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EAMONN DE VALERA. 



EARLY LIFE 

OF 

EAMONN DE VALERA 



BY 



DAVID T. DWANE 




DUBLIN 
THE TALBOT PRESS LIMITED 

LONDON 
T. FISHER UNWIN LIMITED 

1922 




f HINTED nv 

Sealv. Bryers & Walkkr. 

DUBLIN. 






>- 

cc: 

e DEDICATION. 



Before leaving Munster St. Patrick blessed 
its mountains, glens, and plains, its woods and 
fields. 

To all our brave heroes who fought and 
^ suffered for Ireland, and in particular to those 
'^ whose bodies now mingle with the Holy soil of 

Munster, I dedicate this book. 

ui 
C3 









PREFACE. 

It was the intention when undertaking the present work 
to give a short account of the Hfe of Eamonn de Valera 
from boyhood to Easter Week. The task; however, had 
hardly been well commenced when what may be called the 
second phase of this generation's battle for Irish freedom 
began. As the conflict developed, Crown forces, in addition 
to their other activities, took to raiding and searching 
private residences, and anj^ documents having reference 
to the Sinn Fein movement or its leaders were, if discovered, 
forthwith confiscated, while the householder was lucky if 
he escaped imprisonment. Under such circumstances 
the postponement of the work became inevitable. But 
this, though disappointing at the time, afforded an oppor- 
tunity later on of including in the biograj^hy an account 
of the historic events leading up to the Treaty, without 
which any work on de Valera would be incomplete. 

Readers in Ireland will readily understand the danger 
that was entailed in working during those days at papers 
relating to de Valera. When the military arrived at a 
house for the purpose of making a search they usually 
forced an entrance if not admitted within half a minute, 
thereby giving no time for the removal of what they called 
seditious documents. Indeed, as regards such raids the 
de Valera manuscript had nearly as many escapes as 
de Valera himself. The manuscript was kept in a writing 
desk provided with a secret drawer which it was proposed 
to screw up with a view to making it more secure, but 
before this had been done the military unexpectedly 
arrived. An officer spent over half an hour examining 
the desk, but though the manuscript was within reach he 



failed to find it. He then proceeded to another part of 
the house, where he searched the pockets of a coat from 
which the first chapter had been removed only on the 
pre\aous night. 

The manuscript was then taken for greater safety to 
another house in the neighbourhood, but before a week 
ha.d elapsed word was received that this house had been 
surrounded by miUtary and police. They were not aware, 
however, of the existence of the manuscript and did not 
find it. Later it was brought away and buried in a garden, 
but a workman, who did not carry out his instructions, 
dug it up. Fearing that the box contained explosives he 
did not open it, but brought it to the author, so the secret 
still remained undisclosed. Four or five months later the 
manuscript was sent to a Dublin publishing house, but 
on the very night it was posted the military seized all the 
mail bags at the post office and had them removed to their 
Head Quarters for examination. The manuscript had not) 
however, been included in the despatch, having been over- 
looked in the registered letter safe by the post office official , 
so it once more escaped. Finally the manuscript was in 
the Ballybrophy railway accident in which one man was 
killed and several injured. 

While hedged in wth the various irritating restrictions 
imposed by the war, daily attendance at office work, and 
attention to farm business at home, time has, nevertheless, 
been found to complete the undertaking. The biography 
contains an epitome of the many historical events with 
which de Valera was directly or indirectly associated, and 
an effort has been made to present the whole in an interest- 
ing and faithful manner. It is hoped that this effort will 
not be without some degree of success. 

David T. Dwane. 
Kilmallock, January', 1922. 



CONTENTS. 

PAGE 
PaKFAGH ... ... ... ... ... ... vii. 

Chapter I. 

Data and place of birth — A glimpse of the Ireland he in- 
heritad — Some reminiscences — His parents and grand- 
parents — -Irish- American relations ... ... ... 1 

Chapter II. 

De Valara brought to Ireland— His boyhood in Bruree — • 

His college career — His meeting with Sir Roger Casement 1 8- 

Chapter III. 

His mother vigiig Ireland — The Home Rule and Ulster 
questions-^he ^startirig___of, the. voluuteers — ^Easter 
Week — His marriage , ... ... ... ... 40 

CflAPTBR IV. 

The Iriah Convention — ^The Clare Election — The Conscription 
campaign — Government agents, follow de Valera every- 
vv'here — Lloyd George attacks him in British House of 
Commons — The German Plot — ^de Valera deported— 
The General Election of 1918 — de Valera escapes from 
prison ... ... ... ... ... 55 

Chapter V. 

Efforts to recapture de Valera — Midnight interviews — 'His 
return to Dublin — ^British Governnaent Proclaniation— 
de Valera and the Peace Conference — President Wilson — 
Irish Race representatives received by de Valera — ^The 
British outwitted ... ... ... ... 89 

Chapter VI. 

Do Valera unexpectedly arrives in America — His reception — • 
The American Presidential campaign — Jolui Devoy 
and Judge Cohalan in conflict with de Valera — de Valera 
starts new Association — The Ulster deputation to 
America — Terence MacSwiney, Lord Mayor of Cork — 
Some American pen-pictures of de Valera — The war in 
Ireland ... ... ... ... 118 



Chapter VII. 

De Valera returns to Ireland — Unsuccessful attempts to 
intercept him — Peace rumours — Lloyd George demands 
surrender of arms — de Valera stands firm — -The war 
intensified — Lloj'd George enters into direct communi- 
cation with de ^'alera — The truce — The correspondence 
between the British and Irish leaders — Plenipotentiaries 
appointed — -The peace negotiations — Articles of agree- 
ment signed in London — de Valera declares he will not 
accept the terms — Dail Eireann debates — Treaty carried 
by small majority — Text of Treaty — Text of de Valera's 
counter-proposals-document No. 2 — Conclusion ... 154 



Appendix. 

Ireland's declaration of Independence — Ireland's message to 
the Nations — Ireland's democratic programme — Oath 
of allegiance subscribed to by deputies — List showing 
the names of deputies who voted for and against the 
Treaty ... ... ... ... ... 227 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PAGE 

Eamonn de Valera's Mother ... ... Facing 12 

Edmund Coll ... ... •.• ••• »» 1^ 

Who brought Eamonn de Valera to Ireland. 

Thomas Whbelright ... ... ... „ 20 

Eamonn de Valera's step-brother. 

Eamonn de Valera ... ... ••• „ 34 

At the age of twenty-two. 

Patrick Coll ... ... ••• ••• .. 44 

Who took charge of de V'alera at the age of two 
and a-half years and brought him up at the 
home of the Colls near Bruree, Co. Limerick. 

Eamonn de Valera ... ■.. ••• „ 92 

.A.t the age of thirty-six. — Photograph taken 
tluring the General Election of 1918. 



EARLY LIFE of 
EAMONN DE VALERA. 




CHAPTER I. 

And Spanish ale shall give you hope, my dark Rosaleen " 

■ — Mangan. 

»,HE political and religious history of Ireland 
has been from early times closely associated 
with that of Western Eiu-ope. Within a 
short period of her conversion to Christianity 
by St. Patrick, Irish saints and scholars 
were found labouring unremittingly in France 
and Italy, and even down to the confluences of the Danube. 
They founded monasteries and built chiu-ches, many of 
which were famous for centuries. They promoted the 
study of art and literature and engaged in scientific re- 
search. When some of the great nations of to-day were 
yet in their infancy, Ireland had grown old in knowledge 
and learning. " The Irish," says Mr. Thomas J. Westropp, 
" had a fine school of art, music, and legendary literature, 
before the first-known missionaries reached their shores." 
Indeed, so great was our reputation for learning in Britain 
and on the Contment, that many foreign nobles sent their 
sons to Ireland to complete their education. 

But all this was soon to change. The plundering Dane 
and the Norman freebooter almost put an end to the 
ancient culture of the Gael ; while the confiscations and 
age-long persecution which followed in the wake of the 
Enghsh occupation, kept the nation in hopeless bondage 
and misery. And here we have a strange anomaly. The 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Irish who were the pioneers in many branches of learning 
were themselves now denied the semblance of education. 
Celtic and European literature had been enriched by their 
labours, but the fountain-heads of their inspiration at 
home were now levelled with the ground. The schools, 
except those of the usurper, were banned ; the churches 
were desecrated ; a price was set on the head of the priest, 
and only the purple heather of the mountain, or the rocky 
hillside, made beautiful by nature, afforded him and his 
faithful flock an altar and a place of worship. 

In those dark days of persecution there was much 
friendly intercourse between Ireland and Spain. The 
tradition of their common origin helped to strengthen the 
bond of religion which united the two peoples. Among 
Spaniards of every class there was intense sympathy with 
the Irish in their sufferings ; and if the Irish envoys who 
sought assistance for their countrymen were not always 
successful, they were at least sympathetically received. 
When Elizabeth sought to annihilate the Irish nobles who 
upheld the Catholic faith, and to confiscate their estates, 
Spain, on at least two notable occasions, despatched 
military expeditions to their aid. But the Spaniards, 
like the French, were imfortunate in their choice of com- 
manders. At Kinsale, in 1602, a more able leader than 
Don Juan d'x\guila might have turned defeat into victory. 
In Spain, Irish exiles found a ready welcome ; Irish soldiers 
fought under her banner, and Irish sailors manned her 
ships. At the port of Corunna alone we find in 1638 no 
fewer than two thousand Irishmen on board the Spanish 
fleet under the command of Don Lope de Ozes. When the 
Irish schools and monasteries were destroyed, the bounty 
of the Catholic King provided seminaries at Salamanca, 
Seville, and elsewhere for the training of Irish priests 
and missionaries. Some of these institutions still flourish, 
reminding us of the ties which bound our country 
to Spain in ancient days when the hopes of her people 
were fixed upon the coming of a Spanish deliverer who 
would break their chains and free them from the galling 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



oppression of the English yoke. These hopes, which haxi 
been laid aside for centuries as vain, have at last been 
unexpectedly realised in the coming of Eamonn de Valera. 

Eamonn de Valera was born in New York on the 14th 
October, 1882, the son of Vivian de Valera, a Spaniard by 
birth and nationality, and of Catherine Coll, of Bruree, 
Co. Limerick. His birth synchronised with the centenary 
of Grattan's Parhament. And had it not been for the 
perfidy of Pitt and Castlereagh, the year 1882 might have 
been a memorable one in the political history of Ireland. 
Corrupt though Grattan's Parliament undoubtedly was, 
Irish brains, unfettered and untrammelled, would no doubt 
have removed most of its imperfections and made it a 
model for other nations. 

But what was the actual state of affairs in 1882 ? What 
was the condition of Ireland ? What the sounds from 
without that disturbed de Valera in his peaceful cot ? 
Was it the peal of the joybells celebrating the first centenary 
of Ireland's freedom ? Michael Davitt supplies the answer. 
Fresh from Dartmoor, his voice resounded through the 
cities and hamlets of America — from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific — in bitter denunciation of the British Government. 
His only tale was one of eviction and sufPering. The 
memory of his eloquent pleadings, like the echoes of Mount 
Pilatus, long lingered amongst the hills and valleys of 
America. Meanwhile at home, Forster's Coercion Act v/as 
in full swing. Parnell, Dillon, Sexton, and Father Sheehy — 
later on to be de Valera' s parish priest — had been thrown 
into prison. Thus the period of de Valera's birth wit- 
nessed the inception of a new movement for Irish liberty, 
which though limited in its scope and only partially suc- 
cessful, paved the way for the grand struggle for national 
independence, which under his leadership, we hope to see 
crowned with ultimate victory. 

De Valera, as we have said, was born in New York. 
A few days after his birth he was baptised in St. Agnes's 
Church, and given the name Eamonn, which was one of 
long standing in his mother's family. From the outset 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



he was a healthy boy. While never showing a tendency 
to beco)ne fleshy he developed nevertheless a fairly full 
face, and this, coupled with a bright expression, gave him 
a very pleasing countenance. Nor was it his features 
alone that attracted attention. Long before he com- 
menced to notice passing events, and while still a ciiild, 
it is remarked that he had a soldierly gait and that he 
bore himself in a manner befitting a citizen of the great 
Republic. Born of Spanish-Irish parents he inherited 
the indomitable fighting spirit of both races. This charac- 
teristic was not very apparent in his early boyhood, but 
an incident which occurred shortly before his transfer to 
Ireland, and when he was not yet two and a half years 
of age, is significant. It is related that one day he toddled 
across the street to where a wealthy Englishman dwelt. 
We are not aware whether this Englishman was a pro- 
fessional gentleman or a large store-keeper, but at any 
rate he approached young de Valera and proffered him 
the choice of two flags. One was the Union Jack and the 
other had emblazoned upon it the Stars and Stripes. 
After a short pause de Valera accepted the American 
flag. " Come, now," said the Englishman in merry mood, 
" give me back that flag and take this one." " No, no," 
muttered de Valera, tightening his grasp of the one he 
had. '■ Well, then, you will take both," replied the 
Englishman, at the same time giving effect to the state- 
ment by sticking the Union Jack in the pocket of his 
tunic. He had no sooner done so, than young de Valera 
plucked it out, and throwing it on the ground, folded his 
arms, and faced his would-be benefactor with an air of 
stubborn independence. This was, perhaps, only a childish 
fancy, but it had the effect of arousing the innate patriotic 
feelings of an exiled Irishman who had been watching the 
incident from near by. Uttering such words as " maith 
an paiste," " maith an buachaill," " maith an fear," he 
rushed up and taking the little lad in his arms in a wild 
embrace hugged and kissed him as if he were a long lost 
child. The Irishman was an old Fenian. To him the 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



one flag stood for freedom and advancement ; the other 
for slaveiy and bondage. Memories of the past rushed 
in upon him. The strains of "La Marseillaise " may urge 
the brave chasseur to further deeds of bravery, or the 
sweet cadence of "La Braban9onne " may excite the 
joyful emotions of the Belgian, but as for the old Fenian, 
this victory of his little compatriot, the lesson it taught 
and the scenes it recalled, stirred his feelings to the highest 
pitch. What a pity there was not a John Laver}^ present. 
He would here have found a worthy scene for his canvas. 
The Englishman insulted and with stern gaze surveying 
the fallen Union Jack ; the j^outhful de Valera— the 
future leader of the Lrish race — being embraced by the 
old Fenian with silvery locks ; the flag of Lreland's exiles 
being borne away in triumph ; the sky-scrapers ; the great 
wave of unemotional humanity passing to and fro, and Mrs. 
de Valera, with open arms awaiting the return of her son. 
As already mentioned, de Valera' s father was a native 
of Spain. In his youth he had lived in the rich Basque 
provinces south of the PjTrenees. He was bright and 
vivacious, and was very highly educated. Before turning 
his thoughts to America he had placed to his credit many 
honours in the higher schools of Spain. He was a master, 
of several languages. His intellectual gifts were indeed 
remarkable and varied. An artist by profession, he could 
have attained equally high rank in any other sphere of 
human activity. He took up the study of music at an 
early age, and had death not intervened when he was not 
yet 32 years of age, he would certainly have become a 
prominent figure in the best musical circles. Already 
the proficiency and excellence of his execution had attracted 
attention in the new world. He had been making a study 
of Irish music, " but," said an old friend, " his rendering 
of the native Spanish airs was soul-stirring." While the 
mediocre " La Paloma " had not yet been written, he 
could imbue the outrageous " Tragala Perro " with sweet- 
ness, and make one forgetful of the revolutionary meaning 
of the " Hymn of Riego." Vivian de Valera had quite 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



a store of pleasant anecdotes about musical expeditions 
to his native hills of Spain. In Spain as in Switzerland 
and elsewhere on the Continent, the young men and women 
may be seen in the summer evenings wending their way 
to the hill-tops to pass the hours in music, dance and con- 
vivial conversation, just as our boys and girls sometimes 
do at the cross-roads. 

Vivian de Valera was not content with a study of Irish 
music, for soon after his marriage he devoted some of his 
spare moments to the study of the Irish language. In 
the course of eight or ten months he became fairly pro- 
ficient, and he allowed no day to pass without endeavouring 
to add a new word to his vocabulary. " It was amusing," 
says Mrs. de Valera, " to hear him trying to talk Irish." 
Visitors to the home of the de'Valeras"^ in New York were 
invariably received with a salutation in Irish, and the 
advent of a fluent speaker — they were numerous in New 
York — was always a pleasure. When Vivian was no 
longer able to continue the conversation in Irish, and when, 
after a struggle, he found himself compelled to employ 
another dialect, there would be general amusement in 
which he himself would join. 

When Vivian de Valera bade farewell to Spanish soil 
and set sail for America, he saw his country settling 
down to permanent government for the first time in a 
century. While in the case of Ireland, external enemies, 
such as the Danes and the English, have been the root 
cause of her troubles, Spain suffered most from within. 
Vivian de Valera was proud of his country's history 
Often he would point out the fact that while' internecine 
trouble kept the country in a state of unrest, the Spanish 
people, like the Irish, never tolerated the foreigner. Indeed, 
as regards opposition to the rule of the foreigner there 
was much in common between the two peoples. A glance 
at Spanish records will show that what Vivian de Valera 
saw in the light of history his son, Eamonn, was to face 
as a living problem. When Joseph Bonaparte tried to 
induce the Spanish people to take part in a convention 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



similar to that with which Lloyd George endeavoured to 
thwart Irish aspirations, and invited to Bayonne one 
hundred and fifty Spanish nobles, bishops, and other 
representative men for the purpose of framing a Consti- 
tution, not indeed out of love for Spain, but more firmly 
to establish his own authority, what was the attitude 
of the people themselves towards that Constitution ? 
Strangely enough it might be stated in the w-ords of an 
Englishman : 

" The Spanish people cared nothing for its merits 
or its defects. Had it been the best Constitution in 
the world, they would have rejected it. Everything 
connected with the invader was hideous in their eyes." 
" Moreover," continues the same author in a passage 
that might have emanated from Dail Eireann, " the 
people had started a Government after their own heart ; 
three centuries of disuse had not completely atrophied 
the faculty for self-government once so developed 
in the cities and provinces." 
While Bonaparte was deliberating how Spain should 
be governed, juntas, much lii^e Sinn Fein clubs, were being 
appointed in the different districts to resist his encroach- 
ment. The popular and patriotic party declared war to 
the knife on the invader and the usurj^er, refused all 
compromise and called in the help of the English. With 
the aid of England, Spain became free. It is easy to 
understand the contrast and the moral. 

Vivian de Valera held the Irish in great esteem. * It 
is noteworthy," he would say, " that in my country the 
first staple government to last for the full term of five 
years was organised and controlled by that great Irish 
general, Count Henry O'Donnell." This famous general 
certainly played an important part in Spanish affairs, but 
like his contemporaries and rivals for political power, 
he reached the goal of his ambition through the battle- 
field. In command of the army at Cadiz in 1819, when a 
revolutionary spirit became manifest amongst the soldiers 
and leading officers, he was decorated by the King for 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



his promptitude and loyalty. Eight months later, how- 
ever, he joined the revolutionary generals, an action which 
resulted in the re-establishment of the Constitution as 
promulgated by the Cortes of 1812. He fought against 
the Carlists in 1827, and had many an encounter with the 
troops under the personal command of the veteran leader, 
General Cabrera. Later he took up the cause of the Queen 
Regent. And quixotic as it may appear, he was again 
the leader of a revolution, and at the overthrow of Espar- 
tero in Madrid, became President. He had, however, the 
welfare of Spain at heart, and internally his regime brought 
peace and prosperity to Spain. 

Vivian de Valera was a clever raconteur. That spirit 
of romance and of pathos which radiated from the events 
of Easter Week, was often to be found in his stories of 
Spanish life. He was not alive when the Gaelic League 
came into existence and set about recultivating the soul of 
Ireland. Had he lived to witness the new era, it is certain 
that it would have given an impetus to his study of the 
language and history of Ireland. He had a tolerable 
acquaintance with Irishmen of letters, but was not very 
well versed in the political and economic history of the 
country. In the locality where he resided in Spain there 
were a few families of Irish descent with whom he occa- 
sionally held unconventional discussions on the religious 
and political ties that bound the two countries together. 
These neighbours possessed many mementoes of Ireland — 
an old volume in manuscript, or an old sword handed 
down perhaps from the days of the " wild geese." The 
presence of these cherished souvenirs readily inspired chats 
on Ireland, and it was in this way that he gleaned much 
information. 

In Vivian de Valera's own day there were few Irishmen 
of note resident on the Continent. The Irish Brigade 
had long since been disbanded or absorbed into other regi- 
ments, and there was no living witness of its past great- 
ness. With the exception of a tardy and an obviously 
too limited recognition at the hands of continental writers, 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the full story of its fame remained hidden away in Govern- 
ment archives until about the second half of the nineteenth 
century. If we \^dsh, however, to fraternise for a few 
moments with the most distinguished of Ireland's sons 
on the Continent, we must go back to the days of Eamonn 
de Valera's grandfather, which will bring us into touch with 
the Irish Brigade and with a period which embraces one 
of the saddest yet finest epochs in our history. 

De Valera's grandfather held high military rank in the 
Spanish army. He was a typical Spaniard, and on the 
maternal side descended from one of the noble houses of 
Spain. The victorious exploits of Irishmen, whether at 
Saragossa, Cremona, or Fontenoy, were well known to 
him. AVere one to search the old Greek legends one could 
hardly find a finer feat of arms than that at Cremona, 
where thirty-five Irishmen defeated 1,450 Germans and 
Austrians — and this number contained 800 Cuirassiers. 
In the same battle an Irish officer named MacDonnell 
fighting on the opposite side, captured single-handed the 
Marshal de Villeroy, Commander of the French and 
Spanish troops. The biassed historian may distort, but 
he could not overlook such deeds as these ; and when 
de Valera's grandfather, in the vigour of his youth, read 
of them, we can well imagine his admiration for Ireland. 
Yet, when we come to follow Irishmen over the Continent 
and weigh in the balance their achievements for other 
nations we are tempted to enquire how, exactly, Ireland 
has been rewarded for her services A glance across 
the Continent, from Spain to Russia, will show that the 
account has not yet been fully settled. Here in many a 
hard-fought field, Irishmen turned apparent defeat into 
victory, Irish genius set up staple governments, and Irish 
commonsense guided their destinies. Perhaps a little 
digression may be pardoned in order to record here the 
names of a few of the men who accomplished these things 
and who were so closely associated with the Continent 
from which De Valera sprang. A complete list of the 
Irishmen, who as exiles reached high rank and became 

9 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



famous on the Continent would occupy a volume in itself. 
Of the officers mentioned here some fought \mder different 
flags, and perhaps patriotism, as it affected Ireland, was 
not equally intense in all. 

Served under the Spanish Flag. 

General Wall, Prime Minister of Spain. 

Lt. -General Henry D. O'Donnell (already referred to), 

Prime Minister of Spain. 
Field-Marshal Count O'Reilly. 
Lt. -General D. O'Mahony (of Cremona fame). 
David Sarsfield, 5th Lord Kalmallock (killed at Vill- 

viciosa). 
Major-General Cusack. 
Lt- General Crofton. 

General Sarsfield (killed in mutiny at Pamplona). 
Lt. -General Lawless, Spanish Ambassador to England 

(and subsequently to France). 
Ambrose O'Higgins, Spanish Captain-General to Chili. 
(Bernard O'Higgins was President of the first RepubHc 

of ChiU.) 
Coimt O'Mahony (Spanish Ambassador to the Court 

of Vienna). 
Major-Gcneral Bourke. 
Captain Daniel O'Carroll (who with 100 L-ish Dragoons 

defeated over 1,000 of the enemy at the Castle of 

Seron). 

Served under the French Flag. 

Marshal MacMahon (saved France and became President) , 

Lt. -General Count Arthur Dillon, of the Irish Brigade. 

Major-Goneral Patrick Sarsfield. 

Count Daniel O'Connell, Inspector-General of Infantry. 

Major-G(nieral Theobald Dillon. 

Lt. -General Nugent. 

Lord Clare, Marshal of France. 

General Farrell. 

10 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Lt. -General Lee. 

Brigadier-General Stapleton. 

Major-General Talbot, Earl of Tyrconnell, French 

Ambassador to Prussia. 
Major-General Cooke. 
Brigadier -General M. Rothe. 
Brigadier-General O'Gara. 
General Justin McCarthj-. 
Lt. -General Count Lally. 
Major-General O'Shaughnessy. 
Major-General Creagh. 
Major-General D'Arcy. . 
Lt. -General Galmoj'. 

Served undek the Austrian Flag. 

Field-Marshal De Lacy. 
Field-Marshal Viscount Taaffe. 
Field-Marshal O'Donnell. 
Field-Marshal Brady. 
Field-Marshal Count Browne. 
Field-Marshal Nugent. 
Major-General Dwyer. 
Lt. -General O'Connor. 
General Maguire. 
Lt.-General O'Kelly. 
Brigadier-General Plunkett. 
General MacElligot. 

Served under the Russian Flag. 

Field-Marshal Count Peter Lacy (of Bruree and Ballin- 
garry), who organised the whole Russian army and 
added the Crimea and a part of Finland to the 
Empire. In the former place he defeated the 
Turks, who, but a short time previously had badly 
beaten his predecessor, a Field-Marshal of Russian 



11 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Field-Marshal Count Browne. 
General Count O'Rourke. 
Admiral O'Dwyer. 

It is said that at one time there were no less than thirty 
generals of Irish birth in the Austrian service. 

The reader will now be able to form a fair idea of the 
extent to which even the most powerful Continental 
nations are indebted to Ireland. 

It is a well-known fact, and a regrettable one, that from 
those foreign histories written by Englishmen, the name 
and the fame of Ireland has been carefully omitted. For 
a long time past, England has undertaken the compilation 
of " impartial " histories of foreign countries and in these 
she has persistentlj^ but not obtrusively, shown herself 
to advantage. In one of these we find bare mention of 
Juan de Valera, who was looked upon as one of the ablest 
and most erudite critics of his time. " A history with 
the imprint of impartial," says Professor Eoin MacNeill, 
" is a danger to the unwary," and when one is found, the 
advice of this distinguished scholar is " burn it." When 
speaking thus, he had, no doubt, English historians in 
mind. Conjointly with other nations, Ireland demands 
only her due space in the annals of the world, and had her 
historians long ago undertaken a history of say, Spain 
for the Spanish, or of America for the Americans, giving 
Ireland therein the part merited by her, much good would 
have accrued to the country. 

Eamonn de Valera's mother, whose maiden name was 
Catherine Coll, came from Bruree in the county of Limerick. 
In her native district, she was highly respected, and there 
were many manifestations of sorrow when she left for 
America in October, 1879. She travelled a good deal in 
the United States, and spent some time in Florida. Like 
her husband, she was highly educated, a fact which added 
immensely to the interest and pleasure of travelling. 
In her young days she was a fine tyj3e of womanhood, 
and those who knew her then as Miss Coll, say that when 

12 



1* 

f 



'■*n(i -ftx. 



V 



V. -» 




EAMONN DE VALERA'S MOTHER. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



she left Bruree her absence created a gap amongst the 
pretty colleens not easily filled. The Colls* appear to be 
of Norse origin. " Kollr " appears frequently in the 
Landnamabok, and as " Coll " and " Col " among the 
Anglo Saxons. " Colle " was the name of a landowner 
in the time of Edward the Confessor, and " Collo " that 
of an under-tenant in the time of the Domesday Survey. 
The name is on record in Ireland since the end of the 14th 
century, and is still associated with the district around 
Kilmallock where the family is one of long standing re- 
spectability. Historical references to the Colls are few, 
but there was evidently a rebel of the name in the time 
of Elizabeth, for we find among the general pardons 
recorded in the Fiants of Elizabeth that on ISIay 26th, 
1598, a pardon was granted to Thomas Coll of Kilmallock, 
husbandman. Although the name is rare in England, 
it is of peculiar interest to note that out of eleven members 
who attended the first meeting of an essay society, founded 
by W. E. Gladstone, early in his career, two bore the name 
of Coll. Perhaps one of the most noted members of the 
family with whom de Valera's mother and uncles claim 
kinship, was the Very Rev. Thomas Coll, Dean of Limerick, 
who was appointed parish priest of Newcastle West on the 
14th January, 1827. Placing the records of both men 
side by side, we can easily recognise a drop of the same 
blood in the veins of Eamonn de Valera. For this purpose 
we will here give an abbreviated transcript from a tablet 
erected to the Dean's memory : 

" This tablet is inscribed to the memory of the Very 
Rev. Thomas Coll, Dean and V.G. No priest for a 
century won wider fame or richer estimation in Ire- 
land than the Very Rev. Dean Coll. He v.as held 
in honour far and near as a watchful shepherd of the 
flock, an unwearied labourer in the vineyard, and 
a pious, learned, and munificently charitable priest. 

*See " Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall " — Irish names and surnames — 
by the Rev. P. Woiilfe. 

13 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



He was distinguished as the bosom friend of O'Connell 
and one of his most active supporters in the long 
struggle for Catholic freedom, and in the public 
meetings of that period as an orator of the very 
highest order. But he was specially famed for pulpit 
eloquence of unrivalled originality, pathos and power. 
There was indeed in him so happy and rare a union 
of the gifts of nature and grace of enUghtenment, 
taste, and talent with apostolic zeal, wisdom and 
holiness of life as constituted him one of the most 
eminent ecclesiastics of his time." 
The biography of Eamonn de Valera carries us away to 
Spain and America where we are brought into contact 
with men of our own race who fought and died, or lived 
and prospered in these two countries. Between the 
Spaniards and the Irish there has always been a tradition 
of kinship. According to the Irish bards it was " on a 
clear winter night that Ireland was first seen from Spain," 
and from Spain it was that Ireland was first colonised. 
" Possibly," says Mrs. Ahce Stopford Green, " the belief 
in their Spanish descent sprang like so many Irish origins 
from a literary soil." Anyhow, the tradition was there, 
and it helped to cement the friendship of the two peoples. 
On the other hand, we can claim to have laid the found- 
ation of much that is great in American life. It is now 
practically an established fact that half of Washington's 
army was Irish, and in the v/ords of Cardinal Gibbons : 
" there is to-day scarcely an American hamlet in which 
the blood of the IVIilesian is not represented." Many of 
America's leading statesmen, great financiers, and wealthy 
merchants, can point to the driving force of their Irish 
blood as the secret of their success. Even President 
Wilson occasionally referred with pride to his Irish ancestry. 
Henry Morgenthau, American Ambassador at Constanti- 
nople, speaking of the President, and drawing attention 
to his Scottish blood as indicating caution, continues : 
" but he has also the fire and combativeness of the Irish : 
let him once set his jaws, and it takes a crowbar to open 

14 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



them again." This is a good interpretation of the Celtic 
temperament. For over 700 years the EngHsh have been 
endeavouring to compel the Irish to accept their rule, but 
the Irish jaw in which de Valera to-day forms a tooth, 
has been set against it, and the English crowbar has been 
used in vain. If America can claim to have given us 
de Valera as our leader, we can show, on the other hand, 
that we are entitled to any consideration of this kind that 
she may bestow on us. Apart from their bravery on the 
battlefield and their skill in industrial life, we have ample 
evidence that Irish emigrants were in many respects 
pioneers of civihsation in the States. For instance, the 
first settlement known to have taken place in the State 
of Maine was of two families named Kelly and Halley from 
Galway, who arrived in the year 1653 ; and the first man 
to settle in President Wilson's native Shenandoah Valley 
was John Lewis from Co. Donegal. We also have it on 
record that the first man to visit the white mountains in 
New Hampshire was Darby Field, an Irishman, who went 
there in 1634, and a trader named Doherty had the honour 
of being the first white man to penetrate the wilderness 
of Kentucky. The first grave of a white man in what is 
now the State of New York was that of an Irishman. 
When Hendrick Hudson went up the Hudson River in 
1609, he sent some men ashore to fight the aborigines, 
and John Coleman, an Irish sailor, was killed and buried 
there. The first lighthouse on the Atlantic coast off the 
mouth of the Savannah river was erected by CorneHus 
MacCarthy. 

Since the birth of Eamonn de Valera in America has 
induced us to discuss Irish-American relations, we might 
quote a few more instances in which Irishmen were pioneers. 
Whenever Irishmen got the opportunity they generally 
distinguished themselves at sea, as well as on land, so 
there is nothing surprising in the fact that the first naval 
battle in the war of the American Revolution was fought 
and won by the five sons of Maurice O'Brien, of Cork, and 
that the last naval battle was fought and won by Captain 

15 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



John Barry, of Wexford. Later, in 1812, the first and 
only naval battle in inland waters, was fought and won by 
Thomas MacDonough — a name for other reasons now 
familiar to Irishmen. Even in the domain of pohtics and 
administration, Irishmen were in the very forefront. 
Ireland has had the honour of having seen seven of her 
sons members of the fii'st Continental Congress of Americans, 
and in the Congress which began the United States Govern- 
ment, Pennsylvania was represented by Thomas Fitz- 
simons, of Limerick. The first Governor of Illinois was 
John Boyle ; the first Governor of the State of Massachu- 
setts was James O'Sullivan, the first Governor of Kansas 
was James Denver, and the first Governor of Delaware 
was John McKinley — all Irishmen. Then, after the 
revolution, we have as first ]\Iayor of the City of New York 
James Dwane, of Cong, Co. Mayo. In many districts the 
first Judges and the first Chief Justices appointed were 
Irishmen. Long before the revolution there were upwards 
of one thousand Irish school teachers scattered throughout 
America, and not alone were they the first tutors to such 
men as John Hancock, Daniel Webster, John Dickinson, 
R. B. Taney, etc., but they were the first to start schools 
in such places as Cincinnati, Pennsylvania, and districts 
further west. Master of languages as do Valera's father 
was, he would have met his match in a schoolmaster 
named John O'Sullivan, of Limerick, who, when applying 
to the town of Berwick, Maine, in 1723, for the position 
of tutor, wTote his application in seven languages. 

Irishmen were not content with having educated leading 
statesmen, chief justices of the Supreme Court, or great 
jurists. They were the first in a general sense to under- 
take the task of enlightening public opinion, for we find 
that the first daily newspaper started in America was 
published by John Dunlop, Co. Tjo-one. In New York 
and in Boston, the first daily newspapers were established 
by Irishmen — John D. Bourke having established the 
" Arena " in the latter city. We could still further show 
that Henry O'Reilly, of Carrickmacross, was the first 

16 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



to build a telegraph line in the United States : that J. P. 
Holland, of Clare, was the first to build a submarine, and 
that Dr. O'Kane, whose grandfather left Ireland in 1752, 
was the first American Antarctic explorer. We might 
quote a thousand such names and not exhaust the roll of 
honour. The list is sufficiently extended to show that 
though America may claim to have nursed for us a great 
National leader in Eamonn de Valera, we on the other hand 
can claim to have taken a big part in making America 
what she is to-day, whether we view her from a social, 
political, or military point of view, one of the greatest 
Nations of the earth. 




Note. — The author is indebted to Mr. Michael J. O'Brien, for 
information, regarding " Irish firsts in America," derived from his 
Lecture delivered before the members of the American Irish His- 
torical Society at New York. 



17 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 




CHAPTER II. 

^ARLY in the year 1884, Eamonn de Valera's 
father became seriously ill, and towards the 
end of the year he passed peacefully away, 
leaving Mrs. de Valera and her little boy, 
Eamonn, to mourn their loss. Anyone who 
has experienced the grief and anxiety 
occasioned by the loss of the head of the household, will 
readily understand what it meant to be deprived of the 
breadwinner in a large and busy city like New York. 
Such was the position in which Mrs. de Valera 
now fomid herself. While in fairly comfortable circum- 
stances, she was by no means rich, and it was evident 
that the question of providing for herself and her little 
boy in the future would soon arise. Being a woman of 
talent and abihty she had no difficulty in finding a suitable 
occupation, but the disturbing feature was : who would 
nurse Eamonn during her absence ? One day, however, 
as she was revolving the question in her mind a communi 
cation arrived from her brother, Edmund, who was a 
gentleman's steward in Connecticut, to the effect that he 
was about to proceed to Ireland. He had contracted 
malarial fever, and his physician ordered a trip to Ireland 
as the best cure. The thought that she would send Eamonn 
over to Ireland with her brother at once occurred to Mrs. 
de Valera. Her mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth 
Carroll, was still living in the old home at Knockmore, 
Bruree, where her brother, Patrick, kept the natal hearth 
warm. She notified her intentions immediately to Edmund 
and Patrick, and both brothers having approved of her 
plans, arrangements were accordingly made for Eamonn 'a 

18 




(-1 

n 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



transfer to Ireland. It was indeed with great reluctance 
that she parted with her child and sent him to Ireland 
with his uncle. 

Edmiind Coll was a man of powerful physique, standing 
well over six feet in height. His family consisted of seven 
girls and three boys. Two of the boys fought with the 
Americans in France. The third was already on the 
Continent when the war broke out, having gone to Louvain 
to study for the priesthood ; but when this great seat of 
learning was sacked by the Germans, he was lucky enough 
to be away on a holiday in Switzerland. Little the uncle 
thought when crossing the broad Atlantic that one day 
his tiny charge would stand to arms in the cause of liberty — 
for small nations — and for so doing be thus addressed by 
the mighty British Empire : " The sentence of this court- 
martial is that you shall be shot at 6 a.m. on to-morrow 
morning." 

Some time after Edmund Coil's return to America, Mrs. 
de Valera went to live in Rochester, a city which she 
subsequently adopted as her permanent place of abode. 
At the end of seven or eight years she re-married and had 
by this union two children — a boy and a girl. Both were 
handsome children, and bore a marked resemblance to 
their mother. As the little girl grew older she developed 
a delicacy of feeling and a refinement not usually met 
with in a child of her age. George Elliot may have created 
for " Hetty Sorrell " a certain amount of human loveliness, 
but nothing can surpass the sweetness of expression, the 
grace and charm, with which God sometimes endows 
children of tender years whom He decides on taking to 
Himself before their innocence is tarnished by contact 
with a wicked world. These were the impressions left 
on one by Eamonn de Valera's sister, when, at the early 
age of ten years, she departed this life. On Mrs. de Valera's 
re-marriage she became Mrs. Wheelright, and as there was 
only one child by the first union, the death of the little 
girl left her now with two sons only, Eamonn de Valera 
and Thomas Wheelright. In his early schooldays young 

10 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Wheelright displayed marked ability. He experienced 
little difficulty in passing from the elementary to the 
higher schools. All through his school courses he worked 
assiduously with one object in view, to become a member 
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, better 
known as tbe Redemptorists. 
J The two greatest causes for which man can work are 
the love of God and the love of country. The soul that 
sighs alternately under the influence of these two loves 
is a soul pure at its foundation. When Mrs. de Valera 
therefore sent forth two sons to labour she had the happi- 
ness to see one espouse the cause of Freedom in her native 
land, while the other prepared to consecrate his life to 
the service of God in religion. And although the two 
ostensibly devoted their lives to different objects, the spirit 
of the one was in the other. Just one month from the date 
on which Eamonn de Valera's sentence of death Avas com- 
muted to one of penal servitude for life his step-brother 
was ordained a priest in the United States of America. 
Father Wheelright, C.SS.R., is now stationed at Roxboro, 
Mass, where the community has a very fine house. The 
Redemptorist Order, which was founded by St. Alphonsus 
Maria Liguori, in 1732, had no permanent house in America 
until the year 1841, when one was opened at Rochester, 
where the Wheelrights now live. While houses are now 
established in all the big cities of America, Eamonn de 
Valera's mother can point to the fact that her native 
Limerick is celebrated all the world over for its confra- 
ternity, conducted by the Redemptorists. " The miracle 
wTought by the Mother of Perpetual Succour," were the 
terms in which Dr. Butler, Bishop of Limerick, referred 
to this wonderful confraternity, which was founded by 
Father Bridgett, C.SS.R., nearly sixty years ago. In 
political circles much is known about the circumstances 
in which Carroll of Carrollton signed the famous Declara- 
tion of American Independence, but it is not generally 
known that those who succeeded him were, perhaps, the 
Redemptorists' greatest benefactors, the heirs of the Carrolls 

20 




THOMAS WHEELRIGHT. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



of Carrolton having left their entire estate to the Re- 
demptorist Fathers. While Irishmen, therefore, have 
selected Eamonn de Valera to guide their political destinies, 
Irishmen, too, have taken a noble part in forwarding the 
work of the Redemptorist Order of which his step-brother 
— Father VVheelright — is a distinguished member. 

On the 20th April, 1885, Edmund Coll arrived at Bruree 
with his precious charge. Eamonn de Valera was then 
handed over to the care of his uncle — Patrick Coll — who 
from that date took such a glorious part in forming the 
character and guiding the destinies of a soul that required 
but little guidance. It is recalled that as the ship which 
conveyed Edmund Coll and Eamonn de Valera approached 
Cove those on board hummed gleefully the following lines 
by Locke : — 

T'anam o'n diabhal, ach ! But there it is — 

The dawn on the hills of Ireland ; 

God's angels lifting the night's black veil 

From the fair, sweet face of my sireland. 
How rophetic these lines appear if read in the light of 
current events ? The coming of Eamonn de Valera 
certainly signified the dawn of a new era in the history of 
Ireland. And then the line " God's angels lifting the 
night's black veil," seems equally appropriate ; for did 
not that little lad who was present on deck at the humming 
of the song take a noble part in lifting the " dark veil " 
that had hung over Ireland for close on seven and a-half 
centuries ? 

The song went on : — 

" Oh, Ireland, isn't it grand you look, 
Like a bride in her rich adorning. 

With all the pent up love of my heart 
I bid you the top of the morning." 

We may well imagine the joy of all on board as the ship 
drew into harbour, and if Eamonn de Valera — not yet 
three years of age — was unable to give articulate expres- 
sion to the words of Locke's beautiful poem, it is certain 

21 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



that the sentiments contained in the words quoted found 
a response somewhere in a corner of his heart as he saw 
for the first time and saluted Ireland — that Ireland for 
Wiiich he v/as later jarepared to offer up his life. 

After a stay of some months in Ireland, Edmund Coll 
returned to America. His health had much improved as 
a result of his visit, and he returned a new man to his 
former occupation. In due course Eamonn de Valera 
was sent to Bruree national school, and. while he could 
not be described as a precocious boy, nevertheless, from 
the very outset he displayed remarkable qualities both 
as regards intellectual power and perseverance in 
study. His first schoolmaster was John KeUy, a grand 
old man, who lived at Killacolla, about 5 miles from 
Bruree. He was a first-class teacher, intellectual, pains- 
taking, and extremely devout. His zeal for the welfare 
of the children could hardly be surpassed. He was not 
satisfied with a course of training which was mechanically 
arranged to fit a child for a given position in life, just as 
a horse is trained for the Deiby. He had also the child's 
moral and rehgious welfare especially at heart. The 
worldly outlook and the religious outlook were blended to 
such a degree of nicety in his teaching that the children 
brought up under his care could be recognised by an indivi- 
duality of their own. The spirit of prayer permeated the 
schoolroom. Frequently the boys were treated to a lecture 
on the value of a good education. Addressing de Valera 
one day at the head of a class, he said, " You and all good 
boys like you will one day have a bicycle and a grand 
watch and chain." The rod placed menacingty near the 
schoolmaster may serve a very useful purj^ose, but its 
presence rarely conduces to that sense of freedom and love 
of advancement which is likely to be obtained by good 
advice when wisely administered. 

When de Valera was first sent to school he was dressed 
in a beautiful suit of velvet, which gave him a smart and 
bright appearance. On entering tlie schoolroom he was 
asked his name, and replied " de Valera " ; but the 

23 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



schoolmaster could not get nearer to it than " Develeragh." 
The name was repeated again and again, but with no 
better result. Before recording the name in the roll-book 
he called on a young lad named Thomas Mortell, a neigh- 
bour of de Valera's, to spell the name, which he did, and 
thus the first little diiBculty on entering school was 
surmounted. 

After two or three years at school, de Valera commenced 
to show signs of great promise. A contemporary student 
states that when he had mastered the subjects proper to 
his own class, he would penetrate into the higher classes 
in order to obtain information on the subjects studied 
there. There was not a subject taught which he had not 
a desire to become acquainted with. From an ea^rly date 
he excelled in mathematics, and for some time before he 
quitted the national school he was employed teaching this 
subject to boys even in the higher grades. From the age 
of twelve onwards he became still more studious. In the 
evenings he might be seen sitting on the roadside reading 
a book. When taking his meals the book was sure to 
be before him on the table. His uncle states that he had 
a special predeliction for books on adventure. He read 
much about Napoleon, but he seemed to have taken a 
special delight in reading about the Scottish Chiefs, taking 
particular interest in Wallace. In this respect his boy- 
hood taste had a strange similarity to that of the late 
William E. Gladstone, in whose memoirs we read : "I 
think it was about the same time that Miss Porter's Scot- 
tish Chiefs, and especially the life and death of Wallace, 
used to make mc weep profusely." The Three Musketeers,^ 
by Alexander Dumas, was a great favourite of his, so 
niuch so that he could repeat a whole chapter of its con- 
tents without error or hesitation. He had extraordinary 
powers of retention, so far as prose writings which pleased 
him, were concerned. Another book from which he 
derived much pleasure was " The Life of Patrick Sars- 
field." Having a great aptitude for composition and 
essay writing he frequently wrote excellent essays on the 

23 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



books he had read. Extracts from these would, no doubt, 
make interesting reading now, but unfortunately none of 
them has been preserved. A fellow-student who perused 
an essay of his on Sarsfield, remembers having read a 
fiery passage from it aloud, with the result that other 
boys took it up and for days afterwards they could be 
seen at the crossroads or on the top of a fence, posing in 
a dramatic manner and giving forth the words with all 
the elocutionary powers of which they were capable. His 
reading probably found its first reflection in amateur 
theatricals. Here he usually sought the part of an officer 
with girdle and sword, or of a character in which a repre- 
sentation of heroic deeds was required. 

A singular feature of de Valera's youthful mentality 
was the zest with which he attended special sermons in 
the local church. The oratorical powers of the preachers, 
no less than the subject matter of the sermons, greatly 
interested him. It was the practice in Bruree to have 
a special sermon on the feast of St. Munchin, the 
patron saint of the parish. Young de Valera was sure 
to be present on such occasions, and immediately the 
sermon was over he would discuss what he had heard with 
his companions. From what he had heard in a single 
sermon about the life and times of St. Munchin, he would 
argue, debate and cross-examine with a precision of which 
many educated persons, even of mature age, would be 
incapable. 

One day a profesional man, while in conversation with 
a friend in Bruree, noticed a yoimg lad playing close by, 
and being struck by his smart and intelhgent appearance, 
asked who he was. On being told that his name was 
de Valera he expressed surprise, and wished to know more 
about the lad with such a strange name, de Valera was 
called over and plied with question after question. He 
answered with such promptitude and characteristic skill 
that the questioner declared him to be as smart a lad as 
he had ever met in his collegiate or professional career. 

Most people take some interest in games and athletics, 

24 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



but in this respect de Valera was an enthusiast. When 
not engrossed in a book he was found wielding a caman, 
playing football, or testing his capabilities at the hundred 
yards mark. There was no middle course, and no idle 
moment. The late Father Eugene Sheehy, P.P., took a 
keen interest in the Bruree hurlers, and accompanied them 
on many a memorable day to the venue where conclusions 
were tried with the boys from a neighbouring village or 
parish. In these encounters the Bruree team nearly always 
came out victorious, and the return of the wagonettes 
at night was invariably heralded by cheers from the youths 
collected at the cross, which were replied to by those in 
the cars. Amongst those would be found de Valera, 
cheering more wildly and loudly than any. Those were 
glorious days in Bruree. 

