Just a moment, before you proceed with the discussion. This is the first time that I saw this document (the Agenda for the day). Now according to this I am to move my motion again and President de Valera is going to move something else. I want to know why I was not consulted about this new procedure?
DEBATE ON TREATY
Yes, I gave notice that when the vote for ratification—I hope that word will not be misunderstood. We have said from the start that there could be no question of ratification of this Treaty. It is altogether ultra vires in the sense of making it a legal instrument. We can pass approval or disapproval. I again say when the vote is taken on this resolution of approval and decided, that I shall move No 2. This is simply to be the order of the day—to provide for the possibility of a vote being taken to-day, so that my motion would be in order.
Am I to understand that the first vote has to be taken on approval or disapproval of the Treaty?
I was one of those who at the first Public Session, and during the Private Session, tried to have all our business transacted in public. I thought that some of those who were opposed to us in this matter conveyed the idea that we wanted to have it in private, that we were afraid to face the Irish people. Well now that is not so. I know, and we have not very many politicians on our side or in this assembly, that everything that has been done has been in the interest of Ireland. But the most tragic thing of all was not that the Delegates did not return to Dublin, but that they published that Treaty, and that the Minister for Foreign Affairs gave an interview and said to us and to the people of Ireland, "The end of the seven-and-a-half centuries of fight is over and Irish liberty is won." Our people have been stampeded. Our people, while they may know something about it to-day, knew that the entire Cabinet sent the Plenipotentiaries back on that particular Saturday, and they felt that they signed with the will of the entire Cabinet: that is what had been conveyed to the country. Now I wanted everything in this matter, every document presented to the Irish people —they will be in time. I wanted all our discussions out in public, before as many people as can attend, for I knew that we had no Press. I told you here in Private Session, and I reiterate it here, that we have not even the "mosquito" Press, we have not a Scissors and Paste; we have not A Spark. I have discovered that we have one provincial paper, The Connachtman. That is the position we are in, and we are not afraid to face the public, and we are not afraid to have every document published. The Delegates have given their word of honour to the English Government that they won't publish these documents unless the English Government agree, and we have to hold to that word in the interests of the honour of our country. So we are told. But I say here we want everything in the open; we want the Irish people to know everything that happened, and the Irish people will, and then they can judge. We heard swan songs yesterday evening, songs I never thought I would have heard in the Parliament of the Irish Republic. The Assistant Minister for Local Government said things yesterday. No speech delivered on our side could bear the same strength to carry out our purpose, and that is the rejection of this Treaty: this Treaty of terror; this Treaty that will ensure the perpetual subjection of our people. He even said—I was sorry to hear him say so— that young men in the streets of this city would be sorry they would be born in the time when the war was waged. I don't believe that is so. I was in this city during all the time of the terror, and I never heard a young man or a boy express terror. I don't believe it is so. I did feel assured that the future of Ireland was safe because the young men had the idea, the boys had the idea, the children had the idea. I have heard young men here express different sentiments, but I do hope it is only a temporary obsession. I believe that England will never again get a grip on this country, because this Treaty will be rejected. Now I will come to some points in this Treaty. I heard yesterday from my old friend, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, that he was a disciple of Thomas Davis, a disciple of Thomas Davis who had brought young Ireland through the papers he had edited to what he held, and to what, thank God, a great number held, the idea of separatism, complete separatism, from the British Empire. He may not have intended it to, but, thank God, it had that result. I have heard him state, and I think I heard the Assistant Minister for Local Government state, and during the Private Session I heard another Member state—I think it was he gave them the idea—that they would march into the Empire with their heads up—“March into the Empire with their heads up.” They are brave men who say so, in the Parliament of the Irish Republic. Even though we see on the walls “Up the Republic” obliterated, I say they are brave men to say so here, and I admire brave men, even though I believe them to be wrong. Into the Empire with their heads up! Rather into it with their hands up. Yes, they might hold up their heads, but they are holding up their hands, for this is a Treaty of surrender of the principles they are here to uphold. I have heard gentlemen speak of the dead—let the dead rest. I can well understand that, for the boy Kevin Barry marched to the gallows with his head up, but his hands were pinioned to his side, and other men faced the firing parties, and other men faced the hangman with their heads up but their hands pinioned to their sides. Now we are told by suggestion, and we will be told openly before this closes, that these men faced the firing parties, and walked to the gallows, having fought bravely as soldiers for Colonial Home Rule. My God! I saw this is defaming the memory of the dead. I will always hold an admiration for Commandant MacKeon, but it will be an admiration as a soldier, not as a politician. There is a great difference between the two. I was sorry, very sorry to hear the statement he made yesterday, and he too when, as the Minister for Home Affairs says, time will tell the result of this, will be sorry for this. As the brave soldier, the Blacksmith of Ballinalee, Ireland will remember him, not as the politician who seconded that motion to ratify this Treaty. No, I say here that the men who fought and had the Fenian tradition, the men who are in their graves, it is unfair to their memory, a defamation of their memory, ever to say that they died for Colonial Home Rule, that they died to have us to march with our heads up into the British Empire. I have heard from all sides many arguments about this oath, and I have heard that this Treaty is one that should be ratified, but truly, men, every one of you that have spirit, you must remember this statement made by the Minister of Economics (Riobárd Bartún). That statement will be recorded in history as one of the most momentous ever made. It was a human address—(hear, hear) but it told a terrible tale. I have called this a Treaty of Terror. Some where yesterday, I think, the Minister of Finance referred to a Coalition, but what it conveyed to me was, and I would like to have that cleared up before the Session closes, was there a coalition of pressure, of terror, between the three members of the Delegation who were in favour of signing and the members of the British Cabinet who urged them to sign? Was there a coalition between these three members and the British Government to compel Riobárd Bartún and Gavan Duffy to put their names to that? I would be sorry to be told there was, even though the claim is to be put forward that it was in the interest of Ireland. But that is a tragic story, the story of black Monday night, the 5th and 6th December; we were immovable on the Saturday, and our course was undermined on the Tuesday. You know what happened. There are more particulars—and we know them, you Members of the Dáil know them, and the people of Ireland must know them—of the story of that black Monday night. I admire the Minister of Finance. He has told us, and it is true of not alone him, but of the greater number of us, that he went over to get things, not words; he went over as a plain man to get things, and he knew little or nothing, and didn't want to know, of legal phraseology. That is a manly statement, and what I would expect from him. But Treaties—what are they? The words of a Treaty are translated by international lawyers, and a lawyer of repute has said that that agreement that is now presented to us is couched in the very same language that Lloyd George mesmerised Wilson, the President of the American Republic, with. If he mesmerised Wilson, with all the power of the American Government behind him —the power of the United States—ah, I cannot wonder that he mesmerised our people when he shook the papers in their faces. Perhaps there was some powder on the paper (laughter). He certainly threw dust in their eyes. He doped them, and the result was their signatures. And he not alone did that, but listen to the words of Riobárd Bartún: “That they should undertake to go back and recommend it.” To me this is a sad, one of the saddest things I have ever met in my life, for I fear that I never will again get the chance of seeing my country in the position she was in on the 3rd of December. No, some of the young people may if you do your duty, if you act as men, if you are true to the Irish Republican Oath. I know how some of you young men have got the idea that you are doing the right thing. You interrupted the President when he was speaking yesterday to you of a welcome to the King of England, but for God's sake get that idea out of your heads that you are going to do this thing. If you are going to vote for this Treaty, go right into the British Empire, go in with your heads up, do not have a mental reservation about the terms of that oath, do not have any illusions about having a Republic inside of the terms of that Treaty; do not have the idea that in one year, or two years, or five years, or ten years you are going to have your country free, for if the iron of the truce has entered your souls, after six months of it, and you are not prepared to fight, you will not do so after one year, two years, or ten years, when you have Colonial or Free State fat in your bodies. No; let us be true and let us be straight. I am, as I told you here in Private Session, a Republican by conviction. I am, as I said, a Separatist. I never was, and never could be, what some men openly have avowed here they are, a compromising opportunist. When I took the first oath in the present Parliament I took it without mental reservation and I mean to keep it. I am now asked to forswear myself. And for what? To give my country, my dismembered country Colonial or Dominion status. In short, what is it to be?—an Irish Dominion or Free State if you like —a bow window in the western gable of the British Empire. I will never agree to it, and I say it has been proved here, and let it be disproved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, that this Treaty was a Treaty forced upon them, a Treaty of terror; and he comes back here, and, I hope in God, in his concluding speech that he will do something better than in his opening speech: for as an old friend, and as one who has had the greatest respect, and still holds the greatest respect for him, no matter what happens, I was sorry to hear that statement. I thought of the fine virile voice in which he spoke to his opponents, and I was saddened at heart. But there is one thing I will ask him to explain as a disciple of Davis. Davis says a treaty to be binding must be voluntary. Was it voluntary upon the part of Riobárd Bartún? We have not yet heard anything from Gavan Duffy. England never made a treaty which she did not break. He knows that I have read that in his writings in the United Irishman and elsewhere. He knows all that, that England has never made a treaty she did not break. I wished to God that Arthur Griffith had remembered what Terence MacSwiney has written about the final effort. He has quoted Terry MacSwiney, and he has told the people of Ireland to endure, and his words will go down to history: “It is not they who can do the most injury but those who can endure the most who will win.”“Tell them nothing matters if they don't give in, nothing, nothing. The last moment, that is the important time to grip. Then what is the good of being alive if we give in.” That was the philosophy of Terence MacSwiney's life, and he proved it in Brixton. Now we are told it is an impossible fight, and we are told we must give in. I hold we cannot in honour give in, and I repeat what I said the other day: there is a dual honour involved in this, the honour of our country and our own personal honour. Any of you who have taken the oath of allegiance to the Irish Republic, I hold that before you do this thing you should be, as a good number here are, prepared to die. Your country's honour demands it. We have heard a lot about this oath, that it is a simple thing that anybody could take, that it only means to be faithful to King George of England, and that it means nothing at all. We have read in the Press quotations from Webster's Dictionary with regard to the Plenipotentiaries, and I went to the trouble of looking up Webster. I heard some legal gentleman in this assembly discussing this thing the other evening; I have been used to them, listening to them at Petty Sessions and other sessions and courts, and I know how they twist words, and I know what they mean by them—good men, some of them, but very few (laughter). Now the word “faithful”—according to Webster, and he is a classic in this question of settling the fate of a nation —means “(1), firm adherence to the truth and to the duties of religion; (2), firmly adhering to duty, true fidelity, loyalty, true to allegiance; (3), constant in the performance of duties or services, exact in attending to commands; (4), perseverance to compacts, treaties, contracts, vows or other engagements, true to one's word; (5), true, exact conformity to the letter and spirit, faithful performance of contracts; (6), conformity to the truth; (7), constant, not fickle, as a friend.” Now we have the Scripture brought in even in Webster—“True, Timothy, second chapter, eleventh verse”—and what to all of us is far more important to remember: “Be thou faithful to death and I will give thee the crown of life.”—Revelation, chapter 2. Ah, if you go into this thing, take this oath without any mental reservation and go in, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs told you, and as the Assistant Minister of Local Government and one of the Deputies for Tyrone told you, with your heads up. I have seen dogs whipped, and I know where their tails are. Go in, anyhow, with your heads up; go in and for the first time in the history of this country be part and parcel of the British Empire. You know it perfectly well. I noticed yesterday when the one man able to deal with this, who tried to deal with it Erskine Childers—got up to speak, there was a whole procession left the hall. There were young men leaving the hall who even had hardly looked at this Treaty and are going to vote for it. It was a grand demonstration of indifference. Oh, the agony of heart that anyone must feel, after the glorious fight that was put up, that men would do such a thing as that and would not listen to the one man who is equal to it here in this assembly. I have never heard it really touched by any man that wants to have it pushed down the throats of the Irish Nation. I even heard a Member of this assembly actually trying to pass a joke about that statement of Riobárd Bartún. That is terrible. Do we realise what we are doing? Ah, I am afraid we do not—some of us——
I am afraid ye don't.
