This article is the third in a chain of correspondence between James Connolly and Patrick MacManus. It is responding to an article by Patrick MacManus, which itself was in response to an article by Connolly.
From The Shan Van Vocht, October 4th, 1897.
“THE people of Ireland,” said Mr. Patrick McManus, in the September “Shan,” “are, with a few exceptions, republicans.” So reasoned the men of ’48; so reasoned the men of ’67; and action based upon such reasoning brought their respective movements to an ignominious collapse amid the scorn and laughter of the enemy – and the world. Would it not be better for the reputation of our country to admit the fact that the earnest revolutionists of Ireland are, to-day, only a minority, than to be blatantly proclaiming that all Irishmen are Republicans, when all the world knows that the two Republican movements of this century were easily suppressed by a handful of constabulary? If friend McManus and those who think with him would take the scales from their eyes, and resolutely face facts, instead of crediting all our countrymen with their own generous enthusiasm, the result could not fail to be beneficial. Meanwhile, as a correction to his optimism, allow me to present here a few facts which seem to conflict with his sweeping statement.
Mr John Redmond, M.P., on Ireland’s National Demand: –
“Separation from England was undesirable and impossible.” – Speech at Cambridge University, February 26th, 1895.
“Irish Daily Independent” on above speech: –
“Mr. Redmond told his audience exactly what Ireland wanted.” – February 27th, 1895.
Mr Swift McNeill, M.P for South Donegal, on the English Queen’s reign: –
“The Czar was now on a visit to … our beloved Queen. Long may she continue to wear that crown upon which, for sixty years, her virtues have shed a transcendent lustre.” – Speech at Armenian Atrocities Meeting, Leinster Hall, September 25th, 1896.
Mr. Alfred Webb on India: –
“They (the Indians) know their duty to their Sovereign, and are loyal; they know their duty to themselves, and are resolved to be free. And free with them, as with us, in no sense implies a necessary desire for separation.” – “Weekly Freeman,” 17th July, 1897.
“Daily Nation,” on the solution of the Irish difficulties: –
“The true and only solution of the difficulties which exist will be found when the Duke of York is sent here as permanent viceroy to read the Speech from the Throne at the opening of the first session of a re-constituted Irish Parliament.” – 24th July, 1897.
“Freeman’s Journal” on Monarchy: –
“Irish people are willing to accept the Monarchy provided that national self-government is conceded.” – 18th August, 1897.
Mr. Alderman Meade, a member of her Majesty’s Privy Council, was recently elected unanimously to the executive of the new Parnellite organisation – the Irish Independent League.
All the different parties embraced in this list oppose and criticise each other on every pretext possible, yet neither from Press nor platform have we yet been treated to a denunciation of the above statements, full as they are of the foulest treason to the cause of freedom. Moreover, each of those factions pride themselves on their “discipline,” and in holding each man accountable for his sayings, yet all these utterances have passed unchallenged. Friend McManus may say they are only exceptions, but they are the responsible leaders on Press and platform of political parties which at last election received the suffrage of 367,000 Irishmen; their constituents have in no case called upon them to withdraw their loyal expressions, therefore, I am justified in accepting those statements as an accurate reflex of Irish political opinion. If friend McManus were in Paris, as Wolfe Tone was one hundred years ago, endeavouring to convince the enemies of the British Crown that Ireland was ripe for a revolutionary movement, how would he feel if the Minister of War were to confront his absurd generalisations with the sober facts narrated above. How different it would be if those 367,000 men had declared for freedom. You may dismiss as chimerical the attempt to create a truly national party, if you persist in ignoring the politician; he will not be ignored. But if you adopt the ideas we advocate, he may be suppressed – a much more desirable result. In conclusion, it is indeed a pity the whipped hounds can only whine in their master’s hall, but it requires more moral courage to do even that than it does to sulk in our kennels, licking our sores in silence, while the curs who hold our jaws that the whip may be applied, pose before the world as the representatives of our people.