Day 7 Debate – December 21st 1921

THE SPEAKER (Dr. EOIN MACNEILL) took the chair at 11.5 a.m. and called on Mr. Gavan Duffy.

MR. GAVAN DUFFY: A Chinn Chomhairle, I rise to stand over my signature to the Treaty and to recommend it to you in pursuance of the pledge I gave. But in giving that pledge I did not pledge myself to conceal from you nor from the people of Ireland the circumstances under which that pledge was extorted from me. Let me make it clear that I am not here to make any apology for the action I took, believing then that it was right, and believing now it was right, but I am here to give the Irish people the explanation to which they are entitled, and I think it is necessary that the circumstances should be driven home and impressed upon the minds of the Irish people, even at the risk of reiterating a good deal that Deputy Barton has said, for two main reasons, one in order that the historic record of this transaction might be clear beyond all possible doubt, and two in order to impress upon you the solemn warning that it gives us. I wish it to be understood that I speak absolutely for myself, without desiring to commit any other member of the Delegation. I am going to recommend this Treaty to you very reluctantly, but very sincerely, because I see no alternative. I have no sympathy with those who acclaim this partial composition as if it was payment in full, with compound interest; nor have I any sympathy with those who would treat this agreement as if it were utterly valueless. Indeed at the risk of being accused of having a slave mind, I cannot help enjoying such a statement as that which I find in the Morning Post—the best friend that Ireland ever had in England—of yesterday. It begins its leading article:—“Like humble suppliants on the doorstep waiting for an answer to their plea for charity, the Government and people of this once proud and powerful country are now hanging expectant on the discussions of an illegal assembly, self-styled Dáil Eireann, to know whether or not that body will graciously condescend to accept their submission.” I think it is difficult for any of us to look at this matter perfectly fairly, because when you feel jubilant your feelings are apt to run away with you. I tried to look at it fairly, and it must be realised that the Irish people have an achievement to their credit in this respect at least, that this Treaty gives them what they have not had for hundreds of years; it gives them power, it puts power of control, power of Government, military power in the hands of our people and our Government. And the answer to those who assert that that power will be filched from us by dishonest Englishmen across the water, is that that will depend upon us, that we shall be in a far better position to resist aggression and to maintain and increase that power than ever we were before. The vital defect of this Treaty is that it inflicts a grievous wound upon the dignity of this nation by thrusting the King of England upon us, thrusting an alien King upon us, with his alien Governor, and I do not want to minimise for a moment the evil of that portion of the Treaty. On the other hand, I do not like to hear people whose word has weight overstating their case and asking you to believe such things as that the Irish Army will be governed by his Majesty’s officers, a statement that seems to me to be just as true as if you were to say that the Irish Flag will be the Union Jack, or that because the Canadian “bucks” bear on [86] their face “Georgis Rex, Defender of the Faith,” that therefore we shall have coins of the same description. The argument upon which such suggestions as that are founded is an argument which would justify the assumption that the Union Jack will be the flag of this country, and it is not fair to attack the Treaty on such grounds as that. It will be the duty of those who frame the Constitution to frame it in accordance with the wishes of the Irish people so far as the Treaty allows them; it will be their duty, therefore, to relegate the King of England to the exterior darkness as far as they can, and they can to a very considerable extent. It has not been sufficiently affirmed that the Constitution is left to us subject to the Treaty. I admit that his Majesty is not written all over the Treaty. The first clause deals with our status in the community of nations known as the British Empire, the second with our relations with Great Britain. All our internal affairs so far as the Constitution is concerned are left to our fashioning and any Government worthy of the name will be able to place that foreign King at a very considerable distance from the Irish people. Now I am trying to be fair about the matter. That does not take away the objection to the Treaty. You are still left with the fact that his Majesty’s Minister will be here; you are still left with the fact that the Irish people are to pledge themselves to a gentleman who necessarily symbolises in himself the just anger and the just resentment of this people for 750 years. Therefore it was that when this Treaty was first presented to me as a proposal for peace with power on the one hand, but national dignity the purchase price on the other, I rejected it, for I could not forget that we in London had done our best in our counter proposals to maintain Irish independence in connection with the association that we were offering. I could not forget that this nation has won the admiration of the world by putting up the noblest and most heroic national fight of all history and that it is unconquered still (applause). I did not forget these things, and yet I signed. I will tell you why. On the 4th of December a sub-conference was held between the two sides at which Lloyd George broke with us on the Empire and broke definitely, subject to confirmation by his Cabinet the next morning. It might have been, or it might not have been, bluff. At all events contact was renewed and the next day a further sub-conference was held, attended by Messrs. Arthur Griffith, Michael Collins and Robert Barton, and, after four-and-a-half hours of discussion, our delegates returned to us to inform us that four times they had all but broken and that the fate of Ireland must be decided that night. Lloyd George had issued to them an ultimatum to this effect: “It must now be peace or war. My messenger goes to-night to Belfast. I have here two answers, one enclosing the Treaty, the other declaring a rupture, and, if it be a rupture, you shall have immediate war, and the only way to avert that immediate war is to bring me the undertaking to sign of every one of the plenipotentiaries, with a further undertaking to recommend the Treaty to Dáil Eireann and to bring me that by 10 o’clock. Take your choice.” I shall not forget the anguish of that night, torn as one was between conflicting duties. Again this ultimatum might have been bluff, but every one of those who had heard the British Prime Minister believed beyond all reasonable doubt that this time he was not play acting, and that he meant what he said. It is, I think, worth while recording that the semi-official organ of Mr. Lloyd George—the Daily Chronicle—confirmed that attitude. The next day it stated quite openly in the most shameless manner:—

“Before the delegates separated for dinner the Prime Minister made his final appeal. He made it clear that the draft before them was the last concession which any British Government could make. The issue now was the grim choice between acceptance and immediate war.”

I wonder do you realise the monstrous iniquity. An ingenious attempt has been made on behalf of the British Government to refute what Deputy Barton told you the other day in what is called a semi-official denial issued through the Press Association. I make no apology for reading it, for the matter is of importance. They say:

“The statement by Mr. Robert Barton, one of the Irish Peace Treaty signatories, that the agreement [87] was signed under duress, and that Mr. Lloyd George ‘threatened’ war in the event of a refusal occasioned no undue surprise in authoritative quarters in London to-day. It was pointed out that the Irish Envoys, who, it must be remembered, were Plenipotentiaries, had negotiated during the preceding weeks with full knowledge of the alternative in the event of a final rejection of the terms.

“‘They accepted the proposals under duress of circumstances or duress of their own minds and not because of any eleventh hour declaration on the part of the Prime Minister,’ declared an authority this (Tuesday) evening. ‘In so far as it was well known that the alternative to acceptance was war, there is an element of truth in the statement’.”

The complaint is not that the alternative to signing a Treaty was war; the complaint is that the alternative to our signing that particular Treaty was immediate war; that we who were sent to London as the apostles of peace—the qualified apostles of peace—were suddenly to be transformed into the unqualified arbiters of war; that we had to make this choice within three hours and to make it without any reference to our Cabinet, to our Parliament or to our people. And that monstrous iniquity was perpetrated by the man who had invited us under his roof in order, moryah, to make a friendly settlement. So that the position was this, that if we, every one of us, did not sign and undertake to recommend, fresh hordes of savages would be let loose upon this country to trample and torture and terrify it, and whether the Cabinet, Dáil Eireann, or the people of Ireland willed war or not, the iron heel would come down upon their heads with all the force which a last desperate effort at terrorism could impart to it. This is the complaint. We found ourselves faced with these alternatives, either to save the national dignity by unyielding principle, or to save the lives of the people by yielding to force majeure, and that is why I stand where I do. We lost the Republic of Ireland in order to save the people of Ireland. I do not wish to sit down without emphasising the warning that one cannot but take away from that transaction. We cannot look without apprehension to the true designs of these people in the working out of the Treaty, for we cannot have confidence in men who make the bludgeon the implement of their goodwill. If they had been statesmen they would have recognised and proclaimed that the tie of blood which truly unites the British Dominions to England is no tie between Ireland and England no more than between the Englishman and the Boer, the Englishman and the Egyptian, the Englishman and the Indian, or the Englishman and the French Canadian. They would have realised that the tie of blood is a bond of steel and that such a bond can stand any strain. The truth is they were afraid; they knew well how much to give, but they were afraid to make full atonement and sought to justify themselves by professing to believe that they did make full atonement. If they had kept their King out of Ireland an honest settlement would have been easy. Instead of that they have chosen to give us once more grave reasons to doubt them by showing us over again that for all their canticles of peace and goodwill and atonement the British Bible is still the cover for a British gun. That is what they call statesmanship across the water; that is the statecraft before which the world bows low; that is the statecraft which throughout the history of the British Empire has spread mistrust, enmity and war. There is another statesman, and he was heard at Manchester a week ago, when one of the greatest English statesmen, Lord Grey, proclaimed that no peace with Ireland was any use unless it was a peace made upon equal terms. I subscribe to that, and it is well for the British people to know that they can have peace, solid peace, lasting peace with this country on the day that peace is made between our Government and theirs on equal terms, and not before. I do not love this Treaty now any more than I loved it when I signed it, but I do not think that that is an adequate answer, that it is an adequate motive for rejection to point out that some of us signed the Treaty under duress, nor to say that this Treaty will not lead to permanent peace. It is necessary before you reject the Treaty to go further than that and to produce to the people of Ireland a rational alternative (hear, hear). My heart is with those who are against the [88] Treaty, but my reason is against them, because I can see no rational alternative. You may reject the Treaty and gamble, for it is a gamble, upon what will happen next. You may have a plebiscite in this country, which no serious man can wish to have, because after what you have seen here it is obvious that it will rend the country from one end to the other, and leave memories of bitterness and acrimony that will last a generation. You may gamble on the prospects of a renewal of that horrible war, which I for one have only seen from afar, but which I know those who have so nobly withstood do not wish to see begun again without a clear prospect of getting further than they are to-day. We are told that this is a surrender of principle. If that be so, we must be asked to believe that every one of those who have gone before us in previous fights, and who in the end have had to lay down their arms or surrender in order to avert a greater evil to the people, have likewise been guilty of a breach of principle. I do not think an argument of that kind will get you much further. No! The solid principle, the solid basis upon which every honest man ought to make up his mind on this issue, may be summed up in the principle that we all claimed when it was first enunciated by the President, the principle of government by the consent of the governed. I say that no serious person here, whatever his feelings, knowing as he must what the people of this country think of the matter, will be doing his duty if, under these circumstances, he refuses to ratify the Treaty. Ratify it with the most dignified protest you can, ratify because you cannot do otherwise, but ratify it in the interests of the people you must.

MR. J.J. WALSH: I ask leave to make a personal explanation regarding a very serious allegation that has been made by this paper, the Freeman’s Journal, this morning in respect to a statement I am supposed to have made last night. The Freeman’s Journal says:—“Mr. J.J. Walsh said, arising out of a speech made by the last member, he felt bound to remark that all those speakers addressing Mr. de Valera should not use the word ‘President’ in future.”

MR. STACK:—Just like the Freeman.

MR. COLLINS: It is in all the papers. Somebody must be responsible for it.

MR. STACK: The Freeman never said ‘President’ yet to him.

MR. NICHOLLS: It is in the Independent as well.

MR. J.J. WALSH: Now, sir, every member of this House knows very well that at the conclusion of Deputy MacCartan’s speech last night, I rose and expressed regret at the very general use of the word “quibble” in respect of the conduct of the deliberations and of the negotiations by our President. I did so because of the very great regard for the honour and integrity and ability of the President and his great patriotism and sacrifice for his country. Not only would I not use this remark, but I certainly would take the greatest possible exception to anyone using it, and I think that is the case with every member of this House. I suppose I can ask the Press generally in the name of the President and of the House to make suitable correction and apology for this great error.

THE SPEAKER: Deputy Walsh’s statement is absolutely correct, and the report, which I have also seen in the Press this morning, is a very grave and serious error, and the correction of that error is due, I won’t say to this assembly, I won’t say to the President, but it is due to the Irish people who have placed us here.

PROFESSOR STOCKLEY: The remarks of the last speaker have added to the impression we had, and which I felt deeply, and I think everybody felt it deeply, after the speech of Mr. Barton, and I won’t say entirely, because I should not like to subscribe, perhaps, to everything that the Minister of Finance said, but I felt impressed strongly after his speech. I am not here to speak in a sentimental fashion, and suggest that we all agree here, but I do maintain that after these speeches, and notwithstanding all these distressing circumstances of this debate—notwithstanding the wretched outlook in many ways—I maintain that these speeches show an extreme unity of sentiment and an extraordinary determination of this assembly as representing what we may call in-Cartan’ [89] deed, without any lack of hope, but in a very real sense, our unhappy people. And to whom is this unhappiness due? Before I came here I got a telegram asking me to vote for this Treaty and against this insensate hatred of England. I maintain that those who would vote against this Treaty are perhaps less filled with that hatred than those determined to vote for this Treaty. I do not ask anyone to give up what they think is right because of that, but I can assuredly appeal to anyone’s heart here or in the world who has a spark of generosity, if the treatment meted out to Ireland in this last disgraceful act of England is not a fitting climax and one of the worst examples of the abominable treatment of this country by England. How could anyone not have shame in their hearts? I perhaps have more responsibility because of those whom I belong to than anyone else. I say if there was an Englishman present in this chamber, he must feel covered with a sense of shame after hearing these declarations. Now the Minister for Foreign Affairs—the Chairman of the Delegation—said rightly that he did not want pity from other people. Surely the answer to what has been said to me that you must not be full of insensate hatred of England—surely the answer is what has been suggested in the speech you have just heard. I was going to say that if it had not been for some words in the end that is the speech I would like to have. Surely it was more than true without any sentimentality that there was an opportunity for a peaceable feeling and a right feeling between these countries. It is not true to say that there are no principles and nothing to govern man except abominable self-interest. There are many people here and in Britain anxious that there should be a basis of agreement between these countries, but, as you have heard, it is not with the fair and honest intention of bringing about such a peace that the late action of the British Government was taken with regard to Ireland. Now I am told you must not expect too much when you are beaten. What was the word sent to our people? That they were beaten? No, but that they were to come and discuss this matter with England, and to come to a decision with them. You have here now an example of the generosity of England. There was no question whatever of saying “You are a beaten people and will have to take whatever we like,” but it appears that that was in the document, and the action taken with regard to us. Mr. Duffy has also reminded us that in that Treaty there are several provisions or restrictions or modifications put in. Put in by whom? They are put in by the people who, as I think, we learned to say from the writings of the Minister of Foreign Affairs—who taught us how to look on these actions of the English Government, and taught us not to be deceived by the words that were put in by the people who used to keep the Home Rule Bill before them like a carrot dangling before the nose of a donkey. They were put in by the people who got up the Convention and pretended to us that it was a declaration to the Irish people in order to increase the sympathy of America with England and take away sympathy from Ireland. They were put in by the people who got up the German Plot and by the people who published a circular lately that they were going to arm enemies against us, while they were smiling in the face of these men on whom they have put this terrible responsibility, and these men, when they put in those restrictions in the name of common sense and in the name of self-protection, must be suspected, not because we have got any insensate hate of England, but acting like prudent men on the evidence they have given us. Not even Mr. Gavan Duffy has said—in fact he has said the contrary—that the claim made—and I would like to say it with regard to my present intentions on this Treaty—that the claim made that representatives of the people are incidentally to lose their own identity as it were—their own responsibility—and be no longer independent men because their constituents think something else—is, I think, a claim that cannot be made, and I never heard it being so absolutely made to any assembly as this on behalf of any people. The constituents may have succeeded in expressing a certain point of view in sending representatives here, but once sent here—as the great Irishman who has been once alluded to here, Edmund Burke, said—surely they must be respected as independent men, nor would they for an instant take up the position that a man must find out from day to day what the majority thought about him. Surely the case of [90] 1914 must remain in our minds, where the people were wrong, and if I may say so, papers like Nationality were right, and they told the people “we will not give in to them in what is an hallucination.” It seems to me that the arguments used for the Treaty are largely these two, that there were very excellent and honourable men sent there to carry out certain ideas at least and that we should follow them implicity. I think that is a mistake in the same way as I should not follow implicitly the constituents if I thought they made a mistake. While perhaps I know less personally than most people here about the men who carried out these negotiations, I should like to subscribe to everything that has been said about their admirable actions. The second argument used so strongly is that they have got a great deal by the Treaty. Now Mr. Gavan Duffy has reminded us how far this Treaty has taken us. Education. That has appealed to us. Why not? Then, above all, it provides the possibility of protecting ourselves. That has appealed to us. And then, above all, the carrying on of this country according to the wishes of the people of this country has appealed to us. And when you look at these in the Treaty and hear what has been said by those who support the Treaty, well, I feel carried away, not only in heart, as Mr. Duffy says, but to a large extent, also in my head. But it seems to me to be the old story. You might have got rid of the English Army out of this country in the time of Queen Elizabeth by giving in to everything she wanted. You might have got rid of them in the time of Owen Roe by falling in with all the claims made by the English. You might have got rid of them at any time by giving way to the tyrants. I cannot help feeling that that is not an argument to use, because of course you could have got rid of the Army at any time by agreeing to the conditions. Well, frankly, I don’t think it is possible for a person to subscribe to that oath. I don’t wonder that men, young men and brave men, put it aside and say, “I don’t care anything about it,” but, believe me, that is a dangerous thing to do, not only for yourself, but also for your country. Let us be frank about this matter, and don’t let us be saying we have got something if we have not got it. I will say this, that I don’t think that we wasted our time at the Secret Sessions or at the Private Sessions, for I got more clearly into my mind that to say that you allied yourself with another people is not the same as to say that you swear allegiance to another people. I don’t think that in any circumstances whatsoever would the French of 1870 have felt that they could exist as an independent nation if they had said, “I swear to be faithful to the Federation as such of a common wealth consisting of France, Germany, and some other States.” Now there was in the South of Germany not long ago a Federation of States, and these States were independent States. Austria was one, Bavaria was one, and Saxony was one. These States were independent States, and I think you might say, if not in actual words, that they had to acknowledge the Emperor of Austria as he then was, as the head of the South German Federation, but it never occurred to anyone in Bavaria that he had to swear allegiance or fidelity to the Emperor of Austria as the person who was to play the part of the Governor of Bavaria. I have got quite clearly into my mind that if I am asked to recognise the head of an association of nations like the League of Nations, I am not doing the same thing as if I took an oath of allegiance. The two things seem to me different, and I would say on the other side in answer to the bitterness of Dr. MacCartan’s speech that I don’t wonder he has Republican feelings when he spoke so. But I cannot agree—I cannot call myself a Republican in that sense. I never was when called on to speak publicly, for two reasons. For one thing, I felt the sword was hanging over my head, as it might be now, and, secondly, I felt that if the Irish chose to have a King, Emperor or Republic, it was not my business, nor did I feel any particular interest in a Republic as such, and, to quote Burke again, it seems to me that a Republic could be just as capable of cruelty as the most absolute Monarchy. I certainly feel strongly that the dilemma in which Ireland is placed by this Treaty is the climax to the treatment of a weak nation by the strong and the bully. May I read a letter from Mrs. Terence MacSwiney:—


“9th December, 1921.

