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'Plantation Its Process in Relation to Scotland's Atlantic Communities, 1590s-1630s'

The article sets the Scottish and British Crown’s colonizing measure vis-à-vis the Scottish communities of the North Atlantic arc within a broader imperial framework. Underlying such course of action was the articulation of a rhetoric as a vital
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   Journal of the North Atlantic T. Brochard 2019Special Volume 1273 Introduction  In the early-modern period, the Scottish and British crown interacted with the locality, in this case, the maritime communities of the North At-lantic Arc, through multiple avenues. It had at its disposal a range of means and resources to inuence its outlying northern territories. In its administra-tion and “civilizing” of the perceived violent region, the central authorities took a number of legislative and executive measures. These expedients were not independent but interrelated. These decisions were also part of a wider process of state formation across Europe at the time, articulated along various forms from annexation and assimilation to conquest, plan-tation, and subjugation. In Russia, the Tsar undertook the military conquest of Siberia to secure its natural resources and bring its multi-ethnic groups under its rule. In Spain, territorial integration of its various component parts did not make much progress under Emperor Charles V (1500–1558) whilst a century lat-er the policies of cultural and linguistic assimilation in Cerdanya were abandoned in the early eighteenth century (Dmytryshyn 1991, Elliot 1992, Greengrass 1991). 1  This broad palette of strategies helps revise the historiography—dened by the two extremes of a Eurocentric worldview and racial ideologies or, at the other end of the spectrum, of a benign and collabora-tive participation in the colonial process (Naum and  Nordin 2013). 2  The wider contextualization of plan-tations within the three kingdoms underlines their role in the consolidation and expansion of the Stu-arts’ British dominions marking the nation’s nascent empire (Armitage 1997, Canny 1998). In turn, this contextualization feeds into, and is fed by regional studies, illustrating a country’s colonial policies in their local implementations which in succession help shape such policies. In terms of plantation, the process did not un-fold ex nihilo  but shared common characteristics and types (Osterhammel 1997). 3  It is important to set the monarchy’s colonizing measure vis-à-vis  the communities of the North Atlantic arc within a  broader imperial framework both conceptually and operatively. Conceptually, underlying such course of action was the articulation of a rhetoric as a vital linguistic tool for the crown’s plantations’ raison d’être . Following this brief initial semantic inves-tigation, this paper then focuses on the operative  phase. The administration of the Scottish Highlands and Borders and Gaelic Ireland represented an evolving and interconnected “civilizing” laboratory of the British frontier and imperial policy, given the “vital corridor” between the regions on both sides of the Irish Sea (Brady 2009:45–51, 53–57; Macinnes 1999:38–45; Ohlmeyer 1998:130–143). The series of state-sponsored settlements in Ireland established from the late 1550s served not so much a template as a foundation for subsequent British colonization upon which to build Scottish and British initiatives. This study delineates key aspects in some of the major plantation schemes of Scotland between the 1590s and 1630s. This will cover both the internal settlement project of the isle of Lewis, illustrative of plantation without colonies, and the external ones of Ireland, briefly, and Nova Scotia. Throughout, these ventures will be primarily assessed from the  bottom-up perspective of the maritime communi-ties of Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, and the Outer Hebrides (Fig. 1). 4  This holistic approach of state formation combined with local and regional devel-opments assists in reconfiguring clan allegiance and dynamics in the Lewis case and in repositioning the role and identity of these northern Highlanders in the Irish and Nova Scotian plans as well as in re- Plantation: Its Process in Relation to Scotland’s Atlantic Communities, 1590s–1630s Thomas Brochard * Abstract – The article sets the Scottish and British Crown’s colonizing measure vis-à-vis  the Scottish communities of the  North Atlantic arc within a broader imperial framework. Underlying such course of action was the articulation of a rhetoric as a vital linguistic tool for its plantations’ raison d’être . The study delineates key aspects in the major plantation schemes of Scotland that were implemented between the 1590s and 1630s. Both the internal colonizing project of Lewis and the external ones of Ireland, briey, and Nova Scotia, will be primarily assessed from the bottom-up perspective of the mari -time communities of the northern Highlands. Distancing themselves from the governmental rhetoric, these ventures helped recongure clan allegiance and dynamics in the Lewis case, and reposition the role and identity of these far-northerners in the Irish and Nova Scotia plans as well as in redening these enterprises’ nature.    