The Glories of Ireland
Edited by Joseph Dunn and P.J. Lennox

Part 3 out of 7

_Editor of "Sport," Dublin_.

On the face of the earth there is no nation in which the love of
clean and wholesome sport is more strongly developed than in the
Irish. Against us it cannot be urged that we take our pleasures
sadly. We enter into them with entire self-abandon, whole-hearted
enthusiasm, and genuine exuberance of spirit. There is nothing
counterfeit about the Irishman in his play. His one keen desire is to
win, be the contest what it may; and towards the achievement of that
end he will strain nerve and muscle even to the point of utter
exhaustion. And how the onlookers applaud at the spectacle of a
desperately contested race, whether between horses, men, motorcars,
bicycles, or boats, or of a match between football, hurling, or
cricket teams! It matters not which horse, man, car, cycle, boat, or
team is successful: the sport is the thing that counts; the
strenuousness of the contest is what stimulates and evokes the
rapturous applause. At such a moment it is good to be alive. Scenes
similar to those hinted at may be witnessed on any sports-field or
racetrack in our dear little Emerald Isle almost any day of the year.
All is good fellowship; all is in the cause of sport.

No one can question that in some departments of horse-racing Ireland
is today supreme. The Irish devotion to the horse is of no recent
growth. Everybody knows how, in the dim and distant days when King
Conor macNessa ruled at Emain, the war-steeds of the Ultonians
neighed loudly in their stalls on the first dramatic appearance of
Cuchulainn of Muirthemne at the northern court. Cuchulainn's own two
steeds, Liath Macha, "the Roan of Macha", and Dub Sainglenn, "Black
Sanglan", are celebrated in story and song:

Never hoofs like them shall ring,
Rapid as the winds of spring.

To read of the performances of Cuchulainn and his war-horses and his
charioteer and friend, Laeg macRiangahra, at the famous battle of
Rosnaree, and again at the last fight between the Red Branch Knights
and the forces of Queen Medb of Connacht, does truly, in the words
used by Sir Philip Sidney in another connection, stir the heart like
the sound of a trumpet.

As time went on, the Irish war-horse became more and more famous, and
always carried his rider in gallant style. Stout was the steed that,
bestridden by Godfrey O'Donnell at the battle of Credan-Kille,
withstood the shock of Lord Maurice Fitzgerald's desperate onslaught,
and by his steadiness enabled the Tyrconnell chieftain to strike
senseless and unhorse his fierce Norman foe. More celebrated still
was the high-spirited animal which Art MacMurrogh rode in 1399 to his
ineffectual parley with King Richard the Second's representative, the
Earl of Gloucester. The French chronicler who was a witness of that
historic scene tells us that a horse more exquisitely beautiful, more
marvellously fleet, he had never seen. "In coming down," he says, "it
galloped so hard that, in my opinion, I never saw hare, deer, sheep,
or any other animal, I declare to you for a certainty, run with such
speed as it did." Edmund Spenser, the poet of _The Faerie Queene_,
writing in 1596, bears this striking testimony to the Irish
horse-soldier and inferentially to the Irish horse: "I have hearde
some greate warriours say, that, in all the services which they had
seene abroade in forrayne countreys, they never sawe a more comely
horseman than the Irish man, nor that cometh on more bravely in his
charge." The feats performed at the Battle of the Boyne, in 1690, by
the Irish horse-soldiers under Hamilton and Berwick were really
wonderful, and well-nigh turned disaster into victory on that
memorable day which decided the fate of nations as well as of
dynasties. And surely those were fleet and stout-hearted steeds that,
on August 12, 1690, carried Sarsfield and his chosen five hundred on
their dare-devil midnight ride from the Keeper Hills to Ballyneety,
where in the dim morning twilight they captured and destroyed William
of Orange's wonderful siege-train, and thereby heartened the
defenders of beleaguered Limerick.

Writing in 1809, Lawrence, in his _History and Delineation of the
Horse_, said: "From Ireland alone we import [into England] many
saddle horses, as many perhaps as 1,500 in a year; upwards in some
years. The Irish are the highest and steadiest leapers in the world.
Ireland has bred some good racers, and the generality of Irish horses
are, it appears, warmer tempered than our own; and, to use the
expression, sharper and more frigate-built."

It is not to be wondered at therefore if in such a country there
developed an ardent love of the noble sport of horse-racing. The
Curragh of Kildare, the long-standing headquarters of the Irish Turf
Club, was celebrated far back in the eighteenth century as the venue
of some great equine contests; and to this day, with its five
important fixtures every year, it still holds pride of place. There
are numerous other race-courses all over the country, from
Punchestown, Leopardstown, Phoenix Park, and Baldoyle in the east to
Galway in the west, and from The Maze in the north to rebel Cork in
the south. Horse-racing has not inappropriately been termed the
national pastime of Ireland. The number of people now giving their
attention to it has called for a notable increase in the number of
race-meetings, and stake-money is being put up on a more generous
scale than at any previous time in the history of the sport. For
example, the Irish Derby, run at the Curragh, was in 1914 worth
L2,500; and there are besides several stakes of L1,500 and L1,000.
The result of this forward policy is that increasing numbers come to
our race-meetings and that the turf has never been more popular than
it is today. Men and women of wealth and position find in the
national pastime a pleasant method of employing their leisure, and in
expending their surplus wealth in its pursuit and in the raising of
horses of the highest class they realize that they confer a real
benefit on the country.

It is, of course, now universally known that Ireland has an
international reputation as a country eminently fitted for
horse-breeding. If proof were needed, it would be found in the
extensive purchases effected by English, French, Italian, German,
Russian, and American buyers at the great Dublin Horse Show held in
August every year. Horses bought in Ireland have seldom failed to
realize their promise. The English classic races and many of the
principal handicaps on the flat have been often won by Irish-bred
horses, such as Galtee More, Ard Patrick, Orby, Kilwarlin,
Barcaldine, Umpire, Master Kildare, Kilsallaghan, Bendigo, Philomel,
The Rejected, Comedy, Winkfield's Pride, Bellevin, Royal Flush,
Victor Wild, Bachelor's Button, Irish Ivy, and Hackler's Pride. If
only a few of the star performers are here set down, it is not from
lack of means to continue, but merely from a desire to avoid the
compilation of a mere string of names. In France, too, the Irish
racer has made his mark. It is, however, in the four-and-a-half
miles' Liverpool Grand National Steeplechase, the greatest
cross-country race in the world, the supreme test of the leaper,
galloper, and stayer, that Irish-bred horses have made perhaps the
most wonderful record. The list of winners of that great event
demonstrates in an unmistakable manner that we are second to none in
the art of breeding steeplechase horses. Among many other noted
Irish-bred winners of this race there stand boldly forth the names of
The Lamb, Empress, Woodbrook, Frigate, Come Away, Cloister, Wild Man
from Borneo, and Manifesto. In fact, it is the exception when another
than an Irish-bred horse annexes the blue riband of steeplechasing.

Closely allied to horse-racing is fox-hunting, and fox-hunting, as
well as the hunting of the stag and of the hare, has flourished
exceedingly in Ireland for a long time past. A great deal of needed
employment is one of the results. Dogs are specially bred and trained
for each of these branches of sport. Irish foxhounds, staghounds,
harriers, and beagles have a high reputation. More native to the
soil, and so interwoven with the history of the country that it is
often used as one of its symbols, is the Irish wolfhound. This is
probably the animal to which Aurelius Symmachus, a Roman consul in
Britain, referred when, writing to his brother in Ireland in A.D.
391, he acknowledged the receipt of seven Irish hounds. The wolfhound
played a sinister part in the Irish history of the eighteenth
century, for, as Davis says in his poem, "The Penal Days":

Their dogs were taught alike to run
Upon the scent of wolf and friar.

The Irish wolfhound is now very scarce, and a genuine specimen is a
valued and highly coveted possession. The greyhound, too, figures
prominently in present-day sport, and in many parts of the country
are held coursing meetings, which frequently result in several
spirited contests. A famous Irish greyhound was Lord Lurgan's black
and white dog, Master McGrath. Master McGrath achieved the rare
distinction of winning the Waterloo Cup three times, in 1868, 1869,
and 1871. When it is remembered that the Waterloo Cup is to coursing
what the Liverpool Grand National is to steeplechasing, or the Epsom
Derby to flat racing, the merit of this triple performance will at
once be apparent.

Compared with the sports in which horse and hound participate, all
other outdoor pastimes in Ireland take rather a minor place. Still,
the Irishman's love of sport is diversified. Few there are who have
not many inclinations, and as a nation our taste in sport is
catholic. We take part in nearly every pastime; in many we excel. The
prize ring has fallen from its high estate, nor is it the intention
here to try to cast any glamour over it. The subject is introduced,
in a passing way, for the sole purpose of showing that, in what at
least used to be the manly art of self-defense, Ireland in days gone
by as well as at the present time has more than held her own. The
most conspicuous of the representatives of her race in this
department are perhaps Heenan, Ryan, Sullivan, Corbett, Maher,
McAuliffe, McFarland, and McGoorty. There is one other prize-fighter,
Dan Donnelly by name, who became a sort of national hero, of whom all
Irishmen of his day were not a little proud, because he laid the
English champion low, and whose performance, now haloed by the
antiquity of more than a hundred years, we may with equanimity, as
without offense, contemplate, with perhaps a sigh for the good old
times. The famous encounter between Donnelly and Cooper took place on
the Curragh, and after eleven rounds of scientific boxing Donnelly
knocked his opponent over the ropes and won the world's championship
for the Emerald Isle. The spot where the battle came off has ever
since been known as Donnelly's Hollow, and a neat monument there
erected commemorates the Dublin man's pluck and skill. A ballad
recounting the incidents of the fight and, as ballads go, not badly
composed, had a wonderful vogue, and was sung at fair and market and
other meeting place within the memory of men who are not now more
than middle-aged.

A search in other domains of sport will be by no means barren of
results. Take running, for instance. Who has not heard of the
wondrous little Thomas Conneff from the short-grass county of
Kildare? Who does not know of his brilliant performances on the
track? We in Ireland, who had seen him defeat Carter, the great
Canadian, over the four-mile course at Ballsbridge one summer's eve
now nearly twenty golden years ago, knew his worth before he crossed
the broad Atlantic to show to thousands of admiring spectators in
America that Ireland was the breeder of fleet-footed sons, who lacked
neither the courage, nor the thews and sinews, nor the staying power,
to carry them at high speed over any distance of ground. May the
earth lie light on Conneff, for in a small body he had a great heart!
Then there was the mighty runner, James J. Daly, a true hero from
Galway, the idol of the crowd in his native land as well as in the
United States. Daly was the champion long distance cross-country
runner of his day at home, and he showed before various nationalities
in the Greater Ireland beyond the seas that he could successfully
compete with the best from all countries.

In high jumping, Patrick Davin, P. Leahy, and Peter O'Connor were for
long in the foremost rank; Daniel Ahearne was famous for his
hop-step-and-jump performance; Maurice Davin, Matthew McGrath, and
Patrick Ryan have, each in his own day, thrown the 16-pound hammer to
record distance; in shot-putting there are Sheridan, Horgan, John
Flanagan, and others bearing true Irish names, who are right in
front; and before their time we had a redoubted champion in W.J.M.
Barry. All previous performances in the shot-putting line have,
however, been recently eclipsed by Patrick J. McDonald, of the
Irish-American Club, who at Celtic Park, Long Island, on May 30,
1914, made a new world's record by putting the 18-pound shot 46 feet
2-3/4 inches. The climax of achievement was reached when T.F. Kiely
won the all-round championship of the world at New York. The
distinguished part taken by Irishmen or sons of Irishmen in all
departments of the Olympic games is so recent and so well known as to
call for no comment. Ireland is far indeed from being degenerate in
her athletes.

In international strife with England, Scotland, Wales, and France at
Rugby football, Ireland has likewise won her spurs. She has never
been beaten by the representatives of Gaul; and though for long
enough she had invariably to succumb in competition with the other
three countries, such is not the case nowadays, nor has it been for
many years past. The Irish team has ever to be reckoned with. In
Association football, too, Ireland is coming into her own. This
branch of the game has developed enormously within a comparatively
few seasons. The people flock in their thousands to witness matches
for the principal league contests or cup ties. But the greatest
crowds of all go to see Gaelic football, the national game; and to
hurling, also distinctively Irish, they foregather in serried masses.
Since the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded both football and
hurling have prospered exceedingly. They are essentially popular
forms of sport, and the muscular manhood of city and country finds in
them a natural outlet for their characteristic Celtic vigor. The
Gaelic Association has fostered and developed these sports, and has
organized them on so sound a basis that interest in them is not
confined to any particular district but spreads throughout the length
and breadth of Ireland.

