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BOOK REVIEWS 191 The Problem of Ireland in Tudor Foreign Policy 1485–1603, by William Palmer, pp. 161, Woodbridge, SuVolk: Boydell Press, 1994, $29.50. Refreshingly, the title of this book states its purpose concisely and accurately. This is not a study of Ireland in the sixteenth century; for that we must still rely on the old account by Richard Bagwell (Ireland under the Tudors, 3 vols., 1885–1890) and the newer monograph by Steven Ellis (Tudor Ireland, 1985). Rather, it isolates the problem of Ireland as one strand in the foreign policy of the Tudor rulers. The chief actors are the monarchs, especially Henry VIII and Elizabeth, and their Lord Deputies, especially Anthony St. Leger, Sir William Fitzwilliam, and Sir Henry Sidney, and events are viewed from the council chamber in London , not from Ireland. Virtually all the primary sources used are the English State Papers in the Public Record OYce; commendably, they are cited as manuscripts , not just as Calendar entries, and it is evident that the originals have been consulted. In short, this is an attempt to Wll the gap in standard histories of Tudor foregin policy, such as R. B. Wernahm’s Before the Armada (1984), which have little to say about Ireland. Palmer’s general views are easily summarized. He shows that Ireland was of considerable importance during the early years of Henry VII’s reign because it harbored Yorkist pretenders and enjoyed ties to France at a time when the English were at war with the French king. Between 1496 and 1534, Ireland was quiescent and could be ignored. After the Reformation it posed a greater threat, as Catholic powers on the Continent recognized its strategic value. English policy gradually became more aggressive. After 1574 the English were committed to military control of Ireland and to the series of events which culminated in the suppression of Tyrone’s Rebellion. At Wrst glance Palmer’s analysis appears to oVer little that is new. It is the details which give the account its merit, together with a few fresh insights, especially the recognition that Irish and Scottish aVairs were intimately intertwined during these years and that English diplomacy regarding Ireland was forced to consider Scotland as well. All of this Wts well with the new approach to British (not just English) history and to the uniWed study of the Three Kingdoms. On a few points, Palmer’s history of England is shaky. He regarded Henry VII’s foreign policies as being successful, although recent work by John Currin, not all of it yet published, shows that many of his policies failed. He incorrectly dates the Henrician Act of Supremacy, and should perhaps cite instead the 1533 Act in Restraint of Appeals as marking the break between England and the Papacy. He seems to have misunderstood Norman Jones’s study of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement, Faith by Statute (1984), which argues that the peace settlement with France through the treaty of Cateau-Cambresis was of little signiWcance in shaping English relgious policy. More generally, Palmer might be faulted for devoting too much space to wellknown events in England while failing to delve deeply into the character and activities of Irish leaders. There is surprisingly little on Dublin or on the English plantations . The availability of sources probably helped dictate this emphasis. The best way to approach Tudor Ireland now is probably to read the books by Palmer and Ellis together, as they deal with similar issues from complementary points of view. NOTES AND QUERIES Subscribers, readers, and the whole community of Irish Studies scholars in North America and elsewhere will be interested to learn that in September , 1995, the administrative offices of the Irish American Cultural Institute have now been unified with the executive office in New Jersey. Aside from the board of directors, the IACI will now be administered by a new staff. Consequently, correspondence relating to subscriptions, memberships , and submissions to ÉIRE-IRELAND should now be addressed to: The Irish American Cultural Institute 1 Lackawanna Place Morristown, New Jersey 07950 Likewise, the IACI now has new telephone numbers: (201) 605-1991; fax (201) 605-8875. No e-mail address has yet been registered. Queries as...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1550-5162
Print ISSN
0013-2683
Pages
pp. 191-192
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-31
Open Access
No
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