I now move Article 17 of the Bill, which reads:—"The Oath to be taken by Members of Parliament/Oireachtas shall be in the following form:—

`I,.................. do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established, and that I will be faithful to H.M. King George V., his heirs and successors by law in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to the membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations.'

"Such Oath shall be taken and subscribed by every member of the Parliament/Oireachtas before taking his seat therein before the Representative of the Crown or some person authorised by him."

Article 2 of the Treaty signed on the 6th December last reads as follows:—"Subject to the provisions hereinafter set out the position of the Irish Free State in relation to the Imperial Parliament and Government and otherwise shall be that of the Dominion of Canada, and the law, practice and constitutional usage governing the relationship of the Crown or the representative of the Crown and of the Imperial Parliament to the Dominion of Canada shall govern their relationship to the Irish Free State." Now, sir, I submit that if we had not in that Treaty another Article prescribing the exact form of oath to be taken, if we had not Article 4 in the Treaty relieving somewhat from the rigidity of Article 2 on the question of the relationship of the Crown and so on the oath that would of necessity be taken by Members of the Irish Free State Parliament would read: "I, A.B., do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty George V., His heirs, successors according to law, so help me God." We have not that oath; we have an oath which gives the first allegiance of the Irish citizens to the Constitution of their own State, and which subsequently promises faithfulness to King George V., his heirs and successors. It has been suggested here, and suggested in the Press, that this is an entirely optional matter. We do not think it is. We do not for a moment hold that that position is tenable in common sense, in common public honesty. We do not think that in the mind of any signatory, British or Irish, there was the idea that this oath that gave so much trouble and tension at the late stages of the negotiations would be anything else but an oath to be taken by all Members of Parliament, and to be taken as a condition precedent to their taking their seats and acting and voting in the Parliament. This Treaty has been accepted. It was accepted by the late Dáil; it is unquestionably accepted by the people, and that being so all its reasonable and honourable implications are accepted. We have been told that it is a contract. It is a contract, and when any difficulty or doubt arises about contracts, judges set themselves to find out so far as they can, after perhaps a lapse of time, what was in the mind of the parties to the contract, what did the contract aim at? And, facing this thing in a reasonable way, ask yourselves was there an idea in the mind of any signatory, British or Irish, that they were discussing an oath other than that to be taken by every Member of the Parliament of Saorstát Eireann. Only, if you are sure of the contrary, are you entitled to say that this particular Article should not stand in full as it stands in this Draft Constitution? There was trouble over this oath. There were other forms of oaths drafted and rejected. There was contention over it. Men came back here with other forms of oaths, which were rejected; and finally, in the last stages, when the fate of the settlement, and perhaps the fate of the whole country, was on the knife edge, trembling in the balance, this particular form was hammered out. Now, as reasonable and honest men, we must ask ourselves whether we could take the stand before the world that all this trouble, this strain and tension, was about a form of oath which Members of the Parliament of Saorstát Eireann need only take if they had a particular stomach for it. We of the Government, who are standing over this Constitution, do not feel that that is a stand we could take with any regard to our reputation as sensible men, with any regard to the dignity and honour of the country. People in every land would take up the Treaty, and reading Article 4 of the Treaty, would, I submit, beyond all question give a verdict, and a very harsh verdict, against the men who took that stand and against the country which produced the men who took that stand. With regard to this Article, as with regard to other Articles in the Constitution, it is not a particularly pleasing task to stand over it, and it is not a pleasant task to submit it here to an Irish Assembly. We would much like if the necessity for so submitting to it did not exist; but, facing the fact that the necessity exists, and facing the fact that as we believe any tampering with this Article and other Articles in the Constitution means the throwing away of the harvest of five years' grim struggle, we stand for these Articles, and we are not prepared to throw away that harvest and let it rot in the fields. We ask Deputies here and people outside to simply face the thing in a hard-headed way, and, weighing the pros and cons of it, to see whether we would be wise or patriotic men to steer the country along the course of rejection. I therefore move the adoption of this Article.


I move my amendment to Article 17. It is to delete "Such oath shall be taken and subscribed by every Member of the Parliament/Oireachtas before taking his seat therein before the representative of the Crown or some person authorised by him." I feel personally that I am under something like a moral obligation to take this oath myself, having signed the Treaty, but I am moving this amendment, not in any personal interest, but in the interest of people who have not signed the Treaty. I think it is a matter of transcendent importance that, if we be entitled to grant exemptions from the taking of the oath, we should not waive that right. I believe that something like 90 per cent. of the opposition to the Treaty would disappear, or cease to be active, if this Dáil recognised that it had that right of granting exemption. I do not want to see anti-Treaty men who object to the oath, or members of the Labour Party who will not take it, driven out into direct action by a misconstruction of the Article of the Treaty. I ask members to consider this matter very carefully before making up their mind. In my view, the British Government know well that we have a right to grant exemption. Of course, every schoolboy knows that every Member of the Irish Parliament under the Treaty must take the oath, but every lawyer knows that the Treaty does not say so, and I prefer to be guided by the lawyer in a matter of Constitutional Law. I think it is clear that it is precisely because the British Government saw at the moment when they were in a bad temper that we should be entitled to interpret Article 4 of the Treaty in a manner enabling us to give exemption, that they decided to use the big stick to get this other interpretation into the Constitution, and it is not a question—to use the words of the Minister—of seeing that the Oath is entirely optional. It is not a question of leaving it to those who have a stomach for it to take it. It is a question of asserting the right of making any exemption that the Irish Parliament, and any successive Irish Parliament thinks proper. I said before, and I say again, this is a contract, and it must not be interpreted as a command, and you have here two questions to deal with. You have the question—"Is the Oath to appear in the Constitution?" That is the first question. The second question is this—"Are you going to put into the Constitution something more stringent about the Oath than what you find in the Treaty? I am not raising the first question here, because I realise that the Ministry, if they committed themselves to having the Oath in the Constitution, would have some difficulty in accepting any amendment designed to take it out, although, personally, I consider that it is a matter for Standing Orders. I confine myself to the second, leaving the Oath in the Constitution, in the hope that by so doing I shall make it easier for Ministers to meet the proposal I am making in a favourable way. You will observe that Article 4 of the Treaty uses the words: "The Oath to be taken by Members of the Parliament/Oireachtas shall be in the following form," and then comes the form. It does not say "the Oath to be taken by every Member of Parliament." The question is whether that is implied. It does not even say "the Oath to be taken by the Members of Parliament," just "to be taken by Members," and Dominion practice is very helpful to us here. If Members look up the Constitutions of the three great Dominions they will find in each of them a specific clause providing, in terms that none can dispute, that every member of the Upper or Lower House before taking his seat must subscribe to an Oath, of which the form is given. In all three of these you will find a different form of provision from the form given in the Treaty, but in the Treaty so far are we from being governed by Dominion precedent that Article 2 expressly provides that the relationship applies, "subject to the provisions hereinafter set out." For instance, you have thereinafter set out provisions about defence, provisions about North-east Ulster, each of which stands within its own four corners. You do not have to come to the Dominions to find what these provisions mean, and it is the same thing with the Oath, which is set down in black and white in the Treaty in Article 4, and thus comprised in the expression, "subject to the provision hereinafter set out" in Article 2 prescribing within express limits the Dominion practice. Look at the Governor-General's clause, Article 3, which is also thereinafter set out. If Dominion precedent applied to these Articles that come after No. 2, it would be unnecessary in Article 3 of the Treaty to say that the Representative of the Crown in Ireland shall be appointed in like manner as the Governor-General of Canada, and in accordance with the practice observed in the making of such appointment, but you had the best experts London could find drawing up these documents, and these men made no mistakes. They realised that having stated, "subject to the provisions hereinafter set out," they would have to state specifically in Article 3, dealing with the appointment of Governor-General, that the precedent would be the Canadian precedent. If they had not used these words his position would be independent of the Dominion Model, and, therefore, they have put into No. 3 something they left out of No. 4; and in Article 3 they say this: "That the Representative of the Crown in Ireland shall be appointed in like manner as the Governor-General of Canada, and in accordance with the practice observed in the making of such appointments." In Article 4—if the Ministerial interpretation is correct— you would have the same thing. This Oath is to be taken in accordance with the practice of Canada, and so forth. You do not find a word about that—not one word, because the thing is left to the Irish Parliament to decide for itself, and all you get in the Treaty, is a form. I think it takes a little explaining away, to find out why there is nothing about Dominion practice in No. 4, and why there is a great deal about it in No. 3, unless the interpretation, I submit, to this Dáil is the correct one. Now I fancy the real reason the Article was left in its present form was this:—that the experts and their Government on the one hand wanted some syrup to make it easier for the British public to swallow the Treaty pill and on the other hand were afraid that if the Clause which now appears in the Constitution were put into the Treaty, Dáil Eireann would reject the whole thing. Therefore, they said very wisely to themselves "we will provide the form, let the Irish Parliament arrange the machinery," and everyone knows that if the British public, having swallowed the Treaty as they did, were told that the Treaty allowed a certain exemption to be made they would be perfectly satisfied. They wanted so to be rid of their trouble with Ireland that they would not care a snap about this exemption which to our mind is all important. Now look at it from a slightly different aspect. Take the case of a Quaker Deputy who may be elected to this Dáil. He says to the Speaker—I have come here without any authority because your Constitution does not let me in without taking the oath. He may ask you to let him affirm instead. Everybody knows that he would be allowed to affirm. There are regulations in law which allow affirmation to be made, but there is no provision in law to substitute affirmation for an oath in a Treaty; therefore when your Quaker comes forward and asks to be allowed to affirm you will have to depart from this extraordinarily rigid interpretation of the Constitution, and having made that breach in the Ministerial position in the Constitution you are faced with another. When a Deputy comes along he says— I have a conscientious objection to taking this oath, you have chosen to exempt this deputy member of the Society of Friends from taking the oath. What about me? "No, sir, because your opinions are objectionable to the British Government we can make no exemption." If you make one breach in this ultra stringent interpretation of the Article why can you not make another? Take the case of a deputy who comes to this Dáil and says—"Mr. Speaker, I propose that we all stand and take the oath all together." On any reading that would be a strict compliance with the Treaty no one can deny it. Supposing a gentleman comes in the next day or the day after and takes a seat, a man who had not been present on the occasion of that ceremony, is it to be suggested that the Treaty is broken because he did not take the oath? What I object to is—we are asked in this draft to pre-judge the question which is primarily one for each Irish Parliament to settle for themselves. I think the English knew well they were leaving this possibility of exemption, and I think they did not mind, but in another crisis they have tried to force this upon us.