Maritime Communities of the North Atlantic Arc in the Early Modern Period  Journal of the North Atlantic * Department of History, University of Aberdeen, Crombie Annexe, Meston Walk, Aberdeen, Scotland AB24 3FX, UK; Special Volume 12:73–94 2019   Journal of the North Atlantic T. Brochard 2019Special Volume 1274 defining these enterprises’ nature overall. By doing so, this article will avoid putting the Highlands into a historiographical straightjacket which restricts the area to two antithetic or complimentary visions which either lament a victimization of its people or laud its civilizing by the state, albeit there were some elements of truth in each of these positions. Instead, the preferred perspective is one focused on the dynamic aspects of these communities as both active and reactive agents. The Rhetorical Background  As in other imperial processes visible for in-stance in New France, an “intellectual domestica-tion” was necessary as one of the foundations and instruments of imperial power. This was developed using both rhetoric and knowledge (Havard 2005). The early-modern Scottish terminology of savagery and barbarity drew from the European commonplace of the wild man gradually accreted from classical an-tiquity, which was not without its multiple meanings and contradictory readings. 5  More particularly, this theme of barbarity had a long and sustained histori-ography that drew from the barbarian of antiquity, the gure of the wild man, and aspects of medieval literature on the peasants, reduced in its crudest form to the image of the Turk (O’Reilly 2001). 6  This conception accorded with Scottish and British identity in which the Scottish and Irish Gael were cast as the uncivilized (Chambre 1579:1r–v, 24r–7r, 29v–30r; Cowan 1997–1998; Leerssen 1995:30–31, 33–34, 38; Shuger 1997; Williamson 1996). As with the Scottish Highlanders and Islanders, a deroga-tory tone reviled the Irish from the inception of the English presence in Ireland (Horning 2013:42–52, Leerssen 1995:30–34). 7  The English, Scottish, and British crown could draw advantageously not merely from a pre-established mental template of  barbarity but a northern one at that. This northern model derived from the locus classicus  of Aristotle’s  Politics  which was subsequently systematized in a malleable way with its national applications (Shuger 1997:497–499, 504). 8  The authorities in Edinburgh and London tended to project an image of the northern High-landers as rebellious and violent. Albeit generally negative, variations were present within this official discourse. 9  In a linguistic crescendo, the most aggressive governmental exposé was reserved for their extirpation. In a discussion of the plantation of Lewis, a clear division emerged between the settlers and the natives. The conveniently so-called “ciuile gentlemen” Adventurers and other well-disposed subjects would “roote out that viperous generation” so that the “ground be clensed from the ouerrunning of such wilde weedes.” In this letter to David Mur-ray, lord Scone, in April 1607, King James VI com- Figure 1. General relief map of Scotland.   Journal of the North Atlantic T. Brochard 2019Special Volume 1275  pared the phenomenon in the Isles to Indian bar- barity. 10  Clerics and officials engaged in this similar metaphoric deprecation of the locals in Spain and northern England and Wales (Burke 2009:290). 11  The area was seen as a paradise, in terms of its per-ceived fertility, inhabited by devils. This allegorical ascription is not unusual and equivalents can  be found in other areas of early-modern Europe and Russia (Stuart 1844–1871 (2):231–232; Fur 2006:ch. 2; Khodarkovsky 1999:400–401, 416; Selwyn 2004:introduction, ch. 1). Just as they did for the plague, towns like Dundee sent posts “to espy” and gather advertisement of the whereabouts of “ye hiland men.” 12  Their colleagues in Inverness ordered a proclamation in April 1621 which in the same breath tackled “the pest and to [the] hale of the highlands […] & the hail north Iles.” 13  For urban magistrates, they were clearly a threat not to  be casually dismissed, as for instance in the case of Aberdeen given the tensions between the House of Huntly and that of Moray in the early 1590s. 14  “Civility” was a complex issue reinforced by the mise en abyme  of its process. In 1617, the Eng-lish claimed that King James VI and I attempted to reduce the barbarity of the Scots to the civility of the English. Commentators of the  Rinascimento un-derscored the relativism and mutuality of “civility” and its opposite barbarity. A number of Lowlanders could be deemed guilty of the same alleged sins as those of the Gaels and likewise for English bar- barism towards part of the inhabitants of the New World or indeed of Ireland (Burton et al. 1877–1970 1 st  ser.(11):157 n.; Cowan 1997–1998:273; Hiscock 2008:207–208, 212–213). 