Notes

[1] Wyndham's own Irish instinct led him to be equally cautious. In the only letter that ever passed between us he wrote (April 14, 1908):

"I have felt that the conditions of Irish political controversy precluded me from communicating with you. I have regretted this. For I have often wished to express to you personally, and to express in public, my sense of the loyal—I would say chivalrous—manner in which you stuck to the spirit, as well as the letter, of the agreement between classes and parties on the Land Question which alone made the Act of 1903 possible."

[2] The three distinguished Irishmen (only one of them a member of the Irish Party) who "launched a determined campaign" against the Policy of Conciliation, were not members of the Land Conference, owing to a mischance for which no member of the Conference was in the remotest degree responsible. It is impossible to imagine that, had they shared in its councils, they should ever have fallen victims to their infatuated misjudgment of its real objects and possibilities.

[3] This is the subject referred to in a letter dated December 29, 1920, from one whose judgment ought to carry more weight with Mr. Dillon than that of any other living man. Referring to the author's book, Evening Memories, which he characterises as a "wonderful and most fascinating book," the writer adds:

"It is, of course, quite beyond my knowledge and my capacity to criticise such a book. But one thing, I must say, I can't forgive in it, and that is the way in which one of the most astounding achievements of one man in history is merely referred to in a very few words as 'a miracle.' Saints can afford to make little of their miracles, but politicians should not—far less, writers of history. I allude, of course, to the most wonderful rescue of Ireland from eight years of unspeakable discord. Why, I find it is not even called a miracle, and the men who did not do it are referred to, not the man who did do it!"

[4] It was never my privilege to meet Archbishop Walsh again, but shortly after his death I received a letter (dated April 26, 1921) from his Private Secretary (Rev. Fr. Patrick J. Walsh) which is highly relevant to the point we are discussing as a proof that His Grace's misunderstanding of the Act of 1903 had long been dismissed from his mind. It is quoted also to gratify a human feeling which, in the circumstances, may not be altogether unpardonable as evidence that he was never a party to the virulent misrepresentations subsequently heaped upon my name, and looked back with pleasure unalloyed upon "the memories of happier days" recorded in my book:

"There is a slight matter in connection with the late Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Walsh, about which I think I ought to write to you. It concerns your latest volume, Evening Memories. This book was the last which His Grace read through before leaving here (Archbishop's House) for the Nursing Home in which he died a couple of weeks ago.

"For years it was the Archbishop's custom, when leaving his study at night to retire to his bedroom, to bring with him some book of interest which he would read before going to sleep. The evening that Evening Memories arrived, he brought the volume to his bedroom, and indeed to bed with him, and he found it so deeply interesting that he was unable to lay it down till the small hours of the morning. It brought back to him, very vividly, memories of happier days. The next night he took up the book again, determined that he would give up reading at a seasonable hour and go to sleep. But again, he was so excited and interested by the thrilling pages, that sleep was unduly curtailed.

"Accordingly, he had the volume brought down from his bedroom to the study, where he finished the reading of it."

[5] Better known in popular parlance as "The Mollies."

[6] The names of the minority deserve to be recorded to the honour of their posterity:—Messrs. T. M. Healy (North Louth), T. C. Harrington (Dublin Harbour Division), Thomas O'Donnell (West Kerry), Edward Barry (South Cork), Conor O'Kelly (North Mayo), Eugene Crean (South-East Cork), George Murnaghan (Mid. Tyrone), James Gilhooly (West Cork), Patrick O'Doherty (North Donegal), William O'Brien (Cork City), John O'Donnell (South Mayo), H. Phillips (North Longford), Augustine Roche (Cork City), T. Smyth (South Leitrim), and. D. D. Sheehan (Mid-Cork). Mr. Redmond did not open his lips on the occasion.

