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PROTESTANT MILITARY HUMANISM IN EARLY STUART IRELAND

  • D. ALAN ORR (a1)
Abstract

This article addresses the role of Protestant military humanism in early Stuart Ireland. The central argument is that Protestant military humanism as embodied in the works of such authors as Geoffrey Gates (fl. 1566–80) and Barnabe Rich (1541–1617) played a vital role in the Jacobean plantation of Ulster. These authors combined a strong commitment to the Protestant religion with the conviction that martial virtue was essential for the preservation of the commonwealth against the threats of domestic rebellion and foreign domination. The example of the soldier-planter Sir Thomas Phillips of Limavady (c. 1560–1636) and his criticisms of the City of London's plantation in Derry during the 1620s demonstrates that military humanist values not only offered a persuasive rationale for colonization, but also significantly shaped the course of plantation on the ground. Phillips's lengthy conflict with the City of London demonstrated a fundamental disjuncture between his own Protestant military humanist outlook, and the City's own understanding of its civilizing mission in Ireland; however, rather than a conflict between aristocratic and civic values, close study reveals instead a struggle grounded in competing hierarchies of civic values.

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Corresponding author
Department of Humanistic Studies, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland 21217dorr@mica.edu
Footnotes
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I presented an earlier version of this article in September 2014 at a conference held at the University of Hull entitled ‘New Directions in Early Modern British History’. I would like to thank the conference participants, the organizer Charles Prior, Phil Withington, and the anonymous reviewers for the Historical Journal.

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1 Rapple, Rory, Martial power and Elizabethan political culture: military men in England and Ireland, 1558–1594 (Cambridge, 2009).

2 It is unclear exactly when James acquired the moniker ‘Rex Pacificus’: Smuts, Malcolm, ‘The making of Rex Pacificus: James VI and the problem of peace in an age of religious war’, in Fischlin, Daniel and Fortier, Mark, eds., Royal subjects: essays on the writings of James VI and I (Detroit, MI, 2002), pp. 371–87; Croft, Pauline, ‘Rex Pacificus, Robert Cecil, and the 1604 peace with Spain’, in Burgess, Glenn, Wymer, Rowland, and Lawrence, Jason, eds., The accession of James I: historical and cultural consequences (Basingstoke, 2006), pp. 140–54.

3 Canny, Nicholas P., ‘Edmund Spenser and the development of Anglo-Irish identity’, Yearbook of English Studies: Colonial and Imperial Themes, 13 (1983), pp. 119; idem, Identity formation in Ireland: the emergence of the Anglo-Irish’, in Canny, Nicholas P. and Pagden, Anthony, eds., Colonial identity in the Atlantic world, 1500–1800 (Princeton, NJ, 1987), pp. 159212; idem, Reviewing A view of the present state of Ireland’, Irish University Review, 26 (1996), pp. 252–67; idem, Making Ireland British, 1580–1650 (Oxford, 2001), ch. 1. The attribution to Spenser has not been universally accepted: Brink, Jean R., ‘Constructing the View of the present state of Ireland’, Spenser Studies, 11 (1990), pp. 203–27; Canino, Catherine G., ‘Reconstructing Lord Grey's reputation: a new view of the View’, Sixteenth Century Journal, 29 (1998), pp. 318.

4 Pawlisch, Hans S., Sir John Davies and the conquest of Ireland: a study in legal imperialism (Cambridge, 1985); Orr, D. Alan, ‘Sir John Davies's agrarian law for Ireland’, Journal of the History of Ideas, 75 (2014), pp. 91112 (esp. pp. 102–3); idem, From a View to a Discovery: Edmund Spenser, Sir John Davies and the defects of law in the realm of Ireland’, Canadian Journal of History, 38 (2003), pp. 395408 (esp. pp. 403–7); idem, ‘The “Irishing” of the common law: Sir Richard Bolton (c. 1570–1648) and the constitution of Ireland’ (paper presented at the Seminar of the Johns Hopkins University Department of History, 28 Nov. 2011).

