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From Rising to Partition
Documents & other sources
By Richard Bailey Ansford Community School, Castle Carey SHP
Prepared for the Bath & Somerset Pilot Scheme by ‘Ireland in Schools’
For further details, please contact: Professor Patrick Buckland, Chairman, ‘Ireland in Schools’ 19 Woodlands Road, Liverpool, L17 0AJ. Tel: 0151 727 6817 email: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.irelandinschools.org.uk
1. The Easter Rising
1. A British view of the mood of Ireland in 1916 The general state of Ireland is thoroughly satisfactory. The mass of the people are sound and loyal as regards war and the country is in a very prosperous state and free from ordinary crime.
Major Ivor Price, Director of Military Intelligence in Ireland, 10 April 1916
2. The Proclamation declaring the establishment of an Irish Republic, 1916 Poblacht na h-Eireann The Provisional Government of the Irish Republic to the People of Ireland Irishmen and Irishwomen: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom. Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers, and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory. We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish republic as a sovereign independent state, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations. The Irish republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past. Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent national government, representative of the whole people of Ireland, and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the republic in trust for the people. We place the cause of the Irish republic under the protection of the Most High God, whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called. Signed on Behalf of the Provisional Government, THOMAS J CLARKE, SEAN Mac DIARMADA, THOMAS MacDONAGH, P. H. PEARSE, EAMONN CEANNT, JAMES CONNOLLY, JOSEPH PLUNKETT.
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 2
3. An Ulster Unionist view of the 1916 Rising Dearest Dorothy - We are having a little rebellion here just by way of a change. You may have seen or perhaps heard in the Admiralty that we have sunk a German Auxiliary Cruiser off the West Irish coast carrying arms and Sir Roger Casement, but you probably have not heard as it is not published here yet that the Irish Volunteers (Sinn Fein) have risen in their might in Dublin [and] have taken the G.P.O. [words erased] are entrenched in Stephens Green. Rumour says they have sacked the Bank of Ireland but that is not confirmed. The L[or]d. L[ieutenan]t. was to have been here at 6 oc[lock] yesterday but did not arrive and it turned out [words erased] the wires all cut. A wireless got through via Larne and gave the news. Troops went up from here last night and more are coming from [word erased]. I hear they have commandeered all the Motor Cars coming back from Fairyhouse races and detained the owners as hostages! I hope they have got hold of Birrell. Isn’t it all like a comic opera founded on the Wolf [sic] Tone fiasco a hundred years ago? I am only afraid of [words erased] and isolated Protestants in out of the way places being murdered. Otherwise it is good business its having come to a head, & I hope we shall deal thoroughly with these pests.
Letter from A. Duffin, 9 Waring Street, Belfast, to his daughter, Dorothy, in London, 25 April 1916, giving his first reactions to news of the outbreak of the Easter rising - some words have been erased or censored
4. Irish reaction to the execution of participants in the Rising 1 I asked the Prime Minister, first of all, whether he would give a pledge that the executions should stop. That he declined to give. Secondly, I asked him whether he could tell whether any executions had taken place in Ireland since Monday morning, the last we had official notification of before I left there. The reply of the Prime Minister was ‘No, Sir, so far as I know, not’. On Monday twelve executions had been made public. Since then, in spite of the statement of the Prime Minister, I have received word that a man named Kent had been executed in Fermoy, which is the first execution that has taken place outside Dublin. The fact is one which will create a very grave shock in Ireland, because it looks like a roving commission to carry these horrible executions all over the country ... It is the first rebellion that ever took place in Ireland where you had a majority on your side. It is the fruit of our life work. We have risked our lives a hundred times to bring about this result. We are held up to odium as traitors by those men who made this rebellion, and our lives have been in danger a hundred times during the last thirty years because we have endeavoured to reconcile the two things, and now you are washing out our whole life work in a sea of blood ... The great bulk of the population were not favourable to the insurrection, and the insurgents themselves, who had confidently calculated on a rising of the people in their support, were absolutely disappointed. They got no popular support whatever. What is happening is that thousands of people in Dublin, who ten days ago were bitterly opposed to the whole of the Sinn Fein movement and to the rebellion, are now becoming infuriated against the government on account of these executions, and, as I am informed by letters received this morning, that feeling is spreading throughout the country in a most dangerous degree ...
John Dillon, Home Rule MP, speaking in the House of Commons, 11 May 1916
5. Irish reaction to the execution of participants in the Rising 2 The executions, which followed the defeat of the Volunteers, horrified the nation ... The first open manifestation of the deep public feeling aroused by the executions was at the Month’s Mind for the dead leaders. A Month’s Mind is the Mass celebrated for the soul of a relative or friend a month after his death. It was the first opportunity that sympathisers of the rebels had to come out in the open. I went with my father to the first of the Month’s Minds, which was for the brothers Pearse, at Rathfarnham. We arrived well in time for Mass but could not get into the church and the forecourt was packed right out to the road. I was surprised to see so many well-dressed and obviously well-to-do people present ... I went to other Month’s Minds with my father - to Merchant’s Quay, John’s Lane and other city churches. For us young people these Masses were occasions for quite spontaneous demonstrations, shouting insults at the Dublin Metropolitan Police who were always around but, having learned their lesson during the 1913 strike, were anxious to avoid trouble...’
