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For profit, it will consist in three parts :
First, the easy rates that your Majesty shall be pleased to give the undertakers of the land they shall receive.
Secondly, the liberties which you may be pleased to confer upon them. When I speak of liberties, I mean not liberties of jurisdiction, as Counties Palatine, or the like, (which as it seemeth hath been the error of the ancient donations and plantations in that country,) but I mean only liberties tending to commodity; as liberty to transport any of the commodities growing upon the countries new planted; liberty to import from hence all things appertaining to their necessary use, custom-free; liberty to take timber or other materials in your Majesty's woods there, and the like.
The third is, ease of charge; that the whole mass of charge doth not rest upon the private purse of the undertakers.
For the two former of these, I will pass them over; because in that project which with good diligence and providence hath been presented to your Majesty by your ministers of that kingdom, they are in my opinion well handled.
For the third, I will never despair but that the parliament of England, if it may perceive that this action is not a flash, but a solid and settled pursuit, will give aid to a work so religious, so politic, and so profitable. And the distribution of charge (if it be observed) falleth naturally into three kinds of charge, and every of those charges respectively ought to have his proper fountain and issue. For as there proceedeth from your Majesty's royal bounty and munificence the gift of the land and the other materials, together with the endowment of liberties; and as the charge which is private, as building of houses, stocking of grounds, victual, and the like, is to rest upon the particular undertakers : so whatsoever is public, as building of churches, walling of towns, town-houses, bridges, causies, or highways, and the like, ought not so properly to lie upon particular persons, but to come from the public estate of this kingdom ; to which this work is like to return so great an addition of glory, strength, and commodity.
For the project itself, I shall need to speak the less, in regard it is so considerately digested already for the county of Tyrone: and therefore my labour shall be but in those things wherein I shall either add to or dissent from that which is set down; which will include five points or articles.
First, they mention a commission for this plantation : which of all things is most necessary both to direct and appease controversies and the like.
To this I add two propositions. The one, that which perhaps is meant though not expressed ; that the commissioners should for certain times reside and abide in some habitable town of Ireland near in distance to the country where the plantation shall be; to the end both that they may be more at hand for the execution of the parts of their commission; and withal it is like, by drawing of concourse of people and tradesmen to such town, it will be some help and commodity to the undertakers for things they shall stand in need of. And likewise it will be a more safe place of receipt and store, wherein to unlade and deposit such provisions as are after to be employed.
The second is that your Majesty would make a correspondency between the commission there, and a council of plantation here. Wherein I warrant myself by the precedent of the like council of plantation for Virginia; an enterprise in my opinion differing as much from this, as Amadis de Gaul differs from Cæsar's Commentaries. But when I speak of a council of plantation, I mean some persons chosen by way of reference, upon whom the labour may rest to prepare and report things to the council of estate here, that concern that business. For although your Majesty have a grave and sufficient council in Ireland, from whom and upon whom the commissioners are to have assistance and dependance; yet that supplies not the purpose whereof I speak. For considering that upon advertisements as well of the commissioners as of the council of Ireland itself there will be many occasions to crave directions from your Majesty and your privy council here, which are busied with a world of affairs; it cannot but give greater expedition, and some better perfection unto such directions and resolutions, if the matters may be considered of aforehand by such as may have a continual care of the cause. And it will be likewise a comfort and satisfaction to some principal undertakers, if they may be admitted of that council.
Secondly, there is a clause wherein the undertakers are restrained, that they shall execute the plantation in person; from which I must dissent, if I will consent with the grounds I have already taken. For it is not probable that men of great means and plentiful estate will endure the travel, diseasements, and adventures of going thither in person : but rather, I suppose, many will undertake portions as an advancement for their younger children or kinsfolks, or for the sweetness of the expectation of a great bargain in the end, when it is overcome. And therefore it is like they will employ sons, kinsfolks, servants, or tenants, and yet be glad to have the estate in themselves. And it may be, some again will join their purses together and make as it were a partnership or joint adventure, and yet man forth some one person by consent for the executing of the plantation.
