The purpose of this study is to analyze the consequences of Cromwell's Irish plantation, from its planning to the plantation process and its results. Understanding of the Cromwellian plantation of Ireland is a matter of understanding the policies and ...
The purpose of this study is to analyze the consequences of Cromwell's Irish plantation, from its planning to the plantation process and its results. Understanding of the Cromwellian plantation of Ireland is a matter of understanding the policies and legislations that have been made since the outbreak of the rebellion, rather than the problems of Cromwell himself and the individual governors after. The Parliament of England enacted the principle of confiscation of land and the redistribution of land during the civil war. Above all, an understanding of the Adventurers' Act of 1642 and the situations after it, the Settlement Act of 1652, and the Down Survey of 1656 should precede all other elements. The content of the Adventures Act of 1642 was that anyone who lent 200 pounds to the government would get a land of 1,000 acres (4 km²) confiscated from the rebels after the war. It was a way for the English government to secure the financial resources needed to recruit troops to suppress the Irish rebellion. At that time, the government had decided to distribute a total of 2.5 million acres, which was more than a tenth of the total land area of Ireland. The law allowed the Government of England to raise £ 306,718 from 1,281 investors.
The Act of Settlement passed in August 1652, when the rebellion was completely suppressed, was passed to distribute land to the Adventurers, the Ulster Protestants and soldiers who suffered during the Irish rebellion. Most important of all, it was the enactment of specific laws on how the government would compensate for the debts borrowed and how to deal with the rebel leaders in the end of the repression. The essence of this settlement law was the execution of those who participated in the Irish rebellion and confiscation of property. The rebel commanders had to be confiscated two-thirds of their land, and the Catholic landowners were given by the land of Connacht or Clare instead. There was only a choice of so-called "to Hell or Connacht".
The Act of Settlement of 1652, however, was not strictly observed. If the settlement law was strictly applied, about 100,000 people had to lose their lives. The High Court executed only 54 people for two years. The principle of moving to Connaught and Clair are not strictly observed. Most of the English investors and soldiers did not follow the principle of bringing the English Protestant tenants. In 1654, the Old English demanded Oliver Cromwell to pass the general amnesty law, and Cromwell announced an amnesty for the Protestant of Munster.
In order to confiscate and distribute the land, a precise land survey of Ireland was necessary. To this end, William Petty (1623-1687) conducted a very precise survey, which is called Down Survey. The map he made is confirmed to have an accuracy of 87%. The land allocation was done accordingly, but it was far from the original plan. The Irish plantation in the Cromwellian period was not an arbitrary policy, but rather a result of several major legislations and compromises with reality.