His uncle relates how de Valera often returned home 
without the household messages for which he had been 
sent to the village. It might be that on his way back some 
of the hurlers would have met for practice and through 
sheer enthusiasm for the game he would join them, placing 
his messages on the road fence. Oblivious of what was 
happening around him he would hurl away for perhaps 
half an hour or more, onty to find that the household 
messages had meanwhile disappeared. The messages were, 
of course, taken as a practical joke, and after a while found 
their way to their proper destination, but not before de 
Valera had been put through the ordeal of giving an 
explanation. Yet a month later he would do the very 
same again. The smaller games peculiar to school children 
had no fascination for him. At this time he often took 
milk to the creamery for his uncle, and while waiting his 
turn in the queue of factory cars would read a book, 
remaining deaf to all invitations to participate in a game 
of pitch and toss. He could, however, amuse himself in 
other ways. He had, for instance, a hobby which took 
the form of digging for springs. In the long summer's 
evenings after school hours, he and a companion often 
spent hours at this work. It would seem a peculiar 

25 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



method of enjoyment, and indeed an unprofitable one. 
It is said that Father Mathew, who in his youth was some- 
what of an engineer, had similar designs, and that he could 
not see a rill of water running to waste, v/ithout considering 
how it might best be turned to advantage for the use of 
man. No such good purpose is ascribed to de Valera's 
incessant search for deep springs ; still it is difficult to 
thinlc that ho did anything to which a meaning was not 
attached, and perhaps, in these operations he found a 
more soothing relaxation from serious study than might 
be derived from ordinary forms of amusement. In this 
connection his ingenuity displayed itself in a manner 
worth recording. It appears that when he would arrive 
at the field of operations his companion might not have 
arrived and vice versa. In order to obviate the delay thus 
occasioned de Valera constructed, from the various 
materials available, something in the shape of a bell which 
he affixed on the top of a hawthorn tree. To this he 
attached a piece of string. The first to arrive would 
pull the string and the loud metallic sound of the time- 
saving apparatus resounded through the ether, a reminder 
to the absent youth that operations had commenced. 
Evidence is not forthcoming as to whether the ringing 
of this bell annoyed the neighbours. But if the disturbing 
of one's neighbours is a matter worthy of being taken into 
account, distinguished precedents are on record to show 
that this has not always been so. We can quote Mr. 
Lloyd George, de Valera's great adversary, who, in his 
boyhood days, often organised gangs of youths armed 
with tin pots and pans, whom he marched through his 
native village in Wales, creating a noise the intensity of 
which no bell could equal. 

At about the age of 13 de Valera's superior talent began 
to attract attention. At this time Mr. Garrett Hayes, 
brother of Dr. Hayes, T.D. for East Limerick, had replaced 
Mr. John Kelly as schoolmaster. He was so much im- 
pressed by de Valera's outstanding ability that he con- 
sulted Father Liston, then C.C, Bruree, with a view to 

26 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



bringing the lad's intellectual capacity to the notice of 
his uncle — Mr. Patrick Coll. In due course Mr. Coll was 
approached, and, to his everlasting credit, agreed to send 
his nephew forward to a higher school. Mr. Coil's action 
in this respect was all the more commendable when we 
remember that he was possessed of only limited means. 
He was glad to hear such good news of his nephew, and 
though his x^urse was slender — a complaint not uncommon 
in the history of many erudite and distinguished people — 
yet he had sufficient money saved to draw upon for de 
Valera's education, and he willingly drew upon it for this 
purpose. 

Providence could hardly have entrusted de Valera to 
the care of a more amiable and ingenuous man than Patrick 
Coll. He stands 6 feet 4 inches in height, is dignified, 
graceful, and possessed of an intellectual power that if 
properly cultivated would have left a mark on Irish history. 
He served as a member of the Kilmallock Board of 
Guardians for three successive terms, or nine years in all, 
and is well known in political circles in Limerick and other 
parts of Munster. He took an active part in the Labour 
Movement, delivering addresses at many meetings pro- 
moted under its auspices. Up to the rising in 1916 he 
was politically on the side of Mi. William O'Brien. Mr. 
Coll states that poHtics were anathema to de Valera in 
his young days. Neighbours often dropped in to I\Ir. 
Coll for a chat, and it not infrequently happened that a 
lively discussion arose on the respective merits of the 
various political leaders of the time, de Valera would 
read a book during these discussions. Whenever an appeal 
was made to him on any particular point, he would reply 
with reluctance, and then, like Athos, only when asked 
twice. Yet while he refrahied from joining in these 
political arguments, it may be assumed that, at this 
receptive age he imbibed much information from what he 
heard going on around him. When de Valera was still 
a child Patrick Coll married, his wife's maiden name being 
Catherine Dillon. There were three children of this 
marriage — one boy named Patrick, and two girls, Elizabeth 

27 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



and Mary. As they all grew up together, de Valera having 
the advantage in years, they made a very happy family. 
A harsh expression was hardly ever heard within the portals 
of that house. There was no welcome for people who 
habitually drag coarse language into their conversations, 
and such people never found sanctuary there. 

Bruree, the scene of De Valera's boyhood days, is a 
place of much historical interest. Brugh signifies a palace 
or distinguished residence. This term was applied to many 
Royal residences in Ireland, and Bruree is a characteristic 
example. Its proper name, as found in many Irish authori- 
ties, is Brugh Righ, the fort or palace of the King ; for it 
was the principal seat of Oilioll Olum, King of Munster, 
in the second century, and afterwards of the 'Donovans, 
Chiefsof HyCarbery,t.e.,of the level country around Bruree. 
In the Book of Rights it is mentioned first in the list of 
seats of the King of Cashel, and there are still remaining 
extensive earthen forts, the ruins of the ancient Brugh. 
These forts, of such antiquarian interest, had a great 
attraction for de Valera. After a hard day's work at 
school, and later when home on holidays from college, 
he spent his spare moments hunting and shooting around 
these historic places. He knew their history and could 
discuss with ease anything from the supposed origin of 
the most isolated fort to the traditional story of how 
'Donovan's daughter threw two of her father's officers 
from the top window of the castle into the river below. 

Mr. Coll lost no time in making the necessary arrange- 
ments for de Valera's transfer to Charleville — now Rath- 
luirc. Apart from the accounts the schoolmaster had 
brought him, his own observations from day to day caused 
him to look upon his nephew as a lad of clear mind and 
understanding. Those who knew him well as he grew 
up say that he was a very pious boy, and this coupled 
with the intelligence and oratorical powers displayed in 
manhood, would indicate that had he embraced the 
ecclesiastical state, as M^as not unlikely at one time, he 
would have become one of the most distinguislied ornaments 
of the Church. Though somewhat reserved in the presence 

28 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



of strangers he was very communicative in the company 
of those with whom he had a better acquaintance, a trait 
of which Mr. Coll showed his appreciation by taking him 
occasionally for a Avalk after school hours. Their course 
usually lay along the banks of the Maigue — that beautiful 
little stream made historic by Aubrey de Vere — and as 
he assisted de Valera over the fences and through the 
whitethorn hedges which flourish in great luxuriance in 
those parts, Mr. Coll would have to answer innumerable 
questions. The information sought for on such occasions 
was indeed varied and complex. The verdant fields 
studded here and there with sheep ; the cattle browsing 
in the rich pasture ; the blackberry bushes ; the fluttering 
of the birds ; the swift and sudden movement of the 
minnows — all these called forth a constant stream of 
questions. One day he asked : " Why does that river 
not run straight ? " and Mr. Coll looked puzzled for a 
moment. Yet he explained the matter in a fitting manner, 
for he understood that it would be unwise to turn down 
abruptly questions put by an intelligent youth. The 
excellent opinions which Mr. Coll had formed of his nephew, 
together with the favourable school report, induced him 
to expedite the arrangements he had on hand, and every- 
thing being ready, de Valera entered the Christian Brothers' 
School at Rathluirc, on the 2nd November, 1896. 

The distance from Knockmore to Rathluirc is about 
6 miles, and as there was a convenient train available 
in the mornings he usually travelled by that means, re- 
turning home at night by road, sometimes on foot, and 
sometimes in the company of fellow- students from the 
neighbourhood of Bruree, who had their own conveyances. 
The return train was not due to leave Rathluirc for three 
hours after school had finished, and such a long wait was 
intolerable for a boy who felt that he required all the time 
at his disposal for his educational and sportive j)ursuits. 
Hence he frequently walked the journey homewards, and he 
very often had his evening exercises completed by the 
time the train, which passed within a few hundred yards 
of his house, arrived on its way to Limerick. It is related, 

29 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



that on one occasion when walking home he came upon 
two national school boys who were belabouring one another 
in a lonely part of the road, and there being no seconds 
present, it looked as if the fight would not end until one 
of the two became hors de combat. As is usual with school- 
boys, they were fighting over some trivial affair, de 
Valera separated the combatants, ascertained the cause 
of the trouble, adjudicated, and then sent both boys home 
pleased. One of these, who has since become a distin- 
guished clergyman, expressed his deep gratitude to de 
Valera for his timely intervention, having perhaps, by 
that time good reason for thinking how much easier it 
is to enter into a quarrel than to get out of it. 

De Valera appears to have worked very hard during 
his term at the Christian Brothers' School, for he was not 
long -there when he secured a scholarship value for £60. 
In this respect he appears to have borne in mind Voltaire's 
dictum that " waste of time is the most fatal kind of 
extravagance of which one can be guilty." Brother R. J. 
Prenderville was Superior at the time, and from the very 
beginning was pleased with his student, as he well might be, 
for de Valera was punctual, diligent and attentive to his 
work ; qualities usually appreciated b}'^ teachers. It is 
said that the same qualities were apparent in Archbishop 
Mannix, who was educated at the same school, and who 
later on became de Valera's most faithful friend and 
supporter in the battle for Irish freedom. 

After leaving Rathluirc de Valera went direct to Black- 
rock College, Dublin, and not to Mungret College, Limerick, 
as a copy of the register would indicate.* 

•COPY OF REGISTER, CIIRirSTIAN BROS.' SCHOOL, CHARLEVILLE. 



No. 


Date 


Pupil's 
Name 


Birth 


Residence 


Occupa- 

pation 

of 

parent or 

guardian 


Date 

of 

leaving 


Remark 


343 


2/11/96 


Edward 
de Valera 


1882 


Bruree 


Farmer 


AuRiist, 
1898 


Went to 
Mungret 



30 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



:^ It would seem, however, that he had intended becoming 
a student at Mungret, for apphcation was made to that 
college on his behalf. At Blackrock College he read a 
most brilhant Intermediate and University course, taking 
exhibitions all along the line. Here is the story of his 
College career as it was told by the Rev. N. J. Bremian, 
B.A., C.S.Sp., President of the College :— 

" ^Ir. de Valera read a brilliant Intermediate and 
University course, and led at several public examina- 
tions one of the most successful classes that ever 
passed through the College. His University record 
was particularly creditable, when it is borne in mind 
that it was made while he was engaged for some hours 
daily as junior master in the Intermediate College. 

So marked was his success in this department that 
he was soon entrusted with the higher classes, and on 
th (tPrnf PHsorsh ip of Mathematics and Physics becoming 
vacant in Rockwell he was immediately appointed. 
He had charge of the Honours Senior Grade and the 
Honours University classes in Mathematics and 
Physics. One of his pupils got first Mathematical 
exhibition in the senior grade. Several got honours 
and all were remarkably successful." 

On leaving Rockwell he was appointed Professor 
of Mathematics in the Training College, Carysfort, 
where his work was characterised by the same energy, 
zeal, abiUty and success which marked it in Rock- 
well. As a lecturer on the Mathematical Honour 
courses of the R.U.I, he was very much sought after, 
and it was noteworthy that for a number of j^ears 
several of the candidates who obtained outstanding 
distinctions in the University examinations were his 
pupils. He was devoted to learning and was 
extremely popular both in the classroom and the 
athletic field." 

De Valera graduated at the Royal University while 
holding a scholarship in Mathematical Science. After 

31 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



obtaining his degree he taught at University College, 
Stephen's Green, where he read for the M.A. degree, 
attending lectures in Mathematics and Mathematical 
Physics. The duties connected with his official position 
at the Training College, Carysfort, finally necessitated, 
however, the jiostponement of his M.A. examination. 
This was much to be regretted, for Professor A. W. Conway, 
under whom he studied, stated that he was well up to 
M.A. standard in these subjects, his mathematical abilities 
being of a very high order. Professor Conway was indeed 
much impressed by his great brilliancy and originality. 

During the session 1909-1910, he attended M.A. lectures 
in philosophy at University College. Here in the course 
of his study of Higher Mathematics he had become in- 
terested in the metaphysical aspect and treatment of certain 
mathematical conceptions, so that his attendance was 
primarily in the pursuit of his own distinctive researches. 
He also attended M.A. lectures in Geometry and modern 
analysis given by Prof. MacWeeny, who like all those 
with whom he came in contact, described him as an able 
student and an energetic worker. We have seen how 
when a little boy at the national school, Bruree, he used 
to penetrate into the higher classes in order to become 
acquainted with the subjects taught there. Similarly, 
after having obtained his degree in 1904, he endeavoured 
to extend his knowledge in all matters appertaining to 
education. Thus he studied several branches of Mathe- 
matical and Physical Science under the guidance of Pro- 
fessors Conway and MacWeeny ; he studied the meta- 
physical side of the principles of Mathematics Avith Pro- 
fessor Magennis ; and he took courses in the theoretical 
and philosophical side of education with Professor T. 
Corcoran, S.J. Then again he attended courses in Irish 
and the " direct method " of teaching it at the Leinster 
College of Irish. At University College he at the same 
time went deeply into the subject of Quaternions, prose- 
cuting important original research in them which j)roved 
to be of considerable interest. Apart from the deep know- 

32 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



ledge of the languages — Latin, Greek, French, etc., — which 
he acquired, the fact that he took several courses of lectures 
in Spectroscopy, Astro-physics and Electro-optics, with 
Professor Edmund Whittaker, Sc.D.F.R.S., Royal Astro- 
nomer of Ireland, will go to show the wide range of his 
subjects. It is said that the Astronomer Royal was much im- 
pressed with the intellectual vigour with which he interested 
himself in the most difficult problems of Natural Philosophy. 

De Valera is a B.A. and a B.Sc, R.U.I., but Professor 
WiUiam Magennis tells us that his many and varied attain- 
ments were not adequately represented by his academic 
distinctions. He displayed energy and ability in every 
sphere of life upon which he entered not merely as a student 
and a teacher, but, as we shall see in a later chapter, as a 
fighter and politician. 

Besides the scholarship de Valera won six exhibitions 
in his Intermediate and University course with aggregate 
marks, getting sixth highest in Arts 1. He got second 
place in Mathematics in Arts 2. His superiority in Mathe- 
matics recalls some of Ireland's leaders in the past, particu- 
larly Robert Emmet, whose talents lay in the same direc- 
tion. Emmet entered Trinity College at the age of 16, 
and at once showed great aptitude for this subject, eclipsing 
many students of more mature years and longer standing 
at the college. If we view Emmet and de Valera on the 
same pedestal a strange likeness presents itseK. In 
scholarship, in eloquence, in patriotism and in love of 
truth and justice, the soul of one would seem to be mirrored 
in that of the other. " Truth," said Plutarch, " is the 
greatest good that man can conceive and the goodliest 
blessing that God can bestow." The man who has not 
truth and justice for his motto cannot hoj^e for the reward 
that history metes out : nor can a man lacking these 
qualities expect more than a temporary triumph in his 
own generation. This gift of truth and justice seems to 
have been the controlling passion with all of Ireland's 
martyrs, and the legacy thus bequeathed is, or ought to 
be, as sacred to us as the cause for which those heroes died. 

33 l> 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



De Valera was extremely successful as a teacher. We 
have evidence of this not alone in the fact that his services 
were sought in nearly all the University Colleges in the 
City of Dublin, but in the distinctions obtained by his 
pupils. At Holy Cross College, Clonliffe, several members 
of his matriculation classes were awarded honours in the 
subjects he taught, one getting the first place. The same 
student later inider his teaching received a first-class 
scholarship in Mathematical Science and the first place 
in Mathematics in the first University examination. 
Speaking of him later, the Very Rev. J. J. Canon Dunne, 
v/ President of the College, said that his success as a teacher 
was due to the admirable care, punctuality and zeal with 
which he devoted himself to the work, as well as to the 
great knowledge he possessed of the subject matter. He 
taught successfully at Belvedere College, S.J., and at 
Rockwell College he had charge of the higher mathematical 
courses in the Intermediate and University classes. His 
class at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, where he tem- 
porarily substituted the Rev. Dr. Browne, an able advocate 
of Sinn Fein, contained many distinguished scholars. At 
the Dominican College, Eccles Street, Dublin, where he 
was engaged until the disestablishment of the Royal 
University, he was, in the words of the Prioress, " punctual, 
painstaking, and exceptionally lucid in his explanations 
of the various subjects to his pupils." 
"^The loss of de Valera to the teaching profession, when 
called away to fill the highest position in the gift of his 
country, was immeasurable, and nowhere, jDerhaps, were 
his services so seriously missed as at the Training College, 
Carysfort Park, to which he was attached for a longer 
period than to any of the other Colleges. Here, as the 
reader has already learned, he taught mathematics, and 
his explanations were so clear and so interesting and he 
was such a perfect master of his subject, that he arrested 
the attention of one hundred students with the greatest 
ease. It is interesting to note what Sister M. Malachy, 
Vice Principal, has to say about him : 

34 




I'hot,, h,i\ EAMONN DE VALERA. 

at the age of twenty-two. 



\ Jyfif(/i/i'tti'. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



" It was our privilege to have Mr. de Valera as 

Professor of Mathematics in our College from 

September, 1906 until the v/eek before the Rebelhon, 

after which he did not return. Even while here his 

worth was manifest and he was thoroughly appreciated 

by each and all of us. His devotedness to duty and 

his manly piety were an example to all in the college." 

It may be of interest to young agriculturists if we give 

here one of seven problems set by de Valera to first year 

students at Car3'sfort Park, in October, 1906 : 

" One hundred persons combine to buy a cow for 
£15, each contributing equally. If she yields an 
average of three gallons of milk jier day for seven 
months (210 days say), the a,verage price of milk 
during the time being 3d. per quart, what should 
each contributor receive altogether supposing the 
cow is sold at the end of seven months for £16, and 
that fodder, etc., during the time has cost £6. What 
is the gain per cent., and what rate per cent, per 
annum interest does each contributor receive ? " 

Or our lady readers may be interested in one set to 
second year students on the same occasion : 

" At what price should a jeweller label a bracelet 
which has cost him ten guineas, if he proposes giving 
a discount of 20 per cent, for cash and still wishes to 
gain 20 per cent. ? If it is ten months on his hands 
before sale, what rate per cent, per annum interest 
does he receive ? " 

In addition to his other educational activities de Valera 
held the posts of Examiner in Mathematics, Intermediate 
Education Board ; Examiner in Irish, Royal College of 
Physicians and Surgeons ; and Examiner in Physics, 
National University of Ireland. In the whole course of 
the happy and even flow of his educational career 
the one and only place in which he found a disturbino- 
feature was Trinity College. The antonym of Sir Edward 
Grey's " one bright spot " best indicates the position 

35 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Trinity held in the eyes of young Irishmen of Cathohc 
or patriotic stock. De Valera felt very uncomfortable 
there, and were it not for the good offices of a certain 
Professor he would have reaped but little benefit from 
his connection with that institution. The noble Wolfe 
Tone tells us in his autobiography that " it was much 
against his grain that he continued his studies at Trinity." 
Even Dr. Douglas Hyde regarded himself there "as an 
alien in a hostile place." De Valera's feelings, therefore, 
only accorded with what its history might lead us to 
expect. There are many people, of course, to whom 
prejudices are concrete facts, but in the case of Trinity 
the anti-Irish spirit which pervaded the atmosphere of 
that College chilled the hearts of more men than Tone, 
Hyde, and de Valera. It is doubtful if Aristotle, who, we 
are told, " besides his other extraordinary talents had the 
art of insinuating himself into the affections of those he 
conversed with," would have been a success in Trinity 
under similar circumstances. 

During his College career de Valera spent most of his 
holidays in Brurce. While he still enjoyed Gaehc games 
such as hurling and football, he did not practise these 
very much during his visits, but instead took to shooting, 
a pastime which besides pleasure and exercise brought him 
no little profit, for he was a good shot. There was little 
in the mechanism of a gun that he did not understand. 
It was noted that he had a different fowling-piece each 
time he returned to Bruree, and the last was always sure 
to be superior in some respect to the former. His love for 
firearms was something akin to the love of the Arab for 
his steed. He was once heard to remark : " I am afraid 
I shall be a soldier, I have such a love for guns." He 
usually found plenty of sport to the north and north-east 
of Bruree. Looking down from Knockmore Hill or from 
Clogher HiU on a summer evening one might observe small 
puffs of smoke rising here and there, and in the immediate 
vicinity a tall, athletic figure moving swiftly forward. 
This was de Valera. He had probably bagged a snipe, 

36 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



or a duck, or perhaps he was following up a new trail, 
but it was dc Valera, for his tall, thin tigure, silhouetted 
against the high fields beyond could not be mistaken. 

Shooting is an exquisite pastime in this locahty. A small 
stream known as the " Brook " winds its way through the 
townlands of Dromin, Clogher and Howardstown, entering 
the Maigue a few miles to the north of Bruree. This 
stream and its basin abound in snipe and duck. Par- 
tridges are to be found in the fallow fields, with an 
occasional pheasant, the rarity of this bird making the 
search all the more interesting. Grouse is not 
to be found, except for a stray bird from the preserves 
atBallyhoura — a mountain range about eight miles distant. 
De Valera had, therefore, ample opportunities for enjoying 
a good day's shooting, and although there was splendid 
salmon and trout fishing available, the sport of the angler 
was unable to divert him from the gun. 

That indefatigable search after knowledge, of which 
we have already spoken, did not remain in abeyance even 
during these outings, for we find him keeping touch with 
a casual acquaintance upon whose store of Irish he placed 
much value. When a little boy he picked up many words 
of Irish from his grandmother, and having enlarged his 
vocabulary at school he found it beneficial to put into 
practice what he knew, by conversing, as far as 
possible, with persons who were able to respond and 
merely exchanging the salutations with those who had 
no better knowledge. In this way he gained the friend- 
ship of an old shoemaker from Bruree who proved to be 
a fluent Irish speaker. The shoemaker was well nigh 
one hundred years of age, but looked as fresh as a man 
of sixty. He was a fine story-teller, and the freshness 
and charm of his anecdotes appealed to de Valera, who 
always enjoyed his conversation. He had one fault, 
however ; he spoke 19 to the dozen, hke Matroyona — 
the wife of Simon— in one of Count Tolstoy's tales. Never- 
theless, de Valera extracted much information from him, 
and what was more important he acquired the correct 






37 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



bias. The shoemaker became a frequent caller at Mr. 
Coil's house, flattered, no doubt, at the amount 
of attention his superior knowledge of the language 
attracted. De Valera, too, had the quality — rare 
nowadays — of being able to economise his speech, which 
was pleasing to the shoemaker, from whom, Avhen not 
interrupted, a wealth of charming stories and anecdotes 
poured out in an even flow like milk from a pail. Desmond 
Ryan also speaks of the grey -haired Seanchaidhc, who was 
Pearse's truest teacher ; but with the exception of Pearse, 
de Valera, and the other enthusiastic workers in the Gaelic 
League movement, the people did not appear to realise 
the treasures they possessed in those grand old men and 
women. At one time it looked as if the tide of anglicization 
would have swamped young and old, and the onward rush 
was so great that the Gaehc League would hardly have 
succeeded in stemming it, were it not for the fact that its 
more ardent members became merged in Sinn Fein, thus 
bringing to strength and maturity a movement that at 
one stroke rescued the soul of Ireland from a fate shameful 
to contemplate. 

It was when in pursuit of his Irish studies that De 
Valera first met the late Roger Casement. This memor- 
able meeting took place at the Irish College, Twain, Tour- 
macrcady, Co. Galwaj^, and from the beginning a warm 
friendship sprung up between them which continued until 
that valued hfe, ever devoted to the regeneration of the 
oppressed and the downtrodden, wr.s suddenly cut short 
on an English scaflold ; for this was the reward meted 
out to Roger Casement for his services to humanity. 
De Valera had charge of the Irish College at Twain for 
a while. One should really become a student at one of 
these Colleges to understand thoroughly the warmth of 
the enthusiasm, of the patriotism, of the fervour and 
hospitality of those lovers of the language and of 
Ireland who assemble there. The discussions in Irish, 
the chat over the tea-cup in Irish, the prayers in Irish — ■ 
all combined — would force one to behove that the soul of 

38 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Ireland was within those walls, and that the rest of the 
comitry was an English Pale. Here in Twain, and else- 
where, de Valera and Roger Casement collaborated in 
the Gaehc revival movement, and it is sad to think that 
the extension of this collaboration to the free and in- 
dependent counsels of the Dail should have been prevented 
by the hand of an English executioner. 



39 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 




CHAPTER HI. 

^N the summer of 1907, while de Valera was 
still at Blackrock College, his mother visited 
Ireland for the purpose of taking him back 
to America. She thought that there were 
better opportunities for him in the New 
World, and, indeed, she had good reasons 
for so thinking, for when she left Ireland in 1879, coercion 
acts, imprisonments, rackrenting and multifarious milder 
forms of aggression occupied the minds of the governing 
classes to the complete neglect of the rights of the people. 
De Valera had, however, now won his way through the 
various schools and colleges, and having an educational 
career mapped out for himself did not wish to interrupt 
it. He was, moreover, pleased with his surroundings and 
was not anxious for a change. He felt, too, that his position 
in life was assured. Education was his forte, and he had, 
perhaps, the same determination to succeed as that which 
prompted Daniel O'Connell to rcmarlc : " Though nature 
has given me subordinate talents, I never will be satisfied 
with a subordinate situation in my profession." He put 
the matter in this light before his mother, whom he had 
little difficulty in convincing of the fact that there was 
much more to be gained by remaining in Ireland than by 
returning with her to the United States of America. She 
agreed therefore that he should continue his studies and 
professorial duties in Dublin. This decision was, indeed, 
a momentous one, not alone for de Valera himself but 
for Ireland also. IMomentous decisions sometimes occur 
within the ambit of all our lives, but it is only he who 
accepts, and not he who resists, the interposition of the 

40 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



higher power behind them that can hope to reach the 
final goal. 

De Valera's mother was accompanied to Ireland by her 
second son, now Father Wheelright, and after having spent 
a few months at Knockmore, Bruree, returned to America. 
She now resides with her husband in the City of Rochester, 
New York, in which city a sister of hers — ]\'Irs. Patrick 
Connolly — has also been resident for manj^ years. 

In 1912 de Valera was a candidate for the chair of 
Mathematical Physics, University College, Cork /a position 
he would, no doubt, have filled with distinction had he 
been appointed, but a poll taken between himself and 
another candidate — the President's nominee — resulted in 
a tie. Sir Bertram Windle was President of the College 
at the time, and each of the Munster County Councils 
had a representative on the Governing Body. De Valera 
put forward excellent credentials, but many of the County 
Council representatives at that time were not disposed 
to give due weight to credentials — if they gave any at all — 
hence the result. But even under these conditions he 
would have won had the County Limerick representative, 
who recognised his worth, attended the meeting. It was 
said that he missed the train at Kilmallock by just one 
minute. At any rate his absence was responsible for the 
position going to the President's nominee ; for the appoint- 
ment was then transferred to the Senate, and on the 
advice of his friends de Valera decHned to further contest 
the matter. Had de Valera won, it is to be assumed that 
he would have been in Cork and not in Dublin during the 
stirring weel^s leading up to the RebelHon. How would 
this have affected his future career ? It is certain that 
wherever domiciled he would have been a Volimteer, but 
would he have had the same opportunities of distinguishing 
himself in Cork that he had in DubUn ? Greatness often 
depends on our being in a position to avail of the oppor- 
tunities that come our way and taking advantage of them. 
It is indeed strange what a trifling incident will sometimes 
change a man's whole career. Wolfe Tone had once 

41 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



determined on going off to India, but he missed the last 
boat. By the time the next boat was due to sail he had 
changed his plans. Thus our Annals were near being shorn 
of a glorious name and our history of a glorious page. 

At the very time that de Valera was seeking this appoint- 
ment at Cork political events in Ireland were taking new 
shape. Sir Edward C*arson had now decided upon forming 
an Ulster Volunteer Force, with the avowed object of 
defeating the Home Rule Bill which Tvlr. Asquith was then 
piloting through the English House of Commons. Civil 
war was hinted at and rebelUon threatened from many 
platforms on which Sir Edward was supported by pro- 
minent Enghshmen, all of whom were imbued with the 
old spirit of intolerance. Army officers of various ranks, 
secretly and otherwise, declared their adhesion to the new 
movement, and not a few generals were willing to give 
their aid in any emergency. In the meantime, British 
diplomacy drew from IVlr. John Redmond a tacit approval 
of the Government's objects — the partition of Ireland — 
in which he later acquiesced to the full extent required. 
Such, briefly, was the jDolitical outlook when the fu'st 
enrolment of the Irish Volunteers took place in DubUn 
on the 25th November, 1913. In the beginning the Irish 
Party and some of its supporters looked askance at the 
new movement. Yet volunteers were being enrolled by 
the thousand. They could be seen di-illing in the parks 
and greens, in the country roads and suburban areas, 
whilst the Government and the Irish Party looked on with 
subdued amazement. In the North Sir Edward Carson 
and his supporters became still more outspoken in their 
defiance of the Government, and when in INIarch, 1914, 
troops were ordered to the North the ignominious affair 
known as the " Curragh Mutiny " took place. The echoes 
of this event had hardly died away when the great gun- 
running coup at Larne was effected with great pomp and 
eclat ; the weakness or connivance of the Liberal Govern- 
ment having filled the Orange leaders with ideas of some- 
thing more than ephemeral power. De Valera was now 

42 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



an energetic Volunteer, as were almost all those who were 
active members of the Gaelic League. Whilst the north 
threatened and the Irish Volunteers continued to drill 
and grow in numbers, Mr. Redmond, seein.g the power and 
influence of the new organisation, endeavoured to obtain 
control of it. He demanded pcrmi.-sion to nominate to 
the Provisional Committee of the Volunteers 25 members 
of his own choosing, and rather than disrupt the movement 
at this particular juncture, many well-founded objections 
to the proposal were waived. But when later on he 
attempted to commit the Volunteers to a policy not con- 
templated or sanctioned, either by the Provisional Com- 
mittee or the Volunteers themsehxs, a break occurred ; 
and thenceforward the movement followed its own course, 
untrammelled by party interest or control. De Valera 
was not a member of the Provisional Committee, but he 
was an oi'ficer in one of the Dubhn Battalions, when the 
manifesto reaffirming the original objects of the Volunteers, 
viz. : "To secure and maintain the rights and liberties 
common to all the people of Ireland," was issued on the 
24th September, 1914. Since the issue of this manifesto 
made secure the foundation stone upon which the events 
of 1916 were built and upon which de Valera continued 
to work, it is only just that the names of those who signed 
it should be reproduced here. They were as follows : — 

Eoin MacNeill (Chairman, Provisional Committee), 
The O'Rahilly (Treasurer, Provisional Committee), 
Thomas MacDonagh, Piaras Beaslai, Joseph 
Plunkett, P. P. Macken, M. J. Judge, P. H. Pearse, 
Sean MacGiobuin, Bulmor Hobson, Padraic O'Ryan, 
Eamon Martin, Con Colbert, Eamonn Ceannt, Sean 
MacDermott, Seamus O'Connor, Liam Mellows, 
L. C. O'Loughhn, Liam Goggin, Peter White, 

As an officer of the Irish Volunteers, de Valera took 
an important part in the landing of arms and ammunition 
at Howth on Sunday, 26th July, 1914, and he narrowly 
escaped being wounded when, as the Volunteers reached 

43 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Clontarf on their return to Dublin, the Assistant-Com- 
missioner of Pohce with over 150 men, supported by a 
company of soldiers, endeavoured to intercept their pro- 
gress. The police made an attempt to seize the arms, 
but failed, the Volunteers getting clear away with the loss 
of but a few rifles ; and when the tragic shooting at 
Bachelor's Walk occurred, all the officers and men were 
in their respective homes. From this onward de Valera 
became more and more proficient in the duties allotted to 
him, and when, in 1915, a big concentration and review 
of Volunteers took place in Limerick, he was second in 
command to P. H. Pearse. He also took a prominent part 
in the 'Donovan Rossa funeral arrangements ; the 
efficient manner in which he carried out his part of the 
programme calling forth many encomiums from those 
with whom he was associated. As j^et his name had not 
come to the notice of the Press, for like many more of the 
heroes brought to light bj^ the rising of 1916, he evinced 
no desire for publicity. After this he took part in no 
other public event of importance until the month before 
the rising, when an incident occurred at a great St. Patrick's 
Day demonstration, that caused the Dublin Castle officials 
to think more seriously still of the type of men that now 
confronted them, and were soon to contest their authority. 
It appears that Lord Powerscourt, who it was beheved had 
been sent from the Castle to view the parade and report, 
endeavoured to cross the Volunteer Unes at a point where 
de Valera was in charge. He was instantly refused per- 
mission, and this not being to his liking, as his words will 
indicate, he remarked : " This damn thrash would not 
be tolerated in any other country in the world." De 
Valera replied firmly, that if the military were marching 
he, or his fellow-coiintrymen, would not be allowed to 
pass. It was no trifling matter to cross the path of a noble 
lord in those days of Dublin Castle supremac3^ 

De Valera certainly possessed all the qualities befitting 
an officer of the Volunteers. Besides being a fluent Irish 
speaker, he was brave, manly and upright ; and there 

44 




PATRICK CCLL. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



was ample proof that he was not the man to quail in the 
hour of danger ; nor was he likely to be misled by osten- 
tatious displays on the part of his opponents, or by the 
sweet coquetry of pretending friends. He seems to have 
taken after the Colls in stature as well as in brain power, 
for he stands well over 6 feet in height. His featm-es are 
tliin, but the fine forehead and penetrating eyes of a hght 
brown give an impression of immense strength, whether 
one thinks of him in the athletic ground or on the battle- 
field, or in the council chamber. Charles Bassaun once 
summed up the character of Marshal Petain of France 
in these words : "In his iron frame there is a soul of steel. 
The face gives an impression of intelhgence and cold 
strength, but he has a warm and generous heart." If he 
were writing of Eamonn de Valera he need not have 
altered a single comma. 

We can now, perhaps, visualise to some degree the type 
of man the English had to meet, when on Easter Monday 
De Valera shouldered his rifle and led his men through the 
streets of DubUn to the pre-arranged battle-ground. For 
many weeks before the rising he was in close touch with 
aU the leaders — MacNeill, Pearse, MacDonagh and the 
rest : and on the Friday preceding Easter Week he v/as 
one of the first to learn of Sir Roger Casement's arrest 
on the Kerry coast. Roger Casement had gone on a 
Sinn Fein mission to America whence he proceeded to 
Germany, where his diplomatic skill quickly enabled him 
to gain friends at Court. He soon succeeded in gaining 
a hearing for Ireland, and in due course the Germans 
fitted out a ship with guns, ammunition and men, which, 
however, did not reach its destination, being overhauled 
by a British cruiser on nearing the Irish coast. As the 
World War raged fiercely at this time the British would 
have been glad, too, to lay hold of the war material carried, 
but the captain of the ship had his orders — he blew her up 
as she was being towed a prisoner to Cove. In the mean- 
time Casement, who had landed from a submarine, 
was captured, more or less accidentally, while resting in 

45 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



an old fort/. Had this enterprise succeeded it is a matter 
for conjecture what shape subsequent events in Ireland 
would have taken. As matters stood the mishap created 
a slight flutter in the inner counsels at Dublin, but this 
was not discernible abroad. On Easter (Sunday Eoin 
MacXeill sent instructions directing the men to disperse. 
De Valera received these instructions, obeyed them and 
notified MacNeill to that etTect. The news from Kerry 
was certainly disheartening, but it did not cause that 
dismay that one might be Inclined to expect in the circum- 
stances. There was, no doubt, a conflict of opinion for 
the moment, but this completely disappeared on Monday 
morning when all ranks lined up for action. The hour for 
battle had now arrived. When the signal came at about 
noon de Valera was at his post. He was commandant 
of the Ringsend to Mount Street area, which included 
Boland's Mills, and during the operations he set up a 
strenuous fight which lasted long after the collapse of the 
G.P.O. In this area the fighting was fiercest, there 
being many casualties amongst the Sherwood Foresters, 
who were unable to make the slightest advance from one 
point for a whole day. In one of their positions, a sniper 
gave the Volunteers much trouble. All attempts to locate 
him having failed, a message was sent to de Valera, who 
quickly arrived on the scene. With the aid of glasses 
he soon detected a soldier hidden away in the ivy near 
a chimney stack, from which point a dangerous fire was 
directed on the Volunteer position. De Valera pointed 
him out to two of his men, and giving a hand himself, the 
sniper was not heard of again. At about the same time 
de Valera performed what was considered a very clever 
piece of tactics. Outside de Valera's position and within 
view of the Bay there was a distillery which he feared the 
enemy might occupy. This, which would give the opposing 
forces a certain advantage, he was iinable to prevent by 
force of arms. After a short study of the situation he 
decided on pretending to occupy the distillery himself 
in order, if possible, to draw the fire of the boats which 

46 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



were within range, on the building. With this object in 
view he flew the tricolour from the roof during the day 
and had the windows ht up at night, giving an impres- 
sion of much activity in this quarter. He had not long 
to wait. The building was bombarded by heavy guns 
from the bay and it soon crumbled to the ground. De 
Valera thus got the enemy to accomphsh for him what he 
himself was imable to do. He had under his command 
about one hundred of the nine hundred men in the fight, 
and with this number it may be assumed that he fought 
his due proportion of the 40,000 British soldiers engaged. 

De Valera was the last of the commandants to surren- 
der, not lajdng down his arms until Sunday, April 30th. 
Even then his men were in splendid fighting form ; his posi- 
tion was well organised, and he was fully prepared to 
continue the struggle, until the order to surrender reached 
him from the Commandant-General. When he received 
this order from P. H. Pearse on Sunday morning he at first 
refused to beUeve it was genuine, but having satisfied 
himself as to its authenticity, and regarding it as an 
order, he yielded. 

Here is how Dr. Myles Keogh describes the opening 
parley : " Two men came out of the Poor Law Dispensary 
opposite Sir Patrick Dun's Hospital. One was a military 
cadet — a prisoner — and the other was de Valera. 

' Hullo ! ' cried de Valera. 

' Who are you ? ' said the officer. 

' I am de Valera.' 

' And I am a prisoner,' shouted the other." 

After the surrender, the first thing de Valera did was 
to demand fair treatment for his men. Addressing the 
officer in a tone that sounded more of victory than of 
defeat, he said : " Do what you Hke with me, but I demand 
proper treatment for my men." Previous to the fight 
he made a careful study of tactics, his mathematical 
training enabling him to absorb mihtary works with great 
ease, and when the real conflict came he displayed remark- 
able abilit}' in putting into practice what he had learned ; 

47 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



he was urged o», too, by the justice of his cause. There 
is no man so brave as the man whose courage is built on 
the sohd rock of right and justice. The banner on which 
these words are inscribed and retained in their purity, 
cannot be denied ultimate victory. The Brothers Sheares 
saw right and justice in the French Revolution. The 
thought of their own tyrannical rulers made them even 
long for a replica of such an event in Ireland. On the 
way back from France one of them remarked in the course 
of a discussion, that they had witnessed the execution 
of King Louis, and that they had obtained a good view. 
" But in God's name how could you endure to witness 
such a spectacle ? " asked an Enghshman. " From love 
of the cause," replied John, promptly. Filled with a 
sense of right and justice we can, therefore, endure any- 
thing, and thus it has been with Irishmen down through 
the long ages — down to de Valera and his brave comrades. 
For his part in the rebelHon de Valera was sentenced 
to death. This sentence was subsequently commuted to 
one of penal servitude for hfe. There are doubts as to 
whether this was due to his American citizenship, or to 
the fact that he was the last commandant to surrender. 
The length of the fight until well into Sundaj^ certainly 
put back his court-martial until prisoners taken earlier 
had been dealt with, and by the time his turn came there 
was a general outcry against the number and brutality 
of the executions that had already taken place. He was 
immediately deported to England, with hundreds of other 
prisoners, tried and untried, space being found for him 
in Lewis Prison. On learning of this sentence one of his 
former students, IVIiss Nora Harrington, gave vent to her 
feelings in beautiful lines of sorrow and eulogy : 

To De Valera, 

Comes a shadow o'er my spirit 

And a sorrow laden breath, 
For that noble soul that's hurried 

Into silence worse than death. 

48 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Oh ! T cannot understand it, 

That the cold hard-hearted live, 
Holding all that fortune offers, 

All that luxury can give ; 
While the greatest heart that ever 

In a true-born Irish breast 
Beat for Ireland and for freedom 

Only knows a felon's rest. 

De Valera, my ideal, 

Of what noble man should be ; 
Calm, reserved, warm, impulsive. 

And strong-hearted as the sea, 
Laughter loving, glad and pensive, 

Sad and happy all combined. 
Scorning aU the empty shamming 

Of the shallow modern mind. 
True to principle and honour, 

Yet as playful as a child, 
As a father, soldier, scholar. 

Always gentle, always kind. 

De Valera's incarceration at Lewis prison brings to mind 
the fact that he had previously experienced the tliriU of 
imprisonment when a school-boy at Bruree. It happened 
in this way : One day word reached the schoolmaster 
at Bruree that one of his sixth class boys who had not 
turned up at school, was hiding in an old fort about a mile 
away. The schoolmaster immediately determined on 
bringing the recalcitrant j^outh to justice. Looking round 
the school he pitched on de Valera as being the best boy 
to send on the expedition, giving him at the same time 
full freedom to select anj^one he liked to accompany him. 
Having secured an aide-de-cam'p both started for the fort, 
but the boy in hiding saw them approach, and apparently 
realising their object he at once made away across the 
fields. The others went in pursuit, but after about half 

49 E 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



a mile of a cross-country chase de Valera's assistant grew 
tired. De Valera himself, however, continued the pursuit, 
and though well able to keep in touch with the runaway, 
was yet disappointed at not being able to overhaul 
him. At last the wanted boy made for a farmhouse and, 
breathless, begged of the farm hand who was in the yard 
to hold de Valera until he escaped. " Leave that to mo," 
said the labourer, adding : " you just hide behind that 
wall over there." He had hardly littered these words 
when de Valera dashed into the yard. " Where is that 
boy gone to ? " was his first remark. "He is gone into 
that barn over there," was the calm reply. De Valera 
quicldy entered, but the labourer was still quicker, for he 
locked the door from the outside and de Valera was obhged 
to remain a prisoner until long after school had finished. 
In justice to de Valera's reputation as an athlete it should 
perhaps be mentioned that the boy thus pursued won, 
on many an occasion afterwards, the hundred yards in 
less than 10 seconds. 

Speaking of Lewis and other prisons, one cannot help 
noting the number and extent of these institutions that 
have always been available for Irishmen. If the progress 
of a nation were to be judged by the number of cubic 
feet devoted to its prisons England should easily rank 
first in civihsation. For generations past it has been the 
policy of England to hold Irishmen in disdain, flattering 
herself with ideas of a higher civihsation, but records show 
that Enghshmen are inferior morally, physically, and 
intellectually to Irishmen, and it was in making this 
fact ap]:)arent to the whole world that de Valera and his 
comrades won a victory equal to, if not greater than their 
victory on the field. *^In her campaign against Ireland, 
England often secured successes by applying the art of 
flattery to her victims where invective failed. Even some 
of our constitutional representatives were not invulnerable 
in this respect. Indeed some of them would remind one 
of Marcus Crassus, " who though an exquisite flatterer 
himself yet no man was more easily caught by flattery 



50 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



than he." De Valera and the men of the Dail were not 
hkely to be imposed upon in this way, and not alone tha^t 
but they made sure that the men of other nations would 
no longer be similarly imposed upon. Characteristically 
de Valera is a man of silence. He speaks only when it 
is necessary to speak, and then his words are candid. 
He had, of necessity, more secrets in his keeping, perhaps, 
than any other Irish leader in the past, yet it is not known 
that one of these leaked out prematurely. An old school 
companion relates how he had lunch with him the week 
before the rising, and in the course of the political and 
general conversation that followed, not a single hint did 
he give of the big events that were then brewing. It was 
only when the fight was over, and when he saw de Valera's 
name appear as one of the commandants, that he recalled 
the conversation that had taken place between them 
only a few days previously, and on thinking over it he 
said that de Valera's buoyancy and reticence on the 
occasion had been remarkable. If he were boating 
on the beautiful Lakes of Killarney or watching the broad 
Atlantic waves as they beat against the Cliffs of Moher 
he could hardly have looked more peaceful than he did 
on that April afternoon ; yet within a few days he was in 
open conflict with one of the most powerful Empires in 
the world. 

In presenting the story of de Valera's life from boj^hood 
to manhood we passed over, without comment, one very 
important year. This was the year 1910, in which he 
was married. As has happened on numerous other 
occasions the Gaelic League class was responsible for 
the happy union, for it was while engaged in exchanging 
lessons — Irish for German — that de Valera and Sinead 
ni Fhlannagain became intimately acquainted. Sinead 
being an Irish scholar and de Valera being well versed in 
Greek, Latin, French, German, etc., they both found it 
pleasant and advantageous to exchange lessons, and it 
was in this way that acquaintance ripened into love. 
Writing of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Thomas Moore says : 

51 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



" In some natures love is a fruit that ripens quickly, and 
that such was its growth in Lord Edward's warm heart 
the whole history of his Hfe fully testifies." If we take 
the love of Lord Edward for Pamela, the love of Emmet 
for Sarah Curran, or the love of de Valera for Sinead ni 
Fhlannagain, we have three i'nstances of that warm 
and pure love typical of the Irish nature. Love as found 
in Ireland is an exquisite gem, but it is still more exquisite 
when placed in contrast with the cold, worldly, selfish 
love which has been propagated and finds favour else- 
where. But as was said of the land of Egypt : 

" There plenty sows the fields with herbs salubrious 
But scatters many a baneful weed between." 

In that garden of love which we cherish, there are to be 
found, no doubt, some baneful weeds — nurtured to a 
certain extent by English influences. It is to be hoped, 
however, that those weeds will decline rather than flourish 
in the new era of prosperity that is in store for us, other- 
wise we shall have laboured in vain. 

Passing on from this short disquisition on love we find 
that de Valera made rapid progress in Irish under the 
tuition of his future wife, who, not content with being a 
fluent speaker of the language herself, was deeply interested 
in its revival throughout the country. Sinead ni Fhlaima- 
gain was well known in GaeUc League circles, particularly 
in the Ard Craobh and Columcille branch and in the 
Leinster College of Irish, where she was an earnest worker 
and very popular. Her gentle and affectionate manner 
made her the dehght of the children's classes. She also 
took part in man}' Irish plays, and it is said that her graceful 
acting impressed all those who witnessed her performances, 
particularly with Dr. Douglas Hyde in "An Posadh," 
" The Tinker and the Fairy," while she made a dignified 
Spanish Ambassador in " Hugh O'Neill." There are six 
children of the marriage, four boys and two girls — Vivian, 
Eamonn, Brian, Ruary, Mairin, and Emer. 

62 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Although de Valera was a member of many clubs and 
societies, and while as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul 
Society visited the sick and the poor with William Field, 
M.P., and others ; yet he was not known to the general 
public until Easter Week. Perhaps his first public appear- 
ance in Ireland as a leader was in June, 1917, when, after 
the general amnesty, he marched home at the head of the 
prisoners. Those who witnessed the arrival of the prisoners 
at Dun Laoghaire will long remember the magnificent 
figure they displayed as they swung through the gangway 
singing the soldier's song and cheering lustily, with the 
huge crowd around them, for dear old Ireland and for 
de Valera, whom they had proclaimed leader. Tired 
and worn after the rigour of prison life in England, it was 
no easy matter to sing or to cheer, but the .spirit of those 
brave men fighting for a just cause seemed inexhaustible. 
From that moment the Soldier's Song became immensely 
popular, and de Valera became, as if by magic, the accepted 
Leader of the Irish Nation. 

Thpj Soldier's Song. 

We'll sing a song, a soldier's song, 

With cheering, rousing chorus. 
As round our blazing fires we throng. 

