When speaking yesterday I made use of the words "the supporters of the Welsh Wizard." I admit that these words may bear the interpretation put upon them by the chairman of the plenipotentiaries. I did not see it at the time. What I meant by that reference was the supporters of the English Prime Minister in the English Press. I did not for a moment mean to suggest that there were any supporters or followers of the Welsh Wizard in this assembly, because if anyone outside this assembly or inside if suggested such I would deal with them as sternly as is in my power.
DEBATE ON TREATY
I am quite satisfied that Mr. Fahy did not intend to convey the impression that his words gave at the time.
A Chinn Chomhairle agus a lucht na Dála, I will begin by asking what was the mandate we, the members of the Dáil, got from our constituents in the last election? I know the mandate I got anyhow was to look for freedom, to strive for freedom for the country. When the plenipotentiaries left Ireland for the last time I presume they had in their possession a document in which was stated the minimum demand Ireland was to make on England, and coming up to the last moment on the eve of the morning on which that document was signed there was a threat held over the heads of these delegates. If there was a threat, the object of it must have been to minimise that demand that they had in their possession that they were about to make. It is admitted that the threat was made. Therefore I conclude that the minimum demand which they had in their possession when they left Ireland must have been minimised before these Articles of Agreement were signed. Therefore they must have been signed for something less than freedom for Ireland to my mind. How can it be said that we have freedom if we picture to ourselves John Bull standing four square in this country of ours, with a "crúb" of his firmly fastened in each of our principal ports? We are told that in each of these ports there will be what is called a "care and maintenance party"—a very nice mild term. What does it really mean—this care and maintenance party? It means a British Garrison in each of these ports with the Union Jack—the symbol of oppression and treachery and slavery in this country, and all over the world, in Ireland especially—that this symbol of slavery will float over each of these strongholds, blockhouses of John Bull. Yet we are told we are getting freedom in these Articles of Agreement. I recall to mind one incident that happened during, the last election whilst I was addressing a meeting in my constituency. A few of the khaki-clad warriors had fastened a Union Jack to a lamppost right beside the platform from which I was to address the meeting, and I remember stating distinctly to that assembly that I would not rest satisfied until every vestige of that rag was cleared out of the country. The assembly agreed with me, and before the words were scarcely out of my mouth a rush was made by half-a-dozen boys from the crowd and although the flag was defended by seven or eight of the warriors that flag was torn down. How can it be said that we are going to have freedom with this document when the flag which symbolises slavery continues to float all over the country, here, there and everywhere, not alone in these four ports, but wherever there is a signal station or any other sort of station belonging to the British? The people of Ireland at this juncture have been stampeded by the rotten Press of Ireland. Lloyd George is rubbing the palms of his hands and laughing, I doubt not, at the spectacle which is anything but creditable, to Ireland that has made such a fight up to this. To my mind the country wants a tonic of some sort to set it thinking. The country is not thinking. It has been stampeded and it now seeks to stampede its representatives. Well there is one representative anyway that won't be stampeded. I stand to-day for the same object for which I stood on the platform throughout my constituency and for the same object for which my constituents elected me and I mean to continue so. I shall vote against the Treaty. (Applause).
A Chinn Chomhairle agus a lucht na Dála, tá níos mó ná beagáinín le rá agamsa ar an geeist seo, agus caithfe mé labhairt as Béarla. In saying that I have decided to vote for this Treaty I think I should personally express my regret at finding myself in opposition to many of the leaders who piloted the national cause through the storms of the last five or six years. It is certainly no pleasure to us on this side of the House to stand up and declare ourselves in opposition to one especially who, in the eyes of the great majority of our countrymen, symbolises a national ideal. But in this cause no feeling of personal admiration, of personal animus either, can be allowed to influence our judgment or prevent us doing our duty to the people that sent us here. My duty at the moment I consider to be to examine the Treaty on its merits, and to decide, quite irrespective of the circumstances attending its signature, whether it was a settlement the country could honourably and profitably accept. I have come to the conclusion that it is, and I am going to vote for it. My action in doing so is governed by two considerations. The first is that the Treaty represents goods delivered and not promised to us goods that we all know were never offered or, indeed, seriously asked for before. The second is that, as a matter of expediency, it is better to take these than run the risk of war or chaos and all that it means to our people and the prosperity of the country. Now, before going on to discuss the value of the goods delivered and the advisability or otherwise of accepting them, which are really the only questions that matter—or at least, should matter—I should like to explain my position regarding the Republic. It is this: I regard the oath as a binding obligation on me to use every endeavour to secure the realisation of the ideal. It never, in my mind, barred any particular methods of achieving it, nor did it specifically mention the methods advocated by the opposition. To me recognition of Irish nationality and the securing of practically complete control of our Army and natural resources which this Treaty brings us, are things that no Republican in his sober moments could or should refuse to accept. It will be said, of course, that in voting for the Treaty we are abandoning our principles, that we are breaking our oath, that we are betraying the Republic, that we, in fact, are guilty of all the sins in the calendar. For my part I don't mind what anybody says or thinks about me as long as I do my duty to the country, and my conscience is clear. But the opponents of this Treaty should remember that there are other principles and ideals involved in the issue besides Republicanism. There is, for instance, the ideal of a peaceful and happy Ireland, or that no less dearly cherished one of a united Ireland. There is government by the consent of the governed on which we took our stand throughout this war. Then what about the principles of Christianity? Are they worth any consideration? After the sermon addressed to the sinners on this side of the House by my old and, I must say, sincere friend, Deputy Etchingham, I take it that his disciples, including his no less ardent acolytes, are familiar with the Commandments on which the principles of their religion are based.
I surrender that to the opposition for external association in connection with the Free State. How many of them, I wonder, could stand up in this House and say they have never violated any of the Commandments? This is not a Webster, nor a text-book of international law, but it is the law the opposition is appealing to against this Treaty. The book has no high-sounding title. At school we used to call it the "Halfpenny Catechism." I'll read out the Ten Commandments, as by law established, as Moses would have added were he a constitutional lawyer, to Teachtaí opposed to the Treaty, and any of them who have never violated the principles for which they stand are at liberty to make themselves seen and heard. I see none of you have stood up to protest your innocence. It is as I thought: no one on the opposition side denies having offended against the fundamental principles of the law my friend, Deputy Seán Etchingham, would have us, on this side, observe to the letter. I'm not saying, mind, that it should not be the law, but I maintain that, in their attitude to the Treaty, if they take the Ten Commandments as the law, they are no less principled than we are. If they succeed in having the Treaty rejected, they set aside every religious and political principle I know of, for they propose to accept as final a settlement that will not bring us a Republic; they postpone for generations, perhaps, the realisation of the ideal of a united Ireland, and they gamble recklessly on the lives and welfare of four and a half million people. As to the oath, all I can say is that it is unpalatable to me— it is, I believe, to us all. Nor do I like the idea of being associated internally or externally with a man eater; but I am prepared to take the Treaty for what it is worth, and as a stepping stone to getting more. Now I candidly do not believe that any of us are saints, not even my friend who gave the sermon a few days ago. This world is no place for saints, and the Church wisely refrains from canonising anybody whilst he or she is in this life. If the Commandments were the principles upon which international relations were grounded the attitude of the opposition to this Treaty would be the correct one, even though it might not be the honest one. But the trouble is that nations like individuals have different sets of principles, and interpret or disregard them just as it suits their circumstances. The British for instance, murder Indians on principle, and the great audience outside says "Amen." The Kaiser and his opponents sent armies to the shambles for a principle. East Ulster refuses, at least for the time being, to come into Ireland on principle. We could make a very plausible case for decimating the population of the corner counties on principle but our Christianity and the good sense of the President and his Cabinet forbid it. On principle, too, Miss MacSwiney would have the whole population of Ireland wiped out of existence, man, woman, and child.
I beg your pardon. I never said anything of the kind. It is only on the principle of which I spoke that you can avoid wiping them out of existence.
She would not leave us even a grasshopper (laughter). That is the inference I drew from her speech, and I think most of the House drew the same inference from her speech.
Then I say if that is so, the intelligence as well as the principle is on our side of the House (laughter and applause).
Thanks. (Renewed laughter). We see here the abyss into which a blind and reckless pursuit of one principle leads and the danger to any nation of having people of such mentality in charge of its destinies. It may be that Miss MacSwiney's mind and outlook are distorted by the terrible experiences she has passed through. If so there is some excuse for——
Again I protest against my name being used in that connection. I did not, and will not, use it myself in that connection. I did not bring anything of my personal experiences into my public speech here. I protest and ask the protection of the Dáil against any member using my name in such a connection (to Mr. MacCabe) and besides I assure you that I am quite sane on the point.
Am I in order, a Chinn Chomhairle?
Not in using my name.
I just used the subject matter of your speech.
Leave out my experiences.
From the inference I drew from the speech I can regard it as her suggestion that Ireland should fight to a finish even though half of the population were wiped out. That is nothing less than a criminal incitement to national suicide, whatever you (Miss MacSwiney) may think of it. I think it is quite evident to anyone who studies history that principle plays a very small part in international politics. And before we embark on a crusade to have the Ten Commandments written into international law I'd suggest that we try to have some of the Teachtaí whom we have heard speak against the Treaty converted to Christianity. The awkward fact at the moment is, that despite anything we can do or say in Dáil Eireann, the politics of the world are being, and will continue to be, dictated by expediency. I am voting for the Treaty for reasons of expediency and I consider, even though I were violating a principle, that it is my bounden duty to do so. Most of us are new to politics, and we do not realise the responsibilities of the office we hold. If we did the interests of the country and the lives of our people would come first in our consideration, and our principles and religious scruples long afterwards. There is another aspect of the campaign that is being carried on against this Treaty which I would like to refer to while on this point of principle. It is the exploitation of the dead; and for the sake of their memory as well as in the interests of truth I beg to protest against it. I knew a number of these splendid men in their lifetime, amongst them Tom Clarke, the first President elect of the Irish Republic. I agree with what Mrs. Clarke has said— that he would have voted against it. But he could not be expected to do otherwise considering that he worked almost alone for a lifetime to keep the flame burning. I also knew Terence MacSwiney very intimately, and I knew him as a sound Republican. I don't believe that he, or any of his comrades, would have died for Document No. 2, if it came to a choice between it self and the Treaty, nor, what is more do I believe that he would sacrifice the whole population of Ireland on the altar of his principles. Now, nobody objects to people voting against the Treaty because they have a personal grievance against England, but I do suggest that it is unfair asking other people to vote for their grievance, for this is what is really amounts to. Is it not enough to have eight, nine or ten votes as the case may be, but not sufficient anyhow to defeat the Treaty, cast on this personal issue? Where does the country come in I would remind all these Teachtaí who have such grievances that they were not sent here to avenge the wrongs committed in the war, but to secure an honourable peace, and I hold that this is an honourable peace, for when the honours are counted up they are all on our side. It is England that has surrendered; we have surrendered nothing. I would, therefore, appeal to them to rise above their personal prejudices and think of themselves, not as the sisters, or wives, or mothers, or brothers of dead patriots, but as representatives of the people, with the fate of a country in their hands. The earth belongs to those who are on it, and not to those who are under it, and to the living and not the dead we owe our votes. I would ask them also before they launch the country again into war, or worse, to think of the millions of wives and mothers and sisters who are waiting expectantly for peace, and to picture the disappointment and despair which the news of the rejection of the Treaty will bring into their homes.
Don't speak for the women.
I know what the women want just as well as the interrupter.
You are an old woman, I know.
Thanks very much. I know just as well, if not better than Deputy Mary MacSwiney what the people want in their heads and hearts and I know it is not war. I wonder is there one woman in this assembly who could rise to the great opportunity, one woman who would sink her feelings, sink her cravings for vengeance, sink her principles even, and, sacrificing her personality as others sacrificed their lives, vote for the good of her country. Such an act of self-elimination would, in my opinion, appeal to the whole world as an act worthy of a countrywoman of Terence MacSwiney. I won't say any more on the question of principles or on the question of Christianity. Perhaps I have said enough; perhaps I have said too much. I did not mean to grate on anyone's sensibility or insult anyone. I just spoke in the way I thought necessary in a crisis like this when the issues should be placed straight before the country and no personalities dragged into it (hear, hear). Now coming to the Treaty I'd like to say at the outset that I'm not enamoured of it. I don't like the oath, I don't like the enemy in our ports, and I don't like the Governor-General in substance or in shadow. But Document No. 2 is open to all these objections for——
No, it is not.
I have several times said I will bring that document forward, and bring it as an amendment. Unless it is here I do not think it fair to be referring to it.
It is most unfair to us and the country to suppress it.
I am ready at any time to bring it forward if the other side agree to I bringing it forward as an amendment.
Early in the proceedings the other side asked President De Valera to publish it at the beginning of the Session and he refused.
Do you object to my bringing it here as an amendment and publishing it then?
Are we going to conduct a debate or are we going to have an old woman's wrangle?
There is no question of wrangling. This is an important matter. A document has been referred to piecemeal and an attempt made to prejudice it. I am ready to bring forward the document as an amendment to the Treaty. There is nothing keeping it from this assembly or the nation except the fact that the other side want a direct vote on the Treaty. Now I am ready at any time to move it as an amendment.
I do not object to Document No. 2 but I object to No. 3, certainly, which is being prepared for us.
There is no document being prepared and I must be protected from these references, or else allowed to bring forward the document. I must insist on a vote being taken here in this assembly whether this document can be brought forward as an amendment or not.
I have done my best in a few instances to try and have the debate conducted without interruption, and I do think that speakers when making references ought to have the protection of you, Sir. If we are to discuss Document No. 2 and not the Treaty, let us discuss Document No. 2, and any speaker on our side and any speaker on the other side is entitled to make due reference to the things that have been said, and things that are possibilities.
I formally give notice that I am going to move to-morrow, and put it to a vote in this House, that this document be brought forward as an amendment to the Treaty.
I suggest that President de Valera should hand that document to the Press as we asked him a fortnight ago.
I am giving notice insisting on my rights as a member to put forward this as an amendment. I will do it to-morrow.
A member is entitled to speak once. I understand the President has already spoken once, and the President did not introduce any document, nor did he move an amendment although the Minister for Home Affairs, who spoke afterwards, said he seconded the President's amendment.
I beg your pardon.
The official records will contain all that you said.
The official records will show your inaccuracy.
A member having spoken once is not entitled to speak a second time—if my interpretation of the Standing Orders is correct he is not entitled to speak a second time. Consequently it is not open to the President to move an amendment. I put that point of order to you.
That point only arises in the case of the President actually moving the amendment.
Am I in order to——
I thought you gave way to the interruptions. If you held your ground you would not be interrupted. You can continue. I will allow no further interruptions.
