and from Lincoln Jail, England
Professor Eamon De Valera
THE IRISH LEADER
THE CELTIC PRESS, 1213-15 Filbert St.
The letters and interview in this pamphlet are by Professor Eamon De Valera, who has come to be looked upon as the leader of the new Ireland which has risen amid the storm and stress of the past few years. Since the Easter Rising of 1916 De Valera has been permitted to enjoy liberty for only about eleven months, but during that time his genius for leadership and his gift for putting his country’s case before the world quickly brought him to the forefront of the movement aimed to establish the Irish Republic and win recognition for it. Though born in New York City, and the son of a Spanish father, he is saturated with Irish culture and is a fluent Irish speaker. He is about thirty-six years of age, and has lived in Ireland since his early childhood. Previous to the Rising, he was professor of mathematics at Blackrock College. During the fighting he commanded, with marked military ability, in the Ringsend district. Condemned to death by the English court-martial, he received the sentence with calmness. This sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in June, 1917, along with the other Irish prisoners. Soon afterwards he was elected by a great majority as member for East Clare on the Sinn Fein program. In May, 1918, he was rearrested in the general seizure of Irish leaders and taken to Lincoln Jail, in England. At the election last December he was returned for East Clare and East Mayo. In the early part of February it was reported that he had escaped from prison.
De Valera is married and has four children, all of whom speak Irish.
To be forwarded to Mrs. De Valera, Craigheath, Greystones.
In replying to this letter, please write on the envelope:
Number 394. Name Eamon de Valera.
Nov. 28, 1918.
My Dear Mother:-
I got your letter and Tom’s just about my birthday. I hate writing to you from a place like this-and yet when I am at liberty I have so little time to write.
I am sure you are all relieved that the war is over. If America holds to the principles enunciated by her President during the war she will have a noble place in the history of nations-her sons will have every reason to be proud of their motherland. These principles, too, are the basis of true statecraft -a firm basis that will bear the stress of time-but will the President be able to get them accepted by others whose entry into the war was on motives less unselfish? His task is difficult, for the nations that have suffered grievously through the war-even were their reasons for taking up arms the very best- are likely to be “heady” now with the wine of victory-desirous only of revenge-and then another treaty of Versailles with a future war in store. So far, indications are that he has succeeded-succeeded certainly far beyond anything which history would give warrant for anticipating. What an achievement should he succeed in getting established a common law “for nations- resting on the will of the nations-making national duels as rare as duels between individual persons are at present! If that be truly his aim, may God steady his hand. To me it seemed that a complete victory for either side would have made it impossible almost.
Tom mentions references to me in the press. I once remember balking at an essay, “The Press,” in an examination. I often regret I had not then my present experience of it! What a power for evil it is, setting classes and nations at each other’s throats. To me it seems that its powers for evil are those always used-its powers for good, seldom. The terrible hypnotism of it too! I read the English papers here a good deal. Were I an Englishman I’d feel rather proud of the “Manchester Guardian.” It is sane in general. As far as its views on Ireland goes, that is another matter-anyhow I am not at liberty to write on that subject.
I hope uncle’s children and aunt’s have come through the fighting. It is particularly hard on those who are now receiving the news of the deaths of relatives. After the armistice it seems so awful. Whoever caused the war, humanity has paid a heavy price for it.
I know you will be glad that I have served all our masses here. I feel like a little boy again and I pray that my childish faith may ever remain with me. I tell you this because I know it will give you more pleasure than anything else I could write. I hope you will see Tom soon. You must feel lonely without him, though I am certain you do not regret you reared him for such a calling. This life is so very short in comparison with the future it counts for little what sorrows and inconveniences it brings. Were it not so short who would be ready to die. With love to yourself and Uncle Charlie, I am dearest mother,
(Interview with American Press Representative.)
