In the following pages there is of necessity frequent mention of Mr. John Redmond and of various actions taken by him with which I most profoundly disagree. From this, however, it is not to be understood that this pamphlet is an indictment of the Chairman of the Parliamentary Party, or that it is published in order to weaken his position, to undermine his influence, or to supplant his leadership.
If his name figures prominently in this record it is solely because a knowledge of the incidents with which he was associated is essential to an intelligent understanding of either the past or the present of the Volunteer movement.
Far from attributing to Mr. Redmond the responsibility for these actions or for their result (the disruption of the Volunteers,) I am perfectly convinced that every single step that is recounted here was taken by him, not of his own free will but against his better judgment, and at the imperious dictation of the English masters of this country, who, whether Liberals or Conservatives, Democrats or Aristocrats, are but one in their dealings with Ireland.
Nor need this hypothesis be regarded as unconvincing or far-fetched. It covers all the facts; it explains things that are otherwise incredible, and instead of being improbable it is really rather self-evident. That the British majority in Westminster dominates and will continue to dominate the Irish minority is a mathematical certainty as obvious as the fact that 567 exceeds 103.
Ireland has no longer a Press. The majority of the newspapers which are now printed in Ireland, and which unfortunately still retain their Irish names, have been sold bodily to the British Government in exchange for quarter-page advertisements. I refrain from saying that they were sold “body and soul,” because there is not sufficient evidence to show that they ever possessed any souls to sell.
On the other hand, the Government has, with refreshing frankness, suppressed practically every Irish journal that refused to be either bribed or bullied into allowing its editorial policy to be dictated by the War Office. It is true that Eoin MacNeill’s organ, The Irish Volunteer, after two attempts to suppress it, is still appearing. The fact is worth noting, and may indicate that even the British Government realises the unwisdom of exasperating men who mean what they say and who have arms in their hands.
But one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and since the Irish Press as a whole is either defunct or devoted to the publication of Romance, it is desirable that the public should have an opportunity of hearing some of the real facts with regard to the Irish Volunteer Movement. Hence this pamphlet.
The Irish Volunteers (as distinct, of course, from the Ulster Volunteer Force) were started in Dublin in November, 1913, by a dozen men who came together at Wynn’s Hotel to discuss with Eoin MacNeill the formation of an Irish Volunteer Army. Previous to this, indeed, a journalist in Westmeath, who is said to have conceived the possibility of a “Midland Volunteer Force,” had published a report of the inception of such a body in Athlone. Whether the Midland Volunteers had any real existence except in the news columns is much debated, and seems open to doubt, but there is no doubt at all that the organisers of the Irish Volunteers absolutely failed to discover any Volunteers either in Athlone or the Midlands until long after the Wynn’s Hotel meeting.
As the invitations to that meeting were written and issued by myself, I am in a position to know something of the personnel of some of the original Committee; and I say now that the men invited were deliberately selected not on Party, Political or Sectarian lines, but solely because they were amongst the sincerest Nationalists of my acquaintance in Dublin.
Besides Eoin MacNeill, they included Bulmer Hobson, P.H. Pearse, Sean Mac Dermott, W. JY. Ryan, Eamonn Ceannt, Sean Fitzgibbon, J. A. Deakin, Pierce Beasley, Joseph Campbell, and the writer, and in view of the repeated assertions of certain eminently truthful orators and journalists associated with Parliamentarianism, it is worthy of note that of the twelve invited only three were then members of the Sinn Féin party. Lest it might savour too much of Sinn Féin, Arthur Griffith’s name was deliberately not included, while Mr. D. P. Moran, the Editor of the Leader, and a consistent supporter of the Parliamentary Party, was asked to attend.
