Nothing endures but change.

- Heraclitus, 500 B.C. Which would you rather be, a conqueror in the Olympic games, or the crier that proclaims who are conquerors? - Homer I am become Death, destroyer of worlds. - Robert J. Oppenheimer (1904-1967), citing from the Bhagavadgita, after witnessing the world's first nuclear explosion It is magnificent, but it is not war. - General Pierre Bosquet on The Charge Of The Light Brigade in The Crimean War If the Italians come in on our side, they'll get into trouble and we'll have to send ten divisions to save them. If they attack us, we'll have to send ten divisions to hold them off. Either way, ten divisions. - Anonymous French officer during WWI. When President de Gaulle demanded that American troops be removed from French soil, Lyndon Johnson asked whether that included those who were buried beneath it.
        - Irwin Setzler, "The London Times"

"An American citizen who died that English might live."
        - Epitah for American RAF pilot William Meade Fiske, killed during Battle of Britain

"Great Britain provided time; the United States provided money and Soviet Russia provided blood."
        - Stalin

"I find it hard even now not to look on your North African strategy with a jaundiced eye. Cross Channel operations for the liberation of France and advance on Germany, we should finish the war quicker."
"Yes, probably, but not the way we hope to finish it."
        - Generals Marshall and Brooke, reflecting Anglo-American differences in 1943

"When all the arguments have been forgotten, this central fact will remain. The two nations fought a single war, and their quarrels were the quarrels of brothers."
        - Henry Stimson, reflecting on the Anglo-American alliance

All "progressive" thought has assumed tacitly that human beings desire nothing beyond ease, security and avoidance of pain ... Hitler, because in his joyless mind he feels it with exceptional strength, knows that human beings don't only want comfort, safety, short working-hours, hygiene, birth-control and, in general, common sense; they also, at least intermittently, want struggle and self-sacrifice, not to mention drums, flags and loyalty-parades. However they may be as economic theories, Fascism and Nazism are psychologically far sounder than any hedonistic conception of life.
        - George Orwell

"We know the Race is not to the Swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?"

        - John Page to Thomas Jefferson, after the signing of Declaration of Independence

"If my people are wiped out you must destroy all photographs of us, because future generations will look at our photographs and be too ashamed at such a crime against humanity."

        - Davi Yanomami

What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man was that age which came to an end in August 1914.
        - John Maynard Keynes

We did not realise how fragile our civilisation was.
        - Friedrich von Hayek

"How's school? Don't bother too much about European geography. I think it's all going to change."
        - A French ambulance driver writes to his son from the Western Front (1914)

"The ceding of Alsace-Lorraine is nothing but war in perpetuity under the mask of peace."
        - Edgar Quinet, on the consequences of the 1870 Franco-Prussian War

I am responsible only to God and history.

- General Francisco Franco "We got 16,000 wonderful vehicles. We got all the steel that we make our tanks out of. Of course, we couldn't have done without Western aid."
        - Marshall Zhukov, leading WW2 Soviet General on Eastern Front victory

"If you hold your fire until you see the whites of his eyes, you will never know what hit you."
        - President Franklin D. Roosevelt (May 1941)

"All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale."

        - Emir Faisal, future King of Iraq, 1919

The whole world is in revolt. There will soon be only five kings left - the kings of England, Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and Clubs.

        - King Farouk of Egypt in 1948, deposed four years later

What made the war inevitable was the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta.

-Thucydides, "The History Of The Peloponnesian War", 2000 years ago. Replace Athens with Germany & Sparta with Britain, or America and Russia and you have the history of war. "This was the Athenians' war against the King of Macedon, a war of words. Words are the only weapons the Athenians have left."
        - Livy, "The History of Rome"

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself."
        - Cicero

Crassus was in the habit of maintaining that nobody should be called rich who was not able to maintain an army on his income.
        - Sir Ronald Syme, "The Roman Revolution"

"Kill them all. God knows his own."
        - Albigensian leader during their 13th century crusade against 'heretics'

"Religion may possibly do more good in other places, but it does less harm here."
        - English diplomat commenting on the Dutch Republic of the 17th century

"People are governed by the pulpit more than the sword in time of peace."
        - King Charles I of England (1626)

