English Atrocities in Ireland 1920

A compilation of facts from court and press records, with a foreword by James D. Phelan

by Hughes, Katherine


New York Friends of Irish Freedom

Upon his arrival in America, Sir Auckland Geddes, the British Ambassador, speaking on behalf of the British Government, said (April 26, 1920): “There is no quarrel between England and Ireland. It takes two to make a quarrel, and this generation of Englishmen has steadily refused to quarrel with Ireland” In this compilation of Court and Press Records of England’s military rule in Ireland, the public will find the reply to the British Ambassador, as in Custis’ day—”the Lion fondles ere it kills.”


I. Englishmen Condemn British Militarism in Ireland
II. Englishmen Pay Tribute to Irish Republican Party
III. Court and Press Records of 31,482 admitted British Military Outrages in Ireland, from May 1, 1916 to March 1, 1920
(a) Murders …………………………………………63
(b) Deportations ………………………………2,162
(c) Armed Assaults ……………………………..609
(d) Raids (By May 1, over 22,000) ……… 19,423
(e) Arrests ……………………………………..6,157
(j) Sentences ………………………………….2,107
(g) Proclamations and Suppressions ……..389
(h) Suppressions of Newspapers ……………63
(i) Courts-Martial …………………………….519
IV. Miscellaneous Outrages
V. Crimes Attributed to Sinn Fein
VI. 1916 and 1920
VII. America’s Interest in This


I have followed closely the history of English-Irish relations, and I have always believed that a statement of facts is more eloquent than the expression of opinion.

The Irish, an ancient race, enjoyed a civilization and disseminated learning before the invasion by England. They resent in this enlightened age the denial of their liberty and the indignities an d^ cruelties, which have been practised upon them. Ireland will only be peaceful when she is free; and the influence of the Irish throughout the world, unless freedom be granted, will be an implacable and disturbing element. The only permanent peace is a peace of justice.

It can be proved out of the mouths of Englishmen that Ireland is a victim of injustice: James Bryce has said of past relations that “they saw Irish manufactures destroyed for the sake of English manufacturers, Irish revenue jobbed away . . . England did nothing for Ireland and suffered her to do nothing for herself. …”

Goldwin Smith, an eminent English authority, said that during all Irish disturbances, ordinary crimes were very small and that political crime, so-called, was the answer made by an otherwise defenseless people against merciless coercion. He adds, “In plain truth, the secret tribunals which administered the Whiteboy code were to the people the organs of a wild law of social morality.”

Edmund Burke at the time of the American Revolution, in defending the Colonies in the House of Commons, said, “I pardon something to the spirit of Liberty,” and Lord Chatham said that if he were an American as he was an Englishman, while British troops remained in his country, never would he lay down his arms.

The Irish are actuated by the spirit of Liberty, and they have won the applause of the world because they are resolved never to lay down their arms.

I trust the educational value of this little book will serve to create a public opinion to which even England will some day have to yield. It would be wise for her to do so now in the interest of English security and world peace.

America has saved England in the late War from utter annihilation, and the voice of America ought to be potent in her councils. The Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States have truly expressed, I believe, American public opinion.

James D. Phelan.



The President of the Irish Republic to-day—as Washington once was on behalf of America—is wont to point out to his American audiences that there is in Ireland now a Government of the people, constitutionally framed and elected by the ballots of the Irish people in December, 1918. This is a Government of RIGHT. But in Ireland to-day there is also an alien government, based on might, maintained by an army of occupation and by extreme measures of force imposed upon the Irish people. This is a Government of MIGHT. Yet this question is being asked all over America to-day: “Isn’t Coercion a thing of the Past? . . . Why do Ireland’s sympathizers claim England is making the Irish people suffer now?” Let Englishmen answer that question themselves:


“Ireland is governed under a system of coercion such as there has not been within living memory.”

Westminster Gazette, 16 December, 1919.


“Ireland is now being governed under military law. If what is now going on in Ireland had been going on in the Austrian Empire all England would be ringing with denunciation of the tyranny of the Hapsburgs and of denying people the right to rule themselves.”

Mr. Herbert Samuel, Ex-Cabinet Minister at St. Albans, December 8, 1919.


“Lord French is at present Viceroy of Ireland, which is the darkest of the dark spots on the map, not of Great Britain, but of the world.”

Hon. Herbert Asquith, June 2, 1919.


“* * * In a word, every institution of which we as British citizens are so proud—a free press, freedom of speech, liberty of the subject and trial by jury—are things of the past in a large part of Ireland, and rule by military force, which we sought to destroy when resorted to by Germany, is an established fact in South and Southwest Ireland to-day. These facts are fatal to our reputation for national good faith, and cannot fail to prejudice our national standing in the eyes of our self-governing Dominions and the Dependencies.”

Extract from the Report of the Commission of the British Parliamentary Labor Party which recently visited Ireland.


“Those who have followed the course of events in Ireland during the past few months cannot fail to note the steady development with which the Executive have had recourse to drastic measures of repression.”

London Times, 17th December, 1919.


“Everybody knows that Ireland is a singularly crime-less country in the ordinary sense. Is it a matter for surprise that step by step with every piece of repression there has been a new outburst of disorder? Of course there is. The figures of arrests that I have collected from the newspapers are roughly as follows:—1917, 719 arrests. The Right Hon. gentleman and associates say:—’More armed force to keep them under,’ result, 1918—2,600 arrests. More force, more tanks, more aeroplanes, more troops; result, 1919—7,600 arrests. Is it not perfectly obvious, if indeed we did not already know it a priori, that the policy pursued merely provokes the very disorder it professes to do away with?”

Capt. Wedgwood Benn, M.P., in the English House of Commons, December 9th, 1919.

“An oppressive and exasperating system of military rule.”

Asquith at Paisley, January 30, 1920,


“The Government of Ireland has left no folly undone. It is alleged that Dublin Castle is deliberately fanning the embers of revolt. … If the authorities had designed to provoke disorder, they would not have needed to act differently. Military repression always gives crime its opportunity, and crime makes sterner measures necessary. The circle must be broken somewhere.”

London Sunday Times, December 21st, 1919.


“Nearly all the police barracks in Ireland are now fortified forts. Barbed wire entrenchments and sandbag barricades are dotted over the country; tanks and armored cars patrol their roads. Soldiers in full fighting kit are concentrated in disturbed areas—and young Ireland is not dismayed.”

London Daily Mail, 11th December, 1919.


“Not since the black years that preceded the Union has Ireland been ruled so nakedly by the sword or have the wielders of the sword encountered so fierce a resistance to their will.”

London Daily News, 12th December 1919.

“Dublin Castle is turning prosperous ploughshares into swords.”

Daily Mail, December 12th, 1919.


“The most abominable outrage of all is Lord French’s and Mr. Macpherson’s outrage on human liberty.”

London Nation, January 20th, 1920.

“The fact is, Castle Government in Ireland is infamous.”

Capt. W. Benn, English M.P., in Edinburgh Evening News, 7th January, 1920.

“The present government of Ireland by the sword.”

London Daily News, 3rd January, 1920.

“There are as many soldiers to be seen any night in Dublin as in a British base like Calais, at the height of the War.”

Manchester Guardian, 31st December, 1919.


“Militarism is simply triumphant here.”

J. H. Thomas, M.P., during visit to Dublin, February 6th, 1920.


“The present military domination of Ireland is no less hideous than was that of Belgium by the German Imperialists. Many Unionists in Ireland are longing for an opportunity which will allow the Government under cover of legality to shoot down the Sinn Feiners wholesale, and so rid themselves of determined enemies without a break with America by ostensibly outraging all public morality. Again and again I have heard such opinions expressed by influential men occupying important positions.”

Statement of a British Officer in August, 1919.


Edward Price Bell, an American correspondent in London, cabled to this country in December, 1919, that a distinguished Englishman told him “Sherman’s march to the sea would be repeated in Ireland,” if that country persisted in its defiance to English will.


“It seems inconceivable that any responsible members of Parliament or politicians would deliberately advocate the provocation of an outbreak in Ireland in the hope that Home Rule might thus be drowned in a sea of blood and repression; but we fear there are some who would contemplate a rebellion in Ireland at this time with thoughtless equanimity.”

London Times, November 27, 1919.


Mr. W. N. Ewer, special correspondent of the Daily Herald, writing on February 9th,
1920, from Dublin says:—
“It is no mere surmise, but a known fact, based on authentic evidence, that there has been for some time past a group of officials which strongly advocates the provocation and bloody suppression of an armed rising.”


These statements have all been made within a year, not by Irishmen but by Britishers—men who are opposed to Sinn Fein and its gospel of Independence.

They unanimously reveal a fear of sinister forces at work in the military occupation of Ireland at the present time.

It was a similar use of tactics that decimated the Irish patriots of 1798, paved the way to the “Union” and threw back Ireland’s struggle for freedom 120 years.


From the viewpoint of England’s strategists in Dublin Castle there has been one overwhelming reason why an Ireland that persisted to defy English Government must be brought out into the open, facing machine-guns unarmed—as the Zulus were and the Afghanistan peoples more recently.

The reason was calmly stated by Lord French himself in an interview last January given to Mr. M. Marsillac of “Le Journal,” Paris, when he complained that the root of the Irish question to-day was the fact that there were from 100,000 to 200,000 young men in the country who in normal times would have emigrated, and that there would be no peace in the country until these young men got out of it. * * *


“With armed forces at his disposal, as numerous as the forces with which Wellington overthrew Napoleon, the Viceroy has shown that he is wholly unable to maintain order in the political sense, though tanks and motor lorries are now the commonest sight on country roads, and Ireland is dragooned even more thoroughly than General von Bissing dragooned Belgium. While soldiers and police are rounding up representative citizens as political offenders, foot-pads can rob and harry with immunity, and every cross-Channel burglar and crook dreams of Ireland as miners dream of a new Klondyke. Lord French has pronounced the final condemnation of his own record in Ireland. Until that country, so he told a French journalist, has been depleted of 100,000 to 200,000 of its young men, there is no hope for the policy which he was selected to enforce at the point of the bayonet. This has always been the favorite specific of English rulers for Irish discontents, but few of them, since Cromwell, have admitted it as bluntly as Lord French. Their ideal is an Ireland without Irishmen, and when Irishmen have the temerity to object, their opposition is held to be conclusive proof of their criminality.”

Freeman’s Journal, February 6th, 1920.

“Lord French confides to a French journalist his scheme for the immediate compulsory immigration of 180,000 more. Cromwell sent the young Irish to the Barbadoes. The military government of to-day wants to revive Cromwellianism on a larger scale.”

Ibid, January 31st, 1920.



“What type of men are these upon whom England makes war in Ireland to-day; and of what nature the movement which she seeks to crush—with martial law—with seizure of national banks and funds—prohibition and proclamations of all political and national societies—prohibition of the national language in public assemblies—kidnapping of leaders held for months in prison without charge or trial—arrests of thousands of men and women and deportation of other hundreds—with over 20,000 raids on private houses, searched while soldiery with fixed bayonets threaten and surround the startled inhabitants?”

Again we shall seek for replies from Englishmen.

The Irish Republic having been proclaimed by the Irish Volunteers and Labor Army of Ireland in 1916, was—on the dispersal of these groups—nursed through the most trying months of its infancy by the Sinn Fein political group. To their aid eventually all other groups of genuine Irish life rallied, and the name—Sinn Fein—is now indiscriminately applied to over four-fifths of the Irish people who stand to-day for an Irish Republic.


“Sinn Fein is the most compact and the boldest expression in terms of politics of all the forces and influences that are helping on the regeneration of Ireland. It is the political spearhead * * * of Ireland,” wrote Sydney Brooks, the English publicist in the Morning Post, after months of studying the New Ireland in 1907.

“The tenacity of the Sinn Fein is the tenacity,” he said, “not of obstinacy but of a cool, far-seeing and inflexible purpose.” He described these pioneers of the Irish Republican movement as “clear-eyed, forceful men who mean business and have backbone”—a body of men with “bold, definite and sensible views on education, tillage, port dues, afforestation * * * an Irish Merchant Marine * * * “—men who are “strongly constructive.” . . .


“Sinn Fein it is true, has not stopped at demands. It has set up its own Parliament under the title of Dail Eireann, selected Cabinet Ministers and Heads of Departments, appointed ambassadors to act in its name at Washington and Paris, nominated Consuls some of whom are already at work in European countries, arranged to float a State Loan and established Arbitration Boards which throughout the greater part of Ireland are superseding British Courts of Law. The Castle meets each new development in the orthodox Castle way by proclamations, arrests and the Jedburgh justice of Military Courts.”

London Daily News, December 12, 1919.


“The Irish (English) Government has proclaimed Sinn Fein, but the order has had the effect of throwing water on lime. Sinn Fein instead of being suppressed, is supreme. Its Intelligence Department is so superior to that of Dublin Castle that every order made by the Irish (English) Government is anticipated and eluded by the most obscure Sinn Fein Club in the most desolate region of Ireland.”

Dublin Correspondent, Daily Mail, December 9th, 1919.


“The Sinn Fein frame of mind is as open as a book to any one who can read. The leaders are absolutely uncompromising. In a sense this is the most honest movement of the kind the country has experienced. It says what it means and sticks to it.”

Morning Post’s Special Correspondent, Dublin, December 17th, 1919.


“Like it or not, we have all to admit that where you find an active intellectual centre in Ireland to-day, you have an active centre of Sinn Fein.”

London Times Special Correspondent, Dublin, December 18, 1919.


“This Sinn Fein is mature, determined, national, disciplined and above all intelligent revolt.”

Daily Mail Special Correspondent, Dublin, December 15, 1919.


“The Sinn Fein party has undoubtedly shown the greatest genius for organization.”

Special Correspondent, London Daily Mail, January 15, 1920.


“No scheme of Home Rule short of Republican independence will, at the present moment, satisfy the mass of the Irish people.”

Earl of Meath, in London Times, January 13, 1920.



This vividly illustrates the fact which mocks modern claims to civilization; that while men quote laws of war which belligerent nations may not transgress, the world looks on while strong nations in times of “world-peace” harry and oppress weaker nations, without a voice being raised in the world’s chancelleries.

In bald figures the acts of Military Terrorism committed by the armed forces of the English Government upon the people of Ireland are:—

Since March 1, 1920 this total of 31,482 has been enormously increased. During the present month, April, raids of houses have been numerous and groups of prisoners, fifty and more at a time, have been thrown into jail without charge or trial.

These figures are necessarily incomplete, because (1) of informality with which many of the military outrages against the Irish were carried out,
(2) the lack of court trials,
(3) the suppression for long periods of the Press favorable to the Irish National Cause,
(4) the rigid censorship on the Irish Press with regard to these outrages, and (5) the British official prohibition through a great portion of the period covered which forbade the publication of all outrages committed by England’s forces in Ireland.

A most sinister fact in this connection is that most of the men arrested in the opening months of 1920 were the more thoughtful older men—just such men as might be expected to urge restraint upon the younger men in case of extreme provocation from the British military.

* No totals available.
** Wholesale raids in addition.
*** General Suppressions and Proclamations,
**** 28 papers denied Foreign Circulation.



“They shall be remembered for ever,
They shall be alive for ever.
They shall be speaking for ever.
The people shall hear them for ever.”

They are not now “hanging men and women for the Wearin’ o’ the Green,” for hanging presupposes a trial which British militarism prefers to evade, but they are shooting or strangling men in Ireland for wearing the Orange, White and Green.

The policy of English military rule is one not only of coercion but of assassination for purposes of intimidation. It must be noted that Coroner’s Juries in Ireland are selected and summoned by the military police force, whose members in the case of these murdered Irish should have been in the dock.

Here are samples of verdicts by Coroner’s Juries, given out to the Press, of more than a score of cases in which British soldiers or police are definitely charged by a body of citizens chosen by the police themselves as being responsible for these murders. (In every case the guilty went unpunished, and in several instances they were promoted for good service!)


PATRICK BEALAN, murdered May 17, 1916:

“We find that PATRICK BEALAN, of Dublin, died from shock and hemorrhage resulting from bullet wounds inflicted by a soldier or soldiers in whose custody he was an unarmed and inoffensive prisoner.”

DANIEL SCANLON, murdered July 14, 1917:

“We find that the deceased, DANIEL SCANLON, of Ballybunion, County Kerry, was willfully murdered by Constable Lyons, who fired the shot, and Sergeant Macauley who was in charge of the firing party.”
(Constable Lyons was afterward promoted to the rank of Sergeant.)

PATRICK STUDDERT, murdered July 3, 1919:

“We find that the death of PATRICK STUDDERT, fisherman, Kilkeg, resulted from a bullet wound deliberately inflicted by Sergeant Wolsley of the Scottish Horse, and we strongly disapprove of the military orders given in this quiet and peaceful district. Sergeant Wolsley stated he fired to kill as those were his orders.”

FRANCIS MURPHY, murdered August 23, 1919:

“We find that FRANCIS MURPHY, aged fifteen, of Glan, County Clare, was unlawfully and willfully murdered by a bullet unlawfully and willfully fired by members of the military unknown to us, into the home of his father, John Murphy.”


These are but some of the verdicts, picked at random from a long heartbreaking list. The quiet fisherman, the lad engaged in preparing his school work by a cottage lamp—like all the others, they had given no provocation for the murder that suddenly cut them off from life. Nor did—

THOMAS RUSSELL, dead from a soldier’s bayonet thrust, given in his back as he was leaving the Carrigaholt reading room. The place had been ordered cleared because he was teaching a class of the Irish language that Sunday afternoon. Captain like, Russell was the last to leave the room, for British soldiers in Ireland are as deadly as a wreck at sea, and the rule with the Irish patriot is: “The younger and weaker to safety first.” None remained behind to say which of the soldiers was guilty, and no effort was made to have Sergeant Duff and his three privates produce the guilty man. Four of Russell’s pupils were also wounded by the soldiers’ bayonets.
On and on the list reads:





PATRICK GAVAN (quietly driving a cow to the fair when he was killed).


LAWRENCE KENNEDY (whose death was cabled to this country as a “Sinn Fein outrage” and part of a plot upon Dublin Castle—but whom the verdict describes as a laborer “killed on his way home by a military patrol, and we consider that the military acted in a most heartless manner.”)

MICHAEL DARCY, of Cooraclare, whom they first drove into the river and then, as the verdict continues:
“The police fired on four would-be rescuers of the drowning boy and drove them off.” (They claimed Darcy fired at them, but it was proven that Darcy was not even carrying arms.)

In February of this year RICHARD O’DWYER, a merchant of Limerick sitting quietly in his shop and LENA JOHNSTON walking quietly home from her work were killed by rifle shots fired by Military “goose-stepping” through Limerick.

“We strongly condemn the indiscriminate firing of the patrol,” the verdict runs—the Jury perforce calling a “patrol” what had been in reality one of the daily “provocation parades” made by the Military throughout Ireland since the New Year.


Three of these scores of murders by the armed forces of the British have passed into Irish History—that of FRANCIS SHEEHY SKEFFINGTON. the well-known writer, lecturer and pacifist, in Easter Week, 1916—of THOMAS ASHE, known and loved on both sides of the Atlantic as a devoted worker in the revival of Gaelic music and the language—and the Lord Mayor of Cork, THOMAS MacCURTAIN, a vigorous, splendid young man assassinated in the very presence of his wife and children.

SKEFFINGTON, who never swerved from his pacifist principles, risked his life more than once during the Easter insurrection to rescue wounded British as well as Irish from the zone of danger. He was seized and shot by order of a callous British officer. His widow was offered by Premier Asquith a house and a compensation of $40,000 if she would keep silent about her husband’s death—which she patriotically refused to do.

The agony of THOMAS ASHE was long drawn out. In the post mortem examination his throat and neck showed bruises and sores. The verdict ran:

“We find that THOMAS ASHE according to the medical evidence of Professor McWeeney, Sir Arthur Chance and Sir Thomas Myles, died of heart failure and congestion of the lungs on the 25th of September, 1917, caused by the punishment of taking away from his cell in Mountjoy Jail the bed, bedding and boots and being left to lie on the cold floor for fifty hours, and then subjected to forcible feeding in his weak condition after a hunger strike of five or six days * * * That the hunger strike was directed against the inhuman punishment inflicted and as a protest against the men being treated as criminals when demanding to be treated as political prisoners.

“We find that the taking away of the deceased’s bed, bedding and boots was an unfeeling and barbarous act and we censure the Deputy Governor for violating the Prison Rules and inflicting a punishment which he had no power to do, but we infer he was acting under instructions from the Prisons Board at the Castle, which refused to give evidence and documents asked for.”
The cold sentences of this verdict give no idea of the suffering of Ashe and his comrades dragged out in their weakened condition to the forcible feeding—then flung back at the end upon the cold bare floor of their cells, and on one occasion even thrust into an underground unlit bare hole. All Ireland shook with indignation at the revelation of these horrors, and in protest over 40,000 marched in the funeral procession of the gifted young educationalist, who in courage, high endurance and patriotism may be cited as a type of young Irish manhood to-day—with traditional Irish traits, intensified and renewed by the revival of the ancient Gaelic culture.


