Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2005-07 > 1121291213


From: "Charles.Clark" <>
Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] (was) Beatty
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 09:48:48 +1200
References: <200507111838.j6BIcF56026014@mail.rootsweb.com> <42D311DE.41ED7B7A@xtra.co.nz> <004801c586bf$535dd120$220110ac@96E49113C9924C2>


Hello, Brian, it's a long time since you photocopied several pages of Hill's MacDonnells for me, mostly on the Stewarts of Ballintoy. I would like to lay my hands on a copy, and believe that there is a reprint somewhere, though that is scarce also.
A quote from Ohlmeyer, first because I was impressed by the list of unfavourable quotes about Antrim, but secondly, Brian, her evaluation of Hill's MacDonnells of Antrim, and the note that he has otherwise been much neglected
Charlie

ANTRIM AND THE HISTORIANS
Arrogant, condescending, crafty, calculating, childish, fickle, greedy, head-strong, haughty, indiscreet, impatient, importuning, interfering, loud-mouthed, manipulative, myopic, perfidious, pretentious, self-centred, uncooperative and whining: these are merely a selection of the adjectives used t)y his contemporaries and by later
historians to describe the personality of Randal MacDonnell, second earl and first marquis of Antrim.
And the criticisms started at the top. Lords lieutenant Thomas Wentworth, cad of Strafford, and James Butler, duke of Ormond, were his most vocal and malevolent critics. The former, who disliked his character and religion and questioned his competence and loyalty, denigrated and ridiculed Antrim at .very opportunity. In a letter to
the king on the eve of the first Bishops' War, he noted 'I neither hope much of his Parts, of his Powers, or of his Affections." Wentworth later added 'That lord hath much of the Irish in him. Whatsoever they desire must be done; and in their own time forsooth, or else they presently fall out with you ... [He is] all for ostentation,
no moderate
thing will suffice, as if land and sea and all were to minister to [his] glory.'? As Strafford's protégé, Ormond imbibed the lord deputy's antipathy towards Antrim. The language Ormond later used to describe him -'so shallow an engine as my Lord Antrim' - was typical of Wentworth's caustic scorn.3
Many members of the Old English, the New English, the Presbyterian and even the native Irish communities clearly shared this contempt for Antrim. - for instance, his disloyalty to the Stuart cause during the 1640s particularly rankled with the powerful grandee, Ulick Burke, earl of Clanricard, who alleged spitefully that Antrim had
'gained the reputation of pulling down the he is on'.4 His 'differing tempers' (read: temper tantrums) infuriated everyone.5 Ormond suggested that one particular outburst in 1644 'pro-ceeded rather from some present passion or resentment, than from any settled solution';6 while his Catholic colleagues in the confederation of Kilkenny
attributed his unpredictable behaviour 'to his own inclination, his youth and want of experience’.7 But it was Antrim's 'vanity' and 'boastfulness' which attracted most adverse comment. According to one observer, he might 'prom-ise very largely; but 1 presume your excellency [Ormondl guesses whereabout the balance of the account will
be';' while another waspishly suggested that 'a good piece of battery is much more powerful to take in a castle than is his lordship's oratory'.9
Contemporary historians shared - and thereby perpetuated - this un-flattering image. Sir Richard Bellings, a much respected politician and author of Fragmentum historicum: or, the second and third books of the war in Ireland, portrayed him as bombastic, pompous, two-faced, conniving and untrustworthy. 10 In another near-contemporary
history of the Irish Civil War, Antrim's stupidity, vanity and self-interest were vigorously condemned - for, according to the author, he only deluded'his maggot paled brains with a dream of being great'." The English statesman and historian Edward Hyde, earl of Clarendon, openly admitted that he was never 'fond' of the marquis and
