Canny(Reform-Restoration)2

Canny(Reform-Restoration)2 - 7 The Revolutionary Decades,...

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Unformatted text preview: 7 The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 We know, with the advantage of hindsight, that the appointment of Thomas Wentworth to the governorship of Ireland marked the commencement of a prolonged period of political instability that was characterised by at least three attempts to impose a revolutionary settlement on Ireland. The first such attempt was made by Wentworth himself who sought to introduce a new political order that would force the compliance of both Old English and settler communities with the wishes of the government. The second attempt at revolution was associated with the efforts of catholic landowners in Ireland to recover some of the losses they had endured over the previous decades, and the third attempt was that made by the army of Oliver Cromwell, in association with Irish protestant landowners, to take revenge on those catholics who had been associated with the previous revolutionary action. This third attempt resulted in a massive confiscation of the Irish land that remained in catholic ownership and' to this extent it fulfilled the ambition that had been defined by the protestant official group at the outset of the seventeenth century. None of this was foreseen by anybody in 1633 and both political groupings in Ireland welcomed the appointment of Thomas Went- worth in the belief that it would be to their long-term advantage. The protestant leaders would certainly have preferred it if the position of governor had gone to one of themselves but their case had been weakened because they were not united on a candidate. Wentworth seemed a good second best, however, because his record as president of the council in the North revealed that he had little time for recusants and that he could move forcefully against those, like the Old English landowners, who laid claims to the enjoyment of privileges that had no standing in law. Besides that, those among the settlers who identified with the earl of Cork had particular reason to be pleased with Went- worth’s appointment because Cork had been assiduous in cultivating Wentworth in England and had recently negotiated a marriage for his principal heir with a female relative of Wentworth. The official faction within the protestant grouping was disturbed at this apparent advan- 188 The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 189 tage that Cork had gained, but Adam Loftus, the lord chancellor, and Francis Annesley (Viscount Mountnorris), the vice treasurer,had each been assured by Wentworth that he would be guided by their advice. The leaders of the Old English grouping welcomed Wentworth’s appointment becauSe almost any English courtier was preferable as governor to an appointee from the settler group. But over and above this was the fact that Wentworth had a reputation of being the king’s man and could therefore be expected to deliver on the king’s promises in relation to the Graces, even in the face of opposition from his Dublin officials. These therefore looked forward to Wentworth convening a parliament which they believed could be counted on to ratify the Graces, thereby guaranteeing the Old English in their property and relieving them of some of the religious disabilities under which they had suffered. , Time was to show that both groupings had miscalculated, and their miscalculation was based both on an inadequate appraisal of the governor, and on their failure to understand the general shift in the attitudes towards Ireland that had occurred among the king’s servants in England. The single problem that most concerned the officials of King Charles I was finance, and this problem became increasingly acute in their minds when King Charles strove to rule England without the assistance of parliament and without the subsidy that only parlia- ment could approve. One possible means of resolving that problem was to increase the revenue that could be generated from Ireland, and officials in England came to look with increasing interest at the information on malpractice in the Irish administration that had come to light in 1622 and subsequently. There was clear evidence that Irish trade had been increasing steadily over the early decades of the seven- teenth century, yet the return to the government in customs revenue had not increased significantly above the figure of £6,000 which had been set in 1613 as the annual rental for the farm of Irish customs. Of even greater interest to the officials was the evidence that many planters in the several Irish plantations had failed to honour the condi- tions under which they had received grants of land, and that others had obtained land by fraudulent means at the expense both of church and state. Such malpractice was not new in Ireland but while this had been tolerated when windfall gains were thought to be essential to the survival of the settler groups there was no longer anyjustification for turning a blind eye to it because those who had persisted with planta- tion in Ireland were now a conspicuously wealthy group. The persistent lobbying of the earl of Cork in England and the extra- 190 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 vagant sums that he expended in his pursuit of connections at court drew immediate attention to the enormous wealth that he had accrued over a short period of time. The fact that his was not an isolated success was made clear by the broad acres and sumptuous mansions of which the more successful planters in Ireland were offensively boastful. An even more conspicuous indicator of the success of the settler group was the acquisition of Irish noble titles by a great number of those who had acquired land or office in Ireland at the commencement of the seven- teenth century. Englishmen who were already critical of the inflation of honours that had occurred in their own country during the reign of King James were utterly amazed at what had occurred and was still occurring in Ireland. The first breach with convention had happened towards the end of the Nine Years’ War when many army captains were knighted for service in the field. The penniless condition of some of these was subsequently remedied by grants of land and office but they had no sooner succeeded in matching their incomes with their social status than they sought to advance themselves still further by purchasing titles in the Irish peerage. The government’s concern to increase the number of protestants in the Irish house of lords as well as the crown’s desire for money both facilitated this upward social move- ment, but the astonishing result was that many English and Scottish adventurers who had gone to Ireland as commoners at the turn of the century had become earls, viscounts and barons a mere thirty years later. Such rapid elevation struck many residents in England as unnatural and it was taken by Wentworth as evidence that those who had achieved it were unquestionably corrupt. But while he was convinced of the corruption of the settler group in Ireland and was disdainful of their social pretensions, Wentworth also questioned the moral purpose which they constantly cited to legitimise their past actions. Their alleged concern to undermine the authority of the great lords in Ireland and to expose all subjects of the crown to the benefits of English common law was contradicted by their own concern to build up powerful lordships in the provinces. This was, to some degree, forced upon them by the desperate shortage of manpower in Ireland during the early decades of the century, and the various planters sought to retain the services of their tenants, whether native or British, by establishing bonds of loyalty between man and man. This resulted, on occasion, in the newly established landowners acting as defenders of their tenants against the arm of the law, and to this extent the new proprietors were behaving no differently from the landowners they had displaced. An issue that was altogether more serious however The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 191 and that did much to erode the credibility of the planters was their con- cern to lure away tenants from their neighbours’ property or to prevent the departure of tenants from their own. This frequently resulted in physical violence, either, between one landlord and his neighbours or between landlord and tenant, and this led to the charge that the recently established proprietors had become corrupted by their environment. A certain plausibility was given to this charge by the fact that many of the settlers, particularly at the lower social level, had become conversant in the Irish language, and those of the settler com- munity who had spent all or most of their childhood in Ireland would have spoken English with an Irish or a Scots-Irish accent. If these factors gave Wentworth and his associates occasion to question the sincerity of the civil dimension of the settlers’ reform strategy there was even greater reason for Wentworth to question their religious purpose. The fact that they had made little progress in winning the compliance of the native population with the established church was taken as evidence that their reform strategy had been defec- tive. In seeking to identify the defects, Wentworth arrived at the conclusion that the encroachments of secular landowners on church property had resulted in the spiritual no less than the material impoverishment of the church because even those landlords who were committed protestants had been concerned to appoint vicars who would be subservient totheir wishes. The recovery of this property for the church became one of Wentworth’s principal objectives, and he hoped thereby to create more attractive livings for a miSSionary clergy from England, and to restore the authority of bishops in the matter of appointing a parochial clergy. In both of these matters Wentworth was hoping to extend to Ireland the ecclesiastical policies that were being pursued in England by Archbishop Laud with the support of the king. Laud had been seeking in England to restore the wealth and influence of the church, but he was concerned also to apply a theological ortho- doxy that was previously absent from the English church. The principal obsession of Laud was the emphasis which was being placed by many English divines on the Calvinist doctrine of predestination. This struck Laud as an excessively harsh doctrine, the rigid acceptance of which was more likely to drive the ungodly away from the church than to attract them towards it-. It was far better, he thought, to empha- sise the totality of Christ’s redemption so that every person would recognise that he had an opportunity of achieving his own salvation if he was guided by the word of God. The efforts made by Laud to win the compliance of the English 192 From Reformalian to Resloralion: Ireland, 1534—1660 clergy with this doctrine, known as Arminianism, brought him into conflict with strict Calvinists who became known as puritans. But ifan effort to restore theological orthodoxy to the church was thought to be necessary in England it was far more necessary in Ireland where the articles for the government of the Irish church that had been agreed upon in 1615 incorporated a rigid approach to predestination. It was also known that some of the Irish clergy favoured this doctrine and that some Scottish settlers