Page:Roger Casement - The crime against Ireland and how the war may right it.djvu/33

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advantage. Moreover, the English lacked the moral restraints that imposed so severe a handicap on the Irish in their resistance. They owned no scruple of conscience in committing any crime that served their purpose. Beaten often in open tight by the hardier bodies, stouter arms and greater courage of the Irishmen, they nevertheless won the game by recourse to means that no Irishman, save him who had joined them for purposes of revenge or in pursuit of selfish personal aims, could possibly have adopted. The fight from the first was an unequal one. Irish valor, chivalry, and personal strength were matched against wealth, treachery and cunning. The Irish better bodies were overcome by the worse hearts. As Curran put it in 1817—"The triumph of England over Ireland is the triumph of guilt over innocence."

The Earl of Essex, who came to Ireland in 1599 with one of the largest forces of English troops that, up to then, had ever been dispatched into Ireland (18,000 men), ascribed his complete failure, in writing to the Queen, to the physical superiority of the Irish:

"These rebels are more in number than your Majesty's army and have (though I do unwillingly confess it), better bodies, and perfecter use of their arms, than those men whom your Majesty sends over."

The Queen, who followed the war in Ireland with a swelling wrath on each defeat, and a growing fear that the Spaniards would keep their promise to lend aid to the Irish Princes, O'Neill and O'Donnell, issued "Instructions" and a set of "Ordinances" for the conduct of the war in Ireland, which, while enjoining recourse to the usual methods outside the field of battle—(i. e. starvation, "politic courses," [assassination of leaders], and the sowing of dissension by means of bribery and promises), required for the conflict, that her weaker soldiers should be protected against the onslaught of the unarmored Irishman by head