History of Ireland. Preparatory Work. Engels 1870
First Published: in Marx-Engels Archives Vol. X, Russ. ed., Moscow, 1948;
Source: Marx and Engels on Ireland;
Transcribed by: Andy Blunden for the Marxists Internet Archive.
This work of Engels’s is a rough generalisation of the historical material compiled by him; Engels strove to reveal the main features of the English Government’s policy in Ireland, which in the 16th and 17th centuries led to the subjugation of the entire island, mass evictions and the enslavement of the Irish population by new English landlords, making Ireland a mainstay of landlordism. Engels compiled his “Varia on the History of the Irish Confiscations” on the basis of numerous passages from a large number of books, and especially: J. Murphy, Ireland, Industrial, Political and Social, London, 1870. Of this book he made a special conspectus (as yet unpublished). In addition to Murphy he quoted or made references to passages from many other works. In the “Varia” Engels’s own remarks are italicised.
1536. Parliament in Dublin introduces the Oath of Supremacy and the King is given the privilege of taking the pick of all ecclesiastical livings. Quite different in the doing, however, for the subsequent insurrections were directed, among other things, against the Oath. Yet refusal to take the Oath of Supremacy was high treason in Ireland just as in England (Murphy, p. 249).
Confiscations in Queen’s and King’s Counties. During the reign of Edward VI, as was usual in Ireland, the O'Moores of Leix and O'Connors of Offaley carried on a feud with some lords of the Pale. The government qualified this as rebellion. General Bellingham, later Lord Deputy, was sent against them and forced them to submit. Advised to see the King and submit to him in person as O'Neill had done successfully in 1542. O'Moore and O'Connor, unlike O'Neill, were imprisoned and their estates were confiscated. But that was not the last of it. The inhabitants declared that the land belonged to the clans, not to the chiefs, who therefore could not forfeit it, and were, at most, liable to forfeiting their private domains. They declined to move out. The government sent troops, and had the land cleared after unintermittent fighting and extermination of the population (Murphy, p. 255)
This was the pattern [der ganze Grundriss] for all subsequent confiscations under Elizabeth and James. The Irish were denied all rights against the Anglo-Irish of the Pale, with resistance treated as rebellion. That sort of thing became usual.
By Acts in the 3rd and 4th years of the reign of Philip and Mary, c. 1 and 2, the Lord Deputy, the Earl of Sussex, was endowed with “full power and authority ... to give and to grant to all and every Their Majesties’ subjects, English or Irish ...at his election and pleasure, such estates in fee simple, fee tail,259 leases for term of years, life or lives” in these two counties “as for the more sure planting or strength of the countries with good subjects shall be thought unto his wisdom and discretion meet and convenient” (Murphy, p. 256).
English policy under Elizabeth: to keep Ireland in a state of division and strife. “Should we exert ourselves,” the English government averred, “in reducing Ireland to order and civility, it must soon acquire power, consequence and riches. The inhabitants will be thus alienated from England; they will cast themselves into the arms of some foreign power, or erect themselves into an independent and separate state. Let us rather connive at their disorders, for a weak and disordered people can never attempt to detach themselves from the Crown of England.” Thus Sir Henry Sidney and Sir John Perrot, successive Lord Deputies (the last-named the best that they ever had, in 1584-87), about the “horrid policy” against which they protest (Leland, Vol. II, p. 292 and Murphy, p. 246). Perrot’s intention of granting the Irish equal rights with the Anglo-lrish and obviating confiscations was blocked by the English party in Dublin. (Yet he it was who had O'Donnell’s son brought aboard a ship, filled with drink and borne away.)
Tyrone’s rebellion, among other things, against religious persecution: “he and other lords of Ulster entered into a secret combination, about this time, that they would defend the Roman Catholic religion ... that they would suffer no sheriffs nor garrisons to be within the compass of their territories, and that they would ... jointly resist all invasions of the English” (Camden). The conduct of Deputy Mountjoy in this war is described by Camden: “He made incursions on all sides, spoiled the corn, burnt all the houses and villages that could be found, and did so gall the rebels, that, pent in with garrisons and streightened more and more every day, they were reduced to live like wild beasts, skulking up and down the woods and deserts” (Murphy, p. 251).
