GENEALOGY OF THE TAAFFE FAMILY
a chapter from
MEMOIRS OF THE FAMILY OF TAAFFE
Unpublished, Vienna, Karl Graf Taaffe, 1856
The family of Taaffe has been of great antiquity and considerable repute in the counties of Louth and Sligo and has produced many eminent persons, among whom was Sir Richard Taaffe, who flourished in the time of King Edward I. and died in 1287; contemporary with whom the Lord Nicholas Taaffe, who by deed dated at Clantarffe, in Crastino animarum 1284, gave in pure alms to God, the blessed Mary, and the Knights Templar in Ireland, his lands of Killgergy, and died 30. Oct. 1288 (16. Edw. I.) leaving issue John Taaffe, Archbishop of Armagh, who died in 1306, and Richard FitzNicholas Taaffe, against whom by virtue of his fathers said charter, Adam, Prior of the holy trinity in Dublin, recovered 400 acres of land in Killergy with twenty marks cost in Hilary term 1291. He left issue two sons, Richard and Nicholas, who about 1310 gave and confirmed the manor of Donacumper in the couty of Kildare, to the priory of St. Wolstan, and in 1334 (8. Edw. III.) had a grant from the crown of lands in Kenlys etc to the value of £10 a year, during pleasure for his persecution of Sir Richard de Mandeville, John Cogan and others, the murderers of William de Burgo, Earl of Ulster.
Richard Taaffe Esq. was seated at Ballybraggan and Castelumpnagh, and in 1315 (9. Edw. II.) was Sheriff of the county of Louth, when Hugh de Lacie, the younger Earl of Ulster, for inciting Edward Bruce to invade Ireland, for joining him with all his force, causing him to be proclaimed King, and committing divers murders and outrages was condemned to be drawn with horses, afterwards to be hanged and quartered, one quarter with his head to be set up in Dublin, and the others.in Dogheda, Dundalk and Trim, and his bowels to be burned; but the Archbishop of Armagh and others interceding with the Lord Justice to respite his execution until the King's pleasure might be known, his body was delivered for safe custody -to this Richard Taaffe, who kept him until he was ordered to be hanged at Drogheda. On 19. March 1336 by the name of Richard Taaffe of Castelumpnagh, he obtained the Kings Writ of Ease. being excused by patent during his life from attending or being put on assizes, juries etc . . .
He was founder of the family of Ballybraggan, Athclare, Bolics, Stormanstown, Cookstown, Stephenstown, Ranitty, Dromin and Harleston, from the last of which the Lord Viscount Taaffe derives. By his wife Joan (who after married John Rochford and pleaded her dower in 1384 against her son of 40 messuages, 2 mills, 8 carucates of land, 80 acres of meadow, 200 of pasture, 200 of wood, 500 of moore and bog, and 12 pence rent in Ballybraggan, Duncashell, Athclare, Mandesvilstown, Droming, Ratheskyr, Wodeton, Drakeston etc.... in the county of Louth) the said Richard left John FitzRichard Taaffe, who in 1349 was the Kings Coroner, being then styled John Taaffe, senior of Ballybraggan Liscahan and Rath near Platen; and by Rose, his wife, was father of John FitzJohn Taaffe, who in 1342 purchased half a carucate of land in Kiltaltyn from Michael Bath and Mariot his wife, and his issue were Thomas FitzJohn, Nicholas FitzJohn Taaffe of Rathmolyn (who by Joan his wife had Adam FitzNicholas of the same place, his second son, his eldest being Simon, who was living in 1363, which Adam in 1368 pleaded £300 against Walter Cusack (and Richard FitzJohn of Gibston, who had issue Nicholas FitzRichard his heir, and John FitzRichard of Ballybraggan and of Liscahan, who in 1411, sued William More of Bermeath, cousin and heir to John Taaffe of Castelumpnagh for £1000, which John was living in 1382 and probably is the same person who was Sheriff of Louth in 1377 and married Alicia; who on his decease remarried with John Talbot. Nicholas Fitz-Richard the eldest son, succeeded at Ballybraggan, and was father of Richard FitzNicholas, his successor there, living in 1365, whose son Nicholas in 1414 (2. Hen. V) was appointed one of the Keepers of the Peace in the county of Louth, with power to assess men, horses and arms; and to him succeeded Sir Nicholas Taaffe, who in 1441 was Sheriff of the county of Louth, when he did great service to the English government in Ireland, and his son Sir Robert 13. April 1468 with 70 horses joined the Mayor of Drogheda at Ardee, who with 500 archers and 200 pole-axes marched against O'Reily and his sons, MacCabe and MacBrady, who had entered and wasted Louth with 2400 men. At Malpas-bridge they came to an engagement, where O'Reily, his sons and 400 men were slain; for which signal service K. Edward IV. the next year gave the town of Drogheda a sword, to be carried before the Mayor, and the annual sum of £20 for the maintenance thereof.
To him succeeded Lawrence Taaffe Knt. who in 1472 was one of the 13 honorable and most faithfully disposed persons in the counties of Kildare, Dublin, Mead and Louth, established by act of Parliament a society, by the name of the Captain and Brethren at Arms , or the Brotherhood of St. George for the preservation of the English Pale.- From him descended Peter Taaffe of Ballybraggan Esq. whose son and heir Nicholas in 1552 (6. Edw. VI.) had a special livery of his inheritance and represented the County of Louth in the Parliament, which met 2. January 1559. He left issue John Taaffe of Ballybraggan and of Harleston Esq. who had four sons, viz
1. Christopher, to whom a special livery of the estate was granted, 4. March 1606. He married Susanna, third daughter of Luke, the first Earl of Fingal, and was succeeded in his estates by his son John of Braganstown, who had a like livery by patent, 5. August 1633; but he with his son Christopher being engaged in the rebellion of 1641, the same was forfeited.
