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phenated who in the interest of Ireland tries to involve her in war?
This is my explanation of the origin of the anti-nationalist bias of the English revolutionary party. Whether right or wrong, that bias will always prevent that party from ever having any considerable following in Great Britain, The average Englishman, however discontented he may be with his government or his circumstances, is always at heart proud of the greatness of his country and the glory of her past; and he will never support a party, whatever its objects, which habitually reviles her. Already not merely the revolutionaries but the moderate Labourites have reason to remember this. Six months ago the working men, disappointed with the delay in the advent of that new heaven and new earth which had been promised them to follow the end of the war, were turning from Lloyd George to the Labour party to hasten it. In election after election Labour candidates towered over their Coalition and Liberal opponents by thousands of votes. The revolutionary party saw clear the arrival of a Bolshevist British Republic. Meanwhile British soldiers and police were being murdered in scores in Ireland, Egypt, and India, for being Britishers and doing their duty to Britain; and the revolutionaries' only comment was that we must give the murderers whatever they chose to ask. The working men there upon began to think, and the
results of the last half-dozen elections show the direction which their thoughts are taking.
In Ireland the revolutionary party is on the other hand intensely nationalist. Its goal is what has been the goal of all Nationalists, at any rate of the peasant and working classes, at all times-the independence of Ireland. Now, while there is no necessary antipathy between nationalism and communism, there is equally no necessary sympathy between them. And, indeed, for a long time the nationalist and the communistic revolutionary movements in the country ran in completely separate channels. The history of their union is somewhat interesting.
The revolutionary Nationalist party consisted originally of a number of amiable enthusiasts who dreamt of making Irish the language of the people and the people an independent nation. Their chief efforts to fulfil these dreams, so far as I could see, consisted in putting up the names of streets in Irish, which the people could not read, with a translation into English which the people could read, and stamping their letters with the King's head turned upside down. Its leaders consisted of some writers and scholars who produced many literary works in support of the Irish language and Irish revolution, which were often learned, but seldom literature and never dangerous. This was the commencement of the now ferocious conspiracy known to the world as the League of Sinn Feiners.
after it ended convenient to
leave Dublin. His place was taken by a far abler man, James Connolly. Connolly was as strong a communist Larkin, but he was also a practical Sinn Feiner, who put the independence of Ireland even before the establishment of a commune. He laid his plans to fuse the two movements, and he succeeded in carrying out his plans. How he contrived to do so I cannot tell.
Alongside this innocent strikers, and movement there was another he found it of a very different character. Its leader was called Jim Larkin. He was probably an Irishman by birth, his enemies, who were numerous, asserted that he was the son of James Carey, the betrayer of the infamous Invincibles, but this seems without foundation,— and he professed to be a Nationalist in politics, but in practice he was an internationalist, at least as much at home in England, Scotland, or America as in Ireland. He may be described as a preBolshevic Bolshevic. His object was to destroy society as at present constituted all the world over, and create a new society of the proletariat. At present he is, I believe, in jail on a conviction of criminal conspiracy to do this in the United States.
He came to Dublin to organise the Irish Transport Union, and he accomplished his work with such energy and skill that he was soon able, by a general strike, to paralyse all the city's commercial and manufacturing activity. When more moderate men pointed out to him that he was destroying the trade of Dublin, his only answer was, "Damn the trade of Dublin!" He made it clear he was not a mere trades unionist out to improve the condition of working men, but a revolutionary out to set up a commune. In this he received the enthusiastic support of the Dublin labourers.
However, the strike did not in the end greatly benefit the
Henceforth James Connolly was the real head of both the communistic Transport Unionists and the nationalist Sinn Feiners, and he was this by reason of the fact that he had the only practical intellect among their leaders. He set about openly organising and arming them for rebellion. The only difference discussed in their numerous newspapers or at Liberty Hall was as to the date of the outbreak. England was then engaged in her lifeand-death struggle with Germany. One party, consisting chiefly of Transport Unionists, and supported by James Connolly, on the principle that England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity, was eager for an immediate rising. The other party, consisting ohiefly of Sinn Feiners, urged that the rising should be postponed till England was definitely worsted in the war. This difference between them was very hotly debated and never really settled.