See Holinshed Chronicles (p. 460) on how Ireland is laid waste in this war. Half the population is said to have been done in.
According to the returns for 1602 by John Tyrrell, the Mayor of Dublin, prices there climbed: wheat from 36/- to 180/- the quarter, barley malt from 10/- to 43/- and oat malt from 5/- to 22/- the barrel, peas from 5/- to 40/- the peck, oats from 3/4 to 20/the barrel, beef from 26/8 to 160/- the carcass, mutton ditto from 3/- to 26/-, veal ditto from 10/- to 29/-, lamb from 1/- to 6/- , and a pig from 8/- to 30/- (Leland, Vol. II, p. 422).
Desmond had estates confiscated in all counties of Munster except Clare, and also in Dublin. They were worth £7,000 per annum. Irish Parliament of 1586 expropriated 140 landowners by confiscation in Munster alone under the Act of the 28th year of Elizabeth’s reign, c. 7 and 8. McGeoghegan lists the names of the grantees of Desmond’s estates, with some families still nearly all in possession until 1847 (? probably cum grano salis).
The annual Crown rent on these estates was 2d to 3d per acre, with no indigenous Irish admitted as tenants and the government undertaking to keep adequate garrisons.
Neither provision was observed. Some estates were abandoned by the grantees and reoccupied by the Irish. Many of the undertakers stayed in England and appointed agents, who were “ignorant, negligent, and corrupt” (Leland, Vol. III).
Penal Laws against Catholics (Elizabeth, in 2nd year of reign, 1560, c. 1) are applied more and more since the beginning of the reign of James I, it becoming dangerous to practise Catholicism. Under Elizabeth 2 cl. 1, the fine of 12d was imposed for every non-attendance of a Protestant Church service and, in 1605, under James, imprisonment was added by Royal Proclamation and, hence, unlawfully. This did not help. Besides, in 1605 all Catholic priests were ordered out of Ireland in 40 days on pain of death.
Surrenders of Estates and Regrants (see Davies, 7b260). These followed the pronouncement of tanistry and gavelkind as unlawful by the Court of King’s Bench in the Hilary Term in the third year of the reign of James I. A Royal Proclamation stipulated surrender of estates and regrant under new valid titles. Most Irish chiefs came forward to receive incontestable title at last, but this was made conditional on their giving up the clan relationship in favour of the English landlord-tenant relationship (Murphy, p. 261). This in 1605 (see “Chronology”).
Plantation of Ulster. According to Leland, Irish undertenants and servants were tacitly exempted from the Oath of Supremacy, whereas all the other planters were compelled to take it. Carte says that all Irish settlers, especially natives, who were allowed part of their land, were exempted, but this was irrelevant because trial for refusing to take the Oath was impracticable.
The Scottish Presbyterians in Ulster also resisted taking the Oath of Supremacy, and this was suffered by the authorities (Murphy, p. 266). That may have been useful for the Irish as well. — Carte estimates the number of English settlers in Ulster in 1641 at 20,000 and of Scottish settlers at 100,000 (Life of Ormonde, Vol. I, p. 177).
Sir Arthur Chichester, Lord Deputy, was rewarded for his services in this plantation with the territory of Innoshowen(?) “and all the lands possessed by O'Dogherty, a tract of country far exceeding the allotments generally made to northern undertakers” (Leland, Vol. II, p. 438). As early as 1633 these estates were valued at £10,000 per annum (Strafford’s State Letters, Vol. II, p. 294). Chichester was the ancestor of Marquis of Donegal, who would have £300,000 per annum for his Belfast estate alone, if another of his ancestors had not surrendered it to others under long leases (Murphy, p. 265).
The plantation of Ulster culminated the first period, with a new means discovered for confiscation: defective titles. This is effective under James and Charles, until Cromwell renews the invasion. See extracts from Carte, 2a,b.
Another effective pretext for confiscation was that old Crown rents, long forgotten by Crown and landowners, were still due from many estates. These were now pulled out and, wherever unpaid, the estate was forfeited. No receipts existed, and that was enough (Murphy, p. 269).