The Deputy has exceeded his 10 minutes.


May I be allowed to conclude, as I could rise again if I wished? These gentlemen who did this are drawing up documents every day, and they had the Dominion Constitutions before them, and they deliberately departed not merely from the form of oath, but also from the provisions. They could have put into the Treaty that every member must take this oath before taking his Seat. I ask the Minister what provision, if any, was made in this matter in the Draft taken to London. What provision, if any, was made by the eight experts who advised the Government on that, and who had given time and consideration to the proper interpretation of this question? Did they say that they did not agree to the contention I am putting forward, that there is no occasion whatever to make the oath more stringent in the Constitution than in the Treaty? Did they say they did not agree further, that the oath is a matter for Standing Orders and not for the Constitution at all?


Deputy Gavan Duffy said many things, but what I would like to draw the attention of An Dáil to is, that he did not say one thing —he did not say that it was in the mind of a single signatory to this Treaty that they were discussing, quarrelling and straining over an Oath which would not be a compulsory Oath. He has pointed to the fact that the form is not the exact form of the Dominion Constitution. That is true, but this is a Treaty. At a later stage we have to work out in practical, definite details things that are broadly and generally stated in this Treaty. When you say that the Oath has to be taken by members of Parliament, when you say that in the Treaty you have to come along in the Constitution, and state how and when that Oath has to be taken by members of Parliament of the Irish Free State, and that it has to be taken throughout in the following form, that is the Treaty. In the Constitution we had to come along and work out when the members of the Parliament of the Irish Free State shall take this Oath, and in what manner; that is where the form in the Treaty is not the form in the Dominion Acts and Constitutions. Doubtless if the Dominions had won out to a position in which they would be entering into a Treaty with Great Britain, the form would be the same as in the form of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Now, elsewhere, men with very definite political convictions, men no doubt with very lofty principles, take a much more full-blooded oath of allegiance than this form set out in our Treaty, and in our Constitution, and that is because they think more straightly, and because they think more clearly, and because the Nations to which they belong are more grown up than this Nation. Republicans sit in the Parliament of Westminster, and take a full-blooded oath of allegiance to the English King; Republicans sit in the Parliament of South Africa, and take an identical oath, and so on elsewhere, because in every other country but this to-day you have to admit and acknowledge the unchallenged right of the majority to decide the political affairs of the country. When people bow their heads, and accept a particular thing, that bowing of the head is not to a foreign king or potentate. It is bowing the head to the majesty of the majority will of one's own fellow-citizens. Sooner or later that will be accepted here, and people will then say—"Is it not a pity we did not accept it without all the confusion and bloodshed and burning of the last year?" We are launching a democratic self-governing State; we cannot cast its horoscope; we cannot say what its future is going to be; what its development is going to be; we cannot say what the majority will of this country in 7, 12 or 20 years may decide to do, but here and now at the moment we say that the majority will of this country decides a certain thing, and that every good citizen of the country must accept it, and that no armed minority has a right to challenge it. I do not know—Deputy Gavan Duffy did not tell—whether, at the time he signed that Treaty and at the time he discussed that particular Article 4 of the Treaty, there was any idea in his mind that it was anything but an obligatory oath for every Member of Parliament of Saorstát na hEireann.


The Minister will excuse me. Might I point out that it would be most improper for me to point out what was in my mind. It would be no evidence either way.


No doubt, it would be most improper. It would be most inconvenient.


For you.


I can put it here to this Dáil that it is the custodian of the honour and dignity of this nation; and if it takes the lines requested by Deputy Gavan Duffy, on this particular Article, the nation will not be cutting either a very honourable or a very dignified figure.


A Chinn Chomhairle, I intend to vote for this amendment that has been moved by Deputy Gavan Duffy, for this reason—that the clause that is sought to be deleted, if it is inserted will inevitably have the effect of depriving this country of the services of quite a number of very estimable and very capable men and women. And for that reason alone, I think it is very undesirable that this clause should be retained in the Constitution. I am going to say this that, having swallowed the camel, I am not going to strain at the gnat. The Treaty which I, and most of those who act with me in this matter, are prepared to submit to, includes clauses containing a form of oath which is to be taken by the Members of Parliament, and I read that as meaning that Members of Parliament are expected to take it. But still I think that it is unwise to put an oath of that kind into the Constitution—that is to put the same phraseology into two schedules of this Bill. It is already in the second schedule of the Bill and we are asked now to put it into the first schedule of the Bill. It seems to me to be entirely unnecessary, and this addendum to the clause that appears in the Treaty is simply asking us to do more than the Treaty itself asks us and binds us to do. If this particular addendum of the Treaty clause were removed. I think we would be very much nearer to a state of mind more in accord with modern thought and practice on these matters. After all, an oath of this kind is a survival of the feudal age, when men were supposed to give their personal allegiance to an individual king or prince. And in this form—even this diluted form—it means more or less —or it could be read to mean more or less—of personal allegiance. We are asked to solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Irish Free State as by law established. I think that most of those who have signified their willingness to submit to the Treaty are prepared to do that; and others will retort that saying that is saying everything. We are asked, further, to say that we "will be faithful to His Majesty, King George the Fifth, his heirs and successors, by law, in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of nations." Now, I defy Ministers to explain that clause to me or to the Dáil.