Ashe was not the only victim of English jails in this final campaign for freedom. In the same year—1917—four other Irish patriots died as a result of harsh treatment in jail:





These slow official murders were followed by two others in 1918 and 1919:


The latter had been held in Gloucester Prison for over nine months absolutely without charge or trial—being one of the 86 candidates for parliament and organizers who were seized without warning and carried away on British warships in May, 1918, in an attempt to ruin their party at the coming elections. Pierce McCan, who was a country gentleman of remarkable physique, high culture and character and the possessor of a large estate, was so ill from influenza when in prison that the prison doctor had repeatedly urged the authorities to permit his removal to a hospital outside the jail as the only hope of saving his life. So much was this doctor impressed by the brutality of the officials concerned that he afterwards remarked to the victim’s mother that although he blushed as an Englishman to say it, her son had been murdered by his Government.


In March, 1920, the Lord Mayor of Cork was summoned to his bedroom door by a party of raiders who had come into his house in the dead of night. Although he had received a threatening note from the British Black Hand group in Ireland, the family believed this to be but another of the 20,000 night-raids made in Ireland since 1916 by the police and soldiers. The disguised men spoke commands with the voices of the military police, trained to command. A party of their comrades were seen with police discipline to surround the house, and prevent interference from outside.

When the Lord Mayor came out half-clad he was shot repeatedly, then clubbed with rifle-butts as he lay on the floor. Having accomplished their mission the eight raiders left the house abruptly, leaving the wife and children of the murdered man distraught with fear.

Shortly after a lamplighter saw this file of police, marching two by two, admitted to a neighboring police barracks after a light rap on the door.

The genesis of this barbaric outrage is revealed in the coroner’s verdict:

“We find that the late Alderman Thomas MacCurtain, lord mayor of Cork, died from shock and hemorrhage caused by bullet wounds; that he was wilfully murdered under circumstances of the most callous brutality; that the murder was organized and carried out by the Royal Irish Constabulary, officially directed by the British government, and we return a verdict of wilful murder against David Lloyd George, prime minister of England; Lord French, lord lieutenant of Ireland; Ian MacPherson, late chief secretary for Ireland, Acting Inspector General Smith, of the Royal Irish Constabulary; Divisional Inspector Clayton of the Royal Irish Constabulary; District Inspector Swanzy and some unknown members of the Royal Irish Constabulary.”



Major Erskine Childers, D.S.O., an English veteran of the great war, in a recent letter to the London Daily News gives this account of the 9cene that precedes the seizure and deportation of Irish patriots:
“Take a typical night in Dublin. As the citizens go to bed the barracks spring to life. Lorries, tanks and armored searchlight cars muster in fleets, lists of ‘objectives’ are distributed, and when the midnight cur- few order has emptied the streets—pitch-dark streets—the strange cavalcades issue forth to the attack. . . .
“A thunder of knocks; no time to dress (even for a woman alone) or the door will crash in. On opening, in charge the soldiers—literally charge—with fixed bayonets and in full war-kit. . .”

The world made a great outcry about the deportation of Belgian citizens by Germans.
England’s record in Ireland in the past four years is approximately 2,200 deportations.

In one instance the effrontery shown, the injustice effected, and the colossal lying utilized to condone the act surpasses any story of international deportation in civilized history.
It could be paralleled only in the cave-period, and then it would have been free of one despicable aspect—the lying.

The men who conceived the plot had not only estimated the helpless condition of the Irish Nation at the time, but coolly reckoned upon a paucity of intelligence and a dulled sense of international honor in the world to which they trumpeted their weird story.

On May 18th and 19th, 1918, ninety-one (91) Irish men and women were seized in their homes, placed on English war-ships and deported to England. Against none of them was any real charge made. They were all citizens of the highest character and they occupied the most honorable positions in the gift of the Irish people—leaders in their new national movement.

While still lying untried in English prisons thirty-three (33) of the deportees were elected by sweeping majorities to seats in the National Parliament of Ireland at the General Elections of December, 1918. Two of them died as a result of prison treatment. Eamon de Valera and four others escaped. After ten months 84 of them—all who remained in prison—were released without explanation, apology or any attempt at a charge or trial!
Many of them are to-day—it is feared permanently—broken in health as a consequence
of their imprisonment.


The story given the world was that some few Irish had been discovered in communication with Germany, and that the whole 91 were arrested to prevent them doing likewise. The evidence upon which any kind of an intrigue was supposed to be based was an Irish soldier said to have arrived off the Irish Coast in a collapsible boat, presumably from a German submarine.

Even after Lord Wimbome, an honorable Welshman, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland up to the time of the intrigue, had declared in the House of Lords that there was no evidence of such an intrigue, even when the supposedly German boat turned out to be one made by Ford for the British admiralty, and the soldier an ex-British constable and army veteran, who hurried to the nearest police barracks as soon as he landed—even then British statesmen asked the world to believe their story. Were it not for the tragedy of broken lives and lost lives and the long imprisonment, the plot would have been as merry a farce as Gilbertian opera.

The plain truth—and one that will damn in history the reputation of every Britisher that had to do with it—is that the Sinn Fein National party was giving every evidence of sweeping the country at the approaching General Elections. In an effort to destroy their campaign, to frustrate the will of the Irish people, to intimidate them into voting against their jailed leaders, every outstanding leader in the country but three, three successive election campaign directors, and every county organizer of the party was kidnapped and victimized in this farcically hideous plot. The story was cabled to America with great gusto, for America was then at war with Germany, and the lying farce served the side-purpose of stampeding uninformed American opinion against the Irish Republic party!

This is not a tale of rival Abysinnian tribes or the fulfillment of a ukase by an outlawed Cossack hetman. It was deliberately plotted by officials of the British Government in the Twentieth Century, and all who had part in it or connived at it when done,—and they are well known to the Irish intelligence agents—have forfeited their political reputation in history.


The number of deportations of Irish citizens by British armed forces from May 1, 1916 to March 1, 1920, was 2,162, a number which has increased by some hundreds within two months.

In May, 1918, Diarmuid Lynch, T.D., Sinn Fein Food Director, was imprisoned and subsequently deported for taking steps to regulate exports and ensure a sufficiency of food for the Irish people.

In 1920 before and after the Municipal Elections, Irishmen elected or about to be elected were kidnapped from their beds at night and hurried under military guards to England.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin and William Cosgrave, Chairman of the Civic Finances, were among those deported.

“Heads of hundreds of families have been jailed or deported, leaving dependent women and children without means of subsistence and rendered objects of public charity,” was stated in the Report on conditions in Ireland with demand for Investigation by the American Commission on Irish Independence, p. 9. This statement was one of those categorically denied by Chief Secretary MacPherson—one of his official duties in Ireland being to coerce or deny at the convenience of the British Government. He performed these duties with a flexibility that suggests the official reason for his appointment to the office previously held by him—an unnamed office which can only be described as the Director of the Red Light District behind the British Army in France.



“Our jails filled with political prisoners—innocent men are stabbed and shot 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. . . .”—Letter from President de Valera to an Australian sympathizer, February, 1918.

During the war much indignation was roused in America by provocatory displays of German militarism in occupied Belgium, and ruthless acts of soldiery in dispelling little groups or assemblies of Belgians.

Has even a fraction of the American people yet heard the truth of nightly parades of British military with armored cars, tanks or army lorries in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and other Irish cities? How many have heard of the wrecking of Fermoy and Thurles and the “shooting up” of Cork by British soldiery?

Doctors must answer sick-calls even if night and a British Curfew Law are on the land. They, like others, have been fired at by the armed police without being first challenged, and one was seriously wounded.

This is the treatment meted out to an Englishman who held high office during the war, and who was mistaken for a time in Dublin of the crime of being an Irishman:

“I walked abroad in a dead and silent city three hundred miles from London and saw law in action of a kind recalling Warsaw under the Russians. Supposing the position were reversed? Supposing the Irish were running London and I was held up in Kensington High Street for daring to roam abroad?

“I was, of course, held up—by an officer with a squad of cyclists. They approached me warily in semi-circular formation, and on a pre-arranged plan. They closed in and at the revolver-point continued pourparlers. This in a city three hundred miles from London. For daring to walk abroad in the night.

“It is darkest, they say, before the dawn. Here in Ireland to-day things could not be darker. The position here to-day, the forced government of people without the consent of the governed, is the direct negation of anything and everything the English fought for at Ypres and on the Somme. I know. I was a Staff Officer at Ypres under the man who has made Dublin dark.”

From letter of this English visitor in “Freeman’s Journal,” February 25, 1920.

Had he been proved to be “mere Irish,” this is how he probably would have been treated: “Mr. Phillip Maher, Turtulla, was held up by armed police on his way home. It was dark at the time. He gave his name when asked, and was immediately struck by a policeman with the butt of a rifle in the jaw. He reeled and fell, and when he rose he was struck again. He was then ordered home. …”

“Three men named Callanan, Burke and McCarthy, while proceeding on Saturday night to their own homes in Lough, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, were fired at when passing near the workhouse. It was about 11.45 p.m. at the time, and they were on foot. Three volleys, they state, rang out, apparently from rifles. None of the men were struck, though the escapes were narrow enough. The men assert they were not halted or challenged, and did not see any one. A police patrol was seen proceeding out on the road leading to the workhouse shortly after 11 p.m.”

From the “Irish Independent,” February 21, 1920.

Or he would have been struck on his head by the butt end of a rifle and wounded as Mrs. Sheehy Skeffington was, when a Police Inspector arrived to prevent her holding an open-air meeting that had not been proclaimed. As Mrs. Skeffington continued to speak, the police rushed the platform, flinging the speakers to the ground, charged the crowds with fixed bayonets, knocking senseless an old woman of seventy, and several men and boys.

Or again, had this British Staff Officer been guilty of the crime of being an Irishman, this is what he might expect:

April 29, 1919:—”When Matthew Brady and William McNally were returning home from an Irish festival at Granard, Co. Longford, they were savagely set upon by a police patrol who fired four shots into the prostrate body of Brady after he had been felled by a blow. Brady is still in hospital, ten months after the event. No provocation was given to the police, and there has been no public enquiry into the outrage.”
(This news-item was suppressed by Censor.)


If he were the head of an Irish household, who objected to an illegal notice being served
on him, this might be his fate:

June 14th, 1919—”Mr. Martin Rice and his father, Michael Rice, a man nearly 60 years and the father of eleven children, were shot by police at Ardatacola, Queen’s County. The police came at one o’clock in the morning to Rice’s house, ‘protecting’ process servers who brought (presumably) a notice of ejectment. The father refused to admit the process servers. Sergeant Mattheson ordered Rice to take the ejectment order. ‘Take it,’ he said, ‘or I’ll shoot you.’ Rice refused, and in the effort to prevent them coming into his house he was knocked down, beaten with the policemen’s batons and the process server loaded ash-plants. Martin Rice, the son of the assaulted man, declaring that he could not see his father being murdered, was rushing to his father’s aid, when his mother called to him: ‘They’ll shoot you.’ Martin turned round to speak to his mother, when he was shot in the back by the police and fell unconscious into her arms. The old man who at the time was lying on the ground half unconscious from his beating was shot immediately afterwards. No action has been taken by the Government against the police engaged in this dastardly assault. The English Censor refused to permit the publication of the full facts of the incident.”


There were up to March 1, 1920, 609 cases of these armed assaults on unarmed persons by British police and soldiers in Ireland. Some of these were but outstanding incidents in charges made by the police to break up various assemblages—hurling matches, agricultural fairs, and Gaelic language festivals of song and dance, as well as political meetings—which had been arranged and announced, then allowed to proceed until the last moment, when people begin to gather. Police or soldiers with bayonets and rifles then arrive and proclaim the assemblage illegal.

As former Governor Dunne, of Illinois, wrote in his account of Ireland:

“The Irish people are proverbially intelligent and high-spirited, and these outrageous interferences with their social and athletic gatherings naturally provoke them, and at times so irritate them that conflicts take place between them and the police, in which most of the time the people suffer death or injury,—and which, in some cases bring injury and even death to the official riot-provokers. “When such injury or fatality occurs to a policeman it is heralded throughout the world as an instance of Irish terrorism, but when a Republican citizen is shot down in cold blood by a policeman and a coroner’s jury finds the assailant guilty of murder, the murderer is neither indicted nor placed on trial.”


On June 16, 1919, the annual Language Movement Festival of Kilmallock was proclaimed. Police and military fully armed and accompanied by machine guns and armored cars invaded the town and occupied the main streets. The meeting was not held, but a crowd which gathered in the streets that evening was savagely set upon by the police, who maimed and wounded several. Among those injured were many women and children. One woman complained to a constable about the injuries inflicted by the police upon her brother, who had served four years against the Germans, and was herself batoned for remonstrating with him.

An American Army Chaplain who was a witness of this incident said he had not believed it possible so unjustifiable an attack could be made upon peaceful citizens by British soldiery.

Word recently received in America states that:

American Veteran of War Wounded: Late in April, 1920, country people of Clare lit a bonfire the night prisoners in Mountjoy Jail were released, rejoicing over the return of their friends as soon as they were strong enough to travel. The police charged on the happy group about the bonfire, killing three and wounding several others, one of the last an American veteran visiting his old home.


On the same day 3,000 soldiers and police invaded South Tipperary with machine guns, armored cars and aeroplanes. In the Glen of Aherlo around two o’clock in the morning every house was entered and searched. In some cases the occupants were stripped naked and turned out of their beds. While the aeroplanes manoeuvred overhead, armored cars and motor lorries went up into the Tipperary hills and brought down the men who were minding the cattle there and searched them. There were many humiliating and uncalled for incidents in this night-long raid, and the Censor felt compelled to suppress the full facts.

A few days earlier Dundalk, a town in the North of Ireland, was occupied by a large military force. Barricades were built in the street, numerous houses raided, all traffic challenged and Matthew Murphy, a commercial traveller driving into the town, was fired upon by the soldiers and shot without warning.


On June 6, 1919, a Dublin concert was “proclaimed” by British officialdom in Ireland. Sufficient warning was not given and many people gathered thinking the concert was going to be held. These a strong force of police dispersed with most violent methods. They fired on the crowd wounding two men, and a police sergeant shot a girl of twenty in the thigh. Some of the crowd retaliated and four policemen were wounded.

W. J. McCann, formerly Inspector of United States Military Police in the Philippines, was an eyewitness of this assault and stated in a press interview, which the British Censor suppressed :

“The action of the police in firing upon the crowd was unjustifiable.”

The British Chief Secretary MacPherson refers to this in his supposed reply to the Report made by the American Commission. The Americans reported:

“(47) With a ferocity unparalleled even in this history of modern warfare, within the past few days men and women have been shot down in the streets of Dublin.”

To which MacPherson replied:

“Unfortunately, four policemen and a girl have been shot in the streets of Dublin within the past few days by a number of Sinn Feiners, who rescued a Sinn Fein prisoner from the police. The police fired no shots.”

Not only were the police barracks which dot Ireland turned into sand-bagged and fortified forts during the last couple of years, but the British officers of “law and order” in Ireland took courses in bombing and bayonet practice from military instructors. They made frequent occasions to use the last upon the Irish people; for charging upon crowds with fixed bayonets has become a common form of military intimidation in Ireland. “Men, women and even children are beaten down in the public streets by an armed military police force organized not for the preservation of internal peace but for the forcible sustainment of the English usurpation. Some are even killed in these unlicensed attacks upon the general body of the people.”

(Two Years of English Atrocities in Ireland, p. 4.)


Austin Harrison, Editor of the “English Review,” and an Englishman, in his magazine for September 1917 describes a night he spent in Dublin shortly before. He saw a crowd of young people gather near the station to welcome Cosgrave, just elected to parliament for Kilkenny. Cosgrave did not arrive, and the crowd, writes Harrison—

“… sing songs and gradually dwindle; then later there is a baton charge. For no special reason. A young man lies on the pavement, senseless . . . knocked out …. The Cossack method. Again I wonder whether the emotional Welsh Prime Minister knows of our police government in Ireland. I have seen Cossacks do that in Petrograd. I am puzzled. There was no riot. There was no reason for any violence … To knock a man out and leave him lie like a dog in the street seems a queer way in the Empire of Liberty. I never saw the Berlin police do that. I go to bed that night ashamed.”

In the past few years of terrorism baton and bayonet charges have actually been made in public halls where there is no way of escape for the people attacked. It was in this way Thomas Russell, the young Kerry teacher, was killed. On April 9, 1918, the police batoned the people of Dungarvan in the local courthouse, where they were attending the trial of a political prisoner.


“Speaking of the condition of Thurles, Co. Tipperary, after the English armed forces had sacked a portion of the town, Messrs. Arthur Henderson, M.P., ex-Cabinet Minister and Wm. Adamson, M. P., Chairman of the English Labour Party, said to our reporter that what they had seen reminded them of a section of Argonne in the war zone when they were on a visit to the front in France.”

Dublin Evening Telegraph, January 22, 1920.

“On January 21, 1920, the police and military in Thurles took possession of the streets at 11:15 p. m. and fired with rifles and hand grenades on the houses of the citizens for nearly an hour and a half. They wrecked twelve houses in the main street alone, and prominent citizens made public statements of their certainty that the police fired their rifles with murderous intent for they fired deliberately into the houses of sixteen families, causing much destruction, though no one was killed.”

Irish Bulletin, January 22, 1920.

Toward the end of last year English soldiers in barracks near Fermoy twice wrecked and looted the principal shops of the town.

Among the five Munster towns victimized in this way was Cork, where the military display at night included armored cars as well as the usual lorries.

“I am informed that the rioting was caused by the troops who acted in a wild reckless and disgraceful manner.” This was the statement of the Lord Mayor of Cork in reference to the action of the soldiers belonging to the Shropshire Regiment, who wrecked a section of that City on the night of November 10, 1919.
The soldiers smashed shop windows and looted the shops.

When the citizens endeavored to stop the looting they were charged and dispersed by the police who used the butt ends of their rifles on the people. This is the same regiment which was removed from Fermoy for wrecking the town. The Corporation of Cork demanded the removal of the Shropshire Regiment from that city. There was however, neither a public enquiry nor punishments of the offending military by their officers.

Irish Bulletin.


At Limerick, in one of their more recent displays of night frightfulness, the indiscriminate firing of the “patrol” (as these night raiders call themselves) caused the death of Richard O’Dwyer, an esteemed merchant, who was sitting in his own closed shop and of Lena Johnston, a young woman returning from her work at a theatre. Two other citizens, equally inoffensive, were seriously wounded. In this case an inquest was held. The military and police admitted that they had fired 145 rounds of rifle and revolver ammunition at the people. They claimed that they had also been fired upon, but reliable citizens held that their story of an attack on themselves was deliberately manufactured. One soldier admitted he had lost control of himself, thought he was on the battlefield and ran through the streets shouting: “Come on, the Welsh!”

This is a tragic picture of armed forces running amuck in a quiet city, firing in a reckless, cowardly manner. Nor was it in Belgium. When they had fatally shot two citizens and wounded two others they marched back to barracks, with noisy cheers singing—not Die Wacht am Rhine.”

It was “Rule Brittania” they sang:

“* * * The nations not so blessed as thee,
Shall in their turn to tyrants fall. . . .
Rule, Britannia, rule the waves * * * .”

This she does by holding Ireland, Gibraltar, Malta, the Suez Canal, India and a few other corners of the world recently acquired against the will of their rightful owners. Meanwhile there is a newer Imperial chant, that of Elgar and Benson sung with great gusto in the opening years of the war. In view of Britain’s diplomatic shuffling of war-spoils, by which she gained control of over 2,500,000 additional square miles of territory, and to-day rules over one-third of the world; it is felt to be indiscreet to shout the motif of the chant in the ears of the world just now—for it sounds very much like the wartime newspapers’ translation of “Deutschland Uber Alles:”

“Thou, who hast made her (England) mighty.
Make her mightier yet.”


RAIDS: 19,423.*

“Raids on private dwellings are a common occurrence. To be found in possession of political leaflets means immediate arrest. A gathering of three or more persons is an illegal assembly. Fairs and markets, which are an essential part of the machinery of Irish trade, are prohibited; trade-union meetings, even national games and pastimes, are forbidden; musical festivals and literary and debating societies of the most harmless character are regarded as conspiracies.”

From Report of British Parliamentary Labour Party.