We may be honest in this matter. We may say it is the very best thing for this country, but let us not have any illusions about it, let us remember that we are going into the British Empire and putting our people in it. Every child born in this country, if this thing is ratified, will be a citizen of the British Empire. Can any of you deny that? Can any of you who left the House and did not listen to Mr. Erskine Childers, try to deny that. The children will be born into allegiance to the King of England; that is implied by birth in any of his Dominions. And this is to be a Dominion, this old Irish Nation. The Minister of Home Affairs challenged you to contradict him that you cannot leave this part of the British Empire in future without a passport from the British Foreign Office. There are none to contradict it. My God! then what is the use of having this camouflaged Free State? They gave us a name, but my good friend, Commandant MacKeon, is looking for substance. Has he even that? No, he has not. Another of the men here in this assembly of my colleagues and comrades has been told he can vote for this thing. I know some of them would rather tear the tongues from themselves and cut their hands off than support and sign this. But they are told they can vote to recommend it and then retire. I admire the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance. When they put their pens to this they undertook to come here and recommend it, and, I am sure, administer it. We can understand that. It is a manly attitude, but. I say the most contemptible, the meanest creature that ever trod a sod of Ireland is the man who votes for this, but says that he would not swear or that he would not sign it. There are men here who said that they could do that. I hope I will live, and that I will have the opportunity and the strength afterwards to tell them what I think of them. There are members here of the G.A.A. Some few years ago—two years ago—they expelled from the Gaelic Athletic Association Civil Servants who had taken the oath of allegiance, men who had helped very much to build it up, men with large families and a great number of dependents. But they went out, they were driven out, and I agree with it, because I held then I had done something in the past to have the Gaelic Athletic Association in conformity with the Fenian tradition. Now I ask the men of the G.A.A., of which I am a member, if they vote for this thing, to go into it with their heads up, and if the athletic games are held in Croke Park let Lord Lascelles, who is to be called the Duke of Dublin, throw in the hurling ball. Let us go in with our heads up, but this I say to you finally, if you do vote for this thing, that posterity—the Assistant Minister of Local Government says he does not mind posterity—will denounce you, for if you do it it will be a renunciation of your principles, of your allegiance to the Irish Republic. Nay, it is more, it is the burial service over the grave of the Irish Nation, and there is to be no firing party (applause).
A Chinn Chomhairle is a lucht na Dála, tá fhios agaibh go Iéir cáa seasuighim-se ar an gecist seo. Dubhart libh cheana féin sa tsiosón príomháideach go bhfuilim-se go dian ar thaobh an Chonnartha so. A Chinn Chomhairle, before I pass on to say the few things that I have to say about the Treaty itself, I would like to refer to a few things in Deputy Etchingham's sermon. With regard to publicity, he seems to suggest that those who are for the Treaty are afraid of publicity. Every document that this Dáil wanted, a committee was appointed to provide them with, and we more than once expressed our wish that every document should be published to the Irish people, including Document No. 2. Deputy Etchingham is trying to tell this House and trying to tell the people of Ireland that Lloyd George, shaking a paper in front of the face of Michael Collins was able to put the wind up Michael Collins. Let the people of Ireland judge whether it is so easy to put the wind up Michael Collins. That kind of eyewash is not going to go down with me or with any man who has soldiered with Collins, or with any person in Ireland who knows what he has done. As regards the statement that we will have to get a passport from the British Government to travel out of Ireland after this, what have you got to do now? Have you not to get a passport signed by them now, or else you have got to go to Michael Collins to get you out of the country (hear, hear). Now we have had a great deal of emotion here and a great deal of emotional speeches about the dead. I say for myself that the bones of the dead have been rattled indecently in the face of this assembly. Now I am alive, and I took my chance of being killed as well as any white man in this assembly, and I challenge any man to deny that. Now I am here to interpret myself, and I stand for this Treaty; if I were dead, and if I were to be interpreted, I should ask to be interpreted by the men who soldiered with me, and by the men who worked with me in the National movement. It has almost become the custom here in this debate for every man getting up to throw bouquets at his own head. It started, as far as I well remember, with a tale of boy heroism from Belfast, and it permeated south through Louth, Kildare, and Tipperary. I am not going to throw any bouquets at my own head, and I want no one else to throw bouquets at my head. I did my share as I could, and I don't want anyone to thank me for it. I would ask to be interpreted by comrades who have stood with me, men like Gearoid O'Sullivan, Piaras Beaslai, or Austin Stack, with whom I campaigned a good deal. Now I stand for this Treaty on four grounds, and the one I mention last is the one that will mean the most to me. I stand for it because it gives us an army, because it gives us evacuation, because it gives us control over the finances of the country, and lastly, and greatest of all to me, because it gives us control over our education. I believe the gallant soldiers of this assembly stand for it because of the army and because of the evacuation it gives. They have a far greater right to speak on that line than I have, although I too can claim to be a soldier. I stand for it because of the fact that it gives us control of education. Somebody interjected here yesterday, and I did not like the interjection, "What about the Councils' Bill?" Now I knew Pádraic Mac Piarais, as every man who worked in the Gaelic movement—in the Gaelic revival—knew him, and, as regards that interjection about the Councils' Bill, all I can say is that the only reason that Pádraic Pearse stood for the Councils' Bill was because it gave some control over education, and he was an educationist. Now this Treaty gives us far more control over education than the Councils' Bill, and I think the people of Ireland would be well advised to consider before they sling it back. I, like many others, started in the National movement by going into the Gaelic League; now if the object of the Gaelic League, as I understood it, was not to get control over Irish education, then I don't know what we were doing in the Gaelic League. There was a hardy annual at the Ard-Fheis, resolutions condemning Starkie and the Board of Education. This gives control over your education, and you can get rid of the Gaelic League's hardy annual before the Ard-Fheis, which will save a lot of us at least a great deal of boredom. One argument that has been made against this Treaty by the other side, or at least dope that has been served across, is that this thing was signed under duress. It is an insult to the men who signed to say so, and it is an insult to your intelligence to try to make you believe it, and the people of Ireland are not going to believe it. The man who does a thing which he has no right to do, whether it be under duress or otherwise, is a coward. I knew office boys here in Dublin—out of offices of the Dáil—who with a pistol to their heads refused to give any information about their offices or the people in the offices —(hear, hear)—and Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith would be less courageous than these young boys—boys in their teens—if they did such a thing. I say it is an insult to your intelligence to ask you to believe it, and it is an insult to the men who signed it. A point has been made by Sean MacSwiney. I am sure he can speak for his constituents. I can speak for mine just as well as Sean MacSwiney can speak for his; I know what the people want, I know that I can speak for my own people—for the people of South Kerry, where I was bred and born.
A VOICE FROM THE BODY OF THE HALL:
With one exception. Yes, a minority of one against, an Englishwoman. Well, if I am interrupted from the body of the Hall, I will reply, I say that that person should be removed from the Hall, a person who interferes with a speaker in this assembly, and I ask the chair to protect me. I have said that we are not afraid of publicity, because we are not afraid to show the Irish people that it is not a difference between this Treaty and the Republic. It is as between this Treaty and a compromise which is less than the Republic. I hold, anyhow, as one plain man that it is a choice of compromises, and I will have the compromise that delivers some goods and not the compromise that takes you back to war—takes the Irish people back to war. I will swallow the compromise that gives something. I will have none of the compromise that drives this country again into a welter of blood. I, too, am no constitutional lawyer. There has been a suggestion that the Provisional Government or Transitional Government—presumably the Government that is provided for under this Treaty—if set up by this assembly would be a usurpation. I would be to know then where constitutional Government begins. If a Government set up by the majority of the representatives of the people of a country is a usurpation, then what in the name of God is constitutional Government? Somebody has said, "Time will tell." Yes, I say time will tell, and I have my right to interpret what time will tell just as much as the person who made the remark. I say that time will tell, if this Treaty is rejected, that we through desperate gallantry—that is throwing bouquets at ourselves—brought about a certain situation, but that we had not enough common sense to see who had that situation when we had brought it about. That is what time will tell, according as I see it. I have very little more to say—I am speaking longer than I intended, as a matter of fact. But mind you when you are casting your votes what you are doing. Mind you that you are going to bring the people back to war, and make no mistake about it; and when a situation like this will come after more blood, and when you come up here to discuss the terms of surrender and to appoint plenipotentiaries—if you go back on what is now signed—there is no country or no Government in the world that would receive any man you send over, because they can always say: "You sent them before and you threw them over when they went back; well, keep them at home."
A Chinn Chomhairle is a lucht na Dála, ba mhaith liom labhairt ar an gceist seo, ach ós rud é ná fuil an Ghaedhilg ag na Teachtaí go léir ní mór dom labhairt as Béarla. A Chinn Chomhairle, I rise to support the President's motion for the rejection of these Articles of Agreement, and, lest anybody should afterwards question my right to stand here and criticise and condemn this Treaty, I want it to be understood here and now that I have the clearest right in the world. I paid a big price for that Treaty and for my right to stand here. The last Deputy talked about indecent rattling of the bones of the dead in this assembly. Since I came up to Dublin for this Session I have been told, with a view to changing my vote, I suppose, that my husband was never a Republican. I challenge any Deputy in this Dáil to deny my husband's devotion to the Republic, a devotion he sealed with his blood. I would ask the gentlemen who say he was never a Republican, but who say they are Republicans, and intend to vote for this Treaty, to leave my husband's name out of the matter. I have been told, too, that I have a duty to my constituents. They, I am told, would vote for this Treaty, and I ought to consider their wishes. Well, my political views have always been known in Limerick, and the people of Limerick who elected me Deputy of this Dáil two months after my husband's murder, and because of that murder, know that I will stand by my convictions and by my oath to the Irish Republic. There is a third point I want to clear up. When it was found that the women Deputies of An Dáil were not open to canvass, the matter was dismissed with the remark: "Oh, naturally, these women are very bitter." Well, now, I protest against that. No woman in this Dáil is going to give her vote merely because she is warped by a deep personal loss. The women of Ireland so far have not appeared much on the political stage. That does not mean that they have no deep convictions about Ireland's status and freedom. It was the mother of the Pearses who made them what they were. The sister of Terence MacSwiney influenced her brother, and is now carrying on his life's work. Deputy Mrs. Clarke, the widow of Tom Clarke, was bred in the Fenian household of her uncle, John Daly of Limerick. The women of An Dáil are women of character, and they will vote for principle, not for expediency. For myself, since girlhood I have been a Separatist. I wanted, and I want, an independent Ireland, an Ireland independent of the British Empire, and I can assure you that my life in Limerick during 1920, culminating in the murder of my husband last March—my life and that event have not converted me to Dominion status within the British Empire. I would like to say here that it hurts me to have to vote against the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He was a friend of my husband. Every night in my home, as in most Irish homes, prayers went up for him, and for the President, and for all who were standing by the country. I have the greatest admiration for him, but this is not a matter of devotion to a leader, or devotion to a party, it is a matter of principle, and you may sneer at principle, some of you. It is a matter of principle, a matter of conscience, a matter of right and wrong. From a study of the private documents, and from what happened at the last Dáil meetings in August and September, I have no hesitation in admitting that the delegates who went to London had full powers to negotiate and conclude a Treaty, but —and I am only a plain person, a person of plain intelligence—I understood they were to submit the final draft to the Cabinet and the President before signing. That was not done, and we know why it was not done. The Minister for Economics explained that last night. The delegates were—I don't like to use the word—but still the delegates were bluffed by the threat of war into signing that Treaty. Well, it cannot be helped; they did their best. But I do resent some of the delegates and their supporters in this House trying to use the same bluff on us here to get us to vote for that. I cannot see what war has to do with it. You will say that is a woman's argument, but we know on whom the war comes hardest, and I repeat I don't see what war has to do with it. If we had not a soldier or a gun in the Irish Republican Army I would vote against that Treaty, and I will tell you why. I read and studied by myself the Terms of the Treaty when it was published and boomed in the Press on the Wednesday, and, I admit, and who could blame me, with a mind sharpened by sorrow, I came here for the last five days, and I listened to arguments which left my attitude unchanged. I am, as I said, a Separatist, and my objections to the Treaty are fundamental. This Treaty, which we are told gives us the substance of freedom, to my mind puts Ireland definitely on a Dominion status within the British Empire. Now what have all these hundreds of years of struggle been for? What has it been about? What has been the agony and the sorrow for? Why was my husband murdered? Why am I a widow? Was it that I should come here and give my vote for a Treaty that puts Ireland within the British Empire? Was it that I should take an oath to be a faithful citizen of the British Empire? I tell you if you approve of this Treaty the Republic of Ireland, which I swore a solemn oath to uphold and honour, will sink in the world's eyes to less than Dominion status within the Empire. Now as to this question of the oath—I am afraid it was I raised the question of the nature of the oath in Article 4 of the Treaty. When I asked the question as to the nature of the oath, every legal man in this assembly, and many who were not legal or logical, tried to explain it. I still fail to see how in swearing an oath of allegiance to the Free State I can avoid King George. To my mind—and, as I said before, I am only a plain person—in swearing to the Constitution of the Irish Free State I cannot avoid him. He is in the Constitution. Anybody can have another try to convince me yet —I am open as long as I am alive. May I say here, too, that if I had found the terms of the Treaty satisfactory and consistent with National honour, the joy in the British Press would have made me suspicious. There has been much talk about the splendid gesture of England in settling this centuries' quarrel with Ireland. If the settlement were all that the papers maintained it is, it would be an admirable thing, and it would help to raise British credit throughout the world, but this Treaty will not make for peace, because it does not recognise the sovereign independent status of Ireland, and, to my mind, it is a mean thing to try to patch up the wrongs of the Empire by a pretended gift of freedom to us. It is more than mean; it is a crime, for it leaves England's hands free to deal with places like Egypt and India, and in the name, I suppose, of our common citizenship. Those who know me and my sorrow, if I may refer to that again, know what little bitterness I feel against the actual murderers of my husband. I can claim that they walked the streets of Limerick after he was shot, and I never asked, as I might have done, to have him avenged by Irish Republican Army bullets. But I do feel bitter now that the thing he and I cared about and worked for, the thing I lost my happiness for, should be voted away by young men, the young soldiers in whom we had such hope. He lies in Limerick in the Republican Plot, and though you Deputies of An Dáil bring Ireland within the Empire, there are points of it which your suffrages cannot touch. Where he lies is Republican ground, and I defy you to violate it. In this I speak for the other women who are careful for the honour of their dead. We are making history here to day, and our decision will have a far reaching effect. If there is any Deputy here who has not yet made up his mind, I would ask him for God's sake, before he does, to think well and stand for principle and against the Treaty.