Concerning the attempt to confiscate Connaught (see “Chronology,” and O'Conor, The History of the Irish Catholics), recall James’s dirty trick [schöne Schweinerei]:
When the people of Connaught surrendered their titles to a specially appointed Royal Commission in 1616 and had these reconveyed by new patents, they paying £3,000 for their enrolment in Chancery, the titles were not registered. A new commission was named on this pretext in 1623 to declare them null and void by reason of deliberate default, an oversight that depended not on the landowners but the government. (See Carte, Life of Ormonde, Vol. I, pp. 47 and 48.) In the meantime, James died.
A Court of Wards for Ireland was established in 1614. Carte avers in The Life of Ormonde, Vol. I, p. 517, that no lawful basis existed for it as in England, being meant to bring up Catholic heirs in the Protestant religion and English customs. Its president was the good Sir William Parsons, who had helped plan it.
That the Irish insisted in the graces that “three score years’ possession (of an estate) should conclude His Majesty’s title” was understandable, for this was the law of England (Strafford’s State Letters, Vol. I, p. 279), enacted by the Act of the 21st year of James’s reign (Murphy, p. 274). Yet English law applied to the Irish only in so far as it suited the English government.
Strafford wrote the English Secretary of State on December 16, 1634, that in his Irish Parliament “the Protestants are the majority, and this may be of great use to confirm and settle His Majesty’s title to the Plantations of Connaught and Ormond; for this you may be sure of, all the Protestants are for Plantations, all the others are against them; so as these, being the great number, you can want no help they can give you therein. Nay, in case there be no title to be made good to these countries in the Crown, yet should not I despair, forth of reasons of state, and for the strength and security of the Kingdom, to have them passed to the King by an immediate Act of Parliament (State Letters, Vol. I, p. 353).
Outside Connaught, too, money was extorted continuously on pain of inquiry into titles. The O'Byrnes of Wicklow, for example, twice paid £15,000 to preserve a portion of their estates, while the City of London paid £70,000 to prevent confiscation of its plantations in Colrain and Derry for alleged breach of covenant (Leland, Vol. III, p. 40).
The Court of High Commission [the Irish Star Chamber] established by Wentworth in the year 1633, after the English model, “with the same formality and the same tremendous powers” (Leland, Vol. III, p. 29), and this naturally without Parliament’s consent in order “to bring the people here to a conformity in religion, and, in the way to that, raise, perhaps, a good revenue to the Crown” (January 31, 1633, State Letters, Vol. I, p. 188). The Court saw to it that all newly-appointed officials, doctors, barristers, etc., and all those who “sued out livery of their estates” should take the Oath of Supremacy, which, as McAuley observed, was a religious inquisition where that of the Star Chamber was political. .
Then the Castle Chamber, called Star Chamber as in England, which, Lord Deputy Chichester said, was “the proper court to punish jurors who will not find a verdict for the King upon good evidence” (oft-quoted passage from Desiderata Curiosa Hibernicae, Vol. I, p. 262).
It is said therein [(in the Remonstrance of Trim) the agents complain] that the penalties there employed consisted in “imprisonment and loss of ears” and “fines, pillory, boring through the tongue, marking on the forehead with an iron and other infamous punishments,” as this is also indicated in the indictment of Strafford (Murphy, p. 279).
When Strafford went to Connaught in 1635, he took with him 4,000 horse “as good lookers on, while the plantations were settling” (Strafford, State Letters, Vol. I, p. 454). In Galway he imposed fines not only on the jury that would not find a verdict for the King, but also the sheriff “for returning so insufficient, indeed, we conceive, so packed a jury, in £1,000 to His Majesty” (August 1635, Vol. I, p. 451).
As, by the 28th Act of Henry VIII, c. 5, 6 and 13, all recourse to the Pope’s jurisdiction was prohibited and all Irish came under the Protestant ecclesiastical courts, whose verdict could be appealed against to the King alone. They took cognizance to all marriages, baptisms, burials, wills, and administrations, and punished recusants for not going to church under the 2nd Act of Elizabeth, c. 2, and also collected the tithes. Bishop Burnet (Life of Dr. Bedel, Bishop of Kilmore, p. 89) said these courts were “often managed by a chancellor that bought his place and so thought he had a right to all the profits he could make out of it. And their whole business seemed to be nothing but oppression and extortion.... The officers of the court thought they had a sort of right to oppress the natives and that all was well got that was wrung from them ... they made it their business to draw people into trouble by vexatious suits, and to hold them so long in that, for 3d. worth of the tithe of turf, they would be put to a £5 charge.” In the graces, which never materialised, Protestant clergymen were to have been forbidden “to keep private prisons of their own” for spiritual offences, so that offenders should be committed to the King’s public gaols (Murphy, p. 281).
