England's Irish Enemies

Justin McCarthy
Chapter VII | Start of Chapter

Ireland's relations to the English governing power are effectively illustrated in the wars of Queen Anne's reign as well as those in the reign of William III. In every one of the great battles fought during the War of the Spanish Succession the armies of England's enemies were strengthened by Irish officers and soldiers who had been forced into exile by the system of English government. At Ramillies and in other battles some of the best fighting against England was done by Irishmen who had been driven, or whose fathers had been driven, out of their native land. The question of Stuart succession had little or nothing to do with the part taken by those Irish exiles. They fought for France because they had been badly treated by English laws, just as the French Huguenots were ready to fight for England because they had been badly treated by French Sovereigns. The moral of the historical lesson is obvious.