“A CHARA DHIL,—I have read everything from all nationalities except our own regarding present affairs, and I have no hesitation in saying that from [91] the purely practical point of view it would be the greatest possible political mistake we have ever made (greater even than 1783) if we agreed to the present terms; it would probably also be the greatest triumph that the enemy has ever had.

“I should not have thought myself important enough to have written to you anything at all if I did not represent one who is greater than any of us. I am absolutely certain that Terry would have said what I am saying, and would have refused.

“If you think well of it, will you send a message from me in the above terms to the Dáil? Da gcuirfinn féin é ní bhfaghadh siad é.

“I cannot believe it will be taken. Le súil go mbeidh sgéal níos fearr againn sara fada.

“Is mise, do chara,


MR. M. COLLINS: Out of the greatest respect for the dead we have refrained from reading letters from the relatives of the dead. We have too much respect for the dead.

PROFESSOR STOCKLEY: May I say that I asked permission from the Speaker to read that letter?

MR. GRIFFITH: We have not read letters from the women whose sons have been shot, whose husbands have been killed, supporting us.

PROFESSOR WHELEHAN: I am sure that this Dáil has listened with the greatest interest to the speech of Professor Stockley. He told us at the opening of that speech that an appeal to passion had little to do with the present crisis, and he was right. But I submit that the major portion of his speech was, as he himself admitted, not an appeal to the head or to the reason, but to the heart. Like him, all of us Irishmen have our hearts, and wherever our hearts may be in a crisis like this when the country is faced with, I submit, the greatest trial that has ever confronted it, appeals to passion and sentiment are altogether out of place. There is no use in going back on what was or what has been. We have to deal now with what is. I submit that the business of this House is to deal with the situation which confronts it, and I submit that the people who are most competent to interpret the situation which confronts it are the people whom the Dáil sent to London, not as Republican doctrinaires but to negotiate association with Britain in one form or another. These men have come here and have told you the situation as they say it seemed to them, some of them not liking the Treaty. The two speeches that weighed most with me are the expression of the sincere convictions of Mr. Gavan Duffy and Mr. Barton, and they left no doubt as to what the situation is. It is this Treaty or the plunging of the Irish nation into war. Professor Stockley says he does not consider himself bound by the opinion of his constituents. He represents a university. Well, if that is the political principle on which he stands, it is not the political principle, nor any principle on which I stand, or will ever stand, and if there are any people in this House who are standing for principle, I submit to them that since they agreed, and they did agree with the only terms of reference these delegates were given going to London—when they agreed they were not Republican doctrinaires, then I submit they have given away the Republic, and they have got to deliver the nation from the great dilemma in which it has been placed. We cannot shirk responsibility—we cannot get rid of our responsibility after allowing these men to give our Republic away. I am in the position of one whose speech has been literally delivered by Dr. MacCartan. It is written here, but it is no use to me. But, in a crisis like this, I will submit that while I agree with what Dr. MacCartan has said, there is one point in which I totally disagree with him. He says he is a Republican doctrinaire, and as such that he will not vote for the Treaty. He says that the alternative to this Treaty is chaos, and that he will not vote to place the country in a state of chaos. I submit to him as a man of principle and conscience, that he is bound to vote to deliver the country from chaos. Professor Stockley does not consider the rights of the people he represents in the present circumstances. Don’t let me do him an injustice—that is what I understood. I should not wish to do any man an injustice, and I hope I am not misrepresenting. He does not consider that he is bound to represent the views of the people in the present circumstances. I submit, sir, that we are bound to represent the [92] views of the people in the new state of circumstances which has come about by our own free choice in assenting to the terms of reference—the only terms which these men got in going to London.

PROFESSOR STOCKLEY: Would you like me to say anything?


PROFESSOR STOCKLEY: What I meant to say is, I don’t think you can change about your own personal responsibility by casting it on the constituents. May I read something which I have been handed?


PROFESSOR STOCKLEY: It is entirely against myself.

PROFESSOR WHELEHAN: I have no objection to anything Professor Stockley reads, as I do believe he is an honest man. I believe every member in this House is honest, and I believe they will do what they feel themselves conscientiously bound to do. I have no objection to him reading anything. I submit, sir, that a new series of circumstances have brought about a new situation. The situation now is not a Republic versus Association with Great Britain, but the question is, shall this Treaty be approved of, or shall we commit the country to war? I accept the interpretation of the Treaty or the impression given us by the delegates in supporting the approval of the Treaty —and why? In the first place, Britain has pledged whatever honour remains to her before the world to evacuate the country. That, sir, we have been fighting for, and I submit that you have been successful in attaining it, and the Crown Forces, in the words of a distinguished Irishman, are to seuttle out of Ireland. This Treaty gives us full fiscal autonomy. It gives us control of the purse; it gives us control of trade and commerce and industries. This Treaty gives us an equal voice with other countries in the League of Nations. By this Treaty the Irish people have the right to frame their own Constitution, and under this Treaty an army under complete Irish control is given us to defend our Constitution and to uphold, and, I submit, to defend, our rights. But some will say, “For this you would give away the soul of the nation.” Now, sir, the soul of the nation has not been given away at the point of thousands of British bayonets, and with these gone out of the country, and with the guarantee that the soul of the nation shall be right, I submit we are not likely to lose it now, for by this Treaty we have complete control of our education, and education, not oaths of allegiance of one form of freedom or another, is the great factor in conserving the soul of any nation.

PRESIDENT DE VALERA: What are the bases of i

A DEPUTY: Your own language.

PRESIDENT DE VALERA: Hear, hear. Education based on dishonour.

PROFESSOR WHELEHAN: Education based on dishonour, the President says. I have great respect for the President’s opinion, and I had hoped not once to have to ailude further to what I hold to be the terms of reference given to these men.

PRESIDENT DE VALERA: To take an oath you don’t mean to keep is dishonourable.

PROFESSOR WHELEHAN: I am not going to keep to the question of the oath

MR. STACK: To break an oath that you have taken is dishonourable.

MR. GRIFFITH: Are our speakers to be continually interrupted from the other side of the table? We don’t interrupt them. Are we to be interrupted?

PROFESSOR WHELEHAN: I have been challenged about this oath. I will submit the interpretation given to the oath by a distinguished Member of the House. The oath was approved, and we were bound in conscience to do whatever we conceived best for the interest of the Irish people in whatever circumstances might arise. The interpretation was given in response to what has come to be the famous challenge of a very respected Member of this Dáil, and there was no dissent, as well as I can remember, with the interpretation of the oath. I stand by that. Each one is bound to [93] do—and I have no doubt about the Members of this House, that each Member will do—what he feels bound by his conscience to do in the present circumstances. I certainly shall do that. I did hope not to have to emphasise that question at all, but perhaps it is just as well that I have had to do so. Now, for this question of principle that we hear so much talk about—the question of giving away the Republic. I have submitted, sir, that the Republic was given away when we assented—and I blamed myself for it then—when we assented that we were not Republican doctrinaires. That was the beginning of compromise, and it has come now to a question of one degree of compromise or another. That is where we landed. Now, sir, I have to cut out several things because of Dr. MacCartan. I have not heard one argument against evacuation or against the fact that fiscal autonomy is given; not one argument against the fact that education is under our control; not one argument advanced in this House against the fact that we have complete control of trade and industry; and I submit that the appeals against this Treaty have been appeals to the heart and not to the reason or to the judgment. I submit that, and often I found that my heart was touched by several personal appeals here, and that I had to urge my judgment to do what was correct. This Treaty then gives us evacuation, control of the purse, of trade, industry and education, and an army which I say shall secure the nation’s right to free development, and I hold, sir, that this nation’s right to free development is not determined by that Treaty, but, like other nations, it shall continue to develop, aye, even against that Treaty, until, as Canada has the right—it has the right—the right which it holds at this moment, to declare itself free. The ex-Leader of the British Commons says that in the process of time Canada has got the right to declare itself independent of the British, and I hold that our rights under that Treaty are not less, at any rate, than the rights of Canada, but rather more. We have all these things, and no one can guarantee that a war will bring us any of these things. Can the people who urge the rejection of this Treaty guarantee that war will bring us one of these things? They cannot. What are the facts? I submit that the facts in the case and the realities of the situation have been submitted to this House, not by Ministers on either side, but by individual Members of the Dáil. If we assent, as we all should assent, that government at any time must be by the consent of the governed, then I submit we are bound to stand for the Treaty. It is a grand thing, a noble thing, a heroic thing in a crisis to stand by every principle, but, sir, I submit that it is not for principle our Cabinet had been standing, but rather between one degree of compromise and another. It is a grand thing and a heroic thing in a crisis to realize what we can lawfully call upon our countrymen to do, and in face of great difficulties ask them to do it. It is a grand thing to stand by principle. We have not stood by it.


PROFESSOR WHELEHAN: I submit that in the circumstances, and on the verge of chaos to which this country is being plunged, men realising their duty will find themselves urged, at any rate, if not to fight for the Treaty, to vote that the country be delivered from chaos.

MR. DAVID CEANNT: I don’t know whether I can address you as a Republican, because I have been listening for the last few days to so many quick-change artists, that I cannot be sure whether it is in Canada or in Ireland I am standing, but I want to make sure of my position. This I am sure of, that I am here as a Republican representative of the people of East Cork, who sent me by their free will and choice as the representative of the Republic that was established by the people of Ireland by their own free will and choice, and here I will remain until the people of Cork by their free will and choice vote that they don’t want me any longer. I have listened to some silly arguments put forward why we should sign this Treaty. The chief argument seems to be what Commandant So and So did. I submit a good deal of the time of this House has been wasted by such nonsense. I suggest that we could easily have put all these arguments into pamphlet form, but I would not like to be the person who would undertake it. I heard a very peculiar speech a few evenings ago from the Deputy from Waterford, Dr. White. He told us solemnly that before England would give up Ireland she would give up India and Egypt, and she would lose her last man, and spend her last cartridge before she would evacuate Ireland, while at the same time we are led to believe that this precious document we have in our hands is going to do so. Now, sir, I have listened to many Members speaking of representatives here—some of them sneeringly, too, but I assure you some of them were not sneering at it when we asked the public to subscribe to Republican Bonds—some were not smiling at it when we were fighting for it. I am carrying you back because I want the people of the country to know what we have been doing for the last couple of years. I will carry you back to the election of 1918. We went before the country then on the declaration that we were out to establish the Republic that had been proclaimed by Patrick Pearse and his associates in 1916. He proclaimed a Republic and appointed his Ministers. We went before the country, and I went before my constituents in East Cork. It was not the constituency I was selected for. I was first approached by a deputation from North-East Cork, and they forced upon me that I should be their candidate, and, after great persuasion, I gave my consent on these conditions. I told them I would on one condition, that is, if I was wanted in any other constituency that there was a chance of putting up a sporting fight I would go there, but that I would have in my place at least a soldier. I went down to East Cork and went before the people of East Cork and told them what my views were, that I was a Republican, and I said: “Now is your time; if you are not satisfied with me, get another.” I went before them in 1918. The majority of the members here present were in jail— some of them at least. I was not exactly on the run, but they wanted me. I put my views before these people, and I told them what I was doing for them, and they agreed, at least, that I was only proclaiming my principles, and I came into this House at the first session. I was sent here in 1919, when one of the delegates who went to London, Eamon O’Duggan, read out the following Declaration of Independence before the Dáil:—

“Whereas the Irish people is by right a free people:

And Whereas for seven hundred years the Irish people has never ceased to repudiate and has repeatedly protested in arms against foreign usurpation:

And Whereas English rule in this country is, and always has been, based upon force and fraud and maintained by military occupation against the declared will of the people:

And Whereas the Irish Republic was proclaimed in Dublin on Easter Monday, 1916, by the Irish Republican Army acting on behalf of the Irish people:

And Whereas the Irish people is resolved to secure and maintain its complete independence in order to promote the common weal, to reestablish justice, to provide for future defence, to insure peace at home and goodwill with all nations, and to constitute a national polity based upon the people’s will with equal right and equal opportunity for every citizen:

And Whereas at the threshold of a new era in history the Irish electorate has in the General Election of December, 1918, seized the first occasion to declare by an overwhelming majority its firm allegiance to the Irish Republic:

Now, Therefore, we, the elected representatives of the ancient Irish people in National Parliament assembled, do, in the name of the Irish Nation, ratify the establishment of the Irish Republic and pledge ourselves and our people to make this declaration effective by every means at our command:

We ordain that the elected representatives of the Irish people alone have power to make laws binding on the people of Ireland, and that the Irish Parliament is the only Parliament to which that people will give its allegiance:

We solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland to be an invasion of our national right which we will never tolerate, and we demand the evacuation of our country by the British Garrison:

We claim for our national independence the recognition and support of every free nation of the world, and we proclaim that independence [95] to be a condition precedent to international peace hereafter:

In the name of the Irish people we humbly commit our destiny to Almighty God, who gave our fathers the courage and determination to persevere through long centuries of a ruthless tyranny, and strong in the justice of the cause which they have handed down to us, we ask His divine blessing on this, the last stage of the struggle we have pledged ourselves to carry through to Freedom.”

Following that Mr. Barton read a message to the nations. Following that, sir, at a meeting held in the summer of that year the oath of allegiance was handed to every Member. A discussion had taken place on it. There were some objections, but the majority, if not every member, signed that oath. Then we framed our Constitution, and, following that, we went before the electors. In this present year, last May, we put the issues clearly before them—that we were a Republican Government, and we asked them were they going to stand by us, and the result is what we see here to-day. At a meeting in the Mansion House there were thousands of people and the Press of the world before us, and each and every member read the Declaration and signed it, and some may have signed it on the blind side, but I did not. We promised to be true to the Constitution and to the Republic. I wonder was it all for the benefit of the cinema companies? I saw a formidable number of cinema operators there. They have the records yet, I am sure. A few days after that by the free will and vote of every member we elected as our President President de Valera as legal successor to Patrick Pearse, the first President of the Republic, and now, sir, after four months we, who elected him freely, are told that we must turn him down and relegate him to the scrap heap and make room for some English Lord who will come over, not as President of the Republic, but as Governor-General from England. Now, sir, I wonder will the mover of this resolution before the House consider what it cost this country to bring the Republic into being; consider what it has cost the country to place the Dáil and every Member from the President down in the proud position we occupy of being able to make laws for the people who sent us here, and for the country which we love and respect. Does he know what the people had to witness through all these times? They had to witness the best blood of the country poured out so that the Republic might exist; their country devastated; their towns and villages destroyed. There are hundreds of widows and orphans mourning for the loss of their fathers and husbands. There are thousands of parents mourning the loss of their beloved sons. Look at the persecution and tyranny, and yet we are told here that after all these sacrifices we are going to give up the Republic. I say no, and I know what the result will be. This Treaty, this so-called Treaty is dead already, and it only awaits a decent burial because it is not worthy of anything else. Coming to the Treaty itself, so much has been said of the Treaty and the clauses of it, that I need not trouble dealing with it, but I want to make my ground sure. This country is already groaning under severe taxation, and I have not been told what approximately is the amount we are going to pay; whether it is going to be a yearly contribution. If so, and if it is going to be decided by arbitration, who are to be the judges? I know that England is going to trick us again if we are not going to take care of ourselves. We are standing on the brink of a precipice, and if we do not take care we will plunge our country into it. The mover of the resolution told us that this is going to be a final peace. Another distinguished man, whom everybody will remember was no friend of Ireland, Lord Birkenhead, declared in the House of Lords that on the ratification of this Treaty by both Houses of Parliament in Westminster and Dublin, he will consult the Southern Unionists. I wish to say I am sorry that we have not some of the Southern Unionists in this assembly. I say, sir, that every clause of the Treaty wants revision, but complete obliteration. Mention was made of shadows. Yes, sir, there will be shadows haunting the men of this assembly who will try to filch away the nation’s rights. Even shadows of their own selves will be haunting them. I have done my duty to my country for forty years. I make no boast of it. Perhaps I was wearing the prison uniform before some of these men were born, but while I often had to [96] surrender, I never lowered the flag. The mover of the resolution said that with this Treaty he has brought back a flag—I suppose the tricolour. Yes, but with an addition, with the Union Jack in the corner to show the base betrayal. I have done my duty. I will remain in this assembly, and to this assembly only give allegiance, and no matter what pretended Government will be in power here, until this assembly is dissolved by the people of Ireland I will give my best services honestly and faithfully, and I will give my vote to reject this miserable Treaty.