The starr}' heavens o'er us ; 
Impatient for the coming fight, 
And as we wait the morning's light, 
Here in the silence of the night 
We'll chant the soldier's song. 

Soldiers are we whose lives are pledged to Ireland, 
Some have come from a land beyond the wave, 

Sworn to be free, no more our ancient sireland 
Shall shelter the despot or the slave. 

To-nisht we man the bearna baoghail, 

In Erin's cause come woe or weal ; 

'Mid cannon's roar and rifle's peal 

We'll chant a soldier's song. 

53 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



In valley green and towering crag 

Our fathers fought before us, 
And conquer'd 'neath the same old flag 

That's proudly floating o'er us ; 
We're children of a fighting race 
That never yet has known disgrace, 
And as we march the foe to face 
We'll chant a soldier's song. 

Sons of the Gael, 

Men of the Pale, 
The long-watched day is breaking, 
The serried ranks of Innisfail 

Shall set the tyrant quaking. 
Our camp-fires now are burning low. 
See in the East a silv'ry glow ; 
Out yonder waits the Saxon foe. 
So chant a soldier's song. 

Peadak O'Cearnaigh. 



54 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 




CHAPTER IV. 

)HE resignation of Mr. Lloyd George from the 
Asquith Cabinet in October, 1916, and his 
subsequent elevation to the premiership 
caused a pohtical sensation of the first 
magnitude. The pohcj- of the Government 
now became sporadic and uncertain. In 
December the untried Sinn Fein prisoners were released, 
but in February, shortly after Count Plunkett's victory 
in Roscommon, a fresh swoop was made on men prominent 
in the Sinn Fein and Gaelic League movements, Terence 
MacSwiney and Thomas MacCurtin of Cork being among 
those arrested. The idea of an Irish Convention now 
occurred to Mr. Lloyd George. In making his proposals 
the British Premier said that the Government had decided 
on asking Irishmen to frame a constitution for the govern- 
ment of their own country. All the leading interests, 
all creeds, classes and sections, were to take part in the 
Convention. The Sinn Feiners were to be represented 
as well as the followers of Mr. Redmond and Mr. O'Brien, 
and if subHtantial agreement were reached for Irish self- 
government within the Empire, he promised to recommend 
the proposal to the British Parhament. 

Mr. Redmond declared that the proposed assembly was 
one that no Irishman could with any show of reason refuse, 
and he felt sure every section of his countrymen would 
agree to come into it. The Ulster Unionist Council 
decided with four dissentients out of 350 delegates to send 
representatives. Sinn Fein, however, saw through the veil 
and absolutely dechned to take any part in the proceed- 
ings, regarding the Convention as a trap for the unwary. 

55 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



With Mr. Lloyd George liimself as judge of what was 
substantial agreement, and with the I'nionist representa- 
tives present to prevent such agreement from being attained, 
it was unlike!}' that anything would result from the Con- 
vention. The aim of the Government appeared to be, 
as stated by Sir F. E. Smith, " to keep the Irish talldng " 
while the road was being made easy for America to enter 
the war. " A man must be afflicted with blindness," 
said Lord Curzon, "if he does not appreciate that the 
co-operation of America will be more hearty, more fruitful, 
if she could feel that Ireland, with whom she has so many 
associations, was pulHng its full weight in the comity of 
free and alUed nations. America realises, as we realise, 
that to win the kind of victory which we are out to win 
in this war, the full strength of the British Empire must 
be turned to that purpose. A united Ireland, a recon- 
ciled Ireland, would be an important addition to that 
strength. A divided Ireland, a sulky Ireland, a rebellious 
Ireland, is a source of weakness." But to Irishmen whose 
battle for freedom was centuries old, England's difficulties 
were only of secondary consideration ; and although the 
war raged fiercely close to the Hindenburg Une and England 
was menaced by air-craft, the progress of the war was 
followed only in so far as it was likely to affect the advance 
of the re]3ublican cause ; and bearing in mind the tortures 
which Ireland had suffered and endured while other nations 
were at peace, she could not now be accused of selfishness 
if she placed her own interests first. 

The Convention was held in camera, and the public press 
was not allowed to discuss the proceedings. With an 
occasional official report it dragged out its weary existence 
from month to month, but with Sinn Fein standing aloof, 
Mr. Lloyd George's great scheme failed to produce all the 
results he anticipated. 

On the 7th June the death of Mr. William Redmond, 
M.P., took place in France, and the resultant vacancy 
in East Clare gave rise to one of the most exciting contests 
since the days of O'Connell. De Valera, though still in 

66 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



prison, was chosen to carry the Republican banner. After 
much hesitation on the part of the Government he and 
other prisoners were released, this action being prompted 
by a desire to create an " atmosphere " for the Convention. 

When they arrived in DubUn, on the 18th of June, they 
were greeted by thousands of people, amongst those 
present being many friends from Clare, who had come up 
specially to tell de Valera of the progress that was being 
made. After a short delay in DubHn he left for the scene 
of the conflict, where he found the election machinery 
in full swing. 

He had many willing helpers, the late Thomas Ashe 
being one of those who rendered invaluable assistance. 
The battle was one on which the future of Ireland depended 
and the men of Clare fully realised their responsibility. 
The result of the contest was awaited with intense anxiety, 
and in the counties bordering on Clare the one subject of 
conversation was de Valera's chance of success. The 
fact that the seat had been held for the Irish Party by 
John Redmond's brother, who had had a great following, and 
that the opposing candidate was a well-known and highly 
respected Clare man made the issue somewhat doubtful. 
Yet with Roscommon and ]..ongford in their mind, the 
general pubUc as weU as Sinn Fein hoped for a small 
majority, and the honest, straightforward speeches of 
de Valera, backed up by the thoroughness with wliich 
the Volunteers carried out the arrangements, caused this 
hope to grow stronger as the day of the polhng ajaproached. 
But when the result* showing that de Valera had won by 
2,975 votes was announced, the joy of the people was 
indescribable, for under the circumstances nobody ex- 
pected such a sweeping victory. De Valera had on the 
one hand arraigned against him the full strength of the 
party supporters, and on the other the full force of the 
Government. No event since the rising gave such an 
impetus to the Sinn Fein movement as the Clare election. 

Not many weeks were allowed to elapse ere the authori- 

*De Valera, 5,010 ; Lynch, 2,035. 

57 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



ties began to show their resentment at the people's choice. 
De Valera's supporters were arrested and imprisoned on 
tlie shghtest pretext, and instead of being treated as 
poHtical prisoners were branded as criminals, a stigma which 
they bitterly resented. Consequently about the middle 
of September the Mountjoy hunger-strike, which had such 
a tragic ending for Thomas Ashe, commenced. De Valera 
had the support of the whole country in his protest against 
this treatment of brave men. At a meeting held at Smith- 
field he proposed a resolution calhng the attention of the 
European Powers and the United States to the fact that 
Irishmen were being arrested, tried by courts-martial 
and sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for declaring 
in the terms of President Wilson's message " that no 
people shall be forced under a sovereignty under which 
it does not desire to live." 

De Valera's movements were now closely watched. 
Detectives followed him to all pubHc meetings, and when- 
ever his destination was known or anticipated, the police 
of that locality were informed by code message. In the 
beginning, when the code system had not yet been fully 
developed as regards rural stations, de Valera's movements 
were often thus innocently referred to in the police tele- 
grams : 

" To the Se.rgeani, R.I.C., at . . . 

*' Parcel left by 4.45 p.m. train to-day. Please look out 
for it." 

But the nature of the " parcel" did not long remain a secret. 

The Government and the Irish Party were now verj'' 
much perturbed at Sinn Fein's success, and nothing was 
left undone that would be likely to bring discredit on 
de Valera and the movement he represented. The Govern- 
ment did not wish to loose its grip on the main arteries of 
the country, and the Irish Party was chiefly concerned 
with retaining unity in its ranks and a certain voting 
strength at Westminster. On the 2.3rd October Mr. 
Redmond brought forward a motion in the British House 
of Commons ostensibly for the jjurpose of drawing attention 

58 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



to the Government's policy in Ireland as it affected the 
Convention and the future of Ireland, but the real trouble 
was how best to restore in some measure the waning 
reputation of his party. " The situation in Ireland," 
said Mr. Redmond, " was one of extreme gravity, and the 
successful ending of the Irish Convention was the only 
hope that stood between Ireland and a period of chaos 
and anarchy, the Hke of which had not been known in 
the history of Ireland for a century. There was the greatest 
danger of the destruction of the Convention if the present 
policy of the Irish Antliorities was continued." * 

Mr. Duke, Chief Secretary, availed of the opportunity 
to justify his poUcy of repression, and amidst cheers he 
proceeded to give blood-curdhng accounts of the activities 
— real or supposed — of de Valera and the other leaders. 
" The young men of Ireland — 200,000 of them," he said, 
" were being now recruited enemies of the Empire and of 
the Alhes for the purpose of creating a new rebelHon in 
Ireland. The Government had treated the Irish rebels 
with the utmost magnanimity, but when the prisoners 
were released they engaged again in efforts to foment 
rebeUion. The leaders vceve, reorganising the Irish Volun- 
teers with a view to completing by force of arms the work 
done in the Easter Week rebelhon. Week by week for 
a period running into months there had been organisation 
and drilling in every parish and \nllage in Ireland, and to 
a considerable extent in the large towns, of the new Irish 
Volunteers. The organisation was professedly a rebel 
force. They were told by their leaders that they had a 
considerable force of arms and that they would have more 
before the day came." And then lest his audience should 
still remain unmoved he shouted in a melodramatic tone, 

* This reference to " Irish Authorities " was a clear index to an 
imperial mind. It was likely to mislead foreign countries into 
the belief that Ireland was governed by Irishmen, and the use of 
the term lent a hand, perhaps miconsciously, to British propaganda. 
De Valera would have used the more appropriate term " British 
Authorities in Ireland." , 

59 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



" Arms from where ? The Sinn Feiners could not buy 
them in Ireland. It could only be that the helping hand 
which was to bring them arms was Germany, and the reason 
for the deportation of some of the men was"^that the helping 
hand of Germany was being stretched out again and the 
Government knew it." Instead of throwing a dark cloud 
over Ireland, as was intended, Mr. Duke, in this speech, 
paid a most eloquent tribute to the genius and patriotism 
of the men who thus acted for their motherland in defiance 
of a powerful Empire that had at its disposal the most 
modern and ghastly engines of war. After speeches by 
Messrs. WilUam O'Brien, Joseph Devlin, and others, Mr. 
Lloyd George resumed the attack, singling out de Valera 
for special attention, but, as in the case of Mr. Duke, his 
remarks, while momentarily serving a purpose in the 
Commons, really resulted in adding fresh laurels to de 
Valera's crown. A strain of uneasiness was noticeable 
throughout the Premier's speech, and it was evident that 
he saw in the new leader now appearing strong on the 
Irish horizon, a man of superior ability and courage, whose 
words bore no trace of empty eloquence or sham heroics — 
those playthings of the modern politician. Here is what 
he said : — 

" I have read Mr. de Valera's speeches, and I say 
that they are calm, deliberate, and, I might say, 
cold-blooded incitements to rebelHon. He delivered 
them not merely on one occasion, but he repeated 
them meeting after meeting almost in the same studied 
terms, at several places, urging the people to drill, 
to march, to study the mechanism of rilies in order 
that whenever they were supplied with them they 
would be able to use them efficiently. The Govern- 
ment could not forget what happened IS months ago 
(Easter Week) when they got speeches of that kind 
delivered, the same sort of drilling and the same sort 
of information about intrigues to get German rifles — 
and it must be remembered that German rifles were 
very nearly brought in at the time. How can the 

60 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Government treat speeches of that kind as if they 
were of the sort of excitable speeches dehvered by a 
person of no consequence which could end in nothing. 
I think that it is essential that the Government should 
take action — not provocative action, but firm action. 
There are three things the Government ought to make 
clear in the interests of the Convention and of Ireland. 
First, incitement to rebellion cannot be permitted. 
De Valera's language could have no other meaning. 
Ireland is a country with a very keen historical 
memory, a country which once made an apjjeal to 
Spain and to the French to assist them in winning 
for them liberties, and with this memory Germany 
comes along and says : ' We will give you arms ; ' 
and de Valera says : ' Germany will help us for 
her own interest, it is true, but if Germany comes 
along we will combine.' How could any Government 
pass that by without taking action ? It is impossible. 
I go to the limits in taking risks for the sake of pre- 
serving the unity and the utility of the Convention. 
Forged at a Conference of its own sons it would be 
an enormous advantage to Ireland and an enormous 
advantage to the British Empire as well — all the more 
so that the Empire did not want any additional 
troubles at the present moment." 

The words, " The Empire did not want any additional 
troubles at the present moment," contained a home truth 
which seems to have been lost on the Irish representatives 
at Westminster. The kernel of the British policy was to 
start a Convention to keep the Irish talking until the 
Empire had got over its present troubles, but whoever 
else was imposed upon de Valera was certainly not caught 
by " the sniff of a carrot." We will hear INIr. Lloyd George 
further : 

" The first thing to prevent was direct incitement 
to rebellion. It was no use making pretences about 
these things, and those who listened to ]\'Ir, de Valera 

61 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



knew exactly what he meant. Those who joined 
these processions and marched in miUtary step and 
formed fours and put sticks on their shouklers as 
if they were rifles, have gymnastic exercises. All 
the drilling and the studying the mechanism of guns 
meant that they don't want to take half an hour to 
learn to tire them. At whom ? Not at Britain's enemies, 
but at the heart of Britain itself. Anything which 
is part or parcel of rebellion must be stopyjed. What 
is going on in Ireland is a deliberate attempt to drill, 
to enlist, to organise hundreds of thousands of young 
men, who, had they been in this country, would have 
been compulsorily enlisted (for the Great War). The 
third point is that there is a good deal of talk among 
Sinn Feiners which did not mean Home Rule. It 
meant complete separation, and secession — Sovereign 
Independence. England could not accept that under 
any conditions. Sovereign Independence had never 
been claimed by Irish members." 
The object of this reference to Sovereign Independence 
was, no doubt, to create the impression that de Valera 
was putting forward some sort of preposterous claim not 
previously heard of in the course of the Anglo-Irish struggle. 
Irishmen never aspired to less. Many of Ireland's parlia- 
mentar}^ representatives hoped to reach the same end by 
degrees, but the progress was so slow and the road so 
crooked that those Irishmen, with the true instinct of 
patriotism, who grew up in each generation, preferred to 
attempt the straight path rather than stand the strain 
of continued disappointment. Parnell did not exclude 
Sovereign Independence when he said that he " would not 
set bounds to the march of a nation." Parnell and Red- 
mond adopted constitutional means to carry their pro- 
gramme : Pearse and de Valera, seeing the failure of 
this, appealed to arms, but all, according to their own 
words, had the same end in view. Thomas Davis has 
furnished us with a well-reasoned judgment on the rival 
methods, from which it can be deduced that both lead to 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the same goal, but that in the end the direct road would, 
perhaps, be the cheaper. " Agitation," he said, " is one 
means of redress, but it leads to much disorganisation, 
great unhappiness and wounds upon the soul of a country 
which sometimes are worse than the thinning of a people 
by war." Complete independence had always been the 
dearest hope of Irishmen, and if, as Mr. IJoyd George 
said, Irish Members did not mention the words " Sovereign 
Independence " we know at any rate that Irish Men did, 
and it would be an injustice to their names to allow his 
statement to go unchallenged or miexplained. Notwith- 
standing these attacks, de Valera still advanced and got the 
people to advance with him. Threats of war and punish- 
ment did not succeed in arresting the progress that was 
being made ; in fact, if anything, the more Sinn Fein was 
struck at and put to the torture the stronger it grew. 

On the 25th of October — two days after the delivery of 
Lloyd George's speech — the first great Sinn Fein Convention 
opened. There were 1,700 delegates present, representa- 
tive of the four provinces of Ireland, and one of the most 
important items on the agenda was the election of President. 
For this position three distinguished names were men- 
tioned — Arthur Griffith, Count Plunkett, and Eamonn de 
Valera. The enemies of Sinn Fein hoped for disagreement 
on the question of selecting a President, and long before 
the day arrived they had sinister reports set in motion, 
trusting by this means to bring about the disunion they 
desired. But their hopes were shattered. Count Plunkett 
and Arthm- Griffith withdrew their names. IVIr. Griffith, 
who had been six years President, after mentioning the 
number of engagements he had now to fulfil, pointed out 
that they would have in Mr. de Valera a man of cool 
judgment and a statesman as well as a soldier. De Valera 
was then unanimously elected President. Mr. Ginnell, 
in moving a vote of gratitude to Count Plunkett and Mr. 
Griffith, said, that it was noble conduct on the part of a 
man who had suffered so much for Ireland during Easter 
Week, to withdraw in favour of Ireland's best living 

63 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



soldier : it was noble conduct, too, on the part of a man 
(Mr. Griffith) who, during the dark years when Ireland 
was in the lurch, had devoted his life to the evangelisinsr 
of Ireland in the principles of Sinn Fein, to announce that 
he stood down. De Valera amidst great enthusiasm 
returned thanks to the Convention. He then went closely 
into details of organisation, which included arrangements 
for a probable general election. 

The Convention had hardly closed when the air became 
suddenly charged with electric sparks, conveying messages 
of impending danger — of probable conflicts — of military 
preparations — of rebellion, all founded on the fact, it was 
said, that a few parades of Volunteers, similar to those held 
before Easter Week, had been arranged. It was much 
more likely, however, that the Government's anxiety was 
to be found in de Valera's success in Clare and his recent 
election to the Presidency of Sinn Fein. His speeches, 
too, couched in clear, deliberate and unmistakable language, 
instilled fear into the minds of those accustomed to the 
artificial utterances of the party poHtician. 

A meeting announced for the 4th November, at New- 
bridge, at which de Valera was to speak, was proclaimed 
by the military authorities, acting, of course, on instruc- 
tions. This cUd not prevent de Valera from conveying 
his message to the people, for, accompanied by Mr. Griffith, 
he went to the neighbouring town of Athy, where he 
received a great ovation from a large gathering repre- 
sentative of the best elements in Kildare. The day passed 
ofT quietly. But who was the evil adviser behind the 
Government 1 Did he really beheve that de Valera's 
visit to Kildare was to be a signal for another rising ? Were 
the authorities in a quandary as to the real state of affairs, 
or was it merely that their agent was hoaxed ? The 
British Government would hardly resort to alarms of this 
kind for the purposes of propaganda ! A week later Lord 
Wimborne referred to the situation in these terms : — 

" The Government had been warned of a rising on the 
Sunday of last week, but not a dog barked, and if the advice 

64 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



tendered had been accepted the Irish Convention would 
have been lulled. " 

Several Members of Parliament were now aslcing why 
de Valera had not been arrested, and the British Press 
showed signs of uneasiness at the growth of what the 
Daily Express called " de Valera's new Irish Repiiblican 
Army." So far as the desire to have de Valera under 
lock and key was concerned the Government required no 
prompting. A cell was ready for him, but his speeches, 
though claiming complete independence, coincided too 
closely with President Wilson's seK- determination pro- 
nouncements, and with the Allies' profession of sjaupathy 
for small Nations, to admit of his arrest on this score. 
The Government required a more plausible excuse, but 
since de Valera had the faculty of giving to his speeches 
those exquisite and faultless touches reminiscent of 
President Vv'ilson in liis heyday, the custodians of D.O.R.A. 
did not find their wishes so easily gratified. The " German 
Plot " had not yet, of course, been hatched. Speaking 
at Loughrea of these demands for his arrest, de Valera 
said that if he were arrested there were a dozen men to 
take his place and still another dozen to follow. They 
would continue this if necessar}- until every young man was 
in prison, and the old men in whom the fighting spirit 
of the Land League existed, would be ready to step into 
their shoes. At this time all de Valera's puV>lished speeches 
bore the familiar imprint "" Passed by Censor," so with 
the blue pencil cutting out whole paragraphs and dis- 
membering others, the messages that reached the public 
were only distorted fragments of the original. At the 
same time the Government commanded a free channel 
through which it poured out an endless stream of " pro- 
paganda." 

England had a two-fold object in view at this time. 
She would have the world beheve that Sinn Fein was out, 
not alone against the Empire, but against the Allies as 
well, particularly France and America. Then she hinted 
at strong measures in the hope of weaning the more timid 

65 F 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



from the cause that had for the first time placed Ireland 
in a proper light before other nations. In this latter 
campaign Mr. John Dillon, though in a different camp, 
was an ally of the Government, for he persistently endea- 
voured to estrange the people from the poUcy of Siim Fein 
by pointing out the evil consequences that would follow 
should de Valera and his colleagues succeed,as was asserted, 
in wrecking the Convention. De Valera was not in the 
least annoyed or perturbed. He had far deeper insight 
than his opponents whether of the British Cabinet or the 
Irish Party. At a Manchester Martyrs' Commemoration 
Concert he-Id at the Mansion House on the 24th November, 
at which the Countess Markievicz presided, he dealt in 
part with his critics. " I reiterate," he said, " what I 
have so often stated before, that if England is out for the 
cause of small nations she should prove it by giving 
Ireland freedom." He then made the prophecy which 
was fulfilled in a Httle over twelve months, that if there 
was a referendum the vast majority of the Irish people 
would declare for cutting adrift from England. Con- 
tinuing, he said : — " England is now trying to misrepresent 
Ireland as she always had done, and was holding Irishmen 
up to France as a nation of shirkers, but we have no quarrel 
with France, and when these people talk of what we owe 
to France and America they should not forget that France 
and America owe this country something too." At Bally- 
gar, two days later, he disposed of other points : " We 
will not," he declared, " be frightened by talk of poison 
gas, tanks, and armoured trains. We know only one 
limitation, and that is that our methods shall be in accord- 
ance with moral justice." He then made an important 
statement on the Irish Convention : " It is said that we 
are out to smash the Convention. We are not out to 
smash anything but the English connection. As far as 
the Irish people are concerned, we told them it was a trap, 
and we refused to walk into the spider's parlour. It is 
like playin«; with the trick-o'-the-loop man. John Bull 
has the two ends of the tape ; and when you are in he can 

C(5 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



put you out, and when you are out he can put you in at 
his own will. If England wants to set up Home Rule 
she can do so without any Convention. Such a Convention 
is not necessary if England were in earnest. England 
can at any time settle the Ulster question. Sinn Fein has 
ignored the Convention, but she has not set to work to 
smash it. If England wants the Convention smashed 
Sir Edward Carson can do that at any time it is wanted. 
If anything comes out of the Convention which will 
further the cause of Irish Freedom, we have never said 
we will refuse payment on account unless it is intended 
to keep us out of our whole bill. So long as we are not 
asked to give up our principles, when we have a bird in 
the hand, we will consider it a bird in the hand, mind — 
so long as it does not put a boundary to the march of the 
Nation. Until the full account is paid to the last penny 
the Irish people wUl never be satisfied. We will do our 
best in our hfetime. We will not sell our birthright for 
a mess of pottage, and if we do not succeed we wiU pass 
on the fight as a sacred duty to those who come after us." 
De Valera was understood, and he won. His enemies 
already showed signs of fatigue, if not defeat. British 
agents now began to pull down Sinn Fein flags from bushes 
and telegraph poles, and to deprive even little school 
girls of the Sinn Fein colours. Just as many thoughtful 
people read into the first battle of the Marne ultimate 
defeat for Germany, so, too, many people realised that 
England was losing her hold on Ireland when she was forced 
to take notice of such trifles. And there was another sign 
of defeat. When a pohtical leader discards arguments 
for invective liis days of power are numbered. The very 
moment that i\Ir. John Redmond and IVIr. John Dillon 
found it necessary to buttress their position by the use of 
such terms as " soreheads," " cranks." " dreamers," 
etc., it became as clear as noon- day that de Valera had 
won. Statesmen who place the interests of the people 
above that of party will not shower reflections of this 
kind on those of their fellow-countrymen who cannot see 

67 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



their way to agree with them. " Place the opposing view 
before the people and let them decide," was de Valera's 
motto. If, in a mad rush, the people trample on a just 
man they will later, yjrovided he does not become unjust 
in the course of his fall, place him in the highest pedestal 
at their disposal. De Valera has shown that he possesses 
a power of restraint, when faced Avith opposition, far 
superior to that of any modern politician from Sir Edward 
Carson to President Wilson. It is certain that had he 
been in President Wilson's place he would never have 
addressed Congress in these words which, like the other 
cases quoted, indicated that their author was drifting 
towards the abyss : "I pay little heed," said President 
Wilson, " to those who think that America does not know 
what the war is about. I hear voices of dissent and the 
criticism and clamour of the noisy, thoughtless and trouble- 
some, and I see men here and there flinging themselves 
against the calm, indomitable power of the Nation, and 
I hear men cUsouss peace who neither understand its 
nature nor the way in which it might be attained, but none 
of them speak for the Nation. They might be safely left 
strut their uneasy hour." 

The year 1918 opened with the conscription question 
looming menacingly over the heads of the Irish people. The 
extreme Tory element in the Lords and Commons called 
for the immediate application of the Conscription Act to 
Ireland, but however wilhng and anxious to comply, the 
Government dreaded a conflict with the people, and under 
various pretexts conveniently postponed the matter from 
month to month, hoping, like Micawber, that something 
might turn up. And well might the Government have paused, 
for' never in the whole history of the country were the 
people more determined to resist, by force of arms if neces- 
sary, the application of an Act which was a complete 
usurpation of the people's rights and a distinct violation 
of the moral law. " Our position is clear and unmis- 
takable," said de Valera, '' uncompromised and uncom- 
promisable. VV' c repudiate every claim of England, not alone 

68 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



to impose conscription here against the expressed will of 
the people, hut to make laws for us, good or bad." On 
the 14th of January Sir Auckland Geddes, on behalf of 
the Government, announced that the Military Service Act 
would not for the present be applied to Ireland, but Sir 
Hamar Greenwood, not yet famous for his Black-and-Tans, 
declared that Ireland ultimately, voluntarily or com- 
pulsorily must take its stand on the side of the Allies. 
(What a multitude of sins the word " Allies " covered). 

The Irish Party claimed credit for warding off con- 
scription, but everybody Icnew that if it suited England's 
purpose she would ignore Ireland's representatives now 
as she had always done, and kno\^ing this the people 
flocked to de Valera's standard. Speaking at Dundalk, 
de Valera said that the Irish Volunteers were the greatest 
security against an attempt to enforce conscription and 
against an attack by England, and he repeated that ten- 
foot pikes in their hands were a far greater guarantee that 
they would not be conscripted than all the eloquence of 
the eighty M.P.'s in the British House of Commons. 

On the Gth of March, amidst the uncertainty of a serious 
situation, the people received the sad news of Mr. John 
Redmond's death, and although he had compromised his 
position somewhat too freely in the latter part of his career, 
opponents as well as friends paid a tribute to his apparent 
honesty of purpose. The elevation of Mr. John Dillon 
to the leadership of the Irish Party did not now signify 
as much as it would have done a few years previously, 
for, \drtually, de Valera was alread}^ at the head of the 
nation. In Roscommon, Longford, Clare and Kilkenny 
Sinn Fein had got an earnest of its future success. But 
true to tradition, the e\al genius in the Government, now 
secretly and openly busied itself with plans for the destruc- 
tion of not alone de Valera and the Sinn Fein movement, 
but for the complete annihilation of the national spirit. 
An5^one acquainted with the history of Ireland would have 
known that this was bej^ond the power of England. Yet 
there were men at Dublin Castle who, having read about 

69 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Napoleon, dreamt that they possessed his power and 
miHtary talent. Dwarfs themselves, they were still dwarfs 
in spite of the powerful nation that sustained them, but 
they had, nevertheless, the means of inflicting punishment 
on a brave people. On St. I'atrick's Day a meeting 
annoimced to be held in Belfast was proclaimed. The 
Government, ])iqued at the idea of de Valera attempting 
to address a Belfast audience, feigned alarm and sent a 
.strong force of police to suppress the meeting. This did 
not deter de Valera from going to the northern capital. 
The Government always made a great show at complying 
with its own law. The proclamation precluded meetings 
on St. Patrick's Daj' only. De Valera, however, outwitted 
the authorities by holding his meeting the night before, 
but as he completed on the strolce of twelve the sentence : 
" The spirit that outlived centuries of oppression would 
not be stamped out by the Cromwells of to-day," the 
platform was stormed by a strong body of police led by 
four stalwart Inspectors. The meeting was brought to 
a close after a short and sharp conflict in which both 
police and civilians came to grief, but de Valera had 
achieved his purpose. 

At last, in face of the most solemn warning, and in 
defiance of all the principles of justice, the Government 
decided on extending the Conscription Act to Ireland, 
thereby perpetrating or, as it so happened, attempting 
to perpetrate one of the greatest crimes against the honour 
and freedom of another Nation that a foreign power could 
be guilty of. On the 9th of April, 1918, Mr. Lloyd George 
proposed the extension of the Act to Ireland in these 
peculiar words which enshrine the germs of England's 
traditional policy of courting Ireland's leaders to-day and 
betraying them to-morrow, according as it suited her 
purpose: — "The character of the quarrel in which we 
are engaged is," he said, " as much Irish as English, and 
the Irish representatives voted for the war, and Ireland 
through its representatives, without a tlisscntient voice, 
committed this Empire to the war." This \\as a i^retty 

70 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



sharp turn on the Irish representatives at Westminster 
who had made the road easy for the Government on so 
many occasions. It reminds one of Lord Castlereagh, 
who once said of the informers : " How I long to kick 
those whom duty compels me to court." The Irish Partj^ 
was at the time endeavouring to regain some of its lost 
strength and weaning popularity. In doing so it came in 
the Government's way for the moment and was sacrificed. 
No one acquainted with the history of EngHsh politics 
would expect ami:hing better ; but if this hit at the Irish 
Party, when it required succour, taught a well-deserved 
lesson to those who placed confidence in the fidelity of 
Englishmen, it gave on the other hand further proof — 
if proof were necessary — of the wisdom of the Sinn Fein 
policy. The futihty, if not the danger, of sending repre- 
sentatives to the British House of Commons became 
apparent even to the most earnest upholders of the ParUa- 
mentary machine. The British Premier's declaration of 
war on the Irish people produced a result not anticipated 
by the Government : it brought fresh recruits to the ranks 
of Sinn Fein. The new situation had no terrors for de 
Valera. " Conscription," he said a few days later, " is 
only a glaring example of that usurpation of our national 
rights with which we have had constantly to contend. 
Sinn Fein will, calmly, in the full consciousness of the 
justice of its cause resist conscription." There was no 
blowing of horns or sounding of trumpets in this statement. 
De Valera said deliberately, but in simple language, that 
" Sinn Fein would calmly, in the full consciousness of the 
justice of its cause, resist conscription " ; yet these words, 
typical of their author, created more fear in Government 
circles than one hundred speeches of the flamboyant school 
of oratory, where close examination usually discloses sound 
merely and no substance. 

Since unity of action was of paramount importance in 
the coming fight, steps were immediately taken to bring 
the different leaders together. On the 8th of April the 



71 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Mansion House Conference held its first sitting, with the 
following representatives in attendance : — 

Sinn Fein : — Mr. Eamonn de Valera ; Mr. Arthur 

Griffith. 
Irish Party : — Mr. John Dillon ; Mr. Joseph Devlin. 
Independent :— Mr. Wm. O'Brien ; Mr. T. M. Healy. 
Labour :— Sir. Wm. O'Brien (DubUn) ; IVIr. Thos. 

Johnson ; Mr. M. Egan. 

The representative nature of the Conference augured well 
for the success of the campaign against conscription, and 
confidence, already high, was increased when it became 
known that de Valera and four other members had been 
appointed to proceed at once to Maynooth, to wait on the 
Bishops who were there assembled. Some of their Lord- 
ships, who had not previously met de Valera, and whose 
views did not fully coincide with his, w^ere highly impressed 
by his arguments. The Government anticipated a certain 
amount of opposition — ^even stern opposition — but there 
was one thing they did not anticipate, and that was the 
notable declaration against conscription issued by the 
Bishops from Maynooth. The Bishops, in the course 
of a statement on conscription, said : " Denying the right 
of the British Government to enforce compulsory service 
in this country, we pledge ourselves solemnly to one 
another to resist conscription by the most effective means 
at our disposal." This declaration, while causing con- 
sternation amongst the advocates of conscription, brought 
renewed strength and hope to the people. Apart from the 
work of the Conference, de Valera went on perfecting his 
own plans. He held frequent consultations with the 
Volunteer officers ; and while the Conference might do 
much by presenting a united front to the enemy and by 
way of passive resistance, yet it was on the ofiicers and 
men of the Irish Volunteers that Ireland placed its trust. 
As de Valera entered and left the Mansion House he was 
surrounded by cheering crowds. The cause he repre- 
sented and the manner in which he did it called forth the 

72 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



admiration of young and old. The reception accorded 
him everywhere was, perhaps, as much an index to the 
feehngs of the people on tlie question at issue, as enthusiasm 
for a popular leader. The authorities should now have 
had sufficient warning, but they were unable to read the 
sign-posts ; they vv^ent on testing the Irish armour for 
the usual weak points, but for the first time found none ; 
they alternately advanced and retired ; they held out 
simultaneously the olive branch and the sword. While 
they feared a conflict with the people, every action of 
theirs tended to promote the ill-feeUng necessary for such 
a conflict ; they hesitated, they prevaricated, but never 
for a moment called to their aid the simple word " justice." 
The Irish people wanted to live their own life unfettered 
and undisturbed. In his fight for this ideal de Valera 
had the support of all classes and creeds. The working 
man, who, through the centuries of oppression, political and 
religious, was always readj^ to make sacrifices for God 
and country, now showed renewed \agour, and as a mark 
of his determination to resist conscription, declared a 
one day's cessation from work all over Ireland. The 
admirable success and rapidity of action with which this 
decree was given effect was a lesson in itself. 

But what was the Irish Party's attitude on the subject ? 
Many of its leading members, even while the Mansion 
House Conference still functioned, endeavoured to use 
the passing of the Act as a weapon to beat de Valera. 
They insinuated and even asserted that he was responsible 
for all of Ireland's ills. And if thej^ did not succeed in doing 
immense harm, the Irish people alone who stood firm by 
de Valera in spite of a series of well-planned attacks — 
given in the guise of advice — must be thanked. Here is 
how Mr. Dillon put the matter before the people : — 
" What brought conscription on Ireland ? It was the 
proceedings in Clare last January and Februarj- — the 
marchings and drilhngs. De Valera boasted that he could 
call 500,000 well-drilled Irishmen to his banner. The 
miUtary marched troops to Clare and said : ' Look at 

73 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



what we have done in Clare ! We can conscript Ireland 
as easily as we have tamed Clare.' " Of course neither 
Clare nor any other part of Ireland had been tamed, and 
Mr. Dillon's statement was merely a reflex of a mind that 
had lost touch with Irish affairs through association with 
the British Parliament. It is not desirable, perhaps, to 
quote too freely from election speeches which are delivered 
in the heat of the moment, and least of all would one like 
to do so in the case of Mr. Dillon, who did so much valuable 
Avork for Ireland in his 3'ounger days, but one cannot help 
contrasting his remarks on Clare with the noble words 
uttered by de Valera, whom he tried to misrepresent. 
Speaking at Waterford on the 14th March, 1918, de Valera, 
in supporting the Sinn Fein candidate, said : — '" I ask 
you to do nothing which will enable our enemies to scoff 
at us. We must, above all things, conduct ourselves as 
Irishmen, for we believe in toleration for the opinions 
of our countrj^men, and in all our elections we have shown 
that we are anxious to have the views of both sides put 
before the electorate, in order that they might judge of 
the rival policies and vote accordingly." As a political 
headhne this advice could hardly be surpassed ; but 
unfortunately it was met by advice of' a different brand, 
as a result of which the opponent of Sinn Fein secured a 
temporary victory. 

Encouraged by Captain Redmond's success at Water- 
ford, the Government secretly pushed forward its plans 
for the removal of de Valera and the other Sinn Fein 
leaders. With America and most of the English Colonies 
strongly on the side of Ireland, it was not considered 
diplomatic to arrest and deport these men without a good 
and plausible excuse, so some highly paid official put his 
" Pelmanism " to the test and discovered the now famous 
" German Plot." This was given to the world by Lord 
French (new \'iceroy) and Mr. Shortt, Cliief Secretary, 
in a proclamation published on Saturday, ISth May, 1918. 

The Proclamation was as follows : — 

" Whereas it has come to our knowledge that certain 

74 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



subjects of His Majesty the King domiciled in Ireland, 
have conspired to enter into and have entered into 
treasonable communication with the German enemy ; 
and whereas such treachery is a menace to the fair 
fame of Ireland and its glorious military record, a 
record which is a source of intense pride to a country 
whose sons have always distinguished themselves 
and fought with such heroic valour in the past, in 
the same way as thousands of them are now fighting 
in this War ; And whereas d_rastic measures must be 
taken to put down this German Plot, which measures 
will be solely directed against that plot ; now there- 
fore we, the Lord Lieutenant General and General 
Governor of Ireland, have thought fit to issue this 
Our Proclamation, declaring and it is hereby declared 
as follows :— That it is the duty of all loyal subjects 
of His IMajesty to assist in every way His Majesty's 
Government in Ireland to suppress this treasonable 
conspiracy and to defeat the treacherous attempt 
of the Germans to defame the honour of Irishmen 
for their own ends : That we hereby call upon all 
loyal subjects of His Majesty in Ireland to aid in 
crushing the said conspirac}^ and so far as in them 
Hes to assist in securing the effective prosecution of 
the War and the welfare and safety of the Empire. 
That as a means to this end we shall cause stiU further 
steps to be taken to facilitate and encourage voluntary 
enlistment in Ireland in His Majesty's forces in the hope 
that, without resort to compulsion, the contribution 
of Ireland to these forces may be brought up to its 
proper strength and made to correspond to the con- 
tributions of other parts of the Empire." 

On the night preceding the pubUcation of this Procla- 
mation a sudden SAveep was made on the Sinn Fein leaders 
in Dublin and throughout the countr}^, and all those upon 
whom it was possible to lay liands were arrested and 
deported. De Valera was arrested as he alighted at 
Greystones from the 10.15 p.m. train from Du]>Iin. Arthur 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Grimth, Count Plunkett, T.D., Darrell Figgis, Madam 
Markievicz, etc., were amongst those taken, but there 
were many on the list who could not be found when the 
Crown Forces arrived. The purpose of the German Plot 
was two-fold, viz. : — To place Ireland in an evil light 
before the Allies, and by the removal of de Valera and his 
colleagues to make the way easy for conscription. The 
authorities believed that they had now removed the only 
obstacle in their way. They were luirdaken. The conflict 
was with the spirit of the Nation and not with individuals. 
That spirit had reasserted itself generation after generation. 
Sometimes when it lay dormant the enemies of Ireland 
rushed to the graveside thinking all was over, only to find, 
in the words of the song, " that the spirit still lives on." 
In the arrest of de Valera and his companions the Govern- 
ment had seen the blossoms but not the buds. Indeed 
the arrest and deportation of Irishmen on the strength 
of this Proclamation was simply outrageous. These men 
had not attaclced England or Scotland or Wales, or any 
of the British Dominions over the Seas. They claimed for 
Ireland the right to manage her own affairs in her own way 
without outside interference of any kind — that was all. 
Perhaps Professor Kuno Meyer was thinking as much of 
Ireland as Germany when he said that the old saying : — 
" Scratch a Russian and you will iia.l a Tartar," was much 
more applicable to an Englishman wlio, on close acquain- 
tance, revealed himself as a barbarian of the purest water. 
The arrest of Mr. de Valera and Mr. Griffith did not 
interrupt the ilansion House Conference. Sinn Fein was 
ready for all eventualities, and within a few hours of the 
arrests substitutes were appointed to fill their places. 
It is interesting to quote some specimens of English 
journalism on the arrests. Two such speci-mens selected 
more on account of the peculiar ideas propounded than for 
severity of language, of which there were better examples, 
will suffice : — 

Daily Telegraph: — *' The arrested persons have been 
seized at a single stroke, and we heartily congratulate 

70 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the Government on the fact that, having determined 
at last to put an end to open treason in Ireland, they 
have cast their net wide, fiut it is not enough to 
deprive these conspirators of the liberty which they have 
so foully ahu'ied." 

7' he Globe {London) : — " If the suspects were natives 

of Great Britain we know very well what course would 

be taken. They would be tried by special tribunal, 

and if found guilty the principal ringleaders would 

be hanged and the rest sentenced to varying terms 

of imprisonment." 

Of course if the}' were " natives of Great Britain " and 

betrayed Great Britain many Irishmen would wish them 

no better fate. The autliorities appeared to be very anxious 

to justify the arrests, not indeed that thej'^ felt that any 

explanation was due to Ireland, or that EngHsh opinion 

required one, but owing to external causes well known 

to the British Foreign Olfice. The following explanation, 

which consists of a conglomeration of incidents and events 

cemented together with a special mixture for which Dublin 

Castle was famous, was, therefore, issued through the 

Press Bureau : — 

" The revolutionary movement in Ireland, which 
culminated in the arrest of a number of persons last 
week consisted of tv/o closely related series of 
activities : — 

(a) The attempts of the German Government to 

foment rebellion in Ireland, and 
(/>) The preparations made in Ireland to carry those 
attempts into action. 
The story of the active connection between the leaders 
of the Sinn Fein movement and the Germans, as disclosed 
by documents in the possession of the British Government, 
falls into two parts, the period prior to and the period 
since the abortive Irish Rebellion of Easter, 1916. The 
events of the first period can be told with some detail, but 
the second period, which concerns recent events, permits 
of no more than a summarj^ as a full statejnent of the facts 

77 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



and documents in possession of the Government would 
disclose the names of persons who stood by the (Govern- 
ment, and also the channels of communication through 
which the German Government was acting, and which 
it would not be in the public interest to reveal at present. 

" The story begins as early in the War as November 6, 
1914, when Herr Zimmerman transmitted, through Count 
Bernsdorfi, a message from Casement asking that a 
messenger, if possible a native born American, be sent to 
Ireland with word that everything was favourable. He 
was to carry no letter for fear of arrest. 

Casement also asked that an Irish priest be sent to 
Germany, with the assistance of the German Legation in 
Norway, to work in prison camps and corrupt Irish 
prisoners of war. This priest was a certain Father John T. 
Nicholson, an American citizen of Irish birth. He reached 
German}^ safely, and we find him in January, 1915, trans- 
mitting messages to America, according to a report of 
Capt. von Papen, dated December 5, 1914. The verbal 
assurance sent in response to Casement's request had pro- 
duced an excellent impression in Ireland. 

" In the beginning of 1916 the plot ripened ; on February 
10 Count Bernsdorfi sent to a covering address in Rotter- 
dam a despatch signed with the name of Skal, one of his 
principal American agents. This despatch included an 
extract from a report of John Devoy, the head of the Clan- 
na-Gael, to the effect that action in Ireland could not be 
postponed much longer, since he feared the arrest of the 
leaders. It had been decided, he said, to begin action on 
Easter Saturdaj^ and he urged that the arms and munitions 
must be in Limerick by that date. 

" Later, in the same month, Count Bernsdorff, following 
his usual practice, surreptitiously attached to a message 
in Berlin, passed by the American Government a note 
fixing Easter Saturday for the rising, and urging the 
despatch of the munitions in time. 

" On March 4 Von Jagow replied that the arms would 
be landed in Tralee Bay, and asked that the necessary 

78 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



arrangements should be made in Ireland, through Devoy. 
On March 14 Bernsdorff repHed that the Irish agreed, 
and that full details were being sent to Ireland by messenger. 

" Next day Bernsdorff telegraphed a code to be used 
between the Germans and the rebels while the arms were 
in transit, and explained that a submarine might safely 
enter Dubhn Bay and go as far as the Pigeon House 
without encountering nets. 

" On March 26 Von Jagow replied that the arms would 
be sent and that a special code would be used every night 
as an introduction to the German Wireless press service. 

" In a message from Bernsdorff to Berlin the Germans 
were assured that there were numerous private wireless 
receiving stations in Ireland. On April 18 and 19 messages 
were sent from America to Berhn fixing the delivery of 
the arms for the evening of Easter Sunday, pressing for 
the landing of German troops, and asking for an air raid on 
England and a naval attack on the English coast. 

" These attacks actually took place between April 24 
and 27. It was the declared hope of the rebels and their 
German and American friends to blockade the Irish ports 
against England and estabhsh bases in Ireland for German 
submarines. The Rebelhon broke out a da}^ later than the 
scheduled time, on Easter Monday, April 24, but, as the 
world is aM'are, the German support had miscarried and 
it ended in complete failure. 

" The report of the Royal Commission on the rebellion 
stated :— ' It is now a matter of common notoriety that 
the Volunteers have been in communication with the 
authorities in Germany, and were for a long time Imown 
to be suppUed with money through Irish-American 
Societies. 

" This was stated in pubhc by Mr. John McNeill on 
November 8th, 1914. It was suspected long before the 
outbreak that some of the money came from German 
sources. The evidence on this subject in the possession 
of the British Government provides the clearest proof 
of these suspicioiis. 

79 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



" It became clear very soon after the rising that the 
Sinn Fein leaders were again asldng Germany for helj). 
On June 17 there was a message from Berlin to Washington 
referring to A259 of ]\lay 6 (a message which is missing), 
and saying that Germany was perfectly ready to give 
further help if the Irish would only say what sort of help 
they required. 

" On Juno 16 Rernsdorff had already sent a despatch 
giving an account of the rebellion, as far as his information 
went, and stating that £1,000 had been provided for the 
defence of Casement. On July 25 he sent a long message 
giving further news from Ireland and explaining that the 
worlt of reorganising the rebels was making good progress, 
and their lack of money had been remedied by him. 

" On September 8, in a despatch to Berlin, he enclosed 
a memorandum from a person called ' Irish Revolution 
Director, resident in America,' which contained detailed 
proposals for a fresh rising. Any rising, says the Irish 
Revolution Director, must be contingent upon the sending 
by Germany of ' an expedition with a sufficient military 
force to cover the landing.' 

" On this new occasion the German Government was to 
fix the time and, as an inducement, the advantage of having 
submarine and Zeppelin bases in the West of Ireland was 
insisted upon. Count BernsdorfE was evidently having 
difficulty with his tools, for, on October 24, he warned 
his Government not to allow a certain Captain Boehni, 
then resident in Rotterdam, to write to Irishmen in America, 
since the letters were apt to go to the Avrong people. Later, 
Captain Boehm was arrested l)y us in British waters. 

" On December 4 we find Count Bernsdorli again attack- 
ing, surreptitiously, a note to a message passed by the 
American Government, in which he mentioned that the 
Irish leaders in America were presging for an answer to 
their proposal of September 8. He seems to have followed 
this on Christmas Day with a message which is missing. 
On December 31, 1916, Herr Zimmerman informed him 
of the quantities of munitions which it Avas jjroposed to 

80 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



land between February 21 and 25, 1917. He added that 
it was impossible to send German troops. 

" On January IB, 1917, Bernsdorff replied that his Irish 
Committee declined the proposal, as without German 
troops a rising would be useless. After America's entrance 
into the war on April 4, 1917, the line of communication 
between the German Government and the leaders of the 
Sinn Fein party was temporarily broken, though there 
is no reason to believe that the messenger service devised 
by John Devoy between America and Ireland was affected. 

" A clue to the new line of communication was subse- 
quently obtained, and has been actively followed up. 

" The effect of this new Hne in Ireland is visible in the 
speeches of the Sinn Fein leaders during this period. For 
example, de Valera, addressing the Convention of Irish 
Volunteers on October 27, 1917, said : — ' By proper 
organisation and recruiting they could have 500,000 
fighting volunteers in Ireland.' That would be a big army, 
but without the opportunity and the means of fighting 
it could only be used as a menace. 

" There had already been too much bloodshed without 
success, and he would never advocate another rebellion 
without hopeful chances of success. They could see no 
hope of that in the near future, except through a German 
invasion of England and the landing of troops and munitions 
in Ireland. They should be prepared to leave nothing 
undone towards that end ! 

