test and resigned all his offices, thereby tacitly declaring 
himself a Roman Catholic. " Squire James," as his 
enemies now contumeliously nicknamed him, went on 

258 



Victims of Titus Oates 

to take to wife the same year " a stiffe Roman 
Catholique " in the young Princess of Modena, Mary 
Beatrice of Este, to the openly expressed disgust of the 
London populace and the joy, no doubt, of those 
who hoped to cut him off from succession to the throne. 
The latter did not yet venture upon an Exclusion 
Bill, but they brought in measures in both Houses 
of Parliament which were obviously steps in the 
direction of such a Bill. A forerunner of Oates had 
before the end of 1675 stirred the public mind with 
some truly startling tales of Papist designs. Oates's 
genius for villainy, however, was not in Luzancy, as 
he called himself, and he did little real harm beyond 
revealing to the observant the present applicability 
of the maxim, Populus vult deci^i, decifiatur. 

The astute King Charles appreciated the position 
thoroughly. Whatever his own secret religious con- 
victions (if he can be said to have had any), he was 
annoyed at his brother's untimely honesty. He told 
the French Ambassador more than once that, if he 
were to die, he did not believe the Duke could stay 
eight days in England. He endeavoured to improve 
the situation by a step which ultimately proved fatal 
to the unfortunate James ; for it cannot be supposed 
that the Prince of Orange, though next in the suc- 
cession after the Duke and his family, could ever have 
made himself master of England, had he not married 
the Princess Mary. 

William had paid his first visit to his uncle's Court 
VOL. i. 259 17* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

at the end of 1670, when he himself was but nineteen 
years of age and Mary was a child in the nursery. A 
round of gaiety marked his stay in England on that 
occasion. But he was a long-sighted young man, 
and may even then have tested the ground in 
front of him. At any rate, there was already a sug- 
gestion of his marriage with his cousin. The idea 
was revived in 1674. But James in the interval had 
ceased to have any doubts as to his religious duty. 
Moreover, he recognised the insecurity of his position 
with regard to the succession, and knew that William 
had now a definite understanding with the heads of 
the popular party in England, and that but for the 
peace of Westminster, which put an end in February 
to Charles's offensive alliance with France, a Dutch 
fleet might even have been welcomed to the Thames 
that spring by a considerable section of the English 
nation. James could not be expected to look with 
favour on the prospect of such a son-in-law. But he 
was compelled to listen to the suggestion. In April, 
1674, Edward Coleman, private secretary to the 
Duchess of York, writes to the Abbe Rizzini, Modena's 
representative in Paris : " We have had here for some 
time an envoy from the Prince of Orange, who is to 
stay in the capacity of Ambassador for Holland, to 
whom two others will be joined. . . . Our Parliament 
men are making great plans to concert with these 
ambassadors, when they arrive, against the French, 
the Papists, and the Duke himself, in favour of the 

260 



Victims of Titus Oates 

States and the Prince of Orange, to whom they have 
already destined the elder daughter of H.R.H." 

It was in vain for James to object. Previously the 
pro-Dutch party had advocated the match. Now at 
the end of 1674 Arlington urged it on the King 
as a means of pacifying his subjects, and Charles eagerly 
embraced the scheme, sending Arlington and Ossory* 
over to the Hague to bring it about if possible. William 
disliked Arlington, suspected a trap, and made out 
that he was in no condition to take a wife. This piece 
of rudeness, however, did not put an end to the project. 
Charles insisted on Mary being confirmed by the 
Bishop of London, in spite of the protests of James, 
who hoped, it was said, to marry her to the Dauphin 
of France ; and in 1677, when William came over to 
England and asked for the Princess's hand, after some 
fencing he gave his consent to a marriage before the 
Prince returned to Holland. 

Charles's views are set forth in a letter from Barillon, 
Courtin's successor at the French Embassy, three days 
before the ceremony took place. " I judge this mar- 
riage to be very useful to my interests," said Charles, 
" and I hope to derive from it very considerable present 
advantages and still more in the future. The alliance 
will put an end to the suspicions of my subjects that 
my connection with France aims at a change of reli- 
gion. It is the conduct of my brother, the Duke of 

* They were brothers-in-law, having married two daughters of a natural 
son of Maurice, Prince of Orange. 

26l 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

York, which has given rise to all these suspicions. . . . 
I am assured that the marriage of the Prince of Orange 
and my niece will dissipate a part of these suspicions 
and will be of infinite service in showing that I have 
no design which is not conformable to the laws of 
England and the established religion. It destroys 
the possible cabals and engages my nephew in my 
interests." 

Charles little knew his nephew if he believed the 
statement conveyed in the last few words. But his 
acquaintance with the real state of the case is sug- 
gested by a story told by Dr. Lake, tutor and chaplain 
to the Princesses Mary and Anne, that the King 
jestingly urged the Bishop of London to hasten the 
wedding, lest the Duchess of York should first give 
birth to a son and spoil all. 

Mary became Princess of Orange on November 4th 
(old style), 1677. Two days later the Duchess bore 
a male child. " The people of London," writes 
Barillon, " feel no joy over the birth of the son of 
the Duke of York, and this has lessened the joy they 
would have felt over the marriage of the Prince of 
Orange." But the chagrin of London and of the 
Prince of Orange was brief. On December I2th the 
infant Duke of Cambridge died. " This death," 
Barillon informs Louis next day, " cannot but be of 
advantage to the Prince of Orange. It raises his future 
hopes greatly and strengthens his party in England 
at the present juncture." According to Dr, Lake, 

262 



Victims of Titus Gates 

James never showed so much grief over the death of 
his previous children as now. He dearly desired to 
have a son and heir. But it is not to be gathered from 
his Memoirs that he yet suspected his son-in-law of 
actually entertaining base designs against him in respect 
of the throne. 

The designs of others, however, James was soon 
forced to recognise. In the summer of 1678 Titus 
Gates made his appearance on the scene and plunged 
the country into abject terror with his tales. He did 
not dare to accuse the Duke directly of implication in 
the Popish plot. But in the wretched Coleman, 
secretary to Mary Beatrice, he pitched upon an intriguer 
who was really guilty of negotiations with French 
ambassadors and agents, and ecclesiastics in both 
France and Italy, which could not be satisfactorily 
explained. Coleman, a Suffolk clergyman's son and 
a convert to Rome, professed great devotion to Roman 
Catholicism and the interests of France, and had thus 
obtained large sums of money for his own use. In a 
less excited state of the country the fact that he had 
enriched himself might have induced people to think 
less seriously of his political and religious schemes. 
But now the very existence of such schemes, even in the 
mind of so insignificant a person as Coleman, was 
sufficient to cause an explosion of popular madness. 
Coleman was a victim made for the hands of Gates. 
In his ruin he dragged down the Duke. James had 
already dismissed him from his wife's household by 

263 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

the King's command. But this did not save him when 
genuine papers of Coleman's were produced amid the 
forgeries of Gates and his associates. Coleman was 
executed, the least worthy to be pitied of the sufferers 
through the scare. Against the Duke an address was 
presented by both Houses of Parliament, calling for his 
banishment from the presence and councils of the 
King. A partial concession failed to satisfy his virulent 
enemies, and at last James, having insisted on a formal 
order from his brother to leave the kingdom, sailed for 
the Hague on his way to Brussels on March 4th, 1679. 
It is unnecessary to refer to the other achievements 
of Titus Gates beyond his statement to the House of 
Commons on October 23rd, 1678. Here he gave 
a list of those to whom the Pope had, through patents 
given to Father D'Oliva, General of the Jesuits, com- 
mitted all the chief posts in England and Ireland after 
the murder of the King and the upset of the govern- 
ment should have been effected. In England Lord 
Arundel of Wardour was to be Chancellor, Lord Powis 
Treasurer, Lord Bellasyse Commander-in-Chief, Lord 
Petre Lieutenant-General, Sir William Godolphin 
Privy Seal, etc. In Ireland Peter Talbot was to be 
Chancellor, Richard Talbot Commander-in-Chief, Lord 
Mountgarret Lieutenant-General, etc. At this time 
Oates had only to speak to be believed. Of the alleged 
Papal nominees in England Arundel, Powis, Petre and 
Bellasyse were secured at once, together with the aged 
William Howard, Viscount Stafford ; and orders were 

264 



Victims of Titus Oates 

sent over to Ireland for the arrest of Richard Talbot, 
Mountgarret and others, Peter Talbot being already 
in custody. 

We have seen that not only the Archbishop of 
Dublin but his brother also were living in the North 
of England for some time between 1676 and 1678. 
Both were anxious to return to Ireland which is not 
to be wondered at, seeing the conditions under which 
they were existing in England. Their opportunity 
came when Lord Essex ceased to be viceroy and 
Ormonde took his place. In April, 1677, King Charles 
suddenly abandoned his attitude of coldness towards 
his faithful servant, invited himself to supper with him, 
and told him that he designed to make him Lord- 
Lieutenant once more. In August he was back in 
Dublin Castle. How soon Richard Talbot followed 
him does not appear in the pages of Carte, but he 
gives the circumstances of Peter's return. The elder 
Talbot was seriously ill with stone and other com- 
plaints at Poole Hall, and, thinking his end near at 
hand, wished to die in Ireland. He therefore made 
interest through his brother Dick to the Duke of York 
to recommend him to Ormonde and " prevail for a 
connivance at his return, if he behaved quietly and 
meddled in no affairs." On this understanding he 
was allowed to come back in May, 1678, being carried 
in a chair to Colonel Talbot's house at Lutterell's 
Town, from which he never stirred again until his 
arrest five months later. 

265 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

There is little doubt that Richard had preceded his 
brother. In March his wife Katherine died, being 
buried at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin, on the 
i yth. There could have been no difficulty for the 
husband to procure leave from Ormonde to return to 
LutterelPs Town to attend his wife's death-bed, if 
indeed he was not allowed back before. 

In May, therefore, we may imagine Richard Talbot 
at his home outside Dublin in the company of his 
invalid brother and of two young daughters left to him 
by his wife, the elder named after her Katherine, the 
younger Charlotte: There is no evidence of his activity 
in Irish affairs now, but that he was not debarred 
from appearing at the Castle we shall soon see. 

The tentacles of the monster Gates extended over 
to Ireland in October, 1678, and the first to be seized 
by them was Peter Talbot. Some letters written by 
him whilst in exile in Paris were found among Coleman's 
papers. This alone was a sufficient excuse for arresting 
him ; but in addition there were enemies in Dublin 
ready to come forward with accusations against him. 
His bodily condition was no protection to him. In 
the eyes of fanatics there was nothing absurd in the 
idea that a man dying of stone should be plotting 
treason, murder, and self-aggrandisement. A curious 
document forwarded to Ormonde by an agent signing 
himself simply " W." and preserved among the 
Ormonde manuscripts, has a story about Peter Talbot 
which must apparently be referred to the period 

266 



Victims of Titus Oates 

preceding his arrest. According to this, the Irish 
were telling their friends that " most woeful bloody 
times were at hand " that is to say, for the Pro- 
testants of the country. Now an Irish gentleman 
(who is not named) fell out with Peter Talbot, and 
thereupon told " a Protestant person of quality " 
that he could prove Talbot a traitor if he were taken 
to the Chancellor. This was done, and the Chancellor 
asked for the accusation to be committed to writing. 
The Irish gentleman wrote it out and delivered it to 
" the person of honour " to be given to the Chancellor. 
" In twenty-four hours the party told the person of 
honour that he had undone him, for Talbot had the 
papers." 

The anti-Papists were so reckless in their assertions 
that they did not hesitate at the same time to charge 
the Dublin Castle officials with undue friendship for 
the Roman Catholics and the latter with horrid plots 
against Dublin Castle. Ormonde's position was made 
very difficult for him, but he did not lose his presence 
of mind. He was away from the Irish capital when 
he received the order, dated September 3Oth, for 
the apprehension of Peter Talbot. He at once made 
out a warrant and prepared to return to Dublin. 
What he thought of the allegation that the Arch- 
bishop was scheming against his life is only to be 
gathered from a letter written by him to Sir Robert 
Southwell on October loth, as he was starting back 
to the Castle. Southwell would know from Dublin, 

267 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

he said, whether Peter Talbot was taken on the previous 
day at his brother's house ; " for there he has openly 
lived ever since the Colonel last kept house here, and 
thence (it is at least pretended) he could not suffer to 
be removed by any ordinary means of travelling by 
reason of his great pains." Referring to the alleged 
plot, and the designs attributed to Peter against him- 
self, Ormonde continues : " I do not think my life 
of consideration enough to be mentioned or taken 
care of when the King is threatened, yet I may say 
Peter Talbot has undertaken or has been assigned 
much the least wicked part of the tragedy, and that 
this is not the first time he has been said to have 
encouraged the acting of it." 

