Borlase, John (DNB00)

BORLASE, Sir JOHN (d. 1649), soldier, was bred a soldier in the wars of the Low Countries, where he served with distinction before the truce in 1608. He also served in Sir Horace Vere's expedition to the Palatinate in 1620 (Rushworth, i. 15), and is mentioned as one of the commanders of the 6,000 English who were serving in the United Provinces in 1626 (Rushworth, i. 421). In 1633 he was appointed master of the ordinance in Ireland, apparently on the recommendation of Stratford, who had a high opinion of him (Strafford's Correspondence, i. 113–197, ii. 108–204). Lord Dillon and Sir William Parsons were appointed lords justices in 1640, but Dillon being considered dangerous as the brother-in-law of Strafford, Borlase was appointed in his room, ‘by the importunity of the Irish committee then at court’ (Nalson, iii. 564). This post he seems to have been unfit to fill, for though a good soldier, he understood nothing else, and had now grown old and indolent. As lord justice he gave himself very little trouble about the exercise of his authority, and left all to his colleague, Sir William Parsons (Carte's Life of Ormonde, bk. iii. 66). Sir John Temple, however, gives a much more favourable account of Borlase's government (History of the Irish Rebellion, p. 13). In April 1643 Sir Henry Tichborne became Borlase's colleague in place of Parsons, and nine months later (21 Jan. 1644) both were superseded by the appointment of the Marquis of Ormonde as lord-lieutenant. Borlase continued to hold the post of muster of the ordnance till his death in the spring of 1649. In the ‘Journals’ of the House of Commons for 17 March 1649 he is spoken of as lately deceased. His estate had so suffered during the rebellion that Lady Borlase was obliged to apply to parliament for money to defray her husband's funeral and for her own support (Journals, 13 June 1649; see also the subsequent petitions of his family in the Domestic State Papers of the Commonwealth).

[Carte's Life of Ormonde; Stratford Correspondence; Rushworth's Historical Collections; Borlase's History of the Irish Rebellion. Gilbert's History of the Irish Confederation contains a collection of Borlase's official letters.]

C. H. F.