As a tribute to the efficiency with which the autocrats of Dublin Castle scrutinise our movements and correspondence even in peace time, it should be recorded that within an hour of our first meeting, two police detectives called at the hotel for our names and the details of our business. Ingeniously asserting that we were sporting men who had met to pull off an illegal sweep, they interviewed the hotel people, obtained all the information that they could give them, and retired, after cautioning the management against allowing us to use the rooms again.
As we were all in agreement that the movement must be broadly National and not confined to, or controlled by, any particular party, our first effort was to secure the co-operation of men prominent in existing organisations such as the Parliamentary Party, the United Irish League, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Gaelic Athletic Association, the Foresters, etc., and each of us was told off for special duty in this connection. But we found that the task was one of considerable difficulty, and refusals were the order of the day. I, for instance, was deputed to secure Lord Mayor Sherlock, who I found was unwilling, and Professor Kettle, who I was informed was unwell. It will be remembered that Mr. Sherlock, who refused our invitation to join the Committee when it was a week old, became later one of Mr. Redmond’s nominees on that body, and that Professor Kettle has since recovered sufficiently from his indisposition to take quite an active part in the Movement.
Such refusals, however, did not alter our determination to maintain the non-party character of the Volunteers. In every case that arose of the appointment of committees, of officials, of organisers, or of public speakers, we insisted that all political views be fairly represented, and we repeatedly refused to sanction arrangements when this condition was not observed.
While we secured by this policy the assistance of some of our best and hardest workers, we also got hold of a few others who have since caused us rather to regret our success.
The new Committee at once decided to place their policy before a public meeting at the Rotunda; and they modestly began by hiring the Small Concert Room. As the public interest grew they decided that it was wise to secure an option on the Large Concert Room; and as the day of the meeting approached they found that they would need still more space, and took the Rink in addition. As it turned out, the crowd not only filled the Rink and the Room but overflowed into the grounds, where a meeting of several thousand people was also held.
The Committee also appealed to the manhood of Ireland to enrol and arm themselves in order to secure and maintain the rights and liberties of the Irish people. The manhood of Ireland responded to the call, and enrolling in thousands, proceeded to arm themselves.
Within a week the British Government, which held office by virtue of the Irish Party’s vote, issued a Proclamation prohibiting the importation of arms into Ireland. The first blow had been struck at the Irish Volunteers; and it could not have been struck without consultation with, and the consent of, Mr. Redmond.
But, thanks to the spirit of the men of Dublin, the Volunteers survived the blow. We assured our men that, Proclamation or no Proclamation, we would procure arms for them; and the men accepted our assurance. For months we drilled our recruits in halls shadowed by those broad-shouldered and dignified gentlemen of leisure whom Dublin Castle dresses in plain clothes and apparently expects us not to recognise as policemen. For months we preached the doctrine of Irish self-reliance in the teeth of the open hostility of the professional politicians, their organs, their organisations, and their supporters. Men who were elected by Irish voters to free their country from British domination, and who are paid by the British Government 400 pounds a year to stimulate their enthusiasm, publicly denounced Volunteering as a muddle-headed policy which their supporters should avoid. Orthodox Hibernians and United Irish Leaguers were expected to leave the new movement severely alone. The Press, although then in the hands of its original proprietors, boycotted the Irish Volunteers nearly as completely as it does now under its new management. As the Irish Times remarked, the Volunteer Movement, had, at any rate, “no Press.” The coercion of Ireland under the Arms Proclamation provoked no protest from the stalwarts at Westminster. The machine was working smoothly in the effort to stifle the movement.
And still the Volunteers grew. They grew in numbers, in strength and in self-confidence till it became no longer safe for their enemies to display their hostility openly; and a more subtle course had to be adopted to destroy as promising an organisation as ever strove for Ireland’s freedom.