Ormonde was at Dublin on the nth to preside over 
a meeting of the Privy Council called to consider the 
best measures for the public safety. The warrant 
against Peter Talbot had not been executed imme- 
diately, for the officer sent to arrest him at Lutterell's 
Town found him in so weak a state that he had con- 
tented himself with taking Richard's security for his 
appearance. His papers had been seized, but nothing 
was found among them except a few letters on con- 
troversial points of divinity.* On the nth, however, 

* " I did not expect," writes Ormonde to Southwell, " there would have 
been any papers of moment found with him, because I did not doubt but he 
would have intelligence of the informations given against him as soon as I, 
at least time enough to dispose of any he had no mind should be found with 
him." In another letter to Southwell Ormonde shows a certain amount of 
indignation at the (certainly unwarranted) charge that he was too friendly 
disposed toward the Archbishop. " Those that have been informed of Peter 

268 



Victims of Titus Oatcs 

he was carried in a chair from LutterelPs Town to 
the Castle and confined. Carte, who speaks of " his 
miserable, helpless condition, the violence of his dis- 
temper being scarce supportable and threatening his 
death every moment," relates that he was allowed to 
have an attendant to wait upon him in prison. 

Richard Talbot was left at liberty a month longer 
than his brother. In fact, he seems to have ventured 
to move from Lutterell's Town to a house in Dublin 
and (if what Ormonde's critics said was true) to have 
interviews with the Lord-Lieutenant concerning the 
state of affairs. This was bold conduct on the part of 
both, in view of the scare caused in Ireland by the 
stories coming over from England* and of the demands 
for Talbot's arrest. In a letter which he wrote to 
Southwell on November 6th, Ormonde says : " I can 

Talbot's publicly appearing here," he says, " and would attribute it to my 
indulgence towards him, are ill-informed themselves or maliciously conceal 
the well-known distance I have kept myself at from that busy, hot-headed man, 
whom the very Jesuits themselves thought too busy for their Society ; nor do 
the informers remember how publicly in the time of a former governor he did 
the honours of his brother's house at feasts and entertainments, his constitution 
then being able to undergo the fatigue, nor yet that upon some controversy 
he appeared at the Council Board, being known to be titular Archbishop of 
Dublin, and yet was suffered to return to the place from whence he came ; 
which I do not say to reflect on any of my predecessors." 

* Carte relates that letters were dropped in the streets of Dublin pretending 
to betray an assassination plot against the Lord-Lieutenant. Probably they 
were intended to make him more energetic in his execution of the new procla- 
mations against the Roman Catholics. But Ormonde declined to be frightened 
and did his best to reassure the settlers, many of whom were no doubt genuinely 
alarmed by the current rumours. For these settlers, vastly outnumbered by 
Roman Catholics, there was at least an excuse which did not exist for Gates' s 
dupes in England. 

269 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

assure you that the real or pretended fears of some 
considerable men have put the common sort of English 
and Protestants almost out of their wits, especially in 
Munster, from whence the terror is diffused through 
the whole Kingdom, to the greatest disheartening of 
the English and the encouragement of the disaffected 
Irish ; than which I take nothing to be more danger- 
ous or like to draw what we apprehend upon us." 
He adds : " I have given my son Ossory the reasons 
why I have not secured my Lord Mountgarret and 
Colonel Talbot, the same evidence being said to be 
against them that sent five lords to the Tower." 

Ormonde, however, in the course of a few days had 
no option but to seize Talbot. On the I2th he received 
an order from the Secretary of State for the imme- 
diate apprehension of him, of Richard Butler (Mount- 
garret's eldest son), and of John Pippard, all on account 
of the commissions stated by Oates to have been given 
them by the Pope. Old Lord Mountgarret himself, 
being ill, was left in peace, his son taking his place. 

Pippard, to whom Oates had assigned the post of 
Colonel in Ireland under the revolutionary government, 
had already absconded and could not be found. The 
other two were arrested without difficulty. Talbot 
was at the Castle itself on the day that the order 
arrived. Ormonde writes to Lord Conway : " I re- 
ceived this morning directions from the King for the 
securing of Colonel Richard Talbot, who was then 
walking in the gallery, and, I believe, expected with 

270 



Victims of Titus Gates 

every post to be so treated. I immediately gave the 
Deputy Constable of the Castle order to take him into 
his custody, where he now is." 

Thus both Peter and Richard were now lodged in 
prison on charges of which one was certainly, the other 
probably, innocent. Both made efforts to secure their 
release. The tortured Archbishop appealed through 
his family, particularly through his nephew Sir William, 
who appears to have possessed the solid merits of his 
father rather than the more volatile talents of some 
of his uncles* ; but in vain. The fact of his having 
corresponded with Coleman was no doubt fatal ; and 
Ormonde's " great kindness " for the Talbot family, of 
which he himself writes to his son Arran a little later, 
did not extend to Peter. He was willing, on the other 
hand, to assist Richard, in spite of their past quarrels. 
The Colonel's petition was based on the ill effects 
which his confinement had upon his health. He had 
already commenced to put on that weight which was 
to trouble him so much as he grew older. This we 
know from Marvel's ferocious picture of him in Advice 
to a Painter : 

" Next Talbot must by his great Master stand, 
Laden with Folly, Flesh, and ill-got Land : 
He's of a size indeed to fill a Porch, 
But ne'er can make a Pillar of the Church ; 
His Sword is all his Arg'ment, not his Book, 
Altho' no Scholar, he can act the Cook ; 
And will cut Throats again, if he be paid ; 
In th' Irish Shambles he first learn'd the Trade." 

* James appointed him to look after his large Irish estates, and after his 
accession made him Master of the Rolls in Ireland. 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

It was just eight months before Richard Talbot ob- 
tained his release. On June 2ist, 1679, Southwell, in 
London, wrote over to Ormonde in Dublin : " On a 
petition yesterday from Colonel Talbot to go to his 
house upon bail, by reason of his sickness in prison, 
there was a long debate, and it was finally agreed that 
he should, upon ten thousand pounds bail, be allowed 
to come over and live in Yorkshire, where he lived 
before. Some thought he would rather choose to 
stay in prison than to come over on this side, and most 
were against his being free on that, which yet his agent 
does much struggle for, especially till his health be 
restored ; and how the order will settle at last I know 
not, but it will not go till Tuesday." 

A few more weeks passed before the desired order 
could be procured. Another communication to 
Ormonde, sent by the Earl of Anglesey on July I2th, 
shows the final steps. " I received your last letter," 
says Anglesey, " with the enclosed certificate of Dr. 
Meara, which came seasonably to help me in obtaining 
His Majesty's and Council's order for Col. Talbot's 
liberty and their license for his going into France for 
cure, both which Your Grace will receive by this 
post." 

The younger Talbot was free again, under conditions, 
and prepared to depart from home. Not even now, 
however, in the midst of his troubles, did he refrain 
from a little business in Irish land, acting apparently 
on behalf of the Duke and Duchess of York. Lord 

272 




From an engraving by H. Robinson, after the painting by Sir Godfrey Kneller in 
Lord Strathmore's collection. 

JAMES BUTLER, DUKE OF ORMOND. 



Victims of Titus Oates 

Granard writes to Lord Conway from Dublin, telling 
him how, " as Col. Richard Talbot was parting from 
hence, he entertained me with several discourses too 
tedious to relate at this distance, amongst others of 
that affair of Holywood's " the question being about 
the reversion of an estate which was desired by both 
the Duchess and by Granard. 

Talbot left Ireland, probably in August, and made 
his way to Paris. Soon reports came back which 
considerably embarrassed Ormonde, already much cen- 
sured by his enemies for the part which he had taken 
in the Colonel's release. On November 2nd Henry 
Coventry writes to him from Whitehall that " it is said 
Col. Talbot is as well at Paris as ever in his life," in 
consequence of which reflections have been cast on the 
attestations of the Irish doctors as to the state of his 
health. Everything, indeed, was seized upon which 
could be twisted to support the contention that 
Ormonde was " popishly inclined." Happily, however, 
at this season King Charles stood by his old minister 
loyally, replying to the attacks made on him in the 
English House of Lords with the statement that he had 
one of his kingdoms in good hands and was resolved 
to keep it so ; while, when Essex (who would have 
liked to be Lord-Lieutenant again) asked him if the 
report was true that he meant to remove Ormonde 
from Dublin, Charles roundly denounced it as " a 
damned lie." 

As we know, nothing could have been further from 
VOL. i. 273 18 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

the truth than the charge that Ormonde wished to 
favour the Roman Catholics. But he was that great 
rarity of the period, a tolerant man. Only in one case 
do we find him countenancing persecution, and there 
he could scarcely have ventured to show himself lenient. 
The wretched Peter Talbot lingered on in his prison 
until about the end of October, 1680, when he suc- 
cumbed at last to his diseases. Confined in a cell near 
him was Oliver Plunket, Archbishop of Armagh, the 
rival with whom he had disputed so bitterly over the 
titular primacy of Ireland. A touching incident was 
that shortly before his death Talbot received absolution 
at the hands of Plunket, next year destined to die on 
the scaffold, the last of the innocents sacrificed to that 
horrible incarnation of religious ferocity, Titus Oates. 

As we are before long to see Richard Talbot in the 
part of leader of his co-religionists during their brief 
season of ascendancy, it is well to remember what 
grievances he cherished from the years 1679-80. He 
was, no doubt, luckier than a great number of others 
who had given far less cause for offence than he. But 
even eight months in jail on a baseless charge cannot 
be expected to make a good impression on the sufferer's 
mind. And his brother, for whom we have no reason 
to suppose that his friendship was other than genuine, 
was certainly condemned to an agonizing death chiefly 
on account of the religious views which they both 
shared. Yet we shall not find " the Popish Champion," 
as he was to be nicknamed one day, becoming in his turn 

274 



Victims of Titus Gates 

a bloodthirsty persecutor. The trade which Marvel 
delicately suggests that Talbot learned in " th' Irish 
Shambles " was not exercised at the expense of those 
whom he had excellent reason to hate. He had, in 
fact, no inclination toward butchery, which is more than 
can be said of many with whom he came in conflict 
at different periods of his career. 



VOL. i. 275 18* 



PART IV 

TEN YEARS TOGETHER 



CHAPTER I 

THE MARRIAGE OF RICHARD AND FRANCES 

RICHARD TALBOT arrived in France at a period 
when the relations between that country and 
England were at their worst point since Charles II. 
returned to Whitehall. As early as 1677 Barillon had 
been told, on taking up his appointment as Ambassador, 
that his master had no real friends in England except 
the King and the Duke of York. In the following 
spring even the Duke appeared reconciled to the idea 
of a quarrel with France as the readiest means of 
lessening the prevailing animosity against himself. The 
Peace of Nimeguen was followed by the breaking of 
one bond of union between the two countries, when 
the British auxiliaries in Louis's army were compulsorily 
disbanded. The violence of the anti-Papist feeling in 
England made it very difficult for even so astute a 
diplomatist as Barillon, prompt alike with promises 
and with cash, to check the general antipathy here 
to the leading Roman Catholic Power. Bribery, as 

279 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

employed by Barillon, did its work well, but it could 
only prevent war, not promote international cordiality. 
The effect of the attitude of England soon made itself 
felt in France. Louis himself was displeased with the 
poor return for his vast outlay of money, while great 
bitterness was aroused in his Roman Catholic subjects 
over the persecution of their co-religionists across the 
Channel. Savile writes home on one occasion of the 
threats current in Paris of retaliation upon the French 
Protestants (already turned out of all their employ- 
ments) if the five lords in the Tower should come to 
any harm. 

What Talbot proposed to himself to do in Paris, 
or what he actually did on his arrival, we do not hear. 
He was a comparatively rich man, as is shown by his 
being able to find the 10,000 bail demanded of him 
before his release in Dublin, and was not compelled 
to look for employment to maintain himself. But he 
was of too active a disposition to become an idler. 
All that we know for certain of his proceedings is 
that he met again his first love, Frances Jennings, now 
Countess of Bantry, and married her. But the marriage 
appears not to have taken place till late in 1681.* If 
this is correct, he was a widower of fifty-one, she a widow 
of about thirty-three, when at last they decided to 
join their fortunes. Her circumstances can scarcely have 
improved since the time of her first husband's death ; 
for her daughters were growing up Elizabeth was 

* See note on page 634. 
280 



The Marriage of Richard and Frances 

already fourteen and costing more to keep. It is true 
her brother Ralph, when he died in 1677, left Sandridge 
between her and her two sisters ; and that Barbara's 
death in the following year made her and Sarah joint 
owners. But her share in the manor cannot have 
gone far toward relieving her necessities. Of her 
late husband's family, the Comtesse de Gramont was 
as much in favour at Versailles as formerly at White- 
hall, and may have been able to help her ; the brothers 
Anthony and Richard quitted the French service after 
Nimeguen and are said to have returned home. 