in Ulster sought to subvert the anglican position completely by inviting calvinist clergy from Scotland to occupy church livings on their estates. These developments further convinced Wentworth of the need to assert the authority of bishops in ecclesiastical matters, and to introduce new bishops to Ireland who would give a lead in expounding the new orthodoxies and would co- operate with the state in recovering the church property that had fallen under secular control. The first of the new appointees was John Bram— hall, who assumed office as bishop of Derry in 1634, and he and Went- worth together set about strengthening the position of the church in relation to secular authority as a necessary preliminary to providing renewed vigour to the English reform effort in Ireland. These were the considerations that explain Wentworth’s hostility towards the settler community in Ireland. This hostility was already fixed in his mind before he reached Ireland in 1633, and the new governor deferred his assault on the principal planters and officials merely because the Old English called for more immediate attention. These, as we saw, had been clamouring for the king to honour his promises, and had lobbied Wentworth to convene the parliament that would ratify the Graces. The governor, for his part, was quite anxious for a parliament that would approve further financial support for the government, but he had no intention of giving statutory support to those Graces that were of most importance to the Old English. The money that had been paid to the government was, to his mind, no more than what should have come by way of parliamentary subsidy, and Wentworth believed that any deficiencies that existed in land titles should be exploited to the advantage of the crown. But while he was clear on how he intended to deal with the problems that the Old English presented to him, Wentworth was contemptuous of this group also and hoped, in the long term, to bring them into compliance with the wishes of the state in religious matters. Apart from their being catholic, Wentworth was also suspicious of the pretensions of the Irish provincial lords because they too sought to limit the independence of their tenants and employed the services of poets, The Revolulionary Decades, 1633—60 193 priests and satirists to bolster their traditional authority over the native populace. To this extent the Old English and Gaelic lords reminded Wentworth of many of the English lords he had had to contend w1th while he was president of the north. Unlike these, however, the Old English were in a vulnerable position and at the mercy of the king. This had been admitted by them in the recent negotiation over the Graces. No longer were the Old English claiming, as they had done in the sixteenth century, to be equal in every way with protestant subjects of the king, and neither were they insistent, as they had been, on the independence of the Irish parliament and Judicial system from the equivalent institutions in England. These Irish institutions were, in fact, now firmly under protestant control, and at least one member of the Old English community who had failed to get fair treatment before the Irish courts was ready to argue that Ireland was not a kingdom but a colony whose institutions were subservient to those of England. The individual who in 1629 pleaded this case to the king was significantly John Cusack, grand-nephew of Sir Thomas Cusack, the prinCipal architect of the 1541 act ofkingship. This act, John Cusack contended, had done nothing to alter the constitutional status of the Old_English subjects and he requested a royal declaration that the Old English were both ‘perfect members of the English colony in Ireland and free denizens of England’ so that they could appeal the deCiSions ofthe Irish courts to the superior bodies in England. _ We cannot be certain that this particular piece of casuistry ever came to Wentworth’s attention but there was plenty of evidence bes1des to reveal the weakness of the Old English position to a governor who was only too ready to exploit it. For the moment, however, the governor intended to be conciliatory in religious matters, first because his exper- ience in the north of England had made him doubtful of the usefulness of recusancy fines as a source of revenue, and second because he thought the thrust to achieve religious conformity should be deferred until such time as his proposed restructuring of the established church had been completed. . This summary of Wentworth’s intentions reveals that he, like the great governors of the sixteenth century, had worked out a comprehen- sive programme of government in advance ofhis arrival in Ireland and, like them also, he had devised a strategy for its implementation. The key element of his strategy was that he was clear as to his objectives while those he had to deal with in Ireland were uncertain as to_his1nten- tions. The fact that each group was convinced that it enjoyed the governor’s goodwill meant that he had the advantage over each and 194 From Reformation Io Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 that he could exploit their differences to advance his purposes. The other factors in his favour were his own personal ability and appetite for work, and the ability of those he chose to assist him in Ireland. Among these were his former secretary, George Radcliffe, who was appointed to a senior position in the Irish administration; his cousin Christopher Wandesford who deputised for Wentworth in his absence; his chaplain John Bramhall who, as we saw, became bishop of Derry; and Philip Mainwaring who served as his secretary in Ireland. These both executed his wishes and lobbied support for him in Ireland, and these too wormed out information that could be used against those whom he had secretly identified as being vulnerable to attack. When he finally decided to launch his attack, Wentworth always had resort to intimidation, and he invariably isolated a prominent person for exemplary humiliation so that lesser subjects would be the more easily cowed into submission. The first element in Wentworth’s strategy related to finance because it was his hope that the revenue collected in Ireland would produce a surplus that would be available for the use of the king. Even before his arrival, Wentworth had re—negotiated the farming of the Irish customs and had bargained for a share in the profits for himself and the king. Then also, but less successfully, Wentworth had sought to persuade the Irish government that they should agree to a voluntary renewal of a subsidy. The difficulties he encountered in this forced him to recognise that a real improvement in Irish government finances would come about only with the consent of parliament, and the summoning and management of the Irish parliament of 1634—5 became his first priority. The composition of the commons was as it had been organised for the 1613 parliament by Sir John Davies with a clear protestant majority, and there was an even more definite protestant majority in the upper house because of the recent creation of new peerages. The existence of many scarcely-populated boroughs and of absentee peers left it open to the governor to build up a group of members in each house which was totally committed to him and this resulted in his being able to hold the balance of power between the mutually antagonistic protestant and catholic groupings in the parlia- ment. This placed Wentworth in a position to play off one grouping against the other, and this was made all the more easy because it was announced in advance that the parliament would meet in two sessions; the first to deal with finance and the second with grievances of the king’s subjects. When it came to finance, which meant a call for the grant of a The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 195 subsidy, Wentworth could expect to encounter opposition from the protestant interests who contended that the shortfall in government revenue could be met through the strict enforcement of recusancy fines. Catholic members, on the other hand, saw the subsidy as an equitable form of taxation and they could be counted on to support the call for a subsidy if there was a reasonable assurance that statutory support for the Graces would be granted in the second session. Went- worth did not give any such assurance but he satisfied the catholic members that he was giving one by facilitating the preparation of legislation on the Graces at committee level. By thus convincing the catholic members that he would subsequently support their demands, Wentworth enjoyed their support in the first session of parliament which duly approved the collection of six subsidies, each exceeding £40,000, over four years. This generosity meant that Wentworth’s government would operate within a comfortable budget, and he also succeeded during this first session in having a bill passed that gave statutory recognition to the activities of the commission for defective titles. This second item of legislation was supported by the catholic members in parliament because they believed it was being sought by the deputy to enable him to guarantee title to existing landowners over their property. They were, to an extent, correct in assuming this, but it was Wentworth’s intention that any such guarantees should be duly processed through the expensive commission rather than granted as a free gift under statute law. Furthermore, where it was clear that land— owners occupied land for which' they could show no title at all, Went- worth was determined that this should be turned to the profit of the crown through the process of plantation. This meant,'in effect, that the governor had no intention of honouring those Graces that related to property and he made this clear to the expectant catholic members during the recess between the two sessions of parliament. This shock- ing revelation raised the ire of the catholic members who had already given their consent to being taxed but it won the acclaim of the pro- testant members who believed that their long-proposed strategy against the catholics was about to be pursued. This meant that Went— worth enjoyed the support of the protestant members for the second session of parliament, and was forced only to concede that title to land in Ulster should remain good even where undertakers had not observed their conditions. This sequence of events in parliament suggested to the protestant community that Wentworth had adopted their policies as his own. 196 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 They were further convinced in the months following parliament when the deputy moved against the landowners of Connacht. The scheme that he outlined was that the crown should establish title to 4,000 quarters of land in the province of which'3,000 would be offered back to the existing occupiers under the terms available from the commis- sion for defective titles and the outstanding 1,000 quarters of land would be made available for plantation by outsiders. This appeared, at first sight, to be no more than an extension into Connacht of the plantation policy previously pursued in Wexford, Leitrim and the Gaelic midlands, but it was seen as different by contemporaries both because the area stipulated for settlement included the Old English county of Galway and because Galway and Sligo merchants enjoyed the occupancy of extensive properties in other counties of the province because of