Front Page Titles (by Subject) [CHAPTER VII]: Of the Militia and Defence of Ireland. - The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
[CHAPTER VII]: Of the Militia and Defence of Ireland. - Sir William Petty, The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, vol. 1 
The Economic Writings of Sir William Petty, together with The Observations upon Bills of Mortality, more probably by Captain John Graunt, ed. Charles Henry Hull (Cambridge University Press, 1899), 2 vols.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Of the Militia and Defence ofIreland.
THERE be in Ireland, as elsewhere, two Militias; one are the Justices of Peace, their Militia of High and Petty Constables; as also the Sheriffs Militia of his Servants and Bailiffs and Posse Comitatus upon extraordinary occasions.
Of these all together there are in Ireland near 3000; all of which are bound within their several Districts, there to act, and not elsewhere.
There is, or hath lately been an Army in Ireland, of about thirty Troops of Horse, and sixty Companies of Foot, with a Regiment of Guard at Dublin, as a Life-Guard for the Lord Lieutenant, making in all about five thousand Men.
There is also a Protestant Militia, of about 24000 Men, viz. about ten thousand Horse, and the rest Foot.
The people of Ireland are all in Factions and Parties, called English and Irish, Protestants and Papists: Though indeed the real distinction is vested and devested1 of the Land belonging to Papists, Ann. 1641. Of which the Irish that are vested by Restoration, seem rather to take part with the devested ‖. And the chief Pique which the Popish-Clergy have at the Protestants is, that they have the Church Livings and Jurisdictions; for the exercise of their Function they have most freely, and had, when they2 undertook their Project in 1641. The differences between the Old Irish, and Old English Papists is asleep now, because they have a Common Enemy.
The Old Protestants of Queen Elizabeth and King James's Plantation (till of late) did not much love the New English; who came over since 1641. or rather since 1646. & 1648. because they envied the great Shares which they had gotten of the forfeited Lands from the Late Usurpers. But now they also are well enough together, since the said Old Protestants have had good Proviso's in the Acts of Settlement and Satisfaction for their Service before June 1649. and since the Church-Revenues have been augmented by the Forfeitures; but chiefly, for that the said Old Protestants have all the Power and Preferments Civil, Military, and Ecclesiastical.
Of the New English, some are Conformists, others not: And some have fallen in with other Parties, and others not.‖
Of the Old Protestants, there are also Parties, I cannot say Factions, chiefly denominated by the Names of their Families, as the Butlers and Fitz-Gerralds were of old.
But to return; The chief Factions are the vested and devested of forfeited Lands: all Irish and Papists generally fearing the latter, and most English and Protestants the former, as appears in all Juries and Testimonies given where the Lands or Lives of one or other are concerned. Now in some Counties, as in Kerry, many Forfeitures happened, and few Restorations, and there also few English were ever planted, nor can well endure to live: So as the first sort of Militia in these and other like Counties, are Irish-Papists, devested and discontented Persons. Whereby the few English there, can have no Justice executed, for want of hand wherewith to do it: Nor can they easily get indifferent Juries, but that the Sheriffs are English for the most part, and most commonly Protestants. In which Case, some have been of opinion, that the other Militia, namely the Army, may both in Law and Reason supply this defect in times when there is not occasion for them, to guard the Land from Invasion and Rebellion.‖ For why might not 30 Sheriffs be taken out of 120 Officers of the Army, viz. 60 Captains and Lieutenants of Horse, and 60 Captains of Foot? And why may not such be as responsible for executing just Sentences, as any other? And what Tenor is there in the Force which a Bailiff useth, more than in that which one call'd a Soldier carries with him. And why should the Military Officer or Sheriff use more force or terror than to make the Debtor or Malefactor answer the Law, and obey the Sentence of a Civil Court? And is it not more convenient and easy in great riotous Contempts, to bring a Troop or Company, whose Trade it is to use Arms and apply Force dexterously, than to use the Posse Comitatus; that is, to call abundance of men from their Labour and Calling, to attempt things of Danger, which they do not understand? Moreover, if the General can quarter the Army where he pleases, and that the Sheriffs1 or Constable can, in their respective Precincts, call whom he pleases to his assistance; then the General can cause such a competent Force to be quartered in those thin peopled Counties. And the Sheriffs and Justices can call such to their assistance, excepting where such Soldiers are in formal ‖ Garisons upon actual Duty, or in other cases to be agreed upon between the Civil and Military Powers so call'd, although there can be no Countrey without Force, nor any Army without a Policy and Discipline. But of this let the Lawyers talk further.
As for the Military Force of Ireland, vulgarly and properly so call'd, 1. The standing Army is such as the present Revenue can well maintain, which perhaps is, or very lately was about 6000, and is every year or other year or other year changed, as to his Majesty seems best. 2. The Protestant Militia now already established and formed, is about 24 or 25 thousand men, most of them already experienc'd in the Wars of Ireland.
The Third, of grand Force against Foreign Invasions, I conceive may be 70 M. Men of the best affected, and least Pope-affected Irish; for so many I conceive the 30000 of the standing Army and present Militia could well Officer and Command. Now that 100 M. may be spar'd to send as Soldiers in a time of extremity, I think it plain, for that there are 550 M. Males in Ireland, whereof 150 M. can perform all the necessary Labor of Husbandmen and Tradesmen; 200 M. of them are perhaps under ‖ 16, and above 60. Nor doth the quality of the remaining1 , exempt them from service, who are to stand for a reserve.
And this Force I take to be sufficient to resist any number of men which any Prince of the World hath Shipping enough to bring into Ireland, with such Horse, Arms, Ammunition and Victuals as are2 for such an Enterprize.
To say nothing, that the substance of Ireland is chiefly Cattel, which be easily removed to waste the Countrey where the Enemy shall land.
And how considerable the standing Army of 6000 men, and the Veteran Militia, of above 24000, who have not only the Command, but the possession and propriety of all the strong and terrible Places in Ireland, and ¾ of all the Horse serviceable in War, and at least ¾ of all Shipping, and England to help and countenance, hath been competently mentioned before; and that the Bulk of the Irish are the Inhabitants of the aforenamed 160 M. Wretched Cabins-men1 , slavishly bred and dealt with by their own Lords and Patriots; and that the restored Irish, restored to their Estates almost by Miracle, will be careful how they engage any more upon a frivolous, impious Undertaking.‖
Cox, ‘If ye Irish yt are vested take part with ye divested (as our Author says) then the true distinction of factions is Eng & Ir or rather Papist & Antipapist & not Vested and divested: and indeed since there are not above 3000 freeholders in Ireland ye notions of vested & divested cannot denominate factions yt are more generall and 100 times more Numerous.’
S omits ‘they.’
S, ‘remaining 100 M.’
S, 1719 Insert ‘fit.’
S, ‘Cabbins, men slavishly bred.’