Coote, Sir Charles

, a distinguished military officer in the 17th century, was the eldest son of Sir Charles Coote, who was created baronet in April 1621. He was a gentleman of great consideration in Ireland. Upon the breaking out of the rebellion, in 1641, he had a commission for a regiment of foot, and was made governor of Dublin. From this period to the year 1652, he was engaged in a great number of important services for his country. In almost all the contests of which he took a part, he was successful. After Ireland was reduced to the obedience of the parliament, sir Charles was one of the court of justice in the province of Connaught, of which he was made president by act of parliament. Being in England at the time of the deposing of Richard Cromwell, he went post to Ireland, to carry the news to his brother Henry Cromwell, that they might secure themselves; but when he perceived that king Charles the Second’s interest was likely to prevail, he sent to the king sir Arthur Forbes, “to assure his Majesty of sir Charles’s affection and duty, and that if his Majesty would vouchsafe to come to Ireland, he was confident the whole kingdom would declare for him; that though the present power in England had removed all the sober men from the government of the state in Ireland, under the character of presbyterians, and had put Ludlow, Corbet, and others of the king’s judges in their places, yet they were generally so odious to the army as well as to the people, that they could seize on their persons and the castle of Dublin when they should judge it convenient.” The king did not think it prudent to accept the invitation. In a short | time after, sir Charles Coote, and some others, so influenced the whole council of officers, that they prevailed upon them to vote not to receive colonel Ludlow as commander in chief, and made themselves masters of Athlone, Drogheda, Limerick, Dublin, and other important places, for the service of the king. He immediately caused colonel Monk to be made acquainted with the progress of the king’s interest in Ireland, who urged them by every means not to restore the suspended commissioners to the exercise of their authority. Soon after, sir Charles Coote and others sent to the parliament a charge of high treason against colonel Ludlow, Corbet, Jones, and Thomlinson. He likewise made himself master of Dublin castle; and apprehended John Coke, chief justice of Ireland, who had been solicitor-general at the trial of king Charles I. Notwithstanding this, parliament thought themselves so sure of him in their interest, that he received their vote of thanks on the 5th of Jan. 1659-60. On the 19th of the same month he was appointed one of the commissioners for the management of the affairs of Ireland. Before those commissioners declared for king Charles, they insisted upon certain things relating to their interest as members of that nation. On the 6th of September 1660, sir Charles Coote, on account of his many and very valuable services for the royal cause, was created baron and viscount Coote, and earl of Montrath in the Queen’s county. He was also appointed one of the lords justices of Ireland, but he did not long enjoy these marks of his sovereign’s favour, for he died in December 1661, and was succeeded in his estate and titles by his son Charles, the second earl. Dr. Leland asserts that Coote and his father had engaged in the parliamentary service not from principle, but interest. Dr. Kippis, however, doubts the assertion, upon the ground that the Cootes were zealous presbyterians; and therefore he thinks it highly probable that they were influenced, at least in part, by their real sentiments, civil and religious, and especially by their aversion from popery. 1


Biog. Brit. Clarke’s Lives, fol. 1684.