All this time we had been busily working to surmount the greatest of our problems, the problem of securing arms. With the ports closed, money scarce, and the Government, the Party, and the Press alike opposed to us, it wasn’t easy. Curiously enough our utmost efforts failed to secure any assistance from the Irish people on the Continent, the very people who could most easily and effectively have helped us. Unable to telegraph or telephone, and compelled to use the post with the most extreme discretion, it was after prolonged negotiations that we came into touch with a lot of 11m/m Mauser Rifles, samples of which we got despatched to London, where I inspected them and found them satisfactory. Our resources were still insufficient to pay for any quantity, and it was only by an individual guaranteeing the cost of a cargo that we got the work of arranging for a shipment under way.
It was while we were busy with this work that we learnt of a new development. We discovered that the Hibernians had received secret instructions to form themselves Volunteer Companies, to affiliate with Headquarters, to secure control of the movement in their districts, and, in fact, to take the very steps that would enable them to control the coming Convention and to swamp the original Volunteers. That this was not bona fide recruiting became apparent when the two Johns and Joe, as they are playfully called by an affectionate electorate, publicly announced that they had been converted to the Volunteer idea, and secretly requested that they should be given control of the movement.
All the insidious influences known to the politicians’ art were immediately brought into play inside as well as outside of the Committee. The primrose path to place, power and profit was temptingly displayed to Eoin MacNeill and his associates, but it was in vain, and the request to hand over the Volunteers, wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string as it were, to the mercies of the men who had till then been engaged in an effort to strangle them, was gracefully and politely declined.
The attempt to capture the Volunteers by stealth had failed.
Then came the last and most brilliant coup, the master stroke, to wit, Mr. Redmond’s public announcement that the Provisional Committee was not sufficiently representative, and that he should be allowed to nominate twenty-five additional men to make it so. The reply was an offer by the Committee to have a new representative elected by each of the thirty-two Counties in Ireland, and Mr. Redmond’s answer was a candid and undisguised threat that if his Party were not permitted to nominate twenty-five representative men from different parts of the country he would proceed forthwith, by establishing a rival authority, to disrupt the movement. Now as the public were at this time keenly interested in the fate of the Home Rule Bill, which had not yet been shelved, it was quite possible that Mr. Redmond could have done this, and since his purpose was palpably, then as now, to emasculate the movement, it was certain that he would have done so.
A matter that could not be understood at the time, but which must be remembered in connection with the crisis that resulted, was that the Provisional Committee had on the high seas at that very period their secret shipments of arms; and were already arranging those elaborate schemes for landing them which afterwards materialised at Howth and Kilcool. They knew that any division in their forces such as would certainly result from the disruption threatened by Mr. Redmond would inevitably lead to the miscarriage of their plans and the probable loss of their arms. Realising the superlative importance of safeguarding the guns, and confronted with the alternatives of either making terms with Mr. Redmond or of splitting the Volunteers, probably losing their arms, and certainly furnishing Mr. Redmond with something that he sorely needed, namely, an excuse for losing Home Rule, they agreed to permit his Nominees to sit on the Committee without, however, co-opting them as members thereof.
The nominations were published, and the list was in itself an absolute breach of faith with the Committee and with the public. It was not a list of “representative men from different parts of the country,” as had been publicly promised. Eleven of the Nominees were from Dublin City, the over-representation of which city on the Original Committee Mr. Redmond alleged as a reason for interfering with it.
Most of them were not “representative men” in any sense, or rather they represented fields of activity which well-wishers of the Volunteers would prefer not to be represented. Not a single military man secured the Party’s nomination to the Volunteer Committee, but several eminent Ecclesiastics were appointed, presumably to represent the Church militant. However, the Nominees took their seats, and we patiently awaited developments.
Now I should dislike to malign the Nominees, but if the object of the great majority of them was not to keep the Volunteers unarmed then they were the victims of a chain of circumstances and coincidences that was, shall 1 say, most unfortunate.
We were given to understand, for instance, that Mr. Redmond at this time had also on the seas a cargo of magnificent rifles destined for the Volunteers, and never was there keener interest in a regatta than we had as to whether Mr. Redmond’s steamer or our “White Yacht” of Howth fame would first reach the shores of Ireland. Mr. Redmond’s boat, I am told, was called “L’Avenir,” which means in French “The Future,” and it was a singularly appropriate title, because she never came.