2. Sir William, ancestor to the Lord Taaffe.
3. Peter of Dromin in Louth, who during the rebellion in Q. Elizabeth's reign, was murdered in his own house, and left issue Jenico, the father of John; and Lawrence, who in 1583 lived at Moymet, and 31. March that year received a warrant from the Queen to have the first pensioner's place that should fall void (after the. preferring of Richard Wood and Roger Lucas) and that in the mean time he should be otherwise relieved, the manner of which relief se referred to the Deputy's discretion, who could best judge what was meet to be done for the present necessity of the poor gentleman, whom she was induced to relieve for his good services, sundry times done both before and in the time of the rebellion, following therein his father's steps, who was murdered in his own house, and had his goods carried away and his house burned and spoiled, in revenge of a special good piece of service performed to her by his said son. And K. James I. for the same reason, by patent dated 16. Oct. 1624, pursuant to Privy Seal at Westminster 17. July, gave and confirmed to him and his heirs the castle, town and lands of Peppardstown in the county of Louth; which were then and had been many years in the occupation of him and his ancestors.
4. Lucas, married to Annabella daughter of Thomas Spring, Esq. (the first of that name in Kerry, by his wife daughter of John Browne of Awney, Esq.) by whom he had one son Christopher, a Captain in the regiment whereof Dominick Ferreter was Major, with whom having some angry words, the Major commanded two of Doctor Field's sons his kinsmen, then in their company, to shoot Captain Taaffe, if he did not quit the place, which one of them accordingly did. By the daughter of FitzGerald of Ballynasquiddane, he left one son Lucas, a Captain in the Irish army, who retired into France upon the revolution, and by Elizabeth Gunter, his wife left one son Abel Taaffe of Tipperary.
Sir William Taaffe of Harleston, of Ballymote and of Smarmore, the second son of John Taaffe of Harleston and Ballybragan, distinguished himself by his services to the crown, during the course of Tyrone's rebellion. On 1. Nov. 1597, he was made constable of St. Leger's castle; and after the Spaniards in 1601 had landed at Kingsale; and, in order to subsist, had taken a large prey of cattle and sheep, which were in a seeming island on the southside of the town beyond the water, not to be entered but by a march to a neck of land of 8 or 9 miles about, Captain Taaffe used such expedition, that he attained the place before night, and by a hot skirmish recovered the prey, although under the cover of Castlenyparke; manned purposely to secure them. On 10. February 1601, the Lord Barry and he routed Donogh Moyle MacCarthy's men; and at the siege of Kingsale he behaved with such singular courage and conduct, that he was knighted; and in December 1602 commanding the Irish in the Queen's pay in Carbery, he engaged a band of rebels under the apostolic Vicar Owen MacEgan (whose barbarity was such as to cause every Irishman, that served the Queen and fell into his hands, to be confessed and absolved, and then instantly executed) whom he killed 5. January with 140 of his men, near the river Bandon, took all their cattle, and (upon O'Suleivan's flight) wasted his country and reduced his castles, whereby and the Nuncio's death the MacCarthies of Carbery submitted to mercy. By this success over the Irish the kingdom was settled in a state of peace, and when K. James ascended the throne, he put such methods in execution, as he judged most conducive to the establishment thereof; the principal of which was the plantation of the forfeited lands, and the disposition of them to such persons, as he was assured not only deserved a reward for their past services, but would continue to promote the tranquility of the Kingdom and secure it from future commotions: among whom Sir William Taaffe had not the least share of his Majesty's Bounty, as well as of Q. Elizabeth, having served them both with great fidelity.
The Queen in reward of his service, by her letter from Greenwich 6. July 1592 ordered him a lease, or leaves in possession or reversion, of so many crown lands in Connaught, as should amount to £30 a year, for 30 years, without fine; and K. James by Patent 9. January 1603 granted to him in fee-farm the Rectory of Ballykilly, parcel of the Priory of Inistiock, lately demised to Sir Lucas Dillon, the Precinct of S. Mary de Insulae vitae in O'Carrols country, with other religions possessions in the counties of Waterford and Cavan; and 20. of that month the manor of Smarmore in the county of Louth, the town and lough of Ballinlowre in the county of Dublin, the Abbey of Odorney in Kerry, the Rectories of Odorney, Mollahiffe and Rathreogh with other hereditaments in those counties and in Cork, Waterford, Sligo, Longford, Meath, Westmeath, Kildare, Mayo, Tipperary and Queen's county, to hold by the 20th. part of a Knight's fee, and £37 8 s. 6 d. rent. Also, 16. July 1604, he had a grant of the entire territory or country of Ichonloe, in the county of Cork, containing 28 small carucates of land, each consisting of 120 acres, lying in Muskery, to hold by the like tenure, and the rent of £5 1 s. Irish. - Farther he passed patent 20. January 1610 for 1000 acres of escheated land in Cavan; and 2. July 1617 the King gave him the town and land of Ballintogher, Drumconragh and many others in the baronies of Corren and Tirrerill in the county of Sligo, to hold as the castle of Athlone by knight's service; in which patent is contained a grant to his son and heir John (then of Cotletstown), his heirs and assignees, of the castle, town and lands of Cotletstown and divers others in the said last county; some parts of which having been by former grants given to Francis Edgeworthe of Dublin Esq. from whom Sir William Taaffe at a great expense for the better security of his estate had acquired them, and some of them being pretended to lie in the county of Leitrim, he passed a new patent (to avoid all doubts and questions) 17. April 1620, of the lands of Ballintogber etc. . . . to hold in capite, which were created into the manor of Ballintogher.
On 21. April 1630 he makes his will and thereby bequeaths his body to be buried in the chancel of the church of Athirdee, where his ancestors lay, and directs his well beloved son Sir John Taaffe, immediately after his death to cause to be erected a monument over his burying-place, for effecting whereof he left £ 50, if in his life-time the same was not finished; and that his son the second year after his decease should pay the sum of £170 to such persons and pious uses, as his trusty and well beloved cousin and friend Walter Evers of Bingerston, in Meath Esq. should distribute and appoint, etc.... He married to his first wife Elizabeth daughter of Sir William Brett of Tulloch in Fingal, secondly Ismay, daughter of Sir Christopher and sister to Sir John BeIlew, Knts :, and dying 9. Febr. 1630 was buried in Ardee, having issue by second wife John his heir, Mary married to John Taaffe of Arthurstown, and Eleanor, to Richard Taaffe of Cookstown, both in the county of Louth.
Sir John Taaffe was knighted in his father's life-time, and the King (as he expresseth himself in his Privy Seal date at Westminster 27. June 1628 (Rot. A. Car. II.. 1. p. D. R. 26) having received special commendation of his virtues and abilities, of his father's long services in the wars of Ireland with much valour and reputation, and that he was a principal gentleman of an ancient English family, and well affected to His Majestys interests, was pleased to advance him to the dignities of Baron of Ballymote and Viscount of Corren, by patent bearing date Dublin, 1. August 1628; and 14. July 1634 he took his seat in the House of Peers. After the commencement of the rebellion he received a letter at his seat Ballymote signed by Sir Phelim O'Neile at Braganstown in February 1641, to this purpose.