“The Irish people have no quarrel with any nation except with England. England is guilty in Ireland of all the crimes she alleges against Germany. There is not a single crime ever committed by a strong nation against a weak that cannot be illustrated and paralleled from the catalogue of England’s crimes in Ireland. This is not ancient history. Force and fraud, bullying and betraying, threats and cajolery, are the unvarying, ever-present characteristics of English rule here. Provoked that they may be ruthlessly crushed by brute force, betrayed when they suffer themselves to be lured on by promises; exasperated, intimidated, always misrepresented. Such is the lot of Irishmen under English rule.
“As regards our relation with America: Ireland is bound to the United States by the closest ties. Think of the brotherhood in race with that part of America which has ever had a most prominent place in American history, from the Declaration of Independence to the present day-that part ever foremost to fight for America’s interest and America’s honor. How could Ireland be other than friendly to America? Similarly as regards France-Ireland and France have memories of past associations in common. Ireland from her heart wishes well to France and America. But the fact that England, so obviously a hypocrite, is putting forward the self-same professions as President Wilson and the statesmen of France makes every thinking man suspicious of them all.
A True Brotherhood of Race
“As regards the merits of the quarrel, the knowledge of how England misrepresents us gives us a clear understanding how much she will misrepresent Germany so long as she is at war with Germany. We are cut off here. We have no sure means of getting first-hand information which would enable us to form any just judgment as to the relative guilt of the nations in bringing about this war. One thing, however, is evident. In peaceful prosperity Germany was gaining without risk all she could reasonably hope to achieve by waging this war. I am not to be readily convinced that her rulers could have been so mad, as to incur the risks of war with the awful consequences of defeat if it could have been avoided. On the other hand, England was losing ground in the peaceful competition. Her rival was daily growing stronger. To strike her down as soon as a favorable opportunity presented itself is what England might reasonably be expected to do-and what her history shows her quite capable of doing.
It Was Madness
“These are my personal views. I know the opposing arguments. As individuals, according to their views of the causes of the war, Irishmen can afford to differ and to act accordingly. The wiser will, it seems to me, suspend judgment, seeing the impossibility of getting unbiased evidence. As a nation, Ireland in its present position should stand neutral as regards all powers but England. Ireland’s enemy is the power that denies Ireland’s self-determination. To offer Ireland’s aid to that enemy when she put forward the plea of ‘liberty for small nations’ was a characteristically generous Irish act, but it was madness. Were you dealing with a government that understood generosity-one that could be trusted-it would not be altogether unreasonable, but to act thus with the British Government was-yes-madness! Ireland when she had given her all would simply be mocked at by your cynical English Cecils and confronted in the end with Carson and partition.
“Few governments appreciate generosity. Peoples may, but unfortunately it is not the people, but their governments, that count. It is with the English Government, or governing classes, our fight is, and we demand nothing more than to have applied to us the principles in vindication of which President Wilson asked the people of America to sacrifice themselves and their treasure in this war. The threat of England’s Cabinet to apply conscription to this country in spite of the unanimous protests of the people shows how England honors the principle of ‘government by consent of the governed and when, as the deliverers of America acted in 1776, we fight for our rights as freemen, we are held up to odium as the ‘enemies of America.’ England it is, not Ireland, that is America’s enemy.
President Wilson’s Principles
“The principles put forward by President Wilson are undoubtedly principles which in the abstract should commend themselves to all right thinking men. But, as the President said, it is practical remedies not high sounding statements of principle that are needed. England refuses to apply the practical remedies where she could apply them without trouble and without delay. What is the conclusion we ought to draw? Does the Trotsky phrase ‘most cynical Imperialism’ not immediately occur to us as the best and truest description of England’s attitude? Think of what the English papers would say if Germany were in England’s position in this matter.
Ireland Cannot Afford to Gamble
“I have no doubt that the American people would stand up for the principles of freedom they advocate, but the etiquette which prevents the American Government from interfering now might prevent it from interfering when Ireland had lost her all, and Ireland is already so spent as the result of calculated English misrule that she cannot afford to gamble. Great powers strong enough to enforce their contracts can safely enter a combination, knowing that their strength is a guarantee that the contract will not be violated and that what they stipulated for will not be denied them when success is achieved. Small nations have no such guarantee-and its allies can deny it that for which it fought, and substitute, in the end, principles other than, and quite different from, those enunciated at the outset.”
