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James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James FitzJames Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde, KG (1665–1745) was an Irish statesman and soldier. He was the third of the Kilcash branch of the family to inherit the earldom of Ormond. Like his grandfather, the 1st Duke, he was raised as a Protestant, unlike his extended family who held to Roman Catholicism. He served in the campaign to put down the Monmouth Rebellion, in the Williamite War in Ireland, in the Nine Years' War and in the War of the Spanish Succession but was accused of treason and went into exile after the Jacobite rising of 1715.

Birth and origins

James was born on 29 April 1665 at Dublin Castle. He was the second but eldest surviving son of Thomas Butler by his wife Emilia van Nassau-Beverweerd.[1] His father was known as Lord Ossory. He was heir apparent of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond but predeceased him and so never became duke. His father's family, the Butler dynasty, was Old English and descended from Theobald Walter, who had been appointed Chief Butler of Ireland by King Henry II in 1177.[2] James's mother was Dutch. She descended from a cadet branch of the House of Nassau. Both parents were Protestant. They married on 17 November 1659.[3]

They had eleven children.[4]

Early life

He was educated in France and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford.[8] On the death of his father on 30 July 1680 he became Baron Butler in the English peerage and the 7th Earl of Ossory in the Irish Peerage.[9]

Early military career

The arms of the 2nd Duke of Ormond
The Battle of the Boyne, at which Butler commanded the Queen's Troop.
The Battle of the Boyne, at which Butler commanded the Queen's Troop.

He obtained command of a cavalry regiment in Ireland in 1683,[10] and having received an appointment at court on the accession of James II, he served against the Duke of Monmouth at the Battle of Sedgemoor in July 1685.[11] Having succeeded his grandfather as 2nd Duke of Ormonde on 21 July 1688, he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Garter on 28 September 1688.[12] In 1688 he also became Chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin[13] and Chancellor of the University of Oxford.[14]

In January and February 1689 he voted against the motion to put William of Orange and Mary on the throne and against the motion to declare that James II had abdicated it.[15] Nevertheless, he subsequently joined the forces of William of Orange, by whom he was made colonel of the Queen's Troop of Horse Guards on 20 April 1689. He accompanied William in his Irish campaign, debarking with him in Carrickfergus on 14 June 1690[16] and commanded this troop at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690.[17] In February 1691 he became Lord Lieutenant of Somerset.[18]

He served on the continent under William of Orange during the Nine Years' War and, having been promoted to major-general, he fought at the Battle of Steenkerque in August 1692 and the Battle of Landen in July 1693, where he was taken prisoner by the French and then exchanged for the Duke of Berwick, James II's illegitimate son.[19] He was promoted to lieutenant-general in 1694.[20]

After the accession of Queen Anne in March 1702, he became commander of the land forces co-operating with Sir George Rooke in Spain, where he fought in the Battle of Cádiz in August 1702[21] and the Battle of Vigo Bay in October 1702 during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714).[22] Having been made a Privy Councillor, Ormonde succeeded Lord Rochester as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1703.[23] In 1704 he bought and rebuilt a property that became known as Ormonde Lodge in Richmond outside London.[24]

Following the dismissal of the Duke of Marlborough, Ormonde was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Forces and colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards on 4 January 1712[25] and Captain-General on 26 February 1712.[26][27] In the Irish Parliament Ormonde and the majority of peers supported the Tory interest.[28]

Family tree
James Butler with wife, parents, and other selected relatives.
11th Earl


d. 1619

1st Duke


Richard B.
of Kilcash
6th Earl


Walter B.
of Garryricken
d. 1700

d. 1685
2nd Duke

1st Earl Arran
de jure
3rd Duke

Thomas B.
of Garryricken
d. 1738

d. 1688

de jure
15th Earl

d. 1766
XXXEarls & dukes of
*d.v.p. = predeceased his father (decessit vita patris).
This family tree is partly derived from the condensed Butler family tree pictured in Dunboyne.[29] Also see the lists of siblings and children in the text.
James when he was still Lord Ossory