From the pecuniary point of view Talbot's second 
marriage, therefore, seems to have been no more bril- 
liant than his first. But again he married beauty ; 
and Frances was certainly a woman of distinction, 
who, but for her change of faith, might have been 
shining at the Court of Whitehall once more. So 
it is strange that the fact of his taking her to wife is 
not recorded in any contemporary letters known to us. 
The only references which can be discovered to Richard 
Talbot at this point in his life are in connection with 
some plot which Viscount Preston imagined himself 
to have unearthed in Paris in 1682. Preston that year 
succeeded Henry Savile as Ambassador to France, 
and on August I2th began writing to Sir Leoline 
Jenkins, Secretary of State, concerning his discovery. 
The arch-plotter he believed to be an Irish priest named 
Gleson, " a very extraordinary rogue," who had been 
chaplain to Sir George Hamilton's regiment and after- 

281 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

wards to Colonel MacCarty,* Hamilton's successor. 
" I find he is very well known here," says Preston, 
in one letter ; " he hath been concerned in business of 
Sir G. Hamilton's since his death, and that he, upon 
that account, hath had occasion to address to my Lady 
who is now married to Coll. Talbot." Gleson, it is 
suggested, had made use of his acquaintance with the 
former Lady Hamilton to approach her second hus- 
band in the matter of a rising in Ireland, provided 
that Louis could be induced to consent to send a French 
fleet over to assist. Gleson, according to Preston's 
information, so far succeeded with Talbot that on 
October 24th they went to Louis and submitted 
" eleven propositions " to him. 

The Ambassador was told of these extraordinary 
schemes by a certain Captain Shelton, alias Roger 
Tilley, an Irishman by birth, who, after being page 
to the Earl of Denbigh, had entered the French 
service, risen to a captaincy of horse, and retired with 
a little money. Preston was anxious later to minimise 
the amount of belief which he put in Shelton's revela- 
tions, but it is clear from his correspondence that at 
first he was inclined to accept them as true. The 
English government received his intelligence cautiously 
from the beginning, only directing him to prosecute 
his enquiries into the matter. King Charles's common- 
sense, and his weariness of the very name of a plot, 
made such tales as this of Shelton's most unwelcome 

* i.e., Justin MacCarty, younger brother of Talbot's one-time opponent. 

282 



The Marriage of Richard and Frances 

to him. Still, he was persuaded to grant the informer 
an interview if he should come over to England. This 
Shelton did, and on February lyth, 1683, he was intro- 
duced to the King at Whitehall. Sir Leoline Jenkins 
writes a long letter to Preston describing the interview 
and its result. After he had told his story, Shelton 
was conjured to confess what his motive was which, 
perhaps, was scarcely the treatment he expected. But 
he did not break down. " He persisting confidently 
in his affirmations," says Jenkins, " was bid to with- 
draw for some time, and being called in again, and 
still persisting in his assertions, my Lord Keeper told 
him it was His Majesty's pleasure that he should out 
of hand get him gone out of his presence and of the 
kingdom too, His Majesty looking upon him as a 
dangerous Iyer and a great fourbe." 

Charles's estimate of the value of Shelton's revela- 
tions was no doubt correct. It appears from a docu- 
ment among the Ormonde manuscripts that the man 
had made an attempt to pass them off on someone 
else before he found a victim in Lord Preston. On 
March 6th, 1682, Arran, then Lord Deputy of Ireland, 
had before him in Dublin the Deans .of St. Patrick's 
and Kilkenny, and examined them in connection with 
a supposed plot. They informed him that they had 
on the previous October loth, in France, had a con- 
versation with an Irishman named " Captain Tille, 
alias Shelton," who told them of the French King's 
designs on England and of the intention to make 

283 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Richard Talbot Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. No 
more is heard of this in Ireland, but no doubt the 
statement of the two Deans was ready for Jenkins 
to refer to when Preston's letter of August I2th 
reached him. 

There is thus no reason for supposing that Talbot 
allowed himself to swerve aside now from his lifelong 
loyalty to join in a crack-brained scheme for raising 
a revolt in Ireland with the assumed aid of a French 
fleet. If there was one point noticeable above all 
others in the behaviour of the Irish Roman Catholic 
leaders during the reign of Charles II., it is that 
they discountenanced risings. The plots and mutinies 
were all among the settlers and the soldiery, who, of 
course, included no Roman Catholics. Irresponsible 
adventurers in exile there may have been perhaps 
the " extraordinary rogue " Gleson was one who 
cherished ideas of some violent remedy for the ills 
of the oppressed Irish. But Talbot was no fool. His 
bitterest enemies do not accuse him of that. He had 
set himself to work by other and less clumsy means 
than the sword. And the time was approaching when 
he felt he could take up the work again. 

It was in February, 1683, that Talbot determined 
to make an effort to put an end to his exile. The 
greatly improved state of affairs for the Roman 
Catholics in general, and the Duke of York in parti- 
cular, since Charles's abrupt dissolution of Parliament 
at Oxford no doubt encouraged him. He appealed 

284 



The Marriage of Richard and Frances 

once more to Ormonde for help, and his letter is 
interesting in many ways. Incidentally it throws 
some light on his financial position, and is fairly con- 
clusive proof (if any be wanted) that he had been 
engaged in no traitorous schemes in Paris. 

" I am confident," writes Talbot, " if your Grace 
had believed me guilty of so much as a thought against 
His Majesty's service, you had not so generously 
appealed for my liberty when I was a prisoner in the 
Castle of Dublin, and I hope that the same reason 
will now prevail with you to move the King that I 
may return to put some order to my small affairs, that 
extremely suffer by my absence for now almost four 
years from home. My Lord, should I be obliged to 
live here any longer time, I must certainly be ruined, 
the expense of this place being excessive for any man 
that must live as I, and that has so numerous a family. 
And though His Majesty shall be pleased to approve of 
my return to my own house, I do assure your Grace 
I shall need be a good husband to pay the debts I 
have contracted since I had the misfortune to be 
named in the Plot, and that your Grace may the more 
freely move His Majesty to grant this my most humble 
request, pray be pleased to know that I am none 
of those persons that are impeached by the House 
of Commons, and that all that ever was laid to 
my charge was a story of Mr. Gates that he had 
seen some commission which was sent me into 

285 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Ireland, and at the same time he said it was sent me 
into Ireland I lived in the north of England and did 
not come thither in six months after, all which is but 
a bare hearsay and cannot so much as bear any action 
at common law." 

In conclusion, Talbot asks merely to be allowed to 
settle his affairs at home and then to withdraw to any 
corner of the world where the King may command 
him though he would willingly enjoy himself in 
Ireland under Ormonde's " happy government," having 
observed that only under it have those who have 
served the King met with any good treatment. 

From Carte's narrative of the circumstances attend- 
ing Ormonde's removal from the Lord-Lieutenancy 
in Ireland in 1684, it would naturally be gathered that 
the finish of the above letter was entirely insincere, 
and that Talbot behaved with base ingratitude towards 
one who now at his request did him a great service. 
This is a point which may be left to the next chapter. 
Here it may be recorded that Ormonde duly and 
successfully commended Talbot's case to the King, 
for which he obtained his thanks ; and that Talbot 
proceeded to Ireland, accompanied by his wife and 
their joint families. 

So little is ascertainable about the purely domestic 
life of Richard and Frances Talbot that we can con- 
veniently sum up the probable facts here in a single 
paragraph. The " so numerous a family " of which 
Talbot wrote to Ormonde consisted of his daughters, 

286 



The Marriage of Richard and Frances 

Katherine and Charlotte ; of his wife's daughters, 
Elizabeth, Frances, and Mary Hamilton ; and, perhaps, 
of one other daughter, the child of them both, who 
first saw the light during their stay in Paris. On 
June i yth in the year following their arrival in Dublin, 
Katherine Talbot died, being buried in the same grave 
as her mother at Christchurch Cathedral. Another 
child, the infant offspring of Richard and Frances, 
whether born in Paris or in Dublin, also died within a 
month, and was buried at the Cathedral. Several more 
children were born to the Talbots in Dublin, but none 
of them seem to have reached maturity. Alone of 
their family proper one girl, possibly the eldest, is 
said to have grown up with her four half-sisters, 
married, and left descendants. We shall have occasion 
to mention all five again before the end of this book. 



287 



CHAPTER II 

THE LIFTING OF THE CLOUD 

IN the reaction against persecution of the Papists 
which marked the closing period of Charles's 
reign, Richard Talbot came quickly to the front. His 
master, the Duke of York, having weathered the 
storms during which he was threatened with total 
exclusion from the throne, or at the best with nominal 
rule under the protectorate of the Prince and Princess 
of Orange, had regained much of his former influence. 
He was restored to the Admiralty and to the Privy 
Council ; not without rousing protests, it is true, 
but without effective opposition. A token of the 
changed condition of affairs was the attention paid 
by the Prince of Orange to the Duke of Monmouth. 
William's own chances of supplanting his uncle and 
father-in-law had, temporarily at least, declined so 
much that he thought it advisable to cultivate the 
friendship of one who had taken his place as the hope 
of the extreme Protestants. 

288 



The Lifting of the Cloud 

James's restoration to power was, of course, to 
Talbot's advantage ; for his favour to his Gentleman 
of the Bedchamber remained constant. It is not cer- 
tain, however, whether Talbot's first employment in 
Ireland after his arrival was in connection with an 
official mission or was voluntary. Probably he was 
acting under directions from England, but had no 
definite post. In either case he was working in sym- 
pathy with the views of the King and the Duke of 
York, and his labours proved of great assistance to them. 
A plan was maturing for extensive changes in the 
government of Ireland, both civil and military, and 
Charles knew that they could not be carried out while 
Ormonde was at Dublin Castle.* A more pliable 
chief governor was in view in the person of Lawrence 
Hyde, whose merits his brother-in-law the Duke of 
York extolled highly. The difficulty was to find an 
excuse for removing Ormonde. Charles had a genuine 
liking for him, and, faithless in friendship as he is 
usually esteemed to be, was anxious to lessen the shock 
of his dismissal as much as possible. He had recently 
treated him with high honour, sending for him to 
England in 1682, to assist him in council, making him 
a Duke in the English peerage in the following year, 

* Carte says : " It was intended to make a general alteration in all employ- 
ments, which it was thought the Duke of Ormonde would not approve and 
was therefore improper to be put under his direction. This is the very reason 
assigned by the King for his removal, and the changes proposed [such as putting 
Roman Catholics into army commands] were so contrary to His Grace's senti- 
ments that he was very glad to be discharged from the employment." (Ormnad, 
IV., 672-3.) 

VOL. I. 289 19 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

and not allowing him to return to Dublin until 1684. 
Carte says that the order given to him in the June of 
1684 to prepare for his return was sudden and unex- 
pected ; and he shows that Ormonde suspected nothing 
as yet. Owing to his wife's illness and her death in 
July he did not set out for Ireland until August. Carte 
now gives the following account, from which it appears 
that Talbot had already quitted Ireland for London : 

" His Grace was attacked as soon as ever he had 
left London, upon suggestions from Colonel Talbot, 
who had been in Ireland a little before, and made such 
a report to His Majesty that a general reformation 
in the council, magistracy and army of that kingdom 
was intended. The Lord-Lieutenant had so little 
thought thereof that in the way from Aylesbury to 
Warwick, whither Sir R. Southwell accompanied him, 
he was observing to him that he had left but few 
enemies behind him ; , . . that Colonel Talbot had 
returned him thanks for concurring to his coming 
over from Paris, where he had remained from the time 
of the Popish plot ; and that His Majesty had only 
muttered, and that slightly, in relation to some defects 
about false musters which he had heard of in the army, 
and somewhat in regard of the stores. Notwith- 
standing this, Sir Robert, returning to London, did 
before the end of that very month send him certain 
advertisement of his removal. His Grace, returning 
to him an answer on September 5th, uses this expression 

290 



The Lifting of the Cloud 

in his letter : * They begin very early that, before I 
am warm in my post here or my head settled from the 
agitation of the sea, find objections to my conduct.' ' 

In Carte's opinion, the chief point against Ormonde 
was that there were some disaffected persons among 
the army officers and the justices of the peace " an 
inconvenience," he comments, " scarce possible to be 
avoided as long as such persons are guarded in speak- 
ing their sentiments and wary in their conduct." But 
there was more the matter than that. As we have 
said, extensive changes were planned in Ireland. 
Under Berkeley's brief rule at the Castle and during 
the early part of Essex's term of office a taste had been 
given of what was contemplated. Although the in- 
dulgences then granted were mere matters of justice, 
they were withdrawn very quickly after the address 
of the English House of Commons in 1673, and re- 
placed by strict enforcement of the penal laws. With 
Ormonde once more Lord-Lieutenant, there was a 
slight relaxation of severity until the mad fury of the 
Popish Plot days forced even the tolerant Ormonde 
to countenance such brutalities as the treatment of 
the dying Peter Talbot. His brother Richard's return 
to Ireland was a sign of the better times prevailing 
there for Roman Catholics. But the latter, after all 
they had suffered, were looking for something more 
than the mild administration of harsh and unjust 
laws. Of all that they had striven for since the 
VOL. i. 291 19* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

beginning of the actual reign of Charles II. in England, 
very little had yet been secured beyond restorations to 
property which left the Roman Catholic majority 
with about two millions and a half out of eleven million 
acres of surveyed land in Ireland. Compared with 
what was demanded, for instance, by Richard Talbot 
before the Privy Council in 1671, this was indeed a 
small gain. When, however, the Duke of York was 
again in enjoyment of his old posts, and no longer 
under the threat of exclusion from the throne, when 
the ultra-Protestants lay crushed by the ruin of their 
leaders, the opportunity seemed to have come for 
seeking further advantages. 