So well you may.


But the first paragraph of that particular clause asks us to promise to be faithful. Whenever I am called upon to declare or to affirm or to swear such an oath it will be distinctly on this understanding that my faithfulness to His Majesty King George V., his heirs and successors, will not be any more faithful than to any other citizen of this community, or to any other king or potentate, or prince, or person in the world. And the objection that I will have—and I am speaking for myself—my colleagues can speak for themselves in this matter—is that it is an agreement on the part of the signatories to the Treaty, the Ministers and the Dáil, to place His Majesty King George V. in a position of superiority over all other mortals in this community. We are told that it is merely a matter of symbolism; that His Majesty King George V. symbolises the unity of the community of nations comprising the British Commonwealth. But I think that we ought to remind ourselves that the symbolism represents more than the community of these nations. The King of England represents an idea in society —that one person or one family is above all others entitled to draw upon the obeisance of all those people who are called his subjects. It symbolises the development of power in the hands of individuals or classes of individuals and means that there must be governors and servants. And the servitude is not by virtue of the inferiority of the servants and the superiority of the Governor or King, but by virtue of something that is inherited from certain ancestors. I am going to read a short quotation from one who has had something to say in the life of Ireland during the last few years, and to whom we give all honour—James Connolly. On this matter he wrote these words, and I subscribe to every word, and I want to say that this is the beginning of my faithfulness to His Majesty King George V.:—"Every class in Society," he wrote, "every class in Society save Royalty, especially British Royalty, has, through some of its members, contributed something to the elevation of the race. But neither in science, nor in art, nor in literature, nor in explorations, nor in mechanical invention, nor in humanising of laws, nor in any sphere of human activities, has a representative of British Royalty helped forward the moral, intellectual or material improvement of mankind. But that Royal family has opposed every forward move; fought every reform; persecuted every patriot and intrigued against every good cause, slandering every friend of the people; it has befriended every oppressor. Eulogised to-day by misguided clerics, it has been notorious in history for the revolting nature of its crimes. Murder, treachery, adultery, incest, theft, perjury—every crime known to man has been committed by some one or other of the race of monarchs from whom King George is proud to trace his descent. (His blood has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood.) We will not blame him for the crimes of his ancestors if he relinquishes the Royal rights of his ancestors, but as long as he claims their rights by virtue of descent, then, by virtue of descent, he must shoulder the responsibility for their crimes." If the British Government desire to insist that the Irish Parliament shall subscribe to an oath of that kind, declaring faithfulness, they should from now understand what faithfulness means.


I rise to oppose the amendment. I listened, very carefully, to the speech of Deputy Gavan Duffy to find out from him, as one of the signatories to the Treaty, if anything took place in the negotiations that went on that would allow any member elected to the Free State Parliament to ignore this oath or leave it optional. However, I am sorry to point out that nothing in his remarks cleared the air, so far as that matter is concerned. I am rather surprised, however, that if Deputy Gavan Duffy foresaw all these objections when he was representing the Irish people as one of the plenipotentiaries, why he did not make provision for all the things that he has referred to here to-day. Now the interpretation of this oath or any other oath, at any rate so far as I am concerned, depends on the conscience of the individual called on to take the oath. Looking at the position, anyway I may, I cannot close my eyes to the fact that the subject of this oath forms Article 4 of the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland, as signed by the representatives of both nations, and afterwards ratified by Dáil Eireann. The oath, even in its present form, is as obnoxious to me as to any member of the Dáil, or any Irishman who may at a future date be called on to take it, but we have to face the fact and the realities of the position by asking now whether or not it is possible to get a better form of oath—with the nation divided now as it is—when the plenipotentiaries were not able to wipe out everything obnoxious to them, when they were backed by every Irishman in this country. Unless I am greatly mistaken, practically every member in this assembly has already indicated in one form or another, acceptance of the Treaty. It is at all events undoubtedly a fact, that no member present gave any indication to his constituents that he was in opposition to the Treaty, or indicated that he would imperil its operation in any way. It must be plain to everybody that the violation or alteration of any vital clause in the Treaty by one of the high contracting parties that signed, would render the whole Agreement null and void. Unless Deputies are prepared to face this position honestly and say they are ready to accept the full consequences of their action, notwithstanding promises, explicit or implied, given to their constituents, they are only wasting the time of this Dáil in moving amendments which, if accepted, would leave the English free to say the Treaty was no longer in existence. Personally I gave a clear and emphatic promise to my constituents that I was prepared to make the best of the Treaty. I was elected to this Dáil by a very emphatic majority, and I am not going now, for the sake of any display or to satisfy any sentimentality, to defend a course that would be tantamount to antagonism to the policy on which I was elected. To my mind all these remedies about the oath are a mere storm in a teacup. If I were convinced the taking of the oath would prevent me from placing Ireland first and above everything else I would emphatically refuse to subscribe to it. In the first part of the oath I am asked to swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established. Now I have, personally, already agreed to accept and work in the Free State, and anything that is inconsistent with the honour and independence of that Free State is a violation of the first part of this oath. Consequently the second part of the oath, as far as I am concerned, is mere window dressing and in no way going to compel me to do or say anything that would not be in the best interests of the Irish Nation. The proposal to abolish or alter the oath at this stage is like trying to destroy the middle storey of a house after the building has been completed. To take the objectionable storey away you must abolish the whole structure. We have all read Charles Lamb's story about the foolish Chinaman who burned his house to cook his dinner. Certain Deputies are anxious to make a bonfire of Ireland in order to cook King George. Are Deputies so squeamish in their conception of an oath of this kind as to insist that it is going to prevent them from being better Irishmen or better citizens than if they had not taken it? If any Deputies feel that way I think they ought not to be in public life, and the sooner they retire from the Dáil to the quiet seclusion of a monastery the better. I realise that we are inclined to be sentimental, and to look at matters of that kind from a purely sentimental point of view. In this case I am willing to take the substance and leave the shadow to disappear in the course of time. I am quite certain that the gentleman referred to is a shadowy figure and will, if not in our generation, disappear from what may be in the future in the Constitution of our country. We have to admit, and I have seen a good deal of it, that the British people are still desirous that shows and living pictures and fancy dress parades should form part of their constitutional rights, and if they are willing, and if we are unable to force or persuade them to change that rotten system, with which we are associated, then they are still entitled to have the central figure as a showman, in order to have these parades and parties more picturesque. That is the view I take of the King in regard to this oath, so far as I am concerned. I further look upon the power of the King as in the clause in this Treaty, which it is now proposed to put into the Constitution, in the same form as accepted in the Treaty by Deputy Gavan Duffy. I would look upon it as somewhat similar as to putting into a Treaty something about the Pope of Rome having control over the action of the Orange Lodges in Ulster and everywhere in the world. While therefore the second part of the oath may be obnoxious I abide by the will of the people who sent me to this Dáil, and I am bound in honour by that undertaking. I am going to vote for the inclusion of this oath no matter how obnoxious it may appear to me.

