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change is ordered for the best, in combining and cementing into the effective and permanent masses of an enlightened and well-ordered polity, the contentious and mutually oppressing clans and provincial tyrannies, the heptarchs and the petty chieftains, by which uncivilized countries were plundered and misruled. When the descendant of Caractacus, of Egbert, or Canute, of the Briton, the Saxon or the Dane, shall lay claim to the rich and fertile districts of merry England; when the posterity of the larger part of that splendid proprietary, the feudal lords of England shall stand forth to claim dominion and authority over the cultivated lands, and the enfranchised tenantry, whom their Saxon and Norman ancestors oppressed, and seek redress for wrongs which lie buried in the dust of centuries; then may the tombs and cairns of antiquity render up these obsolete claims, which, in this hapless land, have been similarly determined by the imperative circumstances of national revolution; but posthumously kept alive among the inferior classes, by the vindictive memory of often repeated wrongs, and of sufferings which have been magnified and distorted into such. The existing rights of all classes throughout the world are founded on one common and well-understood principle, unbroken prescription, which it is the first duty of law and national polity to maintain. It is the gravitating principle of society, and only to be terminated by those changes which amount to its temporary dissolution. Such terminations, it may be added, lead to no restorations; the chancery of blood which presides over such great contests, however such a visionary equivalent might have place among its legal fictions, is sufficiently known: its judges are conquerors, its officials armed and sanguinary legions, and its awards are governed by interest, fear, ambition and cupidity—might, not right. We have been somewhat unconsciously led into those reflections, not merely by the considerations before us, but by the fact that they bear relation to the popular errors of the time. Among the respectable gentry of Ireland there happily exists no such barbaric discontents; enlightened cultivation, and a correct estimate of the foundations of right and the first principles of national polity, have set these feelings at rest among those best entitled to entertain them.
Under such imperative circumstances, the attention of the king was directed to the plantation of new settlements on the forfeited estates, and to the most expedient means by which it might be advantageously effected. Besides the obvious benefits of a civilized population, it was now beginning to be understood that the large grants to individuals, by which the Geraldines and De Burghs had been raised into oppressive, rebellious, and usurping toparchs, were quite inconsistent with civil subordination or the authority of government. Out of these views arose the policy and the main errors of the government of James, which may, notwithstanding these errors, be described as wise and beneficent so far as its design was followed up.
Plantation of Ulster.—The first fruits of this policy was the plantation of Ulster, and a comprehensive settlement of the tenures of Irish property. Several commissions were issued for the latter purpose: those who held property by the ancient Irish tenure of Tanistry, were invited to surrender their estates and receive them back by grant from the crown. As the estate held under the law of Tanistry was the most unsatisfactory in all respects, being, in fact, a life estate, which reverted to the community of an extensive kindred, and as likely at least to go to the proprietor's enemy as to his descendant, this invitation was readily and generally acceded to. Property thus secured was placed on its true basis, by which the destructive principle of an undefined and elective right was obviated, and the individual pledged to order by the security of a permanent interest.
The late rebellion had spread itself through many parts of Ireland, and thus an ample proportion of the land was placed lay forfeiture at the disposal of the crown. In the counties of Limerick, Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, and Waterford, upwards of 574,000 acres had already been disposed of by Queen Elizabeth. In the county of Cork, the successful prudence of the Earl of Cork had already proved the beneficial effects which were to be expected from well settled plantation. In Ulster, above 500,000 acres were forfeited in the counties of Derry, Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, and Armagh. The war, as it had here been most strenuously, equally, and perseveringly maintained, had inflicted the widest and most complete destruction. In every quarter, rapine and wanton violence had spread depopulation. The peaceful inhabitants had been swept away by the extortions of the soldier and the plunder of the Bonaght; the miscreants of every party which seize the occasion of civil war to fling aside restraint, infested the woods and mountain passes, and followed on the track of war, to glean its relics and complete its mischiefs. The means of cultivation had been destroyed, and the hands to cultivate were few. Under such circumstances, every consideration favoured the royal project, and none in any way opposed it: it was both just and expedient.