"He was not the greatest of men but he was the greatest of kings."
        - Voltaire, damning Louis XIV with faint praise

"This agglomeration which was called and still calls itself the 'Holy Roman Empire' was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
        - Voltaire

"In on summer they have done their business... they have completely pulled down to the ground their monarchy, their church, their nobility, their law, their revenue, their army, their navy, their commerce, their arts, and their manufactures... destroyed all balances and counterpoises which serve to fix a state and give it steady direction, and then they melted down the whole into one incongrous mass of mob and democracy... the people, along with their political servitude, have thrown off the yoke of law and morals."
        - Edmund Burke, on the French Revolution

"We are in a war of a peculiar nature. It is not with an ordinary community, which is hostile or friendly as passion or as interest may veer about: not with a state which makes war through wantonness, and abandons it through lassitude. We are at war with a system, which by its essence, is inimical to all other governments, and which makes peace or war, as peace and war may best contribute to their subversion. It is with an armed doctrine that we are at war. It has, by its essence, a faction of opinion, and of interest, and of enthusiasm, in every country."
        - Edmund Burke, "Letters on Regicide Peace" (1796)

"Those who did not live during the years close to 1789 do not know the pleasure of living."
        - Charles Maurice de Talleyrand

"I don’t employ Talleyrand when I want a thing done, but only when I want to have the appearance of wanting to do it."
        - Napoleon's attitude to his foreign minister

"Men like M. de Talleyrand are like sharp instruments with which it is dangerous to play."
        - Prince Metternich, Austrian Minister

"Worse than a crime, it was a blunder."
        - Boulay de la Merthe, analysing Napoleon’s murder of the Duc d’Enghein in 1804

"I shall be an Attila to Venice."
        - Napoleon Bonaparte, before his sack of Venice (1797)

"If it had not been for the English I should have been emperor of the East, but wherever there is water to float a ship we are sure to find them in our way."
        - Napoleon Bonaparte

"The most constant, the most powerful, and the most generous of all my enemies."
        - Napoleon Bonaparte, appealing to Britain after Waterloo

"Europe is not to be saved by any single man. England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example."
        - William Pitt the younger, 1805, on being lauded as Europe's saviour for checking Napoleon

"Hard pounding gentlemen. We will see who can pound the longest."
        - Wellington, as Waterloo reaches its peak

"The scum of the earth... but what fine soldiers we have made them."
        - Duke of Wellington's opinion of the ordinary British soldier

"Mad is he? Then I wish he would bite some of my other generals."
        - King George II of England's response to suggestions that General Wolfe was mad

"When the house is on fire, one does not worry about the stables".
        - King Louis, refusing requests from New France for reinforcements from France (1759)

"A torch lighted in the forests of America set all Europe in conflagration."
        – Voltaire, 1756, on the outbreak of the global Seven Years' War

I desire no other inscription over my gravestone than: 'Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of peace with France in the year 1800'.
        - John Adams [3]

"Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First his Cromwell; and George the Third-"
"Treason! Treason!"
"-may profit by their example. If this be treason... make the most of it."
        - Patrick Henry, speech in Virginia's House of Burgesses in Williamsburg (1765)

"How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negroes?"
        - Samuel Johnson

"While we remember that we are contending against brothers and fellow subjects, we must also remember that we are contending in this crisis for the fate of the British Empire."
        - General John Burgoyne, speaking as an MP in Parliament

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country.
        - Thomas Paine, writing during the American Revolutionary War

"I shall have a great advantage over you, Mr. Gerry. When we are all hung for what we are now doing. From the size and weight of my body I shall die in a few minutes, but from the lightness of your body you will dance in the air an hour or two before you are dead."
        - Benjamin Harrison to Elbridge Gerry, before American Declaration of Independence [6]

But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people.
        - John Adams [3]

"They came three thousand miles and died to keep the past upon its throne, unheard beyond the the ocean tide, their English mother made her moan."
        - Inscription on tomb for British soldiers killed at Concord (1775)

"If ponies rode men, and if grass ate the cows
And cats should be chased into holes by the mouse...
If summer were spring, and the other way 'round,
Then all the world would be turned upside down."
        - lyrics of song reportedly played after the British surrender to the Americans at Yorktown

