Getting Rid of the Irish

Justin McCarthy
Chapter VI | Start of Chapter

Some of the settlers—or, as they might be called, the transported convicts—proved hard to manage, even by all the forces at the disposal of the rulers. Schemes were devised for exporting unmanageable Irish to the West Indian plantations. Official encouragement was given to Continental Sovereigns in friendly relations with England to send their recruiting officers into Ireland to enlist as many as possible of the wild Irish in some foreign service which would relieve loyal English settlers from the necessity of further dealings with them. Many of the towns were even more systematically cleared of their native inhabitants in order to secure a quiet field of industry for English and Scotch merchants and traders.

The intense vitality of the Irish race cannot be more strikingly illustrated than by the fact that it still managed to keep a hold on its native soil despite the unrelaxing machinery for its extirpation. The Cromwellian settlement of Ireland was carried out as unsparingly as merciless power could effect it. Perhaps the best defence of Cromwell's policy is that made by Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, in his able and interesting "Life of Oliver Cromwell." He shows no sympathy with the spirit of Cromwell's policy towards Ireland, but he points out that the measures employed by Cromwell were not any worse than many other English rulers tried before and after his day in their dealings with the Irish.