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Darcy, Patrick (DNB00)


DARCY, PATRICK (1598–1668), Irish politician, of Kiltolla, co. Galway, seventh son of Sir James (Riveagh) Darcy, was born in 1598. His family was Roman catholic. He was educated in the common law, sat for Navan in the Irish parliament of 1634, was an active and influential member of the House of Commons in the Dublin parliament of 1640, and strenuously resisted the king's proposal in 1641 to send the disbanded Irish army into foreign service. On the outbreak of the Irish rebellion he became one of the supreme council of confederated catholics at Kilkenny, and his signature was appended to all its official documents (J. T. Gilbert, Hist. of Irish Confederation, ii. passim). At a conference with a committee of the lords on 9 June 1641, he replied by order (5 June), and on behalf of the commons, to the answers made by the Irish judges to twenty-one constitutional questions propounded to them by the lower house. Darcy argues, in opposition to the judges, that no law of the English parliament is of force in Ireland unless enacted by the Irish parliament. Darcy's ‘Argument’ was published at Waterford by Thomas Bourke, printer to the confederate catholics of Ireland, in 1643. When the same question arose again in 1643 in relation to the Act of Adventurers, a manuscript book was widely circulated under the title of ‘A Declaration setting forth how and by what means the laws and statutes of England from time to time came to be in force in England.’ This work rehearses Darcy's argument, and is almost certainly from his pen. It was first printed by Walter Harris in his ‘Hibernica,’ pt. ii. (1770), and the original manuscript is in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. Harris ascribed it quite unwarrantably to Sir Richard Bolton [q. v.]

In 1646 Darcy and his nephew, Geoffrey Brown, with five others, were appointed by the general assembly of confederated catholics to arrange articles of peace with the Marquis of Ormonde. The treaty, which nominated Darcy and his friends commissioners of the peace throughout Ireland, was signed on 28 March in that year. At the Restoration Darcy complained of the injustice suffered by Galway at the hands of the royalists. He died at Dublin in 1668, and was buried at Kilconnel, co. Galway. He married Elizabeth, one of the four daughters of Sir Peter French, and left an only son, James (1633–1692).

[Garte's Life of the Duke of Ormonde, passim; Ware's Hist. of the Writers of Ireland (Harris), bk. i. p. 121; Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, i. 121–2, footnote; Nalson's State Affairs, ii. 573; Borlase's Hist. of the Irish Rebellion, p. 8; Cox's Hibernia Anglicana, ii. 162, and Appendix xxiv; Darcy's Argument, 1643; Harris's Hibernica, pt. ii. (preface); Hardiman's Hist. of Galway, pp. 11–12, 317.]

A. W. R.