The king commenced by inviting general attention to the subject, and received many projects for the effectuation of the settlement. Among others, one from Bacon, which is included ,in. his writings, but was necessarily deficient in the result of experience and local knowledge. After a full deliberation, the outline of a plantation was adopted, and committed to Sir Arthur Chichester, whose thorough knowledge of the country to be planted was rendered available by the moral and intellectual qualifications of a statesman. "He was," writes Carte, "a man of great capacity, judgment, firmness, experience, and prudence; he had served several years under Henry IV. of France, and had distinguished himself in the wars of Ireland by his fortitude and military skill, and had done eminent service in the reduction of the rebels: he had distinguished himself as much in the arts of peace; wise in taking his party, resolute in executing it, master of his own temper, dexterous and able to manage all the variety of humours that he had to deal with." This able statesman caused surveys to be made, and drew up a full and particular representation of the whole, and of each district of the country to be settled; he described in detail the military, commercial, or rural advantages of each district or remarkable position. He examined strictly into the rights of existing claimants, and even estimated the general expectations, characters, and tempers of the ancient chiefs and inhabitants, so that all provision might be secured for a satisfactory and just disposition of these lands. Three classes of planters were by his recommendation to be provided for— the old Irish chiefs, servitors of the crown, and English and Scotch undertakers. Avoiding the errors of former settlements, it was, according to this provident and comprehensive plan, determined to distribute to these several classes in small allotments, on such conditions as to guard against the old abuses. The highest was to be 2000 acres, the second 1500, and the third 1000. The first were to be obliged to build a castle and a strong court-yard enclosing it, within four years; they were to keep 600 acres in demense; to settle upon the remaining portion four fee-farmers, having each 120 acres; six leaseholders on 100 acres, with eight families more on the remainder. Within three years from the possession of this portion, it was also prescribed that they should have 48 able men of English or Scotch descent on the estate. The second class was to build a house and enclose a bawn on each estate; and the third to enclose a bawn. Of these, the first class were to hold of the king, in capite; the second, by knight's service; and the third, in common soccage. They were all to be,bound to five years' residence, or the appointment of such agents as might be approved by the government. It was also enacted, that no one of the granters under this settlement should alienate their lands without a royal license, or set them at uncertain rents, or for any time less than three lives, or twenty-one years. The tenants were to build houses and live together in villages, an arrangement favourable to mutual defence, but productive, perhaps, of many evils at a later period of Irish history. The new grantees had also several nominal privileges, then of importance, though now either obsolete or pernicious, conferred upon them; they were allowed to erect manors, and to hold courts-baron—rights of which now only a few instances remain to disgrace the national jurisdiction, and exhibit (in common with the courts of conscience) the foulest and most anomalous departure from the principles of the administrative department of justice that is known in English law.*
The native Irish who received lands under this settlement, were exempted from most of the conditions imposed on the English; while these were compelled to people their lands with a British tenantry, the Irish grantee was allowed to let to natives; an arrangement in some measure detrimental, but not in fairness to be avoided. The Irish were also exempted from the obligation of building castles and fortified places, or from arming their tenantry—an exemption of which the policy is obvious. They were, however restrained from the barbarous customs till then incidental to Irish proprietors and their tenants. They were obliged to set their lands for certain rents and for certain terms of years; all denominations of Irish dependency and exaction were prohibited; English methods of cultivation were imposed, and the custom of wandering with their cattle from place to place for
* A seneschal's court is composed of a seneschal, who is compensated by a fee from the plaintiff in the suit, and of a jury of small tradesmen, who adjudicate for each other in the species of petty and vexatious cases almost always brought by themselves. It is thus not uncommon to hear one of the jurors called up to state his own complaint.