When the America Cup was to be challenged for, into the breach
stepped the Earl of Dunraven and flung his gage to the holders of the
trophy. This distinguished Irish nobleman furnished a contender in
his Valkyrie II. in the fall of 1893, and his patriotic spirit in
doing so stirred the sport-loving Irish nation to the greatest
enthusiasm. His lordship was not successful, but he was not
disheartened. He tried again with Valkyrie III., but again he was
only second best, for, though his yacht sailed to victory in home
waters, she proved unequal to the task of lifting the cup. No
Englishman was prepared to tempt fortune, but not so that sterling
Irishman, Sir Thomas Lipton, who, win or lose, would not have it laid
to the charge of Ireland that an attempt should not be made. His
Shamrock, Shamrock II., and Shamrock III.--surely a deep sense of
patriotism prompted nomenclature such as that--each in succession
went down to defeat; but Sir Thomas has not done yet. Like King
Bruce, he is going to try again, and Shamrock IV. is to do battle
with the best that America can range against her. All honor to Lord
Dunraven and to Sir Thomas Lipton for their persistent efforts to
engage in generous rivalry with the yachtsmen across the sea.

Lawn-tennis, cricket, and golf we play, and play well; to rowing many
of us are enthusiastically devoted; and at handball our young
men--and some not so young--are signally expert. The champion
handball player has always been of Irish blood. Baseball we
invented--and called it rounders. It is significant that the great
American ball game is still played according to a code which is
scarcely modified from that which may be seen in force any summer day
on an Irish school field or village green. Perhaps something of
hereditary instinct is to be traced in the fact that many of the best
exponents of American baseball are the bearers of fine old Irish

This brief and cursory review of Ireland at Play must now conclude.
It is scarcely more than a glossary, and not a complete one at that.
It may, however, serve to show that Ireland's record in sport, like
her record in so many other things set forth in this book, is great
and glorious enough to warrant the insertion of this short chapter
among those which tell of old achievements and feats of high emprize.


Racing--Irish Racing Calendar: 1790-1914, 124 vols. (Dublin, Brindley
and Son); The Racing Calendar: 1774-1914 (London, Weatherby and
Sons). Breeding--The General Stud Book: 1908-1913, 22 vols. (London,
Weatherby and Sons). Racing and Breeding Generally--Cox: Notes on the
History of the Irish Horse (Dublin, 1897). Boxing and
Athletics--Files of _Sport_ and _Freeman's Journal_.



_President, American Irish Historical Society_.


"War was the ruling passion of this people," says MacGeoghegan,
meaning the Milesians who were the latest of the peoples that overran
ancient Ireland up to the coming of Christ. How many races had
preceded them remains an enigma of history not profitable to examine
here, but whoever they were, or in what succession they arrived, they
must, like all migrating people, have been prepared to establish
themselves at the point of the spear and the edge of the sword. Two
races certainly were mingled in the ancient Irish, the fair or auburn
haired with blue eyes, and the dark haired with eyes of gray or
brown. The Milesians appear to have reached Ireland through Spain.
They came swiftly to power, more than a thousand years before our
Lord, and divided the country into four provinces or kingdoms, with
an _ard-ri_, or high-king, ruling all in a loose way as to service,
taxes, and allegiance. The economic life was almost entirely
pastoral. Riches were counted in herds of cattle. "Robustness of
frame, vehemence of passion, elevated imagination," Dr. Leland says,
signalized this people. Robust, they became athletic and vigorous and
excelled in the use of deadly weapons; passionate, they easily went
from litigation to blows; imaginative, they leaned toward poetry and
song and were strong for whatever religion they practised. The latter
was a polytheism brought close to the people through the Druids. Some
stone weapons were doubtless still used; they had also brazen or
bronze swords, and spears, axes, and maces of various alloys of
copper and tin. Socially they remained tribal. Heads of tribes were
petty kings, each with his stronghold of a primitive character, each
with his tribal warriors, bards, harpers, and druids, and the whole
male population more or less ready to take part in war.

The great heroes whose names have come down to us, such as Finn, son
of Cumhal, and Cuchulainn, were reared in a school of arms. Bravery
was the sign of true manhood. A law of chivalry moderated the excess
of combat. A trained militia, the Fianna, gave character to an era;
the Knights of the Red Branch were the distinguishing order of
chevaliers. The songs of the bards were songs of battle; the great
Irish epic of antiquity was the_ Tain Bo Cualnge_, or Cooley
Cattle-raid, and it is full of combats and feats of strength and
prowess. High character meant high pride, always ready to give
account of itself and strike for its ideals: "Irritable and bold", as
one historian has it. They were jealous and quick to anger, but
light-hearted laughter came easily to the lips of the ancient Irish.
They worked cheerfully, prayed fervently to their gods, loved their
women and children devotedly, clung passionately to their clan, and
fought at the call with alacrity.

Nothing, it will be seen, could be further from the minds of such a
people than submission to what they deemed injustice. The habit of a
proud freedom was ingrained. Their little island of 32,000 square
miles in the Atlantic Ocean, the outpost of Europe, lay isolated save
for occasional forays to and from the coasts of Scotland and England.
The Roman invasions of western Europe never reached it. England the
Romans overran, but never Scotland or Ireland. Self-contained,
Ireland developed a civilization peculiarly its own, the product of
an intense, imaginative, fighting race. War was not constant among
them by any means, and occupied only small portions of the island at
a time, but, since the bards' best work was war songs and war
histories, with much braggadocio doubtless intermixed, a different
impression might prevail. Half of their kings may have been killed in
broil or battle, and yet great wars were few. If is undoubted that
Scotic, that is, Irish, invasion and immigration peopled the western
shores of Scotland and gave a name to the country. In the first
centuries of the Christian era they were the men who with the Picts
fought the Romans at the wall of Severus. The Britons, it will be
remembered, enervated by Roman dominance, had failed to defend their
"border" when Rome first withdrew her legions.

At this time, too, began the first appearance of Ireland as a power
on the sea. In the fourth century the high-king, Niall of the
Hostages, commanding a large fleet of war galleys, invaded Scotland,
ravaged the English coasts, and conquered Armorica (Brittany),
penetrating as far as the banks of the Loire, where, according to the
legend, he was slain by an arrow shot by one of his own men. One of
the captives he brought from abroad on one of his early expeditions
was a youth named Patrick, afterwards to be the Apostle of Ireland.
Niall's nephew, Dathi, also ard-ri, was a great sea king. He invaded
England, crossed to Gaul, and marched as far as the Alps, where he
was killed by lightning. He was the last pagan king of Ireland. In
perhaps a score of years after the death of Dathi, all Ireland had
been converted to Christianity, and its old religion of a thousand
years buried so deep that scholars find the greatest difficulty in
recovering anything about it. This conservative, obstinate, jealous
people overturned its pagan altars in a night, and, ever since, has
never put into anything else the devotion, soul and body, of its
sacrifices for religion. Christianity profoundly modified Irish life,
softened manners, and stimulated learning. Not that the fighting
propensities were obliterated. There were indeed many long and
peaceful reigns, but the historians record neat little wars,
seductive forays and "hostings", to use the new-old word, to the
heart's content. The Irish character remained fixed in its
essentials, but, under the influence of religious enthusiasm, Ireland
progressed and prospered in the arts of peace. It would undoubtedly
have shared the full progress of western Europe from this time on,
but for its insularity. Hitherto its protection, it was now to be its
downfall. A hostile power was growing of which it knew nothing.

The Norsemen--the hardy vikings of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark--had
become a nation of pirates. Undaunted fighters and able mariners,
they built their shapely long ships and galleys of the northern pine
and oak, and swept hardily down on the coasts of England, Ireland,
France, Spain, and Italy, and the lands of the Levant, surprising,
massacring, plundering. In France (Normandy), in England, and lastly
in Ireland they planted colonies. Their greatest success was in
England, which they conquered, Canute becoming king. Their greatest
battles and final defeat were in Ireland. From the end of the eighth
century to the beginning of the eleventh the four shores of Erin were
attacked in turn, and sometimes all together, by successive fleets of
the Norsemen. The waters that had been Ireland's protection now
became the high roads of the invaders. By the river Shannon they
pushed their conquests into the heart of the country. Dublin Bay,
Waterford Harbor, Belfast Lough, and the Cove of Cork offered shelter
to their vessels. They established themselves in Dublin and raided
the country around. Churches and monasteries were sacked and burned.
To the end these Norsemen were robbers rather than settlers. To these
onslaughts by the myriad wasps of the northern seas, again and again
renewed, the Irish responded manfully. In 812 they drove off the
invaders with great slaughter, only to find fresh hordes descending a
year or two later. In the tenth century, Turgesius, the Danish
leader, called himself monarch of Ireland, but he was driven out by
the Irish king, Malachi. The great effort which really broke the
Danish power forever in Ireland was at the battle of Clontarf, on
Dublin Bay, Good Friday, 1014, when King Brian Boru, at the head of
30,000 men, utterly defeated the Danes of Dublin and the Danes of
oversea. Fragments of the Northmen remained all over Ireland, but
henceforth they gradually merged with the Irish people, adding a
notable element to it's blood. One of the most grievous chapters of
Irish history, the period of Norse invasion, literally shines with
Irish valor and tenacity, undimmed through six fighting generations.
As Plowden says:

"Ireland stands conspicuous among the nations of the universe, a
solitary instance in which neither the destructive hand of time, nor
the devastating arm of oppression, nor the widest variety of changes
in the political system of government could alter or subdue, much
less wholly extinguish, the national genius, spirit, and character of
its inhabitants." This is true not only of the Danish wars which
ended nine hundred years ago, but of many a dreadful century since
and to this very day.

Now followed a troubled period, Ireland weakened by loss of blood and
treasure, its government failing of authority through the defects of
its virtues. It was inevitable, sooner or later, that England, as it
became consolidated after its conquest by William the Norman, should
turn greedy eyes on the fair land across the Irish sea. It was in
1169 that "Strongbow"--Richard, earl of Pembroke--came from England
at the invitation of a discontented Irish chieftain and began the
conquest of Ireland. Three years later came Henry II. with more
troops and a Papal bull. After a campaign in Leinster, he set himself
up as overlord of Ireland, and then returned to London. It was the
beginning only. An English Lord Deputy ruled the "Pale", or portion
of Ireland that England held more or less securely, and from that
vantage ground made spasmodic war upon the rest of Ireland, and was
forever warred on, in large attacks and small, by Irish chieftains.

The Irish were the fighting race now if ever. Without hope of outside
assistance, facing a foe ever reinforced from a stronger, richer,
more fully organized country, nothing but their stubborn character
and their fighting genius kept them in the field. And century out and
century in, they stayed, holding back the foreign foe four hundred
years. It is worthy of note that it was the Norman English, racial
cousins, as it were, of the Norsemen, who first wrought at the
English conquest of Ireland. When some of these were seated in Irish
places of pride, when a Butler was made Earl of Ormond and a
Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, it was soon seen that they were merging
rapidly in the Irish mass, becoming, as it was said, "more Irish than
the Irish themselves." Many were the individual heroic efforts to
strike down the English power. Here and there small Irish chiefs
accepted the English rule, offsetting the Norman Irish families who
at times were "loyal" and at times "rebel." The state of war became
continuous and internecine, but three-fourths of Ireland remained
unconquered. The idea of a united Ireland against England had,
however, been lost except in a few exalted and a few desperate
breasts. A gleam of hope came in 1316, when, two years after the
great defeat of England by the Scotch under Robert the Bruce at
Bannockburn, Edward, the victor-king's brother, came at the
invitation of the northern Irish to Ireland with 6,000 Scots, landing
near Carrickfergus. He was proclaimed king of Ireland by the Irish
who joined him. Battle after battle was won by the allies. Edward was
a brilliant soldier, lacking, however, the prudence of his great
brother, Robert. The story of his two years of fighting, ravaging,
and slaying, is hard at this distance to reconcile with intelligible
strategy. In the end, in 1318, the gallant Scot fell in battle near
Dundalk, losing at the same time two-thirds of his army. For two
years Scot and Irish had fought victoriously side by side. That is
the fact of moment that comes out of this dark period.

The following century, like that which had gone before, was full of
fighting. In 1399, on Richard II.'s second visit to Ireland, he met
fierce opposition from the Irish septs. MacMorrough, fighting,
harassing the king's army from the shelter of the Wicklow woods,
fairly drove the king to Dublin. The sanguinary "Wars of the
Roses"--that thirty years' struggle for the crown of England between
the royal houses of York and Lancaster, 1455 to 1485--gave Ireland a
long opportunity, which, however, she was too weak to turn to
advantage; but fighting between Irish and English went on just the
same, now in one province, now in another.

In the reign of Henry VIII. a revolt against England started within
the Pale itself, when Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, known as Silken Thomas,
went before the Council in Dublin and publicly renounced his
allegiance. He took the field--a brave, striking figure--in protest
against the king's bad faith in dealing with his father, the Earl of
Kildare. At one time it looked as if the rebellion (it was the first
real Irish rebellion) would prosper. Lord Thomas made combinations
with Irish chieftains in the north and west, and was victor in
several engagements. He finally surrendered with assurances of
pardon, but, as in many similar cases, was treacherously sent a
prisoner to London, where he was executed.