The Guiscard affair

He played a dramatic role at the notorious meeting of the Privy Council on 8 March 1711 when Antoine de Guiscard, a French double agent who was being questioned about his treasonable activities, attempted to assassinate Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford, against whom he had a personal grudge for drastically cutting his allowance, by stabbing him with a penknife (how he managed to get into the Council room with a weapon remains a mystery).[30] Harley was wounded, but not seriously, due largely to the fact that he was wearing a heavy gold brocade waistcoat, in which the knife got stuck. Several Councillors, including Ormonde, stabbed Guiscard in return.[31] Guiscard implored Ormonde to finish the deed, but Ormonde replied that it was not for him to play the hangman.[32] In any case he had the sense to see that Guiscard must be kept alive at least long enough to be questioned, although as it turned out Guiscard's wounds were fatal and he died a week later.[33]

The last campaign

On 23 April 1712 he left Harwich for Rotterdam to lead the British troops taking part in the war.[34] Once there he allowed himself to be made the tool of the Tory ministry, whose policy was to carry on the war in the Netherlands while giving secret orders to Ormonde to take no active part in supporting their allies under Prince Eugene.[35] In July 1712 Ormonde advised Prince Eugene that he could no longer support the siege of Quesnoy and that he was withdrawing the British troops from the action and instead intended to take possession of Dunkirk.[36] The Dutch were so exasperated at the withdrawal of the British troops that they closed the towns of Bouchain on Douai to British access, despite the fact that they had plenty of stores and medical facilities available. Ormonde took possession of Ghent and Bruges as well as Dunkirk in order to ensure his troops were adequately provided for.[37] On 15 April 1713 he became Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.[38]


Ormonde's position as Captain-General made him a personage of much importance in the crisis brought about by the death of Queen Anne and, during the last years of Queen Anne, Ormonde almost certainly had Jacobite leanings and corresponded with the Jacobite Court including his cousin, Piers Butler, 3rd Viscount Galmoye, who kept barrels of gunpowder at Kilkenny Castle.[39] King George I on his accession to the throne in August 1714 instituted extensive changes and excluded the Tories from royal favour.[40] Ormonde was stripped of his posts as Captain-General, as colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards and as Commander in Chief of the Forces with the first two posts going to the Duke of Marlborough[41] and the role of Commander-in-Chief going to the Earl of Stair. On 19 November 1714 Ormonde was instead made a member of the reconstituted Privy Council of Ireland.[42]

James Butler c. 1725–1730
James Butler c. 1725–1730

Accused of supporting the Jacobite rising of 1715, during which the rebels had shouted "High church and Ormond",[43] he was impeached for high treason by Lord Stanhope on 21 June 1715.[44] He might have avoided the impending storm of Parliamentary prosecution, if he had remained in England and stood trial but instead he chose to flee to France in August 1715[45] and initially stayed in Paris with Lord Bolingbroke.[46] On 20 August 1715 he was attainted, his estate forfeited, and honours extinguished.[47] The Earl Marshal was instructed to remove the names and armorial bearings of Ormonde and Bolingbroke from the list of peers[48] and Ormonde's banner as Knight of the Garter was taken down in St George's Chapel.[49]

On 20 June 1716, the Parliament of Ireland passed an act extinguishing the regalities and liberties of the county palatine of Tipperary; for vesting his estate in the crown[50] and for giving a reward of £10,000 for his apprehension, should he attempt to land in Ireland.[51] But the same parliament passed an act on 24 June 1721, to enable his brother Charles Butler, 1st Earl of Arran, to purchase his estate, which he accordingly did.[52]

Ormonde subsequently moved to Spain[53] where he held discussions with Cardinal Alberoni.[54] He later took part in a Spanish and Jacobite plan to invade England and put James Francis Edward Stuart on the British throne in 1719, but his fleet was disbanded by a storm in the Bay of Biscay.[55][56] In 1732 he moved to Avignon,[57] where he was seen in 1733 by the writer, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.[58] Ormonde died at Avignon in exile on 16 November 1745, but his body was brought back to London and buried in Westminster Abbey on 22 May 1746.[59][60]

