THE Irish Question is an international imposture.

Ireland, in order to justify her rebellion and treason, makes out that she is oppressed. Nowadays the oppression of Ireland by England is a myth, and a very feeble one at that. Macaulay said:

"The Irish, on the other hand, were distinguished by qualities which tend to make men interesting rather than prosperous. They were an ardent and impetuous race, easily moved to tears or to laughter, to fury or to love. Alone among the nations of Northern Europe they had the susceptibility, the vivacity, the natural turn for acting, and rhetoric, which are indigenous on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea."

Ireland therefore possesses the power of playing upon our emotions as she chooses, but the accusations which she makes are so startling, and so contrary to all we know of British rule in other dependencies, that we must be careful to verify her statements.

Professor Pearse, one of the ringleaders of the Dublin rebellion, who was shot the following week, stated on the eve of the rising: "It will fail in its direct object, but the moral effect before the whole world will be immense, and form a glorious chapter in Irish history." The Professor believed that the world was very simple-minded, easily taken in by resounding phrases and theatrical poses. Possibly he was not mistaken. We need not mock, it was more successful than we realize.

Ireland has always harped upon this note with great effect. How many Frenchmen and Americans have been caught in the snare? Yet what Pearse was asking those rebels to do was nothing less than to stab us in the back when our fate was in the balance at Verdun, and when our soldiers were writing in their blood at Vaux and Douaumont the most heroic page in the history of France. It were well, then, if his scheme should not reap all the success which he anticipated.

The rebellion was followed by punishment; mercy was shown to the rank and file, the ringleaders were executed, and Ireland wailed with grief and decorated their graves with flowers. George Bernard Shaw, an Irishman who owes his reputation as a humorist to the amusing paradoxes of his race, dared to write: "Nothing in heaven or earth can prevent the men shot taking their place beside Emmet and the Manchester martyrs in Ireland, and beside the heroes of Poland and Serbia or Belgium in Europe." This comparison is an insult to noble little countries, and the reason of this these pages will endeavor to show.

There is an amusing side to this, that is, to see the German press waxing indignant at the destruction of a small nation, and Austria---save the mark!---applauding a national revolt.

We should do well to be very cautious of the word Nationalism; it covers such a multitude of artificial claims. In its name we have Egyptian "patriots" in the pay of the wire-pullers of the Committee of Union and Progressa---nd such progress!---who want to purge their country of Western corruptions and restore the benefits of Ottoman Kultur. Of late years, too, we have had Hindu nationalists demanding Home Rule for that immense peninsula with its hundred different races. Who are they? Young Bengali lawyers without a mandate, claiming to represent 200,000,000 illiterate and apathetic peasants, without counting 100,000,000 Mohammedans who loathe them, and are quite satisfied with English rule, and would not tolerate a change. When shall we do justice to these ill-timed jests?

It is certain that before the war opinion in Latin countries inclined towards the small complaining nation, not going very deeply into the matter, as usual, but applauding these tirades, and a priori suspecting England, the silent, who is such a bad defender of her own cause, An Englishman always believes that his cause is perfectly plain and needs no comment.

"Will you defend yourself?" says Meredith's Princess Ottilia to her friend, after listening to the diatribe of a pretentious Boche.

"Well, no, frankly, I will not. The proper defense for a nation is its history."(#1)

No doubt, but it is not known to everybody. By the time an Englishman makes up his mind to reply to his accusers he has generally ten or twenty years of calumny to contend with, and some of the dirt will stick.

It is no easy matter to destroy a legend, and if the Irish Celts had not given us such stinging blows during the war we should probably have gone on for a long time believing them to be inoffensive and unfortunate victims. They may be humorists, but they overestimate our credulity. They ask for applause. If their recent attitude, by directing all eyes towards them and attracting closer observation, ends by confounding them, and bringing them in more kicks than halfpence, and if they are on the way to lose the last and best of their friends in America, they have no one to blame but themselves. This frightful war will have had one good result; it will have taught us to recognize our friends and know our enemies.

There is no doubt that the verdict will be a severe one, and unfortunately many good and noble men will suffer from this national crime; among them will be those Irishmen who recognized and fulfilled their duty---and let me say at once that there are many such, several hundred thousand. Mercifully there are still many sound hearts in Ireland, and this indictment is not directed against them.

We shall denounce the clergy who have gone astray, but we shall be most careful to exclude the English Roman Catholics, both priests and faithful, whose conduct during the last four years has been irreproachable in act and word. They do not condone the Irish bishops; on the contrary, they suffer through being compromised by their folly.

We shall have hard words for Irish politicians, but we shall not forget that, in every party, in Ireland as elsewhere, there are men of good faith and perfect loyalty.

But besides them, and in spite of all these reservations, these distressing facts remain---the falling-away of a nation, the hostility of a people in whose generosity we believed, the lying pretexts with which we were to be deceived. All this we shall try to describe and explain.