5 David J. B. Trim, ‘Fighting “Jacob's Wars”: the employment of English and Welsh mercenaries in the European Wars of Religion: France and the Netherlands, 1562–1610’ (Ph.D. thesis, King's College London, 2002), fo. 36 and passim; Trim makes allusion to the writings of Geoffrey Gates (see below).

6 Archer, Ian, ‘The City of London and the Ulster plantation’, in Ciardha, Éamonn Ó and Siochrú, Micheál Ó, eds., The plantation of Ulster: ideology and practice (Manchester, 2012), pp. 7897 (esp. p. 84).

7 Peltonen, Markku, Classical humanism and republicanism in English political thought, 1570–1640 (Cambridge, 1995); idem, Citizenship and republicanism in Elizabethan England’, in van Gelderen, Martin and Skinner, Quentin, eds., Republicanism: a shared European heritage, i: Republicanism and constitutionalism in early modern Europe (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 85106; idem, Rhetoric, politics, and popularity in pre-revolutionary England (Cambridge, 2012).

8 See, for example, Carey, Vincent, ‘The Irish face of Machiavelli: Richard Beacon's Solon his follie and republican ideology in the conquest of Ireland’, in Morgan, Hiram, ed., Political ideology in Ireland, 1541–1641 (Dublin, 1999), pp. 83109; Orr, D. Alan, ‘Inventing the British republic: Richard Beacon's Solon his follie (1594) and the rhetoric of civilization’, Sixteenth Century Journal, 38 (2007), pp. 975–94; Nelson, Eric, ‘Shakespeare and the best state of a commonwealth’, in Armitage, David, Condren, Conal, and Fitzmaurice, Andrew, eds., Shakespeare and early modern political thought (Cambridge, 2009), pp. 253–70.

9 Pocock, J. G. A., The Machiavellian moment: Florentine political thought and the Atlantic republican tradition (Princeton, NJ, 1975), ch. 10; see further Worden, Blair, ‘Classical republicanism and the Puritan revolution’, in Lloyd-Jones, Hugh, Pearl, Valerie, and Worden, Blair, eds., History and imagination: essays in honour of H. R. Trevor-Roper (London, 1981), pp. 182200; idem, English republicanism’, in Burns, J. H. and Goldie, Mark, eds., The Cambridge history of political thought, 1450–1700 (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 443–75; Scott, Jonathan, ‘The English republican imagination’, in Morrill, J. S., ed., Revolution and restoration: England in the 1650s (London, 1992), pp. 3554; Raab, Felix, The English face of Machiavelli: a changing interpretation, 1500–1700 (London and Toronto, ON, 1964).

10 Rapple, Martial power, pp. 22–3, 37–9.

11 Prak, Maarten, ‘Citizens, soldiers, and civic militias in late medieval and early modern Europe’, Past and Present, 228 (2015), pp. 93123; Withington, Phil, ‘Introduction: citizens and soldiers – the Renaissance context’, Journal of Early Modern History, 15 (2011), pp. 130; Lawrence, David R., ‘Great Yarmouth's exercise: honour, masculinity, and civic military performance in early Stuart England’, in Kippen, Kim and Woods, Lori, eds., Worth and repute: valuing gender in late medieval and early modern Europe: essays in honour of Barbara Todd (Toronto, ON, 2011), pp. 365–9; Roberts, Keith, ‘Citizen soldiers: the military power of the City of London’, in Porter, Stephen, ed., London and the Civil War (Basingstoke, 1996), pp. 89116; Hunt, William, ‘Civic chivalry and the English Civil War’, in Grafton, Anthony and Blair, Ann, eds., The transmission of culture in early modern Europe (Philadelphia, PA, 1990), pp. 204–37.