"What though you march from town to town, and from province to province; though you should be able to enforce a temporary and local submission (which I only suppose, not admit), how shall you be able to secure the obedience of the country you leave behind you in your progress, to grasp the dominion of eighteen hundred miles of continent, populous in numbers, possessing valor, liberty, and resistance?
This resistance to your arbitrary system of taxation might have been foreseen. It was obvious from the nature of things, and of mankind; and, above all, from the Whiggish spirit flourishing in that country. The spirit which now resists your taxation in America is the same which formerly opposed loans, benevolences, and ship-money in England; the same spirit which... by the Bill of Rights vindicated the English Constitution; the same spirit which established the great fundamental, essential maxim of your liberties, that no subject of England shall be taxed but by his own consent.
This glorious spirit of Whiggism animates three millions in America, who prefer poverty with liberty, to gilded chains and sordid affluence; and who will die in defense of their rights as men, as freemen."
        - William Pitt, former Prime Minsiter, calling for removal of British troops from Boston, 1775

"I love the Americans because they love their liberty, and I love them for the noble efforts they made in the last war... The gentleman asks, when were the colonies emancipated? But I desire to know, when were they made slaves?"
        - William Pitt the Elder

"[France is] a vulture hovering over the British Empire, and hungrily watching the prey that she is only waiting for the right moment to pounce upon."
        - William Pitt the Elder, speech to Commons in 1775

"Reflect how you are to govern a people who think they ought to be free, and think they are not. Your scheme yields no revenue; it yields nothing but discontent, disorder, disobedience; and such is the state of America, that after wading through up to your eyes in blood, you could only end up where you begun; that is, to tax where no revenue is to be found... all is confusion beyond it."
        - Edmund Burke, speech in British House of Commns opposing Townshend duties (1774) [7]

"The use of force alone is but temporary. It may subdue for a moment, but it does not remove the necessity of subduing again: and a nation is not governed which is perpetually to be conquered... this fierce spirit of liberty is stronger in the English colonies probably than in any other people of the earth... the people of the colonies are descendants of Englishmen, they are therefore not only devoted to liberty, but to liberty according to English principles. The great contents for freedom in this country were from earliest times chiefly upon the quetion of taxing... The colonies draw from you, as with their lifeblood, these ideas and principles. Their love of liberty, as with you, is fixed and attached on the specific point of taxing. Liberty might be safe, or it might be endangered, in twenty other particulars, without their being much pleased or alarmed. Here they felt its pulse."
        - Edmund Burke [7]

"In all their wars against the French they [the Americans] never showed such conduct, attention and perseverance as they do now."
        - General Gage, commanding British forces at start of American Revolutionary War

We might have been a free and great people together.
        - Thomas Jefferson, from his original draft of the Declaration of Independence

The Citizens of America, placed in the most enviable condition, as the sole Lords and Proprietors of a vast Tract of Continent, comprehending all the various soils and climates of the World, and abounding with all the necessaries and conveniences of life, are now by the late satisfactory pacification, acknowledged to be possessed of absolute freedom and Independence; They are, from this period, to be considered as Actors on a most conspicuous Theatre, which seems to be peculiarly designed by Providence for the display of human greatness and felicity... at this auspicious period the United States came into existence as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely free and happy, the fault will be intirely their own.
        - George Washington, writing in 1783 after independence was secured [6]

"Men are very apt to run into extremes, hatred to England may carry come into an excess of Confidence in France... I am heartily disposed to entertain the most favourable sentiments of our new ally and to cherish them in others to a reasonable degree; but it is a maxim founded on the universal experience of mankind, that no nation is to be trusted farther than it is bound by its interest; and no prudent statesman or politician will venture to depart from it."
        - George Washington, speech to Congress in 1778 [6]

"There is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy. It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three-eighths of our territory must pass to market, and from its fertility it will ere long yield more than half of our whole produce and contain more than half our inhabitants."
        - Thomas Jefferson, with a warning to France in 1802

"If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world."
        - King George III, hearing that Washington would hand over control of his army to Congress

If we should change from a mixed aristocracy to a mere democracy, first, we should have no warrant in Scripture for it; there was no such government in Israel. We should hereby voluntarily abase ourselves, and deprive ourselves of that dignity which the providence of God has put upon us, which is a manifest breach of the Fifth Commandment; for a democracy is, among most civil nations, accounted the meanest and worst of all forms of government; and therefore in writers it is branded with reproachful epithets as bellua mutoru capitu, a monster, etc., and histories do record that it has been always of least continuance and fullest of troubles.
        - John Winthrop (Boston 1644)