Having left Antwerp and come within sight of the Irish coast, she, for some mysterious reason, which we were not allowed to learn, changed her mind about the Volunteers and returned to Belgium.
Apropos of Belgium, of whose friendship and services to Ireland we have recently heard so much, it is worth while recording the only experience that the Irish Volunteers had of her friendship and services. Immediately after Mr. Redmond’s steamer had, with elaborate secrecy, left the Belgian coast, the British Government was informed by a letter from a Belgian Customs Official that her manifest and her alleged destination were false, and that her contents were really arms “for the Irish Insurgents.”
The enlarged Committee, however, was not concerning itself unduly with the contraband arms traffic. It had other activities which kept it fully occupied. It appointed a Standing Committee with a solid reactionary majority; it passed a delicious resolution demanding that all rifles already secured by the Volunteers of Munster, Leinster and Connaught should be “loaned” to safe men in Ulster, and it gravely went through the form of requesting Mr, Redmond to hand over the Volunteer funds that had reached him, a request which Mr. Redmond, with becoming dignity, ignored. Things were comparatively quiet at Headquarters, and there being neither any quantity of arms available nor any apparent prospect of them, it looked as if the work of turning the embryo army into a political machine could be accomplished without a hitch.
But when on July 26th the “White Yacht,” harbinger of Liberty, suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and, on the stroke of the appointed hour, landed her precious freight at Howth, history was in the making.
Twenty minutes sufficed to discharge her cargo; as many motor cars flew with the ammunition to prearranged caches; and for the first time in a century one thousand Irishmen with guns on their shoulders marched on Dublin town!
The asinine interference of the garrison, the bayonetting at Clontarf and the massacre of women and children at Bachelors’ Walk that followed, are incidents which are familiar to all whose memories are not exclusively occupied with the woes of Servia. A week later we landed our second cargo at Kilcool,1 and it was when we had thus placed arms in the hands of the Dublin Volunteers that the real activity of the Nominees on the Committee began.
The cry was now, “Send all the guns to Ulster,” and this when analysed was found to mean, ”Divide all the guns among the elite of the Ulster Nominees.”
From this period the Nominees no longer maintained even the pretence of cooperation with the original Committee. Insult, abuse, and innuendo became the order of the day. Those who opposed the shipment of the rifles secured by the Dublin men’s efforts were denounced in unmeasured terms. Those who suggested that the guns should go to the men who had paid in advance for them were howled down. Ulster had to be defended from the Carson Army, though, curiously enough, its defence was to be conducted with empty rifles.
Indeed, we might have been convinced of the sincerity of this Ulster frenzy had the Nominees in their anxiety not forgotten to demand from the Committee a single round of ammunition!
However, numbers triumphed, the majority was solid, and without a smile they solemnly voted that the guns should not go to the men whose money had paid for them, but that all the available weapons should be “sold” at 25/-apiece to certain of the Ulster Nominees.
Will it be believed that for these “sales” the “purchasers” have not paid to the men who imported the rifles one penny of the price to this day?
No unbiased member of the Committee has any doubt that it was also the deliberate intention of at least a section of the Nominees, by a studied and well sustained policy, to force the resignation of Mac Neill and other members of the original Committee. As it is natural to assume that the policy of Mr. Redmond’s Nominees was the policy of Mr, Redmond, it is interesting to note that nothing which might have led to the disruption of the Committee at this period was neglected. Instances in abundance might be cited to prove this. The attacks, the accusations, and the insults by which the Nominees hoped to provoke us to resign are all on record, but no useful purpose would now be served by recounting them. In the interests of Irish decency let us hope that their publication will never become necessary.