MR. E.J. DUGGAN: I think it is right at the outset that I should state the circumstances under which I signed the Treaty. I was not in Downing Street at this fateful conference you have heard so much about. I was not threatened by Lloyd George. He did not shake papers in my face. I signed the Treaty in the quiet seclusion of 22, Hans Place. I signed it deliberately with the fullest consciousness of my responsibilities to you who sent me there, to the country, to the movement, and to the dead. I stand over my signature. No argument or criticism that has been directed against the Treaty has affected my views as to the attitude that I then took up. I recommend the Treaty to you for your acceptance, and in doing that I am acting in accordance with the wishes of the people who elected me and sent me here. It has been suggested that those who were in Downing Street were bluffed; that they were intimidated; that Michael Collins was threatened and cowed by Lloyd George shaking a piece of paper in his face. Well, Lloyd George for two years tried very much more effective means of cowing Michael Collins than that and he did not succeed. It has also been suggested that two months’ residence in London demoralised us to such an extent that we forgot our duty to the people who sent us to London, and it has been suggested, and actually stated, that it was as a result of some influence or pressure of some kind or other that was brought to bear on us there that we signed the Treaty. Now, there was one dominating fact in my mind at the time that I signed it, and it was this, that Britain militarily is stronger than we are. Now, I did not need to go to London to find that out. I knew it before I went to London as well as I knew it in London or know it now. I have known it as long as I have been old enough to know anything. I suppose everybody admits that that is a fact, and we are not giving away any military secret when we state that. Now, before I proceed to deal with this vexed question of who compromised and who stood on the rocks, I should like to say that I shall not indulge in personalities of any kind. I shall confine myself entirely to facts. There is no monopoly of patriotism on either side of this House. There are men on both sides here who have faced death together. There are men who have walked together in times of stress and storm, and there are men who have trusted their lives to each other in times of danger. It should be quite easy for us to discuss this momentous issue in a manner consistent with our own dignity and the honour of our country. That I shall endeavour to do. What were we sent to London for? Does anyone here seriously suggest that the Dáil appointed five plenipotentiaries with their staffs and all the rest of it to go to London to ask the British Government to recognise the Irish Republic. Did it, or did it not?

PRESIDENT DE VALERA: Act in association.

MR. DUGGAN: We either went to London to ask for recognition of the Irish Republic or we went to compromise. There is no other alternative.


MR. DUGGAN: I know what is in the President’s mind—external association. External association if it means anything means this, that you go to England and you say, “If you recognise the Republic, we will enter into some kind of alliance with you.”


MR. DUGGAN: That brings me back to what I said. You sent us to ask recognition of the Irish Republic or you did not—you did either one or the other. Now the President, when he gets up and makes one of his impassioned and eloquent speeches, creates a kind of smoke-screen of words, so that [97] it is almost impossible to see out of it into the world of fact. Now, I am going to try to get to the facts. Who was responsible for the compromise? The whole Cabinet and the whole Dáil and the plenipotentiaries. We were all in the one boat. There is no use blinking the facts any longer. You, the Members of the House, have seen the Cabinet minutes. You have seen the alternative oath. You have seen certain documents which I cannot refer to in public. You have seen Document No. 2. Now, there is nothing like documents. You know who compromised, and so do I, and so do the public.

PRESIDENT DE VALERA: May I interrupt for one moment? If I am in the same boat—let us say I am—with our friends on the other side, has it anything to do with the question of whether this is a Treaty this nation ought to accept or not? That is the question.

MR. DUGGAN: I am coming to that. We have been more or less put in the dock as compromisers, and we are entitled to defend ourselves. Now, another charge that was made against us was this—that we disobeyed our instructions by not coming back from Downing Street on that Sunday night and submitting the draft Treaty to the Cabinet before signing it. Now, that is unfair. The Cabinet knew, and we knew, because we had got a week’s notice, that we would have to give a yes or no answer on a certain day. We came to a Cabinet meeting on a Saturday. We spent a whole day at it; in fact it was scarcely finished when we had to rush away to catch the boat back. We put up the proposals that the Cabinet said we should put up. They were turned down, and had been, two or three times previously. We told the Cabinet they would be turned down, but we carried out their instructions. Negotiations were re-opened, and finally on that last Monday night we in London got two hours to give a yes or no answer. Now, you cannot get from London to Dublin and back in two hours. We were plenipotentiaries, we were responsible to you and to the country, not to the Cabinet. If we had given the answer “No” that night and if this country was now in the throes of war, it would be no answer for us to come back to the country and say, “We had to do it because the Cabinet told us to come back and do it.” We could not avoid our responsibility that night, and the responsibility which was ours that night is yours now. We have had to come back and answer to you and you will have to answer to the country. We are all equally responsible. There is another point which I don’t think anyone mentioned. If we did not sign that Treaty, it would never have come before you for discussion, because negotiations had ended, and there was no more about it. Some people think that when we signed the Treaty we were allocating to ourselves the right to force it down the throats of the Irish people. We did nothing of the kind. Our signature is subject to your ratification, and it is for you to say whether you will ratify it. Our signature has bound you to nothing. Now some people in their criticisms of the Treaty speak as if we had brought home a bag full of sample treaties and that they could choose whichever one they liked. I dislike the Treaty as much as any man or woman here, but that is not the point. The point is you can either take it or refuse it and take the consequences, and I have my own ideas of what the consequences are. Now, what does the Treaty give you? You have been told all the nice things it does not give you. The Treaty gives you your country. The Treaty rids your country of the enemies of your country. You get rid of the Army, you get rid of the whole machinery of Government, you get control of your own money, you make your own Constitution, and you have complete and absolute control of everything within the four seas of Ireland. About the flag? Who is to tell us what flag we shall have? Ourselves. No one else has the right. Who has the right to say what our Ministers are to be called? Ourselves. No one else has the right. Surely we are not going to become slaves when we are free?

PRESIDENT DE VALERA: That is just it.

MR. DUGGAN: Who is to say what oath our Army is to take? Ourselves. The Minister of Defence has told us a lot about the discipline of the Army, but I greatly fear if the Minister of Defence asks the Army to take the oath of allegiance to the King he is going [98] to put the discipline of the Army to a very severe test. Just one point—my friend Mr. Kent referred to the Governor-General. Under the terms of the document the Governor-General can only be appointed in consultation with the Irish Ministry. There is a lot of talk about the oath. I know the people are sick of lawyers’ interpretations of the oath. What I suggest is that any plain ordinary man of average intelligence reading the oath can see there is only one oath of allegiance and that is to the Free State, and the only other thing in the oath is that you pledge yourself you will be faithful to the bond you are entering into, and that you recognise the King as head of the Commonwealth you are in.

MR. STACK: Quote the words.

MR. DUGGAN: Now, another thing I have heard, and it surprises me to hear it from people, notwithstanding the extraordinary things we have been able to do under the leadership of the very men who have been saying these things, notwithstanding the wonderful things we have been able to do with the enemy in our country, and in control of the resources of our country and the finances of Government, they seem to suggest that when you get rid of these things and have absolute control of your own country, that we are all going to become demoralised slaves. I say under the terms of that Treaty that if the Irish people cannot achieve their freedom it is the fault of the Irish people and not of the Treaty. I have more faith in Ireland than the people who put forward the other point of view. Now, another thing that has been said—and it is a hard thing—is, it has been suggested that those who are in favour of the ratification of the Treaty are in some way or another betraying the dead who died for Ireland. Now, I am not going to mention the names of any of the heroic dead who died for Ireland. I do not think this is a fit place to call down their names, but I will say this, that before I put my name to that document I went back in my mind over the last six years. I went back to Richmond Barracks and to Kilmainham. I went back to that morning in Mountjoy when I saw the hangman who was to hang our young lads there. I went back in my mind to the conversations that I had with some of those with whom I had the honour to be associated, whom I knew intimately and well, and amongst these were some of the bravest and ablest soldiers Ireland has ever produced. I say that I shall interpret for myself what their views were and would be if they were here to-day, and that no other man or woman has the right to interpret them for me. Let no man or woman say that I would betray those whom I knew and love and revere. As we are talking about the dead, let us look at that from another angle. Why did England under this Treaty agree to clear out of our country and hand it over to us? Was it because of the efforts of the plenipotentiaries in London? Who was it that won that for Ireland, and that Treaty represents the fruits of the sacrifices of those who have died for Ireland.

MISS MACSWINEY: No, it does not.

MR. DUGGAN: It may not give you everything we would like, or they would like, but it represents the fruits of their sacrifices. Let us think seriously before we take it up and throw it back in the faces of the dead, and say it is not good enough for us. Now, we have had a lot of talk about principles. Every man and every woman here is perfectly entitled to go out and fight and die for his own or her own principles, but no man or woman here, or combination of Deputies in this assembly is entitled to sentence the Irish nation to death.


MR. DUGGAN: As far as I am concerned, my principles will not force me to deprive the people of the measure of freedom that Treaty gives them. Neither will they compel me to force the young men of Ireland out to fight— for what? Not to drive the British Army out of Ireland, but to force it to stay in Ireland. Let us keep to the facts. As I said before, the responsibility that rested upon us that night in London has now devolved upon you. It is a personal responsibility. We are not here to vote for the President on the one side, or Mr. Griffith or Mr. Michael Collins on the other. We have to vote in the interests of Ireland. Each man here has the same responsibility as the President has. If each man and each woman honestly and conscientiously faces the issue and gives [99] his or her vote according to their consciences, I am quite satisfied with the result, whatever it may be. I signed the Treaty, I stand over my signature, and I recommend it to you for acceptance (applause).

PRESIDENT DE VALERA: While we are waiting for another speaker, as this matter has been drawn in so much at the Private Session on the question of the alternative—I protested several times, but of course it is no use—it is useful as a red herring. The specific question that is here before us is the question as to whether we should or should not ratify the Treaty. It does not matter what I said, I am but one person here. The terms of the Treaty are in cold print, and it is that we are discussing. With reference to this oath, it is printed in the morning papers as the alternative oath to the oath that was there. That oath was a verbal suggestion by me when we were criticising not this oath, but another oath that had come up on another occasion. I said that oath as an oath to the King of England as the head of the Commonwealth was inconsistent with our position. I verbally tried to use something that you could take. The word Constitution occurred in both these oaths. In one there was not a vestige of British authority left in Ireland, and in the other case, this oath of the Treaty is the oath in which the British King must be recognised as head of the Irish State. There is a tremendous difference, although the same words are used in both.

MR. P.J. RUTTLEDGE: I as a private Member of this House have refrained during the grave moments of discussion from identifying myself with one side or another in Private Session or Public Session up to the moment. I had two main reasons for sustaining myself in that attitude, and they were these: The first was that in a grave issue such as this no Member could take a definite stand on one side or the other until he had heard every tittle or iota which would help to clear his mind and decide the stand he would take. And the other was lest I might contribute one tittle or iota to widen the gulf that I could see was gradually opening up in this House. Now, before I cast my vote I feel that the duty devolves on me, a duty I owe to the people I represent, to express here publicly and plainly my position. I take my stand against that Treaty. I take it not on sentiment as I am not a sentimentalist, but I take it on principle. I will always stand on principle to my own conscience. I do not suggest, far be it from me, that the men on the other side or that there is anyone who would deviate from principle according to his conscience, but I have satisfied my own conscience clearly, definitely and positively that the principle that I must follow, and that I have always consistently followed, is the Irish Republic. I challenge anyone to say that in the document that is put before the House that there is not an inconsistency and that there is not a compromise. Now I regret to say that in this Dáil two attitudes are being taken by what I will for the moment call the other side. First they have said that it means freedom and independence, and again it is stated that it contains reservations. If it was stated in this House that it was a step to freedom I would be with them in that belief, but to try to convince me as a private Member of this House that this is either freedom or independence, great as is the respect I have for those with whom I have worked in the past, I say I do not admit it. Now, in the few words I desire to contribute to this debate, I will not adopt the attitude which I regret was adopted last evening by a respected Member of this House. The attitude he had taken up was this—that it was apparent that perhaps arguments might not convince the House, but personal attacks might. There was the cold argument, but to me it appeared an illogical argument—unfortunately I am a legal man. Cold argument was put up and that based on facts, and the facts stand and they have not yet been turned down, and that was the argument of Mr. Erskine Childers. If anyone seeks to turn that argument down, let them do it, not by personal attacks, but let them meet the facts by argument. Now, one of the things that strikes me in this Treaty before the House—as I heard it described last evening in some degree—in an analysis with the Act of Union—I say comparing it with the Act of Union, there is one ingredient, one characteristic in this Act that was in the Act of Union, and that is that it was obtained by force. I do not wish to say or to quote anything but on the facts that have been set out in this House. We have Deputy Barton’s explanation, and what can I or any man deduce from it but that there was force, the threat of a terrible and immediate war. For 120 years we have been discussing and criticising that the Act of Union was obtained by fraud and corruption. This was not obtained by fraud and corruption, but it is absolutely conclusive on the evidence that it was obtained by force. I must pay a tribute to the honest speech of Mr. O’Higgins, the Assistant Minister of the Local Government Board, on the other side. He faces the facts. The facts were, he said, that it was a measure of liberty, and he said that the Ministers of this country would be his Majesty’s Ministers. That is the way to face the facts and have no quibbling about them. I like the man who faces what is before him in that light rather than the man who tries to treat us as a lot of schoolboys, because we are not. He told the House honestly that the Ministers of the new Government of the Irish Free State were his Majesty’s Ministers. About that there is no argument, and I am glad to hear it stated from the other side, as I am, unfortunately, obliged to call them. There has been a lot of reference to the oath. To my mind the oath presents very little difficulty for anyone to argue upon. It has been dealt with at length by Deputy Hogan. I will deal with it in this way. First you have an oath to the Constitution of the Irish Free State, and that Constitution is formed in the four boundaries of that Treaty, and the oath to the Constitution of the Irish Free State is within the boundaries of that document. It has been stated in this House that you can call the Constitution what you like, and that you can draft the Constitution any way you like. Can you? Is there a veil or fog tried to be thrust over our eyes? Do you think, or does any man think, that you can call this new Constitution the Irish Republic? You cannot call it an Irish Republic, and that is what we are longing for and looking for. I challenge you to do it within the four boundaries of that document, and it must be within the boundaries of that document. I say that your oath to the Constitution of the Irish Free State is an oath to Great Britain. The next argument I put forward is as regards the second part of the oath— “And that I will be faithful to his Majesty King George V., his heirs and successors.” Now in that there is a quibble. I do not say that these quibbles are not sincere. I am prepared to stand before any court or constitutional lawyers that try to make out there is a difference between faithfulness and fidelity as against allegiance which occur. Those lawyers who try to make out the difference between faithfulness and allegiance should go back for a moment to the Brehon laws, and they will find what fealty means there. In Roman law it will be found that fealty was the thing that a slave had to give to his master. I am open to meet any constitutional or would-be constitutional lawyer in this country on that point, that fealty was exacted on the manumission of a slave by his master. Where is there now the difference? At what time did fealty change? When did the transformation take place? I am not aware of it. I think, and I challenge anyone to prove to the contrary, that fealty was not the position under which a slave was faithful under the Roman law, which is the foundation of the British law. That is the way I account for the oath. I look at it like this from a thoroughly conscientious point of view, and no matter how it is argued, nothing will convince me that I should put my conscience under my own heel in order to grasp some transient, ephemeral interest. The facts are there. I do not take up a sentimental attitude, and for that reason I agree with those on the other side who object to dragging in here the bones of the dead. Many of the men who are dead would have taken their stand, some one side, and some probably on the other. There is no good in an argument based on such a thing. It is only the merest chance that the Minister of Finance, the President, or other prominent Members are not dead, and then, too, I suppose if they were dead it would be asked would they have done such a thing. I think that argument is not an effective one. It is begging the question. It is one of these arguments given to the House based sometimes on sentiment and sometimes on reason—that the major premises were one thing, and the minor premises another thing—that leads to no conclusion. There is no use in following them up and pursuing them because you cannot get to anything definite. Another point made by Deputy Hogan was that he said France could give away  parts of her territory and not take away from her Constitution.

MR. HOGAN: On a point of order, I did not.

MR. RUTTLEDGE: Well, I put down the exact words at the time.

MR. HOGAN: What I did say was that in a Treaty with England she could give her control of certain ports without taking one iota from her status.

MR. RUTTLEDGE: There was another matter in the debate. We have heard arguments that there was no real difference between the two documents. We had it spread in circulation in the Press that there was no difference between the two documents. Well, Deputy Duggan has admitted that one meant a Republic and the other did not. I hope there will be no more of this quibbling. I do not see why there should be such a terrible effort to obscure the issue.

MR. GRIFFITH: Mr. Duggan is not here and he made no such statement as that.