Her Moral and Material Beauty
Mr. De Valera feels that Ireland free is destined for a glorious world mission. Her people, he declares, are the most spiritual on earth and will yet “show the world the might of moral beauty.”
“On the other hand,” he said, “her natural material resources are wonderful. Natural richness of soil; untapped mineral wealth; excellent waterways; magnificent harbors situated at the very focus of the trade routes between Europe and America-the gate of the West-Ireland as a free nation, emancipated from the blight of English exploitation, would be one of the most prosperous of States. As a separate, distinct unit in a world League of Nations she would best realize her destiny.”
Ireland’s Tax Would Support Three Governments
In proof of her ability to maintain herself even under the old world order, Mr. De Valera pointed out that with the money collected into the English treasury from Ireland last year the united government business of Bulgaria, Norway and Denmark could be run, paying for police, soldiers, ships, guns and all. England took out of Ireland’s pockets last year 23,750,000 pounds, and expended in Irish services less than 12,650,000 pounds. She held on to the balance of 11,000,000 pounds, and yet her papers, with impudent audacity, try to convey the impression that Ireland is being assisted by British money. “Even before the war,” continued Mr. De Valera, “Ireland had been directly robbed in 100 years, even judged by the iniquitous union contract, of 400,000,000 pounds. Just realize that! The capital cost of 200 dreadnoughts! So the Financial Relations Commission, on which there was a majority of Englishmen, found. England, whilst robbing us and denying us of our freedom, represents us to the world as a beggar at her doors.”
Half Remains in England
In answer to a question as to how the country would be organized and financed under a republic, Mr. De Valera said: “As regards finance, the revenue collected, as I have just pointed out, almost pays twice over for the costly English Government here. The police force-though we are probably freer from crime, properly so-called than any country in the worlds costs us more than their army cost the Bulgarians just before the Balkan War. Of course, it is only nominally a police force; it is in reality the most effective part of England’s army of occupation. We could easily govern ourselves well and provide normal defenses on what is at present spent in governing us ill, and just think of the 11,000,000 pounds more at present being retained in England’s treasury! How much could be done with that to encourage agriculture, industries, commerce, and to improve the lot of the worker. As regards organization, the country would be organized probably on modern democratic lines, giving due weight to distinctive Irish characteristics. You do not, of course, want me to go into details.
The Religious Bogey
“No, there would not be religious troubles,” said Mr. De Valera. “No, not any more than there are religious troubles in America. What makes religious questions loom large in Ireland is that the main lines of political division happen to coincide with the religious ones, and this is exploited by English statesmen. It is they, through their agents, who cultivate the naturally fertile ground of ignorant bigotry, and then scatter over it the seeds of political rancor. Were the seeds not sown and the ground not cultivated, the villainous crop would not figure in Ireland any more prominently than in other countries. In an Ireland freed from England all this would be different.
At present it is like this, you see-the political and religious barriers are parallel and side by side. When the political barriers are seriously threatened, England works feverishly to strengthen the religious ones, the political barriers providing the necessary cover. They are part of one system, so to speak; they mutually reinforce each other. The casual observer does not appreciate the position, for it is carefully ‘camouflaged’ by those who profit by its continuance.”
“What about safeguards for Ulster?” was asked. “Religious safeguards, do you mean?” he replied. “Don’t you see,” he said, with a slight note of irritation in his voice, “this demand for safeguards is part of the pretense-the excuse certain politicians advance for their present attitude. It conveys the suggestions of intolerance on the part of the Catholic majority, and whilst prejudicing outsiders against us, conveniently conjures up a bogey in the minds of their own followers.