mortgage transactions. The fact that a frontal assault on Old English interests was being proposed was further clarified by the' declared exemption of existing protestant settlers in Roscommon and Sligo from the proposed settlement, and by the offer of more favour- able terms to the protestant O’Briens of County Clare than were avail- able to other native proprietors. Wentworth’s intimidatory tactics were made manifest by his personal appearance at the inquisitions that established crown title to the disputed lands in counties Roscommon, Sligo and Mayo during July 1635. But while he was successful in these counties everybody realised thatthey were no more than a preliminary to the crucial inquisition that was forthcoming in County Galway. There the Galway townsmen, who stood to lose most by these proceedings, had already taken a case before the Irish court of chancery and had employed agents to search the records in England for evidence of title that would counter Wentworth’s claims for the crown. The Galway opposition also promised to be more formidable because the inquisition jury would include trained lawyers, notably Patrick Darcy and Richard Martin, and because the jurors were confident of the backing of the earl of Clanricard who had so advanced himself in the king’s favour that he had become Viscount St Albans in the English peerage. What Went— worth was most afraid of was that Clanricard would use his influence with the king to negotiate an exemption from plantation for himself and the Galway townsmen similar to that proposed for the protestant proprietors of the province. To prevent this, he engaged in corre- spondence with his own supporters at court which was designed to dis- credit Clanricard, and he proceeded rapidly to have the Galway inquisition completed before any supporting evidence be made avail— T he Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 197 ‘ able to the defendants. With a view to symbolising his intent, Went- worth selected Clanricard’s newly completed mansion at Portumna as the venue for the hearing and his critics claimed that he further be- smirched the earl’s reputation by lying with his muddied riding boots on Clanricard’s canopied bed. Such overweening behaviour notwith— standing, the Galway jury obstinater refused to declare crown title to « the‘county, and the landowners, mobilised by Clanricard’s brother, despatched a delegation to plead their case before the king. The out— raged governor imprisoned and fined the sheriff who had selected the Galway jury and used every device at his disposal to ensure that the delegates would make no progress with the king. As luck would have it, Clanricard died in England in November 1635, and it was widely asserted that Wentworth’s behaviour had been responsible for his death. The resultant wave of sympathy won some respite for the dele- gates but they were forced to return to Ireland in May 1636 where they and the other members of the Galway jury faced imprisonment and a staggering fine of £4,000 each. The fine was later remitted and the jurors released, but Wentworth took advantage of the situation to force a fresh inquisition to find' title for the crown, and he then detailed a settlement in Galway more severe than he had originally intended. By his relentless pursuit of his objective in Galway, Wentworth won the ready compliance of the County Clare jury with his wishes, and the earl of Ormond conceded crO'Wn title to certain baronies in north Tipperary without trial by jury. But if Wentworth’s harrying of the native proprietors seemed, at first, to suggest that he was being guided by the settler philosophy in relation to on-going plantations, the existing settlers were soon to learn to their chagrin that they were not to be the beneficiaries of this policy. Rather, Wentworth wished to reserve the land for which crown title had recently been established for English courtiers who, he believed, would promote a new effort at settlement based on more secure foundations than those which had previously been attempted in Ireland. As far as the existing settler population was concerned Went- worth revealed he had no trust in them and he launched an attack on their control of ecclesiastical property which was every bit as ruthless and vindictive as that which he had pursued against the native proprietors of Connacht. In this second campaign Wentworth isolated Richard Boyle, the earl of Cork, for exemplary treatment similar to that which he had accorded Clanricard. Cork was an obvious target for attack because he was known to be the most successful planter in Ireland, becausc he had 198 From‘Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534-1660 drawn close relatives to occupy the principal ecclesiastical benefices in the areas where he held property, and because he was known to have gained control of extensive tracts of ecclesiastical property in Munster. That earl was also an obvious target because the governor found him offensively unctuous and pious and he hoped that by discrediting him he would demonstrate that the piosity of the settler community in Ireland, like that of the puritans in England, was no more than a veneer for self-seeking ambition. The groundwork for the attack was prepared secretly in advance when information was compiled, with the assistance of disgruntled clerics in Munster, on the incursions that Cork has made on church property. These related principally to the engrossment of church lands within their seignories by Raleigh and the other planters from whom Cork had purchased his property. Such lands, according to Went- worth’s thinking, should now be recovered for the church, but so also should those church lands which Cork had received at low rents and on long leases from church incumbents who were known clients of the earl. Once these were recovered, it was clear that the earl would also lose control of the appointment of vicars to serve the vacant livin gs and that episcopal authority in Munster would be duly restored. When sufficient evidence was available, Cork was summoned before the non-jury courts through which Wentworth operated and was asked to divest himself of his property. The earl was, quite naturally, astounded at this treatment and mobilised every instrument at his co m- mand to have the deputy’s procedures countermanded in England. Realising this Wentworth strove, as he had done in the case of Clan- ricard, to damage Cork’s standing in England and Ireland. His reputa- tion in England was tarnished by a series of scurrilous letters which depicted him as a hypocritical self-seeker, while within Ireland he was humiliated by being forced to dismantle the enormous tomb that he had erected in his wife’s memory immediately behind the main altar of St Patrick’s cathedral. Then, to add insult to injury, Wentworth in 1636 appointed John Atherton, a worldly cleric with a murky past, to the vacant see of Waterford and Lismore. Even Laud, who was consulted by Wentworth on all matters ecclesiastical, was dubious of this selec- tion but Wentworth stuck to his choice because, as he put it to Laud, he knew of ‘no such terrier in all England for the unkennelling of an old fox’. For his part, Cork proved as doughty afighter as Clanricard, and while he was forced to disgorge some of his church lands he held on to the most valuable property, the lands of the collegiate church at Youghal, but at the enormous cost of a £15,000 fine. The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 199 This prolonged and bitter conflict drew public attention to the issue that was at stake, and Wentworth’s dramatic success meant that he and his episcopal allies could, without difficulty, divest lesser personages among the planters of their church lands. But as well as strengthening . the church at the expense of protestant landowners, Wentworth was working feverishly to change the character of the church. The ground- work for this was laid in 1634 when Wentworth insisted that the estab- lished church in Ireland should abandon the articles that had been adopted in 1615 in favour of the doctrinal formulation that had been accepted in 1604 for the churchin England. This removed the sugges— tion that the Irish church was more calvinist than that in England, and to further clarify the position Wentworth insisted on English nominees of his own, rather than candidates selected by the Irish protestant com- munity, being appointed to all principal church vacancies that occurred. Then with their support he sought to force the conformity of all the protestant population in Ireland, and particularly the Scottish settlers in Ulster, with this newly adopted code. This became all the more critical after 1637 when _the efforts of King Charles to impose an episcopal system of government on the Scottish church provoked hostility that eventually led to war with his Scottish subjects. Lest this should inspire the Scots in Ulster to defy existing church practice in Ireland, Wentworth decided to require all Scottish settlers in Ulster to swear an oath, known as‘the Black Oath, to the effect that they would be loyal subjects of King Charles and would not enter into any other oath or covenant. Most settlers in Ulster reluctantly complied with this requirement, others fled to Scotland rather than accept the oath, and one boat—load set sail for New England with a view tojoining the puri- tan settlement there. But while there was much clamour and outcry at Wentworth’s draconian measures, there was every evidence that they were succeeding and few would have disagreed with Bishop Bramhall’s assessment that the Irish church would ‘quickly purge herself’ of non- conformists. It is clear to us that Wentworth was launching this onslaught on the Irish church so that a fresh beginning could be made with the work of reform. But this was not at all evident to the Irish protestants who were convinced of their own righteousness and were given every reason to doubt Wentworth’s sincerity because of the entertainment he provided for catholic leaders, including the titulararchbishop of Dublin. The sug- gestion that Wentworth was a wrecker with no positive programme of his own was rendered plausible forall members of the settlercommunity when they experienced his further onslaught on their interest in office 200 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 and land and when they witnessed his campaign to achieve his personal enrichment at their expense. These dimensions of Wentworth’s programme were not at first apparent because he made a deliberate attempt to befriend and enter into the confidences of several of the senior officials in Dublin. One of these was Francis Annesley, Viscount Mountnorris, who was partic- ularly useful to Wentworth in his early years both because, as vice- treasurer, he had control of financial affairs and because he was the principal opponent of the earl of Cork within the administration. As the apparent friendship between Mountnorris and Wentworth developed the deputy learned how Mountnorris was able to use his office for his personal profit, and he immediately set his sights on the recovery of these profits for the crown, or for himself. Mountnorris proved a more formidable opponent than had been expected and when he refused to yield, Wentworth had to resort to the bizarre expedient of having him court-martialled for insubordination to a superior officer. This was technically possible because Mountnorris who was still an armycaptain had been