" On another occasion in January this year de Valera 
said : — ' So long as Germany is the enemy of England, 
and England the enemy of Ireland, so long wiU Ireland be 
the friend of Germany.' For some considerable time it 
was difficult to obtain accurate information as to the 
German Sinn Fein plans, but about A.pril, 1918, it was 
definitely ascertained that the plan for landing arms 
in Ireland was ripe, and that the Germans only awaited 
definite information from Ireland as to the time, place, 
and date. 

" The British authorities were able to warn the Irish 

81 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Command regarding the probable landing of an agent 
from Germany from a submarine. The agent actually 
landed on April 12, and was arrested. The new rising 
depended largely upon the landing of munitions from 
submarines, and there is evidence to show that it was 
planned to follow a successful German offensive in the 
west, and to take place at a time when Great Britain 
would be presumably stripped of troops. According to 
documents found on his person de Valera had worked 
out in great detail the constitution of his rebel army, and 
hoped to be able to muster half a milhon trained men. 
There is evidence that German munitions were actually 
shipped on submarines at Cuxhaven at the beginning of 
May, and that for some time German submarines had been 
busy off the west coast of Ireland on other errands than 
the destruction of AlHed shipping. It will thus be seen 
that negotiations between the Executive of the Sinn Fein 
organisation and Germany have been virtually continued 
for 3i years. At first a' section of the Irish- Americans 
was the intermediary for most of the discussions, but since 
America's entrance into the war communications with the 
enemy have tended to be more direct. 

" A second rising in Ireland was planned for last year, 
and the scheme broke down only because Germany was 
unable to send troops. This year plans for another rising 
in connection with the German offensive on the Western 
Front were maturing and a new shipment of arms from 
Germany was imminent. An important feature in every 
plan was the estabhshment of submarine bases in Ireland 
to menace the shipping of all nations. 

" In these circumstances no other course was open to the 
Government, if useless bloodshed was to be avoided and 
its duty to the Allies fulfilled, but to intern the authors 
and abettors of this criminal intrigue." 

The incidents raked up in this statement were required 
as a colouring for the Government's designs. It was a 
case of post hoc, ergo 2^ropter hoc. But if any doubt 
existed in the minds of the people regarding the matter 



82 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



it was dispelled by Lord Wimborne, Avho stated that when 
quitting the office of Viceroy a short time previously he 
was not aware of the existence of the alleged plot. Even 
the Morning Post, always a bitter opponent of Ireland's 
claims, did not believe in the theory of a plot. It saw in 
de Valera's arrest a change of policy for which an excuse 
was required and no more. It said : — " Why the prisoners 
should have been released and allowed to remain so long 
at large passes our comprehension. The Government is 
anxious to justify their present imprisonment. De Valera 
himself being now in an English jail had no opportunity 
of either seeing or refuting the misrepresentations set in 
motion about him, but his views as expressed later bore 
out the accuracy of the following statement dictated for 
the Dublin Press b;/ a prominent Sinn Feiner immediately 
after the " proofs "' were issued by the Government. 

Discretions, oversights and omission-? in the " proofs." 

" The main part deals with events prior to Easter Week, 
1916. Many of the men arrested on Friday week were 
well known to have had no connection with the events 
of that period ; others were amongst those sentenced or 
interned for complicity in the rebelhon and amnestied 
last year, and the Government's statement makes mention 
of :— 

(a) Certain negotiations entered into by Roger 
Casement. 

(6) Landing of arms in Ireland in connection with the 
insurrection of 1916. Both these matters are, 
and have been for many months, well known to 
the Irish people and the British Government. 
Roger Casement and the men associated with him 
have been executed for their connection with 
these events. Why resurrect these things at 
this stage to re- convict men who have been 
amnestied ? (Nemo debet bis puniri pro una 
delicto — Law Max.) The part deahng with 

83 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



events subsequent to Easter Week, 1916, has for 
its outstanding feature a missing document 
referred to as A259 in a letter bearing tlie date 
17th June, 1917, a date anterior to the release 
of the prisoners, including Messrs. de Valera, 
M'Guinness, Cosgrave, M'Garry, Hayes, M'Entee, 
Lawless, Hunter, Etchingham, Eahy, Davy, 
Coleman, and Madame Markievicz — all now re- 
arrested. If there was a plot at that time these 
persons could not have been concerned with the 
arrangements. In view of this glaring dishonesty, 
people will not be inclined to treat seriously the 
references to plans for a rising made by the 
" Irish Revohition Director resident in America." 
The very name savours of Le Caron, and will bring 
a cynical smile to the lips of ever3'one who has 
studied the ways of English intrigue. Of course 
the plans are not given, yet their publication 
could not endanger the safety of the realm. The 
next point in the proof is mention of an arms 
landing between February 21 and February 
25, 1917 — dates, Hke the other, anterior to the 
release of the Irish prisoners from Lewes. The 
document relating to this landing is also missing. 
In connection with this landing Bernatorff is 
m.entioned as having received a reply from his 
Government that German troops could not be 
landed. Owing to this it is alleged that the 
Irish Committee declined the munitions. Irish 
Commattee is another of those m3%stery names 
beloved of the Le Carons and his breed. An 
alleged utterance by de Valera at a Volunteer 
Convention is given as jiart of the plot. I was 
present at that Convention, with 600 others, 
and have consulted with many of them as to the 
exactness of the words given. We are all agreed 
that the statement as it appears is a glaring 
misquotation. 

84 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



The public can rest assured that the documents found 
on Mr. de Valera were no more than the following : — 

(a) Scheme of organisation of the Irish Volunteers. 

(b) Notes on Ireland's case for the Peace Conference. 

(c) Notes on Ireland's case against Conscription. 

The whole thing is a sham. The Government case rests 
either upon missing documents or statements unsupported 
by any proof whatever. It is clearly an attack upon the 
Sinn Fein organisation because that is feared by the 
Government. The British Government has pubhshed a 
document to blacken us in the eyes of the Nations. That 
is the plot — an English plot against the Irish Nation." 

With de Valera in Frongoch Prison, to which place he 
was sent immediately after arrest, the Government thought 
it expedient to resume voluntary recruiting. But, now 
as alway3, they were unable to understand the Irish 
temperament. If there was one way in which recruits 
could not be obtained that way was Iw the use of coercion. 
And strange to relate this was the very system of recruiting 
that recommended itself to the C4overnment. It seems 
paradoxical to speak of obtaining voluntary recruits by 
coercion, yet in Ireland we have witnessed this strange 
phenomenon. So many thousand men were demanded 
within a certain date, with a fixed monthly quota to follow. 
If these were not forthcoming the Conscription Act was 
to be enforced at all costs. Therefore, the Government 
were to have the men in one way or the other, and to talk 
of voluntary recruiting in the circumstances was only 
all pretence. Then again, free speech was denied during 
this campaign of voluntary recruiting ; meetings were 
suppressed; and anybody who dared utter a word of advice 
or caution to those young men whom the Recruiting 
Sergeant diligently sought, was arrested and imprisoned. 
De Valera had made sure, however, that the young men of 
Ireland understood the position, so it really (Ud not matter 
whether the Government adopted coercion or peaceful 
means— they were not to have the recruits. As a matter 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



of fact the Government action had an effect opposite to 
that desired : those who were wanted for the British Army 
joined the Irish Vohmteers instead, and thousands of 
pounds that might have been attracted across to England 
by the inflated dividends of the day, were diverted to the 
Mansion House Conference and to other Irish ])urpose3. 
A httle over a week after the de[)ortation of Mr. de 
Valera the Lord Lieutenant issued his voluntary recruiting 
])roclamation. It was divided into six numbered para- 
graphs as follows : — 

1. In pursuance of our offer we now make our offer 

which, if successful, wdll ensure that L'cland will 
play her part fully and freely in the world struggle 
for liberty. The offer we make is that Ireland 
should voluntarily furnish the number of men 
required to establish an equitable ratio when 
compared with all other parts of the p]mpire. 

2. In order to establish that ratio Ireland can fairly 

be asked to raise 50,000 recruits before October 
1st to replenish the Irish divisions in the field, 
and after that date to raise 2,000 to 3,000 recruits 
per month in order to maintain those divisions. 
That is what we ask Ireland to do. 

3. We wish to make it quite clear to everyone that 

there is no intention of disturbing farming inte- 
rests, or food production, or to do anything that 
would hamper or curtail the essential industry of 
the country. It is not expected that- many of 
the rural population will be available for military 
purposes. The Government look almost entirely 
to the large number of young men in the towns, 
far greater than is required to carry on ordinary 
retail trade, to furnish the necessary contingent. 

4. As Avas done in l^^ngland, Scotland and Wales, we 

propose first to call up the j^ounger men and those 
who can best be spared to come forward to fight 
for their motherland. The limit of age in the 

86 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



present appeal is, therefore, fixed at 18 to 27. 
This is not intended to preclude older men from 
coming forward who may he specially fitted for 
military seryice or animated with a desire to serve 
their country in the field. 

5. We recognise that men who come forward and 

fight for their Motherland are entitled to share 
in all that their ^Motherland can offer. Steps are, 
therefore, being taken to ensure, as far as possible, 
that land shall be available for men who have 
fought for their country, and the necessary legis- 
lative measure is now under consideration. 

6. Full details with regard to pay, separation allow- 

ance, pensions, etc., will be published in due course. 
The work of recruiting will be in civihan hands, 
and steps wiU be taken to secure that fair play 
shall be meted out to all. 

This was a very nicely worded Proclamation, and the bait 
held out in paragraph 5 was, no doubt, tempting, but from 
paragraph 2 it did not appear as if much land would be 
required. It did not require a mathematician of de Valera's 
standing to see the purport of this Proclamation. It was 
apparent to anybody of ordinary inteUigence, but, lest 
there should be any mistake, de Valera had taken good 
care before his imprisonment to divert oiu* thoughts along 
the proper channel. Everybody knew, except the Govern- 
ment, that not even 50 recruits, much less 50,000, -^ould 
be forthcoming by October 1st. But as the op})Osition to 
conscription and the feehng against recruiting continued 
to gain fresh momentum events of the highest importance 
to Ireland as well as to the outside world, were about to 
take final shape — the Great War was soon to end. On the 
12th of October Germany accepted President Wilson's 
14 points ; on the 9th November the Kaiser abdicated ; 
and at 11 a.m. on November 11th the last shot of the war 
was fired. 

87 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



On the cessation of hostilities the Conscription issue 
vanished ; bnt the next month brought forth another 
issue of great importance. The Irish people, as a whole, 
were to have an op])ortunity of placing on record their 
views on the principles advocated by Sinn Fein. The 
verdict was one of overwhelming approval. Not alono 
rlid the people approve of past actions, but they were 
practically unanimous in giving Sinn P^in a mandate to 
continue the fight for Irish Independence. ^Vithout that 
mandate de Valcra and his comrades would have been 
much handicapped in the severe struggle that was to 
follow. livery man and every woman who voted Sinn Fein 
at the General Election of December, 1918, placed fresh 
wreaths on the graves of those who died for Ireland, 
brought joy to those who were suffering in English prisons, 
and caused Irish exiles to feel proud of their Motherland. 
The result of that election bore out the wisdom of de 
Valera's parting words as he was being hurried, a prisoner, 
out of Ireland. " Be calm and confident," he said to 
those who stood on the beach as he disappeared amidst 
glittering bayonets. Referring to these words the Most 
Rev. Dr. Fogerty said : " de Valera's parting words 
represent what that wise, brave and upright leader con- 
siders to be the right policy for young Ireland." A per- 
sistent call was now made for the release of the prisoners. 
On the 7th January, 1919, no less than 100 public meetings 
were held throughout Ireland for this purpose, but while 
the Government remained obdurate to all demands for 
release, de Valcra quietly took the matter into his own 
hands, and on the 3rd of February the glad tidings were 
received that he had escaped from prison. 



83 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 




CHAPTER V. 

J HE escape of de Valera from Lincoln created 
a great sensation. In Ireland the news was 
naturally received with jubilation; in England 
hovv'evcr it was regarded as a serious blow to 
the plans as well as the prestige of the 
Government. Indeed there were English- 
men, and not a few, who professed to be ashamed of a 
Government which allowed itself to be outwitted on 
EngHsh soil by the wily Irish arch-rebel. So dramatic 
an escape could not fail to attract attention to Ireland's 
case, and in spite of EngUsh influence foreign journahsts 
began to be interested in de Valera and his movements. 
Every scrap of information that could be gleaned about 
him v.-as cabled to all parts of the world. Even in Paris 
]M. Andre Niolles, a leading journaUst, turned aside from 
the Peace Conference itself to seek an interview with Sean 
T. O'Kelly on the subject of de Valera's escape. Addres- 
sing the Irish Republican Envoy, he asked : " How did 
de Valera escape V " All I can say," replied Mr. O'Kelly, 
" is that the escape took a long time and a lot of trouble. 
Lincoln Jail, where he was imprisoned, was closely watched 
both by civil and military guards. De Valera was not 
allowed to see any visitors, not even his wife, for nine 
months." Yet in spite of all these precautions he con- 
trived to escape. It occurred in this way. De Valera 
succeeded in getting an impression of the key of the jail 
door on candle wax. At this time the prisoners were 
allowed to send what looked like humorous picture post- 
cards to their friends in Ireland. One of these cards was 
made to represent a drunken man trying to fit a key to 



EAMONN DE TALERA. 



the lock of a door, on the previous Christmas, with the 
words " I can't get in " written underneath. Another 
card showed a man trying to fit a key to a prison door with 
the heading " I can't get out." The British officials 
closely scrutinised the two post cards, but having become 
immersed in the humour of the productions, as was anti- 
cipated, failed to observe the real meaning of the message. 
The post cards, which contained an actual illustration of 
the key and an indication of the purpose for which it was 
required, were, indeed, very cleverlj' designed to fulfil 
the purpose in view. 

The prisoners were faced with the difficulty of making 
the message intelligible to their friends in Ireland while 
at the same time not making it clear enough to be under- 
stood by the British officials. Some hope had, of course, 
to be placed on the fact that some of the officials concerned 
were known to be rather dull of comprehension, and would 
Ukely be unable to catch the allusion. B\it though the 
EngUsh failed to see anything but a good joke in the cards, 
the purport of the message was quickly realised in Ireland 
and a master key was at once jirepared. This key was 
smuggled into the jail baked in a cake. Michael Collins 
and Harry Boland were on the scene at the proper moment 
with an automobile, and when, with the aid of the key, 
de Valera and his companions got out through the back 
door of the prison, the uhole party moved swiftly to a pre- 
arraiigcd destination. And the newspapers were as 
curious as to his whereabouts as they were anxious for 
information regarding the manner of his escape. The 
French Paper, U Information, stated that he was in Paris, 
having reached France via Holland. One English paper 
said he had gone to America to meet President Wilson ; 
another that he reached the Continent from an English 
port ; while the Daily Chronicle, in referring to a round- 
up of civilians in the north of Co. Dublin, claimed that 
the object was the capture of de Valera, who was reported 
to be in that neighbourhood. Thus, within four days of 
his escape, de Valera was variously reported to have been 



96 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



seen at places an widely apart as Grimsby, Skibbereen, 
Newcastle, Queenstown, Gravesend, Glasgow, Dublin, 
London, and Paris. 

Meanwhile the Government, while outwardly displaying 
little concern, was straining every nerve to secure the 
recapture of the fugitive. A whole army of detectives was 
on his track. Every avenue of escape was closely watched. 
No one was more active in the pursuit than the Governor 
of the prison. As the officer primarily responsible for the 
safe custody of the prisoner, he felt it incumbent on him 
to take immediate steps to prevent de Valera's escape 
out of Lincoln and to effect his recapture, if still in the city. 
A house to house search was accordingly instituted, par- 
ticular attention being paid to the residences of Irishmen. 
He is said to have, at the same time, offered a reward of £5 
for the apprehension of de Valera or either of the two 
prisoners who escaped with him. This would seem a 
small sum to offer for the recapture of one or more of 
the three rebels, but the Governor, no doubt, thought it 
quite a sut^cient deduction from his not over extravagant 
war bonus. The smallness of the reward reminds us of 
the escape of Mr. Winston Churchill from Pretoria, during 
the Boer War, when £25 was promised for his recapture ; 
but we have not had an opportunity of learning whether 
or not de Valera's views on the insignificance of the sum 
offered coincided with those of iNlr. Churchill, who said : 
" I have been in jail ; I have been a fugitive from justice ; 
and all that was offered for my capture, dead or aUve, 
was a paltry Five and Twenty Pounds." But neither the 
Governor nor the Government, with all its resources, was 
able to track down the fugitive ; no trace of the " tall 
thin man with the light brown eyes " could be discovered. 
The Government then sought to make hght of the whole 
affair, and, by the liberation of the rest of the Sinn Fein 
prisoners, to create the impression that de Valera's further 
detention was, in any case, only a matter of a few weeks. 
Thus was England's magnanimity to be held up to the 
admiring gaze of the world, ^shile, in her secret heart, she 



01 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



wished for nothing better than to hold the Irish leader 
securely under loclv and key until the fate of small nations 
had been satisfactorily disposed of at the Peace Conference. 
De Valera after his escape first broke silence in a message 
to the Irish people which was read at a meeting of the 
Ard-Chomhairle of Sinn Fein by Father O'Flanagan in the 
following terms : — " I have escaped from Lincoln to do 
the country's work and I am doing it." Shortly afterwards 
a mild sensation was created by the sudden appearance 
at a concert at the Mansion House, and the equally sudden 
disappearance, escorted by Volunteers, of IVlr. Sean Mac- 
Garry, who had escaped from Lincoln at the same time 
as de Valera. This was the first indication that the Sinn 
Fein leader had probably reached Ireland. Reports of 
interviews with him now began to appear in English and 
other foreign journals. It is a remarkable thing — and 
it speaks well for Sinn Fein — that while the smartest 
detectives in the employment of the British Government 
were unable to trace his whereabouts, American, French, 
and even English journalists succeeded in obtaining these 
interviews. The interviews were, of course, very cautiously 
arranged. They usually took place after sunset, and the 
journalists were never allowed a glimpse of the surrounding 
country. They v/ouid not be in a position to describe 
even the external appearance of the house in which the 
interviews had taken place. " Through midnight darkness 
a swift car took me to the leader," said Mr. A. E. Copping 
of the Dailji Chronicle. "De Valera is a pleasant man to 
talk to. The familiar photograph carries a slightly for- 
bidding suggestion that is wholly misleading. His is the 
face of a man that has known much nervous strain and 
physical suffering, but, as he talks, a very human light 
beacons from his e3'es and now and then a little humorous 
smile pla3s around his mouth." ^Ir. Ross of the Associated 
Press of America was another journalist who secured one 
of these midnight interviews. He gives us de Valera's 
views on President Wilson and on Ireland's claim to 
independence. Owing to the importance of some of the 




rh,>to hii\ 



I /'„„/,■. Wnfnfnrd. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 

at the age of thirty-six. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



statements made and the circumstances in Avhich they w ere 
obtained the interview is given in some detail. " Do you 
beHeve," asked 'Mr. Ross, " that the Statesmen in Paris 
will force England to do justice to Ireland ? " 
De Valera replied as follows : — 

" I am afraid that question shows that your secret 
opinion of England and of the Statesmen is not very 
flattering. You are by no means the first to put me 
that question. You are convinced like the others, 
I suppose, that, of herself, England will not do justice 
to Ireland, and like the others, too, you doubt that the 
delegates from the other nations will be either so 
disinterested or such determined champions of the 
right as to risk a quarrel with England on behalf of a 
countrj^ which possesses less of the world's goods than 
PJngland does, when nothing but the principles of 
justice are at stake. 

You may })c right, you may be wrong. I do not 
knov/ — but this I do know, that if the issue should 
unhappil}^ be as you and the others who have put me 
that question are obviously satisfied it will be, the 
cynic can feel that he has been justified once more, 
and the simple and the trusting unscrupulously imposed 
upon. Then, indeed, will there have been a deception. 
Honest people everywhere will point the finger of 
scorn and indignation, and demand of these statesmen 
where now is that impartial justice, that justice which 
knows no favourites, which recently j-ou spoke to 
us so much of 1 Where now this new order and these 
handsome foundations of lasting peace. Where all 
these beautiful professions of yours that, simple and 
grand, seemed turned to the eternal verities of our souls, 
av.'akening in them a sj-mpathetie response that we 
could not smother — were they but skilfully- spun phrases 
finely woven to enmesh us ? Are you after all only 
as were the rest ? Was it for your pmiy ambitions 
humanity had endured the horrors of the past five 
years, and the entail of sorrow they bequeathed to 

93 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the future ? No, I do not know whether the states- 
men of Paris will prove worthy of the trust that has 
been reposed in them, or great enough to grasp the 
opportunity that requires so httle to improve it, and 
found firmly the relations between peoples on a basis 
worthy of our common humanity. 

But it is surely a source of hope to know that there 
is one man at least -who apparently realises his duty, 
and who can accomplish what he wills if onl}^ he remains 
steadfastly determinedly true. The Machiavellis may 
scoff at him, but he ought to know that he has the 
best of mankind everj'where at his back. Let him 
but be bold enough to lead straight on, and that 
respectable portion of mankind — the plain people — 
whose spokesman he has been and whose hearts he 
has won, are strong enough, and if he but call upon 
them, ready enough to march with him to the realisa- 
tion of their common dream. Why should he hesitate 
to see that America's aims are accomplished ? Were 
these aims not stated unequivocally from the start ? 
Is the cause less worthy now that its triumph is in 
sight ? Are those who oppose it now less the enemies 
of that cause than those who were thought likely to 
oppose it ? Why should any of the statesmen in 
Paris seek to oppose President Wilson in having the 
cause of justice upheld ? Have their statements not 
been almost as expUcit as his ? Have they not all 
vied with one another in i)roclaiming that the rights 
of the weak are no less worthy than the rights of the 
strong ? How can any of them claim the privaleges 
of condoning wrong ? Should they attempt to do so 
the President should boldly save them from themselves. 
W^rong is no less wrong because it happens to be one of 
their own number that is guilty of it. If the President 
should by any chance prove too weak for his trust 
he will have all the less excuse because, luckily, 
America is strong enough not to allow herself to be 
cheated. She, at any rate, has no need to tremble 

94 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



when the British lion growls his intimidatory warnings 
to those who might disturb him at his prey. I cannot 
believe that, with the advantages of position he 
possesses, the President will be Aveak. I cannot con- 
ceive that he will allow himself to be deterred from 
cutting away a vicious canker at the core of the new 
world order, be they conventional, diplomatic niceties 
that belong to the order which the blood of millions 
was shed to destroy. But whether Ireland be 
heard or not — whether statesmen stand forth as 
the most conspicuous failures in history or not — the 
duty of Irishmen and the duty of all lovers of liberty 
is clear — to see that oversight cannot be pleaded as an 
excuse. England tries to bind and gag Ireland, to 
throw her into the obscurity of a dungeon. It is 
our duty to support all who would lend a hand at 
loosing her. We must strive at least to let in the 
purifying Hght to show Ireland as she is, struggHng 
ever against the slavery in which England would 
confirm her, fighting through the centuries, main- 
taining in blood and tears communion with aU who 
fight for Uberty, everywhere — batthng for it as she 
ever is, with her foe upon the hearth at home. Ireland 
seeks nothing from England but the removal of Eng- 
land's oppressive, interfering hand. Her only demand 
is the fundamental right to live her own life in her own 
way — with no limitations except those imposed by 
the necessit}^ of respecting the equal rights of other 
peoples. England has no right in Ireland. Her 
de facto Government here rests solely on the number 
of her bayonets. We challenge her to allow the 
principle of free self-determination to be appHed to 
this Island unit. Let her planted colonists and all 
be included, and if the decisive majority of the whole 
people declare not for a separate independent state- 
hood then we shall be silent. That verdict I, at any 
rate, shall abide by. But if a decisive majority does 
declare for independence shall we not be justified in 
claiming that that, and not something less, represents 



95 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the free choice of the people. I am cortain that any- 
thing less would represent, not a free unfettered 
choice, but a choice forced on them from without. 
The recent elections prove it, but wh}^ should it need 
proof at all ? In what way would these fears and 
aspirations common to people in other lands have 
become atrophied, so to speak, in Ireland ? Does 
not the rule of one people by the people of another 
land ever beget national conciousness in the people 
ruled ? Do the persecutions which invariably accom- 
pany such rule not foster that consciousness into an 
abiding intensity ? If tliat is generally true in other 
cases, why should it not be so in the case of Ireland ? 
It is true. Ireland can never will to annihilate her 
personality, she craves as she must to give expression 
to her own pecuhar characteristics — to contribute 
her ov/n special quota to the sum of human effort. 
Yes, craves, yearns, longs as only a Nation that has 
withstood similar centuries of repression could under- 
stand. Oil what grounds does England refuse Ire- 
land's demands ? England cannot pretend to mis- 
understand the challenge we give. Here is the 
challenge of the Irish })eople. Let us hear why she 
refuses to meet it. If she accepts the principle of 
self-determination for this Island unit that will settle 
the Irish question for ever. We can settle ourselves, 
our minority question, because we shall want to. 
England will never settle, because she desires to keep 
it unsettled. Let her remove her interfering hand. 
We ask the world to listen and to judge between 
Ireland and England, but if the principles with which 
the world has rung for the past four years shall prove 
to be a mockery, if Ireland's claim is still flouted, 
then she must only find refuge once more in her own 
indomitable spirit — the spirit which has maintained 
her in the past, she can stiU at least endure, and there 
is a generation growing up in Ireland that will see to 
it that if England wants to still rule here she must 
do so with a never sheathed sword.'" 

96 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



At the General Election of December, 1918, de Valera 
was returned for two constituencies — East Clare and East 
Mayo, defeating in the latter place Mr. John Dillon, 
Chairman of the Irish Parliamentary Party, by 4,4G1 votes. 
At the dissolution the Irish NationaUst Party was 68 
strong, but it emerged from the Election with only six 
members ; 73 Sinn Fein deputies were returned, the 
remaining seats beind secured b}- the six Nationalists 
and 26 Unionists. Jlr. WiUiam O'Brien's party did not 
oppose Sinn Fein. The first meeting of Dail Eireann, 
which attracted considerable attention in poUtical circles 
tliroughout the world, was held on the 21st of January, 
1919. A Declaration of Irish Independence was at once 
proclaimed, a democratic programme drawn up, and a 
message of greeting sent to the Nations of the world. 
(See Api^endix.) 

On the release of the other prisoners, de Valera no 
longer found it necessary to remain in hiding. Re-arrest 
was not to be feared, for, however much the Enghsh might 
wish to enforce stern measures, they felt that their interests 
would now be best served by relaxing rather than in- 
tensif3'ing their operations against Sinn Fein. ^Vhile the 
"■ High Contracting Parties " were discussing the fate of 
Nations at Paris, Irishmen were engaged in enUghtening 
world opinion in France and America. Besides, the Sinn 
Fein leaders were indifferent as to what England might do. 
They had a clear programme, duly sanctioned by the people, 
and' they meant to adhere to it. They kept President 
Wilson's self-determination principles and the AUies' pro- 
fessed sympatliy for small Nations well in the public view. 
This was just what the Enghsh did not want. Self- 
determination, however suitable to the Jugo-Slavs, 
Ukranians, or Czecho-Slovaks, should have no application 
to Ireland, the pioneer of civilisation in many parts of 
Europe and America. In its endeavour to stifle the voice 
of Ireland, the English Government suppressed meetings, 
prohibited free speech, and set up courts- martial tribunals, 
the net result being to strengthen the Irish cause. The 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Sinn Fein prisoners refused any longer to recognise English 
tribunals, in many instances turning the proceedings into 
ridicule. Thus the echo became louder than the sound 
that gave it birth. 

On the 22nd March, the following official communication 
was issued from the headquarters of the Sinn Fein organi- 
sation : — " President de Valera tat 11 arrive in Ireland on 
Wednesday evening next, 26th instant, and the executive 
of Bail Eireann v,i\[ offer him a National welcome. It is 
expected that the home-coming of de Valera will be an 
occasion of national rejoicing, and full arrangements will 
be made for marshalling the procession. The Lord Maj^or 
of Dublin will receive him at the gates of the city, and will 
escort him to the Mansion House, where he will deUver 
a message to the Irish people. All organisations and bands 
wishing to participate in the demonstration should apjDly 
to G Harcourt Street on Monday, 24th instant, up to 

^ P"^- H. BOLAND \ Hon. 

T. Kelly, / Sees. 

The Enghsh Government replied by issuing a Procla- 
mation ])rohibiting all public meetings and processions, 
thus only lending additional importance to the event. 
The comments of the London Daihj Mail on thia Procla- 
mation were refreshing, if not amusing : " The veto," 
it said, " placed by the authorities on the intended public 
reception of Mr. de Valera has i)lunged DubHn into an 
animated, and in some cases and places almost excited, 
speculation as to what will happen. 1'he proposed recep- 
tion was in the public mind obviously based on too notable 
a precedent. When Queen Victoria paid her State visit 
to Dublin after the South Afx'ican War, she was received 
at the boundar}'^ of the capital by the Lord Mayor, who 
tendered her the keys of the city as a sj^mbolic act of 
homage. Sinn Fein announced that President de Valera 
was to be received at the gates of the city by the present 
Lord Mayor (O'Neill). When Mr de Valera is addressed 
by his title of ' President de Valera,' most people take 

98 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



that to mean that he is President of tlie Irish Republic, 
which the Dail Eireann claims to have brought into being. 
A reception to him in tiiis capacity would have looked Uke 
a carefully arranged and highly-spiced defiance of the 
powers that be." 

De Valera himself dealt with the Proclamation in the 
proper spirit. He sent word to the Sinn Fein headquarters 
that in his opinion the occasion was not one that would 
justify the holding of the reception, and in deference to 
his opinion it was abandoned. 

About two weeks after de Valera's escape from prison 
one of the largest and most representative Conventions 
ever held in the United States, in the interests of Ireland, 
was opened at Philadelphia. It was known as the Irish 
Race Convention. Five thousand one hundred and thirty- 
two delegates were present, many of whom occupied 
the highest political, judicial, and ecclesiastical positions 
in America. The main business of the Convention was 
to urge that Eamonn de Valera, Arthur Griffith, and Count 
Plunkett, representatives of Dail Eireann, be allowed to 
state Ireland's case at the Peace Conference : that the 
self-determination principles as outlined in President 
Wilson's 14 points be applied to Ireland ; and that the 
League of Nations, planned to defeat the objects for which 
America entered the war, be rendered ineffective. To give 
effect to the objects of the Convention a Committee of 
twenty- five members was apjiointed. Tliis Committee in 
torn ap])ointed Messrs. Frank P. Walsh, Edward F. Dunne, 
and Michael J. Ryan as a Commission to proceed to Paris, 
where Sean T. 'Kelly, delegate of the Provisional Govern- 
ment of the Irish Republic, was already engaged in making 
Ireland's case known to the nations of the world. 

On the 17 th May the following ofhcial communication 
was directed to M. Clemenceau, President of the Peace 
Conference, by the Irish delegates : — 

Sir, — The treaties no'vv under discussion by the 
Conference of Paris will, presumably, be signed by the 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



British plenipotentiaries claiming to act on behalf of 
Ireland as well as Great Britain. 

Therefore we ask you to call the immediate attention 
of the Peace Conference to the warning, which it is 
our duty to communicate, that the })eople of Ireland, 
through all its organic means of declaration, has 
repudiated and does now repudiate the claim of the 
British Government to speak or act on behalf of Ireland, 
and consequently no Treaty or agreement entered 
into by the representatives of the British Government 
in virtue of that claim is or can be binding on the 
people of Ireland. The Irish people wiU scrupulously 
observe any Treaty obhgation to which they are 
legitimately committed. But the British delegates 
cannot commit Ireland. The only signatures by which 
the Irish Nation will be bound are those of its own 
delegates, deliberately chosen. We request you to 
notify the Peace Conference that we, the undersigned, 
have been appointed and authorised by the dul}' 
elected Government of Ireland to act on behalf of 
Ireland in the proceedings of the Conference and to 
enter into agreements and sign 'J'reaties on behalf of 
Ireland. Accept, sir, the assurance of our great esteem. 

Eamonn de Valera. 

Arthur Griffith. 

George Noble Count Plunkett." 

On the 26th May the following important communication 
was also forwarded to the President of the Peace Com- 
ference : — 

Sir, — On May 17th we forwarded to you a note 
requesting you to warn the Conference that the Irish 
people will not be bound by the signatures of English 
or British delegates to the Conference, inasmuch as 
these delegates do not represent Ireland. We now 
further request that you will provide an opportunit}' 
for the consideration by the Conference of Ireland's 
claim to be recognised as an independent Sovereign 

100 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



State. We send you herewith a general memorandum 
on the case and beg to direct your attention in par- 
ticular to the following : — 

(1) That the rule of Ireland by England has been 

and is now intolerable ; that it is contrary 
to all conceptions of liberty and justice, and 
as such, on the ground of humanitj^ alone, 
should be ended by the Conference. 

(2) That the declared object of the Conference is 

to establish a lasting peace, which is admit- 
tedly impossible if the legitimate claims of 
self-determination of nations such as Ireland 
be denied. 

(3) That incorporated with the Peace Treaty under 

consideration is a covenant establishing a 
League of Nations, intended, amongst other 
things, to confirm and perpetuate the poli- 
tical relationships and conditions established 
by the Tresbty. 

It is clear that it is radically unjust to 
seek to confirm and perpetuate what is 
essentially wrong, and that it is indefensible 
to refuse an examination of title when a 
confirmation of possession is intended such 
as that provided by the Draft Cov'enant of 
the League of Nations. 

Ireland definitely denies that England or Britain can 
show any just claim or title to hold or possess Ireland, 
and demands an opportunity for her representatives to 
appear before the Conference to refute any such claim. 
We feel that these facts are sufficient basis to merit for 
our requests the consideration which we are sure you, 
sir, will give them. 

Please accept, Mr. President, the assurance of our great 

Eamonn de Valera. 

Arthur Griffith. 

George Noble Count Plunkett, 



esteem. 



101 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



These communications were supplemented by letters 
from Sean T. O'Kelly and George ({avan Duffy, while the 
delegates of the Irish Race Convention communicated 
with and interviewed practically every member of the 
American Commission to negotiate y)eace. including 
President Wilson himself. But the English influence 
Avithin the Conference was too strong. De Valera and 
his fellow-delegates were denied a hearing, and their case 
was as ignominiously rejected as that of Zaghloul Pasha, 
hea.d of the Egyptian delegation. It may not, perhaps, 
be correct to say that England alone was responsible for 
this denial of justice. The blame must be shared by the 
" big four " who, at the very outset, agreed that no small 
nation could come before them, except by unanimous 
consent. But why did President Wilson, whose noble 
ideals had brought hope to suffering nations, agree to so 
undemocratic an understanding ? Perhaps he only saw, 
when it wa^s too late, that the bottom had thus been 
knocked out of his 14 points. 

De Valera fully realised Avhat an unequalled opportunity 
President Wilson had of securing freedom for peoples big 
and small, but he doubted if the President would be strong 
enough to carry through his programme. Speaking at 
the Ard Fheis of Sinn Fein on the 9th of April, he said 
that if President Wilson Avanted to stand by his principles 
he would find in the Irish race people wJio would .support 
him even if no other ])eople did so. If President Wilson 
did not stand by his principles, he continued, the Irish 
;)eople would do so and see that justice and right were 
done. The Irish people had always been the pioneers of 
genuine morality, and they would be the ])ioneers in this 
case in seeing that those principles which were enunciated 
during the Avar should be carried out. The principles 
enunciated by President Wilson Avere right ones. They 
appealed to the best in mankind. These moral preachings 
had a value, and they must do their best as a race to see 
that the value of them was not lost. It had long ago 
been said that hypocrisy was the greatest compliment paid 

102 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



to virtue. It was for them to lead the way amongst the 
nations to see that virtue was the basis of human Ufe, 
Profound thought characterised all de Valera's utterances. 
A few further extracts from his address to the Ard Fheis 
will enable the reader to form a good idea of the position 
of the Irish Cause at this time. Coming to the question 
of the Sinn Fein organisation generally, de Valera said : — 
" This organisation had attracted, he might say 
without exaggeration, world-wide attention. It had 
been successful for two reasons — -first, because it really 
represented tlie aspirations of the Irish people ; and, 
secondly, because the methods that Avere employed 
in propagating it were the methods which were con- 
sistent with honesty, fair play, and with tolerance 
to Irishmen who diiTered from them. He held that 
a man could be tolera.nt without being weak. 
He did not hold that tolerance and weakness were 
synonymous. He remembered it was, as far as he 
was concerned, in East Clare they started out. One 
day the}' were stopped on the road by a few policemen 
armed in the usual fashion, who, when asked who 
they were going to vote for, said it mattered very 
little, as the whole thing was all a game. They of 
the Sinn Fein party went into politics to show that 
they regarded, politics not as a game, but a matter of 
serious importance, and that the moment poHtics 
became other than clean they would leave it. They 
had nothing but feelings of kind regard for Irishmen, 
no matter who they were, but they had to recognise 
that there were limits, and that tl\ey could not condone 
things which were v/rong simply because of generous 
feelings to members of their own nation." DeaUng 
with an American flag incident out of which British 
agents endeavoured to make capital, he continued : — 
" They had no quarrel with any nation. Before the 
war they had only one enemy, and they had that 
enemy long enough to have Spain and France as 
allies against it — to have, if they wished, Germany 

103 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



as an ally at^aiast it — and to-morrow or after they 
would have France or America, or some other nation 
against it. The enem}^ of our enemy must, for the 
time being, naturally command our sympathy. That 
is a natural thing, and T stand above it. And as I 
did happen to mention German}^ — I had not intended 
to, but it doesn't matter as it is true — I would like to 
say this — we have got no gold from CJerraany. Irish- 
men would not allow themselves to be the tools of 
Germany or any other country, and, believe me, if 
there were men in Ireland who would subordinate 
the interests of Ireland to a foreign country they would 
be the very same men who are subordinating the 
interests of Ireland to England to-day. The men 
who met England's army here a couple of years ago 
in order to vindicate the spirit of Irish nationality 
would have equally well stood against Germany if 
Germany were cutting in here. As I said, as far as 
I know — and I should know a good deal more than 
most people who are talking — Germany neither fooled 
nor attempted to fool Ireland. Germany has not 
betrayed Ireland." Coming to the attitude of the 
Volunteers towards the war, he said : — •" Ireland's 
attitude in this war was her real vindication. Had 
Ireland not taken the attitude against conscription 
that she did, it would have meant that Irish nation- 
ahty was killed for ever. They stood up against it 
not because they were afraid to tight, but because they 
were not afraid to fight. It was more likely that they 
would have suffered more in resisting conscription 
than they would have if they had gone out to fight 
England's battle for her. The Irish nation might 
have saved the world against conscrij)tion, because 
it had shown the world how conscription could be 
stopped in spite of the people in Paris. The people 
themselves could stop conscription whether the Big 
Four or the Little Four liked it or not. The plain 
people of the world could stop conscription by simply 

104 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



beco:ning conscientious objectors to it. The plain 
people had heard lots of talk about their power ; 
but if they only just realised it, organised themselves 
and exercised it, there would be little heard of the 
Big Four. 

As to the General Election the Irish people had 
demonstrated in a way that nobody could gainsay 
what they wanted. By self-determination they should 
understand the right of the Irish people themselves to 
say, without any reference to outside people, what form 
of Government they wanted. When they indicated in 
the General Election what they wanted, their demand 
was taken up by the Irish race in England, Australia, 
and America. If he had gone to America he would 
not have gone to the Irish people there, but to the 
Americans themselves. Their attitude was that the 
Irish people had clearly determined for themselves 
what they wanted, and had set up an Irish Republic, 
which had been the dream of Irishmen for centuries, 
but they accepted the principle of self-determination 
because, like the weight-thrower, they were not 
afraid to prove their mark. The Irish Republic was 
the aim of WoKe Tone and the United Irishmen, in 
which the Protestants of the North were foremost. 
The Irish Republic was the dream of Emmet ; it was 
the central aim of the men of ' 48 ; it was the aim of 
the men of 'G7, and to the Irish Republic that was 
proclaimed in 1916, and to that only, they gave 
allegiance. They were the trustees of the faith of 
these men, and he promised them they would never 
betray that trust. A Provisional Government was 
constituted after 1916, and one of their first acts, after 
coming out of prison, was to send Dr. McCartan to 
America as their accredited representative. He was 
now a representative of the duly elected Government 
of the Irish people. If the principles that were 
preached were going to find their way really into the 
world the Irish Republic was established and was 

105 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



secured. It was a grand thing to see America leading 
the way by giving the Philippines complete self-deter- 
mination. If England is sincere then England will 
do with Ireland what America is doing with the 
Philippines, and she need not show any anxiety what- 
ever about Ireland, for Ireland will be able to look 
after herself. 

Then there is the question of Labour. I have 
noticed that Labour is going to have on May 1st a 
day of no work in order to show the world that Labour 
stands behind the claims of self-determination for 
all peoples ; that Labour stands behind the claim of 
Ireland, that the people of Ireland have a right to 
decide what form of Government they will live under. 
When we wanted the help of Labour against conscrip- 
tion, Labour gave it to us. When we wanted the help 
of Labour in Berne, Labour gave it to us, and got 
Ireland recognised as a distinct nation. When we 
wanted Labom* to stand down at the election and not 
divide us, but that we should stand forsworn against 
one enemy, Labour fell in with us. I say Labour 
deserves well of the Irish people ; the Labour man 
deserves the best the country can give. I wish to 
goodness the power of occupation was gone from this 
country'. Social problems will be forced upon us 
in a way we will not be able to solve them on prin- 
ciples of justice, as we would solve other problems 
if England's interfering hand were gone." 

Vv'hen read in the light of subsequent events the various 
statements made by de Valera from time to time disclose an 
amount of wisdom and foresight. His plans were so well 
thought out that even in small matters he never found it 
necessary to depart one iota from his declared opinions. 
An honest man does not as a rule find it necessary to keep 
a perpetual watch on his words ; his conscience is a sure 
guide ; and de Valera is essentially a just man. His fine 
intellect and noble thoughts lead him far beyond the 

106 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



environs of those paltry politicians -who make self-interest 
the norm of their actions. 

It is unnecessary to say that the Peace Conference 
brought no help to Ireland. Messrs. Sean T. O'Kelly and 
George Gavan Duffy, together with the three representa- 
tives of the Irish Race Convention, worked strenuously 
to obtain a hearing for de Valera, but the " big four " 
remained inexorable. They were not exclusively occupied 
with the objects for which the great war had been fought ; 
for each dog had his bone, and any intrusion was met with 
a growl. Mr. Frank P. Walsh said before the Foreign 
Relations Committee at Washington, that unofficially 
man3^ were pleased to meet him, but officially 
they were prepared to dash out through the window 
when they heard his knoclc at the door. There was much 
sword-play between the Irish Race Representatives and 
President Wilson and his staff, with Mr. Lloyd George as 
one of the seconds. They were still manoeuvring for 
position when the joyous news reached the Irish head- 
quarters at Paris that the American Congress had sup- 
ported the Irish claim by Q'^ votes to 1 . American pressure 
now caused the British Premier to change his tactics. 
He expressed his wilHngness to have a personal interview 
with the Irish Race Representatives, but for reasons 
known to himself continued to postpone the hour of 
meeting. In the meantime he signified his willingness to 
allow the Irish Race delegates to visit Ireland with a view 
to discussing matters with de Valera and seeing things 
for themselves. If Mr. Frank P. Walsh, as Chairman 
of the delegation, found it impossible to penetrate, on 
behalf of de Valera, the barriers '\\hich surrounded the 
" big four," as they sat in conference, his visit to Ireland 
proved a tremendous success. The report issued on con- 
ditions in Ireland stood out as a terrible indictment against 
the EngUsh. The nature of its contents, obtained from 
personal observation, aroused American opinion and 
brought many willing workers to the side of Ireland. 
What Mr. Lloyd George thought a good manoeuvre actually 

107 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



resulted in a distinct defeat for him. Consequently, when 
the delegates returned to Paris the interview was declared 
oflF. President Wilson, however, granted the delegates 
a hearing, which took place at 11 Place Des Stats Unis 
on the 11th of June. 

Interview between President Wilson and Messrs. 
Edward F. Dunne and Frank P. Walsh, as reported 
to the Committee on Foreign Relations, United 
States Senate. 

IVIr. W^alsh and Governor Dunne called upon the President 
by appointment at 2.15 p.m. Governor Dunne started 
by saying that Mr. Walsh would open the case concerning 
which we called. 

]Mr. Walsh stated to the President that we had come to 
see him to ask him if he would not secure a hearing for 
us before the " Big Four," or whatever other committee 
might be delegated to hear the case of Ireland. That we 
had made a formal request of Mr. Lansing for safe conduct 
for Messrs. de Valera, Griffith, and Plunkett, and had 
received a communication from him to the effect that it 
would be futile to make the request. The President 
interrupted Mr. Walsh, and said : '" That is an official 
request, Mr. Walsh." Mr. Walsh stated that he had not 
been able to disentangle this official and unofficial business. 
He said, " What I am talking about is the denial of our 
request that the Americans should intervene to get the 
safe conducts for these men." The President said : " Well, 
of course, since that time, gentlemen, j^ou know the Senate 
has passed a resolution upon the subject." Mr. Walsh 
said : " WeU, the point of our request to-day is that if we 
are to assume that these men are not going to be allowed 
to come here, then we want to advise you that the people 
of Ireland are in actual physical captivity ; that those 
who would speak for them are not allowed to come here, 
and are restrained by the force of an army of occupation 
which is now occupying the country." We called the 

108 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



attention of the President to the fact that, at the outbreak 
of the war, there was a Home Rule Bill signed by the King, 
and which ought to have been put into' operation, but in 
violation of their so-called English Law, it was not put into 
operation. Later the time for its operation was extended 
for a year, and later again it was extended until after 
the war. Lloyd George then gave out a formal call for 
a Convention. The Convention was organised under the 
Chairmanship of Sir Horace Plunkctt. It began to reach 
a stage where it looked as though there was to be an agree- 
ment ; as a matter of fact when the Irish get together. 
North and South, they always almost agree. When Lloyd 
George saw there was going to be an agreement, he wrote 
a letter to the Convention stating, among other things, 
that the English Government would recognise nothing 
which they did that might interfere with the existing 
system of taxation and conduct of the army. This meant 
that no matter what the Convention did, England could 
still exploit Ireland and keep her under subjection by her 
army of occupation. 

Mr. Walsh further stated that England now has a block- 
ade against Ireland as effective as the Allies had against 
the Central Powers ; that it amounts to an impost upon 
every bite of food that the people of Ireland bring in from 
the outside ; and on everything that they ship outside 
the island. Mr. Walsh told the President that no ships 
were allowed to touch at any port, trans- Atlantic, that the 
country could not trade with the United States or other 
countries, and other countries could not trade with it. 
That Ireland was the most law-abiding country on the face 
of the earth, with a great respect for law and order and the 
rights of private property, but that unless some rehef 
was given that the workers there would have in self-defence 
set up Soviet government or do something else to relieve 
the situation. 

The President said : — " Of course you should understand 
that no small nation of any kind has yet appeared before 
the Committee of Four, and there is an agreement among 

109 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the Committee of Four that none can come unless unani- 
mous consent is given by the whole Committee." 

Governor Dunne addressed the President, and said : — 
" Has no small nation complaining of injustice on the part 
of any of the victor nations ever appeared as yet V' The 
President said : " There is no nation that has had its right 
considered by tlie Peace Conference except those that 
were actually concerned in the war. We have not 
attera])ted to inquire into ancient wrongs." 

Mr. Walsh then said : " Mr. President, it is the present 
injustice and the guerilla warfare that now exists, that 
we think should receive consideration. Suppose we 
present a case of this kind, a country in which a state of 
war actually exists. Do you mean to say, Mr. President, 
tiiat you would just close the matter and let the war go 
on ? " The President replied : "I am only one of this 
Conference, why should this whole thing be left to me ? " 
Mr. Walsh said : " We are leaving it to you, Mr. President, 
because you are the commanding figure in the Peace Con- 
ference, and because it was you who raised the hopes in 
the hearts of these people that they could come to you. 
W^e come to you because we are asking you to use your 
powerful influence with the other members of the Com- 
mittee to get us a hearing." 