Professor MAGENNIS

I beg to move an amendment to the amendment, to leave out words so that it will read "Such oath shall be taken and subscribed by every Member of the Parliament before taking his seat therein." The mode of taking is really a matter of ritual and can be arranged for on the Standing Orders. In fact, it would be quite easy to have the oath written down as a formula to which members may sign their names in an official book. We have all exhorted each other to be perfectly honest with each other, I amongst the rest. The first requirement is for a man to be honest with himself. He cannot be honest to others, except on that pre-condition. The Minister for Home Affairs read out the two Articles of the Treaty, and one of them is especially enlightening, inasmuch as the words used in it refer to the King, in the more technical and more accurate form as the Crown, "Subject to the provisions hereinafter set out the position of the Irish Free State in relation to the Imperial Parliament and Government and otherwise shall be that of the Dominion of Canada, and the law, practice, and constitutional usage governing the relationship of the Crown or the representative of the Crown and of the Imperial Parliament to the Dominion of Canada shall govern their relationship to the Irish Free State." Some relationship of the Irish Free State, to the Crown and Parliament, to Westminster, is set up by virtue of the Treaty relation, and consequently the express specific character of the relation requires to be defined. In Article 4 we are told the oath to be taken by members of the Parliament of the Irish Free State shall be in the following form— Now the mover of the amendment asked us to believe that this form of oath was there because of the clause which opens Article 2 of the Treaty: "subject to the provisions hereinafter set out." As a matter of accuracy, the particular form of oath is less stringent, more nominal, in fact, than any other oath of a similar kind taken anywhere, and this relaxation of the oath which in the Constitutions of the Dominions, is made to meet the special sensibilities and delicacies of feelings represented by the negotiators for our Nation. The very fact that the oath is in a different form, as set out in the Treaty, from the form in which a similar oath for similar purposes is set out in the Constitution of the Dominions goes against the position of Deputy Gavan Duffy. I do not wish to repeat what I said before with regard to the Crown. There are such things known to all of us as legal fictions and in constitutional law, constitutional fictions. Our friends of the Labour Party have a constitutional objection to constitutional fictions. They want to have everything called by its name. When this subject, or portion of it, was before us, recently, I maintained that the King meant the Crown in this document. Deputy O'Shannon asked: Why don't they say so? I need not tell you there are a great many remnants of feudal customs and feudal phraseology in English law, things that have long since ceased to have any counterpart in fact. There are a great many survivals of earlier days. When one wears a morning coat for example—and I have seen some members of this Dáil wearing morning coats—with two buttons to the waist, it is a remnant of the custom of wearing the buttons to support a sword. The tailor finds himself unable to depart from the routine of his profession. In the ritual attendant to the marriage service you have the best man and the bridesmaid, and the honeymoon that follows, survivals of the old custom of marriage by capture. The fiction is that the bridegroom has snatched the bride from the bosom of her reluctant family, and that he is being pursued, and for delicacy the bridesmaid is one of the household who goes with the bride, and the best man represents part of the force that goes with the bridegroom to assist him in the capture, and the honeymoon is a continuance of the flight. People who have no regard for tradition will call that humbug, but it links us with the past and it pleases some people. This oath of allegiance is a survival of an ancient ritual whenever a liege man swears personal allegiance or fidelity to his lord. It was a contract, on the one hand, of service for tenure of land, and, on the other hand on the part of the lord, for protection. All that system has disappeared before successive statutes or has been modified out of all recognition. Well these formulae which belong to an ancient system of things, are used because they are convenient, because they have the special convenience of giving continuity. There is the fiction of continuity. In truth a legal fiction is really a pretence. It is an assumption that though the law has been really changed in its operations, that because the form of words used has not been changed that the law is as it was before. Similarly, with regard to this constitutional practice. I quite agree with Deputy Duffy that there was no necessity for transferring the oath from the Treaty into our Constitution. The Treaty will be scheduled, as a part of the Constitution, or rather in so far as the schedule is a part and will appear there. But it is in this draft Constitution, and it is one of those things that have to appear there, and which we were told by the President of the Dáil he would expect loyal supporters of the Government to support. There is a little history behind this that some people, I think, are forgetting. Originally the arrangement was that the Irish people were to draft their own Constitution, or rather the representatives were to draft it. It was then to be submitted to the Irish people, and afterwards it was to be shown to the British Cabinet. The Pact which we all have recollection of, I think, and various other things associated with the Pact frightened the British people and so perturbed the British Government, that they insisted upon seeing the Draft Constitution before we were allowed to see it, and this is the result. We must accept that fact, whether it is painful or otherwise. It is one of the facts of the situation that cannot be altered. Does Deputy Gavan Duffy, I would like to ask him, believe that if those words, which he proposed to eliminate were removed, that there would be no oath to be taken? I would argue that whether you leave those words in, or take them out, the expression of the Article, as it originally stands—almost word for word with Article 4 of the Treaty —"The oath to be taken by Members of Parliament shall be in the following form"—leaves Members of succeeding Dáils under the necessity of taking the oath in this form. You cannot by any subtle equivocation get away from the signification of the words "the oath to be taken": they mean an oath shall be taken, and the form of the oath that shall be taken is this form. There is no other possible interpretation. If all these words were left out, the necessity of taking the oath would remain.


As Deputy Gavan Duffy decided not to tell the Dáil what was in his mind at the time he signed the Treaty regarding this very, very important question which had been the subject of so many discussions during the Treaty negotiations, and as I am the only other Treaty signatory in the Dáil I wish to tell the Dáil what was in my mind at the time; and it was this. When we were putting our names to that Treaty we agreed that that form of oath should be taken by every member of the Parliament. Now if that were not so, why should we in the later stages of the negotiations, with pressure on our time so great, have devoted so very much time and so great an amount of trouble to finding the form of oath that would be acceptable? Surely if the oath were optional, no one cared what particular form it was in, because I am sure British representatives knew, and we certainly knew, no member of this Dáil would take it. It would not have been of the least interest to us or to them for the same reason. I can also tell the Dáil that the late President and the late Commander-in-Chief were of the same mind upon that subject as I was. I was present at some of the Conferences at which Deputy Gavan Duffy was not, when the subject of that oath was discussed, and I know the tremendous amount of importance that was attached to it both by the British representatives and by us. It was the most thorny subject in all the negotiations, it was the great stumbling block and the great difficulty, and eventually, as a result of strong representations made by us the British representatives began to realise what a tremendous difficulty it was, from our point of view, and that on this particular matter of the oath the whole negotiations might break down and end in nothing. When I signed the Treaty I realised that that was what it meant and I realise it now, and I am not prepared to quibble about it. I have as much objection to that oath as any member of the Dáil, but having signed the Treaty I am prepared to stand by it. I am fully prepared to take the oath myself, and it would be well that every member of this Dáil should realise that any quibbling on the oath means the tearing up of the Treaty.