guilty of remarks disrespectful to the lord deputy over the dinner table and was alleged to have struck his gouty foot with a stool. The vice-treasurer was duly sentenced to death, and while Wentworth decreed that the sentence should not be carried out he was able to cite it as the reason why Mountnorris should no longer hold office. Viscount Loftus who already served as lord chancellor was duly nominated to take the place of Mountnorris but he in turn was forced out ofoffice in 1638. A few of the existing officials, notably Sir William Parsons who was master of the court of wards, were retained in power but only because they complied with the wishes of the deputy in every detail and were willing to place their interests after those of the governor. This was quite clearly the case with Parsons who had confided in the lord deputy how weakness in the title by which the principal sept of the O’Byrnes of County Wicklow held their property could be turned to personal advantage. Once he was acquainted of this vital information, Went— worth had the property duly claimed for the crown with a view to establishing a formal plantation in this Gaelic area. Then, as a reward for his services, two manors were passed to Wentworth, and Parsons received no recompense whatever for supplying the vital information. By thus making the administration the instrument of his wishes, Wentworth removed the principal attractions of office-holding for the settler community. These, like the Old English before them, had seen nothing wrong with making use of office to achieve personal gain and the virtual monopoly of office that they enjoyed for the previous three The Revolutionary Decades, 1633-60 201 decades was one of the keys to their success. Now, however, everything was changed because Wentworth made use of the insight into mal- practice that he had obtained through his dealings in the O’Byrne affair to recover the income that had previouslybeen lost to the crown because of official collusion in property deals. What he required was a close scrutiny of all titles to property in the non-planted areas and the establishment of the full interests of the crown whether this was at the expense of settler or native. The adoption ofthis policy through the later 1630s meant that those officials who retained their positions were being forced to be parties to the destruction of the settler community. Even more controversially, Wentworth involved himselfin the planted areas also. His opportunities here were restricted by virtue of the decision of 1628 not to interfere with the titles of undertakers in the escheated counties, but no such guarantee had been given to the London com- panies and it was therefore possible for him to declare their grants void merely because they had retained Irish tenants contrary to plantation conditions. The fact that this was no more than a cynical device to squeeze money from the London companies did nothing to enhance the moral authority of the deputy. Neither did Wentworth’s acquisition of an enormous estate through purchase and royal grant, nor his construction of a palatial residence in the vicinity of Naas. But a close scrutiny of Went- worth’s Irish endeavoursbefore 1639 has shown that his acquisitions were made honestly and at some financial risk to himself and that he employed his profits from rent to promote manufacturing enterprises. In this he was doing what the more enterprising settlers had done,but he was doing so without resort to fraud and he was seen to be putting the interest of the crown before his own. To this extent Wentworth must be given credit for having promoted a fresh start to the reform of Ireland, even if this was never admitted by the different political groupings in Ireland. In so far as the alleged moral purpose behind Wentworth’s actions can be called into question it is that he subverted the interests of the different communities in Ireland to the interests of the king, and this became all the more obvious after 1639 when the king’s existing difficulties with his Scottish subjects produced fresh problems in his dealings with his subjects in England. These problems, which revolved principally around the question ofraising and financing an army to use against the Scots, became paramount for Wentworth, and he abandoned all pretence at being a reformer and strove instead to exploit the resources of Ireland to assist the king in his difficulties. Even before this, however, we can see that the revolution that Went— 202 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 worth had attempted was being countered by factors that were beyond his control. He, more than any governor of the sixteenth century, was able to rely on the support of his monarch when pursuing unpopular policies in Ireland, but connections at court could still be employed to counter the governor’s purpose. Ulick Burke, the fifth earl of Clan- ricard, for example, persisted in his father’s efforts at court to have County Galway declared exempt from the proposed plantation of Connacht and, in 1639, the king yielded to his overtures. Wentworth also encountered frustration in his efforts to remove Mountnorris from office because of his rival’s connections atcourt, and it was these frustra- tions that explain Wentworth’s resort to the desperate expedients that did so much to discredit him in English no less than in Irish opinion. Altogether more important were the broader political considerations that cut across Wentworth’s efforts. His attempt to promote a series of plantations that would conform more perfectly to the ideal than any- thing previously attempted was upset principally by developments in Britain. Just after crown title had been established to Connacht and while comprehensive surveys were being conducted, the king became involved in conflict with his Scottish subjects. The uncertainty that resulted from this meant that Wentworth’s efforts to induce a fresh wave of English planters to become involved in Ireland were doomed to fail— ure. Economic forces also operated against Wentworth’s plantation policy because he was hoping to attract new settlers to Ireland just at the time when those British who were already there were encountering unprecedented difficulties. These resulted principally from a series of bad harvests and a sequence of outbreaks of cattle murrain during the later 1630s that reduced many of the British settlers in Ireland to near- impoverishment. Another problem for Wentworth’s civil policies was that they were hindered by his own religious policies, because his single-minded pursuit of Laudian reform made Ireland a less attractive place of settle- ment for English puritans or Scottish presbyterians who might have sought refuge there to escape the rigours of the government of Laud and King Charles. The puritans found refuge instead in the wilderness of New England while the presbyterians who stood by their principles at home were joined by some of their kinsmen who had fled Ulsterbecause of Wentworth’s application of the Black Oath. But the timing of Went- worth’s religious policy was also unfortunate because it exposed him to the charge that he was joining forces with the Habsburgs of Austria and Spain in the suppression of protestant liberties. This point was taken up by some protestants in Ireland who were offended by his religious The Revolutionary Decades, ($33—60 203 schemes, and it gave them the moral courage to make common cause with those in England or Scotland who opposed the apparent tyranny that was being advanced in the three kingdoms. If some of Wentworth’s protestant opponents in Ireland sought to broaden the issues that were involved in their differences, he himself did likewise, and this, more than anything else, brought about the defeat of his policies. It emerges from Wentworth’s correspondence with Laud that he sought from the beginning to bring the Irish church to such a level of perfection that it would serve as an example to be followed in England. Wentworth also took pride in his political management and his experience with the Irish parliament of 1634—5 was so much to his satisfaction that he advised the king in 1639 that he should enlist the support of the English parliament in his effort to bring the Scots under control. In making this recommendation Wentworth (who was made earl of Strafford and lord lieutenant of Ireland in 1640) had in mind a parliament for which the election of members would be carefully managed by the crown, and he decided on convening a second parlia- ment in Ireland which would serve as a model to be followed in England. Much attention was devoted by Strafford and his associates to influenc- ing the election of members to this parliament, as a result of which the governor’s party was much stronger than had been the case previously, and the Old English and protestant groupings correspondingly weaker. This meant that Strafford‘could proceed without difficulty to financial matters and the parliament granted four subsidies of over £40,000 each to be collected over four years, and it approved the raising of an army of 9,000 men in Ireland which wOuld be made available to serve the king’s cause in Scotland. This was an eminently satisfactory conclusion from Strafford’s point of view, and he withdrew from Ireland in April 1640 to assist the king in pursuing the same course of action in England. There, however, the management of elections had proved a failure, and the suggestion that an army, which would include Irish catholics, would he enlisted on the side of the king, provoked fear rather than admiration among the opposition members of the English parliament. These came to recognise Strafford as the force behind the king’s tyranny and they invited those who had been offended by his rule in Ireland to present evidence against him. This invitation encouraged both the Old English and protestant groupings in the Irish parliament to combine against the government’s placemen, and Sir Christopher Wandesford, who was deputising for Strafford, lost control of the Irish commons. The outcome of this unnatural combination was the preparation of a petition of remonstrance against the rule of Strafford 204 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534-1660 in Ireland, and it was on the basis of the evidence contained in this peti- tion that Strafford was eventually impeached and found guilty of treason by the English house of commons in April 1641. The execution of Strafford on 12 May 1641 was the occasion of immediate exultation for the Irish protestant community because they realised that the revolution which he had attempted to effect in Ireland had been comprehensively defeated. There was also cause for rejoicing because the successful endeavours of Strafford in establishing crown title to Old English property could now be exploited to promote the type of plantation that the Dublin protestant officials had always favoured — a plantation where property would be transferred into the hands of servitors. The fact that the king in England was being hard- pressed by his parliament there seemed also to favour Irish protestant ambitions, and they were further favoured because the death of Christopher Wandesford in December 1640 had left the governorship of Ireland vacant. After a determined bid to have one of themselves appointed as sole governor, the Irish protestant opponents of Strafford settled with the king for a division of power between the long-serving Sir William Parsons