12 Sir Francis Bacon, The essayes or covnsels, civill and morall of Francis Lo. Vervlam, Viscvnt St. Alban (1625), sig. Z2r; Machiavelli, Niccolò, The discourses, ed. Crick, Bernard, trans. Walker, Leslie J. (Harmondsworth, 1970), bk ii, discourse 10, pp. 300–3; see further Peltonen, Classical humanism and republicanism, ch. 4; idem, Politics and science: Francis Bacon on the true greatness of states’, Historical Journal, 35 (1992), pp. 279305; idem, Bacon's political philosophy’, in Peltonen, Markku, ed., The Cambridge companion to Bacon (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 283310 (esp. pp. 303–8).

13 Niccolò Machiavelli, The arte of warre written first in Italiā by Nicholas Machiauell, and set forthe in English by Peter Whitehorne, student at Graies Inne with an addiciō of other like martialle feates and experimentes, as in a table at the ende of the booke maie appere, trans. Peter Whitehorne (1560), sig. A2r.

14 Machiavelli, Niccolò, The prince, ed. Skinner, Quentin and Price, Russell, trans. Price, Russell (Cambridge, 1988), p. 44; idem, The discourses, bk i, discourse 12, p. 145.

15 Skinner, Quentin, Liberty before liberalism (Cambridge, 1998); idem, A third concept of liberty’, Proceedings of the British Academy, 117 (2002), pp. 237–68; idem, Classical liberty and the coming of the English Civil War’, in van Gelderen, Martin and Skinner, Quentin, eds., Republicanism: a shared European heritage, ii: The values of republicanism in early modern Europe (2 vols., Cambridge, 2002), pp. 928; for the theory of freedom as non-domination, see Pettit, Philip, Republicanism: a theory of freedom and government (Oxford, 1997).

16 Hörnqvist, Mikael, ‘Machiavelli's military project in The art of war’, in Najemy, John J., ed., The Cambridge companion to Machiavelli (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 112–27.

17 White, Jason C., ‘Militant Protestants: British identity in the Jacobean period, 1603–1625’, History, 94 (2009), pp. 154–75; see also Trim, David J. B., ‘Calvinist internationalism and the English officer corps, 1562–1642’, History Compass, 4 (2006), pp. 1024–48; idem, Conflict, religion, and ideology’, in Tallett, Frank and Trim, David J. B., eds., European warfare, 1350–1750 (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 287–8.

18 Croft, ‘Rex Pacificus’, p. 145; see further Gajda, Alexandra, The earl of Essex and late Elizabethan political culture (Oxford, 2012), ch. 2; idem, The state of Christendom: history, political thought, and the Essex circle’, Historical Research, 81 (2008), pp. 423–46; idem, Debating war and peace in late Elizabethan England’, Historical Journal, 52 (2009), pp. 851–78; Hammer, Paul E. J., The polarisation of Elizabethan politics: the political career of Robert Devereux, 2nd earl of Essex, 1585–1597 (Cambridge, 1999).

19 Shagan, Ethan H., ‘The two republics: conflicting views of participatory local government in early Tudor England’, in McDiarmid, John F., ed., The monarchical republic of early modern England: essays in response to Patrick Collinson (Aldershot, 2007), pp. 1936; Lake, Peter, ‘Puritanism, (monarchical) republicanism, monarchy; or John Whitgift, antipuritanism, and the “invention” of popularity’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern History, 40 (2010), pp. 463–95; Smuts, Malcolm, ‘Organized violence in the Elizabethan monarchical republic’, History, 99 (2014), pp. 418–43.

20 Rapple, Martial power, pp. 19–34.

21 James proved highly resistant to pro-war arguments emanating from many of his leading counsellors: Smuts, ‘The making of Rex Pacificus’, pp. 382–5.

22 Geoffrey Gates, The defence of militarie profession, wherein it is eloquently shewed the due commendation of martiall prowesse, and plainly prooued how necessary the exercise of armes is for this our age (1579), sig. B2v; see further Trim, ‘Calvinist internationalism’, pp. 1026–8.