Mary Somerset, his second wife, painted by Michael Dahl
Mary Somerset, his second wife, painted by Michael Dahl

Marriage and children

On 20 July 1682 he, then called Lord Ossory, married Lady Anne Hyde, daughter of Laurence Hyde, who was then Viscount Hyde of Kenilworth but became Earl of Rochester in November.[61] The couple had a daughter, Mary, who died young in 1688.[62]

Following the death of his first wife (which is known to have caused him intense grief) in 1685, Ossory planned to marry again, in order to secure a male heir. He gained permission from the House of Lords for the arranging of a jointure for another marriage in May 1685,[63] and in August of that year, he married Lady Mary Somerset,[64] daughter of the Duke of Beaufort and Mary Capel. [65] The couple had a son, Thomas (1686–1689), and two daughters, Elizabeth (1689–1750) and Mary (1690–1713).[66] Ormonde's second wife was a lady of the bedchamber to Queen Anne.[67] Their younger daughter, Mary, married John Ashburnham, 1st Earl of Ashburnham.[68]

See also


  1. ^ Ward 1886, p. 60: "... was born in Dublin Castle, 29 April 1665, the second but eldest living son of Thomas, Earl of Ossory,and of his wife Emilia, daughter of de Beverweerd ..."
  2. ^ Debrett 1828, p. 640: "THEOBALD LE BOTELER on whom that office [Chief Butler of Ireland] was conferred by King Henry II., 1177 ..."
  3. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 59, line 27: "He married 17 November 1659, N.S. the Lady Amelia Nassau, eldest daughter of Louis, Lord of Beverwaert ..."
  4. ^ Davies 2004, p. 226, right column: "The marriage produced eleven children ..."
  5. ^ Debrett 1816, p. 130, line 22: "William-Richard-George, 9th earl, lord-lieutenant of Lancashire, May 11, 1676, m. Elizabeth Butler, daughter of Thomas, Earl of Ossory, and sister of James, duke of Ormond ..."
  6. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1540, right column, line 28: "Henrietta, m. 12 Jan. 1697, D'Auverquerque, Earl of Grantham, and d. 11 Oct. 1724 ..."
  7. ^ Dunboyne 1968, p. 18: "While the 2nd Duke was in exile, his estates were bought in 1721 by his brother, the Earl of Arran, and settled first on their sister, Lady Amelia Butler, who inherited them when, in the words of Walpole 'a young heiress of 99'— she died two months short of her centenary — and secondly on John Butler of Kilcash, the representative of Richard, younger brother of the 1st Duke."
  8. ^ Handley 2004, p. 164, left column: "in 1680 he immatriculated at Christ Church, Oxford."
  9. ^ Cokayne 1895, p. 150, line 28: "He [Ossory} d. v.p. of a violent fever, after four days illness, 30 July 1680 ..."
  10. ^ Handley 2004, p. 164, right column, line 9: "In autumn 1683 he was appointed colonel of an Irish regiment of horse."
  11. ^ Handley 2004, p. 164 right column, line22: "He was present at the battle of Sedgemoor on 6 July."
  12. ^ London Gazette 1688, Issue 2386, page 2: "Whitehall, Sept 28. This day a Chapter being held of the most Noble Order of the Garter, his Grace the Duke of Berwick and his Grace the Duke of Ormond were Elected Knights Companions of that Order, and invested with the Garter ..."
  13. ^ Taylor 1845, p. 218: "1688. James, Duke of Ormond, grandson to the former (outlawed in 1715"
  14. ^ Wood 1790, p. 152: "JAMES DUKE OF ORMONDE was installed Chancellor of the University in his House in St. James Square, within the liberty of Westminster ..."
  15. ^ Handley 2004, p. 164, right column, line 53: "Ormond voted on 31 January 1689 against the motion to declare William and Mary king and queen ..."
  16. ^ Cane & Lenihan 1884, p. 197: "William landed at Carrickfergus on the 14th of June 1690. He was accompanied to Ireland by Prince George, together with the Duke of Ormonde ..."
  17. ^ Handley 2004, p. 165, left column, line 12: "... was present at the battle of the Boyne on 12 July."
  18. ^ Handley 2004, p. 165, left column, line 16: "... in February 1691 he was named lord lieutenant of Somerset."
  19. ^ Handley 2004, p. 165, left column, line 34: "... seeing action in July 1693 at Landen, where he was wounded and taken prisoner by the French, before being exchanged for James FitzJames, duke of Berwick ..."
  20. ^ Handley 2004, p. 165, left column, line 38: "He was raised to the rank of lieutenant-general in 1694."
  21. ^ Handley 2004, p. 165, right column, line 16: "Following the accession of Queen Ann, Ormond was employed in April 1702 to command the land forces for the attack of Cadiz."
  22. ^ Handley 2004, p. 165, right column, line 21: "... the fortuitous sighting of the Spanish treasure fleet at Vigo enabled some military advantage to be gained ..."