C.S. Andrews, who witnessed the Rising and its aftermath
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 3
6. 1916 - Republican and Unionist perspectives
1a. ‘The Birth of the Republic’ by Walter Paget, 1916 - an artist’s impression of the scene inside the General Post Office, Dublin, at the height of the Easter Rising, just before the surrender. Patrick Pearse stands (hatless and holding a revolver) on the left of the stretcher, where James Connolly lies wounded. The picture was commissioned in 1916 by supporters of the Rising and the artist has caught the ‘romance’ of the occasion in heroic style.
National Museum of Ireland
2a. Some 206,000 men from Ireland served during the World W a r 3 0,000 d i e d , m o s t dramatically during the Battle of the Somme, which began in July 1916. One of the three Irish divisions, the Ulster Division suffered over 5,500 casualties in the first two days out of a total of 15,000 men.
1b. At most some 2,000 Irish men and women took part in the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 to set up an Irish Republic, completely independent from Britain. Among the dead were 64 insurgents, including the executed leaders, 132 members of the Crown forces and 230 civilians.
2b. The Battle of the Somme: a very famous painting, by James Prinsep Beadle, ‘The Attack by the 36th (Ulster) Division, Somme, 1st July 1916', 1917. Beadle, a military artist, painted scenes from the Great War, often from imagination and sometimes with the help from veterans - in this instance the young officer with his arm raised.
Belfast City Council
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 4
2. The War of Independence/Anglo-Irish War
1. Republican attitude towards the use of violence A state of war exists and murder and violence against the English are not crimes until the alien invaders have left the country. An t’Óglach (IRA newspaper), 31 January 1919 2. British Government attitude to the war in Ireland A small body of assassins, a real murder gang, dominate the country and terrorise it.... it is essential in the interests of Ireland [that] that gang should be broken up .... we have murder by the throat.
Lloyd George, the Prime Minister, speaking in the House of Commons, 9 October 1920
3. Black and Tan notice
If in the vicinity a policeman is shot, five of the leading Sinn Feiners will be shot. It is not coercion - - it is an eye for an eye. Are we to lie down while our comrades are being shot down in cold blood by the corner boys and ragamuffins of Ireland? We say ‘Never’. Stop the shooting of the police or we will lay low every house that smells of Sinn Fein. (By Order) Black and Tans
4. Irish Republican Army Order
1. Whereas the spies and traitors known as the Royal Irish Constabulary are holding this country for the enemy - - we do hereby solemnly warn all prospective recruits that they join the R.I.C. at their own peril. All nations are agreed as to the fate of traitors. By order of the G.O.C. Irish Republican Army
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 5
5. Different perspectives - continued on following page a. On Thursday [the night of Brady’s death], a lorry b. full of uniformed men entered Tubbercurry ... The men went straight to Howley’s, the principal drinking bar in the town, broke the door open ... helped themselves to as much liquor as they could swallow, smashed the windows, wrecked the interior, and set it on fire. They then went round the village, burning or wrecking shop after shop. As the men worked, they shouted out repeatedly: ‘Come out, Sinn Féin’ and ‘Where are the murderers?’ The surrounding fields were full of terrified women and children, crouching in the wet grass, watching the flames. Two girls fled their homes in their nightdresses only. More women and children had fled earlier in the evening to distant cottages, as soon as they heard of the death of Inspector Brady.
Hugh Martin, an English journalist, who visited Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, in November 1920, a few days after the IRA had killed a local policeman, Inspector Brady
... a poor woman named Kitty Carroll, the sole support of her aged father and mother and invalid brother, was dragged from her house by a party of masked men who murdered her and attached to her body this legend: ‘spies and informers, beware! Tried, convicted and executed by the ira ...’ I think it is important for people to realise the character of Sinn Féin policy and the nature of its campaign. ... I should like to repeat that it was not till well over a hundred of their comrades had been cruelly assassinated that the police began to strike a blow in their own defence ...
Lloyd George, the British prime minister, explaining in a letter that this is why the Black and Tans acted as they did
c. They were a light-hearted set of men these ‘Black and Tans’, mostly ex-officers, and some of their humorous stunts really exasperated people almost more that the reprisals. A lady travelling in Westmeath met a prominent Nationalist she knew very well. ‘Oh, begorra, miss, things is awful with them blackguard Black and Tans driving and drinking all over the country, threatening the lives of the people. They come into my bar and they call for what they want, and then they start rolling their little bombs up and down the counter till they get anything they ask for. Sure, if one of them bombs was to drop the whole village would be wiped out, so what can I do?’