As regards the Treaty in general I would ask consideration for it on four main grounds: first, that it enables us to set to work at once building up the Gaelic State with a distinctive language, culture, and civilisation. This will be, in itself, the best bulwark we can have against that peaceful social penetration, which is supposed to follow in the train of a Governor-General equally with a Republican upper ten. For my part I don't see how the Teachtaí opposed to the Treaty, if they have as they say such faith in the spirit of the Irish people, can maintain that their nationality or their morals will be undermined by the presence of a Governor-General or a Viceroy. The important thing is that the real governors of Ireland, the police, the military and the auxiliaries, sixty or seventy thousand of them all told, leave us. For my part I look on this Governor-General as a very useful bogey man. He will be to Irish Nationalism and Irish Republicanism what the Pope is to Orangeism in Belfast (laughter), and until we have achieved complete independence I'd regard it as a disaster to lose this tangible stimulus to work for it. We all know what nationality did for the development of the language and for native culture, and we can imagine what a driving force it would lose were there anything in the nature of a settlement that the nation would be deceived into believing represented the attainment of the ideal. A second ground on which I would recommend the Treaty is that it is an official recognition of our status as a distinctive nation—the first ever we got since. Confederate days, and then it was only as an appanage of the English Crown. Clause I says in plain language that we have the same status in the British Common wealth of Nations that the Dominions have. I think, even apart from Mr. Lloyd George's letter, we can say that, as a Dominion, we are entitled to enter the League of Nations. If not, I'm sure in their own interests the British Dominions will have something to say about it. Now, Mr. Childers says that certain facts, such as distance and inherent strength affect, or are likely to affect, the status of the Irish Free State. Of course it is evident that the argument of distance used against this Treaty is a two-edged weapon and cuts both ways. I surrender that to the opposition for an experiment in external association with the Irish Free State. How we are going to get an Irish Republic set up further away from England's door than an Irish Free State I do not know; but I know this, that distance did not save the South African Republics, even though one of them was in external association with the Empire, when England chose to attack them. As to strength, I think this Treaty makes it plain that our powers of self-defence will be such that no enemy, however long-ranged his guns, will be in a hurry to return here once our army is organised, and I think it will be conceded on all sides that a national army is in itself a guarantee that our status will be at all times respected. And as far as the defence of our coasts is concerned I see nothing in the Treaty which will prevent us making our shores as impregnable against enemy attacks as were those of Suvla Bay against the fleets of the world. And the experiences of the war go to prove that assaults from the sea on well organised land defences are neither profitable nor effective. But what puzzles me in regard to this question of defence is how the opposition can say that we will be at the mercy of the enemy when we have established government and a thoroughly equipped army, in view of the fact that we were able to paralyse British Government in Ireland for a number of years past without either. However, there are other guarantees we can rely on apart from the army; the guarantees implied in the membership of the British Commonwealth and the League of Nations. The British Dominions, for their own sakes, will see that our status is respected, but we have a higher and more impartial, if less interested, community to appeal to if we think our rights are infringed, in the League of the Free Nations. Membership of this means admittance to the family of nations, in other words, the international recognition we sought so vainly in the early days of the Republican movement. Was it not on this issue admission to the Peace Conference or, in other words, admission to the comity of nations, what is known as the Plunkett election was fought in North Roscommon? To-day a door is opening for us, but because it is not the hall door we are too proud to enter. We must go in tall hats, with brass dog-chains across our vests, and our hands in our trousers pockets, just to impress the hall-porter. It reminds me of an incident that occurred in my part of the country during the Versailles Conference, when the question everyone was asking was would de Valera be admitted to the Peace Conference. There, as elsewhere in Ireland, the people take a very lively interest in public affairs, and every night at the fireside, as most of us know by this, they discuss the national question in all its moods and tenses. One very stormy night after the East Clare election— when excitement was at its height— the ramblers in a certain house decided to have a peace conference of their own to debate the political situation. After the preliminaries were settled the question arose as to who should play de Valera. It was as I stated already a wet, stormy night, and when it was mentioned that de Valera would have to remain outside the door knocking until he was admitted, no one was very anxious to play the rôle. As no volunteer was forthcoming the assembly decided unanimously to give it to a member who happened to be very careful of his health and not very popular. He was therefore ordered out and, when the door was locked, told to keep knocking until the Peace Conference had decided whether he should be admitted or not. Needless to say, once the Conference started its deliberations it was not in a very big hurry coming to a decision regarding de Valera's admittance. For several hours he was left there at the mercy of the wind and rain, breaking his knuckles on the door that would not open. At last, disgusted at the treatment meted out to him by the Peace Conference, and realising the joke that had been played on him, he delivered a few resounding kicks on the door and left. He never thought of the back door which would have admitted him and saved him from the dangerous attack of pneumonia which he contracted as a result of his night's exposure to the storm. Now this story, I think, has a particular application to the issue we are discussing at the moment. We, in this assembly, have the option of admitting Ireland to the comity of nations by a side door, or a back door if you like, or letting her play de Valera at the hall-door for God knows how long—poor old Ireland in her threadbare shawl standing there in the rain and storm for another long night with no certainty, even at the end of that night, of getting in. We, on this side of the House at least, will not be a party to the joke, and I hope those opposed to the Treaty will consider before the vote whether Ireland is a fit subject at the moment for either a gamble or a joke. The third ground on which I would consider this Treaty worthy of support is that it offers a solution of the Ulster difficulty which places us well on the road to a united Ireland. I know there are members in this House who would advocate the coercion of the Ulster minority, and other members who would not even stop at that. Again I say that the land of Ulster belongs to those who are on it and not under it, and I take this opportunity of complimenting our President on the statesmanlike solution of the difficulty which appears in the Treaty. Minorities have been forcibly brought inside the boundaries of a number of nations liberated in the recent war, with results that should give us to pause before we launch on a coercion campaign against the corner counties. The recent history of some of these nations is well worth studying, and I'd specially commend it to those Teachtaí who rail at the plenipotentiaries and the Cabinet for not securing a united Ireland right off. Of course they do not realise that this Treaty gives us just as much control over the destinies of East Ulster as the British Parliament has and, what is still more important, an excellent chance of getting complete control. The economic argument is all in our favour —the railways, the markets, the customs—and this will always continue to be the decisive argument in favour of unification. For my part I'd prefer to see East Ulster stand out at first, so that our minorities may get a chance of having justice done to them in the making of boundaries and for the additional reason that I would not care to see a province of the size of North Ireland as it stands come into the Irish Free State. The establishment of the Irish Free State is, to my mind, not only a big step towards the ideal of an independent Ireland, but also a big step towards the ideal of a united Ireland, for were we to set up a Republic here in Southern Ireland I fear the unity which we all aspire to would hardly come in this generation. On the other hand, I look forward with confidence to the day when the demand for a Republic will come from a united Ireland, and that day we can say with certainty England will not and dare not refuse it. The fourth ground on which I consider the Treaty worthy of support is that it gives us all the essentials of economic freedom. One item of vital importance to Ireland has been almost overlooked in the discussion of the Treaty and that is the question of trade and commerce. The delegates have succeeded in bringing back full and complete fiscal freedom, thereby winning the right for us to protect our industries against English or any other foreign goods, to trade freely with the outside world, and to make commercial treaties with whom we may. This power has always been regarded in Ireland as the acid test of freedom, and we can only appreciate its importance properly when we remember that it was on this principle the Volunteers of 82 took their historic stand for independence. The picture of the Volunteers in College Green with the motto "Free Trade or else——" suspended from the muzzles of their guns is eloquent of the importance the Irish nation has always attached to the right which our delegates have now once and for all established by the Treaty. With this control, I believe we will be able to make Ireland economically strong enough to resist any aggression or threat of aggression from without; and this economic strength is the first thing we should aim at for it means a bigger and more vigorous population, a self-contained country and, if you like to put it so, a much greater fighting potential. If we got a Republic of the Cuban type, for instance, we would in return have to surrender some of our freedom on such vital matters as trade and defence, for it too would have to be in the nature of a compromise and, putting the Central American brand of freedom side by side with ours, I think ninety-nine men out of every hundred, if it were a matter of choice, would any day vote for ours. I'm not going to say war with England is inevitable if the Treaty should be rejected. I think, in fact, there has been too much exploitation of this bogey by people on the side of ratification. Lloyd George would scarcely be such a fool as to declare war on us over the wording of an oath. He might even be persuaded to go further and give us a Republic of the Central American variety with all the forms of independence and none of the substance. Any of these settlements would, of course entail a compromise of some kind on our part. What would we have to compromise? Nothing that I see except some of the substance we have got in this Treaty—control of our custom control of our army, and probably another port or two. Where would the independence that we say we are working for come in then? Where is it in Cuba, for instance—the beau-ideal of some prominent members of the opposition?
I am entitled to interrupt when the makes a misrepresentation.
This is some of the substance of freedom that Cuba had to surrender for her so-called independence:—No Treaty with foreign power, etc.; no debts that current revenue will not meet; intervention in certain circumstances; Naval and coaling stations; Reciprocal Treaty; Government by a Commission from 1906 to 1909. Now I put it to any sensible man or woman whether it is not better to take the essentials of freedom first which we are undoubtedly getting in the Treaty and look for the symbols afterwards, or plunge the country into chaos on the chance of getting this shadowy independence, but with the dead certainty of creating Mexican conditions in the country. Then there are other things to consider which no one here has thought it worth while mentioning although, to my mind, they are the real kernel of the situation. We are in a very backward condition, socially and economically speaking. We have, in fact, as far as the other countries of Europe are concerned, been practically standing still for nine or ten years; the land question is still as far as ever from settlement; a number of our industries are leading a precarious existence; labour is restless and aggressive. Do the Deputies opposed to this settlement think that all the elements interested in these vital questions will stand passively impracticable at the moment? Do they for an ideal that to most of them seems by and let this fight go on indefinitely think the farmers, the backbone of national Ireland, broken and disheartened by the crash in prices, will stand idly by while we run the country to ruin? For this is what rejection really means—not war. War against England would probably unite the army if it would not unite the country, but our enemies are too wily to force war on us. It is not war we are faced with but disunion, internal strife, chaos, and a retreat, perhaps, to the position we held when this war began. Finally there is this aspect of the question to he considered: the moral effect of a prolonged state of war on the population. We have already seen the effect it has had on such countries as Germany and Russia and, to a lesser extent, on England—how it has put passions of every kind in the saddle. Murder, robbery, arson, every brute instinct asserts itself when the doctrine of force alone is being preached abroad. Life will become cheap. Men will settle their quarrels with Webleys instead of their fists. The striker will abandon the peaceful method of picketing for the bomb and the torch. The landless workers will have recourse to more deadly weapons than hazel sticks in attacking the ranches. I'm not painting the picture any blacker than it is likely to be if this fight is to be carried on to a finish or until Document No. 2 is signed, sealed and delivered. For my part, I stand by the goods that have been already delivered. In case this House does not stand by them I'd make one request to the succession Cabinet before sitting down. It is this: Give us Dominion Home Rule, give us Repeal of the Union. Give us anything that will stamp us as white men and women, but for Heaven's sake don't give us a Central American Republic.
I rise to support the motion of our President for the rejection of this Treaty. My reasons for doing so are various, but my first reason for doing so I would like to explain here to-day is on my sons' account. It has been said here on several occasions that Pádraig Pearse would have accepted this Treaty. I deny it. As his mother I deny it, and on his account I will not accept it. Neither would his brother Willie accept it, because his brother was part and parcel of him. I am proud to say to-day that Pádraig Pearse was a follower and a disciple, and a true disciple, of Tom Clarke's. Therefore he could not accept this Treaty. I also wish to say another reason why I could not accept it is the reason of fear. As I explained here at the private meeting, that from 1916—I now wish to go over this again in public—from 1916 until we had the visits from the Black-and-Tans I had comfortable, nice, happy nights and happy days because I knew my boys had done right, and I knew I had done right in giving them freely for their country; but when the Black-and-Tans came—then no nights, no days of rest had I. Always we had to be on the alert. But even the Black-and-Tans alone would not frighten me as much as if I accepted that Treaty; because I feel in my heart—and I would not say it only I feel it—that the ghosts of my sons would haunt me. Now another thing has been said about Pádraig Pearse: that he would accept a Home Rule Bill such as this. Well he would not. Now, in my own simple way I will relate a thing that happened, I think it was in 1915 or 1916. He sent me into Dublin on a very urgent message, and when I came to Westmoreland Street I saw on the placards "Home Rule Bill Passed." At that time I knew very little of politics. I was going on a very urgent message as I told you. I leaped out of my tram, got into another and went as fast as I could up the roads of Rathíarnham. When I went in I found him, as usual, writing, and he turned round and said: "Back so quickly?""Yes," said I, "the Home Rule Bill is passed." He sat writing; the tears came into his eyes. He got up and, putting his arms around me, said: "Little mother, this is not the Home Rule Bill we want, but perhaps in a short time you will see what we intend to do and what freedom we intend to fight for." He then asked me about what he had sent me for, but I had come back without it. "Never mind," he said, "I will do it myself tomorrow; go and get something to eat." I said to him then: "What are you going to do?""Mother," he said, "don't ask me, but you will know time enough." Now, in the face of this, do you mean to tell me Pádraig Pearse would have voted for this Treaty? I say no! I am sure here to-day the man to whom Pádraig Pearse addressed these words—I am certain he is present—he said that he could understand the case for compromise, but personally rejected it. As an instance: when discussing the now much-mooted question of Colonial Home Rule he said that had he ever a voice in rejecting or accepting such proposals his vote would be cast amongst the "noes." Well now my vote for accepting this is equal to his. I may say just a word on the oath. Our friend Mr. MacCabe read out the Ten Commandments. All I can say is what our catechism taught us in my days was: it is perjury to break your oath. I consider I'd be perjuring myself in breaking the oath I had taken to Dáil Eireann. An oath to me is a most sacred vow made in the presence of Almighty God to witness the truth, and the truth alone. Therefore that is another reason of mine. Now men here may think little of an oath, and think little of a word of honour, but I repeat here a little incident that happened twenty minutes before Pádraig Pearse was executed in Kilmainham, and it will let you know what he thought of a word of honour much less an oath. He, poor fellow, had something written for you Irishmen, and to-day I am ashamed of some of you here. Had that note then come out from Kilmainham, I am sure we would have had many more on our side in rejecting this Treaty, but the priest whom he wished to take out that document had given his word of honour to the British Government that he would take out nothing. Pádraig asked him to take out the document— at least, to take it to his mother, because he knew that if his mother got it, it would be put into the right quarters. The priest told him: "Pádraig," he said, "I have given my word of honour to take out nothing.""Well, Father," he said, "if you have given your word of honour don't break it, but ask those in charge to give mother this because she is bound to hear it sometime and I want to get it out now." If that document had been got out—it may be got yet, but, alas! I am afraid it is too late—the people here would not have made up their minds so willingly to go the wrong path and not the right path. People will say to me: "The people of Ireland want this Treaty." I have been through Ireland for the past few years and I know the hearts and sorrows of the wives of Ireland. I have studied them; no one studied them more, and let no one here say that these women from their hearts could say they accept that Treaty. They say it through fear; they say it through fear of the aeroplanes and all that has been said to them. Now I will ask you again there are some members here who may remember what Pádraig Pearse said in the early autumn of 1915. He said it when he was inspecting the Volunteers at Vinegar Hill. He told them there on that day: "We, the Volunteers, are formed here not for half of Ireland, not to give the British Garrison control of part of Ireland. No! we are here for the whole of Ireland." Therefore Pádraig Pearse would not have accepted a Treaty like this with only two-thirds of his country in it. In the name of God I will ask the men that have used Pádraig Pearse's name here again to use it in honour; to use it in truthfulness. One Deputy mentioned here about rattling the bones of the dead. I only wish we could recall them. Remember, the day will come— soon, I hope, Free State or otherwise— when those bones shall be lifted as if they were the bones of saints. We won't let them rattle. No! but we will hold what they upheld, and no matter what anyone says I feel that I and others here have a right to speak in the name of their dead (applause).
I think too much time has already been wasted in idle recrimination, by trying to fix responsibility for this error and that error. Now the plenipotentiaries are accused of doing this thing, and the next moment the Cabinet, or perhaps the President, is accused of doing that thing. Cannot it be agreed that we are all out for the one thing—to secure the freedom of our country and that if we differ at all we only differ in ways and means (hear, hear). Every one of us is entitled to our opinion. One side disagrees with the plenipotentiaries. They disagree with Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins on a point of policy. Another side disagrees with President de Valera on a point of policy; but let not this disagreement blind us to the sterling worth of these three men—these three men who, above all others, have done the most to break the enemy's strength in this country. I still refer to England as our enemy in the country. I hold that I, as a more or less silent member of the Dáil —this is the first time I attempted to speak—that I am as much responsible for everything that occurred as well as everybody else. I was present here at the Session of the Dáil before our plenipotentiaries went across. I heard the correspondence read from Lloyd George to the President, and heard the replies from the President to Lloyd George. I heard what took place at the different Cabinet meetings; certain documents were handed out to us, and on that data I am in a position to make up my mind. I am sure everybody here is in the same position. Let us, then, get away from all these things of trying to fix responsibility and, even at the eleventh hour, consider the Treaty before us on its merits. There is not very much to be gained by making flank attacks in a place like this, however decisive they may be elsewhere. I think, too, it should be agreed that no party—unfortunately there are two parties—that neither party has the monopoly of patriotism, that neither party has the monopoly of principle, and that neither party can claim to be the sole custodians of the nation's honour. Now as regards the Treaty I am in favour of it for two or more reasons. The first reason is that only one or two out of the 35,000 people I represent are against it; and the second reason is that I believe the judgment of my constituents is correct on this occasion under the circumstances. As regards my right to voice the feelings of my constituents, that has already been threshed out here and in the Press. I need not labour it except to say, in my own opinion, the will of a constituency should prevail against the will of any one individual who may happen to be their mouthpiece at this particular time. It cannot be denied that this Treaty has the support of the country. The position is so grave that Deputies should weigh it very carefully before they take the responsibility of flouting the practically unanimous voice of the sovereign people of Ireland, before they refuse point blank to faithfully voice their people's will, because the people's will is mightier than the sword. I do not propose to go into the military situation. I did that in Private Session and all I would say now is that I'd ask the Deputies to bear in mind the facts I placed before them. The officers here who have the courage to stand up and state what they know to be true from experience, stated it also in Private Session; but now, unfortunately, in Public Session these same officers have been called cowardly and dishonest, said to be lacking in military knowledge, and I think some one said it would be better if some of them had fallen in the fight. Well we cannot prevent any civilian who happens to be a member of this House making remarks like this—intolerable and unseemly remarks. We cannot stop that, but the people who fought with us officers know us, and those people will not believe those remarks; and I hope, too, that if we have to go to fight again, and if we have to fight along with these people, that they will have no less confidence in us. I do not propose to occupy your time by going into the merits of the Treaty, except very superficially. The principal clauses that appeal to me are the evacuation of Ireland by England's forces, civil and military, and the setting up of our own army, trained and fully equipped. That, I admit, is not freedom, but as the Minister of Finance said in his statement, it is freedom to secure it. Our comrades died, in my opinion, to bring about freedom, and I think it is towards freedom when a British soldier or a British policeman, in uniform, cannot be seen in the streets of Dublin; I think it is towards freedom when we will have our own National Army established here to safeguard the liberties of our people. The deaths of our comrades, and their deaths alone, brought that about (applause). Parnell was quoted here as saying that no man has the right to set limits to the march of a nation. No man has a right to try to make a nation travel faster than it is able without replenishing it on its journey, if it finds it difficult to reach the goal. I know that freedom is worth all the blood that has been shed for it; but why to-day should we, fully alive to all the facts of the situation, why should we sacrifice the manhood of Ireland, the young men that we require so much to build up the future of the Irish nation? Have the young men of Ireland to be sacrificed to get up a step on the ladder, and in order to secure what this Treaty gets for us—to get the British forces out, to get the Irish forces in, and to develop our own life in our own way, free from interference by England's armed forces or, what is worse, by peaceful penetration. There are a number of things in the Treaty that we do not like, but we must understand that liberty in every country is restricted by treaties and mutual understandings in relation to its neighbours. I think there is not a small nation in the world has secured so much by physical force alone, without any outside support, as Ireland (hear, hear). Through the success of our arms and