The only redeeming feature in the recollections of this unpleasant period is that there were found amongst the Nominees two or three men to whom this campaign of ofifensiveness did not appear to commend itself.
This state of affairs however meant, of course, the total neglect of all constructive work, including the arming of the Volunteers, which now was no longer difficult, since the public horror at the Bachelors’ Walk assassinations had forced the British Government to withdraw the Proclamation and to open the ports.
The circumstances that prevented us from purchasing at this period twenty times as many rifles as we did purchase were either a series of amazing coincidences or were a deliberate and damnably efficient plot to keep the men unarmed.
Without money we couldn’t buy arms. The intervention of Mr. Redmond had stopped the supply of money from America, and of the money that we had already got from America, a large sum had been secured by one of Mr. Redmond’s adherents, for which, by the way, we have never received either a single gun or an account of its expenditure. Practically all the money that we had expected to get from the disposal of the Howth and Kilcool guns was, owing to the Ulster “sales,” withheld from the Committee. Of the money that was available for the arming of the Volunteers, by subscription, Mr. Redmond had privately secured 6,000 pounds, one of his colleagues 250 pounds, and so on.
A subscription of 500 pounds that had been personally promised to me and to Eoin MacNeill was collected, unknown to the Committee, by one of the Nominees and sent to Mr. Redmond, who persistently withheld Volunteer Funds from the Committee even while his Nominees, including his brother and Mr. Devlin, were sitting upon that Committee.
The personal subscriptions of several of Mr. Redmond’s supporters which had been promised publicly in the Press and on the Platform were never paid to us.
Finally, not a single penny piece reached the Provisional Committee either from any of the Nominees or from any of the eighty Members of Parliament, who had received from the British Treasury during the lifetime of the Provisional Committee the sum of 32,000 pounds.
Was this a coincidence?
There remained for us — the men who wanted the Volunteers efficiently armed — only the monthly affiliation fees and a few other sums that it was impossible to prevent from reaching us.
This source of income was the more precarious as the Joint Committee was daily authorising expenditure with an enthusiasm that would make the Rothschilds look cheap.
The organisation that we had successfully run from two rooms had now to occupy three different office buildings. Rent had to be paid twelve months in advance. It had to maintain an expensive Inspection Office, into which there rushed, with unseemly haste, innumerable militia officers whose interest in the cause of Irish Nationality had not until then been even suspected.
Is it any wonder that money to buy arms was scarce?
On the outbreak of the war Mr. Redmond made his famous declaration about our defending the shores of Ireland if the British troops were withdrawn. Taken in connection with the proviso that accompanied it, the offer seemed reasonable enough, none of us quarrelled with it, and the Committee endorsed it.
I have heard, by the way, on the best authority that the following curious incident occurred when, at this time, the mobilisation of the British Army was ordered. Many reservists and militiamen, principally in Belfast and Derry, decided quite spontaneously, to risk a court-martial and not to join the colours until Home Rule became a fact as well as an Act. Mr. Redmond, hearing of this, immediately sent to Belfast and Derry the Inspector-General and his assistant with orders to implore these reservists to join the colors without delay, as the action they contemplated would be fatal to Home Rule. They obeyed the instruction, and are now mostly in their graves in Flanders. Posterity can decide whether it was they or the Leader of the Irish Race that displayed most political acumen in the crisis of 1914.
Soon afterwards Mr. Redmond announced the arrival of his Italian rifles, of which he had thousands ready for “distribution,” and he made the further remarkable statement that the Government would provide the remainder of the Volunteers with arms.
The Italian rifles are, as far as we can ascertain, for not one of them was ever allowed to reach the Committee, similar to those which Mr. Bannerman of New York sells retail for 11.48, and the “distribution” of them was proceeded with, without either the knowledge or responsibility of the Committee, at the modest rate of one pound sterling per gun. Not a single round of ammunition for them is available.
For the arms which Mr. Redmond said the Government would provide for us we are still waiting.
