Page:Roger Casement - The crime against Ireland and how the war may right it.djvu/30

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yet to be. The German gateway to a free Atlantic can only be kept open through a free Ireland. For just as the English Channel under the existing arrangement, whereby Ireland lies hidden from the rest of Europe, can be closed at will by England, so with Ireland no longer tied to the girdle of England, that channel cannot be locked. The key to the freedom of European navigation lies at Berehaven and not at Dover. With Berehaven won from English hands, England might close the Channel in truth, but Ireland could shut the Atlantic. As Richard Cox put it in 1689, quaintly but truly, in his dedication to King William III and Queen Mary of his "History of Ireland from the Earliest Times":

"But no cost can be too great where the prize is of such value, and whoever considers the situation, ports, plenty, and other advantages of Ireland will confess that it must be retained at what rate soever; because if it should come into an enemy's hands, England would find it impossible to flowrish and perhaps difficult to subsist without it. To demonstrate this assertion it is enough to say that Ireland lies in the Line of Trade and that all the English vessels that sail to the East, West and South must, as it were, run the gauntlet between the Harbors of Brest and Baltimore; and I might add that the Irish Wool being transported would soon ruin the English Clothing Manufacture. Hence it is that all Your Majesty's Predecessors have kept close to this fundamental Maxim of retaining Ireland inseparably united to the Crown of England."

The sole and exclusive appropriation of Ireland and of all her resources has indeed formed, since the Recorder of Kinsale wrote, the mainstay and chief support of British greatness.

The natural position of Ireland lying "in the line of trade," was possibly its chief value, but that "Irish wool,"