The combined movement had at this time comparatively
within the movement and the opposition of the Home Rulers without it, and Celtic Ireland believed it. Henceforth, whatever crimes this party might commit, it was disloyalty to Ireland to denounce the oriminals, and absolute treason to Ireland to inform against them.
small support from the public, heartedness of its opponents Unionists, whether workmen or employers, hated it because it was Nationalist; merchants and farmers, whether Unionist or Nationalist, abhorred it because it was communist; and these classes between them constituted three-fourths of the population of Ireland. If the Chief Secretary had been a man of energy and determination, the whole movement might have been suppressed with little trouble and with almost universal approval; but the Chief Secretary was Mr Augustine Birrell, who was so weak that he could not be resolute even against the Unionists. He let things drift till the almost invited insurrection came, and the capital of Ireland was in the hands of the rebels. I am told that when the news of this calamity was brought to him, Mr Birrell was asleep in an armchair in certain London olub. We have heard much of the destruction of life at Amritsar. I wonder how many more lives have been lost through Mr Birrell's feebleness than through General Dyer's fierceness. And how many more will yet be lost!
James Connolly was tried by court-martial for treason and executed. He had been the leader of the party which favoured early rebellion, and the rebellion had failed. Yet the rebellion made the fortune of his party. It alleged, with some show of reason, that the failure of the rebellion was due to the hesitation and half
This revulsion of feeling in favour of the party of action, in what has now come to be called the Sinn Fein movement, had two effects on its composition which were of the utmost importance. In the first place, it induced multitudes of enthusiastic young Nationalist farmers and merohants to join it in spite of its communist tend. This improved the intelligence of the party and supplied it with ample funds and arms, for never were these so plentiful in Ireland as they are to-day. In the second place, it attached to the active party those ancient predatory secret societies which identified its communist objects with their own. These societies date from the terrible days of the eighteenth century, when half the people of Celtic Ireland had never enough to eat, and those who had nothing formed themselves into organisations to rob from those who had. In quiet times they sink to impotence, but when political trouble comes their power revives and their membership inoreases, and they, by acting as if they were rebels, are enabled to act as what they really are-robbers.
This combination of par
ties in a movement to overthrow English government in Ireland seems formidable enough, and so, sure enough, it is at present; and yet it is just this combination which, it seems to me, will, if we have a little patience, lead to the defeat of the movement. Men with land of their own and a comfortable balance at their bank cannot act very cheerfully with men without either, and one of whose objects is to share both; and honest men cannot act very long with men who are out for pillage. Fear of the vengeance which would follow secession from their ranks has so far kept the different parties together; but already we hear of cases where stolen money has been restored and the thieves tried by the Sinn Fein courts and punished. When a thief is forbidden to rob, he can always turn informer.
Besides, the bulk of Celtic Irishmen are now small
farmers, usually owning their own farms and in a comfortable way of business: such men have no use for communism. Without their support no movement, political or social, in Ireland can live; and once the present fever subsides a little, I think we may expect most of them to look with great coldness on any movement, whatever else its object, which threatens the security of their possessions. At this moment I have reason to believe many of them are coerced into the acceptance of rebel rule only by terrorism, and for the existence of that terrorism not they, but the blunders and feebleness of the government, are primarily responsible. When that terrorism has been dethroned, then we shall have an Ireland which, if not loyal, will be at least peaceful, and, having seen the risks that revolution brings with it, even in a way contented.
FROM THE OUTPOSTS.
"YOUR Honour," said the Inspector of Police, "there are two jungly men from over the Administrative Line brought in this morning by a military policeman from the frontier blockhouse. They walked straight up to the post in the middle of the day carrying arms. They made no attempt at concealment, and when they were asked what they wanted they said they had a communication to make to Government. They were told that according to standing orders they must deposit their arms. They said they could not give up their guns, and were informed that unless they did they could not be allowed to go on. So they went back over the frontier stream and sat talking with one another for some time. Then two of them came back walking through the water, and said their business was very important and that they wanted to see you. They mentioned you by by nameKako, which is the way all the people about here pronounce your Honour's name, as your Honour knows."
"Did they say what they wanted?" asked Captain Kirkwood. "I make a point of seeing all these people, but I like to know what they have come about first."
"No, they did not say. It is not a cattle-stealing case,
that is quite evident. unfortunately the clerk at the blockhouse was away at the village buying chickens, or tobacco, or something, and none of the sepoys can write and not many of them can talk Burmese, let alone the language of these people, your Honour. All that the military policeman can say is that the men said it was very zururi, very urgent. The two men were allowed to come on after they had deposited their guns and dhas, and the rest are camped in leaf shelters on the other side of the river, waiting for them to come back, questioned them at the police station, but all they say is that they are headmen of villages, and that they beg that they may be allowed to approach your Honour. One of them asserts that your Honour knows him very well, but according to custom he will not give his name.'
"Knows me quite well! I wonder who he is. Well, let them come in-and, if they stay a long time, come in and say that it is time to go to the court-house,"
The Inspector salaamed and went out, and a few minutes afterwards two wiry-looking men in short waist-cloths, barely coming to the knee, padded coats, and turbans consisting of a dingy wisp of cloth wound round their knotted