and Sir John Borlase, an English soldier who had been brought to Ireland by Strafford. Even with this share of power, the Irish protestants were satisfied that conditions were ripe for the pursuit of their own cherished policy, and the only factor that seemed to hinder them in any way was the appearance of division in their own ranks once some of the Scottish settlers in Ulster began to negotiate a presbyterian form of church government for their own particular com- munities. The Old English who had been a party to drawing up the remon- strance against Strafford recognised the possibility of a renewal of the old political conflict where they would be more exposed than pre— viously to protestant assault. They had had no choice but to j oin forces with their traditional opponents against Strafford because they were the ones who stood to lose most from a continuation of his rule. Once in England, however, the Old English members of the Irish parlia- mentary delegation played very little part in the pursuit of the case against Strafford through parliament. This was left to the protestant members of the delegation while the catholics pursued their traditional ploy of lobbying the king to direct the parliament in Ireland to approve legislation that would give statutory standing to the Graces, including those that dealt with Old English property. They were successful in extracting a promise from the king to this effect, and they saw no objec- tion in this being linked to a concession that Irish protestants who had The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 205 been evicted from church lands by Strafford should be restored to their property. Following on this success, the Old English members of the Irish parliament proceeded to draw up a position paper on the strength and function of the Irish parliament. One purpose behind this exercise, which was conducted by Patrick Darcy, the Galway lawyer and land- owner, was to clarify the superiority of parliament over the non-jury prerogative courts that had been employed by Strafford to enforce his will. The protestant members of the Irish parliament who had suffered as much as anybody else from Strafford’s use of the prerogative courts could not be seen to be opposed to this measure, but they were less enthusiastic in 1641 than they would have been a year earlier because they now aspired to control the instruments of government themselves. Neither did the Irish protestants share the further concern of Darcy to exclude the authority of English statute law from Ireland. This had been invoked by Sir John Davies to promote compliance in Ireland with the religious reformation in England at the beginning of the century, and Irish protestants were now hopeful that the ascendant parliament in England could be counted upon to support their contemplated drive against catholic landowners and merchants in Ireland in a way that the king had never done. For the moment, however, the protestants in the Irish parliament were agreeable to give Darcy the opportunity to define the Irish parliament as a sovereign body which had the so‘Ie right of making laws that would have application in Ireland. Endorsing these views was a different matter, and no parliamentary action had been taken on this definition of power or on the promised concessions of the king when parliament was adjourned in August 1641 until the following November. This deferral seemed ominous to the catholic leaders, but they had also learned from bitter experience that little trust could be placed upon the promises from the king unless appropriate pressures were exercised. Those who had waited over the years upon the outcome of constitutional negotiations were particularly impressed by the dramatic success of the Scottish covenanters in extracting conditions from the king by force of arms, and it struck many Irish catholic leaders that the Scottish example might be profitably imitated. This possibility was all the more immediate because the army that had been raised in Ireland by Strafford had been a predominantly catholic force and had included Old English and Gaelic landowners among its com— manders. It had been publicly agreed by the king that these trained men should be demobilised or sent out of the country to the continent, but he secretly wanted the soldiers retained in Ireland so that they could be 206 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534-1660 called upon to assist him in his future dealings with his Scottish subjects. These surreptitious suggestions indicated to the catholic officers how the army could be employed to further their own ends and there is evidence that some form of coup d’etat in Dublin was being planned in February 1641, with the agreement of the king. The easing of tension with the Scots rendered this dramatic action superfluous, and the Old English members who had participated in these secret negotiations had no appetite for military action that would not have the explicit approval of the king. The Ulster catholic leaders, who had become acquainted with these negotiations, had no such scruples how- ever, and these conspired on 5 October 1641 to stage a rising on 23 October which would involve the taking of Dublin castle by force and the capture of the principal defensible buildings in Ulster which were under English settler command. The Scottish settlers in Ulster were not to be molested, lest it provoke a hostile reaction from the covenanters who were at peace with the king, and the purpose of the proposed military action was seemingly the achievement of a position of strength from which Irish catholic leaders,like the Scottish protestants before them, could negotiate a dramatic improvement of their position. Again, like the Scots, the conspirators had opened negotiations with their kinsmen on the continent who had been involved in the Thirty Years’ War and they had won the agreement of Owen Roe O’Neill, a colonel in the Spanish army in the Netherlands and a nephew of the deceased earl of Tyrone, that he would come to Ulster to assist in the rismg. The fact that the government prevented the taking of Dublin castle means that we cannot know what the conspirators intended. It is safe to assume, however, that what they sought was in excess of what could be procured by parliamentary means, and that it involved a claim for full religious liberty for catholics under the law, and a dramatic improvement of the position of existing catholic landowners in Ulster. The involvement of Owen Roe O’Neill suggests that a partial reversal of the plantation in Ulster was contemplated but we can be reasonably sure that the organisers did not aim for anything more drastic than that. The reality was that the principal leaders of the conspiracy, Sir Phelim O’Neill, Conor, Lord Maguire, Rory O’More, Philip O’Reilly and Rory Maguire, were integrated into local and national politics, were related by marriage to the principal Old English families of the Pale, and were treated as social equals by the protestant landowners of Ireland. The fact that all had benefited from the allocation of land to natives under the Ulster plantation means that they certainly did not The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 207 want to create a situation whereby the descendants of those who had gone into exile in 1607, or otherwise forfeited their estates at the beginning of the century, would recover their property. What they strove after was therefore altogether more limited than a reversal of the Ulster plantation, and we can assume that their aims were related to their real grievance over the political disabilities that were associated with their being catholic and to the dire economic circumstances in which they found themselves at this particular juncture. These, like Gaelic landowners everywhere, had suffered a long-term erosion of their position because of their involvement in mortgage transactions that had involved the transfer of substantial parts of their property into Old English or settler hands. More recently, however, they had been beset by the series of bad years that had afflicted the country and which would have had particularly grave consequences for landowners like themselves who were already heavily in debt. There is evidence that their native tenants were even more adversely affected by recent economic trends and it is possible that the Ulster catholic lords acted as they did in October 1641 because they had been pressurised by forces from below-. If this was the case, the conspirators sought to harness those pressures to serve their own purposes, and we can be certain that they saw themselves as being involved in a tightly controlled movement with defined short-termbjectives. The early pronouncement of Sir Phelim O’Neill, where he declared that the movement enjoyed the prior support of the king, is consistent with this interpretation of what had first been contemplated, as is the attempt by the conspirators at the end of November 1641 to enlist the support of landowners in the Pale who were noted for their caution. That the Ulster leaders were joined in December 1641 by the catholic landowners of south Leinster and Munster is evidence that their objectives were regarded as reasonable by conservative catholic leaders in the other provinces, as is the willing- ness of catholic landowners from all four provinces to participate in the proceedings of the Confederation that met intermittently at Kilkenny from 1642 to 1649. This assembly was brought into being at the instiga- tion of the catholic clergy and served as a negotiating body between the insurgents on the one hand and the king and his government in Dublin on the other. Throughout its existence, this body emphasised its loyalty to the English monarch and confined its demands to a claim for full freedom of religious worship for catholics and to a guarantee that catholic landoWners would enjoy undisputed title to their lands. But if we accept that this was the extent of the objectives of the Ulster landowners who led the rising of 1641 we must allow that the fulfilment of these objectives would have represented a major break with the past and would have been politically impossible for the king to concede. Any interference with the Ulster settlement would have been regarded by protestant leaders in Ireland and Britain as a betrayal of the one who wished to retain his crown. Those who did not recognise this reality in 1641 became painfully aware of it during the protracted negotiations conducted by the Confederate leaders at Kilkenny, and it was not until the end of 1645, when the king was in desperate straits because of the adversities providing such religious guarantees. What was launched by the Ulster conspirators of 1641 was therefore nothing short of a revolution and the majority of those who participat- \ The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 209 viciousness of what occurred is a reflection of the deep resentment felt by the natives who had been gradually eased off their lands to make way for British tenants, and atrocities occurred where landless indiVi- duals of higher social status incited the dispossessed tenants to engage in revenge killings. The example of what was occurring in Ulster was quickly imitated in the other prov1nces, and the involvement 0 Leinster and Munster landowners in the rising was explainedin part by their inability to restrain their own tenants from engaging in revel;- tionary actions. But