Act of Settlement (Irish)

Passed by the Irish Parliament in 1662. In Cromwell’s time almost all the land in Leinster, Munster, and Connaught had been confiscated in such a way that scarcely any Catholic or Old Protestant could escape, no distinction being made between rebel and royalist. This new Act was based on the king’s Declaration of 1660 by which all the land was confirmed to the “adventurers” (speculators) and, with a few exceptions, to the soldiers. In most cases the estates of Protestants were to be at once restored. The Catholics were divided into “innocent” and “nocent”. Those who established their claim to belong to the former class might be restored if they had taken lands in Connaught; the latter, if they had taken lands in Connaught, were not to be restored, even when they had adhered to the Peace of 1648. The Act of Explanation (1665) was intended to protect and secure the interests of Protestants; thereby the Anglican Church regained its estates and its hierarchy was re-established. The most iniquitous provision excluded the whole body of 4,000 innocent claimants, with the exception of about 600 whose claim had been heard. The Protestant landholders received more than two-thirds of the good land, and in 1689 two-thirds of them held their estates under these Acts.