Henry Robinson, in charge of the Local Government Board in Ireland from 1898 to 1922, recalling in his memoirs a pub owner’s experience in County Westmeath with the Black and Tans - a staunch unionist, Robinson was accused in 1926 of having the ‘mentality of Cromwellian officialdom’
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 6
d. IRA Volunteers, West Mayo Brigade, 1921
e. Group of Black and Tans, Union Quay, Cork, 1920
f. Men of the South by Sean Keating, 1920
g. The aftermath of a Black and Tan attack on Templemore, Co. Tipperary, August 1920
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 7
3. Partition of Ireland
1. British government preferred two Irish parliaments and instead of continuing direct rule from Westminster over the part of Ulster excluded from the jurisdiction of the Dublin parliament If it [British authority] is retained anywhere in Ireland the opponents of Great Britain will be able to say either that Great Britain is ruling nationalist majorities against their will, or that it is giving its active support to Ulster in its refusal to unite with the rest of Ireland.
Cabinet Committee on Ireland, 1st Report, 4 November 1919
2. Lloyd George as the Welsh wizard preparing to perform the trick of cutting up Ireland and partition - a Punch cartoon
3. British optimism at the 1920 settlement I pray that my coming to Ireland today may prove to be the first step towards an end of strife amongst her people whatever their race and creed.... I appeal to all Irishmen to pause, to stretch out the hand of forbearance and conciliation, to forgive and forget, and join in making for the land they love a new era of peace contentment, and good will.
King George V, opening the Northern Ireland parliament, 22 June 1922
4. Ulster unionists accept the principle of partition of Ireland and Ulster A solid Protestant Ulster will be a prop in Ireland to the Empire without which the whole Naval strength of England would be jeopardized. A Protestant and Loyal Ulster would be an invaluable jumping-off point for the British Navy and Army if it were found necessary to use them in case of serious trouble in Ireland or elsewhere. This is sufficient justification for supporting the six county policy. The Empire should count for something. It is Ulster’s duty, on this score alone, to see that whatever is left of Ulster must be dominantly Protestant, for the safety of the Empire, even though one county only remained. I consider that by voting for the six counties I have kept my Covenant both in spirit and in letter. My one object in signing the Covenant was to keep Ulster Protestant, and free from any possibility of becoming a part of a Home Rule Ireland with one Parliament in Dublin. If I had voted for the nine counties I would have been going against both the spirit and letter of the Covenant. Take for example, a ship that has struck a rock and is sinking. The last lifeboat is pushing off with men and women and children. It is so dangerously full that there is no more room. Several people on the wreck jump over-board, swim for the lifeboat and try to scramble into it, with the result that it begins to sink. If they get into the boat they will go down just as surely as if they had stayed on the wreck, and they will have drowned the lifeboat load of passengers who would otherwise have had their lives saved.
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 8
Surely this is not what our Unionist brethren in the three counties wish to do in Ulster. I do not believe that if they carefully, consider the matter that they will wish to drag down the six counties. Take another illustration. Three men are walking on a pier. None of them can swim. One falls into the sea and is being carried away. The remaining two can either jump in and drown with their friend or they can throw him a rope. Standing on the pier they can make a good effort to save their drowning friend. Jumping in all three will be drowned. For the six counties to jump into an Irish Parliament in Dublin and drown in it with the other three may look heroic, but it would be disastrous to all nine of the counties. If, however, six strong Unionist Protestant counties hold together on the firm pier of a Protestant Ulster Parliament they will be able to help their brother Unionists in the three counties when these need assistance far better than if all nine were in a hopeless minority in an Irish Parliament, as they undoubtedly would be. There are 890,880 Protestants in the whole of the nine counties of Ulster. There are 70,510 Protestants and 260,655 Roman Catholics in the three counties. I cannot believe the Protestants in the three counties are willing to swamp 820,370 Protestants merely for the satisfaction of knowing they are all going down to disaster in the same boat.
Why I Voted for the Six Counties, a leaflet issued in April 1920 by Major Fred Crawford, the former Ulster gunrunner
5. How many counties?
a. Ulster and Northern Ireland, 1921
Nationalism and Unionism by Brennan, E. & Gillespie, S., CUP, 0-52146-605-9, p. 74
The symbols on each county show the proportion of Catholics to Protestants
b. Changes suggested by the Boundary Commission, 1925
Northern Ireland and Its Neighbours since 1920 by Gillespie, S. & Jones, G., Hodder & Stoughton, 0-34062-034-X, p. 30
6. Ulster unionists accept a parliament of their own We would much prefer to remain part and parcel of the United Kingdom. We have prospered, we have made our province prosperous under the union, and under the laws passed by this House and administered by officers appointed by this House. We do not in any way desire to recede from a position which has been in every way satisfactory to us, but we have many enemies in this country, and we feel that an Ulster without a parliament of its own would not be in nearly as strong a position as one in which a parliament had been set up where the executive had been appointed and where above all the paraphernalia of government was already in existence. We believe that so long as we were without a parliament of our own constant attacks would be made upon us, and constant attempts would be made ... to draw us into a Dublin parliament.... We profoundly distrust the labour party and we profoundly distrust the right hon. gentleman the Member for Paisley (Mr Asquith).
