Page:Roger Casement - The crime against Ireland and how the war may right it.djvu/27

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Part II.

(Written in September, 1912.)

A conflict between England and Germany exists already, a conflict of aims.

England rich, prosperous, with all that she can possibly assimilate already in her hands, desires peace on present conditions of world power. Those conditions are not merely that her actual possessions should remain intact, but that no other Great Power shall, by acquiring colonies and spreading its people and institutions into neighboring regions, thereby possibly affect the fuller development, of those pre-existing British States. For, with England equality is an offense and the Power that arrives at a degree of success approximating to her own and one capable of being expanded into conditions of fair rivalry has already committed the unpardonable sin. As Curran put it in his defense of Hamilton Rowan in 1797, "England is marked by a natural avarice of freedom which she is studious to engross and accumulate, but most unwilling to impart: whether from any necessity of her policy or from her weakness, or from her pride, I will not presume to say."

Thus while England might even be the attacking party, and in all probability, will be the attacking party, she will embark on a war with Germany at an initial disadvantage. She will be on her defense. Although, probably, the military aggressor from reasons of strategy, she will be acting in obedience to an economic policy of defense and not of attack. Her chief concern will be not to advance and seize, always in war the more inspiring task, but to retain and hold. At best she could come out of the war with no new gain, with nothing added worth having to what she held on entering it. Victory would mean for her only that she had secured a further spell of