The night-raids made at times upon individual Irish homes, but usually upon a large number of houses in one zone or another, are specially intended to strike the terror of British might into the hearts of the people.

The military raid made in the Glen of Aherlo, with motor lorries, machine guns, and aeroplanes referred to earlier is the custom rather than the exception in Ireland, as is obvious from the total number of raids up to March 1—19,423—admitted by the military, and reported in the Press.

These raids, like the “patrols” that degenerate into bands for assault, are largely parades of military force to induce provocation and intimidation. The London Daily News of March 10, 1920, reporting Irish conditions indicates that there are innumerable “personal raids,” if they may be so termed, of which no figures are kept:

“Armored cars, motor lorries and bodies of cyclists nightly accost civilians and it is no uncommon thing for a man to be held up three or four times within a few hundred yards. Revolvers are thrust into their faces; they are told to hold up their hands above their heads, and even if they have permits are often questioned at length about their business and their pockets searched.” On November 6, 1919, in the English House of Commons, Mr. McLean asked how many raids had been made by police and military upon private houses in Ireland during the last twelve months. The Attorney General said the Chief Secretary had endeavored to get the information, but found it would impose such an amount of work on the police that he could not ask them to undertake the detailed investigations that would be necessary.
(Hansard, Col. 641.)

These figures are readily available in Dublin Castle records, but the information would not be edifying, so was withheld. During the first nine months of 1919, there were 5,588 of these raids, nominally to discover arms or “seditious” literature or Irish patriots. In two “military drives,” alone, unreported in the press, over 4,000 Tipperary homes were searched, their residents were not only searched, but numbers of them stripped naked by the brutal soldiery.


A typical raid—one in which 700 men of England’s forces were engaged—was described by Capt. Thomas Kissane, a young American Army Officer on his return from France.
The story, reproduced in the London Daily Herald, October 18, 1919, tells us:

After serving in France, Captain Kissane had leave of absence to visit his old home in County Clare. British officers there, he said, boasted that Great Britain has a right to interfere anywhere on earth, provided it has the strength to substantiate that interference.

He saw soldiers everywhere in full panoply of war, and backed by light artillery, armoured cars and whippet tanks.

“When you want to go from one village to another, you must have a pass from a British officer,” said Captain Kissane. “In County Clare, business is dead, because the people are not allowed to congregate or buy or sell goods.

“Arrests are wholesale. For absolutely no reason, several young fellows were arrested in my own village and sent to prison without trial.

“My brother and another young fellow were arrested for soliciting in their native village subscriptions to buy a set of band instruments. My brother had received no money, so he went free, but the other man went to prison for eight months.

*This total of 19,423 raids does not include any since March 1. 1920. In March and April the list of raids was increased by more than 3,000. In one week of April, ending April 4, there were 1,113 raids. On one day alone. April 3, 618 raids were made. On April 30 over 600 houses were raided in various counties.


“My sister, who is examiner in French for the Board of Education for Ireland, was staying at a girl friend’s house in Cork, with seven other girl teachers.

“On the night of last August 14th, 400 British troops and 300 constabulary ordered them out of the house in light attire and then plunged their bayonets into the bedclothes, tore down curtains, smashed the chinaware, threw the girls’ personal effects out of the window, and left the house a wreck.

“Meanwhile on the roadside troops surrounded the girls and hurled at them every conceivable abuse and insult.”


Age is not respected by Ireland’s army of occupation any more than modesty.

The house in Courtown Harbour of Mrs. Etchingham, mother of Sean Etchingham, member of the Irish Parliament for East Wicklow, was raided by the Gorey police under District-Inspector Lee Wilson. Both the District-Inspector and the Sergeant were intoxicated. The hour was between two and three in the morning. The police invaded Mrs. Etchingham’s bedroom and forced her at the points of their revolvers to leave her bed which they then tossed up and thoroughly searched.

Mrs. Etchingham is over 80 years of age; her house has been raided many times by the police under the same officer. Nothing found in it has ever been of sufficient importance to cause a single arrest. Mrs. Etchingham has almost invariably fainted in the course of previous raids—a fact well known to the police. She and her daughter and two grandsons, aged about 15 and 17, were the only people in the house, at the last raid. When the elder boy asked the police not to molest his grandmother, he was threatened with arrest and forced to leave the room.


Recently Mr. Farrell, a former Lord Mayor of Dublin, wrote to the public press that Ireland is being governed either by a madman or a fool to-day. As a proof that he is a friend of England he recalls the fact he was the principal guest at a state dinner given by the King of England in 1911, and that subsequently he had a long private audience with His Majesty. Yet on the morning of February 10th between 4 and 5 o’clock, he was aroused from his bed by English soldiers in full war equipment, who forced their way into his manor house at the point of the revolver and ransacked the house from cellar to attic. He adds: “I was kept between two soldiers with fixed bayonets, and an officer carried a revolver all the time when visiting the rooms where my children and the maids were.”
The troops left empty handed.

Mr. O’Farrell is even given to harboring “seditious” literature.


The residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin—the historic Mansion House—has been searched upon more than one occasion—even the apartments belonging to his wife. A British officer, resident in Dublin and decorated in the late war for distinguished service, was also subjected to a raid recently—the raiders arriving in a tank—a preposterous conveyance frequently used, for intimidation likely. This officer, Major Childers, asked for and received an apology from the Commanding Officer for the hardened insolence of his raiders to his own person, and the dangerous possibilities of their bayonets-flashing and rifle-parading before a sensitive child roused in the middle of the night for purposes of their search.


The Sinn Fein Co-operative People’s Bank, opened ten years ago in Ireland, was twice ordered closed and finally seized. On the last occasion all books and papers and over $40,000 were seized by the military and the house closed to business.

“The bank was established ten years ago by a limited company to carry on the banking business—to assist in the development of Irish industries and for the promotion of popular credit. It is described as the ‘Sinn Fein’ Co-operative People’s Bank, and it is governed by a Committee of Management elected annually from its members. A Council of Supervision is similarly elected. Apart from the fact that a number of Sinn Feiners, in addition to people of other shades of political opinion, deposit savings there and the majority of the shareholders are Sinn Feiners, the bank has no connection with Sinn Fein.”—Irish Bulletin, February, 1920.

The real offence of this Bank and The New Ireland Assurance Society, which was also seized and ordered closed, is that their policy is directed to the up-building of Irish credit and of Irish interests first.

The Assurance Society was founded with the avowed object of stopping the flow of Irish money abroad to England or elsewhere for insurance, and to create a truly Irish insurance company. Since its inception in 1916 it had made remarkable progress and was firmly established throughout the country at the time of the seizure.


In 1918 the Irish people returned over two-thirds of the members for an Irish Republic.
As a punishment for this expression of self-determination on their part militant terrorism increased and most of the members who were not kidnapped before the Elections were arrested afterward.

Similarly, after the municipal and urban elections of January, 1920, raids grew in number and ferocity. In one week in February there were over 1100 of these raids in Ireland. In one night 90 men were seized, many of them prominent men among the newly elected officials and members of the Irish Congress. In one of these raids the police seized Mr. Cosgrave, who has been for years in charge of the finances of the Dublin Corporation and was this year re-elected on the Republican ticket. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, seized and deported before his election, was imprisoned, without trial, in London, and finally released in broken health.

In another more recent raid 200 more Irishmen were seized by a large party of soldiers who entered their homes with fixed bayonets, making their rounds in armored cars and tanks. In many cases they battered in the doors with rifles, herded the women and children into rooms together and there at the point of the bayonet threatened to kill them if they would not tell where their menfolk were. (Leading men in the Irish movement do not always live at home now, because of these raids.)

The men seized in this raid were carried off to a British warship in the harbor and taken to England, with an aeroplane manoeuvring over the ship droning into them as it went, its story of England grown “mightier yet,” and of her plans to secure the mastery of the air as of the sea and the world’s oil-fields.


A letter from the aged mother of Bishop Cantwell of Los Angeles, to her son and his three brothers who are like himself prominent citizens of California, tells its own story of a recent raid in Fethard, Tipperary. When the letter was received the news it contained was sent by wireless to the Bishop in mid-ocean on his way to Europe.

The letter is eloquent in its motherly appeal and the writer’s approval of her boy’s patriotic stand.

“Prison nor death itself can crush the spirit of Walter and the brave men of Ireland. They have established the Irish Republic …”
It is of just such aged Irish mothers, too often left desolate, who have given of their best—the fruit of their womb—to America; it is of these the Englishman Begbie wrote—
“… But something of their hearts and their souls are woven indestructibly into the destinies of America.”

“My dear James,” writes the mother—
“My boy Walter was arrested yesterday morning at 4.30 o’clock. As we slept the the door of our home was battered in and the military and police overran the house, destroying everything before them. They asked for Walter. They dragged him from his bed. They offered no warrant or explanation.

“Your dear brother was taken away from me, under a heavy guard, with fixed bayonets. They took him to Cork on an English gunboat. He is now in Belfast prison, without any charge lodged against him. You well know that Walter is guilty of no crime, unless it be a crime to love Ireland, his country.

“Cannot you men in America put a stop to this terrible treatment of our boys in Ireland? Prison nor death itself can crush the spirit of Walter and the brave men of Ireland. They have established the Irish Republic and they will accept nothing from England but that she get out of their country.

“After Walter’s arrest the military returned to the house and ransacked every room, doing. much damage. They seized and read my letters from you, John, Arthur and William. I was ill when they came before dawn. It was very cold. They refused to let us light the fire. The military surrounded the house for hours while others ransacked each room. They got nothing that could connect Walter with any crime other than loyalty to Ireland.

“Please pray and work for the safe return of my boy Walter. …”


ARRESTS: 6,157.


“I could bomb a crowd from an aeroplane with a better conscience than engage
in this cold blooded systematic condemnation of respectable people to the rigors
and ignominies of Jail life—to loss of health, loss of business and career, too often
to loss of life; not for breaking the moral law, but in very truth for obeying that
universal law which impels all men worthy of the name of men to become free.”—

Major Erskine Childers, D.S.C, R.N.F.C, in London Daily Herald, May 26, 1919.

Since May 1, 1916 there have been over 6,157 arrests in Ireland of political prisoners.
Their “crime” was variously expressed by them, but it was always one—demanding Ireland’s inalienable right to govern itself. It was the crime of Washington and Franklin in 76, the crime that brought Colonel Ethan Allen in irons from Quebec to England in 1775.

In one contemporary work—”Two Years of English Atrocities in Ireland”—there are 53 pages of closely printed records setting out briefly such violations of Irish personal liberty and property, as have been admitted by the English Censor. Those not so admitted, though known to the Irish people, are not included in the totals given in this compilation either.

Bald statements of the vast number of arrests can convey nothing of the hardships these entailed, but some idea is had from these paragraphs in the American Commission’s “Report on Conditions in Ireland”—statements which are borne out by documents submitted to the compiler of this pamphlet:

“(2) Hundreds of men and women have been confined for months in the vilest prisons without any charge being preferred against them.

“(3) At least five men have died as the result of atrocities perpetrated upon them while in prison. * * *

“(4) Prisoners are confined in narrow cells with hands handcuffed behind them day and night. In this condition they are fed by jail attendants. They are permitted no opportunity of answering the calls of nature, and are compelled to lie in their clothing, befouled by human excrement for days at a time.

“(5) Persons are confined in cells which are not big enough for one man. They are not provided with beds or bunks, but are compelled to sleep upon the bare floors. . There are no toilet facilities or receptacles to contain human offal, which necessarily accumulated upon the floors where men are compelled to sleep in the filth night after night. * * *

“(10) Solitary confinement in most horrible form is generally practised. Numbers of prisoners have been taken directly from jails to insane asylums, rendered maniacs by their treatment.”


In making these arrests the British police usually seize the political prisoners in their beds at night. The arrests include men and women. They even include children, for last year the police kidnapped a child of eleven (young Connors of Tipperary) and for close to two months even his parents were not permitted to know why he had beqn seized or where he was held. Following that, a boy of thirteen was seized and also held hidden for weeks without any word to his parents. Men over seventy—including Laurence Ginnell, for years a member of Parliament at Westminster and a scholarly barrister,—have been held for months without trial, and submitted to exceptionally harsh treatment.
A sister of Grace Gifford, the gifted young artist of whom Orpen painted a striking portrait symbolic of “The New Ireland,” was held in solitary confinement for weeks. Seventeen (17) women and girls, including Louise Gavan Duffy, daughter of Mitchel’s comrade who later was elected Premier of Australia, Mrs. Sheehy-Skeffington, Miss French-Mullen, were arrested—most of them for speaking Irish or collecting for memorials to Irish patriots. Saeve Trench, granddaughter of the great Protestant Primate, Archbishop Trench, was in jail also for months in 1916.

PAT McCABE, of Clones, was imprisoned for one month for “whistling derisively at the police.” American artists idealized brave Belgian youngsters for this same act of irreverence to Germany’s Army of Occupation.

THOMAS O’REILLY, who is a director of the Cavan and Leitrim railway, with two companions, was imprisoned for one month for singing the “Soldiers’ Song.” Girls have been sentenced to prison for singing national songs: one man was sentenced to two years with hard labour for the same “crime.”

MARY McMANUS, of Athlone, was arrested and heavily fined for selling a song published in Ireland several years before the war.

JOHN DORAN sinned against England by leading a procession of pipers without first obtaining the gracious permit of the British police. He was arrested and fined $25. So the crowded record of 53 pages run. (“Two years of English Atrocities in Ireland.”) Men who were suspected of being Irish Volunteers received sentences of one, two and five years of hard labour.


In the majority of cases the term of imprisonment is doubled or greatly increased by the refusal of the prisoners—as soldiers and citizens of the Irish Republic—to acknowledge that the British court in which they were tried had any jurisdiction over them.

Even in small details the action of the Irish political prisoners challenges admiration, for their endurance, their consistency and determined stand as citizens of the Irish Republic. Seized usually without charge, going to an unknown destination in England or Ireland, facing the possibility of a death from harshness like Ashe, or one from criminal neglect like McCan, Ireland’s more than 6,000 political prisoners since 1916 have endured many times what American patriots did in Britain’s ghastly prison-ships. They will continue to endure until Ireland is free.

Chief Secretary MacPherson denied categorically the statements of the American Commission about the ill-treatment of Irish prisoners. An American paper, controlled at the time by Rodman Wanamaker, was at pains to bolster up in lengthy articles MacPherson’s denial—but the London Times admitted his statements were halting and evasive. More liberal English papers—the News, the Guardian, the Daily Herald—conceded his statements contained shameful admissions of British misgovernment in Ireland.

But there is no need of other evidence to show the true condition of the jails than the following statement by a policeman of what he regarded as quite ordinary and humane treatment.


The Belfast Daily Telegraph of May 28, 1917, reports the trial of a schoolteacher, James Joseph Layng. He had been court-martialed at Dundalk for possessing a revolver, and MacManus in his “Ireland’s Case” quotes the following from the cross-examination of Police-Sergeant Graham:

“Attorney — You brought the prisoner to the barracks at Castle Bellingham and put him in the lock-up there?
“Sergeant — Yes.
“Attorney — Am I right in saying that that room is nine feet by three feet six inches?
“Sergeant — I cannot say that you are far astray, but it is more than three feet
six inches.
“Attorney — It has a stone floor without any windows.
“Sergeant — There is a small open slit.
“Attorney — Isn’t it devoid of any comfort?
“Sergeant — There is a big wooden plank in it.
“Attorney — There are no sanitary conveniences in it.
“Sergeant — None.
“Attorney — Was the accused put in that night?
“Sergeant — He was.
“Attorney — And kept there for five days and five nights.
“Sergeant — Yes.
“Attorney — During that time was he ever taken out for any exercise?
“Sergeant — No.
“Attorney — Was there any bed there?
“Sergeant — No.

This evidence, which was a portrayal of jail conditions so usual that it aroused little comment in Ireland, is an exact verification of paragraph 5 of the American Commission’s charges quoted earlier (see p. 23) and which was denied by Chief Secretary MacPherson and Wanamaker’s official journalistic white washer of British officials in Ireland.


Paragraph 4 of the same Report was directly borne out by the sworn statements of a young Dublin man released from Belfast jail, and which, while prohibited by the British Censor, were given wide publicity in Ireland and America in 1918. These statements were given to the public by Lord Mayor O’Neill of Dublin and other prominent Irishmen.

Further statements by one of these prisoners, a young lawyer who on his release escaped to America, are now under the hands of the compiler of this pamphlet. They verify the charges of unbelievable brutality made repeatedly against prison officials, but categorically denied by the British Chief Secretary MacPherson in a statement given the widest publicity by the press of America,

Here is one statement concerning a large group of political prisoners from all parts of Ireland—farmers, lawyers, editors, merchants, members of the Irish Congress—who were imprisoned in Belfast jail for openly demanding the freedom of Ireland. They were being treated as criminals instead of political prisoners contrary to the pledge of British officials given in Dublin in 1917. On their refusal to be classed as criminals trouble began. A portion of the statement follows:

“Word was passed along the windows of the top landing in Belfast Gaol that the wardens were forcibly dragging the prisoners down to the cells on the ground floor.

“Now there was an understanding between the prisoners and the Governor that we were not to be placed in the bottom cells as they were very badly ventilated and in other ways violated the most ordinary principles of hygiene. This agreement we were extremely anxious should be kept at that particular time, as the influenza was raging. We accordingly decided to remain where we were as long as possible. We barricaded our doors and forced the wardens to break them in to get us down. My door was one of the first attacked, and after battering at it for about five minutes with mallets and crowbars the wardens succeeded in getting in. As the wardens were aware that I was a barrister and understood my legal rights they were afraid to indulge in any excessive brutality and contented themselves with giving me a few shoves. I was then dragged down along the iron stairways to a cell on the bottom floor.

“From out the spy-hole of my cell I saw the other prisoners brought down. They were dragged and kicked and punched and otherwise brutally maltreated. After about half an hour some 200 police were drafted into the gallery and a detachment of soldiers was brought into the prison. The police dashed up with the wardens and started to force open the prison cells. The din now became deafening, the prodding of mallets, the clash of crowbars against the iron doors, the savage roars of the police and wardens, the agonizing cries of wounded and tortured prisoners and the dull thud of bodies dropping from step to step along the iron stairway, all created such a pandemonium as to make one’s head swim.
All the prisoners who were now being dragged down were handcuffed, most of them with thin bands behind their back, which in itself is a form of excruciating torture.


“Every form of brutality was indulged in while bringing the prisoners down. I saw Mr. McKenna, the Chairman of the Kerry County Council, one of the wealthiest, most influential and respected gentlemen in the south of Ireland, with his hands manacled behind his back, a policeman brutally dragging him along by the necktie, which he had twisted so tight that his victim’s face was all purple, his tongue was hanging out, and the eyes bulging out of his head, while another policeman was kicking him along from behind. I saw Mr. Corry, a respected farmer in County Cork, bleeding profusely out of the nose, his hands manacled behind his back, with one policeman dragging him along by one ear and another by the other ear, and a third kicking him from behind.

“I saw Mr. N————— from Clare, pumping blood from a three inch gash in his head, his hands handcuffed behind his back, being dragged about in a most diabolical fashion. Many more such instances came before my notice. A hose was then brought into the wing and was turned on some of the remaining prisoners who were left to lie all night in their wet clothes, with their hands manacled behind their backs—and the deadly influenza raging in the city!

“When all the prisoners were down, the police entered our cells on the ground floor, removed all the furniture except the bed board and manacled those of us who had not been so restrained before. We were left in this condition for three days, when some of us succeeded in removing our handcuffs. Others were so restrained, some with muffs in addition, for six days. In this state we had to attend divine service and on Sunday morning the vast majority of the prisoners received the Blessed Sacrament with hands manacled, and in a filthy condition, because their restraint prevented them from conforming to the usages of civilized beings.

“We were then sentenced to 14 days solitary confinement on bread and water and our conditions were not ameliorated until the public opinion of the world was so thoroughly aroused by the facts (which had to be published surreptitiously in pamphlets, and for the distribution of which a young boy of 13 was thrown into gaol) as to compel the prison authorities to give heed to the most ordinary dictates of common humanity.”


(Suppressed by Censor.)

Synopsis of statement by Mr. T. E. Hardy, Fullyard House, Armagh; a university man who had graduated with a high record.

“I was arrested and imprisoned in May, 1918, for an alleged seditious speech. The Offense, if any, was political and, accordingly, should have qualified me for treatment as a political prisoner. Nevertheless, I was forced to associate with the vilest criminals in Belfast Gaol, with bigamists, wife-beaters, drunkards, thieves and murderers. Later I was sent to Sligo Gaol and was there treated as a criminal.