There are two or three words I wish to say about this matter, because it would be very easy if we were inclined for all of us to evade the difficulty in this case. We all have, I think, a certain sympathy with the Amendment that has been moved. When Deputy Gavan Duffy spoke the words he used about the right of granting exemption, I could not help but think that there would be rather a rush for exemptions, and in fact there would be so many demands for exemptions we should all be exempted. Then exactly what was the meaning of this particular oath and the stipulation that the oath should be put in a specific form in the Treaty? It seems to me there is no evading the fact that this oath was intended to be taken, however much or however little we may like it. The fact of its being in the Treaty makes it obligatory upon those who accept or those who submit to the Treaty. And in that sense I wish to say that I will vote not for the Amendment but for the retention of this, not because one likes it—one feels a great deal of sympathy with the Minister for Home Affairs, who said that no one person in this Dáil would take this oath exactly as it appears here, even in the very pleasant interpretation of the word "faithful," given to it by Deputy Johnson—no one will take it simply because he wished to take it. I will take this oath because those who sent me here to this Dáil sent me committed to the Treaty and committed to every part of it. The plain interpretation I give this oath is that it is part of an essential bargain, and since the word has been used, part of the essential contract of the Treaty. But in dealing with it I would like to add one further thought with regard to the matter. I think that a great deal has been made of oaths in this question as taken by members of this Dáil, particularly by others who have not, although returned to this Dáil, been here present, that I think is hardly relevant to the question. Any person who takes this oath as a Deputy of this Chamber of Deputies under the Constitution or as a Senator in the Senate takes it as a Deputy and as a Senator. I can quite conceive it possible of one who is entirely in opposition to the Treaty nevertheless taking this oath, returned here recognising the majority who have returned him and constituted this Dáil—taking this oath meaning by it fully and completely that everything done by him in this Dáil, and all the processes of this Dáil, will be observed by him as being under the Treaty until the Dáil has returned a majority that shall desire to undertake the responsibility of setting the Treaty aside, and in no sense considering that any one Deputy or Senator is binding him or her in any expression of opinion outside, either of the two Houses of the legislature that the right form of Government should be some other form of Government than the one the people established. It is in that interpretation of the oath that the oath is taken by many people in other parts of the world who take some oath similar to this. We know that in Monarchial parliaments there are Republican parties who take the Monarchial Oath, yet who believe that the Republican is the right form of Government for that country. But they consider themselves bound in their services in that particular parliament to serve it, having regard to the form of Government established by the majority of the people. And that is all I understand this oath to mean and that is the interpretation it will have in the minds of those who take it as being part of the Contract of the Treaty and in that sense it would be put into the schedule of the actual constitution as a matter that is material. When I first read the Treaty—I think it was the case of every person in Ireland— the chief stumbling block was the oath. I do not imagine there was one person in Ireland, lawyer or non-lawyer, who read the Treaty when it first appeared, whether he liked it or disliked it, who came to any other conclusion but that the State set up on the basis of that Treaty would be a Parliament the members of which would be required to take the Treaty Oath set forth in that Treaty and in that sense I will vote for it.


I should like to deal with one or two points that were made with regard to my argument. It was objected that I said nothing about the conversations in London. Surely members of this Dáil are well aware that you do not interpret a signed document after the event by having recourse to what the different signatories may say they said before they signed. It would tend, by the way, to all sorts of confusion, because if you take any document and want a particular clause interpreted about which people differ, and find that document signed by 10 men, each one of them will differ from the others in one respect or another. The document speaks for itself, and that is why I did not report anything of that kind. The Minister did not do me the honour of answering the argument I put forward; he talked about a lot of other interesting things, no doubt, but they were not strictly germane. He, however, sought to defend his case by again talking about his interpretation alone being honourable and dignified. I wish we could get away from the practice of saying—"my interpretation is the only honourable one." In view of that statement by the Minister I think it is necessary to put on record the fact that my interpretation, so far from being dishonourable or undignified, would, if it were accepted, give you a draft Constitution corresponding with what is proposed in each of the three drafts of the experts selected by Ministers themselves three or four months ago. Therefore it is misleading this Dáil to come down here and say it is a matter of honour that we should take such and such an interpretation. I invited the Minister to say what he took over to London, and what the experts advised; he would not do so. Instead of that he said it is dishonourable not to agree with the Government. The thesis that I put forward is one that has the support, if one may judge by the written document signed by experts, of the people called in to advise the Government.


I have no hesitation in saying that I am satisfied the majority of the people of this country who accepted the Treaty, accepted it believing this oath was one of the unpleasant things that they would have to accept in accepting the Treaty. That was my interpretation. I look on the oath itself as one of the unpleasant things that have to be swallowed in swallowing the Treaty. I think nothing will be gained by discussing the actual form of the oath itself at this stage. It was discussed long enough on another occasion. I rise to ask you, Mr. Chairman, whether or not you accept Deputy Magennis's amendment?


We ought to dicuss the amendment on the Paper first, because if it is carried, Deputy Magennis's amendment would not arise; if it is lost, Deputy Magennis's amendment will still be available.


Deputy Magennis's amendment is what I might call a half-way house between the motion and Deputy Figgis's amendment. I am prepared to accept the first portion of the sentence: "such oath shall be taken and subscribed by every member of the Parliament/Oireachtas before taking his seat therein." I do believe that was the intention, and there is no use now in trying to get out of it by any quibbling or saying because these things were not there they were not meant. I believe it was meant. I agree with Deputy Magennis that the way in which it is to be taken and the time in which it is to be taken are matters which should be settled by the Dáil. If Deputy Magennis's amendment comes before the Dáil I shall have great pleasure in supporting it.

Professor W. MAGENNIS

On a point of order, I would suggest that if you take Deputy Duffy's amendment first, vote on it, and it is lost, my amendment then has nolocus standi whatever, because it is not one of which I have given due notice, and by the Standing Orders it disappears. I propose an amendment to the amendment.


There has been very considerable notice of Deputy Duffy's amendment, and considerable time for suggesting any further amendments. If Deputy Duffy's amendment is carried yours will not arise. If it is lost the clause stands as in its original form, and I will then accept your amendment in accordance with the amended Standing Order passed here on Friday.

Professor W. MAGENNIS

I would like to continue the debate. I recognise in Deputy Figgis a worthy successor to the famous Vicar of Bray. You will recollect in the satirical poem of that name the vicar tells us that in good King Charles's golden days he was a zealous High Churchman and upholder of the Divine Right of Kings. When James the Second ascends the Throne, he becomes a good Papist and accepts "Romanism," and with it the other consequential elements. When the old order changed to Protestantism, he changed too. Now this is where Deputy Figgis appears by anticipation:

The illustrious House of Hanover,

And Protestant Succession,

To them I do allegiance swear—

While they can keep possession:

And in my faith and loyalty,

I never more shall falter,

And George my lawful King shall be—

Until the times do alter——

——I would ask you to consider the two elements of this oath: the first is allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established. Why is there a second element? Because according to this Treaty, and according to the Draft Constitution, this important situation has been created. All authority of every sort is derived from the Irish people: In virtue of the authority given by the Irish people to certain Plenipotentiaries, the Irish people entered into a Treaty with Great Britain, that Treaty provided that the Irish Nation should enter into the Union of Free Nations called "The British Commonwealth." Its exact place in that Union of Free Nations is determined by Treaty between the two peoples. It is to have the status of Canada, and the relation of Ireland to the British Imperial Parliament is to be determined by the law, practice and Constitutional usage of Canada. Now, when you realise this, you will see that we have first of all to consider what is the main obligation attendant upon entering into this Union. It is that we shall uphold that Union. There may one day be a great cataclysm like the late war that will smash up the entire Commonwealth. The whole face of political Europe may undergo a transformation. We cannot provide against that by anything in our Constitution. All these Constitutional relations are viewed, and stated in Constitution documents, as if they were eternal; and the result is, of course, it hurts people who are dreamers, visionaries, or as it is sometimes called Idealists—I hate, by the way, this debasement of an excellent word by which Idealist now means a man who has lost all his grasp of solid fact and actuality—a man who refuses to believe that the earth is under his feet and that the sky is over his head—who imagines himself out of the world; and yet manages to communicate with us all the same although he isn't there. The second part of this oath which is so obnoxious to some people is really an outcome of our entering into the Union. There is a homely saying: "You cannot eat your cake and have your cake." You cannot enter into this combination of Free States unless upon the terms imposed upon you as the condition of entry, and the condition is fidelity to that Union, to that system of free nations —"King George and his successors by law." What are they after all but the symbol of the Sovereign people. It is not the King of England that is in our Constitution; it is the Crown as completing what I call the enactment-machinery for the making of statutes. The King in the second part of the oath is at once the bond and the outward and visible sign of the unity of the Commonwealth. That is his function. It is not his personal character that is in question. This function of Kingship has no such disgraceful ancestry as was read out to us by Deputy Johnson in regard to the Hanoverian Dynasty. There is another poem quite as effective and much briefer than the excerpt of literature read out to us; and it gives more succinctly and satirically the history of the whole Hanoverian line—but these biographical strictures are altogether irrelevant to this issue; because whether the present occupant of the Throne belongs to a race whose ancestors have been thus declared disgraced, and whether their blood has "crept through scoundrels ever since the Flood" is immaterial, when we are dealing as here not with a person but with the function of Kingship. By and bye England may choose to be a Republic. England at the present time has such a system as was described lately by an American critic of her Constitution as a Ministerial Republic. Applied to England the description is not quite accurate. But the Union of South Africa is a Ministerial Republic; Canada is a Ministerial Republic —that is, in effect, the claim made by Sir Robert Borden in his recent book. The only difference to be made in the form of oath, if all the units of the British Commonwealth were Republics—England and all the Dominions—would simply be to read fidelity to the Sovereign people, or fidelity to the Nation instead of this reference to the personal Sovereign under the name of king.


