From The Irish Volunteer, February 7, 1914.
Three ways of government are possible in Ireland—national self-government, government by force, and government by corruption. Twist it and turn it whatever way you please, you will never discover any other possibility. As a matter of fact, the government of Ireland, once it was taken over by the British Parliament, has always been a mixture of force and corruption. The principal mistake that Irishmen have made has been when they, or any of them, have allowed British government to disguise these things from the world.
Now, after more than a century of coercion and corruption, we have reached a point when the prospect of National self-government is again before us. In the meantime, besides coercing and corrupting, the ‘Union’ has realised a great Englishman’s prophecy: ‘We shall never unite with you except to rob you.’ One of the two principal parties in Great Britain is making desperate efforts to prevent Ireland from obtaining self-government. And by what means? By the vilest of means. By means worthy of the Turkish Sultans at their worst. By stirring up, fomenting and encouraging, so far as it is possible, the bitterest hatred among an Irish minority against their fellow-countrymen. At the same time a steady campaign of determination is financed and carried on against the Irish people from one end of Great Britain to the other, and the argument of violence, naked and undisguised, is the thing most relied on to influence the British electorate against Ireland’s claim. That is not all. We are told that, under the patronage of men who have held high rank in the British State, and through the lavish expenditure of British money, a force of some thousands of violent partisans is to be armed and sent over to Ireland to fight against National self-government. In these things we see revealed the real meaning of the ‘Union’ and of ‘Unionists.’
It is the clear duty of every Irish Nationalist, of every lover of liberty in Ireland, now at this time to make it plain to ourselves, to Great Britain, and to the civilised world, that we will never again submit to be governed by force or corruption. If these things are to be the alternative to self-government, and certainly no other alternative is possible, we must ‘be prepared’ to meet them. Irishmen will make a mistake, perhaps an irretrievable mistake, if they neglect at this moment to make up their minds about the alternative to self-government. Should our enemies, our now avowed enemies in Great Britain, by any chance succeed in their immediate aims, we must ‘be prepared’ to turn that success into a calamity for them. We must not play their game of corruption by accepting their doles, favours, or blandishments of any kind. On the contrary, we must be ready to unmask all their methods of corruption, past as well as present, and when this is done it will be an interesting story for Europe and America, for South Africa, Egypt and India. We must not stop at that. If we are to be ruled by force, it must not be by latent force.
The onlooking world must see right into the performance. Force and corruption have succeed against us over and over again in the past, but never quite succeeded. ‘Freedom’s battle, though baffled oft, is ever won.’ We are still here; we are still a nation; we are still determined to be a free nation. For what we may call the Old Turk party at this end of the world, the world is in a rather critical state just now. Pharoah rejected the last warning. Englishmen have a proverb which their Old Turks would do well to bear in mind—‘Once too often the pitcher goes to the well.’