Mr. Walsh further said : "In my conversations with the 
representatives of the Irish Republic, President de Valera 
asked me to ask you a question. I will read from your 
statements at the time we entered the war." Mr. Walsh 
then read the following : " Peace should rest upon the 
rights of peoples, not on the rights of governments — the 
rights of peoples, great and small, weak or powerful ; 
their equal right to freedom and security and self-govern- 
ment, and to participation, upon fair terms, in the economic 
opportunities of the world. 

***** 

"It is the principle of justice to all peoples and nationalities, 
and their right to live on equal terms of liberty and safety 
with one another, whether they be strong or weak. Unless 

110 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



this principle be made its foundation, no part of the 
structure of international justice can stand. 

•t* •(* ^ Sp !p 

' ' No man, no group of men, chose these to be the issues 
of the struggle. They are the issues of it, and they must 
be settled by no arrangement or compromise or adjustment 
of interests but definitely and once for all, and Vvith the full 
and equivocal acceptance of the principle that the interest 
of the weakest is as safe as the interest of the strongest. . . 
The impartial justice meted out must involve no discrimi- 
nation between those to whom we wish to be just and those 
to whom we do not wish to be just. It must be justice 
that plays no favourites and knows no standard but the 
equal rights of the several peoples concerned." 

Mr. Walsh continued : " Now then, Mr. President, 
Mr. de Valera asked me to say to you inasmuch as you state 
these are the issues, that there must be no arrangement 
or compromise, and that they must be settled definitely 
and once for all — to a-k you nnv v;here is the place to 
settle them definitely, once for all, and how shall his people 
do it. Now that he is to be denied the right to come here 
by England, and you tell us now that we cannot appear in 
effect, before the Peace Conference, he asks this question, 
and I ask you : Where will he go ? Where shall his 
people go ? If it is to be settled definitely and once for 
all, and you say that the issue is made, and we agree 
with you that it is made — now, where is it to be settled 
definitely and once for all ? " 

The President said : " Mr. Walsh, do you think that any 
considerable number of people, when they read my declar- 
ations, thought that these settlements were to be made 
at some particular place, automatically, immediately ? " 
IVIr. Walsh replied : " Mr. President, I can speak first 
for myself. When I read it, I believed you meant Ireland. 
I beheved that practically all the people in Ireland beheved 
that, and all that I have met of our own people believed it." 

Mr. Walsh continued : " Mr. President, I am afraid you 
do not understand the Irish situation." The President 

111 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



replied : "If you think I do not understand the Irish 
question, what did you come to rae about it for ? " Mr. 
Walsli rephed : "I do not mean, ]\Ir. President, that you 
do not understand the general history of Ireland ; but 
I do say that you do not know what is going on in Ireland 
to-day ; that is, its exploitation by England, the shooting 
down of its people in the streets, the sea blockade which 
England has enforced against it — in short, all of the 
atrocities that are being practised upon its citizens at this 
very moment." The President said : "Of course I do 
not claim to know the local and specific matters referred 
to." iMr. Walsh said : "I believe you received an invi- 
tation to go to Ireland. I think it would be a fine thing 
for yourself and for the peace of the world if you accepted 
that invitation. The people would be delighted if you 
went to Ireland, and get an understanding of the situation 
at first hand." 

The President said : " Now, Walsh, if it is your intention 
to go back to America and try to jmt me in bad odour, 
I am going to say when I go back that we were well on the 
way in getting Air. de Valera and his associates over here ; 
we were well on the way when you made it so difficult, 
by your speeches in Ireland, that we could not do it ; 
that it was you, gentlemen, who kicked over the apple 
cart." 

Mr. Walsh replied : " Mr. President, have you read the 
statement made by the Lord Chancellor in the House of 
Lords, and the statement made by Mr. Bonar Law in the 
House of Commons, both officially speaking for ]\li-. Lloyd 
George, in which they stated that it was not his intention, 
and never had been, to grant safe conduct to these men, 
and that it was his purpose, in having an interview with 
us after we came back from Ireland, to state the " English 
case " to the American press representatives, and serve 
England and not serve the people whom we were repre- 
senting over here. Did you read that ? " 

The President said : " Now, W'alsh, I am not going to 
discuss anything that was said in the British House of 

112 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Commons or House of Lords, except to say this, that I was 
making an effort and Colonel House was making an effort, 
and that we thought we were well on the way of getting 
de Valera and his associates over here, but the speeches 
of you, gentlemen, gave such offence that the whole thing 
had to be abandoned." 

]\ir. Walsh said : " Mr. President, I have written a letter 
to Mr. Lansing, to which we have received no reply, asking 
him what were the utterances that offended these gentlemen 
and who are the persons who were offended. Perhaps 
you may be able, Mr. President, to answer it. Was it 
Mr. Lloyd George ? " 

The President said : "I have not said anything about 
Mr. Lloyd George." Mr. Walsh said : " Who was it, 
then, to whom we gave offence ? " The President replied : 
" Well, I would say you offended the whole British Govern- 
ment." 

Mr. Walsh then said : " Well, then, you do not accept 
what Mr. Lloyd George said to the effect that he was not 
going to allow tham over in any event V The President 
said : " Mr. Walsh, I am not going to discuss Mr. Lloyd 
George." 

jMr. Walsh said : '" Would you be good enough to see 
the gentlemen who were offended, and if that was what 
stood in the way, if two others would come before them 
that had not given such offence, would they answer their 
request ? " The President said : " There is no use die 
cussing that ; I don't laiow what the British Government 
would say, and I have said all I can say on the subject." 

The President continued : "I want you, gentlemen, 
to understand that our position is this : that we are deahng 
officially with these governments. You would not want us 
to make representations or engage in an effort that might 
involve the sending of troops into Europe, and I know that 
our people would not want that. What I am saying to 
3^ou is that we cannot, and under no circumstances could 
we have at any time since we have been here, do anything 
in this matter of an official nature ; but I want to say to 

113 I 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



you that I have the deepest sympathy for Ireland and her 
people and her cause. I know I speak for the others 
when I say that all we could do unofficially we have been 
doing and will do." 

Mr. Walsh said : "In order that there may be no 
misunderstanding, may I ask if any of your efforts have 
been directed towards anything except securing to these 
people the right of self-determination, and the right to 
have a free government, just like the Government of the 
United States." 

The President said : " What I will say to you is this : 
that you know the lines that we are discussing." 

Mr. Walsh said : " Mr. President, the Irish people 
believe in these principles that j^ou laid down, and believe 
that they come wholly within the description of a 
people who have determined their own rights with 
reference to their Government, and I want to call your 
attention to this fact : That no mediations or negotiations 
or intercourse with the representatives of Great Britain 
can possibly accomplish anything at this time. We do 
not clesire to have any, and as far as we are concerned we 
do not desire anyone else to have any for us. The attitude 
of the i^nglish Government is this : By force of arms, by 
an army of occupation in Ireland, it is assuming to legislate 
for Ireland. It can do anything to Ireland or for Ireland 
that might gives it the power to. So that if England 
has anything that it thinks is good for the Irish people it 
has the power to impose it at once. In addition to this 
the Irish people have a right to say : ' We will die before 
we will live under any such law.' So that no discussion 
or mediation or negotiation that you or anybody else would 
have with the representatives of the English Government 
could do anything for Ireland. Mr. President, you men- 
tioned having your attention called to a resolution of the 
Senate of the United States requesting safe conducts for 
Messrs. de Valera, Griffith, and Plunlvctt." The President 
said : '" Yes, you saw that." Mr. Walsh said : " Yes, 
but I only saw the newspaper text of it ; we wired for the 

lU 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



text and did not get it." " Well," the President said : 
" I saw that ; we have been advised of it." ]\tr. Walsh 
said : " Mr. President, what action do you propose to take 
on the request of the Senate I " Tlie President replied : 
" That is a matter that has not yet been taken up by our 
full Conference." 

Mr. Walsh said : " Now then, we should direct our 
efforts as I understand it, to the other representatives on 
the Committee of Four and see Avhether or not we are going 
to get this hearing, inasmuch as it is to be unanimous ? " 
Governor Dunne interjected at this point and said : " That 
would include calling upon Mr. Lloyd George." Mr. 
Walsh said : " Not necessarily." To the President Mr. 
Walsh said : " If we are not allowed to meet you, how 
would you suggest that this or any similar matter could 
get before j'our Committee of Four ? " " Well," said the 
President, " I know of no way except to take it up with 
them individually." 

Mr. Walsh said to the President : " Mr. President, when 
you uttered these words declaring that all nations had a 
right to self-determination ; that it was an issue that had 
to be settled at once for all and settled on the side of justice 
— those expressions I have read to you — you voiced the 
aspirations of countless milHons of people that had been 
saj ing them to each other and begging Governments that 
oppressed them to recognise them. When you, as the head 
of the most powerful nation in the world, uttered them 
and they received the assent of the representatives of all 
the nations, it became a fact, Mi\ President. These people 
are imbued with a principle. They may be killed trying 
to vindicate it, but they can no longer be kept in subjection 
by the action of diplomats, government officials, or 
even governments. They are free now." The Presi- 
dent said :'' You have touched on the great metaphysical 
tragedy of to-day. My words have raised hope in the hearts 
of millions of people. It is my wish that they have that ; 
but could you imagine that you could revolutionize the 
world at once ; could you imagine tliat those peoples 

115 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



could come into that at once ? " Mr. Walsh replied : 
" I can imagine them, if anyone denied it, struggling to 
come into it at once, if it were denied in the place where 
they expected they were to have it come and to have it 
settled definitely once and for all." 

The President said : " When I gave utterance to those 
words, I said them without the knowledge that nationalities 
existed which are coming to us day after day. Of course, 
Ireland's case from the point of view of population, from 
the point of view of the struggle it has made, from the 
point of interest it has excited in the world, and especially 
among ovir own people, whom I am anxious to serve, is 
the outstanding case of a small nationality. You do not 
know and cannot appreciate the anxieties 1 have experienced 
as the result of these many millions of people having their 
hopes raised by what I have said. For instance, time after 
time I raise a question here in accordance with these 
princijjles, and I am met with the statement that Great 
Britain or France, or some of the other countries have 
entered into a solemn treaty obligation. I tell them, but 
it was in accord with justice and humanity ; and then they 
tell me that the breaking of treaties is what has brought 
on the greater part of the tvari^ that have been waged in the 
world. No one knows the feelings that are inside of me 
while I am meeting with these people and discussing these 
things, and as these things that have been said here go 
over and over in my mind I feel it most profoundly. It 
distresses me. But I believe, as you, gentlemen, do, in 
Divine Providence, and I am in His hands, and I don't 
care what happens me individually. I believe these things, 
and I know that countless millions of other people believe 
them." 

Governor Dunne said : " Mr. President, do you know 
that the addresses made by us in Ireland, which you say 
has given offence to the British authorities, were along 
these lines. That we had enjoyed the blessings of a 
Republican form of Government in America for many years, 
and that we had grown great and prosperous as a Re- 

116 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



public ; that Ave were pleased to note that they had in 
a fairly held election determined that they desired a 
Republican form of Government, and that we congratu- 
lated them upon their choice and hoped that their aspira- 
tions would be consummated, the very same sentiments 
that we had always held and thought in America, and to 
which the people of Ireland had responded ? " 

The President replied : " Yes, Governor Dunne ; but 
su])pose that during our war of the rebellion an Englishman 
had declared that the .South had a right to secede, or 
sided with the South, nobody would have criticised him 
for that ; but suppose that he had gone into the South 
while the rebellion was going on, or immediately before 
the rebellion, would not our Government have said that 
he was fomenting the rebellion ?" 

Governor Dunne said : '' Tliere is no parallel here. Here 
is a people who, after the armistice, held an election under 
the forms and securities of British Law, and declared for 
a Republic, and I don't believe the cases are in any way 
similar." 

Mr. Walsh then interjected : "If yo x are drawing that 
comparison between the Southern States attempting the 
exercise of that called the ' right of secession ' and the 
case of Ireland, I am inclined to say, I do not see the parallel. 
Would you please state in what way the cases are similar ? ' ' 

Mr. Walsh continued : " Of course Ireland has a separate 
nationality ; it is a nation that has always asserted its 
nationhood, except when repressed by overwhelming force," 
and then asked the President where the parallel was. 
The President replied that he did not say it was a parallel 
case. 

Towards the close of the interview the President said : 
" I wish that you would bear in mind that I came here with 
very high hopes of carrying out the principles as they were 
laid down. I did not succeed in getting all I came after. 
I should say — I should say that there was a great deal — ■ 
no, I will put it this way — there was a lot of things that 
I hoped for but did not get." 

117 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 




CHAPTER VI. 

SNARLY in June (1919), while the delegates 
^-h of the Irish Race Convention were still 
fencing with President Wilson at Paris, de 
Valera suddenly disappeared from Ireland. 
His disappearance was, in many respects, 
as dramatic as his escape from Lincoln. 
The British Navy had formed a ring of steel around Ireland, 
through which it Vv'as thought impossible for anyone to 
make his way unless armed with a rsassport from the Foreign 
Secretarj' ; and de Valera had neither sought nor received 
such passport. Yet it was certain that he had left these 
islands, but whether by sea or air seem.ed equally a mystery. 
His more intimate friends were, of course, aware that he 
had travelled by what afterv.ards came to be known as 
the " Sinn Fein route." In English circles it was thought 
that he had gone to the Peace Conference, but de Valera 
had now little faith in the Peace Conference. He saw that 
instead of loosirig the fetters which kept subject nations 
in bondage, the allied statesmen were only bent in making 
them more seciue. Were he to go to Paris, he would 
probably have, like many other distinguished visitors, 
to spend fruitless hours hanging around the Hotel Grillion. 
But all speculation was soon set at rest by the announce- 
ment, on the 21st June, by Mr. Harry Boland, that de 
Valera had arrived in New York. 

Simultaneously with the announcement of de Valera's 
arrival in America came the news that the Germans had 
agreed to sign the Peace Treaty, thus putting an end to 
the world war. 

On his arrival in New York de Valera took up his resi- 



118 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



dence at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which he made his 
headquarters. Thousands of messages and invitations at 
once began to pour in upon him from the different States. 
His apartments became a hub of activity. Leading journals 
sent representatives to interview him and columns were de- 
voted daily to his views on the Irish situation. SmTounded 
by men of all ranks, his bearing reminded one of the young 
King Connor Mac Nessa, slender, handsome, and upright. 
In his youth de Valera was really handsome, but later on 
the rigour of prison life caused his features to become 
shghtly furrowed. His beauty, however, was never of 
that effeminate type which we associate with certain classes 
of young men. Compared with these a glance at de Valera 
v/as Uke looking at a da Vinci instead of a schoolboy's daub. 

The charm of de Valera' s personality aj^pears to have 
preceded him to America, for apart from the glorious cause 
which he represented the people appeared to be already 
fiUed with a bm'ning desire to meet the man himself and 
to shake him by the hand. " How often distance lends 
enchantment," said a writer in the Pittsburg Desimtch, 
" and it is the most glorious thing in the world not to be 
disillusioned." 

" I knev/," continued this vvTiter, " that I would hke 
Eamonn de Valera, but I did not know that I would like 
him hah as much as I did. He does not look in the least 
hke his pictures. When he came into the room to greet 
me, for a moment I was not sure that it was he. I had 
imagined from his picture that he was gaunt looking, and 
that he would be very tlow in his movements, but/— well, 
in the first place, whether I was disappointed in him 
personall}^ or not, for he did not do as many a lesser and 
lesser sought after light has done — keep me waiting and 
waiting. He came out as soon as my card was -presented, 
and he greeted me as though it was a real pleasure. Eamonn 
de Valera is easily six feet tall and may be a little over. 
He is very straight in figure, and very active, and he gives 
one the impression of strength and health. His hair is 
light brown, with not a bit of grey in it ; and he has as 

113 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



nice a pair of clear light brown eyes as I have ever had the 
pleasure of looking into. He was dressed in a suit of very 
dark grey, made by a very good tailor, and he had a little 
bit of white around the vest and his tie was black. Eamonn 
de Valera is not in the least conceited or affected, or full 
of his own importance. He is like all really great men ; 
simple, kind, sympathetic, and genuine. He laughed when 
I told him that I was far more anxious to meet him than 
I was to meet King Albert or the Prince of Wales. Even 
if I was not for Irish independence I would be for Eamonn 
de Valera, strong, strong, strong."' 

This was how most Americans felt about de Valera 
It was his personalit}', coupled with the sacredness of his 
cause that fired the enthusiasm of Americans and stirred 
to the highest pitch the love of Ireland in their hearts. 
He did not seek personal glorification, even though it was 
accorded to him. In his triumphal march through the 
States he wished that every cheer with which he was 
greeted be recorded for Ireland. When the great univer- 
sities and colleges conferred honorary degrees on him in 
recognition of his intellectual powers he wished it to be 
known that these honours were for Ireland, and not for 
him. But wdth all his humility we can say of him what 
Remy de Gourmont said of Goethe, " that he was the 
supreme hero of intellectual humanity." 

Before de Valera's departure for America Dail Eireann 
had authorised the flotation of an Irish Republican loan 
of £1,000,000. Of this amount £500,000 was to be issued 
in bonds immediately, £250,000 in America and £250,000 
in Ireland. The machinery was at once set in motion 
for the American quota and backed by the Friends of 
Irish Freedom, the Clan na Gael, the A.O.H. and the 
Women's auxiliary, of which Mrs. MacWhorter was Presi- 
dent, de Valera had little difficulty in securing the n quired 
amount. Everybody from the workingman upwards sub- 
scribed so generously that it was indeed necessary after a 
while to increase the maximum amount to ten million 
dollars. 



120 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



An appeal for funds was not, however, the main object 
de Valcra had in view. In the course of an eloquent 
address to 50,000 people in San Francisco he said : — 

" I come to the people of America, and I am more 
than satisfied with what the people of America have 
already done. I come here to float bonds of our 
country and to get your financial support for our in- 
dustries. But the main thing I want to get in this 
country, the main thing I want is recognition of the 
Irish Republic. We have a nation big enough, with 
resources great enough, to look after om'selves. I 
would rather go baclv to Ireland without a penny 
piece, and the recognition of our Republic through this 
country than I would if you were to give me all the 
gold you possessed in the country." 

^ In seeldng recognition of the Irish Republic, de Valera 
made it clear that he did not want America to take any 
hostile step against England. To recognise the Irish 
Republic would not, he held, mean war with England. 
England would not dare go to war with America, and even 
if she wanted to she would first have to borrow American 
money to carry on the fight ! The decision therefore 
rested with America. Ireland, he said, was at war with 
England for over 700 years, and that war would continue 
until England's interfering hand was entirely withdrawn. 
With Ireland's right recognised, aU animosity and ill- 
feeKng would disappear. It would, indeed, be to the 
interest of both nations to become friendly. England 
could have the friendship of the Irish nation at any 
moment — all that was required was to grant complete 
self-determination — to allow the people to select their own 
form of Government in accordance with the principles 
outlined by President Wilson. The so-called Irish problem 
which Government after Government made the pretence 
of grappUng with did not exist. Sir Edward Carson was 
there at the behest of the Government. He had been 
set up in Ireland to keep British interests alive and he 

121 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



pops in and out of the British Cabinet according as his 
services are required. The Belfast problem, as well as 
every other so-called problem, v,ere only myths created 
for the purpose of excusing England's hold on Ireland. 
Granted complete independence Ireland would settle her 
own internal affairs in a short while, and as an independent 
nation she would be a source of strength to the British 
Empire rather than a source of weakness as at present. 
A community of interests Avould make it essential for both 
nations to work in harmony and hve in neighbourly 
friendship. 

In England de Valera was looked upon as an extremist, 
but he maintained that to ask that President Wilson's 
principles and the principles for which the Allies fought, 
be applied to Ireland — a nation that deserved well of the 
world — was not an extreme view but merely a demand 
for justice. 

Some idea of the relative positions of Ireland and Eng- 
land in the matter of justice and nationliood can be gathered 
from two statements typical of American thought. At 
a civic banquet which follov.ed the conferring of the Free- 
dom of the City on do Valera, the Mayor of Charlestown 
proposed as a toast the message of George Washington 
to the Irish : — 

" Patriots of Ireland : Champions of liboity in all 
lands : Be strong in hope : Your cause is identical 
with mine. You are calumniated in 3'our day ; I was 
misrepresented by the loyalists of mj' da}'. Had I 
failed the £:caifold would be mj' doom. But now my 
enemies pay me honour. Kad I failed I would deserve 
the same honour. I steed true to m}' cause even 
when victory had fled. In that I merited success. 
You must act likev.ise." 

Plow George Washington would have embraced Earaonn 
de Valera ! '' Patriots of Ireland ; Champions of liberty 
in all lai.ds," yet still denied liberty at home. 



EAJVIONN DE VALERA. 



The second statement i.s taken from a speech deHvered 
by Senator Reed, a Presbyterian, at a great meeting of 
welcome to de Valera held at Washington : — 

" Ireland had educational institutions of a high 
order centuries before Great Britain's people had 
ceased wearing skins of beasts and wisps of straw 
■^Tapped round their legs to protect them from the 
A^inter's cold. I do not say that to reflect upon the 
British. Ireland had the rehgion of Christ before 
the inhabitants of Great Britain ceased worshipping 
false gods." 

British agents and supporters would have the world 
beheve that de Valera was making some extraordinarj' 
claim for Ireland which had no foundation in fact, but it 
can be seen from these quotations, selected from man}' such, 
that Americans realised that Ireland had not alone a 
claim to nationhood, but that she had a claim superior 
to any that even England could put forward on her own 
behalf. 

De Valera was, therefore, rational in his appeal — just 
as rational as Archbishop Hayes believed him to be in the 
programme he had outlined for the future development 
of the country. " After a very satisfactory conference 
with ^Ii\ Eamorm de Valera I am convinced," said the 
Archbishop, " that his programme for the agricultural, 
industrial and commercial development of Ireland, is 
entirely practical and constructive." 

In his tour of the American States de Valera was accorded 
a reception every v. here he v.ent, unprecedented in the 
history of American politics. Governors of States, Mayors 
of cities. Supreme Court Judges, Congressmen, Senators, 
High Dignitaries of the Catholic Church, Presbji;erians, 
Episcopalians, Jews — men of every walk in life in fact — 
vied v.itli one another in honouring him. The San Fran- 
cisco Chronicle in referring to his reception in the West 
opened thus : — 

" Eamonn de Valera, President of the Irish Repubhc, 

TOO 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



entered San Francisco last evening and was accorded 
a reception such as in other days and other circum- 
stances might have been accorded to an Irish King." 

It was said that Lord Northchife left millions of dollars 
in America for propaganda purposes, and during de Valera's 
visit such distinguished politicians as Lord Grey and Sir 
Auckland Geddes were sent out to make good the British 
case, but they were astounded at the pj^gmean appearance 
which they presented to the American people as compared 
with de Valera. 

The Britisli agents were practically swept off the field. 
They made a few feeble attempts liere and there to interfere 
with the progress of the Irish cause. At San Francisco 
they succeeded in having the tricolour lowered from one 
hotel, just like their confreres at home had it removed from 
an occasional telegraph pole. In Charlotte (North Caro- 
lina) the newspapers refused to give any space to advance 
notices of the dc ^^alera meeting, believing in this wa}'' 
to make the meeting a failure. But here is how they were 
dealt with : Charles P. Sweeney who travelled v,ith de 
Valera went at once to Charlotte and within twenty -four 
hours, wrote, edited and published ten thousand copies 
of a special four-page edition of an up-to-date daily 
newspaper. The newspapers were distributed by Irish- 
Americans and were eagerly bought up. The meeting 
was a huge success and it need hardly be said that the 
pro-Englisli editors of Charlotte Avere dumbfounded. 

In one cit}^ an endeavour was made to prevent accom- 
modation from being given for the holding of meetings. 
But here, as elsewhere, British propaganda went down 
before the mighty power of a just cause. In this con- 
nection let us hear an American journalist : — 

" Smashing British propaganda as he goes, Eamonn 
de Valera continues his tour. Never in the history of 
the United States were there so many paid and unpaid 
agents of Britain working in this country to undermine 
American liberty and prevent Irish independence, 

124 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



but this quiet, earnest leader of the New Ireland, 
armed with justice and clad in the armour of truth, 
tears steadily and methodically through their ranks, 
putting them to rout. New beacon fires of liberty are 
blazing in his wake as he goes through the land. He 
is doing a great work for world freedom, as well as for 
freedom of the people who choose him and have sent 
him to this country to appeal to the hearts and con- 
sciences of America. The Irish leader in the past 
week had made this appeal to the men and women of 
two States, Colorado and Utah, and like a general 
cutting the enemy's lines of communication and 
breaking down his fortifications, he presses on towards 
the Pacific, establishing virtually a line of forts garri- 
soned by lovers of liberty from the Atlantic to the 
Golden Gate. What Sherman's march to the sea was 
to the Union, de Valera's tour from ocean to ocean 
is likely to be to the cause of Irish and world freedom." 

This was a noble tribute to the work of de Valera. Stu- 
dents of American historj^ will recollect how General 
Sherman, the Union Leader, marched against the Con- 
federate Army of the South, singing :— 

" John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave. 
His soul goes marching on." 

Reading these lines in conjunction with de Valera's 
forward and unswerving movement on behalf of the Irish 
Republic, we can at once conjure up thoughts of Patrick 
Pearse " Whose soul goes marching on." 

The lucid manner in which de Valera fsut the case for 
complete independence before the American public brought 
him support from thousands of people who were neither 
of Irish birth nor of Irish descent. Speaking before the 
Foreign Relations Committee the Hon. W. W. McDowell, 
Lieutenant Governor of Montana, said : " there are a 
great many people in Montana and in the adjoining States 
who are not of Irish blood, who are heartily in S3^m2:)athy 
with the aspirations of Ireland, and would be opposed to 

125 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



any clause in any Treaty that would stand in the way of 
Irish Freedom." 

Reference to Dominion Status and Home Rule, with 
their various limitations, would not be understood by 
liberty- loving peoples of alien birth, and indeed such terms 
should have assumed an archaical meaning in the twentieth 
century. " Ireland," said de Valera, " is entitled to fuU 
rights, and these are the only things she will be satisfied 
with. England has no right to measure the amount of 
justice she will give us. The Irish people will not be 
satisfied until the national debt of honour is paid, and that 
means the recognition of the Irish Republic by the nations 
of the earth." 

And in his next speech he would reiterate Ireland's 
claim in terms just as convincing, thus : — 

' 'There can be no final settlement intermediate 
between union and separation. There can be no real 
peace between Ireland and England until Great Britain 
has assimilated Ireland and definitely annihilated the 
distinct national soul of Ireland which England has 
failed to do after 750 years of eUort, or until England 
has recognised that the soul has a right to seek its 
perfection in statehood. England says we can have 
self-determination within the British Empire. What 
does that mean ? You might just as well give a man 
his freedom but keep him inside the jail yard." 

De Valera appealed to the hearts of the American people, 
and the response was immediate and effective. Shortly 
before the unveiling of a statue to Robert Emmet at San 
Francisco he delivered a speech to an immense gathering, 
in the course of which he said : — 

" You are a liberty-loving people. If we in Ireland 
did not know that fact I would not be here to-day, 
but I am here to ask the people of America who have 
been conceived in liberty and have fought in the 
great war purely for the sake of liberty, to do an act of 
simple justice to the land I represent. That land has 

126 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



never accepted and has always resisted English rule. 
It has always been ready to fight England, and I 
promise you in the name of Ireland she will continue 
to fight. The Irish people have the right to determine 
under what form of Government they are to live, and 
they refuse to live under the sovereignty of England. 
They have formed a Rebublic, and I am here to seek 
official recognition of that Republic by the Govern- 
ment of the United States through the only legitimate 
means that it can be secured — that is, through the 
hearts of the American people." 
At a great reception in the West he said : "I hope the 
enthusiasm of this moment will he harnessed to the purpose 
of inducing your Government to give official recognition 
to the Irish RepubUc " ; and then, he continued, " In this 
country the will of the people is the source of all power, 
and I am sure that the will of the people is with us, for 
this is the test case to determine whether democracy or 
might shall be the final arbiter of justice." 

There are people who want, and rightly, to harness up 
our rivers for industrial piirposes ; there are professors 
who want to harness up the sun ; but de Valera is the first 
man we loiow of who asked his audience to harness up 
their enthusiasm ! Pohticians are usually satisfied with 
resolutions, and they generally treat enthusiasm as a sort 
of condiment for their own conceit. De Valera was not of 
this school. He thought only of his country, and he wished 
every available ounce of energy directed to its uplifting. 

" De Valera's appeal for freedom is not entirely a local 
appeal — it is for world freedom," said a distinguished 
member of the United States Congress, " and the peoples 
of aU nations owe him a debt of gratitude for the high 
principles he has instilled into the minds of men." 

While de Valera devoted close attention to the cause 
which he had most at heart he nevertheless made it known 
that there were other nations — India, Egypt, Korea, etc. — 
struggling like Ireland with an indomitable will that knew 
only delay but not defeat. He appealed to America to 

127 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



take up the moral headship of the world to which her 
consistent traditions entitled her. We will give here his 
own words so that the reader may better appreciate the 
beauty of his appeal : — 

" The degree of unanimity obtained in Ireland on the 
Republican issue is higher than that claimed by the 
American Colonies when they declared their independence. 
You had your Tories and j^our " Loyalists " to whom 
Washington very properly sent the ultimatum that if 
they preferred the interest and protection of Britain to 
the freedom and happiness of their own country they 
might forthwith withdraw themselves and their families 
within the enemy lines. 

" The degree of unanimity obtained in Ireland is higher, 
too, than that by which your own glorious Union and 
Constitution were established. Had complete unanimity 
been insisted upon as a precedent to your independence, as 
some people pretend to believe it should be insisted upon 
in recognition of ours, then you would not be to-day, as 
you are, a united nation, the greatest on earth, with 
unified territory that is a continent, and a population and 
a prosperity that are the envy of the rest of the world, 
but merely thirteen disunited colonies. 

" The men who established your RepubUc sought the 
aid of France. We seek the aid of America. I come here 
entitled to speak for the Irish nation with an authority 
democratically as sound and as well based as that by which 
President Wilson speaks for the United States, or Lloyd 
George for England, or Clemenceau for France. 

' ' I come directl}^ from the people of Ireland to the people 
of America, convinced that the American people, and 
consequently the American Government, which, as a 
Government of the people ought to retiect the people's 
will, will never consciously connive at or allow itsefi to 
be made a party to the sujDpression of the natural God- 
given right of the Irish nation to its liberty. 

" This great American nation, nurtured in hberty, has 
been liberty's most consistent champion. It has never 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



been appealed to in vain. When other Chancelleries and 
Cabinets callously closed their ears to the agonising cries 
of the people of Poland, Greece, Hungary, and the Latin 
races of the Continent, timorous of otfending the tyrants 
that held them Tvrithing in their grasp, excusing themselTes 
by the plea that they could not interfere in the affairs of 
other States, your nation, conscious of its mission, listened 
to them and braved their oppressor's wrath in succouring 
them. 

" It must surely be a source of pride to Americans, as 
it is a source of hope to us, to reflect that never have they 
undertaken a cause that they did not bring to triumph. 
The Latin Nations as well as Poland, Hungary, Greece are 
now free States. Ireland, the only remaining white nation 
in the slavery of alien rule, will similarly be free unless 
Americans make scraps of paper of their principles and 
prove false to the traditions their fathers have handed 
down to them. 

" The leaders of the Revolution that made America a 
nation, while admitting, as we do, that a minority has its 
rights, would not concede that the Mill of the minority 
should be allowed to prevail as a perpetual veto on the 
will of the majority. Rule of the people by the i^eople 
would, by such a concession, be reduced to an absurdity. 

" The very same catch-cries and the very same tools 
were used by the British Government against the leaders 
of the American Revolution as are being used to-day 
against us. But your leaders acted and so have we acted. 
The majority behind them justified them. Our majority 
more than justifies us. The justice of their cause, even 
in the darkest moments, was for them a hope — a surety 
even — that they would ultimately win if they but per- 
severed. The justice of our cause is similarly our surety. 
They fought. We have fought and are still fighting. 
They were called traitors and murderers. So are we. 

" Ireland is taking her place among the Nations of the 
earth. You Americans who were looked down upon, are 
the cream of the earth to-day. You hold up your heads 

129 X. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



proudly because you know you are a great Nation. Our 
action in Ireland has been excused b}-- the h3'pocrisy we 
stood up against. We are determined not to be driven 
as slaves any longer. In Ireland we started out in the 
movement not as talkers but as workers. 

" I believe there is no Nation in this world more alive 
to the supreme issues for mankind involved in the Paris 
negotiations. We in Ireland recognise that if the wrong 
turning is now taken, if violence be re-established in its 
former supremacy as the final sanction, humanity is faced 
with a period of misery for which history hitherto has no 
parallel. 

" The burden of taxation due to the debts incurred in 
the War, the cost of competitive armaments and the old 
diplomatic intrigues "wall lead inevitably to the internal 
upheaval of States — that is to anarchy and ci\dl war — a 
whole series of irregular wars vastly more terrible than 
the huge organised conflict now ended. 

" Peace has been nominally signed between the two great 
combating sides. Peace ! Peace that gives us 20 new 
wars instead of one that it nominally ends. And this is 
the Peace Treaty the world has been asked to look forward 
to as the Treaty that would end wars and establish a staple 
lasting peace. Does it not seem already a mockery ? 
And a mockery it will remain unless America takes up the 
responsibility for the moral headship* of the world to which 
her consistent traditions, no less than the aims she set 
herself in entering this war, entitles her. The headship 
at this moment is freely offered to her by the common 
sense and the common consent of mankind. 

" The present opportunity is never to recur again. The 
idea of a community of Nations recognising law and a 
common right ending war among Nations, as municipal 

* In refusing to enter the League of Nations as submitted 
by the allied powers ; and, later, in inaugurating the Washington 
Conference on ai-maraents, America virtually assumed the " head- 
«hip " epoken of by de Valera. 

130 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



law has ended private wars among individuals, is to-day 
SI possibility if America does what the people of the world 
— the honest, the plain people your President spoke of — 
pray and expect that it would be possible to repair. 

" The moral propaganda carried on during the War, the 
doctrines of right and liberty and justice that were enun- 
ciated, even though the motives of some of the spokesmen 
may have been hypocritical, have done their work. The 
world is prepared and is ready. The minds and hearts 
of men made peculiarly receptive by the circumstances 
of sadness and misery surrounding the teaching, were 
deeply impressed by the truths that were being taught. 
The seed fell on a loosened, freshened soil. Will America 
allow the fruit of such a projaitious sowing to remain 
ungathered or practically lost by a neglected harvest ? 
America alone can save it. She alone has the strength, if 
she has, as we who look to her beheve she has, the will. 
If America disappoints, then the right-minded, the good, 
the just in the world will be thrown back to a sullen and 
cynical despair. Democracy dies or else goes mad. 

"A new Holy Alliance cannot save democracy; a just 
League of Nations, founded on the only basis on which 
it can be just — the equahty of right amongst nations, small 
no less than great — can. 

" America can see to it that such a League is set up and 
set up now. She is strong enough to do so, and it Is her 
right consequent on the exphcit terms on which she entered 
the war. She will be backed up by the right-minded of the 
whole world, by all but some scheming diplomats or the 
financial interests that back them. Let her lead — true 
democracy will organise itself the world over to press on to 
salvation and happiness behind her. 

" We in Ireland watched with keen interest every 
development. Our strategic object since we came out of 
prison has been to put Ireland in the proud position she 
now occupies, a definite claimant for her full rights, ready 
to enter the world f amity of Nations." 

When the British Government saw that de Valera , despite 

131 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the most energetic efforts of its agents, was maldng immense 
headway in America, it decided on a change of plans. 
The most important of tliese was the despatch to the 
United States of the Ulster Protestant Deijutation, which 
consisted mostly of ministers, with Mr. Coote, M.P. at 
their head. Tlie principal object of this deputation was 
to confuse American opinion, by gi\'ing the Liish question 
a religious aspect which it did not contain, and by labouring 
England's pet argument that the Irish question was a 
domestic issue. But the Americans could no longer be 
deceived. The Rev. Dr. G rattan Mj'then, an Episcopalian, 
likened the Ulster Protestant Deputies to the slave-preach- 
ing parsons of 1861, and said that they had been foisted 
upon Ulster by a group of Tories in England to create an 
artificial issue for political power. The Rev. Dr. J. A. H. 
Irwin, an Ulster Presbyterian, said they represented a 
political faction in Ireland and not a religious one. The 
domestic question existed on British propaganda alone. 
Using ]Mr. Lloyd George's own term, de Valera said : 
" There has been no union between Britain and Ireland 
save the union of the grapphng hook." Thomas Davis 
once said of England : " We would, were she eternal]}'" 
dethroned from over us, rejoice in her prosperity, but we 
cannot and v.ill not try to forget her long cursing, merciless 
tyranny to Ireland, and we don't desire to share her gains, 
her responsibihties or her glories." 

There was nothing in this statement to indicate the free 
partnership that the v/ord " domestic " implies. In 
different words de Valera gave expression to the snme 
thought. " So far," he said, " from being in any way 
covetous of a share in Britain's Empire, to the Irish people 
that Empire and all it stands for is abhorrent." 

The Ulster DeiDuties, for reasons known to themselves, 
declined to meet de ^'alera in argument. Perhaps they 
were afraid that the.y would acquit themselves in the same 
manner as the famous Captain Hinton of the Nev.^ South 
Wales Intelligence Department. In Australia, as in 
Ireland, Irishmen were interned during the v.-ar for the 

132 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



safety of the Empire. In the course of the trial of one of 
the prisoners the chief Intelhgence Officer was cross- 
examined, with the following result : — 

31 r. Mad:, K.C. — "'■' Did you find out anything about 

a man named Robert Emmet ? " 
Capt. Hinfon. — '' No, I beHeve he raised a rebellion 

in England in 1916."' (Laughter.) 
Mr. Made. — " Did you find out anything about Tone ?"' 
Capt. Hinton. — '" I believe he raised a rebellion in 

England in 1916." (Loud laughter.) 
Mr. Mad:. — " You took no steps to arrest either of 

these men ? " 
Capt. Hinton. — " I generally have facts to work on 

before I act." 

If the busy Captain Hinton had had some more "" facts " 
he would have tried to arrest Emmet and Tone, who had 
been dead over one hundred years ! 

The L'lster Deputies had no facts to go on so they were 
as helpless as Captain Hinton and returned to Ireland with 
failure written on their brows. Another one of the " nine 
bad tricks " had failed, for all tricks that have for their 
object the keeping of a nation in sla^erv, are bad ones. 

De Valera. however, went on with his work. He had 
many duties to perform, but he had only one object in 
view, and we will state that object in the words of Wolfe 
Tone, who said : — " To subvert the tjTanny of our execrable 
Government, to break the connection with England, the 
never-failing source of our political evils, and to assert 
the independence of my country — these are my objects." 

The presidential campaign afforded de Valera an excel- 
lent opportunity of pressing home his case for recognition 
of the Irish Republic. His tour through the States had 
already prepared the ground. The seed he had sown had 
promised well, and it required only a favourable day and 
a team with an even pull to reap the harvest. The day 
came when the Repubhcan Convention met at Chicago, 
and the opportunity was repeated when the Democrats 

133 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



assembled at San Francisco. But unfortunately, when the 
crucial moment arrived it was found that there was one 
trace slack. John Dcvoy and Judge Cohalan, who had 
rendered such distinguished service to the Irish cause, 
could not see eye to eye with the Irish leader. True lovers 
of Ireland, they were still unwilling to yield to the better 
judgment of de Valera, whose plank represented not alone 
his own view, but that of his government. Influenced by 
American politics, they truly believed that a resolution of 
sympathy from the respective platforms was all that could 
be obtained, and they accordingly put forward a planlc 
on these lines. De Valera was for direct recognition of the | 
Irish Republic. He did not rely much on sympathy, and, 
indeed, at that particular time when the Irish Republican 
Armj^ was fiercely engaged with the enemy on the plains 
of Munster and elsewhere the hour for sympathy had passed. 
However, the two planks were proposed and, as might be 
expected, the line of least resistance was followed. The 
planlc proposed by John Devoy and Judge Cohalan, 
leaders of the Friends of Irish Freedom, was adopted by 
the Republicans and Democrats. It is more than likely, 
however, that, had the full force of Irish- American opinion 
found it possible to stand sponsor for one plank, and one 
only — that of direct recognition— it would have been 
carried. We know that the sparkling stream will never 
go over the hill while it can find a gap further on, and 
thus it was with the platform committees of the two 
Conventions ; they did not face the recognition issue when 
an easier road presented itself. 

For some time de Valera had seen that the Republican 
cause would be better served if the various Societies 
working for Ireland in America became welded into one 
organisation. He had hoped that the organisation known 
as the " Friends of Irish Freedom " might be broadened 
to meet the requirements, but this hojoe was shattered 
on the eve of the Presidential Election. A new organisa- 
tion — " The American Association for the Recognition of 
lh« Irish Republic " — was therefore founded as a result 

134 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



of a conference at Washington. This Association was to 
be broad enough to embrace every sympathiser with 
Ireland's rights, and it was to be truly democratic, free 
from machine methods, with the voice of the people supreme. 
De Valera wished that the friends of Ireland in all parties 
work in perfect unison. " The next best thing to com- 
plete harmony," he once said, " is a friendly rivalry in 
effort." Perhaps the necessity for, and usefulness of, the 
new organisation can best be conveyed to the reader by 
a quotation from an interview given to the Irish Independent 
by Mr. Stephen O'Mara, Mayor of Limerick, on his return 
from America. 

Mr. O'Mara said : — " When President de Valera 
went to America in 1919 there was one organisation 
effectively guided by Judge Cohalan, but used more 
for American politics than for extending substantial 
help to Ireland. That was the Friends of Irish 
Freedom. Naturally, Mr. de Valera got in touch 
with them, but he was not satisfied when he found 
they refused to reahse that an Irish Republic was in 
existence. Finding he was unable through them to 
reach the mass of American opinion he was obliged 
to call upon the people of America to form an Associa- 
tion to obtain recognition of the Irish Republic. 
Judge Cohalan's organisation never comprised more 
than 30,000 members, while the organisation founded 
at the request of Mr. de Valera — The American 
Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic 
— consists of 850,000 paid-up members. It is 
thoroughly alive and active in every State and always 
at the service of the Irish nation, ready to concentrate 
on any given line of action. Mr. E. L. Doheny, 
known as the Mexican Oil King, son of Michael 
Doheny, the Young Ireland Felon patriot, is 
President of that Association. When the Anglo- 
Irish Armistice was declared the Association was 
beginning to do very effective work on Congress and 
the Senate, and had the necessity for pohtical action 

135 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



remained during the latter half of last year (1921) 
I am quite confident that we could have brought very 
effective pressure on the United States Government 
on behalf of Ireland." 
nJ De Valera's greatest achievement in America was, no 
'QQubt, his defeat of the League of Nations as drafted by 
the allied powers. From the beginning Americans viewed 
many articles of the proposed Treaty with disfavour, but 
with President Wilson demanding in emphatic terms that 
it be ratified without amendment, it looked as if the 
opposition would not be able to gather strength enough 
to bring about its rejection. De Valera provided the neces- 
sary momentum. The lucid manner in which he exposed 
the designs of those who framed the Treaty, and the trans- 
parent honesty of his appeal, touched the hearts of the broad- 
minded and the generous. American opinion strengthened 
against the Treaty. Senators and Congressmen who had 
been more or less apathetic became resolute, and when 
the moment for action arrived de Valera's vicAv prevailed. 
The battle raged principally round Article X, which 
contained a provision to the effect that the members of 
the League undertake to respect and preserve, as against 
external aggression, the territorial integrity and existing 
political independence of all members of the League. 
Under that Article the great powers of the world contracted 
with England to go to war to maintain the integrity of 
the British Empire. They had agreed not to permit any 
other nation to assist L-eland in her struggle for liberty. 
" The League, as it stood," said de Valera, " simply meant 
an association to perpetuate power for those who had got 
it and to keep for ever in slavery those who had been 
kept in slavery by international rules, as they were called, 
but which were simply the rules of thieves for regulating 
their conduct amongst themselves." Senator Borah and 
many other distingui.shcd American politicians concurred 
in this view ; ^Ir. Justice W. 0. Howard, of the Supreme 
Court of Judicature of the United States, stating that 
the only barrier that stood that day between Ireland and 

136 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



oblivion was the United States Senate. The signature 
of the American Senate to the League of Nations, he held, 
would sound the doom of Ireland. 

De Valera declared that the Irish people were eager to 
take part in every great world-undertaking that the 
peoples of the world sl^ould impose upon themselves for 
the good of all, and to undertake the full duties of a free 
nation. He made it clear that the Government of the 
Irish Republic v.ere residy to become a constituent unit 
of the League of Nations based on the only principle on 
which it could stand, namely, equality of rights among 
nations, great and small. With all the power at his 
command, he urged America not to become a party to 
the League as presented. " Sign that Treaty as it stands, 
and you enslave my country," he declared, and the 
American Senate declined to sign it. 

A thorough elucidation of the work and achievements 
of de Valera in America would require a volume. In one 
tour of the States he covered close on 8,000 miles, in the 
course of which lie often devoted as many as 18 hours a 
day to the cause of the Irish Republic. Indeed his efforts 
on behalf of Ireland brought the better side cf pclitics to 
the forefront, and many peoples who had seen only dark- 
ness over the Peace Table at Paris now percei\cd a great 
beam of light illumining the firmament. His name pene- 
trated to the very ends of the earth. Powerful nations, 
as well as the oppressed, saw the wisdom of his words. 
Greetings reached him from the different centres ox the 
different continents. His educational campaign bore 
fruit everywhere. When he appealed to Americans for 
funds to uphold the Irish Republic the amount was over- 
subscribed. When he sought financial aid for those who 
had suffered in the fight, the White Cross sprang into 
existence and brought suecom- to thousands of homes, tne 
appeal in this case having reached Rome, from whence 
Pope Benedict XV. dispatched the magnificent sum of 
£3,000. When he brought under notice the fact that Irish 
prisoners were being detained without trial, 88 Congressmen 

137 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



cabled a \ igorous protest to Mr. Lloyd George, thus making 
it known that British propaganda had succumbed in spile 
of the dollars that sustained it. 

The Freedom of New York City was conferred on de 
Valera by Mayor Hylan on behalf of the Board of Alder- 
men, which in effect was an implied rebuke to England, 
under whose enforced guardianship his greatest honour 
was the prison cell. Five hundred of the fighting sixty- 
ninth in uniform escorted him throiigh the streets of New 
York ; and in Cleveland, Ohio — to mention but one other 
place — 2,500 military took part in the jirocession that 
accompanied him to the Armoury, where tlie meeting was 
held. Yet while these American soldiers thus honoured 
him, British soldiers, with whom they fought side by side 
in France, would have sent him to the familiar prison, if 
not to a more dreadful doom. 