“On November 18th, when I was now suffering from cold and hunger, when my cell was without sanitary utensils, I asked six times in the course of the morning to be allowed to go to the lavatory. Each time I was refused. At 2.30 I again demanded. While speaking I walked toward the door. Immediately five warders rushed towards me, knocked me down and while on the ground, with the middle of my back on a broken bed plank, a warder, whose name I can give, put his hand on my throat and his knees on my chest and pummeled me with the hand that was free. For some hours after I lay there, unable to move. That night I fainted and in falling injured my elbow and tore the skin of my left arm.

“On January 21st, 1919, I was put in solitary confinement in Belfast Gaol. For five weeks I was locked in a cell, most of the time with my hands handcuffed behind my back. In the cell there was no window—most of the time no utensils of any kind, sometimes nothing but the four bare walls. It was nothing strange to have the warders and police enter the cells and knock us down and beat us. The police used their batons freely on me while I lay on the floor. They caught me by the hair and bumped my head against the cement floor of the cell, while they called me filthy names.

“On the back of my head is a lump which I shall carry to my grave, and my left arm is at times useless, as the pain in my left shoulder is excruciating. It was while I was in handcuffs in Belfast Gaol that my left arm was injured.

“I am prepared to swear to these facts before any tribunal.”


Extracts from a statement made by Mr. John G. Sheehan, with reference to conditions in Belfast Gaol on June 19th, 1919. This statement was suppressed by the British Censor.

“I make the following specific charges which I invite Mr. MacPherson to refute if he can. These within my own knowledge (the major part of them) I am willing to support on oath. The others are made on information supplied to me by fellow-prisoners on whom I can rely and whose names I am willing to give. I have used initials to avoid giving pain to many persons, but shall willingly give full names to anybody interested.

“(1) During the influenza epidemic, sick men were locked in their cells in the early evening and left there all night with nothing but water to drink. Many men were too weak to attend to themselves or to get out of bed to ring for help. P. M., as a result of getting out of bed, fell and cut his leg badly. He lay all night partly on the floor and partly in the bed, lost a considerable quantity of blood, was on the verge of death and given Extreme Unction. He was ultimately released on medical grounds.

“(2) The attendance was insufficient; J. H. was extremely ill with influenza. Pedlar and I were called to his cell to stop his continuous bleeding from the nose, although neither of us pretend to medical knowledge. His shirt and bedding were soaked in blood, indeed caked with it,—the result of two or three days continual bleeding. Blood stains were on the wall and on the floor. His face was smeared with dry blood. He was getting ordinary prison diet, which was lying in the cell untouched.

“We did what we could for him. Later in the evening a priest came to administer Extreme Unction to another patient. We brought him to J. H.’s cell and pointed out the state of things. On seeing the man, the priest at once administered the last sacrament. J. H. was then removed to hospital.

“(3) The blankets and bedding of the sick men (about 120) reeking as they were with their excessive perspiration and full of influenza germs, were never taken away, but were left with them on recovery, and for aught anyone knows, were subsequently used by other prisoners.


“(4) Eighty men in Belfast Gaol were deprived of their political status on January 21st, 1919. They were placed in solitary confinement then and were so kept until (a) the expiration of their sentences, or (b) their discharge in broken health, or (c) as to 10 of them, until deportation recently to Manchester, and the balance of them—5 in number—are still in the same condition. That is, for five months now those men have never left their cells or hospital except to go to the lavatory or to chapel. With one exception, they have all been handcuffed for long periods. Their only exercise consists in pacing a cell about 18 feet square. When I was there 6 patients had to sleep in it. They are never out of it day or night, except as before stated.

“(5) Whereas on January 20th there were only three or four political prisoners in hospital, since that date 53 out of a specific 74 had to receive medical attention—roughly 75%—and that of thirty-six (that is 50%) their health was so bad that the Government dared not risk keeping them in prison any longer.

“(6) J. M., thrown down by police, pummeled and gripped so violently in the abdomen that a portion of his trousers were torn off.

“(7) J. M. L., thrown down and severely pummeled by the police.

“(8) E.G. The like.

“(9) M. R. llie like.

“(10) J. M. Pepper thrown into his cell through the spy hole by wardens and police. He banged at the door to demand an explanation. It was opened and he was thrown down and handcuffed.


“(11) J. M., a constitutionally weak man, was suffering from an injured arm for which he had undergone a severe operation. He had his name down on Sunday morning to see the doctor. Instead, although he had committed no offense, his cell was entered by a number of men who proceeded to remove his plank bed. On his remonstrating, he was knocked down, his eye badly blackened, his weak arm severely wrenched, and he was handcuffed.

“On the intervention of the Chaplain he was brought to hospital in the evening in a state of collapse, was seized with violent vomiting fits and the doctors had to be called urgently and gave him special treatment. Ultimately discharged broken in health.

“(12) Our cells were stripped eventually of even the bell handles and the window frames. Nothing was left but the walls, roof and floor, the bed clothes, a slop basin, two mugs and a horn spoon. Our food was served on the floor. The cell floors were never washed, but were often damp and the mattress became wet. “The hot water pipes—the only means of keeping the cell partly warm—were out of order during the coldest spells of the year.


Statement by Padraigh na Dalaigh, North Strand, Dublin.

“In Mountjoy at present there are forty political prisoners. Nineteen are receiving political treatment. Twenty-one are treated worse than criminals. Among those who are treated worse than criminals are Mr. Laurence Ginnell, Representative of Westmeath, Dr. Higgins, John Cotter and Mr. W. Sears, Representative for Sligo. The latter is now released. Pearse Beasley, Representative of Kerry, and D. P. Walsh are deported to England. Messrs. O’Kelly, Sloane, Rogers, Mallory and eight companions were in close confinement on punishment diet for two months.

“They were handcuffed night and day and stripped by the wardens. The handcuffs were not removed even when they wanted to attend to the course of nature. When the men broke down, they were carried to hospital, some in a dying condition, only to be built up again for more punishment. These men are in for purely political offenses.”

In concluding a summary of the prison experiences buried in the pages of “Two Years of English Atrocities in Ireland,” the official compilers affirm:

“Not even when they have been thus tyrannously torn from their homes and cast into prison are these Irish victims of alien aggressions free from further indignity. Irish political prisoners, instead of enjoying a treatment more humane than that accorded criminals, are in fact the victims of a special prison regime that can only be termed barbaric. Exaggeration though it may seem to be, it has nevertheless been proved that into the Irish prisons police have been frequently introduced who have batoned these helpless men in their cells. Prisoners are put into irons on the slightest pretext. At the moment of writing political prisoners in Belfast Jail have been in handcuffs for five weeks. In Belfast Prison also men have, by order of the Governor, been drenched by a fire hose and then left to lie in their wet clothes all night—manacled and unable to assist themselves. In Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, prisoners were also hosed, and it was in that place that one of the worst of the Irish prison tragedies occurred.”

(The reference here is to the slow murder of Thomas Ashe.)


The hunger-strike of some scores of political prisoners in Wormwood Scrubbs, London, and in Mountjoy Jail this month (April, 1920) went on until many of the men were practically dying of starvation, and were removed to the hospital on stretchers. This protest (which is the one protest all Irish political prisoners must make out of respect for their national movement) is equivalent to the assertion that patriotism and the demand for national freedom is no crime and must not be treated as such — nor an imprisoned patriot be degraded to the class of a criminal.

This last notable hunger-strike ended successfully, being strengthened at the last by a general strike of organized labour in Ireland. Preparations were under way by British railwaymen to strike in sympathy and Irish farmers were organizing to withhold from English buyers their farm products which are so essential for Britain’s food supply.

The first of the Irish prisoners’ hunger-strikes is memorable for the death of Thomas Ashe. It was described on their release by some of the other prisoners to the “Clare Champion” (November 3, 1917). The realistic narrative quite unconsciously gives an idea of the heroic quality of the rank and file of Ireland’s patriots to-day:

” * * * On Thursday morning bed, bedding and all cell furniture were removed * * * Shivering with cold, without food, without sleep, without air or exercise, in their naked cells the prisoners lay * * * But the lusty voices of the Claremen rang out through the halls and corridors of the gloomy prison shouting—’No Surrender. Victory or Death,’ and in snatches of song they recalled the deeds of bygone times, the glories of the past or sang of the bright hopes of the future.


“Then the inhuman forcible feeding began, as cold, weakened from want of sleep and food, they were dragged out by brute force and strapped and Ragged, subjected—every fibre of their bodies in violent protest—to this horrible indignity.

The scene at the first operation was heartrending. Clare prisoners were the first to be fed, and from them came active resistance to this brutal operation. Violently resisting—the struggles and moans, the chokings and retchings of the helpless victims, bound and gagged, are too horrible to be described in detail.

“Many of them were carried away insensible and flung like dogs on bare and frosty floors to Hve or die as the mercy of a Just God might decree; and some of them were thrown into underground dungeons—damp and foul—so that England’s ‘Might’ and England’s ‘Justice’ should be vindicated at all costs. Day by day the fight went on, the men growing gradually weaker and collapsing. * * *

“* * * It was the practice, in order to cheer and hearten each other, to sing patriotic songs through the cell-doors. At one of these impromptu concerts poor Tom Ashe sang ‘The Dead in Arbor Hill,’ a song of his own composition. And a few nights after, when he had ‘carried Ireland’s Cross,’ and his pure soul had gone to its Maker it was the voice of a Clareman—Michael Brennan—that stimmoned his fellows to their barred and bolted doors to offer up with broken voices the Rosary in Irish for the loved companion who had died — that they might be spared to work and strive for Roisin Dhu * * * ” (Roisin Dhu — the Little Dark Rose or Dark Rosaleen—has been through centuries the hidden name of Ireland’s rebel patriots for their country).


After a hunger-strike of five days forty-three tried and untried political prisoners in Cork Jail secured ameliorative treatment for those of their number whom the authorities sought to class and treat as criminals. One of these “criminal” prisoners was a boy named Hogan under sixteen years of age, while other political prisoners in Cork Jail include two other boys under seventeen years of age. The Government permitted the hunger-strike to “continue until these youths had been removed to hospital in an utterly collapsed condition, and the remaining forty prisoners were too weak to leave their beds. The concessions demanded by the prisoners in the first instance were then granted. This was the twelfth hunger-strike which has taken place in Irish prisons since the beginning of 1919. It has proved to be the only weapon by which these convicted of political offenses in Ireland can force from the British Government a differentiation between the conditions of their imprisonment and that of the criminal classes. Yet in September of 1917 at Dublin and in January of 1919 at Belfast, British Officials — one of them the English Chief Secretary for Ireland—definitely undertook to give full political treatment to all political “offenders” in Ireland.

Glancing at the total of thousands of arrests, persons who have not met and talked with Irish political prisoners can scarcely comprehend how harrowing their experiences have been. Men, women and children alike—seized from their homes at night, thrust into cells too often not fit for human habitation, they have been neglected during the serious epidemic of influenza, frequently released in broken health, some like Patridge and Ward and others released to die—all to know every humiliation that British officialdom in Ireland could put on them.

But in spite of these facts, and their knowledge of what open support of the Republic would entail, this generation of Irish patriots have gone in an unending stream into these jails rather than yield for an hour in their determination to be forever free of England’s yoke. They have adapted themselves to a life of constant alarms and hardships with a quiet determination that is heroic.

It was with full knowledge of conditions and happenings in Irish Jails that a distinguished Englishman—Major Erskine Childers, R. N. F. C, who won the Distinguished Service Order for his valor during the war, made the frank admission about the imprisonment of Irish patriots in the London Daily Herald, May 26, 1919, which we quoted at the beginning of this section.


The heartrending litany of agonies endured by those brave victims of English brutality and militarism has been occasionally relieved by a physical triumph over their heartless jailors. There have been several escapes of Irish Volunteers from prisons, but the manner in which some of them were effected must for the present remain unchronicled.
The details of the escape of twenty Irish Republican prisoners from Mountjoy Jail, however, on March 29, 1919, are described in a booklet now in course of publication by the Friends of Irish Freedom, which also relates the unique hunger-striking and prison-breaking experiences of Padraic Fleming, under whose leadership the Mountjoy men baffled their keepers and scaled the prison walls—to friends and liberty. (See page 64.)



Of 6,157 men, women and children arrested in Ireland for political offences, only 2,107 were tried and sentenced. Their sentences ran from one month to penal servitude for life. Upon pressure from all sides the life sentences were remitted. In the majority of these cases, whether sentenced for singing a National song, for having a rifle, or buying a rifle, for selling the flag of the Irish Republic or similar “crimes,” the sentences read “months hard labour and months additional in default of bail.”

This serves to illustrate an interesting feature of the Irish struggle. The Irish political prisoner dragged into a British court is consistently Sinn Fein, whether he is a mature man trained as a barrister or a country lad still in his teens. He will neither give bail— thereby admitting himself guilty of some offence and willing to give security for his “good behaviour”—nor will he recognize the British court into which he is summoned. His attitude is—

“I do not recognize this Court nor consider that it has any jurisdiction over me. I am a citizen of the Irish Republic, and I recognize no court in Ireland but one evolved from the will of the Irish people.”

He is then thrown back into prison with a sentence of “months and months additional in default of bail.”

The sliding scale of British court sentences in Ireland would be, like most other British things there, farcical if it were not for the tragedy lying behind it all. A saloon-keeper and owner of a questionable resort was convicted of murdering his barmaid in a particularly brutal way. He was sentenced by the notorious Judge Dodd, the official white-washer of Dublin Castle and its prison system in Ireland to four months imprisonment in the “first division.”


The Judge explained that this light sentence was given the man because he had helped recruit men for the English army during the war. On the other hand an Irishman of the highest character, and one of position, was given two years hard labour for singing a National song, and another a similar sentence for trying to save from arrest his brother who had committed no other “crime” than being a supporter of the Irish Republic.

So it runs through the wearisome long lists of thousands of political prisoners: barristers, magistrates, members of Congress, farmers, aldermen, labourers, landowners, professors, poets, editors, merchants—men of every class and creed in Ireland “have come under the lash of the English knout,” as one of these thousands has put it.



The only proclamation of which we know much in this happier New World is the Thanksgiving Day proclamation.

In Ireland a British proclamation is as sinister an event as edicts were to foreign peoples seized by the Roman Empire or as the ukase of the Russian Czars.

Last year Lord French, as British Viceroy in Ireland, reached a state of mind which can only be described as “proclamation-frenzy.” Each new brain-storm produced a proclamation or suppression of something or somebody. 335 in one year—almost one a day. A Nero, a Caligula—might well be satisfied with such a record.

The audacity of British coercion policy in Ireland—the complacent assurance of its officials that, controlling the cables as they do, they can get the ear of the world for any story they care to “put over”—were strikingly indicated in 1918.

After the unpardonable kidnapping of 91 Irish leaders in May in an effort to break up the new National party they came to realize the truth of the defiance flung at them in the little Ulster town of Cootehill the morning after the kidnapping:

“You can kill our leaders, but you cannot kill Sinn Fein,”—cried out banners hung across the streets of Cootehill. It was the superb challenge of the rank and file of Ireland’s patriots:

“You can kill the few you hold helpless in your prisons, but you cannot to-day slaughter a nation, and while an Irishman exists on Irish soil he will stand for a free Ireland.”
Dublin Castle soon began to realize this. But if they could not slaughter a nation, they could with proclamations penalize and suppress it. So on July 4, 1918, when the United States were celebrating the anniversary of their escape from the British Lion, British officialdom in Ireland proclaim.ed and outlawed over four-fifths of the Irish Nation—making illegal all public assemblies and all membership in all the great national societies of Ireland, including Sinn Fein which has scores of branches in every county in Ireland.

With the grim humour of their kind they selected Independence Day as a fitting one to demonstrate that there was still a green comer of the earth that could be made to squirm under the Lion’s paw.


In 1918 there were only 32 proclamations. In 1919 there were 335. How Ireland fared under the last may be realized from a calm account of what it endured in 1918. Last year is really indescribable in this regard.

“Not even a semblance of free speech is allowed to exist in Ireland. In this same year of 1918 as many as thirty- two proclamations were issued declaring unlawful national activity of every kind and culminating on July 4, 1918, in an official declaration that every assembly of the Irish people in any part of Ireland was from that date illegal and criminal. Men who, denying the right of any alien government so to proclaim, spoke publicly after that date were tried by courts-martial and were for that act alone—and without any relation .to the words spoken, in many cases given the atrocious sentence of two years’ hard labour. . . . Persons who were known to have been listeners to these speeches were arrested, tried by enemy army officers . . . and actually sent to a criminal jail for three months.”.
Irishmen continued, of course, to speak, and Irish men and women continued to listen and British Jails grew crowded.
For whatever the individual might suffer, they were determined the Nation should be free.


It might be supposed that after 1919 nothing was left in Ireland that could be suppressed.

But the Irish are irrepressible. The Irish Congress, itself under a British proclamation—but holding its regular sessions in spacious cellars, in lonely mansions, in a variety of places—was still functioning. It established an Irish Industrial Commission to do for Ireland’s trade at home what their Consuls were doing abroad. This, too, was suppressed.

For it is as true to-day of British policy as it was in 1907, when Arthur Chamberlain, brother of the Imperialist Statesman, and Chairman of Kynoch’s, stated in Dublin “that it was a definite part of English policy to prevent any serious industrial or commercial development in Ireland; that he was convinced that policy was wrong, but that it was equally held and practised by Tories and Liberals.” (Interview of Arthur Chamberlain with Arthur Griffith in July, 1907, at Dublin, and reported by the latter in his paper, “Nationality.”)

This suppression then was only a consistent following out of an old policy. The following despatch describing the suppression is from Ireland on January 21, 1920:

The sittings at Cork of the Irish Industrial Commission set up by Dail Eireann, the Republican Parliament of Ireland and representing over 75 per cent of the Irish people, were suppressed by force yesterday. Police armed with rifles raided and occupied the City Hall in which the sittings of the Commission were to have been held. The Commission moved to the Municipal Art Gallery, Cork, where evidence was heard for a few hours, when that place was also raided by the police and the Commission ejected. The Irish Industrial Commission is, solely concerned with an enquiry into the industrial resources of Ireland and has no connection whatever with any political movement. The Irish daily and other papers have been warned that if they publish any of the evidence given before the Commission, they will be suppressed. The members of the Commission and the witnesses who have been called before it have been drawn from all parties and are acknowledged experts in the various industrial questions with which the Commission deals. These members and witnesses include:—Mr. George Russell (AE); Professor O’Rahilly, M.A.; Col. Moore; Mr. T. Johnson, treasurer of the Irish Trade Union Congress; Mr. R. N. Tweedy, a noted engineering expert; Professor Wibberley; Mr. E. E. Lysaght; Mr. Smith Gordon, Member of the I. A. O. S.; Sir Henry Grattan-Bellew ; Professor Ryan; Mr. A. Robb, Ulster Linen Manufacturer, etc.. etc.



In addition to this determined effort to destroy free speech in Ireland and to quiet even verbal protest against the ruthlessness of her militarism in Ireland. England’s officials have suppressed 53 Irish newspapers since early 1916—have prohibited the foreign circulation of 28 others, and in 1919, as in 1916, prohibited the circulation of American papers in Ireland.

Behind her barricades of tanks, machine guns and soldiery—behind a passport cordon which could be passed only by England’s friends (which included the professional thugs and burglars who have been let in from England to Ireland in the past six months)—behind the controlled cables and with the genuinely Irish press denied to the outer world—England has tried to keep from the world all real knowledge of her ruthless regime in Ireland. At the same time her agencies were diligently spreading her official “unofficial” stories about her gagged victim—and Ireland was traduced in every comer of the world where modem journalism penetrates. Acts by Irishmen springing from her own terrible provocation—acts committed by her own criminals introduced into Ireland—were given out as evidence of the Irish people’s lawlessness and their “intrigues” with foreign governments.

The following papers have been suppressed during the period mentioned:

In April, 1918, twenty-eight papers were denied foreign circulation by the British Government.



“I have seen some of these courts-martial. They deliver savage sentences for the most trivial offences. . . . The prisoner does not plead or cross-examine.
Nobody cross-examines. …”

Major Erskine Childers, D.S.O., English Veteran of the Great War.

Irish trials, Judges and Juries are traditionally a joke in legal circles within the British Empire. It was from, Irish Courts that Alfred the Great introduced into England the Trial-by-Jury, but since the Brehon Laws of Ireland have been suspended and British law in operation there, trial by jury in Ireland has mostly been a solemn farce.

The Judges are necessarily partisan, or they would not secure their appointments. In every generation the names of certain British Judges in Ireland have reeked in the nostrils of decent men. And Norbury and Sadlier and “Peter the Packer” have their prototypes always. The juries have been selected and summoned by the police, the omnipresent, always active agents of British “law and order” in Ireland.

