COOTE, Richard, 2nd Baron Coote of Coloony [I] (c.1655-1701).
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Family and Education
b. c.1655, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Richard, 1st Baron Coote of Coloony [I] by Mary, da. of Sir George St. George of Carrick Drumrusk, co. Leitrim. m. lic. 19 Aug. 1680, aged 25, Catherine, da. and h. of Bridges Nanfan of Birtsmorton, Worcs., 3s. suc. fa. 10 July 1683; cr. Earl of Bellomont [I] 2 Nov. 1689.1
Capt. of horse, Dutch army by 1687-Mar. 1688.2
Treas. to Princess Mary of Orange Mar. 1688, (as Queen) 1689-94; gov. of Leitrim 1689-93, Massachusetts 1695-7, New York 1697-d.3
Commr. for assessment, Worcs. 1689, j.p. and dep. lt. by 1700-d.
Coote was descended from an Elizabethan soldier who settled in Connaught. His father, a younger son, was a Parliamentarian in the Civil War like the rest of the family. An ardent Protestant he took a distinguished part in the Cromwellian conquest, but by 1659 he had become a Royalist. He was raised to the Irish peerage at the Restoration, and by 1677 his estate was valued at £2,500 p.a. Coote himself has to be distinguished from his cousin, a captain in the Irish Guards. After killing a Scottish colonel in a duel in 1677, he married a Worcestershire heiress without her parents’ consent, and became an ardent Whig. Under James II he enlisted in the Dutch army. ‘I doubt he makes little of his Irish estate’, wrote his father-in-law, ‘and chooses rather to retreat into a cheaper country.’ He declared himself ‘afflicted at the misrepresentation of his loyalty’, but James II considered him ‘most disaffected to the King and kingly government’. Letters patent were issued commanding him to return to Ireland, but instead he was given a post in Mary’s household and accompanied William to England in November.4
Although Coote was ‘not satisfied whether I rightly account myself a freeholder of England’, he was returned for Droitwich at the general election of 1689, probably on the Earl of Shrewsbury’s interest. A moderately active Member of the Convention, he was appointed to 14 committees, including the committee of elections and privileges, and those considering the suspension of habeas corpus, the toleration bill, and Schomberg’s naturalization. When he was made treasurer to the Queen, Morrice described him as ‘a most worthy person’, which probably implies strong Presbyterian sympathies. ‘His estate almost all lies in Ireland in the enemy’s hands’, and on 15 Apr. he was appointed to the committee for the relief of Protestant refugees. He was added to the committee to consider an address sent down from the Lords, and on 13 Aug. carried a message to desire a conference about Titus Oates. He gave evidence in the Lords about miscarriages in Ireland. In the second session he was named to the inquiry into war expenditure, as well as to three more committees concerning Irish affairs, and he was given an Irish earldom. A member of the committee on the bill for restoring corporations, he was reckoned a supporter of the disabling clause. Re-elected in 1690, he impeached Thomas Coningsby and (Sir) Charles Porter for maladministration in Ireland. But after the Queen’s death his career lay entirely in the colonies, where he is best remembered for his well-intentioned but unfortunate undertaking with the privateer Captain Kidd. He died on 5 Mar. 1701, the only member of this branch of the Coote family to sit at Westminster.5
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Edward Rowlands
- 1. Mar. Lic. (Harl. Soc. xxx), 39.
- 2. HMC Downshire, i. 286.
- 3. Dalrymple, Mems. ii. bk. 5, p. 172; LS15/231/20; HMC Portland, iii. 535.
- 4. Cal. Cl. SP, iv. 601; v. 682; Add. 34730, ff. 89, 91; CSP Dom. 1677-8, pp. 510, 522; 1683-4, p. 68; 1687-9, pp. 66, 84-85; Bodl. Carte 217, ff. 194-5; HMC Downshire, i. 286.
- 5. Add. 34730, f. 95; CSP Dom. 1689-90, p. 456; Morrice, Entering Bk. 2, p. 475; HMC Lords, ii. 139-40, 142, 183; HMC Portland, viii. 70.