[Sir] William Herbert
1553-1593; b. St Julians Monmouthshire; sole heir of William Herbert (1st Earl of Pembroke, d. 1469); knighted 1578; friend of John Dee; lived in Ireland as colonist and undertaker in Munster plantation, 1587-1590, and allotted Desmond property in Kerry, 1587; vice-President of Munster in absence of Sir Thomas Norris, c.1589; wrote a Latin treatise, Croftus sive de Hibernia Liber (?1591), purportedly based on the experiences of his distant cousin, Sir James Croft, Lord Deputy of Ireland (1551-52) [var. named in compliment to ODNB]; urges extirpation of Irish customs; favours leniency and good treatment of natives, except for rebels; believes in devolution of power from London to Deputy in Ireland; urges translation of Bible and Book of Common Prayer into Irish; Irish tracts and letters to Walsingham and Burghley in Calendar of Irish State Papers; Croftus ed. W.E. Buckley, 1887. ODNB OCIL
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A Keaveney and J A Madden, eds., Sir William Herbert, Croftus Sive de Hibernia Liber (Dublin: Irish Manuscript Commission 1992). 206pp. [reviewed by Thomas Bartlett, Linenhall Rev., Winter 1993); see also (Andrew Hadfield, Rethinking Early-Modern Colonialism: The Anomalous State of Ireland, in Irish Studies Review, April 1999, espec. pp.16-18).
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W. B. Stanford, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (1984), writes of William Herbert, an English undertaker with 13,000 acres in Ireland, who wrote Croftus, sive de Hibernia Liber (1587).
Thomas Bartlett, reviewing Keaveney and Madden, Sir William Herbert (1992), in Linenhall Review (Winter 1993), writes: The Croftus is a series of conversations between two old Ireland hands, Sir William Herbert and Sir James Croft, written down by Herbert in classical Latin in the 1590s and based on their views of what had been done and what needed to be done; contemplated intractable problem of Irish degeneracy, incivility, superstition, and pondered remedies; Herbert almost alone in regarding translation of Protestant texts into Irish as essential to conversion of natives; strong advocate of Ulster plantation, primarily to keep Scots out.
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Croftus Sive De Hibernia Liber (1587), Yet if the Irish are not disposed by any laws, persuasion or examples to emrace from the heart a way of life distinguished by the best principles ordinances but decide, whenever the opportunity is offered, to fall and relapse into their old habits and vices, then I avow and predict with quite as much truth as force that some king of England and Ireland, great prudence and power, prompted by political considerations and designs, will disperse that entire race and will extirpate all the inhabitants there who have lapsed into the habits and customs of the Irish. (Cited in Andrew Hadfield, The Trial of Jove: Spensers Allegory and the Mastery of the Irish, in Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal, 2, 2, Spring/Summer 1996, pp.39-53, p.42.)
The Irish cloak: [...] Nevertheless some Irish think that they [their cloaks & clothing] are charcteristic of and, as it were, essential to the Irish and that they are bound up with Irelands safety and prosperity. In truth, these habits and garb were common and customary among almost all barbarians and ancient peoples, who had still not become acquainted with a more comfortable and cultivated way of life. (Quoted in Andrew Hadfield, Rethinking Early-Modern Colonialism: The Anomalous State of Ireland, in Irish Studies Review, April 1999, p.16.)
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