But Mr. Redmond’s dual announcement was not without its effect, for it immediately and definitely put an end to all public interest in the Arms Fund.
This may not, of course, have been its intention, but this is what it did. However, let us be charitable and assume that this was only another of the unhappy coincidences.
Next the “War Office proposals” came before the Committee. There were several of them, and they were complicated; but since they are now happily dead, it is not necessary to discuss them at length.
Suffice it that they meant practically handing over the organisation, and the men who had trusted us, to the British Government as an auxiliary Imperial force.
Nearly all the original members opposed them in toto, and whatever Mr. Redmond’s attitude towards them may have been, very few of his Nominees even spoke in their favour. Their warmest advocate on the Committee, I think, was a gentleman who has since obtained a Government appointment with a salary of about 1,200 pounds a year.
As Treasurer of the Volunteers I was considerably worried about the lavish expenditure of the Joint Committee, coupled as it was with the stoppage of subscriptions, and in view of the curious reluctance of certain Nominees to comply with my request for an audit of the books, the possibility of an intention to bankrupt and so discredit the organisation suggested itself.
Some of us determined, therefore, to secure at once at least as many rifles as would meet the claims of those companies who had sent money to headquarters for them.
To get authority to do so required some finesse, but it was accomplished in this way: Having got the Arms Committee together for the purpose of adopting a standard bore, one or two of us recommended .303, which is the bore of the British Service Rifle. (British Service Rifles, in consequence of the War were, then as now, practically unprocurable). .303 bore was adopted, and I then enquired of the Committee whether we were thereby authorised to purchase any available rifles that would take this cartridge, to which the chairman, with the consent of the Committee, replied that we were.
Armed with this authority I went privately to Birmingham and purchased the entire output of a firm of gunsmiths who made, specially for our order, a Martini-Enfield .303, a very serviceable weapon, which they continued making and supplying to us until the Friendly Government raided and closed their factory last November. When I reported the Birmingham trip to the Committee, those of the Nominees who were present at both meetings repudiated my action, declared it to be entirely unauthorised, and solemnly entered on the minutes their protest against my having bought arms with the money sent to the Committee to buy arms with. This, at any rate, is not the sort of thing that happens by coincidence.
It was in September, by the way, that we learnt accidentally how one of Mr. Redmond’s supporters had, immediately after the withdrawal of the Arms Proclamation, refused, without even consulting the Committee, the best offer of arms that we had ever received. This was a proposal to sell us up to 29,000 modern magazine rifles with 600 rounds of ammunition for each, the price for rifle and ammunition complete being only 4 pounds.
From what I have written, the reader will understand that we of the Original Committee had no hallucinations as to the possibility of our continuing to co-operate with Mr. Redmond’s Nominees. We understood the importance of an unbroken front. We were proud that it was the Volunteer Organisation that for the first time in centuries had brought together all sections of Nationalist Irishmen. We maintained unity as long as it was humanly possible to do it. Although Mr. Redmond expressly insisted in making the Volunteers a Party organization, we still maintained unity. But we foresaw that a cleavage might become inevitable. And Mr. Redmond’s Woodenbridge declaration about our double duty was a clear challenge on a definite issue.
We know of only one duty, our duty to Ireland.
We are Irish Volunteers, not pawns upon the chessboard of British Politics. We told Mr. Redmond so, and we ceased to admit his Nominees to our Councils.
And then came the avalanche. An avalanche of vilification, of scurrilous personal attack, and of patent, obvious, and grotesque falsehood from every source that would be swayed either by Government payment or Castle patronage.
We, who had hitherto been petted, cajoled, canvassed, caressed, wined and dined, we, whose presence on a platform was nearly as desirable as that of an M. P., we, whose postbags had heretofore bulged with invitations to the functions of the elect, suddenly became nobodies, cranks, frauds, factionists, traitors, disruptionists, pro-Germans, cowards, embezzlers, and lunatics.