See Spenser, excerpt 51 about the Protestant clergy.
Borlase and Parsons encouraged the rebellion everywhere. According to Lord Castlehaven’s Memoirs, they said: “The more rebels, the more confiscations.” Leland (Vol. III, p. 166), too, observes that, as before, “extensive forfeitures were the favourite object of the chief governors and their friends.”
By that time, the Irish Royalist army was to have been 50,000 strong through reinforcement from England and Scotland.
See Carte, The Life of Ormonde, Vol. III, p. 61, for the instructions to the army.
The motto of the Kilkenny Confederates was: Pro deo, pro rege, et patria Hibernia unanimes (for God, King and Ireland unanimous); so that is where the Prussians lifted it from! (Borlase, Irish Rebellion, p. 128).
Drogheda Massacre. After a successful assault “quarter had been promised to all who should lay down their arms — a promise observed until all resistance was at an end. But at the moment that the city was completely reduced, Cromwell ... issued his fatal orders that the garrison should be put to the sword. His soldiers, many of them with reluctance, butchered the prisoners. The governor and all his gallant officers, betrayed to slaughter by the cowardice of some of their troops, were massacred without mercy. For five days this hideous execution was continued with every circumstance of horror” (Leland, Vol. III, p. 361). A number of Catholic ecclesiastics found within the walls were bayoneted. “Thirty persons only remained unslaughtered ... and these were instantly transported as slaves to Barbadoes” (Leland, Vol. III, p. 362).
Petty (Political Anatomy of Ireland, Dublin edition of Petty’s tracts, 1769, pp. 312-15) estimates that 112,000 British and 504,000 Irish inhabitants of Ireland died in the war of 1641-52. In 1653, soldiers’ debentures were sold at 4/- to 5/- in the pound, so that with 20/being the price [nominal] of two acres of land, and there being 8 million acres of good land in Ireland, all Ireland was purchasable for £1 million, though in 1641 it was worth £8 million. Petty estimates the value of livestock in Ireland in 1641 at £4 million, and in 1652 at less than £500,000, so that Dublin had to get meat from Wales. Corn was 12/- per barrel in 1641 and 50/- in 1652. Houses in Ireland worth £2 million in 1641, were worth less than £500,000 in 1653.
Leland, too, admits in Vol. III, p. 171, that “the favourite idea of both the Irish Government and the English Parliament (from 1642 onwards) was the utter extermination of all the Catholics of Ireland.”
See Lingard (History of England, Vol. VII, 4th ed., p. 102, Note) on the transportation of Irish as slaves to the West Indies (figures vary from 6,000 to 100,000). Of the 1,000 boys and 1,000 girls to be sent to Jamaica, the commissioners wrote in 1655: “Although we must use force in taking them up, yet it is so much for their own good and likely to be of such great advantage to the public, that you may have such number of them as you shall think fit” (Thurloe’s Papers, Vol. IV, p. 23).
“By the first Act of Settlement, the forfeiture of two-thirds of their estates had been pronounced against those who had borne arms against the Parliament and one-third of their estates against those who had resided in Ireland any time from October 1, 1649, to March 1, 1650, and had not manifested their constant good affection to Parliament. The Parliament had power to give them, in lieu thereof, other lands to the proportion of value thereof.” The second Act concerned resettlement (see Prendergast, Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, Book of Excerpts VII, 1a).
Distribution of land to soldiers was limited to those who had served under Cromwell from 1649 (Murphy, p. 302).
See Carte, Life of Ormonde, Vol. II, p. 301, about some cases of land surveying, especially by adventurers.
According to Leland (Vol. III, p. 410), the Commissioners in Dublin and Athlone kept considerable domains for themselves.
A plantation acre is equal to 1 acre, 2 roods, 19 perches, 5 yards, and 2 1/4 feet imperial statute measure, or 121 plantation acres may be taken as equal to 196 statute acres (Murphy, p. 302).