A Chinn Chomhairle. I rise to support this motion, that Dáil Eireann approves of this Treaty, and, before coming to the Treaty itself, I want to repeat here again a point which I think could never be repeated often enough. The time-honoured authentic demand of Ireland is for independence, and in comparison with that the form of the independence, the form in which that independence should clothe itself was no more than a secondary consideration. I think that without exception—I don't know whether I should say that, but I will say that that definition of Ireland's historic time-honoured demand is a fair definition. And it is in the light of that definition that this Treaty must be examined. For many hundred years Ireland has been struggling for existence, spiritual and material; for many hundred years the iron has entered her soul, and during those long years of struggle Ireland's statesmen had at no time shown an inclination to be meticulous about the form, and Ireland had never perhaps less inclination than at this moment. There are men and women in the Dáil who are Republicans first, last, and all the time; there are men and women in the Dáil who bear great names, who consider themselves, and rightly consider themselves, the heirs to a great tradition, and they consider that tradition binds them to vote for nothing less, and no other form of government but the Republic. But I have only this to say: I am a private Member here, and I am in the same position as a great many other private Members here, and those people whom I have just spoken of cannot complain of us if we take up the attitude that the only tradition we can recognise is the tradition of the rank and file of our constituents, and that is no mean tradition no matter what county we come from. I have this further to say, and it is just to add a word to what was said by the Minister of Finance: there is one tradition or one principle—whatever you like to call it— absolutely certain; there is one principle that has no conditions or no limitations, it is the principle on which the Republic rests and that is the principle of "government by the consent of the governed" (hear, hear). And I say that any Deputy here who votes in favour of this Treaty, knowing that his or her constituents—I am speaking to anyone who is in that frame of mind— are against that Treaty, is doing wrong. That may be a bitter thing, but it is democracy. There is an attempt made to meet that claim, that principle, by the argument, which I do not agree with, that the Irish people at the present moment are war-weary and unnerved, anxious for peace; in other words, that we must save them from themselves. That is a false argument, a specious argument, it is false in a double sense. If the Irish people were war-weary, and if they wanted peace, they are entitled to have it. That is the principle. I heard a lot of passionate talk about principles. I don't want to be cynical, but it is forced home on me, that all the passion is reserved for the principles that suit the argument for the moment. I say it does not lie in the mouth of any Deputy—I don't care who he or she is— here to make excuses for the Irish people at this stage. The people who stood up to the terror of the last two years, the people who all the time kept honour before interest, are not going to be false now. And that consideration applies straight and direct to any Deputy here who is voting against his constituents. Now Deputy Etchingham stated that there is no meaner, no more despicable man than the man who was going to vote for this Treaty feeling that he ought to vote against. There is, and that is the man—and I know nobody will misunderstand—who is going to vote against this Treaty, but hopes it will be ratified. Now I come to the Treaty itself, and I am not going to make any apologies for it. I don't like to take up the position—as a Deputy here who happens to be a lawyer and who makes very little pretension to any knowledge—of expounding constitutional law on this question, but whether I am a lawyer or not, it is my duty to myself, and it is the duty of every Deputy here, as far as his ability enables him, to clear up those points on which we are going to take a most momentous vote. In what I am going to say now I will only justify myself by saying that I have done my best to discover what exactly is the meaning of the provisions of the Treaty, and that I don't propose at this great moment to make any debating points on one side or the other. Now in this Treaty Clause 2 states that in fact the relation of the Crown with Ireland—of King George V. with Ireland—shall be the relation of King George V. with Canada, "subject"— now mark this well—"to the provisions hereinafter set out." What is the relation of George V. to Canada? He is not the King of Canada, and consequently he is not the King of Ireland. That is constitutional law which I don't know can be challenged by anybody. He is not the direct Monarch of Ireland, as the President stated yesterday. The King of England exercises certain rights in Canada as King of England. And now I will come in a moment to the question of whether he exercises certain rights in Ireland as King of Ireland. He certainly exercises rights in Canada as King of England. He exercises them not by virtue of statute or by anything else, but by virtue of something which is behind all statute law, and which is summed up in the oath of allegiance which the Canadians take. The oath of allegiance which the Members of the Canadian Legislative Assembly take is a very simple oath—it is the same in South Africa—"I do solemnly swear to bear true faith and allegiance to King George V., his heirs and successors." It is by what is summed up in that oath that King George V. exercises his rights in Canada. That is what is behind it, and that sums up all the constitutional usage and all the constitutional theory that George V. has in Canada. Now, coming to Ireland, I come back to remind you that the Canadian position, as far as we are concerned, is modified by the words "subject to the provisions hereinafter set out." The provisions hereinafter set out, as far as the Irish Free State is concerned, are in the oath. Now this is the oath: "I —— do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State." And the point is made here that the true faith and allegiance to the Irish Free State implies true faith and allegiance to the King—not the King of Ireland, remember, because he is not King of Ireland by law, by that Treaty or by anything else, but King George V. I may be wrong. It is not a very important point, but I never yet heard of an oath of allegiance, meant to be an oath of allegiance to a King, that did not expressly mention that King. I think that is good principle of interpretation of constitutional law. Further you have the second clause of the oath: "And that I will be faithful to his Majesty King George V., his heirs and successors by law, in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to, and membership of, the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of nations." Now there is another principle of constitutional law which we must apply to that. It is this—that where a king or monarch is mentioned in the oath the full relations between him and the person who is taking the oath must be fully defined around his name and cannot be added to or subtracted from in any other part of the document. That is a well-settled principle of constitutional law, and I say that by this it is perfectly clear and perfectly plain that the only relation which we have—you may quarrel with it if you like—with King George V. as this, to be faithful to him as head of the British Community of Nations. There are Deputies here in this House who won't agree with that. That is a matter for themselves, and it is a matter for every one. That is what I want to get cleared. I don't know whether after Mr. Etchingham we should have any further definition of faithfulness, but in any case faithfulness in law by any Constitution implies equality, and so far as the relationship between Ireland and Great Britain is regulated by that oath, Ireland is an equal under the letter of that Treaty with England, and if England is a Sovereign State so is Ireland under the letter of that Treaty; I believe that to be good constitutional law. Now Mr. Erskine Childers pointed out, quite rightly, that constitutional law is not the same definite thing as statutory law. There are questions of opinions, questions of difference arising out of that and you have authorities on both sides of the question. That can be carried perhaps too far, but up to a certain point it is correct. But my point is this, that under that Treaty you may get reactionary lawyers who, to keep up their briefs, will argue one way, while others, who have no such object in view will argue the other way; but I say the weight of constitutional law is on the side of that interpretation. I say this which is more, that that Constitution contains legal sanctions which give Ireland a sovereign status, if we have only the nerve to grasp it. I believe that firmly about that Treaty. That is the constitutional position as I see it. And other thing, you cannot discuss this question of constitutional status; you are constantly mixing it up with the question of the powers you have under the Treaty. I heard in one and the same breath criticism of Ireland's status and these other matters I have also mentioned brought in. Nobody know better than some of the men who used these arguments that the one thing has nothing to do with the other. France could arrange by Treaty to give England control of every port she has if she so wished it, and it would not take one iota from her Constitution. I also heard the words "for ever" and "permanent" bandied about by Mr. Childers, by the President, and by the other people who were expounding constitutional law in connection with the Treaty. The words "for ever" and "permanent" are words that should not be used in connection with the Treaty. The Treaty is a bargain between two Sovereign States, and our delegates in making that Treaty made the first Treaty that was ever made by Ireland with England and went further to get recognition of Ireland's sovereign status than all that has been done in all our history. Now that is all I have got to say about status. I say again under the letter of that document we have legal sanctions for sovereign status if we have the pluck and nerve to go and take it up. I ask are we going to throw that away, and for what? Now I might be wrong. I am not in-infallible, but it is the duty of every Deputy who is going to vote against the Treaty to convince himself honestly that I am wrong. Now with regard to the powers you have under the Treaty, we found Mr. Childers talking yesterday that you have not got such and such under the Treaty, and then that even if you had you would not get it. You cannot do business and you cannot clear up anything on these slippery lines. I don't mean slippery in any dishonest way, but confused thinking of that sort. Let us first of all consider what the letter of that Treaty gives us. It gives us complete financial control, it gives us as much financial independence as England has, as France has, and a lot more than Germany has. Education was mentioned, and somebody said it gave us more powers for education than the Councils' Bill. It does; it gives us complete, untrammelled control over education, as much as England has, and as much as France has. I want to know if anybody will deny that, and I do not want to have any confusion about it. It gives us the right to raise an Army, and I could furnish a series of arguments in this respect, but I do not think it necessary to do so. It gives us after five years the right to provide for our own coastal defence. (Cries of "No" and "Yes"). Now I want to clear up this point:
"Until an arrangement has been made between the British and Irish Governments whereby the Irish Free State undertakes her own coastal defence, the defence by sea of Great Britain and Ireland shall be undertaken by his Majesty's Imperial Forces, but this shall not prevent the construction or maintenance by the Government of the Irish Free State of such vessels as are necessary for the protection of the Revenue or the Fisheries.
"The foregoing provisions of this Article shall be reviewed at a conference of Representatives of the British and Irish Governments to be held at the expiration of five years from the date hereof with a view to the undertaking by Ireland of a share in her own coastal defence." I was wrong (applause). I want to be perfectly honest with you. I said that after five years Ireland will have the right to have her own coastal defence. It turns out to be a share.
She won't have that either.