That his Lordship with the rest of the Roman Catholic confederates in the province of Connaught, should vigorously prosecute the war, according to their first undertaking, until all the heretics were routed ont; and that if they did not unanimously proceed in that business, he would, as soon as he had reduced Drogheda, march thither with his army, to spoil and destroy all those that were refractory, for that they were all as deeply engaged in the business as he was, and should not withdraw when they pleased (Depositions of the Protestants). If the contents of this letter were true, his Lordship was freed by death from his engagements, for he departed this life before 9. of January 1642 and was interred at Ballymote the burial place of the family. By Anne, daughter of Theobald, the first Viscount Dillon, he had eleven sons and four daughters, viz.
1. Theobald created Earl of Carlingford.
2. Anna married to Randall Plunket, brother of the Baron of Dunsany.
3. Lucas, who during the rebellion was Major-General in Connaught, and in October. 1649 made Governor of Ross, with 1500 foot, to defend the place against Cromwell; after whose reduction of the Kingdom he submitted, with his brother Francis, and the forces under their command, upon the articles concluded at Downmore ; yet was excepted from pardon for life and estate, and being forced to retire, served for some time as a Colonel in Italy and Spain; but deceased in Ireland and was buried at Ballymote. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Stephenson of Dunmoylin, in the of county Limerick Esq., and left an only child May, married to Richard Burke of Derrymaclaghtny, in the county of Galway Esq.
4. Francis, a Colonel in the rebellion of 1641, died without an issue at Naples.
5. Captain William, ancestor to the present Viscount Taaffe.
6. Edward, died without an issue.
7. Thomas married in Flanders and had three sons and one daughter; Lucas, Theobald, who died unmarried, Charles and Anne.
8. James, a Franciscan friar.
9. George died in the 16. year of his age.
10. Jasper, married the daughter of Sir William Hill Knt. and was killed in battle without an issue.
11. Christopher who died unmarried after the year 1625 in the 21. year of his age.
12. Charles, was abbot. of the Cistercian Abbey of Boyle in the county of Roscommon.
13. Ismay, was married to Bryan MacDonogh of the county of Sligo Esq.
14. Eleanor, a Nun of the order of St. Dominic.
Sir Theobald Taaffe, the second Viscount in 1639 represented the county of Sligo in Parliament and during the course of the rebellion, was constituted General of the province of Munster, of which post being deprived by the peace, concluded by the Marquis of Ormond with the Irish in 1646, he remained without an employment until April 1649, when upon the death of Sir Thomas Lucas he was made Master of the Ordnance; a charge for which he was well qualified by his capacity and experience, and which he well deserved by his extraordinary affection and services to the crown.
In 1651 the King, being in great want of money, had accepted the proposition to mortgage the Fort of Duncannon for £24,000 Sterling. to the Duke of Lorraine. The Duke's agents found the caution not sufficient, the said Fort being threatened every day by a siege and refused to sign the treaty. Lord Taaffe then went to Brussels to negotiate with the Duke and urged him to sustain the King's interest in Ireland offering any place in the kingdom as a security. He flattered the Duke's affection for the children he had with the Princes of Cants-croix by proposing to marry his daughter to the Duke of York. The Duke pleased with the prospect of such an alliance and perhaps secretly wishing to obtain the sovereignty of Ireland received the Lord Taaffe with extraordinary honors and tried to show his ardent desire for the interest of Ireland by giving him £5000 Sterling. to buy arms and ammunition which arrived at Galway at the time when the assembly was deliberating whether they should treat with the agents or not. Lord Taaffe seemed astonished at a liberal gift which the Duke said was only meant as a pledge for future favors. He then offered to go to Ireland himself with sufficient force to defend the Kingdom under the condition that he was to receive. no orders whatsoever and was to be obeyed: Lord Taaffe did not think fit to accept this proposition, pretending to have no instructions on that point, he was to inform himself of the King's pleasure, His Majesty might be displeased with the conditions or the Marquis of Ormond might refuse to resign his power and the preeminence attached to his post. He then proposed the Duke to send a person of distinction to Ireland to treat with the Marquis whereupon the Duke sent Stephen Hennin, Abbot of St. Catherine, who arrived at Galway when the Bishop of Ferns was on his road to Brussels sent by the clergy of Ireland to ask for the Dukes protection.
The Marquis of Clanricarde who was then the King's deputy selected a Committee composed of Bishops. and the nobility to receive the Abbot's propositions which were: that the Duke of Lorraine, his heirs and successors although acknowledging the rights of the King were to be recognized Protectors of Ireland there commanding the troops, convoking Parliaments and enjoying other prerogatives annexed to Royality, till the different sums he had advanced would be repaid. The Marquis having positively refused to accept, the Abbot of St. Catherine left Ireland and Sir Nicholas Plunket and Geffrey Browne, both lawyers were sent to Brussels, where conjoint with Lord Taaffe they were to treat with the Duke according to the instructions they were to receive from the Queen, the Duke and the Lord Lieutenant.
Arrived at Brussels they found that Lord Taaffe had gone to Paris to see the Abbot of St. Catherine and to receive more ample instructions from the Queen and the Lord Lieutenant. In the mean time they were well received by the Duke and they without Lord Taaffe's knowledge signed the treaty. The Lord Deputy sent a formal protestation against the proceedings of his agents as contrary to his instructions whereupon the clergy addressed a sentence of excommunication against the Marquis of Clanricarde and all his adherents amongst whom was Lord Taaffe to be published whenever they thought fit to do so. The following disasters soon annihilated this sentence (Carte. Orm. V. II).