pasture, forbidden. They were also enjoined to dwell together in villages like the English tenantry. Under these conditions, the lands disposable in Ulster were distributed among one hundred and four English and Scotch, and two hundred and eighty-six native undertakers, who all covenanted and agreed, by their bonds, to perform all these conditions. It had been experienced in the former plantation under Queen Elizabeth, that great evils, amounting, in fact, to the failure of all the objects of the measure, had resulted from the intermixture of the English and natives. The Irish, who were naturally reluctant to give up their own ways of cultivation and management of property, did not thrive in the same rapid course as their British neighbours, and became discontented, disorderly, and insubordinate to the settled jurisdiction. The British, on their part, rather looking on their immediate personal advantage and disadvantage, than upon the ultimate policy of the settlement, soon found attractions as well as irregular advantages in falling into the less constrained and orderly habits of their neighbours. *If honest industry becomes insecure, and is defrauded of its direct and immediate objects, the commencement of demoralization is not long retarded in any stage of social advance. It was at this time determined to prevent the recurrence of such disadvantages, by separating the two races. We are far from approving of the abstract policy of such an expedient; but considering all circumstances, it was necessary to success, though perhaps not reconcilablo to longer views; but all measures of governments must needs be adapted to the time that is present; the attempt to legislate for the future is the most dangerous of all kinds of quackery, and far beyond the bounded range of human intellect.* The soundest measure is only beneficial according to the steadiness and honesty with which its operation is conducted. It was the defect of the policy of the Irish government of that period, that it was never thoroughly to be carried out in its details.
The Irish undertakers were, much to their own advantage, located on the plains and situations of easy access; their allotment was thus the most fertile for agriculture. The British, on the contrary, were disposed of rather with regard to their safety, and for the preservation of their manners, customs, and language: their lands were therefore in the more boggy and mountainous tracts, and far less profitable.
* We think it necessary to guard our meaning. There is a wide difference between speculative provisions for states of the social system, which may never arise; and law-making for the moment with an ignorant or rash disregard to pro. bnbility. One of the main obstacles to all speculative policy, arises from the shortness of the wisest human views; the operation of any law is to be decided by a multitude of small contingencies, of which the sum will amount to a change of the state of things. Every social incident of any appreciable magnitude, impresses various latent but sure-working influences through the whole system. There is no calculus of variations for human courses and the laws which govern progress. And it is for this reason that legislation must be content to fallow, not precede the growth of society. The wisdom of the statesman consists in a just and prudent estimate of the numerous and conflicting claims of his own time, with a sober preservation of the sound induction, derived from a comprehensive study of those natural laws to be seen in the common course of things. But state craft has its millenarians too, and it is therefore that we wish to be correctly understood.
They were at the same time restrained from intermarriage with the Irish, and a regulation more inconsistent with the further objects of the settlement, is not easily conceived. Providentially indeed, among the many pernicious abuses which defeated the beneficence of the English government, these feeble restraints could never be maintained.
Such was the settlement of Ulster, which, whatever exceptions may be made, was the wisest and most fortunate measure of British policy in Ireland. A measure from which, by a connexion of circumstances, too simple to be otherwise explained, may be traced the superior civilization and prosperity of that country.
The improvement of the new plantation under the able superintendence of Chichester, was rapid and decisive. Notwithstanding the numerous defalcations and abuses inseparable from all great and thorough-working measures, the whole residts confirmed the wisdom of what had been effectively, though not with unexceptionable precision, carried into operation. Numerous undertakers observed their stipulated engagements, and thriving farms soon covered the face of the country, castles with their villages and respectable yeomanly tenants gave it an orderly and civilized appearance: several towns were built, and obtained the privilege of fairs and markets. Thus commenced on the most secure basis, the structure of a civilized, industrious, and commercial country. To complete this fair beginning, the king erected some of these towns into corporations, with the right of sending members to parliament.
Plowden, a historian of considerable learning and research, but of views singularly confined, and writing manifestly under the strong influence of national feeling, quotes from Cox, the apportionment of the forfeited lands, for the express purpose of giving some idea of the small share of the lands secured or regranted to the former possessors or even occupiers. But the quotation does not support his proposition; the distribution is as follows:—
"To the Londoners and other undertakers,
Now, on reading this document, two cons: to the proportion of the whole sum of acres; could be reasonably or equitably expected Secondly, that arising from a just recognition of the very first principle of the entire measure. On the principle enough has been said, all
derations arise; first, as out of which any grant i favour of individuals.