At one bound, in fact, we had become bounders!
We made no reply to this campaign of personal vilification, nor do we propose to do so. We regret that any group of Irishmen should descend to such methods of controversy; but as one section has adopted them, we propose that they shall have a monopoly of them.
We put the situation before a Convention of the Volunteers, who endorsed our action, and we are now going ahead with the work of organising, arming, and training our men.
Meantime the subsidised Press campaign continues, and is made easier since the Friendly Government is suppressing every journal that it fails to buy. The kept Press is now engaged in felon-setting us by name, in pointing us out to the Friendly Government as the dangerous men who are opposed to benevolent assimilation. Our private correspondence is published by “National” papers to prove that we are not sufficiently devoted to the Imperial idea, and the good work has already borne fruit in the opening of our letters, the pilfering of our correspondence, the shadowing of our movements, the confiscation of our property, and the dismissal, deportation and arrest of our associates. Faithful to the tradition of British Naval heroism, as expressed in the order “Women and children first,” the searching of houses in Dublin began with a police raid on the residence of a lady. She was threatened with arrest, her house was searched, papers were ransacked, private letters (utterly unconnected with the movement) were abstracted, and a small quantity of revolvers and ammunition, the property of the Irish Volunteers, was seized and confiscated.
Many similar, though mostly fruitless, raids have followed, but the Irish Press is too busy dealing with the murders in the baths to have found space to report them.
However, our losses have been trifling, and we are not disheartened. We are consoled by the fact that the country and the future are with us, and that our men possess real arms and ammunition.
A prostitute Press, a Heaven-sent Leader and a Friendly Government are undoubtedly a fairly strong combine; still, it will take more than that to break the spirit of the Irish Volunteers.
40 Herbert Park,
Dublin, 8th April, 1915.
P.S. – Since the above was written events have followed one another with a rapidity that is almost bewildering. The Friendly Government is gone, and has been replaced by General Friend and the Coalition Ministry, which we are told will surely give us Home Rule, although its members include men who are pledged to the policy of sending “Home Rule to Hell.”
The Cream of the Nominees are now ornaments of the Westminster Parliament at salaries of 400 pounds a year, and several of their colleagues have become British officers, who, however, display no more anxiety to go to the front than the Carson Army does.
Some of our most prominent Volunteers have been arrested and jailed, and one member of the Committee, a permanent invalid, has been given a savage sentence of four months’ hard labour. I myself have been deported from the Desmond Counties by the “Competent Authority,” and Eoin MacNeill’s last meeting was attended by fifty police with loaded carbines, all of which incidents, though they make piquant copy, are suppressed by the Demons’ Journal.
The fruitless raids for arms have been less frequent, but singularly enough several houses in which arms or Volunteer documents might be expected to lie have recently attracted the attention of some enterprising burglars. The latest of these burglaries has led to the prosecution and conviction of a member of the Citizen Army on the charge of being in possession of a rifle.
Meanwhile Carson is the Solicitor-General for England, which goes to show that whatever may be the deficiencies of the defenders of the Realm they possess at least a sense of humour.
July 5th, 1915
1 With regard to the Kilcool enterprise a very inexplicable incident occurred which some future historian may be able to unravel. The original intention was to run one yacht to Kilcool on the night of Saturday, July 25th, and the second to Howth on the following day. At noon on Saturday, however, we in Dublin got a code message that the Kilcool yacht had split her mainsail in the Irish Sea, and that the repair would take several days, thus necessitating a postponement. Three hours later, by the most extraordinary accident, I learnt that an unknown lady had just sent a message to Dublin Castle stating that a quantity of arms for the Irish Volunteers had been on that forenoon landed on the coast near Dublin. The plot thickened still further when we found that soldiers were on that same Saturday being conveyed through the south of the city in motor furniture vans. Do these facts account for the amazing behaviour of the Castle on the following day?