Ireland Under the Commonwealth, Vol. 1: Being a Selection of Documents Relating to the Government of Ireland From 1651 to 1659 (Classic Reprint)
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Publisher: Forgotten Books (27 Sept. 2015)
By: Robert Dunlop (Author)
The documents printed in these two volumes form part of a collection I made many years ago, when I had it in mind to write a history of the Commonwealth in Ireland. That intention was never realised for several reasons: but chiefly because I felt that the knowledge I possessed of Irish history was insufficient to enable me to deal with the subject adequately. At the time I was of opinion that the view taken by Prendergast in his well-known book - The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland - was not an entirely impartial one. I thought it possible to present the Cromwellian policy in a more favorable light than either he or Carte, with his royalist predilections, had done. My position was that taken up by Cromwell himself - viz. that the conquest and confiscation of Ireland was the divine retribution for the horrid and unprovoked massacre by the Irish Catholics of the English and Scottish settlers in Ireland in the first year of the Rebellion. In this spirit I made these transcripts, and nothing that I read in them tended to alter that view. From the Records of the Commonwealth I turned to a study of the Depositions relating to the Massacres. It was then that I first began to experience an uncomfortable feeling that my evidence was not so strong as I would have liked it to be. True the Depositions were very explicit and apparently incontrovertible: but I was living in Dublin at a time when the power of the Land League was at its height, and I could not help asking what value depositions taken by a body of Orange magistrates as to nationalist outrages were likely to possess for an impartial estimate of the state of Ireland during the government of Earl Spencer. Was the state of affairs in 1642 more favourable for an impartial inquiry than it was in 1882?
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