Page:Roger Casement - The crime against Ireland and how the war may right it.djvu/23

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of France and Spain from the seas were recruited from this slave pen of English civilization. During the last 100 years probably 2,000,000 Irishmen have been drafted into the English fleets and armies from a land purposely drained of its food. Fully the same number, driven by Executive-controlled famines have given cheap labor to England and have built up her great industries, manned her shipping, dug her mines, and built her ports and railways while Irish harbors silted up and Irish factories closed down. While England grew fat on the crops and beef of Ireland, Ireland starved in her own green fields and Irishmen grew lean in the strife of Empire.

While a million Irishmen died of hunger on the most fertile plains of Europe, English Imperialism drew over one thousand million pounds sterling for investment in a world policy from an island that was represented to that world as too poor to even bury its dead. The profit to England from Irish peonage cannot be assessed in terms of trade, or finance, or taxation. It far transcends Lord MacDonnell's recent estimate at Belfast of £320,000,000—"an Empire's ransom," as he bluntly put it.

Not an Empire's ransom but the sum of an Empire's achievement, the cost of an Empire's founding, and to-day, the chief bond of an Empire's existence. Detach Ireland from the map of the British Empire and restore it to the map of Europe and that day England resumes her native proportions and Europe assumes its rightful stature in the empire of the world. Ireland can only be restored to the current of European life, from which she has for so long been purposely withheld by the act of Europe. What Napo eon perceived too late may yet be the purpose and achievement of a congress of nations. Ireland, I submit, is necessary to Europe, is essential to Europe, to-day she is retained against Europe, by a combination of elements hostile to Europe and opposed to European influence in