Lord Taaffe was excepted from pardon for life and estate by Cromwell's act of Parliament for the settlement of Ireland: but after the Restoration until the Kings order for restoring him to his estate could be executed, he had his Majesty's letters of direction, dated 17. August 1661, to the Lord Justice to grant him £800 a year towards his immediate support, to be paid monthly out of the treasury. But notwithstanding his Lordship being detained from the possession of his estate. and the said annuity being stopped, he addressed the King for relief, who 30. November that year required his chief Governors, to use all diligence for the restoring him to his estate, and in the mean time, from the date of his said former order, to allow him the said annuity, or otherwise the immediate possession of his estate, according to former orders. Accordingly, by the acts of settlement he was restored to his estate, together with those of Christopher Taaffe of Braganstown, and Theophilus Taaffe of Cookstown, whieh they had respectively forfeited; and had the benefit of his provisos confirmed by patent 16. April 1667, and by several future patents a discharge of the new quit-rents imposed by those acts.
His Majesty having a particular esteem for his Lordship, was pleased, as an especial mark of the gracious sense he had of his eminent services for him and his interests, to honor him with the dignity of Earl of Carlingford in the county of Louth. entailing that honor on the heirs male of his body. by Privy Seal, dated at Whitehall 17. June 1661 (Rot. A. 13. Car. II. 1. p. D.) and by Patent 26. June 1662, he was accordingly advanced to that title with the creation fee of £20; and for the better support of the honor, his Majesty by Patent dated Teddington 25. August 1670, gave him £4000 of the rents payable to the crown out of the retrenched lands of adventurers and soldiers, during such time as the same remained in the common stock of reprisals, and out of forfeited jointures, mortgages etc. and also 4. August 1676 settled on him a pension of £500 a year.
In 1666 his Lordship was sent ambassador to the Emperor Leopold and to the smaller courts of Germany. The object of this mission was to induce the Emperor to support the Bishop of Munster in his undertaking. against the General States and to engage several of the German Princes to join, in the Bishops expedition.
He married first Mary, daughter of Sir Nicholas Leixlip, with whom he had a large fortune, and by her had six sons and one daughter; his second wife Anna was the daughter of Sir William Pershall Knt., but by her, who in 1693 remarried with Randal Lord Dunfany, he had no issue, and dying 31. December 1677 was buried at Ballymote. His children were William and Robert, who both died unmarried, Nicholas and Francis successive Earls of Carlingford, John, Dillon and Lady Anne first married to Sir Joseph Throckmorton, secondly to Nicholas Plunket Esq. second son,of Christopher; Earl of Fingal, and died in July 1742, in the county of Monaghan.
Nicholas, the third Viscount Taaffe and second Earl of Carlingford served for some time in the Spanish army. He afterwards was of the Privy Council to King James II., and was sent on a mission to Vienna. But when the report had reached this town, that K. James was obliged to retire into Ireland be immediately joined the Irish army and at the battle of Boyne commanding the King's guards lost his life 2 July 1690. Leaving no issue by his wife Mary daughter of Wild of Wildhouse Esq. he was succeeded by his brother.
Francis, the third Earl, the famous Count Taaffe of the Empire was born at Ballymote in 1639. He was placed by his father to prosecute his studies in the city of Olmütz in Germany where by his faculties and talents he astonished the members of the university. The Emperor Ferdinand made him one of his Pages of Honor and Charles the fifth Duke of Lorraine gave him a Captain's commission in his own regiment and afterwards committed to his care the education of all his children and particularly of his eldest son Leopold. In 1673 he commanded the duke of Lorraine's regiment at the siege of Bonn as well as the next year at the battles of Sinzheim and Mühlhausen, where according to the Field Marshal Duke of Bournonville's relation, he distinguished himself by the utmost courage and bravery. This same year he went to Poland during the elections and held a famous speech in favour of the Duke of Lorraine. In 1675 he commanded the right wing at the battle of Salzbach, where he showed his great military talent as well as in the subsequent affairs of Attenheim and Goldschier. Towards the end of the same year he was sent to the Palatine Court to prevent them from concluding an armistice and separate treaty with France. In 1676 he was at the siege of Philippsburg and the next year the same regiment he had commanded during all those affairs was bestowed upon him. The Duke of Lorraine to reward General Taaffe proposed the Emperor to present him with a regiment; on receiving the answer that there was no vacancy, the Duke resigned his own regiment to the hands of the Emperor at the same time requesting him to confer it upon General Taaffe. He was elevated to the rank of a general in 1682. In 1683 he commanded the rear-guard of 400 horse at Petronell and there had occasion to show his undaunted bravery and powerful strength. The avant-guard was alarmed by a party falling upon the baggage and the Duke of Lorraine fearing least the enemy might cut them from Vienna where the whole court yet was, marched towards this place whilst the other regiments supposing the Dukes hasty retreat to be occasioned by the terror of those that fell upon the rear, fled in the most shameful way. General Taaffe with his 400 men and surrounded by 6000 Turks and Tartars defended himself for half an hour in the most gallant way till he was rescued by the Duke in person. Prince Aremberg, Count Millini and 80 officers of his regiment were killed upon the place. At the relief of Vienna he commanded the left wing against which the Turks bending their main force made the most desperate attempts to break it, they were always driven back with great loss, at last a regiment of Tartars falling in General Taaffe's rear tried to separate him from his right wing, but they were equally repulsed and cut to pieces. He gained a portion of the spoils of the Grand Vizier Cara-Mustapha respecting which we find the following notice by the London press of the day, in connexion with other trophies subsequently won by the Duke of Lorraine from the Turks and sent to King James H., who took a great interest in the progress of the Christian arms against the Ottomans: This day His Majesty came to town, says the London News-Letter, August 29. (O. S) 1685 and this day receives the presents sent him by the Duke of Lorraine, which are a Turkish drum, some arms, and divers very rich scimiters, one whereof is richly set with diamonds and other rich stones on the hilt, which were all taken from the Turks, in this late victory gained by the Imperialists before Gran in Hungary. The News-Letter then adds: In the garden of Somerset House was set up for his Majesty's use, one of the Grand Vizier's tents taken at the relief of Vienna, which with a Janissary were sent by Count Taaffe to the Earl of Carlingford, and by him presented to His Majesty. To the Count's care the .King in 1686 intrusted his son, young Mr. FitzJames- (subsequently Duke of Berwick) on his leaving College, to commence his military career, under the Imperial standard, against the Turks in Hungary.
In 1684 he was in Hungary particularly distinguishing himself at the battle of Waizen, relief of Buda and battle of Gran. At the second siege of Buda in 1686 the Turks were equally defeated by General Taaffe who then commanded the Emperor's horse. In 1687 he was named General of the horse and got the command over the Irish volunteers who then came to Hungary to serve the Emperor.