Queen Mary's reign was one of comparative quiet in Ireland. Her
policy towards the Catholics was held to be of good augury for
Ireland. The English garrison was reduced with impunity to 500 foot
and a few horse: but another and darker day came with Elizabeth. Her
coming to the throne, together with her fanatic devotion to the
Reformation and an equal hatred of the old religion and all who clung
to it, ushered in for Ireland two and a half centuries of almost
unbroken misfortune. You cannot make people over. Some may take their
opinions with their interest; others prefer to die rather than
surrender theirs, and glory in the sacrifice. The proclamations of
Elizabeth had no persuasion in them for the Irish. Her proscriptions
were only another English sword at Ireland's throat. The disdain of
the Irish maddened her. During her long reign one campaign after
another was launched against them. Always fresh soldier hordes came
pouring in under able commanders and marched forth from the Pale,
generally to return shattered and worn down by constant harrying,
sometimes utterly defeated with great slaughter. So of Henry Sidney's
campaign, and so of the ill-fated Essex. Ulster, the stronghold of
the O'Neills and the O'Donnells, remained unconquered down to the
last years of Elizabeth's reign, although most of the greater battles
were fought there. In Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, and "Red" Hugh
O'Donnell, prince of Tyrconnell, Ireland had two really great
soldiers on her side. The bravery, generalship, prudence, and
strategy of O'Neill were worthy of all praise, and Red Hugh fell
little short of his great compatriot. In battle after battle for
twenty years they defeated the English with slaughter. Ireland, if
more and more devastated by campaigns and forays, became the grave of
tens of thousands of English soldiers and scores of high reputations.
Writing from Cork, the Earl of Essex, after a disastrous march
through Leinster and Munster, says:

"I am confined in Cork ... but still I have been unsuccessful; my
undertakings have been attended with misfortune.... The Irish are
stronger and handle their arms with more skill than our people; they
differ from us also in point of discipline. They likewise avoid
pitched battles where order must be observed, and prefer skirmishes
and petty warfare ... and are obstinately opposed to the English

They did not like attacking or defending fortified places, he also
believed. It was only his experience. The campaigns of Shane O'Neill,
a bold but ill-balanced warrior, were full of such attacks, but one
potent cause for Irish reluctance to make sieges a strong point of
their strategy was that the strongest fortresses were on the sea. An
inexhaustible, powerful enemy who held the sea was not in the end to
be denied on sea or land, but the Irish in stubborn despair or
supreme indifference to fate fought on. Religious rancor was added to
racial hate. Most of the English settlers, or "garrison," as they
came to be called, had become Protestants at the royal order. Ruin
perched upon Ireland's hills and made a wilderness of her fertile
valleys. The Irish chieftains with their faithful followers moved
from place to place in woods and hollows of the hills. English
colonists were settled on confiscated lands, and were harried by
those who had been driven from their homes. It was war among graves.
At last O'Neill made composition with the government when all was
lost in the field, but the passionate Irish resolve never to submit
still stalked like a ghost, as if it could not perish.

When Elizabeth died it was thought that better things were coming to
Ireland with James I., the son of Mary, Queen of Scots. Nothing of
the kind. That curiously minded creature at once made an ingenuous

"Whereas his Majesty was informed that his subjects of Ireland had
been deceived by _a false report that his Majesty was disposed to
allow them liberty of conscience_ and the free choice of religion,
now, etc." Fresh "transplanting" of English and Scotch settlers on
the lands of the Irish was the gist of his answer to the "false
reports." So again the war of surprise, ambush, raid, and foray went
on in a hundred places at once, but the result was that the English
power was even more firmly seated than before.

In the time of Charles I. there were terrible slaughters both of
Protestants and Catholics. Patriotism and loyalty as moving causes
had disappeared, but religion fiercely took their place. With
Cromwell, the religious persecution took on an apocalyptic note of
massacre, but the Irish were still showing that they were there with
arms in their hands. The names of Owen Roe O'Neill and his splendid
victory, in 1646, at Benburb over the English and Scotch, where he
slew more than 3,000 men, and of another Hugh O'Neill, who made such
a brilliant defense at Clonmel against Cromwell, shine brightly out
of the darkness. But Ireland, parcelled out among the victors, was
always the weaker after every campaign. Waves of war swept over her.
She became mixed up in the rivalries of the English royal families,
religion playing the most important part in the differences. It had
armed Henry and Elizabeth, James and Charles against her. It gave
edge to Cromwell's sword, and it led her into a great effort on
behalf of James II. When William of Orange crossed the Boyne, all
that followed for a century was symbolized. Athlone, Aughrim,
Limerick, all places of great and fierce contests, were decided
against her. French support of a kind had James, but not enough.
Bravery and enthusiasm may win battles, but they do not carry through
great campaigns. Once again God marched with the heaviest, best-fed,
best-armed battalions. The great Tyrone dying in exile at Rome, Red
Hugh O'Donnell perishing in Spain in the early days of the
seventeenth century, were to prefigure the fighting and dying of half
a million Irish warriors on continental soil for a hundred years
after the fall of Limerick as the seventeenth century neared its

During that period the scattered bands of the Rapparees, half
patriots, half robbers, hiding in mountain fastnesses, dispersing,
reassembling, descending on the English estates for rapine or the
killing of "objectionables," represented the only armed resistance of
the Irish. It was generally futile although picturesque.

After the close of the Revolutionary War in America, Ireland received
a new stimulation. The success of the patriots of the Irish
parliament under Grattan, backed as they were by 100,000 volunteers
and 130 pieces of cannon, in freeing Irish industry and commerce from
their trammels, evoked the utmost malignity in England. Ireland
almost at once sprang to prosperity, but it was destined to be short
lived. A great conspiracy, which did not at first show above the
surface, was set on foot to destroy the Irish parliament. This is not
the place to follow the sinister machinations of the English, save to
note that they forced both the Presbyterians and the Catholics of the
north into preparations for revolt. The Society of United Irishmen
was formed, and drew many of the brightest and most cultivated men in
Ireland into its councils. It numbered over 70,000 adherents in
Ulster alone. The government was alarmed, and began a systematic
persecution of the peasantry all over Ireland. English regiments were
put at "free quarters," that is, they forced themselves under order
into the houses and cabins of the people with demands for bed and
board. The hapless people were driven to fury. Brutal murders and
barbarous tortures of men and women by the soldiers, savage revenges
by the peasantry, and every form of violent crime all at once
prevailed in the lately peaceful valleys. Prosecutions of United
Irishmen and executions were many. It was all done deliberately to
provoke revolt. In 1798 the revolt came. In the greater part of
Ulster and Munster the uprising failed, but a great insurrection of
the peasantry of Wexford shocked the country. Poorly armed, utterly
undisciplined, without munitions of war, but 40,000 strong, they
literally flung themselves pike in hand on the English regiments,
sweeping everything before them for a time. Father John Murphy, a
priest and patriot, was one of their leaders, but Beauchamp Bagenal
Harvey was soon their commander-in-chief. At one time the "rebels"
dominated the entire county save for a fort in the harbor and a small
town or two, but it was natural that the commissariat should soon be
in difficulties and their ammunition give out. The British general,
Lake, with an army of 20,000 men and a moving column of 13,000,
attacked the rebels on Vinegar Hill, and although the fight was
heroic and bloody while it lasted, it was soon over and the British
army was victorious. The rest was retreat, dispersal, and widespread
cruelties and burnings and a long succession of murders. The "Boys of
Wexford" funder great difficulties had given a great account of
themselves. Dark as was that page of history, it has been a glowing
lamp to Irish disaffection ever since. It is the soul of the effort
that counts, and the disasters do not discredit '98 in Irish eyes.

Voltaire, in his _Century of Louis XIV._, made his reflection on the
Irish soldier out of his limited knowledge of the Williamite war in
Ireland. He says, "The Irish, whom we have seen such good soldiers in
France and Spain, have always fought poorly at home"! They had not
fought poorly at home. It took four hundred years of English effort
to complete, merely on its face, the conquest of Ireland, and all of
that long sweep of the sword of Time was a time of battle. The Irish
were fought with every appliance of war, backed by the riches of a
prospering, strongly organized country, and impelled persistently by
the greed of land and love of mastery; but there was not a mountain
pass in Ireland, not a square mile of plain, not a river-ford, scarce
a hill that had not been piled high with English dead in that four
hundred years at the hands of the Irish wielders of sword and spear
and pike.

The Irish had not made their environment or their natures, and no
power on earth could change them. Over greater England had swept the
Romans, the Jutes, the Saxons, the Angles, the Norsemen, and the
Normans. All found lodgment and all went to the making of England.
Well, one might say, it had been for Ireland if she had developed
that assimilating power which made her successive conquerors in
process of time the feeders of her greatness, but the Irish would not
and could not. Instead, they developed the pride of race that no
momentary defeat could down. They became inured to battle and dreamt
of battle when the peace of an hour was given them. When the four
kings of Ireland were feasted in Dublin by King Richard II. of
England, an English chronicler remarked, "Never were men of ruder
manners"; but neither the silken array and golden glitter of
Richard's peripatetic court nor the brave display of his thousand
knights and thirty thousand archers filled them with longing for the
one or fear of the other. They went back to their Irish hills and
plains and fastnesses as obstinately Irish as ever.

They fought well at home, if unfortunately, the wonder being that
they continued to fight. The heavens and the earth seemed combined
against them.


We next see Irish soldiers fighting abroad. The blood they had shed
so freely for the Stuarts at the Boyne, at Athlone, at Aughrim, at
Limerick was in vain. The king of France, if he sent armies to
Ireland, demanded Irish troops in return. The transports that brought
the French regiments over in May, 1690, took back over five thousand
officers and men from Ireland, who formed the first Irish Brigade in
the service of France. This, remember, was before the battle of the
Boyne. The men were formed on their arrival in France into three
regiments, those of Mountcashel, O'Brien, and Dillon, named after
their commanders, and were sent to Savoy. The French aid to James in
Ireland helped best in giving confidence to the raw Irish levies, but
it was more than offset by the German troops brought over by William.
The weakness, indecision, or worse, of James before Derry, his
chicken-hearted failure to overwhelm Schomberg when he lay at his
mercy before the arrival of William, ruined his chances. Remember
that the Irish army, if defeated at the Boyne, was not broken, and
was strong enough, when pursued by William, to repulse him with 500
killed and 1,000 wounded and to compel him to raise the siege of
Limerick. The dash and skill of Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan,
backed by Irish desperation, won the day. The French troops sailed
home after William's retreat. In the next year's campaign occurred
the crowning disasters of the war, but in any other country or with
any other people than the English the terms of capitulation at
Limerick, which were formulated by Ginkel and showed a soldier's
respect for a brave and still powerful foe, would have ushered in an
era of peace.

The Irish soldiers' distrust of the conquerors was shown in the fact
that, since the stipulations allowed the free departure of the
garrison with honors of war, 19,059 officers and men took service
with France, and sailed in October, 1691, on the French fleet, which
by the irony of fate had arrived in the Shannon too late, on the very
day after the signing of the treaty of Limerick. Never in the whole
course of the history of nations has more hideous treachery been
shown than in the immediate breaking of that treaty; and dearly has
England paid for it ever since, although, for the hundred years that
followed, Ireland sank to the very depths under the penal laws, with
her trade ruined, her lands stolen, her religion persecuted, and all
education and enlightenment forbidden by abominable, drastic laws.

If, as has been computed, 450,000 Irish fought and died in the
service of France between 1690 and 1745, a further 30,000 are to be
added down to 1793. A French writer estimates the whole Irish
contingent at 750,000, but, for a roster of seekers of glory from an
impoverished people, the more reasonable half-million should surely

Long would be the story to follow the fighting fortunes of the Irish
Brigades. Officered by Irish gentlemen and drilled to perfection,
they soon came to hold in the French service the esteem that later
was given to Irish regiments in the service of England. King Louis
welcomed them heartily and paid them a higher wage than his native
soldiers. No duty was too arduous or too dangerous for the Irish
Brigades. Seldom were they left to rust in idleness. Europe was a
caldron of wars of high ambitions.

The Irish regiments fought through the war in Flanders. At Landen,
July 29, 1693, the French under the duke of Luxembourg defeated the
English under William III. with a slaughter of 10,473 men, losing
8,000 men themselves. In the retreat, Ginkel, William's general in
the Irish campaign, was almost drowned in the river Greete. The Irish
Royal Regiment of Footguards, that of Dorrington, was the first corps
to break through the English intrenchments, its gallant leader,
Colonel Barrett, falling as he headed the charge. Here also was
stricken Lieutenant-Colonel Nugent of Sheldon's Irish Regiment. Here
also fell--saddest loss of all--Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan,
brave, resourceful, a true unfaltering-soldier and lover of his
country. The legend of his life blood flowing before his eyes and his
utterance, "Would it had been shed for Ireland", may and should be
true, although he lived three days after the battle. Would, indeed,
it had been shed for Ireland--after such a day!