"If peace cannot be maintained with honour, it is no longer peace."
        - Lord John Russell (1792-1878)

I believe we are gradually becoming the target at which the whole world wants to shoot its arrows; and you know that no empire, however great, has been able to sustain many wars in different areas for long. If we can think only of defending ourselves, and never manage to contrive a great offensive blow against one of our enemies, so that when it is over we can turn to others, I doubt whether we can sustain an empire as scattered as ours.
        - Duke of Sessa, Spanish diplomat, writing at the height of Spanish Empire (1600) [5]

"I think it would be an excellent idea."
        - Gandhi, when asked his opinion of Western Civilization

"We want to go in for suffering, and there may be torture. If we put the women in front the Government may hesitate to inflict on us all the penalty that they might otherwise inflict."
        - Gandhi, explaining why he refused to all women on his anti-colonial salt march

The Earth is degenerating these days. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer mind their
parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
        - Assyrian Stone Tablet, c.2800BC (Probably Apocryphal - but Funny)

"All Cretans are liars."
        - Epimenides... of Crete

When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer
        - Milton, on Alexander 'The Great'

"On their side more men are standing, on ours more will fight!"
        - Alexander 'The Great', rousing his troops before the battle of Guagamela (331 BC)

"I'm not very keen for doves or hawks. I think we need more owls."
        - Senator George Aitken

"When slavery is established in any part of the world, those who are free are by far the most proud and jealous of their freedom."
        - Edmund Burke (1729-97)

"They (the Chinese workers) were a great army laying siege to Nature in her strongest citadel. The rugged mountains looked like stupendous ant-hills. They swarmed with Celestials, shoveling, wheeling, carting, drilling and blasting rocks and earth..."
        - Albert Richardson, on the building of America's transcontinental rail-line , "New York Tribune"

"The Chevalier de la Salle left with a detachment, entered the Illinois area, took possession of the country in the name of Louis XIV, called it Louisiana in honour of this prince, and constructed a fort there; the Spaniards would have built a church, the English a tavern."
        - Abbe Delaporte, "Le Voyageur Francais"  (1769), on French exploration in the 1680s

"A more damned crew hell never vomited."
        - Opinion of early 17th century colonists by the President of the Virginia Company

Many things they sawe with us as mathematicall instruments, sea compasses... spring clocks that seemed to goe of themselves — and many other things we had — were so strange unto them, and so farre exceeded their capacities to comprehend the reason and meanes how they should be made and done, that they thought they were rather the workes of gods then men.
        - Thomas Harriot, one of first English settlers in Virginia, from his "Briefe and True Report" [1]

No greater glory can be handed down than to conquer the barbarian, to recall the savage and the pagan to civility, to draw the ignorant within the orbit of reason, and to fill with reverence for divinity the godless and the ungodly.
        - Richard Hakluyt, letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, patron of the Virginia colony [1]

"People with a family advanced in life find great difficulties in emigration, but the young men of Ireland who wish to be free and happy should leave it and come here as quick as possible. There is no place in the world where a man meets so rich a reward for good conduct and industry as in America."
        - James Dunlap, printer of the Declaration of Independence (1785)

"The life my people want is a life of freedom. I have seen nothing that a white man has, houses or railways or clothing or food, that is as good as the right to move in the open country and live in our fashion."
        - Sitting Bull, Chief of the Lakota Sioux

"I have killed, robbed and injured too many white men to believe in a good peace. They are medicine and I would eventually die a lingering death. I had rather die on the field of battle. Look at me, see if I am poor, or my people either. The whites may get me at last, as you say, but I will have good times till then. You are fools to make yourselves slaves to a piece of fat bacon, some hard-tack, and a little sugar and coffee."
        - Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief, speech encouraging resistance to White encroachment (1867) [4]

"Nothing but nakedness and starvation has driven this man to submission, and that not on his own account but for the sake of his children."
        - Captain Walter Clifford, escorting Sitting Bull to capitivity [4]