I will make a present now to anyone here of that point. We have the right under this Treaty to have ambassadors in every country in the world—a legal right; Canada has the right and we have it. We have the right under this document to sign any Treaty we like, and to refuse to sign and Treaty we like. We have the right to see, before we are directly or indirectly, or in the slightest way committed to anything that may lead to war, that we be fully consulted, and that our consent be given. That is the letter of that Treaty. In fact Mr. Erskine Childers described the Canadian powers as "virtual independence." We have virtual independence under the letter of that Treaty. We have it on the admission of Mr. Childers——
Not on my admission.
Under the letter of that Treaty, if we have Canadian status we have virtual independence. We have more, we have a far wider status than Canada, because, as far as our sovereignty is concerned, we are a long step in front of the most forward and powerful nation in the British Commonwealth of Nations. I believe that to be strictly true. We have powers for everything. These are the powers which we have under that Treaty. Now we will come to the question of whether we can get these powers or whether proximity or the possession of three or four harbours is going to prevent us. I heard the "proximity" argument used also and used in the most extraordinarily confused sense. The "proximity" argument apparently applies to this Treaty, but to nothing else. If the delegates brought back a Treaty on the lines of the recognition by England of an isolated independent Republic the "proximity" argument would be there, and there in full. I am not going into the question now as to whether the possession or the occupation by a few marines under the guns of our Army of a few ports of Ireland as a military proposition makes a terrible difference. I will leave that to Commandant MacKeon and Mr. Childers. I won't go into it. What I want to know is: is our position that we are getting from England under a signed document all these powers and that we have not the pluck to come forward and take them? That is where you land yourself with that argument; that is the position. Now there is just one other point. We heard a lot about a final settlement. It honestly seems to me that we are taking ourselves too seriously in that matter. If every Member of this Dáil —and we are not unanimous, I am sorry to say—got together and unanimously agreed to come to some settlement, England being ready to consent to anything which would be a final settlement, they would not succeed. If we got an isolated Republic to-morrow morning our political developments, our development amongst the nations is only beginning. That, I think, is clear, and the question for us now is this: the Minister for Finance said, and rightly said, that for 700 years we are fighting, but we are up against a cancer in our midst; we are up against peaceful penetration; we are up against the fact that our population is draining away from this country and her resources are dying; that the invader is with us, and are we never going to start for ourselves? Are we always going to take up the attitude of seeking something that is a little in front of us while the world always moves on. I say that is the real point. Now finally we sent over our Plenipotentiaries, and I think everyone will agree with this, to do the most difficult task that any Plenipotentiaries in history were ever set to do. I say they have brought you back peace with honour. I say they have done their duty and that our time comes now (applause).
A Chinn Chomhairle is a lucht na Dála, nílim-se chun mórán a rá, agus an méid atá agam le rá b'fhearr liom go mór é go léir a rá sa Gaedhilg. B'fhearr le n-a lán againn é is dócha. Ach ós ceist tháchtach é agus ná tuigeann mórán des na Teachtaí an Ghaedhilg caithfead labhairt as Béarla. B'fhearr liom da labhartaí níos mó Gaedhilge anso, agus is ceart dom an míniú so a thabhairt anso. A Chinn Chomhairle, there is no need to rehearse for you the articles of the so-called Treaty. Every Member knows them by heart, and all are agreed that what makes the Treaty so objectionable—to those who find it objectionable—is that it brings us into the British Empire, whether with our heads up or our hands down. We are to become West British by consent after 700 years. That and the loss of part of our territory, which I will touch upon afterwards, is my principle objection to the ratification of this Treaty. The first two clauses of the Treaty stereotype us as British subjects. Whatever material advantages we might gain from accepting this, the price paid is too high. If this is not true, can the supporters of this Treaty tell us why offers of Dominion status were so scoffed at by all of us on former occasions. A Dominion status is honourable in the case of Canada and Australia. Canada is free because she wills to be united in England, and Canada and Australia and New Zealand are in the great majority peopled by Britons. Ireland as, a Dominion is not free because she does not will to be united to England or to the British Commonwealth, if you like, except, of course, for those we are marching into the British Empire with their heads up. And, moreover, Ireland is not peopled by Britain Ireland is the old historic Cellic nation that for so many centuries had struggled for her existence and her national ideals next door to the race described by Jefferson in the graphic phrase “bloody pirates.” We have survived until to-day, and by heavens? inspite of this Treaty, we will survive. Even if it is ratified, before one year is out the Irish people will of themselves burst up this Treaty. They will turn their backs upon the men who have foisted it upon them and repudiate a document so radically opposed to all they thought worth living and dying for. Let me earnestly appeal to all assembled here to reject this Treaty unanimously. It cannot be worked in Ireland. All our traditions are against it. The Irish people will grow sick at the thought of common citizenship with their old, cruel and insidious enemy. With what feelings of despair will they see installed a Governor-General acting in the name of the King of England and representing British authority in Ireland for the first time with the consent of their elected representatives. I cannot bear to live to see such a man as Arthur Griffith, who has been an inspiration to us all, or even younger men who have won fame the wide world over for a heroism that is peculiar to Ireland, men such as Michael Collins, Dick Mulcahy, Seán MacKeon, and many, many of their associates—I cannot bear to see these men acting as Ministers and Generals in the name of his Majesty King George V. in Ireland supported by time-servers, surrounded by shoneens, West Britons, and all the shallow toadies and place-hunters that Ireland produces in as much abundance as any other country. For it is not making much of a prophecy to say that the loyal, true-hearted, genuine Irishman will not rally round them. The Irish Ireland in which they grew up, for which they fought so valiantly will soon know them no more. We should all throw back at England this instrument of our subversion. We should all stand shoulder to shoulder in this act as we did in the fight. There should be no two sides on this vital question. So far I have dwelt upon the practical aspect of the case, but on a day like this a man must affirm his principles. Clause 4 of this Treaty lays down the form of oath that must be sworn by each individual Member of the Parliament of the Irish Free State. That path I cannot give a willing vote in favour of. I am not a British citizen or subject, and I could not, without injury to my own self-respect, willingly subscribe to an oath or declaration of fidelity to which I did not agree. In justification of my refusal to subscribe to that oath, I claim that it is a contradiction of the Constitution of the Sinn Fein Organisation to which we are all supposed to belong. It is a violation of our Manifesto.
On a point of order, is this assembly concerned with whether the Deputy who is speaking will or will not be a candidate for the Parliament of the Free State?
That is not a point of order.
I believe that it is a violation of the Sinn Fein Constitution, and also a contradiction of the Manifesto issued by the Sinn Fein Executive to the electorate before the General Election of December, 1918, and to me a distinct violation of our Declaration of Independence made at the first meeting of the Dáil in January, 1919. The documents I have here leave no doubt about that. I know that it will be claimed by other speakers that this oath is not an oath of allegiance to the King of England. For me, whether you describe it as an oath of allegiance or fidelity, or my word of honour, or even the vaguest undertaking, it is all the same, because the important thing is not so much the form of expression or declaration but the system of government which they are meant to typify. Government by Governor-General! Dominion status for Ireland! England imagines that she puts her finger in the eye of the Irish by attenuating an objectionable expression. She must laugh to think that while we play with words she gets adopted the system of Government she ever wished to impose upon us. Let me remind you that we have not got Irish unity in return for this oath. The two great principles for which so many have died, and for which they would still gladly die—no partition of Ireland and no subjugation of Ireland by any foreign power—have gone by the board in this Treaty, and some good men are thinking of voting for it. Of all the things I have heard President de Valera say, I have never been in more thorough agreement with him than when he said in his speech last August, "Whatever may come of these negotiations, however we may come out of them, after our appalling history, one thing we cannot be excused for, and shall not be excused for, is to be fooled by England." This brings me to my contention that there is no new situation in Ireland. England has fooled us to believe there is. To my mind, the difference between the form of government that will be set up in Ireland if we decide to ratify this Treaty is only a difference in degree, but does not differ in kind from the various forms of government adumbrated in Home Rule Bills put before the country at intervals in the last century. All the arguments that are used by supporters of the motion for ratification of this Treaty are arguments that have been used, and justly used, by supporters of the policy of the late Parliamentary Party. The late Mr. John Redmond and his followers maintained that their Home Rule Bill was but an instalment of freedom and could, after acceptance, be improved. I see no difference in principle between what that party stood for and what we are asked by supporters of this Treaty to sign in the name of Ireland to-day. All I see in this offer is that the temptation is greater. The temptation, the bait offered by England, is not great enough; and nothing she offers short of independence would justify us asking our men to die and our people to make the sacrifices they have made, particularly in the recent past. Look down the long, the glorious, history of our struggle; read the lives of any of our great patriots; select any period you wish in the last three hundred years, and you can easily find in each century occasions upon which Ireland was asked to face such a crisis as the present. We have had put to us over and over again the same choice. It has always been as it is to-day the choice of self-sacrifice and death—extermination if England wills versus compromise, the imagined safe course and accommodation. What are we going to stand for to-day? May I earnestly beg and appeal of you to throw your minds back a few years and think of the choice that was given to our nation at the outbreak of the European war; think of the choice that was given to us when the threat of Conscription by a foreign Power was held up to us. I ask a number of my friends here to think of the choice that was made by beloved comrades of ours on the Easter Morning of 1916. They had exactly the same choice to make on that occasion that we are asked to make now. They chose the hard path, but they chose the honoured path. They and you and I who stood with them were hailed as fools, but the history of the last few years has shown that not alone were those men the most sincere patriots—which, of course, nobody in this assembly ever doubted—but that they were, and, this is what I want to emphasise, the wisest politicians of their time (applause).
Before we adjourn Sean T. O'Ceallaigh has moved this motion: "That on re-assembling after the luncheon interval, the Dáil will, go into Private Session for half-an-hour to hear the reply of the Minister of Defence to a statement made in regard to military affairs."
There were statements made at the Private Session which the Minister of Defence wishes to reply to. He has reported to me that he has the official reports now to put before the House, and if the House agrees to go into Private Session immediately after they return from luncheon, he would be very glad to have an opportunity of placing them before them.
I thought I heard the Minister of Defence asking for publicity. Now there is a request for a Private Session. We want everything fully known in public. We are now asked to go into Private Session again after being in Private Session for four days, and during which the Minister of Defence did reply on more than one occasion. Now I want to know whether the public are going to be fooled or not to be fooled?
I was going to rise on a point of order to second the motion.
Everything has been fully discussed privately, and nothing has been stated here by any Member that requires a private reply.
I rise to support the motion. I see a great necessity for having a Private Session. I don't see why the English garrison in Ireland should be made aware of our preparations for the future. I think the Minister of Defence knows his business and I think it would be a betrayal of the people of Ireland if we were to tell England what amount of ammunition or stuff we have.
I would like to support the motion. If the Minister of Defence wants to give the answers in private, there is not the slightest difficulty I see from they point of view of routine. I am sure there is no Member of this House who cannot listen to anything that can be said on either side at a private meeting.
I would like to say this, that I think it is most unworthy of certain Members of the House who know so well the whole circumstances to suggest we want secrecy. I think something else besides the Treaty has come from Downing Street.
I don't know what the President means by something else. (Cries of "Withdraw").
It means simply this: I think it most unworthy, considering all the circumstances, and the knowledge that the Minister for Foreign Affairs has of the matters that are under discussion, that a suggestion should be made that we want to keep anything from the public.
I want to know if these are private military matters that were discussed for three days. If the Minister of Defence wants to make a statement on anything that has been said in Public Session, there is no reason why he should not do so in public.
It should be quite obvious to everybody who knows the business end of a gun that there are things which may be necessary to be known by this House in regard to military affairs that might do serious injury to us. If when this Treaty is turned down, war be started against us, should they now he disclosed to the enemy. There were certain statements made late on Saturday evening to which I could only make, a general reply. Those statement obviously were intended to frighten nervous people here in the Dáil, if there are such. Apparently the people in favour of this Treaty think there are such. It remains to be seen whether there are. In any case, I could not see the heads of the various sections into which I have the Department of Defence divided to enable me to refute the statements which really impugned the industry, the efficiency, or honesty of these heads of these sections. I have seen them since, and what I purpose doing is making a short statement myself and reading a short statement from them with regard to the charges—because they were charges—made late on Saturday night. It is for that reason I want a Private Session. It will not take me more than ten or fifteen minutes to say what I have to say.