It was in 1703 that the celebrated defence of Cremona lifted Irish
renown to great heights throughout Europe. There were but 600 Irish
troopers all told in that long day's work, and from the break of day
till nightfall they held at bay Prince Eugene's army of 10,000 men.
The two battalions of Bourke and Dillon were surprised at early morn
to learn that the Austrians--and there were Irish officers among
them--were in the town. Major O'Mahony and his men ran from their
beds to the gates, and neither the foes without nor the foes within
could make them budge. Terribly they suffered under concentrated
attacks, but a withering fire from the Irish met every assault. It
was nightfall before relief came, and then the sons of Ireland who
had held Cremona for the French were acclaimed by all, but of their
600 they had lost nearly 350. Small wonder that the honor list that
day was long. In Bourke's battalion the specially distinguished were
Captains Wauchop, Plunkett, Donnellan, MacAuliffe, Carrin, Power,
Nugent, and Ivers; in Dillon's, Major O'Mahony, Captains Dillon,
Lynch, MacDonough, and Magee, and Lieutenants Dillon and Gibbon, John
Bourke and Thomas Dillon. Major O'Mahony was sent to Paris to carry
the news of the victory to the king, who presented him with a purse
of 1,000 louis d'or, a pension of 1,000 livres, and the brevet of

So the history proceeds, the Irish regiments lost in the array of the
French forces, but showing here and there a glint of charging
bayonets, captured trenches, and gushes of Irish blood. In 1703 the
brigade regiments fought in Italy and Germany under the Duc de
Vendome. We hear of the regiments of Berwick, Bourke, Dillon, Galmoy,
and Fitzgerald vigorously engaged. In Germany the story is of
Sheldon's Horse and two battalions of the regiments of Dorrington and
Clare. At the first battle of Blenheim, September 20, 1703, the
regiment of Clare lost one of its colors, rallied, charged with the
bayonet and recovered it, taking two colors from the enemy. This was
a French victory. Not so the great battle of Blenheim, August, 1704,
when Marlborough and Prince Eugene severely defeated the French and
Bavarians. Three Irish battalions shared in the disaster. In 1705 at
Cassano in Italy an Irish regiment, finding itself badly galled by
artillery fire from the opposite bank of the Adda, declared they
could stand it no longer, and thereupon jumped in, swam the river,
and captured the battery. In 1705 Colonel O'Mahony of Cremona fame
distinguished himself in Spain. In the next year at the battle of
Ramillies, in which Marlborough with the Dutch defeated the French
under Villeroi, Lord Clare's regiment captured the colors of the
English Churchill regiment and of the Scottish regiment in the Dutch
service. In the same year and the next, the Irish Brigade fought many
battles in Spain. One cannot pursue the details of the engagements.
Regiments ever decimated were ever recruited by the "Wild Geese" from
Ireland--the adventurous Catholic youth of the country who sought
congenial outlet for their love of adventure and glory. Many Irish
also joined the French army after deserting from the English forces
in Flanders.

It was, however, at Fontenoy, May 11, 1745, that the Irish Brigade
rendered their most signal service to France. The English under the
Duke of Cumberland, son of George II., with 55,000 men including a
large German and Dutch auxiliary, met the French under Marshal Saxe,
and in the presence of the French king Louis XV., near Tournai in
Belgium. Saxe had 40,000 men in action and 24,000 around Tournai,
which town was the objective of the English advance. Among the troops
on the field were the six Irish regiments of Clare, Dillon, Bulkeley,
Roth, Berwick, and Lally, all under Charles O'Brien, Viscount Clare,
afterwards Marshal Thomond of France. After fierce cannonading on
both sides and a check to the allies on their right and left, a great
column of English veterans advanced on the French centre, breaking
through with sheer force. They had thus reached high ground when some
cannonading halted them. It was at this moment of gravest peril to
the French that the Irish regiments with unshotted guns charged
headlong up the slope on their ancient enemies, crying, "Remember
Limerick and British Faith!" The great English column, already
roughly handled by the cannon, broke and fled in wild disorder before
that irresistible onslaught, and France had won a priceless victory,
but the six Irish regiments lost one-third of their gallant men by a
single volley as they followed their steel into the English lines.

When Charles Edward, the Stuart Pretender, landed in Scotland in
1745, he was followed by a small French force, including 500 Irishmen
from the Brigade. Colonel John O'Sullivan was much relied on by the
prince in his extraordinary campaign. Sir Thomas Sheridan also
distinguished himself. There were 475 Irish at the battle of
Culloden, that foredoomed defeat of the Stuart cause, and two days
later a score of Irish officers were among those who surrendered at

In Spain at the beginning of the 18th century there were hundreds of
Irish officers in the military service, and eight Irish regiments.
Among the officers were thirteen Kellys, thirteen Burkes, and four
Sheas. It seemed that Ireland had soldiers for the world. Don
Patricio, Don Miguel, Don Carlos, Don Tadeo took the place of
Patrick, Michael, Charles, and Thadeus. O'Hart gives a list of sixty
descendants of the "Wild Geese" in places of honor in Spain. General
Prim was a descendant of the Princes of Inisnage in Kilkenny. An
O'Donnell was Duke of Tetuan and field marshal of Spain. Ambrose
O'Higgins, born in county Meath, Ireland, was the foremost Spanish
soldier in Chile and Peru; Admiral Patricio Lynch was one of its most
distinguished sailors; and James McKenna its greatest military
engineer. The son of O'Higgins was foremost among those who fought
for Chilean independence and gained it, and one of his ablest
lieutenants was Colonel Charles Patrick O'Madden of Maryland.

In Austria the Irish soldiers were particularly welcome. They count
forty-one field-marshals, major-generals, generals of cavalry, and
masters of ordnance of Irish birth in the Austrian service.
O'Callaghan relates that on March 17, 1766, His Excellency Count
Mahony (son of the O'Mahony of Cremona), ambassador from Spain to the
court of Vienna, gave a grand entertainment in honor of St. Patrick,
to which he invited all persons of condition who were of Irish
descent. Among many others, there were present Count Lacy, President
of the Council at War, the generals O'Donnell, McGuire, O'Kelly,
Browne, Plunkett, and MacElligot, four chiefs of the Grand Cross, two
governors, several knights military, six staff officers, and four
privy councillors, with the principal officers of State. All wore
Patrick's crosses in honor of the Irish nation, as did the whole
court that day. Emperor Francis I. said: "The more Irish officers in
the Austrian service the better; bravery will not be wanting; our
troops will always be well disciplined." The Austrian O'Reillys and
Taaffes were famous. It was the dragoon regiment of Count O'Reilly
that by a splendid charge saved the remnant of the Austrian army at

In the American war of the Revolution, General Charles Geoghegan of
the Irish Brigade made the campaigns of Rochambeau and Lafayette. He
received the order of the Cincinnati from Washington and was ever
proud of it. Lieutenant General O'Moran also served in America. He
was afterwards executed in the French Revolution, for the "Brigade"
remained royalist to the end. General Arthur Dillon, who served in
the Brigade, was also guillotined in 1794, crying, "_Vive le roi!_"
At the foot of the scaffold a woman, probably Mme. Hebert, also
condemned, stood beside him. The executioner told her to mount the
steps. "Oh, Monsieur Dillon," she said, "pray go first." "Anything to
oblige a lady," he answered gaily, and so faced his God.

Lord Macaulay, commenting upon these things and deploring the
policies that brought them about, says with great significance:

"There were Irish Catholics of great ability, but they were to be
found everywhere except in Ireland--at Versailles, at St. Ildefonso,
in the armies of Frederic, in the armies of Maria Theresa. One exile
(Lord Clare) became a marshal of France, another (General Wall)
became Prime Minister of Spain.... Scattered all over Europe were to
be found brave Irish generals, dexterous Irish diplomatists, Irish
counts, Irish barons, Irish knights of St. Louis and St. Leopold, of
the White Eagle, and of the Golden Fleece, who if they remained in
the house of bondage, could not have been ensigns of marching
regiments or freemen of petty corporations."

The old Irish brigades ended with the French monarchy. Battalions of
the regiments of Dillon and Walsh were with the French fleet in the
West Indies at Grenada and St. Eustache, also at Savannah, and under
Rochambeau at Yorktown, but, except as to the officers, the surviving
regiments of Berwick, Dillon, and Walsh were largely French. With the
better times under Grattan's Parliament in Ireland, the soldier
emigration to France had all but ceased. The Irish Volunteers of 1782
numbered 100,000 men, of whom an appreciable proportion were
Catholics. Many Irish went into the English army and navy, but there
was another stream of fighting emigrants, that which flocked to the
standard of revolt against England in America, of which much was to
be heard thereafter.

In the American colonies before the Revolution there were thousands
of descendants of the Catholic Irish who had settled in Maryland and
Pennsylvania during the seventeenth century, as well as hardy Irish
Presbyterians from Ulster, who came in great multitudes during the
first half of the eighteenth century. They had suffered persecution
in Ireland for conscience sake from their fellow-Protestants. In
Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas
they constituted entire communities. The emigration of the Catholic
or purely Celtic Irish to America in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries was often compulsory. At any rate, after the middle of the
eighteenth century it was large and became continuous--a true drift.
Catholics and Presbyterians alike brought hostility to the English
government with them, and their voices fed the storm of discontent.
The Irish schoolmasters, of whom there were hundreds, were especially
efficient in this. They came in every ship to the colonies. They had
no love for England, for they had experienced in Ireland the tyranny
of English law, and they would be more than human if they did not
imbue the minds of the American children under their care with their
own hatred of oppression and wrong and English domination. The log
schoolhouse of the Irish teacher became the nursery of revolution.
They were a very important factor, therefore, in the making of the
Revolution, and many of them took an active part as soldiers in the

The Irish, both Catholics and Protestants, poured into the patriot
ranks once the standard of revolt was raised in 1775. The
Pennsylvania line, which General Lee called "the line of Ireland,"
was almost entirely Irish, and the rosters of several of the Maryland
and Virginia regiments contain a remarkably large proportion of Irish
names, in some cases running as high as 60 per cent. It is computed
that the Irish furnished not less than a third of the whole American
forces. A common cause blotted out all old religious prejudices
between Irishmen in the American service. It was John Sullivan, of
New Hampshire, son of a Limerick schoolmaster, who began the revolt
by seizing the fort of William and Mary and its storehouses filled
with that powder which charged the guns at Bunker Hill in the
following year. It was Captain Jeremiah O'Brien, with his brothers,
who made the first sea attack on the British off Machias, Maine, in
May, 1775, an engagement which Fenimore Cooper calls "the Lexington
of the Seas." There were fifteen Celtic Irish names among the Minute
Men at the Battle of Lexington. Colonel Barrett, who commanded at
Concord, was Irish. There were 258 Celtic Irish names on the rosters
of the American forces at the battle of Bunker Hill. John Sullivan
had been made a major-general, thereafter to be a notable figure in
the war at Princeton, Trenton, Newport, and in his Indian campaign.
The Connecticut line was thick with Irish names. Around Washington
himself was a circle of brilliant Irishmen: Adjutant-General Edward
Hand leading his rifles, Stephen Moylan his dragoons, General Henry
Knox and Colonel Proctor at the head of his artillery, John Dunlop
his body-guard, Andrew Lewis his brigadier-general, Ephraim Elaine
his quartermaster, all of Irish birth or ancestry. Commodore John
Barry, born in Wexford in 1739 and bred to the sea, was a ship
captain in his early twenties, trading from Philadelphia. When the
Continental Congress met, he at once volunteered, and was given
command of the _Lexington_, the first American ship to capture a
British war vessel. Later, after gallant fighting on sea and land, he
was given command of the U.S. frigate _Alliance_, in which he crossed
the Atlantic to France, and fought and captured in a rattling battle
two British warships, the _Atlanta_ and the _Trepasay_. He was the
Father of the American navy, holding captain's certificate No. 1,
signed by Washington himself--the highest rank then issued.

General Richard Montgomery, the brave and able soldier who fell at
Quebec as he charged the heights, was an Irishman. General George
Clinton, son of an Irishman, was a brigadier-general, governor of New
York and twice Vice-President of the United States. Fifty-seven
officers of New York regiments in the Revolution were Irish, and a
large number of the officers in the Southern regiments of the line,
as well as of the militia, were native Irish or of Irish descent. The
rosters of the enlisted Irishmen of the New York regiments run into
the thousands. Hundreds of Irish soldiers suffered in the prison
ships of New York, the horrors of which served so conspicuously to
stimulate American determination to carry the war to the only
rightful conclusion. Washington always recognized America's debt to
the Irish. "St. Patrick" he made the watchword in the patriot lines
the night before the English evacuated Boston forever on the
memorable 17th of March, 1776. After the war he was made, with his
own consent, an honorary member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
Major-General Richard Butler and his four brothers, all officers, and
Brigadier-Generals John Armstrong, William Irvine, William Thompson,
James Smith, and Griffith Rutherford all fought with distinction. All
of these officers were Irish-born. It was in truth an Irish war, so
far as Irish sentiment and whole-hearted service could make it. The
record of Irish soldiers' names alone would fill volumes.