MR. RUTTLEDGE: I do not want to take advantage of any Deputy. I take it that Deputy Duggan in his statement put it forward that external association meant recognition of the Republic. I am speaking subject to contradiction. This is a grave matter. I will not try to take advantage of any man. Everyone here is able to answer for himself, but Mr. Duggan is not in the room. There is a lot of talk about sovereign status—I refer to constitutional lawyers or would-be constitutional lawyers. I am not trying to drag legal matters into this if I could avoid them, but they have been dragged in, and that is why I am trying to remove any misapprehensions in the mind of the Dáil. They talk about sovereign status, and they try to make out they could prove it, but at any rate did not prove it—that Canada was independent practically, and that she had sovereign status. Very well. Let us take Canada for a moment. Now Canada has appointed by the British Crown a Governor-General, and Canada’s Constitution is embodied in an Act of the British Imperial Parliament. There is no getting away from that fact. No one here will try to argue away the character of that status. According to statements made in support of the Treaty we are to be put on the same basis as Canada. The Governor-General of Canada is appointed by the British Crown in accordance with an Act of the Imperial Parliament. Where, I ask, does the question of equality come in there? No more than it comes in in the question of master and slave, of fealty and faithfulness. It was not made clear to the House on the first days what we were doing or what we were accepting. We had full freedom and independence subject to nobody we were told, but now it has been cleared up in discussion, and we know that we go into the British Empire as British subjects and that the Army of this country is the Army of Great Britain and that our Ministers are his Majesty’s Ministers. If these facts were stated at first it might have saved a lot of useless argument. It is better to face the facts as we have them than to try to get away with something we cannot prove. There are two forms of authority, and I will state them, and no constitutional lawyer, or would-be constitutional lawyer, would differ with me in this. There is an authority that comes down and an authority that goes up. One comes from the King down, and the other goes from the people up. Now, I challenge contradiction on that—that there are those two forms of authority, one that goes from the King down, and the other that goes from the people up. If you try to establish that you are a Sovereign State you must derive your authority from the people up. But under this thing, call it a Treaty or Articles of Agreement, it comes from the King and through the Governor-General down. If I were arguing on Document No. 2 that would be made plain. It does not permit of one moment’s argument that authority comes from the King down and from the people up. That is admitted by every constitutional authority. Here we are standing on the authority that comes from the King down. I would have much preferred to see that everyone faced the facts as they were before him, and that there was no drawing of red herrings across any discussion. I know well that every Member of this House realises to the full the responsibility on his shoulders, and that it is no time for a quibble one way or another. Now I always understood —a misconception, unfortunately, on my part—that Treaties were always concluded [102] after war, but apparently this was a Treaty concluded on the opening of war, a really intensified, terrible, and immediate war. For that reason this Treaty has no precedent. I do not know of any, I am sure. Some Members of this House may be better informed, but I have not come across any such case. That makes this Treaty very different from anything that I have come across. What the country wants is peace with honour. I have judged the people of this country very badly if they would take any peace, a peace with dishonour. Now I am not making any reflection on anybody. What can I go on but the evidence of Mr. Barton, when he clearly explained that his signature was put to that document by force. Is it to be suggested that a Treaty got by force is honourable? If it was honourable the element of force —the threat of war—would not have been in it. We heard a good deal in the discussion here about the people we represent. I am conscious of the responsibility that rests on me as a Member of this House in representing a western constituency. I am prepared to go to the people and tell them, “You elected me on the declaration I made to you that I was a Republican and nothing else,” and I will say to them that my honour is at stake, and that my own conscience will not allow me to do this thing. No matter how I struggle with my conscience, it would not let me do that—to deviate from the straight uncompromising path of an Irish Republican. If the people desire to withdraw the confidence they gave me, they may do so, and my good wishes with them, but whatever influence that any section of the people may have, I do not think they would exert it against any person who tries to justify his action on the grounds of conscience. Peace with honour to me means peace between two equals, and if it is peace between equals there cannot be an element of force. We should face facts, and the facts are these. My contention is that you may compromise on unessentials, but on essentials you cannot compromise. On the matter of this Treaty you were asked to compromise on what is essential. I cannot construe it as anything else but essential, and I stand over principles, uncompromising principles, against compromise and expediency.

On resuming after the adjournment, the SPEAKER took the chair at 3.45.

MR. M. COLLINS: There have been references made to inaccurate reporting in the Press, and for the facility of the Press I suggest that any Members rising to speak should come up to the table, because the Press cannot hear them. I have been at the back of the hall and you cannot be heard from these corners. It is only fair to the Press and fair to the assembly that that should be done.

THE SPEAKER: I already intended to do that—to ask each Deputy as he spoke to come up to the end of the table.

ALDERMAN W.T. COSGRAVE: We have been listening for some days to various and varying opinions—legal opinions, I should say—from both sides of the House as to what this means or what that means. And latterly these opinions have been centering around the relative distinctions as between faithfulness and allegiance, and we have learned to-day that faithfulness is from a slave to a master, and that allegiance is only from a subject to a king. That is not the interpretation the man in the street puts upon it, and that is not my interpretation. A Doctor of Divinity in explaining this matter to me in connection with the oath points out that one can be faithful to an equal. And it is in that sense that I interpret this oath, and I believe I gave expression in the Cabinet to the opinion that this oath could be interpreted whatever way you looked at it. If you were sufficiently prejudiced on the one side to say that it was an oath of allegiance, you were entitled to do so, and if that be the interpretation of those who are against ratification of the Treaty, I make them a present of it. My interpretation of it is that in this commonwealth or association each of the members is equal; and if that be wrong, I think we will find ourselves in the company of some distinguished constitutional lawyers. Now practically every possible phase of this Treaty has been discussed, and there is very little for those who are taking part in this debate now to deal with except statements or interpretations of this instrument that have been made before. I concern myself with one or two of these. We were told that we of Dáil Eireann “having declared its independence should approve of and ratify a [103] Treaty deliberately relinquishing and abandoning it.” That is the Press quotation of a man who has been looked upon, I believe, by those who have been against ratification as one of the ablest exponents of the reason why it should not be ratified. We have declared our independence. If x be absolute independence and y be independence, we are told that we are abandoning what is the relative value of x and y to one another. X, in my opinion, would equal y if you put minus £42,000,000 per annum and 60,000 English troops and a foreign judiciary, or, what was worse, a venal local one with venal professions, and people who are aping English customs and practices, with raids and seizures on public and private buildings, the opening of private correspondence, and so on. That is, in my opinion, the real difference between x and y (applause). We are told that we are abandoning a declaration of independence. Well, everybody who has taken part in this struggle knows what it meant, and knows what it involved, and what it cost the people of this country. It means the arresting of every national development and improvement in this country. It means that the English Parliament has got the power that it has of 60,000 troops behind it to put its authority into practice. We have resisted it magnificently, and some of the best of those who resisted it are in this House for the ratification of the Treaty. Criticism has been made of the statement that was made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that this was a final settlement, and it was contrasted with the statement that was made by the Minister of Finance, who is reported or criticised to have said “a settlement that is not final.” Now, what are the words of the Minister of Finance, because he at least cannot be charged with any unfairness in connection with this debate; or anything in connection with these proceedings (hear, hear). And here let me say that he is reported to have said that “in my judgment it is not a definition of any status that would secure us that status; it is the power to hold and to make secure and to increase what we have gained” (applause). Does any man who is against ratification take exception to that statement? Is he entitled in honour to make that statement? He is, and, in my opinion, the people who are for that Treaty are entitled to carry out to the letter every syllable that is in that document. I listened with great patience to some very long speeches this afternoon, but you have set the example yourselves. Now, I think we have examined that declaration of independence that was given to us, and I think that even those who have made that statement cannot challenge those who are voting for the ratification of the Treaty as having abandoned any vital issue in connection with that declaration. We were told that we did not make it plain at the elections that we stood for Dominion Home Rule. Was it made plain to the people that we were standing for association, either external or internal. Did anybody stand up before any audience in Ireland and say: “I am standing for association with the Commonwealth of Nations, and to associate with it the national aspirations of the Irish people.” I think that it is only right that the people should understand what the position is. Now just before the adjournment I heard a very able speech—I regret that I was not in for the whole of it—and exception was taken to the position of the King and the position of the Governor-General under this instrument. The Canadian law was, I believe, quoted. Well, I have a document here before me which states: “The status of Canada in law is that it is a subordinate dependent of Britain holding her self-governing rights under a British Act of Parliament which can legally be repealed or amended without Canada’s consent” (hear, hear). That is the law. This is the fact, and it is written immediately underneath it: “Canada is by the full admission of British statesmen equal in status to Great Britain and as free as Great Britain.” Do you say “hear, hear” to that? (applause). In Mr. Bonar Law’s words, she has complete control over her own destiny. Now I hope I am not contravening any of our own regulations when I am reading from this document, but I think there is nothing in it which would leave me open to exception. “In law the British Parliament can make laws for Canada with or without Canada’s consent, and in law British Acts in Canada over-ride Canadian Acts where there is any conflict between them.” That is the law, and immediately underneath it is written: “In fact Canada alone can legislate for Canada.” “Veto on legislation. In law the British Government, through the Governor-General of Canada, and in the name of the Crown, can veto Canadian bills. In fact,” is written underneath it, “it cannot. Canada’s Constitution. In law it can only be altered by the British Parliament,” and underneath is written: “In fact this is a pure technicality. Canada, and Canada alone, can alter her Constitution.” “No. 5.— The Crown in Canada. In law the Crown is the supreme authority in Canada. In fact the Crown has no authority in Canada. It signifies sentiment only. In law there is an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown in Canada. In fact the Canadian owns obedience to his own Constitution only.” Now that is the dope that the delegation had to make up the medicine that they have given to us. I think they did rather well. “The Governor-General of Canada in law is the nominee of the British Cabinet only. In fact he is the joint nominee of the Canadian and the British Cabinets.”

A MEMBER: Who wrote this?

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: I stated that the authority was a remarkably good one. I am quoting from a document that I believe will not be——

MR. CHILDERS: Whose is it?

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: It is tabled by “E. C., November 29th, 1921” (applause). Mr. Childers, I understand. Now I hope we have made that point clear.

MR. CHILDERS: I thought the Deputy was going to proceed, but he is not. Might I ask him to hand me the document for a moment. I daresay all present here will recognise that what he read out is precisely what I said in my own speech the other night, pointing out that Ireland could not possibly be in the same position as Canada. That memorandum began thus:—“Ireland has been offered the position of a dominion, subject, however, to conditions in connection with defence and tariffs which are inconsistent with dominion rights. Ireland is not a British colony, but an ancient and distinct nation with an inherent right to independence. Nevertheless, supposing an offer of full and complete status was made, what would be the effect upon Ireland? Take Canada, for example. Canada has a legal position and a constitutional position, two wholly different things.”

MR. M. COLLINS: On a point of order.

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: Leave him alone. He is making it as clear as mud.

MR. M. COLLINS: I want to make the House appear like an assembly of legislators before the public. I don’t want men jumping up every minute when their statement are challenged.

THE SPEAKER: What is the point of order?

MR. M. COLLINS: The point of order is this: the Deputy for Wicklow has already spoken in this. Some of my statements are challenged, and if he rises to reply, I have equally the right of reply. For goodness’ sake let us conduct this discussion properly. The interruptions are all from the other side.

THE SPEAKER: I might be allowed to do my best to conduct this discussion properly. I understand that the Deputy who was speaking gave way to Mr. Childers to explain the document, and it is for that Deputy if he likes to object.

MR. GRIFFITH: Statements have been made about me and what I said, and I have not replied to them. I want to know is Mr. Childers allowed to discuss his own document which he handed to us, when he has already spoken, and if we are to be gagged from replying to Mr. Childers’ associates?

THE SPEAKER: Am I right in taking it that the Deputy who was speaking has given way to Mr. Childers to speak concerning the document that was quoted?

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: To tell you the honest truth, I wanted a moment or two. I don’t know whether if we are going to discuss all those documents and read them all at such length we will ever get to the business. I believe I was right to extract from documents any relevant matters affecting this question I was dealing with. It is for you [105] to say whether the Deputy is in order or not.

THE SPEAKER: The Deputy was not in order in interrupting your speech unless you gave way to him.

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: I will give way to him.

MR. CHILDERS: It is a matter of universal fairness in all the assemblies of the world that when a part of a document is read that the writer can demand that the whole of it be read. I have six lines more: “Take the legal position and the constitutional position— the Law and the Fact—in turn, remembering that in Ireland, lying close to English shores, there would be nothing to prevent legal controls being enforced, and the Law made the Fact.”

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: I was not paying very much attention to the Deputy when he was speaking, but I am concerned with one or two words in the paragraph of this instrument which refers to what is called “The Practice of Constitutional Usage.” I am banking upon that, and I think I am entitled to do that. He complains that the Minister of Finance passed lightly over the clause concerning the ports, that he did less than justice to the subject. I believe there are something like ten or twelve lines from the Minister of Finance dealing with this matter, and he certainly, in my opinion, did justice to it. But I go on and I find that the Deputy said further that the clause in question said that Ireland was unfit to be entrusted with her own coastal defence. “In that clause was the most humiliating condition that could be inflicted on any nation claiming to be free.” Now I didn’t read into that clause that Ireland was unfitted to be entrusted with her own coastal defence. I believe in another place the Deputy for Wicklow stated that the coastal defence was to be settled permanently— for ever and ever.

MR. CHILDERS: I said occupation of ports under Clause 7.

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: I cannot find exactly the words, and I wish you had interrupted me a little longer. “Clause 7 said,” Mr. Childers declared, “that permanently and for ever some of the most important ports were to be occupied by British troops.” Now I am not going to read this particular instrument, but Clause No. 7 says: “The Government of the Irish Free State shall afford to his Majesty’s Imperial Forces (a) such harbour and other facilities, etc.” and neither the words “for ever” nor “permanently” is in either part of that document. Now we are dealing fairly with one another, and we had better have the truth out. That statement is certainly not in accordance with the facts, and the Deputy for Wicklow is an honest man and he is reported here as having said that “permanently” and “for ever” were included in that clause. They are not. I will tell you the particular instrument that they were possibly included in—the Act of Union, and this instrument wipes that out “permanently” and “for ever” (applause). Now this Treaty has been criticised, belittled, and, I believe, slandered to an extent that certainly surprised me. It represents work that has been done in five years; greater than was accomplished by Emmet, O’Connell, Mitchell, Davis, Smith O’Brien, and Parnell, down even to Mr. Redmond with a united country behind him. In five years it has accomplished more than the best of those people hoped for. References have been made to Grattan’s Parliament at the Private Session and the Public Session. What was Grattan’s Parliament? Did these people who spoke of Grattan’s Parliament think that it was an injustice to this country to be deprived of it, and did the honourable and gallant—and I believe he has some claim to the title of rev.—Deputy from Wexford think it when he was addressing this Congress here yesterday. I recollect when I was very young in the Sinn Fein movement he was in it. I believe our Ambassador from Paris was in it too, but I think that the basis of the Sinn Fein movement at that time was the restoration of that Parliament of the King, Lords and Commons of Ireland. The gallant Deputy at that time was evidently a Royal Republican (applause). A Republican from his boyhood I believe he told us he was. He must have omitted this particular period when he was a member of the Sinn Fein movement.

MR. ETCHINGHAM: I wish you had to come to confession to me (laughter).

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: Now the Deputy from Wicklow made a statement with which I am in entire agreement, that the freedom and the liberties of the people of Ireland could only be given away by the people of Ireland. We represent the people here—at least we think we do—and the people certainly have got a right to be heard on this question. Is there any fear of putting it up to them? (“No”). They have the right to get it put before them. (“Yes”). And they have the right to decide it? (“Certainly”). I think they have. Are you going to object to their having a decision on it? (“No, no”). And you will abide by it? (“Certainly”). Now, if we get that far, I think there is a great chance of healing up the difference between us. For over two-and-a-half years this Cabinet has worked loyally and well together and I certainly can pay a tribute to every member of it. I have known them to work night and day in the interests of the nation, men who thought no trouble too great to take at any time, and I should say that the two men who typified the best type of Irishmen I have ever known are the President and the Minister of Finance (applause). I recollect four or five years ago the President spending six, seven and eight hours a day at meetings bringing people together and getting them to see common ground upon which they would work together: and would it not be a lamentable thing that, having come to this crisis, that we should now separate. I think the nation is deserving of the support of every one of its sons and daughters and that there should be no division with the people or with one another. Let us do what we can to let the people have their way. Now great exception was taken to a name— the name of the King and the Governor-General. Well, they are here now. The courts are functioning in their names.

MR. STACK: What courts?

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: Their courts. They are functioning. They may not be doing much business, but they are there for a very long time.

MR. STACK: Whose courts?

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: Their courts. There is not much terror in the name, even when it is backed up by armaments and equipment and motor lorries and tanks; and we are told to be terribly in dread of this new man who is to come as Governor-General. Now, I ask any man who votes for the ratification of the Treaty, does he really care a damn about the Governor-General? I don’t believe that he does. We are told by the Deputy from Wicklow that we cannot prevent them landing troops if this instrument is ratified. I wonder could we prevent them now.

MR. M. COLLINS: Well, we tried it a few times.

THE PRESIDENT: An agreement is an agreement, and this agreement is before the world and has attracted universal attention.

