By S.J. Connolly
For eire the seventeenth and 18th centuries have been an period marked via warfare, monetary transformation, and the making and remaking of identities. carrying on with the tale he all started in 'Contested Island', Sean Connolly examines the origins of recent Irish political and cultural identities, and the connection among prior and present.
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187. The Crisis of Composite Monarchy 23 harass the Catholic laity, and made no serious attempt to obstruct the continued extension across the kingdom of a Counter-Reformation structure of dioceses and parishes. At the same time that he campaigned relentlessly against the predatory activities of the New English, Wentworth did not by any means neglect his own ﬁnancial interests. His most proﬁtable venture, bringing him a total of some £35,000, was his share of the customs farm. In 1637 he took over what would probably, given time, have been a highly proﬁtable monopoly of tobacco imports.
Allegations that the Society had made excessive proﬁts were grossly unfair. By 1635 individual companies had spent some £22,000 on the management of their proportions, against gross receipts of £37,500. ¹⁸ The Society had indeed been guilty of sharp practice in trying to claim, contrary to what had been clearly understood, that the general articles of plantation relating to the removal of natives and the planting of British tenants did not apply to its holdings. Yet its failure in this area was no greater than that of other grantees.
The committee dispatched to England at the end of 1640 had been equally balanced, with seven Catholics and six Protestants. As negotiations progressed, however, a division of interests appeared. While Protestant members concentrated on the case against Strafford, some of the Catholics became involved in private discussions with the king. All this was at a time, March 1641, when initially promising negotiations between Charles and the English parliamentary leaders had collapsed, and when the king was contemplating a resort to armed action to rescue Strafford, a visit to Scotland for the purpose of building up support there, and possibly the use at some stage of Strafford’s new Irish army to restore his authority.