It seems to me that during their times members of the Arthur family were driven to excel in whatever field they chose and in whatever place they made their home.

Saint germain  place well known to Daniel Arthur in Paris

Daniel Arthur 1620- 1705



Sir Daniel Arthur (Clare/Limerick, 1620? – Paris, 1705) was a talented and well-connected banker who first came to prominence as the forces of King William III of Orange dealt with the Catholic claimant to the British throne, King James II. During the siege of Limerick, with many Irish Catholic landlords trying to preserve as much of their wealth as they could by taking it out of the country mostly to France, Daniel Arthur was “found to have 2 million livres of their wealth in his possession”, according to a French commander at the siege, the Marquis d’Albyville.

The Treaty of Limerick spurred the emigration of Catholic landowners and soldiers who came to form a majority (some 60% of the total, according to Nathalie Genet-Rouffiac) of the Jacobite population that settled around the court of James II in the old castle of Saint Germain-en-Laye outside Paris. Daniel Arthur—knighted by James in 1690—was already well established in Paris by this time, having been exiled there in 1679 after having being implicated in the obscure ‘Popish plot’, or ‘Oates plot’ against King Charles II. He settled first in rue Mauconseil (1st arrondissement) and then, until his death, close by in the rue du Petit Lion (now called the rue Tiquetonne, 2nd arrondissement). As further proof of Sir Daniel’s close connections with the court in Saint Germain-en-Laye, two of his daughters married Jacobite officers. One of these officers, Patrice Fitzgerald, son of Richard Fitzgerald of Waterford, was staying at the Hôtel de la Rivière in the rue aux Ours (3rd arrondissement) at the time of his marriage with Sir Daniel's daughter, Elizabeth, in January 1704.

The English and Irish Jacobites were only too happy to confide their financial affairs to Arthur and to a small number of Irish bankers like him, including Richard Cantillon, an older relative of the Richard Cantillon discussed elsewhere in these pages. But Arthur was possibly the most successful and influential of all these bankers, with a client list that extended to the extensive and wealthy Irish merchant community established on France’s western seaboard.

Richard Cantillon nephew of the first Richard Cantillon

Mary Anne O'Mahony the wife of  Richard Cantillon nephew of the first Richard Cantillon.

 A Short history of the The Cantillon Family of Kerry and Limerick whose fortunes were closely tied up with the fortunes of the Arthur family in France

In mediaeval deeds the Cantflions are called de Cantelupo, the Latin equivalent of the Norman de Cauntelo from the place in northern France. From 1302 the form de Cantelowe was in use in Ireland. Before coming to Ireland they settled for a time in England: the shrine of St. Thomas de Cantelupe is in Hereford Cathedral. By the middle of the thirteenth century the family was well established in Counties Kerry and Limerick and for the next four centuries were prominent in Co. Kerry. During most of that time their principal seat was at Ballyheigue, which they held until it was forfeited in the seventeenth century. They lost their Kerry estates as a result of their supporting the Catholic Confederation, and a generation later James 11 - the list of officers in that king's Irish army includes two Cantillons, one of whom was chaplain to Kilmallock's (Sarsfield's) regiment. James Cantillon of Bafllyheigue, who followed James 11 to France, took a notable part in the battle of Malplaquet in 1709 where he led the Irish troops.  Richard Cantillon (c. 1675-1734), who may have been born at Ballyheigue, was a man of international reputation: he has been called "the father of political economy" may have been the brother of James He went to Paris after the end of the Williamite war he prospered as a banker and gave much financial assistance to James III (the "Old Pretender") and to impoverished Irish gentlemen in France. The family has many associations with France. As early as the sixteenth century we find an Irish priest called Cantillon there and  more recently Napoleon in his will left Lt. Cantillon 10,000 francs . Col. Antoine Cantillon, President of the Council of War in Paris (1843), had been created Baron de Ballyheigue by King Louis Philippe a few years earlier said he was the grandson of the Thomas Cantillon who distinguished himself serving in the Irish Brigade in 1747. Though the Cantillons had long ceased to be one of the great Kerry families- they were still among the landed gentry in 1878 when John Heffernan Cantillon of Mannister House, Croom, was the owner of a valuable estate in Co. Limerick.