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: The President is surprised. He would like to get up and say a few words. The Minister of Finance lays special stress upon the fact that what was felt more deeply than anything else by this country was the peaceful penetration of the enemy. It is typified in every walk of life in the country. The best colleges play the foreign games. The President can bear me out in that (applause). At the race meetings one sees the Union Jack. I believe the Minister for Home Affairs can bear me out in that. I don’t know what the Minister of Defence does in his idle moments. I cannot get him to bear me out in anything. All I knew him to be interested in was in shooting; and even in the rifle-clubs that were established before the Volunteers the Union Jack floated over them. So that we have evidence that the peaceful penetration of the enemy was right in every fibre of our national life. Now, sir, if there is one thing more than another which this movement has done it is that it has captured the imagination and support of Southern Unionists as they have been known. I believe that there is no such thing as a Southern Unionist at all, and if there is any he is only fit for the Museum. This instrument gives us an opportunity of capturing the Northern Unionists and that is a proposition worthy of our best consideration; and with a generous invitation to cultivate and recognise our national identity, and to help us in putting this country in its proper place, I believe that we would effect a united country in a way that was never done before. They are great citizens of this nation even though they differ from us, and it must be said whatever the Delegation has done no one here has suggested any better method of dealing with them than that laid down here. Criticised it may have been, held up to public odium, but no alternative was suggested, and, as far as that was concerned, even their critics must, to use an Americanism, “hand it to the Delegation.” One question that has not been put at all is this: If you could have a choice for a Republic with twenty-six counties, would you have it or a Dominion for the whole of Ireland? If such a choice were put up my money would be on the Dominion, not per se on the Dominion, but because it would effect that unification that ought to be effected in Ireland, to make the North realise that they are noble citizens of the country and to make them realise that they should devote their energies to what it should be. I would like to know from the little Deputy from Monaghan what he has got. He certainly has neither one nor the other. I don’t believe that he has even got Document No. 2. Now, sir, one simple incident that may not be known to the Members of this House—Members of Dáil Eireann, I should say—Pro-British firms who have never been in sympathy with the National movement, who have always opposed it, and who dismissed men who took part in the Rising of 1916, and men who have been imprisoned since then, have within the last few weeks sent for every man knocked off their list by reason of they being connected with the movement since 1916. That shows the change that has taken place in the minds of those conducting business in Ireland, that they must bow before the will of the people, and that the will of the people has come to stay. I notice on the hoardings outside occasionally some criticism of the Irish Free State. I believe we are responsible for the name ourselves, but now that the English Government has agreed to give it to us we don’t like it. “Saorstát na hEireann,” a title and term honoured in July, now is a term of reproach. It is an extraordinary thing—what Mr. Dooley would call “a revarsal of public form.” Now I was rather struck by the speech of the Minister for Finance, and I would personally hand it to him for his speech in this assembly. It was a remarkable contribution to the subject we are discussing. Two words he mentioned were of vital importance, “security” and “freedom.” Those who are criticising the ports being left for a period of five years in the hands of the British should realise that, after all, there must be some defence of them. We have not yet come to that period in which we could say, “Let there be a submarine,” and that it would come forth at once. While we are getting fitted up we must have something, and I consider that clause a reasonable inclusion in the instrument, in my opinion. We have been told that there was a 750 years’ war. I am neither a young nor an old man, and if my recollection is quite correct the war has only gone on for five years during the last forty years, and then during the whole of that period it was not in operation. There was what you could call “a suspension of hostilities” now and then, and, if my recollection is correct, we were criticised for bringing about war at all five years ago by some people. Now, sir, if the alternative to that document means war, there are one or two things that we ought to keep before us. One is that well-equipped armies may not win a war. That is one for John Bull. And one for ourselves is that the economic situation is not such in this country at this moment that would justify us in taking the risk of precipitating war. The Minister for Economics or his substitute Minister had not during the Private Session or up to this referred to the economic situation in bringing about war. Here in the capital of Ireland there are something like 20,000 families living in single-room tenement dwellings, and are these the people you are going to ask to fight for you? It is not fair, I submit. To my mind, when I first saw this instrument, it appeared that there were potentialities in it undreamt of in this country up to this time. If as a result of the successful working and administration of this Act that that gradual improvement that has been outlined in a semi-prophetic fashion by the Minister of Finance was brought about and the ideals this country struggled for for generations should come to pass, it might possibly be within the bounds of certainty that a reconciliation would be effected between the new world and the old; that these two great countries [108] would be able to keep the peace not only of themselves but the world, working for the best interests of Humanity, assisted by the civilisation and culture of this country, improved by people who have never had an opportunity in their lives of developing their own nation in their own way and effecting world improvements in problems that have never been solved and that are not even in the way of being solved. Some American jingoes, or whatever they are, very much fear that that sort of thing will come to pass. It may even be possible from the influence that would be exercised by the Irish Free State to effect improvements in these down-trodden nationalities such as Egypt and India.


ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: And any matter in their state would be a matter of security to the Irish Free State. Now, I think it is right that the point that was made by the Minister of Finance should be emphasised, and that is that if they did not agree to sign this Treaty this is not the instrument that would be put before you. When they went back to London on that fateful Saturday, four remarkable improvements took place in the document that they brought back. The first is absolute and entire control over the taxation of commodities coming into the country. Personally I don’t believe that there will be much taxation on these things, but, at any rate, you have got the right —the right was admitted. The second item was in connection with the oath. Well, I suppose everyone has his own conscience, but some people say they are more conscientious than others. As an ordinary common or garden man— may I accept that interpretation of it?— I have not got the constiutional lawyer’s mind, the solicitor’s mind, or even the mind of an idealist, but an ordinary business man’s mind, and I see nothing objectionable in it, absolutely. And all the oratory I have heard on the other side has not convinced me that it is objectionable. I believe I heard the President on one occasion state if you are prepared to make a bargain, why would you not be prepared to be faithful to it.

THE PRESIDENT: Hear, hear.

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: Very well, then. Is this a bargain or is it not? It is a bargain.


ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: Very well, then, the objection is not to the oath at all but to the bargain. I am fair at making bargains myself. I believe on one occasion, Mr. President, when you said to me that you were sure Lloyd George was a tricky man, I said to you, “I suppose if he were not you would be very honest with him.”

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t remember the conversation, I must say.

ALDERMAN COSGRAVE: I suppose it is right to say that you would not try to get the better of him. I think that is about all I have to say. I believe, sir, the loss of the President to the Free State should this instrument be approved would be a terrible loss. I believe the loss of the Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister for Finance would be equally irreparable. I know the Minister for Defence. My own conviction is that except for war he is not worth a damn for anything else, but that he is a great man for war I bear witness to, because even when the spark of life was practically gone out of him he was as full of fight as when he was going into it. Whether I have made a case for signing the Treaty or not, I think that Dáil Eireann is in better humour now than when I started, and I now formally approve, recommend, and support the Treaty.

MISS M. MACSWINEY: It has been said by many Deputies when they rose to speak that they would try to keep the House as short a time as possible. I, too, shall do that, but I am sorry that I cannot promise that it will be very short, for I rise to speak with the deepest and fullest sense of my responsibility, not only to those who sent me here, but to the whole Irish nation which now is to make a decision fateful—far more fateful than was the decision made in 1800, for with all the allusions made to Grattan’s Parliament, one thing has not been said: that is that it wasn’t the Parliament of the people. It was a Parliament representing, or supposed to be representing, only one-fifth of the people of Ireland, and [109] even then by means of undemocratic elections. It did not faithfully represent even 20 per cent. of the Irish people. But this Parliament represents in a very real sense the Irish nation, and it was sent here to represent to the world their demand for a free and unfettered government of their own, the ideal of self-determination, of which we had heard so much in recent years. Many Deputies have got up in their places and spoken here—Ministers and ordinary Deputies—as if we, who stand for what the Irish people want in their heart of hearts, want to choke the voice of the Irish people. That is an absolutely wrong and wicked statement, and in their heart of hearts they know it. We have no reason to fear the people, for we are true to the ideal which they sent us here to represent. On the 24th of last May the re-elections took place for this assembly, and whatever the Members chosen in December, 1918, may have to say for themselves, the new Members were chosen because the people who sent them here believed that on no account whatever could they be brought to compromise. I say that to the young soldiers and others who stand here since last May as I do; they were elected, as I was elected, because the people who sent them here believed that they would never compromise. Dr. MacCartan—and I am sorry that he is not here to listen to what I have to say, but it is the custom at the other side of the House, as soon as a speaker stands up against ratification of the Treaty, the young men walk out with their heads up, like their going into the British Empire. There is talk of your duty to your constituents. The most reasoned, the most excellent statement on the good and bad points of this Treaty presented to you was given by Mr. Erskine Childers, and the young Deputies who of themselves cannot possibly know the pros and cons did their duty to their constituents by walking out and not listening. Their minds were already made up. Is that your duty to your constituents? I maintain it is not. Deputies here have alluded to the will of the people with dramatic force. I stand here for the will of the people, and the will of the people of Ireland is for their freedom, which this so-called Treaty does not give them. The will of the people was expressed in December, 1918. The will of the people was expressed in the manifesto which sent every one of you here. And I ask any one of you voting for this Treaty what chance would you have if on the 24th of last May you came out for Dòminion Home Rule. If Sir Horace Plunkett stood against Mr. Kevin O’Higgins last May, what chance would he have? None whatever. There is the will of the people, and well you know it. Here in this assembly, if it could be possible for you, would you representatives of the people do what the wicked, unscrupulous people in the Parliament of 1800 did, and sell the rights of the people as you alone can do? That does not mean to say you have taken money for them, but sell them for the mess of pottage in that so-called Treaty. Control of your money: you say you have control of your purse, control of your army, control of your finance, your education, and the evacuation of the army out of Ireland. Mr. Churchill, whom we all know is the enjant terrible of the British Government because he is always giving away what they mean but don’t choose to say, has declared that the grant of fiscal autonomy did not matter, because Great Britain held Irish prosperity in the hollow of her hand. You are getting an army, you say. Mr. Churchill assures the English people as to the right given to Ireland to raise a defence force, that he was certain the force which was raised by Ireland would not be beyond the power of the British Empire to control. On the contrary, and make no mistake about it, if you sign that Treaty Mr. Churchill is right. You talk about evacuation of our territory by the British forces as soon as the Treaty is ratified. I have not got anybody to tell me whether this is a Treaty or whether it is articles of agreement. You call it a Treaty. Not a single official of the British Government has called it a Treaty anyhow, but let that pass. We will call it a Treaty anyway. Mr. Lloyd George has said in his letter to Mr. Arthur Griffith: “We propose to begin by withdrawing the military and auxiliary forces of the Crown in Southern Ireland when the articles of agreement are ratified.” Therefore they will be kept in “Northern Ireland” if Britain so wills. And take that statement “when the articles of agreement are ratified” in connection with Article 18 of the Treaty: “This instrument shall be submitted forthwith by his Majesty’s Government for the approval of Parliament”—not ratification you will notice —“and by the Irish signatories to a meeting summoned for the purpose of the Members elected to sit in the House of Commons of Southern Ireland, and, if approved, shall be ratified by the necessary legislation.” Therefore this assembly is not, as has been already pointed out, competent to deal with the matter at all. We are not the Members elected to sit in the Parliament of Southern Ireland. We are the Members elected to sit in the assembly of the Irish Republic.

MR. MILROY: Under a British Act of Parliament.

MISS MACSWINEY: Yes, under a British Act of Parliament, for until our Government was functioning we had no machinery to act otherwise. The Deputy who has spoken knows perfectly well, as well as every intelligent man listening to me knows, that if we had refused to use that Act of Parliament against the enemy himself, what would have happened was that all the Southern Unionists, gombeen men and other good-for-nothing, soulless, characterless men would have gone up for that Southern Irish Parliament and legalised partition. Moreover, in this assembly there sits at least one Member who holds a seat for Northern Ireland and has no seat in Southern Ireland at all, and, therefore, this assembly is not legally entitled, even by that instrument, to approve or disapprove of this agreement. But, allowing that we approve of it. If approved, it will be ratified by the necessary legislation, and Lloyd George says the Army will go out when it is ratified. Now, watch Lloyd George. He will take some watching. He is known in every Chancellory in Europe as the most unscrupulous trickster that has ever occupied an honourable office. As far as we in Ireland are concerned, the office which he holds never has been an honourable office, but in his own country it is supposed to be so. And never has a more unscrupulous scoundrel sat in the seats of the mighty than Lloyd George. There is no Government in Europe that trusts his word. Will you do it? It has been said here, moreover, that the people would rush at this, that the people would ratify it. That I deny. The people might have last Thursday morning, because the people had not read or studied it. I know myself of several instances where people seeing the names of those signatories to that document threw up their hats in the air and cried, “Hurrah, peace at last,” without ever knowing that there was an oath to the English King in it. In trying to make some amusing points—some flippant points against one of the Members of this assembly—the last speaker mentioned Sinn Fein, that they were members of Sinn Fein once together, and all Sinn Fein stood for then was the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland. That is perfectly true of many Members here. I for one say it has never been true of me, or anyone belonging to me. We absolutely refused to join Sinn Fein until Sinn Fein became Republican. It is absolutely true to say that that Treaty as it is given to you was the be-all and the end-all of Sinn Fein’s existence up to 1918. It is the darling and the pet of Mr. Arthur Griffith’s life. He has talked to us; he has shown how the Irish Party were fooled by Lloyd George or Lloyd George’s predecessors. He has talked about 1782 and getting back to it. Some of us in 1917 had some trouble to make him use the word “Republic.” He did not believe in a Republic. He is the one man of the five delegates who has shown that he does not believe in a Republic. Now that is to him an honest document. Sinn Fein up to 1918 was not Republican, and in 1917 some of us were wondering very strongly whether we ought or ought not adopt another organisation altogether which would be definitely Republican, but we preferred to make that one that was in existence, and all the common members of which became definitely Republican after 1916 the organisation, if the founder and advocate of it would stand for complete independence. We wanted to get done with 1782ism, and we will not go back to it. And it is absolutely true to say that many men here who are now honest Republicans in spite of the sneers, joined Sinn Fein and were good members of Sinn Fein, while half-measures were possible. Half-measures are no longer possible, because on the 21st of January, 1919, this assembly, elected by the will of the sovereign people of Ireland, declared by the will of the people the Republican form of Government as the best for Ireland, and cast off for ever their allegiance to any foreigner. The [111] people of Ireland will stand by that and refuse to take it up again. One eloquent speaker on the side of Dominion Home Rule talked about the Army, the evacuation, and the financial control, which Mr. Churchill tells you he holds in the hollow of his hand, and which even if it were a reality you are not entitled to sell your own souls and the souls of the people for. He came at last to education. He, too, is not here, but those of you who heard him qualifying our chances of education under this so-called Treaty can hear me. I doubt if there is anyone in this assembly more entitled to give views on educational matters than I am. I have been engaged in education for a very long time, and I tell you that whereas the education under the English Government in this country was bad and recognised as bad, we were able to fight against it, but the education under the Irish Free State, when we teach that that is wrong—and I shall never teach anything else—we shall be teaching rebellion to the established government of the country. If this country should be so false to itself as to adopt the so-called Treaty, I have already told some of the Ministers on the other side of the House that I will be their first rebel under their so-called Free State, that they will have the pleasure or the pain, as it pleases them, of imprisoning me as one of their first and most deliberate and irreconcilable rebels. Up to this we have never been rebels. You can only rebel against a lawfully-constituted authority. The authority of England in this country of ours has never been lawful and has never been recognised by the Irish people. But I recognise, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs told me the other day, that the will of the people is sovereign. I recognise perfectly well, if the people, if the majority of the people in this country, set up this Free State Government, that it will be the Government of the country, and I will be a rebel, a deliberate rebel, for the first time in my life. Though I have been a teacher all my life, and longed and prayed for the day when the Irish Government would take over the education of this country, I tell them here and now I would never teach in a school under their control—that I would still take a school and teach that the adoption of that Treaty, if it should be adopted by this Dáil and by the people of the country, is the greatest act of treachery in history. That I shall teach to every child that I have control of, and I shall teach the Republican doctrine in any school I teach in, and if I have only two pupils instead of 200, it does not matter; I shall keep their souls clean at any rate. I shall be a rebel to their Government, and I shall be a rebel to their education, for it will be false, utterly false education. What will you teach the children in these schools? (“Irish.”) Irish! Yes, but not Irish alone. To teach through the medium of Irish you must teach the history of their country. And the greatest trouble of education in this country is that we were never allowed to teach until recent years Irish history at all, and then it was not Irish history, but the history of England in Ireland. You must teach history, you must teach the names of the great ones of the past, you must teach the history of Grattan’s Parliament and the people that gave it away. Then you will come to the history of Dáil Eireann, the history of the Parliament set up in 1919 by the will of the people, the history of a movement that made our country great throughout the world, the history of a movement that brought on us the admiration of the world, the history of those who commanded the admiration of the world for qualities of soldiers and statesmen that six years before no one would have believed them capable of. You will have to teach them that the eyes of the world were turned on our country wondering and uplifted because in this day of materialism a little nation, a gallant little people, fought against a mighty foe and refused to acknowledge itself conquered. You will have to teach them that when the eyes of the world were on that little gallant nation, when the hearts of free people everywhere were beating high in expectation that at last government by the people for the people should be really understood, that the mighty foe that had crushed us so mercilessly when it was powerful, that mighty foe, with its arms and its legions, yet unable to conquer us, was forced by the public opinion of the world to come to terms. You know perfectly well that if England wanted to conquer us, if she wanted to exterminate us, she would be able to turn armies in on us and do it. We know that we cannot, a little people like us, stand up against the mighty legions of England. We [112] were not standing up alone and England did not have to fight us alone; she had to fight the aroused conscience and the public opinion of the whole civilised world. England, faced with trouble all over her Empire, faced with financial difficulties, faced with the fact, and it will be a fact still, and mark it, you pressmen of England, who are so unfair to the justice of our cause, mark it well. England was faced with Irish agitation in every corner of the world against her, and that agitation she thinks she will kill by that instrument. I tell her she will not. Wherever her power is over the world, there we shall be uprooting it; wherever she is looking for a friendly alliance, there shall we Irish rebels be, regardless of this Free State, to destroy her chance of friendship. She thinks that she will settle America and put America in her pocket as soon as she has passed this Free State. She will not, for the same unconquered and unconquerable Irish Republicans who stood by Tone and Emmet and Mitchel and the men of 1916 will still go abroad to America and to Europe and undermine the friendship of England. Therefore, make no mistake about it, England, you are not buying Ireland’s friendship with that document, you are killing it irrevocably. The President has told you that that document does not make for peace. It does not. Go back to 1914 and remember how the then leader of the Irish race, as he was called, tried to stampede this country into the war for the freedom of small nations. England’s difficulty, we were always taught, was Ireland’s opportunity. Mr. Redmond said England’s difficulty now was Ireland’s opportunity to be generous. If Mr. Redmond, at that moment, the greatest moment of his life, as it could have been, had turned around to England and said not one man, not one penny will you get for this war until we are free, Mr. Redmond could have got and could conscientiously have accepted this so-called Treaty. If Mr. Redmond, in 1914, had stood out, he could have got that, and then there would be no dishonour to the Irish Nation to accept it. But the 21st January, 1919, bars such a bargain for ever. The country was stampeded into approval of the war. I was in England when the war broke out. I could not tell you the anguish of soul I experienced when I came home and walked down the streets of Dublin and of Cork and saw the friends of my lifetime sporting the Union Jack. We are all British now, but even then we were not British by the act of our own people. Even then we had not declared common citizenship, with fidelity to the King of England. A small minority of the people of Ireland realised that they had to strike, and strike at once, that if they waited for the war to be over England would have her countless legions turned against us. They decided on rising; that rising was largely rendered futile by the acts of people at the last moment who tried to stop it. Yet the battle was fought, and Easter Week, 1916, stands out in the annals of the world. What will your new Free State educationists teach about that? It was a minority that fought in 1916; it is always a minority that saves the soul of a nation in its hour of need. But the leaders in that fight—Tom Clarke, Padraig Pearse, Sean MacDermott—whom we had all loved, they dared greatly. They did lose that battle. As one of them said—Tom Clarke or Padraig Pearse—“we have lost this battle, but we have saved the nation’s soul” (applause). And in two short years from that the nation’s soul expressed itself, once and for all, in the form of the Irish Republican Government which they had proclaimed. You cannot get back from history like that. That Government is there; you cannot vote it away. The people can. Yes, but they will not. I believe in the people. I believe in their sincerity. You will get votes for that. I doubt though that you will get as many – as you think, for the heart of the common people is true, as it has always, been. The men “with the stake in the country”—we know the phrase so well —will vote for that, perhaps, but don’t count on it too much. The men with the “stake in the country” know that the worst thing that can happen the country now is a split, and that split is inevitable if the people who stand on principle only declare that they cannot give in. You, who stand for expediency, you who stand for the fleshpots, for finance, for an army, you can give in. We cannot. One man or one army cannot stand up against mighty legions, but not all the armies of all the peoples in the world, or all the Empires in the world, can conquer the spirit of one true man. That one man will prevail, but with that one man many will stand. It is not one man, or a hundred [113] men, or one thousand men that will reject that Treaty as selling away their nation’s rights. The men with the stake in the country know well that it was not love of us, love of justice, or an acknowledgment of her iniquity that brought England to the pass of asking for negotiations. The men with the stake in the country know that England made the negotiations because she dare not any longer face the opinion of the world. The men with the stake in the country know perfectly well that as long as we Republicans stand out and say this is not peace, and it will not make peace, there will be no peace, and the men with the stake in the country will know perfectly well that unity alone can defeat this awful breach now. The Minister for Local Government has spoken of unity, of all coming together. I appealed with all the force that I knew for unity a few nights ago. I am not going to make that appeal again. I have appealed in public to this Dáil. I have appealed in private to the individual members not to commit this fearful crime of disrupting our nation again. I say unity can only be had while we stand firmly on principle and on nothing else. There have been unfair remarks passed across this House; there have been political tactics used here which have made me ashamed of Members of this House. I thought that these tactics had passed with the bad old days of the Mollies and the O’Brienites. I am sorry to see them brought up again. An unfair use has been made of the President’s name in this matter; an unfair use has been made of a so-called Document No. 2. The President asked that that document might be kept out of this discussion for one reason, and for one reason only. Everyone of those who have thrown insinuations across the House knows the President’s personal honour as well as I do, as well as the country does. There was a document suggested with the hope of getting unity, realising that unity of the Dáil would mean a united people. But it was said by every one of the Delegation, or rather by the principal speakers of the Delegation— those who stand whole-heartedly for this child of theirs—that no amendment to this Treaty was possible, that it was the Treaty, and nothing but the Treaty, or war. It was said that the President was trying to draw a red herring across the track of the discussion, and the President took what, to my mind, was the only straight and honourable course. He withdrew the document entirely and let the Delegation have their way—no amendment, the Treaty on its merits or the rejection of it—which was an honourable action. It has been tried to be proved here to be a dishonourable one, but dishonour lies with those who suggest it. This document, you have been told, is a charter of freedom. It could only be a charter of freedom if you smash every clause of it, and on this point I find that the Delegation are far more divided than the Dáil at present. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Arthur Griffith, advocates that Treaty whole-heartedly and honestly. It embodies what he stood for all his life. We thought that in the last two years he had given up that doctrine and stood for Republicanism, and I maintain here that if he had not done so he would not have been elected to sit for the Republic against his old constitutional doctrine. He has reverted to his original allegiance. That document contains all that the constitutional Sinn Feiner stood for up to 1916. The majority of the constitutional Sinn Feiners after the Easter Rising in 1916 became whole-hearted Republicans, and that document does not represent their present convictions. We thought that when Mr. Arthur Griffith took an oath to the Republic he meant it. He says “No,” and others, I know, think with him. They state they took their oath to do the best for Ireland, but that is not the best for Ireland, and, in spite of their ablest speakers, not one of them has tried to prove it is. The only one that has spoken honestly in favour of that is Mr. Griffith himself.

