Listed in order of importance.
It is suggested that had the advisors of James II been able to sway
him from his decisions he would have been more successful. Unfortunately
these individuals were more interested in their own personal goals than
those of the king or indeed of the people of Ireland.
John Drummond Earl of Melfort
A Catholic extremist and zealot who was an advocate of firmess toward
protestants. Jame's Scottish secretary. He was a convert to Catholicism
and emerged as the most powerful advisor winning over both the King and
queen by 1688.(his brother Perth assisted him)
He was a brazen liar, insufferably vain and v indictive
who insisted on handling all business himself while lacking the memory
or application to execute it properly. His main objective was to perpetuate
his own influence and to this end he flattered andencouraged Jame's misconceptions
and slighted all criticism, however constructive. "He has a blind complaisance
for whatever he sees that the King wants," wrote d'Avaux,W hat Lord Melfort
tells him always seems to him so good and so well considered that he does
not consider the representations of others. Melfort Played on Jame's stubbornness
and flattered him even when he was wrong. This made James believe that
Lord Melfort is almost the only man who advises him well and loves his
interests; a nd Melfort, to confirm the King in this opinion, makes him
d istrust everyone. else.-John Miller, James II A Study in
Melfort lead the king with lies and slandars and turned him abainst
both the French and the Irish. Even at times when James perceived Melfort's
incompetance he found do to Melfort's own efforts no one else was present
at court who could assist him.
Melfort was eventually forced to resign and was helped to flee to Rome
by Louis and the Queen without James' knowledge. The resignation and departure
of Melfort which occured after the siege of Derry and the Battle of the
Boyne deprived James of an advisor who truly understood the fact that the
French could not be counted upon to provide sufficient assistance. Melfort
was always very good at assessing that which was in his best interest!
The dominance of the court by such Catholic extremists ensured that
James had access to only one perspective. This had the effect of limiting
and distorting the information upon which he based his decisions. In placing
his trust with the Catholic extremists James abandoned the broad base of
opinion and understanding required for the successful rule of a pluralistic
The defeat of Catholic extremist tyranny was an important victory
of the Boyne
Richard Talbot Earl of Tryconnel
(Viscount Baltinglass,Baron of Talbotstown
From an Old English (Catholic) Irish Family, he was highly articulate and
skilled at advancing specious arguments,childless he was not motivated
by greed or ambition. His goal was the restoration of the power of the
"Old English" Catholics. His mission was the utter distruction of the Protestant
ascendancy. He was concerned with their dissarmament,and restoration of
estates confiscated since 1641.
Richard Talbot was the son of Sir William Talbot, a Roman Catholic
lawyer and politician. Richard fought with the Royalist forces in Ireland
during the English Civil wars . In November 1655 he was arrested in London
for plotting to overthrow Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate but soo he escaped
Richard Talbot (created Earl of Tryconnell in 1685, appointed Lieutenant
general of the Irish Army in 1686 and lord deputy of Ireland in 1687,became
Marquess and Duke of Tryconnell in March 1689)
was regarded by some as a ranting buffoon, but behind the explosions
of rage and dyspeptic inconsistency lay an acute political brain--John
Miller,James II-a study in Kingship,p.149.
He filled the army and administration of Ireland with Catholics.
While Tryconnel could face down Sunderland his plans for Ireland ran
counter to the strategies required by James for success in England.
Replaced Clarendon as Lord Deputy in 1687-Goes to Ireland. There he
convinces James to disarm the militia and disaffected private citizens.
Tryconnel turned James against Irish Protestants. James was concerned about
revolt. By 1688 the Army of Ireland was completely Catholic and so trusted
that regiments were brought from it into the English army.
Tryconnel was at first against the decision to do battle at the Boyne
however, James won him over and he served with distinction leading several
charges and fighting a skillful and brave rearguard action which allowed
James to escape.
It has been speculated that Tryconnell had all along planned to use
his power in Ireland to eventually revolt against English rule should James
die. The birth of an heir and then the invasion of William of Orange made
any such plans unpractical. In sum Tryconnel's actions and philosophy
tore apart Ireland as he set out to move the pendulum back and persecute
Protestants. As a result Ireland was not healed but was further disrupted.
Additionally the actions of Tryconnel were noted in England and as a result
there was greater concern that James (who was actually more tolerant) would
bring the same persecution of Protestants should he gain the upper hand.
The defeat of the intolerance and tyranny of Tryconnel at the Boyne was
one of the greatest treasures of victory. Sunderland
Manipulator of the king. Pushed for elimination of Protestants at court
and their replacement with Catholics.