The date and location of the birth of Richard Cantillon are still not certain. It is known that the man who may have been his father, Richard Cantlillon married his third (or fourth) cousin Bridget Cantillon of Kilgobbin, County Limerick. This intermarriage explains some of the problems that genealogists have met in explaining the economist's complicated family relationships. A namesake, the Chevalier Richard Cantillon, who was a banker in Paris, died in 1717, may have been a first cousin once removed of Richard Cantillon. Through his possible mother Cantillon had a further banking connexion.
She was a niece of Sir Daniel Arthur who had a banking business in both London and Paris..First in 1711, Cantillon found himself in the employment of British Paymaster General James Brydges, in Spain, where he organised payments to British prisoners of war during the War of Spanish Succession. Cantillon remained in Spain until 1714, cultivating a number of business and political connections, before returning to Paris. By 1715 he was running the bank founded by the Chevalier in one transaction he discounted a bill of exchange of $20,000 for Lord Bolingbroke. By 1716 he had purchased the bank. In 1718 Cantillon was involved in business transactions with the Scottish adventurer John Law. During Law's famous "System" (1718-20) Cantillon amassed a considerable fortune, estimated by Du Hautchamp, in the Histoire du Visa (1743), as amounting to 20 million livres tournois. In 1722 Cantillon married Mary Anne O'Mahony daughter of Count Daniel O'Mahony and Cecily Weld. Her mother died when she was young and Daniel O'Mahony re-married to Charlotte Bulckley, sister-in-law of James Fitzjames, Duke of Berwick - the "fills naturel" of James 11. To add to the complications Mary Anne O'Mahony/Cantillon married her stepmother's brother, Count Francois Buckley, a year after Cantillons death. 'The Cantillons came from Ballyheigue although because of the way he never spoke about where he came from it is possible that he may have come from the Cantillon line of Ballyphillip in Co. Limerick. Thomas Cantillon whom some believe to be the economists grandfather forfeited lands under the Cromwellian plantations. It is difficult to trace the family after this forfeiture though there is a document signed by a Richard Cantillon of the Barony of Clanmaurice contributing funds to the building of a chapel in Killurie, Barony of Claranaurice. This document is dated April. There is the strong possibility that Richard Cantillon was born in Ireland. History teaches us that Richard Cantillon was murdered in his bed in London in 1734). Here again there is a question was he really murdered or did he stage his murder in order to disappear and escape all the troubled that had been building up as people sued him over the losses that suffered due to their participation in the purchase of shares in a company that was financing a land colonization in Louisiana. Richard saw early that it could not work so he sold his shares in the company but the other big investors were not so quick and lost huge sums. They believed that he must have cheated him somehow.

Why so much about the Cantillon family here it is simple because not only were they involved with the Arthur family in France they regularly intermarried with the Arthur family of Limerick and so were closely related to the Arthur family.

In spite of his deep Jacobite connections, he was able to maintain a banking house in London that was run by one of his sons and it was listed in the 1677 " Directory of London Merchants and Bankers" as located in Broad Street  near Bishopsgate in east London today this street is known as Old Broad Street. This cross-Channel network enabled the Arthur’s, père et fils, to run a money transfer operation between Great Britain and the continent for wealthy British travellers. Another relative of Daniel Arthur, Francis Arthur, ran the Arthur & Crean bank in Madrid, ensuring that the British government turned to the Arthur family to funnel money to British prisoners of war in Spain. According to the Dictionary of Irish Biography, “All his employees in Paris were from the same part of Ireland as himself, particularly Limerick and Kerry”. One of these employees, Edmond Loftus, subsequently turns up as a banker in his own right at rue Quincampoix (3rd/4th arrondissements). The Cantillons—to whom Arthur was related—also belonged to this Kerry mafia.