23 Gates, Defence, sig. B2r; Machiavelli, The prince, pp. 42–3.

24 Gates, Defence, sig. G3r–v (quotation at sig. G3r).

25 Ibid., sig. D4r.

26 Roberts, ‘Citizen soldiers’, p. 92; Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker, The Spanish Armada (first pub. 1988; revised edn Manchester, 1999), p. 255.

27 Lawrence, ‘Great Yarmouth's exercise’, p. 366; Roberts, ‘Citizen soldiers’, pp. 95–101; Hunt, ‘Civic chivalry’, p. 214.

28 Roberts, ‘Citizen soldiers’, pp. 97–9.

29 Ibid., p. 106.

30 Prak, ‘Citizens, soldiers, and civic militias’, pp. 93–4; Roberts, ‘Citizen soldiers’, pp. 95–6.

31 Trim, ‘Fighting “Jacob's Wars”’, fo. 462.

32 Barnabe Rich, Allarme to England foreshewwing what perilles are procured where the people liue without regarde for martiall lawe (1578), sigs. L1v–L2r.

33 Barnabe Rich, A new description of Ireland: wherein is described the disposition of the Irish whereunto they are inclined (1610), sig. D4r.

34 Ibid., sig. D4r.

35 Ibid., sig. M4v.

36 Ibid., sig. M4v.

37 Ibid., sig. F2r.

38 Pagden, Anthony, Lords of all the world: ideologies of empire in Spain, Britain, and France, c. 1500–1800 (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 22–3; for Spenser and race, see further Feerick, Jean, ‘Spenser, race, and Ire-land’, English Literary Renaissance, 32 (2002), pp. 85117.

39 For Spenser and martial law, see David Edwards, ‘Ideology and experience: Spenser's View and martial law in Ireland’, in Morgan, ed., Political ideology, pp. 127–57.

40 Greenblatt, Stephen, Renaissance self-fashioning: from More to Shakespeare (Chicago, IL, 1980), pp. 186–8; Hadfield, Andrew, ‘Briton and Scythian: Tudor representations of Irish Origins’, Irish Historical Studies, 28 (1993), pp. 390408.

41 The argument here disputes Canny's assertion that Davies ‘adhered rigidly to the ideas of Spenser’; Canny, ‘Identity formation’, p. 172; see further Orr, ‘Sir John Davies's agrarian law’, pp. 92–3.

42 Sir Davies, John, A discovery of the true causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued [and] brought under obedience of the crown of England until the beginning of his majesty's happy reign, ed. Meyers, James P. (1612; reprint edn Washington, DC, 1969), p. 140; Orr, ‘Sir John Davies's agrarian law’, p. 103.

43 Davies, A discovery, p. 217.

44 For Rich's criticisms of Davies, see Eugene Flanagan, ‘The anatomy of Jacobean Ireland: Captain Barnaby Rich, Sir John Davies and the failure of reform’, in Morgan, ed., Political ideology, pp. 158–80 (esp. p. 164).

45 The most complete study of the Londonderry plantation remains arguably Moody, T. W., The Londonderry plantation, 1609–1641: the City of London and the plantation in Ulster (Belfast, 1939).

46 Clavin, Terry, ‘Phillips, Sir Thomas (c. 1560–1636)’, in McGuire, James and Quinn, James, eds., The dictionary of Irish biography from the earliest times to the year 2002 (9 vols., Cambridge, 2009), viii, p. 109; Moody, T. W., ‘Sir Thomas Phillips of Limavady, Servitor’, Irish Historical Studies, 1 (1939), pp. 251–2; Londonderry and the London companies, 1609–1629: being a survey and other documents submitted to King Charles I by Sir Thomas Phillips (Belfast, 1928), pp. 8, 1011.

47 Grafton, Anthony and Jardine, Lisa, ‘“Studied for action”: how Gabriel Harvey read his Livy’, Past and Present, 129 (1990), pp. 3078.