methods of warfare it has been rendered possible for us to negotiate a Truce and later on a Treaty. On the ratification of this Treaty Ireland passes from what was known all over the world as a domestic question to a position of sovereign status in the League of Nations. In practice, Ireland is invested with almost all the attributes and essentials of nationhood. There is no longer any obligation on us to take part in England's war or pay for it. We have full control in internal affairs and full control of external trade and commerce. But, what is most important of all, we have the language, because without the language I do not think we would be qualified for full independence. Now we may assume the battle for freedom is only beginning; we have now our destinies in our own hands and if we do not secure freedom then it is our own fault. I think we will secure our freedom; I prefer to trust the Irish people. Let us, in God's name, go ahead and build the Irish nation. I have confidence, whatever may be our decision here, whether the Treaty be accepted or rejected, that every man and woman in this assembly and every man and woman outside this assembly will work together harmoniously for the freedom of our country. In South Africa the Boers had a Republic before the South African War. They were beaten by force of arms and forced to submit to more humiliating terms than this Treaty offers us. Would it be considered dishonourable on the part of the Boers, if opportunity offered, if they tried to secure back the Republic again? I hold there is no finality in this world, and to secure the freedom of our country there is more surety by ratifying this Treaty than by rejecting it. The position we occupy to-day has been truly won by the living and the dead. It is not our goal, but I hold that it brings the ball inside the fourteen yards' line. Let us maintain our position there and by keeping our eye on the goal the major score is assured. I now come to the North-East, and I want to say a little on that because very little has been said about it up to the present. At the outset I should say that I am not very enthusiastic over the Ulster clauses in this Treaty, and I think nobody is; but no one in this House. I think, suggests now, or ever suggested, that Ulster should be coerced. We are unanimous about that. It is all very fine to say, as has been said by another Deputy, that the plenipotentiaries and those who support them have betrayed Ulster. The people of Ulster will understand at once that such idle statements as those, not followed by acts, will bring them no farther. Only one Deputy speaking against the Treaty dealt with Ulster at any length at all. He was interrupted and asked for his policy and he said that he had none because it was none of his business. I hold it is the business of everyone who has a policy with regard to Ulster to bring it forward; and surely, above all, it is the business of a man who lives in Ulster and represents an Ulster constituency to come forward with a policy. I say he is the man and not the plenipotentiaries or the men who support them. If he has a policy I'd prefer to have his opinion. I have spent the greater part of my life in Ulster. I know it well. I know the business men of Ulster don't want separation because they fear economic pressure—the boycott has given them a taste of that. In the Gazette every week at least two or three of the principal men in Belfast appeared there for bankruptcy. With bankruptcy staring numbers of others in the face they will see that the Northern Parliament comes to terms with the rest of Ireland, and if they refuse to do it they will kick them out. Though the present war was between Ireland and England, Belfast has lost thousands of pounds in business. Since the Truce they have made a desperate effort to bring back their old customers again, and now of their own free will I am satisfied that they will not cut themselves adrift from a prosperous Ireland. I could quote instances we had of bitter dissatisfaction on the part of Ulster business men with the policy of Messrs. Coote, McGuffin and Co. To put it shortly, the business men of the North-East want to join up with the rest of Ireland. They are in favour of this Treaty being ratified, but the Orange assassins are against it. Personally I would prefer, and a number of Ulster Catholics agree with me, that it would be better, perhaps, that Ulster should not come in with the rest of Ireland for a time; that they should stay out just for a trial. Later on they will find out that they have to come in, and they will be easier spoken to. It was put up here also that part of Monaghan, part of Cavan and part of Donegal would be included in the Northern Counties' Parliament. The man that made that statement does not know anything about Monaghan. He paid one or two flying visits to it and he is not going back. I know the people of Monaghan, and I know the Unionists of Monaghan. The non-Catholics there are not fools. We made it very clear to them that if they were prepared to join up with the enemy they would get the same treatment as the enemy. Nine or ten of them have got the treatment of the Black-and-Tans, and they admitted they did not get that because of their religious belief, but they got it because they were part and parcel of the enemy. The people of the Six Counties know that under this Treaty they will be dealt with, as the Minister of Finance said in Armagh, not only justly but generously. Now I may be asked how do I reconcile with that statement a statement of my own at Armagh in which I said I was prepared to use the lead on Ulster. I did not then, nor do I now, recommend the lead for the purpose of bringing Ulster in with the rest of Ireland. What I said was that if the Orangemen were to murder our people in cold blood as they had done in the past, then they should get the lead. If they continue to do this my prescription remains the same. Let us consider for a moment what will happen our unfortunate people in the North-East if this Treaty is rejected. My opinion is that there will be callous, cold-blooded murder there again. Of all the atrocities committed in this country by the Black-and-Tans, and God knows there were many, there was nothing to equal the atrocities committed on our Catholic people in Ulster by the “A” and “B” Specials. We have instances of it in Belfast, Dromore, Cookstown, and Newry. I could describe it to you but I do not want to do it. Their action in each case was the same: they took out our people's eyes, put sticks down their throats, broke their arms and legs, and then shot them. That was the policy adopted, and it was the same everywhere; so it must have been an agreed policy. That is the lot that is before our people there if we are not in a position to defend them and ourselves. The Ulster Deputies who vote against this Treaty must understand they have a very grave and solemn responsibility on their shoulders if they throw Ulster back into the position it was in before. I can see no way of avoiding it except acceptance of this Treaty. I know Ulster better than any man or woman in this Dáail because I have faced Ulster's lead on more than one occasion with lead, and in those places where I was able to do it. I silenced them with lead. I would have silenced them in very case with lead if I had as much lead as they had. A lot of people are talking about the non-Catholics of Ulster but it was very little help and encouragement. I got from these people for the last two years. I was trying to carry on the war against the combined forces of Carson and England, and I can lay claim to as many successes as any man in the country. If the fight should begin again I will, please God, take my place in the fighting line, but I will take good care I will have with me some of these men who are trying to make history for themselves—I will take good care that they take a little risk also. One Deputy in referring to our army officers said: “You who profess to be soldiers.” He said it very ironically and sarcastically. I say, and I am speaking on behalf of our soldiers, we do not profess to be anything but what we are. We are not, perhaps, qualified for the positions we hold; we have no military training, but we are doing the very best we can; and I thought no person chosen to be a member of this House would stand up and criticise statements made by an officer in Private Session. I did not think that day would come so soon. I do not pretend to speak for the dead. All I will say is—“Lord rest the souls of those brave men who fell, and those who fell under my command. God forbid that I would betray them.” At this very moment there are over forty brave men awaiting the hangman's rope. Seven of these come from my Brigade and I got a message from them. That message is: “Don't mind us; we are soldiers; do what you think best for Ireland.” (applause). I rather think that would be the message a great many of our Volunteer dead would give if they were able to do it (applause). That message does not say they would accept this Treaty; that message does not say they would reject this Treaty; it says they leave it to the Government of Ireland to do what we consider as best. I do not want to keep you very much longer. As regards the oath, I am no authority on these things, but I must say that my conscience is at ease on the matter. Until we secure an isolated Republic there will be some symbol or some form of connection with Britain. While there is there must be some form of oath or recognition, and we should not be wasting our fine over any form of words which, when examined very carefully, will have mote or less the same meaning. There will be always some form of recognition of his Brittanie Majesty until we get an isolated Republic. It was said here that the Treaty was signed under ducess, under threat of war. Well, I do not think, personally, it was necessary that any threat of war should be made. I hold we are in a state of war now; it is only suspended by the Truce. We have our liaison officers—if there was peace we would not have liaison officers—and the enemy have their liaison officers. If negotiations had broken down, or if at any time the Truce broke, there would be a resumption of hostilities. The plenipotentiaries were aware of that and they should have known a breakdown in the negotiations would have led to a resumption of hostilities. I think that is what was in their minds when they said they were signing under the threat of a terrible war. In conclusion I want to say what I think might happen in the event of the Treaty being rejected. It is only my own opinion. It is generally admitted here that there will be either war or political chaos. Personally I would prefer war. I agree with another speaker who said he would prefer war to political chaos. I fear that political chaos would break the morale of our army in less than six months' time. There would be unofficial shootings here, unofficial raids there, indiscipline and, perhaps, disaffection. Should that happen, all our efforts are in vain, for our only hope is in the army. For this reach I believe we must renew hostilities if we are to keep the army knit together in a fighting bond. I do not know would England declare war on us. I am not concerned with that or have no fear personally. But I feel we must renew hostilities if we are to hold the army together, and my opinion is that the army is our only hope. I am glad that a Deputy from Cork, in speaking for his Brigade, said he was prepared. I know he is prepared, and I know the army in my constituency is prepared; but I know also they have a policy and I know a good many others here know what they are going to do. But fighting on the field as a soldier is one thing, and taking responsibility for it here is quite another thing. Personally I consider, and I think I said it before, that the chief pleasure I felt in freedom was fighting for it. But as a Deputy with a very big responsibility on my shoulders I have to weigh the pros and cons very carefully. I might be asked, and probably would be asked: “What about the army if the Treaty is ratified?” My answer to that is: we are not bound to have an army under this Treaty if it is ratified. It says “we may.” But I say this: we can have an Irish Volunteer Army that will be a model to the world in discipline and courage.
I have very little to say on this subject that is before us, because I stand definitely against this so-called Treaty and the arguments in favour of acceptance— of compromise, of departing from the straight road, of going off the path, and the only path that I believe this country can travel to its freedom. These arguments are always so many, at all times and with all causes, while the arguments in favour of doing the right and straight thing are so few, because they are so plain. That is why I say I have very little to say. An effort has been made here from time to time by speakers who are in favour of this Treaty, to show that everybody here in this Dáil was prepared mentally or otherwise to compromise on this point, during the last few months. I wish, anyway, as one person, to state that is not so. I am speaking for myself now on this, and I state certainly that consciously or unconsciously, I did not agree to any form of compromise. We were told that when the negotiations took place we were compromised. We have been told that since this Dá meeting. This is not so, because negotiations do not connot compromise. Entering into negotiations with the British Government did not in the least presuppose that you were going to give away your case for independence. When the British Government, following upon the Truze, offered, as it did, to discuss this whole case of Ireland, Ireland had no option but to enter into such a discussion. To refuse to have done so would have been the worse thing for the Irish case, and would have put Ireland very wrong in the eyes of the world. There was no surrender involved in entering into such a discussion; and when the plenipotentiaries went on their journey to England they went, not as the plenipotentiaries of a Republican Party in Ireland, not as the envoys of any political creed in this country, but they went as the Envoys Plenipotentiary of the Irish Republican Government, and, as such, they had no power to do anything that would surrender the Irish Republic of which they were plenipotentiaries. They were sent there to make, if they could, a treaty of settlement—personally I doubt if it could be done—but they were not sent to bring about what I can only call a surrender. I am not placing the plenipotentiaries in the dock by stating this, but I am stating what are plain facts. It is no reflection on them to state these things. In item 3 of the instructions given to the plenipotentiaries it is stated: "It is also understood that the complete text of the draft Treaty about to be signed will be similarly submitted to Dublin's and a reply awaited." The Dáil had no chance of discussing this Treaty as it should be discussed because the ground was cut from under the feet of the Dáil with the publication of this Treaty to the world before the Dáil had a chance of discussing it. The delegates, I repeat, had no power to sign away the rights of Ireland and the Irish Republic. They had no mandate to sign away the independence of this country as this Treaty does. They had no power to agree to anything inconsistent with the existence of the Republic. Now either the Republic exists or it does not. If the Republic exists, why are we talking about stepping towards the Republic by means of this Treaty? I for one believed, and do believe, that the Republic exists, because it exists upon the only sure foundation upon which any government or republic can exist, that is, because the people gave a mandate for that Republic to be declared. We are hearing a great deal here about the will of the people, and the newspapers—that never even recognised the Republic when it was the will of the people—use that as a text for telling Republicans in Ireland what the will of the people is. The will of the people, we are told by one of Deputies who spoke here, is that this Treaty shall be ratified (hear, hear). The will of the people! Let me for a moment carry your minds back to the 21st January, 1919, and I am going to read to you— I make no apology to this House whatsoever for the length of time I keep them in reading it, or to the people of Ireland for the length of time they are waiting while this thing is being discussed—I am going to read the Declaration of the Independence of this country based upon the declared will of the people at the elections in 1918, and ratified since at every election (applause). This is the official translation of the Declaration of Independence as contained in the official report of the proceedings of the Dá on that date:
"Whereas the Irish people is by right a free people: and whereas for seven hundred years the Irish people has never ceased to repudiate and has repeatedly protested in arms against foreign usurpation: and whereas English rule in this country is, and always has been, based upon force and fraud, and maintained by military occupation against the declared will of the people and whereas the Irish Republic was proclaimed in Dublin on Easter Monday, 1916, by the Irish Republican Army acting on behalf of the Irish people: and whereas the Irish people as resolved to secure and maintain its complete independence in order to promote the common weal, to re-establish justice, to provide for future, defence, to insure peace at home and goodwill with all nations and to constitute a national polity based upon the people's will, with equal right and equal opportunity for every citizen: and whereas at the threshold of a new era in history the Irish electorate has, in the general election of December, 1918, seized the first occasion to declare, by an over whelming majority, its firm allegiance to the Irish Republic: now therefore we, the elected representatives of the ancient Irish people in National Parliament assembled, do, in the name of the Irish nation, ratify the establishment of the Irish Republic and, pledge ourselves and our people to make this declaration effective by every means at our command: we ordain that the elected representatives of the Irish people alone have power to make laws binding on the people of Ireland, and that the Irish Parliament is the only Parliament to which that people will give its allegiances we solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland to be an invasion of our national right which we will never tolerate, and we demand the evacuation of our country by the English Garrison: we claim for our national independence the recognition and support of every free nation of the world, and we proclaim that indpendence to be a condition precedent to international peace hereafter: in the name of the Irish people we humbly commit our destiny to Almighty God Who gave our fathers the courage and determination to persevere through long centuries of a ruthless tyranny, and strong in the justice of the cause which they have handed down to us, we ask His Divine blessing on this, the last stage of the struggle we have pledged ourselves to carry through to Freedom."
There, to my mind, is the will of the people. There is the Irish Republic existing, not a mandate to seek a step towards an Irish Republic that does not exist. The will of the people! The British Government has always sought, during the last century of this struggle in Ireland, to get the consent of the Irish people for whatever it wants to impose upon them. If the English Government wanted to make concessions to Ireland it had the power to do so even though it had not the right, and we could take whatever it was willing to give without giving away our case. But this Treaty gives away our case because it abrogates the Republic. The British Government passed a Home Rule Bill; it is still upon the statute book of the British Government and was never put into force because, when the time came to put it into force, the British Government found that the Irish people did not want it. The British Government since then has passed Act after Act and each time has been forced to overlook its own Acts, to forget about them, and to-day through this Treaty the British Government seeks to gain the consent of the Irish people to this measure. The British Government intends to try and find a way out because it has more experience than ourselves of what it means to have the people of Ireland with it— to get the assent of the Irish people to whatever it wants to do with Ireland. The will of the people! Why, even Lloyd George recognised the will of the people at one time. Speaking in the House of Commons in April, 1920, he said: "If you ask the people of Ireland what they would accept, by an emphatic majority they would say ‘we want independence and an Irish Republic.' There is absolutely no doubt about that. The elected representatives of Ireland now, by a clear definite majority, have declared in favour of independence—of secession." Now, when Lloyd George admits that, it seems strange when we ourselves say that we never believed in the Irish Republic; that it was only a myth, something that did not exist, and that to-day we are still working towards the Irish Republic. To my mind the Republic does exist. It is a living tangible thing, something for which men gave their lives, for which men were hanged, for which men are in jail, for which the people suffered, and for which men are still prepared to give their lives. It was not a question so far as I am aware, before any of us, or the people of Ireland, that the Irish heifer was going to be sold in the fair and that we were asking a high price so that we would get something less. There was no question of making a bargain over this thing, over the honour of Ireland, because I hold that the honour of Ireland is too sacred a thing to make a bargain over. We are told this is a question as between document referred to as No. 1 and Document No. 2. At this moment there is only one document before this House, and when that is disposed of as I do hope it will be disposed of in the proper way, then we will deal with any other documents that come up in the same way if they are not in conformity with the Irish Republic. There is no question before us of two documents or two sides, but there is a question of maintaining the existing Republic of Ireland or going back on it, throwing it out and accepting something in substitution for it with a view to getting back again to the Irish Republic. Let us face facts as we did so often during the last few years. We are not afraid of the facts. The facts are that the Irish Republic exists. People are talking to-day of the will of the people when the people themselves have been stampeded as I know because I paid a visit to my constituency. The people are being stampeded: in the people's minds there is only one alternative to this Treaty and that is terrible, immediate war. During the adjournment I paid a trip to the country and I found that the people who are in favour of the Treaty are not in favour of the Treaty on its merits, but are in favour of the Treaty because they fear what is to happen if it be rejected. That is not the will of the people, that is the fear of the people (hear, hear). The will of the people was when the people declared for a Republic. Under this Treaty—this Treaty constitutes concessions to Ireland. It is, if you like, a new Coercion Act in the biggest sense in which any Coercion Act was ever made to Ireland. One thing you must bear in mind and make up your minds about: the acceptance of this Treaty destroys the existing Irish Republic. Whether we like it or not we become British subjects, British citizens. We have now a common citizenship with the English people, and evidently there is going to be a new citizenship invented—Anglo-Irish Citizenship. It is well known what you are going to get under this Treaty. The very words "Irish Free State," so-called, constitute a catch-phrase. It is not a state, it is part of a state; it is not free, because England controls every vital point; it is not Irish, because the people of Ireland established a Republic. Lloyd George may well to-day laugh up his sleeve. What must his thoughts have been, what must his idea have been, when he presented this document for signature? "If they divide on this, we can let them fight it out, an we will be able to hold the country; if they accept, our interests are so well safeguarded that we can still afford to let them have it." Rejection, we are told, would mean war. I, for one, do not hold it would mean immediate war at all, but I do hold that the unanimous rejection of this Treaty would put our case in such a fashion before the world that I do not believe England would, until she got some other excuse, dare to make war on the basis of the rejection of that. The question is not how to get a step towards the Republic. The question for us to decide here as the Government of the Irish Republic is how we are going to maintain the Republic, and how we are going to hold the Republic. Instead of discussing this Treaty here we should be considering how we are going to maintain the Republic after that Treaty has been rejected and put upon one side. We have acted up to this in the belief that the authority for Government in Ireland has been derived from the Irish people. We are now going to change that. If this Treaty goes through we are going to have authority in Ireland derived from a British Act of Parliament, derived from the British Government under the authority of the British King. Somebody stated here there was more intelligent discussion down the country on this Treaty. I agree perfectly with him. I was in the country and I met the people at their firesides. I met people in favour of the Treaty, but I found to no one under any delusion about it whatsoever. We have been told, presumably as a reason for accepting this, that before in Ireland chieftains and parliaments, and representatives of the people and admitted the right of the British Government to exist here. We were reminded of King John visiting the Irish chiefs and we know what happened the Irish chiefs when the Irish people realised what the Irish chiefs had done. We know the day when you had the Irish O'Donnells the "Queen's O'Donnells," and the Irish O'Reillys the "Queen's O'Reillys." I wonder will we ever see the day when we have the Irish Republicans the "King's Republicans." The Parliament of 1782 did not represent the people of Ireland because it admitted the King as its head. This is the first assembly in the history of Ireland, since the British occupation, which is representative of the people of Ireland. It is here because the people of Ireland wished at to be here. The Parliament Party after years of efforts, when they in their turn had done their best, they went the way that all compromising parties go. Compromising parties may last for a time, may do good work for a time in so far as they are able to do that good work, but inevitably they go the way all compromising parties go. As it was with the Irish Parliamentary Party so it will be with the Irish Free State Parties and I say that with all respect. The Irish people have, thanks be to God, the tradition of coming out and speaking their true selves no matter how many times they may be led astray. Has the whole object of this fight and struggle in Ireland been no secure peace? Peace we have preached to us here day in and day out—peace, peace, peace——
Peace with honour.