That proposal is different from what I understood it. I understood the Minister of Defence wanted to go into Private Session to reply to anything that was said in Public Session. Do I take it that when the Minister of Defence makes this statement, he does not mean to suppress criticism of that in Private Session from other members?
Certainly. It will not require more than half-an-hour.
I would like to know if there would be any chance of this assembly meeting punctually. I think every man and woman here have made up their minds by this. I don't see the object of debating outside before coming in here.
In regard to this question of punctuality, everybody here knows that I am in my place every morning. I suggest that we ought to appoint somebody who would do duty as Sergeant-at-Arms and get the Members in. If we don't start punctually, it shows we don't mean business.
I suggest that the chair be taken at the hour fixed.
The House then adjourned.
On resuming after the Private Session,
A Chinn Chomhairle, before the regular work of the Session begins, I would like to withdraw a remark I made at the end of the last Session. As you all know, I have not a hot temper, that it does not as a rule betray me, but the remark which I made is open to a construction certainly I did not want anybody to put upon it. It is serious on account of the fact that I put a certain document before the House at the Secret Session. I put it in for the purpose of eliciting the views of the Members and seeing the general feeling with respect to it. Reference to that document appeared in the public Press, and I felt that the Minister for Foreign Affairs was taking a tactical advantage of it to create an impression in the public mind that we had something to conceal. It put me in mind of one occasion in Downing Street when I remember I met with similar tactics. It was simply the reminiscence of that that made me suggest that he had brought something else besides the Treaty from Downing Street. I thought that an effort to make it appear that I was trying to conceal something from the public was unworthy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I am afraid my reply was still more unworthy and I apologise and withdraw it (applause).
I am quite satisfied with what President de Valera has said. It is quite worthy of him (applause).
As we are on a matter like that, it might be well if another Deputy would withdraw the remark he made with regard to the coalition between Downing Street and the Delegation (hear, hear).
I have received a telegram signed "Ginnell," and addressed to the President. (Reading): "I vote against ratification. Ginnell."
A Chinn Chomhairle, I believe every Member of the assembly knows upon what side I stand. If they have any doubts as to what is the reason or reasons why I take that stand, there will be no doubt left in their minds when I sit down. This assembly is the sovereign assembly of the Irish Nation, the sovereign representative assembly, and if it is not a representative assembly it has no purpose whatever (hear, hear). Being a representative assembly, we are here endeavouring to give expression to the will of the people. If we resist the will of the people we are false to the trust imposed in us (hear, hear). The will of the people to-day is that this Treaty shall go through, that this Treaty shall be ratified (hear, hear). I am going to take off the gloves in this fight. There are men who to-day are resisting the will of the Irish people. Can they deny it? (Several Voices: "Yes!") You deny that? ("Yes!") Very well, then, if you gain the majority in this assembly, are you prepared to put before the people of Ireland the issue where the people will decide? ("Yes!"). Very well, the people will decide. President de Valera in the course, not only of the Private Session, but of the Public Session, declared that he believed the Irish people would ratify this Treaty if it were put to them.
Yes, at this moment, but not after a campaign when it would be explained to them.
Who would sit in judgment upon the Irish people?
Is it the majority of the Cabinet of Dáil Eireann? Where has vanished that principle of self-determination of the Irish people? (hear, hear). What has become of the principle upon which we fought the whole of the bye-elections since 1908, since 1916, which is the principle that all just government rests upon the consent of the governed? (hear, hear). Very well, then, before you can vindicate your assertion that you are not resisting the will of the people, you will have to take a decision of the people upon this grave issue with which the nation is confronted (hear, hear). That is not all with which I am concerned. What I am concerned with is, in this decision upon this question affecting not only this generation but many generations—probably the whole future of our nation in this question—that it shall not be decided over the heads of the Irish people. I tell you if you attempt to do that, if you attempt it in your idea of the autocratic superiority of the Irish nation, when you have taken your decision the fury of the Irish nation will sweep you aside just as it swept aside the Irish Parliamentary Party (applause). The only member of the Cabinet who is opposed to this Treaty that I can really understand is the Minister of Defence. He does not like this Treaty because he does not like peace. Peace does not agree with his temperament. I thoroughly believe that if the Delegation had brought back a Sovereign Independent Republic, he would have dreamed then of sending an expeditionary force to conquer the Isle of Man. Though my friend the Minister of Defence may be a potential Napoleon, that is no reason why there should be a gamble with the greatest and most sacred interests of the Irish people. We are not going to make the Irish nation a pedestal for any man to elevate himself upon to gratify his own peculiar proclivities. (Voices: "Oh! Oh!") I mean nothing offensive, nothing whatever. As I said before, I am going to take the gloves off in this light, and say what I have to say, and what I think the Irish nation thinks. It is not matters of courtesy nor the paying of compliments should concern us now. It is a question of what is the truth about this matter, what are the facts about this Treaty which is before us, whether it is something that Ireland can honourably and honestly take, or something that meets with the extraordinary contempt of Mr. Erskine Childers. Mr. Erskine Childers should surely be an authority on the question, because a few years ago, in his very interesting book, The Framework of Home Rule, he said something to this effect, that no same person could seriously consider the idea of an Irish Republic. That was in 1911. Is the man, who in 1911 had that view about Ireland—is that the man to get up here and sit in judgment on the men who have been working for the last twenty-five or thirty years for this thing he has spoken about? I have no objection to the enthusiasm of converts, but what I do object to is that they should endeavour to excommunicate those who were working for the old national cause in the days when they were doing something which had a very reverse effect. A little modesty, a little reticence in these matters would be more becoming than the sweeping condemnation of which Mr. Erskine Childers has delivered himself. Now I stand wholeheartedly for the ratification of the Treaty. I do that without misgiving, without doubt or equivocation. I believe that this Treaty is one which brings to Ireland peace with honour (hear, hear). I believe it is one that gives Ireland real power, real authority, and real freedom. (Voices: “No!” and a Voice: “Not real freedom!”) I believe that it is one that gives Ireland real power, real authority and real freedom. (Voices: “No! No!”) I believe it is one that gives Ireland real freedom (“No! No!”). I am going to attempt to establish what I have to say. I believe it is one that shatters for ever the alien domination that has blasted and wasted generations of our people. I believe it is one that terminates definitely the havoc, the agony, the waste and desolation of seven disastrous centuries. Now I was really astonished yesterday listening to the President's impassioned words. That President de Valera is a man who can without the aid of argument or logic deeply move an audience was quite obvious yesterday. With wild, impassioned tornado of denunciation he stalked across the prostrate remains of the Treaty (applause). But it was not a display of statesmanship, it was not a display of logic, or argument. It was more like some wild fury which had run amok. I want to refer to something that is not quite so jocular. I have no intention of introducing into this assembly anything in the nature of merriment—none whatever. I have something to say which is the very reverse of that. It is a curious procedure we were treated to at the beginning of yesterday's proceedings. I refer to the much disputed document. I am not going to disclose it yet. It is a dead secret we have locked up in our bosoms, wrapped in mystery. The thing I want to get at is this—the purpose to which that document was directed, and I was amazed to think that President de Valera would have resorted to such tactics. (Voices: “Oh!”) I am in possession; let me say what I have to say. I am not saying anything offensive. Let me say what I have to say.
You can speak later on.
When the first Session of this Dáil met, President de Valera intimated to us that he was going to formulate alternative proposals. I asked him if he would give them to us. He said he would. We discussed these for three days; we finished the Private Session without any intimation from him that it was to be regarded as a confidential document. When the Public Session commenced, the first word of the President's was that it must be considered a confidential document, and must not be referred to. At the same time he was bringing forward another set of alternative proposals. What are we to deduct from that save this, that he kept us talking for three days about a set of alternative proposals which went to the very root of the issue that is now before this assembly; that we came to discuss——
Would I be in order? I think——
I beg your pardon——
I think, at least, these statements should be substantiated. It is quite a wrong construction to put on this. Everybody in this House knows it is a wrong construction.
I do not know what construction Members of the House put on it. I only know the construction, the obvious construction, that comes home to my mind, and I am expressing that. If, when I have finished, it can be shown it does not bear that construction, I am quite prepared to let the matter pass and apologise if the circumstances warrant apology. I want to say how it appears to me, and how it appears to many others. When the Public Session began, we were not allowed to discuss the second document, but were promised that a second set of alternative proposals would be brought along. What object could that have save to make Members withhold their support of the Treaty in the expectation that something better would follow when the next set of alternative proposals was brought along? I may be wrong, but that is how it strikes me. Now, the value of this particular document, the only value for my purpose, is this, that the only reason that I regret it was not available for this discussion is this, that it does put before this assembly of the Irish people, it does disclose what is the issue which is agitating this Dáil at the present time. That issue is not the Treaty versus the Irish Republic.
It is not the Treaty versus the Irish Republic. The issue that we are faced with here in this Dáil, is the issue of the difference between the Treaty and Document No. 2.
It is the issue, and no amount—I do not want to use an offensive word, I will use the word manœuvring—and I say no amount of manœuvring is going to obscure this Dáil or confuse the minds of the Irish Nation. The issue which this Dáil has to decide is between two forms of association with the British Empire (hear, hear). Deputy Etchingham this morning said that this Treaty had the effect of putting a bow window in the western gable of the British Empire. Now I think it must have been Document No. 2 he was thinking about, because a bow window is very like external association (applause). Another thing I want to say is this, and I wish all Ireland could hear me saying it, and I wish Mr. Ginnell could have heard me saying it before he sent that telegram. This is what I want to say. Mr. de Valera—(A Voice: "President") President de Valera, I beg his pardon, President de Valera said that the difference between the two documents was only a shadow.
I will speak of that document when the time comes.
The difference between the two documents is only shadow.
Why would Britain go to war then?
I am not quoting the words of any Englishman, I am quoting the words of President de Valera himself, that the difference between these two documents is only shadow. Are we going to send the young men and young women of Ireland to the shambles for a shadow? Send them in a great and glorious cause and they will respond, they will die gladly, but send them to their death for that shadow! Will President de Valera, will the Minister of War, will the Minister of Home Affairs take the responsibility before humanity, before all history, for sending the young men and young women of Ireland to their death for a shadow?
It is not for a shadow.
It is time we realised where we are drifting to. I heard to-day passionate speeches. I heard to-day speeches that did not make people smile. I heard from Mrs. O'Callaghan to-day one of the most pathetic stories I ever listened to. It is not a thing to smile at, but a thing that cut to the heart of anyone listening to it. We don't want these tragedies multiplied a thousandfold in Ireland if we can help it (hear, hear). I am not going to appeal to anything but your real and clear conception of what Ireland's national interests are. President de Valera said that in this Treaty we were presuming to set boundaries to the march of the Irish Nation. So far from that being true, we are smashing down the barriers that obstruct the march of the Irish Nation. He said that if this Treaty were passed the subsequent history that followed would be the same as that which followed the Act of Union. Whether you accept or reject our definition of this Treaty you cannot question the fact that it does give the Irish Nation great, tremendous, national powers. That is the difference between the Act of Union and this Treaty. The Act of Union took away from the Irish people their right, such as they had, to direct, mould and control their own land. This Treaty brings back to Ireland these powers (hear, hear). There are other things that the President said I can only attribute to the impulse of the moment. He described the Treaty which, as I have said, brings back these powers to Ireland as the most unparalleled surrender in history. I think he must have been thinking of the surrender of these things on the part of the British Government (hear, hear). He spoke of this as the most ignoble document that Irishmen could put their hands to. I can only put that down to some wave of eccentricity or distraction of mind when he was carried away with the flood of his own fury. I don't think that it can be denied, as I have already said, that this Treaty gives Ireland great and comprehensive powers, that it gives to Ireland these powers to direct and mould its own destiny of the future life of the nation. It eliminates from Ireland the British Army and gives to the Irish people the power of creating an army of their own to defend their country. Various definitions of the powers that this Treaty gives to Ireland have been given. I will quote another—Professor O'Rahilly of Cork. He says: "We have all the really important powers required for our normal, political, social and economic life. We have unfettered freedom in forming our political constitution, in social legislation, in education, in developing our national resources, in fostering our agriculture and industries, in framing our tariff policy, in regulating our taxes, our currency laws, our finances, in appointing consular agents abroad, in concluding commercial treaties with other countries." I want to know if that is not the substance of real national power and national authority, what is it? Is this result going to produce the effects on Ireland's future the same as the Act of Union which President de Valera predicted? If these things are not going to produce a healthy state of life in the Irish Nation, then in God's name will President de Valera tell us what will?