[7] A partly amusing and wholly pathetic piece of evidence in proof was what happened on the occasion of my last public speech in Cork, on June 24, 1916, to protest against Partition. A young, but energetic, minority of my audience succeeded in preventing me from obtaining a hearing by chorussing "The Soldier's Song," the newly-composed war-song of the Republicans. They several times suspended the disorder, while their leaders (one of whom was afterwards shot dead at Ballykinlar Camp) came on the platform to announce that their refusal of a hearing was not through any personal disrespect or failure of affection for me, but to express their dissent from my attitude in the War, and that solely because I was the only man who had the power of winning honest Nationalists back to a Parliamentary movement which was otherwise dead and rotten. They suspended hostilities again, to agree with one voice to a resolution against Partition, but instantly recommenced "The Soldier's Song," and would listen to no more.

[8] The late Canon Sheehan, Parish Priest of Doneraile, whose last novel, The Graves at Kilmorna, predicted the ruin of the Parliamentary movement with the dread certainty of a Biblical Prophet.

[9] From this censure I desire expressly to exclude Mr. Davitt. His faith was in nationalization of the land, and his opposition to the Wyndham Act, or to any other scheme of peasant proprietary, was consistent and perfectly legitimate. It has always been a consolation to me to remember that in all those years of controversy no word personally hurtful to Mr. Davitt has ever escaped me. His last letter to me upon a private matter shortly before his death was as full of manly friendship as if nothing had happened since the period of loyal comradeship he and I spent together during the hard years when the United Irish League was being formed out of the ruins of the National movement. Nobody with any intimate knowledge of Mr. Davitt will doubt that had he been alive at the time of the Baton Convention he would have forbidden with indignation the preparations for that orgy of violence or would have separated himself with loathing from its organizers.

[10] The true character of Mr. Crosbie's change of faith may be judged by the not very delicate cynicism of a remark of his to myself while the Examiner was still unperverted. "The only possible objection I can see to your policy," he said, "is that it is so obviously common sense and common sense never has a chance in Ireland." The punishment which eventually overtook Mr. Crosbie was an unwarrantable and tyrannous one in itself, but was only a rougher form of the foul play and tyranny he had himself practised against the friends he deserted. During the Civil War of 1922 he was obliged to kneel daily at the feet of Miss Mary MacSwiney, T.D., to receive her orders as Military Censor in his editorial chair. He meekly announced: "The Republican authorities wish us to state their censorship is merely for the purpose of securing impartial reports." After his own performances for years in publishing grossly garbled reports of All-for-Ireland speeches or boycotting them entirely, it was indeed edifying that he should be brought to realize the virtues of "impartial reports." However, the "impartial reports" he was under the penitential necessity of publishing during the Republican supremacy took the shape of four or five columns every day of Republican leading articles levelling charges of traitorism and murder against Mr. Arthur Griffith and General Michael Collins and trouncing the Bishops and priests in terms that might well have made the respectable founder of the Cork Examiner shudder in his grave. Doubtless in his new apostacy the worthy gentleman found some consolation in another of his favourite apothegms: "The most interesting thing I can find to read in the Examiner is the agents' books." The circulation must have been brisk during the Republican interregnum, for the good reason, if there was no other, that it was the only newspaper left in existence. The only other local daily, the Constitution, like the fine old Tory that it was, preferred to die rather than follow the example of its contemporary. Needless to add, no sooner was Miss Mary MacSwiney replaced by the Military Censor of the Free State, than the Examiner, true to its patriotic repute as le domestique de tous les pouvoirs—the humble servant of everybody who comes out on top—rushed to the rescue of the conquerors and proceeded to pour out no less vigorous abuse upon its late editorial contributors in their retreat.

[11] Including the murdered Lord Mayors Terence MacSwiney and Tomás MacCurtain, and also Mr. J. J. Walsh, the Postmaster General of the Irish Republican Government of 1916 and of the Provisional Government of 1922.

[12] "In speaking in the House of Lords, I alluded to the opinion expressed by Mr. Bonar Law, by the Postmaster General, and by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in favour of settlement by Conference. I said that being the case why on earth don't you attempt to try to make a settlement through Conference and consent? I was interrupted by Lord Morley. He said: 'Yes, a settlement by consent, but on the lines?'—'Well, on what lines?'—'On the lines,' he said, 'suggested by Mr. William O'Brien.'"—Speech by Lord Dunraven, March 1, 1913.

