Cromwell/Petty*

 

Record of Cromwell's Intervention in Ireland.
First lets get Drogheda out of the way. I would ask you to look at the website, Drogheda, based on, A History of Ireland, by Eleanor Hull. In particular look at, Thomas a Wood's testimony. Cromwell's dispatches to parliament, report that he ordered no quarter be given. 2,000 defenders that had retreated to a stronghold in the town, were put to the sword. The slaughter was renewed for two days, till the entire garrison was annihilated.The army chaplain reported the defender death toll at 3,552. This is more than an estimate of the strenght of the garrison, I have read somewhere but Cromwell later said that he executed, 1 in 10, of the captured. The rest he transported to the barbadoes. Some historians have accepted this but if Cromwell's and the chaplain's dispatches were true and they manifestly were, few if any prisoners were taken. Again some historians claim that if there were civilian casualities, Cromwell was unaware of them. Fifty years ago some were insisting there were no civilian casualties. Cromwell challenged the bishops of Ireland, to give him an instance of one man, not in arms, massacred, destroyed or banished, since his coming to Ireland. Those who have read Thomas a Wood should have difficulty believing him. Now for William Petty. It is rightly said, that his statistics are unrelyable. I will argue that one set of his stats. are not just muddled or pulling figures out of the air; he is cooking the books. The set being, the labour force afforded by Ireland, in 1672. Work started at seven then. The total population he gives as 1,100,000. In this set of stats. he gives the over six pop. as 704,000, making the pop. of the young 396,000. Throughout the rest of the book he gives this figure as about a quarter of the pop. 275,000. He blandly asserts, so there are about 780,000 fit for trade. The labour force cannot be than the over seven pop.(704,000). Elsewhere he gives the work force as 750,000. That is, 1,100,000 less 275,000 young and 75, 000 old. Ominously, he says, only 500,000 work. It looks like he knew which of his stats. he could work with and which not. The complete set goes:

over - 6 --- 704,000 |_____|over- 46---132,000
_"__ 16--- 462,000 |______|_"__ 56---- 88,000
_"__ 26--- 165,000 |______|_"__ 66---- 77,000
_"__ 36--- 198,000
These figures look specific, but are all divisible by 11,000, a hundreth of the pop. More importantly, presented in this way, we get no picture of the pop. of the age groups. Their figures are as follow:
||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||37---47___66,000
under--7___396,000|____________|47---57___44,000
__7---17___242,000|_____________|57---67___11,000
__17--27___165,000|____________|over-67___77,000
__27--37____99,000
I can believe, there were significant falls in the pops. of the older age groups. The over twenty pop. had to survive the war, and in those days, life expectancy was shorter. More true for the Irish than most, I imagine. The pop. of the old now looks too large. What makes sense of these stats., is that Petty in supporting those who claimed the war was not genocidal, exagerated the size of the pop. Now he wants good figures for the work force. He simply palms off the surplus on the old and the young. By his own admission we can subtract 121,000 from the figure of the young, returning it to 275,000. Surely we can take 50,000 off the old pop, giving a pop 927,000. The under 17's still look a questionable porportion of the pop. 275,000 + 242,000 = 517,000, over half of 927,000. Petty tells us that the pop. rose steeply between 1652 and 1672, through generation and the incoming wave of Cromwellian colonists. Now, his estimate of the 1652 pop. of 850,000 looks high. He would have missed a trick if he did not under estimate the pre 1642 pop.This was a figure he could have taken great licence with. He gives the pre-1642 pop. as 1,466,000 and its depeltion as 616.000. This includes plague deaths. His stats. start with the 1642 insurrection, which was said to be a great massacre. Some estimates were huge. Irish historians dispute these. Some say that this makes understanable Cromwell's severity. What is often not admitted is that if ever an insurrection was justified, the insurrection 1642 was. In anycase there is a doubt about the the figure of settler casualities. If less then they constitute a smaller porportion of the death toll. Combining pre-Cromwell stats. with the stats. after Cromwell's arrival on the scene and combining settler and Irish stats. obscures what the Irish and Normans suffered. Petty talks disdainfully about the worst hovels. As I understood him, some had no windows. He reckoned the new order would change this. I have been told that into the 19th century, if the Irish did anything to make their homes attractive ; in some areas, if they didn't have a dung heap piled against the wall of their dwelling, their rents went up. There were unspoken laws. I am certain in my own mind, that Petty believed that the Irish and Normans comunities fared worse than his 'urealiable' stats. show.