I rise to oppose the oath, and I do so for more reasons than one. I not alone see one oath involved in this question, but I see three. It rather puts us in the category, not of association, but of subjection. You may find others prepared to swallow oaths and break them as soon as they take them, but I am not going to do so. I refuse to take such an oath. In the first part of it it says: " solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established." In that you have an evident oath to the British King, in disguise for an oath of the Constitution, which as already described must recognise the Royal Authority. "And that I will be faithful to His Majesty King George V., his heirs and successors by law in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain." That is No. 2, an oath of fidelity to King George in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain. That is another oath. That means that from henceforward we lose all our Irish citizenship and go into the category that we have been always fighting against, namely, the category of becoming British subjects. And then you have the third portion of the oath—"And her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations." That is an oath to the King as head of the Commonwealth. There are in connection with this oath other points upon which objections may be raised. There is the point of conscience; the point of people who object to taking any form of oath whatsoever. From my own point of view, although I am not a Quaker, I have always been a conscientious objector and will continue to be one. Perhaps some of the members on the opposite side who spent a little time with me a few years ago, will not be in a position to deny me so far as the oath is concerned. I did not take the oath to the Republic, nor the oath to the Workers' Republic, for which I am out, but at the same time I yield to no man in doing the best for my country. In that light would it be fair that I or anybody like me, holding the views I have explained, should be compelled to absent himself from Parliament owing to his conscientious objection to take this oath? The British Government never allowed Irishmen to have a conscience, in their dealings with this country. You will remember that in the administration of the Vaccination Act in England, Scotland and Wales the right of the conscientious objector was generally upheld. In Ireland it was never allowed. Many prosecutions followed when people refused to have their children vaccinated. Are we going to follow the same path? There are also people who have an objection to taking the oath of loyalty and who are out for a certain form of Government, they see in an oath something sacred and could not, unlike many others, take the oath only to break it again. There may be many people in this and out of it who might break an oath at the first opportunity. There are people who hold that an oath is sacred and not a thing which should be taken with the object of breaking it. The oath states: "I will be faithful to H.M. King George V., his heirs and successors." Well, suppose we take that oath and Civil War occurs in England and Republicanism or some other form holds the sway. Then if King George and his heirs and successors are in a minority are you going to pledge your allegiance to him and still hold to that oath. Of course it may be said the taking of the oath is a matter of form, but at the same time it holds. We know what occurred in the time of King James when the people were divided and William won. The same thing may happen and what position will we find ourselves in then? So much has been said about people being returned on the mandate of the Treaty, so much has been said in the last few days and said to-day on the same topic that it is not my intention to dilate on the question. The other day I heard a co-Deputy say every time the question was put that the matter was evaded. I never evaded any questions. I stood on a certain programme, I told the people my views, and I happened to be one of the first in Ireland to express the views I held. I made no secret of that but said I was willing to go into the Parliament and do my best for the working class who sent me into that Parliament. Though I have come here, I still hold my opinions and pursue them logically as well as I possibly can, and though we might differ, I would lose no opportunity of trying to bring all Ireland together, to unite all parties, so that we might work for the common good of the Nation. I still have hopes for this and will spare no effort to bring all together in my own humble way. I believe if all are to be brought together there will want to be some revision of some of the important Articles, or what the Ministerial Benches count as important Articles. I hope there will be some revision of these, so that it will be possible for all to come and sit in this Parliament. I want to say here, clearly and distinctly, that I came here on a mandate. At the time of the General Election the general opinion through the country was that the election was being fought for a Coalition Government and for a Pact. It is none of my business as to what the Pact was. I came here on the Labour ticket, and I had no hesitation in stating my opinions at all times, and I am not ashamed or afraid to do so. Now, when we have a chance of revising or doing something in the Constitution to make it a Constitution that will fit in to the fullest with Irish aspirations I still look with hopes to the result of our deliberations on this Constitution. Whatever other efforts may be made in the near future, no matter what difference of opinion exists, I hope that all will come together, and that the position will be made so that all can sit and work together here for the common benefit of the land to which we have the proud honour to belong.


I did not intend to rise at all in this debate. My name has been more or less brought into it indirectly. Deputy Gaffney or some one else referred to a Deputy here who made a certain statement with regard to him and other members of the Labour Party in fighting issues at the election. What I said a few days ago I repeat now. I suggested, or rather said in pretty broad terms, that the issue of the Treaty was not made clear at the elections, and that when Mr. Gaffney and his friends were asked certain questions as to whether they were for or against the Treaty they did not answer yes or no.


On a point of information I must ask Mr. Gorey to cite one instance where I was asked what were my opinions as regards the Treaty, and when I refused to answer such questions.


Deputy Gorey has given his interpretation. Deputy Gaffney has given his interpretation, and the matter is now closed, and any further references as to what people said or did or did not do at the elections would be out of order.


Hear, hear, but I repeat what I said.


I have not heard referred to anything bearing on the position of the man who happens to be the King of England. We are brought by this oath to recognise something new in our relationship, both to the King of England and the position of Britain overseas. There are in the British Constitutions three different positions held by that gentleman: he is King of England. Emperor of India, and he is a link binding the associated Sovereign Dominions overseas. These Sovereign Dominions are practically independent States. There is absolutely nothing in the way of control over them except some very very fine matters such as appeals to the Privy Council and matters of Judicial appeal. These Dominions beyond the seas are, as Sir Robert Borden stated, "Ministerial Republics." It is as head of that Commonwealth of Ministerial Republics—Independent States as they are for all practical purposes—that we acknowledge fidelity to the King. As far as that goes we are in exactly the same status as the other States, and they are bound to us as we are bound to them in the new worldwide federation of Sovereign Independent States, mutually guaranteeing each other's position, rights, liberties and powers. Now at home the man who happens to be King of England is brought into this Constitution not as King of England, but he is brought in as head of the new Legislative and Constitutional position which has been set up in Ireland, and we take an Oath of Allegiance to him as head of that Commonwealth. Absolutely there is nothing else; we are bound within the four shores of Ireland with regard to the position that this man and his successors will occupy. That puts a point of view before us that I think deserves deep consideration by the Dáil. We take no oath to any foreign Monarch. We take no oath to any man who is not within the terms and bound by the conditions of our own Constitution. We take no oath to anybody who will not be bound to us—just as firmly and irrevocably as we will be bound to him and only bound to him as head of our own Sovereign Independent Constitution within Ireland. Britain will have no Sovereignty over us. I think as we have brought the man who happens to be King of England into the Constitution, and that as he is head of the Oireachtas, the Irish Parliament and the Irish Legislature, the two Houses joined together, we cannot but recognise that he is there distinct altogether from his position as King of England, and it is in relation to him as head of our own sovereign assembly that we are called upon and willing to take the oath to him. That is the interpretation of the oath as it appears to me. If there was anything wrong about it, I hope light will be thrown on it by the Legal Adviser, because in these matters we want the highest legal guidance on the Constitution. If that is a correct interpretation, I hold in taking that oath and being bound by it, both at home and overseas. We are entering at home into a state of Sovereign Independence, and overseas into a state of association with sovereign republics all over the world. Another point is, the head of the British system, the King of England and his successors, will be not Kings of these Ministerial Republics, as they are called, but practically Presidents of the Associated Assemblies. As these places are claimed to be independent Republics, it follows that the man, who is head of the associated system in which they, as well as us, are included on an equal footing, is the President of the Associated Republics, rather than the ordinary occupant of the throne.

