This book is about the transformation of England’s trade and government finances in the mid-seventeenth century, a revolution that destroyed Ireland. During the English Civil War a small group of merchants quickly achieved an iron grip over England’s trade, dictated key policies for Ireland and the colonies, and financed parliament’s war against Charles I. These merchants were the Adventurers for Irish land, who, in 1642, raised £250,000 to send a conquering army to Ireland but sent it instead to fight for parliament in England. The Adventurers elected a committee to represent their interests that met in secret at Grocers’ Hall in London, 1642–60. During that time, while amassing enormous wealth and power, the Adventurers laid the foundations for England’s empire and modern fiscal state. Although they supported Cromwell’s military campaigns, the leading Adventurers rejected his Protectorate in a dispute over their Irish land entitlements and eventually helped to restore the monarchy. Charles II rewarded the Adventurers with one million confiscated Irish acres, despite their role in deposing his father. This book explains this great paradox in Irish history for the first time and examines the background and relentless rise of the Adventurers, the remarkable scope of their trading empires and their profound political influence. It is the first book to recognise the centrality of Ireland to the Wars of the Three Kingdoms.
This book examines the underlying foundations on which the European Union's counter-terrorism and police co-operation policies have been built since the inception of the Treaty on European Union, questioning both the effectiveness and legitimacy of the EU's efforts in these two security areas. Given the importance of such developments to the wider credibility of the EU as a security actor, it adopts a more structured analysis of key stages of the implementation process. These include the establishment of objectives, both at the wider level of internal security co-operation and in terms of both counter-terrorism and policing, particularly in relation to the European Police Office, the nature of information exchange and the ‘value added’ by legislative and operational developments at the European level. The book also offers a more accurate appraisal of the official characterisation of the terrorist threat within the EU as a ‘matter of common concern’. In doing so, not only does it raise important questions about the utility of the European level for organising internal security co-operation, but it also provides a more comprehensive assessment of the EU's activities throughout the lifetime of the Third Pillar, placing in a wide and realistic context the EU's reaction to the events of 11 September 2001 and the greater prominence of Islamist terrorism.
Divided into background, historiography and methodology, the introduction provides a brief description of the Adventurers for Irish land and explores the role of merchants in early modern history. Although trade transcends borders, political history frequently does not and the influence of trade on local politics can be overlooked. An overview of the current relevant literature is given and a detailed description of the primary sources used in this study.
The Atlantic oligarchy reacted in a coordinated way to the upheavals which engulfed Scotland, Ireland and finally England, 1638–42. It made the financial arrangements that ended the Bishops’ Wars while securing the calling of the Long Parliament and then took the lead in reinforcing Protestant Ireland following the outbreak of the 1641 revolt. The colonial merchants emerged as a powerful force in London politics at the outbreak of the city’s rebellion against Charles I in January 1642. The central argument of this chapter is that the merchant networks that supported parliament’s opposition to the king were not operating independently, but were contractors to or under the patronage of specific peers. The key role of colonial sponsors and returned migrants from the colonies in the upheavals of the winter of 1641–42 is made clear. Alliances forged in the Atlantic world between 1620 and 1640 finally coalesced as a pivotal political and military force at the forefront of parliament’s ousting of Charles I from London in January 1642.
This study originally set out to identify the Adventurers for Irish land and to reconcile their unwavering support for the parliamentary cause with the settlement of their claims by the restored monarch, Charles II. It has revealed how the actions of a remarkable group of skilled and innovative individuals, fewer than twenty in number, developed and maintained a stable system of state finance in highly challenging times. They profited enormously from their efforts and left behind them both an early form of a centralised English fiscal state and the framework upon which England’s overseas empire was built. The conclusion reviews the Adventurers’ principal innovations or achievements in the many spheres in which they operated.
Chapter 3 demonstrates for the first time that the Adventure for Irish land, a suggestion of Richard Boyle, earl of Cork, was instigated and funded by the small circle of radical peers, politicians and merchants at the heart of the rebellion against Charles I. The core purpose of the Adventure was political and the participants’ interest in Irish land appears incidental and opportunistic. Much of the money raised was only contributed after it became apparent in July 1642 that the funds would be used to finance parliament’s forces in England. Most of the resources raised for the Adventure to Ireland were transferred to the parliamentary cause during the summer of 1642. A key argument in this chapter is that parliament prepared for war in England under the cover of its response to the rebellion in Ireland and was encouraged by the peers and merchants central to the Irish Adventure.
In the wake of the execution of Charles I, the Adventurers gained control over the Council of State’s external trade policy, culminating in the adoption of the Navigation Act of 1651. In swift succession, they arranged finance and logistics for Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland and parliament’s reducing of the Atlantic colonies. The Caribbean plantations were converted to sugar production and the Adventurers took a leading role in adapting these plantations to the African slave trade. This chapter demonstrates that a core group of merchants dominated the greater part of England’s foreign trade, state finance and state expenditure. They had developed an integrated fiscal state and were thus able to project considerable political influence as well as profiting enormously from these activities.
Chapter 1 is a survey of English and Irish enterprises in the Atlantic, 1620–41, that led to the emergence of the merchant oligarchy that became the leadership of the Adventure for Irish land in 1642. The emergence of Ireland, particularly Munster, as a provisioning stop for traders between Europe and the Americas is examined, as is the network of ship owners that managed the provisioning and servant trade between the two regions. A hierarchy of peers and their merchant contractors developed that was active across all of the Atlantic colonies from Newfoundland to Providence Island in the Western Caribbean.
The Adventurers for Irish land applied their English war profits to colonial development and commandeered England’s great trading companies, the East India Company, Levant Company and Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers. They strengthened their grip on state finance and targeted their colonial profits towards specific loans to finance the parliamentary army, which resulted in further trading concessions. Firmly allied to the War Party in parliament, the Adventurers navigated their way through the political upheavals in England, 1647–49, and although quietly opposed to the execution of Charles I they made no attempt to oppose it.
Chapter 4 charts the development of English state finance and policy towards Ireland during the first English Civil War. Following the outbreak of formal hostilities in England, the Adventurers seized control over parliament’s financial and military committees, using a network centred on Grocers’ Hall. The role of Grocers’ Hall is highlighted by demonstrating the process by which the functions of parliament’s Committee for Irish Affairs were transferred to it, leaving the Adventurers in command of parliament’s policy for Ireland. The Adventurers sent a naval task force to attack royalist targets in Ireland before the outbreak of war in England and worked to undermine Charles’ attempts to broker a ceasefire with the Irish rebels.