while much of what happened in Ulster can - e regarded as ‘anarchic and undisciplined’, and while similar atroc1ties did occur, but to a lesser extent, in the other prov1nces we can discern some pattern to the popular‘onslaught against protestants that was un; leashed in every province of Ireland during the Winter months 0 1641—2. Widespread disturbance of protestant settlers occurred wherever insurgent forces were present, and many protestants fled to the nearelst place of refuge rather than submit to the levres exacted by hosctii e troops. Some violence was invariably assoc1ated With these episo es but the settlers were yielding to individuals who were strangers to them, and they could usually identify only the leaders of the insurgent bands. Settlers were more regularly disturbed by near neighbours with whom they had interacted familiarly in the. years before the rising. These disturbances were usually associated w1th the-economic tens10ns that had developed between the two communities in the‘years before 1641 and they involved the expulsion of those who had taken ove; tenancies that were previously in native possess10n, the reclamation 0 animals that had been distrained for overdue rents, or the destruction of documents that testified to indebtedness. Phys1cal assault was usually absent on such occasions — but. both sides recognised that these episodes cancelled all bonds of neighbourliness that had pr:- viously prevailed. Both types of disturbances were complicated by tre religious dimension that seems to have been introducedby catholic clergy. Many local priests, who would haveknown of similar popu ar disturbances from their continental experience, were .concerned to exercise some restraint on the insurgents, and they believed that the rising was only justified because it was in the defence of catholic libertby. To give purpose to this they directed that all. British settlers should e offered the opportunity to convert to catholic1sm and should only fie expelled when this opportunity had been rejected. This meant that the expulsion of protestant settlers could be Viewed as a cleansing of t 'e community of heretical pollution, and this was given symbolic 210 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 meaning whenever long-established church buildings that had been used for protestant worship were recovered for catholic use. Then the pulpits and furnishings were smashed, bibles were desecrated and the corpSes of protestants that had been interred within the churches were ritually exhumed and debased. For some, the ritual that was encouraged in the religious sphere was carried over into the secular and settlers who were being expelled from their property were stripped naked, seemingly to symbolise that they were being forced to depart in the same penniless state in which they had arrived. The immediate consequence of these physical and psychological pressures was the panic exodus of the settlers from those parts of the country where protection was not assured. Many died from hunger and exposure on their way to the nearest port-town or garrison, more died from the infectious diseases that invariably ran rife in these places of refuge and many made their way back to Britain to report on the ‘massacre’ that had been perpetrated by the ‘bloody Papists’. These stories were invariably exaggerated in the telling, but the fact that some thousands of protestants in Ireland had lost their lives in a short few months was sufficient to arouse the entire British nation, royalist, parliamentarian and covenanter, to a universal call for revenge. Already by February 1642, 3,000 men had been despatched from England to strengthen the position of the government in Dublin, and the Adventurers Act was passed through both houses of the English parliament the following month. This act (which presumed the superiority of the English parliament over that in Dublin) declared confiscate the property of those Irish landowners who were involved in the ‘rebellion’, and it offered this land as security for anybody who would subscribe to a fund for the suppression of the rebellion. The intensity of English feeling on this issue can be guaged from the number of people, both rich and poor, who made voluntary subscrip— tions to this fund. It appears, for example, from the surviving record relating to the county of Buckingham that 8,000 men and women from 132 parishes donated to the fund, and that the majority of subscrip- tions were small sums for which no compensation was expected. This remarkable breadth of support that the fund enjoyed in this one typical county makes it clear that whichever army prevailed in the English contest between king and parliament would be compelled by the sheer force of English (as well as Scottish) public opinion to take revenge on those who were known to have been engaged in the insurrection. It was to facilitate this that the Dublin government, which was pinned into the city by insurgent forces, engaged in the taking of The Revolutionary Decades, 1633-60 211 depositions from those protestants who were witnessesto what had occurred. For the moment, however, they and the surv1v1ng settlers_in the provinces could do no more than hold out until the expected relief came from Britain, and this prospect became ever more remote when the power struggle in England broke into a military conflict in August 1642. This conflict, as it transpired, was not finally resolved until King Charles had been executed on 30 January 1649 and until a republican government had established itself in England. Nobody in 1642 expected that the English power-struggle would be so prolonged, but its occurrence gave the insurgents an unexpected opportunity to achieve their revolutionary objectives by force of arms. This was evident both to the Ulster leaders who had instigated the rising, and to the Leinster and Munster landowners who had made common cause with them. Both groups recognised their military insufficiency and both looked to the Spanish Netherlands where regi- ments of Irish exiles had been engaged in the western theatre of the Thirty Years’ War. The recall of entire regiments was, of course, im- possible but there was a reasonable chance of attracting officers and men who had fought in the Spanish army, and who would now mobilise and train the plentiful manpOWer that was available in Ireland in the aftermath of almost a half century of peace. Owen Roe O’Neill, who landed in Donegal in July 1642, was ideally suited to the task because he had spent most of his career as a sergeant—major_of an Irish regiment in the Spanish army. He, with a small group ofjunior officers who returned to Ireland with him, devoted themselves to making soldiers of undisciplined men who behaved ‘nothing better than animals’, and he was confident that after a few months training'he would have an army sufficient to the task of expelling the remaining Scots and English from Ulster. The principal obstacle that he saw in the way of this was his shortage of artillery but he hoped to obtain some field-pieces from Thomas Preston, another returned colonel of the Spanish army who took the command of a Leinster army ofinsurgents and who was better supplied with arms and munitions. Then, w1th Ulster conquered, O’Neill hoped that he, Preston and Garret Barry (a colonel of the Spanish army who had been raising troops in Munster for continental service when the rising occurred) could j01n forces to confront those who opposed the rising and to seize control of the government. This was to be done in the name of the king, and O Neill and his adherents could claim to be acting consistently by describing the settlers and government officials as puritans and the ‘malignant party’ who were really parliamentarians despite their profess10ns of 212 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 loyalty to King Charles. Then, once the insurgents were in control of the country, O’Neill hoped that by holding the ports against any invading forces from England and Scotland they could dictate their terms to the king, or even assist him in his struggle against his rivals for power in Britain. This course of action was never clearly spelt out by O’Neill, but it is suggested by his various negotiations with the Confederation of Kilkenny that this is what he had in mind. The logic of this position was evident to most of the Irish bishops who attended at Kilkenny, and it was seen by all papal representatives in Ireland, and especially by Giovanni Rinuccini, the archbishop of Fermo, who served 1645—9 as papal nuncio to the Confederation, as the only strategy that would ensure the survival of catholicism in Ireland. Most Gaelic poets, including those who had previously reconciled themselves to the inferior position of Irish catholics under a protestant government, endorsed this position and called on all catholics in Ireland, whether of Gaelic or Old English origins, to unite their forces against the foreign heretical intruder. A few of the poets went closer to approving the rituals associated with the popular rising of 1641—2 when they employed symbolic language to identify the tight—fistedness and economy of the settlers that was displacing the liberality of true lords and all of them applauded the action of Rinuccini in May 1648 when he excommunicated those members of the Confederation who would agree to terms with the king that did not provide guarantees of full religious liberties for catholics. The pursuit of this policy would havemeant proceeding further with revolutionary action than was contemplated by the conspirators in 1641. It was only logical that Owen Roe O’Neill should wish to do so because there was no future for himself and the other returned emigrés in Ireland unless the plantation in Ulster was rolled back. Those who had led the original rising were more circumspect because they possessed land and social position, but they soon recognised that they had no choice but to proceed all the way with their military commander because they were being held responsible by the govern- ment for the Ulster atrocities. The clergy who had extensive knowledge and experience of continental politics during the Thirty Years’ War could also see that there was no turning back and that it was a question of achieving all or nothing from the conflict. The Gaelic poets had also maintained close contact with the continent and were closely linked with the clergy and Ulster landowners, but they also had an interest in proceeding with a revolution that promised to bring about a The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 213 restoration of their lost privileged position. _ The logic of this strategy was never admitted by the Old English participants in the Confederation of Kilkenny and they repeatedly refused to commit themselves to it. The traditional concern of the Palesmen to preserve their own position and community was one factor that explains their caution, and these were particularly con- cerned that the resources of the Pale should not be used for the support of any army, whether friendly or hostile. Some of the Old English refused to advance the revolution beyond the pOSition taken in 1641 because they doubted the wisdom of their action then, and they hoped to recover the good graces ofthe king by providing him With support in his English conflict. These received persistent encouragement from those lords of Old English extraction who had refused to. become involved in the rising of 