  23. ^ Smollett 1800, p. 193: "The Earl of Wharton surrendered his commission of Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, which the Queen conferred on the Duke of Ormond."
  24. ^ Desmond, Ray (1998). Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Random House. p. 2. ISBN 978-1860460760.
  25. ^ London Gazette 1712a, Issue 4948, page 1: "Whitehall, January 4. Her Majesty hath been graciously pleas'd to Constitute his Grace the Duke of Ormonde Commander of all Her Majesty's Land Forces in that part of the Kingdom of Great Britain call'd England, and Colonel of Her Majesty's First Regiment of Foot Guards."
  26. ^ London Gazette 1712b, Issue 4971, page 1: "Whitehall, Feb. 26. Her Majesty hath been graciously pleas'd to sign a Commission, appointing His Grace the Duke of Ormond Captain-General of all and singular Her Majesty's Forces, rais'd or to be rais'd and employed in Her Service, within the Kingdom of Great Britain, or which are or shall be employ'd Abroad, in Conjunction with the Troops of her Allies."
  27. ^ Stanhope 1870, p. 518: "Already was the Duke of Ormond named General in Flanders in succession to the Duke of Marlborough; and in the course of April he joined his colleague Prince Eugene at Tournay."
  28. ^ Smollett 1800, p. 213: "In the Irish Parliament held during the summer, the Duke of Ormond and the majority of the peers supported the Tory interest."
  29. ^ Dunboyne 1968, pp. 16–17: "Butler Family Tree condensed"
  30. ^ Gregg 1980, p. 337, line 14: "... while being interrogated by the council, he attempted to assassinate Harvey by stabbing a penknife into his breast ..."
  31. ^ Gregg 1980, p. 337, line : "Guiscard was run through by the Duke of Ormond and St. John ..."
  32. ^ Hamilton 1969, p. 181: "Guiscard implored Ormonde to finish him off, but the duke replied that it was no task for a honest man 't'is for the hangman.'"
  33. ^ Hamilton 1969, p. 181, last line: "Harley was well aware of this fact. 'Pray let nobody hurt him' he said."
  34. ^ London Gazette 1712c, Issue 4994, page 1: "Hague April 26 NS. His Grace the Duke of Ormond who set Sail from Harwich on the 23rd Instant, with a Convoy of Seven Men of War, two Yatchts, and about forty Transports, arriv'd at the Mouth of the Maes Yesterday Morning; where meeting a contrary Tide, His Grace took the Boat and went directly to Rotterdam ..."
  35. ^ Smollett 1800, p. 238: "In the mean time the Duke of Ormond, who was now invested with the supreme command of the British forces, received a particular order that he should not hasard an engagement."
  36. ^ Stanhope 1870, p. 530, line 3: "Orders were sent accordingly to Ormond to separate his army from Eugene's and refraining from further warfare fall back and take quiet possession of Dunkirk."
  37. ^ Stanhope 1870, p. 530, line 20: "As he marched back the Dutch governors of Bouchain, Tournay and Douay closed their gates against him; and Ormond thereupon as if in reprisal took possession of Ghent and Bruges in the name of the Queen."
  38. ^ London Gazette 1713, Issue 5112, page 1: "At the Court at St. James's, April 15, 1713. ... THIS day His Grace, James Duke of Ormond, took the Oaths appointed to be taken instead of the oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, his Grace being Lord lieutenant of the County of Norfolk, and of the City of Norwich and County of the same."
  39. ^ "Treason". Kilkenny Castle. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012.
  40. ^ Smollett, p.264
  41. ^ Smollett 1800, p. 300: "The Duke of Ormond was dismissed from his command, which the King restored to the Duke of Marlborough ..."
  42. ^ London Gazette 1714, Issue 5278, page 4: "St. James's, November 16. ... His Majesty has been pleased to dissolve the Privy Council of Ireland, and to appoint a new one consisting of the Persons following, viz. ... James Duke of Ormonde ..."
  43. ^ Smollett 1800, p. 312: "The people even obliged the life-guards, who patroled through the streets, to join in the cry of 'High-church and Ormond!'."
  44. ^ Smollett 1800, p. 314: "On the twenty-first day of June, Mr. Secretary Stanhope impeached James Duke of Ormond, of high-treason ..."
  45. ^ HMC 1902, p. 387: "1715, Wednesday night [Aug. 7]. Your Majesty is already informed of the D. of O[rmonde's] arrival in this place ..."
  46. ^ London Gazette 1715a, Issue 5352, page 1: "Paris, August 9. The Duke of Ormond came to this Place on Wednesday last from Dieppe where he landed the Sunday before with one Renauld his Domestick Servant."
