Suppression and Partition

Justin McCarthy
Chapter VI | Start of Chapter

Cromwell had many of the qualities which make a great conqueror, but he never was a conqueror of hearts. It did not take him long to stamp out the Irish rebellion which he had come from England to suppress, but the echoes of his conquering tread were the omens of new rebellions to come. The rule of Cromwell did probably more than anything else to make the Irish for many generations devoted to the Stuart cause.

The division of the re-conquered country was carried out after the most systematic fashion. Several counties, Dublin and Kildare among the rest, were parcelled out among favourites and followers who did not belong to the army. A large number of these divisions was decided by a lottery, conducted in Grocers' Hall, London, during the July of 1653. There was still a great fear in the minds of the rulers lest their new settlers might be disturbed and harassed by incursions of the dispossessed Irish. To obviate this danger some of the counties were divided between military and trading settlers, so that the civilians might have the protection of their military partners.

Most readers know what is meant by "reservation" lands when the phrase is applied to the dealings of the United States Government with the Red Indians. There are certain wide spaces set apart for the survivors of the Red Indian tribes, where they are secured enough land to enable them to make a living so long as they do not extend their activity outside the limits assigned to them. The Cromwellian settlement provided, in its own sterner and more imperious way, the province of Connaught as the sole domain of the Irish who still desired to have a home in their native country. English settlers already holding land in Connaught were authorized to exchange their possessions for an extent of soil of equal value in some other part of the country.