48 Ellis, Steven G., Ireland in the age of the Tudors, 1447–1603: English expansion and the end of Gaelic rule (London and New York, NY, 1998), p. 346.

49 Clavin, ‘Phillips’, p. 109; Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 251.

50 Clavin, ‘Phillips’, p. 109.

51 Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 251.

52 Clavin, ‘Phillips’, p. 109; Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, pp. 251–2, 269.

53 Hammer, Polarisation, pp. 133–4.

54 Trim, ‘Calvinist internationalism’, passim.

55 Clavin, ‘Phillips’, p. 109.

56 The articles are printed in Brewer, J. S. and Bullen, William, eds., Calendar of the Carew manuscripts preserved in the archiepiscopal library at Lambeth (London, 1873; reprint edn Nendeln, 1974), pp. 36–8; and in Londonderry and the London companies, pp. 13–16; another copy, ‘Articles, Londoners, Ulster’, subscribed by the lords of the privy council and the City's representatives dated Nov. 1611 may be found in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California: Huntington Library, Ellesmere MS 1740.

57 Londonderry and the London companies, p. 13.

58 Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 255.

59 Londonderry and the London companies, p. 14.

60 Clavin, ‘Phillips’, p. 109.

61 Ibid.

62 Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 272.

63 Ibid., pp. 258–9; Londonderry and the London companies, pp. 27–8.

64 Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 259; Londonderry and the London Companies, p. 14; Brewer and Bullen, eds., Calendar of Carew manuscripts, p. 37.

65 Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 259; Londonderry and the London companies, p. 30.

66 Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 259.

67 Treadwell, Victor, ed., The Irish Commission of 1622: an investigation of the Irish administration, 1615–1622, and its consequences, 1623–1624 (Dublin, 2006); Phillips's 1629 report including a collection of relevant documents and his own petition to the privy council survive in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and were published in the volume Londonderry and the London companies in 1928.

68 Archer, ‘City of London’, pp. 90–1.

69 Ibid., p. 78; Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 269.

70 Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 269; Clavin, ‘Phillips’, p. 110.

71 Anon., Conditions to be observed by the Brittish vndertakers of the escheated lands in Vlster (1610), sig. B1r–v; Brewer and Bullen, eds., Calander of Carew manuscripts, p. 154.

72 This survey survives as British Library, Additional MS 4756, fos. 113v–123r, and has been printed in Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, pp. 609–35. Richard Hadsor, a barrister of the Middle Temple, was the only commissioner from an ‘old English’ background although he was a conformist in religion and not a Roman Catholic: Treadwell, Victor, ‘New light on Richard Hadsor I: Richard Hadsor and the authorship of “Advertisements for Ireland”, 1622/1623’, Irish Historical Studies, 30 (1997), pp. 305–36.

73 Londonderry and the London companies, p. 13.

74 Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, p. 623.

75 Ibid.; Huntington Library, Ellesmere MS 7050, 1st leaf verso (unfoliated).

76 Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, p. 628.

77 Ibid., p. 627; see also Russell, Charles W. and Prendergast, John P., eds., Calendar of state papers relating to Ireland of the reign of James I 1615–1625 preserved in her majesty's Public Record Office and elsewhere (London, 1880) (CSPI 1615–1625), p. 372.

78 CSPI 1615–1625, p. 372.

79 Huntington Library, Ellesmere MS 7050, 1st leaf verso (unfoliated); for Phillips and Hadsor's muster rolls for Derry and Coleraine taken 20 Sept. 1622, see Londonderry and the London companies, pp. 52–3.

80 Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, p. 628; CSPI 1615–1625, p. 372; Londonderry and the London companies, p. 54

81 Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, p. 634.

82 Orr, ‘Sir John Davies's agrarian law’, p. 108.

83 Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, p. 634.

84 Ibid., p. 626; see also CSPI 1615–1625, p. 370; for the Fishmongers’ effort in Ulster, see Hunter, R. F., Ulster transformed: essays on plantation and print culture, c. 1590–1641, ed. Morrill, John (Belfast, 2012), pp. 139–90.