The choice of Richard Talbot to report on the 
steps needful for the " reformation " of Ireland was 
natural, seeing that it was now twenty years since he 
had first stood forward as the champion of his co- 
religionists there. Carte implies that he was ungrate- 
ful to Ormonde in reporting as he did ; and it cannot 
be doubted that his report was used as a weapon against 
the Lord-Lieutenant. But Talbot was working for a 
cause which he had always at heart ; and, apart from the 
question of the Tightness or wrongness of that cause, can 
we hold that he should have refrained now from advanc- 
ing it because to do so involved loss of office to a man 
who had done him many kindnesses ? We must admit 
that Talbot's behaviour to Ormonde in the past had 
been open to grave censure. On the present occasion 
he was in a dilemma, and elected as probably all other 

292 



The Lifting of the Cloud 

men would have done with a cause at heart to regard 
political and religious principles rather than personal 
friendship. There is no evidence, however, that he 
made a personal attack on Ormonde now. He called 
for changes in the Privy Council, the magistracy and 
the army of Ireland. As a Roman Catholic he could 
scarcely do less, Council, bench and army being 
Protestant monopolies. And if there were abuses 
unconnected with religion to which he drew attention, 
by pointing them out he did not necessarily reflect 
on Ormonde. When the latter was absent in England 
from April, 1682, to August, 1684, he left as his Deputy 
at Dublin his son Arran Ossory having died two 
years previously. Arran was no such fip^ cavalier as 
his elder brother. During his deputyship he was at 
least accused of keeping low company and degrading the 
dignity of his office. If there was any justice in such 
a charge, it would not be surprising that the civil and 
military administration of Ireland should have suffered. 
Ormonde was only left for two months at Dublin 
before he was informed of the intention to recall him. 
He received notice from the King in October, together 
with an intimation that the Earl of Rochester, the 
former Lawrence Hyde, would succeed him " as the 
fittest person on many accounts, and particularly 
because his near relation* to the Duke of Ormonde 
would engage him to make the concerns of His Grace 

* Ormonde's grandson, afterwards the second Duke, had married Anne Hyde, 
daughter of Rochester. 

293 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

and his family his own and to take that care thereof 
which His Majesty desired might always be continued." 
No precise date was fixed for his return, beyond that 
it was to take place when convenient to him in the 
following spring. Rochester, as a matter of fact, was 
not so anxious to go to Ireland as the King and the 
Duke were to send him. The success of the cabals 
against both Robarts and Ormonde during their absence 
from Whitehall warned him what might be his own 
fate. The comfortable post of Lord President of the 
Council, to which he had recently been elevated in 
succession to the Earl of Radnor (previously Lord 
Robarts), was more to his taste than Dublin Castle. 
As it was possible at the same time to make Ormonde's 
dismissal less abrupt and to meet Rochester's wish for 
delay, it thus came about that Ormonde was still 
acting as Lord-Lieutenant when King Charles died. 

On February nth, 1685, Ormonde proclaimed 
James II. King, almost his last official act in Dublin. 
Already he had been warned to be ready to start, and 
now a definite order for his recall was received, together 
with a commission to two Lords Justices to administer 
Ireland until his successor should arrive. " It seems," 
says Carte, " the favourites of the new King were in 
great haste to publish to all that the Duke of Ormonde 
was not in His Majesty's good graces." 

The Duke resigned his powers into the hands of the 
Lords Justices and departed for Holyhead and London. 
On the road to town he met in a newsletter the earliest 

294 



The Lifting of the Cloud 

tidings that his regiment of horse in Ireland had been 
taken from him and given to Colonel Talbot. The 
first steps had been made towards the new order of 
things, and already people were set talking of what 
was to follow. At the end of the entry in his diary 
for March, 1685, Narcissus Luttrell says : " The Duke 
of Ormonde, lord-lieutenant of Ireland, is removed 
from that government, and two lords justices appointed 
for that purpose at present ; his regiment is given to 
Col. Talbot : the privy council is dissolved and a new 
one appointed, and some talk as if there were a design 
for the papists regaineing their estates in that kingdom." 
Barillon also bears witness to the effect produced by 
Talbot's advancement. Writing to Louis on April 
2Oth/3Oth, he tells him : " The zealous Protestants 
already say loudly that this Prince has departed from 
what he said to the Council and what is implied in his 
published declaration, having formally promised to 
do nothing against the Protestant religion, although 
he has since given a regiment in Ireland to Colonel 
Talbot, which is, they say, to advance Popery and to 
begin to destroy the Protestant religion." 

The protagonist for so many years of the Irish Roman 
Catholics could not expect to escape the public eye, 
now that the King upon the throne was his friend 
and master and the sharer of his religious convictions. 
It is not surprising, therefore, that his appointment, 
even to the head of a regiment, should give rise to 
rumours. And the rumours, as we know, were 

295 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

destined to prove correct. At the beginning of 
James's reign, however, wise counsels prevailed. Deep- 
scheming traitors and hot-headed fanatics, working 
in combination, were not yet driving the King on 
at a furious pace toward the abyss. Even in Roman 
Catholic Ireland no undue haste was made ; affairs 
in the kingdom generally proceeded in much the same 
way as during the most peaceful years of Charles II. 
The Lords Justices were Michael Boyle, Archbishop of 
Armagh, and Lord Granard ; and if Ormonde's Privy 
Council was reduced in number the vacancies were 
not yet filled with Roman Catholics. 

Talbot is supposed to have gone back to Ireland as 
soon as James ascended the throne ; but the date 
of his crossing does not appear, nor whether he was 
accompanied by his wife and family. As we do not 
hear of Frances and the girls returning with him from 
Dublin in the following January, it seems probable 
that they were all left behind in London, except 
Frances's eldest daughter, Elizabeth Hamilton, who was 
still in Paris. 

Frances herself was in attendance upon the Queen 
at the Coronation in Westminster Abbey on April 
23rd, 1685, appearing in the records as the Countess of 
Bantry ; and in the earliest lists of Queen Mary's 
household she figures as a Lady of the Bedchamber 
in the company of her sister Lady Roscommon, the 
Duchess of Norfolk, Lady Sophia Bulkeley and Lady 
Bellasyse, at a salary of ^500 a year each. 

296 



The Lifting of the Cloud 

Talbot's precise status in Ireland during the ten 
months between James's accession and Clarendon's 
arrival in Dublin is nowhere defined. He was put in 
command, as we have heard, of the troop of horse 
formerly belonging to Ormonde. He seems to have 
received no commission yet as general over the Irish 
army. When, however, the unhappy Monmouth's re- 
bellion showed up the untrust worthiness of the militia 
in the West of England and the King decided to dis- 
arm and disband that force everywhere, it was to Talbot 
that the duty was entrusted of carrying out the process 
in Ireland. Lord Macaulay says that James's order for 
disarmament was interpreted by Talbot against the 
colonists only. As they alone were admitted to the 
militia, Talbot exercised no discrimination against 
them when he disarmed them. The nervous settlers 
put a bad interpretation upon the proceeding ; but, 
after all, there was still a regular army of seven thousand 
men in Ireland, hostile in faith to the Roman Catholic 
majority. 

When Talbot had been a few months in Ireland 
James bestowed upon him the first signal mark of his 
long-continued esteem. On June 2Oth he elevated 
him to the peerage of Ireland under the titles of Baron 
of Talbotstown, Viscount Baltinglas, and Earl of 
Tyrconnel. In the preamble to the patent mention 
is made of Talbot's " immaculate allegiance and 
infinitely great services performed to the King, and 
to King Charles II., in England, Ireland and foreign 

297 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

parts, both by sea and land, in which he suffered 
frequent imprisonments and many grievous wounds." 
In default of a son born to him by his wife, the re- 
mainder was, firstly, to his nephew, Sir William Talbot, 
Baronet, and his heirs male ; and, secondly, to another 
nephew, William Talbot of Haggardstown, son of his 
brother Garrett. 

The newly-created Earl was no doubt assured that 
this honour was but a foretaste of what was in store 
for him. But he was forced to realise very soon that 
what he hoped for in Ireland would not come about 
for some time. When the vacant Lord-Lieutenancy 
had to be filled up, James did not venture to appoint 
a Roman Catholic yet. For six months after he 
ascended the throne he kept the post open. He had 
made his two brothers-in-law, Clarendon and Rochester, 
Lord Privy Seal and Lord Treasurer respectively. 
Rochester, as we have seen, had been designed by 
King Charles for Ireland, but now James nominated 
the elder brother. The news reached Dublin before 
the end of August, for on the 29th of that month 
Tyrconnel wrote to the King that " Clarendon's nomina- 
tion as governor of Ireland terrifies the Catholics." 

Henry, second Earl of Clarendon, was indeed a mild 
scarecrow to terrify anybody. But TyrconnePs state- 
ment is easy to understand. The Irish had been hoping 
for wonderful changes under a Roman Catholic king. 
The delay in filling up the Lord-Lieutenancy caused 
them considerable anxiety, as is shown by an address 



The Lifting of the Cloud 

drawn up by the clergy at Dublin in July, 1685, for 
transmission to the King.* And now they saw, instead 
of one of their own faith, another Protestant coming 
over to rule at Dublin Castle. As they did not know 
what fetters were to be put upon the hapless Clarendon, 
it is no marvel that they were dismayed. 

* This address is printed as an appendix to King's State of the Protestants 
in Ireland, where it is stated that a copy was found amongst the papers of Tyrrel 
(Patrick, titular Bishop of Clogher) in Dublin. It appears interesting enough 
to reproduce in its entirety. It runs as follows : " Since it has pleased the 
Almighty Providence, by placing your Majesty upon the Throne of your 
Ancestors, to give you both Authority and Occasion of exercising those Royal 
Vertues which alone do merit and would acquire you the Crown to which you 
were born ; We, though comprehended in the general Clemency and Indulgence 
which you extend to the rest of our fellow Subjects, are nevertheless so remote 
from your Majesty's Presence that our Prayers can have no access to you but 
by a Mediator. And since of all others the Earl of Tyrconnel did first espouse 
and chiefly maintain, these twenty-five years last past, the Cause of your poor 
oppressed Roman Catholick Clergy against our many and powerful Adver- 
saries ; and is now the only Subject of your Majesty under whose Fortitude 
and Popularity in this Kingdom we dare chearfully and with assurance own our 
Loyalty and assert your Majesty's Interest : [We] do make it our humble Suit 
to your Majesty that you will be pleased to lodge yeur Authority over us in 
his Hands, to the Terror of the Factious and Encouragement of your faithful 
Subjects here ; since his Dependence on your Majesty is so great that we doubt 
not but that they will receive him with such Acclamations as the long-captivated 
Israelites did their Redeemer Mordecai. And since your Majesty in Glory 
and Power does equal the mighty Ahishuerus ; and the Vertue and Beauty 
of your Queen is as true a Parallel to his adored Hester ; We humbly beseech 
she may be heard as our great Patroness against that Haman, whose Pride and 
Ambition of being honoured as his Master may have hitherto kept us in Slavery. 
And tho' we wish none the fate of so dreadful an Example but rather a timely 
Penitence and Conversion ; we yet humbly crave your Majesty's Protection 
against all such, if it may consist with your Royal Wisdom and Pleasure, to which 
we with all humility submit, in the establishing of the said Earl of Tyrconnel 
in such Authority here as may secure us in the exercise of our Function, to the 
Honour of God, and offering up our Prayers and Sacrifice for the continuation 
of your Majesty's long and prosperous Reign over us." 



299 



CHAPTER III 

PREPARATIONS FOR THE STRUGGLE 

HENRY EARL OF CLARENDON was, happily 
for those interested in the events of the reign 
of James II., a voluminous writer of letters. He also 
began to keep a diary, but, apparently in disgust at the 
course of events, broke it off in 1690. No true Hyde 
could live with any satisfaction to himself under a 
Dutch usurper ; and Henry inherited his father's 
loyalty, though he failed to transmit it to his son. 
There is a strong likeness in many ways between Henry 
and Edward Hyde, as revealed in their own writings, 
though the elder man is certainly the more forceful 
character throughout. With a genuine piety and a 
certain strictness of principles (which did not, how- 
ever, prevent either from accumulating fortunes) went 
in both cases what we can but call a narrow spirit. 
This fact has been mentioned in connection with the 
first Earl. It is very noticeable in the second 

300 



Preparations for the Struggle 

wherever he speaks of Tyrconnel. Edward Hyde dis- 
liked Irishmen and Roman Catholics, and particularly 
the Talbot family ; Henry disliked Irishmen and 
Roman Catholics, as a rule, and Richard Talbot 
in particular. Now it cannot be denied that the 
second Clarendon was placed by his King in an unfair 
position as regards Tyrconnel after the latter's com- 
mission as Lieutenant-General. But it is obvious from 
his earliest letters written at Dublin that, although 
convinced of his own open-mindedness, he was in 
reality very prejudiced against him, and found in all 
he did a cause for complaint. 

