Honor and Betrayal

July 25th, 2003  

Topic: Honor and Betrayal

As part of the Treaty of Limerick in 1691, the Irish forces of Patrick Sarsfield, who had fought the army of William of Orange to a standstill, were given the option of sailing to France to join the Stuart King, James II, in exile.

Shortly after Sarsfield signed the Treaty of Limerick a French fleet arrived with reinforcements for the Irish and many urged Sarsfield to tear up the Treaty and fight on. This he would not do; having given his word of honor, he kept it. Believing they had negotiated a treaty that guaranteed the rights of their people, perhaps as many as twenty thousand Irish soldiers sailed with Sarsfield to France. The treaty that Sarsfield had honored would never be honored by the British. With cruel irony they would tear up the treaty and replace it with the Penal Laws, stripping Irish Catholics of their land, persecuting them for their religion and removing every right of citizenship. Irish Catholics couldn't own property of any kind, they were banned from an education and the Irish language was made illegal. On this note of dishonor and betrayal began the saga of "The Wild Geese."

"Cuimnidh ar Luimneach agus ar Feall na Sasanach!" -- Remember Limerick and the Saxon Faith (i.e., English betrayal) -- became a battle cry of the Irish Brigade in the service of France.

In 1745, after France's Irish Brigade was so instrumental in the famous victory over the British at Fontenoy, England's King George II would express a sentiment many British soldiers would have reason to second over the years: "Cursed be the laws which deprive me of such subjects."
July 25th, 2003  
Thanks a lot for the story.

It was very interesting!
I didn't know this at all...
March 7th, 2004  
Extremely interesting
March 7th, 2004  
Wow, no wonder they hate each other - I didn't know things like this.