Yes! that is what we want. We do not want peace with surrender, and we do not want peace with dishonour. If peace was the only object why, I say, was this fight ever started? Why did we ever negotiate for what we are now told is impossible? Why should men have ever been led on the road they travelled if peace was the only object? We could have had peace, and could have been peaceful in Ireland a long time ago if we were prepared to give up the ideal for which we fought. Have we now to give it up for the sake of this so-called peace? If peace is that which is to be the pursuit of the people then this Treaty will not bring them peace because there will be restless souls in the country who will not be satisfied under this Free State to make peace in this. Free State possible. I use no threats, but you caused bring peace my compromise. You cannot being peace to a people when it does not also bring honour. This Treaty brings neither honour nor anything else. It brings to the people certain material advantages, such, I say, as they could have had long ago if they were prepared to sink their identity as Scotland did. Ireland has never been prepared to do that, and I do not believe she shall ever be prepared to do it. If this is a step towards the Republic how can it be contended that it means peace? Under the terms of this Free State are you going to be strong enough to say to the British Government "Hands off"? You will have an army, it is true, but it will be an army in which the incentive which kept the fight alive for the last few years will be lacking. Who will tell the British Government, when the time has come to tell it, keep its hands off? Will you be any more united then than you are now? Will all of you in favour of this Free State look forward to the time when you are going to say to the British Government: "You must not have anything more to do with us"? You will not. Human nature, even the strongest human nature, is weak, and the time will inevitably come, if this Free State comes into existence, when you will have a permanent government in the country, and permanent governments in any country have a dislike to being turned out, and they will seek to fight their own corner before anything else. Men will get into positions, men will hold power, and men who get into positions and hold power will desire to remain undisturbed and will not want to be removed, or will not take a step that will mean removal in case of failure. I only speak my mind on this matter. But to me it is very clear there is only one road this country can travel. It is the road we tried to travel together as best we could. It is the right road, and now if there should be a parting of the ways some of us, if God gives us the strength and courage, will travel it no matter what. Under this Treaty the Irish people are going to be committed within the British Empire. We have always in this country protested against being included within the British Empire. Now we are told that we are going into it with our heads up. The British Empire stands to me in the same relationship as the devil stands to religion. The British Empire represents to me nothing but the concentrated tyranny of ages. You may talk about your constitution in Canada, your united South Africa or Commonwealth of Australia, but the British Empire to me does not mean that. It means to me that terrible thing that has spread its tentacles all over the earth, that has crushed the lives out of people and exploited its own when it could not exploit anybody else. That British Empire is the thing that has crushed this country; yet we are told that we are going into it now with our heads up. We are going into the British Empire now to participate in the Empire's shame even though we do not actually commit the act, to participate in the shame and the erucifixion of India and the degradation of Egypt. Is that what the Irish people fought for freedom for? We are told damn principles. Aye, if Ireland was fighting for nothing only to become as most of the other rich countries of the world have become, this fight should never have been entered upon. We hoped to make this country something the world should be proud on and we did not enter into the fight to make this country as the other countries, where its word was not its bond, and where a treaty was something to be struggled for. That was not the ideal that inspired men in this cause in every age, and it is not the ideal which inspires us to-day. We do not seek to make this country a materially great country at the expense of its honour in any way whatsoever. We would rather have this country poor and indigent, we would rather have the people of Ireland eking out a poor existence on the soil; as long as they possessed their souls, their minds, and their honour. This fight has been for something more than the fleshpots of Empire. Peace! peace is the consideration. Is this Treaty going to bring you peace? No! Under Clause 7 you are going to be made a cock-pit of the next naval war in which England is engaged, because your docks and coast-line are given up, unfortunately, to the British Government to use as it sees fit. As against that we are told if we do not accept this Treaty we are going to have war. Every argument that I heard here to-day in favour of this Treaty is the argument I heard years ago against the question of every attaining an Irish Republic. Every argument used here was the argument used by the Irish Parliamentary Party when fighting elections in this country. Every argument I heard here to-day was the argument everyone here had to answer in reply to those who faced them years ago. War! we are told. Were the people of Ireland afraid of war when they faced conscription in this country? They were threatened with annihilation. It was a question then of whether they would fight at home or abroad and they decided to fight at home. When the General Election came on they were threatened with war again. They were told that the corollary to acceptance of the Republican mandate or the Republican platform was war. The people of Ireland did not flinch. They accepted the issue and the issue, as we have seen since, was not war, but the people of Ireland did not flinch. This Treaty reminds me of the Treaty of Versailles, of the miserable end up to that bloody holocaust when the nations of the earth, after fighting supposedly for ideals, parcelled out amongst themselves the spoils of the young soldiers. The misguided young men who fought in that conflict were left disillusioned. Is this Treaty going to be a Treaty of Versailles? Are the Irish people to be told that when we spoke of a Republic we did not mean it? Are the Irish people to be told that when we spoke of independence we meant to be inside the British Empire and that when we spoke of ideals we meant morally? I say no! We did not mean that. You could point out to me for all time, day after day as long as you like, the material advantages to be gained under this Treaty, and it would remind me very much of what I have read about our Saviour. Having fasted for forty days He was taken by the devil to a height from which He was shown the cities, towns and fair places of the earth and told He could have all those if, bowing down, He would adore the devil. We are told to-day that we will get these things in return for the selling of our honour. I say selling of our honour; others here may not mean it; others here may not have the same view of it as I have, but my view is that we are selling the honour of Ireland for this mess of pottage contained in the Treaty. Under, the future of this Free State, if it goes through, when are we going to know when we will have sincerity in Ireland about the Republic? After you get the Free State what will you take on hands, and what do you mean when you talk of something next? The Government of the Free State will, with those who support it now liking it or not, eventually occupy the same relationship towards the people of Ireland as Dublin Castle does to-day, because, it will be the barrier government between the British and the Irish people. And the Irish people before they can struggle on will have to do something to remove that Free State Government. That, I think, has been the history of this country most of the time, as it is the history of most countries that go the way now urged by those who support the Free State. If the Free State is accepted and put into operation it will provide the means for the British Government to get its hold back again. It could not beat Ireland with force; it did its best. No war the British Government initiated here could be worse than the terrible mental strain imposed on the people during the last eighteen months. And that war was not levelled so much against the Irish Republican Army as against the people of the Irish Republic, because the British Government had a surer view of the people than we had. They felt that if they could crush the people of Ireland that would mean the end of things in Ireland until the next necessity arose. The British Government did not, for very obvious reasons—because of what it would mean on conditions abroad, and because of what the outside world must necessarily conclude—allow this warfare, as far as it could prevent it, to become one as between the British Army and the Irish Army. But it tried to maintain the appearance of it being a warfare conducted by no representative people, by people who counted for nothing against the forces of the civil authority, and that is why the Black-and-Tans and the Auxiliary forces were organised for special service here. The British Government still keep up the pretended show of maintaining the civil authority in Ireland, even though that civil authority had to be maintained by force of arms. And it was because the British Government saw there was a tangible government here, that the Irish Republic did exist, that it had its hirelings to murder its representatives, to murder Lord Mayor MacCurtin, to murder Mayor O'Callaghan, and to do to death Terence MacSwiney. The British Government recognised that there was a Republic, even though some of our representatives now do not, and the British Government recognised that it must be at the representatives of the Republic that blow must be struck. It knows to-day that the people have the Republic in their minds, in their spirit, and that any act they can do cannot crush it. We placed Ireland upon a pedestal for the first time in the history of this country. For the first time in the history of this country we had a Government established by the directly declared will of the people. That Government rested upon the surest of all foundations and placed Ireland in a position it was never in before, since its subjection. Ireland was put forth to the world as a headlight, as a beacon beginning to shine for all time to guide all those who were struggling. The whole world was looking to Ireland for a lead. This downtrodden, this miserable country, as some of you called it, was, during the last few years, the greatest country in God's earth. "Are we always going to adopt the attitude of seeking something that is a little in front of us while the world always moves on?" Ah! how little that Deputy knew of what the world is. How little that Deputy knew that here in this country of ours is contained the germ of great and wonderful things for the world. The world did not move on; it is Ireland has moved on and Ireland has left the world far behind. We can get very insular sometimes, but it is well for us sometimes to see that we are not so downtrodden and miserable as some of us think we are. This country was one of the best in the world. It has fought a fight that will ring down through the ages, and maintained itself well against all the tortures and inflictions that a foreign tyranny knows so well how to impose. It maintained its way up to this stage, and now, not through the force of the British Government, not because of the weight of the British armies, but through the guile of the British Government, and the gullibility of ours we are going to throw away the Irish Republic. Somebody talked about facts. These are facts. We are told that we must have unity. Yes, we want unity, and had unity in Ireland during the last few years, but we had it only on one basis—the basis of the Republic. Destroy that basis and you cannot have unity. Once you take yourselves off that pedestal you place yourselves in a position to pave the way for concession after concession, for compromise after compromise. Once you begin to juggle with your mind or conscience in this matter God knows where you will end, no matter how you try to pull up later on. You can have unity by rejecting this thing; you cannot have unity by approving of it. Rejection means that the Irish Republic exists here, and that we are still the Government of the existing Irish Republic. Accept it and there is no Irish Republic existing because you have destroyed it, because you have abrogated the right of the Dáil, and this Dáil exists here as the Republican Government. It did not exist here for the purpose of changing its status. It was placed here by the people to work for the recognition and the interests of the Republic, not to take steps towards the gaining or abolition of it. The Republic is here because it is in our wills. Destroy that by accepting this Treaty and there is no Republic. And you will not have unity and you will not have peace. You can have unity, though you may not have peace, but you certainly will have unity and honour by rejecting this Treaty. Accept it and you will destroy the Republic, and even though you gain for Ireland the material advantages—you point out control of our language, et cetera— though you gain these things you throw away that which Ireland found since 1916, that which, after all, imbued Ireland in this phase of the struggle. 1916 did not represent the will of the people; 1916 found very little support from the people, but 1916 has been supported by the people since, and it has been 1916 that based their ideal when they declared for a Republic. From 1916 down to the present day that struggle has gone on. Person after person has been induced to come in and do his or her part. Now, if you accept this Treaty you are going to establish in this country a Government that does away with the Irish Republic. It is not a step towards the Irish Republic but a step away from it. That Treaty admits the right of the British Government to control the destiny of Ireland. Even though you have control of some of the material resources of the country you are going to put yourselves in the position of being within the British Empire, and outside, away from the rest of the world. During the last few years we were beginning to occupy a unique position in the world. As long as we looked upon ourselves as being independent we could appeal to the outside world and so long were we certain of receiving sympathy and help. Now you are inside the British Empire if you accept this Treaty, and, turn where you will, you will be told you are a domestic concern for the British Empire. The League of Nations—what does it mean to this country? The League of Nations—the League of Robbers! We stand, some of us, where we always stood, and despite all that has been said in favour of this Treaty we mean to continue standing where we stood in the past. Whatever may happen, whatever the road may be in front of us, we intend, with God's help, to travel it. The time will come yet—I hope it will come soon—when those who are going to depart from the straight road will come back to it. Then we will be together to the end of this fight. I am sorry to inflict such a long statement upon the Dáil. It was not my intention to do so when I stood up, but ideas keep coming to your mind, probably, when you feel so keenly on a matter which represents the ideals for which one has struggled and fought, the ideals for which one is prepared to do the same again, but for which one is not prepared to compromise or surrender no matter what the advantages may be. (Applause).
The House adjourned at 1.30 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.
The House resumed at 3.45 p.m., the SPEAKER (Dr. Eoin MacNeill) in the chair.
I want to say at the beginning, with regard to the last speaker before lunch, that I agree practically with every word he said. There is one thing I want cleared up because it may be a very fundamental difference. During the speeches in this Dáil there has been constant repetition of the words "Irish Republic," and it has given the impression that the declaration of the Irish Republic was a declaration in favour of a form of Government as distinct from what I understood it to be. I remember in 1917 a meeting at which the President spoke in the Mansion House, where he said that he accepted the words "Irish Republic" as the best means of making it perfectly clear to the world that we have stood for absolute independence, whereas it seems to me during the course of the discussion in the Dáil that a great many people are fighting for a Republican principle rather than national principle. Now the last speaker quoted from the Declaration of Independence read at the time, in January, 1919. Now I have always understood by a Free Irish Republic that we meant an independent Ireland, and I think that is borne out by that Declaration of Independence which was read by the member for Galway, and I think it bears out the point made by the member for Monaghan yesterday, namely, that the Irish Republic was looked upon as a means to an end, as one of the weapons used in fighting for the freedom of our country. In the Declaration of Independence adopted by the Dáil in January, 1919, it says: "Whereas the Irish people is resolved to secure and maintain its complete independence." It says that, and it goes on to say—and it is before you to-day—that "In order to promote the common weal, to re-establish justice, to provide for future defence, to insure peace at home, and good-will with all nations, and to constitute a national polity based upon the people's will with equal rights and opportunities for every citizen," et cetera. That was said to be the object we had in mind by complete independence. Now, in reading the present Treaty it seems to me that it tends to promote the common weal; to re-establish justice; to provide, possibly to a limited degree, for future defence; to secure peace at home and good-will with all nations; and to constitute a national polity based upon the people's will with equal right and opportunity for every citizen. It is because I see in this Treaty means to attain those ends that I am supporting this Treaty. And in the declaration of the Dáil in January, 1919, which ratified the establishment of the Irish Republic, it ordained that "The elected representatives of the Irish people alone have power to make laws binding on the people of Ireland, and that the Irish Parliament is the only Parliament to which that people will give its allegiance. We solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland to be an invasion of our national right which we will never tolerate, and we demand the evacuation of our country by the English Garrison." Those things were laid down at that first meeting of the Dáil, and I think that, without being worried by words, including the words "Irish Republic," there is only one thing to guide us here now as ever, and that is the well-being of the Irish nation. I have always held, and I hold still, that for the complete well-being of the Irish nation sovereign independence is required. We are faced now with this Treaty, and with no alternative to it as far as I can see. I propose supporting the Treaty, because I am satisfied, looking at it, I think, as impartially as possible, that not only does it make for an immediate improvement in the future of this country, but, judging by the possibilities of what will happen by ratification or acceptance, it seems to me that we shall be much nearer the ultimate goal at any period such as I mentioned, by acceptance than by rejection. And I consider that in accepting—for always the one basis as a guide for our actions in this country is the welfare of the Irish nation that we are not in any way breaking any pledge or abandoning any principle by doing what we are doing. It seems to me that we have one thing to rest assured of, the one thing that was made clear by the last few years' history of this country, and that is, that the tradition of Irish Independence and of Irish Nationality was too strongly embedded in us to be overcome by British Terror, or by the disastrous period which preceded 1916. And I say that, given the powers, limited though they be to some small extent by this Treaty, there is no fear whatever of any going back. I look upon the Treaty as an entrenchment of the position so far gained, and I don't see that it is any abandonment of principle. Many things have been asserted about this Treaty which I consider quite unwarranted by any ordinary reading, and I agree with the speakers in this House that it will be the duty to read it in the light most favourable to ourselves. The last speaker said that the Government of the Free State would occupy the same position as Dublin Castle occupies now with regard to the people of this country. That may be so, but there will be this difference: our grievance with Dublin Castle is that it is there, and that it is not in our power to remove it except by physical force, and we have not had, so far, that force to remove it; but I cannot see how anyone can read this Treaty in such a way as to think that any Government which is undesired by the Irish people cannot be removed by the express will of the Irish people (hear, hear). The last speaker asked how would we know when the time would come to fight again; how would we know when the time would come to strike for what he called an Irish Republic. In the declaration that is posted around the walls now which was made by the leaders of 1916 it was pointed out that in the last three hundred years Ireland had risen in arms some six or seven times. We have no reason to think that our generation or the generations coming after it will be less worthy Irishmen than those who have gone before; and it seems to me that if we accept this Treaty it will be worked by the people as well as they can, always working as Irishmen, thinking of the well-being of their country; and when the time comes when they find that there is anything in the Treaty that comes between them and the well-being of their country they, by the very oath they take in it, and by the whole tradition of our people, have only one course before them, and that is to act for the well-being of their country without any regard to anything else whatever. It has also been generally understood here that a Treaty is a thing which is made for eternity. It is no such thing. It is well recognised that a Treaty exists as long as it suits two parties to keep it. The last speaker suggested if ever it was for Ireland's good that the Treaty be abandoned we were bound in honour to keep to it. I think it is established the world over that a Treaty exists only until such time as one of the parties to it formally denounces it. I am satisfied that this Treaty bears that interpretation better than any other. It means this, that we do allow a certain limitation of our sovereignty by occupation of certain of our ports; that is to say, that we allow our sovereignty to be interfered with to a rather less degree than the sovereignty of Spain is interfered with by the occupation of Gibralter. I would ask the member for Cork, who stated his objection to it was that he would see British ships from his house every morning, if he thinks at the present time Spain, in its weak condition, is justified in not considering the feelings of the people of Algeciras, who also see British forces every morning when they look out? Does he think that Spain is insulted and that she is bound in honour, without any regard for circumstances, to declare war, and to declare war continually on England until that one point is effected? I do not think so. There are one or two points in the Treaty which have been laboured very much. One was the Governor-General, as he is called. The first clause in this Treaty says that the Executive shall be responsible to Parliament in this country. In Britain the Executive is, in fact, responsible to the Parliament, but in form it is responsible to the King. In Ireland, under the Treaty, it is clearly laid down that the Executive is responsible to the Parliament. The opponents of the Treaty contend that the King or his representative on the Council constitutes the Executive. They quoted the Canadian Constitution, 1869, section 9. That may be so if you like. In that case the King or his representative is responsible to the Parliament according to Clause 1 of the Treaty, and the Parliament is responsible to the people. Therefore I shall put the interpretation on the Treaty that the representative of the King of England will be responsible to the Parliament in Ireland which is responsible to the people. If the Crown or its representative means anything more than a symbol of State as Mr. Childers contends, he is the servant of and responsible to the Parliament and the people. Thus we have in the Treaty itself the very demand of the President: "That the legislative, executive and judicial authority of Ireland shall be derived solely from the people of Ireland." I am satisfied that this Treaty bears that interpretation, and does recognise the sovereignty of Ireland. Sovereignty is of the people and is unalienable, and for that reason I say that, having only one formula to guide us—it is a formula which is not a mere formula, but absolutely basic— that, as the servants of the Irish nation, without abandonment of principle or without any breaking of oaths, we are doing a thing it is quite feasible for us to do in supporting this Treaty. The Republic has been spoken of as if it were a thing existing unchallenged. If that is so, I don't know what we were fighting for. We were fighting for the independence of our country, and that independence was interfered with because England still held our country. Now we have England recognising— whether she agrees that she is recognising it or not—this document in front of us is a recognition of the sovereignty of Ireland, but there is still a limitation of the independence of Ireland. That limitation is agreed to, say, under duress. I don't know of any Treaty that is not signed under duress, and I am quite satisfied that the Treaty was signed under duress not only by the plenipotentiaries, but by the representatives of the British Government. Everyone agrees that it was never love of justice or love of Ireland that induced Mr. Lloyd George to agree to that Treaty. He agreed to it because it was in our power to make it worth his while to agree to Irish independence to that extent. For that reason he signed it under duress and we signed it under duress. By accepting it we have sufficient belief in the Irish people that they will conserve their energy and build up their country, so that at any future time, if it be found that England is acting as the enemy of this country, we will be in a better position to deal with her than we are now (hear, hear). And I am quite satisfied if at any time Ireland is in a strong enough position to challenge England with a fair chance of success, if England still persists in acting as our enemy, that she will receive final confirmation of the desire of the Irish people for the complete independence of their country. (Applause.)
