The "new men" of the Ulster Plantation

Malcolm Redfellow

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I'm trying to get a grip on the who and what of the leading figures at the Plantation of Ulster.

So far I've cobbled up some developing thoughts in a blog post, which all and sundry are quite welcome to critique and (in the usual spirit of p.ie) to abuse.

A synopsis so far would come down to:
  • the Ulster Plantation represents another dimension of the “New Men” of the Renaissance and its aftermath;
  • the leading Ulster planters were — very definitely — young men (typically younger sons) on the make;
  • their minds were still accustomed to think of social advance in terms of acquiring lands, rather than anything ‘entrepreneurial’ or ‘proto-capitalist’; so many happily set about carving themselves out estates in the countryside;
  • within a very short time, by intermarriage, they built themselves networks and generated a nexus of power and possession.
I'm sure all of this has been covered by real students and scholars, and there is a wealth of textual and academic study out there. At the moment I'm just not aware of it all. But I'm sure the resident experts will guide me.
 


Nebuchadnezzar

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Redfellow, I don't get your ref to the Renaissance.....were these young men particularly different in general outlook from other 'younger sons' of earlier times such as the Normans etc?
 

Levellers

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Renaissance is marked by progress and culture. The Planters were the exact opposite - retrogressive and backward looking.
 

diaspora-mick

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Don't forget Arthur Chichester, an utterly charming fellow:
"We have burned and destroyed along the Lough even within four miles of Dungannon, where we killed man, woman, child, horse, beast and whatever we found. The last service from which we returned yesterday was upon Patrick O'Quin, one of the chief men of Tyrone, dwelling within four miles of Dungannon, fearing nothing, but we lighted upon him and killed him, his wife, sons and daughters, servants and followers being many, and burned all to the ground."
 

Telstar 62

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Irish bigots preferred Scots Catholics to Scottish Protestants.

The planters weren't the 'right religion'.

No problems with King James/French/Spanish adventurers
and prospective colonists.:cool:
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Redfellow, I don't get your ref to the Renaissance.....were these young men particularly different in general outlook from other 'younger sons' of earlier times such as the Normans etc?
As far as I was propositioning this thread, that's the road less travelled.

The longer version, as in my blog post, went:

The conceit starts in ancient Rome. A novus homo would be, precisely, the individual, the first person in a previously-undistinguished family, elected to the Senate. Seneca, in Epistle XLIV, laid down the rules (or lack of them):
… who is well-born? He who is by nature well fitted for virtue. That is the one point to be considered; otherwise, if you hark back to antiquity, every one traces back to a date before which there is nothing. From the earliest beginnings of the universe to the present time, we have been led forward out of origins that were alternately illustrious and ignoble. A hall full of smoke- begrimed busts does not make the nobleman. No past life has been lived to lend us glory, and that which has existed before us is not ours; the soul alone renders us noble, and it may rise superior to Fortune out of any earlier condition, no matter what that condition has been.
The notion was serially revisited by
  • Boethius (a civil servant under Theodoric),
  • Dante (whose background is cloudy),
  • Petrarch (son of a lawyer), and
  • Chaucer (a background from Ipswich shoe-makers).
It regains currency in the Italian fifteenth-century, and the ideas are current in Elizabethan England.

A revisit to wikipedia reminds me of Jerónimo Osório da Fonseca (oddly, he is not cross-referenced by the wikipedia entry on novi homines. Osório would qualify as a novus homo, being a "returned empty" from the Portuguese diaspora in Mughal India. Apparently Osório's De nobilitate (that title, surely, a nod to Seneca) is translated into English only in 1576.

To that extent, turn of the 16th-century adventurism favoured the type.

You are quite correct in making the point about 'younger sons' being constant irritants and menaces across all periods of history.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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As far as I was propositioning this thread, that's the road less travelled.

The longer version, as in my blog post, went:

The conceit starts in ancient Rome. A novus homo would be, precisely, the individual, the first person in a previously-undistinguished family, elected to the Senate. Seneca, in Epistle XLIV, laid down the rules (or lack of them):

The notion was serially revisited by
  • Boethius (a civil servant under Theodoric),
  • Dante (whose background is cloudy),
  • Petrarch (son of a lawyer), and
  • Chaucer (a background from Ipswich shoe-makers).
It regains currency in the Italian fifteenth-century, and the ideas are current in Elizabethan England.

A revisit to wikipedia reminds me of Jerónimo Osório da Fonseca (oddly, he is not cross-referenced by the wikipedia entry on novi homines. Osório would qualify as a novus homo, being a "returned empty" from the Portuguese diaspora in Mughal India. Apparently Osório's De nobilitate (that title, surely, a nod to Seneca) is translated into English only in 1576.

To that extent, turn of the 16th-century adventurism favoured the type.

You are quite correct in making the point about 'younger sons' being constant irritants and menaces across all periods of history.
I suppose most colonialism involves incoming younger sons against resident defensive first borns(even given that primogeniture wasn't the Gaelic custom).
 