To-day when the police find it increasingly difficult to secure any man willing to take their viewpoint, Dublin Castle has had to drop even the hypocrisy of trials by jury, and finds itself better served by “Courts-Martial”—”Crimes Court”—or Jedburgh Justice, which is no trial at all.

The “Crimes Court” consists of one or more magistrates especially selected by the English Viceroy. They are frequently ex-officers of the British army of occupation and must necessarily hold British ideas of Irish politics. They act without a Jury, and their jurisdiction extends over the whole Island.

“In other words,” says “Two Years of English Atrocities in Ireland,” “the Lord-Lieutenant having discovered two or more willing tools, can and does send them to any part of Ireland where the conviction and imprisonment of certain men and women are desired. In actuality the “Crimes Court” is a sort of ambulatory court-martial made the meaner by its effort to masquerade as an evidence of democratic Justice.”

The Courts-Martial, which have been held with increasing frequency in Ireland, are composed of officers of the English army. “They sit to ‘try’ alleged political offences under a Special Code designed to substitute for trial by jury the summary Justice of the army of occupation ; the Judges who are necessarily steeped in political prejudice, have no legal experience or knowledge, and it is only in very rare cases that they have the help of a competent and impartial legal adviser to guide them ; they are generally left to the safer guidance of their own instincts.”


One of the most notable of the Irish patriots who is now serving a sentence imposed by court-martial is Robert Barton, T.D., a rich Protestant landowner of Wicklow, Minister of Agriculture in President de Valera’s Cabinet, and who was himself in 1916 as a Volunteer Officer in the British army detailed to help put down the Easter Rising. What he learned then changed all the British views in which he had been bred, and when he could secure his discharge from the English army he entered upon the Sinn Fein political campaign of 1918.

Arrested and court-martialed after one of his speeches, he escaped from jail on St. Patrick’s Day, 1919, and for ten months was “on the run”—which means an outlaw in British parlance, but the honored guest in every Irish home where he might find himself. The daring of an Irishman “on the run” was well exemplified to the members of the American Commission during their visit to Ireland, for Barton not only entertained them in his own manor house by historic Glendalough, but he attended one session of the Irish Congress, and joined them as a guest at the Lord Mayor’s reception for the Americans.

It was true that a cordon of soldiers and machine-guns surrounded the Mansion House for hours before the reception, and Barton was one of the men they sought as they ransacked the Mansion House— but after the soldiers withdrew, Barton with his comrade “outlaw,” O’Kelly, appeared in the receiving-line in evening-dress with every evidence of a calm and unhurried toilet.

Early in this year (1920), however, Barton was again seized by the police, as they raided a house hoping to find other patriots. He was court-martialed, and is now serving a three-year sentence. His arrest and sentence are outrages against human liberty. So are other daily occurrences in Ireland, yet the Irish people are going ahead in their contest with a grim, quiet heroism that is too near yet to be fully appreciated.

Clement Shorter, an English Journalist of note, stated in a recent interview in Dublin:

“I see a militarism to-day (in Ireland) which is unparalleled in Europe, with machine guns and tanks and armored cars everywhere. “. . .—and Young Ireland is not dismayed.”

{London Daily Mail, Dec. 11, 1919.)



“The fact is, Castle Government in Ireland is infamous. Men are spirited away without charge or trial, children are arrested for selling flags or whistling derisively at the police, fairs or markets on which the whole agricultural population depend for their livelihood are stupidly suppressed without cause.

“This fatuous reign of ineffective coercion brings its inevitable train of crime and outrage, and the criminals appear to be about the only persons who escape Mr. MacPherson’s clutches.”

Capt. Wedgwood Benn, English M.P., in letter to Edinburgh Evening News, quoted in Dublin Evening Telegraph of August 1, 1919.


The details of the kidnapping of the Connors child were suppressed by the British censor in Ireland, but are given here in a statement by the mother of the child, who was only 11 years old:

“On Monday, February 10, 1919, my boy, Timothy, as he was leaving school at Greenvant, was stopped by a body of police, who asked his name; then the District Inspector asked him some questions and he was lifted into a motor wagon surrounded by soldiers and police and driven off crying to Tipperary barracks. His father happened to be on the road near at hand and saw him taken away, but the police refused to answer him as to why he was taken or where he was to go.

“We both went to Tipperary barracks to see him, but though we waited there over two hours we were told nothing, except that he would be all right and we were not allowed to see him. No one was allowed to see him and no account of why he was kept was given to anybody. I next heard from my neighbors that he was seen at Limerick Junction on Friday, 14th, with a big coat over his head and crying bitterly as he was put into the Dublin train accompanied by four policemen. At Thurles Station he was also seen crying. His father and I came to Tipperary to find out about him, but were given no information. He was kept in Dublin eight weeks and three days, and we had no knowledge where he was and I was very troubled because he was not strong but a nervous child.

“While he was in Dublin he was examined every second day at Dublin Castle and questioned about a thing he knew nothing about. He was promised money and clothes and that he would have a good time, if he would tell that such and such a person shot the police. During all his stay in the police barracks a policeman with a rifle and revolver was constantly with him day and night; he was never allowed to go to Church, nor to stop anybody outside of the police and authorities.

“My other son, aged 18 years, was arrested at the house where he worked, on February 12th, and had to endure a similar ordeal, being kept in close confinement, without bed, or change of clothes, exercise or company for seventeen days, and was then dismissed without explanation or apology.”

Statement of Johanna Connors, of Greenvant, Tipperary.


“The allegation that women of respectability and refinement are arrested without warrant, transported to distant parts and badly treated, is quite true. It happened to my wife after her arrest. She was arrested in Crossmolina and ultimately taken to Castlebar to be handed over to the military. They refused to receive her. She was then kept in the police barracks there and in the end turned adrift in a strange town and refused her fare back home, or even her hotel expenses for the night. Altogether she was ten days in custody, during which time she had no sleeping accommodation or other accommodation fit or proper for a woman. …”

Extract from statement of John C. Sheehan, June 19, 1919.


“The Misses Sharkey of Strokestown, County Roscommon, who were twice imprisoned for selling ‘seditious’ literature, which had been passed by the English Press Censor in Ireland, had all their goods to the value of 17,250 confiscated by armed police on May 22nd, 1919. The goods consisted of stationery, books and general drapery goods. As a result, these two girls were forced into bankruptcy. The goods have now, after six months, been restored, but in such a condition that they realized only 425 in an auction sale.”

Irish Despatch, Nov., 1919.


At a special Crimes Court, held recently in Castlebar, Martin Thornton, Irish teacher, and Patrick Hoban, were sent to jail for two months under heavy escort, the former for reciting a “seditious” recitation and the latter for singing a song called “The Dublin Brigade” at a local concert.

Michael Costello, Drumsna, was at Cavan sentenced to fourteen days imprisonment for singing a song when passing a police patrol.-


“Irishmen in London who take no part in politics, looking from a distance at the sore plight of their country, cannot help correlating with recent untoward events there the fact—of sinister portent—that out of seven regiments ordered to remote Eastern stations, no less than four are Irish regiments. Why, they ask, this anxiety to get these Irish regiments out of the way?”

London Correspondent, Irish Independent, January 12, 1920.

History gives the answer. In the years before the prematurely provoked Irish Rising of 1798 all the Irish regiments were hurried away from Ireland and the country gradually planted with British soldiery. At the same time with 18th century tactics (more cruel but not more effective than those related here of 1920) the country was being driven to despair and torture.

Half-hangings, pitch-tar caps on head, whippings to death and other such practices impelled Sir John Moore, the gallant hero of Corunna, to resign his command in Ireland as a protest against the outrages. Even General Abercrombie, Chief-in-command, also declined to remain in Ireland when he learned, as he officially reported, that—”Every cruelty and crime that could be committed by Cossacks or Calmucks had been committed in Ireland by the army and with the sanction of those in high office.”

Abercrombie and Moore, as British officers and gentlemen, would have protested in 1920 against the assassination of Lord Mayor MacCurtain, and the kidnapping of Lord Mayor O’Kelly. No British official in Ireland is known to have protested to-day.


The English Labour Party’s Delegation in Ireland on visiting Tipperary issued a report
stating that:

“The delegates were very much surprised to learn that the present military prohibition of fairs and markets was responsible for increasing the cost of living to the people of Tipperary by at least 125 per cent. The representatives whom they met repeated the emphatic protest which they heard elsewhere against those prohibitions of fairs and markets which were causing immense hardships, especially to the poorer classes.”
Lord Inchiquin, Col. O’Callaghan-Westropp, Lord Monteagle and other Irish gentlemen of humane principles, though politically opposed to the Irish Republic party, have protested vigorously against the uncalled-for cruelty of British suppression of cattle sales, fairs, etc. As indicated by the Labour Delegates this action has caused great hardship to the poor.


“Circumstances attending the deportation of Alderman William O’Brien, secretary of the Irish Trades Union Congress, have caused a wave of wild anger here. Deportations of well-known men are matters of course, but in this case, cruel and unnecessary brutality was used.

“Officials of the Irish Transport Workers’ Union were waiting on Kingstown Pier at the time a military motor lorry filled with armed and helmeted soldiers drove up.

“In the centre of this imposing escort Alderman O’Brien stood with his hands lashed at the full stretch to a beam above his head. He was thus held in a standing position. To a man with the full use of his limbs this might not be a great inconvenience for a short time, but O’Brien is a cripple, and broken bones in one of his legs made the position one of cruel torture. It might be said that he was positively hanging by his hands in this manner.

“One of the most respected and beloved of Ireland’s labor leaders was carried of in this fashion to an English prison.”

Dublin Correspondent in London Daily Herald, March 6, 1920.


“There was another remarkable anti-Irish outburst in the House of Commons to-day when reference was made to the conflict between troops and the people which has plimged Dublin into mourning.

“The Chief Secretary’s story of the shooting was vehemently cheered by the Coalition, especially the announcement that the soldiers fired ten rounds into the crowd. Col. Yates then suggested that the officer who gave the order for shooting be commended, and the outburst of cheering with which the suggestion was greeted showed that it had the hearty support of the great majority of English members of the House.”

Special Despatch from London to New York World, March 23, 1920.


“I can only lift a comer of the veil. The sum of suffering, gallantly and for the most part silently borne by Irish people during the last four years, passes computation. Raids upon private houses, for instance, which are a minor feature in the regime, number over 20,000 in the last two years alone.

“I begin with some examples where hardship to women and children is the chief feature. All. are recent Dublin cases, and all have been the subject of scrupulously careful investigation.

“Mrs. Maurice Collins was within five weeks of her confinement when her house at 65 Pamell Street was raided at 3.30 a. m. on January 31 last. The usual thunder of knocks was followed by a demand in vile language for entry. Mr. Collins was arrested on the spot. In the ensuing search the officer insisted on examining the bedroom of Mrs. Collins, who had jumped out of bed in a state of nervous terror. He was sorry, he said, but it was his duty. Her husband was carried off to gaol under 14B—the lettre de cachet section—and eleven days later was deported, suddenly to England.

“At the news she collapsed, was prematurely confined, and became dangerously ill. The fact being verified by the authorities, her husband was allowed home on parole for three weeks, due to expire on March 5th, but on the morning of the 3rd there was another raid, and in the afternoon a third, with 40 soldiers and two police. Once again they insisted on searching the woman’s room, and the effect on her was so serious that Mr. Collins received an extension of parole till the 12th.

“On the 10th at 1 a. m., as though there was a method in this crazy persecu- tion, a fourth raid fell on the house and once more the officer gained entry to the sick room in spite of vehement protests, for the woman’s nerves were now utterly unstrung. As a concession he entered alone, leaving the fixed bayonets outside. But this was the climax; there were pitiful screams at every movement—the flash of his torch, the opening of a wardrobe door. . . . Women of England, you have votes and power: this is your responsibility.

“On a statement by the doctor to the Castle that he would not otherwise guar- antee the woman’s life, Mr. Collins was allowed to stay until March 25th, and then went back to the English gaol. Neither she nor he know or are intended to know when they will meet again or why he is imprisoned. Like hundreds of others he will have no trial because the Government admits there is no evidence. …”

Major Erskine Childers in the London Daily News.


Mr. George O’Grady, Justice of the Peace at Rochestown, Co. Cork, Ireland, recently resigned his office. Writing to the Lord Chancellor, this Protestant gentleman, owner of an extensive farm, said:

“On March 9th my house was raided by military and police, my wife’s jewelry and money, to the value of 200 pounds, taken and I was placed under arrest and taken to Cork Prison, being liberated after five days, without any charge made against me or even an apology for my detention.

“In consequence of my own treatment and similar unjust cases reported to me I find that I cannot longer conscientiously continue to act as an impartial judge between the Crown and the people.”


The total revenue extracted from Ireland by England in 1919 was $186,375,000.

These millions are handled and controlled by the British Treasury, which doles back to Ireland for civil expenditures—sometimes in the patronizing form of “free grants”—a total of $67,685,000.

Much of these $67,685,000 go to pay highly-salaried English officials, paid at a higher rate than American Federal officials whether President or Judge.

Of these $67,000,000 over $8,512,500 were expended upon the police of Ireland—and the estimates for the cmrent year, 1919-1920, for police alone are about $17,000,000,

Of the remaining $118,000,000 absorbed into the British Treasury last year from Ireland, the Irish people have not the accounting of one farthing of it: Unless a lurid statement of the Hon. Winston Churchill at Westminster be considered an accounting. He claimed that EnjPjland was expending over $50,000,000 yearly on her army in Ireland. Who pays the price of Ireland’s torture—Ireland or America?


There are visions of half-paid teachers and of raids and bayonet charges and armored cars behind these comments in the “Irish Independent” in its editorial columns of November 20, 1919:

“In this country we have the strange anomaly that more money is spent upon police than on primary education. For the latter the amount voted in the current year is only $13,605,000; the police vote including the cost under the Bill now to become law is $17,675,395. The estimates make provision for 11,602 policemen; the number of teachers in the service at the end of December 1917 was 15,820.”


The surplus of Ireland’s revenue last year (extracted and absorbed into the English Treasury) over the amount expended in Ireland for civil administration was over $115,000,000.

That money spent on arterial drainage, reforestation, etc., as some of it would have been by an Irish Government, would have given employment to 180,000 young Irishmen. Lord French admits (see p. 7) that he wants to see this remnant of Irish manhood get out of the country—although their going would certainly mean that England’s economic pressure on their country had driven them to emigrate as an alternative to semi-starvation.

That large surplus in the Irish revenue was not spent in Ireland by Irishmen, however, consequently this year again destructive floods came up tmhindered, as these items from the Irish daily press indicate:

“The English Labour Party delegates on their way to Belfast travelled through a vast extent of country covered by water in the vicinity of Portadown. Thousands of acres are inundated along the River Bann area. The floors were actually encroaching on the railway. They had already entered Portadown, many of whose inhabitants are gravely inconvenienced.” January 28, 1920.

“The villages along the valley of the Middle Shannon are suffering indescrib- able miseries. Village after village had in parts to be abandoned during the last month. The whole countryside for miles inland in the Coimties of Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath and King’s County is one vast lake.” January 26, 1920.

Commenting on the flooding of the Shannon, the Barrow and the Bann “Young Ireland” on January 31, says:

“As a result of the persistent refusal of the British Government to permit a National arterial drainage scheme to be carried out, ten of thousands of acres of arable land are lost to the country, and the productive power of hundreds of thousands of other acres has been decreased, the mean temperature of the country has been reduced, and tubercular disease has doubled its percentage . . .”

“In 110 years ten ‘Commissions’ appointed by that Government have reported these facts—and all reported on simple schemes by which this periodical devas- tation could be prevented. In every case the reports have been ignored. A hundred years ago, an expenditure of fifty thousand pounds would have preserved the dwellers by the Shannon, the Barrow, and the Bann from these inundations. It would have saved the people of the country millions of money—but that money would not be permitted to be expended by those who imposed, . gathered and enjoyed the taxes of the Irish people.”


“A few years ago the English Government ordered an ‘Official Inquiry’ to find out what ten Commissions and Inquiries had already reported—the cause and remedy for these inundations. The Inquiry reported as usual, and the County Councils of the aflfected areas offered to supply part of the cost of a proper system of arterial drainage. What happened? The English Government refused to permit any of the proceeds of that Irish taxation which it sent to its Treasury to be applied to the work.

“And so again thousands of people are suffering destitution and misery, hundreds of farms are under water, and the produce which should supply food for the peqple is being destroyed—because Ireland’s money will not be permitted to be used to serve Ireland’s interests.”


“On Tuesday, September 9th, 1919, a Proclamation was issued by Lord French and the Privy Council of Ireland suppressing Dail Eireann, the National Assembly elected by the people of Ireland in December, 1918. It is interesting to note that no such move was made by the English Government until Dail Eireann had framed and published a constructive programme for Ireland. Consuls had been appointed in foreign countries to watch Ireland’s trade and industrial interests; the maintenance and development of the Irish Fishing industry had been decreed, and a large sum of money authorized to be used for this purpose ; a National Commission of Enquiry into the Resources and Industries of Ireland had been appointed; and a National Loan floated to aid these and other purposes of National importance.”

Irish Despatch, September 10, 1919.

The Consuls proceeded to their posts abroad; but the Commission into the Resources and Industries of Ireland was harried and hunted in its sessions and finally suppressed, newspapers being previously prohibited from reporting its progress. The Irish National Loan is being subscribed abroad and in a remarkable degree in Ireland—considering the handicaps placed upon it there.

For publishing the prospectus of the Loan the entire National Press of Ireland was closed down. Hundreds of houses were raided by military and police in search of literature advocating the Loan. Mr. Alex MacCabe, Member of Parliament for South Sligo was sent to prison for three months and Mr. W. M. Swanton, prominent townsman and merchant of Castletownbere, County Cork, was sentenced to five months imprisonment, the former for speaking publicly in favour of the Loan, the latter for exhibiting the Loan prospectus in the window of his business premises.

A man from Cork has been sent to prison for two months for carrying a Loan prospectus in his pocket. Warrants have been issued for the arrest of many other men who spoke in favour of the Loan and the latest reports from Ireland state that the English Government’s campaign against the Loan “is being continued with a vigour amounting almost to ferocity.”


The Recorder of Galway—an English appointed magistrate—has awarded 1,200 pounds compensation to a police sergeant who lost an eye whilst endeavouring to arrest a lunatic who “held the police at bay with a shot gim and ultimately perished in the flames of his own cottage.” The amoimt is to be levied off the rate payers of Galway district as if they were responsible for the madman’s actions. This decision has been given under the Malicious Injuries Act by which the Irish people have been mulcted in fines amounting to many hundreds of thousands of pounds for crimes with which they have no connec- tion and no sympathy. This system is the same as that pursued by the Germans in invaded Belgium.


In December 1918—73 out of 105 Irish members were returned by constituencies authorizing them to establish an Irish RepubHc Goverrmient,

Sixty-three (63) of these have been imprisoned by the English Government—many of them more than once.

Thirty-eight (38) of these were imprisoned without trial of any kind for periods from three to eighteen months.

Twenty -five (25) were tried by courts-martial or “removable” magistrates.

They comprise representatives of the EpiscopaUan and Presbyterian churches, which two churches together constitute over 90 per cent of the Protestant population of Ireland, as well as of the Catholic Church. They include Barristers, Landlords, Farmers, Journalists, Doctors, Professors, Manufacturers, Labor Unionists, Merchants ajid Public Officials.

Last autumn the British Chief Secretary in Ireland stated that a number of these members of the Irish Congress had been arrested on charges of inciting to murder. Arthur Griffith, Acting President of Ireland, made a counter-statement that not one charge of that kind had been made against the Irish members arrested and the Chief Secretary’s statement was consequently a false statement.


As the regular police force in Ireland has been for the past five years more than ever utilized for purely political purposes, when the back-wash of Europe’s post-war crime-wave reached Ireland last year, Irish farmers in numerous districts established their own Vigilance Committees. In this work begun at Abbeyfeale, County Limerick, civilians organized patrols for the night, and they soon caused the district to return to its normal quiet. They were praised for their efficiency by correspondents of London papers in the country, and numerous districts followed their example. Then—perhaps because they were keeping order, perhaps because they were Sinn Fein—the British armed constabulary gathered these civilian police into military lorries—practically encouraging the petty robberies to continue.


Ihe London Daily News of June 12, 1919, states:

“The account given of the barbarities inflicted on political prisoners in Mountjoy is probably only too accurate in the main, and we do not doubt that the story will do good service in forcing the full facts into the light.”