The thirst of the Irish race for the glory of war is shown in the
large enlistments in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, and
since, in the English army and navy. Grattan, in pleading for
Ireland, claimed that a large percentage of the British forces were
Irish. Wolfe Tone avers that there were 210 Irishmen out of 220 in
the crew of a British frigate that overhauled his ship on its way to
America. Bonaparte had in his armies an Irish Legion that did good
service in Holland, Spain, Portugal, and Germany. Marshal Clarke,
Duke of Feltre, French Minister of War in 1809, was Irish. Up and
down the Spanish Peninsula, Irish blood was shed in abundance in the
armies of Wellington. Never was more brilliant fighting done than
that which stands to Irish credit from the lines of Torres Vedras to
Badajos and Toulouse. Of the Waterloo campaign volumes have been
written in praise of Irish valor. As Maxwell says in his _Tales of
Waterloo_:--"The victors of Marengo and Austerlitz reeled before the
charge of the Connaught Rangers." Wellington himself was Irish, as in
the later wars of England Lord Gough, Lord Wolseley, Lord Roberts,
Lord Kitchener, and General French came from Ireland. The Irish
soldiers in the English service by a pitiful irony of fate helped
materially to fasten the chains of English domination on the peoples
of India in a long series of wars.

In America, the War of 1812 once more gave opportunity to the
Fighting Race. The commanding figure of the war, which opened so
inauspiciously for the United States, was General Andrew Jackson, the
hero of the battle of New Orleans, and afterwards twice elected
President of the United States. "Old Hickory", as he came to be
lovingly called, was proud of his Irish father, and sympathized with
the national longings of the Irish people. He was a splendid soldier,
and his defeat of the English general, Pakenham, on January 8, 1815,
which meant the control of the mouths of the Mississippi, as well as
safeguarding the city of New Orleans, reflected the highest credit on
his skill and unflagging energy. The English had superior numbers,
between 8,000 and 9,000 men, against a scant 6,000 under Jackson, and
their force was made up of veterans of the European wars. In command
of the left of his line Jackson placed the gallant general William
Carroll, born in Philadelphia, but of Irish blood, who was afterwards
twice governor of Tennessee. The British general made the mistake of
despising the soldier value of his enemy, yet before evening of that
day he saw his artillery silenced and his lines broken, as he died of
a wound on the field. The battle was actually fought after the
signing of the treaty of peace at Ghent; it annihilated British
pretensions in this part of the world, anyway.

After Commodore Perry, the victor in the battle of Lake Erie, and
himself the son of an Irish mother, the northern naval glory of the
War of 1812 falls to Lieutenant Thomas MacDonough, of Irish descent,
whose victory on Lake Champlain over the British squadron was almost
as important as Perry's. Admiral Charles L. Stewart ("Old
Ironsides"), who commanded the frigate _Constitution_ when she
captured the _Cyane_ and the _Levant_, fighting them by moonlight,
was a great and renowned figure. His parents came from Ireland, and
Charles Stewart Parnell's mother was the great sea-fighter's
daughter. Lieutenant Stephen Cassin commanded the _Ticonderoga_ and
fought her well. Captain Johnston Blakely, who was born in Ireland,
captured in the _Wasp_ of 18 guns the much larger British _Reindeer_
of 20 guns and 175 men in a splendid fight, and later sank the
_Avon_, an 18-gun brig. After capturing a great prize, which he sent
to Savannah, he sailed for the Spanish main and was never heard of
more. Captain Boyle, in the privateer _Comet_ of Baltimore, fought
the _Hibernia_, of 18 guns, and later in the _Chasseur_, known as the
phantom ship, so fast she sailed, took eighty prizes on the high
seas. General A.E. Maccomb, who commanded victoriously at Plattsburg,
was of Irish descent, and Colonel Robert Carr, who distinguished
himself in the same campaign, was born in Ireland. Major George
Croghan of Kentucky, the hero of Fort Stephenson, was the son of an
Irish father who had been a soldier in the Revolution. Colonel Hugh
Brady, of the 22nd Infantry, commanded at Niagara. He remained in the
army and fought in Mexico. William McRee, of Irish descent, was
General Browne's chief engineer in laying out the military works of
the American army at Niagara.

Let it not be forgotten that in this memorable company brave Mrs.
Doyle has a place. Her husband, Patrick Doyle, an Irish artilleryman,
had been taken prisoner by the British in the affair at Queenston and
had been refused a parole. Accordingly, when the guns were trained on
the English lines before Fort Niagara, Mary, emulating the example of
her countrywoman, "Molly" Pitcher, at Monmouth, determined to take
her husband's place, and, regardless of flying British balls, tended
a blacksmith's bellows all day, providing red-hot shot for the
American gun battery, and sending a prayer with every shot into the
British lines.

After the Queenston affair, it is well to note, the English doctrine
of perpetual allegiance was abated. Twenty-three Irish-born men were
among the captives of the English in that engagement. They were
manacled to be sent to Ireland to be tried for treason, not as
enemies taken in the field. Winfield Scott, then lieutenant-colonel,
was also a prisoner with them. He protested loudly against this
infamous course. Upon his release he laid aside twenty-three British
prisoners to be treated like the Irishmen, eye for eye and tooth for
tooth. As a result, the Irish prisoners were exchanged.

Colonel John Allen, who fell at the head of the First Regiment of
Kentucky Riflemen at the battle of the river Raisin on January 21,
1813, was one of the Irish Allens of Kentucky. His father and mother
were natives of Ireland.

The Mexican War (1846-48) again showed Irish valor at the front. It
was not a great war, though brilliantly fought and rich in
territorial accessions. The campaigning comprised the work of two
main expeditions and a subsidiary movement in California. One column,
under General Zachary Taylor, penetrated northern Mexico and fought
the battles of Matamoras, Palo Alto, and Resaca de la Palma, in May,
1846, with a force of 2,200 men; forced the evacuation of Monterey in
September, his army swelled to 5,000; and defeated Santa Anna at
Buena Vista in February, 1847. General Winfield Scott, with a naval
expediton, attacked Vera Cruz from the sea in March, 1847, and took
up the march, 13,000 strong, to Mexico City, fighting the battles of
Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec,
and entered Mexico City on September 14. General James Shields, born
in Tyrone, Ireland, in 1810, was in command with his brigade under
Scott. A brilliant soldier, he was severely wounded at Cerro Gordo
and again at Chapultepec. He served as United States Senator after
the war and again took the field in the Civil War, his forces
defeating Stonewall Jackson at the first battle of Winchester in
1862. The glamour of chivalry lights the name of Phil Kearney. Here
was a born soldier. He was a volunteer with the French in Algiers in
1839-40. He also commanded under Scott with brilliant bravery, and
was brevetted major on the field for "gallant and meritorious
conduct" at the battles of Contreras and Churubusco. In the French
war with Austria in 1859-60, Kearney fought with the French,
distinguishing himself at the decisive and bloody battle of
Solferino. In the Civil War he was brigadier-general of New Jersey
troops in 1861 and major-general in 1863, taking distinguished part
in the battles of the Peninsula and second Bull Run, and was killed
while reconnoitring at Chantilly. General Stephen W. Kearney, with
the Army of the West, by dint of long marches, secured California
among the fruits of the war. General Bennet Riley, born in Maryland
of Irish ancestry, commanded a brigade at Contreras, making a
wonderful charge, and also fought brilliantly at Cerro Gordo and
Churubusco, and was brevetted brigadier-general. He attained the army
rank in 1858. Major-General William O. Butler, under Zachary Taylor,
was one of the heroes of Monterey. Born in Kentucky, son of Percival
Butler of Kilkenny, who was one of the famous five Butler brothers of
the Revolutionary War whom Washington once toasted as "The Butlers
and their five sons," General Butler succeeded General Scott in
command of the entire American army in Mexico in February, 1848.
Another of clear Irish descent who fought under Zachary Taylor was
Major-General George Croghan, whose father, born in Sligo, Ireland,
had fought in the Revolution. He himself took part, as we have seen,
in the War of 1812, and now was at the front before Monterey. Once,
when a Tennessee regiment wavered under a hot converging fire,
Croghan rushed to the front and, taking off his hat, shouted, "Men of
Tennessee, your fathers conquered with Jackson at New Orleans. Come,
follow me!" and they followed in a successful assault. Major-General
Robert Paterson, who was born at Strabane, Ireland, and was the son
of a '98 man, saw service in 1812, and became major-general of
militia in Pennsylvania, whence he went to the Mexican War. He also
lived to serve in the War of the States.

Among Irish-named officers mentioned honorably in official despatches
are Major Edward H. Fitzgerald, Major Patrick J. O'Brien; Captain
Casey, chosen to lead the first storming party at Chapultepec;
Captains Hogan, Byrne, Kane, McElvin, McGill, Burke, Barny,
O'Sullivan, McCarthy, McGarry, and McKeon. Captain Mayne Reid, the
novelist, a native of Ireland, was in the storming of Chapultepec.
Theodore O'Hara, the poet, served with the Kentucky troops and was
brevetted major for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco, while on
the staff of General Franklin Pierce (afterwards President of the
United States). O'Hara's magnificent poem, "The Bivouac of the Dead,"
has made his name immortal. It was written on the occasion of the
interment at Frankfort, Ky., of the Kentucky dead of the Mexican War,

"Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead."

Irwin C. McDowell, who was brevetted captain at Buena Vista,
commanded a corps in the Civil War. George A. McCall, brevetted
lieutenant-colonel at Palo Alto, was a major-general in the Civil
War. Francis T. Bryan was a hero of Buena Vista. Lieutenant-Colonel
Thomas P. Moore and Captain James Hogan both won fame in the 3rd
Dragoons. Lieutenant Thomas Claiborn of the Mounted Rifles became a
colonel in the Confederate Army. Lieutenant-Colonel J.W. Geary fought
brilliantly and was to be heard from later with renown.

Colonel John F. Reynolds of the 3rd Artillery lived to be
major-general in the Civil War, and to fall gloriously at Gettysburg.
Nor must we forget Major Folliot Lally's bravery at Cerro Gordo;
Second Lieutenant Thomas W. Sweeny, a brigadier-general of the Civil
War and the planner of the Fenian invasion of Canada in 1866;
Lieutenant Henry B. Kelly of the 2nd Infantry, afterwards a
Confederate colonel; Captain Martin Burke of the 1st Artillery,
killed at Churubusco; nor Lieutenant William F. Barry of the 2nd
Artillery, a brigadier-general in the Civil War. There were scores of
other Irish named officers. In the whole American force of 30,000
engaged, the Irish born and Irish descended troops of all arms were
numbered by thousands.

It was, however, in the Civil War that the flood of Irish valor and
loyalty to the American Republic was at its height. The 2,800,000
enlistments on the Northern side stood probably for 1,800,000
individual soldiers serving during the four years of the war. Not
less than 40 per cent, of these were Irish born or of Irish descent.
Of the 337,800 men furnished by the State of New York, 51,206 were
natives of Ireland out of the total of 134,178 foreign born, or 38
per cent, of the latter, while not less than 80,000 of Irish descent
figured among the 203,600 native born soldiers. Of the 2,261
engagements in the war, few there were that saw no Irishmen in arms,
and certainly, in every one of the 519 engagements that made Virginia
a great graveyard, the Irish figured largely. Of the 1,000,516
mustered out in 1865, not less than 150,000 were natives of Ireland,
while those of Irish descent numbered hundreds of thousands. They
fought well everywhere, and it would require volumes to give the
names and deeds of those who distinguished themselves more than their

One name, however, shines with a great blaze above them all, the name
of Philip H. Sheridan, one of the three supreme soldiers of the
Union, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman being the
others. Had Ireland furnished only Sheridan to the Union cause, her
service would be beyond reward. He was born in Albany, N.Y., in
March, 1831, the year after his parents, John and Mary Sheridan,
arrived there from the Co. Cavan, in Ireland. The family moved to
Somerset, Perry Co., Ohio, the following year. There Philip began
village life. How he gained the beginning of an education; worked in
a grocery store; became a bookkeeper; longed for a West Point
nomination and got it; how he worked through the Academy in 1853;
served as lieutenant on the frontier, in Texas, California, and
Oregon, until the outbreak of the Civil War, when he was promoted
captain and ordered east, can be quickly told. His history until the
fall of the Confederacy would need many long chapters. His military
genius included all the requirements of a great captain, and his
opportunties of exhibiting all his qualities in action came in rapid
succession. In every service from quartermaster to army commander his
talents shone. His tremendous vigor, incredible mental alertness, and
genius for detail, added to his skill and outreach, continually set
him forward. He stood 5 feet 5 inches high, but somehow looked
taller, owing to his erect, splendid bearing. There was something in
the full chest, the thick muscular neck, the heavy head, the dark
blazing eyes, and the quick bodily movements that arrested attention.
His name has come down to this generation mainly as a great cavalry
leader, but he was a natural commander of all arms, a great
tactician, a born strategist. His campaign of the Shenandoah Valley
was a whirlwind of success. His great battles around Richmond were
wonderful. General Grant's opinion of Sheridan, given thirteen years
after the war, sums up the man. It is here quoted from J.R. Young's
book, _Around the World with General Grant_. It runs, in part, as

"As a soldier, as a commander of troops, as a man capable of doing
all that is possible with any number of men, there is no man living
greater than Sheridan. He belongs to the very first rank of soldiers,
not only of our country but of the world. I rank Sheridan with
Napoleon and Frederick and the great commanders in history. No man
ever had such a faculty of finding things out as Sheridan, of knowing
all about the enemy. He was always the best informed of his command
as to the enemy. Then he had that magnetic quality of swaying men,
which I wish I had, a rare quality in a general. I don't think anyone
can give Sheridan too high praise."