found him vain, presumptuous, undiscerning and of limited intelligence.12
To quote further condemnations of Antrim, which are extremely numer-ous, would be both boring and pointless. Suffice it to say that the opinions and writings of these men - the majority of whom were either political opponents or jealous rivals - have left a permanent blemish on the marquis's historical reputation which has influenced
the writings of later historians in his eighteenth-century life of the duke of Ormond, Thomas Carte followed the bias of his hero: Antrim, he wrote, 'fancied himself equal to the most difficult and important charges, though really unfit to be employed in any'. 13 The nineteenth-century historian, Sir John Gilbert, dismissed -him as
'well meaning but unstable'; 14 as did S. R. Gardiner who, in his influential History of England, dubbed Antrim 'a weak and inefficient cath-olic peer'.15 Richard Bagwell, author of the only comprehensive narrative account of Stuart Ireland to date, described Antrim as 'a man of much ambition and some cunning, but his practical
abilities were small, and neither Strafford, Ormonde nor Clarendon rated him highly'. 16 Hardly surprisingly, then, such recent scholarly attention as the marquis has attracted is largely unfavourable: C. V. Wedgwood thought he was 'ridiculous'; 17 Jerrold Cas-way in his biography of General Owen Roe O'Neill described Antrim as 'vain
and impulsive'; 18 while a biographer of Montrose dismissed him as 'a stage Irishman ... with no money, no brains, and a limitless supply of charm and vain promises ... [who] had married the blowsy, aging widow of the duke of Buckingham'. 19 More recently he was damned as a 'flamboyant adventurer' and as 'selfish, vain and
ambitious'.20
This study will attempt to establish the degree to which Antrim deserved his dismal reputation. Did he, for instance, like his contemporary Sir Piers Crosby, suffer 'the dual misfortune of crossing Wentworth's path and being remembered only by what Wentworth wrote of him'?21 Certainly this was also true of Richard Boyle, first earl
of Cork, for as Nicholas Canny has noted: 'Despite the several acknowledgements of his importance, historians have viewed Boyle from a distance, and would appear to have been repelled by the aura of suspicion which surrounded him in his own lifetime. Conse-quently, what is known of Boyle comes from official records, or the
fre-quently hostile correspondence of his contemporaries.'22
A further objective is simply to provide a more balanced account of the life of an important Irish statesman who (as the MacDonnell family historian quite rightly observed) was 'destined to take a prominent place in the affairs of Ulster, and indeed of Ireland, during the greater part of the seventeenth century'.23 For as yet there
is no critical biography - witness a recent call by Strafford's biographer, Hugh Kearney, for a fresh analysis of the role played by the MacDonnells of Antrim in the events of the later 1630s and 1640s.24 The only serious account of his career was written over a century ago by George Hill who, in his history of the MacDonnells of
Antrim, devoted a long chapter to the marquis and published many of the seminal documents relating to his life.25 But, for all its merits, his narrative is chaotically arranged and often inaccurate; moreover, though he used every source available to him in the nineteenth century, he did not gain access to many important collections
of papers (such as the Hamilton manuscripts) which were then in private hands, or to documents in European and North American archives. Apart from Hill, Antrim's career seems to have been noted by recent historians only when it impinged upon Scottish history: his role in the first Bishops' War of 1638-9 and his contribution to the
Scottish war effort in 1644-5.26