On 13. of May 1694 in consequence of his great merits, military valour and the different services he had rendered to the House of Austria was named a Field-marshall and the order of the Golden Fleece was equally conferred upon him. He was so highly esteemed by most of the crowned heads in Europe that when. the hereditary honors devolved to him on his brother's death, he was exempted from forfeiture by a special clause in the English act of Parliament (1. Will; and Mary) and in the act, passed in Ireland in the 9. year of that reign, to hinder the reversal of divers outlawries and attainders, it was provided, that nothing therein contained should extend to attain or convict of high treason, Nicholas, late Earl of Carlingford, or his brother John Taaffe Esq. or to vest in or forfeit to the crown their estates.
He also displayed his talent as a statesman at the peace of Riswick and Prince Leopold chiefly owed the possession of Lorraine to the Earl of Carlingford's diplomatic exertions. The Duke of Lorraine then named him his Prime Minister, President of all his councils, Grand Master of his Hotel, Lord of the Exchequer, Governor of Nancy and Colonel of his guards and he was sent to Nancy with unlimited power to take possession of Lorraine in the Duke's name").
In July 1704 he makes his will and thereby names his nephew Theobald Taaffe his heir leaving a considerable sum for the wounded soldiers as well as for the building of the Cathedral church of Cologne. He died in 1704. The Cathedral church of Nancy was hung with black and his corpse lied there the space of a month, attended by the Duke's guards.
The author of Emperor Leopold's life, 1713 Vienna, describes him as a man of martial appearance and elegant manners, his favourite authors Livius and Curtius were his constant companions during all the campaigns. Duke Charles V. of Lorraine in his will calls him his best friend and desires the Queen to make use of his councils. He 1676 married the daughter of General Count Traudisch, widow of two Counts Schlick (William Henry and George Ernest) and by her had an only daughter Anne who died before him so that his titles and estates in Ireland, Lorraine and Germany descended to his nephew Theobald, son of his brother John.
John in December 1671, married Lady Rose Lambert, third daughter of Charles, the first Earl of Cavan, and being a Major in K. James' army was killed before Derry in April 1689, leaving issue the said Theobald, Lambert who served as a volunteer in his uncle's regiment of Austrian Cuirassiers and was killed at the siege of Cremona in Italy in 1701, and a daughter Mary.
William Taaffe cousin german to Francis Earl of Carlingford was adjutant general and lost his life in the wars against the Turks, the year 1684.
Theobald, the fifth Viscount and fourth Earl, married Lady Amelia Plunket, youngest daughter of Luke Earl of Fingal. In his youth he made some campaigns against the Turks and especially distinguished himself at the siege of Buda. As the heir to his uncle's estate in Germany, he was created a member of the states of Bohemia. On the 25. of April 1737, receiving a passport from the Government to go into Germany he died at Lisle in Flanders 24. Nov. 1738. O. S. without issue (by her who died 4. Oct. 1757, at Brussels) and was buried the 26. in the chapel of the college of Lisle, whereby the Earldom of Carlingford became extinct; but the titles of Baron and Viscount devolved on his next male heir Nicholas Taaffe (descended from William fourth son of John, the first Viscount whom by his will, dated 7. May 1737 , he constituted his heir, residuary legatee and joint executor.
Which William Taaffe Esq. married Margaret, daughter of Conor O'Kennedy Roe (Dynast of Ballyartil in Ormond by his wife Eleanor, daughter of Purcell, titular Baron of Loughmoe, in the county of Tipperary) by whom he had one son Francis and three daughters, Elizabeth married to Hiberus O'Hara of Ballihara, in the county of Sligo Esq.; Eleanor, to John, son of Major Walter Philips of Ballinduth, in the county of Mayo ; and Mary, who died young. Francis Taaffe Esq. married Anne, daughter of John Crean, of O'Crean's-Castle in Sligo (by his wife Sarah, daughter of William Ormsby Esq. by. his wife Mary of the family of Mapolder) and by her, who after married Mr. Philips of Ballinduth, in the county of Mayo, and died in 1736, had Nicholas Viscount Taaffe, and two daughters, Anne married to John Brett, of Rathdoony in the county of Sligo, Esq. (by whom he had several sons, all deceased and four daughters, Anne married to Roger Irwin of Lisballin in the said county Esq. Sarah, Mary and Elizabeth); and Mary, to Theodore, son of Major Christopher Verdon of Clumigashell, and died childless.
Nicholas the 6. Viscount Taaffe, Count of the Holy Empire was born 1677 at Castle O'Crane in Sligo, he was educated in Lorraine, appointed Chancellor to Leopold, father to the Emperor Francis I. From thence he entered into the Austrian service and distinguished himself as Colonel of the regiment of the Cuirassiers called Lanthieri during the campaigns against the French in 1734 and 1735. In 1737 he marched to Hungary under the command of Field Marshall Count Seckendorf and had occasion to show his bravery at Widdin where he commanded the avant-guard as well as at the Fort St. Elizabeth where he commanded the rear and by his presence of mind and personal valour saved the whole artillery and baggage.
In 1738 he was at the affair of Pallesch and covered the retreat of the whole Imperial army as well as at the battle of Semlin. The next year a report was made by Count Harrach, Minister of war whereupon Colonel Taaffe in consequence of his merits and bravery was promoted a General and in 1752 by patent Vienna 2. of July was named Lieutenant General. Theobald last Earl of Carlingford by his will dated the 7. of May 1737 and proved at Dublin in 1739 (Registry of H. Maj. Court of Prerogative in Ireland) devised all his lands in Ireland and Germany to his nephew Nicholas Taaffe, he being the heir male and descendant of John the first Viscount which coincided with the intention of his predecessor Francis third Earl of Carlingford who by his will dated 16. of July 1704 constituted that for default of a male descendant of Theobald the first Earl all his Manors, Premises and Hereditaments in Ireland, Lorraine and Germany were to be delivered to the heirs male of the name and blood of Taaffe and that the heirs male of his family were to be preferred to the heirs female.