I will. Go on.
What I have to say is that this is the most stupendous achievement that Ireland has gained for centuries. I will tell you another thing. This Treaty, as I have already said, provides for the evacuation of Ireland by the British Army. If war breaks out again on the rejection of this Treaty, that war will be fought to keep the British Army from evacuating the country. Is that a policy, again I ask, that recommends itself? Would it recommend itself to a lunatic? Would anybody but a lunatic turn aside a policy that should recommend itself to a sovereign assembly of the Irish Nation, to the men and women of Ireland who have the future destinies in their hands? I say if it is, then it is a policy that if they put it to the country they will bring about a great disillusionment to those who are in love with that policy. We have been told to disregard the horrors of war, that it is the women who suffer most in these things. That is a truth I for one will never question. We have listened to a deep and passionate story, and it is easy to know that it is the women who suffer most. Do they think we are callous about these things that they should fling it in our faces because we try to save the nation from what we think is disaster, that it is sufficient to close our mouths to say that it is the women who suffer most? It is the women that suffer most, and if war breaks out again, and we have a repetition of the raids and burnings and horrors of the last couple of years, will not the women who suffer most, will they not be somewhat bewildered when these things overshadow the land when they recollect that ratification of the Treaty might have averted all this? Will they not think it curious and inexplicable that though this Treaty provided a means by which the British Army would have voluntarily left Ireland, that those who held Ireland's fate in their hands decided upon a policy which had the effect of keeping that army here in order that the brave fighting young men of Ireland might earn an undying renown in a vain effort to eject them? Is this patriotism or folly? Is this statesmanship or criminality? Is this sanity or imbecility? (hear, hear). Yes, it is the women of Ireland who will suffer most if the war breaks out in order that Ireland may attain President de Valera's shadow.
I am speaking what are facts. It is a shame. The whole nation will cry shame upon men and women and the policy that sent the nation to its doom for such a thing as that described by President de Valera as a shadow. We are told another thing, that we dishonour the memory of the dead when we speak in support of this Treaty, that we have forgotten the memory of the dead. It is not because we have forgotten, but because we remember the dead who died for Ireland that we stand where we do to-day (hear, hear). It is because we want to ensure their sacrifices shall not have been in vain (hear, hear). Now I come to the question of the oath of allegiance. We have had great denunciation of this oath of allegiance. I wonder would Members of the Dáil like to have the alternative oath of allegiance? How would the Members of Dáil like to have this form of oath:
"I —— do swear to bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of Ireland and to the Treaty of Association of Ireland with the British Commonwealth of Nations and to recognise the King of Great Britain as Head of the Associated States."
Now, I suggest, would that be more acceptable than the other? (Voices: "Yes!""No! No!") I am surprised that it would not, because it is the difference between the oath of the Treaty and that oath is the issue before the Dáil to-day (applause). There, the eat is out of the bag now (hear, hear).
I think this is most prejudicial. I think it is a shame that in a case like this that a matter should be dragged in which is not relevant to this issue.
Not relevant? It is the whole issue.
I say it is most unfair treatment. It is not in the document—these secret documents which have been withheld from the public as a whole. If all the documents are published, I am quite ready and content. Let them all be published by all means. I say it is an attempt to prejudice not this body, because you cannot prejudice it. You all know all the facts, but to prejudice the public (hear, hear).
Is this a point of order or a speech?
It is right that the Irish people should know that the difference between us. I stand here and demand that the Irish people shall know the truth (hear, hear).
I trust that what have said will not unduly disturb the tranquillity of this assembly. I am here. I represent at least twice as much of Ireland as a good many Members of Dáil Eireann. I represent two constituencies, one in Northern Ireland, and one in what is called Southern Ireland. I have a great responsibility in this matter.
So have we all.
I, for my part, am not going to forget that I have to study the dispositions of those who sent me here, and the interests of those people and the interests of the Irish Nation are higher to me, greater to me, than the susceptibilities of any man or any body of men. We are fighting for the life and security of the Irish Nation. I told you when I began I was going to take the gloves off, and I don't mean to be prevented from fighting this battle to the end, because it is not convenient to some people that the whole truth about this matter should be told.
That is not so.
You are down and out.
A gentleman has said—he did not think I overheard him —that I am damning myself. I don't care what the personal consequences to me are.
It is not suggested by anybody.
I don't care what the personal consequences are to me as a result of the attitude I am taking up and the vote I will give. I am thinking of the Irish Nation and the Irish Nation only. Now many people are susceptible about this particular oath in the Treaty, and if I adopted a procedure which one Member here seems to have assumed a monopoly of, and challenged this assembly to have it put to a show of hands of those Members who have already taken an oath of allegiance to England, I think there would be very few on the side of those who are standing for the Treaty. I am not going to put that challenge, but I do think we ought to realise what is the truth about this oath. This oath is distorted and mispresented. It has been clearly defined and explained by Deputy Hogan to-day, and I venture to think that even Mr. Childers will not be able to shatter one iota of his arguments. I want to say a word about Ulster. I have some responsibility, or at least some work in connection with the question of Ulster. Of late I am keenly interested in this matter. My two constituencies are both Ulster constituencies. I understand also that one of the Members for Monaghan is preparing, or has prepared, a fierce onslaught on this Treaty in connection with the question of Ulster. But I do think that his thunderbolt should have been reserved for the head of the President, because President de Valera stated that we would not coerce Ulster. He committed us to the task of finding some way out and making some arrangement without sending the troops of the Irish Republic to overawe the people in the six counties (hear, hear). I think many of those who criticised the delegates must have been under the impression that when they left Dublin to go to London they set out as miracle workers. Did they expect —did the Deputy for Monaghan expect —that when they went to London they would be able to soften or destroy the asperities of centuries? Did they expect that they had more power there than Lloyd George and his Coalition Government? Did they expect that the five men who went there would be able to bring back an arrangement that was at variance with the declaration of President de Valera that we were not going to coerce Ulster? The fact is that the provisions of the Treaty are not Partition provisions, but they ensure eventual unity in Ireland. But, as a matter of fact, whether there were Partition provisions or not, the economic position and the effects on the six counties' area is this, that sooner or later isolation from the rest of Ireland would have so much weight on the economic state of these six counties as to compel them to renew their association with the rest of Ireland. That trend of economic fact will be stimulated by the provisions of this Treaty, and the man who asserts that Partition is perpetuated in that Treaty is a man who has not read or understands what are the provisions in the Treaty. Now I want to know before I sit down what is the alternative? I will not take as an answer another document. If another document were able to save this situation which will be created as a result of this possible rejection of this Treaty, if another document was sufficient for that purpose, we could pack this House with documents, but another document will not save the situation. We have had the Treaty before us. We have had the President putting forward what were termed counter-proposals and presented to us and discussed by the supporters of President de Valera as if they were documents on the same plane and had the same value, as if the British Government had agreed to both and we could take whichever we liked. The difference is this, and the difference is vital, the Treaty is signed and ready for delivery, the other is only mere speculation—what is likely to be a wholly impossible contingency. What is the answer—what is the alternative? Reject this Treaty whether there is war or not. I do not raise the idea of war as a bogey to frighten the men and women of Ireland. They will not be intimidated by the spectre of impending war, but if war can be averted, is there a citizen of this State, is there a man or woman with any sense of their responsibility who will not endeavour to avert it if it can be honourably done? That is all we stand by—this Treaty. Reject this Treaty, you bring confusion and chaos throughout the whole of Ireland, and the sign to the bigots in Ulster to start with renewed vigour pogroms on the helpless minority (hear, hear). Are you going to take the responsibility for that?
They can take care of themselves. You have sold the North in making this Treaty.
That is an allegation the Deputy who made it will have an opportunity of proving, when he rises to speak, and I think he will have great difficulty in proving it. We have sold it. What have we sold? Do you suggest that any of the delegates who went over there were bribed?
What is the meaning of that word "sold"? Is that the opinion of one set of Irishmen of another in this very grave crisis in the Nation's destiny? I think the Deputy who says that may not have much respect for me. I think he has less for himself or he would not have resorted to such a word.
I substitute the word "betrayal."
I do not think it would be becoming of me to take any further notice of his opinion. If the Deputy holds a doubt about me I am quite satisfied. I am taking the stand in this matter which my conscience dictates, and which I think the nation requires to-day. I believe by this Treaty Ireland's freedom can be won. Ratify this Treaty, and I believe you have Ireland in control of all that is vital in the nation's life; reject it and you may shatter any chance that Ireland may have for generations. Ratify this Treaty and the British Army vanishes from Ireland. Reject it and you will have the dread of this militarism stalking again through Ireland carrying disaster and woe in its march. Ratify this Treaty and you give to the people of Ireland control over their own affairs and you strike impotent the hands of those who have blasted and wasted Ireland's life for generations. I do not know what this assembly is going to do. I believe each man and woman will consider carefully the vital issues involved before them; they will act in accordance with what they believe to be the real interests of Ireland. In speaking as I have—I have simply one particular view point of this Treaty—I have tried to present what, in my judgment, are sound and staple reasons for holding that view, hoping it may influence some of those who have not finally made up their minds —whether they have or not I do not know. Whatever be the result, at any rate I am quite satisfied I have done what I conceive to be my duty, and I trust others will do theirs likewise.
I want to refer to a statement about manoeuvring. It certainly would be an infamous manoeuvre—no other epithet could be applied to it than infamous—if I tried to get anybody here to reject the Treaty in the belief that some other document which was forthcoming was able to be used as a substitute. It was on that account, amongst others, I presented in the Private Session in advance a document which I could not bring in here as an amendment to the motion. No such amendment could be received. I wanted to have that document in your hands. You have had it put there for the purpose which you know. Every one of you know there is no skeleton here. It will be brought out to the Irish people in it proper place. All I can tell you is that in the form in which it will come, it will be exactly the same in substance, slightly changed in the form from the document you have had before you.
We have been speaking from the beginning with our hands tied by President de Valera's request. Is that document in its entirety going to be given to the public Press?
I want to ask on a point of order, is it in order that reference should be constantly made to a document which is not put in and which is not before the House? Is it in order that this discussion has been brought forward, and this document is alluded to? I want an answer to that.
References are not contrary to order. I ruled that already.
Every one of us here is under a handicap.
We do not admit it.
We have been here under a handicap. We got certain instructions from the Cabinet, which we used and acted upon. Now an attempt is made to represent we were to stand upon the unchangeable and uncompromising rock of the Irish Republic.
No such attempt is made.
We want that brought forward.
In order that the public might know, as the House perfectly well knows, the delegates went over to London for the purpose of trying to get reconciliation between Irish National aspirations and the Association known as the Community of Nations, known as the Commonwealth of Nations of the British Empire; and the fact that this Treaty does not reconcile them is the reason it is opposed by, I hope, the majority of the Dáil. The other document is one that the Delegation would have accepted had they been able to put it through in London.
As one who stands uncompromisingly for an Irish Republic, I am not for Document No. 2.
We got on the 25th November certain instructions from the Cabinet which are being withheld now.
I deny that.
Will you allow them to be published?
The whole documents, every particle of correspondence between the Cabinet and the Delegation, and every particle of correspondence in London and with the Delegation can be made public.
I quite agree with the President, the sooner the better. It is perfectly fair—that is all right.
Mr. Milroy, in the beginning of his speech, said he was going to take off the gloves. Nobody objected to him for that, I am sure, but what the great majority of the House objects to his having done is hitting below the belt. The question at issue before the House is not Document No. 2, but the question of Dominion Home Rule versus an Irish Republic (“Question”).
Produce Document No. 2. Let the Irish people see that document.