As de Valera went through the States various cities 
invited him to inscribe his name on the freedom-roll which 
was presented to him, and he was invariably welcomed by 
either the State Governor or the Mayor of' the City. By 
unanimous request he addressed state legislatures, many 
of which passed resolutions demanding complete self- 
determination for Ireland. All this was symbolical of 
one thing — the success of de Valera's campaign of enhghten- 
ment on behalf of the Irish Republic. " The fact is," 
said an English paper, " that de Valera has left us no 
elbow room in America " ; and Mr. S. K. Rathcliffe, 
writing to the Nation, declared thfif'^tTieTreaty and 
Covenant had been lulled in America by Irish opinion." 
Lord Grey deplored this, while Lord Reading told his 
fellow-countrymen that it would be a fortunate day for 
them when the Irish joropaganda question was removed 
from the States. Englishmen in America bemoaned the 
helplessness of their position and the disgrace that had 
been brought upon them ; but de Valera only intensified 
his campaign of truth. Referring to the fact that the 
United States Senate had now made Irish Freedom a 
condition of America's adhesion to the Peace Treaty and 

138 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



had recognised Ireland as a Nation with an equal right to 
membership of any League of Nations, Mr. Arthur Griffith 
said : " Under de Valera's leadership Ireland has won her 
greatest diplomatic victory." And Frank P. Walsh, who 
had been associated with de Valera in Ireland and America, 
stated that " he was the peer of any statesman in the world 
to-day." It certainly required a statesman of sound 
judgment to meet and address hundreds of thousands of 
Americans, composed of all religions and nationalities, 
A\ithout having even once to withdraw a single word. 
And it certainly required a statesman having the highest 
regard for truth to defeat British propaganda in all its 
forms. No wonder, then, that Frank P. Walsh described 
de Valera as the peer of any statesman in the world at that 
time, and that the French Deputy, M. M. Sagnier, referred 
to him as " the world-famed champion of liberty every- 
where." Oscar Yampolsky, the great Russian sculptor, 
was so much touched by de Valera's appeal that he was im- 
pelled to remark that " the spirit of Eamonn de Valera will 
never die " ; and Lajpa Rai of Lahore declared that there 
would be more Sinn Feiners in India in 1925 than in 
Ireland. 

During his .^tay in America de Valera went through the 
singular and interesting rite of being invested as Chief of 
the Chippawa Indians, who claim to be the original 
Americans. This honour, it is believed, had not previously 
been conferred on any white man except, perhajos, Theodore 
Roosevelt. The scene was most impressive. Some of the 
Indians came a fortnight's trek across country to see " the 
great White Chief from over the water." 
fgit was v/onderful what influence de Valera's words had 
on those who heard them. Archbishop Mannix, who had 
been present at several of his meetings, said that he had 
never seen enthusiasm comparable to that which his 
speeches excited. Perhaps the secret of his success wa.s 
derived from the fact, as Father Shanley of New York 
put it, " that when you heard him 3 ou knew that you were 
listening to one who was giving vent to the voice of th« 

139 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



soul of Ireland/' When Marshal Foch thanked the Irish 
Catholics for their prayers in the hour of need he spoke 
of the justice of his cause ; and it was the sense of justice 
that vibrated through the soul of do Valera that enabled 
him to touch the hearts of those whom he addressed. 
To him the Irish Republic existed as truly as did the 
Republic of France or the RepubUc of the great Western 
World itself. He caressed it as a fond mother would her 
child, and he strove for it as those who feel that the noblest 
purpose in life is love of God and love of country. He gave 
full expression to this feeling in America. Another quo- 
tation from an American journal will show how his message 
was interpreted : — 

" Chicago last night gave vigorous and vociferous 
evidence of its desire for recognition of the Iri.sh 
Republic. Eamonn de Valera, President of Ireland, 
when introduced to an audience of one hundred 
thousand that jammed the auditorium and packed 
the streets for blocks around, commanded one of 
the greatest ovations ever accorded an American or 
foreign statesman. For twenty-six minutes the 
President of Ireland stood unable to speak, ^Ahile the 
huge crowd cheered in a frenzy of enthusiasm. The 
President was lifted to the shoulders of his uniformed 
bodyguard, composed of American veterans of the 
World War. Flags, American and Irish, rippled over 
the sea of faces ; babies Avere handed up to be kissed 
by the Irish Chieftain ; and all the Avhile the crov/d 
yelled, screamed, clapped, and in many cases broke 
into tears in the intensity of enthusiasm. No more 
genuine and heartfelt demonstration of love and 
admiration CA'cr was accorded a visitor to Chicago." 

Meanwhile, how did matters stand at home ? In order 
to be in a position to properl}^ imderstand the importance 
and urgency of de Valera's work in America, it is necessary 
that the reader should be furnished with an account of 
the reign of terror to which the Irish people were subjected. 

140 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



This can, perhaps, best be done by quoting in full the 
historic statement issued by the Irish Bishops from May- 
nooth on the 20th October, 1920. The statement was 
as follows : — 

'■ It is not eas}^ for the pastors of the flock to uphold 
the law of God and secure its observance when op- 
pression is rampant in a country. Where terrorism, 
partiaHty,' and failure to apply the principles which 
its members have proclaimed are the characteristics 
of Government, the task is rendered well nigh impos- 
sible. And, unhappily, by such means as these, 
in an aggravated form, Ireland is now reduced to a 
state of anarchy. 

" With no feehng of complaisancy do we recall the 
fact that when the country was still crimeless we 
warned the Government that the oppressive measures 
which they were substituting for their profession of 
freedom would lead to the most deplorable conse- 
quences. The warning was in vain, and never in 
h\'ing memory has the country been in such disorder 
as it is now. Before the War began, and especially 
before the drilling and arming of Ulster, Ireland, 
liowever insistent on reform too long delayed, was in 
a state of order and peace. Now there are murders, 
raids, burnings, and violence of various kinds. 

" On a scale truly appalling have to be reckoned : — 
Countless indiscriminate raids and arrests in the dark- 
ness of night ; prolonged imprisonments without 
trial ; savage sentences from tribunals that command 
and deserve no confidence ; the burning of houses, 
town halls, factories, creameries and crops ; the 
destruction of industries to pave the way for want 
and famine — by men maddened with plundered 
drink and bent on loot ; the flogging and massacre 
of civilians — all perpetrated by the forces of the 
Ch-own, who have established a reign of fright fulness 
which, for murdering the innocent and destroj'ing 

141 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



their property, has a parallel only in the horrors of 
Turkish atrocities, or in the outrages of the Red Army 
of Bolshevist Russia. 

" Needless to say we are opposed to crime from 
whatever side it comes. Nearly two months ago His 
Eminence Cardinal Logue, in condemning the murder 
of a policeman, wrote as follows : — ' I know we are 
living under a harsh, oppressive, t3'-rannical regime 
of militarism and brute force which invites, stimulates, 
and nourishes crime. I know that, latterly at least, 
all pretence of strict discipline has been tlirown to the 
winds, and those who profess to be the guardians 
of the law and order have become the most ardent 
votaries of lawlessness and disorder ; that they are 
running wild through the country, making night 
hideous by raids ; that reckless and indiscriminate 
shootings in crowded places have made many innocent 
victims ; that towns are sacked as in the rude war- 
fare of earher ages ; that those who run through fear 
are shot at sight ; that in one case lately an inoffensive 
and industrious man, ' knowing little and caring less 
for politics, has been dragged from his family while 
they were reciting the Rosary and shot on the public 
road,' 

" Things have become much worse since this was 
written. Men have been tortured with barbarous 
cruelty. Nor are cases wanting of young women 
torn undressed from their mother's care in the dark- 
ness of night. For all this not the men but their 
masters are chiefly to blame. And it is not a question 
of hasty reprisals which, however unjustifiable, might 
be attributed to extreme provocation, nor of quick 
retahation on evil-doers, zior of lynch law for mis- 
creants — much less of self-defence of any Idnd what- 
soever. It is the indiscriminate vengeance of savages 
wreaked on a whole town or countryside without any 
proof of its comphcity in crime by those who are 
ostensibly emploj^ed by the British Government to 



142 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



protect the lives and property of the people, and 
restore order in Ireland. This went on month aft«r 
month, and there was no sign of restraint, or reproof, 
or public investigation, or deterrent punishment on 
the part of the Authorities. It went on unchecked 
and unabated until the world was horrified at the 
deeds perpetrated under a regime called ' Government ' 
in Ireland. Then it was palUated and excused, 
more than half denied, and less than half rebuked by 
a ^linister of the Crown, on its way to being presented 
in a false light, equivalently condoned and approved 
by his superior in the British Government. Outrage 
has been connived at and encouraged, Lf not organised, 
not by obscure and irresponsible individuals, but 
by the Government of a mighty Empire professing the 
highest ideals of truth and justice. All the time the 
carnage of sectarian riots on a vast scale has been 
allowed to run its course in cities and towns of Ulster, 
resulting in woeful slaughter on either side, in de- 
privation of employment, in the burning of people's 
homes, and therefore in extermination for the weaker 
party. In Belfast a fortnight ago 8,100 persons 
had registered as expelled workers, and over 23,000 
people were receiving daily rehef. In no other part 
of Ireland is a minority persecuted. Only one perse- 
cuting section can be found among the Irish people, 
and perhaps recent sad events may, before it is alto- 
gether too late, open the eyes of the people to the 
iniquity of furnishing a corner of Ulster with a 
separate Government, or its worse instrument a special 
police force, to enable it all the more readily to trample 
underfoot the victims of its intolerance. But it would 
be idle to be too confident even of that. The govern- 
ing classes across the water, instead of encouraging 
Ulster Unionists to coalesce with the rest of the 
country, have used that section for centuries as a 
spearhead directed at the heart of Ireland. Op- 
pression, as everyone knows, generates crime, and 

143 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



leads to further oppression. But more potent than 
even the rule of brute force in reducing Ireland to 
anarch}'' has been the grossly partial course taken 
by the British Government in regard to the North - 
East. The whole British Administration sat com- 
plaisantly while a Provisional Government was 
formed and an Army drilled in Ulster, the Police and 
Customs officials held up, the roads and wires seized. 
Let anj^one contrast the inaction of the Government 
on the landing of arms at Larne with the onslaughts 
of the military when arms were landed at Howth, 
or the treatment of the Ulster Volunteers as com- 
pared with the Irish Volunteers, AVhich resulted in the 
arming of orangemen and the disarming of the rest of 
Ireland. The mutiny at the Curragh showed that 
if the North-East opposed it the benefit of law under 
the British Constitution was not for the rest of 
Ireland. The highest offices in the gift of the State 
were for the contingent rebels of Ulster in contrast 
with the bullet for Irish insurgents. These days 
we have formal approval reported of the Belfast 
pogrom from a Minister of the Crown, and his pro- 
mise of protection under the new Belfast Parliament 
for all who are true to the colours. 

" A i^rominent member of the British Government 
can scarce open his lips Avithout encouraging anti- 
pathy to Ireland on the part of the North-East, 
putting ' Ulster ' on its old plantation mettle, and 
threatening everyone that Ulster will be heard from. 
If there is anarchy in Ireland the Ministers of the 
British Crown are its architects. The plausible senti- 
ment of not coercing Ulster is founded on false pre- 
tence, but on false pretence with a purpose. Anyone 
of ordinary judgment can see how undesirable it is to 
coerce a minority if in reason the process can at all 
be avoided. But to give a guarantee to a minority 
in advance against coercion is to put a premium on 
unreasonableness, and make a settlement impossible. 

U4 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Had such a pledge been given, and made good, to the 
minorities in Canada, which cknig to Downing Street, 
and resisted the concession of reasonable govern- 
ment at home, that blessing would never have matured 
and created the greatest Dominion of our time. It 
is not hatred of coercion that ojjcrates in Ireland, 
but partiality for the North-East. Ulster must not 
suffer the contamination of a Dublin Parliament. 
But all Ireland must be coerced for the sake of the 
North-East, and especially IVrone and Fermanagh 
must be put under a Belfast Parliament against their 
will. That is the outcome of the very acme of cruel, 
false pretence, and if it be pressed we warn the British 
Government of the danger of bitter and prolonged 
civil strife, with far greater reason for it than for the 
hostihty to a single Parliament which, at the bidding 
of intolerance, the Government endorses in advance. 
Not by inhuman oppression will the Irish question be 
settled, but by the recognition of the indefeasible 
right of Ireland, as of every other Nation, to choose 
the form of Government under which its j)eople are 
to Hve. 

" But as more immediately urgent than anything 
else, we demand in the name of civilisation and 
national justice, a full enquiry into the atrocities now 
being perpetrated in Ireland by such a tribunal as 
will inspire the confidence of all, and with immunity 
of witnesses from the terrorism which makes it 
impossible to give evidence, with safety, to Hfe or 
property. The Press is gagged in Ireland, the right 
of jjublic meeting interdicted, and inquests suppressed. 
There has been brutal treatment of clergymen ; and 
certainly to ban a distinguished Archbishop of Irish 
birth (Archbishop Mannix) who is the tnisted 
leader of democracy in Australia, and pre^^ent him 
from visiting his native land, is one of the most unwise 
steps that purblind and tyrannical oppression could 
take. But still more cruel and not less destructive 

145 I. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



of any prospect of peace between the two countries, 
is the continued imprisonment of the Lord Mayor of 
Cork and the othet hunger- strikers, who think nothing 
of their hves if they can do anything for Ireland in 
the sad pHght to which the rule of the stranger has 
reduced her. In existing circumstances it would be 
idle to say to our people that the outlook was anything 
but menacing. It is not, however, idle ; it is only 
what is right to say to them that there never was a 
time when they should rely on God with more 
conlidence that He will prosper their struggle for 
freedom while they remain steadfast to the ideals 
and requirements of Holy Faith. It is for a Nation 
of Martyrs to cultivate constant self-restraint. Our 
people were a great Christian Nation when pagan 
chaos reigned across the Channel. They will remain, 
please God, a great Christian Nation when the new 
paganism that now prevails there has run its evil 
course. Our relations with England have been always 
a terrible misfortune for us. But in the end the 
constancy of Faith is sure to prevail. It will hasten 
the day of freedom and peace if we resolutely ' walk 
as the children of The Light ; for the fruit of The 
Light is in All Justice and Godliness and Truth.' 
Accordingly see that none renders evil for evil to anj' 
man, but ever folloAV that which is good towards each 
other and towards all men. God is our help as He 
has been through all the centuries of trial, the Hope 
of our fathers. With His blessing upon us we need 
fear no foe. With His light to guide us we need 
dread no futm-e. Let us use well the all-powerful 
weapon of prayer on which He bids us rely ; and to 
that end the Bishops direct that a Novcna, with the 
usual devotions, be held in the Churches in preparation 
for the Feast of the Irish Saints on the 6th of next 
November, and that while this trial lasts the Litany 
of the Blessed Virgin, Queen of Peace, be recited 
after the principal Mass on days of obligation and 

146 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



every ]Diib]ic IMass on other days. They also very 
earnestly recommend that in every household, along 
with the Rosary at night, the same Litany be said, 
to obtain from the Divine Mercy peace, freedom, and 
every blessing, spiritual and temporal, for our beloved 
country. The Bishops undertake to celebrate Mass 
for this purpose on the 6tli November, and they request 
the priests of Ireland, secular and regular, as ^ar as 
they are free, to do likewise." 

The reference to the Lord Mayor of Cork in this statement 
brings to mind the heroic self-sacrifice of Terence MacSwiney 
■who filled the ofiice, but who had not at that moment 
paid the extreme penalty for his love of Ireland. His 
death was keenly felt by de Valera, who had held meetings 
of protest in New Yorlc against his treatment and who had 
continually cheered him by fraternal messages. One of 
these messages is given here, with the rej)ly. 

De Valera to Father Dominic, O.S.F.G., Chaplain to the 
Lord Mayor. 

" Convey to the Lord ^layor my personal affection and 
esteem and this ofiicial expression of the gratitude of the 
Irish Nation. His spirit, and the spirit of those dying 
with him, will remain with our people for ever as a standard 
of civic courage and a pattern of solcUerly sacrifice. We, 
his comrades, dedicate ourselves anew, pledging our lives 
that he shall not die in vain." 

Father Dominic to de Valera. 

" President de Valera. — Beannuighim thu. Lord ^Maj'or 
expresses deep gratitude on behalf of himself and comrades. 
Your generous tribute will sustain them in carrying on 
their struggle to the end. They put their trust in God, 
and are satisfied that if they die the recognition of the 
Republic will be advanced nearer to victory. God bless 
and guard you in your noble work." 

During this terrible tiial to which the Irish Nation was 

147 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



subjected the people were defended by the I.R.A., who 
bravely stood up to the forces of the Crown, attackmg 
and defeating them in the open and in their barracks. 
The troops and police thus defeated liad been mainly 
recruited from amongst English soldiers who had returned 
from the battlefields of Europe, to be let loose now on a 
peace-loving people. While Sir Hamar Greenwood gave 
these men free rein, and, in the British House of 
Commons, callously denied that they were responsible for 
the terrible deeds set forth in the Bishop's statement, 
there were yet a few people in England who exposed the 
Government and thus helped Ireland. Commander 
Kenworthy, Captain Benn, Mrs. Uespard, Lady Bonham 
Carter and others did much in this respect, but the Govern- 
ment's reply was still more coercion. From Mr. Lloyd 
George's speeches on matters not appertaining to Ireland 
one would think that he, above an3^body else, would not 
be a party to such horrible crimes, yet he continued to 
work the blunted old machine which had been bequeathed 
to him, until it was smashed in his hands. He attempted 
to justify his position by the favourite argument that the 
holding of Ireland was necessary for the security of the 
British Empire, conveniently hiding the fact that this 
argument might be used mth equal force by any of the 
European nations that wished to be guided b}- self-interest. 
It was used now with a view to counteracting the jjrogress 
that was being made with the Irish cause in the United 
States, but de Valera soon exposed the hypocrisy of the 
English case. He pointed out that England's safety would 
be far better secured by the neighbourhood of an indepen- 
dent, free, sovereign, satisfied Ireland, tlian by the 
neighbourhood of a sullen, resentful Ireland. He then 
cited the first paragraph of the recognition of the indeiaen- 
dence and sovereignty of Cuba by the United States, and 
asked why a recognition of the independence and 
sovereignty of Ireland by England in the words of that 
paragraph would not afford England securitj^ and Ireland 
her rightful place among the free nations of the world, 

US 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



De Valera quoted only the first paragraph of the recognition 

of Cuba's independence, which is : — 

" That the Government of Cuba shall never enter 
into a Treaty or other compact with any foreign power 
or powers which will im]iair or tend to impair the 
independence of Cuba, nor in any manner authorise 
or permit any foreign power or powers to obtain by 
colonisation of, or otherwise, lodgment in or control 
over any portion of said island." 

There are other stipulations in the articles of recognition 
between Cuba and the United States, but these were not 
quoted or endorsed by de Valera. A man of candour 
and integrity, he came forward with this statesmanlike 
and sane pronouncement, smashing with one blow the 
argument that had, for many years, served England in 
foreign lands. 

Coming to the lighter side of de Valera's American 
visit we find that he was presented with quite a number 
of gold plaques, pins, medals, &c., by his admirers. 
Innumerable banquets were arranged in his honour, at 
which all that was best in the political and social life of 
America was to be found. At some of these entertainments 
Irish- American colleens dressed in white, with green, white 
and gold streamers, presented him with baskets of roses 
and placed garlands on his shoulders — a scene which, in 
a way, recalled the happy days of the pre-war Feis in 
Ireland. It is said that the first official recognition of the 
Irish Republic in America was contained in a gold plaque 
presented to him by Mayor Rolph of San Francisco, and 
Mr. A. J. Gallagher, on behalf of the Board of Supervisors 
of the City and County. 
The inscription read : — 

" Presented to Eamonn de Valera, President of the 
Irish Republic, bj^ the Mayor and the Board of Super- 
visors of the City and County of San Francisco and 
by the citizens thereof as a token of their esteem of 
his services in the cause of Irish Freedom." 

149 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



A singular feature of do Valera's tour was the manner 
in which the journahsts wrote him up. A Western paper 
headed one of its columns like this : — 

" De Valera does not Drinh Liquor, 
De Valera dislikes Hats, 
De Valera does not Smoke or Sivear. 

Such headings, taken seriously in America, would, no 
doubt, create amusement over here. In another place 
where he defeated a heavy city official in a swimming con- 
test the paper lilccned the race to that between " a herring 
and a tortoise." The inmates of the various Homes for 
the poor and the afflicted often ex])ressed a desire to make 
the acquaintance of de Valera, who was alw^s, indeed, 
only too happy to do anything that would bring conso- 
lation to the suffering. In one city a local newspaper 
made the startling announcement : — " De Valera admired 
by the Blind and applavded by the Deaf." The paper hardly 
meant to insinuate that de Valera, like Mark Twain, had 
addressed an audience of deaf mutes : This was, no doubt, 
a mistake on the ]:)art of the com]30sitor. 

One of these Homes — " The Sunshine Club " — organised 
to brighten the lives of the aged and dependent, made 
him an honorary member. This was a great pleasure to 
de Valera, who was much impressed by the jollity of these 
good-natured old fellows Avith their flowing beards and 
quaint expressions. 

'■ I have lots of sorrow in my life," said de Valera to 
these men, " perhaps a little more than I anticipated, but 
this is the first time I have ever been elected to a club 
which refuses to recognise the word sorrow. I am glad 
of it. My earnest prayer shall always be that there shall 
be nothing but sunshine in our lives to dispel the clouds 
and darkness we must all encounter now and then." 

De Valera, too, like all great men, became a victim of 
the cartoonist, but these artists somehow seem always 
to have added strength to his general appearance — a 
strange contrast with the fate of his adversary, Mr. David 

150 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Lloyd George, a cartoon of whom — with hat, umbrella and 
legs— by R. S. H. in the Pall Mall Gazette of 1905, must 
have been the first source of inspiration to CharUe Chaplin. 
De Valera very appropriately selected St. Patrick's Day 
for many of his messages to the people. The following is 
a St. Patrick's Day message which he sent to " The 
Scattered Children of the Gael " : — 

" Sons and daughters of the Gael, wherever you be 
to-day, in the name of the Motherland, greeting. 
Whatever flag be the flag you guard and cherish, it 
is consistent with your highest duty to band 3'oiu'selves 
together to use your united strength to help to break 
the chains that bind our sweet, sad Mother. And 
never before have the scattered children of Eire had 
such an opportunity for noble ser\ace. To-day you 
can serve not only Ireland, but the world. 

" A cruel war, and a more cruel peace, have shattered 
the generous of soul. Apathy mocks the high-minded, 
and heartless cynicism points the way to selfishness. We 
the children of a race that has never ceased to strive ; 
that endured for ages the blights of war and the dis- 
appointments of peace, who have had the cup of the 
fruition of hope dashed from our lips in every decade 
and have not despaired, and whose temper has never 
soured, but who have always looked forward to the 
good in to-morrow — the world needs what we can 
give it to-day. 

" Once before our people gave their soul to a 
barbarian Continent, and led brute materialism to an 
understanding of higher things. It is stiU our mission 
' to show the world the might of moral beauty,' to 
teach mankind peace and happiness in keeping the law 
of love, doing to our nieghbour what we would have our 
neighbour do to us. We are the spear-points of the 
hosts in political slavery — we can be the shafts of 
dawn for the despairing and the wi-etched everywhere. 
" And those of our race who are citizens of the mighty 
land of America, whose thoughts will help to mould 

151 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the policy of the leader among the Nations — how much 
the world looks to you, this St. Patrick's Day, hopes 
in you, trusts in you. You can so easily accomplish 
that which is needed. You have only to have the 
will the way is so clear. 

" What would not the people in the old land give 
for the power which is yours. May God and St. 
Patrick inspire j'ou to use it, and to use it well." 

Having dealt in " America " with the Republic and the 
imperishable nature of the struggle, the Rev. James J. 
Daly, S.J. gives us a characteristic slcetch of de Valera, 
which, in an accurate and brilliant manner portraj^s the 
man, his work and his hopes. We quote from it as we 
step forward to the final Chapter so that the reader may 
be helped to a proper understanding of the great Irish 
soldier and statesman, who in diplomatic skill was the 
first to match the redoubtable British Premier. 

Father Daly said : — 

" In this highly complex struggle Eamonn de 
Valera has shown very extraordinary powers of 
leadership. He has imposed a programme of re- 
straint upon a passionate race, and carried it out in 
despite of all the provocations which an almost omni- 
potent Empire could devise for their undoing. He 
has been living with us who are watching — a spectator 
among the Nations — for a year, pursuing a difficult 
and delicate mission with a tactfulness which must 
be maddening to his opponents. He has mastered 
our political and social complexities and has attained 
his ends quietly under the eyes of many who were 
eager to take offence. It is an exploit worthj'^ of a 
statesman and a great man of affairs. His very 
opposition to England is mathematical in its process. 
He has oft'ered his life for Ireland behind the barricades 
of Dublin, the last of the rebel commanders to sur- 
render in the Easter Rising. He has been tried for 
his life, he has rotted in English prisons, he has risked 

152 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



death escaping from them and been a fugitive from 
vindictive English justice ; and if the time should 
come again when a holocaust of blood will be required 
to arouse a slumbering patriotism or to awake the 
democratic conscience of the world, he will seek the 
first place in the ranks of sacrifice. 

" Yet for all this white intensity of ardour he is 
cold and passionless in his pursuit of Irish liberty. 
He harbours no hatred against England. He is not 
vexed by apathy and opposition. He is an idealist 
glo-^ing with the beauty and justice of his ideal, 
confident that men will come to see in the long run 
the vision of his dreams, in the meantime infinitely 
patient with their reluctances, and knowing no 
irritation or weariness in the practical business of 
enlightening and v,dnning them. 

'■' His gentleness is liis most striking trait, a quality 
not conspicuous in great men unless they happen to 
be saints. Eamonn de Valera would doubtless smile 
humorously over being mentioned with the saints. 
Still Dark Rosaleen has been the mother of saints, 
and he may have caught some of their ways. Seldom, 
if ever, have human ideals and spiritual realities, 
adventures and philosophy, modern aspirations and 
ancient dreams, mingled in such close and loving 
conspiracy as in the movement which Eamonn de 
Valera champions so valiantly and wisely, and of 
which he is the living symbol and oriflamme." 

When asked for a message on the Irish situation de 
Valera said : — " We are certain of success as long as the 
Irish at home are true to their ideals." 



153 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 




CHAPTER VI r. 

[N Friday, 24th December, 1020, de Valera 
landed in Ireland, having come as he went, 
without consulting Mr. Lloyd George or the 
British Foreign Office. He was met by Mr. 
Michael Collins, who, as he wended his way 
along the road in the early hours of the 
morning, was accosted by a stalwart member of the Dublin 
Metropolitan Police. This policeman, who was in uniform, 
actually walked portion of the way with Mr. Collins, but 
not having any suspicion as to his identity or the important 
nature of his "mission, went on to discuss the prospects of 
Ireland returning again to normal conditions. Yet, 
although the authorities were unable to interpret the 
meaning of the movements that were actually taking place 
here under their eyes, they were very much on the alert 
elsewhere, where there was no Sinn Fein activity at all. 
From the moment de Valera left his hotel in New York 
on December 13th, British officials took every step possible 
to prevent his entry into Ireland. All the ports were 
closely watched and ships arriving from the States were 
boarded and thoroughly searched by armed forces of tlie 
Crown ; yet all this notwithstanding, lie landed quietly 
and reached his destination without mishap on the date 
mentioned. 

Great as was the success of his American tour, and 
although as regards the main issue he had virtually secured 
the recognition of the Irish Republic, nothing being wanting 
but the final touch from the Senate, yet the situation at 
home so urgently called for his presence that he decided 
to no longer postpone his return to Ireland. From the 

154 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



beginning of December Mr. Lloyd George was very busy 
with indirect offers of peace. At his siia;gestion Arch- 
bishop Chine and others visited the Irish capital to ascertain 
the views of the Sinn Fein leaders. A truce had almost 
been arranged when at the instance of Mr. Bonar Law a 
demand was made for the surrender of arms, a condition 
which the L'ish Republican Army absolutely refused to 
entertain. The demand was said to have been put forward 
owing to a wavering which the English thought they 
perceived in the Sinn Fein ranks. The Prime Minister 
was soon sorry that he had not carried out his original 
intentions, instead of listening to Tory advice. De Valera 
saw the danger of division arising out of these negotiations, 
and with the intensified warfare to which the people were 
at the same time subjected, the danger was certainly real. 
The result might be defeat or a disastrous peace, which 
even the vote of the American Senate could not retrieve. 
He felt that his proper place was at home — in the gap of 
danger — and accordingly he hastened across the Atlantic 
to take his place at the head of his people. 

He arrived not a moment too soon, for at no period did 
the fight rage more furiously, nor were the people more 
in need of the encouragement which his presence brought 
them. British hordes fresh from France had been let loose 
through the land, and some of the noblest lives had been 
sacrificed ; but though the moment was dark, the con- 
fidence of the people in de Valera sustained them in their 
trial and turned what might have been defeat into the 
crowning victory of the war. In the course of a message 
to the Irish people he said : — 

" No one can be base enough now to barter away 
that for which our noblest have given up their lives, 
and so though the moment is dark and the w^orld 
unheeding, confident of the final success, with calm 
deliberation let us face the new year of the Repubhc, 
ready to endure whatever yet may be necessary to 
win for those who come after us the priceless boon of 
permanentpeace, and secure liberty in their nativeland." 

155 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



During the next six months the fight daily grew fiercer, 
raids and skirmishes developing into big engagements 
and pitched battles. The more reckless the British 
Government became in its campaign of terrorism, the 
more resolute grew the defensive measures of the I.R.A. 
Every new tactic adopted by the British Commander- 
in-Chief was met by superior tactics on the part of the 
Irish armv. a fact subsequently admitted in the British 
House of Commons by a Cabinet IMinister. 

The first election under the " Partition Act " was held 
in May. Whatever wavering British agents thought they 
saw in the ranks of Sinn Fein before the election, they 
could no longer be under any delusion, for the result was 
an overwhelming victory for the Republican party. 

Befoi'c the election to the Northern Parliament de 
Valera had met Sir James Craig in an informal conference, 
but without much result. Indeed, little could be expected 
from such a conference, in view of the manner in which 
the political and religious prejudices of the Ulster Protes- 
tants had been played upon. Speaking of the meeting 
between Sir James Craig and de Valera, Captain Dixon, 
a Northern loyalist, said : — 

" The Ulster loyalists should feel proud of a leader 
who had shown such dauntless courage in goijig alone 
to meet de Valera. A ]Dluckier thing had not been 
performed even during the European War." 

It is not surprising, therefore, that the following appeal 
by de Valera to the men and women of North-east Ulster 
did not produce the desired result : — 

" Men and women of North-east Ulster, politicians 
and statesmen declare the Irish problem insoluble, 
but you, the plain people, can solve it in a few hours 
to-morrow in the quiet and privacy of your polling 
booth. Had the distracted people of Europe in 1914 
your chance, there would have been no war, and 
Europe would not have been made desolate with a 
greater desolation awaiting it in its .statesmen's peace. 

156 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



" Vote to-morrow against war with your fellow- 
countr3mien ; vote that brother's hand may not 
have to be raised against brother's ; vote so that 
there may be an end to boj^cott and retahation, to 
partition, disunion and ruin. Lead the world by your 
example. Make a genuine people's peace. Live in 
history as having created a truly united Irish nation. 
Orange and green together can command the future. 
Ireland one is Ireland peaceful, prosperous and 
ha])py. Vote for it." 

Circumstances had now so developed and the situation 
had become so serious for the British Government, that 
Mr. Lloyd George found himself compelled to enter into 
direct negotiation with the Irish leader. The King's 
speech at the opening of the Six-county Parliament in 
Belfast on 22nd June, in which a desire for peace was 
expressed, supplied the necessary excuse. Mr. Lloyd 
George accordingly addressed the following letter to de 
Valera : — 

" Sir, — The British Government are deepty anxious 
that, so far as they can assure it, the King's appeal 
for reconciliation in Ireland shall not have been made 
in vain. Rather than allow j^et another opportunity 
of settlement in Ireland to be cast aside, they feel it 
incumbent on them to make a final appeal in the 
spirit of the King's Avords for a conference between 
themselves and the representatives of Southern and 
Northern Ireland. I write, therefore, to convey the 
following invitation to you as the chosen leader of the 
great majority in Southern Ireland, and to Sir James 
Craig, the Premier of Northern Ireland : — 

" (I) That you should attend a conference here in 
London in company with Sir James Craig, to 
explore to the utmost the possibility of settle- 
ment. 
(2) That you should brhig with }ou for the 
purpose any colleagues you may select. 

157 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



The Government will, of course, give a safe 
conduct to all who may be chosen to par- 
ticipate in the conference. 
\\c malvc this invitation with a fervent desire to 
end the ruinous conflict which has for centuries 
chvided Ireland and embittered the relations of the 
peoples of these two islands, who ought to live in 
neighbom'ly harmony with each other, and whose 
co-operation would mean so much not only to the 
Empire but to humanity. We wish that no endeavour 
should be lacking on our part to realise the King's 
prayer, and y\e ask you to meet us, as we will meet 
you, in the spirit of conciliation for which His Majesty 
appealed." 

D. Lloyd George. 

To this de Valera replied : — 

" SlE, 

" I have received 3'our letter. I am in consultation 
with such of the princij)al representatives of our 
nation as arc available. We most earnestly dcsu'C 
to help in bringing about a lasting peace between 
the ijcoples of these two islands, but see no avenue by 
which it can be reached if j-ou deny Ireland's essential 
unity and set aside the princij)le of national self- 
determination. Before rejjlying more iuWy to your 
letter, I am seeking a conference with certain repre- 
sentatives of the political minority in this countr3^ 
" Eamonn de Valera, 

" Mansion House, Dublin." 

De Valera then sent the following letter to Sir James 
Craig, Earl Midleton, Sir M. E. Dockrell, Sir R. H. Woods, 
and Mr. A. Jameson : — 

" A ClIARA, 

" The reply which I as spokesman for the Irish nation 
shall make to Mr. Lloyd George will affect the lives 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



and fortunes of the political minority in this island 
no loss than those of the majorit3^ Before sending 
this reply, therefore, I would like to confer with you, 
and to iearn from you, at first hand, the views of 
a certain section of our people of whom you are repre- 
sentatives. I am confident that you will not refuse 
this service to Ireland, and I shall await you at the 
Mansion House, Dubhn, at 11 a.m., on Monday next, 
in the hope that you will find it possible to attend. 

" Eajmonn de Valera." 



yir James Craig refused to attend the conference in 
Dublin, but he accepted I\Ir. Lloyd George's invitation to 
London, where he was prepared to meet de Valera. De 
Valera, in consequence, addressed him the following 
letter : — 

" Sir, 

" I greatly regret you cannot come to conference 
here on Monday. Mr. Llo3-d George's proposal, 
because of its implications impossible of acceptance 
in its present form. Irish political differences ought 
to be adjusted, and can, I believe, be adjusted on 
Irish soil. It is obvious that in negotiating peace 
between Great Britain and Ireland the Irish delega- 
tion ought not to be divided, but should act as a unit 
on some common principle. 

" Eamonn de Valera.'' 



The final conference between IMessrs. de 'Valera and 
Griffith and the Unionist representatives was held at the 
Mansion House on Friday, July 8th, and as the result of 
a communication from Mr. Lloyd George a cessation of 
hostilities was arranged to take place from 12 noon on 
Monday, July 11th. On the same evening the invitation 

159 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



to a conference to London was accepted by de Valera in 
the following terms : — 

Mansion House, 

Dublin, 

July Sth, 1921. 

The Right Honourable David Lloyd George, 

10 Downing Street, London. 

" Sir, 

" The desire you express on the part of the British 
Government to end the centuries of conflict between 
the peoples of these tAvo islands, and to establish 
relations of neighbourly harmonj^ is the genuine 
desire of the people of Ireland. I have consulted with 
my colleagues, and secured the views of representatives 
of the minority of our nation in regard to the invita- 
tion you have sent us. In reply, I desire to say that 
I am ready to meet and discuss with you on Avhat 
basis such a conference as that proposed can reason- 
ably hope to achieve the object desired. 

" I am, Sir, faithfully yours, 

" Eamonn de Valera." 

On Saturday de Valera issued the following Proclama- 
tion : — 

Fellow-Citizens, 

During the period of the Truce each individual 
soldier and citizen must regard himself as custodian 
of the nation's honour. Your disciphne must jDrove 
that in the most convincing manner this is the struggle 
of an organised nation. In the negotiations now 
initiated your representatives will do their best to 
secure a just and peaceful termination of this struggle ; 
but history, particularly our own historj', and the 
character of the issue to be decided, are a warning 
against undue confidence. 

IGO 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



An unbending determination to endure all that may 
still be necessary, and fortitude such as you have 
shown in all your recent sufferings — these alone will 
lead 3'ou to the peace you desire. Should force be 
resumed against our nation, you must be ready on 
your part once more to resist. Thus alone will j'ou 
secure the final abandonment of force, and the accep- 
tance of justice and reason as the arbiter. 

Eamonn de Valera. 

July 9th, 1921. 

Messrs. Lloyd George and de Valera met at 10 Downing 
Street, on Thursda}'', July 14th, and again on Friday, 
July 15th, on Monday, July 18th, and on Thursday, 
July 21st, the conference lasting from 1 to 2| hours on 
each occasion. On Thursday the following agreed official 
communique was issued : — 

" Mr. Llo3^d George and Mr. de Valera had a further 
conversation at 11.30 this morning which lasted about 
an hour. A basis for a formal conference has not yet 
been found. Mr. de Valera has arranged to return to 
Ireland to-morrow and to communicate with Mr. Lloyd 
George again after further discussion with his 
colleagues." 

On the previous evening, July 20th, Mr. Lloyd George 
submitted the following proposals with a view to an Irish 
settlement.: — - 

" The British Government are actuated by an 
earnest desire to end the unhappy divisions between 
Great Britain and Ireland vvhich have produced so 
many conflicts in the past, and which have once more 
shattered the peace and well-being of Ireland at the 
present time. They long Vvith his Majesty the King, 
in the words of his gracious speech in Ireland last 
month, for a satisfactorj' solution of " those age-long 
Irish problems which for generations embarrassed 
our forefathers, as they nov/ weigh hePvvity upon us," 

161 M 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



and they wish to do their utmost to secure that "every 
man of Irish birth, whatever be his creed and where- 
ever be his home, should work in lo3'al co-operation 
with the free communities on which the British 
Empire is based." 

They are convinced that the Irish people may find 
as worth}^ and as complete an expression of their 
political and spiritual ideals withiji the Empire as 
any of the numerous and varied nations united in 
allegiance to His Majesty's throne ; and they desire 
such a consummation, not only for the welfare of 
Great Britain, Ireland and the Empire as a whole, 
but also for the cause of peace and harmony throughout 
the world. There is no part of the world where 
Irishmen have made their home but suffers from our 
ancient feuds ; no part of it but looks to this meeting 
between the British Government and the Irish leaders 
to resolve these feuds, in a new understanding, honour- 
able and satisfactory to all the peoples involved. 

The free nations which compose the British Empire 
are drawn from many races, with different histories, 
traditions and ideals. In the Dominion of Canada 
British and French have long forgotten the bitter 
conflicts which divided their ancestors. In South 
Africa the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free 
State have joined with two British colonies to make a 
great self-governing Union under His Majesty's sway. 

The British people cannot believe that where 
Canada and South Africa, with equal or even greater 
difficulties, have so signally succeeded, Ireland will 
fail ; and they are determined that, so far as they 
themselves can assure it, nothing shall hinder Irish 
statesmen from joining together to build up an Irish 
State in free and willing co-operation with the other 
peoples of the Empire. 

Moved by these considerations, the British Govern- 
ment invite Ireland to take her place in the great 
association of free nations over which His Majesty 

162 



EMIONN DE VALERA. 



reigns. As earnest of their desire to obliterate old 
quarrels, and to enable Ireland to face the future with 
her own strength and hope, they propose that Ireland 
shall assume forthwith the status of a Dominion, 
with all the powers and privileges set forth in this 
document. By the adoption of Dominion status 
it is understood that Ireland shall enjoy complete 
autonomy in taxation and finance ; that she shall 
maintain her own courts of law and j udges ; that she 
shall maintain her own miUtary forces for home defence, 
her own constabulary and her own police ; that she shall 
take over the Irish postal services and all matters 
relating thereto ; education, land, agriculture, mines 
and minerals, forestry, housing, labour, unemploy- 
ment, transport, trade, public health, health in- 
surance, and the liquor traific ; and in sum, that she 
shall exercise all those powers and privileges upon 
which the autonomy of the self-governing Dominions 
is based, subject only to the considerations set out 
in the ensuing paragraphs. Guaranteed in these 
liberties, which no foreign people can challenge 
without challenging the Empire as a whole, the Do- 
minions hold each and severally by virtue of their 
British fellowship a standing amongst the nations 
equivalent, not merely to their individual strength, 
but to the combined power and influence of all the 
nations of the Commonwealth. That guarantee, 
that fellowship, that freedom the whole Empire 
looks to Ireland to accept. 

To this settlement the British Government are 

prepared to give immediate effect upon the following 

conditions which are, in their opinion, vital to the 

welfare and safety of both Great Britain and Ireland, 

forming as they do the heart of the Commonwealth : — 

1. The common concern of Great Britain and 

Ireland in the defence of their interests by land 

and sea shall be mutually recognised. Great 

Britain lives by sea-borne food ; her communi- 

163 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



cations depend upon the freedom of the great sea 
routes. Ireland Hes at l^ritain's side across the 
sea-ways North and South that Hnk her with the 
sister nations of the Empire, the markets of the 
world, and the vital sources of her food supply. In 
recognition of this fact, which nature has imposed 
and no statesmanship can change, it is essential 
that the Royal Navy alone should control the seas 
around Ireland and Great Britain, and that such 
rights and liberties should be accorded to it by 
the Irish State as are essential for naval purposes 
in the Jiitih harbours and on the Irish coast. 

2. In order that the movement towards the 
limitation of armaments which is now maldng 
progress in the world should in no way be hampered, 
it is stipulated that the Irish Territorial force, 
shall, within reasonable limits, conform in respect of 
numbers to the military establishments of the 
other parts of these islands. 

3. The position of Ireland is also of great im- 
portance for the Air Services, both military and 
civil. The Royal Air Force will need facilities 
for all purposes that it serves ; and Ireland will 
form an essential link in the develo])ment of air 
routes between the British Isles and the North 
American Continent. It is therefore stipulated that 
Great Britain shall have all necessary facilities for 
the development of defence and of communications 
by air. 

4. Great Britain hopes that Ireland will, in due 
course, and of her own free will, contribute in pro- 
portion to her wealth to the regular Naval, Military, 
and Air Forces of the Em]jire. It is further assumed 
that voluntary recruitment for these forces will be 
permitted throughout Ireland, particularly for those 
famous Irish regiments which have so long and so 
gallantly served His Majesty in all parts of the 
world. 



I'M 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



5. While the Irish people shall enjoy complete 
autonomy in taxation and finance, it is essential to 
prevent a recurrence of ancient differences between 
the two islands, and in particular to avert the 
possibiUty of ruinous trade wars. With this 
object in view, the British and Irish Governments 
shall agree to impose no protective duties or other 
restrictions upon the flow of transport, trade, and 
commerce between all parts of these islands. 

6. The Irish people shall agree to assume respon- 
sibihty for a share of the present debt of the United 
Kingdom, and of the hability for j^ensions arising 
out of the great War, the share, in default of agree- 
ment between the Governments concerned, to be 
determined by an independent arbitrator appointed 
from within Kis Majesty's Dominions. 

In accordance with these principles, the British 
Government propose that the conditions of settlement 
between Great Britain and Ireland shall be embodied 
in the form of a treaty, to which effect shall in due 
com-se be given by the British and Irish Parliaments. 

They look to such an instrument to obliterate old 
conliicts forthwith, to clear tlie v,ay for a detailed 
settlement in full accordance with Irish conditions 
and needs, and thus to establish a new and hap-j^ier 
relation betv/een Irish patriotism and that wider 
community of aims and interests by which the unity 
of the whole Empire is freely sustained. 

The form in which the settlement is to take effect 
will depend upon Ireland herself. It must allow for 
full recognition of the existing powers and privileges 
of the Parhament and Government of Northern 
Ireland, which cannot be abrogated except by their 
own consent. For their part, the British Government 
entertain an earnest hope that the necessity of har- 
monious co-operation amongst Irishmen of all classes 
and creeds will be recognised throughout Ireland, and 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



they will welcome the day when by these means 
unity is achieved. But no such common action can be 
secured by force. 

Union came in Canada by the free consent of the 
Provinces ; so in Australia ; so in South Africa. It 
will come in Ireland by no other way than consent. 
There can, in fact, be no settlement on terms involving, 
on the one side or the other, that bitter appeal to 
bloodshed and violence which all men of good will 
are longing to terminate. The British Government 
will undertake to give effect, so far as that depends 
on them, to any terms in this respect on which all 
Ireland unites. But in no conditions can they con- 
sent to any proposals which would kindle civil war in 
Ireland. Such a war would not touch Ireland alone, 
for partisans would flock to either side from Great 
Britain, the Empire and elsewhere with consequences 
more devastating to the welfare both of Ireland and 
the Empire than the conflict to which a truce has been 
called this month. Throughout the Empire there is 
a deep desire that the day of violence should pass and 
that a solution should be found, consonant with the 
highest ideals and interests of all parts of Ireland, which 
will enable her to co-operate as a willing partner in the 
British Commonwealth. 

The British Government will therefore leave Irish- 
men themselves to determine by negotiations between 
them whether the new powers which the pact defines 
shall be taken over by Ireland as a whole and adminis- 
tered by a single Irish body, or taken over separatelj' 
by Southern and Northern Ireland, with or without 
a joint authority to harmonise their common interests. 
They will willingly assist in the negotiation of such a 
settlement, if Irishmen should so desire. 

By these proposals the British Government sincerely 
believe that they will have shattered the foundations of 
that ancient hatred and distrust which have dis- 
figured our common history for centuries past. The 

166 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



future of Ii-eland within the Commonwealth is for the 
Irish people to shape. In the foregoing proposals 
the British Government have attempted no more than 
the broad outline of a settlement. The details they 
leave for discussion when the Irish people have signified 
their acceptance of the principle of this pact. 

On August 10th de Valera repUed on behalf of the 
Ministry of Dail Eireann : — - 

Sir, 

On the occasion of our last interview I gave it as 
my judgment that Dail Eireann could not, and that 
the Irish people would not, accept the proposals of 
your Government as set forth in the draft of July 20 
which you had presented to me. Having consulted 
my colleagues, and with them given these proposals 
the most earnest consideration, I now confirm that 
judgment. 

The outhne given in the draft is self -contradictory, 
and " the principle of the pact " not easy to determine. 
To the extent that it implies a recognition of Ireland's 
separate nationhood and her right to self-determination 
we appreciate and accept it. 

But in the stipulations and express conditions 
concerning the matters that are vital the principle is 
strangely set aside and a claim advanced by your 
Government to an interference in our affairs, and to 
a control which v/e cannot admit. 

Ireland's right to choose for herself the path she 
shall take to reahse her own destiny must be accepted 
as indefeasible. It is a right that has been maintained 
through centuries of oppression and at the cost of 
unparalleled sacrifice and untold suffering, and it 
^vili not be surrendered. We cannot propose to 
abrogate or impair it, nor can Britain or any other 
foreign state or group of states legitimately claim to 
interfere with its exercise in order to serve their own 
special interests. 



161 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



The Irish people's belief is that the national destiny 
can best be realised in political detachment, free from 
Imperialistic entanglements which they feel will 
involve enterprises out of harmony with the national 
character, prove destructive of their ideals, and be 
fruitful only of ruinous wars, crushing burdens, social 
discontent, and general unrest and unhappiness. Like 
the small states of Europe, they are prepared to hazard 
tlicir independence on the basis of moral right, confi- 
dent that as they would threaten no nation or people, 
they would in turn be free from aggression themselves. 

This is the policy they have declared for in plebiscite 
after plebiscite, and the degree to which any other 
line of policy deviates from it must be taken as a 
measure of the extent to which external pressure is 
operative and violence is being done to the wishes of 
the majority. 

As for myself and my colleagues, it is our deep 
conviction that true friendship with England, which 
military coercion has frustrated for centuries, can be 
obtained most readily now through amicable but 
absolute separation. The fear, groundless though we 
beheve it to be, that Irish territory may be used as 
the basis for an attack upon- England's liberties, can 
be met by reasonable guarantees not inconsistent 
with Irish sovereignty. 