Nicholas, therefore, on the death of Theobald last Earl of Carlingford took possession of the family-estates in Ireland and Germany not presuming that a Protestant relation of his would ever dispute them by relying on the cruel act of Parliament which prevented a Papist from inheriting land whenever it was claimed by a Protestant relation of the Testator (1. Day of Febr. 1703, 2. year of Anne, that the same shall enjoy it without account who would be intituled if such Papist and all intermediate Papists were dead). However Robert Sutton lineally descended from the only sister of Francis Earl of Carlingford claimed the said lands and Premises and prevailed on the tenants thereof to attorn to him and pay him their rents whereupon several suits at Law and Equity had been commenced and were depending between the two claimants, when they were at once terminated by an agreement according to which the Manors, Premises and Hereditaments late the Estate of the said Theobald Earl of Carlingford deceased, in the several counties of Louth, Meath and Sligo or elsewhere in Ireland were sold and the clear produce was paid in the following proportions: one third to the Viscount and two thirds to Robert Sutton. The said agreement was rendered effectual by an Act of Parliament (15. George II. 49) and in 1753 pursuant to the said Act, the said Estates were sold and conveyed to John Petty Fitzmaurice (afterwards Earl of Shelburne) and £25000, was secured by Bond to Lord Taaffe in satisfaction of his claims. He still entertained the hope of getting the permission to hold land at some future period and Lord Fitzmaurice promised to give back the estates at the same price whenever Lord Taaffe would be allowed to hold them which accounts for his being satisfied with a bond and consenting to a price not in accordance with the extent of his dominions. The Earl of Shelburne to Lord Taaffe's misfortune died in 1761 and he was acquainted by Lady Shelburne that she, the guardian of her children's property did not consider herself bound by whatever private promise her late Lord had made but considered her son William to be the rightful owner of Lord Taaffe's estates in Ireland.
Nicholas in 1729 married Mary-Anne de Spindler daughter and heir to Count Spindler in Upper-Austria of an ancient and illustrious family of the empire, a lady of the bedchamber of her Imperial Majesty and by her who died 21. Nov. 1761 at the Castle of Elischau had issue two sons, viz.
1. John born 1733 in Soho Square London
2. Francis born 1737 at Prague.
During the famine in Silesia in 1763 his Lordship was the first who at a great cost sent over potatoes to that country and thereby became a benefactor to the whole Dukedom, potatoes forming to this day the principal nourishment of the poorer classes (Archives of the town of Teschen).
John in 1755 joined the Imperial Embassy at Madrid under Count Migazzi. In 1759 he married Maria Brigitta daughter of the High Chancellor Count Chotek; the marriage contract was signed in the Emperess Maria Theresa's name by the Lord Steward Prince of Trantsohn.
In 1760 he was appointed a Counsellor Imperial aulic of the Empire and accompanied the bride of Joseph II. to Vienna. In 1764 he was sent as ambassador to Portugal to give notice of the Archduke's Joseph election as King of Rome and at the same time was meditating the marriage contract between the Archduke Leopold (afterwards Leopold II.) and the Infanta Maria Louisa.
The Imperial Secretary and Chargé d'affaires at the Court of Lisbon Johann. Bapt. Kail in his dispatch of the 22. of May 1764 reports to Prince Kaunitz that Count Taaffe was received with such honors as had never been shown to his predecessors. He especially relieves that not only the Royal carriages from the moment of his landing were at his disposal but even that the proud and powerful Prime Minister Conde D'Oeyras was the first to pay him a visit whereupon all the native an foreign ministers hastened to pay him their respects.
The same Chargé d'affaires in his dispatch of the 28. of August reports to the Prince that Count Taaffe had left Portugal and on his road to Vienna was accompanied by Don Jose da Cunha who was destined to present the King of Portugal's compliment in return to the Court of Vienna. In 1765 he was again put on a mission to Naples and on his return at Görz was overtaken by a death which on account of its suddenness led some people to believe that it was caused by poison.
The letter the Empress wrote to his widow in consequence of this event shows how much his death was lamented at the Imperial court. He left issue two sons and a daughter viz
1. Rudolph the 7. Viscount.
3. Mary, married to Count Rindsmaul.
John's death brought a dissension between the two families of Taaffe and Chotek. Soon after his marriage had taken place. the High Chancellor Count Chotek persuaded Nicholas Lord Taaffe to make an ample donation to his eldest son to enable him to live with the splendour of his rank and station. Nicholas at first objected to a dismemberment of his fortune, but when he perceived that even his eldest son was so far influenced by his wife and father-in-law as to treat him with a certain coolness he at once complied giving up in his son's favour all his estates in Silesia viz: the castle, town and lands of Teutschleuthen, Freystadt, Roy, Peterswald, Pierstna and Mieserau. His sole reason, for not immediately granting it was the desire of establishing a second primogeniture for his family in Austria as the first in Ireland had been totally destroyed; but when the High Chancellor assured him that the instrument of donation might be conceived in such terms as to prevent his descendants from selling their estate or part of it without not buying at the same time another equivalent to the one that was sold in Her Majesty's hereditary dominions, he gave him full power to act in his name and draw the instrument, and when it was placed before him, signed it without even examining its contents. Only after John's death his Lordship discovered that the donation he had made was full and had enabled his son to disinherit his children and to leave the whole property to his wife or any body else he liked. All then depended upon his son's will he had made before his last journey. It was opened at Vienna and proved to coincide with his father's intentions as to the property; his widow was appointed as guardian to the children and his brother Francis or whomsoever he might substitute as co-guardian; but several faults in the form of the same will having been detected, the Austrian government refused to confirm it before-the children came of age unless a sentence could be obtained from the Empress Maria Theresa which Count Chotek by his influence at court, tried to prevent.
The following year Francis second son of Nicholas fascinated by the charms of his sister in-law asked her in marriage. He was then Colonel Commander of the Reg. of Zweibruchen and in great favor with the Empress who set him up as a pattern to all the young gentlemen of Vienna. He was accepted and also got his Lordship's consent, but, as a dispensation from the Pope was necessary to their union, he undertook a journey to Rome, surrendering the guardianship of his nephews to the High Chancellor. The Pope however peremptorily refused the dispensation and when he came back to Vienna Count Chotek declared that he would never part with the co-guardianship of his grandsons which he had obtained by the free will of their uncle Francis and that he had no power now to retake it. It nevertheless was generally believed that Count Chotek was sincere in wishing the said Francis to marry, his daughter, as in 1769 when the Pope died he urged him to apply to Rome again. But Francis never made any further step which was explained by the attentions his fair sister-in-law received from a certain Count Mallabaila Canale, though she openly repudiated the rumour that was then spread about her, being privately married to the said Count and bitterly reproached her former suitor for having given up his claims so soon. Francis however joined his regiment in Bohemia and nothing could ever induce him to enter again the house of Count Chotek or his sisters. In 1772 he married Francesca Maria Clementina only daughter of John Lord Bellew (by his wife Lady Anne Maxwell daughter to William Earl of Nithsdale in Scotland, who in January. 1716 being brougbt prisoner from Preston to London, for the rebellion against King George I. was tried and condemned to be beheaded on February 24. following with the Lords Derwentwater and Kenmure; but the night before the execution he made his escape out of the Tower and in the year 1744 died in his exile at Rome.
