Thomas Sheridan (politician)

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Sir Thomas Sheridan, the elder (c. 1646 – 1712) was the Chief Secretary for Ireland between 1687 and 1688.

Chief Secretary for Ireland position

The Chief Secretary for Ireland was a key political office in the British administration in Ireland. Nominally subordinate to the Lord Lieutenant, and officially the "Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant", from the early 19th century until the end of British rule he was effectively the government minister with responsibility for governing Ireland, roughly equivalent to the role of a Secretary of State. Usually it was the Chief Secretary, rather than the Lord Lieutenant, who sat in the British Cabinet. The Chief Secretary was ex officio President of the Local Government Board for Ireland from its creation in 1872.


Early years

Sheridan was born in St. John's, County Meath, Ireland, the fourth son of Reverend Dennis Sheridan, rector of Killesher parish, County Fermanagh. His brothers included William Sheridan and Patrick Sheridan the Anglican bishop of Cloyne. [1]

County Meath County in the Republic of Ireland

County Meath is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Mid-East Region. It is named after the historic Kingdom of Meath. Meath County Council is the local authority for the county. At the 2016 census, the population of the county was 195,044. The county town of Meath is Navan. Other towns in the county include Trim, Kells, Laytown, Ashbourne, Dunboyne, and Slane.

Ireland Island in north-west Europe, 20th largest in world, politically divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK)

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.

County Fermanagh Place in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom

County Fermanagh is one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland and one of the six counties of Northern Ireland. The county covers an area of 1,691 km² and has a population of 61,805 as of 2011. Enniskillen is the county town and largest in both size and population.


Sheridan entered Trinity College, Dublin on 17 Jan. 1661 from where he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1664, and in 1667 he was elected a Fellow of Trinity. [2]


Sheridan attended the Middle Temple in London from 29 June 1670 to study law but cut his studies short when he was appointed Cork Collector of Customs, where he made his fortune. In 1676 he was appointed a farmer of the Irish Revenue and sold his interest for a profit of £4,000. On 6 August 1677 Sheridan received an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law from the University of Oxford and on 6 February 1679 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, London. He was imprisoned in 1680 for allegedly conspiring in the Popish Plot and on 15 December 1680 he gave evidence before the House of Commons but, as Parliament was dissolved shortly afterwards, was set free. [3]

Middle Temple one of the four Inns of Court in London, England

The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known simply as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers, the others being the Inner Temple, Gray's Inn and Lincoln's Inn. It is located in the wider Temple area of London, near the Royal Courts of Justice, and within the City of London.

University of Oxford Collegiate research university in Oxford, England

The University of Oxford is a collegiate research university in Oxford, England. There is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris. After disputes between students and Oxford townsfolk in 1209, some academics fled north-east to Cambridge where they established what became the University of Cambridge. The two 'ancient universities' are frequently jointly referred to as 'Oxbridge'. The history and influence of the University of Oxford has made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Royal Society English learned society for science

The President, Council and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly known as the Royal Society, is a learned society. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by King Charles II as "The Royal Society". It is the oldest national scientific institution in the world. The society is the United Kingdom's and Commonwealth of Nations' Academy of Sciences and fulfils a number of roles: promoting science and its benefits, recognising excellence in science, supporting outstanding science, providing scientific advice for policy, fostering international and global co-operation, education and public engagement.

Chief Secretary for Ireland

King James II of England appointed Thomas Sheridan as Chief Secretary for Ireland in 1687 but he was accused of corruption by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell and was removed from the post in 1688. [4]

James II of England 17th-century King of England and Ireland, and of Scotland (as James VII)

James II and VII was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance. However, it also involved the principles of absolutism and divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown.

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland title of the chief governor of Ireland from the Williamite Wars of 1690 till the Partition of Ireland in 1922

Lord Lieutenant of Ireland was the title of the chief governor of Ireland from the Williamite Wars of 1690 till the Partition of Ireland in 1922. This spanned the Kingdom of Ireland (1541–1800) and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1922). The office, under its various names, was often more generally known as the viceroy, and his wife was known as the vicereine. The government of Ireland in practice was usually in the hands of the Lord Deputy up to the 17th century, and later of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. Although in the Middle Ages some Lords Deputy were Irish noblemen, only men from Great Britain, usually peers, were appointed to the office of Lord Lieutenant.

Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell Irish Earl

Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell PC was an Irish royalist and Jacobite soldier. He served as James II's Lord Deputy of Ireland during the Williamite War in Ireland. His administration saw a major purge of Protestant officers from the Irish Army, which had previously largely barred Catholics.

Later Career and Death

When James II of England was deposed, Sheridan's political career was finished and he spent his remaining days in France attending the court of James II. He authored the following works-

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

1. Mr. Sheridan's Speech after his Examination before the late House of Commons [5] (London, 1681)

2. A Discourse on the Rise and Power of Parliaments [6] (1677)

3. The Sheridan Papers (1702), (contained in Calendar of the Stuart papers) [7]

and he also translated A Survey of Princes [8] by Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac

Sheridan died at Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Paris, France in 1712. [9]


About June 1684 Sheridan married Helen Ravenscroft (née Appleby), widow of George Ravenscroft, the developer of English lead crystal, [10] and the daughter of Thomas Appleby and Helen Gascoigne of Linton-on-Ouse in Yorkshire. There were three children of the marriage- Therese Helen, Mary and Sir Thomas Sheridan junior who became tutor to Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

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  1. "Sheridan, from new and original material; : Sichel, Walter Sydney, 1855-1933 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  2. Register of the Alumni of Trinity College, Dublin
  3. "Thomas Sheridan". Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  4. Thomas Sheridan (1646–1712) and His Narrative, by John Miller, in Irish Historical Studies, Vol. 20, No. 78 (September 1976), pp. 105-128
  5. Sheridan, T. (1681). Mr. Sheridan's Speech After His Examination Before the Late House of Commons, on Wednesday the 15th. of December, 1680. J. Hindmarsh. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  6. Sheridan, T. (1685). A Learned Discourse on Various Subjects, Viz: Of the Rise and Power of Parliaments, of Laws, of Courts of Judicature ... of Taxes, Trade and of the Interest of England in Reference to France. Printed and are to be sold by H. Sawbridge. Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  7. "Calendar of the Stuart papers belonging to His Majesty the king, preserved at Windsor castle .. : Great Britain. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  8. GUEZ, J.L. (1715). A Survey of Princes and Their Favourites, by the Ingenious Monsieur de Balzack, in His Aristippus, Abridg'd and Translated by T. Sheridan? Or C. Leslie? . Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  9. "The parochial registers of Saint Germain-en-Laye : Jacobite extracts of births, marriages, and deaths; with notes and appendices : Saint Germain-en-Laye (France) : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  10. MacLeod, C. (2004). Merchant and Glass Manufacturer. In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Political offices
Preceded by
Patrick Tyrrell
Chief Secretary for Ireland
Succeeded by
Sir Paul Rycaut