It Is Not in Their Blood
“Come, let us examine it. What justification is there for these fears, pretended or real? Give me an example of where Catholic Ireland has shown itself inclined to religious persecution, petty or great. Take the public boards in the South and those in the North, and compare them. Note the number of Protestant representatives and Protestant officials in the Catholic South and the relatively much fewer Catholic representatives and officials in the Protestant North. Study our history- who have been the persecutors? We know too much of religious persecution to wish to inflict it on others. It is not in our blood. When Henry II came here at a Synod he upbraided the Irish bishops because Ireland had not produced martyrs. The Archbishop of Cashel’s taunting but prophetic reply was. ‘Marry, now that we are delivered to a nation well acquainted with the making of martyrs I have little doubt henceforth but this example shall cease among us.’
Privileges Sought, Not Rights
“Was it not here,” continued Mr. De Valera, “the fugitives from the fires of Smithfield found refuge in the reign of Mary of England, and here, too, the Huguenot, the Quaker and the Palatine found secure asylum? What a calumny on a grand old chivalrous race are these hints at possible persecution. These religious “fears are foundationless, and no man of spirit should pander to them. Justice, full justice, equal rights and equal opportunities, the man of the North is entitled to and should get, but privilege and ascendancy are what he is looking for when he asks for safeguards, and I, for one, would not stop to satisfy a demand which is an implied insult to myself.”
“Tremendous Tribute to Priests”
“Clerical domination! How little they think who use that phrase of what a tremendous tribute it is to the Irish priests. What is the secret of the priest’s influence with the people?, It is nothing but the recognition by the people of a truth that in Ireland the priests have been what ministers of religion should be everywhere, the fathers and guides of their flocks. In Ireland the priests have always stood beside the people, comforting, encouraging and helping them in dark days-their safest, most unselfish. often their only leaders. Let the Protestant minister by similar deeds secure similar influence over his people-no Catholic will seek to diminish, it. Would you deprive a minister of religion, because he is such, of his rights as a citizen, and of his influence as a man, an educated man, a good man? Would you rob him of the secular influence that traditional service has merited for his cloth? Finally, should we not be honest with ourselves and recognize that if religion is not a mere pretense with us, it is the most important thing in life, and should influence our every action? It is not something ,to be put outside the backdoor whenever we choose. A minister of religion then, if he is at all a worthy one, is entitled to special regard as such, and his advice has a special value, even in what might be considered very mundane affairs. I do not deny that they may give wrong counsel, individually and even collectively. They may be, perhaps, at times rather too severe a brake for a naturally conservative people-obtaining ‘lest greater evils ensue’-for a de facto government an obedience owed only to a de jure one. But in judgments of this kind one may easily be too shortsighted in one’s vision.”
Morality Founded on Religion
“You believe in denominational education then?” “Certainly,” he said, “taking even the lowest plane-the most extreme secularist will admit the necessity for morality. The higher the moral standard, the higher the life. True morality can only find a foundation in religion. Religious teaching is necessary to develop properly the moral sense, and religious practices cultivate moral habits.”
Asked if he knew Archbishop Mannix, of Australia, Mr. De Valera said he met him at Maynooth shortly before he left Ireland. The Archbishop, he thought, was “fighting conscription on principle,” as conscription, and with an eye on Australian interests as well. His own fight against conscription in Ireland was on entirely different grounds-it was that Irishmen should not suffer themselves to be forced as helots to serve their tyrant masters. If the fight was a fight for liberty they should secure their own first. England’s claim to hold Ireland was no “better than that which Germany could advance for holding Belgium, and not nearly as good as that she could put forward for holding Alsace-Lorraine.
No Change of Masters
“If you were free to-morrow you would not hand over your ports to Germany?” “To be free means to be free-not to have a master. If England took away her troops and our independence was acknowledged, we would fight to the last man to maintain that independence. It is not a change of masters we want, though I do not believe the change would be for the worse.”
“But,” it was objected, “what do you think of Germany’s friendship for Russia?” “We do not know the truth yet about that,” he replied.
“What safeguards can you offer Ulster that her industries will not be taxed out of existence?”
“The safeguards of common sense. These industries would be national assets, to be fostered, not destroyed.”
“What is the general Sinn Fein attitude toward Ulster?”