"I surrender this rifle to you through my young son, whom I now desire to teach in this manner that he has become a friend of the Americans. I wish him to learn the habits of the whites and to be educated as their sons are educated. I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle. This boy has given it to you, and he now wants to know how he is going to make a living."
        - Sitting Bull, to Major Brotherton, preparing for reservation life [4]

"The genius of you Americans is that you never make clear-cut stupid moves, only complicated stupid moves which make us wonder at the possibility that there may be something to them we are missing."
        - Gamel Abdel Nasser, President Of Egypt

"I do not like this word bomb. It is not a bomb; it is a device which is exploding."
       - Jacques Le Blanc, French ambassador to New Zealand, describing France's nuclear testing, 1995

"This is the epitaph I want on my tomb: Here lies one of the most intelligent animals who ever appeared on the face of the earth."
        - Benito Mussolini

"Whoever heard of such a mixture of languages in one army, since there were French, Flemings, Frisians, Gauls, Sayonards, Lotharingians, Allemani, Bavarians, Normans, English, Scots, Aquitanians, Italians, Danes, Apulians, Iberians, Bretons, Greeks and Armenians."
        - Fulcher of Chartes, participant in the first Crusade


> From William Waller, General, Parliamentarian forces to Ralph Hockton, Royalist. Letter written > during hostilities in the English Civil War :

To my noble friend, Sir Ralph.
Sir, my affections to you are so unchangeable that hostility itself cannot violated my friendship to your person - but I must be true to the cause wherein I serve. That great god which is the searcher of my heart knows with what a sad scene I go upon this service and with what a perfect hatred I detest this war without an enemy.
But I look upon it as an opus domini which is enough to silence all passion in me. We are both upon the stage and must act those parts that are assigned to us in this tragedy. Let us do it in a way of honour and without personal animosities whatsoever the issue be.
I shall never relinquish the dear title of your most affectionated friend and faithful servant.


For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry,
And all their songs are sad.
        - G. K. Chesterton

"Seldom dry, but often running over, as if the Heavens were a wounded eye, perpetually weeping over
        - 17th century French observer comments on Ireland's climate

"Parties on the back of Parties, at war with the world and with each other."
        - Thomas Carlyle, 19th century historian, on Ireland of the mid-17th century [2]

"The vast majority of those of Scots lineage living in the Ulster counties in the 18th century had come across, or their people had come across, in the 1690s. And they were victims of famine. Over that decade, 30000-50000 people were fleeing from that disaster. In terms of per capita loss, it was of the same order of magnitude as the Irish famine (of the 19th century)."
        - Prof. TM Devine, in the documentary "On Eagle's Wing"

"A waste land lit by holy candles."
        - Sean O'Casey, describing the Ireland of his time

In prison we are their jailers
On trial their judges
Persecuted their punishers
Dead their conquerors
        - Eoin MacNeill, on death of Irish patriot hunger strikers in British Jails

Although the Irish language is connected with the many recollections that twine around the hearts of Irishmen, yet the superior utility of the English tongue, as the medium of all modern communication, is so great that I can witness without a sigh the gradual decline of the Irish language.
        - Daniel O'Connell, champion of the Emancipation of Irish Catholics

"What really surprised the majority of those who contemplate the affairs of Ireland is to see that people of the same nation and of the same religion, who are well aware that the resolution to exterminate them totally has already been taken, should differ so strongly in their private hostilities; that their zeal for religion, the preservation of their country, and their own self interest are not sufficient to make them lay down, at least for a short time, the passions which divide them one from the other."
        - France's Ambassador to England, writing in 1648

"What is unique about Drogheda is the very large number of Protestants in the garrison and the fact that it's commanded, by and large, by Englishmen, who have come over from the English Civil War and are fighting in Ireland, and Cromwell is extraordinarily savage against these... Drogheda, after all, was a Protestant "
        - Prof. Ronald Hutton, on the complexities of the infamous massacre, "Cromwell in Ireland"

Surely the state of Ireland ought for ever to teach parties moderation in their victories. People crushed by law have no hopes but for power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those who have much to hope and nothing to lose will always be dangerous more or less.
        - Edmund Burke, writing in 1777 [7]

England and Ireland may flourish together. The world is large enough for both of us. Let it be our care not to make ourselves too little for it.
        - Edmund Burke [7]