NMunsterman

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Don't forget Arthur Chichester, an utterly charming fellow:
"We have burned and destroyed along the Lough even within four miles of Dungannon, where we killed man, woman, child, horse, beast and whatever we found. The last service from which we returned yesterday was upon Patrick O'Quin, one of the chief men of Tyrone, dwelling within four miles of Dungannon, fearing nothing, but we lighted upon him and killed him, his wife, sons and daughters, servants and followers being many, and burned all to the ground."

I notice the usual suspects totally ignored your post - maybe hoping nobody would notice.
Looks like reality and hard facts don't go down too well with some people Mick.

You party-pooper.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Don't forget Arthur Chichester, an utterly charming fellow
How could one forget?

Chichester was a second son — and (according to one speculation in the DNB) may have had to leave Oxford, and join the army for financial reasons. So to that extent slips neatly into my template.

What adds sulphur to the admixture is the Devon origins:
  • commanding a ship against the Armada,
  • being with Drake on that monster's last transatlantic excursion,
  • getting his knighthood for a raid on Cádiz,
  • succeeding his brother as Governor of Carrickfergus (the poisoning of Sorley MacDonnell, apparently ordered by Robert Cecil, being Chichester's revenge for his brother) ...
On the other hand, he's not quite, to the same extent, the pivotal figure in the Plantation — his centre is Belfast, and not the planted lands "west of the Bann" (except his advocating lands for his veterans). diaspora-mick's quotation is from a letter, to Cecil, dated May 1600.
 

Ex celt

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Renaissance is marked by progress and culture. The Planters were the exact opposite - retrogressive and backward looking.
They were outward looking and set sail from their shores and brought british culture to West Belfast. They also went on to found the USA and invented the pneumatic tyre.
What did Paddy do that was progressive or cultural?
 

Man or Mouse

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Don't forget Arthur Chichester, an utterly charming fellow:
"We have burned and destroyed along the Lough even within four miles of Dungannon, where we killed man, woman, child, horse, beast and whatever we found. The last service from which we returned yesterday was upon Patrick O'Quin, one of the chief men of Tyrone, dwelling within four miles of Dungannon, fearing nothing, but we lighted upon him and killed him, his wife, sons and daughters, servants and followers being many, and burned all to the ground."
Sounds like a passage from the bible. Course, those were God fearing men and following divine direction in doing this. By the time their descendants got to India some centuries later, the locals were appalled by the wanton killing and mayhem the British were capable of.
 

Dame_Enda

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Many were actually Border Reiver clans James I wanted to remove from Mainland Britain as they were creating problems on the Anglo Scots border with their cattle raids and smuggling.
 

Barroso

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They were outward looking and set sail from their shores and brought british culture to West Belfast. They also went on to found the USA and invented the pneumatic tyre.
What did Paddy do that was progressive or cultural?
I think you'll find that Gaelic Ireland and Scotland was a fairly ancient civilisation by the time it was destroyed.
I'm sure they were progressive in their time, if by progressive you mean bringing rapine and pillage to others, but that was centuries if not a millenium earlier.
Regarding culture, well, there are hundreds if not thousands of books extant from centuries prior to the plantation, on all sorts of topics.
Music, poetry, art, whatever else was in fashion in Europe at the time, there was a version in the Gaelic lands.

Believe it or not, we still have music and poetry and song and literature in Irish, as well as in English, not to mention our non-linguistic production.
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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Dunno why I bother.

Came here (see my headline post) looking for help and advice.

Got the usual whataboutery.

By the way: Chichester's 1600 letter (however blood-chilling) is not immediately relevant to the Plantation scheme of nearly a decade later.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Dunno why I bother.

Came here (see my headline post) looking for help and advice.

Got the usual whataboutery.

By the way: Chichester's 1600 letter (however blood-chilling) is not immediately relevant to the Plantation scheme of nearly a decade later.
Redfellow, another one of your interesting and different threads, you make p.ie still occasionally worthwhile. This area is not something I am that familiar with. One fair criticism I think is that your approach is overly Anglo centric....no mention of the Scots in your post or your blog....and I think there were significant differences between the Scots and the English in their theory and practice of plantation.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Chichester's letter is relevant given that he subsequently became Lord Deputy of Irland during the period of the Plantations.
 

mac tíre

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By the way: Chichester's 1600 letter (however blood-chilling) is not immediately relevant to the Plantation scheme of nearly a decade later.
Surely it is relevant given his future position and it gives us an insight into the mindset. "Immediately relevant" sounds a bit like a distraction.
 

The Field Marshal

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I'm trying to get a grip on the who and what of the leading figures at the Plantation of Ulster.

.
You can try all you like.

The deep and abiding view amongst most catholics throughout Ireland is that the men of the Ulster Plantation were all immoral thieves on the make to grab as much state stolen catholic land as possible without paying for it to their rightful and legal owners.

As such they are eternally detested and their descendants on the island merely tolerated until they expunge the guilt of their forefathers.
 


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