85 Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, p. 627; see also CSPI 1615–1625, p. 371.

86 Archer, ‘City of London’, p. 93.

87 Huntington Library, Ellesmere MS 7047, 1st leaf recto (unfoliated); see further Londonderry and the London companies, pp. 17, 22. Phillips claimed that these rents were as much as £12 in some instances.

88 Huntington Library, Ellesmere MS 7047, 1st leaf recto (unfoliated).

89 Ibid., 2nd leaf recto (unfoliated).

90 Huntington Library, Ellesmere MS 7048, 1st leaf recto (unfoliated); see also Ellesmere MS 7058; Londonderry and the London companies, pp. 84–5.

91 Moody, Londonderry plantation, pp. 216–18; Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, p. 636.

92 Archer, ‘City of London’, p. 92.

93 Ibid.; see Beresford's petition to the lords of the Irish Council on behalf of the City's native tenants asking that they be allowed ‘to remain a while on the City's Lands’, 20 Apr. 1612: Londonderry and the London companies, pp. 31–2.

94 Londonderry and the London companies, p. 8.

95 Ibid., p. 17; religious considerations played a much greater role in the report of the 1629 Commission which was solely the work of Phillips and did not involve Hadsor.

96 Londonderry and the London companies, p. 17.

97 Davies, A discovery, p. 223.

98 Moody, ‘Sir Thomas Phillips’, p. 272.

99 For example, see Hunter, Ulster transformed, pp. 393–427; Gillespie, Raymond, ‘The origins and development of an Ulster urban network, 1600–1641’, Irish Historical Studies, 24 (1984), pp. 1529.

100 Archer ‘City of London’, p. 84.

101 For the built environment, see further Montano, John Patrick, ‘“Dycheyng and hegeying”: the material culture of the Tudor plantations in Ireland’, in Bateman, Fiona and Pilkington, Lionel, eds., Studies in settler colonialism; politics, identity, and culture (Basingstoke, 2011), pp. 4762.

102 Phil Withington, ‘Plantation and civil society’, in Ó Ciardha and Ó Siochrú, eds., Plantation of Ulster, pp. 58–64; idem, Society in early modern England: the vernacular origins of some powerful ideas (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 202–16.

103 Thomas Blenerhaset, A direction for the plantation in Vulster (1610), sig. B4r.

104 Collinson, Patrick, ‘The monarchical republic of Elizabeth I’, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, 69 (1987), pp. 394424; Goldie, Mark, ‘The unacknowledged republic: officeholding in early modern England’, in Harrise, Tim, ed., The politics of the excluded, c. 1500–1850 (Basingstoke, 2001), pp. 153–94; see further McDiarmid, ed., The monarchical republic of early modern England.

105 Wolfe, Michael, ‘Walled towns during the French Wars of Religion’, in Tracy, James D., ed., City walls: the urban enceinte in global perspective (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 317–48.

106 Archer, ‘City of London’, p. 91.

107 Shakespeare, William, Coriolanus, ed. Bliss, Lee (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 201, 203; see further Shrank, Cathy, ‘Civility and the city in Coriolanus’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 54 (2003), pp. 406–23; Shagan, ‘Two republics’, p. 24.

108 Withington, Phil, The politics of commonwealth: citizens and freemen in early modern England (Cambridge, 2004), ch. 5.

109 Rapple, Martial power, p. 19; Withington, ‘Citizens and soldiers’, p. 13; Cecil was undoubtedly not alone in this regard but the issue bears further scrutiny beyond that allowed by the scope of this article.

110 Treadwell, ed., Irish Commission, p. 636.

I presented an earlier version of this article in September 2014 at a conference held at the University of Hull entitled ‘New Directions in Early Modern British History’. I would like to thank the conference participants, the organizer Charles Prior, Phil Withington, and the anonymous reviewers for the Historical Journal.

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