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 9
We believe that if either of those parties, or the two in combination, were once more in power our chances of remaining a part of the United Kingdom would be very small indeed. We see our safety, therefore, in having a parliament of our own, for we believe that once a parliament is set up and working well ... we should fear no one, and we feel that we would then be in a position of absolute security ... and therefore I say that we prefer to have a parliament, although we do not want one of our own.
Captain Charles Craig, brother of James and Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim, speaking in the House of Commons, 29 March 1920
7. Northern Catholic & nationalist objections to a Northern Ireland parliament This so-called northern parliament is a danger to our liberties and a barrier to the permanent solution of the Irish problem, we [nationalists] can neither give it recognition nor lend it support.
Canon Crolly, Catholic priest, writing in The Irish News, 5 April 1921
8. Irish republican objection to partition I am opposed to this Treaty because it gives away our allegiance and perpetuates partition. By that very fact that it perpetuates our slavery; by the fact that it perpetuates partition it must fail utterly to do what it is ostensibly intended to do - reconcile the aspirations of the Irish people to association with the British Empire. When did the achievement of our nation’s unification cease to be one of our national aspirations? ... ... the provisions of this Treaty mean this: that in the North of Ireland certain people differing from us somewhat in tradition, and differing in religion, which are very vital elements in nationality, are going to be driven, in order to maintain their separate identity, to demarcate themselves from us, while we, in order to preserve ourselves against the encroachment of English culture, are going to be driven to demarcate ourselves so far as ever we can from them. I heard something about the control of education. Will any of the Deputies who stand for it tell me what control they are going to exercise over the education of the republican minority in the North of Ireland? They will be driven to make English, as it is, the sole vehicle of common speech and communication in their territory, while we will be striving to make Gaelic the sole vehicle of common speech in our territory. And yet you tell me that, considering these factors, this is not a partition provision. Ah! Sir, it was a very subtle and ironic master-stroke of English policy to so fashion these instruments that, by trying to save ourselves under them, we should encompass our own destruction ...
Sean MacEntee, speaking in the Dáil debate on the treaty, December 1921 A Belfast man, he spent his later life and ministerial career in southern politics
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 10
5. The Anglo-Irish Treaty 1 - some issues
1. The Crown - an Irish view There can be no question of our asking the Irish people to enter an arrangement which could make them subject to the Crown, or demand from them allegiance to the British King. If it was the alternative we can only face it.
De Valera, writing to the Irish negotiators in London, 1921
2. The position of Ulster - the Irish and British views Austen Chamberlain ... [reported that the Irish delegates said] they would give her [Ulster] all existing powers and possibly more on condition she accepted position of a provincial legislature and came into the central Dublin parliament ... They said they would not allow homogeneous Catholic districts which did not wish it to remain under an Ulster parliament. Chamberlain asked if it would be easier for them to accept the six counties, if that area came under a Dublin parliament? They said no. They asked as they left, ‘Why would we not allow county option?’ Chamberlain said they could not put a more difficult question. Griffith said they could not recommend allegiance to the King unless they got the unity of Ireland ... Winston Churchill [said that] ‘We can’t give way on six counties; we are not free agents; we can do our best to include six in a larger parliament plus autonomy. We could press Ulster to hold autonomy for six from them instead of from us. [Lord] Birkenhead: ‘I rather agree with Winston; our position re six counties is an impossible one if these men [Sinn Fein delegation] want to settle, as they do’. Winston: ‘I don’t see how Ulster is damnified: she gets her own protection, and an effective share in the southern parliament and protection for the southern Unionists’.
Private Meeting of British negotiating team, 25 October 1921
3. The Crown & Ulster - the British government’s view [If the government were challenged on partition], it would be the worst ground to fight on that one can imagine; for the six counties was a compromise, and, like all compromises, is illogical and indefensible, and you could not raise an army in England to fight for that as we could for Crown and empire.
Letter from Austen Chamberlain, Lord Privy Seal and leader of the Unionist party in the House of Commons, to his wife, October 1921
4. Ulster unionists resist pressure to give up partition Lloyd George remarked: ‘This may be a most historical meeting, as I may be forced to resign. Craig unsympathetically replied: ‘Is it not wonderful how many great men have come to grief over the eternal Irish question.’