" Dominion status " for Ireland everyone who 
understands the conditions knov/s to be illusory. 
The freedom which the British Dominions enjoy is 
not so much the result of legal enactments or of 
treaties as of the immense distances wliich separate 
them from Britain, and have made interference by 
her impracticable. The most exphcit guarantees, 
including the Dominions' acknowledged right to secede, 
would be necessary to secure for Ireland an equal 
degree of freedom. There is no suggestion, however, 
in the proposals made of an}' such guarantees. Instead, 
the natural position is reversed ; our geographical 

108 



EAIVIONN DE VALERA. 



situation with respect to Britain is made the basis of 
denials and restrictions unheard of in the case of the 
Dominions ; the smaller island must give military 
safeguards and guarantees to the larger, and suffer 
itself to be reduced to the position of a helpless 
dependency. 

It should be obvious that we could not urge the 
acceptance of such proposals upon our people. A 
certain treaty of free association with the British 
Commonwealth group, as Avith a partial league of 
nations, we would have been ready to recommend, 
and as a Government to negotiate and take responsi- 
bility for, had we an assurance that the entry of the 
nation as a whole into such association would secure 
for it the allegiance of the present dissenting minority, 
to meet whose sentiment alone this step could be 
contemplated. 

Treaties dealing with the proposals for free inter- 
trade and mutual hmitation of armaments we are 
ready at any time to negotiate. Mutual agreement 
for facilitating air communications, as well as railway 
and other communications, can, we feel certain, also 
be effected. No obstacle of any kind vrill be placed 
by us in the way of that smooth commercial inter- 
course which is essential in the hfe of both islands, 
each the best customer and the best market of the 
other. It must, of course, be understood that all 
treaties and agreements v/ould have to be submitted 
for ratification to the National Legislature in the first 
instance, and subsequently to the Irish people as a 
whole, under circumstances which would make it 
evident that their decision Mould bo a free decision, 
and that every element of military compulsion was 
absent. 

The question of Ireland's liabihty " for a share of 
the present debt of the United Kingdom " we are 
prepared to leave to be determined by a board of 
arbitrators, one appointed by Ireland, one by Great 
Britain, and a third to be chosen by agreement, or in 

169 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



default, to be nominated, say, by the President of the 
United States of America, if the President would consent. 

As regards the question at issue between the political 
minority and the great majority of the Irish people, 
that must remain a question for the Irish people 
themselves to settla/ "We cannot admit the right of 
the British Government to mutilate our comitry, 
either in its own interest or at the call of any section 
of our population. We do not contemplate the use 
of force. If your Government stands aside, we can 
effect a complete reconciliation. 

We agree with you '' that no common action can 
be secured by force." Our regret is that this wise 
and true principle which your Government prescribes 
to us for the settlement of our local problem it seems 
unwilling to apply consistently to the fundamental 
problem of the relations between our island and yours. 
The principle we rely on in the one case we are ready 
to apply in the other, but should this principle not 
yield an immediate settlement, we arc wilhng that 
this question, too, be submitted to external arbitration. 

Thus, we are ready to meet you in all that is 
reasonable and just. The responsibility for initiating 
and effecting an honourable peace rests primarily not 
with oin" Government but with yours. 

We have no conditions to impose, no claims to 
advance but the one, that we be freed from aggression. 
AVe reciprocate with a sincerity to be measured only 
by the terrible sulferings our people have undergone 
the desire you express for mutual and lasting friend- 
ship. The sole cause of the "" ancient feuds " which 
you deplore has been, as we know, and as history 
proves, the attacks of English rulers upon Irish 
liberties. These attacks can cease forthwith, if your 
Government has the will. The road to peace and 
understanding lies open. 

I am, Sir, faithfully yourp, 

Eamonn de Valera. 



170 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



On August 13, Mr. Lloyd George sent the following 
further communication : — 

The earher part of your letter is so much oi)posed 
to our fundamental position that we feel bound to 
leave you in no doubt of our meaning. You state 
that after consulting your colleagues you confirm your 
declaration that our proposals are such as Dail Eireann 
could not and the Irish people would not accept. 
You add that the outhne given in our draft is self- 
contradictory, and the principle of the pact offered 
to you not easy to determine. We desire, therefore, 
to make our position absolutely clear. 

In our opinion, nothing is to be gained b}' prolonging 
a theoretical discussion of the National status which 
you may be willing to accept as compared with that 
of the great self-governing Dominions of the British 
Commonwealth, but we must direct your attention 
to one point upon wliich j'ou lay some emphasis, and 
upon which no British Government can compromise — 
namely, the claim that we should asknowledgc the 
right of Ireland to secede from her allegiance to the 
v4ving. No such right can ever be acknowledged by 
us. 

^The geographical propinc|uity of Ireland to the 
T^ritish Isles is a fundamental fact. The histor}' of 
the two islands for man}- centimes, however it is 
read, is sufficient j^roof that their destinies are indis- 
solubly linked. Ireland has sent members to the 
British Parliament for more than a hundred years. 

Many thousands of her people during all that time 
have enii.sted frcel}' and served gallantly in the Forces 
of the Crown. Great numbers, in all the Irish pro- 
vinces, are profoundly attached to the Throne. These 
facts permit of one answer, and one onl}', to the claim 
that Britain should negotiate with Ireland as a separate 
and Foreign Power. 

When 3'ou, as the chosen representative of Irish 
National ideals, came to speak with me, I made one 

171 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



condition only, of which our proposals plainly stated 
the effect — that Ireland should recognise the force of 
geographical and historical facts. 

It is those facts which govern the problem of British 
and Irish relations. If they did not exist, there would 
be no problem to discuss. 

I pass, therefore, to the conditions which are imposed 
Ij}'' these facts. We set them out clearly in six clauses 
in our former proposals, and need not re-state them 
here, except to say that the British Government 
cannot consent to the reference of any such questions, 
which concern Great Britain and Ireland alone, to 
the arbitration of a foreign Power. 

We are profoundly glad to have your agreement 
that Northern Ireland cannot be coerced. This 
point is of great importance, because the resolve of 
our people to resist with their full power any attempt 
at secession bj'^ one part of Ireland carries with it of 
necessity an equal resolve to resist any effort to coerce 
another part of Ireland to abandon its allegiance to 
the Crown. We gladly give you the assurance that 
we will concur in any settlement which Southern and 
Northern Ireland may make for Irish unity within the 
six conditions already laid down, which apply to 
Southern and Northern Ireland alike ; but we cannot 
agree to refer the question of your relations with 
Northern Ireland to foreign arbitration. 

The conditions of the proposed settlement do not 
arise from any desire to force our will upon people of 
another race, but from facts which are as vital to 
Ireland's welfare as to our own. The}' contain no 
derogation from Ireland's status as a Dominion, no 
desire for Briti.sh ascendancy over Ireland, and no 
impairment of Ireland's National ideals. 

Our proposals present to the Irish people an oppor- 
tunity such as has never dawned in tlieir history before. 
We have made them in the sincere desire to achieve 
peace ; but bcj^ond them w^ cannot go. We trust 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



that you will be able to accept them in principle. I 
shall be ready to discuss their application in detail 
whenever your acceptance in principle is communicated 
to ii^e. J) Lloyd George. 

In anticipation of a meeting of Dail Eireann, announced 
for Augiist IGth, all the deputies in prison were released, 
with the exception of Sean MacKeon who was under sen- 
tence of death. The bravery and humanity of this dis- 
tinguished Commandant had made him at once a popular 
hero, and when de Valera was informed of his further 
detention he at once made it clear tha,t if this was persisted 
in, he could not accept responsibility for proceeding further 
with the peace negotiations. Next day Commandant 
MacKeon v/as released. 

At the meeting of Dail Eireann on the 16th and 17th of 
August, at which the proposals were examined, de Valera 
dealt with the peace negotiations in two forcible speeches. 
Ke contrasted the justice of Ireland's cause with the greed 
and selfishness of the usurper. He pointed out the road 
that would bring real peace and happiness not alone to 
Ireland but to England. He urged great caution in dealing 
with a foe whose ways were well known to them. He 
pointed out the pitfalls ahead ; and as regards the North, 
he was prepared from within Ireland to give up a good 
deal in order to have an Ireland that could look to the 
future wdthout acticipating distracting internal problems. 
Amid applause, he summed up the whole situation as it 
stood, in these words : — 

" We cannot, and we will not on behalf of the Nation, 
accept these terras." 

Dail Eireann unanimously rejected the British jjroposals, 
and on the 24th of August the following reply was sent to 
Mr. Lloyd George : — 

Sir, 

The anticipatory judgment I gave in my reply of 
August 10 has been confirmed. I laid the proposals 

]73 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



of your Government before Dail Eireann, and, by an 
unanimous vote, it has rejected them. From your 
letter of August 13 it was clear that the principle we 
were asked to accept was that the " geographical 
propinquity " of Ireland to Britain imposed the 
condition of the subordination of Ireland's right to 
Britain's strategic interests as she conceives them, 
a,ad that the very length and persistence of the efforts 
made in the past to compel Ireland's acquiescence in 
a foreign domination imposed the conditions of 
acceptance of that domination now. 

We cannot beUeve that your Government intended 
to commit itself to a principle of sheer mihtarism 
destructive of international morality and fatal to the 
world's peace. .^, If a small Nation's right to indepen- 
dence is forfeit when a more powerful neighbour 
covets its territory for the military or other advantages 
it is supposed to confer, there is an end to hberty. 
No longer can any small Nation claim a right to a 
separate sovereign existence. Holland and Denmark 
can be made subservient to Germany, Belgium to 
Germany or to France, Portugal to Spain. If Nations 
that have been forcibly annexed to Empires lose 
thereby their title to independence, there can be for 
them no re-birth to freedom. In Ireland's case, to speak 
of her seceding from a partnership she has not accepted, 
or from an allegiance which she has not undertaken 
to render, is fundamentally false, just as the claim to 
subordinate her independence to British strategy is 
fundamentally unjust. To neither can we, as the 
representatives of the Nation, lend countenance. 

If our refusal to betray our Nation's honour and 
the trust that has been reposed in us is to be made an 
issue of war by Great Britain, we deplore it. We are 
as conscious of our responsibilities to the living as we 
are mindful of principle or of our obligations to the 
heroic dead. We have not sought war nor do we 
seek war, but if war be made upon us we must defend 

171 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



ourselves, and we shall do so confident that whether 
our defence be successful, or unsuccessful, no body 
of representative Irishmen or Irishwomen will ever 
propose to the Nation the surrender of its birthright. 

We long to end the conflict between Britain and 
Ireland. If your Government be determined to 
impose its will upon us by force and, antecedent to 
negotiation, to insist upon conditions that involve a 
surrender of our whole National position and make 
negotiation a mockery, the responsibility for the 
continuance of the conflict rests upon you. 

On the basis of the broad guiding principle of 
Government by the consent of the governed, peace 
can be secured — a peace that v,ill be just and honour- 
able to all, and fruitful of concord and enduring amity. 
To negotiate such a peace, Dail Eireann is ready to 
appoint its representatives, and, if your Government 
accepts the principle proposed, to invest them with 
plenary powers to meet and arrange with j^ou for its 
apphcation in detail. 

I am, Sir, faithfully yours, 

Eamonn de Valera. 

To this Mr. Lloyd George repHed : — 
Sm, 

The British Government are profoundly disappointed 
by your letter of August 24th, which was delivered 
to me yesterday. You write of the conditions of a 
meeting between us as though no meeting had ever 
taken place. I must remind you, therefore, that 
when I asked you to meet me six weeks ago I made no 
preliminary conditions of any sort. You came to 
London on that invitation and exchanged views with 
me at three meetings of considerable length. 

The proposals which I made to you after those 
meetings were based upon full and sympathetic con- 

17.5 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



sideration of the views which you expressed. As I 
have already said, they were not made in any hagghng 
spirit. On the contrary, my colleagues and I went 
to the very limit of our powers in endeavouring to 
reconcile British and Irish interests. Our proposals 
have gone far beyond all precedent, and have been 
approved as liberal by the whole civilised world. 

Even in quarters which have shown a sympathy with 
the most extreme of Irish claims, they are regarded 
as the utmost which the Empire can reasonably offer, 
or Ireland reasonably expect. The only criticism of 
them which I have yet heard outside Ireland is from 
those who maintain that our proposals have out- 
stripped both warrant and wisdom in their liberality. 
Your letter shows no recognition of this and further 
negotiation must, I fear, be futile unless some definite 
progress is made towards acceptance of a basis. 

You declare that our proposals involve a surrender 
of Ireland's whole national position and reduce her 
to subservience. What are the facts ? Under the 
settlement which we have outhned Ireland would 
control every nerve and fibre of her National existence ; 
she would speak her own language and make her own 
religious life ; she would have complete power over 
taxation and finance, subject only to an agreement 
for keeping trade and transport as free as possible 
between herself and Great Britain, her best market ; 
she would have uncontrolled authority over education 
and all the moral and spiritual interests of her race ; 
she would have it also over law and order, over land 
and agriculture ; over the conditions of labour and 
industry ; over the health and homes of her people, 
and over her own land defence. She would, in fact, 
within the shores of Ireland be free in every aspect of 
national activity, national expression, and national 
development. 

The States of the American Union, sovereign though 
they be, enjoy no such range of rights, and our pro- 

176 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



posals go even further, for they invite Ireland to take 
her place as a partner in the great Commonwealth of 
free nations united by allegiance to the King. 

We consider that these proposals completely 
fulfil your wish that the principle of " Government 
by the consent of the governed " should be the 
broad guiding principle of the settlement which your 
plenipotentiaries are to negotiate. 

That principle was first developed in England, and 
is the mainspring of the representative institutions, 
which she was the first to create. It was spread by 
her throughout the world, and is now the very life 
of the British Commonwealth. 

We could not have invited the Irish people to take 
their place in that Commonwealth on any other 
principle, and we are convinced that through it we 
can heal the old misunderstandings and achieve an 
enduring partnership as honourable to Ireland as to 
the other nations of which the Commonwealth consists. 

But when you argue that the relations of Ireland 
with the British Empire are comparable in principle 
to those of Holland or Belgium with the German 
Empire, I find it necessary to repeat once more that 
those are premises which no British Government, 
whatever its complexion, can ever accept. In demand- 
ing that Ireland should be treated as a separate 
sovereign power with no allegiance to the Crown, and 
no loyalty to the sister nations of the Commonwealth, 
you are advancing claims which the most famous 
national leaders in Irish history, from Grattan to 
Parnell and Kedmond, have explicitly disowned. 

Grattan, in a famous phrase, declared that '" The 
ocean protests against separation, and the sea against 
union." Daniel U'Conneil, the most eloquent, perhaps, 
of aU the spokesmen of the irisii national cause, 
protested thus in the Bouse of Commons in 1830 : — 

" Never did monarch receive more undivided 
177 K 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



allegiance than the present King from the men who 
in Ireland agitate the Repeal of the Union. Never, 
too, was there a grosser calumny than to assert 
that they wish to produce a separation between 
the two countries. Never was there a greater 
mistake than to suppose that we wish to dissolve 
the connection." 

And in a well-known letter to the Duke of Welling- 
ton in 1845, Thomas Davis, the fervent exponent of 
the ideals of Young Ireland, WTote : — 

" I do not seek a raw repeal of the Act of Union. 
I want 3^ou to retain the Imperial Parhament with 
its Imperial power. I ask you only to disencumber 
it of those cares which exhaust its patience and 
embarrass its attention. I ask you to give Ireland 
a Senate of some sort, selected by the people, in 
part or in whole ; levying their Customs and Excise 
and other taxes ; making their roads, harbours, 
railways, canals, and bridges ; encouraging their 
manufactures, commerce, agriculture and fisherie ; 
settling their poor laws, their tithes, tenures, grand 
juries and franchises ; giving a vent to ambition, 
an oppoi-tunity for knowledge, restoring the 
absentees, securing work and diminishing poverty, 
crime, ignorance, and discontent. This, were I an 
Englishman, I should ask for England, besides 
the Imperial Parhament. So would I for Wales, 
were I a Welshman, and for Scotland, were I a 
Scotchman. This I ask for Ireland." 
The British Government have offered Ireland all 
that O'Connell and Thomas Davis asked, and more, 
and we are met only by an unqualified demand that 
we should recognise Ireland as a foreign power. It 
is playing with phrases to suggest that the principle 
of government by consent of the governed compels 
a recognition of that demand on our part, or that in 
repudiating it we are straining geographical and 

178 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



historical considerations to justify a claim to ascend- 
ancy over the Irish race. There is no political prin- 
ciple, however clear, that can be applied without 
regard to limitation imposed by physical and historical 
facts. 

Those limitations are as necessary as the very 
principle itself to the structure of every free nation. 
To deny them would involve the dissolution of all 
democratic States. It is on these elementary grounds 
that we have called attention to the governing force 
of the geographical propinquity of these two islands 
and of their long historic association despite great 
differences of character and race. 

We do not beheve that the permanent reconciliation 
of Great Britain and Ireland can ever be attained 
without a recognition of their physical and historical 
interdependence, which makes complete political and 
economic separation impracticable for both. 

I cannot better express the British standpoint in this 
respect than in words used of the Northern and 
Southern States by Abraham Lincoln in the first 
inaugural address. They were spoken by him on the 
brink of the American Civil War, which he was striving 
to avert. 

" Physically speaking " (he said) " we cannot 
separate. We cannot remove our respective sec- 
tions from each other, nor build an impassable 
wall between them. ... It is impossible, then, to 
make that intercourse more advantageous or more sat- 
isfactory after separation than before. . . . Suppose 
you go to war, you cannot fight always, and when, 
after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, 
you cease fighting, the identical old questions as 
to terms of intercourse are again upon you." 
I do not think it can be reasonably contended that 
the relations of Great Britain and Ireland are in any 
different case. I thought I had made it clear, both 
in my conversations with you and in my tv^o subse- 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



quent communications, that we can discuss no settle- 
ment which involves a refusal on the part of Ireland 
to accept our invitation to free, equal, and loyal 
partnership in the British Commonwealth under one 
Sovereign. 

We are reluctant to precipitate the issue, but we 
must point out that a prolongation of the present 
state of affairs is dangerous. Action is being taken 
in various directions which, if continued, would 
prejudice the truce, and must ultimately lead to its 
termination. This would, indeed, be deplorable. 

Whilst, therefore, prepared to make every allowance 
as to time which will advance the cause of peace, we 
cannot prolong a mere exchange of notes. It is essential 
that some definite and immediate progress should 
be made towards a basis upon which further negotiation 
can usefully proceed. 

Your letter seems to us, unfortunately, to show 
no such progress. In this and my previous letters 
I have set forth the considerations which must govern 
the attitude of His Majesty's Government in any 
negotiations which they undertake. If you are pre- 
pared to examine how far these considerations can 
be reconciled with the aspirations which you represent, 
I shall be happy to meet you and j^oiu" colleagues. 

I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully, 

D. Lloyd George. 

In the meantime de Valera was unanimously re-elected 
President of the Irish Republic. 

Commandant iSean MacKeon, in proposing his re-election, 
used these words full of meaning : — " In no generation for 
more than a century has any Irish Leader equalled such 
achievements. No one has shown himself more fitted 
to lead his p-eople and no one has shown himself more 
fitted to deal with the traditional foe. He has not been 
deceived b}^ their p>rcmises, nor intimidated by theii 

180 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



threats. Eamonn do Valera first met the English as a 
soldier and he beat them as a soldier. He has been meeting 
them nov»' as a statesman and he will beat them as a states- 
man. The honour and interest of our Nation are alike 
safe in his hands." 

On August 30 de Valera repUed as follows to Mr. Lloyd 
George's note of August 26th : — 

Sir, 

We, too, are convinced that it is essential that some 
definite and immediate progress should be made to- 
wards a basis upon which further negotiations can use 
fully proceed, and recognise the futility of a " mere 
exchange " of argumentative Notes. I shall therefore 
refrain from commenting on the fallacious historical 
references in your last communication. 

The present is the reality with which we have to 
deal. Tlie conditions to-day are the resultant of the 
past, accurately summing it up and giving in simplest 
form the essential data of the problem. These data 
are : — 

(1) The people of Ireland, acknowledging no volun- 

tary union with Great Britain, and claiming as 
a fundamental natural right to choose freely 
for themselves the path they shall take to 
realise their national destiny, have by an over- 
whelming majority declared for independence, 
set up a Republic and more than once confirmed 
their choice. 

(2) Great Britain, on the other hand, acts as tiiough 

Ireland v/ere bound to her by a contract of 
union that forbade separation. The circum- 
stances of the supposed contract are notorious, 
yet on the theory of its validity the British 
Government and Parliament claim to rule and 
legislate for Ireland, even to the point of 
partitioning Irish territory against tlie Vvill 
of the Irish people, and killing or casting into 
prison eyevy Irish citizen who refuses allegiance. 

181 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



The proposals of your Government submitted in 
the draft of Jul}' 20 are based fundamentally on the 
latter premises. Wo have rejected these proposals 
and our rejection is irrevocable. They were not an 
invitation to Ireland to enter into " a free and willing " 
partnership with the free nations of the British Com- 
monwealth. 

They were an invitation to Ireland to enter in a 
guise and under conditions which determine a status 
definitely inferior to that of these free States. Canada, 
Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, are all guaran- 
teed against the domination of the major State, not 
only by the acknowledged Constitutional rights which 
give them equality of status with Great Britain and 
absolute freedom from the control of the British 
Parliament and Government, but by the thousands 
of miles that separate them from Great Britain. Ire- 
land would Jiave the guarantees neither of distance 
nor of right. The conditions sought to be imposed 
would di\'ide her into two artificial States, each 
destructive of the other's infiuence in any common 
Council, and both subject to the military, naval, and 
economic control of the British Government. 

The main historical and geographical facts are not 
in dispute, but your Government insists on vie\\ing 
them from your standpoint. We must be allowed to 
view them from ours. The history that you interpret 
as dictating union Ave read as dictating separation. 
Our interpretations of the fact of •" geographical 
propinquity " are no less diametrically opposed. We 
are cominced that ours is the true and just interpre- 
tation, and as a proof are willing that a neutral, 
impartial arbitrator should be the judge. You refuse 
and threaten to give eft'ect to your view by force. Our 
reply must be that if you adopt that course we can 
only resist, as the generations before us have resisted. 

Force will not solve the problem. It will never 
secure the} ultimate victory over reason and right. 
If you again resort to force, and if victory be not 

182 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



on the side of justice, the problem that confronts as 
will confront our successors. 

The fact that for 750 years this problem has resisted 
a solution by force is evidence and warning sufficient. 
It is true wisdom, therefore, and true statesmanship, 
not any false idealism, that prompts me and my 
colleagues. Threats of force must be set aside. 
They must be set aside from the beginning, as well as 
during the actual conduct of the negotiations. 

The respective plenipotentiaries must meet untram- 
melled by any conditions save the facts themselves, 
and must be prepared to reconcile their subsequent 
difference not by appeals to force, covert or open, but 
by reference to some guiding principle on which there 
is common agreement. We have proposed the prin- 
ciple of government by consent of the governed, and 
do not mean it as a mere phrase. 

It is a simple expression of the test to which any 
proposed solution must respond if it is to prove ade- 
quate, and it can be used as criterion for the details 
as well as for the whole. That you claim as a pecuharly 
British principle, instituted by Britain, and " now 
the very life of the British Commonwealth," should 
make it peculiarly acceptable to you. On this basis, 
and this only, we see a hope of reconciling "the con- 
siderations which must govern the attitude " of 
Britain's representativ&s with the considerations that 
must govern the attitude of Ireland's representatives, 
and on this basis we are ready at once to appoint 
plenipotentiaries. 

I am, Sir, faithfully yours, 

Eamonn de Valeba. 

On receipt of this communication a hurried meeting of 
the British Cabinet was called at Inverness : Sir Hamar 
Greenwood, Lord FitzAlan and General Macready, the 
three principal British representatives in Ireland, left in 

183 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



haste for the Highland capital. The Truce was being 
honourably maintained by both sides, but much uncer- 
tainty now prevailed as to the i)robable outcome of the 
negotiations. 

On September 7th Mr. Lloyd George repUed to de \'alera 
as follows : — 

"Sir, 

His Majesty's Government have considered 3^our 
letter of August 30th, and have to make the following 
observations upon it : — The principle of Government 
by consent of the Governed is the foundation of British 
constitutional development, but we cannot accept as a 
basis of practical conference, an interpretation of that 
principle which would commit us to any demands 
which you might present — even to the extent of setting 
up a Kepubhc and repudiating the Crown. You must 
be aware that conference on such a basis is impossible. 
So applied, the principle of government by the con- 
sent of the governed would undermine the fabric of 
every democratic state and drive the civihsed world ' 
back into tribalism. On the other hand, we have 
invited you to discuss our proposals on their merits, 
in order that 3'cu may have no doubt as to the scope 
and sincereity of our intentions. It would be open 
to you in such a conference to raise the subject of 
guarantees on any points in which you may consider 
Irish freedom prejudiced by these proposals. 

His Majesty's Government are loath to believe that 
you will insist upon rejecting their proposals without 
examining them in conference. To decHne to discuss 
a settlement which would bestow upon the Irish 
})0o]']e the fullest freedom of National development 
within the Empire can only mean that you repudiate 
all allegiance to the Crown and all membership of the 
British Commonwealth. If we were to draw this 
inference from your letter, then further discussion 
between us could serve no useful -|;un;o,-e and all 

184 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



conferences would be vain. If, however, we are 
mistaken in this inference, as we stili hope, and if 
your real objection to our proposals is that they 
offer Ireland less than the liberty which we have 
described, that objection can be explored at a confer- 
ence. You will agree that this correspondence has 
lasted long enough. His Majesty's Government must, 
therefore, ask for a definite reply as to whether you 
are prepared to enter a conference to ascertain how 
the association of Ireland with the community of 
nations known as the British Empire can best be 
reconciled with Irish national aspirations. If, as 
we hope, your answer is in the auirmative, I suggest 
that the conference should meet at Inverness on 
20th instant. 

I am. Sir, yours faithfully, 

D. Lloyd George. 

On September 14th, at a private session of the Dail, 
the Cabinet's reply to Mr. Lloyd George was approved, 
and in view of a possible conference with representatives 
of the British Government, the follo\ving delegation of 
plenipotentiaries was unanimously ratified, viz. : — ■ 

ivir. Arthur Grifl&th, Minister Foreign Affairs 

(Chairman). 
Mr. Michael CoUins, Minister for Finance. 
Commandant R. C. Barton, Minister for Economic 

Affairs. 
Commandant E. Duggan, Deputy Meath and Louth. 
Mr. Geo. Gavan Duffy, Envoj- at Rome, Deputy 
DubUn County. 
The reply was despatched to Gairloch b}' Commandant 
Jos. M^Grath, T.D., and Ivli-. H. Boland, T.D. It was by 
no means pleasing to Mr. Lloyd George. After an hour's 
inter\aew he asked the two emissaries to return to Dublin 
with the letter with a view to having it amended on certain 
points, declaring that in the meantime he would consider 
the letter unopened. The desired amendments were, 

1S5 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



however, not made and the letter wa3 published in its 
original form. Tliis caused much uneasiness on the English 
side, and the proposed conference at Inverness was can- 
celled, Mr. Lloyd George stating that he should consult 
his colleagues regarding the course of action necessitated 
by the new situation. 

The following is the letter as published : — 

We have no hesitation in declaring our willingness 
to enter a conference to ascertain how the association 
of Ireland with the community of nations known as 
the British Empire can best be reconciled with Irish 
national aspirations. Our readiness to contemplate 
such an association was indicated in our letter of 
August 10. We have accordingly summoned Dail 
Eireann that we may submit to it for ratification the 
names of the representatives it is our intention to 
propose. We hope that these representatives will 
find it possible to be at Inverness on the date you 
suggest, September 20. 

In this final note we deem it our duty to reaffirm 
that our position is and can only be as we have defined 
it throughout this correspondence. 

Our nation has formally declared its inde])e7idence, 
and recognises itself as a Sovereign State. It is only 
as the representatives of that State and as its chosen 
guardians that we have any authority or poivers to 
act on behalf of our people. 

As regards the principle of " government by con- 
sent," of the governed in the very nature of things it 
must be the basis of any agreement that will achieve 
the purpose we have at heart, that is, the final recon- 
ciliation of our nation with yours. We have suggested 
no interpretation of that principle save its everyday 
interpretation — the sense, for example, in which it 
was understood by the plain men and women of the 
world when on January 5, 1918, you said : — 

" The settlement of the new Europe must be 

180 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



based on such grounds of reason and justice as will 
giv^e some promise of stability. Therefore it is 
that we feel that government with the consent of 
the governed must be the basis of any territorial 
settlement in this war." 

These words are the true answer to the criticism 
of our position which your last letter puts forward. 
The principle was understood then to mean the right 
of nations that had been annexed to Empires against 
their will to free themselves from the grappling hook. 
That is the sense in which we understood it. In 
reality it is your Government, when it seeks to rend 
our ancient nation and to partition its territory, that 
would give to the principle an interpretation that 
" would undermine the fabric of every democratic 
State and drive the civilised world back into tribahsm." 

Eamonn de Valera. 

On September 15 Mr. Lloyd George replied by telegram : 

Sir, 

I informed your emissaries who came to me 
here on Tuesday, the 13th, that the reiteration of your 
claim to negotiate with His Majesty's Government as 
the representatives of an independent and Sovereign 
State would make conference between us impossible. 
They brought me a letter from you in which you 
specifically reaffirm that claim, stating that j'our 
nation " has formally declared its independence and 
recognises itself as a Sovereign State," and, ''it is 
only," you added, " as the representatives of that 
State and as its chosen guardians that we have any 
authority or powers to act on behaK of our people." 
I asked them to warn you of the very serious effect 
of such a paragraph, and I offered to regard the letter 
as undelivered to me in order that you might have 
time to reconsider it. Despite this intimation you 
have now published the letter in its original form. 

1S7 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



I must, accordingly, cancel the arrangements for 
Conference next week at Inverness, and must consult 
my colleagues on the course of action which this new 
situation necessitates. I wdll communicate this to 
you as soon as possible, but as I am for the moment 
laid up here a few days' delay is inevitable. Mean- 
while I must make it absolutely clear that His Majesty's 
Government cannot reconsider the position which 
I have stated to you. If we accepted conference with 
your delegates on a formal statement of the claim 
which you have reaffirmed, it would constitute an 
official recognition by His Majesty's Government of 
the severance of Ireland from the Empire and of its 
existence as an Independent Republic. It would, 
moreover, entitle you to declare as of right acknow- 
ledged by us that, in preference to association with the 
British Empire, you would pursue a closer association 
by Treaty with some foreign power. There is only 
one answer possible to such a claim as that. The 
great concessions which His ]\Iajesty's Government 
have made to the feeling of your people in order to 
secure a lasting settlement deserved in my opinion 
some more generous response, but so far every advance 
has been made by lis. On your part you have not 
come to meet us by a single step, but have merely 
reiterated in phrases of emphatic challenge the letter 
and spirit of your original claim. 

I am, yours faithfully, 

D. Lloyd George. 

De Valera replied : — 

IGth September, 1921. 
Sir, 

I received your telegram last night. I am surprised 
that you do not see that if we on our side accepted 
the conference on the basis of your letter of September 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



7th, without making our position equally clear, 
Ireland's representatives would enter the conference 
with their position misunderstood, and the cause of 
Ireland's right irreparably prejudiced. 

Throughout the correspondence that has taken place 
j'ou have defined your Government's position. We 
have defined ours. If the positions were not so defini- 
tely opposed there would, indeed, be no problem to 
discuss. It should be obvious that in a case like this, 
if there is to be any result, the negotiators must meet 
without prejudice and untrammelled by any con- 
ditions whatsoever except those imposed by the facts 
as they know them . 



Eamonn de Valera. 



The Prime iMinister telegraphed the following reply to 
de Valera's letter of 16th September : — 

Sm, 

I have received the communication which you 
telegraphed to me last night. It is idle to say that 
a conference in which we had already met your dele- 
gates as representatives of an independent and 
Sovereign State would be a conference " without 
prejudice." To receive them as such would constitute 
a formal and official recognition of Ireland's severance 
from the King's domains. It would, indeed, entitle 
you, if you thought fit, to make a Treaty of amity 
with the King, but it would equally entitle you to 
make no Treaty at aU, to break off the conference 
with us at any period and by a right which we our- 
selves had already recognised to negotiate the union 
of Ireland with a foreign power. It would also 
entitle you, if you insisted upon another appeal to 
force, to claim from foreign powers by our imphcit 
admission the rights of lawful belligerents against 

189 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



the King ; if we dealt Avith you as a sovereign and 
independent State we should have no right to com- 
plain of other powers for folloAving our example. 
These would be the consequences of receiving your 
delegates as the representatives of an independent 
State. We are prepared, in the words of my letter 
of the 7th to discuss with you " how the association 
of Ireland with the community of nations known as 
the British Empire can best be reconciled with Irish 
national aspirations." We cannot consent to any 
abandonment, hoAvever informal, of the principle of 
allegiance to the King, upon which the whole fabric of 
the Empire and every constitution within it are based. 
It is fatal to that principle that your delegates in the 
conference should be there as the representatives of 
an independent and Sovereign State. While you 
insist on claiming that, conference between us is 
impossible. 



D. Lloyd Geokge. 



On receipt of Mr. Lloyd George's telegram de Valera 
telegrajDhed as follows : — 

Sir, 

In reply to your last telegram, just received, I have 
only to say that we have already accepted your 
invitation in the exact words which j^ou re- quote 
from your letter of the 7th. We have not asked you 
to abandon any principle, even informally, but surely 
you must understand that we can onl}' recognise 
ourselves for Avhat we are. If this self-recognition be 
made a reason for the cancellation of the conference, 
we regret it, but it seems inconsistent. I have already 
had conferences Avith you, and in these conferences 
and in my AATitten communication I haA^e never 
ceased to recognise mA'self for what I was and am. 

190 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



If this involves recognition on your part, then you 
have akeady recognised us. Had it been our desire 
to add to the solid substance of Ireland's right the 
veneer of the technicalities of international usage, 
which you now introduce, we might have claimed 
already the advantage of all these consequences 
which you fear would flow from the reception of our 
delegates now. Believe mc, we have but one object 
at heart — the setting of the conference on such a 
basis of truth and realit}'' as would make it possible 
to secure through it the result which the people of 
these two islands so ardently desire. 



Eamonk de Valera. 



A reply from Mr. Lloyd George was received on September 
18th :— 

Sir, 

I have received your telegram of last night, and 
observe that it does not modify the claim that your 
delegates should meet us as the representatives of a 
sovereign and independent State. You made no 
such condition in advance when you came to see me 
^n July. I invited you then to meet me, in the words 
wof my letter, as " the chosen leader of the great 
majority in Southern Ireland," and you accepted that 
invitation. From the very outset of our conver- 
sations I told j^ou that we looked to I: eland to own 
allegiance to the Throne, and to make her future as 
a member of the British Commonwealth. That was 
the basis of our proposals, and we cannot alter it. 
The status which you now claim in advance for your 
delegates is, in effect, a repudiation of that basis. 

I am prepared to meet your delegates as I met 
you in July, in the capacity of " chosen spokesmen " 
for your people, to discuss the association of Ireland 

191 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



with the British Oommonwcalth. My colleagues 
and I cannot meet them as the representatives of a 
sovereign and independent State without disloyalty 
on oar part to the Throne and the Empire. I must, 
therefore, repeat that unless the second paragraph 
in your letter of the 12th is Avithdrawn, conference 
between us is impossible. 

D. Lloyd Geoege. 



De Valera's repl}'' was as follows : — 
Sir, 

We have had no thought at anj^ time of asldng you 
to accept any conditions precedent to a conference. 
We would have thought it as unreasonable to expect 
you, as a preHminary, to recognise the Irish Republic 
formally, or informally, as that you should expect 
us formally, or inf or malty, to surrender our national 
position. It is precisely because neither side accepts 
the position of the other that there is a dispute at all, 
and that a conference is necessary to search for and 
discuss such adjustments as might compose it. 

A treaty of accommodation and association properly 
concluded between the peoples of these two islands 
and between Ireland and the group of States in the 
British Commonwealth would, we beheve, end the 
dispute for ever, and enable the two nations to settle 
down in peace, each pursuing its own individual 
development and contributing its own quota to 
civiUsation, but working togetiier in free and friendly 
co-operation in affairs of agreed common concern : 
to negotiate such a treaty the respective representa- 
tives of the two nations must meet. If you seek to 
impose prehminary conditions, which we must regard 
as involving a surrender of our whole position, they 
cannot meet. 

Your last telegram makes it clear that misunder- 

192 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



standings are more likely to increase than to diminish, 
and the cause of peace more Hkely to be retarded than 
advanced, by a continuance of the present corres- 
pondence. V/e request you, therefore, to state v/hether 
your letter of September 7th is intended to be a demand 
for a surrender on our part or an invitation to a con- 
ference free on both sides and without prejudice 
should agreement not be reached. K the latter, we 
readily conlirm our acceptance of the invitation, and 
our appointed delegates will meet your Government's 
representatives at any time in the immediate future 
that you designate. 

Eamonn db Valera. 

On September 29th Mr. Lloyd George rephed from 
Gairloch as follows : — 
Sir, 

His Majesty's Government have given close and 
earnest consideration to the correspondence which 
has passed between us since their invitation to you to 
send delegates to a conference at Inverness. In spite 
of their sincere desire for peace, and in spite of the 
more conciliatory tone of your last communication, 
they cannot enter a conference upon the basis of this 
correspondence. Notwithstanding your personal 
assurance to the contrary, which they much appre- 
ciate, it might be argued in future that the acceptance 
of a conference on this basis had involved them in a 
recognition which no British Government can accord. 
On this point they must guard themselves against 
any possible doubt. There is no puq^ose to be served 
by any further interchinge of explanatory and argu- 
mentative communications upon this subject. The 
position taken up by His Majesty's Government is 
fundamental to the existence of the British Empire, 
and they cannot alter it. My colleagues and I remain, 
however, keenly anxious to make, in co-operation 

19 J o 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



with 3'our delegates, another determined effort to 
explore every possibility of settlement by personal 
discussion. The proposals which we have already 
made have been taken by the whole world as proof 
that our endeavours for reconciliation and settlement 
are no empty form ; and we feel that conference, not 
correspondence, is the most practical and hopeful way 
to an understanding such as we ardently desire to 
achieve. We, therefore, send herewith a fresh invita- 
tion to a conference in London on October 11 th, where 
we can meet your delegates as spokesmen of the people 
whom you represent with a view to ascertaining how 
the association of Ireland with the community of 
nations known as the British Empire ma}^ best be 
reconciled with Irish national aspirations. 

D. Lloyd George. 



On September 30th de Valera accepted Mr. Lloyd 
George's invitation to a conference in London. 

Mansion House, 

Dublin, 
30^/i September, 1921. 

Right Hon. D. Lloyd George, 

Gairloch. 
Sir, 

We have received your letter of invitation to a 
conference in London on October 11, " with a view 
to ascertaining how the association of Ireland with 
the community of nations known as the British Empire 
may best be reconciled with Irish national aspirations." 

Our respective positions have been stated and are 
understood, and we agree that conference, not corres- 
pondence, is the most practical and hopeful way to an 
understanding. We accept the invitation, and our 

194 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



delegates will meet you in London on the date men- 
tioned *' to explore every possibility of settlement by 
personal discuosion." 

Faitlifully yours, 

Eamonn de Valera. 

On the eve of the conference de Valera issued to the Irish 
people the following proclamation, which contains many 
significant and important passages : — 

Fellow-Citizens, 

The conference in which the accredited representa- 
tives of the nation are about to engage with the 
representatives of the British Government must 
profoundly influence, and may determine, the whole 
course of our country's future. It affects the lives 
and fortunes of every section of the community. 
Whatever the differences of the past, it is the interest 
as it is the duty of all Irishmen to stand together for 
Ireland now. Our delegates are keenly conscious of 
their responsibilities. They must be made feel that 
a united nation has confidence in them and will support 
them unflinchingly. They share with each one of 
us the ardent desire that this secular conflict between 
the rulers of Britain and the Irish people may happily 
be brought to an end, but they realise that the ending 
of the conflict does not depend finally upon their 
will or upon the will of this nation. The struggle on 
our side has always been simply for the maintenance 
of a right that in its nature is indefeasible, and that 
cannot therefore be either relinquished or compromised. 
The only peace that in the very nature of things 
can end this struggle will be a peace consistent with 
the nation's right and guaranteeing a freedom worthy 
of the sufferings endured to secure it. Such a peace 
will not be easy to obtain. 

The claim that conflicts with Ireland's right has 
been ruthlessly persisted in through centuries of blood. 

196 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



It seems unlikely that this claim will be abandoned 
now. Peace and that claim are incompatible. The 
delegates are aware that no wisdom of theirs and no 
ability of theirs will suilfice. They indulge, therefore, 
in no foolish hopes, nor should the country indulge 
in them. The peace that will end this conflict ^ill 
be secured not by the skill or statesmanship of leaders, 
but by the stern determination of a close-knit nation 
steeled to the acceptance of death rather than the 
abandonment of its rightful liberty. Nothing but 
such a determination in our people can overcome the 
forces that our delegates 'wiU have to contend vnih. 
By a heroic endurance in suffering, Ireland has gained 
the position she holds. Were the prospect of further 
horrors or further sacrifices to cause her to quail or 
falter for a moment, all would again be lost. The 
threats that could force surrender in one vital par- 
ticular would be relied on to force surrender in another, 
and another, till all were gone. Of necessity Ireland 
must stand where she is, unyielding and fearless on 
the rock of right, or be out-manoeuvred and defeated 
in detail. 

During the negotiations, then, the slightest lowering 
of the nation's morals will be fatal, and everyone whose 
thought or action tends to lower it is an enemy of 
peace — an enemy of the peoples of both islands — an 
enemy of the cause of humanity, whose progress is 
intimately linked up with each successive triumph 
of right over might. Tlie power against us will use 
every artifice it knows in the hope of dispiriting, 
dividing, Aveakening us. We must all beware. The 
unity tliat is essential will best be maintained by an 
unwavering faith in those who have been deputed 
to act on the nation's behaK, and a confidence mani- 
festing itself as hitherto in eloquent discipline. For 
this I appeal. 

Eaivionn de Valera. 
Dublin, October 10, 1921. 

196 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



The able manner in which de Valera conducted these 
preliminary negotiations brought him congratulations from 
all parts of the world. Perhaps the finest of all these was 
that contained in a cable from Cardinal O'Comieli, of 
Boston, to Cardinal Logue, thus : — 

" And indeed during these later weeks the hearts 
of the Irish race were filled with pride when they saw 
the representatives of their race conduct themselves 
with a statesmanship that has challenged the admira- 
tion of the world." 
The conference proceeded with its work as expeditiously 
as could be expected, having regard to the immense task 
on hand. On more than one occasion there was serious 
danger of a breakdown. Harmony was first disturbed by 
an exchange of telegrams between Pope Benedict XV. 
and King George V. 

Pope Benedict XV. to King George. 

We rejoice at the resumption of the Anglo-Irish 
negotiations, and pray to the Lord, with all our heart, 
that He may bless and grant to Your Majesty the great 
joy and imperishable glory of bringing to an end the 
age-long discussion." 

King George to Pope Benedict XV. 

'■' I have received the message of Your Holiness 
with much pleasure, and v/ith all my heart I join in 
your prayer that the conference now sitting in London 
may achieve a permanent settlement of the troubles 
in Ireland, and may initiate a new era of peace and 
happiness for my people." 

The implication contained in the King's reply forced 
de Valera to address the following telegram to his Holi- 
ness : — 

The people of Ireland have read the message sent 
by your Holiness to the King of Great Britain, and 
appreciate the Idndly interest in their welfare and the 

197 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



paternal regard which suggested it. I tender to your 
HoHness their gratitude. They are confident that the 
ambiguities in the reply sent in the name of King 
George will not mislead you as it may the uninformed, 
into believing that the troubles are '' in " Ireland or 
that the people of Ireland own allegiance to the British 
King. The independence of Ireland has been formally 
pioclaimed by the regularly elected representatives 
of the people of Ireland, and ratified by subsequent 
plebiscites. The trouble is between Ireland and 
Britain, and its source that the rulers of Britain have 
sought to impose their wall upon Ireland, and by 
brutal force have endeavoured to rob her people of 
the liberty which is their natural right and their 
ancient heritage. We long to be at peace and in 
friendship with the people of Britain as with other 
peoples, but the same constancy through persecution 
and martyrdom that has proved the reality of our 
people's attachment to the faith of their fathers proves 
the reality of their attachment to their national 
freedom, and no consideration will ever induce them 
to abandon it, 

Eamonn de Valera. 

Mansion House, Dublin, Oct. 20th, 1921. 

The necessity for de Valera's telegram can be judged 
by the storm created in the English Press b}' its publication. 
Mr. Ian MacPherson, late British Chief Secretary for 
Ireland, said that it was insolent and perversely malignant, 
and Mr. Lloyd George declared that it endangered the 
continued existence of the Peace Conference. 

While awaiting the result of the Peace Conference de 
Valera inspected Volunteer corps in Clare and Galway, 
and at Limerick the freedom of the City was conferred 
upon him. 

Perhaps the greatest honour, and as an intellectual man 
the one that appealed to him most, was his installation as 
Chancellor of the National University of Ireland. Acknow- 

198 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



ledging the receipt of addresses on the occasion de Valera 
said that a nation's University to be worthy should throb 
with the full current of the nation's life, scintillate with 
the living fire of the nation's soul, reflecting back again 
upon the nation its own most energising beams and trans- 
mitting to all mankind the glow of its warmth and its 
light. 

He had already observed elsewhere that these ideals 
could best be served through the medium of the Irish 
language. " Were I to get my choice, freedom without 
the Language or the Language without freedom, I would 
far rather have the Language without freedom," was the 
essence of his remarks dehvered in Irish at the Ard Fheis of 
the Gaelic League. And his reasons for this view may be 
found in his message to Connradh na Gaedhilge, viz. : — 
" To save the national language is the especial duty of 
this generation. The ultimate winning back of our state- 
hood is not in doubt. Sooner or later Ireland will recover 
the Sovereign Independence she once enjoyed. Should 
we fail, a future generation will succeed. But the language 
— that must be saved by us or it is lost for ever. Are we 
who are ready to make sacrifices that future generations 
may be free, going to rob these generations of that they 
would most fondly cherish — of that they would be proudest 
of as the very crown of their freedom ? Are we going to 
doom them to bemoan for ever that which they themselves 
can never by a,ny means restore — their own distinctive, 
their own traditional, their own beautiful Irish tongue 1" 

In the early part of December there was much uneasiness 
and speculation as regards the London Conference. The 
terms proposed by the British Government were not 
acceptable to the majority of the Dail Cabinet, but in 
order to make the greatest possible effort towards peace, 
counter-proposals embodying Ireland's maximum con- 
cession were again sent forward. Following this the news 
of a breakdown in the negotiations reached Ireland, and 
on Monday, December 5th, the Irish Republican Army 
was mobihsed. 

199 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



In the early hours of the morning of the Gth December, 
hon^ever, the British proposals were signed by all the 
Plenipotentiaries concerned. When de Valera heard this 
news he joyously remarked " we have won." Under 
paragraph 3 of the Cabinet instructions to the delegates 
the complete test of the Draft Treaty about to be signed 
v/as to be submitted to Dublin and a reply awaited. When 
this was not done de Valera naturally assumed that the 
Dail Eireann counter-proposals had been accepted — hence 
his joy. But his hopes were soon shattered. When the 
full draft of the Treaty was received it was found that it 
contained clauses which subverted the existence of the 
Irish Republic. On the return home of the Plenipoten- 
tiaries a prolonged meeting of the Dail Cabinet was held, 
and rumours of division, now in circulation, were soon 
confirmed by the issue of the following letter to the Press 
by de Valera :— 

To the Irish People :— 

A Chairde Gaedheal : — You have seen in the pubhc 
Press the text of tlie proposed Treaty with Great 
Britain. Tiie terms of this agreement are in violent 
conOict with the wishes of the majority of this nation 
as expressed freely in successive elections during the 
pa.st three years. I feel it my duty to inform you 
immediately that I cannot recommend the acceptance 
of this Treaty, eitlier to Dail Eireann or to the country. 
In this attitude I am supported by the Ministers of 
Home Affairs and Defence.* A public session of 
Dail Eireann is being summoned for Wednesday next 
at 11 o'clock. I ask the people to maintain during 
the interval the same discipline as heretofore. The 
members of the Cabinet though divided in opinions 
are prepared to carry on the public services as usual. 
The army, as such, is, of course, not aftectcd b}' the 
j)olitical yitualion, and continues under the same orders 
and control. The great test of our people has come 



* Austin Stack and Cathal Brugha. 
200 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Let us face it worthil}^ without bitterness, and, above 
all, mthout recriminations. There is a definite 
constitutional way of resolving our political differences 
— let us not depart from it, and let the conduct of the 
Cabinet in this matter be an example to the whole 
nation.— Mise, 

E^.MONN DS Va1,EIIA.. 