Praise from U.S. Grant is praise indeed. A peculiar feature of the
Civil War was the growth of the generals: Grant, Sherman, Sheridan,
Thomas, Meade, all conspicuously experienced it. With Sheridan,
however, one point is notable, namely, that He triumphed in every
branch in each successive extension of the field of his duties, and
he went from captain to major-general in three years of the regular
army. His care for his men was constant. His troops were always the
best fed, best clothed, best rested in the armies en either side, but
on no troops was there more constant call for endeavor, and they were
never found to fail him. In action he is described as severe,
peremptory, dominating, but his determinations were mighty things,
not to be interfered with. He wanted things done and done at once.
His men of all grades soon conceded that he knew best what to do, and
set about doing it accordingly. Out of action he was joyous of
spirit, but, in fight or out of it, his alertness and his
lightning-like decisions marked him apart from every other commander.
His career in the Tennessee campaign was meteoric. Of his score and
more of great conflicts, the most picturesque was his wonderful
battle at Cedar Creek, to fight which he rode at breakneck speed
"from Winchester twenty miles away" through the dust and debris of a
broken army to the extreme front, rallying the scattered regiments
and turning a defeat into a crushing victory, which recovered all
that had been lost, taking 25 cannon and 1,200 prisoners, and driving
for miles the lately victorious enemy under Early. Captain P.J.
O'Keefe was one of the two who made the ride beside him. The battles
of Waynesboro, Five Forks, and Sailor's Creek showed the same
brilliant generalship on the part of Sheridan. His hold on the
affection of the army and the admiration of the people continued to
the day of his death, August 5, 1888, when he held the headship of
the United States army as general in succession to the great Sherman.

General Sheridan, towards the end of the war, had a soldier's
difference with Major-General George G. Meade, commander of the Army
of the Potomac, but that did not blind "Little Phil" to the real
merit of the victor in the tremendous three days' battle of
Gettysburg, handling an army new to his hand against Robert E. Lee.
The Meade family is of Irish descent. George Meade, the grandfather,
came from Dublin and was a patriot in the American Revolutionary War.
General Meade commanded a division at Antietam and a corps at
Fredericksburg, and held command of the Army of the Potomac to the
end of the war. He was a fine soldier and gentleman. Of quiet manners
at most times, he was most irascible in the hour of battle, but his
temper did not becloud his judgment. General James Shields and
General Irwin McDowell, both fine Irish soldiers, have already been

It would be hard to compass in a brief article even the names of the
general officers of Irish blood in the Civil War. General John Logan,
who fought with the western armies, is worthy of high and honorable
mention, as is General Thomas Francis Meagher, a patriot in Ireland,
a prisoner in Australia, a soldier of dash in the Civil War.
Meagher's Irish Brigade left a record of valor unsurpassed: their
charge at Fredericksburg up Marye's Heights alone should give them
full meed of fame. General Michael Corcoran, a native of Ireland,
commanded the wholly Irish 69th Regiment when it departed for the war
in 1861, and after his exchange from a Confederate prison raised and
organized the Corcoran Legion. Major-General McDowell McCook
commanded brilliantly in the western campaigns. Who has not heard of
the Fighting McCooks?--a family of splendid men and hardy warriors.
Brigadier-General Thomas C. Devin was a superb cavalry commander, who
led the first division of Sheridan's Shenandoah army through all its
great operations. General James Mulligan of Illinois was of the true
fighting breed. Colonel Timothy O'Meara led his superb Irish Legion
from Illinois up Missionary Ridge. Brigadier-General C.C. Sullivan of
western army fame was one of the five generals, headed by Rosecrans,
who recommended Phil Sheridan for promotion to brigadier-general
after the battle of Booneville as "worth his weight in gold." General
Brannan was a gallant division commander in the Middle Tennessee
campaign. Colonel William P. Carlin made a name at Stone River.
General James T. Boyle, of the Army of the Ohio under Buell, was the
brave man whose promotion to division commander left a vacancy for
"Little Phil", that was to be an immediate stepping stone to higher
opportunity. Brigadier-General McMillan, who commanded the second
brigide at Cedar Creek; Colonel Thomas W. Cahill, 9th Connecticut;
Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Neafie of the 156th New York; Captain
Charles McCarthy of the 175th New York; Lieutenant-Colonel Alex. J.
Kenny of the 8th Indiana; Lieutenant Terrence Reilly of the Horse
Artillery, all won distinction in the Shenandoah Valley. Such
splendid fighters as General James R. O'Beirne, Colonel Guiney,
Colonel Cavanagh, Colonel John P. Byron, Colonel Patrick Gleason,
General Denis F. Burke, wrote their names red over a score of battle
fields, but one cannot hope to cover more than a fraction of the
brilliant men of Irish blood who led and bled in the long, hard, and
strenuous struggle. The 69th New York Regiment was the mother of a
dozen Irish regiments, including the Irish Brigade of Meagher and the
Corcoran Legion. The 9th, 28th, and 29th regiments of Massachusetts
were all Irish. A gallant Irishman, born at Fermoy, was
Brigadier-General Thomas Smyth, who made a name and died in the
battles around Richmond. There was not a regiment from the middle
western and western States that did not hold its quota of Irishmen
and sons of the Irish. After the names of Porter and Farragut in the
Navy stands next highest in honor that of Vice-Admiral Stephen C.
Rowan, born in Dublin, of the famous family that produced Hamilton
Rowan, one of the foremost of the United Irishmen. It was the son of
the vice-admiral, a lieutenant in the army, who carried "the message
to Garcia" from the United States War Department to the Cuban
commander in the eastern jungle of Cuba, before the outbreak of the
war with Spain, and did it so well and bravely through such
difficulties and dangers that his name will stand for "the faithful
messenger" forever.

As a consequence of their stand with the American people in the Civil
War, the position of the whole mass of the Irish and Irish-American
people was vastly uplifted in American eyes. The unlettered poverty
of scores of thousands of Irish immigrants, who came in multitudes
from 1846 on, had made an unfavorable and false impression; their red
blood on the battle field washed it out.

On the southern side as well, Irish valor shone. While the great
flood of the mid-century Irish immigration had spread itself mainly
north, east, and west, the larger cities of the South also received a
share. The slave system precluded the entry of free labor into the
cotton, corn, lumber, and sugar lands of the South, but such cities
as New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, Savannah, Vicksburg, and Richmond
gave varied employment to many of the Irish who made their homes in
the Southland, and so they came to furnish thousands of recruits to
the local Confederate levies. The "Louisiana Tigers", who fought so
valiantly at Gettysburg on the Southern side, included many Irish.
The Georgia brigade, that held the Confederate line atop of Marye's
Heights at Fredericksburg, up which the Irish brigade so heroically
charged, had whole companies of Irish. There were scores of Irish in
many of the regiments that made Pickett's memorable charge at
Gettysburg. All through the Confederate armies were valiant
descendants of the earlier Irish immigration that settled the uplands
of the Carolinas and Virginia and the blue grass region of Kentucky.
Most famous, most glorious of these was "Stonewall"
Jackson--Lieutenant-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson--next to Robert
E. Lee the greatest soldier on the southern side. No more splendid
soldier-figure rises out of the contest. Educated at West Point,
serving in Mexico, then a professor of philosophy--and
artillery--next a volunteer with his State when Virginia took arms
against the Union, his long and brilliant service included a large
share in the victories at Bull Run, Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, Cedar
Mountain, Harper's Ferry, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and
Chancellorsville, where he was accidentally wounded by his own men.
He was once defeated by General Shields, as has been noted. The piety
and purity of his life belie the supposed necessity for the coarser
traits that are thought to go with the terrible trade. General
Patrick R. Cleburne was born in 1828, near Cork, Ireland. He was in
the English army three years, and, coming to the United States,
became a lawyer at Helena, Ark. He enlisted in the Confederate army
as a private, rose rapidly to the command of a brigade, and made a
great name at Shiloh. As major-general he led divisions at
Murfreesboro and Chickamauga, and was thanked by the Confederate
Congress. He fell at the battle of Franklin--a soldier of commanding
presence, skill, and daring, beloved by the whole Army of the West.
The gallant colonel Thomas Claiborne was a striking cavalryman. It
was Lieutenant Thomas A. Claiborne of the 1st South Carolina who,
with Corporal B. Brannan, lashed the broken flagstaff on Fort Sumter
in June, 1864, when, under a withering fire, the flag of the
Confederacy had been shot away. The fighting of Major-General Gary of
South Carolina around Richmond was desperate. He was the last to
leave the city when it fell, as told by Captain Sullivan: "He
galloped at night through the burning city, and at the bridge over
the James cried out, 'We are the rear guard. It is all over; blow the
bridge to h--l!' and went on into the night"

The story of the Civil War is a mine of honor to the Irish, and
Irishmen should set it forth at length. Here it can be merely glanced

The war of 1898 with Spain--that great patriotic efflorescence--was
brief in its campaigning. Immediately provoked by the blowing up of
the U.S.S. _Maine_ in Havana harbor on February 15, war was declared
on April 19. Admiral Dewey sank the Spanish fleet in Manila Harbor,
May 1. The first troops landed on Cuban soil June 1. The first--and
last--real land battle before Santiago occurred on July 1-2, with
13,500 troops on the American side against an available Spanish force
somewhat less in number, but holding strongly fortified and
entrenched positions around the town. The advance and charges uphill
necessary to capture El Caney and the steep heights of San Juan
called for desperate courage. It was there, however, and the Irish in
the army exhibited dash and persistence, as duty demanded. In the
second day's fighting the Spanish assaults on the American positions
were repelled, and the land fighting was over. The Americans in the
two days lost over 10 per cent killed and wounded. The destruction of
Cervera's fleet on its attempt to escape from Santiago on July 3
ended the struggle. With the regiment of Rough Riders, under Theodore
Roosevelt--who says he reckons "an O'Brien, a Redmond, and a man from
Ulster" among his for-bears--were many gallant Irishmen--Kellys,
Murphys, Burkes, and Doyles, for instance. His favorite captain,
"Bucky" O'Neill of Arizona, fell at the foot of San Juan. The white
regiments of the regular army had their quota of Irish, as had most
of the volunteers. The 9th Massachusetts was all Irish. The 69th New
York, all Irish, never reached the front in the war, but shared the
fate of the 150,000 troops cantoned through the Southern States,
their only effective enemies being dysentery, typhoid, and malaria.

A little splash of Irish blood came with the Fenian dash into Canada
on June 1, 1866. There had been active preparations for a real
invasion by some 50,000 Irish-born or Irish-fathered soldiers who had
served in the Civil War. The American government, using its army
force, intervened to prevent the bellicose movement, not, however,
before Colonel John O'Neill, who had served in the cavalry with
Sherman on his march to the sea, with Captain Starr, one of
Kilpatrick's cavalry, Captain O'Brien, and about 700 well-armed men,
all Civil War veterans, had slipped across the Niagara River at Fort
Erie. They made short work of all in sight, threw out a couple of
hundred men who burned a bridge and tore up the railroad tracks.
Their scouts fired on a small British detachment, which ran. On the
morning of June 2 news came of a larger Canadian force advancing, and
O'Neill went out to meet them. Deploying his men in a field near the
high road at a place called Ridgway, he sent his pickets forward.
They found heavy ground in front and about three-quarters of a mile
away some 1,400 men of the "Queen's Own" of Toronto and the Hamilton
Volunteers advancing rapidly in line. O'Neill, after a few rounds,
withdrew his pickets, and the Canadians, taking the movement for
flight, came briskly on. As soon as they were clear of cover,
O'Neill, firing a volley, gave orders for a charge. At it they went
with a cheer, and the whole Canadian line gave way. They ran as fast
as their legs could carry them, leaving some fifty killed and
wounded. After chasing them for two miles, O'Neill halted his men and
brought them back to Fort Erie, where they intrenched. The Canadians
did not stop until they reached Colburne, eighteen miles away. The
Fenian loss was twenty-five. In the night O'Neill learned that no
help was coming from the United States' side, while news reached him
that a force of 5,000 Canadian and British regulars was advancing on
Fort Erie. Accordingly, at 2 a.m. on June 3, he surrendered to the
United States forces with 400 of his men, who were detained for a few
days on the U.S.S. _Michigan_ and then let go. The balance of his
force, about 250 men, escaped in groups across the river. There was
another little victorious skirmish with the Canadians lower down
under Captain Spear, who also slipped back over the border unpursued.
What fighting took place was workmanlike and creditable.