Lady Craig, recording in her diary a meeting, 7 November 1921, to which her husband, Sir James Craig, Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, had been summoned by Lloyd George, November 1921, to ask Ulster to accept the authority of the Dublin parliament for the sake of peace.
5. Ulster Unionist dismay at the provisions of the Treaty I think it only proper ... to give the most solemn warning regarding the situation created by the signing of the Treaty between the British and Sinn Fein representatives. I could ... have carried the people of Ulster with me towards a peaceful settlement, had it not been for the inclusion in the terms of a proposal to set up a boundary commission ... I understood that when Ulster’s interests were touched upon my colleagues and I would be invited to take part in a conference once an all-Ireland parliament was turned down and got out of the way ... So intense is local feeling at the moment that my colleagues and I may be swept off our feet, and contemporaneously with the functioning of the Treaty. Loyalists may declare independence on their own behalf seize the Customs and other government departments and set up an authority of their own. Many already believe that violence is the only language understood by Mr Lloyd George and his ministers ...
Sir James Craig to Sir Austen Chamberlain, 15 December 1921
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 11
6. Michael Collins anticipating the controversy likely to surround the treaty in the south Think - what have I got for Ireland? Something she has wanted for the past seven hundred years. Will anyone be satisfied at the bargain? Will anyone? I tell you this - early this morning I signed my own death warrant.
Extract from a letter written by Michael Collins
7. The Anglo-Irish Treaty - some critical clauses 1. Ireland shall have the same constitutional status in the community of nations known as the British Empire as the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa, with a parliament having powers to make laws for the peace and good government of Ireland and an executive responsible to that parliament, and shall be styled and known as the Irish Free State. The oath to be taken by members of the parliament of the Irish Free State shall be in the following form: I ... do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established and that I will be faithful to HM King George V, his heirs and successors by law in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of nations. Until the expiration of one month from the passing of the act of parliament for the ratification of this instrument, the powers of the parliament and the government of the Irish Free State shall not be exercisable as respects Northern Ireland, and the provisions of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, shall, so far as they relate to Northern Ireland, remain of full force and effect, and no election shall be held for the return of members to serve in the parliament of the Irish Free State for constituencies in Northern Ireland, unless a resolution is passed by both houses of the Parliament of Northern Ireland in favour of the holding of such elections before the end of the said month. If before the expiration of the said month, an address is presented to His Majesty by both houses of Parliament of Northern Ireland to that effect, the powers of the Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State shall no longer extend to Northern Ireland, and the provisions of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920 (including those relating to the Council of Ireland), shall so far as they relate to Northern Ireland, continue to be of full force and effect, and this instrument shall have effect subject to the necessary modifications. Provided that if such an address is so presented a commission consisting of three persons, one to be appointed by the Government of the Irish Free State, one to be appointed by the Government of Northern Ireland, and one who shall be chairman to be appointed by the British Government shall determine in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants, so far as may be compatible with economic and geographic conditions, the boundaries between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland, and for the purposes of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and of this instrument, the boundary of Northern Ireland shall be such as may be determined by such commission ...
Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland [Cmd 1560], 1921
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 12
5. The Anglo-Irish Treaty 2 - Irish responses
1. Pro-treaty 1 We have come back from London with that treaty - Saorstát na hÉireann recognised - the Free State of Ireland. We have brought back the flag .... the evacuation of Ireland after 700 years .... the formation of an Irish Army .... We have brought back to Ireland equality with England .... If the Irish people say ‘We have got everything else but the name Republic and we will fight for it’, I would say to them that they are fools.
Arthur Griffith, signatory of the Treaty, speaking in the Dáil debate on the treaty, December 1921
2. Pro-treaty 2 To me this treaty gives me what I and my comrades fought for; it gives us for the first time in 700 years, the evacuation of Britain’s armed forces.
Seán MacEoin, speaking in the Dáil debate on the treaty, December 1921
3. Anti-treaty 1 I am against this Treaty ... because it will not end the centuries of conflict between the two nations of Great Britain and Ireland ... Does the Dail think that the Irish people have changed so much within the past year or two that they now want to get into the British Empire after seven centuries of fighting?
Eamon de Valera, speaking in the Dáil debate on the treaty, December 1921
4. Anti-treaty 2 The two great principles for which so many have died - no partition and no control of Ireland by any foreign power - have gone by the board in this treaty.
Seán T. O’Kelly, speaking in the Dáil debate on the treaty, December 1921
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 13
6. Civil war
1. A call to arms against the Treaty and the Free State The fateful hour has come. At the direction of our hereditary enemy our rightful cause is being treacherously assailed by recreant Irishmen. The crash of arms and the boom of artillery reverberate in this supreme test of the Nation’s destiny ... we therefore appeal to all citizens ... to rally to the support of the republic and recognise that the resistance now being offered is but the continuance of the struggle that was suspended by the truce with the British.
