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way in the ordinary current of their lives, they were contented to forget their animosities; they ceased to pine after political liberty which they were consciously unable to preserve; and finding themselves accepted on equal terms as joint inheritors of a magnificent empire, the iron chain became a golden ornament. Their sensibilities were humoured in the title of the heir of the crown. In bestowing a dynasty upon England they found a gratification for their honourable pride. If they have contributed less of positive strength than the Scots to the British empire, they have never been its shame or its weak. ness; and the retention of a few harmless peculiarities has not prevented them from being wholesome and worthy members of the United Commonwealth.
Ireland, the last of the three countries of which England's interest demanded the annexation, was by nature better furnished than either of them with means to resist her approaches. Instead of a narrow river for a frontier, she had seventy miles of dangerous sea. She had a territory more difficult to penetrate, and a population greatly more numerous. The courage of the Irish was undisputed. From the first mention of the Irishman in history, faction fight and foray have been the occupation and the delight of his existence. The hardihood of the Irish kern was proverbial throughout Europe. The Irish soldiers, in the regular service of France and Spain, covered themselves with distinction, were honoured with the most dangerous posts, have borne their share in every victory. In our own ranks they have formed half the strength of our armies, and detraction has never challenged their right to an equal share in the honour which those armies have won.
Yet, in their own country, in their efforts to shake off CHAP. English supremacy, their patriotism has evaporated in words. No advantage of numbers has availed them; no sacred sense of hearth and home has stirred their nobler nature. An unappeasable discontent has been attended with the paralysis of manliness; and, with a few accidental exceptions, continually recurring insurrections have only issued in absolute and ever disgraceful defeat.
Could Ireland have but fought as Scotland fought she would have been mistress of her own destinies. In a successful struggle for freedom, she would have developed qualities which would have made her worthy of possessing it. She would have been one more independent country added to the commonwealth of nations; and her history would have been another honourable and inspiriting chapter among the brighter records of mankind. She might have stood alone ; she might have united herself, had she so pleased, with England on fair and equal conditions ; or she might have preferred alliances with the Continental powers. There is no disputing against strength, nor happily is there need to dispute, for the strength which gives a right to freedom, implies the presence of those qualities which ensure that it will be rightly used. No country can win and keep its freedom in the presence of a dangerous rival, unless it be on the whole a well and justly governed country; and where there is just government the moral ground is absent on which conquest can be defended or desired.
Again, could Ireland, on discovering like the Welsh that she was too weak or too divided to encounter England in the field, have acquiesced as the Welsh
BOOK acquiesced, in the alternative of submission, there was
not originally any one advantage which England possessed which she was not willing and eager to share with her. If England was to become a great power, the annexation of Ireland was essential to ber, if only to prevent the presence there of an enemy; but she had everything to lose by treating her as a conquered province, seizing her lands, and governing her by force; everything to gain by conciliating the Irish people, extending to them the protection of her own laws, the privileges of her own higher civilization, and assimilating them on every side, so far as their temperament allowed, to her subjects at home.
Yet Ireland would neither resist courageously, nor would she honourably submit. Her chiefs and leaders had no real patriotism. In Scotland, though the nobles might quarrel among themselves, they buried their feuds and stood side by side when there was danger from the hereditary foe. There was never a time when there was not an abundance of Irish who would make common cause with the English when there was a chance of revenge upon a domestic enemy, or a chance merely of spoil to be distributed. All alike, though they would make no stand for liberty, as little could endure order or settled government. Their insurrections, which might have deserved sympathy had they been honourable efforts to shake off an alien yoke, were disfigured with crimes which, on one memorable occasion at least, brought shame on their cause and name. When insurrection finally failed, they betook themselves to assassination and secret tribunals; and all this, while they were holding up themselves and their wrongs as if they were the victims of the most abominable tyranny, and inviting
the world to judge between them and their oppressors.
Nations are not permitted to achieve independence on these terms. Unhappily, though unable to shake off the authority of England, they were able to irritate her into severities which gave their accusations some show of colour. Everything which she most valued for herself-her laws and liberties, her orderly and settled government, the most ample security for person and property-England's first desire was to give to Ireland in fullest measure. The temper in which she was met exasperated her into harshness and at times to cruelty; and so followed in succession alternations of revolt and punishment, severity provoked by rebellion, and breeding in turn fresh cause for mutiny, till it seemed at last as if no solution of the problem was possible save the expulsion or destruction of a race which appeared incurable.
THERE are many ways in which a conquered but still reluctant people may be dealt with, when the interest of the conquerors is rather in the country itself than in the inhabitants who occupy it. They may be exterminated, either wholly, as the Red races are being exterminated in North America, or in part, as the Gauls were by Cæsar, and the Mexicans by Cortes and his successors; or they may be held continuously down by the sword, as the North of Italy was held by Austria; or, again, armed colonists may be settled on the soil who, in exchange for land on easy terms undertake the maintenance of order, as was done in Ulster under James the First, and in Leinster and Munster by Cromwell.
The Norman occupation of Ireland in the twelfth century differed materially from all and any of these methods. The Normans were not properly colonists; they were a military aristocracy whose peculiar mission was to govern men.
When a tract of land was allotted to a Norman baron, it was not at first an estate out of which to extract rents to spend upon his own pleasures, so much as a fief, over which he was a ruler responsible to the crown. The Irish, when the Normans took charge of them, were, with the exception of the clergy, scarcely better than a mob of armed savages. They had no settled industry and no settled habitations, and scarcely a conception of property. The poor-spirited and the weak were told off for such wretched tillage