Clarendon reached Dublin on January gth, 1686. 
He seems to have expected to see Tyrconnel at Holy- 
head on his way thither ; but Tyrconnel, who was on 
his way to England at the same time that Clarendon 
was making for Ireland, sailed straight to Chester, 
instead of touching Holyhead, and so did not meet 
the new Lord-Lieutenant. Clarendon took this as 
intentional insult and wrote to his brother Rochester, 
after receiving news from England : 

" I wonder Lord Tyrconnel should take so much 
pains to have some people believe he would have put in 
at Holyhead if he could ; when everybody here knows 
the wind was so fair that he might more easily have done 
it than have gone to Chester. But Captain Sheldon, 
who went over with him, hearing him speak so r.uch 
in publick, the morning he left this place, of stopping 
at Holyhead to see my Lord-Lieutenant, asked him : 

301 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

* My Lord, why do you say this, when we all who go 
with you know that you do not intend it ? ' His 
answer was, ' Prethee let me alone : I know what I 
say.' When several persons here, Irish, asked His 
Lordship of me and concerning me, &c., his answer 
was that he knew nothing of me more than by sight ; 
that he had no manner of acquaintance with me. 
This some of themselves here have told me when they 
have heard me speak of him in discourse as one I was 
acquainted with. One cannot help smiling at this." 

Clarendon goes on in the same letter to speak of 
Tyrconnel's querulousness while last in Dublin, and 
how he heard that he would make complaint to the 
authorities and then, even if all he desired was done, 
he would go away dissatisfied because there was not 
so much ground of complaint as he wished. " How is 
it possible to understand such a man ? " asks Clarendon. 
Still he assures his brother, " I speak not of him to 
anyone here but with that respect which is due to his 
quality and to one I have lived well with ; though 
I cannot help hearing others speak slightly of him, 
which I discountenance all I can. Some few more of 
the extravagancies he has committed between Chester 
and London, in his last journey, will do his business." 

The last sentence is interesting as being the founda- 
tion of Macaulay's very picturesque description of 
TyrconnePs conduct on his way to London now. 
What Clarendon means, possibly, is that Tyrconnel 
behaved indiscreetly for a martyr to gout. A little 

302 




From an Indian ink drawing in the National Portrait Gallery, Dublin, after " a Painting 
in the hands of Mr. Sukes, painter in Lincoln's Inn Fields." 

RICHARD TALBOT, DUKE OF TYRCONNEL. 



Preparations for the Struggle 

later we hear of him visiting Bath for the third time, 
within our fragmentary knowledge, in his life and 
there can be no doubt that he went there for a course 
of the waters. On his return to Ireland in June he was 
anxious to leave again as soon as possible for England, 
to " attend his health." Of the extent to which gout 
tortured him we shall have proof later. " He was now 
no longer young," says Macaulay, " and was expiating 
by severe sufferings the dissoluteness of his youth."* 
Corpulent and full-blooded gentlemen of fifty-five 
would have a difficulty in vindicating their early lives 
against the assaults of so able a pleader. In such an 
argument the gout not only punishes the dissolute- 
ness, but it also proves it. At least, no other evidence 
is thought necessary. 

Tyrconnel's visit to England was not directly occa- 
sioned by his gout, however ; still less by a desire to 
avoid meeting Clarendon. He had been sent for by 
the King to discuss the carrying-out of the scheme, 
which was already in contemplation before Charles's 
death, for making the Irish army a real safeguard to 
the dynasty instead of being merely a garrison to pro- 
tect the settlers, which had been its function hitherto. 
Ormonde's removal was the first step in the direction of 
the separation of the civil and military administrations 

* The historian continues : " Age and disease had made no essential change 
in his character and manners. He still " we should, of course, have expected 
age and disease to sweeten him in this respect " whenever he opened his 
mouth, ranted, cursed and swore with such frantic violence that superficial 
observers set him down for the wildest of libertines." 

303 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

in Ireland. Tyrconnel's position during the inter- 
regnum between Ormonde and Clarendon was some- 
what irregular, but the Lords Justices were not 
disposed to quarrel with one so obviously a favourite 
of the King, even if he seemed to exceed his official 
powers. With a Lord-Lieutenant again at Dublin, 
however, it was necessary to define the extent of 
Tyrconnel's authority, and thus let Clarendon know 
that he was not to enjoy the same military power 
as his predecessors in office. 

Tyrconnel arrived in England in time to have 
bestowed upon him a post which had just fallen vacant 
by the death of Ormonde's son Arran. Arran was 
Marshal of Ireland, and to this more or less honorary 
position Tyrconnel succeeded at the end of January, 
1686. The real work intended for him, however, 
was indicated by the commission issued to him on the 
following March 1st, when he was made Lieutenant- 
General. At the same time commissions were issued 
to Colonel Justin MacCarty as Major-General and to 
Colonel Richard Hamilton as Brigadier ; and on March 
2nd to Sir Thomas Newcomen as Brigadier also. The 
last-named, a Privy Councillor and Colonel of a foot 
regiment in Ireland under Ormonde, had married 
Tyrconnel's sister Frances, widow of James Cusack. 
Clarendon, when he reached Dublin in January, had 
found him, as well as MacCarty and Richard Hamilton, 
extremely anxious to be allowed to go to England. 
In the cases of Newcomen and MacCarty Clarendon 

304 



Preparations for the Struggle 

was aware of their object ; for both avowed their 
hopes of becoming Major-General. Clarendon granted 
them leave from Ireland, sending with MacCarty 
letters of recommendation to both the King and Lord 
Sunderland. Newcomen he cordially detested.* 

Richard Hamilton, to Clarendon's annoyance, had 
applied for leave elsewhere before coming to him. 
Clarendon writes to his brother that on February 2Oth 
Hamilton came to him and told him that, having 
some business in England, he had written to Tyrconnel 
for the King's leave and had heard from Tyrconnel 
that it had been granted. He now asked for the Lord- 
Lieutenant's licence and promised to be back in May. 
As Hamilton had only arrived in Ireland a fortnight 
before himself, Clarendon twitted him with being 
" unable to live out of the sweet town of London " ; 
but he did not see how to refuse his request. He told 
Rochester, however, of his intention of writing to 
Sunderland in the matter, for " it were to be wished 
that when officers send in to England for leave to go 
over it might not be granted, but that they should 
be directed to apply to the chief governour." 

* Writing to Rochester of his permission to Newcomen to leave Ireland, 
Clarendon says : " If he does not gain his desire I shall not be sorry, nor will 
anybody else here ; for I never knew a man more hated. He pursues his brother- 
in-law's designs ; and yet even that party do not esteem him, nor know how to 
believe him. He is reputed a brave man in his person, but false and treacherous 
to the highest degree." Soon after Clarendon writes again that Newcomen, 
" everybody knows, is no soldier, wretchedly sordid, and a brute ; and I never 
heard of any title he had to merit but his alliance " i.e., with TyrconneFs 
sister. 

VOL. I. 305 20 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

The poor " chief governour " little guessed what 
a blow was to be struck at him soon with regard to 
military affairs in Ireland ; or that the very minister 
to whom he spoke of writing was prepared to see his 
authority not merely restricted, but altogether taken 
from him. It is uncertain at what date the compact 
between Sunderland, Father Petre, Harry Jermyn 
and Tyrconnel had its birth. King James in his 
Memoirs writes of " a consultation soon after His 
Majesty's accession to the throne betwixt this Lord 
[Sunderland], Father Petre, Mr. Germin and my Lord 
Tyrconnel, where it was agreed that Father Petre 
should be a Cardinal, Lord Sunderland Lord Trea- 
surer, Lord Tyrconnel Lord Lieftenant of Ireland 
(who engaged to procure my Lord Sunderland five 
thousand pounds per annum out of that kingdom or 
fifty thousand pounds in mony), and that Mr. Henry 
Germin should be made Lord and Captain of the 
Hors Guards." 

Jermyn's title of Baron Dover was soon procured 
for him. But the other plans of the conspirators 
were not so easy of execution. In the first place, 
Sunderland's position was very insecure on James's 
accession. He had favoured his exclusion from the 
throne as Duke of York, to mention no other causes 
of offence. But James was not proof against the 
talents of this prince of traitors. By the time that 
Tyrconnel returned to England in January, 1686, 
Sunderland had riveted his evil influence on his unhappy 

306 



Preparations for the Struggle 

master. In the previous December he had received 
the appointment of Lord President of the Council, 
in addition to the Secretaryship of State to which 
Charles had appointed him. He already held every 
string whereby to work affairs to his profit, whatever 
should befall. His power of commending himself to 
whomsoever he wished was extraordinary, even when 
we allow for his utter lack of scruple in attaining his 
end.* Clarendon and Rochester both believed him 
their friend, for instance, while he was planning to 
ruin them both ; the latter because he stood in the 
light of his illegal amassing of a fortune, the former 
because he was in the way of Tyrconnel's schemes in 
Ireland. There is no reason to suppose that he had 
any personal liking for Tyrconnel ; but the latter had 
taken the precaution, as we know, of purchasing his 
assistance, having been well trained by his previous 
experiences to deal with such creatures as the Lord 
President of the Council. 

Sunderland and Tyrconnel are found associated 
together in a curious story of this period. Among the 
" ugly mistresses " on whom James, as Duke of York, 
was rallied, Catherine, daughter of the wit and rake 

* The Princess Anne, however, was one who escaped his fascination entirely. 
She summed him up correctly, if quaintly, when she described him to her 
sister Mary of Orange as " the subtillest workinest villain that is on the face 
of the earth." His wife was of a piece with him. Anne declares that she is 
" a flattering, dissembling, false woman, but she has so fawning and endearing 
a way that she will deceive any body at first, and it is not possible to find out 
all her ways in a little time." With the necessary change of genders the same 
words might have been used of her husband. 

VOL. I. 307 20* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Sir Charles Sedley, was the last to have any hold over 
him. In view of the disparaging way in which this 
lady's name has been handled, it is well to remember 
that once Jack Churchill, as he then was called, was 
supposed to be engaged to her. If she developed a 
looseness of character akin to her father's, she inherited 
some of his talents. In particular she had that quality 
of wit which appealed to James, a man commonly said 
to have been without it himself. On coming to the 
throne he did not, as his Roman Catholic subjects 
above all hoped he would, put her away altogether. 
This is clear not only from English sources of informa- 
tion, but also from Barillon's letters to Louis. The old 
but scarcely venerable William Chiffinch was still alive 
to perform his duties as Page of the Backstairs and 
Keeper of the King's Closet, and the Court was not 
ignorant of the continuance of the intrigue. Towards 
the end of January, 1686, James bestowed on the lady 
the title of Countess of Dorchester, and immediately 
there was a rumour that she was to have the former 
lodgings of the Duchess of Portsmouth at Whitehall. 
The Roman Catholic courtiers indignantly accused 
Lord Rochester and his wife (Henrietta, daughter of 
Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington) of using their in- 
fluence to persuade the King to retain the Countess 
near him; while they endeavoured to procure her 
dismissal by working on his religious susceptibilities. 
Writing to his niece, Lady Rutland, about " the new 
Countess," on February 6th, Peregrine Bertie says : 

308 



Preparations for the Struggle 

" Father Gifford pressed the King extreamly to 
remove her, and was seconded by four greate Lords, 
Sunderland, Tarconnings,* Arundell of Warder, and 
Dover, who all told him the advantage it gave to the 
enemy to retain a Protestant mistress. . . . The King's 
answer was that Father Gifford had spoke to him about 
the Countess of Do[r]chester, and that hee tooke it 
very kindly from him, being a very religious man ; 
but for their parts he said this was the first time he 
tooke them for Divines, and that he was sure they 
spoke not out of religion, but some private piques, and 
bid them for the future not concern themselves with 
things that did noe way relate to them." 

King James, however, had made up his mind to 
dismiss a cause of so much offence to his subjects of 
his own faith. His young Queen, too Mary Beatrice, 
though thirteen years a wife, was still only twenty- 
seven exhibited so much determination in the matter 
that he could scarcely have refused her demand,f 
even if he had felt much affection for Catherine Sedley, 
which the all-knowing Barillon says he did not. He 
only insisted that the patent for her title should be 
passed, and then at the end of February she left for 
Ireland, where he had previously given her an estate. 

* This is Bertie's spelling of Tyrconnel. Lord Sunderland, it is to be noticed, 
here appears openly among the Roman Catholics, although his public avowal 
was delayed until two years later. 

j- Barillon, in his letter of February yth (new style), tells Louis that the Queen 
declared flatly that she would not tolerate the proposed public scandal, that 
she would not see the new Countess, and that if the King did not part with 
her she herself would retire to a convent, in whatever country it might be. 