As a result of confiscations under Cromwell and Charles II, the 7,708,238 statute acres confiscated by Cromwell were distributed finally, by 1675, as follows:
|1) To Englishmen|
|Duke of York||169,431|
|Duke of Ormond and Colonel Butler||257,516|
|2) To Irishmen|
|Decrees of Innocence||1,176,520|
|King’s Letters of Restitution||46,398|
|Nominees in Possession||68,360|
|Remaining still unappropriated in 1675, being part of towns or land possessed by English or Irish without title or doubtful||824,392|
|Total in statute acres||7,708,238|
On “Forty-Nine” officers see O'Conor and Notes. The Duke of York received a grant of all the lands held by the regicides who had been attainted. Provisors were persons in whose favour provisoes had been made by the Acts of Settlement and of Explanation.273 Nominees were the Catholics named by the King restored to their mansions and 2,000 acres contiguous.
At that time the profitable lands of Ireland were estimated at two-thirds of all land, or 12,500,000 statute acres. Of the rest, considerable tracts were occupied without title by soldiers and adventurers. In 1675, the twelve and a half million acres of arable were distributed as follows:
|Granted to English Protestants of profitable land forfeited under the Commonwealth||4,560,037|
|Previously possessed by English Protestant Colonists and by the Church||3,900,000|
|Granted to the Irish||2,323,809|
|Previously possessed by “good affectioned” Irish||600,000|
|Unappropriated as above||824,391|
This table was compiled by Murphy; the figure of 3,900,000 acres was taken from the Account published by the Cromwellian proprietors and the rest on the basis of the Grace Manuscript quoted by Lingard and the Report of the Commissioners to the English House of Commons, December 15, 1699. It accords with Petty (Political Anatomy), who wrote: “Of the whole 7,500,000 plantation acres of good land (in Ireland) the English and Protestants and the Church have this Christmas (1672) 5,140,000 (= 8,352,500 statute acres and the Irish have near half as much” (Murphy, pp. 314 and 315).
|By the Acts of Settlement and Explanation, 2,323,809 statute acres were granted to the Irish, they having 600,000 previously in their possession|
|Of these lands, 1,060,792 plantation acres were escheated under William worth £211,623 6s. 3d. per annum (Report, of the Commissioners of the House of Commons. 1699)||1,723,787|
|or as Murphy calculated (he probably erred when subtracting)||1,240,022|
|In addition, restituted by special favour of the King on pardoning (65 persons)||125,000|
|The Court of Claims restored (792 persons)||388,500|
|Making the total possessed by the Irish||1,753,522|
Compiled by Murphy on the basis of the Report of the Commissioners of the House of Commons (English) in December 1699.
258. A reference to County Laoighis (Leix) in Central Ireland, which, in 1557, following the confiscation by the Tudors of the lands of local tribal communities (the clans), was renamed Queen’s County in honour of Mary Tudor, the English Queen. The neighbouring Offaley County, the population of which had also fallen victim to the expropriation policy of the English colonial authorities, was renamed King’s County in honour of Mary’s husband, Philip II of Spain.
259. Fee tail — an estate the use of which is limited to a category of heirs stipulated in the grant; in practice it means life tenancy.
260. Engels is referring to the following passage he took from J. Davies, Historical Tracts, London, 1786. “Under Elizabeth only several Irish chiefs surrendered their estates and were regranted all their lands. However, the inferior chiefs and peasants as before held their several portions in course of tanistry and gavelkind, so that English law extended only to the lords. But James sent two special commissions (to Ireland) — ‘the one, for accepting surrenders and for regranting estates, ...the other, for strengthening of defective titles’. These commissions, in particular, took care to secure also the under tenants [to the lord). Before accepting each surrendered estate the commission had to enquire: 1) of the limits of the land; 2) how much the lord himself holds in demesne and how much is possessed by his tenants and followers; 3) what customs, duties and services he receives. After that the owner was returned the ownership of his demesne, his duties however were valued and reduced into certain sums of money, to be paid yearly in lieu thereof as rents, but the lands were left to them. In the case of defective titles like steps were taken before the title was confirmed.”