Amendment put and negatived.


On the assumption that the last amendment having been lost, the form of oath and the main body of the clause will be carried, I want to assist Ministers of the Dáil in putting sense into the clause itself. The clause reads:—

"The oath to be taken by Members of Parliament/Oireachtas shall be in the following form:—

An earlier clause points out here that the members of the Parliament shall consist of the King and two Houses; the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and we have in a letter from the Minister for Home Affairs an intimation that the King shall be a member of the Legislature. It is quite clear, that everything that has passed indicates that the Oireachtas will consist of the King, members of the Senate, and members of the Chamber. Well, it is not fair, it is not sensible, that a member of the Oireachtas called the King shall be asked to take an oath promising faithfulness to himself, and I am moving the following amendment:—To add new paragraph as follows:—

"Except that the oath to be taken by the King and the Representative of the Crown shall be taken before Dáil Eireann in public Session, and shall be in the following form:—

" solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of Saorstát Eireann/Irish Free State, as by law established, and that in all matters concerning Saorstát Eireann, I shall act on the advice of the Executive Council only."

Deputy Cole made a speech a minute ago supporting this reading and this contention, and I claim his vote at any rate for this amendment. It is right that if the other members of the Parliament are asked to take an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, this other member called the King also should be asked and obliged to take an oath to that same Constitution. It is folly that he should be asked to take an oath of faithfulness to himself, but it is wisdom that he be asked to promise to act on any matter on the advice of the Executive Council only. This oath, if taken and kept, would prevent any difference of opinion arising as between the Privy Council which happens to sit in London, as the British Cabinet, and the Executive Council of the Oireachtas. There would then be no question of his duty in the matter. There are instances—very recent instances—in the history of Monarchy in Great Britain where the King has—as the Queen before him—actively interfered in political affairs of the country against the Executive Council of the time; and has interfered so radically as to change the face of politics for the time being, and has led the country into war. I think we have a right, at this stage, to lay down the principle that in all matters concerning the Government of this country, the particular official who was to summon the Oireachtas was to act only upon the advice of the Executive Council. What I am putting down in form here—what I am asking the Dáil to put down in form here— is what all the Ministers have indicated is the duty of that particular official, and as every member of the Dáil intends shall be the duty of that particular official. But, inasmuch as Britain on her side demands that members of this Legislature who are elected shall take a certain oath, I submit that we on our side have an equal right to demand that the other member of the Legislature, who is not elected, but is born into the purple, shall take the oath of allegiance to the Constitution, and shall bind himself to act in matters affecting the State, only on the advice of the Executive Council. I beg to move this amendment.


We scarcely needed the evidence of this amendment to show that Deputy Johnson has a sense of humour. I think that that was a matter we were well aware of—or at any rate on which we were prepared to take his word. I feel that the mover of this amendment knows that in moving it he has merely made a certain idle gesture, and taken up a certain amount of the time of this Dáil, and of its members for the purpose of making a certain protest—rather a melodramatic protest. The King does not appear before the Parliament of any country whose constitutional status we got according to the Treaty to make this oath, or make any solemn declaration. It is not at all probable—I venture to say it is not possible—that anything we could pass here would bring that about: and there is a further objection. Supposing for a moment we were to make an effort to take this amendment seriously, there is a further objection—a very definite objection to it—that it confronts us with a flesh and blood individual.


I would like to see him.


It takes away from the shadowy impersonal thing of this link and obtrudes upon this Irish Assembly an individual who is not Irish.


Or English!


Yes; or English, as Deputy O'Brien says. The personality of the King for the time being does not matter, and really, while it may seem, just for the passing moment, a fine thing, it was both foolish and in bad taste for a Deputy here, the other day, to get up and talk about this "noodle." We are not dealing with the King as an individual. We are dealing with a particular symbol or link which holds this whole Commonwealth of Nations together, and I venture to say that the feeling of the British people upon it is not so much as it affects directly the relations between this country and their country, but because it is just a link by which their institutions are numbered. It is a shadowy thing that has held together what used to be called the British Empire. Now, instead of that link, the amendment that is here before us would bring here into this Assembly the living English King with a certain amount of pomp and retinue that we must assume. and would make of this link a more real thing than it need ever be—a more real thing than it is intended to be. The Constitutional practice in all the Dominions is that the Representative of the Crown delegates to the Clerk of the Dáil this matter; authorises him to be the person before whom the particular oath was to be taken. If the Deputies take the trouble to refer to the book in which the practice is set out in the various Constitutions of the Dominions, they will find this is so. At the moment I cannot find the particular passage, but if the Deputies look up the Articles of these three Constitutions—Australia. Canada and South Africa—where the necessity of taking this Oath of Allegiance is set out, they will find this. That Oath of Allegiance differs very substantially from ours, and it will be found that. in every case, the practice is that the representative of the Crown delegates that particular duty to the Clerk of the Dáil. Now the proposed amendment —the amendment standing in Deputy Johnson's name—puts it out of his power to delegate in that way and brings that particular individual into the Assembly to swear a certain oath. The amendment is not accepted by those who are sponsoring this Constitution Bill, and I do not expect it will receive very careful consideration here, or take up any more time than was taken up.