During the adjournment I took the opportunity to test my constituents, and to the best of my ability during that short time I felt the pulse of my constituents. I found the following: those individuals who, to my certain knowledge were always against us favoured the Treaty. It was to be expected of them. Those whom we brought with us in the present fight supported the Treaty first because it was boomed in the Press as a great victory. Now they feel compelled to accept it as a mere compromise. The sympathisers and the workers themselves find themselves in a very curious position. They now, what they did not at the beginning of this Session, understand what the Treaty actually is. They realise that we have not won; that Lloyd George has won. They believe that no matter whether you call this, Government of Dáil Eireann, Government of the Republic, or call it the Government of the Saorstát, that, for good and all, if we accept this Treaty sovereign independence is gone. They feel, some of them, that they should accept the Treaty under duress, but if there is any possibility of uniting and practically unanimously rejecting this Treaty they would prefer that such would be done. Then there are those who bore the brunt of the fight during the past two or three years. They are —and I have ascertained their opinions —almost unanimously against this Treaty, war or no war. Now one argument that I had to meet that was a fairly serious argument from my point of view; the Press boomed it and the country swallowed it: it was the point of view expressed by Deputy Mellowes that we as a Dáil had, before we sent plenipotentiaries to London, definitely made up our minds to agree to compromise. I do not wish to enter into details to controvert that statement. There is an official publication of the Dáil containing all the correspondence that passed between President de Valera acting in his capacity as President of the Republic and Lloyd George; and I defy any single individual to show me throughout the whole of that correspondence by letter and telegram where the interests of the Republic were compromised. Now, the question of the mandate gives a good many Deputies a serious trouble of mind. What is my mandate? The only mandate that I ever remember having received was a mandate to come here to this second Dáil, and to the best of my ability safeguard the interests of the Republic established on the twenty-first January, 1919.
What about 1916?
Now that mandate is clear enough. The individuals who asked me to accept that mandate have not asked me to change. I have in my pocket resolutions passed by Sinn Féin Executives in my own area, and the most important Councils in my own area—those resolutions have not found their way into the Press—reiterating confidence in the Dáil, and expressing at the same time confidence that their representatives will do what they think best in the interests of Ireland. That is my mandate. But even so I find that, without considering the individuals whom I have mentioned, that I have found out that I can also take from them a somewhat similar mandate. Support of the Treaty by those who support it in my constituency is based upon fear, and such a mandate cannot be a true mandate. I have found that the thing that is uppermost in the people's mind is peace rather than the Treaty. Everybody, including myself, is anxious for peace. The people are longing for peace. All are not for the Treaty. It is discussed and it is also cursed. Well, if I find that the people want peace rather than the Treaty, and if I believe that the rejection of this Treaty will give us an opportunity of establishing a real and lasting peace, I would be interpreting, to the best of my ability, the wishes of those individuals who long for peace by voting against the Treaty. The last Deputy who spoke seemed to imagine that England does not mean that this Treaty will be binding. Why are Treaties made at all otherwise? If treaties were not binding we could have war practically in every decade. England would not put certain words in this Treaty unless she honestly intended to see that they were carried through. We know that even upon certain points in the Treaty that she even threatened war. I would imagine that she meant what she said when she asked that this certain phrase or clause would be inserted in the Treaty—if she threatened war. The Treaty is no empty formula to her. She, and not us, has won on principle. The Deputy from Cork, Deputy Walsh, gives an instance of how the provisions of the Treaty could be circumvented, and he stated that Germany gained a few extra points out of the Treaty of Versailles. I maintain that, as regards essential details, that certain points may be gained from treaties from time to time, but I maintain that on fundamentals treaties are essentially binding. They may alter in respect of questions about finances and particular clauses, but I do not believe that on such fundamentals as the questions of sovereignty or defence that England does not recognise that that Treaty is binding. The Deputy who spoke before me claimed that it was not irrevocable in so far as it was signed under duress. What was the duress under which the Treaty was signed? All the plenipotentiaries who signed were not there, and I hold that the duress to make that Treaty invalid should be personal and immediate duress. I do not believe that any of the plenipotentiaries were threatened with immediate death at that period, or that they were threatened with immediate torture. The duress was not immediate. If the matter was brought as a contentious matter before any International Court of Law I believe that, irrespective of England's strength, England would win. Now about the question of the alternative if this Treaty is not ratified. I give those who are supporting the Treaty, or a majority of them, credit, in so far as I believe them to be out for an ultimate Republic. Now I maintain that this Treaty is irrevocable, and to secure an ultimate Republic—the only way we could do it is to cast aside that Treaty, and that means a declaration of war upon England. It is a matter of choice therefore with me as to whether war will be immediate, or whether we must be prepared for war. Let the people understand both alternatives. The alternative on our side is immediate war, and the alternative on the other side, in so far as the Treaty does not satisfy the aspirations of those who signed it, is future war. Some of the speakers who support the Treaty do not believe that war will be necessary. They believe that we could gradually encroach upon this Treaty and that we could take "this thing and this thing and this thing," as I heard it expressed. I do not believe that that is at all possible. For instance, we will just conceive in our minds the principal people who will work the Irish Free State it is does happen to come into operation. They will be people, the majority of them—I do not mean those who are supporting the Treaty, but I mean those who will come into the Irish Free State Government from out side—whose purely material and sordid interests will hamper your movements in that direction every way they possibly can. The Deputy from Cork, Deputy Walsh, offered a parallel in South Africa. Does he designedly for get the efforts that South Africa made during the period of the great war in Europe to regain a Republic? She was faced with the bitter opposition of her own people, and she lasted but a few months. What will happed if, in endeavouring to secure an ultimate Republic in the future, we try to take the opportunity of England's temporary weakness at such a period and attempt by force of arms to re-establish a Republic? The chaos that you imagine will follow the rejection of this Treaty will be nothing to the chaos that will follow such a course if adopted at such a period. I maintain that our moral position is such at the present time that we can better face war now than we can in ten or twenty years' time. The people of Ireland imagine that it is only solely on the question of the ratification of this Treaty that the alternative of war has been spoken about. I think the members of the Dáil will readily admit that they themselves faced war when they directed the President to transmit the reply he did transmit to Lloyd George on the 24th August last. They will admit that there was a probable break when our President refused to take as granted the letter that he sent to Lloyd George at Gairloch on the 13th September as not having been handed to Lloyd George when the open threat of war was contained therein, and the Dáil accepted that and the country does not seem to have realised it. Even the second last telegraphic communication sent by our President to Lloyd George invited the alternative to open warfare at that time, and the warfare did not come although it took ten full days for the British Cabinet to make up their minds, from the 19th to the 29th September. They did open negotiations, and the result was that our plenipotentiaries went to London. Therefore those who imagine that the only alternative is war are not acting fairly towards the country. If the Treaty is unanimously or otherwise rejected it is due to the President and his Cabinet to formulate a policy, and with that confidence in him that won so much for Ireland, I firmly believe that our confidence in him will not be misplaced at such a juncture. The last speaker said that one of my objections to the Treaty was that a British naval force would be in occupation of Cork Harbour, and that from my residence I would see it evening, night and morn. That was not my argument. My argument was that from my reading of the Treaty I can see the British naval force not there for five years, but there for ever. He pressed forward as an analogy the situation in Algiers. The situation is somewhat different. Algiers is, in different sense, de facto dependent on France.
Algeciras, which is part of Spain—not "Algiers" which is the opposite side altogether.
I don't know anything about that. I understood him to speak of Algiers. I maintain that certain countries are de facto dependent on other political bodies, but those other countries are better off than we will be under this Treaty in so far as those countries themselves are sovereign. Deputy Fitzgerald, I think, says he believes that Ireland will have sovereign independence under this Treaty. Sovereignty is to me the complete independence of a state from all other states, that the state derives its rights solely from itself, and are native to itself; that they are not delegated to it by another state; they are not exercised by virtue of powers conferred on it by any other state or body; that legally and judicially the state is not subject to any other political body. The position that we find at the present time—the Government of the Irish Republic functions on rights derived from itself and native to itself— bespeaks the Government of the Irish Republic as a sovereign assembly. Under this Treaty the authority of the Irish Free State is delegated to it by the British Parliament as legally and judicially subject to the British Crown, and as such, I maintain it cannot be accepted that Ireland under the Treaty will be a sovereign independent nation. The only other thing that it can be is that it will be a subordinate nation of the British Empire. I have heard arguments brought forward here in regard to the sovereign independence of Canada and Australia. In so far as their authority is derived from Britain and is exercised under this superior jurisdiction of Britain I cannot accept it that Australia and Canada are sovereign nations. After the great war the Allies imposed obligations on Germany—and Austria as well—obligations which she could not resist, but Germany still remains sovereign. Legally and judicially its authority was its own and was derived from itself and was not delegated to it by the Allies. I would really prefer this Treaty to recognise the fundamental of Irish sovereignty and be prepared to sacrifice other considerations such as financial considerations, trade clauses, aye, and defence clauses, but only for a certain period. Persia, Afghanistan and others allow other nations to exercise certain powers which are their's alone by right, but they are still sovereign. The reason why I would prefer such is this, that the people at all times will agitate for material concessions. The people as we know them will not at all times agitate for the ideal. The people will be very slow indeed to agitate for the idea of sovereignty which we have now lost under this Treaty if we accept it, when war will be the only method of regaining it. I do not know of any nation on this earth that does not claim that sovereignty as a natural attribute of the state. Why do we not demand the same right? You call it the Irish Free State. Fundamentally it is not so. Now about the clauses of the Treaty. I will not debate them. The clauses containing the oath and the Governor-General, and the point about common citizenship are repulsive to every individual whom I have met in my constituency who has created the present situation or assisted to create it. It is, undoubtedly, causing them great anxiety. The Deputy from Cork, Deputy Walsh, said that if he thought the Treaty would bring disunity to Ireland he would vote against it. From his inference I gathered that he meant Ulster. Does he take into consideration a more grievous and a more disastrous disunity than the one he spoke of? I speak of the disunity that is bound to come—the disruption of the national movement. Deputy O'Duffy said that if he were offered the alternative to war or chaos that he would prefer war. I believe national chaos is bound to come out of the acceptance of this Treaty unless some superhuman effort is made by somebody who has not yet come along to try and retrieve the position that we have lost. The Deputy also stated that the peaceful penetration of England is now at a standstill. I maintain that it is now and now only that the peaceful penetration of Britain is percolating through this country. He also mentioned about prisoners in Belfast awaiting execution. I am much in the same position myself. There are several individuals from my own constituency at the present time under sentence of death in Cork prison. At the same time I well remember that a communication was sent to the Press by the Brigade Commandant who at that time was responsible for the operation for which those men were adjudged guilty, that those men were perfectly innocent. From what I know of those men I do not believe that they would wish that their predicament should be allowed to trouble my conscience in this matter, and I firmly believe that they are quite prepared to stand by any decision the Dáil would make. But I know the attitude of one, personally. He has been sentenced to fifteen years and he is at present serving that sentence. He is well known to practically every Deputy in the Dáil, and when visited last Christmas by his sister it was natural that something should crop up about the Treaty. Now I maintain that there is very little difference between a man under sentence of execution and an individual who is condemned to fifteen years' penal servitude. Some, I think, prefer to be shot straight away, but this individual said that he wished it would be known that he would prefer to rot inside in jail for the fifteen years than accept this Treaty (applause). There is, at least, one opinion from an individual who has just as much to say as the individuals who are under sentence of execution. Now, I think it was the President who mentioned the point that if what is contained in this Treaty were contained in a further Act that England thought fit to impose upon the country, that it is quite possible that we would seize upon the Act and work it to the best advantage. Deputy MacGarry sought to bring an unfair inference from what was contained in James Connolly's book admitting his acceptance of the Government Act of '98. There is a difference in going forward and going backward. James Connolly, at that time, by seizing on that Act would be going a step forward. In taking that step he would not have signed any treaty bartering away the sovereign rights of the Irish people. In conclusion I wish to state that the men in my area who count will never accept this Treaty. There is nothing in the Treaty which binds England to remove the English Garrison out of this country. There is stated in a subsequent letter sent by Mr. Lloyd George to the Chairman of the Delegation, Mr. Arthur Griffith, that they will evacuate Southern Ireland. I wonder where they will go to? Then again, there is nothing in the Treaty that does not give England quite a legal right to bring her troops into Ireland whenever she deems so fit.
Except the Irish Army.
The men who count in my area, I say, will never accept this Treaty. They ask that we should be united and refuse to accept it, because it will bring Ireland no peace. I am of the one mind only; and I ask that this Treaty be unanimously or nearly so rejected. After that we will put our minds together and try and re-establish our own position and make one more try. Those men have asked me to bring forward this suggestion here, that we should not accept this, and that we and the whole nation should make one more serious effort to try and re-establish the position that we had before December 5th.
A Chinn Chomhairle, I have never at any time during the past three years, at any of the sessions, taken up very much of the time of this assembly, and now, at its last session, I certainly am not going to do so. In that respect at least I will try to be consistent. I am voting for the Treaty and I also am supporting its adoption; and although I recognise that it confers a status on this country that it had never since the English invasion, at the same time I recognise that it does not give us everything that we wish for. To me, anyhow, it is a compromise, but surely there are times, there are occasions—critical occasions— in a nation's history when it is justifiable to compromise, especially when the object of the compromise is not an ignoble one. It is a necessary compromise to me, anyhow, but it certainly is a compromise without dishonour. Speaking of compromises, to me it seems that the signing of this Treaty was the final result, the culmination of a whole series of compromises, during the past four or five months—all necessary compromises. One of the very first acts in the negotiations was a compromise. Our army was not defeated, it had not surrendered, and yet the enemy capital was selected as the meeting place for the two delegations. As a political proposition in relation to an immediate settlement with England it seems to me that the Republic ceased to exist four or five months ago. I agree with Deputy Mellowes that the real Republic, the Republican ideal, still exists, and is still cherished in the hearts even of those people who support this Treaty. I think that it has been unfair and unjust the criticism that has been levelled at the Delegation over these negotiations. They were selected by this assembly and by the Cabinet of this assembly to make a bargain, not on the Republican basis, but on the basis of association with Britain's Commonwealth. They made that bargain and they have brought back the bargain, and I think, considering the governing circumstances, that it is a pretty good bargain. I am firmly convinced of one thing regarding this Treaty, and it is this: but for the oath contained in it, ninety-nine per cent. of this Dáil would accept it, as a compromise at least. I say that the oath is just as unpalatable to those who are voting for the Treaty as it is to those who are voting against it. Some Deputies referred to the clash of the oath, the incompatibility of the oath with the Fenian tradition. A night or two before the adjournment I happened to be reading the recollections of a Fenian leader, and I came across in it his opinion of the oaths to English monarchs. As a personal explanation I may say here that I wrote out that opinion and showed it to a friend out here in the lobby, and next day it appeared in leaded type in one of the Dublin newspapers, surrounded with a frame. I want to make it clear that I had nothing to do with getting it into the paper. The Fenian leader I refer to was John O'Leary. I think every member of this assembly will agree that John O'Leary, up to the day of his death was a consistent and unrepentant Fenian. I have here this opinion. It is not taken out of its context. "Let England cease to govern Ireland, and then I shall swear to be true to Ireland, and to the Queen or King of Ireland, even though the Queen or King also so happen to be Queen or King of England. It has never been with me, and never shall be, any question of forms of government, but simply freedom from foreign control." If I may say so, while reading the book memory carried back to me the first occasion in my life on which I saw the Fenian leader, John O'Leary, and the first occasion on which I saw the Chairman of the Delegation, Arthur Griffith; they were chatting together in a Dublin street. I think if John O'Leary were in this assembly he would see eye to eye with Arthur Griffith on this question. I do not intend to delay the House any longer. I shall finish up by saying this: If I were convinced this Treaty meant the final reconciliation of Ireland with England I would have very little hesitation in deciding upon which way my vote should go. But it is not the end (hear, hear). The adoption of this Treaty will enable us, as the Chairman of the Delegation said in his opening address, to rebuild here in this country, the old Gaelic civilisation that went down at the Battle of Kinsale (hear, hear). Its adoption will mean the revival and spread of Gaelic culture. It will mean the leavening into every body's Irish life the old traditional, and the old heroic memories. These things are not mentioned in the Treaty clauses, but they are implied there, and any one of them is just as important as, say, fiscal autonomy. Finally, a Chinm Chomhairle, I support this Treaty because it places in the hands of the Irish nation powerful weapons, material weapons and spiritual weapons, that will enable it to achieve its full destiny. (Applause).