261. Tanistry — a system regulating the inheritance of chieftainship of the Celtic clans and septs (tribes) in Ireland. Like many other Irish customs, it was a relic of the tribal system. According to this custom, the successor of the clan chief, the tanist, was appointed during the lifetime of the chief from a definite family in the clan, whose members were considered the “eldest and worthiest.”
262. Engels is referring to the following passage in his excerpts from the first volume of Carte’s book (Engels’s own remark is italicised):
“Plantation in Leinster. Around the year 1608, the king’s title had been found to ‘all the lands between the river of Arekloe and that of Slane in the County of Wexford, and the former possessors thereof had to make surrenders of their lands into his hands. They amounted in all to 66,000 acres, 16,500 of which lying near the sea, the King determined to dispose of to an English colony, which was to be settled there, and to regrant the rest, in certain proportions, to the old proprietors under the like regulations and covenants as had been imposed on and submitted to by the planters of Ulster “. (p. 22). After that came the turn of Longford and Leytrim, and also of the lands belonging to O'Carrols, O'Molloys, Mac-Coughlans, the Foxes, O'Doynes, Mac Geoghegans, and O'Mclaghlins in the Counties of the King, Queen and Westmeath. These regions became wild again and Irelandised; they caused a lot of trouble to [the English] — they were now safe receptacles of thieves and robbers. In 1614 it was decided ‘to take a view of the counties and to enquire into the title which the Crown had to them or any part thereof’, that is, to take away these lands and to appropriate their incomes. All this was done by a special commission.... ‘It was an age of adventurers and projectors; the general taste of the world ran in favour of new discoveries and plantings of countries; and such as were not hardy enough to venture into the remote parts of the earth, fancied they might make a fortune nearer home by settling and planting in Ireland. The improvement of the King’s revenues was the cover made use of by such projectors to obtain Commissions of enquiry into defective titles, and grants of concealed lands and rents belonging to the Crown, the great benefit of which was generally to accrue to the projector or discoverer, whilst the King was contented with an inconsiderable proportion of the concealment, or a small advance of the reserved rent’.”
263. Engels is referring to the passage in his excerpts from M. O'Conor’s The History of the Irish Catholics, already referred to in his “Chronology of Ireland” (see Note 246). In addition to the quotation given in that note, the relevant passage contains data on confiscations made in 1614 in County Longford, neighbouring on Connaught Province. These confiscations victimised the Irish aristocratic family of the O'Ferells and 25 clans, who lost their property which was parcelled out to English colonists; the other clans of the county were banished to mountainous and unfertile lands. Of the attempts to confiscate land in one of the counties of Connaught Province itself (Leitrim) the following is said: “In Leitrim immense possessions of Bryan na Murtha O'Rourke had been granted to his son Teige by patent in the first year of King James’ reign by the King himself, and to the male heirs of his body. Teige died leaving several sons, their titles were clear, no plots or conspiracies could be urged to invalidate them. Then the commission declared them all to be bastards and confiscated their lands.”
264. ‘The Court of High Commission was founded in England in 1559 by Elizabeth I to deal with cases of breaches of royal edicts and Acts of Parliament, instrumental in furthering the Reformation, and with offences against the Church of England. It was directed not only against the Catholics but also against the radical Protestant sects — the Puritans.
265. The Star Chamber was founded in England in 1487 by Henry VII as a special court for judging local barons. Under Elizabeth I it became one of the supreme judicial bodies investigating political crimes, a weapon in the ruthless struggle conducted against the opponents of feudal reaction and absolutism. Like the Court of High Commission, it was abolished by the Long Parliament in 1641.
In Ireland, the introduction by Strafford of similar institutions (one of them was called the Castle Chamber because it convened in Dublin Castle, the residence of the Lord Deputy) mainly served the purpose of expropriation and colonisation.
266. Ed. Spencer, “A View of the State of Ireland,” in Ancient Irish Histories, Dublin, 1809. In Engels’s excerpts from Spencer’s book the following passage refers to the Irish clergy:
“... ye may find there ... gross simony, greedy covetousness, fleshly incontinency, careless sloth, and generally all disordered life in the common clergyman. And besides ... they do go and live like laymen, follow all kinds of husbandry and other worldly affairs as other Irishmen do. They neither read Scriptures, nor preach to the people, nor administer the Communion, but baptism they do, ... they take the tithes and offerings, and gather what fruit else they may of their livings, ... and some of them ... pay, as due, tributes and shares of their livings to their bishops. ...” Engels added the following remark: “All the above, apparently, refers to the Protestant priests of that time.”