I will produce it when this question, which is the only one before the House, the question of ratification or non-ratification, is finished.
We must have order.
I am afraid that those who are going to ratify the Treaty are losing their tempers, and from what I gather they must know the Treaty is going to be rejected. I heard one of the Members state that if it were a question of the Treaty versus an Irish Republic he would vote for an Irish Republic. The question at issue is the Treaty versus an Irish Republic. (“No! No!”)
There is no Document No. 2 before the House.
Deputy Milroy spoke of Mr. Erskine Childers as a recent convert to Republicanism because he wrote a book in 1911. Well, I had the pleasure of listening to Mr. Milroy in Liverpool and Manchester and many English towns, and throughout Ireland, and he said before the Irish Republic would go down practically every man, woman and child would die. Does he stand for that now?
I never made such a statement in my life.
I am afraid he must have forgotten. And we have a more recent convert to Dominion Home Rule, the Chairman of the Delegation. This is what he wrote in June, 1917—at least it was in the leading article in Nationality, headed by Arthur Griffith, and is what he stands for. This is one part of the text begining a paragraph. It reads:—
"‘The Home Rule Act, 1914, Exposed' by Mr. Wm. Martin Murphy, is a clear and trenchant exposure of that fraud upon a people. Mr. Murphy would settle the Irish question in the same way as the Canadian, South African, and Australian questions were settled. This assumes that the element of nationality and the status of nationhood do not enter into the Irish question. Australia, for instance, possessed no rights except those it derived from England. England founded it, England fostered it, and England possessed the undoubted right to rule it. Ireland does not derive from England."
He said that in 1917.
I say it now again.
"She is not a colony; she has never been a colony. She can claim no colonial right such as Australia, Canada, and South Africa assert. If she be not a nation, then she has no more title to independence of English government than Kent or Middlesex, or Lancashire or Yorkshire. If there be English politicians who really believe that they can settle the Irish question on colonial or semi-colonial lines they live in a fool's paradise."
I stand over every word of that statement. This is a Treaty between two sovereign nations.
"The first step to a permanent Irish settlement is the recognition of the Irish Nation" (cheers). I am glad the ratifiers are at last coming around to our point of view. Well, at any rate, we are out in the open now, and those who are for this Treaty have definitely said they were out to go into the British Empire. I do not think that Irish Independence and Irish Nationality can run alongside going into the British Empire. Terence MacSwiney said our country was full of examples of abandonment of principles by public men who got into public life to defend these principles. I think that the men who spoke about a Republic in 1917, and who were responsible for the war that has happened since, that these men should not now run away from the Irish Republic. Mr. O'Higgins, the Deputy for Leix, yesterday spoke about his duty to the 6,000 people who voted against him. Well, I submit he owes also his duty to the 13,000 people who voted for him. He went up there as an Irish Republican—he did not go there as a Dominion Home Ruler. I venture to think that if he went there as a Dominion Home Ruler he would not now be a Member of this House (hear, hear). There are other groups: the real coalition, those who say this is absolute freedom, and those who say it is an instalment of freedom. Well, those who say it is absolute freedom are proud of going into the British Empire with their heads up.
The Community of Nations.
Others say with their hands up. Whether it is with their hands or their heads up, they should know what the British Empire has stood for in the history of the world. The British Empire has stood for every rotten thing in the history of the world. The history of the world has shown practically wherever the British Empire is, there you have cruelty, you have oppression of every description. By the Treaty Ireland will take part of England's public debt as well as England's oppression of every subject nationality under her sway ("No! No!") We are told it is a great Treaty, but we have had very little elucidation from those in favour of the Treaty as to what is good or what is bad about it. We heard a lot about the oath of allegiance and the oath of faithfulness. One Deputy from Galway said that faithfulness meant equality. Well, I think that faithfulness does not certainly go so far, for in the Catholic Church when you make an Act of Faith in God you do not claim equality with God.
John Bull is not Almighty God.
You have a body of men saying allegiance is greater than faithfulness, but by the Treaty oath you acknowledge the Crown and go into the Empire. I do not think Mr. Griffith has made any of his points. Ulster is definitely partitioned from the rest of Ireland ("No! No!") There are a good many Irishmen and a good many Republicans in Ulster, and you are giving them up to their inveterate enemies.
What about Document No. 2?
I heard Mr. Griffith say a good deal in South Longford about what partition meant for Ireland. I also heard Mr. Milroy on the same subject. Instead of being on the Republican platform they ought to have been with Mr. Joseph Devlin in that respect. Another point in the Treaty, in addition, is you will have to afford to his Majesty's Imperial Forces "in time of peace such harbour and other facilities as are indicated in the annex hereto, or such other facilities as may from time to time be agreed between the British Government and the Government of the Irish Free State, and in time of war or of strained relations with a foreign Power, such harbour and other facilities as the British Government may require for the purpose of such defence as aforesaid." What does that mean but that every time England goes to war, or is threatened with war, she may take over all the resources of this country. Are you prepared to stand that? If you are not, then you must keep an army of 40,000 men in the country that you are after hearing such a lot about in the past few days. If you are going to have an army of 40,000 men you will have to pay for them. Compared with the number of big material advantages there are drawbacks, because if you have a standing army of 40,000 men you are going to pay at least twelve millions a year for that army. With regard to this Treaty, there is one thing not made clear, that is, that the country was said to be stampeded into the acceptance of this Treaty. Before President de Valera received the particulars of this Treaty, it appeared in the London evening papers. I do not think that was a fair proceeding on the part of the Publicity Department or whoever was responsible for it. We are told we are going to lose the ear of the world if we turn down this Treaty. Certainly the ear of the world is here now, and we hope it will listen to the turning down of the Treaty, because it will hear one thing, that is, that this small nation which has stood for principle for the last four or five years, and has won the admiration of the whole world—it will realise that this small nation still stands for principle and not for expediency. We are told we should be practical men. In the common view John Redmond was a practical man and Patrick Pearse was a visionary. We all know now who was the practical man and who was the visionary. A good many precedents in Irish history can be remembered in connection with this. There are some who are going to vote for this Treaty who say they will never take the oath of allegiance. That reminds me of the sixty-three men who would not vote for the Union but gave up their seats and let other people vote for the Union.
On a point of order, can a Deputy refer to remarks used in a Private Session?
I am not referring to anything said at the Private Session. Sixty-three men would not vote against the Union but gave up their seats so that others might vote for the Union. If the men are honest who vote for the Treaty the very least they can do is to take the oath of allegiance which is the natural result of that Treaty. I will not insist on the matter any longer. I will give you one quotation from Pádraig Pearse who asked Joseph Devlin one thing. He asked him this: "Will you be loyal to the English Crown under the new Parliament in Dublin? I do not think you will. Reflect on it." I want to ask those who vote for the Treaty whether they are going to be loyal to the English Crown or whether they are not. That is a question those who will vote for the Treaty will want to answer.
Were it not for the duty which I feel of having to convey to the public as well as the Members of this Dáil precisely what I propose to do and very shortly why I propose to do it, I would not trouble the House or Dáil at all. I have nothing new to add to the debates we have been attending here for the past six days. No new light has been shed on this problem during all that time. I personally was bothered the moment I saw this document about one thing in it; that one thing was the oath. The oath in this document, the oath of the Irish Republic, had been before you for a long time before we saw the document. I want to be perfectly honest with the House and with the Minister for Defence. I am one of those who realised at the very first Session I attended at this Dáil, that realised at that Session for the first time that an isolated Republic was not achievable by us now. I listened carefully, I discussed carefully with Members of the Dáil this question. I took my final lesson from the President himself. The President told us that he understood his oath to mean to be the oath to the Irish people. I have searched that out, and I have satisfied myself absolutely that this is an oath I can take, that it is an oath I will keep. I have satisfied myself further that nothing which we say, nothing we can do, will alter one iota the fact that the destiny of the Irish people is to be free, and that they will realise that destiny, and I want to say right now I am going to vote for the Treaty and support the Delegation in their efforts to carry it, because I believe it leads direct in a straight line to the realisation of absolute freedom, of Irish independence. I have listened here. I tried to listen carefully to the statements made here, and I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that the Government of this country which the Minister of Defence warned us last night is still in existence, has treated me as a Member of this Dáil, not me personally, but I feel keenly that the ordinary private Members of this Dáil are not treated by the Government of the country as they ought to be. I think that particularly in reference to this document but I am not going to raise the question. I feel particularly with reference to this document that although the question was long considered, nothing has been said by the leaders. My feeling is that this Dáil was done a distinct injustice not by the preparation of the document, but by its withdrawal. Now as to the Treaty itself, I am going to vote for this Treaty because I believe it is leading straight to the ultimate realisation of freedom, which is in the heart of every Irishman. I am going to vote for it because it contains the real substance of freedom. We have got under this Treaty a status in the League of Nations. Ireland will take her place in the League of Nations, and it depends on our energy, it depends on our ability, on our courage, what sort of place in that League of Nations we are going to take. Ireland will take her place in an impartial League of Nations—a Community of Nations, a Commonwealth of Nations known as the British Empire. She is taking that place. I had made up my own mind before coming here subject to what I might hear here. I made up my mind to say something about what that means. Later on Ireland is going in not with Great Britain wholly but entering into a community of nations which is comprised—95 per cent. of them—that proportion, of course, is wrong; at all events five or six of them are young nations, not old empires brought up and living on the greed of Empire, but that commonwealth will be composed of nations now young, vigorous nations rapidly becoming populous, rapidly becoming wealthy, rapidly becoming important in every single department of the world's affairs and these nations have demonstrated that where their national interests are concerned nothing counts for them but their right to develop. You ask Lord Milner; he will tell you they are developing into full free nations in the world of free nations. It gives us a thing which we hope sincerely that this country will produce the men able to deal with. It gives us the power to get at the cancer that is eating into the heart and soul of the Irish nation. We do not realise here in this Dáil the horrible cancer that eats into the body politic of Ireland. The Minister of Finance told us yesterday of the little bases of the British Empire that are being established all over the country. I know; I am a trader, a very humble trader too. I know it more significantly than a number of people seem to realise. When a foreign firm comes to Dublin you can see the people who come in with them. I think this Dáil does not realise that at this moment the economic structure of Ireland is in the hands of the enemies of Ireland, and that we under this Treaty have got it in our power, if we have the brains, and the ability, and the energy to use it, to put these people where they will be safest, and that is outside Ireland. We know that England officially has captured, or almost captured, the entire coastal marine in this country. I wonder do we know what it is for? Now the capture of this coastal marine is for nothing else but this, that the produce of Ireland should be brought direct to England in English bottoms and transferred to other English bottoms to go across the world and to wipe out here the slightest chance—if they can do it—of our developing the trade in Irish bottoms, to wipe out not alone our coastal trade, but to grip the sources of supply and capture Irish manufactures. I don't want the Dáil to imagine that I feel myself competent to deal with this question, but I am in agreement with the Minister of Finance that if we have got enough courage and ability to grasp this instrument it will be a mighty weapon in our hands yet. We have got under this Treaty the power of control absolutely from the beginning of the education of our people. This is an enormous power if properly used. We know what an enormous influence the English system of education has been both in the primary and secondary schools; aye, and in the university schools too. We have the power under this Treaty to bring back the Gaelic tradition and plant it in the hearts of our young people. They will, under a very different set of circumstances, be quick at gathering together the strands of that civilisation. The national spirit was never so strong as it is now. The people have seen the marvellous work of the last five years, and they know the men that did that work are no unreal heroes. That power, too, is of enormous value. The army is a guarantee to us that the constitutional usage contemplated under that Treaty shall be constitutional usage as interpreted by us and not as interpreted by the British Government. I know a great deal has been made of the fact that Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand are anything from 3,000 to 9,000 miles away, but there is a thing here which is of more value than that, and that is that we are a composite nation with a national tradition, and we know how to get that national tradition interpreted in our own institutions, and that it depends on ourselves, as Deputy Hogan said, if we have the courage and the energy to take what is offered to us. Now I am not going to delay the Dáil any longer. What I have said very largely is a duty I owe to my constituents. I want to let them know what stand I take, and I want them to tell me if they disagree with it. I know distinguished citizens in the district which I have the honour to represent who are against the ratification of this Treaty. They are people whom I respect very deeply, not a mere personal respect at all, but a respect that is due to them for the work they have done. I know too that the majority of the people of Co. Dublin are as good Irish people as there are in the length and breadth of Ireland. I know that the National tradition and the will to be free is as strong in the constituency I represent as it is in any part of Ireland, and I know that they have made up their minds in an overwhelming majority that this Treaty does not mean the absolute fulfilment of their national ideal, but that it may be the means to help them to realise all their national ideals. For that reason I have no hesitation at all in lending what little aid I can to the Dáil and to the country to get this Treaty ratified (applause).