There was a flicker of Irish fighting spirit in the Boer War. Many
thousands, no doubt, were in the English army of 250,000 men brought
against the 30,000 Boers, but there was a small "Irish Brigade" that
fought on the Boer side, and was notably engaged at Spion Kop, where
the English were driven so sweepingly from their position by
desperate charges.

In the War of 1870, between France and Prussia, the good wishes of
the Irish went with France, for the sake of the old friendship,
largely helped, no doubt, by the fact that at the summit of army
command was Marshal MacMahon, a descendant of a warrior of the old
Irish Brigade. His service in Algiers; his skill and daring in the
Crimean War before Sebastopol, where he led the division which
stormed the Malakoff; his victories in the Italian War of 1859
against Austria, including the great battle of Magenta, all made him
a striking, romantic figure. He failed in 1870 against the Prussians
at Worth, and was made prisoner with his army at Sedan, but he
suppressed the Commune after the war and was President of France from
1873 to 1879. The device by which 300 Irishmen took part on the
French side in the war with Germany has a grim humor. They went as
aides in an ambulance corps fitted out in Dublin by subscription,
but, once on French soil, enlisted in the army. "Maybe we can kill as
well as we can cure," said one of them. The _Compagnie irlandaise_,
as it was called, did creditable work, and was in the last combat
with the Prussians at Montbellard. Their captain, M.W. Kirwan, was
offered a Cross of the Legion of Honor, but for some reason declined
it. Dr. Constantine J. McGuire, who won the decoration for bravery
before Paris during the siege of the Commune, did, however, accept
it, receiving the cross from the hands of Marshal MacMahon, and, hale
and hearty, wears the red ribbon on occasion in New York today.

Even as this chronicle of daring deeds and daring doers is being
penned, in the ranks and as commanding officers on the side of the
allies in the far-flung battle lines of the great European war, are
men of Irish birth, and, let it not be forgotten, not a few of the
opposing side are the descendants of the Irish military geniuses who,
in days gone by, fought so gallantly across the continent "from
Dunkirk to Belgrade". They are all, every man of them, bearing
bravely, as of yore, their own part amid the dangers and chances of
the fray.

If the inspiring story is of necessity here barely sketched in
outline, it nevertheless clearly indicates that, as it has been for
two thousand years of Irish history, so it will be to the end of the
human chapter--the Irish race is the Fighting Race, and willing, even
eager, to risk life itself for vital issues.


Keating's, MacGeoghegan's, Mitchel's Histories of Ireland; J.C.
O'Callaghan: The Irish Brigades in the Service of France, The Green
Book; Lossing: Field Book of the Revolution, Field Book of the War of
1812; Several Mexican War Histories; Battles and Leaders of the Civil
War; The Irish at Home and Abroad (New York, 1856); Canon O'Hanlon:
Irish-American History of the United States; O'Hart; Irish Pedigrees;
Martin I. Griffin: Life of Commodore Barry; John D. Crimmins: Irish
Miscellany; Joseph Denieffe: Fenian Recollections; Plowden:
Historical Review of the State of Ireland (London, 1803); Hays:
History of the Irish (1798) Rebellion; Macaulay: History of England;
J. R. Young: Around the World with General Grant; several valuable
articles and records of research by Michael J. O'Brien of New York.



"The sorrows of Ireland"! What a vision of woe the words conjure up.
The late Goldwin Smith, himself an Englishman and a Unionist, in his
_Irish History and the Irish Question_, finds that "of all histories,
the history of Ireland is the saddest. For nearly seven centuries it
was a course of strife between races, bloodshed, massacre,
misgovernment, civil war, oppression, and misery."

The first of the great scourges of Erin was the coming of the Danes,
the bloodthirsty and conquest-loving Vikings of the North, the
worshipers of Thor and Odin, the gods of thunder and of strife. These
warriors, in never-ending invasions, had for four hundred years
overrun Britain and finally conquered the northern provinces of Gaul.
Until the end of the eighth century Ireland had been free from the
Scandinavian scourge. About this time the invaders made lodgments
along the caasts, passed inward through the island, burned and looted
religious houses and schools of learning, levied tribute upon the
inhabitants, and at length established themselves firmly at Limerick,
Waterford, Dublin, Wexford, and Carlingford. Fortified towns were
built, trading communications with Britain and the continent were set
up, and the Northman, though not in actual possession of the interior
of the island, was apparently in substantial control of its
destinies. Brian Borumha, or Boru, brother of the king of Munster, of
the Dalcassian race of O'Brien, refused to submit, roused his
brother, fought the Danes of Limerick at Sulchoid (A.D. 968), and
captured Limerick. Brian later succeeded his brother, became
sovereign of all Ireland (A.D. 1001), and, on Good Friday, A.D.
1014, joined battle with the Danes upon the famous field of Clontarf.
Here the power of the Northmen was forever broken, Brian falling at
the moment of victory, while in his tent, by the hand of a fugitive

With the death of Brian the united government dissolved. The
provincial kings, or princes, resumed separate authority and a
struggle arose among them, with varying success, for the national
sovereignty. The central government never had been strong, as the
nation was organized on a tribal or family basis. In this weakened
condition Dermot MacMurrough, king of Leinster, abducted the wife of
O'Rourke, prince of Breffni, while the latter was on a pilgrimage.
MacMurrough was compelled to fly to England. He sought the protection
of the Angevin English king, Henry Plantagenet. As a result of this
appeal, a small expedition, headed by Strongbow (A.D. 1169), was sent
to Ireland, and Waterford, Wexford, and Dublin were taken. Then came
Henry himself, in 1171, with a fleet of 240 ships, 400 knights, and
4,000 men, landing at Waterford. This expedition was the beginning of
the English attempted conquest of Ireland--a proceeding that, through
all the ruin and bloodshed of 800 years, is not yet accomplished.
Henry's first act was to introduce the feudal system into that
southern half of the island which he controlled; he seized great
tracts of land, which he in turn granted to his followers under
feudal customs; he introduced the offices of the English feudal
system and the English laws, and placed his followers in all the
positions of power, holding their lands and authority under the
feudal conditions of rendering him homage and military service.

This was the root of the alien "landlordism" and foreign political
control of future times which became the chief curses of Ireland, the
prolific source of innumerable woes. The succeeding years till the
reign of Henry VIII. witnessed the extension, and at times the
decline, of the Anglo-Norman rule. When Henry VII. became king of
England the Anglo-Norman colony or "Pale" had shrunk to two counties
and a half around Dublin, defended by a ditch. Many of the original
Norman knights had become "more Irish than the Irish themselves."
Such was the great family of the Geraldines or Fitzgerald--the most
powerful, with the O'Neills of the North, in Ireland. A united attack
at this time would most certainly have driven out the invader; for it
must be remembered that Dublin, the "Pale"--"the Castle government"
of later times--was the citadel of the English foreign power, and
before a united nation would most certainly have succumbed.

When Henry VIII. ascended the throne of England, the policy of peace
in Ireland was continued during the early portion of his reign. Then
came Henry's break with the Pope over the royal divorce. The Irish
beyond the Pale, and many within it, were loyal to the Church of
their fathers, to the faith of Patrick, the faith of the Roman See.
To Henry and his daughter Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, who
displaced Henry's lawful wife, this was treason. Henceforth, to the
bitterness of race hatred and the pride of the conqueror were to be
added the blackest of religious feuds, the most cruel of religious
persecutions in the history of the world. Again let Goldwin Smith,
the English Unionist, describe the result: "Of all the wars waged by
a civilized on a barbarous _(sic)_ and despised race these wars waged
by the English on the Irish seem to have been the most hideous. No
quarter was given by the invader to man, woman, or child. The
butchering of women and children is repeatedly and brutally avowed.
Nothing can be more horrible than the cool satisfaction with which
English commanders report their massacres." Famine was deliberately
added to the other horrors. What was called law was more cruel than
war: it was death without the opportunity for defense and with the
hypocrisy of the forms of justice added.

Out of this situation came the infamous Penal Code, which, by the
period of William the Third, about 1692, became a finished system.
This is the "Irish Code" of which Lord Brougham said: "It was so
ingeniously contrived that an Irish Catholic could not lift his hand
without breaking it." And Edmund Burke said: "The wit of man never
devised a machine to disgrace a realm or destroy a kingdom so perfect
as this." Montesquieu, the great French jurist-philosopher, the
author of the epoch-making _Spirit of the Laws_, commented: "It must
have been contrived by devils; it ought to have been written in
blood; and the only place to register it is in hell." Yet for two
hundred years this code of death, national and individual, was the
supreme law of Ireland.

Wendell Phillips, the great American orator, in his lecture on
"Daniel O'Connell," summed up this Penal Code in words that will not
soon be forgotten by the world. His reference to Mr. Froude is to
James Anthony Froude, the English historian. He says:

"You know that, under it, an Irish Catholic could not sit in the
House of Commons; he could not hold any commission from the Crown,
either civil or military; he could be a common soldier--nothing more.
He could neither vote, nor sit on a jury, nor stand on a witness
stand, nor bring a suit, nor be a doctor, nor be a lawyer, nor travel
five miles from his own home without a permit from a justice of the
peace. The nearest approach that ever was made to him was a South
Carolina negro before the war. He had no rights that a Protestant
needed to respect. If he was a land-holder, if all his children were
Catholics, he was obliged to divide the land equally between them.
This was the English plan for eliminating the Catholic tenure of the
land and letting it slip out of their hands. Then, if any of the
children, during their father's life, concluded to become
Protestants, in such case they took the whole estate; or, indeed,
they might compel the father to put his estate in trust for their
benefit. So, if the Catholic wife would not go to an Episcopalian
church once a month--which she deemed it a sin to do--she forfeited
her dower. But if she went regularly, she could have all the estate.
If a Catholic had a lease, and it rose one-quarter in value, any
Protestant could take it from him by bringing that fact to the notice
of a justice of the peace. Three justices of the peace might summon
any Catholic before them, and oblige him to give up his faith, or
quit the realm. Four justices could oblige him to abjure his faith or
sell his estates. If a Protestant paid one dollar tax, the Catholic
paid two. If a Protestant lost a ship, when at war with a Catholic
power--and at the time there was only _one_ Protestant power in
Europe, besides Great Britain; that was Holland: so that the chances
were nine to one that, in case of war, Great Britain would be at war
with a Catholic power--in such a case, if a Protestant lost a ship,
he went home and assessed the value on his Catholic neighbors, and
was reimbursed. So, of education. We fret a great deal on account of
a class of Irishmen who come to our shores and are lacking in
education, in culture, and refinement. But you must remember the bad
laws, you must remember the malignant legislation, that sentenced
them to a life of ignorance, and made education a felony in Catholic
Ireland. If an Irishman sent his child to a Protestant schoolmaster,
all right; but if the parent would not do so, and sent him to a
Catholic school, the father was fined ten pounds a week; and the
schoolmaster was fined five pounds a week; and for the third offense
he was hung! But, if the father determined that his child should be
educated, and sent him across the Channel to France, the boy
forfeited his citizenship and became an alien; and, if discovered,
the father was fined one hundred pounds; and anybody, except the
father, who harbored him, forfeited all civil rights--that is, he
could not sue in a court of law, nor could he vote. Indeed, a
Catholic could not marry! If he married a Protestant, the marriage
was void; the children were illegitimate. And, if one Catholic
married another, it required the presence of a priest, and if a
priest landed in Ireland for twenty minutes, it was death! To this
ferocious 'Code', Sir Robert Peel, in our own day, added the climax,
that no Catholic should quit his dwelling between the hours of sunset
and sunrise, an exaggeration of the 'Curfew Law' of William the
Conqueror. Now, you will hardly believe that this was enacted as a
law. But Mr. Froude alludes to this code. Yes; he was very honest; he
would paint England as black as she deserved. He said of Queen
Elizabeth that she failed in her duty as a magistrate; she failed
towards Ireland in her capability of being a great ruler. And then he
proceeded, after passing sentence, to give us the history of her
reign, and showed that, in very many cases, she could not have done
any different. For instance--oh! it is the saddest, blackest, most
horrible statement of all history; it makes you doubt the very
possibility of human nature--when you read that Spenser, the poet,
who had the most ardent, most perfect ideas in English
poetry--Spenser sat at the council board that ordered the wholesale
butchery of a Spanish regiment captured in Ireland, and, to execute
the order, he chose Sir Walter Raleigh, the scholar, the gentleman,
the poet, the author, and the most splendid Englishman of his age!
And Norris, a captain under Sidney, in whose veins flowed the blood
of Sir Philip, writing home to Elizabeth, begs and persuades her to
believe in O'Neill's crimes, and asks for leave to send a hired man
to poison him! And the Virgin Queen makes no objection! Mr. Froude
quotes a letter from Captain Norris, in which he states that he found
himself in an island where five hundred Irish (all women and
children; not a man among them) had taken refuge from the war; and he
deliberately butchered every living soul! And Queen Elizabeth, in a
letter still extant, answers by saying: 'Tell my good servant that I
will not forget his good services.' He tells us that 'The English
nobility and gentry would take a gun as unhesitatingly as a fowler,
and go out to shoot an Irishman as an Indian would a buffalo.' Then
he tells us, with amazement, that you never could make an Irishman
respect an Englishman! He points to some unhappy Kildare, the sole
relic of a noble house, whose four uncles were slaughtered in cold
blood--that is the only word for this kind of execution,
_slaughtered_--and he, left alone, a boy, grows up characterless and
kills an archbishop. Every impetuous, impatient act is dragged before
the prejudiced mind. But when Mr. Froude is painting Sir Walter and
Spenser, blind no longer, he says: 'I regret--it is very sad to
think--that such things should ever have been!'"