  47. ^ London Gazette 1715b, Issue 5357, page 1: "Westminster, August 20. ... An act for the Attainder of James Duke of Ormond of High Treason, unless he shall render himself to Justice by a day certain therin mentioned."
  48. ^ Smollett 1800, p. 321, line 24: "The Duke of Ormond and Lord Viscount Bolingbroke having omitted to surrender themselves within the limited time, the House of Lords ordered the Earl-Marshall to raze out of the list of Peers their names and armorial bearings."
  49. ^ Smollett 1800, p. 321, line 29: "... the Duke's achievements as a knight of the Garter were taken down from St. George's chapel at Windsor."
  50. ^ Moody, T. W.; et al., eds. (1989). A New History of Ireland. 8: A Chronology of Irish History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-821744-2.
  51. ^ London Gazette 1719a, Issue 5715, page 1: "By the Lords Justices and Council of Ireland a Proclamation. ... An Act for Extinguishing the Regalities and Liberties of the County of Tipperary, and Cross Tipperary, commonly called, the County Palatine of Tipperary, and for Vesting in his Majesty, the Estate of James Butler commonly called James Duke of Ormond, and for giving a Reward of Ten Thousand Pounds to any Person who shall seize or secure him, in Case he shall attempt to Land in this Kingdom."
  52. ^ Handley 2004, p. 166, right column: "His English and Irish estates were now administrated by the forfeited estates commissioners until a private act of 1721 allowed Ormond's brother Arran to buy them back."
  53. ^ London Gazette 1719b, Issue 5727, page 1: "Paris March 15. Our freshest Advices from Spain say, that the late Duke of Ormond took his Leave of that Court the 14th of the last Month, and set out from Madrid the next Day for Cadiz 5 that Eight Men of War, and about 50 Transport Ships, were fitted out in that Port, on board which 13 Battallions and a Regiment of Dragoons, all or most of them Irish, were to embark ..."
  54. ^ Stanhope 1836, p. 496: "... Alberoni resolved to assist the Pretender with an expedition of his own. Accordingly, he gave directions for equipping a formidable armament at Cadiz, and offered its command to the Duke of Ormond ..."
  55. ^ Stanhope 1836, p. 501: "Scarcely had the Spanish fleet lost sight of cape Finisterre before it was assailed by a tremendous tempest. The surges of the Bay of Biscay ..."
  56. ^ London Gazette 1719c, Issue 5799, page 1: "Dublin Nov. 10. Upon Advice from England of the late Duke of Ormond's being at Sea, with some Spanish Ships and Land Forces, intending probably to make an Attempt on this Kingdom;"
  57. ^ Handley 2004, p. [ 167, left column, line 53]: "... until 1732, when he settled in Avignon."
  58. ^ Handley 2004, p. 167, left column, line 58: "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu described his existence there in 1743: 'he keeps an assembly where all the best company go twice a week, lives her in great magnificence, is quite inoffensive ...'"
  59. ^ Handley 2004, p. 167, right column, line 10: "His body was taken back to England for burial on 22 May 1746 in Westminster Abbey."
  60. ^ Chester 1876, p. 370: "1746 May 22 The most noble and puissant Prince, James Duke of Ormond: in the Ormond vault."
  61. ^ Handley 2004, p. 164, right column: "On 20 July 1682 Ossory married Anne, daughter of Laurence Hyde, then Viscount Hyde of Kenilworth, and from November 1682 Earl of Rochester."
  62. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1540, right column, line 78: "... had a dau., Mary, d. 1688."
  63. ^ "House of Lords Journal Volume 14: 27 May 1685 Pages 19-20 Journal of the House of Lords: Volume 14, 1685-1691. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1767-1830". British History Online. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  64. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 63, line 23: "He married secondly, 3 August 1685, Mary, eldest surviving daughter of Henry, first Duke of Beaufort, and by her, who died 19 November 1733 ... he had one son Thomas, born 26 September 1686, who died 27 February 1689 ..."
  65. ^ Cokayne 1895, p. 152: "He m. secondly, 3 August 1685, Mary, 2nd but 1st surviving da. of Henry [SOMERSET], first DUKE OF BEAUFORT by Mary, da. of Arthur [CAPELL] 1st Arthur Capell, 1st BARON CAPELL of HADHAM."
  66. ^ Handley 2004, p. 164, right column, line 25: "A son, Thomas, died in infancy, two daughters reached adulthood."
  67. ^ "Mary (née Somerset), Duchess of Ormonde, 1665–1733. Lady of the Bedchamber and second wife of 2nd Duke of Ormonde". National Galleries Scotland. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  68. ^ Burke 1949, p. 1540, right column, line 83: "Mary m., 21 Oct. 1710, 1st Earl of Ashburnham, and d.s.p. 2 Jan. 1712."