I find along with many virtues in my countrymen there is a jealousy, a soreness, and readiness to take offence, as if they were the most helpless and impotent of mankind, and yet a violence... and a boistrousness in their resentment, as if they had been puffed up with the highest prosperity and power. they will not only be served, but it must also be in their own way and on their own principles and even in words and language that they liked... which renders it very difficult for a plain unguarded man as I am to have anything to do with them or their affairs.
        - Edmund Burke [7]

"The optimist view of politics assumes that there must be some remedy for every political ill, and rather than not find it, will make two hardships to cure one. If all equitable remedies have failed, its votaries take it as proved without argument that the one-sided remedies, which alone are left, must needs succeed. But is not the other view barely possible? Is it not just conceivable that there is no remedy that we can apply for the Irish hatred of ourselves? ...May it not, on the contrary, be our incessant doctoring and meddling, awaking the passions now of this party, now of that, raising at every step a fresh crop of resentments by the side of the old growth, that puts off the day when these feelings will decay quietly away and be forgotten? The free institutions which sustain the life of a free and a united people sustain also the hatreds of a divided people."
        - Lord Salisbury (1872)

"Is not that state a warning and a judgment for our heavy sins as a nation?"
        - William Gladstone (1880)

"We are bound to lose Ireland in consequence of years of cruelty, stupidity and misgovernment and I would rather lose her as a friend than as a foe."
        - William E. Gladstone

"The Skibbereen Eagle has got its eye both upon Lord Palmerston and on the Emperor of Russia." This terrible warning has elevated the little insignificant town of Skibbereen, in the southwest coast of Ireland, quite into a Lilliputian pre-eminence . Beware, beware, ye statesmen, emperors, and thrones, for the Skibbereen Eagle has its eye upon you!
        - And let that be a warning for you.

"Why should we do anything for posterity; what has posterity ever done for us?"
        - Richard Boyle, speech to Irish House of Commons

"In later years, it was common, and I was guilty in this respect, to question the motives of those who joined the new British armies at the outbreak of the Great War, but it must, in their honour and fairness to their memories, be said that they were motivated by the highest purpose, and died in their tens of thousands in Flanders and Gallipoli, believing that they were giving their lives in the cause of human liberty everywhere, including Ireland."
        - Sean Lemass, Prime Minister of Ireland, 1966.

"Here is a shared memory that we didn't share, forgot to share, for almost ninety years."
        - President Mary McAleese, commemorating fallen Irish soldiers in Flanders, 2004.

"I joined the British Army because she stood between Ireland and an enemy common to our civilization, and I would not have her (Britain) say that she defended us while we did nothing at home but pass resolutions."
        - Francis Ledwidge, Irish volunteer, killed in action at Ypres, 1917

More Irishmen died fighting for Britain in World War I than died fighting against her in all of Ireland's bids for independence combined.
        - David Frum

"An independent Ireland would see its own independence in jeopardy the moment it saw the independence of Britain seriously threatened. Mutual self-interest would make the peoples of these two islands, if both independent, the closest possible allies in a moment of real national danger to either."
        - Eamon de Valera, 1920.

"This Treaty gives us freedom, not the ultimate freedom that all Nations desire and develop to, but the freedom to achieve it"
        - Michael Collins, defending the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922

"To go for a drink is one thing. To be driven to it is another."
        - Michael Collins in a letter during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.

"What the hell difference does it make, left or right? There were good men lost on both sides."
        - Pat, on losing a leg in a battle of the Irish Civil War, "The Hostage" by Brendan Behan

"We were the most conservative revolutionaries in history."
        - Kevin O'Higgins, Minister for Justice in post-independence Ireland

The Irish Free State was one of dozens of new European democracies to emerge from the cauldron of the 1914-1918 war. It was one of the very few that was still democratic in 1939. This book shows how the steely determination of one man, Kevin O'Higgins, made this possible. O'Higgins faced down mutinies in both the Gardai and the Army. He dissolved the Dáil Courts which were a parallel system that might easily have undermined the conventional courts. With WT Cosgrave, he put through a constitution which reconciled the local opponents of independence with the new State.
        - John Bruton, reviewing "Builder Of The Irish State", "The Irish Independent"