MR. GRIFFITH: I protest against such a statement, that the only one who has spoken honestly is one man. It is an implication of dishonesty against every other Member——

MISS MACSWINEY: I will let the public decide.

MR. GRIFFITH: It is for the Speaker to decide whether such an expression should be used.

MISS MACSWINEY: If I have used a word which is unworthy of this Dáil I withdraw it, but Mr. Arthur Griffith— [114] take it this way—is the only one of the Delegation who has supported that Treaty whole-heartedly. The Minister of Finance, Michael Collins—his name alone will make that thing acceptable to many people in this country, as he made it acceptable to many of the young men of this Dáil—“What is good enough for Michael Collins is good enough for me” (applause). If Mick Collins went to hell in the morning, would you follow him there? (Cries of “Yes” and “No.”) Well, of course I frankly acknowledge I have absolutely no answer to the Deputies who declare that they would transfer their allegiance from God to the devil at Michael Collins’ behest. But he, at all events, has been honest about this document, and he has said it is not the be-all and the end-all of his existence, but that it is a step towards the Republic. He believes that. I know he believes it. I know other young men who vote with him here believe it; I am not impugning their honesty; I am impugning two things: first, their intelligence, and secondly, their knowledge of history. How any Irishman can stand up and say that if you accept that thing from Mr. Lloyd George he is going to stick to it, and will tell you you are men of intelligence. Go and read the pages of the history of your country, and then you will go back to consider the Treaty sadder and wiser men. Mr. Barton has made a statement about this, and his attitude to it, which has moved our admiration, but the sentence in his statement which stands out is this: “The Irish Republic, to which I swore allegiance and which is my faith.” Mr. Gavan Duffy has agreed with Mr. Barton as to the signing of the Treaty and the duress under which it was signed. He has given weak support to it, but he has acknowledged it is a very pitiful instrument indeed, but that it is better than war. That is the most he can say for it. Mr. Duggan—well, I need not remind you what he said. He only spoke a few hours ago, and all that I can say is that his arguments were distinctly unconvincing. I have not heard from any of the spokesmen of those who stand for the Treaty one single argument which you could point out before the world as worthy of this country and what it has stood for for the last three years—not one. You might have had that long ago if you would have taken it. There are two points in this Treaty with which I would like to deal particularly—the oath and the Governor General. The oath has been flippantly spoken of here—very flippantly spoken of indeed. It evidently does not bind the mind and conscience of those who are going to vote for the ratification of this Treaty. Some of them, I know; are excusing themselves in this way: “I will vote for the Treaty, but I will never take the oath.” That I call cowardice. Why do you bind your constituents as far as it is in your power to bind them, if you are not willing to stand by what you do. If you vote for that Treaty, then you have no excuse not to take the oath, and the only manly stand you have is to refuse to ratify or approve of that instrument. But many of those who are voting for it, vote for it meaning to evade every article in it, if they take the oath. They spent hours both in Private Session and in Public Session discussing when is an oath not an oath. I am ashamed—I stand and say it here before the public representatives in the persons of the Press—of that doctrine, that a country like ours that has stood on a noble and spiritual ideal for the last three years should so degrade itself by the arguments that have been heard about the oath. You cannot at the same time be faithful and unfaithful. You say you take first and foremost an oath to the Constitution of the Irish Free State. Do you realise that it is an Irish Free State “as by law established,” and that that law is to be made in England? You make up your Constitution, but the Act of Parliament ratifying your Constitution has to be passed in London. It is made in Dublin, but it can be unmade in London, every line of it that interferes with the King’s authority. Do not fool yourself if you are going to walk into this thing that you are going in with your heads up, as you say. For God’s sake, and for Ireland’s sake, don’t fool yourself beforehand. If you draw up a Constitution which will ignore the King, the English Parliament, which has to ratify your Constitution, will carefully put a clause safeguarding themselves. Do not be fools, anyhow. The one thing that was quoted about the President yesterday was this: “We may be beaten by England, but there is no excuse for us now being fooled by England.” There is no excuse for the Delegation trying to fool us or the [115] people of Ireland, and fooled we would be, and they would be, if you take the Constitution of the Irish Free State “as by law established,” and try to ram down our throats any such absurd nonsense as that you can leave the King out of the Constitution and fool the young people of this country into believing you. Be honest with them, you who are forcing their votes or coaxing their votes, or persuading their votes, be honest with them. They will not be able to ignore the King in the Irish Free State “as by law established.” We are all to be British citizens with a British passport, with the seal of the Foreign Office for anyone going out of the country. Deputy Hogan told us yesterday we are entitled to foreign ambassadors. If he has read the Treaty he must know that we are not entitled to foreign ambassadors. Perhaps he will say we are entitled to everything Canada has. Two years ago, I think, Canada was told she was entitled to a foreign representative. Canada wanted it, particularly in Washington, because Canada and the United States lie side by side, and Canada’s interests are not England’s interests, and she got permission because she took it (hear, hear). That is quite right. I am in perfect agreement with everything you have said about constitutional usage and the law and the fact, and that is why I resent those young men who have not thought deeply about these things, who have not gone into constitutional questions and have not, perhaps, read history as deeply as some of us, walking out of the room whenever an argument is being advanced against this so-called Treaty. The young soldiers who are voting for it blindly, when it was being explained what the Treaty was to be in law and in fact were in the corridor cliquing somewhere outside, but not doing their duty to their constituents. Constitutional usage in Canada is established by Canadian constitutional usage, and if you believe constitutional usage in the Irish Free State will be the same, what will Lloyd George say to you? He will say constitutional usage means the usage of your Constitution, not Canada’s. You will be guided by law and fact, and fact alone brings you sixty miles from England, whereas Canada is 3,000 to 7,000 miles away. Again I ask of you for God’s sake, and for Ireland’s sake, don’t fool yourself. If you vote wrong, vote wrong knowing that you will be voting wrong, and don’t allow others to fool you either (hear, hear). Canada got permission to have a foreign representative. Would Deputy Hogan tell me why she has not yet got that foreign representative?




DEPUTY HOGAN: I don’t know.




MISS MACSWINEY: I will tell you, and I will tell you not from my intimate knowledge of Canadian law, not from my intimate knowledge of Canadian constitutional practice, not from any personal acquaintance of Lloyd George or Chamberlain or Churchill, but from my knowledge of English history, English practice, English fact and English trickery as applied to our own country. She has not got it for the very same reason that Washington did not yet recognise the Irish Republic, because of English intrigue at Washington. Don’t make any mistake about it. What is the use of Canada being told in the Colonial Conference that she may have a foreign representative if she doesn’t get one? “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” (applause). But Canada’s representation is still in the bush and likely to remain there.




A DEPUTY: And so will Document No. 2.






MISS MACSWINEY: And Irish freedom will never be further away in that more intricate bush than the day you adopt that instrument. Again, take the representative of the Crown in Ireland. We were told the representative of the Crown would not, by the gracious kindness of Lloyd George, be called a Governor-General unless we liked the name. What does it matter what he is called, or whether you have a Viceroy, a Governor-General, or a representative of the Crown pure and simple? What on earth does it matter what he is called as long as he is head of a thing to which we cannot agree? What will that representative of the Crown mean? It has been said and contradicted that it will mean his Majesty’s Army, his Majesty’s Ministers. It may be that the Irish people will avoid the name “his Majesty’s Ministers” in exactly the same way as they will avoid the name “Governor-General,” but they will be the thing. And you young men of the Irish Republican [116] Army, where are you to be? What will you do with the Republic? What will you do with the I.R.A. that you are so proud of? With the I.R.A. whose reputation has gone abroad through the world? There will be an end of your I.R.A. in this Treaty. How do you think the people will take that? Whatever you call his Majesty’s Army, every officer that gets a commission in that Army will have the official seal of his Majesty’s representative on his commission. Every stamp will be a Free State stamp if you like, but the ensign of the Governor-General or the representative of the Crown will be there as well. You will get that out of your Constitution if you can I have no doubt, but again “wait and see”—“wait and see.” Leaving official documents out of the question, let us come to the social side, the social structure we were told we would have power to build up. Some of you will realise what a hard and terrible fight it has been for our people to destroy the evils of shoneenism in this country. Here under this instrument you will have shoneenism rampant. All the worst elements of our country will gather around that Governor-General’s residence.




A DEPUTY: He is welcome to them.