Need I say that the writer is in no man's pay? Some will insinuate that he is, in the bewilderment of seeing their Anglophobe prejudices thus clearly and categorically demolished.

Is this work, then, not impartial? Let us understand one another. Impartial in its point of departure certainly; but frankly partial in its conclusions. After I had examined this question, weighed words and deeds in the balance, I was perforce obliged to take sides. To try to please everybody and never ruffle preconceived ideas is not always the way to find out the truth.

On this subject I shared the illusions---and the ignorances---of almost all my fellow-countrymen, until one day an Irish-American friend, who died an heroic death eight years ago as one of the pioneers of aviation, handed me Sir Horace Plunkett's Ireland in the New Century, and warned me that it contained many surprises for me. These were so great that I was fired with the desire to go into the matter more deeply, and to complete the investigation by the study of men and books---past and present. The first result of this was a contemporary study of the social and political condition of Ireland in 1909.

Having since retained, needless to say, the deepest interest in this question, and followed from day to day, at the very heart of the Anglo-Saxon Empire, the incidents of this endless quarrel., I was often distressed to see the way the French public and press either attributed the blame and responsibility wrongly, or else, amazed at Ireland's misguided folly, gave up trying to understand the business, and relegated it to the mysteries of censored war-news.

Unfortunately even those who were sent to Dublin on missions of inquiry or propaganda were sometimes taken in by the plausible speeches of the local orators. Doubtless Froude's fiction would be denounced to them, Froude, who falsified history by literature and prejudice, and, instead of showing Ireland in her true colors, crowned her with the palms of injured innocence. Then the more accurate and honest work of Lecky would be shown to them. Lecky was the great historian of eighteenth-century Ireland, an epoch during which Ireland played indubitably a creditable part. But were they told that Lecky, in the face of contemporary events, became the opponent of Home Rule just as Froude had been?

Were our friends thoroughly conversant with all the complex facts of the question? I know that some of them, unfortunately, returned having formed hasty and ill-considered judgments, actuated more by sentiment than reason. This book has been written in the humble hope of enlightening them a little.,

R. C. E.
August 15th, 1918.





Outbreak of war---German atrocities---Concessions and rebellions---Belgian Recruiting Commission---Redmond and Recruiting---Bishop O'Dwyer---The rebellion of 1916--Growth of Treason---Irish excuses


Monks and bards---Legends and traditions---Earl Strongbow---Normans and Celts---Under Henry VIII---Henry VIII---Elizabeth----Compromise and concession---A new era---Ireland in the sixteenth century---The Ulster plantation---The massacre of 1641---Oliver Cromwell---The Restoration---James II---William III---The penal laws


Grattan's Parliament---Hoche's expedition---Wolfe Tone and 1798---The Union---Daniel O'Connell---Demand for repeal---The Irish at Westminster---The famine of 1847 ---America comes in---" Manchester Martyrs"


Chronic pauperism---Land agitation---Boycotting---Difficulties of government---Gladstone---The Ashbourne Acts ---The first Home Rule Bill---Plan of campaign---Gladstone's second Bill---Arthur and Gerald Balfour---Wyndham's Act-Mr. Birrell's failure---Redmond's speech, 1915


Ireland and Ulster---The position in 1906-7---Days of hope ---Mr. Dillon's opposition ---Mr. Birrell's "policy"---Sir Horace Plunkett---The Budget of 1909---Mr. Asquith's pledges---Mr. Asquith's Bill --- Illusory safeguards---Doubtful promises---Separation


The Ulster question---Ulster's fears---Lord Ernest Hamilton---Ulster and equality---Ulster's covenant---A futile offer---The crisis of 1914---The eve of war


Sir E. Carson's manifesto---Mr. Redmond's view---Enlistment---Redmond's difficulties---Sinn Fein comes in---Sinn Fein Constitution---Sinn Fein predominant---Redmond's ultimatum---" Insults to Ireland"---Sir E. Carson resigns---Recruiting---Growth of rebellion---The sports tax


Rebellion in Dublin---General Maxwell arrives---"Moral effect"---Mr. Birrell resigns---Rebel recriminations---Mr. Lloyd George called in---Mr. Duke Chief Secretary ---Mr. Redmond's difficulties-Deadlock again---Mr. Lloyd George's attitude---The Convention---Sinn Fein and the Convention---Warnings from America---Mr. Redmond's death---Points in dispute---Chimerical factories---Hopes and wishes


Sir H. Plunkett's hopes---Irish claims---American ignorance---America begins to see---Mr. Stead's opinion---Still far from Home Rule---Germano-Irish Society---The " Wild Men "---Folly and Vanity---Clerical intimidation---Official optimism---A negative conclusion---Useless concessions---Kuno Meyer

Chapter One