Ireland’s Geographical Location (Robertson, 1897)

1.476. A passage from John Mackinnon Robertson, The Saxon and the Celt: A Study in Sociology, (London: University Press, Limited, 1897), pp. 241-42. BL 8155.eee.4

A passage from John Mackinnon Robertson, The Saxon and the Celt (1897), quoting the Duke of Argyll.

In his chapter on ‘The Duke of Argyll on Irish History’, Robertson quotes a passage from George Douglas Campbell, the Duke of Argyll’s Irish Nationalism: an Appeal to History of 1893 on the geographical disadvantages of Ireland:

The first and most fundamental of all Irish disadvantages is geographical position. It was a condition involving a long train of consequences. It segregated Ireland from the great stream of European history. It precluded her from the unspeakable benefits of Roman conquest. It kept her away from the civilisation of the Latin Church. It effectually prevented her later subjugation by any superior race. It stereotyped barbarous customs, and prolonged them even to our own day. All happier influences seemed to stop when they landed on the shores of England. There they remained; and nobody cared to push across that narrow sea, into a land covered with dense forests and bogs, inhabited by fierce tribes with no possessions tempting to a comparatively civilised intruder. In later days England seemed to intercept geographically even the benefits of commerce. I have heard the feeling on this matter strikingly expressed by a very clever woman of Irish blood and of Irish marriage, the late Lady Clanricarde — the daughter of George Canning, and the sister of Lord Canning, Governor-General of India. ‘You,’ she said addressing an Englishman, ‘have always been like a high garden wall standing between us and the sun.’

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