“Sinn Fein regards as brothers Irishmen of every creed and every class, provided they accept the one test of citizenship, that they place Ireland and her interests before those of any other nation. What would be thought of a party in America, say the Germans there, if they were to boast, as the English garrison party boast here, that they are proud to have upheld here an enemy’s flag for 300 years? Are these Irishmen or Englishmen-which ?”
“Would Ireland be England’s friend if Ireland were free?”
“Not at all unlikely. As independent neighbors, each respecting the rights and interests of the other, the frictions caused by the present enforced partnership-which in practice is really the servitude of the smaller nation-would disappear, while the desire to safeguard and promote interests which were mutual would tend to foster associations of friendship and good fellowship which are altogether impossible in the existing circumstances.”
His First Interview
“And now I hope,” he continued, “you will not misrepresent what I have said. Newspapers, you know are the devil’s chief agency in the modern world.” It was pointed out to Mr. De Valera that the aim was to represent all sides fairly. “Very well,” said Mr. De Valera, “at any rate this is the first interview I have ‘given to any foreign newspaper, though I have seen scores of supposed ones.”
Mr. De Valera is in deadly earnest in his desire to “save Ireland,” and in his belief that the Sinn Fein way is the best one. Although obviously opposed to the English Government, and more especially to their efforts to govern Ireland, Mr. De Valera’s conversation was marked by quotations from English writers which showed he was something of a reader-Macaulay, Dickens, Byron, slipped readily from his tongue to illustrate some point touched on. He received our representative in his office at 6 Harcourt Street, the Sinn Fein headquarters-an office indicating the absence of important documents, etc., belonging to the movement. On the walls, besides maps and a few pictures of the leaders of the ’48 and ’67 movements, were three large notices each containing the warning, which Mr. De Valera explained was necessary owing to the English spies let loose among them. “Beware.” “Walls have ears,” “You have never heard of microphones, have you?”
6 Harcourt St., Dublin.
Feb. 7, 1918.
My Dear Dr. McCartan:-
Please convey to the Irish Progressive League of Freedom the thanks of the Irish people for its efforts in placing before the free citizens of the United States the true position of Ireland in its relation with England and the British Empire, and, in urging on President Wilson the necessity of seeing that his democratic principle, “Government by the consent of the governed,” be applied to Ireland and that her people be given the right of self-determination.
English ministers are hypocritically appealing to America to help them to liberate peoples everywhere, whilst with “most cynical imperialism” they continue to force their own yoke on the oldest and most distinctive of the smaller nations and deny its people the most elementary of rights.
England rules in Ireland by military force alone, for seven centuries and a half she has held it as Germany holds Belgium to-day by the right of the sword. Ireland is a forced member of the British Empire-her union with England being that of the shark with its prey. England ever denies Ireland any share in her prosperity, but very willingly shares with her her burdens, her crimes and her defeats.
Were the question to be settled by a plebiscite the vast majority of the people of this country would declare for “Separation” and for the setting up of Ireland as a Sovereign Independent State with international guarantees. Only thus will she be prosperous and happy-only thus will she have a lasting peace-for so long as she remains a subject nation so long will the best of her sons devote their intellect and their energies to the task of preparing for the day when circumstances will
enable them to assert their rights in arms.
The so-called “domestic solutions” are all illusory. England would treat any settlement she was forced to make now as she treated in 1800 the Renunciation Act wrung from her by Grattan’s Volunteers whilst she was engaged in the unsuccessful war to keep America in subjection. She would break with impunity when she became strong any. treaty she was forced to make when she was weak and would find her Salisburys to maintain that she was right in so doing.
It is not necessary to point out. to you that the attempts “to find a settlement” are all pretences intended to throw dust in the eyes of the world-mere ruses to deceive. outsiders and gain time until the need of hiding her hypocrisy may become less urgent. The Lloyd George convention was a farce from the beginning. The Ulster Unionist Council controlled their representatives, so that in the words of Mr. Lysaght they simply sat tight-didn’t make the slightest contribution nor a single helpful suggestion towards a constructive scheme of any kind. Mr. Lysaght, seeing their maneuver, has resigned. So has George Russell (“A. E.”). These men realize now what “conciliation” in the mouth of a Carsonite means. We knew what that meant all along, but these good-natured, honest men needed their convention experience to teach them.