It appears to me, since the opening of the Session, there has been a deliberate attempt to shirk responsibility for the way we find ourselves to-day. The people elected us to direct the destinies of Ireland at this period and we elected a Cabinet. I submit it was their duty in all conditions, in all circumstances, to lead us, the rank and file, in the best possible way. I submit that they have failed one and all—the Minister of Defence and others. They are divided; we are, therefore, divided. I submit it is a mock division. They all went into full Imperialism —British Imperialism. They were afraid to call it the British Empire, they called it a Commonwealth of Nations. Most of the people know what Empire and Imperialism mean to the people of Ireland. When we sent representatives to London to see how Irish National aspirations could be associated with the British Commonwealth of Nations, the Minister of Defence went into it with the others, and I submit the whole Cabinet were equally responsible for the position in which we find ourselves to-day. The Republic of Ireland has been betrayed, if not sold; they know well it was not betrayed in London; it was betrayed here in Dublin at the last Session when the pistol of Unity was held at the head of every Member of the Dáil. Some of them said they were not doctrinaire Republicans; if they are not doctrinaire Republicans, they must be either Monarchists or Bolshevists. They can choose which they wish to be. If we do swear faith and allegiance to the King of England, there is no King of Ireland to be faithful to. As a Republican I would be in opposition if the Ministry were to choose an O'Neill from Tyrone or an O'Donnell from Spain and make him King. I submit kings are out of date. I am opposed to any King, either English or Irish, as I am opposed to Imperialism in Egypt, in Korea, or in San Domingo. When we went out for association, when we sent delegates to see how Ireland could be associated with the British Empire we did it with our eyes open. See how we can assist in oppressing the people of Egypt and the people of India, and other weak peoples oppressed at the present day by the British Empire. At the present moment there is a quibble, and nothing but a quibble, between the two elements in the Cabinet, and if they had the decency they would have resigned before they brought us into this position. An attempt has been made to place the responsibility on the Delegation that went to London. I submit that every member of the Cabinet is equally responsible for the Treaty that they signed in London. ("No! No!") When I am through you can answer me. What are the objectionable features of the Treaty? That the Republic was betrayed. It was betrayed when it was publicly stated we were not doctrinaire Republicans. Another objectionable feature is Partition. Partition was agreed to when it was said we were willing to give Ulster the same powers, or more powers, than she had under the Act of 1920. When that was said Ulster was betrayed. The Nationalists of Ulster were betrayed before the delegates ever went to London, and the Cabinet, one and all, are responsible. What are the other objectionable features in it? The two Gibraltars in the South of Ireland and the two in the North. I submit that these positions were given away when it was stated publicly we were willing to give England guarantees regarding the security of England and the British Empire, that we were willing to enter into a Monroe Doctrine for the British Isles. I am hitting from the shoulder. I believe the rank and file have kept silent too long (hear, hear). Something has been said about the men who died. I knew many of them. One I knew intimately, and I knew what he died for. I knew what he stood for; I knew what he suffered imprisonment for, and I knew that he was the noblest of them all—Tom Clarke (applause). I know, and I am sure his wife will bear me out, he did not die for this Treaty, nor did he die for Document No. 2, nor for any association, external or internal, with the British Empire. We are afraid, it seems to me, to face the situation as it is. We prefer to nurse our wounded pride rather than as statesmen to face the situation that really exists, the situation that confronts us to-day. Some of us feel bitter about it. The Republic of which President de Valera was President is dead ("No! No!") You can contradict me when you rise to speak. I submit it is dead, and that the men who signed the document opposite Englishmen wrote its epitaph in London. It is dead naturally because it depended on the unity of the Irish people. It depended on the unity of the Cabinet. It depended on the unity of this Dáil. Are we united to-day as a Cabinet, united as a Dáil? United? Can you go forth after the decision is taken and say the people of Ireland are united? Can you even say the Irish Republican Army is united? You may say it is. I have my doubts. I think any thinking man has his doubts. What will many of them say? They will say "What is good enough for Mick Collins is good enough for me." Personally I have more respect for Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith than for the quibblers here. Internationally the Republic is dead. We were looking for recognition of the Republic in foreign countries. Michael Collins said we were not recognised in the United States. That is true. The United States thought we were in the same position as they were before the Treaty was signed and they were not immediately recognised when they sent delegates to France seeking recognition by the statesmen of France; they were confronted by the fears that England would not give the United States all that the Continental Congress originally asked, and France was afraid to extend recognition. In like manner, I submit, the Government of the United States were equally afraid we would make the compromise we have at the present time. I submit you would not have recognition for some time. They did not recognise the South American Republics, even though it was in the interests of the United States, until the question was debated year after year in the Congress of the United States. That is what has taken place. You cannot go to the Secretary of State of any foreign Government and ask him to recognise the Republic of Ireland, because I submit it is dead. It would take five years' fighting at the very least on the part of the Irish Republican Army, with all their gallantry, to get back to the position we were in two or three months ago. Therefore, I submit, as a political factor the Republic is dead. In fact internationally you can all see that the example of the members of the I.R.A. is being followed, and even their policy adopted in India and Egypt. Recently Egypt rejected proposals which were regarded as compromising. I accept responsibility with the men who signed the Treaty in London because I did not protest. I accept it with the whole Cabinet because I remained silent. I take my share of the responsibility. We were an inspiration to the patriots of India and the patriots of Egypt. To-day we give heart to the compromisers in India and Egypt as well as the compromisers in Ireland. I say, therefore, the Republic of Ireland is dead. That is the issue. We had a bird in the hand and a bird in the bush. Let those of you who can conscientiously do as Robert Barton has done boldly—be false to your oath. Let you vote for a bird in the hand. I tell you that the bird in the bush that we have seen is not worth going after, thorny though the bush may be. I feel myself in the position of a man landed on an island without any means of escape, who was asked to vote if he will remain or vote if he would leave it. You have no means of leaving, there is no escape from the Treaty that has been signed, because, as I said, you have not a united people, you have not a united Dáil—I question if you have a united Army. Internationally the Republic is no longer a factor in politics. Personally I see no way out. I submit it was the duty of the Cabinet to submit to us a policy, even though they were in a difficult position. They have failed; they have failed miserably, and instead they nurse their wounded pride. They hope to save their faces by putting the issue to the country, suggesting that there was a constitutional way out, some of them, that there was a constitutional way of saving their faces before the public and the world—a constitutional way of getting away from the oath of allegiance to the Republic, but there is no constitutional way of getting back to the position we were in two months ago. If there is, I for one cannot see it. I have been anxious to see it, anxious to get somebody who sees it to put it before me. So far I have met no one to put it before me. I see nothing for us then. I see no glimmer of hope. We are presented with a fait accompli and asked to endorse it. I as a Republican will not endorse it, but I will not vote for chaos. Then I will not vote against it. To vote for it I would be violating my oath which I took to the Republic, that I took to the Irish Republican Brotherhood. I never intend violating these oaths. I took these oaths seriously and I mean to keep them as far as I can. I believe just the same rejection means war. I believe every man who votes for it should be prepared for war. But you are going into war under different conditions to what we had when we had a united Cabinet, a united Dáil, and a united people. England's blunders, gigantic blunders, may again save us, it is not any statesmanship we have seen here.
On a point of order, before we proceed further. I don't wish to take any grave exception to what the last speaker has said, but I think it would be advisable on the part of speakers not to use the word quibble where President de Valera is concerned.
It is not a point of order.
I will appeal, then, to the Members.
If you have no point of order you must sit down.
Both at the Private Session and the Public Session I listened to many eloquent addresses on this grave matter before the House. I do not feel myself competent to go into details of the merits or demerits of this Treaty, but it did occur to me that we are getting much of what the Irish people had been looking for. We get control of our own finances; we get control of education, which I regard as a most essential thing we should have; we secure that the British forces evacuate this country, and we have the right to raise and maintain our own Army. These provisions lead me to the opinion that I should vote for that Treaty because I see no alternative but war. And I do not think for a moment that the British Government would hesitate to make war on this country if we reject that Treaty. It is well known in Ireland, and outside Ireland, that the Irish Army fought with great bravery. It is also well known that our civil population gave all the support that they could have given to that Army and we fought with the moral authority and moral support of the world behind us, not that I attach great importance to that moral support. When we were looking for recognition of our Republic, that moral support was not sufficient to get it for us. That is the test that I apply to it. If we are to look at the question before us, and apply the logic of pure justice, I should vote against that Treaty, but I recognise, and we must all recognise, that the world is not yet ruled by the logic of pure justice. I have instead to apply the logic of common sense to what I believe the Irish people want at the present time. When we agreed to a truce with the British Government, we created in the minds of the people an idea that we were going to make a bargain with the British Government, and we cannot get away from it. I believe, and in this matter I speak particularly for the district which I represent, that is the constituency of West Cork; I speak for these people, perhaps about 17,000, and I am prepared to say that the majority of these people would accept this Treaty, and, whatever I may think personally of it, I feel that it is my duty to give expression to their views, so far as I can —(hear, hear)—because I hold that if I were to do otherwise, I would be acting against the principle of government by the consent of the governed. That is a principle which we have always held before us, and I feel it is my duty to act upon it now, and I think that in casting my vote for the acceptance of the Treaty I am expressing the people's will as I know it. Now, the dead have been referred to, and I do not want to refer to them further than to say that I agree with those speakers who say that we owe a duty to the dead, but I maintain that if we owe a duty to the dead we also owe a duty to the living, and I, for one, cannot see how I could cast a vote that would expose the Irish people to the risk of war. If anybody tells us, or tells me, that the British Government will not make war upon this country again, then that is a matter I can consider. I think the Irish people should be told what the alternatives are in this matter. If we go to war, if we expose the people of the country to the risk of war, then the Irish people should be told we reject this Treaty because we want a Republic. Let the issue be clear and definite, and then we know where we stand. I will say nothing further than to throw out a suggestion. I do not know what it is worth. It may not be well received, but, seeing that there is this division of opinion in the Cabinet as well as in the Dáil. I throw out the suggestion that if this great issue was placed before the people in, say, two constituencies in Ireland, and have the views of the people there upon it, and if you agree to accept their decision, it might save us a lot of trouble. I suggest the two constituencies of East Clare and South Cork (applause).
A way out.
Could the House get any idea of when a vote will be taken? I do not think we want to sit here listening to speeches. I think we should have some idea of when a vote will be taken.
Those who wish to speak further should give in a list of their names.
I have a list of twenty speakers already.
It should not be past Thursday.
I think so. I think we should have it by all means on Thursday.
I suggest we should agree on the adjournment; on the time when the closure will be.
There should be no closure on a matter like this.
Excuse me, I was only making the suggestion that if we cannot agree to a closure at about mid-day on Thursday, then we should, if necessary, adjourn over Christmas. The point is that if we are to have twenty, thirty or fifty Members speaking they are entitled to speak; then I was simply making the suggestion to facilitate the Dáil. That is why I said that if we cannot fix one o'clock on Thursday, or one o'clock on Friday, let us agree to have an adjournment for a definite period.
In the meantime the Cabinet will continue to rule the country (applause).
I second the motion.
I think since the matter concerns the country so vitally, and since the Members who will speak here, and who will vote here, will stand before posterity for the part they take, that it would not be right that a single one, if they so desire, should not record his opinion.
There is no such suggestion. To-morrow evening to adjourn until after Christmas would be the wisest plan.
The House adjourned until eleven o'clock next morning.