London Gazette

Further reading

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
The Earl of Rochester
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery
Preceded by
The Earl of Wharton
Lord Lieutenant of Ireland
Succeeded by
The Duke of Shrewsbury
Honorary titles
Preceded by
The Earl of Dorset
Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports
Succeeded by
The Earl of Leicester
Title last held by
The Duke of Grafton
Lord High Constable of England
Title next held by
The Duke of Bedford
Preceded by
The Marquess of Carmarthen
The Earl of Devonshire
The Earl of Dorset
Lord Lieutenant of Somerset
Succeeded by
The Earl of Orrery
Preceded by
The Viscount Townshend
Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk
Succeeded by
The Viscount Townshend
Military offices
Preceded by
Regiment raised
Colonel of the Irish Foot Guards
Succeeded by
William Dorrington
Preceded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Captain and Colonel of
The Queen's Troop of Horse Guards

Succeeded by
The Duke of Northumberland
Preceded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Succeeded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Preceded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Colonel of the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards
Succeeded by
The Duke of Marlborough
Title last held by
Duke of Marlborough
Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
Title next held by
The Earl of Stair
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Duke of Ormonde
Chancellor of the University of Oxford
Succeeded by
Earl of Arran
Preceded by
The 1st Duke of Ormonde
Chancellor of the University of Dublin
Succeeded by
The Prince of Wales
Peerage of England
Preceded by
James Butler
Duke of Ormonde
Preceded by
Thomas Butler
Baron Butler
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Elizabeth Butler
Lord Dingwall
Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
James Butler
Duke of Ormonde
Succeeded by
Charles Butler
Preceded by
Thomas Butler
Earl of Ossory

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