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ed themselves, which was a daily feature of the newspaper reports. And nothing could have so fully demonstrated to the world the sincerity of the Prime Minister's wish to be fair, even generous, to Ireland than this expression of good will at a moment of passionate strife and clamorous agitation.




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It was well known in Ireland in July that not all those who had declared themselves as Republicans desired a Republic in their hearts; and it was believed for by many who had access to the inner counsels of Sinn i Fein, that a majority of Dail Eireann would accept a large measure of Home Rule within the Empire, and had On no objection at all to the sovereignty of the King. Accordingly, private conversations-only private in the A sense that they were not officially recognised-between the leaders of the Southern loyalists and the leaders of Sinn Fein were held at the beginning of July; and as a result of these pourparlers, Mr Lloyd George made proposals for an Irish settlement on July 20, having previously had an interview with Mr de Valera. A 'truce' had been proclaimed between British troops and the Irish Republican Army,' which was hailed with the deepest satisfaction by all men of good will. But the correspondence that ensued was tedious, and did not lead to any practical result for some months, Mr de Valera urging the sovereign independence of Ireland and claimting that he and his faction represented an Irish Republic, while Mr Lloyd George, of course, pointed out the impossibility of yielding to any such claims.




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Here, perhaps, it is worth while to say something about the antecedents of the Irish leaders. Mr de Valera is a Spanish-American, not yet 40 years of age, whose father, Vivian de Valera, was an actor in New York. His mother was an Irishwoman by descent; and he was brought up in Ireland, being educated at Roman Catholic institutions and obtaining his degree of B.A. at the Royal University of Ireland. He had thoughts of an academic career, and entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1905, in order to present himself at the examination for a Mathematical Scholarship. But his failure was so complete that immediately after the scholarship examination he abandoned the idea of distinguishing himself

in the world of learning, and turned to Irish politics, supporting himself in a small way as a teacher of = mathematics. He took a prominent part in the unhappy and fatuous Irish rebellion of 1916, and was sentenced to death by court martial. But he was reprieved and, in accordance with the mistaken sentimentality of the British Government of the day, he was set free. Arrested again for sedition in 1918, he escaped from prison in 1919. Since then he has been the principal figure in Irish revolutionary movements, and was elected 'President' of the self-constituted Irish Republic. A dreamer, and a disappointed fanatic, with an aptitude for burning and wild speech, it was soon recognised by his colleagues of the Irish Republican Government' that he was a man of very little capacity for affairs. But he was a figurehead who suited them, for had he not been sentenced to death by Britain? And so it came to pass that this man of mixed race, neither Spaniard nor American nor Irishman, was accepted by three millions of a people not wholly destitute of humour as their chosen leader.

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Mr Arthur Griffith is a man of a very different type. The son of an Irish compositor, he was at one time printer's reader for a Dublin newspaper. The ablest of all the Sinn Fein leaders, he has the reputation of being a man whose word can be trusted, and whose capacity for statesmanship is recognised by his associates. Silent and shrewd, he is weighty in counsel, though he has none of the gifts of eloquent speech which fascinate Irish crowds. Mr Michael Collins was a post-office clerk in London at the beginning of the war; he engaged in the Rebellion of 1916, and was released after a short term of imprisonment. He is regarded as the Commander-inChief' of the Irish Republican Army, and in that capacity must be held responsible for the many lives that were lost during the troubles of last winter. He is not much over 30 years of age, and is said to have impressed the British Ministers who conferred with him as entirely sincere. An Englishman, Mr E. Childers, who acted as a Secretary to the delegation, is quite irreconcileable, hating Great Britain with all the bitterness of a renegade. Of the Irish delegates who met the Prime Minister and his colleagues at Downing Street, Mr Griffith and Mr Collins were, undoubtedly, the ablest,

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pol and the most anxious to reach a 'settlement' with Great che Britain. With their companions they were appointed nha by Mr de Valera 'as envoys plenipotentiary from the ence elected Government of the Republic of Ireland to negoand tiate and conclude on behalf of Ireland' with the representatives of His Majesty a treaty of settlement. The terms of their commission are important, in view of the in sequel.


