Arthur, Sir Daniel (d. 1705), banker, was born probably in the 1620s in Co. Limerick or Co. Clare, son of Daniel Arthur, a catholic merchant, and Joan Arthur (née Arthur), presumably a kinswoman. He is known to have been a successful merchant, with property in Dublin as well as Limerick. He settled in London, where he married (1660) Anasthase Arthur, presumably also a kinswoman; they had two children, Daniel Arthur (of London) and Christine Anasthase. After Anasthase's death he married (1668) Anne, daughter of an English catholic baronet, Sir Francis Mannock of Giffords Hall, Suffolk. Of this marriage two children survived, Daniel (distinguished here as ‘Mannock’) and Marie. Anne seems to have died shortly after the birth of Marie (1677). In 1678 Arthur took as his third wife Catherine Smith of Crabatt, Sussex. They had five children: Daniel (distinguished here as ‘Smith’), Elizabeth, Margaret, John, and Dorothy.
In the 1670s Arthur's adherence to catholicism caused him difficulties with the civil authorities. In 1679 he was arrested on suspicion of complicity in the Oates plot and then permitted to leave for the Continent, where he settled in Paris as a banker, at first in Rue Mauconseil, then (until his death) in Rue du Petit Lion. The massive outflow of capital from Britain and Ireland to Paris, and the influx of Jacobites into France after the ‘Glorious revolution’, gave added impetus to his career. Arthur was one of a small number of Irish bankers in France who looked after the financial interests of exiled English and Irish Jacobites. From the latter, it was said, he received £150,000 – a huge sum when compared with an estimated Irish money supply of under £400,000 in the seventeenth century. He was a friend of another Irish banker in Paris, Richard Cantillon (d. 1717), cousin-german of the famous economist Richard Cantillon (qv), to whom Arthur himself was related through his sister Jane who married David Cantillon of Kilgobbin, Co. Limerick, and became the economist's grandmother. Among Arthur's clients were the leading families attached to James II's (qv) exiled court at Saint-Germain. He acted as an intermediary for them in dealings with French institutions. Arthur had links with the Jacobite court, through his second wife's family, that were strengthened by the knighthood conferred on him by James (1690).
But Sir Daniel Arthur's outlawry by the English government seems not to have hindered the Arthurs' business in London. Unusually privileged, they were a conduit both for the circulation of funds belonging to English (and Irish) families divided by the English Channel, and for the transit of documents such as the wills of Jacobites. Arthur had clients among the Irish merchants settled in Dunkirk, Saint-Malo, Brest, Nantes, and Bordeaux; he maintained links with Ireland, in particular with Limerick and Kerry. (All his employees in Paris were from the same part of Ireland as himself and he was a personal friend of John O'Molony (qv), bishop of Limerick 1689–1702.) Arthur's sons became bankers in turn. The eldest, Daniel Arthur of London, remained there after 1679. Daniel ‘Mannock’ Arthur became a banker in Paris and after his father's death inherited much of his clientele. Daniel ‘Smith’ Arthur worked with his brother in London before settling in Paris c.1713.
By the time of his death (23 September 1705) Sir Daniel Arthur had a large fortune, consisting mainly of French government bonds drawn on the Hôtel de Ville but also of jewellery, tapestries, and other valuables. His succession was awarded by the châtelet of Paris to Daniel ‘Mannock’ Arthur but was contested by the family of Catherine Smith and not resolved until 1712, when Daniel ‘Mannock’ renounced his rights and left Paris, settling apparently in Madrid. However, Daniel ‘Smith’ did not acquire the clients who had passed from his father to Daniel ‘Mannock’. In the end it was the banker Richard Cantillon who took on most of Sir Daniel Arthur's clients. Some paintings owned by Arthur eventually became part of the royal collection at Windsor.