MISS MACSWINEY: I love my people, every single one of them; I love the country, and I have faith in the people, but I am under no delusions about any of us. We are not a race of archangels, and you allow that Governor – General’s residence, with drawing-rooms, levees, and honours and invitations to be scattered broadcast to your wives and your sisters and your daughters, and mothers even, with all the baits that will be held out to them to come in for the first time by consent of the Irish people in the social atmosphere of the Governor-General’s residence. Remember that there will be functions there which will be partly social and partly political, which will be Governmental functions. The Ministers of the Government of the Irish Free State—I will omit for the sake of argument the offensive words “his Majesty’s Ministers”—will be obliged to attend the Governor-General’s functions and he will attend theirs. Wherever the Governor-General is, or the representative of the Crown in Ireland is, there you will have the Union Jack and “God Save the King,” and you will have the Union Jack and “God Save the King” for the first time with the consent of the people of Ireland. You may say to me, some of you, that there will be, perhaps, a self-denying ordinance clause which will prevent the Ministers of the Irish Government, or any person belonging to the Irish Government, entering the portals of the Governor-General’s house. You cannot. You will have to have him there as representative of the King with certain functions to perform. You cannot exclude him. You cannot stay away from him. You will have to get his signature to documents. You will have to get his signature to every law that is passed by the Irish Free State Government, and if the Minister for Foreign Affairs stands up and contradicts that, if he says we can make a Constitution which will take care that the Governor-General does not have to sign any such document, again I say, “wait and see,” wait until your Constitution has come through Westminster, wait till the English Government, by means of this instrument of theirs, signed by the Irish Delegation—they have demoralised the people of this country as they had already demoralised some of the men in this assembly by their specious arguments. Your Constitution must be “as by law established.” Wait and see whether it will get you out of the English representative’s domicile in Dublin. You may tell me that the patronage—abominable word—think of the word patronage being used to an Irish Republican Assembly—“his Majesty’s patronage” will be under the control of the Irish Government. I have no doubt, none whatever, but that any Minister of the Irish Free State, any one of those advocating support of this Treaty in the present Dáil, would refuse a title from his Majesty’s Government, but wait a little while until the first fervour of the Irish Free State is worn out, wait a little while until a stage is reached when the demoralisation has eaten into the soul of the people of this country, and the next Parliament won’t be so very self-denying with regard to honours and patronage. And remember what you are doing to the young girls growing up into this so-called Irish Free State. Many young girls of my own personal acquaintance, not very many, because very many of that type, I am sorry to [117] say, have not been on our side; but some few, at all events, who had what we know as an entré into vice-regal circles have been cut off from many social functions that their age entitled them to, that their position entitled them to, because they could not consistently with Republican principles go to a dance at the vice-regal lodge, or go to a dance in any place where the English military influence was uppermost. But in the Irish Free State these brave young girls who stood up against temptation can walk in unchecked. Under the Constitution of the Irish Free State you have no right to call any girl a shoneen because she walks into a dance at the vice-regal lodge. You men may sneer, some of you, at these points. Believe me they are no matters to sneer about. Those of you who are thinking men, and who are out to do the best for Ireland, know perfectly well what a hard fight we have had against that sort of thing. This you say will be sentiment, but for the first time in the history of this country you have Irish sentiment and Irish demoralisation and Irish Government all on the one side. Do you realise what that means? The papers have told us that a royal residence in the Irish Free State will be an admirable thing in Ireland; it will conduce to loyalty among the people of Ireland. It may and it may not, but if it does not it will not be the fault of the Irish Free State “by law established,” if it gets established, but it will be because we Republicans will keep up the very same plan of black flags and boycotts that we kept up until they place us where we are to-day, or rather not where we are to-day, but where we were on the 4th of December last. And, mind, when we put up black flags in the streets of Dublin, either for the Governor-General or the representative of the Crown or Viceroy, or whatever you like to call him, or the King himself, his Majesty’s representative will send word to the Prime Minister of the Irish Free State and make a complaint and get us arrested. And who is going to arrest us? I have already told Michael Collins that I will be the first rebel he will have to arrest. And mind, we Republicans are going to carry on this fight with the gloves off, if this thing is passed. The Minister for Local Government said—and he hoped he was going to get a majority in this matter—that he hoped the minority was going to abide by the will of the Irish people. If I am in a minority, I am one of those who will advocate that this matter shall be put to the Irish people, and it is not those who stand with me on this that dread the judgment of the Irish people. Make no mistake about it. Last Thursday morning the Irish people would have taken that, but not after the debate that has gone on in this House. The Irish people would have taken that on the cry, “What is good enough for Michael Collins is good enough for me.” Last Thursday morning I thought, like the country thought, that this document, which we consider a dishonour to our country and to our cause, was backed by a united Cabinet, and on last Thursday, too, some of us irreconcilables asked ourselves what choice had we, a handful, against the name of de Valera, but not one of us said, “What is good enough for de Valera is good enough for us.” Not one of us said, “What is good enough for Michael Collins is good enough for us,” and there has been no belauding of personalities on our side of the House. We stand on principle, and if the President and a united Cabinet stood for that instrument, we should still stand against it (applause). Personally I must say that I was grieved to the heart when I thought a united Cabinet stood on that. I want to allude to that, but before passing to it I want to say one word more about that oath. It is no use for you to look at your watches. Go out if you like, but this is probably the last time that I shall ever speak before you in public, in an assembly like this; certainly and most emphatically the last time until the Irish Republican Government comes back again with the full consent of the people, and I care not, and apologise not, if I take more of your time than you are willing to give. Those who want to hear the Treaty will stay and listen: those who are afraid of the Treaty can go out. One thing more I want to say about that oath. I have said that I am ashamed of the arguments that have been brought about it. I am ashamed of the efforts that are being made on the other side of this assembly to show the people of this Dáil how they can drive, not one coach-and-four through it, but a coach-and-four through every line of it. That, I maintain, is not consistent with the honour of our people; it is not consistent with the attitude we have adopted towards  the world and on which we have got the sympathy of the world. What use, you will tell me, is sympathy? It is this use, that it is the sympathy of the world and the judgment and conscience of the world that brought England to her knees in these negotiations. She has the military. I know that, but she cannot win this battle, for if she exterminates the men, the women will take their places, and, if she exterminates the women, the children are rising fast; and if she exterminates the men, women and children of this generation, the blades of grass, dyed with their blood, will rise, like the dragon’s teeth of old, into armed men and the fight will begin in the next generation. But I am concerned for the honour of my country before the world, and I tell the world that it is not the true voice of Ireland that has spoken so flippantly about oaths and their breaking. It is not the true voice of the people of Ireland that has spoken to you. Have no doubt about it whatever. This fight of ours has been essentially a spiritual fight; it has been a fight of right against wrong, a fight of a small people struggling for a spiritual ideal against a mighty rapacious and material Empire, and, as the things of the spirit have always prevailed, they prevail now. Up to last December we had won the admiration of the world for our honour, and I tell the world that the honour of Ireland is still unsullied, and that Ireland will show it, and will show that Ireland means fidelity to the Republic and not the driving of a coach-and-four through the oath which she will never consent to allow her Ministers to take. This is a spiritual fight of ours, but though we are idealists standing for a spiritual principle, we are practical idealists, and it is your idealist that is the real practical man, not your opportunist; and watch the opportunists in every generation and you will see nothing but broken hopes behind them. It is those who stand for the spiritual and the ideal that stand true and unflinching, and it is those who will win—not those who can inflict most but those who can endure most will conquer. The war of 1914 has left the world in a very different position from what the world was in before. It was thrown yesterday at Mr. Childers that he wrote a book in 1911 showing that he did not believe in the Irish Republic. I stand here, and nobody will tell me that I am not an Irish Republican, but I can truthfully say, and I challenge any Member in this assembly to say otherwise, that in 1911 I did not believe that I would see an Irish Republic established in my generation. The war brought many changes; the war brought forth idealists and the self-determination of small nationalities. Their right to express their freedom in their own way was bandied about from one Government to another, and every Government in the world has been false to it but our own. Still, all the peoples of the world have not been false to it. The peoples of the world, including a growing number of the people of England, are true to that ideal; they want peace, and they know that peace can never be established except on the basis of truth and justice to all alike. Therefore our fight to-day has a chance of victory. You have told us it is between the acceptance of that document and war. If it were, with every sense of deep responsibility, I say then let us take war. I am not speaking as a young, ardent enthusiast. I am speaking as a woman who has thought and studied much, who realises, as only a woman can, the evils of war and the sufferings of war. Deputy Milroy yesterday in a speech to which I shall not allude, for it made me ashamed to think the public was listening to it, acknowledged that the women are the greatest sufferers of the war. I would ask him, if it were a democratic proposition, to let the women of Ireland judge this, and I have no doubt what the issue would be.

MR. MILROY: I will answer that question if the Deputy wishes an answer to it.

MISS MACSWINEY: Yes, I don’t mind, if the Speaker thinks it is in order.

MR. MILROY: I take it the question is: “Am I prepared to let the women of Ireland judge whether this Treaty should be ratified or not?” Yes, and accept their decision too.

MISS MACSWINEY: I am glad, but as I prefaced my statement by the words “if it were a democratic proposition,” I suppose that the answer, as well as the question, will be considered rhetorical.

MR. MILROY: You are not prepared to take the decision?

MISS MACSWINEY: I am prepared. I would take a plebiscite of the women of Ireland gladly, and I know what the answer would be.

MR. GRIFFITH: So would we.

MISS MACSWINEY: This matter has been put to us as the Treaty or war. I say now if it were war, I would take it gladly and gleefully, not flippantly, but gladly, because I realise that there are evils worse than war, and no physical victory can compensate for a spiritual surrender. But I deny that the alternative is war, as I deny that the alternative would have been war on the night of the 5th of last December. I will come to that presently, but this I say: You show the people of England that we are prepared to make peace with them on honourable terms, giving them even guarantees that they are not in justice entitled to, giving them even the money to which they are not in justice entitled in exactly the same spirit that I would give a robber a reward for giving me back my purse and part of its contents—show the people of England that we want peace, if we can get an honourable peace, and I have no doubt they will not vote £250,000,000, which Lloyd George says is the price of exterminating Ireland. I don’t deny that there is a danger that England will go to war. I do deny that there is a danger that she will be allowed to exterminate the people of Ireland, for the conscience of the world is awake, and I would like to quote one sentence to you from a man whose name I am not going to mention:—“The rulers of the world dare not look on indifferent while new tortures are being prepared for our people, or they will see the pillars of their own Government shaken and the world involved in unimaginable anarchy.” That is the answer to the threat. The rulers of the world dare not allow Ireland to be exterminated. If they do, Ireland must choose extermination before dishonour, and Ireland will choose. I have no dread whatever of the verdict of the Irish people. I come to one more thing. That is the insult to the people of Ireland by the Deputies who have taken it for granted that the Irish people are going to jump at their own dishonour. With a definite Republican Manifesto in your pockets, how dare you say your constituents have changed until you have gone and asked them? I come now to a very important point—for me one of the most important points that has to be dealt with here. I raised it in the Private Session, and, judging by the speeches I have heard in the Public Session, I may as well have talked to the wall: that is the negotiations themselves. I am sorry that Mr. Michael Collins, Minister for Finance, and Dr. MacCartan have chosen to abstain at this particular moment, because I must use their names, and I dislike using any man’s name in his absence. Negotiations, we are told, meant surrender. As one of those who has taken throughout this whole conflict, throughout the whole of our stand since 1919, and much further back, an absolutely uncompromising and irreconcilable stand, if you like to so call it, I deny that absolutely. People here present who want to compromise have told me that if I did not see that compromise was intended I must have been either a fool or wilfully blind. I do not think I am a fool. I know I was not wilfully blind, and, being utterly and entirely uncompromising in my fidelity and allegiance to the Republic, I stand here before Ireland to-day to tell the truth about these negotiations as a Member of the Dáil that sent the Delegation. The public know perfectly well how Mr. Arthur Griffith, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, has told us again and again in years past of the paper wall which England built around Ireland. On the outside of that paper wall England wrote what she wanted the rest of the world to believe about Ireland, and on the inside of the paper wall she wrote what she wanted Ireland to believe about the world. It is largely due to the strong and determined and honourable efforts of Mr. Griffith himself that the people of Ireland did not believe the fairy-tales written on the inside; but the world outside did, and only this great fight of ours and all the publicity which attended every single thing about it, and the publicity that went abroad throughout the world—because of certain incidents in that fight, the world began to see something of the truth for which Ireland stood. But the world did not see it all and English propaganda was powerful still. Enough was seen to get the conscience of the world up against England, and then England tried to tell the world these people are only a [120] handful, a murder gang, a handful of extremists, Sinn Fein is split in two, the moderate party wants this, the extremist party wants something else, and so the world was still questioning. Lloyd George sent out negotiators in different forms, clerical and lay, since, I believe, last December. I was not here then. I think they began with Archbishop Clune, but I am not sure, because I was in America and I did not know what was going on very clearly, being dependent on the pro-English American Press. Time after time negotiators came—Lord Derby came as Mr. Edwards—another and another came—and they all tried to trap our President or the members of the Cabinet into declaring that Ireland would take something less than the Republic. And I say here and now that the members of the Cabinet, one and all, have to be judged on their public declarations and not on the private meetings of the Cabinet. If between themselves they bandied words and tried to find agreement by common consent that is their affair, and they were perfectly justified in doing so. I ask any sane man here does he believe that Lloyd George, Churchill, Chamberlain, Worthington Evans, Hamar Greenwood, Gordon Hewatt, and I don’t know how many more of them—do you honestly and truthfully believe that these men sit down in Cabinet and come to unanimous decisions without good, long, straight arguments first? What the English Cabinet is to be judged by is the public expression of the Cabinet in the person of one of its Ministers. I defy any single man here or anywhere throughout Ireland to take any Cabinet statement, any Ministerial statement of the Republican Government from January 21st, 1919, to December 6th, 1921, until that document was issued, which was subversive of the Republican doctrine that the country stood for. Now, let us have no nonsense about this, let us have no unworthy insinuations thrown across the floor of this assembly. Take these public men, every one of them, and judge them by their public statements up to the 4th of last December, and I maintain that the first public statement issued by any Cabinet Minister which was subversive of the Republican doctrine was that so-called Treaty signed on the morning of 6th December. I don’t care if the Cabinet were fighting like cats among themselves. What I do care is what they said to us, and what they said to the world. That is what matters; that is what will go down to history, make no mistake about it. Lloyd George and Lord Birkenhead as cooing doves outside must have had many and many a scrap inside the Cabinet before they came out with a united consent to that document. What was the use of entering negotiations? The use of entering negotiations, I say here as an ardent and uncompromising Republican, was to show the world that we were a reasonable people, as well as a people clamouring for right; that we realised that our propinquity to England was the source of many justifiable fears on England’s part. England knew, and the world knew, that no nation in the world has reason to hate another as we have to hate England, and she had good reason to fear that hate. We wanted to show her in these negotiations that we were willing to forgive, aye and forget. We were willing, and I say it here, even I, and all those women who have suffered from English tyranny say it too, we were willing to forgive and forget. I maintain that the attitude of Ireland, the magnanimity of Ireland, the generosity of Ireland in that act of willingness to forgive and forget would have won us the last ounce of sympathy of the world, away from England. That was the value of the negotiations, to show the world, as we could have shown them, what we were willing to do, as I hope we will show them yet; to show the English people what their Government was going to war for—for they were going to war, too—and going to drag the English people and the English taxpayer and the English workman and labourer into war, on what? On a desire to subjugate an old, a free people, to their own individual freedom. That was the value of the negotiations. Now I am going to deal with the charge that the Delegation were turned down by the Cabinet and by the Dáil. Again I must say I am sorry that I had not a united opposition to listen to me. The public is listening, and if the Press can even bring itself to be fair about this matter, it will be well for the public. The Press is not yet fair in spite of our protests; the American Press represented here is not fair in America, and I have had a cable this morning from America protesting against even the Hearst papers as being utterly unfair. [121] I will say to the Irish people without the Press, if I cannot say it through the Press, the truth about these negotiations. It came to be decided that we were to send a delegation to Lloyd George. We sent it. That delegation claims that they went as plenipotentiaries, that they went without terms of reference, that they went with full power to sign any document which they thought would be acceptable and to bring it back. Let me go back to the day the delegation was appointed. On the 14th of last September there was a meeting of An Dáil. Much talk had been going around that there was compromise coming. From the 21st August to 14th September I kept my eyes and my ears open to see if compromise was intended. I spoke to the President and I gave him my opinion. I spoke to various Members and I gave and elicited opinions. On the 11th September, I think it was, or on the Sunday before the Minister of Finance spoke in Armagh. On the Monday morning I read his speech, and on the Monday evening, in writing to a friend and colleague of his, I wrote this sentence: “I do not care for your friend Mick’s speech, for the Republic is not mentioned in it from beginning to end.” That friend of his must have shown him that letter, because on the following Wednesday, September 14th, when the Dáil met—it is not my fault that I say this without Michael Collins’ presence, it is his fault—Michael Collins passed me in the Oak Room of the Mansion House, and in response to my “Dia’s Muire dhuit,” he said: “I hear you think I am a compromiser. Well, I am not, then; and I tell you that.” I declare here solemnly that I was glad his name was on the Delegation, and from that day, September 14th, in spite of his speech in Armagh, in spite of anything I heard to the contrary, when Michael Collins said to me, “I hear you think I am a compromiser. Well, I am not, then; and I tell you that.” I never doubted Michael Collins until I saw his signature to that document, nor did I think it necessary to write to London to him to ask him to stand firm. On that 14th September I felt bound to rise in my place and say that there had been a good deal of talk of compromise, and that I wanted to announce my position. I knew there were compromisers in the Dáil, and I called on those who believed in compromise to stand up then and there, or for ever more hold their peace. Not one stood up. Deputy Hogan in a superior voice the other day——

DEPUTY HOGAN: On a point of order, I don’t want to allow Miss MacSwiney to proceed under a misunderstanding. I did stand up; I did not mention this before. I stood up and said I approved of the conference and reserved my right to say what I had to say until the delegates came back.