Under the heading of “Arrests” some space has been given to the miseries imposed on political prisoners in Belfast gaol (see page 25) , but there are certain hardships common to all British jails in Ireland, where political prisoners are treated as criminals.* The diet, however sufficient it might be for a physique broken with crime, has been utterly inadequate for the healthy young men imprisoned for political reasons. In a group of over 60 in one jail, each lost from twenty to forty pounds in a month. Not alone was the food insufficient, but it was particularly bad owing to deterioration of war-supplies.

When the ventilation was too bad and insufficient the prisoners broke the windows and let in the air. On one occasion to punish the protesting prisoners, the windows were screwed down so that not a breath of air could enter.

A seemingly guileless young American protagonist of the British jailers cited as an indication of leniency the songs and shouts of the prisoners in Belfast jail audible in the street below. A statement by one of these prisoners, a young barrister, is now before the compiler—and there is that in it which provokes to smiles—and to tears. For the young men had evidently accepted the prison life and its rigors to be as much a part of the struggle for freedom’ as everyday home-life was their rule in times of peace.


The simple words suggest the oneness of the political prisoners in this and all jails. It hints at the fierce stubborn determination steeling young men, some of whom had previously been regarded as all gentleness. They have schooled themselves to endure prison life, but they will not, even at the risk of greater hardships, submit to the treatment of criminals which tacitly would slur their cause, their Republic, their country—their own honor.

* See page 64.

This simple statement will bear pondering:

“In singing and talking to each other out of the windows (from one locked little cell to another) we had only been exercising a right which we had won by agitations and hunger-strikes innumerable . . . and if those people (in Belfast jail) objected to us exercising our prerogative it was no reason why we should forego it to make matters easy for those who had sent us there expressly to intensify our punishment.”


When Lawrence Kennedy was shot one night after Christmas in Phoenix Park, the cables announced his death as “another Sinn Fein outrage,” stating that he was one of a party of raiders attempting Lord French’s life. Like many of the other killings ascribed to Sinn Fein it was done by a British night patrol. The inquest proved—

“… that the three young supposed raiders arrested in the Park after the occurrence were perfectly entitled to be there, that they were returning from a dance at a friend’s house, and that they were surrounded by a military patrol, bayonets placed against their throats and chests, and it was only by the mercy of Providence that a police inspector turned up and saved them. They were released after twelve hours.

“The other supposed raider who was killed with the military officer was a poor man who had been spending Christmas with friends and who was on his way home through the Park when he was killed on the main road far removed from the Viceregal lodge. He was surrounded and shot. The patrol went away. They returned, and seeing some sign of life in the unfortunate man, they plugged more shots into him. The sign of life might be that the poor fellow raised himself, calling, perhaps for a drink of water, or for mercy, and yet as the evidence at the inquest showed, more shots were put into his body ‘to finish him.’

“The military officer supposed to be killed by the raiders was killed by his own men.” (Summary of testimony at Inquest, at which the murder was definitely admitted by the Military.)


Last November Lord French issued a request to the local authorities in Ireland that all activities should be suspended for two minutes at 11 A.M. on the anniversary of the Armistice, so that all might reverently meditate on “Right and Freedom.”

At 11.20 A.M. on that morning Lord French ordered his military and police to burst in the door of the premises occupied by the elected representatives of Ireland and to “arrest all on the premises.”

Three members of the Irish Congress, elected by large majorities, together with the members of the office staff, were placed in a military motor lorry surrounded by soldiers with fixed bayonets, and driven to prison to meditate on England’s conception of “Right and Freedom.”


“Little more than a month ago the ‘London Times’ described the Gaelic language of Ireland as among the ‘world’s rich inheritances,’ for its light on social life and history in prehistoric Europe, for its fine expansion of romance and its early—the earliest—cultivation of poetry in rhyme. The movement to preserve that ‘world’s rich inheritance’ is proscribed, and all England from Cornwall to John O’Groats is unmoved. Its members are arrested or expelled from their meeting-rooms; ladies of position and education who collected for its funds have been flung into police cells and refused food for fourteen hours, and the monies they collected confiscated. The Gaelic festivals are prohibited and dispersed by force of arms. The Prime Minister of England attends and speaks in Welsh at the Eisteddfod, in Wales. The Chief Secretary for Ireland affects an interest in the Comunn Gaidhealach of Scotland. Turn to Ireland—and the Gaelic tongue, the mother speech of Celtic nations, is proscribed.”

Dublin Evening Telegraph, January 21, 1920.


“The Aonach na Nodlaig or Christmas Exhibition of Irish made goods, held annually in the Mansion House, Dublin, for the past twelve years, was suppressed by the English Government, who occupied with troops and police the Exhibition premises. Though the Aonach had been announced for some weeks the notice proclaimmg it was served on the Lord Mayor only a few hours before the opening of the Exhibition, and after hundreds of traders from all parts of Ireland had been put to the expense of erecting stalls and conveying goods and commercial staffs to Dublin.”

Irish Despatch, December, 1919.

The suppression of the Aonach particularly hurt the several groups of women and girls in Ireland who earn their livelihood by the manufacture of art-craft objects and other luxuries for which there is a large sale at the Christmas season and for which they prepare all year.


It is a subtler form of outrage by which this news of the Irish elections was blurred to the outside world.

Up in Northeast Ulster is a distinctive small area adjacent to Belfast, which city was 300 years ago (and for almost 2,000 years before that) a fishing-village on the estates of the O’Neills. This comer alone out of Ireland’s 32 counties might be described as the zone of British influence in Ireland, and it is a notable fact that the Irish municipal elections of January have shattered all delusions about its being a Carsonite stronghold. The elections were fought on the basis of Proportional Representation which gave every possible advantage to Carson’s British “loyalist” followers, yet—
“Derry went Sinn Fein.
“In Lisburn a Sinn Fein led the roll.
“In Lurgan a ‘Loyalist’ majority of yesterday is now a minority of 4, opposed to 9 Labor and 2 Nationalists.
“In Dungannon, where the Carsonite ‘Loyalists’ were 14 to 7 they have now only a majority of one.
“In Cookstown, once all Carsonite ‘Loyalists,’ the returns give 7 Unionists to 5 Nationalists.

Says the Dublin Evening Telegraph of January 21, 1920. This paper pointed out that—
“All over the area which Mr. Lloyd George proposes to stake out as the new State of Carsonia, the same revolt has manifested itself. Lurgan, Dungannon, Carrickfergus, Lame, Limavady, Cookstown, Lisburn—towns which to good Covenanters were what the holy places of Arabia are to good Moslems—have rejected Carson nominees in shoals, and set in their place Labour men and Nationalists. …”

In this upheaval the Carsonites of Ulster have taken their first long step toward Sinn Fein and its gospel of a free Ireland—which was also the gospel of their own grandfathers in the days of Orr and Hope and Porter and Tone.


England’s officials in Ireland did everything possible to prevent a free’ expression of the people’s will at the polls. The following is a list with dates of the acts of aggression committed by the English Government in an effort to disorganize the Sinn Fein preparations for these Municipal Elections and to intimidate the supporters of the Republican Party in Ireland:—

Sept 20, 1919. Entire Republican Press in Ireland suppressed.

Oct 15, 1919. Sinn Fein and all Republican organizations in Dublin suppressed.

Oct 21, 1919. Weekly meetings of Sinn Fein Central Club suppressed.

Nov. 12, 1919. Military and police raid headquarters of Republican Government and arrest and imprison the staff.

Nov. 27, 1919. Sinn Fein and all Republican organizations suppressed throughout the whole of Ireland.

Dec. 10, 1919. Sinn Fein and Republican Headquarters ordered to be closed.

Dec. 12, 1919. Sinn Fein leaders arrested in Dublin and Provinces including the Secretary of the Sinn Fein Organization, and deported without trial. Republican Headquarters again raided and literature confiscated.

Jan. 6, 1920. James J. Hoey, election candidate, arrested at Bray and deported.

Jan. 7, 1920. Head Offices of Sinn Fein Organization, including offices of Election Department raided and closed by military and police.

Jan. 9, 1920.- Motor permit strikers offer of reasonable settlement rejected by Government, thus preventing use of cars to bring electors to the poll.
Kingstown Election rooms raided; literature confiscated.
Sinn Fein candidates election manifestoes suppressed all over Ireland.
No letters delivered at Election Dept. at Sinn Fein Headquarters.
Sinn Fein election posters torn down by police all over Ireland.
President de Valera cabled advice to Irish voters held up in transit and not delivered.

Jan. 15, 1920. Sinn Fein voters in Cork City attacked by organized bodies of ex-soldiers.
Lord-Mayor-elect of Dublin, Thomas O’Kelly, seized and deported.


The following English papers under the dates mentioned threatened the Irish people with intensified military repression if Sinn Fein carried a majority at the Election:

Notwithstanding these threats the Irish people steeled themselves for this second definite constitutional rejection of British government, fully aware that in doing so they would bring on themselves increased military terrorism.


In Belfast the anti-Carsonite minority jumped from 8 to 23 out of a total of 57.

In Ulster as a whole—that Ulster advertised by Sir Edward Carson and the British Govenunent as a province solid for the continuance of British domination in Ireland, the Municipal Elections resulted in only 255 Unionist members being returned on the Ulster Urban Councils out of a total of 573 leaving the non-Unionist representatives with 318 seats or a majority of 63.

In all Ireland the returns are:


After the election returns were announced the military storm broke—raids—over 1,170 in one week—arrests—assaults—assassinations! Previous chapters give a faint outline of the militarv “frightfulncss” in Ireland since then.

The Lord Mayor of Cork who had made a vigorous beginning in assuming the duties of his ofl was assassinated in his own home by British Government police, in an attempt to intimidate other municipal officials planning to carry on the work for which the people elected them.

Then still—with British jails filled with Irish political prisoners—with Dublin’s Lord Mayor a prisoner in England—and Cork’s Lord Mayor dying from the assassin’s bullets, whue his wife heroically solaced him: “You are dying for Ireland; die like a soldier”—the Irish nation stood outraged, sorrow-stricken, grievously wounded, but still unbroken and determixied to be free—like Brian’s wounded veterans who had themselves tied to stakes at Clontarf.

And so she stands today, with but one question—”

“How long, O Lord, how long?”




“Patriots of Ireland! Champions of liberty in all lands—be strong in hope!
Your cause is identical with mine. You are calumniated in your day! I was misrepresented by the loyalists of my day. Had I failed the scaffold would be my doom. But now my enemies pay me honor. …”

George Washington, at Mt. Vernon, 1788.

It has already been noted with condemnation, and it will pass into history, that as soon a truce of peace was signed in Europe, and England’s forces could be withdrawn from France—a Reign of Terror began in Ireland.

This statement is not one impelled by any bias in the mind of the writer. It is fully ome out by statements made by Englishmen and reproduced in Chapter IV.

Up to this time—through 1916, 1917 and 1918—the Irish people endured much coercion, Martial law, interferences with trade and food supply and individual outrages that were sported in the censored press to the number of 8,928.

They did not retaliate quickly. They endured in a way that will make the word Irish s synonymous with endurance as Spartan now is. But after the armistice was signed nd England began a fresh war in Ireland—in defiance of the Irish Nation’s self-determination at the polls in December, 1918—then Ireland’s endurance broke.

Since that time England accuses Irishmen of the acts of retaliation set out in Table A:

On a careful analysis this Table A resolves itself into—

(a)—20 murders.
(b)—77 firing at the person.
(c), (d), (e) and (f)—Assaults, Injury to Property, Firing into Dwellings, Raids for Arms—can all be grouped together under the total given for Raids for Arms and attacks on barracks of Britain’s Royal and Armed Constabulary. These items illustrate Taylor’s dishonest system of duplicating charges. (See p. 46.)

(g), (h) and (i)—Most of the Incendiary Fires and Miscellaneous Offences are not political offences by Irish Republicans but offences against order such as occur in any country. The “threatening letters” do not permit of this classification as ordinary, for they are largely the work of the British police forces. So common in times of coercion and provocation in Ireland were these “threatening letters” during the past century that the “planting” of threatening notices by the con- stabulary in Ireland has for years been referred to as jocularly in the British Empire as Canada’s passion for signing petitions. The first, in itself a survival of the land-war, is known to provide the constables with enlivening incidents according to their general instructions as agents provocateurs: the second is held to be a useful means of filling up long quiet winter seasons.

Since the completion of that Table A (January 1, 1920) England has accused the Irish people of fourteen more killings, while the Irish press reported six, in each of which the jury’s verdict definitely foimd that members of the British armed forces had committed the crimes. These include the barbarous assassination of the Lord Mayor of Cork, the murder of Milholland of Dundalk and other leaders in the Republican movement.


A few months ago an attempt upon the life of Lord French, British Viceroy in Ireland, was announced. A sage comment on this affair was made by George Bernard Shaw, writing on January 3, 1920, in Sir Horace Plunkett’s paper, the “Irish Statesman:”

“When such incidents used to occur in Russia before any considerable investments of French or British capital had taken place there, the English newspapers, notably ‘The Times,’ used simply to ask the Tsardom what it expected if it suppressed every popular liberty . . . There is absolutely no remedy except the cessation of the present political relations between the two countries, which are simply criminal relations, incapable of breeding anything outside their own kind.”

The whole world was again informed of the “cold, heartless and savage” murder of Magistrate Alan Bell, aged 70, on March 26, by Irishmen who dragged him from an electric car in daylight and shot him.


But the cables that told of the murder of this old man refrained from telling the world that, as a member of the British garrison in Ireland, he had filled his years from his cadet days to old age with acts of violence to the Irish people and their national rights. He began his career as a protege of the infamous detective-chief, James Ellis French, afterwards convicted of felony. In the Land League days of Pamell’s and Davitt’s leadership and ever since, Bell carried on actively the work of the British garrison against Irish nationhood. He became notorious after the murder of Peter Dougherty, near Croughwell, years ago, when in spite of every possible police effort, his subordinates were found guilty of the murder—and reprieved ! Expert employer of agents provocateurs and the despised “G men” (secret service detectives, Britain’s spies in Ireland), he spent his last years resident in Dublin Castle in a web of malignant alien intrigues against Ireland—colleague and collaborator with French, Taylor and MacPherson.


This official White Paper list of “Crimes attributed to Sinn Fein” is a new method of attack upon the Irish people and their leaders devised by Sir John Taylor, who has been Lord French’s most active aide in Dublin Castle since French arrived there.

This is shrewder, safer and less expensive than the methods employed in Pamell’s day, when Taylor, a secret service agent under Arthur Balfour at Dublin Castle, was brought to London to collaborate with Piggott (known in history as the “Times” forger), with Houston and Loames, the “Times” solicitor. With the last Taylor was at work daily, and was liberally paid for his services both by the English Government and the “Times.”

That earlier system of Taylor and his colleagues was as crude as it was daring, and in its exposure overwhelmed its makers instead of victimizing Pamell as intended. In the “White Paper” system of official statements Dublin Castle can always claim “privilege” as a bar to any action such as Pamell took against the “Times.” In this way English officialdom can slander its political antagonists in Ireland in the press at home and abroad—with impunity.


Taylor has a unique system of classification, by which three or four outrages are evolved from one offence. For example, a raid upon a police barracks or a house for arms appears under these various headings:

(a) Assault on dwelling.
(b) Burglary.
(c) Firing at the person.
(d) Assault endangering the person of—
(e) Injury to property.

Having regard to the enormous provocation—the manifold injuries and outrages inflicted upon the Irish people, as indicated by the list of 24,359 (to-day over 32,000) outrages admitted by British officials—it is to a New World mind almost beyond comprehension that Ireland’s retaliation has only been what it has.


Through 1916-17 and 1918 the great majority of the Irish people continued to protest their allegiance to the Irish Republic, their right to possess arms, to drill men, to speak the Irish language, to wave and sell the flag of the Irish Republic, but they made no retaliation on the British forces.

Nothing perhaps so well expresses the spirit of the Irish men during those years of heroic restraint as the Song of the Red Hanrahan, an early hero in Ireland’s cause against England:

“Angers like noisy clouds have set our hearts abeat,
But we have all bent low and low—
And kissed the quiet feet
Of Cathleen, the daughter of Houlahain.”

They did not try to work out the satisfaction of their own passions; they only asked how to serve Erin best. For the inspiration of the Motherland—mystic Cathleen—dark Roisin, tragic Banba—and their unquestioning, self-sacrificing devotion to her is as potent to-day as ever it was in the hearts of Irishmen.


A question frequently put to Ireland’s friends in America by people honestly seeking information is this:

“Are the Irish people responsible for the Reign of Terror there last winter and spring? The cables frequently suggest they are. If they are not, why is England making them suffer?”

The actual facts can not be obtained by reading cable despatches to America, for great and rich and strong as this country is—the strongest and richest in the world to-day—America does not control a single cable terminal in Europe, and all American cables concerning Ireland come through British mediums.

Setting aside for a moment the necessary details, the Facts may be summarized:

Since the Easter insurrection of 1916 Ireland has been held under British military law.

Since the armistice was signed in November, 1918, and England’s forces of repression could be utilized more freely a period of military Terrorism has existed in Ireland.

This has not been a period of general and indiscriminate slaughter as in the days of Elizabeth and Cromwell, but a system of “official anarchy” and outrage, more severe than Germany’s military rule in Belgium during the occupation of that country.

Conditions in Ireland now are only comparable to a similar period of official anarchy in Ireland immediately preceding 1798, and which at that time impelled General Abercrombie in protest to resign from his command of the British forces and Sir John Moore to retire from his.

Whether this system of firm government was evolved in the quiet of Downing Street, at the seat of British Empire, or within the grim walls of its Imperial outpost, Dublin Castle, the plan has been approved by both—while its immediate prosecution lay with three men.

These three men are—

(1) Lord French, Viceroy, who was for very grave reasons politely cashiered out of the chief command of the British forces in France, and who in the autumn of 1918, “swore a mighty oath to end all this damned nonsense … ‘I will crush the vermin underfoot,'” he vowed. (Freeman’s Journal, December 15, 1919.)

(2) Sir Ian MacPherson, who found shelter in Dublin when London was becoming unpleasantly vocal about the ignoble post he had previously filled, and which cannot conveniently be described otherwise than as Lord High Supervisor of the Red Light District behind the British forces in France.

(3) Sir John Taylor, British Under-Secretary, a self-confessed aide, during the Balfour regime at Dublin Castle, of the Dublin Castle-London Times plot of forgery against Pamell, and one who has grown hoary in British secret service and Castle misrule in Ireland. It is this man who has invented a more subtle method to-day for defaming the Irish people and their leaders in his Government Statements of “Crimes attributed to Sinn Fein.”

All three officials have been the direct exponents of the coercion and militarism (or as it is called in England, “firm government”) which has provoked Irishmen in the past year to retaliate. As the British Labor Party’s delegation reported, there were no murders of policemen by young Irishmen, until the police began their numerous acts of violence.


One of the murders charged against Sinn Fein was that of a resident magistrate in West- port. It became known in time that the murder grew out of a love-intrigue—the magistrate being shot, not by a Sinn Fein member, but by an officer of the Constabulary.

In Killamey on February 3 there was another case of the mortal wounding of a con- stable, shot in the panic following a bayonet-charge, when the police had fired upon an Irish crowd. The woimded man first declared that the civilians had shot him—then learning that he was dying he admitted that a brother-constable had accidentally shot him when firing on the crowd but for fear of hurting his comrade’s standing he had blamed it on the civilians.

When the boy Francis Murphy was shot in his home as he sat studying one night, British sympathizers spread the tale that the lad must have been a member of some secret society or was killed in a private feud! The inquest very clearly laid the guilt upon the shoulders of the military.

It is not alone with regard to murders that men in Ireland’s national party refuse to be saddled with the long H§t of crimes compiled by Taylor. Several men convicted of crime in Ireland during the past year were ex-soldiers, and more than two were war-veterans aspiring to join the constabulary.

At Galway in January two of these veterans were sentenced for an attack upon the police barracks at Roundstone, but at the time of the attack it was cabled to this country as a “Sinn Fein outrage.”

The London Daily Herald for January 28th reports a meeting of the Ballinasloe Council, which refused to pay for extra police because acts of violence previously committed in the Banagher and Birr districts were done by a gang of ex-soldiers who had the protection of the police.

“I was present at a fair in King’s County (Banagher Fair), said the Chairman, and saw these ruffians assault people in the presence of the Royal Irish Constabulary, and all the while the police were laughing and looking on at the whole thing.”


“In February Messrs. Grace and Co., Jewellers of Talbot Street, Dublin, as a result of their premises having been burglarized four times in twelve months, published their decision ‘to discontinue business until proper police regulations are forthcoming.’ Although Ireland is the most heavily policed country in Europe, the police in Ireland are used almost solely either as spies upon the National Movement or as the armed suppressors of it. As a consequence, many gangs of criminals, seizing this opportunity have come to Ireland from Great Britain, and are allowed a free hand even in the principal Dublin Streets.