1641 and who supported the authority of the crown in Ireland until the bitter end. The most influential of these were James Butler, earl of Ormond and Ulick Burke, earl of Clanricard, who were successively governors of Ireland, 1643—50. Ormond, a committed protestant and royalist, was embarrassed by the involve— ment of most of his kinsmen with the Confederation, including his grand-uncle Richard Butler, Viscount Mountgarrett, who selected Kilkenny as the venue for its proceedings and who served as preSident of the supreme councilin the early stages. While he lacked sympathy with the religious objectives of the confederates, the earl of Ormond was most anxious to negotiate a political settlement between the .con- federates and the king which would provide the Old English With a royal guarantee that they would not be deprived of their lands and which would provide Ormond with the opportunity to lead a force of the king’s loyal Irish subjects to his assistance in England. By so negotiating he hoped to place a wedge between the Old English, whom he regarded as basically loyal, and the Gaelic members of the Con- federation who, he felt, should bear the full burden ofresponSibility for the 1641 rising. Clanricard, who was a catholic, was more sympathetic to the religious claims of the confederates but not to the extent. of full religious guarantees. He, like Ormond, was a committed royalist and he did restrain the landowners of Galway until 1643 from becoming involved with the Confederacy. Once involved, he tried to draw them back and he was able to exert a powerful influence on Patrick Darcy who served as chancellor and principal legal adviser to the confederates. These various factors meant that the Old English members of the Confederation, including some Old English bishops, were unWilling to 214 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 support the radical objectives of the majority of the participating clergy and the Gaelic delegates either diplomatically or militarily. This meant that the Confederation, unlike the Scottish Covenant on which it was modelled, served as a divisive rather than a unifying agency. Instead of isolating objectives the Confederation argued over what its purpose should be; instead of identifying its enemies the Confederation debated the terms on which peace should be made with the king; and instead of providing an endorsement for a coherent military strategy the Confederation debated the relative merits of the various military Boyle family but especially Roger, Baron Broghill, who was the most forceful member of that family following the death, in 1643, ofthe first earl of Cork. These defended what was left to them from assaults led by Donogh MacCarthy, Viscount Muskerry, who was sometimes aided by Mountgarret and by James Tuchet, earl of Castlehaven, an English landowner in Munster who had converted to catholicism. Each force The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 215 was seeking to live off the territory of the other and the Munster con- flict was characterised by plunder, looting and minor skirmishing but no decisive battle was fought. In Ulster, as in Munster, those settlers who had resisted the initial shock formed themselves into military units with the purpose of de- fending what remained to them. That organised by Sir Robert Stewart was known as the Lagan corps, and this unit was capable of quick offensive sallies into central Ulster while defending the remaining protestant positions in the Foyle and Finn valleys. Another unit in Antrim and Down was mobilised by the Hill, Conway and Clotworthy families and was capable of defending protestant positions east of the Bann. Neither alone nor together would these have been able to with— stand the army of about 5,000 men that had been trained and equipped by Owen Roe O’Neill in 1643, and the salvation of the Ulster settlers was the arrival in April 1642 of a Scottish covenanter army. This was commanded, down to 1650, by George Monroe who, with many ofhis junior officers, had enjoyed a distinguished career in the service of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. The total protestant force in Ulster reached a strength of 9,000 men at the height of the war, and the army mobilised by Monroe was the most efficient fighting force in Ireland for most of this period. Poorly supplied, it existed principally from plunder of the territory in which it was encamped and it was commis- sioned to defend and re-establish the Scottish presence in Ulster and to follow the dictates of the Scottish covenant on the larger political issue. Thus the army declared for the king or parliament as it was directed from Scotland, and its principal Irish endeavours were confined to Ulster. This was the case because, after 1643, the Scottish army and that of O’Neill were evenly matched and the Scots would never abandon the province lest O’Neill capture their positions in their absence. They, on the other hand, did force O’Neill, on several occasions, to seek refuge in north Connacht and the midlands because of lack of provisions. It was O’Neill’s belief that adequate confederate support would have enabled him to establish a secure base in the pro- ’ vince, but when help did come in the form ofa section of the Leinster confederate army under the command of Castlehaven that earl was un- willing to commit his forces to a pitched battle. The presence of two major armies in Ulster did however result in the complete devastation of the province and yet neither succeeded in gaining total control in that area. The one major encounter between the two armies at Benburb in 1646 resulted in a major victory for O’Neill but he was still not master of the province because less than half the total British forces in efforts of Ormond and Clanricard notwithstanding, the cause of the Irish opponents of the English parliamentary cause was hopeless from the start and 1t surprised nobody that Cromwell ‘like a lightning passed through the land’. Neither was it a surprise to contemporaries that the The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 217 only occasion for wonderment was that it took them until May 1652, when Galway surrendered, to complete the task. The reality was that this army was the product of a revolutionary process that had just taken place in England, and both officers and men, who were imbued with an implacable detestation of catholicism, were determined to take revenge for the massacre of protestants that they believed had taken place in the autumn of 1641. This assumption is sufficient to explain the notorious excesses associated with the taking of Drogheda (September 1649) and Wexford (October 1649), but the leaders of the campaign were also bent on destroying the position of catholicism in Ireland at one fell swoop so that a repetition of what they believed had happened in 1641 could never recur. To this end, they were resolved to proceed with the course of action that had always been favoured by the settler community in Ireland which involved the dismemberment ofall existing catholic lordships and the expulsion from Ireland of all mem— bers of the catholic hierarchy and seminary priests. What the Crom- wellians resolved was not, therefore, a completely new departure from what had been contemplated previously, but it was more radical in certain respects and it is because of the novelty within the Cromwellian The first essential difference from what had previously been contem- plated was that the Cromwellians sought to dispossess all catholic pro- prietors of their estates on the grounds that all catholics were collec— tively responsible for the atrocities of 1641. This contrasted with the policy of their predecessors in government to the extent that the pro- testant settler community had sought to deprive catholic landowners of only a portion of their lands and had held up the plantations in Wexford, Leitrim and the Irish midlands as an example to be followed. The second difference related to their respective attitudes towards the catholic clergy. Where the leaders of the settler community would, ifit had been in their power, have forced the clergy to abandon the country, the Cromwellians wished to execute those whom they captured on the grounds that they had been particularly responsible for fomenting rebellion. Thirdly, and more essentially, the Cromwellians differed from the previous protestant rulers in Ireland in that they wished to destroy every existing social and political bulwark and thus to clear the way for 218 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 Ireland, has interpreted this radicalism as a product of the English revolutionary experience, and he believed that some individuals who went to Ireland with the Cromwellian army were taking advantage of the fluid situation that existed there to promote administrative, legal, educational and religious schemes which they hoped to introduce later in England. Be that as it may, there were some among the Crom— wellians who adopted a radical stance because they believed the earlier settlers in Ireland had succumbed to luxury and, by their failure to implement the strategy for reform that had been detailed by Edmund Spenser and his contemporaries, had become tolerant of the society that had produced the ‘massacre’ of 1641. For these, the best policy for Ireland was a return to the basic principles of Spenser and this involved both a massive confiscation of the property in catholic possession and a curtailment of the power previously enjoyed by protestant planters and officials in Ireland. Power was to be vested instead in the hands of those who were truly imbued with the reform zeal that the gravity of the situation required. Whether this zeal was a product of the English revolution or of a fresh appraisal of the expositions of the late Elizabethans is largely immaterial, and the important consideration is that where Spenser and his contemporaries, were seeking official sanction for the pursuit of extreme policies in Ireland the Cromwellians had to engage in no such special pleading because opinion in England was firmly in favour of a comprehensive resettlement of Ireland. Protestant opinion in Scotland was equally in favour of severe measures and it is significant that the covenanter army in Ulster came to terms with Cromwell’s lieutenants rather than join forces with the Irish ‘papists’ in their struggle for the king, while the covenanter army in Scotland offered to support King Charles 11 only on condition that he would refuse mercy to Irish catholics. Thus the revolutionary programme that was launched in Ireland by the Cromwellians had a better prospect of success than any previous radical strategy both because the country was subdued as never before, and because British protestant opinion was ready to sup- port any scheme that promised a lasting solution to the previous instability of Ireland. The essential elements of the Cromwellian programme of action 1652—9 were the erection of a new administrative structure for Ireland, the implementation of a drastic plantation scheme, and the pursuit of a radical religious policy. All three were closely interconnected as part of a coherent plan to bring Ireland to a true state of anglicised protestant civility, and it is with this as a yard-stick that the success or failure of The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 219 the Cromwellian endeavour must be established. ‘ h ‘ After some brief experiments