From Sinn Féin, August 8, 1914.

Ireland is not at war with Germany. She has no quarrel with any Continental Power. England is at war with Germany, and Mr. Redmond has offered England the services of the National Volunteers to ‘defend Ireland.’ What has Ireland to defend and whom has she to defend it against? Has she a native Constitution or a National Government to defend? All know she has not. All know both were wrested from her by the power to whom Mr. Redmond offers the services of Nationalist Ireland. All know that Mr. Redmond has made his offer without receiving a quid pro quo. There is no European Power waging war against the people of Ireland. There are two European Powers at war with the people – who dominate Ireland from Dublin Castle. The call to the Volunteers to ‘defend Ireland’ is a call to them to defend the bureaucracy entrenched in that edifice.

Two weeks ago the Irish of Munster, Leinster, and Connacht were, according to the English Unionist Press, persons who dare not be entrusted with the elementary rights of citizenship, since they would invariably use them to oppress, plunder, and even murder any Irishman who believed in the Thirty-Nine Articles or did not subscribe to Transubstantiation. At the same time the Protestant Irish of the North were depicted by the English Liberal Press as bigots on the intellectual plane of the Bosjeman. To-day the Irish are flattered and caressed by their libellers. England wants our aid, and Mr. Redmond, true to his nature, rushes to offer it – for nothing. Maudlin English mobs sing, ‘What do you think of the Irish now?’ in 1914, as they sang it in 1900 when England was in grips with the Boers and getting the worst of the grips. When the Irish had helped England out of that trouble, Mr. Joseph Chamberlain was able to stand up in the British House of Commons and taunt Mr. John Redmond with the fact that so little did the Irish care about self-government that during the Boer War Mr. Redmond’s followers never even attempted a riot, although the island had been denuded of all the regular troops. Mr. Redmond appears eager to give occasion to have the taunt a second time levelled at him by English Ministers. That was what the English thought of the Irish then, and the London ‘Globe,’ ‘Standard,’ ‘Morning Post,’ ‘Times,’ ‘Chronicle,’ and ‘Daily News’ of 1912-13 will reward any Protestant or Catholic Irishman with knowledge of what the English think of the Irish – when they can manage without their assistance.

The spectacle of the National Volunteers with English officers at their head, and the Union Jack floating proudly above them, ‘defending Ireland’ for the British Government may appeal to the gushing eyes of Mr. John Redmond, but his eyes are not likely to be blessed with the sight of that apotheosis of slavery. If England wins this war she will be more powerful than she has been at any time since 1864, and she will treat an Ireland which kissed the hand that smote her as such an Ireland ought to be treated. If she loses the war, and Ireland is foolish enough to identify itself with her, Ireland will deservedly share in her punishment.

Our duty is in no doubt. We are Irish Nationalists, and the only duty we can have is to stand for Ireland’s interest, irrespective of the interests of England or Germany or any other foreign country. This week the British Government has passed measures through all stages – first reading, second reading, committee, third reading, and report – in the House of Commons in the space of six hours. Let it withdraw the present abortive Home Rule Bill and pass in the same space of time a full measure of Home Rule, and Irishmen will have some reason to mobilise for the defence of their institutions. At present they have none. In the alternative, let a Provisional Government be set up in Dublin by Mr. Redmond and Sir Edward Carson, and we shall give it allegiance. But the confidence trick has been too often played upon us to deceive us again.

If the Irish Volunteers are to defend Ireland they must defend it for Ireland under Ireland’s flag and under Irish officers. Otherwise they will only help to perpetuate the enslavement of their country. In this hour the counsels of cowardice and stupidity are being proffered as the currency of patriotism, and a base attempt is made by our slavish Press to evoke in Ireland, not a pro-Irish, but an anti-German sentiment. Germany is nothing to us in herself, but she is not our enemy. Our blood and our miseries are not upon her head. But who can forbear admiration at the spectacle of the Germanic people, whom England has ringed round with enemies, standing alone undaunted and defiant against a world in arms. If they fall, they will fall as nobly as ever a people fell, and we the Celts may not forbear to honour a race that knew how to live and how to die as men. We, too, in Ireland were once men. Let us be me again, and agree to defend our country for ourselves. Let us be slaves and offer to defend it for foreigners, and he will mock God who hereafter prays to Him to save Ireland.