Such was the cup from which Ireland drank even into the days of men
now living. Nor was this all. The rise of English manufactures
brought a new chapter of woes to Ireland. The Irish cattle trade had
been killed by an Act of Charles II. for the benefit of English
farmers. The Irish then took up the raising of wool and woolen
manufactures. A flourishing trade grew up. An English law destroyed
it. In succession the same greed killed the cotton, the glovemaking,
the glassmaking, and the brewing trades. These were reserved for the
English maker and merchant. These crimes upon Irish industry
surpassed a thousand-fold the later English attempts upon the
industries of the American colonies.

Under the Code, and through the extreme poverty produced thereby,
substantially all the land of Ireland passed out of the hands of the
people. They became mere serfs upon the soil. Their tribute was paid
through a rapacious agent to a foreign landlord. The improvement of
the land by the labor of the tenant brought increase of rent. There
was no fixity of tenure of the land. It was held at the will of the
agent, reflecting the rapacity of the non-resident landlord. Upon
these holdings the principal crop was the potato. A failure of this
crop was a failure to pay rent, eviction on the roadside, and
starvation. The results, after the enactment of the Penal Code, and
during the greater part of the eighteenth century, are thus described
by Goldwin Smith: "On such a scene of misery as the abodes of the
Irish cotters the sun has rarely looked down. Their homes were the
most miserable hovels, chimneyless, filthy. Of decent clothing they
were destitute. Their food was the potato; sometimes they bled their
cattle and mixed the blood with sorrel. The old and sick were
everywhere dying by cold and hunger, and rotting amidst filth and
vermin. When the potato failed, as it often did, came famine, with
disease in its train. Want and misery were in every face, the roads
were spread with dead and dying, there was sometimes none to bear the
dead to the grave, and they were buried in the fields and ditches
where they perished. Fluxes and malignant fevers followed, laying
these villages waste. 'I have seen,' says a contemporaneous witness,
'the laborer endeavoring to work at his spade, but fainting for want
of food and forced to quit it. I have seen the helpless orphan
exposed on the dunghill, and none to take him in for fear of
infection. And I have seen the hungry infant sucking at the breast of
the already expired parent.'"

All these are not only the horrors of a hundred or two hundred years
ago; they were repeated in ten thousand forms in the awful famine
days of 1847. In 1841 the population of Ireland was 8,796,545
persons. In 1851, after four years of famine, the population was
6,551,970, leaving 2,244,575 persons to be accounted for, and taking
no account of the natural increase of the population during the ten
years. Not less than a million and a half of these died of starvation
and the fevers brought on by famine. The remainder emigrated to
foreign lands.

In this account of the Sorrows of Ireland nothing has been said of
the vast emigrations, thousands upon thousands of persons in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries leaving Ireland under forced
deportations, in a practical selling into slavery. The sum total of
this loss to Ireland cannot be less than 5,000,000 souls. The earlier
deportations were carried out under the most atrocious circumstances.
Families were broken up and scattered to distant and separate
colonies, such as Barbados, the New England States, and later to the
South Pacific.

This is but a glance at some of the wrongs to Ireland's religious,
intellectual, and material welfare, wrongs that have plunged her into
an age-long poverty. But one of the greatest of all her sorrows has
been the denial of her national life, the attempt to strangle her
rightful aspirations as a free people. Her autonomy was taken from
her; her smallest legislative act was the act of a stranger; in fine,
every mark of political slavery was put upon her. A foreign soldiery
was, and still is, quartered upon her soil. The control of her
revenues, of the system of taxation, was wrested from her. These
became the function of a hateful resident oligarchy, alien in
everything to the Irish people, and of the English parliament, to
which she was not admitted until the days of Daniel O'Connell. And
then she was admitted only through fear of revolution.

The dawn has come. The dark night is almost past; the heroic struggle
of Ireland is about to close in triumph. Her loyalty to her ideals of
freedom and religion is to meet its reward. The epitaph of Robert
Emmet will soon be written, for at last Ireland is certain of "taking
her place among the nations of the earth."


D'Alton: History of Ireland; J.P. Prendergast: Cromwellian
Settlement; Barrington: Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation; McNevin:
Confiscation of Ulster; R.R. Madden: History of the Penal Laws;
Murphy: Cromwell in Ireland; T.A. Emmet: Ireland under English Rule,
2 vols.; Mrs. J.R. Green: Irish Nationality; Walpole: A Short History
of the Kingdom of Ireland; A.M. Sullivan: Story of Ireland; Thomas
Moore: History of Ireland; Edmund Spenser: View of the State of
Ireland; C. Gavan Duffy: Four Years of Irish History, 1845-49; Isaac
Butt: Land Tenure in Ireland; Justin McCarthy: History of our own
Times; Johnston and Spencer: Ireland's Story; MacGeoghegan's History
of Ireland and its continuation by John Mitchel; William Sampson:
Memoirs of an Irish Exile, 1832; John Curry: A Historical and
Critical Review of the Civil Wars in Ireland (1775); John Boyle: The
Battlefields of Ireland (1879); Speeches of Edmund Burke, Daniel
O'Connell, Henry Grattan; Wendell Phillips's Speech on Daniel
O'Connell; Father Tom Burke: Lectures on Ireland.



Irish leaders have proved far-famed but not long-lived. Their short
and strenuous careers have burnt out in their prime, and their ends
have been such as attend conflagrations. More often they have left a
pall than a light in the heavens, for the most brilliant lives in
Irish history have led to the most tragic deaths. The Destiny which
allotted them impossible tasks has given them immortality on the
scenes of their glorious failure.

They differ from leaders of other countries, who divide the average
pittances of success or ill success on the road to honored
retirement. Few of the heroes among modern nations have left such
vivid and lasting memory as "the strong men of Ireland." During the
nineteenth century their lore and cult have traversed the whole world
in the wake of the great emigrations. Whether they failed or
succeeded in wresting the independence and ideals of Ireland for a
while from the fell clutch of circumstance, they live with their race

Under Plantagenet and Tudor rule, the Irish leaders presented a
sullen but armed resistance. A never completed invasion was met by
sporadic raids and successive risings. A race of military outlaws was
fashioned, which accounts for much in Irish character today.
Previously the Irish, like all Celtic civilization, was founded on
the arts, on speech, and on law, rather than on war and feudalism.

Even Irish militancy was crushed in the Williamite wars, and the
race, deprived of its original subsistence as well as of its acquired
defense, sank into the stupor of penal times. Those who should have
been leaders of Ireland became marshals of Austria and France.

Gradually it was learnt that the pen is mightier than the sword and
the human voice more potent than the sound of cannon--and the
constitutional struggle developed, not without relapse and reverse.
To Dean Swift must be attributed the change in the national weapon
and the initiation of a leadership of resistance within the law,
which has lasted into modern times. Accident made Swift an Irishman,
and a chance attempt to circulate debased coins in Ireland for the
benefit of a debased but royal favorite made him a patriot. Swift
drove out Wood's halfpence at the pen-point. He shamed the
government, he checked the all-powerful Walpole, and he roused the
manhood of Ireland towards independence in legislation. He never
realized what a position history would give him. To himself he seemed
a gloomy failure, to his contemporaries a popular pamphleteer, but to
posterity he is the creator of public conscience in Ireland. He was
the father of patriotic journalism, and the first to defend Ireland's
rights through literature. Though his popularity was quenched in
lunacy, his impress upon Irish politics remains as powerful and
lasting as upon English literature.

Within the so-called Irish parliament sprang forth the first of a
long line of orators, Henry Flood. He was the first to study the
Constitution for purposes of opposition. He attacked vice-regal
government in its own audit-house. Pension and corruption he laid
bare, and upon the people he breathed a spirit of independence.
Unfortunately he was not content with personal prominence. He
accepted office, hoping thereby to benefit Ireland. His voice became
lost to the higher cause, and another man rose in his stead, Henry
Grattan. The American war tested the rival champions of Liberty.
Flood favored sending Irish troops, "armed negotiators" he called
them, to deal with the revolted colonists. Grattan nobly reviled him
for standing--"with a metaphor in his mouth and a bribe in his
pocket, a champion against the rights of America, the only hope of
Ireland and the only refuge of the liberties of mankind." Flood
collapsed under his ignoble honors. He was not restored by returning
to patriotic opposition. Grattan's leadership proved permanent
politically and historically. His name connotes the high water-mark
of Irish statesmanship. The parliament which he created and whose
rights he defined became a standard, and his name a talisman and a
challenge to succeeding generations. The comparative oratory of
Grattan and Flood is still debated. Both after a manner were unique
and unsurpassed. Flood possessed staying power in sheer invective and
sustained reasoning. Grattan was fluent in epigram and most inspiring
when condensed, and he had an immense moral advantage. The parliament
which made him a grant was independent, but it was from one of
subservience that Flood drew his salary. Henceforth Grattan was
haunted by the jealous and discredited herald of himself. A great
genius, Flood lacked the keen judgment and careless magnanimity
without which leadership in Ireland brings misunderstanding and
disaster. In the English House he achieved total failure. Grattan
followed him after the Union, but retained the attention if not the
power of Dublin days. Neither influenced English affairs, and their
eloquence curiously was considered cold and sententious. Their
rhapsody appeared artificial, and their exposition labored. The
failure of these men was no stigma. What is called "Irish oratory"
arose with the inclusion of the Celtic under strata in politics.

Burke's speeches were delivered to an empty house. Though he lived
out of Ireland and never became an Irish leader in Ireland, Burke had
an influence in England greater than that of any Irishman before or
since. The beauty and diction of his speech fostered future
parliamentary speaking. Macaulay, Gladstone, Peel, and Brougham were
suckled on him. His farthest reaching achievement was his treatment
of the French Revolution. His single voice rolled back that storm in
Europe. But no words could retard revolution in Ireland herself.
Venal government made the noblest conservative thinking seem treason
to the highest interests of the country. The temporary success of
Grattan's parliament had been largely won by the Volunteers. They had
been drilled, ostensibly against foreign invasion, but virtually to
secure reforms at home. Their power became one with which England had
to reckon, and which she never forgave. Lord Charlemont, their
president, was an estimable country gentleman, but not a national
leader. A more dashing figure appeared in the singular Earl of
Bristol. Though an Irish bishop and an English peer, he set himself
in the front rank of the movement, assuming with general consent the
demeanor and trappings of royalty. He would not have hesitated to
plunge Ireland into war, had he obtained Charlemont's position. But
it was not so fated.

After forcing parliamentary independence the Volunteers meekly
disbanded, and the United Irishmen took their place. The brilliancy
of Grattan's parliament never fulfilled national aspirations. Bristol
was succeeded by another recruit from the aristocracy--Lord Edward
Fitzgerald. With Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet he has become legendary.
All three attained popular canonization, for all three sealed their
brief leadership with death.

Lord Edward was a dreamer, an Irish Bayard, too chivalrous to
conspire successfully and too frankly courageous to match a
government of guile. Tone was far more dangerous. He realized that
foreign invasion was necessary to successful rebellion, and he
allowed no scruple or obstacle in his path. He washed his hands of
law and politics entirely. To divert Napoleon to Ireland was his
object and the total separation of Ireland his ambition. The United
Irishmen favored the invasion, which the Volunteers had been formed
to repel. The feud between moral and physical force broke out. The
failure of the sterner policy in 1798 did not daunt Emmet from his
ill-starred attempt in 1803. He combined Lord Edward's chivalry with
some abilities worthy of Tone, but he failed. The failure he redeemed
by a swan-song from the dock and a demeanor on the scaffold which
have become part of Irish tradition.

After the Union, Irish leaders sprang up in the English House, which


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