I, like other Deputies, have received several messages within the last few days from my constituents, and one of those I received was this: "I have no doubt but that eighty or ninety per cent. favour the ratification here, more especially after reading de Valera's substitute oath." Now, I have got friends in this assembly as dear to me as my own life, but I certainly must say I never read that oath in No. 2 Document.
You know where it is.
I wish now to be as brief as possible. Like most other Deputies I have, since the adjournment, received letters, telegrams, and resolutions from public bodies and individual voters in my constituency requesting, in some cases demanding, that I vote for ratification of this so-called Treaty. While I have every possible respect for the individual opinions of my correspondents, I wish to point out that they are, after all, only individual opinions. They are not the opinions of the people. I would say the same of Councils. They are not the people either. They are the elected representatives of the people just as we are here, but our Republican mandate, our national mandate, from the people, is much clearer and much stronger than the mandate given to any County Council, District Council or Board of Guardians. I may be asked what about the Comhairle Ceanntair of Sinn Féin which, by a majority, has called upon me to vote for the Foreign Minister's motion. I am well aware— none better—of the weight and importance of the Comhairle Ceanntair of Sinn Féin in my constituency. I know its members and their worth. During the last three years they have worked well and worked sincerely with me, and for me in the Republican cause. I have always consulted the Comhairle Ceanntair, and have always paid the greatest attention to its views where matters affecting my constituency were concerned, but even it is not the people of Fermanagh. The Comhairle Ceanntair—and I am deeply greatful for it— honoured me by selecting me as a Republican candidate, but it was the people that elected me as a Republican Deputy to Dáil Eireann; and I have yet to be convinced—resolutions, letters and telegrams like those I have already received will not convince me —that the people have turned down the Republic that seven short months ago they elected me to maintain and uphold. If the people of Fermanagh gave me a mandate to vote for this "fleshpots of Egypt" alternative to renewed war that the British Government is seeking to force upon us, a mandate given in the same manner and carrying the same weight as that which they gave me last May, I admit that I would feel bound to consider it; I would feel bound to act upon it; I would feel bound at once to place my resignation in their hands, because I could not, even at their bidding, forswear my allegiance to the Irish Republic. But before I place my resignation in their hands I would, as within my right and in accordance with my duty, record my vote on the issue that is before us here and now. During the last week's organised campaign—to stampede or try to stampede the Dáil Deputies into approving of this Treaty in the British Government's ultimatum—we have heard a lot in speeches and Press letters about precedents for our obeying, like automatons, the alleged wishes of the people; and examples have been cited down to Abraham Lincoln. None of these examples is, in my opinion; analogous to the situation in which we find ourselves to-day. In all of them the questions at issue were questions at best of domestic politics; with us the issue at stake is the maintenance or surrender of our national independence. We can find a true analogy to our present position in our own time in the case of the Boers. In 1902 the British Government presented to the Boers the same ultimatum as it has now presented to us—take these terms or take a war of extermination. When the representatives of the Transvaal and of the Orange Free State met in combined session at Vereeniging to consider the terms it was found that, while one section of the Deputies were given a free hand, another section had a definite mandate from their constituents, and it was generally felt that such a mandate would prevent a free exercise of their judgment by the Deputies who had received it. The difficulty was alluded to in his inaugural address by the President of the Transvaal Republic, and before the discussion opened, General Botha asked for a direction on the matter. Judge Hertzog, the legal representative of the Orange Free State, and an acknowledged authority on constitutional law, stated—I quote his exact words: "It is a principle in law that a Deputy is not to be regarded as a mere agent or mouth-piece of his constituents, but, on the contrary, when dealing with public affairs, as a man vested with full powers—with the right, whatever his brief may be, of acting to the best of his judgment." General Smuts, States-Procureur of the Transvaal, endorsed Judge Hertzog, and their decision was unanimously accepted. The Deputies with a specific mandate felt themselves as free to use their own judgment as the Deputies without one, and the decision at which they eventually arrived was at variance with the mandates that many of them had from their people. I am not now concerned with the character of either the mandates or the decision of the Boers. I cite their case simply to prove the principle that members of all parliaments are, in their acts and votes, free agents. I quote it to show, in spite of the campaign of intimidation being pursued by the pro-British Press in Ireland, that we Dáil Deputies here in Dublin, are as free agents as were the Boers at Vereeniging. In fact we are freer, because none of us has received from our constituents any mandate of any kind on the question that is before us.
I will answer you. If I leave this matter here some of our pro-British papers will probably be asking: "If all this is true, where do the people stand?" I answer that the people stand——
For the Treaty.
Where they always stood and always will stand, as the moral source and fount of all national authority. The Boers recognised this. While declaring their Deputies to be free agents they also, in the words of the President of the Transvaal, declared that the surrender or otherwise of their independence was a question that must be left to the decision of their people. We declare the same. We recognise the people as sovereign, we admit that their will is supreme, we acknowledge them as the final court of appeal. But I wish to point out that this so-called Treaty question has not yet reached that final court of appeal. It is still before us—the Dáil—and it is for us, as free agents, to decide it to the best of our judgment. If the people are not satisfied with our decision then they can turn it down and turn us down too. But in the meantime, as free and unfettered members of the Parliament of the Irish Republic, we are privileged, nay, we are bound, by every principle of law, by every obligation of right, by every canon of duty, to speak and act and vote as we individually and conscientiously believe to be in keeping with our oath to the Republic. Now some reference was made during the course of the debate to the Republican form of Government as if that form of Government had ceased to exist, or practically never existed. We all believe that the Minister of Finance was a man who spoke the truth according to his conscience, and spoke the words he meant to follow. In the beginning of 1921 he stated in an interview with an American journalist, when speaking of the Loan: "We raised £400,000. Of this sum we lost only £29, which was taken by British authorities from one of our collectors. The Government carrying on the Irish Republic to-day cannot talk of compromise." Now, the Treaty is objectionable to me for various reasons. I remember for many years realising that a wall was around Ireland, and the voice of Ireland choked. Now, the wall was pulled down by as great an Irishman as any who sits in this House to-day and that is the Minister for Foreign Affairs——
It won't do, John.
I thank you, Art (laughter).
John, you are the man that asked me to make peace at any price.
Yes, but not at the price of the Irish Republic.
It will not do, John.
Whatever my friend Arthur Griffith says, we can have our little jokes (laughter).
It is no joke.
If that wall be built around Ireland, every submarine cable and all the messages sent out to the world are choked; and if England has her hand on the throat of the nation, how can you develop the foreign trade of the nation? Some of our friends on the other side who are voting for this so-called Treaty seem to have blinded themselves into the belief that they can be Free Staters and remain good Republicans as well. They may so blind themselves but they cannot blind us, and they cannot blind the country or the world. No one knows better than the plenipotentiaries that as far as those who voluntarily accepted are concerned, this Georgian State is a final abandonment of the claim to independence; and those who support this Treaty will very soon find also that, on an issue of national principle like this there can be no such thing as running with the hare and hunting with the hounds (applause and counter-cheers). The two oaths are too fiercely conflicting to admit of either reconciliation or approachment. Any attempts to compose them must fail now as it failed before.
What two oaths?
This oath and the oath to the Irish Republic. We had, as far as the oath is concerned, the same situation in the days of the New Departure. No matter who may talk about free Irish Constitutions there is no difference between this oath that is before us now and the Westminster oath then, except this: the West-minister oath was only a single-springed trap for unwary Irishmen, while this new one that the plenipotentiaries want us to accept secures us for ever with a treble spring. When the policy of the New Departure was proposed the Irish Republican Brotherhood, which Mr. P. S. O'Hegarty described a couple of weeks ago as the sheet anchor of Irish nationalism, promptly and absolutely turned it down. Thus foiled in Ireland. Davitt and his friends sought to win the support of the Clan-na-Gael; and the Supreme Council of the I.R.B. immediately sent the veteran, John O'Leary, to America to counteract their efforts. Addressing the Clan-na-Gael in New York, O'Leary denounced the proposal as immoral and impolitic. "There is," he said, "to be a pretence of loyalty. but in reality treason all along the line. I do not believe in a policy of dust throwing and lying, but that is the policy of the New Departure. The Fenian Movement is purely a national movement. Though I were to stand absolutely alone I would resist this dishonest and unholy alliance. I believe in righteous means as well as righteous ends." What John O'Leary said of the New Departure Republicans in 1878 can, with even more force, be said of the self-deluded Free State Republicans in the Dáil to-day (applause). In spite of all this, Davitt, O'Connor Power, J.F.X. O'Brien, John O'Connor, and other members of the Fenian organisation persisted in their policy and took the Oath of Allegiance. When John O'Leary learned what they had done his only comment was: "I wish the British Sovereign joy of the British oaths of turncoats who have already taken and broken the Republican oath." Would not the unconquerable old Fenian leader, if he were here to-day, use the same words? Would he not employ even stronger language of those Dáil Deputies who are tumbling over each other in their eagerness to break the Republican oath that they took in August last to take this Oath of Allegiance to the British monarch and thereby to help the British Government to enforce this, its latest Coercion Act in Ireland? Whatever the result of the vote on this question, we who are against the surrender of our national independence can face ourselves, face the people, and face the country with the consciousness that we have done our duty to the Republic that we swore to maintain and uphold.
Why not face Fermanagh, John?
I will go, and I will tell you how I will come out of it. I consider, a Chinn Chomairle, you are not doing your duty (laughter). Is it because there is a lasting friendship between the Foreign Minister and me that you allow these interruptions? (laughter).
It is because you came to me three times and asked me to make peace at any price.
Do not lose your hair (laughter). We may find ourselves in a minority as Pearse and his comrades were in a minority in Easter Week; but like them we will have the satisfaction of feeling that we have saved the soul and body of the nation from those who would wittingly or unwittingly kill it, for the purpose of bringing ease and comfort to the material body. We can face the future with hope, nay with confidence, because we have with us the two elements amongst our people with whom the national future lies. We have the women with us, and no cause that is backed by the national womanhood of the country can ever fail, just as no cause that lacks their support can end in anything but disaster and disgrace. We have the youth with us, too—the youth of the Irish Republican Army— human beings endowed by God with the power of deciding what was right and what was wrong; not mere goods and chattels to be carried off, and used as their absolute property by our anticipated Free State majority. For opportunism, for supineness, for contemp-tibleness, the daily Press of Ireland is unique in the journalism of the world. However, the young men of the army, I am proud to say, have proved themselves too straight, too true, too unselfish in their love and loyalty to the Republic to be decoyed from the path of honour, of righteousness and of duty, to be deceived into breaking their soldier oaths by such transparent political expediency on the part of a majority of their Headquarters Staff. We have the young men of the army with us, we have the womanhood of the nation with us, and with these two elements on its side the ultimate triumph of the Republic is assured; because, as Terence MacSwiney said: "Those who walk in old ruts and live in trembling may bend the knee and sign their rights away; but one wronged man defrauded of his heritage can refuse to seal the compact, and with one how many, thank God, will be found to stand, for the spirit of our youth to-day is not for compromise." (Applause.)
I rise to support the Treaty. In what I have to say I hope not to hurt the feelings of anyone. I am not going to follow on the same lines as the last speaker. I have only this to say about that speaker: he has no right or authority to speak for the Irish Republican Brotherhood—to speak in this Dáil— and I doubt his authority to speak for the army either. He did not go to his constituents to find out what their views were; he knew their views already. It is all right to say the Press is stampeding the people; it is all right to compare the Press of 1916, but the comparison does not hold to-day. The old Boards who passed resolutions against the 1916 Rising have been wiped out. I hold in my hand here a pamphlet; it is issued by Sinn Féin, and it gives a list of the Republican Councils in Ireland: in Ulster there are forty-two Boards—sixteen Republican, ten Republican-Nationalist, and sixteen Unionists; in Leinster there are thirty-eight Boards and the thirty-eight are Republican; in Munster there are forty-seven Boards and the-forty-seven are Republican; in Connacht there are twenty-seven Boards and the twenty-seven are Republican. Now, these are different Boards to the Boards that passed resolutions in 1916. You boasted of the fact that you had wiped out the old Nationalist crowd and a good deal of the Unionists and elected Republicans in their places. When these Republicans pass resolutions Deputies like Professor Stockley and Deputy O'Mahony tell the Deputies to go to the devil, and that they would do what they liked in the Dáil.
When did I tell the Deputies to go to the devil? (Laughter.)
I meant the electors.
That the electors must go to the devil! When did I say that?
Not in so many words, but that is the meaning of what you said, anyhow.
I say the mandate given to me was given to me by the people, and I stand by that mandate. The people are the last Court of Appeal.
I object to these interruptions. I think nobody will deny the fact that I know something about elections (hear, hear), and I regret to say I am responsible for having some of the members here to-day (laughter). The 1918 election was not fought on the issue of an Irish Republic. It was fought for the principle and the right of self-determination. At that time we had a cartoon about the vacant chair at the Peace Conference to be filled by Count Plunkett. That is what the people voted on; not on what particular form of Government at all. It is only right to say that. Members have no right to say they were elected on the Republican issue and are not going to take the oath. They were nothing of the sort. I am not going to debate this point of the oath. As one of the Whips I have done my best to control the number of speakers and the length of speeches, but I failed. I am not going to go over the oath. We have lawyers on both sides who have made their cases. Some say they cannot take it, while others say it is all right. I am going to make up my mind like Michael Collins—as a plain Irishman. I see no allegiance in the oath. If there were I would not take it. Every speaker who claims to have English blood is opposed to this Treaty.
Here is one who is not.
They do not understand the people. They put me in mind of the City Councillor going up for election in the Dublin Corporation who went about for a drive in the slum area and wept tears about the conditions of the people in the slums. He knew nothing about it. We sprang from the working people. We know their lives in the slums. We know them better than these people and we know what they want. We have heard Deputies speaking about breaking an oath and what a dishonourable thing it is. Was it dishonourable for the Fenians to send a major into the British Army to corrupt British soldiers? Shame on men who speak like that! I am out to do work for Ireland, and I do not give a damn where a man comes from so long as we do good work for Ireland. Now, I stand for this Treaty, and one of the principal things I see in it is the control of education. Again I say I am a plain man; the education I got was not very much; it was a National School education. On the map we were taught that "all the places marked red are British possessions. Look at Ireland ! A little spot in the Atlantic." We had there a singing chart to teach children to sing, in happy Christian days, about being a happy English child. If that education produced men and women who would go to the scaffold with a smile on their lips for Ireland, will Deputies tell me that the education they will get under their own Parliament, when they are more prosperous, will make them forget all about Ireland, and bow and bend the knee in front of a great Governor-General? Men who say that do not know Ireland. They do not know the people, and have no confidence in the people, and have no right to be members of this - Dáil (cheers). I thought it was always a motto of ours in Sinn Féin to try and unite all Ireland so as to bring freedom in this country and give fair play to everyone. It is a disgrace for a Deputy to get up and complain because the Chairman of the Plenipotentiaries offered fair play to the Southern Unionists. They are our countrymen. We want them with us in this fight as well as anyone.
I do not object to fair play.
I should like to ask when your Councils, working under your Local Government Board, were making a tremendous fight against the British Local Government Board, what happened? When the Dublin Corporation looked for a loan of £100,000, and could not get it from their so-called popular banks, the Governors of the Bank of Ireland, who were all Southern Unionists, granted that loan. If they failed to get that loan they would go down, and if the Dublin Corporation went down the rest of the local bodies went down. Make no mistake. The Governors of the Bank are Southern Unionists and they have done that turn for you. It is well known to the Minister of the Local Government Board and to the members of the Dáil if that loan failed you would not be in the position you are in to-day. You would have broken down. You ought to be perfectly honest in this matter. I do not see in this Treaty the end, but it is an instrument put into our hands, and we can use it for the benefit of Ireland. The alternative is war, or chaos, which is worse than war. Why are we going to do all that? The Minister for Fisheries gave an excuse and I wonder some member did not say that four years ago he consulted his mother and she was against it (laughter). Is it for that we are going to drive the Irish people to the shambles? Is it for that reason we are going to break up the solid ranks we have behind us? One of the great boasts of the Dáil was that they had the people behind them. It is true. But should you reject this Treaty what are you going to do? Can you go to England and the world and say the people are behind us? The President admits the people want this Treaty, and he admits they would take it. Ninety-five per cent. of the people are for it ("No! no!"). Well, the proof of that is, anyone that likes to contest a seat—as far as mine is concerned, I would fight the President or anyone in this Dáil and beat him a hundred to one.
Here is another the same.
It is the same all over the country. We must face that issue. We could do nothing if the people were not behind us. The good, brave fellows in the army could do nothing were it not that the people were behind the army. The Dáil could do nothing only that the people were behind it. The people are not behind the minority in this issue. They are for this Treaty. They are our masters and we must obey them. (Cheers.)
A Chinn Chomhairle is a lucht na Dála, níl mórán agam le rá ach dearfa mé cúpla focal. A Deputy who spoke in favour of the Treaty wanted to know why the young men should be sent to the shambles—I think that was the word he used. I should be sorry to see young men or old men, or women, or children going to the shambles, but when there is a question of right or wrong in it I would be prepared to go to the shambles myself, and I do not see why everybody would not. I credit the supporters of the Treaty with being as honest as I am, but I have a sound objection to it. I think it is wrong; I have various reasons for objecting to it, but the main one is that, in my opinion, it was wrong against Ireland, and a sin against Ireland. I do not like talking here about oaths. I have heard about oaths until my soul is sick of them, but if this Treaty were forced on us by England—as it is being forced—and that paragraph 4, the one with the oath in it were omitted, we could accept it under force; but certainly, while those oaths are in it, oaths in which we are asked to accept the King of England as head of the Irish State, and we are asked to accept the status of British citizens—British subjects—that we cannot accept. As far as I see the whole fight in this country for centuries has centred round that very point. We are now asked not only to acknowledge the King of England's claim to be King of Ireland, but we are asked to swear allegiance and fidelity ("No! no!") in virtue of that claim. Perhaps not, but that is the way I read it. For the last seven hundred centuries, roughly (laughter)—I mean seven centuries— time does seem to be long here (laughter). However a jolly long time, anyway, Ireland has been fighting England and, as I understood it, the grounds of this fight always were that we denied the right of England's King to this country ("No! no!").
