AN ENGLISHMAN'S VIEW OF CO. KERRY IN 1756
(CHARLES SMITH, THE ANCIENT
STATE OF THE COUNTY OF KERRY)
"The kingdom still remains in obscurity to the rest of the learned world, who are still amused with fables and very false accounts of it. Until the reign of James 1 this Kingdom (of Kerry) was constantly in a state of war, its government very unsettled and in many places the English laws were not acknowledged. The English undertakers, particularly the citizens of London, began at this time to plant, build and improve the Province of Ulster, yet there were few branches of trade carried on. In the succeeding reign the Earl of Stafford began to think of introducing commerce and manufacture, particularly that of linen, and to encourage the exportation of produce, with an intention rather of enriching the state by customs, then the people in general. Thus either by design or ignorance the crown was to be enriched by the oppression of the subjects, for the revenues, like those now in France, were let to rapacious farmers and many branches of trade monopolised, which bad conduct in the end brought on its own destruction. The wars of 1641 succeeded soon after and this country remained unsettled till several projects were again set for the employment of the people.
An ill-guided, impolitic, bigotted persecution disturbed the tranquility. Oppression on the account of religion and a refusal of common equity succeeded, which forced the English from their improvements and settlements, and obliged numbers of them to fly to their native country for protection This false policy acted bare-facedly here, and more covertly in England paved the way for the revolution
At this present
time (1756) the blindness of former ages and the miseries of the past
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