[13] From the Editor of a London Unionist morning newspaper, the name of which would now sound startlingly (it was not The Times), I received a letter heavily marked "Secret and Confidential," under date "April 29th, 1910," in which he wrote:

"My friend, Mr ——— has to-day had a long confidential talk with me, and as a result I have advised him to see you without delay. He has a proposal of importance to put before you. I have no hesitation in asking you to give him an opportunity of discussing it fully with you. Mr. ——— has approached me in strict confidence in my private capacity, but I have, of course, assured myself of the bona fides and straightforwardness of his proposal before giving him this letter to you, though the fact that the proposal came through him was a guarantee of both.

As Editor of the ——— I have no knowledge of the matter, as a private individual the proposal has my sympathy as an honest attempt on ———'s part to assist a cause which he has deeply at heart." A few days after the receipt of this letter King Edward the Peacemaker was dead. A week later I received another letter from the Editor stating that the death of King Edward had made it useless to carry the matter further and that the mysterious visitor had given up his mission to Ireland. What the "proposal of importance" was, I have never heard since.

[14] Lord Morley remarked to Sir Algernon West, "Sexton and Dillon, good and honest but always feminine and impatient" (Private Diaries of Sir Algernon West, p. 295). This particular censure of Dillon was as much mistaken as Morley's judgments of Irish affairs usually were, but of Sexton's little pets and whimsies nobody who knew him under the surface will question the accuracy of the description. Sexton himself better hit the blot in Dillon's make-up as a leader when he once asked: "Has Dillon no friend intimate enough to give him a hint that the first person singular is not the only case of the Personal Pronoun?"

[15] His public avowal of his deliberate design to cut the people off from the relief afforded by the Act was one of the most extraordinary ever made by a Parliamentary representative:

"It has been said that we have delayed the reinstatement of the evicted tenants and obstructed the smooth working of the Act. I wish to Heaven we had the power to obstruct the smooth working of the Act more than we have. It has worked too smoothly—far too smoothly, to my mind. . . . Some men have complained that the Land Act is not working fast enough. For my part I look upon it as working a great deal too fast. Its pace has been ruinous to the people."—(Speech at Swinford, September 12, 1906.)

His character for sincerity is not enhanced by the probability that this gross misjudgment of the Act was only a cover to conceal by a show of concern for the people's practical interests his real grounds for hatred of the Act, but dubious as is the compliment, there cannot be much doubt that what he was thinking of was not that the prices were excessive, but that the success of the Act would be ruinous to the National Cause.

Here is the judgment of an Irish-American publicist of distinction, Rev. Father Owen B. McGuire, of the Act which Mr. Dillon wished he had the power of obstructing, and which he elsewhere described as "mortgaging the future of Ireland to our hereditary enemies," and as a measure bound to end in "National Bankruptcy."

"I have always maintained that the Land Act of 1903 was the greatest victory since the Battle of Clontarf. The Norse power was finally broken at Clontarf. The Anglo-Norman power was broken by the victory of 1903. The Irish people as a result are coming gradually into possession of the land of Ireland. The foreign garrison is gradually disappearing. Those who remain, no longer dependent for their position or their property on an alien power, will be absorbed eventually by the nation and will become Irish. The Norman invasion in its essence has been undone by the Act of 1903. It may take some years yet to complete the work, but complete victory is as certain as to-morrow's dawn."—(Irish World, September 24, 1921.)

