COX, Richard. Hibernia Anglicana: or, The History of Ireland from the Conquest thereof by the English, to this Present Time.
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With an Introductory Discourse touching the Ancient State of that Kingdom. Two volumes. With large folding map being an Epitome of Sir William Petty’s Large Survey of Ireland and engraved frontispieces of William and Mary. London: Printed by H. Clark, for Joseph Watts at the Angel in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, 1689-1690. Small folio. pp. (1) [lii], 456, [4 (index)], (2) [xl], 206, 72, 20, 211, . Title of volume two printed in red and black. Contemporary full panelled mottled calf, title and volume number in gilt on original worn red morocco labels. Spine professionally rebacked preserving original backstrips; divided into six panels by five raised bands, the remainder elaborately tooled in gilt. Armorial bookplate of Rev. Robert Trail on front endpaper of volume one. A very good and attractive set. €1,650
Wing C 6722 & C 6722A. ESTC R5067. Sweeney 1234.
Sir Richard Cox (1650-1733), historian and lord chancellor of Ireland, was born in Bandon, County Cork, only child of Richard Cox (d. 1651), a captain in the English army, and Katherine, daughter of Walter Bird of Clonakilty, County Cork. His grandfather Michael had moved to Kilworth, County Cork, from Wiltshire at the end of the sixteenth century; however, most of the family property was lost in the 1641 rebellion. Orphaned at an early age, Richard was brought up by his mother’s family and educated at schools in Bandon and Clonakilty. After working as an attorney in the manorial courts of the Earls of Cork he entered Gray’s Inn, London, in 1671. He was called to the bar in 1673 and admitted to King’s Inns, Dublin, in 1674.
After his return to Ireland Cox practised law in Co. Cork, becoming Recorder of Clonakilty (1675) and Recorder of Kinsale (1681). His early career was assisted by the powerful Boyle family, particularly the 1st Earl of Burlington, for whom he acted as legal advisor. His appointment at Kinsale also brought him under the notice of the proprietor of the town, the diplomat and courtier Sir Robert Southwell, who was to become an important friend and patron. In 1687 Cox left Ireland and settled in Bristol, close to Southwell’s principal residence, where he continued to practise law. Like many other Irish protestants, he felt threatened by the appointment of the Catholic Earl of Tyrconnell as lord deputy, but he was not a penniless refugee. The move to Bristol appears to have been planned well in advance and was instrumental in advancing his career. Southwell introduced Cox to several influential figures, including James Butler, soon to be 2nd Duke of Ormond, who became Cox’s most important political patron. In the aftermath of William of Orange’s seizure of power in England, Cox was active in urging the case of the Irish protestant exiles. His pamphlet ‘Aphorisms’ relating to the kingdom of Ireland was presented to the members of the convention parliament which met in London in February 1689; and the first volume of ‘Hibernia Anglicana’, his history of Ireland from the Norman conquest, was published in May 1689. Both the ‘Aphorisms’ and the introduction to ‘Hibernia Anglicana’ urged William to complete the salvation of the protestant cause in England by reconquering Ireland; and the second volume of ‘Hibernia Anglicana’, published in February 1690, reinforced the message that control of Ireland was essential to England’s security. When William embarked for Ireland in 1690, Cox accompanied the army as secretary to Southwell, who had been made secretary of state for Ireland. This gave him the opportunity to bring himself to the attention of William and he was rewarded for his services with the post of second justice of the common pleas (September 1690).
In 1690 Cox purchased an estate at Dunmanway, County Cork. He also acquired land in counties Kilkenny, Tipperary, and Queen’s County, and rented Sir William Temple’s mansion at Palmerston near Dublin. Apart from a period in 1691 when he acted as governor of Cork, Cox’s subsequent career was at the centre of Irish administration in Dublin. His political views were firmly Tory, and his political and professional fortunes mirrored the fate of the Tory party and, in particular, his patron the Duke of Ormond. In 1692 he was made a member of the Irish privy council, and in 1695 a commissioner for forfeitures. He was removed from the privy council in 1695, a move he was later to attribute to his opposition to political concessions to Presbyterians, but which also reflected the declining political fortunes of the Tories. He remained a judge, however, and in 1701 was made chief justice of common pleas.
Cox was knighted in 1692 and created a baronet in 1706. He married (1674) Mary, daughter of John Bourne of Carbery, County Cork; they had at least twenty-one children, of whom five daughters and two sons survived into adulthood. The eldest son, also called Richard, predeceased Cox and the baronetcy passed to his grandson Sir Richard Cox, who was an MP and a prominent political pamphleteer in the middle of the eighteenth century under the name ‘The Cork Surgeon’. The younger son, Michael Cox, was archbishop of Cashel 1754–79. Richard Cox died 3 May 1733. Provenance: From the library of Rev. Robert Trail.
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