267. A reference to the order given in 1641 by Lords justices Parsons and Borlase to the English Commander, which contained instructions on the treatment of Irish rebels. The order instructed “to wound, kill, slay, and destroy all the rebels and their adherents and relievers, and burn, spoil, waste, consume, destroy, and demolish all the places, towns, and houses where the rebels were or have been relieved or harboured, and all the corn and hay there, and to kill and destroy all the men there inhabiting able to bear arms.”
268. Drogheda, an ancient fortress in Eastern Ireland, was besieged on September 3, 1649, by Oliver Cromwell and taken by storm on September 12. In accordance with the order of the Commander-in-Chief to show no mercy to anyone caught with arms the three-thousand-strong Irish garrison was annihilated and many peaceful citizens were killed. Ruthless bloodshed by Cromwell’s troops also attended the capture of Wexford on October 11, 1649.
269. Titles to plots of Irish land of definite size. They were given to soldiers of the Parliamentary army in lieu of wages. In many cases officers and speculators bought them from the soldiers for a song.
270. A reference to the Act of Settlement adopted by the Long Parliament on August 12, 1652, during the English bourgeois revolution, following the suppression of the 1641-52 national liberation uprising in Ireland. The Act legalised the reign of terror and violence established by the English colonialists in Ireland and sanctioned the wholesale plunder of Irish lands in favour of the English bourgeoisie and the “new” bourgeoisified nobility. This Act declared the majority of Ireland’s indigenous population “guilty of revolt.” Even those Irishmen who had not been directly involved in the uprising but had failed to show the proper “loyalty” to the English Crown were considered “guilty.” Those declared “guilty” were classified into categories, depending on the extent of their involvement in the uprising, and subjected to brutal reprisals: execution, deportation, confiscation of property. On September 26, 1653, the Act of Settlement was supplemented by the Act of Satisfaction which prescribed the forcible resettlement of Irish people whose property had been confiscated to the barren province of Connaught and to Clare County and defined the procedure for allotting the confiscated land to the creditors of Parliament, the officers and men of the English army. Both Acts consolidated and extended the economic foundations of English landlordism in Ireland.
271. The name given in the 16th-17th centuries to merchants and bankers, including speculators from the City of London. During the English bourgeois revolution in the 17th century “adventurers” loaned Parliament considerable sums of money for the war against the Royalists on the security of lands in Ireland. They engaged in the looting of these lands and also in the buying up of soldiers’ debentures. Among the “adventurers” were many statesmen, members of the gentry and civil servants.
272. Engels is referring to his notes from Matthew O'Conor’s book, The History of the Irish Catholics, supplemented by excerpts from other sources. In this particular case the reference is to the passage dealing with the declaration made in 1660 by the government of Charles II at the outset of the Stuart Restoration. According to that declaration the “adventurers,” the officers and men of the Parliamentary army retained their possessions in Ireland, while officers of Ormonde’s Royalist army, who had served under him up to 1649 (hence the term “forty-nine officers”; in that year the majority of the defeated English Royalists left Ireland and the resistance to Cromwell’s troops was continued mainly by the Irish rebels), received compensation out of the same fund of confiscated Irish lands. Indigenous Irishmen, who had fought under the King’s banner during the Civil War and been deprived of their possessions because of it, received practically no compensation.
273. The Act of Settlement was passed by the restored Stuart monarchy in 1662. The Act instituted a complicated procedure of enquiry into complaints and petitions for the return of lands to the Irish Catholics who had fought in civil war on the Royalist side. The satisfaction of complaints was encumbered by a whole system of casuistic objections and provisos. As a result, only a small part was considered and a still smaller satisfied (those who in fact received compensation for their forfeited lands were designated in the documents as “provisors”). The Act of Explanation passed in 1665 under pressure from the Protestant colonists cancelled all complaints not hitherto considered. It was called the “Black Act” in Ireland.
274. Given below are data on the confiscations of Irish lands carried out by William III after the suppression of the 1689-91 Irish uprising, in violation of the surrender terms signed with the insurgents at Limerick.