Not surprisingly, both Richard Cantillons were given a helping hand in their banking career by Daniel Arthur's circle—the older chevalier Richard Cantillon ending up as banker to the British ambassador in Paris and the younger Richard becoming a conduit for the money sent to Spain for British prisoners held there during the War of the Spanish Succession.

 Sir Daniel Arthur’s son by his second marriage, Daniel ‘Mannock’ Arthur continued as a banker in Paris after his father’s death in 1705, first out of rue Saint Denis (1st/2nd arrondissements and then out of his father’s premises in rue du Petit Lion. After a dispute over his father’s inheritance was decided against Daniel ‘Mannock’ Arthur and in favour of another son, Daniel ‘Smith’ Arthur, the latter settled in Paris and took over the family business in 1713.

Daniel ‘Smith’ Arthur established premises first at rue de la Chanvrerie (absorbed by a section of the modern-day rue Rambuteau in the first arrondissement) and then (in 1715) in rue des vieilles Etuves (now rue Sauval, 1st arrondissement). But the Arthur banking empire went into decline after Sir Daniel’s death, with most of Daniel Arthur’s clients turning to the talented Richard Cantillon the younger.

Daniel ‘Mannock’ Arthur was a keen art collector, building up a substantial collection before his death in Spain. Mannock’s collection—which included paintings by Van Dyke, Michelangelo, Tinteretto, Veronese and Titian—was left to his wife, who remarried a Mr. Bagnall. The collection was subsequently sold to King George II and now forms part of the Royal Collection in Windsor.

A representation of the execution on Robret Arthur.


Robert Arthur 1761 - 1794


Now I will move on to tell the story of another remarkable member of the Arthur who rose to prominence in another country i.e. France and this member of our family was to be one of the leading lights in the French Revolution yet outside of France most of us have never heard of him. The man of whom I speak is of course Robert Arthur. 

Robert Arthur’s father was a watchmaker from Limerick who moved to Paris to make a living. Robert was born in 1761 in Paris.

Robert amassed a considerable fortune in the paper making business. In Paris he was better known as Jean Jacques Arthur because he was known to idolize Jean Jacques Rousseau. (A namesake of his Captain Robert Arthur was promoted to the rank of Colonel on the battlefield of Laffelt where the Irish Brigade distinguished itself).

 Robert became deeply immersed in the boiling politics leading up to the French Revolution and in the reign of terror afterwards and became a very close friend of Robespierre, so much so that he became known as the “Little Robespierre”. He was a true idealist, for he was a wealthy man and had nothing to gain from the revolution. In fact it could be said that he had everything that a man could wish for, a beautiful estate outside Paris, a prosperous business employing more than 200 people and above all youth and good health. 

The Club of the Jacobeans was the home of all the revolutionary enthusiasts, especially those who were attached to Robespierre, where the burning questions of the day were argued and Robert Arthur took part in the debates. His activities however were not confined to more academic discussions. He was the moving spirits of the Revolutionary Committee de Place Vendome, the district in Paris where he resided, and helped in the sack of the Tuilleries.

There is a story that was part of Limerick lore, that Robert rescued a young student called Patrick Hogan from a murderous mob at the Irish College in Paris during the reign of terror. Hogan was afterwards parish priest of St. Michael’s in Limerick. He died in 1839. By a curious coincidence, the only two memorials in St. Michaels were to Patrick Hogan and Patrick Arthur.

 The Insurrectionary Commune became the real ruler of France, established on the ruins of Royalty. This Commune undertook to guard the King and his family while prisoners. Arthur was a member of this new body, and as such was one of the 12 commissioners selected from its number to carry out this task. Shortly after assuming the duties of his office he accused one of his colleagues of having secret interviews with the queen.