“The Irish daily press has published details of two burglaries in Amiens Street—a principal Dublin thoroughfare—during which the burglars were disturbed by the owner of one of the premises. They declared .in strong Cockney accents that they were ‘Sinn Feiners.’ Their mispronounciation of the term—’Sin Finers’—was conclusive evidence that they were not Irishmen and that they had not been in Ireland long enough to learn the correct pronounciation.”

Irish Bulletin, February, 1920.

At a court held in Dublin in January in three out of five convictions for crime the offenders were professional English crooks, who could gain admission to Ireland although Irishmen of high character resident abroad are often denied that privilege.


It is traditional of Nationalist Ireland—except during periods of political agitation and coercion, as in Pamell’s Land-War and to-day—that the country is practically free of serious crime. Even this year the Recorder’s report at the Criminal Sessions showed only six criminal cases, four of which were larcencies. In Donegal and Derry, two other Sinn Fein centres, the Judges received white gloves.

In 1916 Sir John Maxwell stated to John A. Murphy, of Buffalo, N. Y.
“Ireland is crimeless except for sedition.”

And it must also be noted that no killing was rightly or wrongly charged to Sinn Fein until after the close of 1918—until after 49 admitted murders had been perpetrated by British Armed forces upon the Irish.


Sir Horace Plunkett writing of the Irish police force and British rule there says:

“This monstrous substitute for statesmanship is super-imposed upon the largest police force in proportion to population in the world.”

Ex-Sergeant F. I. McElligott, a former member of this force writes of them:

“The police are not to blame: they are the best disciplined, and in one sense the most efficient police force in the world. But the system—a nationalized, armed and political force, employed in maintaining a brutal and indefensible system of police government—is wholly responsible for the outrages and murders of to-day.

“Ireland has long enjoyed the ‘privilege’ of a nationalized police force, i. e. a semi-military organization officered by a class ascendancy and controlled, not by Local Authorities, but by the Crown, as a substitute for peace officers. Unlike all others policemen the R. I. C. are equipped in military fashion with rifles, bayonets and bombs and their barracks (not stations) are now converted into fortresses. They are political inasmuch as they are employed to maintain the party in power, to persecute, prosecute and coerce all who do not hold views in agreement with Dublin Castle, to prohibit and suppress the rights and opinions of the majority and to permit and (as in Lame gun running and Belfast (killing) to encourage offences by the minority. Hence the R. I. C. have earned the title ‘enemies of their coimtry’ and unfortunately they are socially ostracised even by their own kith and kin. Such is the situation as seen from without. Seen from within it is much more serious.”


“… With over 11 years experience in the R. I. C. (half that time a Sergeant) I say that the inner system is based on this principle, that it is necessary to perpetuate and maintain ill feeling between police and people—whilst waiting for an ‘atmosphere’ favourable for a settlement. This is both easy and simple-under the same military system where the police are not under the control of local authorities or even Chief Magistrate of a City. In Ireland a policemen cannot be sta- tioned in his native county, in any county adjoining it, or in any county where himself or his wife have any relations. ‘Familiarity with the public’ is an offence against police regulations “punishable with transfer. Hence it is ordained that the police force must be ‘alienated from the people’ from top to bottom …”

“Physical coercion is applied openly and secretly by Dublin Castle. It is applied openly where force is wrongfully and unreasonably used in order to create ill feeling between the people and the police. It is applied secretly by many ‘secret orders’ which goad and drive the people into violence, retaliation and rebellion. …”


“Dublin Castle says—’Remember it is essential that the people shall be roughly handled.”

“The proportion of police to population cannot be justified even on ‘military grounds.’ Scotland with roughly the same area and population as Ireland has less than 6,000 police; Ireland has a fixed quota of over 12,000. As the country is over policed and the police over-officered, there is an ‘authority’ for every 3.1 men and a Sergeant for every 3.88 constables.

“Even under the Act of Union the police system in Ireland is brutal, obsolete, uneconomical and indefensible. The present deplorable condition of our unhappy cotmtry, and above all the spectacle of a fine police force murdered and ground down without mercy or consideration between those who are determined by all means and at all costs to maintain ‘law and order’ and those who by any means and at any cost are detertnined to make the present government of Ireland impossible, force against force is the remedy and ‘damn the consequences.’
As a result of this policy the police force has broken down, barracks have been closed all over the country and the people left without any police protection. Even so, the police are powerless to protect others by force, powerless to protect themselves.”


“The Army of Occupation is for the protection of semi-military police and to help them in maintaining law and order. It has failed. Increase the army by 500,000 men, put a guard or garrison in every city, town or village, or scatter them like sheep on the mountains, and it will make no difference. Take them all away and a ‘state of war’ still exists. In other words, force will not prevent the Irish people from demanding self-determination, and unfortunately the Government are employing the police to suppress this demand in the most provocative manner possible.

“The deficiency is in moral force, and the police themselves are convinced that moral force never tried will succeed where military and semi-military force have been tried and failed. By immediately disarming the R. I. C, ‘raids’ on barracks will be prevented and all police stations throughout Ireland will be safe from attack as the D. M. P. stations are at present. In the outskirts of the city of Dublin, in the village of Chapelizod there are two police stations within 100 yards of each other—one R. I. C. and one D. M .P. The former is locked, barred and bolted and the men are confined within a fortress of sandbags and wire, armed with rifles, bombs and rockets. The latter is even more open than Bishopgate Police Station in London and less likely to be ‘raided.

“The police question then goes to the root of the Irish Question itself. One cannot be settled without the other.”

Mr. MacPherson, the British Chief Secretary for Ireland, alleges that the shooting of policemen is the excuse for the present regime of rigorous repression in Ireland. The Report of the English Labour Delegation which visited Ireland lately contains the following:

“No evidence was forthcoming to prove that the shooting of policemen preceded the application of the policy of rigorous repression.”


This Continent has not been without instances—though rare fortunately—of manufactured crime. The most appropriate for use here, because of its related origin, was the dynamiting (in a mild fashion) of a summer-home owned by the Imperialist Lord Athelston in Montreal in 1917. This was done by a small group of very young French-Canadians, two of whom had been sentenced for larceny. Months later evidence was given in Court to show that the crime had been done on the instigation and with the physical aid of a special agent of the Department of Justice at Ottawa, who while gaining the friendship of these lads and suggesting to them a series of outrages, was actually drawing a salary from the Canadian Government, and reporting his “progress” each week.

This was Canada’s first notorious agent provocateur—the first introduction of British police methods of manufacturing crime and announcing it as done for political reasons. It was a most sinister incident, and one that made. thoughtful Canadians very grave. The political complications arising out of the war had given the occasion for this despicable innovation of British secret-service tricks. In Ireland they are as old as the “Royal Irish” Constabulary, established by England after the so-called Union.


With what has been quoted here from Sergeant McElligott’s statement, it is easy to understand how a boy’s jeer or the cheering of political prisoners being driven by, has frequently caused in Ireland baton and bayonet-charges upon defenseless citizens. The crowd in retaliation wounds or kills a policeman—and the incident is blazoned to the world as another Irish outrage! Whose crime is this?

One effort to manufacture Irish outrages was frustrated on January 28, 1919, by the alertness of American Army watchmen in their aerodrome at Middleton, Cork County. An attempt to burglarize the place resulted in the Americans capturing two of the robbers. When their disguises were removed they stood revealed as members of England’s armed forces in Ireland—Constables Cadogan and Rogers! They received only a few months imprisonment, though young Irish lads are sentenced to two years with hard labour for singing patriotic songs. Had the constables escaped, this attack on American property would have been wired to every corner of America as a Sinn Fein outrage. In fact, this was done with a very similar happening, when the American steamer Pensacola was “raided for arms” last autumn at Cork by men masked as Rogers and Cadogan were,—men who were not Sinn Fein supporters.

It was only an unusual circumstance and a partial exposure by his comrades in crime that revealed the guilt of the infamous Sergeant-Constable of the “eighties,” whose perjured testimony had sent hundreds of innocent Irishmen to British prisons. Usually with the people helpless and the British government shielding the criminal constable, the latter goes on his way “making crime,” unharmed and unhampered.

Even when the constable or soldier does not make special individual effort to injure the Irish people and win money rewards or promotions, his very presence and the system under which he works provokes the Irish men to rid their country of this alien excrescence.


The following despatch from Ireland arrived just before going to press:

The suborning of perjury by the Headquarters of the English Military Government in Ireland and by the Chief officials of the Royal Irish Constabulary has just been exposed in the Dublin Law Courts.

Mr. John Madden of Gortaha, County Tipperary, was arrested on September 3rd, 1919, on a charge of having murdered at Lorrha in the same county, Sergeant Brady of the Royal Irish Constabulary. Having passed through a series of preliminary investigations he was returned for trial before a “Special Jury” in County Dublin. The venue was selected because the Special Jurors of County Dublin are hostile in politics, and in the majority of cases, in race, to the mass of the Irish people. A conviction could, the English Law Officers in Ireland believed, be more easily secured there than anywhere else in Ireland.
On April 22nd, 1920, the trial of Madden before this Jury began.

On April 23rd, 1920, the case concluded. From the list of Special Jurors the Crown picked twelve gentlemen who were known to be particularly amenable to their direction. The Crown Counsel opening his statement laid special stress upon the importance of the evidence of two Crown witnesses—Constable Foley, Royal Irish Constabulary, and John Gilligan—and represented that in calling these witnesses the Crown was acting in the name of the Irish people for the protection of law and order.

The evidence of Constable Foley was that the night of the murder was a bright moonlight night and that in the two or three seconds before he himself was shot he saw clearly John Joseph Madden firing at and killing the sergeant. In cross-examination he said there was no doubt whatever that Madden was the man who fired. When he was reminded that there could be no moonlight on the night in question, as a new moon two days old had set an hour before the murder occurred, he still held it was a bright moonlight night. In further cross-examination he admitted that he had taken at least eight pints of porter before going on patrol.

John Gilligan swore that he was one of the gang that Madden led out to murder Sergeant Brady. He described the circumstances of the murder in full detail. A gun was given him. He took his orders from Madden. He saw Madden fire and after the murder saw him hide the gun in his house. But when cross-examined he admitted that he had made previous depositions concerning the murder which were totally at variance with the evidence he was now giving. He admitted further that at the time he was preparing his evidence he was living at the Headquarters in Dublin of the Royal Irish Constabulary and had visited Dublin Castle, the Headquarters in Dublin of the English Government. As the cross-examination proceeded he broke down so completely that the Crown Counsel threw him overboard and denounced the witness they had previously praised as a “degenerate informer.” Several reputable witnesses, including a doctor, proved that the night of the murder was a particularly dark night, and witnesses of as good standing gave evidence that Madden was in his own home at the hour of the murder. The packed jury, after 25 minutes retirement, brought in a verdict of “not guilty,” and Madden was discharged.

From the hearing of the case and the verdict, it was clear that not only had Gilligan and Constable Foley perjured themselves, but had obviously been coached as to the evidence they should give, by the Chief Officials at the Depot of the Royal Irish Constabulary and by Dublin Castle as well. Neither Foley nor Gilligan has been arrested for his perjury!

The London “Daily Herald” in an editorial in its issue of April 26th commenting on this trial says:

“It shows also that there is procurable in Ireland ‘evidence’ upon which the lives and liberties of Sinn Feiners can be sworn away by perjurers, presumably for a consideration. And it would seem to be in the interest of someone to see that this kind of evidence is provided when required.”


Retaliation is provoked by incidents like the murder of James O’Brien of Rathdrum as he stood in his doorway watching the unnecessary parading of police through the Fair Green of the little town—like the repeated arrest of an old and honored man like Lau- rence Ginnell, T.D., even when he was so broken with neurasthenia from previous impris- onments that he could neither read nor write—like the absolutely unjustified arrest and ill-treatment of Chaplain O’Donnell, an Australian officer who among Australia’s 70,000 soldiers of Irish blood, was one of the most popular and most highly eulogized by his own government for his services in raising men and money for the war.

The storm raised in Australia and England by the Chaplain’s ill-treatment soon secured his release and an official censure for those responsible. But there was no rebuke or redress in the case of the military who persecuted—

“… a man ‘on the run,’ a phrase which has a special significance in Ireland, who ventured to return to his home because his wife was ill and his child dying of convulsions.

“The first day he was back the military visited the house to arrest him. He pointed out to the officer in charge of the raiding party that there was no one in the house but himself, his sick wife and his dying child. The officer replied that he did not care and that the husband was going-out with him. The conversation took place in the bedroom, and the man was taken out by force in spite of his protestations.

“At six o’clock in the morning the mother found the child was nearly dead. She got up with her child and crawled a distance of about a mile and a half to her own people. She fainted twice on the way and at half past seven was discovered in a state of collapse on her parents’ doorstep. The child was dead, and it is doubtful whether its mother will recover.”


Nor is there any redress for crimes—not of a political nature—by British police or soldiers in Ireland, when as on March 3 two soldiers attempted to assassinate two young girls returning from the movies at 9.30 one night. The girls, fighting desperately for their honour, were so battered and bruised about face and body before help came that the surgeons did not know if they would recover.

In view of the facts reproduced here, it is not remarkable then that when young Irishmen went out on Easter Monday to destroy the barracks of the British Constabulary in Ireland, their action was greeted with applause by every man the world over in whom Gaelic bloqd still runs pure. Their quietly determined action left the police unharmed, but they destroyed over 200 of the miniature British fortresses in which the police dwell.

“With bomb and torch,” a Chicago editor commented, “they cleared many a pleasant countryside of those sinister excrescences, which, with the union poor-houses, form the chief monuments of British misrule in Ireland. As the result of that Easter Monday strategy many an armored barrack that sent forth its black uniformed quota to protect the crowbar brigade in the old rackrenting and evicting days now lies a blackened ruin, open to the rejoicing Irish winds—and there shall the donkey stable and the robins nest.” What American will not agree with the Scottish Jurist, Sir Robert Reid, afterwards Lord Chancellor, who stated of one of the exposures of police rule in Ireland?—

“I do not think a blacker instance could be produced from the later history of despotic governments in Europe to show the frightful danger of having a police force free from any public control.”


The world had not communication by cables in 1776, and the area of influence of the English press was limited, but wherever it went it carried charges of the lawlessness and criminality of the Colonists. Lord Dunmore, Governor of Virginia (1) “planted guns around his palace to defend himself,” and later fled with his family, claiming that they were about to be murdered.

The “discovery of diabolical plots” (2)—smuggling or seizure of ammunition (3)— cattle-driving (4) and murder of Colonists friendly to England (5) were identical with English despatches about Ireland and Irishmen to-day; while the proclamation of “a certain PATRICK HENRY of the County of Hanover and a number of deluded followers . . . exciting the people to join in these outrages and rebeUious practices, to the great terror of His Majesty’s subjects and in defiance of the law and government” (6) is almost identical with the charges in Lord French’s proclamations of Irishmen in 1920.

There is no difference between the “Crimes Attributed to Sinn Fein” and those attributed to the Colonists of Washington’s day.

(1) London Daily Advertiser, July 11, 1775.
(2) ” ” ” July 19. 1775.
(3) ” ” ” July 4 and 11, 1775 and January 8. 1776
(4) ” ” ” July 7, 1775.
(5) ” ” ” August 7, 1775.
(6) ” ” ” July 6, 1775.


1916 AND 1920.

If, as Byron exclaimed, “Freedom shrieked when Kosciusko fell”—then Freedom lay prone in a swoon as of death when the men of 1916 fell before Maxwell’s bullets, and their bodies by his orders were flung into pits of quicklime.

PEARSE—CLARKE—CONNOLLY—MACDERMOTT—KENT—PLUNKETT—MACDONAGH—and the rest of that band of lofty souls; THE O’RAHILLY falling dead on the streets of Dublin; these the Irish people have definitely enrolled among their national heroes.

But there were other murders than those of the leaders in 1916 that rest upon the soul of England. Not all of these were even killed in the heat of battle, and so it is that to understand the enormity of the outrages in North King Street, Dublin, and other deaths of civilians by English bullets, it is perhaps necessary to know the character of the Irish “rebels” and how they fought.

This, too, we shall learn from the lips of Englishmen:

1. Sir Francis Vane, second in command of the British forces employed to crush the rising, stated publicly later and the statement was repeatedly published, that while as a veteran of the British army he had fought in many parts of the world, he had not believed it possible, until he looked on those young Irish rebels, that men could fight so cleanly, so chivalrously. He subsequently lost his status in the British army for openly claiming that the rebels were justified in fighting for their country—and that following their rebellion the Sinn Fein political policy was the only policy for a self-respecting Ireland.

2. Captain Robert Barton, a wealthy Protestant landowner of Wicklow, who was a volunteer British officer aiding to crush the Rising was so impressed with the high character and arguments of the men he fought and later supervised as prisoners—that he joined the ranks of the Irish Republican Party as soon as possible. He is now a member of the Irish Congress and in jail under a long sentence.


3.—Captain R. K. Bereton, who was with ten other English prisoners held by the Irish for several days, stated on May 14, 1916:

“What impressed me most was the international tone adopted by the Sinn Fein officers. They were not out for massacre, for burning or for loot. They were out for war, observing all the rules of warfare and fighting clean. So far as I saw they fought like gentlemen. They had possession of the restaurant in the (Four) Courts, stocked with spirits and champagne and other wines, yet there were no signs of drinking. I was informed that they were all total abstainers. They treated their prisoners with the utmost courtesy and consideration, in fact they proved by their conduct that they were men of education, incapable of acts of brutality.”

Hon. Herbert H. Asquith, Prime Minister of England, stated in the House of Commons,
May 11, 1916:

“So far as the great body of insurgents are concerned, I have no hesitation in
saying in public they conducted themselves with a himianity which contrasted
very much to their advantage with some of the so-called civilized enemies which
we are fighting in Europe. That admission I gladly make. They fought very
bravely and did not resort to outrage.”

The correspondent of the London Times declared:

“Civilians, whether they were English or Irish, were not interfered with by the Sinn Feiners.”

Heywood in the Daily Chronicle of London:

“The Sinn Feiners treated their prisoners with every courtesy and respect.”


Fifteen absolutely unoffending non-combatants were massacred in the vicinity of North King Street, Dublin, between Friday 6 P. M. and Saturday 10 P. M. of Easter week by the 2nd Company, 6th South Staffords Regiment of the British Army under the command of Lt. Col. H. Taylor, None of the victims had any connection whatever wilii the insurrection; some of them had opposed it. None of the murders was done during a sudden attack or in the heat of passion. They were most brutally cold-blooded.

The ill-fated victims were arbitrarily torn from their families, without a moment’s respite or warning. The houses in which they were taken were never at any time occupied by the Irish Volunteers, and no traces of arms or munitions were found on the premises.

Mention of these military murders was purposely held back in the British House of Commons, and repeated attempts to have a public enquiry into them were always balked by the British Government.


From the statement of Anne Fennel, a lodger in the house 174, North King Street where George Ennis and Michael Noonan were killed:

” . . . It was between 5 and 6 a. m. on Easter Saturday morning the military burst into the shop. There were one or more officers in command and about 30 soldiers. They burst in like wild beasts and shouted harshly at us. We four were in the back parlor behind the shop. … As poor Mrs. Ennis saw her husband being led upstairs she clung to him and refused to be parted from him and said: ‘I must go with my husband.’ One of the soldiers pulled her off and put a bayonet to her ear uttering the foulest language. She said, “You would not kill a woman, would you?’ He shouted, ‘Keep quiet, you b———b———.’

They then took the two men upstairs and left us women in the shop and told us not to move at peril of our lives.” (The two frightened women heard the soldiers searching the house.)

“After a long time, it must have been … we heard a noise at the parlor door, and to our horror poor Mr. Ennis crawled in. I will never forget. He was dying, bleeding to death, and when the military left the house he had crept down the stairs, to see his wife for the last time. He was covered with blood and his eyes were rolling in his head.

“He said to his wife: ‘Oh Kate, they have killed me!’ She said, ‘My God, for what?’ He said, ‘For nothing’ … I was terrified and asked the dying man—’Would they kill us all?’ He spoke very kindly to us and told us they would not touch us . . . He said, ‘They killed poor Noonan, too.’ . . . Poor Mr. Ennis did not live more than twenty minutes after he came in to us.”


From statement by the mother of Peter Lawless:

“My son, Peter Lawless, was 21 years of age and was bom in New York, and was consequently a citizen of the United States. During Easter week I occupied the house No. 27 North King Street, known as the South Dairy.

