ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Four Courts Press, 7 Malpas St., Dublin 8, Ireland.
CAREER: Historian and writer. Ruskin College, Oxford, Oxford, England, senior tutor in history and acting vice principal; retired 1993.
Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628: A Study in Anglo-Irish Politics, Four Courts Press (Dublin, Ireland), 1998.
SIDELIGHTS: In Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628: A Study in Anglo-Irish Politics historian Victor Treadwell provides a comprehensive look at the influence of the Elizabethan court of England on the politics of early Stuart Ireland. Focusing primarily on George Villiers, who became duke of Buckingham, Treadwell outlines how the duke became the foremost figure for about a decade in guiding England's policy in Ireland. In the process, Buckingham exploited the policy to the detriment of Ireland while significantly and clandestinely building his own empire in landholdings and businesses. Treadwell discusses the many allies in the English court and privy council that helped to protect Buckingham and his interests despite the man's ruthless approach to acquiring wealth and power. The author also delves into how Buckingham and his associates infiltrated the Irish political administration and subsequently sabotaged all efforts to make Ireland self-sufficient economically and thereby compromise Buckingham's own financial interests. In the course of his writings, Treadwell provides new insights into Buckingham's many clandestine activities. The author also delves into many of the most heated political-social issues of the times, including the efforts to appease Ireland's Catholics and the rapid growth of patriotism among the country's Protestants. Also included in the history are discussions of the rise of specialized Irish lobbies, an expanded Irish peerage, and a transnational British aristocracy.
Colm Lennon noted in the American Historical Review that Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628 "makes a valuable contribution to scholarship on a number of levels," including "knowledge of the systems of court patronage and lobbying in respect of Ireland" and "the drawing in of a vital Irish dimension to explain crucial junctures in court-Parliament relations." In a review in the Times Literary Supplement, Toby Barnard commented, "At some moments, Dr Treadwell, generous in sharing the insights from more than forty years of research, threatens to overwhelm his readers with details. Once digested, however, the voluminous information about minor officials and Buckingham's hangers-on will foster a better understanding of their worlds and motivations." David L. Smith, writing in the English Historical Review, had "minor criticisms" of the book, citing the author's use of endnotes instead of footnotes, which he views as more cumbersome for readers wanting to look at references and notes while reading. However, Smith called the book "a distinguished addition to the current wave of work on the 'archipelagic' dimension of early modern British and Irish history." Irish Studies Review contributor Alan Ford called Treadwell "an historian's historian" and noted that in Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628 "he writes with style and panache, with a gift for clear summaries and coherent arguments." Ford also noted that "Treadwell demonstrates once again that all-too-familiar truism of Irish history, that corruption, inefficiency, lethargy and sheer cussedness regularly frustrated even the most noble intentions of government."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, December, 1999, Colm Lennon, review of Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628: A Study in Anglo-Irish Politics, p. 1747.
English Historical Review, November, 1999, David L. Smith, review of Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628, p. 1312.
History (London, England), April, 2000, Simon Adams, review of Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628, p. 343.
Irish Studies Review, Volume 7, number 2, 1999, Alan Ford, review of Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628.
Times Literary Supplement, February 19, 1999, Toby Barnard, review of Buckingham and Ireland, 1616–1628, p. 30.
Four Courts Press Web site, http://www.four-courts-press.ie/ (July 23, 2001), "Victor Treadwell."