It was a state forged through violent struggle, its troubled birth leaving deep scars in a society already overwhelmed by economic disadvantage. Yet, despite such unpromising origins, the Irish Free State not only survived, but developed into a vibrant democracy, one in which the rule of law, parliamentary authority and the will of the people remained paramount, just as supremely cultured nations such as Germany and Italy were succumbing to tyranny. As Richard English points out in his new book, Irish Freedom: The History of Nationalism in Ireland, such an outcome was never a certainty. But the first factor English identifies as being behind this achievement is striking. “Irish nationalist success,” English says, rested on “British legacies”. Even in independence, one might infer, Irish nationalists were guided by the benign hand of Britain... But the book also highlights the more dominant strand in Irish nationalism: the moderate, constitutional approach. “People often look at the history of Irish nationalism and say it’s a story of extremism triumphant. It seems to me that the opposite is nearer the truth. The only time Irish nationalists are hugely supported as a party — O’Connell, Parnell, the SDLP and now Sinn Fein — is when it’s not violence on offer. So for someone who is fundamentally a pragmatist rather than an idealist, it’s a story which has much to comfort you.” English’s broader theory is simple enough: “Nationalism offers you the capacity to change the world, and at the same time have a community that’s small enough to be meaningful but large enough to be powerful.”
        - Mick Heaney, reviewing "Irish Freedom", "The Sunday Times"

Few, but readers of the Old Colonial Papers and records are aware that a lively trade was carried on between England and the Plantations, as the Colonies were then called, from 1647 to 1690, in political prisoners, where they were sold by auction to the Colonists for various terms of years, sometimes for life.
        - Colonel AB Ellis, "White Slaves and Bond Servants in the Plantations" (1883) [2]

The Rising was mainly a piece of streat theatre designed by poets for dramatic effect. For better or worse, it became part of the founding myth which states need — but which they should move on from after a time. Major John MacBride, in a cameo performance in which he left Jacobs Mill, as he had entered it, immaculately dressed down to the white spats, told his colleagues "Next time lads, don't shut yourself up behind four walls." It was good advice.
        - Maurice Hayes, reviewing "Easter 1916" by Charles Townshend

I am fed up with the foolish cliche that the Irish and British troops who fought in the First World War were "lions led by donkeys" and died for nothing. Modern military scholarship shows that most British officers were brave men leading brave men, doing their best to survive in a system of warfare that could only stay stagnant until the arrival of airpower and the tank. Far from fighting for nothing, they were fighting a terrifying tyranny. The Kaiser was a killer. The brutal rape of Belgium showed what was in store for France and Russia if he was not fought to a finish. In fact Britain, America, France and Russia were fighting the forerunner of Adolf Hitler. Although it was a long way from Tipperary, there was nothing ignoble or ignorant about Irishmen joining in the struggle to stop the spiked helmet and the jackboot from grinding down the peoples of Europe. The men who died at Messines died fighting a far greater tyranny than the men of 1916. So say all those whose grandfathers and granduncles fought and died for the freedom of small nations.
        - Eoghan Harris, in Ireland's "Sunday Independent"

Why, some people ask (in response to Kevin Myers' magnificent and sustained campaigns to respect the Irish soldiers of the Great War), should we commemorate the men of 1914-1918, and not those Irishmen who fought in other wars -- the Boer War or the American Civil War, for example? By all means commemorate those who fought in all wars, but the reason for commemorating the Great War is that it has a special relevance to reconciliation here, north and south. John Redmond did not turn out to be right in saying that 1914-1918 would bring North and South together: at least not at the time. But as we mark the 90th anniversary of the ending of the Great War tomorrow, there are still opportunities for realising John Redmond's dream. That epiphany surely occurred when Dr Ian Paisley, the symbol of resistance to a United Ireland, speaks about his gratitude to the Irish Government in marking that remembrance: and placed flowers on the grave of the great Home Ruler John Redmond.
        - Mary Kenny, "The Irish Independent"

