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that the earl of Ormond, in his letters of January 27th, and February 25th, 1641–2, to Sir W. St. Leger, imputes the general revolt of the nation, then far advanced, to the publishing of such a design; and when a person of his great modesty and temper, the most averse in his nature to speak his sentiments of what he could not but condemn in others, and who, when obliged to do so, does it always in the gentlest expression, is drawn to express such an opinion, the case must be very notorious. I do not find that the copies of these letters are preserved: but the original of Sir W. St. Leger's, in answer to them, sufficiently shows it to be his lordship's opinion ; for, after acknowledging the receipt of these two letters, he useth these words, The undue promulgation of that severe determination, to extirpate the Irish and Papacy out of this kingdom, your lordship rightly apprehends to be too unseasonably published,
NOTE III. ON CHAPTER II. P. 35. Thirst for the estates.] Identified with the sanguinary project of “exterminating” the devoted Roman Catholics, the existence of which is fully proved in the preceding note, was that of confiscating the whole of their estates, for the aggrandizement of their sworn enemies. The evidences adduced in support of the exterminating scheme, might suffice to establish that of confiscation. But I wish to “ make assurance doubly sure," and shall therefore submit a document, which cannot fail to satisfy the reader, that I have not over-rated the extravagant and rapacious thirst that prevailed with the predominant party in England and Ireland, for the possessions of the Irish Catholics. The insurrection began
68 Carte, I. 263.
in Ulster, on the 23d of October, 1641, and did not spread into the other provinces for several weeks : nor was it in any degree general, till late in December. Even at that period, there were very large portions of the country, particularly in Connaught and Munster, which were wholly free from rebellion, notwithstanding the efforts of the lords justices to goad them into it. Yet so early as the 16th of February, 1642, (that is, about two months afterwards) a company of adventurers was formed in London, who calculated on the forfeiture of the whole island, except what belonged to the Protestants. This extravagant project is fortunately recorded, at full length, 'in the Journals of the English House of Commons. These adventurers presented an address to Parliament, stating, that when the work of reducing the kingdom of Ireland” was “ finished,” there would be “of confiscated lands, such as go under the name of profitable lands," no less than “ TEN MILLIONS OF ACRES !!"
According to Sir William Petty's calculation, there were but two-thirds of the surface of Ireland, which were called “ profitable lands;" the remaining third consisting of “
“ highways, loughs, impassable bogs, rocks, shrubs, and coarse land."69 As the whole contents of Ireland are only about nineteen millions of acres, it is clear, that nothing short of a general extirpation of the natives, and as general a confiscation of
69 Petty, 1.
their estates, was contemplated ; for, deducting the “ unprofitable lands,” and the possessions of the Protestants, there would not remain above ten millions of acres. * This measure was adopted
February 1, 1641-2. * Proposition made by divers gentlemen, citizens, and others, for the speedy and effectual reducing of the kingdom of Ireland.
1st. They do compute, that less than a million of money will not perfect that work.
2nd. They do conceive, that the work being finished, there • will be in that kingdom, of confiscated lands, such as go under
the name of profitable lands, ten millions of acres, English
3d. That two millions and a half of those acres, to be equally taken out of the four provinces, will sufficiently satisfy those that shall advance this million of money.
4th. That the two millions and a half of acres may be divided amongst them after this proportion, viz. For each adventure of 2001. a thousand acres in Ulster.
3001. a thousand acres in Connaught. 450l. a thousand acres in Munster.
6001. a thousand acres in Leinster.
All English measure, Consisting of meadow, arable and profitable pasture; the bogs, woods, and barren mountains, being cast in, over and above.
These two millions and a half of acres to be holden in free and common socage of the king, as of his castle of Dublin.
5th. That out of these two millions and a half of acres, a constant rent shall be reserved to the crown of England, after this proportion, viz.
Out of each acre thereof in
from principles of Machiavelian policy, to drive the Catholics to desperation, by shutting the door against all hopes of retreat. Tyrants and conquerors, leading devastating armies in their train, have often grasped at millions of acres : but, throughout the wide range of the history of private spoil, there is no parallel case, except, perhaps, in Hindostan, during the last hundred years. Ten millions of acres to be forfeited! What an appalling idea this inspires of the deplorable state of the victims, and the inhumanity of those who offered them up as holocausts on the altars of rapine and bigotry!
The English Parliament readily acquiesced in the proposal ; and immediately passed an act, * for the purpose of carrying it into effect. But, as they probably felt ashamed to recognize the extravagant grasp at “ ten millions of acres,” they
much improved, besides the advantage that he will have, by the coming to his hands of all other the lands of the rebels and their personal estates, without any charge to his majesty.?
*“Whereas, divers worthy and well affected persons, perceiving that many millions of acres of the rebels' lands of that kingdom, which go under the name of profitable lands, will be confiscate and to be disposed of, and that in that case two millions and a half of those acres, to be equally taken out of the four provinces of that kingdom, may be allotted for the satisfaction of such persons as shall disburse any sums of money, for the reducing of the rebels there, which would effectually accomplish the same, have made these propositions ensuing," &c. &c, as before 71
made a slight variation in the phraseology, and substituted “
NOTE IV. ON CHAPTER II. D P. 35. The Courcys, the Fitzstephenses, the Fitzgeralds.] Many of the descendants of the early English settlers, being possessed of exorbi, tant wealth and immense territories, held out to the needy and rapacious deputies, who were sent to rule Ireland, stronger temptations to plunder than the aboriginals ; and hence they frequently experienced more dire oppression and cruelty than the latter.
One'very simple and very common mode of driving these great lords into what was called rebellion, but what was merely affording the deputies a pretence for making war, and committing depredations on them, was to summon them, in an arbitrary manner, to appear before those rulers, or in parliament, where they had every prospect of being seized, and, under false pretences, thrown into prison, perhaps hanged or beheaded by martial law :* or, if they were deterred from appearing, they were proclaimed as contumacious traitors, and “the dogs of war” let loose on them. There are numberless cases of
* “ Richard Bourke, called the Usule of Ireland, was at Castell ne Kelly hanged by martial law, information being there given, that he was confederate with the rebels, and under pretext of dutiful obedience, and visitation of the governor, intended to betray him and his company!"72
72 Perrot, 95.