The Four Courts Proclamation issued by opponents of the Treaty besieged in the Four Courts, Dublin, 28 June 1922
2. The shelling of the Four Courts, Dublin
3. Armed civilians on the streets of Dublin during the Civil War
4. Catholic Church’s condemnation of anti-Treaty violence I am deliberating whether I should not go up on Sunday and put the whole place [Dundalk] under excommunication, as I had to do in this parish of Carlingford. That would not affect the desperate characters who fear neither God nor man, but it might deter people who have a rag of conscience left, from co-operating with, or aiding and abetting them.
The condemnation of Anti-Treaty violence of Cardinal Logue, read from the pulpit in Dundalk by Fr McKean, 30 July 1922
5. A photographer’s view of the Civil War in Dublin
a. Anti-Treaty IRA men take up positions behind a barricade on College Street - Trinity College top left, Bank of Ireland, top middle.
b. Pro-Treaty National Army troops also take up firing positions behind a barricade in College Street, but in the opposite direction - Trinity College in the background.
c. The usual casualties - a despairing mother and child contemplate the destruction wrought by the fighting.
These photographs are taken from lost glass negatives of dramatic and moving pictures taken by the Manchester Guardian’s first staff photographer. Walter Doughty joined the paper in 1909 and retired more than forty years later. The negatives were recently discovered in Manchester.
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 14
6. Deaths of leaders The party were proceeding to Bandon by byroads, in consequence of the obstacles on the main roads, accompanied by a Whippet armoured car, when they were ambushed by a large party of Irregulars. The battle lasted for close on an hour, and it was in the very last stage of the fight that General Collins was killed. The steady careful fire of the ambushed party took a heavy toll during the fight - a very large number of the Irregulars being killed or wounded. For three-quarters of an hour the only casualty on the side of the troops was the wounding of a despatch rider. And then occurred the terrible calamity which has plunged the whole nation into grief and mourning ... The firing had become much less intense. Suddenly the Commander-in-Chief collapsed and fell prone struck in the head by a bullet. From the very first it was obvious that the wound was fatal.
Official report on the assassination of Michael Collins, 23 August 1923 - Collins was killed the previous day
A fierce opponent of the Treaty, and thoroughly disliked by the new government, Erskine Childers was one of the first republicans to be executed in the civil war. ‘Shot for being in possession of a small revolver given him by Michael Collins.’
7. Accepting the Treaty - ‘better to live for the Irish nation than to die for it’ One evening I sat in the [prison] hut and listened to a Corkman singing in a little group about some hero who had died for Ireland, and the brave things he had said and the fine things he had done, and I listened because I liked these simple little local songs that continued to be written to the old beautiful ballad airs and that sometimes had charming verses like: ‘I met Pat Hanley’s mother and she to me did say God be with my son Pat, he was shot in the runaway; If I could kiss his pale cold lips his wounded heart I’d cure And I’d bring my darling safely home from the valley of Knockanure’. But halfway through this song I realised that it was about the boy whose hand I had taken in the women’s prison in Cork one morning that Spring, and suddenly the whole nightmare came back. ‘It’s as well for you fellows that you didn’t see that lad’s face when the Free Staters had finished with it’, I said angrily. I think that must have been the evening that the big row blew up, and I had half the hut shouting at me. I shouted as well that I was sick to death of the worship of martyrdom, that the only martyr I had come close to was a poor boy from the lanes like myself, and he hadn’t wanted to die any more than I did; that he had merely been trapped by his own ignorance and simplicity into a position from which he couldn’t escape, and I thought most martyrs were the same. ‘And Pearse?’ somebody kept on crying. ‘What about Pearse? I suppose he didn’t want to die either?’ Of course he didn’t want to die’, I said. ‘He woke up too late, that was all.’ And that really did drive some of the men to fury. I went to bed myself in a blind rage. Apparently the only proof one had of being alive was one’s readiness to die as soon as possible: dead was the great thing to be, and there was nothing to be said in favour of living except the innumerable possibilities it presented of dying in style. I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live, to read, to hear music, and to bring my mother to all the places that neither of us had ever seen, and I felt these things were more important than any martyrdom.
Frank O’Connor, imprisoned in 1922 by the Irish Free State for aiding the Republican cause, marking the moment of his disillusionment with militant republicanism in his autobiography, An Only Child
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 15
7. Aspiration & reality in Northern Ireland
1. A fair and just society I myself and my colleagues are at the disposal of the people of Northern Ireland. We have nothing in our view except the welfare of the people. Our duty and our privilege are from now onwards to have our Parliament well established, to look to the people as a whole, to set ourselves to probe to the bottom those problems that have retarded progress in the past, to do everything that lies in our power to help forward developments in the town and country.... We will be cautious in our legislation. We will be absolutely honest and fair in administering the law.
