ON THIS DATE (5TH DECEMBER) 97 YEARS AGO : TRUCE AND TREATY AND THE PARTING OF THE WAYS.
On Monday, 5th of December in 1921 – 97 years ago on this date – in Downing Street in London, the then British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, announced to the Irish side in the ‘Treaty’ negotiations (pictured) that he had written two letters, one of which would now be sent to his people in Ireland ; one letter told of a peaceful outcome to the negotiations, the other told of a breakdown in the negotiations – Lloyd George stated that if he sent the latter one “..it is war, and war within three days. Which letter am I to send?”
That ‘War Letter’ meeting took place, as stated, on the afternoon of Monday 5th December 1921 ; at around 7pm that same evening, Michael Collins and his negotiating team left that Downing Street meeting to discuss the matter between themselves and returned to Downing Street later that night. Collins and Griffith (both pro-Treaty) had pressurised their colleague, Robert Childers Barton (the Irish Minister for Economic Affairs) to accept the Treaty of Surrender, telling him that if he did not sign then he would be responsible for “Irish homes (being) laid waste and the youth of Ireland (being) butchered..” and, at about 11pm on Monday, 5th December 1921, Barton signed the document.
Ten days later (ie on the 15th December 1921) Barton (pictured) had this to say in relation to that eventful day – “I want first of all to say we were eight and a half hours on that Monday in conference with the English representatives and the strain of an eight and a half hours conference and the struggle of it is a pretty severe one. One, when I am asked a question like that, “Was it or was it not?”, I cannot give you an answer. But as regards particular aspects of that question, which I cannot take on oath, I can only give you my impression. It is in my notes that the answer is given, and it is there because it was my impression of that conference. It did appear to me that Mr. Lloyd George spoke to me and I had an impression that he actually mentioned my name ; but I could not swear on oath that he mentioned my name, or actually addressed me when he spoke. It appeared to me that he spoke to me. What he did say was that the signature and the recommendation of every member of the delegation was necessary, or war would follow immediately and that the responsibility for that war must rest directly upon those who refused to sign the Treaty..”
On the 19th December that year, Barton, speaking in Leinster House, declared – “I am going to make plain to you the circumstances under which I find myself in honour bound to recommend the acceptance of the Treaty. In making that statement I have one object only in view, and that is to enable you to become intimately acquainted with the circumstances leading up to the signing of the Treaty and the responsibility forced on me had I refused to sign. I do not seek to shield myself from the charge of having broken my oath of allegiance to the Republic — my signature is proof of that fact. That oath was, and still is to me, the most sacred bond on earth.
I broke my oath because I judged that violation to be the lesser of alternative outrages forced upon me, and between which I was compelled to choose. On Sunday, December 4th, the Conference had precipitately and definitely broken down. An intermediary effected contact next day, and on Monday at 3pm, Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins, and myself met the English representatives. In the struggle that ensued Arthur Griffith sought repeatedly to have the decision between war and peace on the terms of the Treaty referred back to this assembly. This proposal Mr. Lloyd George directly negatived.
He claimed that we were plenipotentiaries and that we must either accept or reject. Speaking for himself and his colleagues, the English Prime Minister with all the solemnity and the power of conviction that he alone, of all men I met, can impart by word and gesture — the vehicles by which the mind of one man oppresses and impresses the mind of another — declared that the signature and recommendation of every member of our delegation was necessary or war would follow immediately. He gave us until 10 o’clock to make up our minds, and it was then about 8.30. We returned to our house to decide upon our answer. The issue before us was whether we should stand behind our proposals for external association, face war and maintain the Republic, or whether we should accept inclusion in the British Empire and take peace…”
At about fifteen minutes past two on the morning of Tuesday 6th December 1921, Michael Collins and his team accepted ‘Dominion status’ and an Oath which gave “allegiance” to the Irish Free State and “fidelity” to the British Crown – the Treaty was signed and, on the 7th January 1922,the political institution in Leinster House voted to accept it, leading to a walk-out by then-principled members who, in effect, were refusing to assist in the setting-up of a British-sponsored ‘parliament’ in the newly-created Irish Free State. The British so-called ‘House of Commons’ (401 for, 58 against) and its ‘House of Lords’ (166 for, 47 against) both ascribed ‘legitimacy’ to the new State on the 16th December 1921 – the IRA, however, at an army convention held on the 26th March 1922 (at which 52 out of the 73 IRA Brigades were present,despite said gathering having been forbidden by the Leinster House institution!) rejected the Treaty of Surrender, stating that Leinster House had betrayed the Irish republican ideal.