The following is the text of the Treaty as signed in 
London : — 

I. 

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, order and good government of Ireland and 
an Executive responsible to that Parliament, and shall be 
styled and known as the Irish Free State. 

II. 

Subject to the provisions hereinafter set out, the position 
of the Iri^h Free State in relation to the Imperial ParHament 
and Government and otherwise shall be that of the 
Dominion of Canada, and the law, practice and consti- 
tutional usage governing the relationship of the Crown 
or the representative of the Crown and of the Imperial 
Parliament to the Dominion of Canada shall govern their 
relationship to the Irish Free State. 

III. 

The representative of the Crown in Ireland shall be 
appointed in like manner as the Governor-General of 
Canada, and in accordance with the practice observed in 
the making of such appointments. 

20] 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



IV. 

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 estabhshed and that I will be faithful to 
H.M. King George V., his heirs and successors by law, 
in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland mth 
Great Britain and her adherence to and membership 
of the group of nations forming the British Common- 
wealth of Nations. 

V. 

The Irish Free State shall assume liabihty for the service 
of the Public Debt of the United Kingdom as existing at 
the date hereof and towards the payment of war pensions 
as existing at that date in such proportion as may be fair 
and equitable, having regard to any just claims on the part 
of Ireland by way of set-off or counter-claim, the amount 
of such sums being determined in default of agreement 
by the arbitration of one or more independent persons 
being citizens of the British Empire. 

VI. 

Until an arrangement has been made between the British 
and Irish Governments whereby the Irish Free State 
undertakes her own coastal defence, the defence by sea 
of Great Britain and Ireland shall be undertaken by His 
Majesty's Imperial forces, but this shall not prevent the 
construction or maintenance by the Government of the 
Irish Free State of such vessels as are necessary for the 
protection of the revenue or the fisheries. 

The foregoing provisions of this article shall be reviewed 
at a conference of representatives of the British and Irish 
Governments to be held at the expiration of five years 
from the date hereof with a view to the undertaking by 
Ireland of a share in her own coastal defence. 

202 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



VII. 

The Government of the Irish Free State shall afford 
to His Majesty's Imperial forces : — 

(a) In time of peace such harbour and other facilities 
as are indicated in the annex hereto, or such 
other facilities as may from time to time be 
agreed between the British Government and 
the Government of the Irish Free State ; and 

(6) In time of war or of strained relations with a 
Foreign Power such harbour and other facilities 
as the British Government may require for the 
purposes of such defence as aforesaid. 

VIII. 

With a view to securing the observance of the principle 
of international limitation of armaments, if the Govern- 
ment of the Irish Free State establishes and maintains 
a military defence force, the establishment thereof shall 
not exceed in size such proportion of the military estab- 
Hshments maintained in Great Britain as that which the 
population of Ireland bears to the population of Great 
Britain. 

IX. 

The ports of Great Britain and the Irish Free State 
shall be freely open to the ships of the other country on 
payment of the customary port and other dues. 

X 

The Government of the Irish Free State agrees to pay 
fair compensation on terms not less favourable than those 
accorded by the Act of 1920 to judges, officials, members 
of police forces, and other public servants who are dis- 
charged by it or who retire in consequence of the change 
of Government effected in pursuance hereof. 

Provided that this agreement shall not apply to members 
of the Auxiliary Police Force or to persons recruited in 
Great Britain for the Royal Irish Constabulary during 
the two years next preceding the date hereof. The British 

203 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Government will assume responsibility for such compen- 
sation or pensions as may be payable to any of these 
excepted persons. 

XI. 
Until the expiration of one month from the passing of 
the Act of Parliament for the ratification of this instru- 
ment, the pov/crs 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 Parliament of Northern Ireland in favour of 
the holding of such elections before the end of the said 
month. 

XII. 
If, before the expiration of tlie said month, an address 
is presented to His Majesty by both Houses of the Parlia- 
ment of Northern Ireland to that effect, the powers of the 
Parliament and the Government of the Irish Free State 
shall no longer extend to Northern Ireland, and the pro- 
Ansions 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 j.nd 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 in- 

204 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



habitants, 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 instru- 
ment, the boundary of Northern Ireland shall be such as 
may be determined by such Commission. 

XIII. 

For the purpose of the last foregoing article, the powers 
of the Parliament of Southern Ireland under the Govern- 
ment of Ireland Act, 1920, to elect members of the Council 
of Ireland, shall, after the Parhament of the Irish Tree 
State is constituted, be exercised by that Parliament. 

XIV. 

After the expiration of the said month, if no such address 
as is mentioned in Article 12 hereof is presented, the Parlia- 
ment and Government of Northern Ireland shall continue 
to exercise as respects Northern Ireland the powers con- 
ferred on them by the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, 
but the Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State 
shall in Northern Ireland have in relation to matters in 
respect of which the Parhament of Northern Ireland has 
not power to make laws under that Act (including matters 
which under the said Act are within the jurisdiction of 
the Council of Ireland) the same powers as in the rest of 
Ireland, subject to such other provisions as may be agreed 
in manner hereinafter appearing. 

XV. 

At any time after the date hereof the Government of 
Northern Ireland and the Provisional Government of 
Southern Ireland hereinafter constituted may meet for 
the purpose of discussing the provisions subject to which 
the last foregoing article is to operate in the event of no 
such address as is therem mentioned being presented, and 
those provisions may include: — 

(a) Safeguards with regard to patronage in Northern 
Ireland, 

205 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



(6) Safeguards with regard to the collection of revenue 

in Northern Ireland, 
(c) Safeguards with regard to import and export 
duties affecting the trade or industry of Northern 
Ireland, 
{d) Safeguards for minorities in Northern Ireland, 
(e) The settlement of the financial relations between 

Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State, 
(/) The establishment and powers of a local mihtia 
in Northern Ireland and the relation of the 
Defence Forces of the Irish Free State and of 
Northern Ireland respectively ; 
And if at any such meeting provisions are agreed to, the 
same shall have effect as if they were included amongst 
the provisions, subject to which the powers of the Parha- 
ment and Government of the Irish Free State are to be 
exercisable in Northern Ireland under Article 14 hereof. 

XVI. 

Neither the Parliament of the Irish Free State nor the 
Parliament of Northern Ireland shall make any law so 
as either directly or indirectly to 

Endow any religion or prohibit or restrict the free 

exercise thereof or 
Give any preference or impose any disabiUty on account 

of religious belief or religious status or 
Affect prejudicially the right of any child to attend 
a school receiving public money without 
attending the religious instruction at the school 
or 
Make any discrimination as respects State aid between 
schools under the management of different 
religious denominations or 
Divert from any religious denomination or any 
educational institution any of its property except 
for public utihty purposes and on payment of 
compensation. 

206 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



XVII. 

By way of provisional arrangement for the administra- 
tion of Southern Ireland during the interval which must 
elapse between the date hereof and the constitution of a 
Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State in 
accordance therewith, steps shall be taken forthwith for 
summoning a meeting of members of Parliament elected 
for constituencies in Southern Ireland since the passing 
of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and for consti- 
tuting a Provisional Government, and the British Govern- 
ment shall take the steps necessary to transfer to such 
Provisional Government the powers and machinery 
requisite for the discharge of its duties, provided that 
every member of such Provisional Government shall have 
signified in writing his or her acceptance of this instrument. 

But this arrangement shall not continue in force beyond 
the expiration of 12 months from the date hereof. 

XVIII. 
This instrument shaU be submitted forthwith by H.M. 
Government for the approval of Parliament, and by the 
Irish signatories to a meeting summoned for the purpose 
of the members elected to sit in the House of Commons 
of Southern Ireland, and, if approved, shall be ratified 
by the necessary legislation. 

Signed : — 

On behalf of the British On behalf of the Irish 
Delegation Delegation. 

D. Lloyd George. Art Griobhtha. 

Austen Chamberlain. Michael Coileain. 

Birkenhead. Riobard Bartiin. 

Winston S. Churchill. E. S. Dugam. 

L. Worthington-Evans. Seorsa Ghabhain TJi 
Hamar Greenwood. Dhubhthaigh. 

Gordon Hewart. 

December 6, 1921. 

207 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



ANNEX. 

I. 

The following are the specific facilities required : — 
Dockyard Port at Berehaven (a)— Admiralty property 

and rights to be retained as at the date hereof. 

Harbour defences to remain in charge of British 

care and maintenance parties. 
Queenstown (b) — Harbour defences to remain in charge 

of British care and maintenance parties. Certain 

mooring buoys to be retained for use of His 

Majesty's ships. 
Belfast Lough (c) — Harbour defences to remain in 

charge of British care and maintenance parties. 
Lough Swilly {d) — Harbour defences to remain in 

charge of British care and maintenance parties. 
Aviation (c) — Facilities in the neighbourhood of the 

above ports for coastal defence by air. 
Oil Fuel Storage (/) — HaulbowHne and Rathmullen 

to be offered for sale to commercial companies 

under guarantee that purchasers shall maintain 

a certain minimum stock for Admiralty purposes. 

IL 

A convention shall be made between the British Govern- 
ment and the Government of the Irish Free State to give 
effect to the following conchtions : — 

(a) That submarine cables shall not be landed or 
wireless stations for communication with places 
oiitside Ireland be estabhshed except by agree- 
ment with the British Government ; that the 
existing cable landing rights and wireless con- 
cessions shall not be withdra^vn except by agree- 
ment with the British Government, and that the 
British Government shall be entitled to land 
additional submarine cables or establish additional 
wireless stations for communication with places 
outside Ireland. 

208 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



(6) That lighthouses, buoys, beacons, and any navi- 
gational marks or navigational aids shall be 
maintained by the Government of the Irish Free 
State as at the date hereof, and shall not be 
removed or added to except by agreement with 
the British Government, 

(c) That war signal stations shall be closed down and 
left in charge of care and maintenance parties, 
the Government of the Irish Free State being 
offered the option of taking them over and working 
them for commercial purposes, subject to Admir- 
alty inspection, and guaranteeing the upkeep of 
existing telegraphic communication therewith. 

III. 

A convention shall be made between the same Govern- 
ments for the regulation of civil communication by air. 

At a private session of the Dail de Valera put forward 
proposals with a view to obtaining unity, but after four 
days' discussion his object was not attained. The public 
session was then resumed on December 19th, for the 
purpose of either approving or rejecting the Treaty. Day 
after day eloquent speeches were delivered for and against 
acceptance. In a speech, brilliant throughout. Miss Mary 
MacSwiney held the floor for close on 2| hours against the 
Treaty and in support of de Valera's attitude. Most of 
the deputies spoke on the occasion, with the result that 
the session was prolonged into January. In the course 
of his speech proposing that the Treaty be approved, Mr. 
Gritfith said : "' It is the first Treaty between the repre- 
sentatives of the Irish Government and the representatives 
of the English Government since 1172 signed on equal 
footing. It is the first Treaty that admits the equality 
of Ireland. It is a Treaty of equality and because of that 
I am standing by it. We have come back from London 
with that Treaty, which recognised the Free State of 

209 p 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Ireland. We have brought back the flag ; we have 
brought back the evacuation of Ireland after 700 years 
by British troops and the formation of an Irish army. 
We have brought back to Ireland her full rights and powers 
of fiscal control ; we have brought back to Ireland equahty 
with England, equahty with all nations which form the 
Commonwealth, and equal views in the direction of foreign 
affairs in peace and war." 

Mr. Michael Colhns supported the Treaty in an able 
speech, as did Mr. Duggan. Up to nov/ no reference had 
been made to duress in the accepted meaning of the word. 
Mr. George Gavan Duffy and Commandant R. C. Barton 
declared, however, that they signed the Treaty reluctantly 
under the threat of immediate war. The kernel of the 
whole question hangs around this threat of war. Was 
it seriously meant or was it only bluff ? The mihtary and 
naval authorities had already calculated that it would 
cost something hke £250,000,000 and require 200,000 men 
to defeat the I.R.A. After the truce a member of the 
British Cabinet said that even if the negotiations broke 
down the Government would go to the country before 
resuming the war. It may be that the threat of immediate 
war was a last resource to bring in the two delegates who 
were standing firm. The articles of agreement were signed, 
no doubt, under a certain amount of duress diplomatically 
fostered by the British representatives, but the extent to 
which its existence influenced the action of each individual 
delegate can be defined only by the delegate himself. 
People Avho had followed de Valera's correspondence with 
Mr. Lloj'd George felt that the British Premier had, in 
effect, recognised the Sovereignty of Ireland ; the relation- 
ship and responsibihties of the two nations to be settled 
by common agreement. The following is a summary, 
as published in tbe Press, of Mr. de Valera's speech against 
ratification of the Treaty. Unfortunately it cannot be 
given verbatim, as the official text is not available : — 

I think it would scarcely be in accordance with 
Standing Orders if I were to move directly the rejec- 

■2iQ 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



tion of the Treaty. I daresay, however, it will be 
sufficient if I appeal to the House not to approve of 
the Treaty. We were elected by the Irish people, and 
did the Irish people think we \;'erc liars when we said 
that we meant to uphold the RepubMc, which Avas 
ratified by the vote of the people three years ago, 
and was further ratified — expressly ratified — by the 
vote of the people at the elections last May ? \Vhen 
the proposal for negotiation came from the British 
Government asking that we should try by negotiation 
to reconcile national aspirations with the association 
of nations forming the British Empire there was no 
one here as strong as I was to make sure that every 
human attempt should be made to find whether such 
reconcihation was possible. 

I am against this Treaty, because it does not recon- 
cile Irish national aspirations with association with 
the British Commonwealth. I am against this Treaty, 
not because I am a man of war but a man of peace. 
I am against this Treaty because it will not end the 
centuries of conflict between the two nations of Great 
Britain and Ireland. 

We went out to effect such a reconciliation and we 
have brought back a thing which will not even recon- 
cile our own people much less reconcile Britain and 
Ireland. 

Continuing, he said that if there was to be recon- 
ciliation, it was obvious that the party in Ireland that 
typified national aspirations for centuries should be 
satisfied, and the test of every agreement was whether 
the people were satisfied or not. A war-weary people 
would take things which were not in accordance with 
their aspirations. 

You may, Mr. de Valera proceeded, have a snatch 
election now, and you may get a vote of the people, 
but I will tell you that Treaty Avill renew the contest 
that is going to begin the same history that the Union 
began, and Lloyd George is going to have the same 

ill 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



fruit for his labours as Pitt had. When in Downing 
Street, the proposals to -which we could unanimously 
consent in the Cabinet were ])ractically turned down 
at the point of the pistol and immediate A\ar was 
threatened u])on our people. 

It was only then that this document was signed, 
and that document has been signed b}- plenipoten- 
tiaries, not perhaps individually under duress, but 
it has been signed, and w^ould only affect this nation 
as a document signed under duress, and this nation 
would not respect it. 

I wanted, and the Cabinet wanted, to get a docu- 
ment we could stand by, a document that could enable 
Irishmen to meet Englishmen and shake hands with 
them as fellow-citizens of the world. 

That document makes British Authority our masters 
in Ireland. It was said that they had onh' an oath 
to the British King in virtue of common citizenship, 
but 3'ou have an oath to the Irish Constitution, and 
that Constitution will be a Constitution which will 
have the King of Great Britain as head of Ireland. 

You will swear allegiance to that Constitution and 
to that King ; and if the representatives of the 
Re])ublic should ask the people of Ireland to do that 
which is inconsistent with the Republic, I say they 
are subverting the Republic. It would be a surrender 
which was never heard of in Ireland since the days of 
Henry II. ; and are we in this generation, which had 
Irishmen famous throughout the world, to sign our 
names to the most ignoble document that could be 
signed ? 

When he ^\as in prison in solitar}- confinement their 
warders told them that they could go from their cells 
into the hall, which was about 50 feet by 40. They 
did go out from the cells to the hall, but they did not 
give their word to the British jailer that he had the 
right to detain them in prison because they got that 
privilege. 

212 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Again on another occasion the}' were told that they 
could get out to a garden party, where they could see 
the flowers and the hills, but they did not for the 
privilege of going out to garden parties sign a docu- 
ment handing over their souls and bodies to the jailers. 

Rather than sign a document which would give 
British authority in Ireland they would be ready to 
go into slavery until the Almighty God blotted out 
their tyrants. (Applause). 

If the British Government passed a Home Rule 
Act or something of that kind he would not have said 
to the Irish people "' Do not take it." ile would have 
said, '■ Very well ; this is a case of the jailer leading 
you from the cell to the hall," but by getting that they 
did not sign away any form of government they pleased. 

It was said that an uncompromising stand for a 
Republic was not made. The stand made by some of 
them was to try and reconcile a Republic with an 
association. There was a document presented to that 
House to try to get unanimity, to see whether the 
views he held could be reconciled to that party which 
typified the national aspirations of Ireland for cen- 
turies. The document was put there for that purpose, 
and he was trj'ing to bring forward before that assembly 
a document which would bring real peace between 
Great Britain and Ireland — a sort of document they 
would have tried to get, and would not have agreed 
if they did not get. It would be a document that 
would give real peace to the people of Great Britain 
and Ireland and not the officials. He knew it would 
not be a politicians' ]>eace. He knew the politician 
in England who would take it would risk his political 
future, but it would be a peace between peoples, and 
would be consistent with the Irish people being full 
masters of everything within their own shores. 

Criticism of the Treat}^ was scarcely necessary from 
that point of view, that it could not be ratified because 
it would not be legal to ratify it, because it would be 

213 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



inconsistent with their position. They were elected 
there to be the guardians of an independent Irish 
State — a State that had declared its independence. 

Unless they wished to folloAV the ignominious 
example of the Colonial Parliament that voted away 
the independence of the people in 1800 they could 
not ratify this instrument. 

They could not ratify that instrument if it were 
brought before them for ratification. 

It was, therefore, to be brought not for ratification, 
because it would be inconsistent, and the very fact 
that it was inconsistent showed that it could not be 
reconciled with Irish aspirations, because the aspir- 
ations of the Irish People had been cry.stallised into 
the form of government they had at the present time. 

Continuing, Mr. de Valera said that as far as he 
was concerned he was probably the freest man there 
to express his opinion. He had said that when he 
was selected as President at tlie private session, he 
was there to maintain the independence of Ireland, 
and it v/as because he wished to do his best for the 
Irish people that he asked all present to approve of 
the rejection of the Treaty. 

You will not be acting in the best interests of Ireland 
if you are going to pretend to the world — ^and it is 
only pretence— that this will lay the four.dation 
of a lasting peace. You know perfectly A\ell 
that even if Mr. Grifilth and Mr. Collins set up 
a Provisional Government in Dublin Castle until 
the Irish people had voted upon it that Govern- 
ment would bo looked upon as a usurpation equally 
v.ith Dublin Castle in the past. 

We know perfectly Avell there is nobody here who 
has expressed more strongly dissents from, any attacks 
of any kin.d iwon the delegates that went to London 
tlian I did. There is no one v/ho knew better than I 
did how diTicult is the task they had to i^erform. I 
appealed to the Dail, telling them the delegates had 

2U 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



to do soniG tiling a mighty army or a mighty navy 
would not be able to do. -4 

I hold that, and I hold it was in their excessive love 
for Ireland they have done what they have. 

I am as anxious as anyone for tlie material pros- 
perity of Ireland and the Irish people, but I cannot do 
anything that would make the Irish people hang their 
heads. I would rather see the same thing over again 
than that Irishmen should hang their heads in shame 
for ha-snng signed and put their hands to a document 
handing over their authority to a foreign country. 
Tiie Irish people would not want me to save them 
materially at the expense of their national honour. 

It was, Mr. de Valera proceeded, within tlie com- 
petence of the Irish people, if they wish to enter into 
an association with other peoples, to enter into the 
British Empire ; it was within their competence if 
they wanted to choose the British monarch as their 
King. But did the Assembly think the Irish people 
had changed so much within the past year or two that 
they now want to get into the British Empire after 
seven centuries of fighting ? 

Had they so changed that they now wanted to 
choose the presence of the British monarch, whose 
forces they had been fighting against, and who had 
been associated with all the brutalities of the past 
couple of years ; had they changed so much that the}'' 
wanted to choose the King as their monarch ? It 
was not King George as a monarch they choose ; it 
was Lloyd George. The sad part of it, as he was 
saying, was that a grand peace could at that moment 
be made, and to see the difference. For instance, if 
approved by the Irish people, and if Mr. Griffith, or 
whoever might be in his T)lace, thought it wise to ask 
King George over to open Parliament he would see 
black flags in the streets of Dublin. " Do you think," 
he asked, " that that would make for harmony between 
the tvio peoples ? " What would the people of Great 



!1S 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Britain sa}' when they saw the King accepted by the 
Irish people greeted in Dublin with black flags ? 
If a Treaty was entered into, if it was a right Treaty, 
he could have been brought here (" No. no "). 

" Yes, he could. (Cries of "' No, no "'.) Why not 1 
I say if a proper peace had been made you could 
bring the President of France, the King of Spain, or 
the President of America here, or the head of any 
other friendly nation here in the name of the Irish 
State, and the Irish people would extend to them in 
a very different way a welcome as the head of a fiiendly 
nation coming on a friendly visit to their country, and 
not as a monarch who came to call Ireland his legiti- 
mate possession. In one case the Irish people would 
regard him as an usurper, in the other case it would 
be the same as a distinguished visitor to their country. 
Therefore, I am against the Treaty, because it does not 
do the fundamental thing and bring us peace. The 
Treaty left them a country going through a period 
of internal strife, just as the Act of Union did. 

One of the great misfortunes in Ireland for past 
centuries had been the fact that their internal problems 
and their internal domestic questions could not be 
gone into because of the relationship between Ireland 
and Great Britain. Just as in America during the 
last Presidential election, it was not the internal 
affairs of the country were uppermost ; it was other 
matters. It was the big international question. 
That was the misfortune for America at the time, and 
it was the great misfortune for Ireland for 120 years, 
and if the present Pact was agreed on that would 
continue. He was against it because it was incon- 
sistent with their position, because if the Dail were to 
say the Irish people didn't mean it, then they should 
have told their representatives that they didn't mean 
it. 

Had the chairman of the delegation said he did not 
stand for the things they had said they stood for, he 

216 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



would not have been elected. The Irish people could 
change their minds if they wished to. 

The Irish people were their masters, and they 
could do as they liked, but onl}'' the Irish people 
could do that, and the}'' should give the people the 
credit that they meant wliat they said just as they 
(the Deputies) meant what they said. 

" I do not think I should continue any further on 
this matter," continued Mr. de Valera. " I have 
spoken general^, and if you wish we can take these 
documents up, article by article, but they have been 
discussed in private session, and I do not think there 
is any necessity for doing so."' 

Therefore, he asked them to reject the Treaty for 
two main reasons, that, as every Teachtai knew, it 
was " absolutely inconsistent with our position ; it 
gives away Irish Independence ; it brings us into the 
British Empire ; it acknowledges the head of the 
British Empire, not merely as the head of an associa- 
tion, but as the direct monarch of Ii'eland, as the 
source of executive authority in Ireland.'' The 
Ministers of Ireland will be His Majesty's Ministers, 
the Army that Commandant MacKeon spoke of will 
be His Majesty's Army. (Voices : '' No ".) You may 
sneer at words, but I say words mean, and I say in 
a treaty words do mean something, else why should 
they be put down. They have meanings and they 
have facts, great realities that you cannot close your 
eyes to. That Treaty means that the Ministers of 
the Irish Free State will be His Majesty's Ministers, 
and the Irish forces will be His Majesty's forces. (" No, 
No"). 

" Well, time \\dll tell, and I hope it won't have a 
chance, because you wiU throw this out. If you accept 
it, time will tell ; it cannot be one way in this Assembly 
and another way in the British House of Commons. 
The Treaty is an agreed document, and there ought to 
be pretty fairly common interpretation of it. If 

217 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



there are differences of i liter] )retation on them we 
known who will get the best of them. 

" I hold," he proceeded, " and I don't mind ray 
words being on record, that the chief executive 
authority in Ireland is the British monarch — the British 
authority. It is in \'irtue of that authority the Irish 
Ministers will function. It is under the commander- 
in-chief of the Irish Army, who will be the English 
monarch, they will swear allegiance, these soldiers 
of Ii-eland." It would be inconsistent with their 
position and with the whole national tradition and 
because it was inconsistent it could not bring peace. 

" Do 3'ou think," he asked, " that because you sign 
documents like this you can change the current of 
tradition ? You cannot. Some of you are relying 
on that ' cannot ' when signing this Treaty. But 
don't put a barrier in the way of future generations." 

Parnell was asked to do something like this — to 
say it was a final settlement. But he said, " No man 
has a right to set " — No man " can " is a different 
thing. '• No man has a right " — take the context 
and you knov/ the meaning. Parnell said practically, 
"You have no right to ask me, because I have no 
right to say that any man can set boundaries to the 
march of a nation." 

As far as you can, if you take this you are 
presuming to set bounds to the onward march of a 
nation. 

Dail Eireann accepted the Treaty by a majority of 7 — 
64 for, 57 against, and in the British House of Commons 
ratification was carried by 166 votes to 47. 

Before the vote on the Treaty, as signed in London, was 
taken, de Valera brought forwa-d his counter proposals, 
a rough draft of which had already been before the deputies 
at a private session. This document came to be known 
as " document No. 2," and the proposals which it con- 
tained brought, as de Valera said, " The Republic to the 
brow of the precipice " ; and with a further view to unity 

213 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



and peace certain matters already accepted by the British 
Government were included. The proposals were based 
on external association ^ith the British Commonwealth 
for the purposes of common concern, and under Article 6 
His Britannic Majesty was to be recognised as head of the 
association just as Japan, England, France and the other 
powers might have recognised or elected President Wilson, 
or the King of Italy, as head or chairman of the League 
of Nations. 

De Valera's proposals, Article 1 of which maintains 

inviolate the Sovereignty' of Ireland, were as follov/s : — 

" In order to bring to an end the long and ruinous 

conflict between Great Britain and Ireland b}'- 

a sure and lasting peace, honourable to both 

nations, it is agreed : — 

1. That the legislative, executive, and judicial 
authority of Ireland shall be derived solely from the 
people of Ireland. 

2. That, for purposes of common concern, Ireland 
shall be associated with the States of the British 
Commonwealth, viz., the Kingdom of Great Britain, 
the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of 
Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the 
Union of South Africa. 

3. That when acting as an associate the rights, 
status, and privileges of Ireland shall be in no respect 
less than those enjoyed by any of the component 
States of the British Commonwealth. 

4. That the matters of " common concern " shall 
include Defence, Peace and War, Political Treaties, 
and all matters now treated as of common concern 
amongst the States of the British Commonwealth, 
and that in these matters there shall be between 
Ireland and the States of the British Commonwealth 
" such concerted action founded on consultation as 
the several Governments may determine." 

5. That in virtue of this association of Ireland with 

219 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



tho States of the British Commonwealth citizens of 
Ireland in any of these States shall not be subject to 
any disabilities which a citizen of one of the component 
States of the British Commonwealth would not be 
subject to, and reciprocally for citizens of these States 
in Ireland. 

6. That, for purposes of the Association, Ireland 
shall recognise His Britannic Majesty as head of the 
Association. 

7. That, so far as her resources permit, Ireland shall 
provide for her own defence by sea, land and air, 
and shall repel by force any attempt by a foreign 
power to violate the integrity of her soil and territorial 
waters, or to use them for any purpose hostile to 
Great Britain and the other associated States. 

8. That for five years, pending the establishment 
of Irish coastal defence forces, or for such other period 
as the Governments of the two countries may later 
agree upon, facilities for the coastal defence of Ireland 
shall be given to the British Government as follows : — 

(a) In time of peace such harbour and other facilities 
as are indicated in the Annex hereto, or such 
other facilities as may from time to time be 
agreed upon between the British Government 
and the Government of Ireland. 

{b) In time of war such harbour and other Naval 
facilities as the British Government may reason- 
ably require for the purj^oses of such defence 
as aforesaid. 

9. That ^vithin five years from the date of exchange 
of ratification of this Treaty a Conference between 
the British and Irish Governments shall be held in 
order to hand over the coastal defence of Ireland to 
the Irish Government, unless some other arrangement 
for naval defence be agreed by both Governments 
to be desirable in the common interest of Ireland, 
Great Britain, and the other Associated States. 

220 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



10. That, in order to co-operate in furthering the 
principle of international limitation of armaments, 
the Government of Ireland shall not 

(a) Build submarines unless by agreement with 
Great Britain and other States of the Common- 
wealth. 

{b) Maintain a miUtary defence force, the establish- 
ments whereof exceed in size such proportion 
of the military establishments maintained in 
Great Britain as that which the population of 
Ireland bears to the population of Great 
Britain. 

11. That the Governments of Great Britain and of 
Ireland shall make a convention for the regulation 
of civil communication by air. 

12. That the ports of Great Britain and of Ireland 
shaU be freely open to the ships of each country on 
payment of the customary port and other dues. 

13. That Ireland shall assume liabihty for such 
share of the present public debt of Great Britain 
and Ireland and of the payment of war pensions as 
existing at this date as may be fair and equitable 
having regard to any just claims on the part of Ireland 
bj' way of set off or counterclaim, the amount of such 
sums being determined, in default of agreement, by 
the arbitration of one or more independent persons 
being citizens of Ireland or of the British Common- 
wealth. 

14. That the Government of Ireland agrees to 
pay compensation on terms not less favourable than 
those proposed by the British Government of Ireland 
Act of 1920, to that Government's judges, officials, 
members of police forces and other pubhc serv^ants 
who are discharged by the Government of Ireland 
or who retire in consequence of the change of govern- 
ment effected in pursuance hereof. 

Provided that this agreement shall not apply to 
members of the Auxiliary Pohce Force or to persons 



221 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



recruited in Great Britain for the Royal Irish Con- 
stabulary during the two years next preceding the 
date hereof. The British Government will assume 
responsibility for such compensation or pensions 
as may be paj^able to any of these excepted persons. 

15. That neither the Parliament of Ireland nor any 
subordinate legislature in Ireland shall make any 
law so as either directly or indirectly to endov/ any 
rehgion or prohibit or restrict the free exercise thereof 
or give any preference or impose any disabilitj' on 
account of religious belief or rehgious status or atfect 
prejudicially the right of any child to attend a school 
receiving public money without attending the religious 
instruction at the school or make any discrimination 
as respects State aid between schools under the manage- 
ment of different religious denominations or divert 
from any religious denomination, or any educational 
institution, any of its property except for public 
utihty pm-poses and on payment of compensation. 

16. That by way of transitional arrangement for 
the administration of Ireland during the interval 
which must elapse between the date hereof and the 
setting up of a Parhament and Government of Ireland 
in accordance herewith, the members elected for 
constituencies in Ireland since the passing of the 
British Government of Ireland Act, in 1920, shall, 
at a meeting summoned for the purpose elect a tran- 
sitional government, to which the British Government 
and Dail Eireann shall transfer the authority, powers, 
and machinery requisite for the discharge of its duties, 
provided that every member of such transitional 
government shall have signified in writing his or her 
acceptance of this instrument. But this arrangement 
shall not continue in force beyond the expiration of 
twelve months from the date hereof. 

17. That this instrument shall be submitted for ratifi- 
cation forthwith by His Britannic Majesty's Govern- 
ment to the Parliament of Westminster, and by the 

222 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Cabinet of Dail Eireann to a meeting of the members 
elected for the constituencies in Ireland set forth in 
the British Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and when 
ratifications have been exchanged shall take immediate 
effect. 

ADDENDUM. 

North-East Ulster. 

Resolved : — That, whilst refusing to admit the right 
of any part of Ireland to be excluded from the supreme 
authority of the Parliament of Ireland or that the relations 
between the Parliament of Ireland and any subordinate 
legislature in Ireland can be a matter for Treaty with a 
Government outside Ireland, nevertheless, in sincere 
regard for internal peace, and in order to make manifest 
our desire not to bring force or coercion to bear upon any 
substantial part of the province of Ulster, whose inhabi- 
tants may now be unwilling to accept the national authority 
we are prepared to grant to that portion of Ulster which 
is defined as Northern Ireland in the British Government 
of Ireland Act of 1920, privileges and safeguards not less 
substantial than those provided for in the " Articles of 
Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and 
Ireland," signed in London on December 6, 1921. 

ANNEX. 

1. The following are the specific facilities referred to 
in Article 8 (a) : — 

(a) Dockyard Port at Berehaven — British Admiralty 
property and rights to be retained as at the date 
hereof. Harbour defences to remain in charge 
of British care and maintenance parties. 

(6) Queenstown — Harbour defences to remain in charge 
of British care and maintenance parties. Certain 
mooring buoys to be retained for use of His 
Britannic IMajesty's ships. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



(c) Belfast Lough — Harbour defences to remain in 

charge of British care and maintenance parties. 

(d) Lough Swilly — Harbour defences to remain in 

charge of British care and maintenance parties. 

(e) Aviation — Facihties in the neighbourhood of the 

above ports for coastal defence by air. 
(/) Oil Fuel Storage — Haulbowline, Rathmullen — To 
be offered for sale to commercial companies under 
guarantee that purchasers shall maintain a certain 
minimum stock for British Admiralty purposes. 

2. A Convention covering a period of five years shall be 
made between the British and Irish Governments to give 
effect to the following conditions : — 

(a) That submarine cables shall not be landed or 
wireless stations for communication with places 
outside Ireland be established except by agreement 
with the British Government ; that the existing 
cable landing rights and wireless concessions 
shall not be withdrawn except by agreement with 
the British Government ; and that the British 
Government shall be entitled to land additional 
submarine cables or establish additional wireless 
stations for communications with places outside 
Ireland. 

(6) That lighthouses, buoys, beacons, and any navi- 
gational marks or navigational aids shall be main- 
tained by the Government of Ireland as at the 
date hereof, and shall not be removed or added 
to except by agreement with the British Govern- 
ment. 

(c) That war signal stations shall be closed down and 
left in charge of care and maintenance parties, 
the Government of Ireland being offered the 
option of taking them over and worldng them 
for commercial purposes, subject to British 
Admiralty inspection and guaranteeing the upkeep 
of existing telegraphic communication therewith. 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Had de Valera's counter proposals been accepted, a 
permanent peace and reconciliation with England would 
have been achieved. Excellent as the Treaty undoubtedly 
is so far as it provides for Irish services, it has failed to 
bring England that which she most desired — peace with 
the Irish race, at home and abroad, leading to friendly 
co-operation "with America in the solution of her world 
problems. 

A Treaty between England and Ireland as independent 
nations would have brought strength to both, but until 
the Sovereignty of Ireland for which de Valera so valiantly 
fought, has been recognised, there can be no permanent 
peace with the Irish race. Perhaps Mr. Lloyd George, 
who professes to have the peace of the world at heart, may 
yet crown his career by taking this, the true and only 
road to peace and reconciUation between the two nations. 

That day will also crown the career of Eamonn de 
Valera. 



226 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



APPENDIX. 

Ireland's Declaration of Independence — 

Proclaimed by Dail Eireann, 

January 21, 1919. 

(Translation.) 

Whereas the Irish people is by right a free people. 

And whereas for 700 years the Irish people has never 
ceased to repudiate and had repeatedly protested in arms 
against foreign ursurpation ; 

And whereas English rule in this countrj^ is, and always 
has been, based upon force and fraud and maintained b}^ 
mihtary occupation against the declared will of the people ; 

And whereas the Irish Republic was proclaimed in 
Dublin on Easter Monday, 1916, by the Irish Republican 
Army, acting on behalf of the Irish people ; 

And whereas the Irish people is resolved to secure and 
maintain its complete independence in order to promote 
the common weal, to re-establish justice, to provide for 
future defence, to insure peace at home and goodwill with 
all nations, and to constitute a national polic}' based upon 
the people's will, with equal right and equal opportunity 
for every citizen ; 

And whereas at the threshold of a new era in history the 
Irish electorate has in the general election of December, 
1918, seized the first occasion to declare by an overwhelming 
majority its firm allegiance to the Irish Republic ; 

Now, therefore, we, the elected representatives of the 

227 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



ancient Irish people, in national parliament assembled, do, in 
the name of the Irish nation, ratify the establishment of 
the Irisii Rcpubhc, and pledge ourselves and our people 
to make this declaration effective by every means at our 
command. 

To ordain that the elected representatives of the Irish 
people alone have power to make laws binding on the 
people of Ireland, and that the Irish parliament is the only 
parliament to which that people v,i\\ give its allegiance. 

We solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland to 
be an invasion of our national right, which we will never 
tolerate, and we demand the evacuation of our country 
by the English garrison ; 

We claim for our national independence the recognition 
and support of every free nation of the world, and we 
proclaim that independence to be a condition precedent 
to international peace hereafter ; 

In the name of the Irish people we humbly commit our 
destiny to Almighty God, who gave our fathers the courage 
and determination to persevere through centuries of a 
ruthless tyranny, and strong in the justice of the cause 
which they have handed down to us, we ask His Divine 
blessing on this, the last stage of the struggle wliich we 
have pledged ourselves to carry through to freedom. 

Ireland's Message to the Nations, 
(Translation.) 

To the nations of the world, greeting : 

The nation of Ireland, having proclaimed her national 
independence, calls through licr elected representatives 
in parliament assembled in the Irish capital on January 
21, 1919, upon every free nation to support the Irish 
Republic by recognising Ireland's national status and her 
right to its vindication by the peace congress. 

Nationally, the race, the language, the customs and 
traditions of Ireland are radically distinct from the English. 

228 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Ireland is one of the most ancient nations of Europe, and 
she has preserved her national integrity vigorous and intact 
through seven centuries of foreign oppression ; she has 
never rchnquished her national rights, and throughout 
the long era of English usurpation she has in every 
generation defiantly proclaimed her inaHenable right of 
nationhood down to her last glorious resort to arms in 
1916. 

Internationally, Ireland is the gateway to the Atlantic. 
Ireland is the last outpost of Europe towards the west ; 
Ireland is the point upon which great trade routes between 
East and West converge ; her independence is demanded 
by the freedom of the seas ; her great harbours must be 
open to aU nations, instead of being the monopoly of 
England. To-day these harbours are empty and idle 
solely because English policy is determined to retain 
Ireland as a barren bulwark for English aggrandizement, 
and the unique geographical position of this island, far 
from being a benefit and safeguard to Europe and America, 
is subjected to the purposes of England's policy of world 
dominion. 

Ireland to-day reasserts her historic nationhood the 
more confide nti}'' before the new world emerging from the 
war, because she beheves in freedom and justice as the 
fundamental principles of international law ; because she 
believes in a frank co-operation between the peoples for 
equal rights against the vested privileges of ancient 
tyrannies, because the permanent peace of Europe can 
never be secured by perpetuating military dominion for 
the profit of empire, but only by establishing the control 
of government in everj'- land upon the basis of the free 
will of a free peo])le, and the existing state of war between 
Ireland and England can never be ended until Ireland is 
definitely evacuated by the armed forces of England. 

For these, among other reasons, Ireland resolutely and 
irrevocably determined at the dawn of the promised era 
of self-determination and hberty, that she wiU suffer 
foreign dominion no longer — calls upon every free nation 

229 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



to uphold her national claim to comj)lete independence 
as an Irish Republic against the arrogant pretensions of 
England, founded in fraud and sustained only by an over- 
whelming militar}' occupation, and demands to be con- 
fronted publicly with England at the congress of nations, 
that the civilized world having judged between English 
wrong and Irish right may guarantee to Ireland its per- 
manent support for the maintenance of her national 
independence. 

Ireland's Democratic Programme — Proclaimed 
BY Dail Eire ANN. 

(Translation.) 

We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Pro- 
clamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership 
of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies 
to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first president, 
Padraic Pearse, we declare that the nation's sovereignty 
extends not only to all men and women of the nation, but 
to all its material possessions ; the nation's soil and all 
its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing 
processes within the nation ; and with him we re-affirm 
that all rights to private ])roperty must be subordinated to 
the pul)lic right and welfare. 

We declare that we desire our country to be ruled in 
accordance Avith the principles of liberty, equality, and 
justice for all, which alone can secure permanence of govern- 
ment in the willing adhesion of the people. 

We affirm the duty of every man and woman to give 
allegiance and service to the commonwealth and declare 
it is the duty of the nation to assure that every citizen 
shall have opportunity to s}iend his or her strength and 
faculties in the service of the people. In return for wilhng 
service, we, in the name of the Re}>ublic, declare the right 
of every citizen to an adequate share of the produce of 
the nation's labour. 

It shall be the first duty of the government of the 

230 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Republic to make provision for the physical, mental, and 
spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no 
child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food or clothing 
or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means 
and facilities requisite for their proper education and 
training as citizens of a free and Gaelic Ireland. 

The Irish Republic fully realizes the necessity of abolish- 
ing the present odious, degrading, and foreign poor law 
system, substituting therefor a sympathetic native scheme 
for the care of the nation's aged and infirm, who shall no 
longer be regarded as a burden, but rather entitled to the 
nation's gratitude and consideration. Likewise it shall 
be the duty of the Republic to take measures that will 
safeguard the health of the people and insure the physical 
as well as the moral well-being of the nation. 

It shall be our duty to promote the development of the 
nation's resources, to increase the productivity of the soil, 
to exploit its mineral deposits, peat bogs, and fisheries, 
its waterways and harbours, in the interest and for the 
benefit of the Irish people. 

It shall be the duty of the Republic to adopt all measures 
necessary for the re-creation and in vigor ation of our 
industries, and to insure that being developed on the most 
beneficial and progressive co-operative industrial lines, 
with the adoption of an extensive Irish consular service, 
trade with foreign nations shall be revived on terms of 
mutual advantage and goodwill ; while undertaking the 
organization of the nation's, trade, import and export, it 
shall be the duty of the Republic to prevent the shipment 
from Ireland of food and other necessaries until the wants 
of the Irish people are fully satisfied and the future pro- 
vided for. 

It shall devolve upon the national government to seek 
the co-operation of the governments of other countries 
in determining a standard of social and industrial legis- 
lation with a view to a general and lasting improvement 
in the conditions under which the working classes live 
and labour. 

231 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Oath of Allegiance — (Subscribed to by Deputies). 

(Translation.) 

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that 

I do not and shall not yield a voluntary support to any 
pretended Government, Authority, or Power within 
Ireland hostile and inimical thereto ; and I do further 
swear (or affiirm) that, to the best of my knowledge and 
ability, I will support and defend the L-ish Republic and 
the Government of the Irish Republic, which is Dail 
Eireann, against all enemies, foreign and domestic ; that 
I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same ; and that 
I take this obUgation freely, without any mental reservation 
or purpose of evasion, so help me God. 



List Showing the Voting Fob and 
Against the Treaty. 



For the Treaty — 64. Against the Treaty — 57 

Cork City. 



Aid. J. J. Walsh, 
Aid. L. de Roiste, 



Miss Mary McSwiney, 
D. O'Ceallachain. 



Cork Mid., N., S., S.E., and W. 
Michael Collins, Sean MacSwiney, 

Sean Hayes, Daniel Corkery, 

P. O'KeefEe, Sean Nolan, 

Sean Hales, Sean Moylan. 

Cork East and North-East. 

Thomas Hunter, 

David Kent, 

James Fitzgerald, Jun. 



23i 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Clare County. 
Sean Leddy, Eamonn de Valera, 

Patrick Brennan, Brian O'Higgins. 

Kerry and Limerick West. 
Piaras Beaslai, Austin Stack, 

Finian Lynch, Con. Collins, 

J. Crowley, E. Roche, 

P. S. O'Cahill, 
T. O'Donoghue. 

Limerick East and City. 
Dr. Hayes, Mrs. O'Callaghan, 

Wm. Hayes, M. P. CoUvet. 

Tip2:)erary 31 id., North, and South. 
Seumas Burke, Aid. Jos. MacDonagh, 

P. J. Moloney, 
P. J. Count b 'Byrne. 

Waterford County, City, and Tipperary E. 

Dr. Vincent White, Cathal Brugha, 

Seumas Robinson, 
Eamonn Dee. 

Carlow and Killcenny. 

Aid. W. T. Cosgrave, James Lennon, 

G. O'Sullivan, E. Aylward. 

Dublin County. 

Frank Lawless, Mrs. Pearse. 

G. Gavan Duffy, 
Desmond Fitzgerald, 
P. Derham, 
J. O'Dwyer. 

233 B 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Joseph McGrath, 
P. B. Cosgrave, 
R. J. Mulcahy, 
Michael Staines, 
Daniel McCarthy, 
Aid. Sean McGarry. 



Dublin City. 



Aid. Charles Murphy, 
Madam Markievicz, 
Philip Shanahan, 
Aid. Mrs. T. Clarke, 
Aid. Sean T. O'Kelly. 



Kildare and Wicklow. 



Robert C. Barton, 
C. M. Byrne, 



Art. O'Connor. 
Donal Buckley, 
Erskine Childers. 



Leix and Offaly. 

Dr. Patrick McCarton. 
Kevin O'Higgins, 
Joseph Lynch, 
Eamonn Buliin. 

Longford and WestmeatJi. 

Joseph McGuinness, 
Sean McKeon, 
Lorcan Robbing. 



E. J. Duggan, 
P. Hughes, 
Aid. Jas. Murphy, 
Justin McKenna. 



Louth and Meath. 

J. J. O'Kelly ("Sceilg"). 



Aid. R. Corish, 



Wexford. 

Dr. James Ryan, 
Sean Etchingham, 
Seumas Dovle. 



234 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Fermanagh — Tyrone . 

Sean 0'Mahon3^ 

Qalway County. 

P. O'Maille, Dr. Brian Cusack, 

Prof. J. B. Whelehan, Liam Mellowes, 

G. Nicholls, solr., Frank Fahy. 
P. J. Hogan, solr. 

Leitrim and Roscommon N. 

J. N. Dolan, Count Plunkett. 

A. Lavin, 
T. Carter. 

Mayo S. and Roscommon S. 

Wm. Sears, Harry Boland, 

D. O'Rourke, Thomas Maguire. 

Matjo, North and West. 

Joseph MacBride. Dr. Crowley, 

P. J. Ruttledge, soLr. 
Thomas Derrig. 

Sligo and Mayo East. 

Alex. McCabe, Frank Carty, 

Thomas O'Donnell, Dr. Ferran, 

James Devins. 

Cavan County. 

Arthur Griffith, 
Paul Galligan, 
Sean Milroy. 

235 



EAMONN DE VALERA. 



Monaghan County. 
Ernest Blythe, Sean MacEntee. 



Eoin O'Duffy. 



Tirconnaill. 



Joseph Sweeney, Samuel O'Flaherty, 

P. J. Ward, Joseph O'Dohertv. 

Dr. J. P. McGinlev, 
P. J. McGoldrick/ 



National University. 

Prof. M. Hayes, Prof. W. F. Stockley, 

Dr. Ada Enorhsh. 



Aid. T. Kelly was absent through illness, Mr. Laurence 
Ginnell was in South America, Mr. F. Drohan had resigned, 
and the Speaker, Mr. Eoin jMacNeill, being in the chair, 
did not vote. Mr. R. C Barton voted for the Treaty in 
accordance with the London agreement, but supported 
Mr. de Valera and the Republican Party afterwards. 



Sealy, Bryers &■ Walker, Printers, Dublin. 
236 



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