Sir James Craig, speaking in the Northern Ireland House of Commons, June 1921
2. Political violence Between 21 June 1920 and 18 June 1922 ... total casualties were 1,766 wounded and 428 killed. Well over half of these occurred in 1922. In that year 232 people, including two unionist M.P.s, were killed, nearly 1,000 wounded, and more than £3 million worth of property destroyed.... It was said that 8,750 Catholics had been driven from their employment and some 23,000 from their homes. Moreover, two-thirds of those killed ... had been Catholics, and some of these killings had occurred in very grisly circumstances.
Irish Unionism 2 by Buckland, P., Gill & Macmillan, 0-7170-590-3, p. 176
For eleven days past the most consistent, unceasing rifle fire has come from the other side of the border, without a shot being returned ... because I had sent ... an earnest appeal to them [unionists on the border] to stand fast. Yet, we are being more or less treated in the English press as though we were the aggressors the one day, and the others were the aggressors the next, and that there was not a pin to choose between us. I declare if a cow died in Kerry, they would say it was Belfast or Ulster was the cause of it.
Sir James Craig, 28 March 1922
3. Enforcing law & order [It is doubtful] it was ever contemplated that these extraordinary powers should be used against those who are loyal to the Crown. If any of the latter class should be arrested it is a matter for consideration whether the ordinary law should not be put into force rather than the extraordinary emergency legislation which was passed to deal with disloyal and disaffected persons
Samuel Watt, Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs, 5 October 1921, arguing against an order by a United Kingdom order to the Army that ‘if you arrest a Sinn Féin criminal you must arrest a Unionist alongside him’
4. Making local government safe for unionism - Derry a. Unless something is done b. now, it is only a matter of time until Derry passes into the hands of the Nationalist and Sinn Féin parties for all time. On the other hand, if proper steps are taken now, I believe Derry can be saved for years to come.
Richard Dawson Bates, Minister of Home Affairs to James Craig, July 1934
c. It degraded a representative system to the level of dishonest farce. Viewed from the standpoint of democratic method there has thus been a scandalous and open violation of essential principle. d. The Unionist majority will be so small that the present dangerous situation will be worsened rather than improved.
Nationalist (c) and unionist (d) reactions to the new voting system in Derry
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 16
8. Linking past and present through murals
1. Invoking the Easter Rising
a. Whiterock Road, Belfast, 1991 ‘Éirí amach na casca 1916-1991' (Easter Rising) 75th anniversary of Easter Rising, with portraits of signatories of the Proclamation of Independence, and phoenix rising from the flames and sunburst
b. New Lodge Road, Belfast, 1993 Memorial to dead members of the IRA, with Celtic cross, armed republican, Cuchulainn, Easter lily and sunburst
2. Invoking the Somme
a. Craven Street, Belfast, 1986 Ulster Division at the Battle of the Somme, 1916 (left) and contemporary Ulster Volunteer Force prisoner in Long Kesh (right)
b. Albertbridge Road, Belfast, 1988 ‘But Never Heart Forget’, commemorating the Ulster Division which suffered severe casualties at the Battle of the Somme, 1916
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 17
Songs of rebellion
based on www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/easterrising/songs/index.shtml
Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Irish political ballads dealt less with the struggles of the Irish peasantry over land and concentrated on the struggle for independence. They told anew the story of Ireland’s troubled history with its more powerful neighbour, Britain, and captured and supported the political dreams of new generations who sought an independent nation. The inventiveness and vitality of the tradition of songs of protest are well illustrated in the songs of rebellion that were sung during the period after 1912, when the introduction of the 1912 Irish Home Rule Bill radicalised politics in Ireland. At first the emphasis was on opposition to enlistment, with songs relying heavily on sarcasm, but with 1916 the mood and tone began to change. Easter Rising Peadar Kearney and another popular ballad writer, Brian O’Higgins (Brian na Banban), continued to use the cutting edge of sarcasm to great effect. They used some of their songs to mock the police who at that time were encouraged to learn the Irish language so that they might be able to charge the rebels with making seditious speeches. However, when it came to writing about the ‘Easter Rising,’ Peadar Kearney wrote not about a ‘glorious rebellion’ but in an understated, sarcastic Dublin fashion, referred to the Rising as a row in the town. The Row in the Town
I’ll sing you a song of a row in the town, When the green flag went up and the crown rag came down, ‘Twas the neatest and sweetest thing ever you saw, And they played the best game played in Erin go Bragh. God rest gallant Pearse and his comrades who died, Tom Clarke, MacDonagh, MacDermott, McBride, And here’s to Jim Connolly he gave one hurrah, And he placed the machine guns for Erin go Bragh.