And we denied we were British subjects. We are now asked not only to acknowledge the claims of the English King to be head of Ireland, and to acknowledge ourselves as British subjects, but we are asked to give him a right to legalise his claim by giving him a right, by our votes, to the position—that is, as far as we could give him the right. We cannot—nobody can—give him a right to the country, or the votes of anybody give him a claim. It seems to me that the taking of those oaths is a complete surrender of our claims. It is a moral surrender. It is giving up the independence of our country, and that is the main reason why I object to this Treaty. I deny that we are a possession of the British and this Treaty simply makes us one of the British possessions. Various Deputies have said that we surrendered the Republic as soon as we began to discuss any association with England. I cannot understand that position. It is not surrender of the Republic —any arrangement for association with any other country, whether England, or Germany, or Japan, or any country in the world. That did not give away the Republic in the slightest degree. That we gave up the position of an isolated Republic without alliance, with England or otherwise, might be claimed, but certainly we did not compromise in any way our claim to a Republic. We would negotiate association with England but there was no compromise in it, and I am sorry Dr. MacCartan is not here, because in his amazing speech he said he knew the Republic was being killed the moment we began to discuss association. It was his duty, and the duty of any man who thinks as he did then to stand up and tell us that, in ignorance or innocence, we were trying to murder the Republic and kill it; it is not when he sees the Republic dead. Why did he not warn us in the beginning if he thought so? I hold that the Republic is not dead, and will not die, in spite of Lloyd George and the other evil spirits who wander through the world (laughter and cheers). We are told that the country is for this Treaty—it has been told to us in various forms of words, in various ways. The country is not for this Treaty, the country is out for peace. The country wants peace and desires peace. So do we. We all want peace, but we want a peace which will be a real peace and a lasting peace and a peace based on honour and on friendship and a peace which we can keep, a peace that we can put our names to and stand by. That is the sort of peace the country wants, and it is only because the country is misled into believing that this Treaty gives such a peace that the country wants it. The country wants no peace which gives away the independence of Ireland and destroys the Republic which has been established by the will of the Irish people (hear, hear). We have had painted for us in various lurid colours the terrors of war and the desire of the people for quietness and peace. Well, peace is a good thing, but in the days of the famine the people were also told that they should be peaceful and submissive and quiet, and accept what the English chose to give them—the rotten potatoes—and let the corn and food be exported out of the country. There were people then, Republicans and Revolutionists, who encouraged the people to fight for the country in spite of the men with the streak, and free themselves and keep the food in the country. But some of the influences that are working against the country to-day were working against it then and advised peace. They got peace—and death and famine. You can lose more men—their bodies as well as their souls—by an ignoble peace than by fighting for just rights (cheers). The evacuation of the English troops is one of the things that are being held up to us as being one of the very good points in the Treaty. It would be a very desirable thing, indeed, that the English troops evacuated this country, if they did evacuate it, but I hold that Ulster is still part of Ireland and I have not heard a promise that the British troops are to evacuate Ulster. They are still there. I understand they are to be drawn from the rest of Ireland and, as I read the Treaty, there is not one word of promise in it about the evacuation of the British troops. There was, I think, a letter read from the man across—Lloyd George—promising that evacuation would begin in some certain time, but I should like to know was that promise part of the arrangement made between the British Government on one hand, and the plenipotentiaries of the Irish Republic on the other, or was it merely a private arrangement of Mr. Lloyd George? I suppose that the English Government believe—if they were going, even to a slight degree, to evacuate the country, it is probably because they thought that the country would be held for them by the Free State troops. They are depending on the acceptance of the Treaty. If this Treaty is going to be kept are we to understand that the Free State will hold the country for England instead of the British Garrison? I have heard, I have listened very carefully—I think this afternoon was the first time I missed any of the speeches from the beginning, on the 14th December—to those speeches in favour of the Treaty. I have listened most carefully and attentively to see if I could find any way in which I could reconcile my conscience to vote for the Treaty. My position is not the same as when I came to Dublin. I came up opposed to the Treaty. I am ten times more opposed to it since I have heard the speeches in favour of the Treaty in this Dáil. We repudiate the Republic if this Treaty is passed; we repudiate it absolutely. It is a complete surrender and we don't get peace by it, but we get the certainty of a bitter split and division in this country; because we who stand for the complete freedom—for the separatist idea—for the complete freedom and independence of Ireland cannot sit down with our hands across. We will work and fight for it, and so there is bound to be a split. The only chance you could have of unity is by having the whole Dáil unanimously reject this thing. Then you would have the country behind you. Unity is a good thing and I am very sorry to see the unity which was in this Dáil broken up as it is at present, but I would be very much more sorry to see the Dáil united in approving of this Treaty, because unity in wrong-doing is no advantage to the country or the cause (hear, hear). What we have got in this Treaty—the material point, I suppose—is a truncated form of Dominion Home Rule for three-quarters of the country. If Dominion Home Rule were the thing we were fighting for and are satisfied to get—as those in favour of the Treaty seem to think—why, in God's name, did they not tell us that two years ago and not send out all the fellows to fight and lose their lives for a thing they did not want? On what authority did they send out, if the Republic did not exist and was not in being, any poor fellows to shoot and kill any man of any nation? If it was not for the Government of the Republic and the army why did they go out?
They went out themselves.
They will go again, I hope, as soon as this thing is thrown out.
They might, then. I am from Clare (laughter).
There has been talk about compromise—that we compromised the position. I think that is a most unworthy thing to say—a most unworthy thing to say. We had lots of things to bargain about—you had lots of material things to bargain about —questions of trade and commerce and finance and the use of ports; but nobody ever suspected we were going to compromise on the question of independence and the rights of the country. Mr. MacGarry mentioned yesterday Land Acts taken in the past from England. There was no Republic in Ireland when we took the Land Acts from England. That makes a very great difference. And the Republic exists. You can take any Act you like that is consistent with the Republic, but you cannot take anything which gives away the Republic. It is not in your power to give it away. I have been asked by several people in the Dáil and elsewhere as to what views my constituents took about this matter. I credit my constituents with being honest people, just as honest as I consider myself—and I consider myself fairly honest—they sent me here as a Republican Deputy to An Dáil which is, I believe, the living Republican Parliament of this country. Not only that, but when I was selected as Deputy in this place I was very much surprised and, after I got out of jail, when I was well enough to see some of my constituents, I asked them how it came they selected me, and they told me the wanted someone they could depend on to stand fast by the Republic, and who would not let Galway down against (cheers). That is what my constituents told me they wanted when they sent me here, and they have got it (cheers). This is—a Chinn Chomhairle, may I read a letter which has been received to-day from the Graduates of the National University of Ireland? It is not to me, it is to Professor Stockley. "As our representative, we have perfect confidence in your ability to represent us. We disapprove of any interference by individual graduates in the free actions of our representatives. We disapprove further of any attempt to stampede members of the Dáil to act in contradiction of their considered opinions.—M. O'Kennedy."
How many names to that?
Cúig cinn. I am only speaking about my own constituents. There is a point I want to make. I think that it was a most brave thing to-day to listen to the speech by the Deputy from Sligo in reference to the women members of An Dáil, claiming that they only have the opinions they have because they have a grievance against England, or because their men folk were killed and murdered by England's representatives in this country. It was a most unworthy thing for any man to say here. I can say this more freely because, I thank my God, I have no dead men to throw in my teeth as a reason for holding the opinions I hold. I should like to say that I think it most unfair to the women Teachtaí because Miss MacSwiney had suffered at England's hands. That, a Chinn Chomhairle is really all I want to say. I am against the Treaty, and I am very sorry to be in opposition to (nodding towards Mr. Griffith and Mr. Collins). (Cheers).
I simply want to publicly define my attitude towards the position in which we find ourselves. Not being a constitutional lawyer I do not possess the art of saying nothing in a great many words. Consequently I can relieve the House by assuring it that I will be very brief. I desire to carry away with me only one memory from this Session of An Dáil and that is a remembrance of two very honest speeches delivered; one of them delivered by Deputy Barton, and the other delivered by Deputy Dr. MacCartan, whose speech expressed my own thoughts and feelings. Like-Dr. MacCartan I would refuse to vote at all were it not for one consideration. The consideration is this: that although in my opinion, this battle for the Republic is lost, one hope yet remains for the Republic in the future. That hope is the people of Ireland. I, for one, will not consent to sacrifice the people for the purpose of saving my face, or for the sake of the differences which exist in this assembly. If the Republic—as the plain man in the street understands it—was not given away when the Truce was signed, in my opinion the Republic was certainly given away when we sent plenipotentiaries to London to negotiate a Treaty in which the Republic was explicitly and implicitly ruled out by the British Prime Minister in practically every communication he sent us on the subject. Since then the situation appears to me to have developed into a hunt after a basis which, when viewed through Irish spectacles would look like a Republic, and when viewed through English spectacles would assume the appearance of Dominion Home Rule-The result is neither one nor the other, and it only remains for me to congratulate all concerned on their acrobatic performance which, to me, is quite the most remarkable exhibition of the kind I have ever witnessed. As far as the Republic is concerned—and when I speak of the Republic I do not refer to the "bow-window" Republic or external association which we have heard so much of lately—I refer to the Republic as the plain man in the street understands it, and as he will always understand it—as far as that Republic is concerned we have all walked into a bog, and the desperate endeavours of each side of the Cabinet to try to throw all the blame on the other side serve no useful purpose. We know perfectly well both sides are to blame. We know perfectly well we ourselves cannot escape our own share of the responsibility of what has happened, because in our child-like trust we did not maintain sufficiently close control over the Cabinet, and invested them with too much of our powers. Deputies who come here and talk about retrieving the position which we held before this took place could see there is no way out, and they know it, and it is only self-deception to suggest there is. Two alternatives are forced upon me. Both of them I consider outrageous. I must choose either, or do as Dr. MacCartan intends doing—refuse to choose at all. I choose what I consider the lesser of the two outrages, and I choose it for the reason I have given. I will vote for the Treaty, not because I consider it a satisfactory—not to talk of a final—settlement. Neither do I consider it binding if, and when, the circumstances under which the Treaty was signed—the threat of a war of extermination—have disappeared. But I will vote for the Treaty simply and solely because I believe that this course contains the only germ of hope for the realisation of the Republic in the future, that is, the salvation of the lives of the Irish people. I will follow no leader except my conscience, and this is the only attitude my conscience will permit me to adopt. (Cheers).
I hope to establish a record for brevity. We have had this Treaty discussed from every possible point of view, and every impossible point of view, so that I do not think very much more can be said to throw any light on it with a view to acceptance or rejection. One has only to make clear one's own position, and with me, coming here and during the time I have been here, my idea has been always the same. I accept Deputy MacCarthy's suggestion that the election of 1918 was one of self-determination, but as a result of that election a Government was formed and the Republican Parliament. So we have one fact to go on. There was a Republic and there is a Republic (hear, hear). Now, the people, in the midst of stormy times—in the darkest days of the terror—backed the Republican Government that was in possession of the country. That is the mandate beyond which I cannot go, and until the people, by a plebiscite or General Election, alter that trust I nave no hesitation in saying I will not vote for this Treaty. "In virtue of our British Citizenship"! That is enough to stick in the gills of any man who wants to discuss this. We are Irish Republican citizens, and I certainly would not dare, without a mandate from my constituents, to vote for an Irish Republic entering into English citizenship. If they themselves accept the position of British citizenship, then we back down. That is their look-out. They can; they are masters. The will of the people is supreme. That will was expressed in 1921, less than nine months ago; and unless a person had a sort of automatic record put up to hear his constituents' opinions on every particular question discussed here, he could not know their finally definite views (laughter). In 1921 they voted for the continuance of the Republican Government, and until a General Election or plebiscite is taken the Deputy so elected must vote for the Republic. This Treaty does not guarantee that. Therefore we cannot accept it. We had happy pictures painted as to the lovely things that would happen when the Free State was established, and a Deputy from Cork told us that the old idea of British education in Ireland will be altered—we will no longer thank goodness and praise, with a smile, that we are peaceful, happy English children—our children will be little Gaelic children. But the Treaty says they will be British citizens!
It does not.
I cannot read it in any other way. Many Deputies pointed out that this Treaty was accepted under a threat of war, and the Deputy from the University said that was not an argument—that it should not be used as an argument to get the Treaty through the House. I agree with him. The country has been threatened, and always had war more or less with England. We had got to a strong vantage ground. I believe we should have held there. We have the Republic still and, in my opinion, this Dáil cannot, and has no power to destroy it. The Irish people have the right, and may do so as they will. But, as I say, there is no power in this Dáil to destroy it. It cannot destroy the Government which it established. We had Deputy MacCartan who has been appealed to from all sides of the House. He talked of chaos. The people have gone through the terror, and this Government did not allow the country to fall into chaos. Will the ability in this House be less in future years than it has been in the past few years? Will the strain on it be very much greater? And still chaos never came on the country. If we had a united policy to-morrow, the people— and they are gallant because they stood the strain magnificently—they would stand behind the Dáil if it rejected this Treaty, and we would still win through. We are getting very impatient that we may see The Day. Better men than any here have hoped that God would spare them until that day would come, but they never let the ideal fall until a separate independent Ireland was achieved. It can never be independent if we are British citizens. There is somewhat of a good resemblance between the position of things now and that of the old Irish Parliament of 1782— Ministers trusting the honour of the English, the others doubting that honour—and I remember reading the Bill brought in by Mr. Flood that would place beyond question Ireland's power and authority inside her own four shores. The Bill he moved made over the sole and exclusive right of the Irish Parliament to make laws affecting that country in all that concerned its external and internal affairs whatever. Some such thing is necessary in any agreement we come to with England—to make sure that the centre and source of authority will be the people of Ireland, and not any foreign authority (cheers). No King of England, and no Ministry of England or Government of England, has any power to put that power here—that power must be derived from the people alone. In this Act it is not so derived. The divisions that are at present existing are somewhat similar to the divisions that then existed. British Ministers fostered those divisions, and that Bill was voted out. We know the result— one hundred and twenty-one years we have gone through. It is quite possible we may go through some more of it yet unless some definite action is taken. The Dáail was, of itself, in unity. The best policy, the only means of achieving that unity again, is by the rejection of this Treaty. I do not believe the people would be very divided on the matter—they certainly would not behind a united Dáil. The daily papers in Ireland are full of "ratify the Treaty" resolutions—public bodies falling in one after another. We saw the same before, and one gets suspicious. These bodies were elected as Republicans and I say when they send any message to me to do other than carry out the mandate I got, that they are false to the promise they made, because they got a Republican mandate when they were elected. These are the views of individual men, and not the voice of their constituents; and I say that until a General Election or plebiscite it is not for anyone or any of these bodies to say what policy should be adopted. One must do and act according to the lights he has. In doing so I will carry out the mandate given me. I was elected to this Dáil as a Republican and I will leave it as one. The people have authority to alter; we have not. There are points in the Treaty perhaps, worth inquiring into, but upon the essential parts of it—there is not a word guaranteeing the evacuation of the troops, or, if there is, I would like to see it pointed out, and even if there is a personal guarantee given as to when the evacuation will begin, there is none as to when the evacuation will cease. The last British troops only left South Africa during the past four or five months. That is a long time. We heard a good deal of the penetration of British business interests, but how can we prevent it in future? We will be British citizens-also, and will have "common-citizenship" with them. If we are into the thing let us be honest about it. There is no mention either in the Treaty as to the definite number of troops to be retained as maintenance parties in the various ports. A communication written by a Minister has no binding force; it is only his word, and we have had such good faith kept by British Ministers with this country I do not think this word will carry very far. There is no mention, either, as to the definite number of British troops to be kept in North-East Ireland. That is an important point. If the British troops are taken out of what they are pleased to call "Southern Ireland," and merely transferred to Northern Ireland, I do not think we are much farther on. These are points which might possibly be cleared up, though it is doubtful. One of the greatest German thinkers made use of the following sentence—it is a very pregnant sentence: "Everything in this world depends on disinterestedness of ideal, and firmness of purpose." We have visualised this Republic far more clearly than we ever visualised this Free State. We have the Republic. "We have established it; we have visualised it; we have held to the ideal. If we have sufficient firmness of purpose I believe we never need let it go. (Cheers).
You did not make a record after all, Doctor (laughter).