309 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Tyrconnel's intervention in the affair in the character 
of a " Divine " had been unwelcome to his master ; 
but James bore him no grudge for it, giving him his 
commission as Lieutenant-General in Ireland almost 
immediately after. Reports flew about of what was 
going to happen in Ireland. Clarendon writes to 
Rochester from Dublin before the appointment has 
been published : " This is a very tattling town ; but 
the talk of the town is usually founded on newsletters 
from England. The last of these said that Tyrconnel 
was to be made Duke of Leinster and Marquis of 
Dublin ; and that he is making haste hither to have 
a principal command in the army and bringing thirty 
commissions with him for alterations in the army ; 
and that all the courts of justice are to be totally 
changed." 

Ten days later Clarendon tells his brother that the 
Irish are very foolish in magnifying Tyrconnel's power. 
" It is most certain," he continues, " before he went 
hence he did openly brag what alterations should be 
made, both civil and military. By his discourses one 
would have thought that he had the absolute dominion 
to get the King to do whatever he proposed. As to 

the Chancellor, one day Lord T , discoursing with 

some of his friends, and railing at the Chancellor (which, 
it seems, he gives himself a great liberty of doing 
against any one he does not like), a gentleman in the 
company, a Roman Catholick, said : ' My Lord, what 
can youjsay against him ? He carries himself well in 

310 



Preparations for the Struggle 

his office ; and when any of us Irish come before him 
in his court, we find justice with dispatch.' To which 

Lord T replied : ' That is true ; but that is his 

craft, to be civil to us. But I know he does not love 
our countrymen, the natives ; and, by God, I will 
have him out, you shall see.'* To which the other 
said, ' I doubt, my Lord, this way will not serve the 
King.' To tell these stories which go up and down 
here of Lord Tyrconnel's behaviour in this kingdom, 
the insolence he shewed to some, the courtship he 
made to others, and the contempt he used most people 
with, would make one who knows him wonder. Cer- 
tainly he's a man of monstrous vanity, as well as pride 
and furious passion. But, as I cannot avoid sometimes 
hearing extravagant stories of him, I do assure you I 
make no reflection upon them ; and never mention his 
name, but when occasionally discourses bring it in ; 
nor shall there ever any thing be laid to my charge 
upon the account of my ill conduct towards him, 
whether present or absent." 

Among those who talked largely of what changes 
Tyrconnel was about to make in Ireland was the young 
Lord Dongan ; that is, Walter, son of Tyrconnel's 
nephew William, Earl of Limerick. According to 
Clarendon, Dongan was " a very prattling im- 
pertinent youth, and forward enough." As he was 

* In this same letter Clarendon mentions that he has just acquainted the 
Chancellor (Boyle) of " the King's pleasure to give him his ease." Tyrconnel's 
boast, therefore, seems to have been no empty one. The new Chancellor was 
Charles Porter, knighted by the King at the same time that he appointed him. 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

devoted to his great-uncle's interests, we need not 
accept this criticism of him as entirely fair. Early 
in April the young man asked and obtained leave 
to go over to England, which " makes great discourse " 
in Dublin, says Clarendon. " Those officers of the 
army who are lately come out of England say he is gone 

with his uncle Lord T 's direction to kiss the King's 

hand for a troop of horse, which they say he is to have 
upon the changes : and truly that seems very likely. 
But others will have it that he is become a statesman 
and is gone upon some deep matters relating to the 
Catholick cause." As a matter of fact, Dongan was 
appointed captain in his great-uncle's troop. Later 
he was to have his own regiment of dragoons, in which 
command we shall hear of him again. 

Clarendon did not believe that the King would 
consent to anything that would disgrace or mortify 
him. But he was expectant of trouble from Tyrconnel. 
The spirit in which he was prepared to meet this is 
illustrated in a curious letter to Rochester, in which 
we may recognise some of the self-complacency of the 
elder Clarendon, but not much of his fearless soul. 
" I will not be angry," he says ; " no, though my Lord 

T should bring down the commissions of the 

officers of the army (as some people here credibly report 
he will) yet I will not be angry. Nay, let him, when 
he is here, carry himself as it is generally believed he 
will, and feared by some of his wiser countrymen ; 
yet I will not be angry : nothing shall provoke me to 

312 



Preparations for the Struggle 

be out of temper. And I will have the vanity to tell 
you (though a man ought not to brag of his virtues) 
that it is not in any man's power to say he has seen me 
in the least passion since my being here : though 
perhaps I have had some provocations which other 
men would not have been so silent in."* 

During part of the time while Dublin was eagerly 
discussing what was to happen on his return, Tyrconnel 
was taking a course of the waters at Bath. When he 
went and how long he stayed does not appear ; but 
he returned to London on April 2yth to make his 
preparations for departure to Ireland. A month later 
he started on his way " with what powers or instruc- 
tions," wrote Ormonde in London to his friend South- 
well, " is not known, at least to me, nor, as I think, to 
others that know abundantly more than I do." 



* In a later letter he says : " I never had yet any difference with my Lord 
Tyrconnel ; and I cannot imagine why he and I should not agree in the King's 
business as well as any others. And I am sure the King knows I will be advised 
by my Lord Tyrconnel or any others in the affairs of the army, or in any other 
matters, as he commands me : and therefore I give no credit to those reports, 
knowing well His Majesty will not lessen any man in the authority he ought 
to have in the station he has put him and which he has given him by his 
commission." 

Macaulay is exceedingly unfair to Clarendon when, commenting on his 
statement that he never yet had any difference with Tyrconnel, he says : 
" Clarendon appears not to have recollected that there had once been a plot 
to ruin the fame of his innocent sister, and that in that plot Tyrconnel had 
borne a chief share. This is not exactly one of the injuries which high-spirited 
men most readily pardon. But, in that wicked court where the Hydes had 
long been pushing their fortunes, such injuries were easily forgiven and for- 
gotten, not from magnanimity or Christian charity, but from mere baseness 
and want of moral sensibility." We have seen on what evidence Richard 
TalbotVshare in the plot against Anne Hyde rests. 

313 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Before leaving London Tyrconnel had an unfortu- 
nate collision with the brother of the man with whom 
he was going to share the government of Ireland. 
Rochester, in spite of what discredit may have fallen 
upon him in connection with the Dorchester affair, was 
still powerful at Whitehall and continued to champion 
the Anglican section of King James's supporters as 
opposed to Sunderland and the Roman Catholics. As 
Treasurer of England he expected to have a voice in 
the financial affairs of Ireland, and, moreover, there 
were his brother's interests to be considered. We will 
leave the story to be told in the words of Sir S. Howe, 
writing to the Countess of Rutland on June 2nd : 
" The night before Lord Terconnell went for Irland, 
there happened a quarrell between the two great 
Lords, about making Trent,* a great Papist as well as 
a knowne great knave, vice Treasurer of Irland, which 
Lord Treasurer opposed with that violence that they 
parted with great anger on both sides. Lord Tir- 
connell's gone with full power to propegate the Roman 
Catholic religion there, and place and displace whom 
he pleases. Lord Clarendon," adds Howe, " has 
behaved himself extreamly well there, and has given 
the Protestants great incoragments, for which he will 
most certainly bee sent for home." 

And now at last Lord-Lieutenant and Lieutenant- 
General were to meet face to face. Clarendon's letters 

* *'.., Patrick Trant, soon to be knighted and to be made a Commissioner of 
the Revenue in Ireland. 

314 



Preparations for the Struggle 

to his brother became even more full and vivid than 
before, and since they are our only source of informa- 
tion as to the encounters between the two, it will 
be necessary to draw upon them largely in the follow- 
ing pages. After what has been said in the present 
chapter it will be unnecessary to repeat the warning 
that with regard to Tyrconnel Clarendon's account 
cannot be accepted as fair and unbiassed. We have a 
picture, drawn by an honest but in many ways a bigoted 
man, of one between whom and himself, however 
much at first he pretended to shut his eyes, there were 
a thousand causes of offence. 



315 



CHAPTER IV 

CLARENDON V. TYRCONNEL 

" " I "O-DAY about noon," writes Clarendon to 
-i. Rochester on June 5th, 1686, " notice was 
brought me that the yacht was in the bay ; upon 
which I sent my coach to Dunlary to meet my Lord 
Tyrconnel. He first set down his lady at his house 
and then came to the Castle : he was with me between 
4 and 5 of the clock. After the usual salutations he 
delivered me the King's letters, which, he told me, 
we might discourse upon at leisure. He told me he 
had brought all the commissions, which should be 
presently sent to me : but he desired he might see the 
list which my Lord President had sent me (for he had 
none) before they were given out." 

After Clarendon had made an appointment for the 
following afternoon to discuss the matter of the com- 
missions, Tyrconnel told him that " he longed to be 
out of town and to despatch the business of the army, 
that he might go over again into England to attend his 
health." The next day, which was a Sunday, he came 

316 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

to dinner at the Castle, and in Clarendon's private 
room afterwards urged the speedy delivery of the 
commissions, to enable him to leave Dublin soon ; 
" for he longed to make haste back into England for 
his health, which is every foot the burden of the song." 

Clarendon now thought his visitor was taking his 
leave, when suddenly " His Lordship began a rambling 
discourse." Immediately after his departure Claren- 
don made a note of what had been said, which he em- 
bodied in a letter to his brother two days later. Hence 
we have what should be a fairly faithful report of a very 
curious conversation. 

" My Lord," began Tyrconnel, " I am sent hither 
to view this army and to give the King an account of 
it. Here are great alterations to be made ; and the 
poor people who are put out think it my doing ; and, 
God damn me, I have little or nothing to do in the 
matter. For I told the King I knew not two of the 
captains nor other inferior officers in the whole army. 
I know there are some hard cases, which I am sorry 
for ; but, by God, I know not how to help them. 
You must know, my Lord, the King, who is a Roman 
Catholic, is resolved to employ his subjects of that 
religion, as you will find by the letters I have brought 
you, and therefore some must be put out to make 
room for such as the King likes. And I can tell you 
another thing, the King will not keep one man in his 
service who ever served under the usurpers." 

Clarendon answered that there was no need to tell 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

him this, for he did not take it upon himself to enquire 
how or why any man was put out of or into the army. 
It was his duty to obey the King's commands. He 
then went on to the subject of the " hard cases " of 
which Tyrconnel had spoken, and mentioned that of a 
Lieutenant-Colonel Maguire, whom he himself thought 
a man of merit. 

" My Lord, you do not know all," said Tyrconnel. 
" Besides all you have said I will tell you what I know 
to be true. That gentleman, in the late years of per- 
secution, received and sheltered all the poor Catholics 
who came to him ; and, by God, to have him now 
laid aside is a terrible thing. But, my Lord, when 
that is done, I would not have you represent any of 
their cases, which will anger the King and perplex him." 

Clarendon then spoke of the resolution to employ 
none who had ever served under Cromwell and his 
officers. He must have been well aware of this, for 
the point had been mentioned in both the patents 
of Charles II. to Rochester and of James to himself as 
Lord-Lieutenant. Nevertheless, he now expressed the 
hope that no positive rule would be made against 
such men, since it could not be observed, as His 
Lordship knew. 

" Who are they who are now employed who ever 
served the usurpers ? " asked Tyrconnel abruptly. 
But the Lord-Lieutenant was not to be drawn. He 
did not doubt, he said, that His Majesty was well 
satisfied with those whom he employed and that, 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

therefore, as long as they behaved themselves, he would 
not start objections against them. " And so I left His 
Lordship to find out whom I meant," observes 
Clarendon. 

Tyrconnel rose from his chair with a passionate 
exclamation : " By God, my Lord, these Acts of 
Settlement and this New Interest are damned 
things ! " 

Clarendon deprecated the discussion of such matters. 
" Neither you nor I," he said, " are well informed of 
all the motives and inducements which carried on 
those affairs twenty-six years since." 

" Yes," retorted Tyrconnel angrily, " we do know 
all those arts and damned roguery contrivances which 
procured those Acts." 

" My Lord, I do not know what you mean," Claren- 
don said. The King would not have the Acts of 
Settlement disturbed, he continued, and it was the 
business of Tyrconnel and himself, and of everybody 
else, to endeavour to reconcile people, to disperse 
jealousies, and to unite all to the common interest, 
so that trade in Ireland might flourish and the King's 
revenue might be increased. 

The other could not deny this. " I know the Acts 
of Settlement must not be touched, and, by God, it 
would make a confusion if they should." But he 
mentioned a compromise which had been suggested 
to him by the Lord Chief Justice Keating and Sir 
John Temple before he left Ireland in January, that 

319 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

the New Interest men might be willing to give up a 
third, or even a half, of their land if the remainder 
were secured to them permanently. From what they 
surrendered money might be raised to help those who 
were in want. 