[16] Irish quarrels give the Pharisees much scandal, because they are apt to come off in public. The quarrels of English politicians are vastly more venomous, only the backbiting is conducted confidentially and the victims escape the public eye, as do those of Turkish palace intrigues by being consigned to the Bosphorus in sacks. The extraordinary Private Diaries of Sir Algernon West might well put Irishmen in a more comfortable humour with themselves when they compare the malice and pettiness of it all with our own noisier but less malignant wars. While the Grand Old Man is battling like a hero to the last against old age and half-hearted colleagues we have Asquith coolly proposing to abduct him to the House of Lords; the austere Morley "in one of his humours" protesting that Harcourt's "invariable insolence was too dreadful," and vowing he "would never again attend a Cabinet in which Harcourt sat;" Rosebery with his insomnia and his nerves of a sick school-girl almost starting an international war, because the French Ambassador, at an evening party, spoke to Gladstone and not to his Foreign Minister; members of the Cabinet declining to speak to each other or bargeing each other on the Treasury Bench under the eyes of the House of Commons; the arrogant old Queen Victoria, flying out at Gladstone for giving her son, the Prince of Wales, any hint of what went on at Cabinet meetings, and so on to the tragic moment when the smooth-faced Asquith and the semi-Stoic, semi-Epicurean Morley and the blustering Harcourt combined to prevent Gladstone from dying with his Home Rule harness on his back and to put the decadent Rosebery in his place. Our proneness to "personalizing" politics —to attending rather to quis dicit than to quid dicitur—is an evil national habit, which it ought to be one of the first tasks of the future to correct; but the fallings-out of Irish public men, if they are more outspoken, are at least less Pharisaic than is the Anglo-Saxon way.

[17] In The Nineteenth Century, dealing with the collapse of the Irish Council Bill.

[18] The All-for-Ireland members found all parties combined in ruling out the smallest mention of the matter in the House. Nothing could have prevented the Irish Party any night they chose from moving the Adjournment in order to discuss it; but they sat dumb. They would only have recovered their voices for a roar of exultant derision, if we had tried to get the necessary 40 members to rise and failed.

[19] "I would go as far as ever you went to win over Ulster," Mr. De Valera told me in 1922.

[20] One sample must suffice of the methods by which every attempt to enlighten the country as to our aims was stamped out. On August 27, 1910 (when, be it observed, the Liberal Government then in power had definitively declined to include Home Rule in their legislative programme) I went down to Mayo to address Branches of the All-for-Ireland League, which were spontaneously springing up there in all directions. In my first speech at Ballina I proposed to give the country a sure means of judging for itself where the reproach of "faction" really lay by offering to submit myself to an unimpeachable Jury of Honour to take evidence in the full hearing of the public how the dissensions of the past seven years had arisen. The invitation was, needless to add, steadily ignored, notwithstanding my promise to accept a friend of old standing of Mr. Dillon's (Hon. Bourke Cockran) as President of the Court. The organizers' preparations for breaking up our meeting at Ballina were frustrated by an overwhelming demonstration of welcome on the part of the people. All the emissaries of the Board of Erin were able to compass was that during the speech of Mr. D. D. Sheehan, M.P., a revolver was discharged from a dark corner and a bullet was embedded in the framework of the window from which he was speaking. The next day at Crossmolina, the organizers (they were no less than four) who had been specially despatched to the district from headquarters were more successful. On reaching Crossmolina, Mr. Sheehan and myself were ambushed by an armed mob headed by three priests, whose incitements and physical misconduct it would be too painful to detail. We had to pass through scenes of blackguardism (culminating in a fusilade of revolver shots fired by a Board of Erin ringleader who had just been appointed to an important Government office in the neighbourhood), for a description of which we may trust to an authority so little suspect as the Freeman's Journal. Its reporter, in a burst of irrepressible indignation, thus relates what he observed from his own standpoint:

"When Crossmolina was reached, it was seen that stormy times were ahead. A strong force of police were drawn across the Main Street, and behind them was massed a large crowd, who, on the appearance of Mr. O'Brien's party, manifested their hostility in an unmistakeable way, shouting and waving sticks in a threatening manner. Before reaching this point the horses had been taken from Mr. O'Brien's carriage and a crowd of his supporters drew it along at the head of the procession up to the point where its further progress was impeded by the police cordon .... Mr. O'Brien crying out: 'Drive right ahead.' . . . the carriage, drawn at a rapid pace, proceeded to run the blockade, and then a scene occurred which no thoughtful Irishman with any pretensions to patriotism could regard with feelings other than those of regret. Mr. O'Brien was standing in the carriage, and a fierce fusillade of stones, bottles, and eggs, thrown with great force, were directed towards him. He did not flinch, and though the missiles seemed to rain all round him, happily not one of them struck him. . . . The intervals between the speeches were interspersed with band-playing and drum-beating, and a few stones more were thrown at Mr. O'Brien's party and one revolver shot discharged." And the same scenes of violence—revolver-shots, stones, and bottles—were repeated on our departure, one of the chief merchants of Ballina, Mr. Moylett, having his skull fractured as he sat by my side. A few months later, in the same county, under the superintendence of another crop of organizers from Belfast, my wife and myself were fired on at Lecanvey, and the lamp of our motor-car shattered by a bullet, and at Achill a few days afterwards our chauffeur was fired on again and a revolver-bullet lodged in his arm.

[21] With the exception of one potent element. By a technical ecclesiastical ordinance the clergy were forbidden to be present. Mr. Healy, a Catholic in every fibre of body and soul, made a thrilling allusion to an incident as the Conference were assembling when a famous parish priest from Tipperary—Father Matt Ryan— "who had been with us in all the stirring times of sacrifice in the past, and now, when we are on the verge of victory, found himself turned back and forbidden to partake of our triumph"—adding with prophetic vision: "I do think that hereafter it will not be forgotten, should division arise between laity and clergy, that it was on the important occasion of an Irish Parliament Bill that Irish priests were refused the liberty of rallying round us." Father Matt Ryan was, a few years later, one of the foremost figures in the Sinn Féin reaction which overthrew a Parliamentarianism rendered hateful by such methods.

[22] The following reply of the Freeman's Journal to my offer of co-operation throws a flood of light upon the spirit then rampant in the Hibernian camp:

"It is to be feared that 'All Ireland' will not take very seriously the proceedings at Cork. Mr. William O'Brien and Mr. Timothy Healy were once persons of importance in Irish politics. Now it is not too much to assert that their views upon any serious Irish question are of less importance than those of the rawest recruit to the Irish ranks. It really does not matter what they say about the Home Rule Bill. Mr. O'Brien knew that he dare not lay a little finger upon the Bill to prevent its passage, and that if he did he and his 'party' would disappear from Parliament at the next election. . . . There were only two speeches of interest at Cork; they were delivered by Mr. O'Brien's converts, Sir John Keane and Mr. Moreton Frewen. From the reports to hand, it is not possible to gather exactly the views of the brace about the Home Rule Bill; but there is no mistake as to what the converts want. 'Give us Land Purchase and the devil take Home Rule' would be no unfair representation of their view."

[23] Later Note (1922).—Now that the Irish Provisional Government is in operation one of its most cruel difficulties is the outcry of "the unpurchased tenants" (left "unpurchased" wholly through the unwisdom of Mr. Dillon) for the completion of Land Purchase by an Irish State without the necessary credit to finance it, and as a consequence the reopening of the agrarian difficulty in a more ruinous form than ever.

[24] Ulster's Stand for the Union. By Mr. Ronald McNeill. London. 1922.

[25] Ulster's Stand for the Union. By Mr. Ronald MacNeill. London. Murray. 1922.

[26] See Captain D. D. Sheehan's Ireland since Parnell, Chapter XIV., for an interesting exposure of this transaction.

[27] Ireland and the War. Extracts from speeches of J. E. Redmond, M.P. Dublin. 1915.

[28] Another passage from Sir Mathew's evidence is worth reproducing:

"Whom could you consult when the Chief Secretary was away?—The Irish Members of Parliament are frequently conferred with. ... I must state one thing that fell to Mr. Birrell to do when he was over here (in Westminster) was to see the Irish Members of Parliament, who were constantly going to him on every conceivable subject.

"Is that Mr. Redmond's Party or Mr. O'Brien's?—No. I am talking entirely of the Party under Mr. Redmond."