15  Given the meaning of the notion of “barbarity” for contemporaries, the Scottish parliament used a similar rhetorical tool in its legislation. It matched the parliament’s embrace of the Renaissance concept of “civility” both chronologically and contextually. Indeed, parliament notably applied the term in the context of the Highlands and Islands and Lewis and at a time when these proved unsubmissive or in open rebellion. Using the online searchable records of the parliaments of Scotland, a simple application of quantitative linguistics reveals a forceful argument, even if language evolved over time and context as did the personnel responsible for the actual wording of the statute books. The term “barbarity” was rst used in 1596 and was chronologically intense, being concentrated for the Highlands and Islands in the  period 1596 to 1605. Except for an early isolated case in 1320, the adjective “barbarous” had over-all a slightly greater time span from 1578 (for the Gordon-Forbes feud) to 1609 but a narrower one specically for the Highlands and Islands stretching from 1587 to 1607 (with a 1617 mention in the case of the MacGregors). It was then reactivated during the civil wars to describe the incursions of High-landers and rebellious actions. Turning to “civility,” the word was recorded from 1597 to 1612 or more restrictively to 1608 for Gaeldom proper. Most inter-estingly, it then reappeared, inter alia , in 1641 and 1681 for various ratications concerning the isle of Lewis, which attests to the necessary longue durée  approach in relation to the topic. 16  The threat to the state and the priorities of the government clearly centered on the western sea- board as it appeared more critical in the eventuality of Gaelic insurgences, or at least disruptive alliances, and foreign invasion. In fact, for the authorities, the Highlanders’ attitude fortied and seemed to sub -stantiate James VI’s binary ideology in their respect. The pursuit of an aggressive policy to “civilize” the most refractory “barbaric” elements of society found in the Isles, mainly through plantation and extirpa-tion, was de rigueur  . Reform was still possible for the remaining Gaels of the mainland. In that view, the Jacobean ideology and policy, associating force-ful intervention with education, elaborated on the long tradition of the perception of Gaels as uncivi- lized as a justication for plantation and/or assimila -tion. The English used an analogous vindication in the colonization of Ireland with wider ramications for the New World being observed from both the Scottish and Irish cases (Armitage 2000:24–60, Cathcart 2009:72–74, Craigie 1944–1950 (1):70–71, Williamson 1996). Contemporary commentators and the crown shared in the partial mythication of these upland communities, and generally speaking of Highland-ers, as a long-established historical construct which was to continue over the centuries. For them, the inhabitants of the mountainous periphery summed up synecdochically the woes of the kingdom. For the government, this lexicon served a dual purpose. It explained and justied ofcial policies of as -similation and aspirations of “civility.” Secondly, such lofty ideals, set by themselves, exonerated and exculpated the central authorities’ actions and mea-sures. Cloaked under the mantle of religion, among others, such justication for state operations found a similar echo under tsarist Russia vis-à-vis  the na-tives of the North Caucasus, in Ireland, or with the issue of  poblaciones  and despoblados  in Castile and America (Burton et al. 1877–1970 1 st  ser.(5):306, (6):130, 255, (8):738–740, 742–746, 752–757; Ford 2006:119–123; Herzog 2007:509, 511, 515–516, 533–536; Khodarkovsky 1999:399–400, 410–411, 429; Rogers 1885 (1):42–43, 75–76). 17  These “civilizing” measures did not primarily proceed   Journal of the North Atlantic T. Brochard 2019Special Volume 1276 from a sustained, dened,  clearly-stated and struc-tured program. As far as the crown was concerned, they derived mainly from a pragmatic basis of socio-  political pacication, societal transformation, and scal returns. Its mantra and leitmotiv was guided by the oft-repeated despair and criticism of the High-lands as epitomizing a primarily violent and lawless society (Burton et al. 1877–1970 1 st  ser.(8):743, (9):16; Rackwitz 2007:29–37, 44–61; Skene 1876– 1880 (3):329). 18  This propagandist campaign helped legitimize and validate the government’s course of action towards the northern Highlands by demon-izing or, more exactly, barbarizing its people. The authorities in Naples and in the Adriatic likewise exploited banditry as a rhetorical paradigm for their own benets. Across numerous territories, barons and local strongmen colluded with brigands as an instrument of power building in the locality (Astarita 2004:148, Bracewell 1992:150–154, Witzenrath 2007:136). Implicitly, just as England did in the Irish case, the Scottish Lowlands embodied the quintes-sence of civil society which the northern Highlands should emulate. The Crown concocted legislative and administrative plans, including plantation, to tackle the intermittent unrest in the north. In that respect, the interconnectedness of the administration of the Scottish Highlands and Borders and Gaelic Ireland is clearly visible as an evolving “civilizing” crucible of the British frontier and imperial policy. Plantation  In terms of state interaction with the local-ity and rule of the periphery, plantation was one facet of the broader “civilizing” of the region. As visible in a military context, plantation facilitated the deployment of its northern subjects at both a national and international level within a Britannic Figure 2. The Highland clans in the 16 th  century.   