Big moments in history like the 1916 Rebellion do not always provide inspiration for a great ballad. Patrick Pearse, the iconic leader of 1916 is not celebrated in the popular song tradition, yet the labour leader James Connolly is. Why is there a ballad for Connolly but none for Pearse? Perhaps the manner of Connolly’s execution - still suffering from his wounds he was shot sitting in a chair or perhaps his role as a trade union leader inspired the ballad maker to immortalise him in song. James Connolly
Where oh where is our James Connolly, Where oh where can that brave man be, He has gone to organise the Union, That working men might yet be free. Where oh where is the citizen army, Where oh where can that brave band be, They have gone to join the great rebellion, And break the bonds of slavery.
The inspiration for a ballad is many and varied. Sometimes it can be a great tragedy, an ambush, a murder or just a simple phrase that sets a chord vibrating. A parish priest from Kilcoo in Co. Down, Canon Charles O’Neill, attended the first sitting of the new Dáil, or parliament, in Dublin in 1919. As the names of the elected members were called out he was moved by the number of times the names were answered by ‘faoi ghlas ag na Gaill’ (locked up by the foreigner). On returning home he wrote one of the finest songs that recounts the story of the 1916 Rebellion. The Foggy Dew
As down the glen one Easter morn Through a city fair rode I. There armed lines of marching men, In squadrons did pass me by. No pipe did hum, no battle drum, Did sound out its loud tattoo. But the angelus bell o’er the Liffey’s swell, Rang out through the foggy dew. Right proudly high over Dublin town They flung out the flag of war. ‘Twas far better to die ‘neath an Irish sky, Than at Suvla or Sud el Bar. And from the plains of royal Meath, Brave men came hurrying through, While Britannia’s Huns with their long-range guns, Sailed into the foggy dew.
War of independence Perhaps the best known and most widely sung of all the songs of Irish resistance is the one which commemorates the execution of Kevin Barry in Dublin’s Mountjoy Jail on 1st November 1920. Barry was an 18 year-old medical student who joined the Irish Volunteers and was sentenced to death by hanging after he was convicted of the killing of a British soldier.
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 18
The execution received international attention and many appeals for a reprieve were turned down. The song was written by an anonymous exile in Glasgow and later was heard by a worldwide audience when the great American singer Paul Robeson recorded it. Kevin Barry
In Mountjoy Jail one Monday morning, High upon the gallows tree, Kevin Barry gave his young life For the cause of liberty. Just a lad of eighteen summers, Yet no one can deny, As he walked to death that morning He proudly held his head on high. Just before he faced the hangman, In his dreary prison cell, British soldiers tortured Barry Just because he would not tell The names of his brave comrades, And other things they wished to know, ‘Turn informer or we’ll kill you!’ Kevin Barry answered ‘No!’
The ballad maker has also recorded the atrocities of the Black and Tans. In many parts of the Republic of Ireland the traveller often comes across small roadside monuments commemorating an ambush or the death of a republican volunteer. If you were to investigate further you would probably discover that there was also a song written to commemorate the same event. In a field in Gortaglanna in County Kerry, there are three crosses bearing the names of Padraic Dalton, Padraic Walsh and Diarmuid Lyons, who were shot by the Black and Tans in the Valley of Knockanure. The song that commemorates their deaths is one of the finest examples of this type of narrative ballad. The Valley of Knockanure
You may sing and speak about Easter week and the heroes of ninety eight. Of Fenian men who roamed the glen in victory or defeat, Of those who died on the scaffold high or outlawed on the moor, But no word was said of our gallant dead in the Valley of Knockanure. There was Padraic Dalton and Padraic Walsh they were known both far and wide, In every house in every town they were always side by side, A Republic bold they did uphold though outlawed on the moor, And side by side they bravely died in the Valley of Knockanure.
The Anglo-Irish treaty and civil war ‘The Treaty’ which was signed in London on 6 December 1921, established the Irish Free State. The republican members of the Dáil opposed it and the resulting Civil War saw old comrades who were previously united in their struggle against British rule now bitterly opposed to each other. Many of the songs written during the civil war were written by and for those who fought on the republican side. They invariably dealt with the atrocities of the Free State troops and the betrayal of the republican ideal of a thirty-two county Ireland. The song ‘Take It Down From the Mast’ captures the sense of betrayal felt by those who took up arms against the new state. It is perhaps surprising that one seldom hears a song in praise of the two most outstanding individuals of that time, Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera. Nor does one hear a song in praise of the Irish Free State. Take it Down from the Mast
Take it down from the mast Irish traitors, The flag we Republicans claim, It can never belong to Free Staters, You brought on it nothing but shame. Then leave it to those who are willing, To uphold it in war and in peace, To those who intend to continue, Until England’s cruel tyranny cease.
NB To listen to the songs in ‘traditional’ style, and for the full lyrics, go to: www.bbc.co.uk/history/war/easterrising/songs/index.shtml. There are, of course, many commercial recordings.
Bailey, From Rising to Partition - Documents, 19
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