with parliamentary commiSSioners in control of government it was decided from 1654 forward to resort to the traditional expedient of appointing a lord deputy in Dublin as the representative of the absent'Oliver Cromwell who became lord protec- tor in that year. Charles Fleetwood and then Henry Cromwell who acted in this capacity were reliable upholders of the protector s authority and they held the ardours of the more radical members of the Cromwellian army in check, but increasingly so with the Support of the leaders of the existing protestant community in Ireland. This in itself shows that the original concern to build the perfect commonwealth on completely new foundations was already being disregarded and that individuals like Roger Boyle, Baron Broghill and Sir Charles Coote were making themselves indispensable to the new regime. These, at the outset, had no influence over administration at the provinCial level which was organised on military lines with army officers havmg responsibility for the collection of revenue. This was rendered hopeless both by virtue of the dramaticloss of population due to the prolonged war, and by the massive dislocations associated With the Cromwellian - land settlement. Nonetheless their ‘commissioners of revenue’ did maintain order in the provinces and they co—ordinated the efforts of the state officials in proceeding with their policies relating to land and religion. The real decisions in relation to policy were takenin England and representatives from Ireland were elected to the various united parliaments that made law for both Ireland and England from 1653 forward. All ideas of a separate and sovereign parliament for Ireland were now discounted and Ireland was being brought together With England within the bounds of a single unitary commonwealth. This in itself was a radical departure in purely constitutional terms, but it became even more so when this parliamentary assembly in London legislated for the Cromwellian land settlement in Ireland. The Adventurers’ Act of 1642, which had declared confiscate 2,500,000 acres of Irish land with which to repay the £306,718 raised for the con- quest of Ireland, was now endorsed and strengthened by the Act of Settlement of 1652. This second act effectively provided for the dis- possession of all catholic landowners in the four provinces of Ireland, and the partial compensation of some of them in the province of Connacht and in County Clare. Related to this was the prov1s10n. for the execution of thousands who were considered guilty of ‘rebellion, murders, or massacres’, and the depositions taken in 1642 together with the proceedings of the Confederation at Kilkenny were seen to The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 221 222 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534—1660 systematically moved across the Shannon by the government were being superimposed upon the existing proprietors with the result that an enormous amount of squatting, uncertainty, and division of hold- ings into smaller segments ensued. These problems were hardly at all addressed by the government before 1659, and they were problems which would only be gradually resolved by inexorable economic pres— sures in the decades ahead. The transplantation part of the settlement was not, of course, a matter of priority with the government, and they could be reasonably happy with their general achievement in imposing a land settlement. But the devisers of the scheme had also seen the settlement as an instru- tenant or craftworker element was, as we have seen, a major defi- ciency in this respect, and this placed an even greatér burden upon the purely religious element of the reform programme for the attainment of its objectives. There were, of course, two aspects to this religious drive; one aimed at curbing the activity of the existing catholic clergy and the other at promoting a protestant evangelisation effort. The effective erosion of the position of catholic landowners in Ireland dealt a weighty blow to the existing catholic church fabric because most secular clergy outside the towns in the years before 1641 had enjoyed the patronage of land- owners and often carried out their functions within the shelter of their houses. The fact that the catholic clergy had emerged from this relative obscurity during the years of the Confederation to become active in political and military affairs left them obvious targets of attack during the Cromwellian years and it has been estimated by Professor P. J. Corish that up to 100 priests were killed and more than 1,000 exiled officers meant an end to the relative freedom that priests had pre- viously enjoyed in the Old English urban communities. The high-point of the drive against catholic clergy occurred in the years 1652—6 and the partial structure of an unofficial parallel church that had been so pains- takingly put together in the years before 1641 had been effectively demolished by 1656. Professor Corish cites evidence of the surrepti— tious return of some of the exiled priests after the drive against them had abated in 1656 and the papacy then nominated bishops and vicars / I l uiinx'wwmmm " " A \ The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 223 apostolic and sought to effect their return to their dioceses. leflhlll’llg substantial was achieved however before 1.659 and we can say It at t t; clergy of the catholic church in Ireland, like the protestant qfergg o Bohemia, were most active in foreign countries where they sud efre 13 deep despair and fomented hatred against the regime that ha orce ' exile. ' - thtBnLitlift: comparison with contemporary Bohemia can be sustaineqla: that level, Ireland experienced no evangelisation drive Similar tccl) t a promoted by the Habsburg state and the catholic church in_ 0W1:- trodden Bohemia, and the opportunity was lost in Ireland to bringf the mass of the native population to conform With the requirements 0 t e state in matters religious. One factor that explains this loss of oppotr— tunity is that there was no common agreement among protestints as bo what form the state religion should take. Those members oft 'e esta - lished church who were closely identified With the reform drive pro- moted by Strafford and Bishop Bramhall saw-no future for themsle vii under the Cromwellian regime and chose eXile w1th King Char e; d instead of .persecution in Ireland. Yet more of the serving clergy if resigned because no livings were available to them during the yealrls t turmoil after 1641, and a sizeable number of protestant clergy ha osd their lives during the insurrection of that year. The already weakene church was thrown into further chaos by the refusal of the Crlom- wellians to tolerate an episcopal church or to accept the Bofo of Common Prayer as an adequate formulation for the purposes o cpro- testant worship. All churches, it was decreed, should be organlijse oq congregational lines which empowered the propertied mem ershot each individual community to select its pastor and to dec1de onhw ah form of protestant worship he should follow. To this extent, the: urc _ favoured by the Cromwellians was loosely structured but a igiinilsd trative rigidity was enforced by the requ1rement that all clergy s out be licensed and paid by the state from a common fund that was 0 derive from the income of church property that was now declared con- ' the state. flsTalizseo arrangements meant that each registered clergyman wtas assured an adequate income, and it was hoped that allprotestanls‘, whether church of Ireland, presbyterian or congregational, cou. function Within this broad, tolerant framework.- Many succeeded in doing so, but several of the church of Ireland ministers and even 11:02: of the presbyterians who did accept livings Within the new strulchu lacked enthusiasm for the church to which they now belonged. ese sought to follow the worship they had always favoured and to prov1 e 224 From Reformation to Restoration: Ireland, 1534-1660 for the spiritual welfare of their traditional followers instead of embracing the evangelisation endeavour that was required of them. This was particularly true of the presbyterian ministers whose position in Ulster had been greatly strengthened by the successes of the covenanter army, and who grasped the opportunity to win the support and loyalty of all protestants within the area in which they functioned. The missionary endeavour was left, therefore, to Englishmen who had come to Ireland with the Cromwellian army and to those of the serving clergy from the church of Ireland who would join them. Some of these were enthusiastic preachers; others, notably Erasmus Smith, were devoted to supporting the evangelisation effort with a network of schools, and there is evidenCe that the native population attended pro- testant services where they were compelled to do so by the state. The conditions were therefore present for the promotion by the state of a general shift in the religious allegiance of the population such as was effected by the Habsburgs in Bohemia. But while they were present, the conditions were not sustained because uncertainty as to the future set in among the clergy following the death of Oliver Cromwell in September 1658 and the abdication of his son Richard in May 1659. The recall of King Charles II to his thrones in the following year pre- saged a restoration of an episcopal form of state church, and in the case of Ireland the task of effecting this was assigned to John Bramhall who had been Strafford’s henchman against the non-conformists. This development symbolised the cancellation of the Cromwellian reform endeavour, as Bramhall devoted his energies to the selection of a clergy who would be obedient to his rule, to the dismissal of ministers whose opinions were known to be heterodox, and to the recovery of the former lands and rents of the established church. These preoccupa- tions meant that the catholic clergy were provided with a breathing space to recover some of the ground they had lost in the previous decades and the failure of the Cromwellian reform effort meant that Ireland became unique in Europe in having a stridently protestant state governing a diverse population that included a community of catholics who were, as one writer in 1655 put it, ‘at least five to one to the pro- testant inhabitants’. ‘ These tumultuous decades therefore produced three successive attempts at revolution, each of which failed in its primary objectives. This does not mean, however, that they were without long-term conse- quences, the most obvious of which was the effective eclipse of the Gaelic Irish as a land-owning element among the Irish population and a dramatic reduction in the amount of land in the possession of Old WW--WW~ “flame. The Revolutionary Decades, 1633—60 225 English catholics. There was a strange irony in this because this final failure to promote a comprehensive reform of the native population. coincided with the political demise of the descendants of these Old English intellectuals who in 1534 had first identified the task of promoting reform in Ireland as worthy of the attention of the state. ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/29/2008 for the course EUH 3536 taught by Professor Herlihy during the Spring '08 term at University of Central Florida.

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Canny(Reform-Restoration)2 - 7 The Revolutionary Decades,...

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