“The military came to our house between 8 and 9 on Saturday morning. At that time they must have already slaughtered the nine poor people in the houses opposite. . . . We had been sitting on the stairs for safety. During the night and when the firing seemed to have ceased we went upstairs, thinking of going to bed. . . . Just then we heard a great hammering and knocking at the door and the soldiers shouting outside. Soon a bayonet was thrust through the panel of the hall door. I heard my son below opening the door, which was followed by the inrush of soldiers. I heard my son saying, ‘Mother, you all go up stairs to the top room; these men are only doing their duty. You need not be frightened.’ The four men were then driven up after us. . . . The soldiers then lined us all around the room with hands up.

“I asked them, ‘What are we here for? What have we done?’ The man in charge replied, ‘We must take these men prisoners.’ I said, ‘Where are you going to take them?’ ‘To the nearest barracks, I suppose,’ he replied. Some one then said, ‘That is all right; the police will tell you who we are.’ . . .We women who were in great terror were then ordered out in charge of sortie soldiers. As I passed out, my poor son, who stood near the door, came to the landing to try and reassure me and said, ‘Mother, it will be all right. You go to Britain Street. I’ll find you there.’

“The soldiers then brought us down. … In the evening I returned to our house accompanied by a soldier. A sentry was on guard at my door and . . . said, ‘You can’t go in there! There are four dead men in there.’ Terrified, I said, ‘Four dead men! Are they soldiers or Volunteers?’ . . . ‘Neither; civilians.’ … ‘I left four men there, and I’m going in to see. If you shot them, you may shoot me, too.’ I shoved past him on to the top landing.

“And then a scene of horror. . . . My son lay dead in the same spot I had left him. … his body half in and half out the doorway. Poor Mr. McCarthy lay dead against the wall in a sitting position. Their brains had bespattered the curtain. Poor Finnigan . . . had fallen dead across the bed. Patrick Hoey . . . must have received fearful treatment as his head was burst open and macerated. . . .

“I was overcome with horror!”


The statements of the wives and mothers of the other victims are equally pathetic.
Few could hear unmoved the story of the horror at No. 170, where the boy, Chris. Hickey, his father and Peter Connolly were slaughtered. The lad had obeyed the soldiers’ various orders without a murmur, until the three were lined up to be shot. Then the old servant lying in terror on the floor of the room without, heard the devoted boy’s voice raised in piercing supplication: “Oh, don’t kill father!”

The mother, who had gone out for food before the military entered and whose return was delayed by heavy firing in the street, said in her statement:

“… When I rushed into the room, there I saw my poor angel, my darling son. He was lying on the ground, his face darkened, and his two hands raised above his head as if in silent supplication. I kissed him and put his little cap under his head and settled his hands for death.

“Then I turned and in another place close by I saw poor Tom, lying on the ground. ‘O Jesus!’ I cried, ‘my husband, too!’—and not far off lay the corpse of poor Connolly.

“I reeled round, and remember no more. . . .”


The patriotic fires of 1916 are still alive in Ireland: the contest begun then has never relaxed. It varies in strategy, but never in aim—as the spirited little land of 4,300,000 withstands the efforts of an Empire to throw it back into political slavery.

Another milestone in this contest on the way to Ireland’s freedom was the Hunger-Strike undertaken on Easter Monday, 1920, by 104 Irish men and boys in Mountjoy Jail. As stated editorially by Old Ireland, April 24, 1920, of these prisoners:

“… They were not a picked phalanx, but a scratch crew selected on the ‘hand-in-a-hat’ principle which seems to govern the Castle, gathered together from all over Ireland and of all conditions and of all ages. One thing they had in common, their Republicanism, their courage never to submit or yield, their obstinate adhesion to a principle. There was hardly a well-known Sinn Fein leader among them. There was no concerted plan of action. They did not provoke the battle, but they won it. England provoked it and lost it. Even when within a few hours of death, their resolution never faltered …” The strike was the usual one of protest against imprisonment and treatment as crim- inals. As it advanced crowds of sympathizers surrounded the Jail day and night, in rain or sun. The English troops then came with tanks, armored cars, barbed wire, aeroplanes and searchlights. As the second week of fasting began and the prisoners grew grad- ually weaker, the sympathy of tens of thousands outside with their suffering brethren within grew to passion and at times to threats of violence, which were only dispelled by a woman leading all in vocal prayer.

The prisoners ages ranged from fifteen to forty-five years. They came from every province in Ireland, from north and south. Like thousands of others since 1916, they were seized without warning and held without charge. When they began their fast they were warned by the British Government they must “Surrender or die!”

“‘Death,’ answered … all of the hundred and four men and boys … for a principle that was to them as sacred and immutable as their faith in God, and dearer than their earthly lives. … In the end the British Government was forced to realize how impotent was brute materialism, with all its bayonets and guns and tanks and aeroplanes, in conflict with dauntless souls . . . and with very bad grace and just in time to save itself from a verdict of wilful murder, it surrendered.”

Old Ireland, April 24, 1920.

After their removal to the hospital, one of their number, Francis Gleason, died—too weakened to sustain an operation that became necessary.


Lord Curzon in a public address in 1918 claimed that the English were “the knights-errant of civilization” in this age, fighting for weaker nations the world over. Yet with an English army of occupation in Ireland against the will of the Irish people, an American officer returning to New York last January reported to the press:

“Ireland is a land of whispers. . . . Laughter is gone from it. Even the smiles are ghastly. People walk with a brooding terror over them!”


Is there anyone who still fails to get a right perspective of the Irish struggle? Is there anyone who could not read the agony in the thoughts of the young Irish cotmtry lads fighting under the British flag in France that Easter Week “to rid the world of oppression … to shield small nations”? Is there anyone who can withhold an exclamation of amazed admiration with Chesterton—that there could be found in Ireland any men who “… marched out under the flag of their own oppressor to fight to give other nations a liberty that was denied to their own?” Who would not exclaim with him, too—that “England should kiss the hem of Ireland’s garment for her wonderful magnanimity . . . !”

And who to-day will dare to breathe a word of censure upon those patriots of Ireland, more comprehendingly alert for the needs of Ireland itself, more conscious of the national extinction that lay in belief in England’s promises—and who fought for Liberty at home first?

These are some of the British outrages in the Ireland of to-day. To men and women of Irish blood they are but sharp echoes of others even more terrible that are past, but which still live in the blood of the race that in every generation since 1172 has known the bayonet, the bullet, and the crowbar.


And so it was that the poet soul of Walt Whitman, who had never seen Ireland, could yet plumb her grief in the lines, of agony carved indestructibly in the souls of her children —her Lewises and Moylans and Carrolls, her Jacksons and Clebumes and Mitchels—and proclaim her—

“Of all the earth most full of sorrow.
Because most full of love.”

But her Day has come.
A new generation of patriot sons, proudly determined, heroic and fearless as any who have gone before, has risen beside her home-hearth and hold her fortunes in fee there. And already there are men in England who cry with enlarged souls: “Our Shame in Ireland—How Long?”

While from every comer of God’s earth into which the Irish race or the spirit of Liberty has penetrated, firm voices are lifted with those who guard her hearth, crying, as Whitman once did, to her—

“Yet a word, ancient mother;
You need crouch there no longer
On the cold ground, with forehead
Between your knees;
Oh, you need not sit there …”

No, she need not longer, for we are going to lift her up—let Empires and Chancellories croak as they may—and we are going to place upon her dear sorrowbent head a Crown.
It will be the Crown of a free people’s love—the Crown of a God-anointed Democracy.



“The question for America now is simply this—which will it recognize as the official organ of the Irish Nation, the alien government of Might or the native government of Right? The one has no sanction but that of brute force; the other has the supreme democratic and moral sanction of the consent of the governed.

“Can Americans hesitate in deciding what it shall be?
Will America’s place not be to-day also on the side of free institutions?”

President de Valera, April 7, 1920.

America is to-day intervening in the contest between the Irish Nation and the English. Officially supporting in Ireland an alien government of Might. In History the American people will be held responsible for this. The facts to-day are:

The American administration is officially recognizing the Government of Might superimposed by the military force of England upon the Irish people and the Irish Congress elected by them in December, 1918.

The American administration is about to receive Sir Auckland Geddes as the Ambassador of Great Britain and Ireland, notwithstanding the fact that the Irish people and their lawfully-constituted government repudiate his pretensions to Ambassadorship for Ireland.

Both Houses of Congress have passed resolutions which are tantamount to acknowledging Ireland’s right now to the Independence she has declared—(For a complete acknowledgment of this Independence the recognition of the President of the United States is required.)

The overwhelming majority of the American people desire the freedom of Ireland—the recognition of the independent republican form of Government already established by the Irish people. Lieut.Governor McDowell of Montana aptly expressed this fact in his statement—

“If the question of Irish Independence were left to a plebiscite of the American people, Ireland would be free in the morning.”

It is beyond question that the recognition of the Irish Republic by America—the greatest and strongest country in the world to-day, the country which was the decisive factor in ending the Great War—would promptly lead to recognition by other nations—and so to Irish Freedom.


Having displayed all her own resources and drawn upon all the might of her Imperial resources—with France and Italy and Japan aiding her—England found herself in March 1918 driven to the wall by Germany. (“Our backs are against the wall.”—Haig.) Then she sent up a final, terribly urgent call for America’s immediate help in her war “against militarism and autocratic forces of oppression.”

America responded—and it remains an incontrovertible fact that by this country’s marvelous outpouring of men, money and munitions, she became the decisive factor in winning the world war.

America had already lent over $4,500,000,000 to England and as much more to her Allies. She poured out many other billions and she sent over 2,000,000 of her finest sons to the holocaust of war.

Upon what grounds did the leaders of the American people receive this unprecedented offering?

“We . . . fight thus … for the rights of nations, great and small, and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their way of life and of obedience . . . for democracy, for the right of those who submit to authority to have a voice in their own governments, for the rights and liberty of small nations, . . . “—(Ad- dress of President Wilson to Congress, when calling upon that body to vote for war and send the young manhood of America into the cockpit of Europe.)

Again upon these grounds when money was wanted from the people:

“We have entered this war for an ideal—the right to liberty, happiness, opportunity—not for ourselves alone, but for all the peoples of all the world.”—

(Extract from circular appeals for Liberty Loan being made in November, 1918.)
These appeals were made deliberately, for nothing else would have moved to approval of the war a nation—the majority of which did not, even in 1917, want to become embroiled in a European war.

Just such appeals were made on the direct instructions of the Chief Executive by one known to the writer, whom he sent throughout the country to groups of organized labour, to reconcile them to America undertaking this war.

The American hosts went out—and by sea or by land a notably great proportion of these were men of Irish blood. They went as chivalrously as the Irishmen who crossed the seas after Franklin’s call for help in 1771. The Irish soldiers of 1776 braved the fortunes of battle and the lingering death of the prison ship for the liberty of America. The American of Irish blood returning over the seas in 1918 believed he fought for Ireland’s freedom—in fighting, as the President and Congress had decided, “for the rights and liberty of small nations.”


It is an indisputable fact that England in receiving America’s help knew exactly the aims and terms (they might be called) upon which the American people came to her aid against Germany.

These extracts from Irish newspapers as reproductions of recruiting advertisements published in 1918, by the English Military authorities confirm their knowledge of America’s aims—ideals—terms:

“America has come into the war—America in whose first assertion of the prin- ciple of freedom for herself in the War of Independence Irishmen took a leading share; America in whose great army half a million men of Irish blood are to-day enrolled to assert the principle of freedom for the whole world. Before the fifth year of the war has passed the armies of America and the Allies will have won the war and established in President Wilson’s words the reign of law based upon the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind.” . . .

“What is the security that the victory of the Allies will mean the rule of justice (in Ireland)? The security is the fact that American soldiers are coming to France at the rate of 10,000 a day; that President Wilson is the moral leader of the Allies and that he has proclaimed as their first war aim after the defeat of Germany ‘the settlement of every question whether of territory or sovereignty, of economic arrangement or, of political relationship upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned and not upon the basis of the material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a dififerent settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery.’ ”

“The Tenth (Irish) Division followed in the footsteps of the Crusaders and fought in the same cause—the cause of the Cross, in the eternal struggle between liberty and tyranny. It fought that cause far from Ireland; but that cause is no less Ireland’s cause. The Tenth Division fought for the liberation of the small nations oppressed by Germany and her Allies; but it fought also for Ireland’s place in a world of freedom—the world of freedom in which all the resources of America are pledged to establish ‘the right of law based upon the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind.’ ”

Read in the light of subsequent happenings the cynicism and falsity of these official British declarations are diabolical.

What did Bonar Law mean speaking in the British House of Commons on the 19th of April, 1917, when he said,

“America’s Aims and ideals are those of the Allies.”

There are a few protagonists of Britain in this country, who refer feelingly to England as “our gallant ally in the late war.” Can their “gallant” ally afford to loose her gallantry now? Can she hope, directing international settlements and adjustments—can she hope now in her own lawlessness to be held beyond the Law?


The war is ended.

Poland, Bohemia, Finland, Armenia, Georgia and other small nations are freed, but British statesmen now say that they never intended the principle of Self-Determination to be applied within the Empire.

Ireland remains to-day subjected to a militarist Terrorism, conceded by Englishmen to be more frightful than anything imposed on her since the indescribable horrors, half- hangings and floggings of 1798. *

An apologist for English interference in Ireland—the British Unionist organ, the “Irish Times”—was on Feb. 23, 1920 reduced to this argument to justify it:

“The present government is unpopular with a majority of Irishmen. Let us go further and assume for the sake of argument that it is an arbitrary government which consistently abuses its power. At the worst, however, it is not nearly so arbitrary as was the Roman Government to which Christ and St. Paul rendered strict obedience.”

Was it to support in a Twentieth-Century World a government no better than that of pagan Rome over alien-territories that American boys suffered and died in France?

What did Lloyd George mean by his solemn professions of 1917?—

“America’s ideals are our ideals”—and “We are in the war for no selfish ends. We are in it to recover freedom for the Nations which have been so brutally attacked. . . . The world is a world for the weak as for the strong.”


On Feb. 23, 1920 Winston Churchill stated in the English House of Commons that the British military in Ireland erred on the side of weakness. This table, like that given earlier (p. 10) compiled from court and censored press reports, indicates the nature of their “weakness”:—

If the British Lion in his weakness is only fondling Ireland, is it not as true to-day—
“… the Lion fondles ere it kills?”

*THREE YEARS JAILINGS IN IRELAND: ENGLISH GOVERNMENT REFUSES FIGURES:—In the English House of Commons, Capt. W. Benn asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland how many persons were convicted in Ireland during the past year under the Crimes Act or the Defense of the Realm Act, and the nature of the sentences. Lord Henry Cavendish Bentinck asked how many persons in Ireland in the last three years had been tried by a single resident magistrate: whether this procedure was adopted because of the large percentage of cases dismissed by the magistrates in Petty Sessions; how many persons were now in prison for political or seditious ofifenses; how many of these were sentenced by courts-martial. Civil Courts or Crimes Court, and the nature of the offenses.

“Mr. MacPherson replying said that the investigation necessary to give answers to the questions would impose so great an amount of work on the already over-burdened police in Ireland that he could not ask them to bear the additional burden.”— (See Hansard, Nov. 13, Col. 239.)


The spirit of true Americanism throbbed in this protest made by some indignant reader of the Pittsburg Dispatch in the autumn of 1919:

“The telegraphic news printed in large type on the front page of this morning’s Dispatch is the climax; it is the last straw. Here it is: ‘CRUSHING IRISH REPUBLIC. PARLIAMENT IS SUPPRESSED. SOLDIERS RAID SINN FEINERS OVER IRELAND. CLUBS AND HOMES SEARCHED. MANY PRISONERS CAPTURED, ETC Great God! Is this what we are getting as a result of the four years war that was fought for ‘the rights of small nations; that the world might be made safe for democracy?’ Have we fought and conquered one tyrant, one enemy of liberty, only to strengthen and more firmly entrench another? Are we, who have saved England from being made a German province, to stand by and calmly witness this act of oppression, this act of Medieval feudalism and barbarism, without making a protest?”

Notwithstanding the facts set out here from British Court records, the British Ambassador Geddes could make the ridiculous claim that “this generation of Englishmen has steadfastly refused to quarrel with Ireland,” and Lloyd George, at the close of the San Remo conference this spring, sent a message to Britain’s womanhood that—

“Militarism with its horrors and dangers is to be kept under wherever it threatens the peace of the world.”

Was there not a note of limitation in that speech—of militarism to be permitted to flourish in lands forcibly held by Britain, and condemned only in her rival powers?

It is evident that the moral vision of British statesmen is altogether obscured with regard to Ireland. They have to be roused to their duty and to the moral obHgations they incurred, when they secured the aid of American men and money to save their forces from defeat.

But the American Government must for its own honour and the maintenance of America’s reputation in history, fulfil the moral obligations it incurred in calling out its man- hood to fight in the name of Liberty for nations great and small as it did in April, 1917.


In the last analysis—failing action in the Chief Executive who solemnly pledged his country’s honor to these ideals on April 3, 1917—it is for the American people to urge the fulfilment of his and their moral obligations as Americans, their unfulfilled obligations to the dead American soldiers in France.

This they can only do by compelling the recognition of governments lawfully selected by majorities in nations demanding their liberty. This the primal law of gratitude must impel them to do, especially in the case of Ireland—America’s first Ally, the country to which Martha Washington’s son* returned thanks more than once:

“Let me say: When you felt the full force of the Lion’s merciless fangs, who first gave you aid, not of words, but of deeds? . . . When our friendless standard was first unfurled for resistance, who were the strangers that first mustered round its staff, and when it reeled in the fight, who more bravely sustained it than Erin’s generous sons?”

And again:

“Eternal gratitude to Irishmen!” Voicing this “eternal gratitude” and with it unalterable American ideals of the Liberty of Man—the will of the American people should rise like a visible exhalation and loom over the White House like the shadowy presence of Washington himself, bidding his successor to do what he, the Father of his Country, would so gladly have done—sign the document that would end British outrages in Ireland and make Ireland free!

In history it will be said to be as true of the American people to-day as it has been of the English people, since Gladstone declared to them on Oct. 2, 1891—this:

“Millions of you by your votes determine the course which the Imperial policy is to follow, and with that power you must accept the duties and responsibilities which belong to it. If Ireland is oppressed hereafter it will be oppressed by you.

*In address at Washington City Hall, 1826.


Viewed in relation to the sombre facts presented in this book, there comes like a voice from the grave a solemn utterance immediately applicable to America and Americans to-day. It was that made by George Washington Parke Custis on July 20, 1826, in the City Hall at Washington. Having told what Irishmen endured in America’s day of struggle in “the privations of the camp, the fate of battle and the horrors of the prisonship,” Custis demanded:

“And with such revelations as these, can you, will you, dare you, Americans, talk of interference, and withhold your voice from a general acclaim, which would thunder in this land till its echoes reach the Emerald Isle, in a prayer for her deliverance. If there is an American who does not feel for the wrongs of that country which so nobly contributed to the estabUshment of our rights, I pronounce him recreant to the feelings of virtue, honor and gratitude.

“And my country’s self, if she decline to give only her poor opinions of the miseries of those who gave their toil and blood that she might be great, free and happy, when misfortunes next assail her, may she not find the friend she once found in Ireland.”

This last is a harsh invocation from the “Child of Mt. Vernon.” Yet it is but the measure of what he learned from the great Washington himself, to be America’s debt to Ireland.


There has been placed at the disposal of the Department of State at Washington the affidavits and data concerning English atrocities in Ireland, referred to in these sections of the Reply of the Chairman, American Commission on Irish Independence, to Ian MacPherson, British Chief-Secretary in Ireland, reaffirming the Commission’s Report of British atrocities in Ireland and its demand for an impartial Committee of Investigation composed of men who were not citizens of either Great Britain or Ireland:


“We will produce the records of the jails and insane asylums, as well as the victims who have recovered, and the relatives of those who have not, to prove our charges that numbers of Irish Republicans were rendered insane by their treatment.”


“We will produce a list of the dead, those who were permanently maimed and disfigured by the atrocities practised upon them; also a list of those whose health has been shattered and who have been rendered incurable invalids by their treatment, all accompanied by names and dates.”

MacPherson, who had categorically denied the charge of atrocities in a statement which even the London Times conceded to be halting and evasive, did not call an investigation nor examine the data compiled by the Commission.

After MacPherson’s denial the Irish Government proceeded to secure affidavits from the victims in order to substantiate, all the material charges made. When this became known British forces broke into the Headquarters of the Government and raided it thoroughly but did not secure the documents sought. The publication of letters and statements by the victims was then prohibited by the British censor in all Irish papers. Not-withstanding the various efforts made to suppress the facts the banned documents reached the United States.

Source: Internet Archive

Dantonien Journal