Brian Orr wrote:

> Hi Charles, Edward
>
> If you are into the Earl of Antrim the `standard work` I suggest is The MacDonnells of Antrim" by Rev George Hill (1873). An antiquarian volume nowadays but very well worth the read if you can lay hands on`t.
>
> Edward mentions Jane Ohlmeyer. She with John Kenyon edited "The Civil Wars - a Military History of England, Scotland and Ireland 1633-1660 " Oxford Univ. Press 1998. ISBN 0-19-866222-x. An excellent work albeit detailed.
>
> The Scottish end of the unending wars is well covered by "A Regimental History of the Covenanting Armies 1639-1651 " by Edward M Furgol, Edinburgh, John Donald Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-85976-194-0. Goes into great detail but quite fascinating when tied in with the Marquis of Montrose and his brilliant campaigns obo Charles I.
>
> Happy reading
>
> Brian Orr
>
> Author of "As God is my Witness - The Presbyterain Kirk, the Covenanters and the Ulster Scots2
> and "A Laymans Guide to theScottish Reformation".
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Charles.Clark
> To:
> Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 1:42 AM
> Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] Beatty
>
> If we struggle to understand these events in retrospect, just think what it must
> have been like to live through it all, with the intention of surviving its many
> twists and turns. One person who was at the middle of a lot of it, and survived,
> was Randal McDonnell, Marquis of Antrim.
> A book that I have got, but have not yet got my teeth properly into, is
> "Civil War and Restoration in the Three Stuart Kingdoms: TheCareer of Randal
> MacDonnell, Marquis of Antrim", by Jane Ohlmeyer. One of these days I will get
> to grips with it, I swear, but I've had it a few years now and it's still too
> hard!
>
> Note the description of those events as being civil war in the "Three Stuart
> Kingdoms", rather than being the "English civil war"
> Much like the internecine strife that tore Bosnia, Serbia, Croatia etc apart a
> few years ago, all fighting each other and looking for advantage for themselves
> Charlie
>
> Edward Andrews wrote:
>
> > I couldn't give you a reading list, for quite honestly I haven't kept up to
> > speed on the English Civil War. I'd send you to C V Wedgewood and
> > Christopher Hill, but they are ages old - kind of 40 years
> > As far as the Scottish bit, I find Patterson A Land Afflicted Scotland and
> > the Covenanter Ward 1638 - 1690: John Donald 1998 ISBN 0-85976-486-9 is as
> > good as you need unless you are going into very local stuff. In any case
> > there is a good Bibliography.
> > On Ireland, Haven't a clue. There has been so much new writing about Irish
> > History in the past 30 years that there is good stuff out there.
> > For 1641 there is Ulster 1641 Aspects of the Rising: Ed MacCuarta Belfast
> > 1993. ISBN 0-85389-591-0. This too has got a good Bibliography. No Idea
> > about the Cromwellian conquest. Mind you from a Genealogical point of view
> > that can be very important, but I haven't looked at it since about 1967.
> > I wasn't really wanting to get into a session. I merely wanted to suggest
> > that to understand the period you begin with a riot in Edinburgh rather than
> > the philosophy of the relationships between King and the emerging middle
> > class. No matter how you do it, things are difficult but you are beginning
> > with real actions. 1641 means that you have to look at Stafford / Wentworth,
> > but again his ties back to Scotland and the Irish Presbyterians who are so
> > different from Scottish Presbyterians, and so it goes on.
> > Edward Andrews
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: fredastewart [mailto:]
> > Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 6:51 PM
> > To: Edward Andrews
> > Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] Beatty
> >
> > Hello Edward - In attempting to understand the basis of many of these wars,
> > I also find much of the available information confusing. You are correct in
> > saying it has an anglo slant to it, but being Scot-Ulster Scot I suppose I
> > would naturally have that opinion. Would you consider citing some of your
> > sources as I would appreciate being able to get a more evenly balanced
> > viewpoint.
> > Freda Stewart
> > Calgary, Alberta
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Edward Andrews" <>
> > To: <>
> > Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 7:54 AM
> > Subject: RE: [Sc-Ir] Beatty
> >
> > > Hi Linda.
> > > I would suggest that to understand the events between 1637 and 1660 you
> > > don't call it the British Civil war.
> > > Give it the generic named of the War of the Three Kingdoms.
> > > It then breaks down into the Bishops War (Scotland vs. England.) The war
> > > of
> > > the Confederacy - (AKA the 1641 massacre), The English Civil War
> > > (Cavaliers
> > > vs. Roundheads with the Scots supporting the Roundheads and having their
> > > own
> > > wee internal war with Montrose). The War over the killing of the King
> > > (Cromwell vs. Scots). The re-conquest of Ireland. (Cromwell vs. Irish).
> > > While it is still complicated (and not wholly accurate for the question of
> > > who the Irish were is important), at least you are able to put it into
> > > sequence.
> > > Having studies this period 3 times at University as Irish History, as
> > > British (English) History and as Scottish History I am convinced that the
> > > easiest is to begin in Scotland where the trouble really started.
> > > The problem is that there is this Anglo-centric view of British History,
> > > and while things have improved the books which most people will have
> > > access
> > > to tend to see things from an English point of view.
> > > Edward Andrews
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Linda Merle [mailto:]
> > > Sent: Monday, July 11, 2005 1:50 PM
> > > To:
> > > Subject: RE: [Sc-Ir] Beatty
> > >
> > > Hi John,
> > >
> > > I've never
> > > read a history of the British Civil War that could REALLY make
> > > sense of it though I've read lots who tried and most of them
> > > admit at the start that they can't really understand it.
> > > It was very, very, very complicated -- so I'll stop here before
> > > I say something someone disagrees with. The experts
> > > disagree on its causes so none of us here will agree <grin>.
> > >
> > > I got interested in it due to family involvement in England.
> > > I also got a book on Cromwell in Ireland that's very interesting. And
> > > there's the usual stuff you read on Cromwell
> > > in Ireland. Recently an Irishman wrote a book debunking the
> > > idea that he massacred civilians at Drogheda and other places.
> > > There's apparently no contemporary evidence that he did.
> > > (As I'm not a scholar and didn't do this research, I can't
> > > argue about it -- I can just point people interested to the
> > > book).
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >


This thread: