Preston was excepted from pardon for life or estate in the Cromwellian Act of Settlement 12 Aug. 1652. He was now old, he had not been successful except in the defence of towns, and could scarcely hope for any important employment. The short remainder of his life was chiefly spent in the Spanish Netherlands, but he was at Paris in the autumn of 1653 with offers of service to Charles II. Hyde did not like him, and wrote on 12 Sept. that he had received no countenance, as it was found that his real object was to get employment from the French king (Cal. of Clarendon State Papers). The date of Preston's death is uncertain. He married a daughter of Charles Van der Eycken, seigneur de St. George. Their son Anthony, who played an active part in the Irish war, and who succeeded as second Viscount Tara, died 24 April 1659, at Bruges. The peerage became extinct in 1674. One of their daughters was the second wife of Sir Phelim O'Neill [q. v.], and may have stimulated her father's hostility to Owen Roe O'Neill. Another married successively Colonel Francis Netterville and Colonel John Fitzpatrick.
There are two portraits of Preston at Gormanston Castle, co. Meath. An engraving after one of these is preserved in Trinity College, Dublin, and is reproduced in the frontispiece to vol. iv. of the ‘History of the Confederation and War in Ireland.’
[For the period before 1642: Cal. of State Papers, Ireland, 1603–14; Lord Strafford's Letters and Despatches; Martin's Hist. de France, chap. lxx.; M. O'Connor's Irish Brigades, 1855; Historiæ Belgicæ Liber singularis de obsidione Lovaniensi A.D. MDCXXXV. Antwerp, 1636, by Erycius Puteanus (Henri Du Puy or Van der Putte), which gives a detailed and very laudatory account of Preston's doings at Louvain; Bishop French mentions another by Vernulæus (Nicolas de Vernulz), but without specifying any one of his numerous works. For the Irish war and after it see: Contemporary Hist. of Affairs in Ireland and Hist. of Confederation and War in Ireland, both ed. Gilbert (the latter comprises the narrative of Secretary Bellings, who is very full and accurate on Leinster affairs); Irish Warr in 1641, by a British officer in Sir John Clotworthy's regiment; Castlehaven's Memoirs, ed. 1815; Bishop French's Unkind Deserter; Cardinal Moran's Spicilegium Ossoriense; Rinuccini's Embassy in Ireland (transl. by Hughes); Clanricarde's Memoirs, 1744; Ludlow's Memoirs, ed. Firth, 1894; Rushworth Collections; Cal. of Clarendon State Papers, 1646–57; Carte's Ormonde and Original Letters; Hardiman's Hist. of Galway; Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerage; Foster's Peerage, 1883.]
PRESTON, WILLIAM (1753–1807), poet and dramatist, born in the parish of St. Michan's, Dublin, in 1753, was admitted a pensioner at Trinity College in 1766. He graduated B.A. in 1770, and M.A. in 1773, studied in the Middle Temple, and was called to the Irish bar in 1777. He assisted in the formation of the Royal Irish Academy, and was elected its first secretary in 1786. That post he held during the rest of his life. He also helped to found the Dublin Library Society, and was a frequent contributor to its ‘Transactions.’ He wrote occasional poetry for periodicals—including the ‘Press,’ the organ of the ‘United Irishmen,’ and the ‘Sentimental and Masonic Magazine,’ 1794, and he contributed to ‘Pranceriana’ (1784, cf. Nos. 16, 24, 25, 29, 31, and 33), a collection of satirical pieces on John Hely-Hutchinson (1724–1794) [q. v.], provost of Trinity College, and to Joshua Edkins's collection of poems (1789–90 and 1801). His chief success was attained by his tragedy ‘Democratic Rage’ (founded on incidents in the French revolution), which was produced at Dublin in 1793, and ran through three editions in as many weeks. Preston, who was a member of the ‘Monks of the Screw,’ died of overwork on 2 Feb. 1807. He was buried in St. Thomas's churchyard, Dublin.
His works were: 1. ‘Heroic Epistle of Mr. Manly … to Mr. Pinchbeck,’ a satire (anon.), 8vo, Dublin, 1775. 2. ‘Heroic Epistle to Mr. Twiss, by Donna Teresa Pinna y Ruiz,’ a satire, 8vo, Dublin, 1775; 2nd edit. Dublin, 1775. 3. ‘Heroic Answer of Mr. Twiss,’ by the same, a satire, 8vo, Dublin, 1775. 4. ‘1777, or a Picture of the Manners and Customs of the Age,’ a poem (anon.), 8vo, Dublin, 1778? 5. ‘The Female Congress, or the Temple of Cottyto,’ a mock-heroic poem in four cantos, 4to, London, 1779 6. ‘The Contrast, or a Comparison between England and Ireland,’ a poem, 1780. 7. ‘Offa and Ethelbert, or the Saxon Princes,’ a tragedy, 8vo, Dublin, 1791. 8. ‘Messina Freed,’ a tragedy, 8vo, Dublin, 1793. 9. ‘The Adopted Son,’ a tragedy. 10. ‘Rosmanda,’ a tragedy, Dublin, 1793, 8vo. 11. ‘Democratic Rage,’ a tragedy, 8vo, London, 1793. 12. ‘Poetical Works,’ 8vo, 2 vols. Dublin, 1793. 13. ‘The Siege of Ismail,’ a tragedy, 8vo, Dublin, 1794. 14. ‘A Letter to Bryan Edwards, Esq. … on some Passages of his “History of the West Indies,”’ 4to, London, 1794. 15. ‘The Natural Advantages of Ireland,’ 4to, Dublin, 1796. 16. ‘The Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius,’ translated into English verse with notes, 12mo, 1803 (various other editions). 17. ‘Some Considerations on the History of the Ancient