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taken no part against England in the late war—that is to say, the great bulk of the class which had anything to lose amongst the Irish Catholics—were driven off into the devastated lands of Connaught, and their estates were divided amongst English soldiers and other Englishmen who had lent money for the support of the war upon the security of confiscated land. Henceforth there was to be in three of the Irish provinces a class of landed proprietors of English birth and the Protestant religion, surrounded by peasants and labourers who were divided from them by racial and religious differences of the most extreme kind. ,Such an arrangement boded ill for the future peace of the country. The immediate result was untold misery to the sufferers and the kindling of hope in English bosoms that at last Ireland would be peopled by a race loyal to the institutions and religion of her conquerors.
At all events the scheme for the plantation of Ireland would diminish the number of soldiers required to hold the country, and before the end of July, the assent of the chiefs of the army in England having been obtained, the Council also sanctioned not merely a sweeping reduction in the strength of the regiments in Great Britain, but a diminution of the amount of the pay both of officers and soldiers. Once more Oliver had acted in accordance not merely with the Instrument, but with the wishes of the dissolved Parliament. The £60,000 a month which Parliament had thought sufficient for the assessment, was not exceeded, whilst the army was reduced at least approximately to the numbers accepted alike by Parliament and the Instrument. It might be hard to give a satisfactory answer to those who denied the validity of the Instrument; but, if this validity were acknowledged, it would be equally hard to refute those who argued that Oliver was doing his best to rule as a constitutional magistrate.
Would it be possible for Oliver to persist in this attitude to the end, in spite of the growing demands on the exchequer? In March, I655, Penruddock’s rising had extracted from Oliver an order for the calling out and organisation of the militia, which was, however, countermanded upon the prompt repression of the insurrection. In May, however, the officers who recommended the reduction of the army, also recommended the
establishment of a militia for purposes of police, and as the summer advanced and the information which came in from Thurloe’s spies announced that the Royalist plots were by no means at an end, this plan assumed greater consistency. The scheme of appointing a militiapolice had at least this to be said in its favour, that the proposal had been favoured by Parliament. If Parliament had been allowed to work out its own scheme, it would probably have subjected the militia to local officers, and provided for its wants by local payments. Oliver took care to bring it into disciplinary connection with the army, by placing it under eleven Major-Generals. Taxation for its support he could not demand without infringing on the Instrument. In his perplexity he, or one of his advisers, hit upon a plan for raising supplies from the Royalists alone, who were called on to contribute a tenth of their income for the purpose. It was their refusal to submit peaceably to a settled Government which had caused the difficulty, and it was for them to bear the expense of the measures which had been necessitated by their misconduct. Such an exaction, being no general taxation, might be considered by interested parties as saving the authority of the Instrument. Of any sympathetic feeling with the Royalists whose property had been diminished by past confiscations, and whose political and religious ideals had been thrown to the ground, there was, it is needless to say, nothing in Oliver’s mind. They were but enemies to be crushed, or at least to be reduced to impotence.
That the Royalists had religious ideals of their own-was a provocation which made it easy to deny them the toleration which they had hitherto virtually enjoyed. The familiar cadences of the Book of Common Prayer had become to them a symbol of political as well as of religious faith, whilst the voice of the often long-winded, and sometimes irrelevant ejaculator of prayers of his own conception, stood for them as the embodiment of the forces which had conspired to murder their king, to deprive them of the broad acres sold to satisfy the demands of sequestrators, and to exclude them from all share in the public interests of the country which they loved
(On left) LIEUTENANT-GENERAL CHARLES FLEET\\_OOI), from the Painting in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries, London: (rm rig/1!) M ;\JOR-GENERAL DISBRO\VF.. from the Painting in the collection of Miss Disbrowe, at \Valton Hall, near Burton-on-Trent.