Francis was the favourite child of his father to whom he always behaved with filial devotion. After his wife's decease who in 1792 died childless at Prague he made a donation of his whole property in favor of his nephew Rudolph, reserving but a small annuity to himself. He then retired to Budweis, a small town in Bohemia, where he had previously built an observatory and there spent the rest of his days in practising astronomy his favourite study.
Nicholas Lord Taaffe a short time before his death wrote a petition to the Empress it is not ascertained whether the same petition was really presented to her or not but the substance of it is as fellows: He was the only Peer of the realm who had left his country without having been outlawed. He had left it because he was afraid that his descendants pressed by the Penal laws would not resist the temptation of becoming Protestants. He therefore took refuge to a Catholic country where his ancestors were well known by the military services they had rendered at different intervals to the House of Austria. He therefore humbly requests Her Imperial Majesty to confirm his deceased son's will according to which the whole property has always to go to the eldest son. He had abandoned his relations and his estate and the rank and the liberty he had in his country to prevent his descendants from deserting a religion to which Her Imp. Majesty so fervently adhered; he did not repent of having acted thus, but it would be a great grief to him if before his death he had not the consolation to see he had not ruined his family. He could not possibly conceive what induced Count Chotek and his daughter to oppose this humble petition etc.
His Lordship deceased 30. Dec. 1769 at the Castle of Ellischau being succeeded by his grandson Rodolph the seventh Viscount born in London 1762. He served in the Imperial cavalry. At the time of his majority he left the Austrian service and entered the Irish Yeomanry as a Captain. His grandfather's fears were partly realized for he spent a great part of his own expecting to become heir to the large fortune of his mother. But in this he was sorely disappointed. Having secondly married Count Mallabaila Canale with whom she had a son and a daughter, the Countess bequeathed the whole of her property to her surviving husband. She had become an active member of the order of Freemasons of which her second husband was the chief or Grandmaster, and died at an advanced age in 1810.
His Lordship in 1798 was summoned to Parliament to attend the Trial of Robert Earl of Kingston upon the Indictment found against him by the Grand Jury of the County of Cork for the murder of Henry Gerald Fitzgerald Esquire; but as a Roman Catholic he did not think fit to take the oaths and make the declaration which would have qualified him to take his seat in the House of Peers.
His brother John who had left the Imperial service, in 1814 joined the army with the rank of a Colonel leading the militia (Landwehr) against the French. Seized by a sudden illness before the end of the last campaign, he died in the full vigour of his age and on his death-bed received the Patent of general and the grand-cross of St. Leopold. He 1789 married Anna daughter of Count Harsch with whom he had issue: Joseph, who married in London the daughter of ..... Lucas Esq. and Mary married to Baron Minkwitz an officer in the Austrian army. Joseph, who had inherited a considerable fortune. when he came of age spent it in a most extravagant way and 1836 died in London in reduced circumstances and without an issue.
His Lordship in 1787 married Josepha daughter of Count Haugwitz a general in the Austrian service, and died the 7. of June 1830 leaving issue three sons and one daughter viz.
1. Francis the eighth Viscount.
2. Rodolph died in the eighth year of his age.
3. Ludwig Patrick, the ninth Viscount.
4. Clementine. Lady of the Starry Cross was married to Count Thadeus Amadeé de Várkony, in Hungary, Privy Counsellor and Chamberlain to His Imperial Majesty. She died childless in 1846.
Francis the eighth Viscount at the age of sixteen entered the army and commenced his military command at the head of fifty men with whom he was ordered to march through the town of Landshut then in the hands of the enemy which he accomplished in a most gallant way: thirty of his men by a desperate fire from the windows were killed and he with a musket ball in his side made his way to the army with the rest, most of whom were also wounded. He was accordingly promoted to the rank of a Captain and his military career might have been a brilliant one if he had not abandoned it as soon as the campaigns were over. In the further course of this war he was named aide de camp to the Archduke Charles and numerous were the services rendered by his valour and bravery. At the battle of Wagram he saved the life of General Wimpffen who was defending himself on foot against several French dragoons by running headlong into the midst of them, he freed the General and giving him his own horse soon enabled him to regain his brigade. During the same unhappy affair he was sent to join the troops under command of the Archduke John with an older to urge them to greater celerity. Seeing the impossibility of their arriving in time do decide the battle, he at full speed run back to , the army thereby killing his best horse and thus was the first to apprise the Archduke of the large distance which separated him from his reserve troops.
When the allied forces had entered Paris, he was ordered to escort the Empress Maria Louisa and her son through Switzerland to Vienna and soon after their arrival he left the service. He 1811 married Antonia daughter of Count Amadeé de Várkony in Hungary and 1849 died childless at Baden.
Ludwig Graf Taaffe present and ninth Viscount, Grand-cross of the order of St. Leopold and of St. John of Jerusalem, Privy Councellor and Chamberlain to His Imperial Majesty, President of the chief court of judicature married the 10. of June 1822 Amelia daughter of Prince Charles of Brezenheim-Regécz in Hungary (formerly Sovereign Prince of Lindau in Germany) and has issue
