Home Books

The Outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641

The Irish rebellion of 1641 had a profound effect not only on the history of Ireland but also on that of England and Scotland. Perceval-Maxwell reviews conditions in Ireland and relations with England and Scotland in the period preceding the rebellion and examines in detail the decisions made in the three realms that led to the conflict. rnrnPerceval-Maxwell gives considerable attention to the structure of the Irish parliament in 1640 and 1641 and the decisions made by that body in both the Commons and the Lords. He argues that initially there was a broad consensus between Protestant and Catholic members of parliament on the way Ireland should be governed and on constitutional matters relating to the three kingdoms, but that this consensus was not shared by those who controlled the Irish council. He places particular emphasis on negotiations between members of the Irish parliament who were sent to England and the English council, and on the way events in Ireland influenced both English and Scottish opinion. In this context, the army raised in Ireland to counter the Scottish covenanters, and the failure to ship this army abroad before the rebellion broke out, were of crucial importance. Perceval-Maxwell contends, contrary to the opinion of other historians, that Charles I was not primarily responsible for this failure and was not plotting to use this army against the English parliament. The author explains the plotting that actually took place and provides an account of the initial months of the rebellion as it spread from county to county. In conclusion he reveals how the rebellion was perceived in England and Scotland and how these perceptions contributed to the outbreak of civil war in England.rnrnWhy the Irish rebellion was important outside of its Irish context is well known but this book is the first to deal with how it became significant. It will be of particular interest to British as well as Irish historians.

About the book