His uncompromising attachment to the principles of the Revolution earned him the title of  ” Little Robespierre” from his enemies. He denounced vigorously the speculators who were smelting money from copper and he attacked Pitt’s English agents who were hatching schemes to slaughter cows and sheep in order to starve France.

At this time too when Royalists intriguers and anti-revolutionaries were lurking in large numbers in Paris decree was pronounced by him which compelled all citizen householders to affix on the door of their residence the names, ages and occupations of all persons living there.

In spring 1793 saw the death struggle growing more intense between the two political factions the Gironde and the Mountain. The crisis was reached with the insurrection of June 2nd 1793 when the former went under and twenty two of it’s deputies, who included the most illustrious of the National Convention were proscribed by that body under the influence of the Commune, Included in the 22 was the minister of finance, Clavierre, whom Robert Arthur had long been assailing. The patriots of the Place Vendome Revolutionary Committee placed him under arrest, but it was not until six months later that his trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal began.

On the eve of that event he was handed a list of witnesses who gave evidence against him, and on finding Robert’s name among them, he quietly retired to his cell and committed suicide. Clavierre’s fellow prisoner Reouffe tells the story in his memoirs and describes Robert Arthur as a “foreigner who became a member of the Commune, and was more factious and blood-thirsty than Herbert and Chanmette

Robert was one of the witnesses listed to swear against Danton at his trial, but in the course of the proceedings he was informed that the jury had quite sufficient evidence. Robert Arthur, being successful in business owned a beautiful chateau and park outside Paris. Robespierre was often a guest there, and to him Robert was most affectionately attached.

After the arrest of his idol Robespierre, Robert Arthur signed his own death warrant when he put his name to the proclamation calling on the people to rise in defense of their leader. There was no response to this call and he was arrested for his action. Robert Arthur was executed on the guillotine two days after Robespierre, on 30 July 1794. 




Members of the Arthur family who fought for King James II.


Here is an account of Mayor Thomas Arthur and the Irish officers named Arthur in the army of King James who fought at the siege of Derry and at the battle of Aughrim.

In King James’ charter to Limerick in 1689 Nicholas Arthur was named one of the Aldermen while James Arthur and Thomas Arthur were Burgesses. This Thomas would appear to be Mayor Thomas Arthur. At the parliament in Dublin in 1689 he sat as one of its representatives for the Borough of Newcastle, Co. Dublin. An early notice of this Thomas appears in the “ Correspondence of the Earl of Clarendon” 6th. May 1686. When writing to the Earl of Sunderland he recommends, “ Captain Thomas Arthur a Roman Catholic who lately brought the employment he advanced to the Lieutenant Colonelty of the guards". Early in September of that year he was sent to Connaught to raise recruits, but not having the Earl of Clarendon’s order he was recalled.

Apart from Thomas Arthur there were other members of the Arthur family in this regiment, Captain John Arthur, Ensign Edward Arthur and Ensign John Arthur. There was also a Captain Patrick Arthur in Major General Boislean’s infantry. One of these Captain Arthur’s was wounded at the siege of Derry while Major Thomas Arthur fell at the Battle of the Boyne. Dean Story in his “ Imperial History Vol 2 page 138 records the death of a Colonel Arthur at the Battle of Aughrim. This Colonel Arthur was married to a niece of Richard, Earl of Tyrconnel” Another Irish officer who was recorded as a prisoner and who died of his wounds at Aughrim was a Major Arthur. The Arthur’s mentioned above belonged to the Kings Regiment of Infantry.  The above is taken from “King James’ Army List 1689” by John D’Alton.  

There is some evidence to suggest that the grandfather of Patrick Arthur of Arthur's Quay fame was an aid de camp to Patrick Sarsfield.

Lieutenant Robert Arthur of Hackett’s Town Co. Dublin is also recorded as being an officer in the Army of King James.



This site and all the information contained in it is © 2017. If anyone wishes to use any of the information except that which is already the public domain you must obtain the permission of the author be by contacting me at mick@thearthurfamilyoflimerickandclare.com