1. Charles, Lieutenant-Colonel in the 12. Hussars.
2. Clementine, Chanoinesse.
3. Louisa, maid of honor to Her Majesty the empress Maria Anna.
5. Edward, a knight of Malta.
The Encyclopedia Britannica 11th Edition [http://17.1911encyclopedia.org/T/TA/TAAFFE_COUNT.htm] has this note:
TAAFFE, EDUARD FRANZ JOSEPH VON, COUNT [tenth Viscount Taaffe and Baron of Ballymote, in the peerage of Ireland] (1833-1895), Austrian statesman, was born at Vienna on 24th February 1833. He was the second son of Count Ludwig Patrick Taaffe (1791-1855), a distinguished public man who was minister of justice in 1848 and president of the court of appeal. As a child Taaffe was one of the chosen companions of the young archduke, afterwards emperor, Francis Joseph. In 1852 he entered the public service; in 1867 he was Statthalter of Upper Austria, and the emperor offered him the post of minister of the interior in Beust's administration. In June he became vice-president of the ministry, and at the end of the year he entered the first ministry of the newly organized Austrian portion of the monarchy. For the next three years he took a very important part in the confused political changes, and probably more than any other politician represented the wishes of the emperor. He had entered the ministry as a German Liberal, but he soon took an intermediate position between the Liberal majority of the Berger ministry and the party which desired a federalistic amendment of the constitution and which was strongly supported at court. From September 1868 to January 1870, after the retirement of Auersperg, he was president of the cabinet. In 1870 the government broke up on the question of the revision of the constitution: Taaffe with Potocki and Berger wished to make some concessions to the Federalists; the Liberal majority wished to preserve undiminished the authority of the Reichsrath. The two parties presented memoranda to the emperor, each defending their view, and offering their resignation: after some hesitation the emperor accepted the policy of the majority, and Taaffe with his friends resigned. The Liberals, however, failed to carry on the government, as the representatives of most of the territories refused to appear in the Reichsrath: they resigned, and in the month of April Potocki and Taaffe returned to office. The latter failed, however, in the attempt to come to some understanding with the Czechs, and in their turn had to make way for the Clerical and Federalist cabinet of Hohenwart. Taaffe now became Statthalter of Tirol, but once more on the breakdown of the Liberal government in 1879 he was called to office. At first he attempted to carry on the government without change of principles, but he soon found it necessary to come to an understanding with the Feudal and Federal parties, and he was responsible for the conduct of the negotiations which in the elections of this year gave a majority to the different groups of the National and Clerical opposition. In July he became minister president: at first he still continued to govern with the Liberals, but this was soon made impossible, and he was obliged to turn for support to the Conservatives. It was his great achievement that he persuaded the Czechs to abandon the policy of abstention and to take part in the parliament. It was on the support of them, the Poles, and the Clericals that his majority depended. His avowed intention was to unite the nationalities of Austria: Germans and Slavs were, as he said, equally integral parts of Austria; neither must be oppressed; both must unite to form an Austrian parliament. Notwithstanding the growing opposition of the German Liberals, who refused to accept the equality of the nationalities, he kept his position for thirteen years. Not a great creative statesman, he had singular capacity for managing men; a very poor orator, he had in private intercourse an urbanity and quickness of humour which showed his Irish ancestry. For the history of his administration see AUSTRIA-HUNGARY, History (Sec. II. "Austria Proper"). Beneath an apparent cynicism and frivolity Taaffe hid a strong feeling of patriotism to his country and loyalty to the emperor. It was no small service to both that for so long, during very critical years in European history, he maintained harmony between the two parts of the monarchy and preserved constitutional government in Austria. The necessities of the parliamentary situation compelled him sometimes to go farther in meeting the demands of the Conservatives and Czechs than he would probably have wished, but he was essentially an opportunist:, in no way a party man, he recognized that the government must be carried on, and he cared little by the aid of what party the necessary majority was maintained. In 1893 he was defeated on a proposal for the revision of the franchise, and resigned. He retired into private life, and died two years later at his country residence, Ellerschau, in Bohemia, on agth November 1895.
By the death of his elder brother Charles (1823-1873), a colonel in the Austrian array, Taaffe succeeded to the Austrian and Irish titles. He married in 1862 Countess Irma Tsaky, by whom he left four daughters and one son, Henry. The family history presents points of unusual interest. From the I3th century the Taaffes had been one of the leading families in the north of Ireland. In 1628 Sir John Taaffe was raised to the peerage as Baron Ballymote and Viscount Taaffe of Corren. He left fifteen children, of whom the eldest, Theobald, took a prominent part in the Civil War, accompanied Charles II. in exile, and on the Restoration was created Earl of Carlingford. He was sent on missions to the Duke of Lorraine and to the emperor, by which was established the connection of his family with the house of Habsburg and Lorraine, which has continued to this day. His eldest son was killed in the Turkish wars. He was succeeded in the title by his second son Nicholas, who had served in the Spanish wars and was killed at the Boyne. The next brother, Francis, the third earl, was one of the most celebrated men of his time: he was brought up at Olmtitz, at the imperial court, and in the service of Duke Charles of Lorraine, whose most intimate friend he became. He rose to the highest rank in the Austrian army, having greatly distinguished himself at the siege of Vienna and in the other Turkish campaigns, and was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He was sent on many important diplomatic missions, and at the end of his life was chancellor and chief minister to the duke of Lorraine. Notwithstanding the Jacobite connections of his family, his title to the earldom of Carlingford was confirmed by William III., and the attainder and forfeiture of the estates incurred by his brother was repealed. This favor he owed to his position at the court of the emperor, Williams most important ally On his death the title and estates went to his nephew Theobald, whose father had fallen during the siege of Derry, and who himself had served with distinction in the Austrian army. On his death the title of earl of Carlingford became extinct; both the Austrian and Irish estates as well as the Irish viscountcy went to a cousin Nicholas (1677-1769). Like so many of his family, he was brought up in Lorraine and passed into the Austrian army; he fought in the Silesian war, rose to be field-marshal, and was made a count of the Empire. His Irish estates were, however, claimed under the Act of 1703 by a Protestant heir: a lawsuit followed, which was ended by a compromise embodied in a private act of parliament, by which the estates were sold and one-third of the value given to him. With the money he acquired the castle of Ellerschau, in Bohemia; he had also inherited other property in the Austrian dominions. He was naturalized in Bohemia, and left on record that the reason for this step was that he did not wish his descendants to be exposed to the temptation of becoming Protestants so as to avoid the operation of the penal laws. His great-grandson was the father of the subject of this article. A Committee of Privileges of the House of Lords in 1860 recognized the right of the family to hold the Irish title.
See Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexicon Oesterreichs. Memoirs of the Family of Taaffe (Vienna, 1856), privately printed; article in the Contemporary Review (1893), by ,E. B. Lanin. The Prague Politik published in December 1904 contains some interesting correspondence collected from Taaffes papers. U. W. HE.)