Journal of the North Atlantic T. Brochard 2019Special Volume 1277 empire, as undertaken with disruptive men of the Borders. Confronted with the perceived problem of the Gaidhealtachd   of Scotland and Ireland, the monarchy envisioned clear “civilizing” objectives  but vacillated about the best means to achieve them. Plantation was one form of coercion which the crown realized was needed to pursue these goals (Goodare 1999:chs. 7–8, Macinnes 2006, Spottiswood 1850 (3):101, Theiss 2006:61–86). Lewis  As far as the Scottish far-northern maritime communities were concerned, the main internal  plantation project focused on Lewis, one of the Out-er Hebridean islands. 19  In August 1611, the Scottish Privy Council, nonetheless, contemplated a compa-rable course of action for Caithness, Sutherland, and Strathnaver with the settlement of ecclesiastical and  judicial personnel (Burton et al. 1877–1970 1 st  ser.(9):237–238). Around 1620, Sir Robert Gordon, tu-tor of Sutherland, recommended to the minor John, fourteenth earl of Sutherland, a territorial expansion into Strathnaver with a policy of fraternization with the locals to alienate them from the MacKay chief. In addition, he advocated the transplantation of Suther-land men into the district (Fraser 1892 (2):346–347, Fig. 2). In a sense, these proposals were character-istic of micro- and macro-plantation intended for “civilizing” purposes, such as previously congured for the Scottish Isles and Ireland. Furthermore, these illustrated how plantations could take place without colonizing, as in the development of ports like Pe-terhead and Fraserburgh in the 1590s, and ventilated contemporary David Hume of Godscroft’s com-ments about colonies discussed below (Ohlmeyer 1998:132, 135–143). 20  Interestingly, this had im- portant implications for the “civilizing” progress as a phenomenon supposedly spreading from the east to the west, as it showed its complexity with this  backward ow to the east. It is much more accurate to describe civility as of an all-pervading nature in terms of its location and agents. It further demon-strates that geopolitics or state formation was not the sole prerogative of the state. Instead it unraveled from the combined impetus of both the state and the localities or agents locally. Rationales for the plantation of Lewis  The rhetorical apology of the plantation of Lewis lay in the absence of a civic spirit, in the form of  public order and civility, within the context of  perceived antiquated social attitudes (for example, the misuse or abuse of kin identities). Behind this linguistic veneer, the crown’s realpolitik   dictated its dual course of action, one political, the other economic. Associated with these was a religious ra-tionale, creating a familiar early-modern colonizing triad of religious missions, trade, and conquest. But in practice economic development and political control took priority over religion, as found in the colonial ventures of Ulster and Virginia (Horning 2013:6, 65, 78–79, 86–89; Sunderland 2004:20–21). Politically, the western Highlands and Islands and Gaelic Ireland constituted the predominant theatres for recurrent war operations in the royal aspiration to demilitarize the Isles on a large scale and neutralize the remarkable military capacity of the Gaelic Scots reaching out to Ireland (Cathcart 2018, Egan 2018). This would prevent major political disruptions as localized uprising or sporadic unrest could threaten the integrity of British polity and certainly detract it from achieving cohesion. On a wider international scale, the menace of hostile European Catholic pow-ers using Gaeldom from which to launch an invasion into Protestant realms remained potent (MacGregor 2012:39–40; Maginn 2012:86, 104–112, 191–192, 202–203). In general, buffer zones and frontier areas, such as the Banat of Temesvár under the Habsburgs in Hungary, were strategic locations of  plantation (O’Reilly 2003). Economically, trade was instrumental to the “civilizing” process and was to help bring about the development of socially acceptable civic attitudes. This was why commerce featured in the articula-tion of this process beyond the mere approach of extirpation (MacCoinnich 2015:11–27, Skene 1876–1880 (3):428, Williamson 1996:64–66). 21  Central government endeavored to boost trade with a  plan to establish a royal burgh in Lewis in its broader initiative to supply markets for the western seaboard and collect revenues for its coffers. The project set aside parts of the annexed crown lands for the burgh itself and for the commons, as laid out in an act  passed in December 1597 (Macinnes 1996:68, Skene 1847:159). 22  The legislation failed to have any direct economic impact as society was not structurally conducive to such a development at the time, namely a shift from use-values and direct consumption to exchange-values and a market system. 23  The project, nonetheless, lay the foundation upon which the Fife  planters erected Stornoway as a burgh of barony in October 1607 (Burton et al. 1877–1970 1 st  ser.(5):455, Gregory 1881:275–277, Thomson et al. 1882–1914 (6):no. 1982). 24  At stake was the economic development of the region through trade evident, for instance, in the promotion of a British shing industry to im - pose maritime control that would challenge the Dutch dominance in the North Sea. The fostering of such economic prosperity and growth would be
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