It was evident to us that with the “coercion-of-Ulster-is-unthinkable” guarantee, the Unionists would solidly maintain their original position. Unless the Redmondites completely surrender to them, agreement is out of the question-and then, of course, the English Government would proclaim “the Irish were left to settle the question themselves-England would give them anything but they won’t agree.”
You, of course, know that it is a lie pure and simple to say, as the English papers say, “England has handed over the, settlement of the Irish question to the Irish themselves”-a willful, deliberate misrepresentation. The Lloyd George convention was hand-picked by the English Government, was by no means representative of Irish opinion and was bound hand and foot by the terms of reference (excluding the only genuine solution-separation) by the guarantee to Ulster and by the fact that any agreement if by a miracle it was arrived at-had to pass as an act through the English Houses of Parliament. Lloyd George made assurances doubly sure if ever a man did.
I hope that Ireland’s importance in connection with the freedom of the seas is understood in the States. Situated as it is at the very focus of the trade routes between Europe and America, so long as England holds Ireland so long will she control the seas and dominate Europe. An independent Ireland would be the greatest safeguard for both Europe and America. With international guarantees she would be a temptation to nobody, a menace to nobody, a surety for all.
If President Wilson succeeds in carrying out his program for the ensuring of a lasting peace, and for the regeneration of the world in freedom, his name will go down in history as one of the world’s greatest men. He has the opportunity. Will he avail of it? Ireland anxiously awaits the answer.
Hope you are well. Had to write this hurriedly. You, I’m sure, can see through the calculated misrepresentations of the “Freeman’s Journal” and the Government press. South Armagh has not daunted us. Unionists and Redmondites are now together, but we will beat them both. Sinn Fein is stronger than ever. So are the Volunteers.
Mise, de chara san geuis.
E. DE VALERA.
Dear Doctor McCartan:
Enclosed you will find a letter sent to Most Rev. Dr. Kelly, of Brisbane. You will understand from it what the conditions here are at the moment, and you will know why the cry “To hell or Flanders” has gone forth.
The famine and the drain of emigration did not do the work to the full satisfaction of British ministers, and so they must revert to the method of Cromwell. A new massacre and a fresh plantation they calculate will give them at least another century of domination.
We will never consent to fight as slaves. We shall, if need be, die defending our just rights. It may be that God will reward our struggle as He did the similar struggles of the brave men who laid the foundation of American independence.
Were I to believe the specimens of the American press that find their way here I would conclude that British agents had succeeded in poisoning American opinion against us. When America sought. the support of Ireland in her own struggle against tyranny 140 years ago it was not thus the spokesman of Ireland replied. The message Franklin sent back was not like those some of America’s influential papers bear to us today. But I for one will never believe that these truly represent America, for I should then be compelled to regard “liberty-loving America” as a cynic’s sneer.
We look to the people of our own race in America to assist at this crisis, and to use their strength that Ireland may not be blotted out forever. We look to you to expose the methods by which Britain misrepresents us and to make it clear that if this is a war for the principles enunciated by President Wilson Ireland it is that is truly America’s associate, whilst England is among the ranks of America’s enemies.
When the Lord Mayor arrives, you will of course make arrangements for him.
Do Cara Igeuis na-h-Eirann,
EAMON DE VALERA.
An opportunity of communicating with you has presented itself, and I gladly avail of it to confirm the cablegram sent you on receipt of the heartening message you forwarded on behalf of the hierarchy and the Australian democracy.
