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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