For the high affairs of State, the three above enumerated were "The Irish Parliamentary Party," but the rest of the Party had their compensations by (in Mr. T. P. O'Connor's indignant phrase) "making a commonage" of the Chief Secretary's room in the House of Commons, oblivious of their public vow not to seek Government patronage, which it is certain covered three-fourths of the communications on "every conceivable subject" with which they were "constantly" entertaining Mr. Birrell.

[29] "It was found impossible to have done it for that night," he adds, with feeling. It is a curious fact that none of the official extracts quoted in this Chapter were ever made public in the Irish Press.

[30] Sir Roger Casement was bitter in his complaints of the neglect and contempt which met him on every hand in Berlin. Compare Mr. Ronald McNeill's account of the sympathetic experiences of the emissary of the Ulster Covenanters, Mr. Crawford, in Hamburg and in the Kiel Canal.

[31] No specific mention was made of Mr. Redmond's Party, but to leave them out would be the one folly uncommitted by the scheme.

[32] This curious prediction is another instance of quantula sapientia regitur mundus. The candidate favoured by England, I gathered, was Roosevelt, who was in his own phrase, "beaten to a frazzle" in the Republican Convention. By another blunder, no less comical, of the Washington Embassy, the real Republican candidate, Mr. Hughes, was reported to be an enemy of England.

[33] Subsequent developments led me often and anxiously to jog my memory on this point, and I have not a shadow of doubt that this précis, made at the moment, accurately records Sir E. Carson's statement that, in the Federal arrangement to which he looked forward with hope, Ireland was to be dealt with as a unit.

[34] Some minor episodes in the conversation, which were also noted at the time, may here be added:

L. G. (to me)—"Did not Sir Edward once prosecute you?" O'B. (laughingly)—Have you already forgotten your old leader's injunction to 'Remember Mitchelstown'?" C. (with marked cordiality)—"I think Mr. O'Brien is the most forgiving Irishman I ever met." O'B.—"Oh, all these things were the fortunes of war, and we had the comfort of knowing we gave as good as we got." I thought L. G. winced perceptibly at the reference to my readiness to forgive.

In the course of some reference to R. (whom L. G. seemed rather disposed to regard as a back number) I remarked: "Give R. his brief and I know no man who can make a more eloquent use of it in the House of Commons." C.—"That is so. He has an admirable manner. R. and I always got on very well, we began together on the same circuit." L. G.—"Did R. have much practice?" C.—"No, but it was because he became a politician. That I have never done. I have remained a lawyer first and a politician afterwards."

Lord Pirrie was mentioned by L. G., who said he supposed he had no influence in Belfast. C.—"No. He preferred a peerage to the power he might have had as the head of his great shipbuilding yard." L. G.—"I don't think you or I would make that mistake."

Referring to the effect a broad National pronouncement from C. would have on young Irishmen, I mentioned that Professor John MacNeill, up to the eve of the Rising the Commander-in-Chief of the Volunteers, was attacked by a Molly crowd in Cork for calling for "Three cheers for Carson and the Ulster Volunteers!" and the Chairman of the meeting—a Cork Town Councillor named Walsh, sentenced to death for his part in the Rising, had got his skull fractured on the same occasion. "Is that really the case?" asked L. G. C.—"Yes. I noticed it at the time, but I thought it was that poor Swift MacNeill, the M.P., who was referred to." O'B.—"The Sinn Féin MacNeill was once a believer in Redmond and his policy, as Walsh was in mine." C.—"Indeed, he was. I have a document signed by Redmond and MacNeill appealing for subscriptions for their Volunteers. They proposed to take the defence of the shores of Ireland into their own hands, whatever that might mean." L. G. looked as if the Irish Sphinx was too much for him.

[35] Referring to a statement that Mr. Lloyd George would on the motion for the Adjournment for the Recess announce an Irish Settlement on the basis of the Buckingham Palace Conference.

[36] It was never officially stated that Mr. Lloyd George included in his invitations Mr. Dillon, whom he had the previous day referred to in terms of undisguised dislike and contempt, but Mr. Dillon himself proudly insisted that he was one of the high contracting parties to "The Headings of Agreement."