I would like to give it as my opinion that if this Treaty is rejected this assembly will be guilty of as great an act of political folly as is recorded in history. The plenipotentiaries that we sent over to London were selected by the President himself, and confirmed by this Dáil. There are no men in the Dáil superior to those, if there are equals, in political foresight and judgment (hear hear). For two months they contended with the ablest diplomats of the world, and they succeeded marvellously, in my opinion. They did not exceed their rights, we are told, by one iota, and yet they are put in the dock. We know the pains they went to, while in London, to keep in touch with Dublin; we know about the daily couriers and the weekly crossings; and even they went so far as to urge the President himself to come to London to keep in closer touch with them. And yet they are charged here as if they took the bit in their teeth when they went to London and acted off their own bat. We sent them to London to make a bargain—what are the terms?—a bargain, because we told the world that we were not Republican doctrinaires. We did not expect them to bring home a Republic, but this Treaty will put us on the shortest road to the completest independence of the country. I will not compare the terms of the Treaty that has been signed by England with the terms of the document that has been turned down by England. I will not compare the attainable with the unattainable, the bird in the hand with the bird in the bush—there as been too much time already wasted in those comparisons. I will refer to some of the solid material advantages already in the Treaty, and see whether there is any compromise in our accepting them. For the first time in 700 years the English army is to march out of Ireland. I see no compromise in that. There have been withdrawals in history, as we know, and I never knew a withdrawal of the kind to be considered a compromise. We get charge of our own purse, and our own internal affairs. Is there any compromise in that? If the delegates brought home the Republic there are some gentlemen who, I think, would insist that England should surrender half her fleet as well; and when we point out to them that we have a seat at the League of Nations I think they will complain that the four great powers of Washington do not include us (laughter). I think we should examine the Treaty, and if there are, within the four corners of the Treaty, provisions that will strengthen our nation we should accept it, and I hold there are such provisions. If, twelve months ago, the Minister for Defence was marching out to battle he must have two objects—one, to drive the English army out of Ireland, and a second, to guard and see that there was no further invasion. If some one then told him that the British Army was being turned out without firing a shot, would he not say: "Well, then I will devote all my energies to guarding against another invasion."? Surely he would not say: "Leave them there; I would rather, have the pleasure of putting them out myself." And if anyone came and said: "You will have an opportunity of equipping-an Irish Army," surely he would not have refused it. Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly very rightly said here that whether this Treaty is accepted or not the fight for the complete independence of Ireland must go on. Certainly it will. And we have the opportunity of helping the nation towards that ideal. If, instead of entering on a disastrous war, we took charge of the schools and universities of the country, then we would be taking steps to preserve that ideal. There is a great deal of doubt in the minds of some Deputies as to the patriotism and the courage of the Irish race. I say we need not put too great a value upon the courage of our day and generation. Bishop O'Dwyer, of Limerick, said: "As long as grass grows and water runs there will be men ready to die to advance the cause of Ireland." And we need not think that the breed of great reformers died with Pearse and Connolly. We need not trouble about the future. Some men think that if every "i" in this Treaty is not dotted, and every "t" not crossed, the future generations of Irishmen will be such poltroons, with the example of the past five years before them, as not to be able to preserve the rights which this Treaty puts into their hands. I call attention to the Governor-General that will be placed here by England, and again they think that the Irish people will be such pitiful snobs that this Englishman, with only his own society to operate upon, will be able to do, in teeth of the Irish Government, what a whole string of Lord Lieutenants could not do when they had our whole national purse at their control, and the English Army in the country. The thing is absurd. I will remind you of a parallel case. Norway and Sweden were in exactly the same position as England and Ireland are to-day, and Norway was worsted in the war. She got an army and parliament, but she had to accept from Sweden a Governor-General. And if the people of Norway were able to resist the viceregal blandishments, and keep their independence, as they are keeping it, will not the Irish people be able to do the same? (Cheers). I will admit with regard to the Gaelic ideal, that whether it is in a Free State or Republic, as long as we have powerful British influences on our flank, it will be a terrible uphill fight to spread the Irish ideal. We can do that if, instead of the two parties in this Dáil wrangling with each other, they combine to advance the Gaelic ideal; then they would be doing better work for the country. All that was said about the Irish people here reminds me, as it must remind others, of what was said about the Irish farmers. It was said that if the Irish farmer got the land he would betray the country. Yet we know that the sons of the Irish farmers and the Irish labourers were the back-bone of the I.R.A. (cheers). Another point that must be emphasised here is: when those delegates from Ireland met the delegates from England, on that terrible night— that strenuous night when they signed that document—there was a deed done that rang round the world. Deputy Etchingham well said that it was like a battle. It was, in this way: you cannot re-stage that Conference no more than you could re-stage a battle. Since then much water has flowed under the bridge, and we are enjoying advantages from what they did that night. Why did they sign, and why was the Treaty published? These questions have been asked. I do not mind why it was signed or published, but the Treaty was signed and published. You talk about the Irish people as if they were fools, stampeded by the Press; but with the Press against them in 1918 they returned the Sinn Féin Party to power (cheers). The Irish people are the shrewdest people on God's earth. If you go down and face them—farmer or labourer—he will tell you you are a fool if you throw away these advantages (cheers). You talk about 1918! The man who would tell you he would stand by the Republic in 1918, what does he say to-day? I say this: if you had that Treaty in 1918, and the alternative was war, you would not get three per cent. of the people to vote for you.
We had no Republic then.
If you had the Treaty in 1921 you would not have three per cent. of the people around you. A Deputy read the declaration of independence to-day. I was proud to listen. And some of it said: "Basing our claim on the fact that the people of Ireland are behind us." Very well. You went on the platform and said: "We have the people of Ireland behind us." Look behind you now. They are not behind you. You have not three per cent. of the pep-pie behind you. Are you going to commit them to the shambles? What is that war going to be? From the other side we got a hint. We are going to have a "march through Georgia" like Sherman, when he burned every town and village and haggard on his path. You would have thirty-two Shermans marching through Ireland for the difference between this Treaty and Document No. 2. I say you have not the people of Ireland behind you, because it is madness, sheer madness. There is no common sense in that madness. The people of Ireland are a shrewd people; they know a good thing when they see it, and they have got a good thing in this Treaty. Some men say: "Why, when they pulled it so far, did they not pull it a little farther?" As if there was no one at all on the other end of the rope! (Laughter and cheers). You want to hold up the two documents and see what is the difference between them. The difference between this Treaty and the other document is that England's signature is to the one document, and in our time it will never be to the other. That makes all the difference in the world. Why not go one step farther? I will tell you. That one step would bring you out of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and even Lloyd George, if he tried, could not carry his people that one last step. Your delegates would not pull that off if they were there from that moment until this. These are the realities of the situation. The men who came out in 1916 were under no false pretence; they came out on their own individual responsibility. I saw men going to fight for this ideal; I have not the slightest doubt about it— whether you fight for it or not—I know men in this room who would fight for the ideal of an Irish Republic. I do not agree with Doctor MacCartan. I applaud the men—honestly applaud them for it—for it would be a bad day if there were not "Die-hards" in the Irish nation. I say: "God speed the Diehards." Let them fight on, but do not let them step in the way of our country gaining the material benefits she is so badly in need of. We are entitled to that. It is all very well to speak of the flame, but the candle must be kept going too. Now I say this Treaty is a victory for the Irish Republican Army. This Treaty is the fruits of efforts of the most gallant band in history who fought against fearful odds here and suffered; and it is the fruits of the victory of the most patient and heroic people on God's earth—the Irish people—and they want to consolidate what has been gained, and when the day comes to make another advance. I share the hope of the Minister for Foreign Affairs that, with a stronger Ireland, we will be able to bring about further achievements without another devastating war; and that we shall evolve and rise to greater heights; and that our status will grow, too. I am convinced that Ireland will yet see the fondest dreams of Tone and Pearse realised to the full. (Cheers).
I claim the indulgence of the House for a few moments. I do not know whether I was the cause of those interruptions— whether I brought them on by my tone or temper or by what I was saying— but the result is that one very material portion of what I said in my speech yesterday is so disjointed and broken up it may be misconstrued or misinterpreted by people in the country who read it. I refer to the portion in which I was alluding to Farmers' Associations and Farmers' Unions. I hope that no misconstruction will be put upon that. There is no man in this assembly has a greater admiration for the work that the farmers have done for the Republic. It is an ill bird that fouls its own nest. I am a farmer's son. I come from farming people, and I hope and trust that the farmers of Ireland and the farming members of this Dáil will not think that I was attempting to throw dirty water on the farmers of the country. There is an old proverb which says that there are three things that cannot be recalled: the spoken word, the hunter's arrow, and the missed opportunity. The "spoken word" was yesterday, perhaps the "arrow" that might have hurt the feelings of some of the people of this country. The members of the Farmers' Unions have helped me in my work as Minister of Agriculture. So now I take this opportunity of making this amende honourable, and apologising to the farmers for any of the things that might be misconstrued in anything I may have said.
I am going against this Treaty, and I am stating briefly my reasons for doing so. I do so because I believe the people who elected me as their representative in 1918 are, each and every one, in their hearts Republican, and I believe, also, that if they were given a free choice between the Republic and this Treaty they would, without exception, vote for the Republic. I have no doubt whatever as to the circumstances under which it was signed, and from the speeches and arguments we have heard in this House, I cannot help thinking that if, during the British Terror, the Irish Army gave the civil population the choice of voting for the continuance of the Terror, or the Partition Bill of 1920, the people would be then advised, as they are now, for the same reason, to vote for the Partition Bill. For the same reason as they are now clamouring for the ratification of the Treaty it would be said of those of us who would be voting against the Partition Bill as is said of us now—that we were not carrying out the wishes of our constituents. I can go down to those who are responsible for my election and say to them that I have kept the pledges I made to them and, if they so desire it, they can have back the trust placed in me, and I will give it to them without blemish; but it would not be without blemish if I voted for this so-called Free State of Southern Ireland.
I suppose because I happen to be a lawyer it is necessary to begin with an apology. I shall do so in order to put myself in order. In case anybody here is afraid, because I happen to belong to that profession, I am going to indulge in a long and laboured dissertation on constitutional law, I shall set their minds at rest on that question immediately. I may say in passing I am afraid that the greatest offenders in this respect have not been the professional lawyers, but the amateur lawyers. I think we have heard quite enough on this subject from both sides of the House already. I do not think it has done very much to elucidate the matter under discussion. I have been fighting English constitutional law in Ireland since I was called to the Irish Bar in 1916. I never held any position in a British court but in the dock, and I think if I were now to take my stand on British constitutional law I would be going the best possible way about justifying Deputy Etchingham's remark that we are marching into the Empire with our hands up. Accordingly I am not going to say anything about English constitutional law. Instead, I would want to state, as briefly and concisely as I can, my reasons for the position I hold in regard to this Treaty, and in particular those reasons which were not mentioned by the other Deputies of this House. I was returned unopposed at the General Election of 1918 for the constituency of Mid-Tipperary on the Republican platform. In my election speech on that occasion I laid stress on three policies which, I believed, if judiciously combined, would have led to the independence of the country. First, there was the old Sinn Féin policy as outlined by Arthur Griffith; second, appeal to the Peace Conference, then sitting, for recognition of our right to self-determination; and the third was the driving of the British Government out of Ireland by armed force, backed by the moral opinion of the world, particularly the United States. I did not tell the people of Tipperary on that occasion that we were going to secure our independence by armed force alone, and if I had told them that, I do not believe I would ever have been elected; and that, in my opinion, is the only alternative that those opposed to ratification of the Treaty have now to lay before the Irish people, since all the other policies contained in that programme have now disappeared. And in laying that programme before my constituents I did not consider myself a mere visionary. I did not do it because I wanted to keep alive a tradition, or hand something down to posterity. I did it because I believed it was practical politics, and if I had not considered it was practical politics, I would consider it criminal to induce the Irish people to vote for it. In justification of my belief on that occasion, I want to state we were within an ace of winning because of the heroism of the Irish people and the Irish Army, and because of the reflection of that heroic effort in the unofficial pressure from the United States brought to bear on the British Government. As you here appear to despise it—the Minister for Finance has, on a couple of occasions, seen fitting to make what I felt were, perhaps, unfair remarks about the United States. The country that Lord Northcliffe felt worth while to spend £200,000 on propaganda in, to employ ten thousand specially trained journalists for advocating the case against Ireland and Germany, is not a country to be despised. I know from my own practical experience in the United States that many of those who helped us, financially and otherwise, did so in spite of pressure which, although of a different kind, was just as hard to resist as that which was applied here to those who stood for the Republican ideal. At the time of the election in 1918 I believe that an international situation had been created such as would have compelled the United States, in its own interests, either to declare war on England, or to withdraw from her its moral and financial support, without which her Empire would have become disintegrated; and I believe if things were kept sufficiently hot—and were, in Ireland, further forced—those elements in the United States who were naturally sympathetic to Ireland would draw in a lot of other elements opposed to British influence from other motives, bringing about—at all events they would have been conciliated and made sympathetic—bringing about from this war, or from this revolution of spirit on the part of the United States, three things: First of all, the destruction or the disintegration of the British Empire; secondly, the defeat or scrapping of the British Fleet; and thirdly, Irish-Americans fighting all the time for freedom as we here—for an Irish Republic. But I then maintained, and still maintain, that no matter what you call it—an Irish Free State in internal association with the British Empire, or an Irish Free State in external association, or, for that matter, a nominal Irish Republic—so long as it is enclosed by the iron wall of England's Navy you never can have a real Republic. There has been a lot of talk about slippery slopes, and the effort is made to create the impression that the Irish Republic was standing as solid as a rock until the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Foreign Affairs tore it away from its moorings and dragged it over to London. In my opinion we first broke away from the moorings when Judge Cohalan and John Devoy of New York— I feel myself in some respect responsible also. I do not intend to cast any reflection on any individual in the matter. I am not going to discuss the merits or demerits of rival parties.
On a point of order. What on earth have individual policies to do with our Republican Government?
I am discussing foreign policy, I believe. I am not going to enter here into the merits or demerits of the rival parties in that policy; but I wish to maintain that neither Mr. Devoy nor Judge Cohalan would ever hand over the friendship of the Irish Race in America to the British Government for anything short of an absolute independent Republic; whereas the men substituted in their place wrote welcoming the Treaty or Pact before the signatories' names were dry. We started down the slippery slopes when the President agreed to accept a relation between Ireland and England similar to that between Cuba and the United States.
Once more I must protest against these misrepresentations.
I say so far as the Platt Amendment—
You know perfectly well the first article of the Platt Amendment was a declaration of independence.
That is a matter of dispute.
It is not You should read the article and let it go down before the House.
That is my contention; I am giving my own reasons here. We went still further down the slippery slopes when the President issued a manifesto to Ireland departing still further from the separatist ideal.
What is that document?
A letter you wrote.
It is very important, because I stand as the symbol of this Republic and fifty times in this debate references have been made to this subject in one way or another. I ask any member here to point to anything I have said, publicly or privately, that bears the interpretation that is now being sought to put upon it. If I did that I would deserve to be impeached.
As soon as I have done—
I say it would be a matter of impeachment. If any member here—
I am not saying you gave away anything so far. I am speaking at present. As soon as we agreed to enter into negotiations with the British Government while their troops were still in occupation of our territory, we took another step downwards; and when, after a long series of letters, the Cabinet and President appointed plenipotentiaries to enquire how Irish national aspirations could be reconciled with the British Empire, we took another step down the slippery slopes. I am quite prepared to admit from the position as left by the President to the position as represented by the documents we are discussing was quite a considerable slide; and in spite of what some members on our side of the House said, I am quite prepared to admit it was a very material slide; but from the position of an Irish Republic as I understand and define a Republic—when the British Navy is at the bottom of the sea—was a still greater slide. Whereas one slide was gradual, the other slide was taken in face of the valuable considerations contained in the present document. I am not going to criticise either party. I am very sorry the President took so much objection to my remarks.
Because they are not true.
I am only trying to make the position clear. I am not going to say one word either for or against the Treaty. The Treaty is not sufficiently bad to prevent my voting for it, and it is not sufficiently good to prevent my voting against it if I saw any rational alternative. But none has been produced so far. It is a slippery slope, but however, at long last we have reached a landing stage. The people opposed to the Treaty say we are not to get off here, but put out again in the expectation of getting back to the position from which we started. I believe if we take these people's advice we shall be more likely to continue sliding down than sliding up. That is why I am in favour of the approval of this Treaty. (Cheers).
I move the adjournment.
I again, simply for the honour of the nation and the honour of the position I hold, wish to say I regard my office as a sacred trust. I said when I took it that I wanted it for the benefit of the Irish people, and that I should regard my duty as looking after the interests of the Irish people. But I defy any person in this Dáil, or in Ireland or in America, or anywhere else, to point out where I have departed one tittle, or one iota, or one comma from the position of the Republic as established by the Irish people, either in public or private. The members of the Dáil know that one of the reasons why I did not go to London was that I wanted to keep that symbol of the Republic pure even from insinuation—lest any word across the table from me would, in any sense, give away the Republic. (Applause).
There is a motion for the adjournment which I want to support. I also want to say there was no suggestion on the part of the Deputy from Tipperary, no suggestion that the President had done anything; but I do again, for the sake of the Dáil, protest against any insinuation that I have given away anything. I have been the custodian of the honour of the country and I have given away nothing. (Applause).
I would like to make a suggestion: that all Deputies making insinuations against the President have the documents there read out to the House.
It was agreed that the House adjourn until 11 o'clock to-morrow.
I would like to give notice that I will move to-morrow the amendment. You have got the proposals now.
I suggest that we should take "for" and "against" the Treaty first. The document has been placed in our hands now, and I take it that it is a matter for our consideration, and the circumstances, I take it, of the consideration will probably be different from what they are. We ought to take, in my judgment, the opinion—we ought to take the division on the Treaty and then take the document.
I think it will have to be decided by a ruling.
Can you have an amendment to this Treaty? Must not the vote be for or against the Treaty?
This is a resolution. I do not propose to amend the Treaty. I propose to move an amendment to the resolution.
I submit that a change has been made in Document No. 2 which has been before us. It is not within any member's power to do such a thing without the unanimous consent of this House, and I entirely object to it.
I cannot find anything in the Orders to prevent any member, any time, from moving an amendment. I am not now supporting the idea that it should be moved.
A document has been put into our hands this evening that is not Document No. 2.
You are quibbling. The Minister for Foreign Affairs is quibbling now.
A document has been put in which is not Document No. 2.
On a point of order. The President is a touchy man. He jumps up very quickly when one puts his own interpretation on this document. Is it in order for the President to call the Minister for Foreign Affairs a quibbler?
I say that the word "quibble" has been used here several times. If ever it was once true it is in this case, because there is nothing changed but in the setting up—a slight change to have it in final form.
This House has here the document placed in our hands. Document No. 2 consisted of twenty-three clauses and an appendix. This new document consists of seventeen clauses. Six clauses are omitted.
Are we right in discussing the matter before it is moved at all?
I would like to make this point. This document, so-called——
The only motion before us is for the adjournment of the House.
I have no objection to having this document discussed. I was simply putting forward my idea for a course of procedure.
It is evident the course of procedure is not accepted by members on both sides.
Is it in order for an amendment to be moved to the Treaty?
Not to the Treaty, but an amendment can be moved to the motion for the approval of the Treaty.
This document embodies a post-rejection policy and it should be a matter for the post-rejection Cabinet if the Treaty is rejected.
I am responsible for the proposals and the House will have to decide on them. I am going to choose my own procedure.
I submit it is not in the competence of the President to choose his own procedure. This is either a constitutional body or it is not. If it is an autocracy let you say so and we will leave it.
In answer to that I am going to propose an amendment in my own terms. It is for the House to decide whether they will take it or not.
The President says he he is not proposing an amendment to the Treaty, but is not the effect of his proposal one which is a material amendment of the Treaty?
The amendment has not yet been proposed, and the only motion before the House is the one for adjournment.
The House then adjourned.