The Munster Plantation: Theory and Practice
This chapter discusses the establishment of the Munster plantation. It shows that the plantation society which had been painfully and expensively established over a process of thirteen years was swept from the ground. Yet the fact that a plantation society had been brought into being and that its opponents had ultimately been defeated meant that the government was honour-bound to ensure that the undertakers were recalled to their duty and compelled to re-establish the plantation on more secure foundations. However, as officials issued these directives, they were convinced that the initial scheme was defective principally because it had relied excessively on the educational efficacy of model settlements which would be erected within an Irish environment. Therefore, it came to be assumed that such settlements could never endure if left in isolation, and Spenser's idea — that the entire country would have to be subjected to a scheme of plantation which would be promoted by the army — was adopted as a matter of principle by those who upheld the crown's interests in the country, even if this idea was not endorsed as official government policy. Therefore, this first experience at plantation in Munster was to have a lasting influence on the formulation of English policy for Ireland until well into the 17th century.
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