Clarendon expressed his willingness to listen to the 
views of the gentlemen mentioned, or of anyone else 
recommended by Tyrconnel, if they would come to 
him. Then the conversation ended. " Well, I will 
say no more at present," were Tyrconnel's last words. 
" But, by God, my Lord, here have been foul damned 
things done here."* 

And so, writes Clarendon, " after an hour and half 
discoursing at this rate (for he is a loose and confused 
talxer) we parted." 

Next morning Tyrconnel was at the Castle again as 
early as nine o'clock, explaining that he had much to 
say. The Lord-Lieutenant politely answered that he 
should have as much time as he pleased. After some 
discussion on the subject of the commissions, Tyrconnel 
said that there was another reform to be made in the 
Irish army. " For, God damn me," he cried, " this 
Scotch battalion which is newly come into England 
has undone us. The King is so pleased with it that 
he will have all his forces in the same posture. We have 
here a great many old men and of different statures. 

* It must be admitted that what Dibdin says of Steevens the book-hunter 
is applicable to Tyrconnel : " His language was too frequently the language of 
imprecation." But the oaths doubtless lost nothing by Clarendon's recording 
of them, temperate as he was in language himself. 

320 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

They must all be turned out, for the King would have 
all his men young and of one size." 

Clarendon pleaded that at least the older men might 
not be turned out of the army until a military hospital, 
founded by Charles II. and contributed to by the 
men themselves, should be ready for their reception. 
" Well, we will talk of it again," said Tyrconnel. 
" Something must be done ; but, by God, the men 
must out. And, hang them, they have had the King's 
pay a great while ! " 

As here reported, Tyrconnel's words sound harsh 
and unfeeling. But it must be remembered that he 
habitually spoke very emphatically and that his suffer- 
ings from gout did not tend to make him gentler in 
his speech ; while it is not likely that Clarendon 
softened the expressions in retailing them to his brother. 
Tyrconnel, too, had a task in hand which it was 
exceedingly difficult to carry out tactfully. The army 
was firstly to be purged of the Cromwellian element, 
which was with good reason considered a danger to 
the Crown.* The Cromwellian soldiers were of 
course the oldest men in the force, and the readiest 
way of getting rid of them was on the score of their 
age. Clarendon was only asking for justice when he 

* King (State of the Protestants in Ireland, 57-8) speaks of the Irish army at 
James's accession consisting of " as loyal men and as cordial to the King's Service 
as anyone could be " and as " looking on him as their Master and Father, en- 
tirely depending on him and expecting nothing from anybody else." It is 
only necessary to read Carte's Life of Ormond to see how doubtful was the 
loyalty of this army even under Charles II., not a professed Roman Catholic 
like his brother. 

VOL. I. 321 21 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

said that the hospital should be ready for them 
before they were turned out. But Tyrconnel's in- 
structions, founded no doubt on his own suggestions, 
were for immediate " reform " of the troops under 
him. The only diplomacy which it occurred to him 
to use was to say beforehand that the changes would 
be few which he knew to be untrue, we cannot deny. 
He knew that the intention was not merely to dis- 
charge all the Cromwellians, officers and men, but to 
convert the force from what it was now into an army 
practically 'Roman Catholic throughout. There is 
this to be said in defence of his falsehood, that the 
King's interests demanded that the scheme should not 
be prematurely revealed. It was more consistent with 
Tyrconnel's nature to blurt out the truth, as indeed 
he did, to his own embarrassment, when he escaped from 
the restraint of Dublin into the provinces. 

He was anxious, after he had reviewed the Royal 
Regiment in St. Stephen's Green and put its new 
officers in their commands, to proceed to the country 
garrisons. Still keeping up the form of taking his 
orders from the Lord-Lieutenant, on June 9th he 
asked " when he should be despatched into the 
country ? For (said he) I would fain have done every- 
thing, that I might return into England." Clarendon 
said he might go when he pleased. Conversation then 
turned to the question of the admission of Roman 
Catholics into the corporations and their appointment 
as justices and sheriffs ; all of which Clarendon knew 

322 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

by his instructions he was expected to forward. Con- 
cerning the sheriffs Tyrconnel flared up. " By God, 
my Lord," he exclaimed, " I must needs tell you the 
sheriffs you made are generally rogues and old Crom- 
wellians. But I justified Your Excellency to the King 
and told him you were not to be blamed ; that you 
could not at that time know people yourself and were 
advised by the late Chancellor." Clarendon pro- 
tested that these sheriffs, generally speaking, were " as 
good a set of men as any that had been chosen these 
dozen years." " By God, I believe it," Tyrconnel 
replied ; " for there has not been an honest man 
sheriff in Ireland these twenty years ! " 

Next day Tyrconnel took his wife to his country 
house outside Dublin. It appears that he had now 
acquired the old home at Carton or Cartown, which 
he renamed Talbotstown probably at the time when 
he received his peerage, as his barony was of Talbots- 
town. This house being within easy reach of Dublin, 
he made a morning call on the Lord-Lieutenant on 
the nth, bringing with him his brother-in-law 
Newcomen and Richard Hamilton, for whom he had 
developed a great liking. Together they all discussed 
the quartering of the Irish army until dinner-time 
approached and Clarendon invited them to stay for 
the meal. Upstairs Tyrconnel took him aside and 
said : " The more I think of some of these changes, 
the more I am grieved. Who a devil named these 
men I know not." They agreed, in one particularly 
VOL. i. 323 21* 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

unjust case, to delay turning out the superseded officer, 
Tyrconnel exclaiming emphatically : " God damn those 
who represented these men to the King. I am sure 
I had nothing to do in it." 

Clarendon probably did not believe these assertions, 
having by this time, as his confidences to his brother 
show, conceived a violent aversion from his nominal 
Lieutenant-General. It was certainly very galling to 
him to have to put up with not only his independent 
action in military affairs, but also his interference in 
the civil sphere. Four days after his previous visit 
Tyrconnel appeared again at the Castle and was very 
insistent and impatient about the admission of the 
Roman Catholics into the corporations and municipal 
offices. He objected to Clarendon's choice of 
mayor and sheriffs of Dublin for the next year. 
All three were as ill men as could be chosen, he 
complained. Did Lord Tyrconnel say that out of 
his own knowledge ? queried Clarendon. 

" I know none of the men myself," was the answer ; 
" only one of the sheriffs was heretofore my tailor, 
whom I never heard well of. But since I saw you on 
Saturday, very good men, Roman Catholics and 
Protestants, have given me this account of them." 
Then it was strange, said Clarendon, that no one had 
told him so. " My Lord," said Tyrconnel, " you 
must not wonder many come to me who will not 
trouble Your Excellency. I hope you are not angry 
that men apply themselves to me. I shall always tell 

324 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

you things as soon as I hear them." He was not 
angry, Clarendon protested ; but why should 
Tyrconnel's informants make any difficulty of coming 
to him ? He was sure he was easy of access to all. 
" Why then, my Lord, I will tell you plainly (for you 
shall always find me a plain man), these men who have 
been with me do apprehend you are inclined the other 
way. ... I myself have no reason to think you partial. 
I only tell you what people say." 

The Lord-Lieutenant's indignation was now really 
roused and he pressed to be told why he was accused 
of being " inclined the other way." All he could get 
out of Tyrconnel for the moment was, " By God, 
my Lord, you must not wonder if the Catholics do 
think you a little partial after your making such a set 
of sheriffs, who are four parts of five rogues." But 
Clarendon returned to the point three days later and 
obtained the names of two gentlemen who had accused 
him. 

Tyrconnel's gout was again troubling him severely, 
and he determined therefore to combine a cure with 
his inspection of the forces. Clarendon, in going 
through the formality of giving him orders for the 
inspection, asked him to be a little careful in view of 
the alarm caused by the military changes and not to 
frighten people into believing that the King meant 
to exclude any of his subjects that is to say, the 
Protestants from his service. " By God, my Lord," 
Tyrconnel answered, " I never asked a soldier in my 

325 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

life what religion he was of." Some of the Roman 
Catholic officers, Clarendon told him, had talked very 
foolishly and publicly in another strain. The Chief 
Justice Keating they had all three come back to the 
Castle together from a Privy Council meeting also 
warned Tyrconnel that nothing could be more pre- 
judicial to the King's service than that it should be 
thought no Englishman must be in it. " To which 
my Lord Tyrconnel replied, more calmly than he 
uses to speak, that he would take care there should be 
no complaint." 

On June iyth Tyrconnel took leave of the Lord- 
Lieutenant " with a thousand compliments of friend- 
ship, &c.," and went home to Talbotstown, to start 
for Wexford next day. " Whether my Lord Tyrconnel 
will continue to be so terrible as he is at present," 
says a letter to Rochester, " nothing but time 
will determine : at present nothing can more dis- 
satisfy honest men than the ranting, swaggering way 
he is in, and the abominable insolent language he 
treats men with. He has very good council given him 
by some Roman Catholicks, whom he cursed to ten 
thousand devils for their pains. He is gone to the 
waters ; which, it is hoped, may call [? cool] him. If 
not, he will be looked upon as a man beside himself." 

The changes already made and the rumours of those 
to come were having a most disastrous effect in Ireland, 
Clarendon complains. " It is impossible to tell you 
the alterations that are grown in men within this 

326 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

month : but the last week ... 120 people went in 
one ship from hence to Chester ; and multitudes are 
preparing from all parts of the kingdom to be gone 
as fast as they can get in their debts and dispose of 
their stocks." 

Clarendon was not exaggerating when he wrote 
thus of the scare among the Irish Protestants. The 
appointment of a number of Roman Catholics to the 
Privy Council, including Tyrconnel himself, the Earl 
of Limerick, Major-General Justin MacCarty, and 
Colonel Richard Hamilton ; the orders for the admission 
of Roman Catholics into the corporations and various 
offices ; and the steady progress of the remodelling 
of the army, revealing the intended Romanisation of 
the force ; these were sufficient to cause consternation 
in a less nervous community than that of the colonists 
in Ireland. And in addition there was a rumour of 
more authority to be bestowed on the Lieutenant- 
General at the expense of the Lord-Lieutenant. " I 
am just now informed," writes Clarendon on June I9th, 
" from a good hand that my Lord Tyrconnel has sent 
into England for larger powers."* Even worse was 
threatened. " This morning," says Clarendon on July 
6th, " a very worthy person and man of quality told 
me ... that Mr. Chetwood, my Lord Dartmouth's 

* He continues : " Sure, methinks, the King might think how by his letter 
he has retrenched the power and authority he gave me under the Great Seal ; 
and I do not know that I deserve that mortification, which will make all the 
world quickly look upon me as a most pitiful creature." In a letter to Sunder- 
land three days later he speaks in an equally mournful strain of the treatment 
which he has received. 

327 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

chaplain, had written to his brother here that my 
Lord Tyrconnel would get me recalled within six 
months ; and therefore he advised his brother to 
leave this kingdom." 

On July I9th Tyrconnel returned to Dublin, his 
primary object being to review the Guards for the 
first time since the new recruits had been admitted 
to their ranks. On the following day Clarendon re- 
ports to Sunderland a long conversation with Tyrconnel 
on the remodelling of the army, in the course of which 
Tyrconnel had said that " the King would have no 
distinction made between his subjects ; and he himself 
had never put out a man for being a Protestant nor 
taken in one because he was a Roman Catholic, but 
always chose those men who seemed most likely to serve 
the King, without asking what religion they were of." 

The truth of this statement, as far as it concerned 
himself, was very soon challenged. On the 2ist, after 
a Privy Council meeting, Clarendon invited Tyrconnel 
and Lord Chancellor Porter to the Castle. He spoke 
to Tyrconnel about some orders which he was alleged 
to have given at a recent inspection at Kilkenny, that 
only Roman Catholics were to be admitted into the 
army. Who reported such a thing of him ? demanded 
Tyrconnel. Lord Roscommon* and other officers, he 

* i.e., Gary Dillon, fifth Earl of Roscommon. He was uncle to Wentworth 
Dillon, who married Isabella Boynton, and succeeded him when he died without 
issue in January, 1684. He was a Protestant and at the end of 1688 had himself 
presented to the Prince of Orange, for which he was not unnaturally attainted 
by King James. Isabella, like her uncle-in-law, turned Williamite, and wai 
attainted also. 