Within six months a Civil War was raging in Ireland, between the British-supported Free Staters and the Irish republicans who did not accept that ‘Treaty’. And, today, 97 years after that infamous ‘War Letter’ meeting was held, the struggle continues to remove the British political and military presence from Ireland.
‘BELFAST JAIL SENTENCE’ AND ‘SOUTH KERRY’S HEROIC DEAD’.
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.
26th August 1954.
BELFAST JAIL SENTENCE.
Sir – I have read in your paper about a man in possession of a number of copies of ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper who has been sent to jail. Strange that I get the newspaper here constantly and I have not been sent to jail. In fact, I take this opportunity of informing you that your newspaper finds its way even to distant Japan!
Joseph P. O’Shaughnessy,
26 Bracey Street,
SOUTH KERRY’S HEROIC DEAD.
On Saturday evening, October 23rd 1954, a Testimonial and Dance will be held at Croke Park, 240 Street and Broadway, New York City. The proceeds will go to erect a Memorial in Cahirciveen to the memory of the men* in South Kerry who died fighting for Irish freedom. We, the members of the South Kerry Memorial Committee, appeal through the ‘United Irishmen’ newspaper to all Clan na Gael and Irish Republican Army Clubs of greater New York to support this very worthy cause. For information phone John Clifford of the 3rd Kerry Brigade, Ket. 8-4614, or Jack Lynch, Mo. 5-9484.
(*’1169′ Comment – what, no women..?)
(END of ‘Belfast Jail Sentence’ and ‘South Kerry’s Heroic Dead’ : next, from the same source – ‘We Ask For No Mercy And We Will Make No Compromise’ – Terence MacSwiney.)
ON THIS DATE (5TH DECEMBER) 378 YEARS AGO : HOISTED BY HIS OWN PETARD (OR ‘STITCHED’-UP?)
John Atherton was born in 1598 in Somerset, in England, into a ‘well-to-do’ Anglican family and received an education suiting his ‘standing’ in the society of his day ; Oxford University. At 36 years young, in 1634, and with a reputation as a ‘career clergyman’ – he had ‘worked’ his way up to secure a position for himself as the vicar of Huish Champflower, in Somerset – he was appointed as the ‘Lord Bishop of Waterford and Lismore’ by ‘Governor’ Thomas Wentworth (a lickspittle, ‘King’ Charles’ representative on Earth) and himself and his wife, Joan Leakey, moved to Ireland.
He ‘announced’ his presence in Ireland that same year by seeing to it that the so-called ‘Irish House of Commons’ passed legislation entitled ‘An Act for the Punishnment for the Vice of Buggery’ and it has been suggested that, due to his ‘colourful lifestyle’ – he moved in circles in which financial and sexual wheelings and dealings were used as bargaining chips – he himself was not adversed to seeking favours from either side of the house! Indeed, the political and religious culture at the time was such that no less a figure than Jonathan Swift would later declare that members of English ‘society class’ who were sent to Ireland to further their career and enhance their status (!) were being murdered en route and replaced by criminals!
As befitting Englishmen from a certain background, the good Bishop had a ‘household’ to do his bidding (!) and his ‘steward/title proctor’, a Mr John Childe and himself were said to be ‘close’ to each other and – lo and behold! – but didn’t they find themselves up in court charged with ‘indecent behaviour’ under the same Act that the Bishop himself had ‘squeezed’ his friends in the ‘House of Commons’ to pass! And so it was that on the 5th of December in the year 1640 – 378 years ago on this date, at 42 years of age – Bishop Atherton was taken to Gallows Green (now ‘Stephens Green’) in Dublin and hanged by the neck until dead. His ‘steward/title proctor/manfriend’, John Childe, was similarly rewarded a few months later.