[37] The two dissentient members, to their honour be it remembered, were Mr. P. O'Doherty (North Donegal) and Mr. P. J. O'Shaughnessy (West Limerick).

[38] There was a subsidiary complaint—that in order to placate Mr. Walter Long and other Unionist members of the Coalition Cabinet, the proviso, maintaining the Irish Members in full strength at Westminster, was restricted to Irish Members in the existing Parliament only, but as this would still leave the Hibernian Party for three years the masters of the Dublin Parliament and retain them as paid members of the Imperial Parliament as well, the objection was not in itself a serious one.

[39] It was stated by Mr. Michael Collins in 1922 that Mr. Griffith laid down conditions. He did not do so in any communication with me.

[40] Had I his leave to publish them, Mr. Healy's letters, teeming with diamondiferous wit, and laden with piquant items of secret information, would make a valuable addition to the inner history of the time.

[41] It is worthy of remark that Mr. Ronald McNeill's book, Ulster's Stand for the Union, carefully suppresses any mention whatever of the "Committee of Nine," who arrived at the only genuine all-round agreement produced by the Convention. The suppression is all the more significant that the author tells us: "My friend, Mr. Thomas Moles, M.P. (the official Ulster Secretary of the Convention), took full shorthand notes of the proceedings of the Convention, and he kindly allowed me to use his transcript."

[42] How unimportant the point in dispute was may be judged from the official return of revenue of the Irish Free State, which is in the proportion of £2,000,000 Customs to £14,000,000 Excise.

[43] Five Hibernians were returned.

[44] One of our foremost candidates was tempted—in vain—by the offer of a Resident Magistracy. Another, who was rewarded with a Coronership, made this jaunty excuse for turning his coat: "Of course, O'Brien is right, but he has no jobs to give." A third—a prosperous merchant, and one of the most upright of men—was sought to be intimidated by the awful threat (none the less shocking that it proved a telum imbelle sine ictu) that "the grass would be made to grow opposite the door of his shop."

[45] The Orange Sinn Féiner who was in a few weeks to relapse into the faith of an Orange Anti-Sinn Féiner, more virulent than ever.

[46] "The task of William O'Brien's generation was well and bravely done. Had it not been so the work men are carrying out in this generation would have been impossible. In that great work none of Parnell's lieutenants did so much as Mr. William O'Brien."—Arthur Griffith in Young Ireland, June, 1920.

[47] As this book goes to Press the Free State Ministry have summoned a new Land Conference of landlords and tenants to try to resuscitate Land Purchase, destroyed by the Hibernian Act of 1909.

[48] "It is not generally understood," President Cosgrave said in the Dáil, "by the man in the street that had the Northerns elected to remain with us they would be guaranteed in perpetuity every acre of territory that for the moment is under their control. They would have retained their Parliament of the Six Counties and their separate judiciary and their Governor, according to their pleasure .... and would have had under the Constitution of the Free State, a representation of 51 members in the Free State Parliament, instead of 13 members who now represent them at Westminster."

[49] The interview of Mr. Redmond and myself with the Under Secretary Sir Anthony McDonnell, to which Mr. Dillon and Mr. Davitt also had been invited, and at which the Treasury Bonus was successfully insisted upon.

Read "The Irish Revolution" at your leisure

The Irish Revolution

Read The Irish Revolution at your leisure and help support this free Irish library.

William O'Brien was a County Cork M.P. who participated in the negotiations for Home Rule in Ireland. In this account, first published in 1923, he provides an insight into the politics and politicians of the time - John Redmond, John Dillon, Arthur Griffith, Sir Edward Carson, Bonar Law, Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, etc. - and gives his analysis of the origins of the Easter Rising of 1916 and the subsequent Irish Civil War. From his own perspective, O'Brien was very much anti-Partition, and was evidently frustrated at the failure to give adequate reassurance to the Northern Unionists.

The ebook is available in .mobi (for Kindle), .epub (for iBooks, etc.), and .pdf formats, and a sample PDF can be downloaded. For more information on the book see details ».


Library Ireland Facebook