MISS MACSWINEY: I am glad that Deputy Hogan agrees with me. That was my attitude. I approved of the conference with all my heart and mind and strength because I believed it was the last plank of English propaganda and that we had broken it. Now to come back from that. One Member, who has since, like Deputy Hogan, supported ratification of this document, declared that even if he had nothing left but the island of Arran, he would dig himself in and hold it for the Republic. In view of the still undoubted strength of the British Fleet, I would say the island of Arran was the worst spot to choose. The last speaker who stood up was Mr. Kevin O’Higgins, and he also, in a slightly superior voice, which he has maintained throughout this debate, suggested to me, and those who spoke also, that the discussion was a little too previous, that we had all sworn an oath to the Republic, and that when the Delegation came back from London with something less than the Republic it would be time enough to talk. He has talked since, not effectively, for there has not been an effective argument made on what I call, without fear of opposition, the material side of this House. He has talked flippantly of posterity, and I do not like to see a young man of Deputy O’Higgins’ intelligence and his youth talk flippantly of posterity. Rather would I like to hear him stand and say, as was said about Tone on another fight of liberty: “Bliss was it not with Tone to be alive, but to be young was very heaven.” I consider it was bliss to be alive up to the 6th of this month. I do not yet agree with Dr. MacCartan that the Republic is dead. It cannot die. But I should like to be as young as Deputy O’Higgins is now, to carry on the fight for posterity. It is sad to find young men in this assembly speaking against all that is noble, all that is great, all that is magnanimous in the people of our [122] nation; speaking against the one and only stand for principle that has won for our people the admiration of the world. No compromiser spoke or said that he was a compromiser on last September 14th. Then the Delegation went over, and let me tell you another thing about that Delegation and its value to us. Do you realise what it means to the world for us that a man called the head of a murder gang should sit at the same table with Lloyd George as a representative of the Irish people? If he had not signed his name to that document, the mere fact that he sat there—the so-called chief of the murder gang—was inestimably effective for us. Do you think it was no victory for us that the English Government were obliged to allow Sean MacKeon and others to walk out of jail, even though some of them were under sentence of death, to sit in this assembly? You cannot get over the immense value to Ireland in the eyes of the world of these two facts, plain, bold facts—and I am dealing with nothing else—that those men were allowed out of prison. Commandant Sean MacKeon seconded that abominable document, I am sorry to say. I know that he would fight to the death for the Republic of Ireland still, but he does not realise what he is giving away. I am glad that he is here alive to-day to fight for the Republic again, but if he were my brother, I would rather he were with Kevin Barry. The Delegation went to London, and their going to London was magnificent propaganda for us. The Minister of Publicity went with them. He also is absent. Would any member of the Cabinet, or any Member of this Dáil, tell me what took the Minister of Publicity to London? What was he doing there? Nothing. He deserves the reprimand of the Cabinet and the Dáil for allowing every single thing we gained in propaganda to be given away by the English Press. From the day he went to London he never counteracted by any word that we could see the efforts of the English Press to misrepresent us. He had a duty to the Republican Members of this assembly whatever his own views were. Non-publication was promised on both sides, but the very first morning after the first conference the English Press had information—inside information—and our Delegates protested, and it stopped in a few days. But when the English Press began again, and when suggestions were made that the Delegation had given up the Republic for Dominion Home Rule, I maintain that the Delegation and the Minister of Publicity were grossly wanting in their duty to An Dáil not to put a stop to it. Lloyd George may have said to them as Mr. Griffith said to me: “We cannot help the Press.” I maintain it was their business to help the Press. What in the name of heavens had we a Minister of Publicity in London for? Much will be made of the fact that they kept their promise of secrecy and that the English did not. My answer to that is this, they should have gone to Lloyd George and they should have said to him: “Now look here, no ráiméis, if you please.” They might have shaken the Daily Express in his face and said: “It is no use for you, sir, to tell us that you are not responsible for the Press. You have as much power to stop the Press now as you had to stop it during the war, and if you allow that propaganda against us to go on, we break our promise here and now and we will put out propaganda.” If our Minister of Publicity and our Delegates knew what they were about, and were in earnest about it, they should have done that. I maintain there was gross negligence, as far as the Press was concerned, in this matter. I wrote to Mr. Arthur Griffith late in the negotiations, and I tell you honestly now the reason I did not write and pester him with letters, as I pestered the poor President, was that I trusted them all too much. I did write one letter to him, and only one letter. I pointed out the iniquity of the things that they were allowing the English papers to say with impunity. I pointed out to him that the Daily Express in particular gave what is tantamount to the very things that are given in that document: the oath of allegiance, the partition of Ulster, and the control of our purse, and I said to him: “It is not fair to us that that should go on, and you know that if by any chance you came back with such a compromise, the only result would be a split in the country.” He knew then, as he knows now, that those of us who stand for principle cannot yield to expediency; that we, at least, will not sell our national rights for a mess of imperial pottage. And my conscience is perfectly clear about these negotiations. They were valuable, valuable beyond all computation up to the 4th of December. [123] Mr. Griffith wrote back to me that they should have the entire confidence of the people if they were to be successful, and that he was quite confident that he would not bring back anything which the Irish people would not accept.

MR. GRIFFITH: Hear, hear.

MISS MACSWINEY: Mr. Griffith has brought back something that he thinks the Irish people will accept. They will not, and, if a majority of them do, Mr. Griffith will find what I warned him of is true: a split in the country with half, or nearly half, of the country rebels to his Government. Mr. Griffith knew that we, Republicans, could not stand for that. So much, so far. I would like to ask another question, to which I hope some Minister will reply before this Session closes. Did we not have in London a representative of the Irish Republican Government, a man who knows London well, and who for the last three years has been closely associated with the Republican Government as its representative? Was he consulted in this matter at all? I wrote to him also about this matter of the Press, for I know that he realises the value of the Press and the terrible crime against Ireland which it was to allow the Press of the world to get away with the idea that we meant compromise. He wrote me back that he believed it was a fatal mistake to let the Press get away with this English story, and that he had told the members of the Delegation so. Our representative in Paris has told us already in his speech that he left Paris and came home to protest, and that he also protested in London en route. So they did not sin without knowledge, and I maintain it was a crime to our cause to allow all that unfair propaganda to be used against us. Another thing I would like to know is this: in those fatal two hours, from 8.30 to 10.30—allowing that from 10.30 to 2.30 a.m. they were in the fatal atmosphere of Downing Street with terrible or immediate war hanging over their heads, and I realise the responsibility that lay on them about the signing of that document—did they consult the representative of our. Government in London? He knew London better than any of us; he knew Lloyd George as well, if not better, than any of them, and he knew the mind of the English people better than any of them. Did they consult him as to whether Lloyd George was bluffing or not? I think his opinion would have been worth taking in the matter. Did they consult anybody they were entitled to consult? They were absolutely entitled to consult the representative of the Irish Republican Government in London, just as much as in any conference in a foreign country the Ambassador of England would be consulted. I maintain that our cause was not lost when we sent negotiators to London. Our cause was not lost, and is not lost yet (hear, hear). Our cause was injured by the mismanagement of the Press in London; by the carelessness, the inexcusable carelessness of the Minister of Publicity. What on earth he was there for I cannot see. And lost by the fact that the Delegation completely ignored the feeling which they knew existed amongst the out-and-out Republicans in this assembly. That feeling was perfectly, strongly and plainly expressed before one of them went to London. You are told they got no terms of reference. I maintain they did, and those terms of reference are three. There is first the last published statement made by this Dáil; there is secondly the credentials given to them by the President; and there is thirdly their instructions. If those were not credentials, if those were not terms of reference, I do not know what are terms of reference. It is absurd to say that terms of reference should be given and accepted by both Governments. You know that was impossible. In our case you know there was a mental reservation that the Republic is what we meant and that we would take nothing but the Republic. The President expresses that in his final telegram to Lloyd George, quoted by the Minister of Finance. Our last word to these delegates was this: “In this final note we deem it our duty to reaffirm that our position is, and can only be, what we have been fighting for throughout the correspondence. Our nation has firmly declared its independence and recognises itself as a Sovereign State and it is only as the representatives of that State and its chosen guardians that we have any authority or powers to act on behalf of our people.” They went there as the elected representatives of the Republican Government, and it was only as the elected representatives of the Republican Government that they had [124] the authority of Dáil Eireann or the people to negotiate at all. As regards the second document, the credentials given them for presentation to Lloyd George, no such credentials were asked for and they were not asked to present them, because both sides knew there were mental reservations. Both sides thought they would like to get talking in the hope of seeing each how far the other would go. The credentials stand for history, the credentials stand for posterity, and posterity will not be flippant about them. They were sent and appointed by the President in virtue of the authority vested in him by Dáil Eireann as Envoys Plenipotentiary of the elected Government of the Republic of Ireland. There is Credential No. 2; there is Term of Reference No. 2. None of those men with those documents can say they went there without terms of reference. And without that last document given them by An Dáil I, for one, would have protested throughout the country while the negotiations were going on, instead of holding my tongue in deference to my trust in their absolute Republicanism. The next term of reference lies in the instructions given to them by the Government, and the kernel of this lies in Paragraph 3. Paragraph 2 gives them powers, full powers, as defined in their credentials, and their credentials were “Envoys Plenipotentiary of the elected Government of the Republic of Ireland.” The Envoys had full powers as defined in their credentials: “It is understood, however, that before decisions are finally reached on the main question that a despatch notifying the intention of making these decisions will be sent to the members of the Cabinet in Dublin, and that a reply will be awaited by the Plenipotentiaries before a final decision is made.” And Paragraph 3, the kernel of these instructions: “It is also understood that a complete text of the draft Treaty about to be signed will be similarly submitted to Dublin and the reply awaited.” The Delegates told us they did not get time. You cannot go from London to Dublin and back between the hours of 8.30 and 10 o’clock, I agree. They should therefore have kept to the instructions given to them by their own Cabinet, not to the threats of Lloyd George. And think of Lloyd George’s excuse. People of Ireland, think of Lloyd George’s excuse. He had promised to give an answer to Sir James Craig by Tuesday, and that is actually told us seriously by the members of our delegation. They maintain that they told that in the Cabinet the preceding Saturday. They did, and they got their answer from the Cabinet: “Go back and break.” They did not break. They took it on themselves to sign. I do not agree with one of them, not even with those who signed under duress, who signed and are still honourable men; I do not agree with one of them that they should have signed that document, no matter what the consequences. Sir James Craig should have an answer; we waited for 750 years, and Sir James Craig could not wait for forty-eight hours. Of all the idiotic excuses given for a deliberate betrayal of their instructions, a disobedience of their instructions, I never heard anything so idiotic in my life. The threat of immediate war is not idiotic; there they were bluffed. They know now, if they did not know it then, that they were bluffed. Again, I ask, why did they not consult the man who should have been consulted and who knew England, as to whether it was bluff or not? Bluff or not, they should have obeyed the instructions they got on Saturday, to break rather than come back with a signed document. Let it be that that document is signed at the point of the cannon’s mouth, as Deputy O’Higgins said; with free knowledge and consent, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs said; with duress as other delegates have said; let it be that it was signed at that fatal hour on Tuesday morning. Again I maintain that the delegates had no right to allow that document to be published. Again I maintain that they had no right to allow that to be sent to the world, and if Lloyd George insisted that it should go to Sir James Craig, they could have said to Lloyd George: “Very well, we have signed rather than risk immediate war; but if you publish that document with our signatures till we have time to refer to our Parliament, then we will tell the world that we do not recommend that document.” If they had said that to Lloyd George the position would be saved for Ireland. Lloyd George knew there were people in this country who would not accept that right off. He believed that he knew that the majority of the people would agree to accept it and that he would get the willing and selfish people on whom he could wreak his will, and that the Government of the Irish [125] Free State could be safely left to deal with the minority of rebels. That is what our Delegates have got by allowing that document to be published to the world and allowing the world and Ireland to say: “What is good enough for Mick Collins is good enough for me.” Oh, people of An Dáil, people of Ireland, do not allow yourselves to be tricked in this the last, the greatest moment of this wonderful struggle of ours. Dr. MacCartan pitifully said last night the Republic was dead and the signatures were the epitaph. Again I am sorry Dr. MacCartan is not here to listen to my opinion of his speech. A doctrinaire Republican he calls himself. I too am a doctrinaire Republican for Ireland. I am as uncompromising a Republican as Dr. MacCartan, but I should not make the pitiful speech he made last night. The Republic dead! No, not a thousand such documents could kill it. The Republic dead, and he stands there as a doctrinaire Republican and caoines over it. It is not dead while there is a woman or child in Ireland. It is not dead if every man in Ireland turned his back on it. The Republic dead! What is that but a cowardly speech, the gospel of despair of this country of ours which had won the admiration of the world. I tell the world as I tell Dr. MacCartan, it can be dead if he likes, but we are alive and we shall show it. And Dr. MacCartan says he will not vote for the Treaty as a Republican, and he will not vote against it because it means chaos. Again I say it does not mean chaos, but if it does not, it is due, and will be due, to the Republican Party of this country. All that our delegates and their supporters could do to create chaos they have done, and they have done it knowing that it would create chaos, for every one of them was told it would mean a split. It was not only in my letter to Arthur Griffith that I said this would mean a split. I said, as you will all remember, on the 14th September in the Session of An Dáil, this means a split; it means that we are back again where we were in 1914 to begin the fight all over again. We are back, but we are back with a difference, for if this goes through we are back with the dishonour of having once established the Republican Government in this country and turned our back on it. Oh, it is true what Mr. Childers said, as “no man can put bounds to the onward march of a nation,” so no one can put bounds to the backward march of a nation once that nation lets go of the spiritual ideal which has kept it alive through seven centuries of torture with brief intervals of repose. No one can put bounds, and surely you will agree with me the English nation and the English Government will not try to put bounds to the backward march of that nation, and it will be a backward march for a long time, I am afraid, if this is now accepted by the people of Ireland; not quite so backward as perhaps Lloyd George counts on, for the Army is at heart Republican, and the Army is still the Irish Republican Army, and it will be that until the people of Ireland set up a Government which is not the Irish Republican Government. The Irish Republican Army stands true and disciplined not to the Irish Dominion Free State, but to the Irish Republican Government. I have kept you a long time. I make no apology for it, nor will you seek one. You may be tired, so am I. Let me tell you this. As you have faced, some of you, the enemy’s fire, as you have faced the torture of his jails, as you have faced his sentences of death, you must face this act of yours in its every detail, and this is what the young men of this Dáil —and I tell their constituents so—many of them have not done. They have not listened to the arguments against this Treaty they are voting for. They came in with their minds closed as in a vice. Some of them have told us so; some of them have said they are going to vote for this Treaty, and nothing we say can change their minds. All I can say is God help them, because the man who will not change his mind for a reasonable argument proves one thing only, that he has no mind to change. Not one proof can be adduced for this Treaty which is logical, which is worthy of the Irish people who sent you here. Every argument against it is consistent with the promises we gave to our constituents. We have no right to presume that they have changed. There are men in this assembly who are voting against this Treaty who have the approval of their constituents expressed. There are men in this assembly who are voting against this Treaty who have the disapproval of their constituents expressed. The answer for these latter to their constituents would be—and it would be my answer if my constituents dared to suggest to me the unworthy course that, having taken an oath to be faithful to the Republic which they established, I am going to be false to it—my answer would be: “You knew what I stood for when I came here. I have not changed, and, if you have, you can tell me so the next time I come to you.” There are men in this assembly who are voting for the Treaty and they have the approval of their constituents expressed; there are men in this assembly who are voting for the Treaty and they have the disapproval of their constituents expressed and they cannot say to them: “You sent me here for a specific purpose, and I am going to be true to that purpose.” Their constituents are calling on them to be true to the purpose for which they were sent here. What answer will they give to their constituents when they go back, and what answer will they give to posterity? Once more I beg and implore of you to think deeply before you sign this Treaty. It is an act of dishonour to our nation. Those who have spoken for it, I know, do not mean dishonour. One of them, and one of them alone, has declared he means to keep it. Others have shown us various measures for driving a coach-and-four through it. That, I maintain, is not an honourable stand. Long ago in Ireland’s history, in the time of Fionn MacCumhail, they had truth in their hearts, strength in their arms, and what they said, that they would do. We said a Republic. In God’s name let us mean it. Do not sign your name to that Treaty meaning to break it, and think that you can get the better of that wizard trickster in Downing Street. You are braver than he is. You are more honourable than he is. You can beat him in the field by the same tactics that you beat him with before; you can beat him in the opinion of the world, but do not be such fools as to think that you can beat him in trickery. You are not made like that, thank God, nor is any Irishman; none of us can beat Lloyd George in trickery, in meanness, in scoundrelism, for I maintain, great man as he is today, he is the most unprincipled scoundrel in history (applause). Do not be led away by that unprincipled trickster. He has tried over and over again in this fight of ours to put us in the wrong with the world. He has tried over and again to fool us before the world, and we have stood on the rock of principle and we have refused to be fooled. Now the very men that taught us, that taught many and many a one among us anyhow, how easily Irish politicians are fooled by Lloyd George, have been fooled themselves and have come back to fool the country like ourselves. They don’t mean to fool us. One man means to keep the Treaty; four have shown us how to break it. I ask you do you think that trickster in Downing Street is less clever than you are, that he will not take care to drive a coach-and-four through your Constitution, if you are going to drive a coach-and-four through his Articles of Agreement. You cannot beat the English in trickery. Don’t think it. For the last two days, for the last week, since this Dáil opened, I have wondered as I listened to the speeches of those in favour of the Agreement or Treaty— call it what you will, I will make you a present of the word “Treaty,” though his Majesty doesn’t—have they already learned one lesson from England, the art of self-deception? There is nothing in which the Englishman excels more than in the art of self-deception. It looks as if the Irish Free Staters have already learned that lesson. I have finished; I have said, not all I could say, for I could take these articles one by one and give you many more details against them. I have said all that is necessary to say for the honour of myself and for what I stand for, and for the honour of the Republican Members of this Dáil. I do not speak for those who spoke last night of a dead Republic and sobbed a pitiful caoine over it. I speak for the living Republic, the Republic that cannot die. That document will never kill it, never. The Irish Republic was proclaimed and established by the men of Easter Week, 1916. The Irish Republican Government was established in January, 1919, and it has functioned since under such conditions that no country ever worked under before. That Republican Government is not now going to be fooled and destroyed by the Wizard of Wales. We beat him before and we shall beat him again, and I pray with all my heart and soul that a majority of the Members of this assembly will throw out that Treaty and that the minority will stand shoulder to shoulder with us in the fight to regain the position we held on the 4th of this month. I pray that once more; I pray that we will stand together, and the [127] country will stand behind us. I have no doubt of that. I know the women of Ireland, and I know what they will say to the men that want to surrender, and therefore I beg of you to take the decision to throw out that Treaty. Register your votes against it, and do not commit the one unforgivable crime that has ever been committed by the representatives of the people of Ireland (applause).

PRESIDENT DE VALERA: I am afraid we will have to sit to-morrow night. We wish to try to have the debate ended before Christmas.

MR. COLIVET: Is it necessary for every Member here to make a speech? I think it is not if the Whips on both sides would collect the names of those who really do wish to speak and arrange them. Since the division list will be published, and the people made aware of our attitude, it is not necessary for all to speak. If every Member speaks we will be here for a fortnight. When all who announce to the Whips their desire to speak have spoken, the closure could be moved.

MR. ARTHUR GRIFFITH: I feel that every Member will not speak for three hours. The whole business was held up this evening by one Member who spoke for two hours and forty minutes. Any person in this assembly can express what he wishes to express in from ten to fifteen minutes.

The Dáil adjourned till 11 a.m. next day.