It is not true at all, as the Minister says, that the amendment in the name of Deputy Johnson would take out of the hands of the representative of the Crown the delegating to the Clerk of the Dáil the power to administer the oath to the members of the Dáil. The Minister has said if you look up "The Three Dominion Constitutions" you would find that the representative of the Crown delegated this job to the Clerk. Of course in the Constitution from "A" to "Z" you will not find that practice at all. What you will find is that the representative of the Crown can authorise any person in his name to administer the oath to the members of the Parliament, but this amendment would not take that power out of the hands of the representative of the Crown at all. And even a plain ordinary reading would not suggest that even to one with such a wild imagination as I have. The Minister has said one or two things that are of importance. One of them is that if you bring the living flesh and bones that the King is composed of you may bring a lot of pomp and that sort of thing; certainly you may, but it is as well that we should all see this stuff. It is as well that we should see that, with these kings and princes, there are such things as Courts, and that a terrific lot of evil follows in the train of these Courts. The Minister has referred to someone talking the the other day about these things. No; it is not a question of bad or good taste. You cannot have a question of good or bad taste if you are referring to a legal or constitutional fiction. You may have if you refer to a person. I myself want this amendment carried, because I want to see the old "Josser" who is King to be in the Parliament. Not that I am concerned with the old "Josser" who happens to occupy the Throne at the moment, because a most notable thing I remember about him occurs in this connection. It was during the world war. There was a man living outside Ballymena, a man of great common sense, and he was a farmer. He was reading in the paper one Saturday evening that King George had gone on the water waggon "for the duration," and turning to a friend, he read another paragraph that the Kaiser had been at the front, and in the front line trenches. He says, "Jimmie, I don't know what the world is coming to. I see the Kaiser has been out fighting at the front, and poor, Wee Georgie stays at home drinking barley water." We want to see these people who are drinking the barley water. I am not very concerned with a "chisseler" and the future heirs and successors, but I want to see him, and get a good look at him, to see if he is like what he is in the pictures, the cinema, theDaily Sketch, and the Daily Mirror, and to see if he has just the vacuous look he has in these things. I said the other day that if he was going to be a member of this Parliament let him come here and do a day's work. He is either a constitutional fiction or flesh and blood. If he is flesh and blood, let him come here. His heir and successor has distinguished himself nearly as well as his father. I think he recently made what is technically called a “duff drive.” I am not a golfer, but I understand that he “foozled the driver,” and struck the earth before coming near the golf ball. Now, if he could strike the earth there, he ought to be able to strike it here in Dublin. I also saw that he was made a Freeman of St. Andrews, who wears variegated or embroidered cardigans, and one of the perquisites, I think, that goes with the freemanship is a share of the city's cockles. We can give him some cockles and mussels here, and Counemara lobsters and oysters if he wants them, and they will not be far away from him. This is the kind of thing we are told is flesh and blood. Let him come here if he is to be a part of the Parliament. Let him come and do something. The Minister has said that this kind of thing, “the King, his heirs or predecessors,” does not appear before the other Parliaments of the Dominions. Perfectly true. He is not asked to do these things, but the Minister has forgotten in alluding to the Constitution we are discussing, that it has not had the same origin as the Constitutions of Canada, South Africa and Australia. They had not agreements in their origin at all. They were Acts of the British Parliament. This is supposed to be an Act of the Irish Parliament, and the Minister says this thing would not be in accordance with the Constitution in practice. Of course, he wants the Teachtaí to believe that what is in the Constitution is necessarily constitutional practice. It is nothing of the kind. There is a definition which is quite clear to the Minister, but which he avoids. There is a thing, and it is one of the things, I think, this individual would be the only one possible who could explain it, and that is the oath as passed in the Treaty. There is this question of common citizenship. I may be very dense, but I do not know what is meant by common citizenship. Great Britain with Ireland is not a constitution in fiction Neither is Ireland, but who will tell me that Great Britain is a citizen and Ireland a citizen? A citizen of what? There are thirty or forty million citizens in Great Britain, and three or four millions in Ireland. The common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain! If this old josser came down, or the chisseler, he might give some explanation and that is why I support the amendment.


I support Deputy Johnson's amendment for two or three reasons. It has been suggested here early to-day on the amendment of Deputy Gavan Duffy that this Parliament had returned each and every one of the Deputies by the will of the people who support the Treaty. I know, as far as I am concerned, I am returned by the will of the people. I have never expressed whether I was going to support the Treaty, or whether I was pro-Treaty or anti-Treaty, but I do understand as a trade unionist that I was in duty bound to act with the majority, and act according to the will of the people. In other words, it is my duty to support the Treaty. I would like to know why, or what are we here for? If we raise objections to one or other Article in the draft Constitution we are told that if we object to a particular line in that Article being applied we lose the Treaty. If that be so, what is the use of all this unnecessary discussion? Why did not the Ministry say on the first day—"this is the Treaty. I propose it as it stands"? I really think we are losing a great deal of time. I know we are losing time. But it is not the fault of the Deputies, it is the fault of the Ministers themselves. Do the present generation of the Irish people require to see his glorious Majesty coming in and sitting at the head of our Parliament, this man—I do not know whether he is a man or not —this man Guelph—who is one of the worst who has reigned in England, judging by what happened here since 1916? If the majority of this Parliament want to bring the minority with them I would ask them to agree to this amendment, because it is specified there that if the King is to be recognised in this Parliament he shall take the oath the same as the Deputies. By doing that you will leave it open for discussion, and the men who will be returned at the next election will have an opportunity of voicing their opinions in the matter. If you decide here and now I do not see what opportunities they will have. I say it is our duty as the Government to do the people's will. If you include this man in the oath it will be to my mind one of the most disgraceful acts that has yet been done. I have read the different Dominion Constitutions, and, of course, I admit that the different Kings and Queens are mentioned in them, but these are not Nations like Ireland; they are not so old as the Irish Nation. Of course the Government here is the majority of the Dáil, but the Labour Party have proved here that there is no coercion as far as their members are concerned. We were accused some days ago of voting as one solid Party, but we are free to vote as our consciences direct. I stand up here to support the amendment, and I hope it will have the support of the Dáil. If it is carried surely to goodness England is not going to declare war upon the Irish Nation. I am sure we will get some way out of the difficulty.


It has been said that we are wasting a lot of time. I am inclined to agree that we are. I think we are wasting time in discussing this oath, and I think the people are disgusted with all the discussions on, it. The second Dáil discussed it long enough, and we ought to know it now in all its bearings. I think when the General Election came the people understood the oath, and they knew what they were casting their votes for when they were voting for the Treaty. At any rate, so far as I am concerned, I intend to support it, not because it is palatable, but simply because I believe, as we are told, it is essential to the carrying out of the Treaty, and that means it is essential for the return of prosperity and peace to this country. I believe that the majority of the people in this country do not want this oath, but I believe that the people know that in the circumstances that prevailed at the time of the Treaty, and in the circumstances that prevail at the present time, they have accepted it, and are prepared to make the most of it. We hear a lot about Republicans. We are all Republicans. and we must see what is the best means to attain it. I hold as one, and that is the reason I support this oath, that as this is the quickest road to a Republic we should support it.


I only intervene to say that the amendment was fully worthy of the speeches which were delivered in support of it.

Amendment put. The Dáil divided: Tá, 7; Níl, 50.



Tomás de Nógla.Riobard Ó Deaghaidh.Tomás Mac Eóin.Liam Ó Briain.Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.Seán Ó Laidhin.Cathal Ó Seanáin.

Liam T. Mac Cosgair.Donchadh Ó Gúaire.Úaitear Mac Cúmhaill.Seán Ó Maolruaidh.Seán Ó Duinnín.Micheál Ó hAonghusa.Domhnall Ó Mocháin.Seán Ó hAodha.Séamus Breathnach.Peadar Mac a' Bhaird.Seoirse Ghabhain Uí Dubhthaigh.Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.Seán Ó Rúanaidh.Micheál de Duram.Ailfrid Ó Broin.Seán Mac Garaidh.Pilib Mac Cosgair.Micheál de Staineas.Domhnall Mac Cartaigh.Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.Earnán Altún.Sir Séamus Craig.Gearóid Mac Giobuin.Liam Thrift.Eoin Mac Néill.Seosamh Ó Faoileachain.Seoirse Mac Niocaill.Piaras Béaslaí.Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.Criostóir Ó Broin.Risteard Mac Liam.Liam Ó Daimhin.Caomhghin O hUigin.Tomás Moc Ártuir.Séamus Ó Doláin.Aindriu Ó Laimhín.Proinsias Mac Aonghusa.Eamon Ó Dúgáin.Peadar Ó hAodha.Séamus Ó Murchadha.Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhríghde.Liam Mac Sioghaird.Éarnán de Blaghd.Seán Buitléir.Domhnall Ó Broin.Séamus de Burca.Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.Risteard Mac Fheorais.Micheál Ó Dubhghaill.Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.

Amendment declared lost.
Question: "That Article 17 be added to the Bill," put and agreed to.