Mr Atherton was never ‘defrocked’, as the ‘defrocker’ of the day was dead and had not been replaced, thus achieving for the good Bishop the unenviable distinction of being the only Anglican bishop hanged for buggery, and himself and Mr Childe also made the grade in that they were only the second pair of ‘close friends’ to be put to death for that indiscretion – they had followed in the famous footsteps of Mervyn Tuchet, the ‘Earl of Castlehaven’, and a member of his ‘staff’, who were put to death nine years previously for the same behaviour.
‘Suppose a Devill from th’infernall Pit,
More Monsterlike, then ere was Devill yet,
Contrary to course, taking a male fiend
To Sodomize with him, such was the mind
Of this Lord Bishop, he did take a Childe
By name, not years, acting a sinne so vilde…’
Incidentally, the phrase de mortuis nil nisi bonum apparently had no currency then : shortly after ‘polite society’ has disposed of the good Bishop, t’was said he was up to all sorts with his sister-in-law and was also a sampler of zoophilia with cattle. Thank your God that you live in an enlightened era…
IRISH HISTORY FOR THE BRITISH…
From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.
“(IRA) membership,” Mr. O’Donovan writes, “consists of young men who are half in love with death. They are not intellectuals but they are serious and steeped in Irish history…it matters little to them that their policy is more likely to strengthen the existence of partition…or that the IRA’s military plan is based on a false assumption and has no chance of success..”
Facts are facts and we welcome them. You are unfair to your own people and unjust to ours when you state as established fact your own imaginings. It is a fact that our young men in the IRA are not afraid of death in a just cause. Ireland’s claim to unity and freedom is surely just and righteous. To say that men who are not afraid of death in such a cause, love death for itself, is ridiculous.
Men serious enough to be steeped in history surely take a serious interest in the policy they pursue and would not pursue tactics that would defeat the objective of such policy. On what basis of fact does Mr O’Donovan assume that the IRA’s military plan is based on a false assumption and has no chance of success? Is the British Army invincible? Perhaps the USA, Egypt, Palestine etc are, unknown to us, still occupied by British forces!
(END of ‘Irish History For The British’ ; next – ‘San Francisco’, from the same source.)
ON THE TAKE…
The question is no longer whether there is corruption within our political establishment but whether the political establishment is itself corrupt.
By Vincent Browne.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 1998.
Was the 1993 State tax amnesty done to accommodate a single mega-rich taxpayer who was in trouble with the Revenue Commissioners and whose generosity to Fianna Fáil and perhaps to individuals within the party was considerable? So troubled was the then minister for finance, Bertie Ahern, with the proposal to introduce the scheme that he considered resignation*, and he was talked out of it only by a representative of the ‘Labour Party’, which was then in government with Fianna Fáil. How ironic that a Fianna Fáil finance minister should be encouraged to accept a measure that was so manifestly unfair by a representative of a party that purports to represent the quintessence of fairness!
The second of these decisions was the refusal to permit the Moriarty Tribunal to investigate the source of all funds in the Ansbacher accounts (the accounts held in a Dublin bank, where the holders of the deposits were unnamed, where the monies had been routed through London, the Cayman Islands and then back to Dublin). In doing this, Fianna Fáil was supported by its partners in government, the ‘Progressive Democrats’, and by Fine Gael
(Fine Gael is now busily trying to rewire its involvement in that piece of infamy).
The third was the announcement in the budget of a reduction in the rate of capital gains tax, from 40 per cent to 20 per cent ; the scale of that tax change is staggering – in one fell swoop, a government that made such a fuss about reducing the top and standard rates of income tax by two percentage points reduced the tax that most affexts the rich by a full 20 per centage points… (*’1169′ Comment – the “single mega-rich taxpayer” was not one of Bertie’s Buddies, it seems…) (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (12TH DECEMBER 2018) YOU’LL BE MISSING US…but your aim will get better on the 19th!
We won’t be posting our usual contribution on Wednesday, 12th December 2018, and probably won’t be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday, the 19th December ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 8th/9th December 2018) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Cabhair group in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle, and the ‘autopsy’ into same which will take place on Monday evening, 10th, in Dublin, meaning that we will not have the time to post here.
But we’ll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday 19th December 2018, when our offering will include, I’m told, a piece about an Irish republican who was sentenced by the British to 15 years in prison and, although he went in ‘with one arm tied behind his back’, so to speak, he came out and proved himself more useful to the republican struggle than many a so-called ‘able bodied’ person…
Thanks, for reading , Sharon.