328 



Clarendon v. Tyrconncl 

was told. He firmly denied it. " But whilst we were 
together, it happened that my Lord Roscommon 
was in the next room, booted, newly come to town. 
. . . Indeed, it was a very extraordinary thing between 
my Lords Tyrconnel and Roscommon ; the latter 
coming in so pat into the room, when everybody 
thought him out of town." Challenged as to what 
orders the Lieutenant-General had given him, Ros- 
common said that he had charged him to put no men 
into the vacancies in his regiment except Roman 
Catholics. Tyrconnel answered that he could not have 
committed such an absurdity. " God's wounds," said 
he, " to ask a soldier, if he comes well mounted and be 
a likely fellow, what religion he is of, is a ridiculous 
thing." As Roscommon persisted in his statement, 
" my Lord Tyrconnel, smiling, said, * God damn me, 
Cary, I could not give such orders ; for I knew you 
had taken some Roman Catholicks into your troop. 
Prithee let us talk a little, what past, how could I 
bid thee do so ? ' Then my Lord Roscommon replied, 
* My Lord, I will say anything you will have me ; 
but, by God, I will not deny the truth. If I were now 
to die, I must declare that you commanded me, upon 
my allegiance, to admit none but Roman Catholicks 
into the regiment ; and your Lordship knows you 
have given the same orders to several officers of the 
other regiment.' * By God,' says my Lord Tyrconnel, 
' that is strange.' ' 

It is impossible to come to any other conclusion 

329 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

from this narrative than that Tyrconnel was an ex- 
ceedingly poor liar. He had been instructed to proceed 
cautiously with the conversion of the army into a 
Roman Catholic body, and having by his indiscreet 
tongue let out the secret before officers who were 
not even of his own faith, he now floundered hopelessly 
as he realised his mistake. It is not by such unskilful 
blundering in mendacity that he would have won the 
title of " Lying Dick Talbot," which Lord Macaulay, 
following the author of The State of the Protestants in 
Ireland, pretends was his. 

Tyrconnel plainly showed his confusion when he 
next visited Dublin Castle. In the course of a discussion 
one hour and a half long with the Lord-Lieutenant, he 
" fell into cursing and swearing that he could not 
imagine why the bringing in a few Popish officers 
and soldiers should make such jealousies and appre- 
hensions among people that they must lose their lands 
and the Acts of Settlement were broken, when it would 
appear, after he had made all the alterations he now 
designed, that there would not be a seventh part of 
the army Roman Catholick." Clarendon pointed out 
that of two thousand three hundred new men put 
in since Tyrconnel arrived, two thousand were 
Roman Catholics,* and that some of the officers and 
men boasted that by Christmas Day there would not 
be an Englishman or a Protestant in the Irish army. 

* In a letter to the King on August i4th, 1686, Clarendon says that 2,000 
is a fourth part of the whole Irish army. 

330 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

Some course, he urged, must be taken to prevent such 
talk as this. 

Tyrconnel made no reply to this except that he 
would see him after the inspection of the regiments 
in Ulster, on which he was starting at the end of the 
month. He would be away a week, and very quickly 
after his return, he said, he would be going to England. 

Before he went north, however, Tyrconnel figures 
in one more curious scene described by Clarendon 
to Rochester, which we will leave in Clarendon's own 
words. He is writing on Saturday, July 3 1st, from 
Chapel Izod, where he was spending the nights and 
part of the daytime during the hot weather, only 
visiting the Castle once daily. " On Thursday in the 
afternoon," he says, " my Lady Longford and some 
other company who had dined here went to visit 
Lady Tyrconnel, the house being about eight miles 
off. My sister* went with them. She tells me my 
Lord was at home, and that he singled her from the 
rest of the company. After some common things 
he asked her what her husband was gone for into 
England ? She told him he had several projects on 
foot, and that he hoped to succeed in some or other 
of them, that they might be able to live ; for they were 
at present very low in their fortunes. * I hate a pro- 
ject,' said he ; ' Why do not your brothers do some- 
thing for him ? ' She says she told him that she 

* " My sister Frank," as Clarendon calls her elsewhere. After her husband's 
departure for England she appears to have lived with her brother until he left 
Ireland in February, 1687. 

331 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

doubted not her brothers' kindness to her when it was 
in their power. To which he replied, * My Lord- 
Lieutenant may provide for you when he pleases. 
Here is Price, the Receiver-General, a great rascal. 
Why does not your brother turn him out and put your 
husband into his place ? Do you know Price to be 
an ill man ? ' ' No, indeed, my Lord,' said she ; ' I 
only know that he has been always very civil to me.' 
4 And,' said he, ' here is Bridges, a Commissioner of 
the Revenue, a damned fanatick. He is kept in by 
your brothers. Get my Lord-Lieutenant to put him 
out and to bring in your husband there.' She says 
she answered that she nor her husband desired to make 
their fortunes by ruining others ; and, so, after many 
compliments and professions of how much he would 
serve her, the conversation ended, as she tells me." 

On August 5th Tyrconnel, having inspected the 
Northern troops, returned to Talbotstown, He called 
at the Castle two days later, arranged to be present 
at a meeting there the following week, and once more 
expressed his intention of going to England quickly. 
As he had from the start spoken of his anxiety to 
get back, there was nothing necessarily suspicious in 
his declaration now. But Clarendon had, during his 
absence in Ulster, been discussing his behaviour with 
various people, including Sir Charles Porter, Major- 
General MacCarty, and a certain Mr. Nihill, a rising 
young lawyer from Limerick, who had lately been 
made of the King's Council. Nihill in particular 

332 



Clarendon v. Tyrconncl 

(whom Clarendon considered " very proud and pert 
if no worse," but yet listened to him) gave him a very 
ill name. Porter was burning to meet Tyrconnel, 
because he heard that he had been saying that he, 
the Lord Chancellor, had taken a bribe of 10,000 
from the Whigs. And MacCarty sympathized, or 
pretended to sympathize, with Porter, swearing that 
if Tyrconnel was not a friend to his Lordship, neither 
should he be one to him. Primed with what he had 
heard, the Lord-Lieutenant was ready to believe any- 
thing of Tyrconnel. But, it must be noted, the only 
result was to make him more bitter against him in 
his letters. To his face he still continued as mild 
and long-suffering as before. 

The meeting which had been arranged between 
Clarendon and Tyrconnel took place at the Castle 
on August 1 3th. To it had been invited also the Lord 
Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice ; the Solicitor- 
General ; Stephen Rice (Chief Baron of the Ex- 
chequer) ; Major-General MacCarty ; Colonel Richard 
Hamilton ; and a Mr. Richard Nagle, a Roman Catholic 
lawyer of good standing in his profession, who had 
recently been appointed to the Irish Privy Council. 
Thanks to his own talents and to the patronage of 
Tyrconnel, Nagle was destined soon to rise high. 
Clarendon's first impression of Nagle was that he was 
" a very honest and able man " though he disapproved 
of a practising lawyer being put on the Privy Council 
but he later modified his opinion as to his honesty. 

333 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

The object of the meeting was to discuss a Com- 
mission of Grace, which the Lord-Lieutenant had 
strongly recommended to the King, whereby the 
Settlement of Ireland was to be confirmed, while the 
original owners of the estates involved were to be 
indemnified. Clarendon believed that nothing short 
of a confirmation of the Settlement would quiet the 
apprehensions of His Majesty's subjects in Ireland. It 
is obvious that he was thinking of the colonists rather 
than of anyone else, though he wished to be just to 
the rest. Tyrconnel, however, whose aim for so many 
years had been restoration, not indemnification, of the 
old Irish proprietors of the land, would not hear 
of Clarendon's scheme ; and MacCarty seconded his 
chief vigorously. Keating alone supported the Lord- 
Lieutenant ; Rice, Nagle, and " those of their opinion " 
temporising and holding that nothing should be done 
except through Parliament. After three hours of 
argument the meeting broke up without coming to 
any agreement. In his irritation Clarendon wrote 
next day to both Sunderland and Rochester, complain- 
ing of his opponents. " If I may be allowed to make 
any judgment upon this whole consultation," he says 
to Sunderland, " I must needs say that I do not think 
they design to have the present settlements confirmed, 
but on the contrary quite shaken." To his brother 
he expresses himself very bitterly concerning Tyrconnel. 
All he himself desired was that the King should know 
the truth of all sides. " But I do assure you, truth, 

334 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

even in bare matter of fact, will never be known from 
my Lord Tyrconnel ; which, you may think, I say in 
anger, but seriously I do not. It is impossible you 
can believe, except you found it, as we do here, how 
wonderfully false he is in almost every thing he says. 
What he desires to be done one day, or avers he has 
done, he will as positively deny another, though 
witnesses can prove him in the wrong ; nay, though 
sometimes his own hand is shewed against him. Really 
his passion and his rage (we know not for what), makes 
him forget what he says and does ; and, when he is 
convinced that he is in the wrong, he is then in such 
a fury that the like is not usual." A little later in the 
same letter he continues : " A great friend of Lord 
Tyrconnel' s told a friend of mine the other day over 
a bottle that the business which angered my Lord 
Tyrconnel so much was that he was not in the govern- 
ment ; that he would never leave till he got me out, 
not doubting but he should then be the man ... If 
I should be continued, or if I should be recalled and 
this great lord not succeed me, he will be mad." 

On August 1 6th it was known that the Lieutenant- 
General had ordered a vessel to be ready at an hour's 
notice to transport him from Dublin to England, and 
that he was taking Nagle over with him, " to make 
projects for Bills." Concerning the nature of these Bills, 
Clarendon had no doubts. " By the discourses he 
and his friends make here," he writes to Rochester, 
" they are such as will turn this kingdom topsy-turvy." 

335 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

Nagle personally told him that he was going to England 
on his private account, for his health, and not at all 
upon anything relating to the public. But in Dublin 
everyone was convinced that a new Settlement and 
the calling of a Parliament were the least that was 
designed. 

Tyrconnel's departure was delayed by an attack 
of illness which for a time confined him to his house 
at Talbotstown. He intimated that he would be at 
Dublin on August 26th with his family on their way 
to England. (This is the only hint which we have 
that he and Frances had their daughters with them 
in Ireland now.) Clarendon did not believe in this 
illness. " It is said he has been much indisposed," 
he tells Rochester ; " and I know people have been 
to visit him, but refused to see him with this excuse 
that he was very ill : and yet he rides abroad every 
day. Some say he had lately an express out of England, 
which has much angered him by the letters he 
brought." 

On the 23rd Tyrconnel was sufficiently recovered 
to call at the Castle, where he had another three hours' 
talk with the Lord-Lieutenant. " Much discourse as 
loose and as far from coming to a conclusion as at 
our former conference," Sunderland is informed. 

About noon on the 26th Tyrconnel at last went on 
board a boat for Chester. In view of the rumours in 
" the very tattling town " of Dublin as to what he was 
going to do when he reached London, Clarendon 

336 



Clarendon v. Tyrconnel 

thought it prudent to write to both King and Queen, 
enclosing the letters in one to Rochester, whom he asked 
to burn them if he did not approve of them. To 
James he said : " This morning my Lord Tyrconnel 
imbarked for England, and, as he says himself, intends 
to make representations to Your Majesty of some 
persons, which will not be to their advantage. Pos- 
sibly I may be in the number ; for every man is to be 
well or ill thought of as they agree with him. I must 
confess I have not been of his mind in some things ; but 
I am sure Your Majesty will not condemn any man 
unheard ; and so long I am safe." In his letter to the 
Queen Clarendon defended himself against the expected 
attacks of Tyrconnel. " Possibly I may be in the 
bundle of black characters which are carried over," 
he says. " But as long as I am under Your Majesty's 
protection I am sure whatever any one shall say to 
my prejudice will be fully examined before it makes 
any impression in you." 

Probably Clarendon felt more secure of the Queen's 
help than of the King's ; for Her Majesty was still 
on very friendly terms with Lady Rochester and her 
husband a fact which tends to discredit the story 
of their support of Lady Dorchester earlier in the year 
and was no believer in the schemes of the ultra- 
Papists. With regard to King James, on the other 
hand, Clarendon, however badly he was informed 
as to the state of affairs at Whitehall, can scarcely have 
been under the illusion that he still trusted either 
VOL. i. 337 22 



Little Jennings and Fighting Dick Talbot 

himself or Rochester as much as he did at the begin- 
ning of his reign. There is, indeed, a note of too much 
insistence in his statement, " I am sure Your Majesty 
will not condemn any man unheard ; and so long I 
am safe." 

But, like many another honest man of the period, 
Clarendon was in a dilemma. He wanted to trust 
the King, but feared his advisers. Among the friends 
who tried to comfort Clarendon now was John Evelyn. 
A letter of his is preserved, written from Says Court 
in September, 1686, evidently in answer to one from 
Clarendon complaining about Tyrconnel. " The 
character Your Excellency gives of the huffing greate 
man is just," says Evelyn. " How the noyse he makes 
will operate I know little of ; what it does with you 
(and would everywhere do else) is sufficiently evident. 
But God is above all, and Your Lordship's prudence, 
courage and steady loyaltie will, if it surmount not all 
malevolence, purchase you the estimation of all good 
subjects, and I doubt not but that of His Ma tie also." 

It would be difficult to imagine two characters 
more dissimilar than Tyrconnel and " good Mr. 
Evelyn," as his friend Pepys very justly calls him. 
Nevertheless, we cannot doubt that Tyrconnel was 
every whit as convinced as the other that God and all 
good subjects were on his side ; and of the two it 
was he, not Evelyn, who staked the most upon his faith. 

END OF VOL. I. 
Printed at The Chapel River Press, Kingston, Surrey. 



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