If Fiji and Canada, India and Nepal, South Africa and Nigeria, can gather in the Mall to recall their men who died in the service of an extinct empire, why do we have such trouble in doing the same? And how can our national pride be nourished on the sullen neglect and a righteous disdain towards those innocents who in 1914 onwards merely did the bidding of their betters? The Sikh who lays his wreath at the Cenotaph does honour to neither emperor nor the butchers of Amritsar: the Zulu who bows his head before that unpeopled tomb is not praising those who slew his kinsmen at Rorke's Drft and Islandwhana; yet they can stand with members of the diplomatic corps and remember their dead fellow-countrymen of two world wars, and be not a whit diminished by that deed of remembrance... Dogmatic neutralists have turned a temporary ploy of 1939 into an enduring principle, a permanent declaration of a greater virtue than those who go armed. But piety does not guard a country's beaches or protect its airspace. Steel and sinew alone do that, and we have never had enough of either. Ireland's defences in 1940 began not at Dun Laoghaire in Dublin but Dungeness, in Kent: and Irish bellies were fed by wheat-bearing allied convoys we refused to protect. If Britain fell, so should we, the helpless fen beyond the dyke. That fen now stands proudly aloof from the London remembrance of those who perished in the dyke.
        - Kevin Myers, on official Ireland's shameful neglect of its war dead, "Irish Independent"

On September 4, 1939, the day after Britain declared war, five RAF bombers attacked the German naval base at Wilhelmshaven. Four were shot down, the first flown by Pilot Officer William Murphy (23), the son of William and Katherine Murphy, of Mitchelstown Co Cork. The sole survivor from the four doomed aircraft was, rather strangely, Laurence Slattery of Thurles, Co Tipperary. Billie Murphy was thus both the first Irish and British victim of the Second World War... About 5,000 Irishmen died serving with the British army in the Second World War -- rather more from the South than from the North. This means that, roughly 53,000 volunteers served from southern Ireland, and 52,000 from the North. With air-force, merchant marine and naval losses, independent Ireland's wartime death-toll alone might be four thousand... From May 1945, Irish newspapers began to carry a roll of honour of Irish military personnel whose deaths had been concealed by the censors. One death notice from "E.G.S, a friend", for a Royal Artillery subaltern killed in 1944, stands out. It read: "Williams, in memory of a dear friend, a noble character, a loyal companion, and former student. Lieutenant Sean Williams RA (TCD) who gave his life so that I and others might live to pursue our ideals in freedom."
        - Kevin Myers, "The Irish Independent"

As exciting as the novel "The Riddle Of The Sands" is, it pales beside the life of its author: born into Ireland's Protestant Ascendancy, Erksine Childers become a seaman as skilled as his hero Arthur Davies. He fought for Britain in the Boer War, returned home to smuggle arms to Irish rebels against Britain, then joined the Navy, serving as one of the first naval flyers and then as an intelligence officer. After the War, he joined Sinn Fein and the uprising against British rule. Secretary-General of the Irish delegation at the negotiations for Irish independence, Childers ultimately sided with the militants who rejected the agreement establishing Irish statehood. A rebel against the new Irish Free State, he was caught and executed by firing squad. But even that is not the end of the story: His son and namesake was elected president of the Irish Republic in 1973.
        - David Frum, "National Review"

Ireland or Erin is Celtic; from Eri or Iar (western). Lloyd (State Worthies, article "Grandison"), with a gravity which cannot but excite laughter, says the island is called the land of Ire because of the broils there, which have extended over four hundred years. Wormius derives the word from the Runic Yr, a bow. (See below. )
Ireland : Called by the natives "Erin," i.e. Eri-innis, or Iar-innis (west island). By the Welsh "Yver-den" (west valley). By Apuleius, "Hibernia," which is Iernia, a corruption of Iar-inni-a. By Juvenal (ii. 260) "Juverna" or "Juberna," the same as Ierna or Iernia. By Claudian "Ouernia," the same. By moderns "Ireland," which is Iar-en-land (land of the west).
        - The Origins of the name Ireland (of Unknown Accuracy)


[1] Quoted in "Big Chief Elizabeth" by Giles Milton
[2] Quoted in "To Hell or Barbados!" by Sean O'Callaghan
[3] Quoted in "John Adams" by David McCullough
[4] Quoted in "The Lance & The Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull" by Robert Utley
[5] Quoted in "Empire, War and Faith" by Geoffrey Parker
[6] Quoted in "Founding Brothers" by Joseph J. Ellis
[7] Quoted in "Edmund Burke: His Life & Opinions" by Stanley Ayling

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