Never did Ireland so sorely need the services of her children and the good offices of her friends. Present indications are that the British ministers are about to persist in their fiendish design of waging a war of extermination on an innocent nation. They care not that it has met with a protest the unanimity of which is unique in our history; they care not that in view of the historical relations between Ireland and England, particularly of the happenings of the last few years, the forcible conscription of Irishmen is, in direct violation of every principle for which the Entente Powers are supposed to be fighting in this war; they care not that this barbarous act of imperial militarism has supplied unquestionable proof of the justice of the suspicions aroused by the secret treaties and that it will convict Britain of having entered the war with professions that were purely hypocritical and of having lured by a lie millions of generous youths to their death and with the same lie brought anguish and misery to millions of homes; they care not that this conscription will fail to get for them one willing soldier, that instead it will divert to another front half a million of the trained soldiers they already possess; that it will hamper, not assist, them in the war, and that it will cut off from their own civilian population the food supplies sent from this country-supplies on which they at present largely depend. No! All they care about is to wreak their vengeful spleen on those whom they find they can no longer wheedle, and who are determined not to concede to a minority class the right of determining for the rest of their‘ own countrymen the institutions of government they are to accept and live under.
Your Grace knows the circumstances of Ireland. You know what the conscription of the remnants of our manhood would mean for us spiritually and. materially, and you know that unless we were to abandon all claims to nationhood we could never allow an alien parliament to dictate to us on this most vital of all our concerns.
We have not the means of adequately defending this our dearest right, it is true; but we are determined that we shall rather die in the assertion of it than submit to be driven as helots to fight for the maintenance of a power whose strength is used to perpetuate our own slavery. Before this reaches you we may be involved in a bloody contest, the thought of the possible horrors of which makes one shudder-our people the victims of atrocities before which those of ’98 and even those of Cromwell himself may pale. We have at this moment in the country a quarter of a million of soldiers brutalized and grown callous, many of them, through the scenes of slaughter on the Continent, inflamed with an insane and envious hate which the war propagandist agents have with devilish handiwork grafted on the rank trunk of ignorance, racial prejudice and religious bigotry, and every one straining impatiently to be unleashed against a comparatively defenseless populace.
All the instruments of modern war are here; howitzers, field artillery, machine guns, armored trains and armored motors, airships, aeroplanes, poison gas, and the whole family of tanks-all to secure a further lease of dominion for the ascendancy class-all that the country may be reconquered for them and that a people whose crime is that they dare to assert their rights may be stamped out remorselessly in blood.
Various districts throughout the country are being prepared as suitable amphitheaters, and the country as a whole is being turned into one vast oubliette with walls of censorship and walls of steel. Lloyd George is carefully shutting us in and cutting us off from the outside world lest the cries of his victims might be heard, and should perchance some shriek penetrate abroad, his press is providing an excuse in advance-preparing it by the usual campaign of falsehood.
Four years of war and war propaganda have made hatred of Germany wide and deep among friends of Britain, and the floodgates of this accumulated hate are now being opened wide upon us. “German gold!” “German agents!” “German propaganda!” It is all German now. “German intrigue” it is that makes the Irish people refuse to fight for “liberty throughout the world.” “German intrigue” it is that makes them refuse to engage in a war to win the rights of self-determination for all peoples. There is no hint that Ireland has been excluded from “the world” that is to enjoy liberty and that the Irish people have been excluded from those who are to enjoy the rights of self-determination.
Our jails filled with political prisoners-innocent men are shot and stabbed to death. Bachelors’ Walk and Mitchelstown are repeated in Kerry and Clare, and we are to fight for “freedom everywhere else”-but for the enduring rule here of the bludgeon, the bayonet and the bullet. “Cowards!” “Shirkers!” “Skulkers!” screams the British press and millions of raucous throats echo it in ignorant hate. “Equality of sacrifice” they shout-they who never raised their voices for equality of rights.
With a war-drugged, war-frenzied world Britain may succeed in confusing the issues, but the Irish people will one day be vindicated, and it is supremely grateful that Your Lordships understand the real situation and that Australia takes its stand on the side of virtue and of truth.
May God save Ireland and prosper Australia.
EAMON DE VALERA.
His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Kelly, Archbishop of Sydney.
Source: Villanova University