Thirdly, there is a main point wherein I fear the project made hath too much of the line and compass, and will not be so natural and easy to execute, nor yet so politic and convenient: and that is that the buildings should be sparsim upon every portion, and the castle or principal house should draw the tenements and farms about it as it were into villages, hamlets, or endships; and that there should be only four corporate towns for artificers and tradesmen.
My opinion is, that the building be altogether in towns, to be compounded as well of husbandries as of arts. My reasons are,
First, when men come into a country vast and void of all things necessary for the use of man's life, if they set up together in a place, one of them will the better supply the wants of another: work-folks of all sorts will be the more continually set a-work without loss of time, when if work fail in one place they may have it fast by; the ways will be made more passable for carriages to those seats or towns than they can be to a number dispersed solitary places; and infinite other helps and easements, scarcely to be comprehended in cogitation, will ensue of vicinity and society of people : whereas if they build scattered, as is projected, every man must have a cornucopia in himself for all things he must use; which cannot but breed much difficulty and no less waste.
Secondly, it will draw out of the inhabited country of Ireland provisions and victuals and many necessaries, because they shall be sure of utterance: whereas in the dispersed habitations, every man must reckon only upon that that he brings with him, as they do in provisions of ships.
Thirdly, the charge of Bawnes, as they call them, to be made about every castle or house, may be spared, when the habitations shall be congregated only into towns.
And lastly, it will be a means to secure the country against future perils, in case of any revolt and defection : for by a slight fortification of no great charge, the danger of any attempts of kierns and sword-men may be prevented; the omission of which point in the last plantation of Munster made the work of years to be but the spoil of days. And if any man think it will draw people too far off from the grounds they are to labour, it is to be understood that the number of the towns be increased accordingly and likewise the situation of them be as in the centre in respect of the portions assigned to them. For in the champion countries of England, where the habitation useth to be in towns, and not dispersed, it is no new thing to go two miles off to plough part of their grounds; and two mile compass will take up a good deal of country.
The fourth point is a point wherein I shall differ from the project rather in quantity and proportion than in matter. There is allowed to the undertaker, within the five years of restraint, to alien a third part in fee farm, and to demise another third for forty years: which I fear will mangle the portions, and will be but a shift to make money of two parts; whereas I am of opinion, the more the first undertaker is forced to keep in his own hands, the more the work is like to prosper. For first, the person liable to the state here to perform the plantation is the immediate undertaker. Secondly, the more his profit dependeth upon the annual and springing commodity, the more sweetness he will find in putting forward manurance and husbanding of the grounds, and therefore is like to take more care of it. Thirdly, since the natives are excluded, I do not see that any persons are like to be drawn over of that condition, as are like to give fines, and undertake the charge of building. For I am persuaded that the people transported will consist of gentlemen and their servants, and of labourers and hinds, and not of yeomen of any wealth : and therefore the charge of building, as well of the tenements and farms, as of the capital houses themselves, is like to rest upon the principal undertakers; which will be recompensed in the end to the full, and with much advantage, if they make no long estates or leases. And therefore this article to receive some qualification.
Fifthly, I should think it requisite that men of experience in that kingdom should enter into some particular consideration of
the charges and provisions of all kinds that will be incident to the plantation, to the end that thereupon some advice may be taken for the furnishing and accommodating them most conveniently, aiding private industry and charge with public care and order,
Thus I have expressed to your Majesty those simple and weak cogitations, which I have had in myself touching this cause; wherein I most humbly desire your pardon, and gracious acceptance of my good affection and intention. For I hold it for a rule that there belongeth to great monarchs from faithful servants not only the tribute of duty, but the oblations of cheerfulness of heart. And so I pray the Almighty to bless this great action with your Majesty's care, and your care with happy
This was the beginning of the attempt to reclaim the north of Ireland (hitherto the most unmanageable part of it) to obedience and security. How it succeeded, I shall have occasion to enquire hereafter. The proposed measures would necessarily require time, first to be carried out, and afterwards to produce their fruits. For a while therefore we may leave these “ Considerations,” as seed thrown into the ground, and look for the crop in its due season.