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As we have said, the conferences were productive of no definite result (except that during the negotiations British Ministers learnt something of the Irish temper, and presumably that Irishmen began to understand that England was quite sincere in her overtures of compromise), until Oct. 20, when Mr de Valera sent to the Pope a telegram, which stated in offensive terms that Ireland owed no allegiance to the King, and that it was an 'independent' country. This brought matters to a head; and the Irish delegates were speedily informed that the Peace Conference could not proceed on any such assumption. General Smuts had warned de Valera in August that an Irish Republic was an impossible dream, and that Ireland would be well advised to accept the status, in some form, of a Dominion; but it became apparent that de Valera was not to be persuaded. His 'plenipotentiaries,' however, had grasped the facts of the situation, and after some demur expressed themselves as willing to accept a generous offer of Dominion Home Rule, provided that All Ireland were included, and that Ulster took her place in an Irish Parliament. It would appear from the speech made by the Minister of War (Sir L. Worthington Evans) at the Liverpool Conference of Unionists on Nov. 17, that the Irish delegates had been already told that Britain would require a declaration of loyalty to the King, and that Ireland must accept inclusion in the British, Empire and submit to British control of Irish harbours. This, then, was the position by the middle of November: the Irish delegates, acting as plenipotentiaries, were treating with the British Cabinet on the terms indicated, and the next move was with Ulster.

Before we proceed further with this tangled story, it has to be said that the truce' which had been accepted by both sides in July was being very imperfectly

observed by the Irish Republican Army throughout the autumn. It is true that murders had ceased; but Irish loyalists were being subjected to intimidation of the gravest kind, and the Sinn Fein organisation was asserting itself as the controlling power in Ireland with greater emphasis as each day passed. Formal demands for money for Republican purposes were presented to loyalists, rich and poor, clergymen and laymen alike, in many parts of Ireland, of which the following public notice, issued in September, may serve as a specimen :

'You are hereby notified that a levy of one shilling in the pound has been fixed by the competent authorities for collection in Brigade Area for the maintenance and upkeep of the I.R.A. As your valuation is £ — the amount payable by you is £



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In many, perhaps in most, instances, loyalist folk refused to pay these sums; but, when they refused, their names were always registered by order.' This amounted to intimidation of the gravest kind. Many houses were raided for money or for food or drink during the period of the so-called truce. Republican soldiers were billeted on private houses, and food and lodging obtained by force of arms. There were few murders, for there was no resistance, as there was no military activity on the side of the Government. Even the police were withdrawn from village after village, so that small country places were left exposed to robbery and petty crime. From July to December the British Government gave no protection to loyalists in large tracts of country; and the only function which their agents discharged with A truce' efficiency was the collection of income tax. was much to be desired; and, in so far as it prevented the shedding of blood, it was indeed a good thing. But at the end of five months the Sinn Fein army was more powerful than it had been at the beginning; the loyalists lost hope, the rebels became more confident; and Ulster became more determined than ever to have nothing to do with the majority in the South of Ireland.

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This was the moment at which the Cabinet made fresh overtures to Ulster, with the aim of inducing her



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out to abandon her recently acquired powers of Home Rule, ath and to come into an All-Ireland Parliament; and it is necessary to understand the reasons which Ulster had DE for suspicion, before her decision can be fairly judged. d The truce' had not been kept as men of honour would have kept it; and Ulster held that this proved that the Sinn Fein leaders, whom they were asked to trust, had been either careless of their honourable obligations or else unable to control the forces of violence which they had called into being. The latter alternative was probably the true one, but this did not encourage Ulster to agree to one Parliament for Ireland.








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The correspondence between Sir James Craig and the Prime Minister in November and December has been published, so that Ulster's case has been presented to the world by her chosen leader. It came to this. She had always desired that the Union should be maintained. Failing that, she had accepted Home Rule for the northeastern area of Ireland. Her Parliament had been set up. What she had she intended to hold. She would have nothing to do, at any rate at present, with an Irish Parliament, in which Sinn Fein would command a majority; and, as to the troubles in the South of Ireland, they were not of her making. To disturb her in the enjoyment of her new constitution was to break faith. She was loyal to the King and to her word, and she expected others to be the same. In other words, having been informed by the British Cabinet of the terms under which the Sinn Fein leaders were ready to come to an amicable arrangement, as between Great Britain and Ireland, she refused to discuss them, because they included an All-Ireland Parliament, which she had always rejected with suspicion and scorn, and from which she believed herself to have been recently delivered by the Partition Act. And her counterproposal was that Northern and Southern Ireland should be constituted two separate Dominions-a preposterous suggestion which Mr. Lloyd George had little difficulty in ruling out.

What is the ethical position of Ulster' in all this business? She believes herself to be, as it were, the only innocent party in a company of knaves. But she has never learnt to see herself as others see her; and

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