Some Neglected Morals
OF THE IRISH RISING
One. —Bo very careful what political doctrine you preach You may bo taken at your word in the most unexpected directions.
1 wonder how many of those who have made such a resounding propaganda of Sinn Fein for small nationalities for twenty months past have died heroically for their principles in the burning ruins of the General Post Office in Sackville Street! Will "Punch" give us a cartoon of Mr. Connolly, in the pose if the King of tho Belgians, telling his conqueror that at least he has not lost his soul by his despcrato light for the indepondenco of his country against a foe ten times his size. Probably not; and yet parallel is curiously close in everything by tho scale of the devastation and the number of deaths. It may become closer, if tho Government gives way to any clamour for frightfulness from tho people who were so shocked by it when Yon Bissing was its exponent.
Two. —Do not givo way to an intemperate admiration of patriotism, or inako an inconsiderate use of tho word Traitor.
No wiso man now uses tho word Traitor at all. Ho who lights for tho independence of his country may bo an ignorant and disastrous fool; but ho is not a traitor and will never be regarded as ono by his fellow countrymen. All tho slain men and women of the Sinn Fein Volunteers fought and died for their country as sincerely as any soldier in Flanders has fought or died for his. Their contempt for proBritish Pacifists, like myself, was as fiercely genuine as the contempt of our conscriptionists and military authorities for Mr. Clifford Allen. As a Republican forlorn hope, their ideal cannot bo insulted without insulting our ally France and our friend America; and by the time tho whole world has become Republican and Romance has covered their graves with its flowers, the last of the Irish Rebellion will be a stock subject of British heroic verse. Three. —Do not rashly assumo that ovory building destroyed by an enemy is a palatial masterpieco of architecture. It is greatly to _o regretted that sovery little of Dublin has been demolished. Tho General Post Office was a monument, fortunately not imperishable, of how extremely dull eighteenth century pseudo-classic architecture can be. Its demolition does not matter. What does matter is that all the Liffey slums have not been demolished. Their death and disease rates have every year provided waste, destruction, crime, drink, and avoidable homicide on a scalo which makes the fusilades of tho Sinn Feiners and the looting of their camp-followers ihardly worth turning tho head to notice. It was from these slums that the-auxiliaries poured forth
for whoso thefts and outrages the Volunteers will bo held responsible, though their guilt lies at all our doors. Let us grieve, not over tho fragment oi Dublin city that is knocked down, but over at least three-quarters of • what has been preserved. How I wish I had been in command of the British artillery on that fatal field. How I should have improved my native cityl
Four —To delay overdue legislation for the sake of a quiet lifo may make moro trouble than it saves.
Had H omo Rvlo been in operation, not only would both the Sinn Fein and tho Ulster Volunteers havo been technically traitors (both arc on precisely the same footing as to.that), but tho Irish Parliament would havo introduced compulsory military servico to get rid' of them, if it had found itself too weak to prevent such armed forces being raised.
Five.—Do not forget that a rising may bo induced in England and' Scotland at any moment by tho same means.
If the party which openly aims at the destruction of British Trade Unionism wero to fabricate and circulate an elaborate military plan of campaign for seizing all the Trade Union offices, cordoning the mining villages and unionist quarters, and capturing tho secretaries, the result, though it would be called a series of local riots and not a rebellion, would cost moro lives and burn moro buildings than the Dublin affair. I have a copy of the fabricated document which. Mr. T. W. Russell has repudiated on behalf of tho Castle. I havo a copy of a letter which Mr. Sheeby Skeffingtou vainly
According to Bernard Shaw
tried to induce tho London press to publish, warning us that tho Sinn Feiners believed that there was a Castle-cum-Carsonite plot to disarm them and seize their quarters, and that there was the gravest danger of a defensive-offensive movement. Whoever forged tho document was a clover scoundrel; bub clever scoundrels have novor been lacking in Ireland, where, unless this particular scoundrel is detected and dealt with accordingly, it will never bo believed that the document was not genuine. • Can England confide so absolutely in the stupidity of her scoundrels or tho virtues of her clever men as to feel safe from a similar ruse and a similar result?
Sis. —If you wish men to bo good citizens, you must teach them to bo good citizens.
Whoso fault is the dense ignorance and romantic' folly whioh made these unfortunate Sinn Feiners mistako a piece of hopeless mischief for a patriotic stroke for freedom such as Shelley sang and Byron took arms for? Wore they taught citizenship in their schools? Were their votes bought with anything but balderdash? Granted that their heads, like their newspapers, were stuffed with ultrainsular patriotic conceit, is this a time at which England can with any countenance throw a stone at them on that score? Has not tho glorification of patriotism, of reckless defiance, of superior numbers and resources, of readiness to kill and b© killed for tho old flag, of implacabla hatred of tho enemy and the invader, of the sacred rights of small nations to self-govern-ment and freedom, been thundered at 'them for more than a year by British writers who talk and feel as if England wero still tho England of Alfred, and Socialism, the only alternative to Sinn Fein, were sedition and blasphemy? Is it not a littlo unreasonable of us to clamour for the blood of men who havo simply taken us at our word and competed for our hero-worship with tho Belgians and the Serbians, who havo also devoted their Sackville Streets to fir o and slaughter in a struggle at impossible odds with giant empires?
I can speak my mind freely on this matter, for I havo attacked tho romantic Separation of Ireland with every device of invective and irony and dialectic at my command. As it happens, my last onslaught on Sinn Fein reached Ireland, through the columns of the "Irish Times," two days before tho insurrection. It was too late; and,! iv any case, tho Volunteers had plenty of assurance from the most vociferous English patriots that I am not a person to bo attended to. But exasperating as the mischief and folly and ignorance of tho rising are to my practical sense, I must no.'deny, now that it is crushed, that those men were patriotic according to their own lights, bravo according to our lights, public in their aims, and honorable in their Republican political ideal. I notice, also, that tho newspapers which describe them as personally contemptible, contradict their correspondents by pictures which exhibit them as well-set-up, soldierly men.
What is to be done with .them? As to many, the answer is simple: Bury them. But what about the others— the prisoners of war? It would be hardly decent to ask them to take the oath of allegiance to tlio English King. They aro Republicans. But the notion that they aro any fonder of the Protestant monarchy of Prussia is nonsense. Why not make a present of them to Joffre, with a (hint that his right wing is the safest placo ( for them? Ho needs good Republicans, and Franco knows of old tho value of an Irish Brigade.—G. Bernard Shaw, in "The New Statesman."
tor whether tho leg is taken off below tho knee of at tho hip, whether it is tho right arm or the, left arm, cr whether the arm is taken off below the elbow or at the shoulder, 10s. 6d. seems to be tho limit after two months. "It is utterly impossible for a man to acquire any comfortable use of his leg or aim after two months or even six months. In the Hrst place, ' you havo to consider the great -hock to the system of removing a limb, and tho great suffering that they go through for* weeks after, especially when the limb is dressed. When these gal hunt men are told that after two monththey aro only to be given 10s. 6d. a week it simply drives them to despair. They are not in a condition to undertake work, they are utterly unfit for it, and they can mako but very littlo use of their artificial limbs. They cannot possibly live in these times oh 10s. 6d. a week." ■ i. „ . ■ —'
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Some Neglected Morals, Maoriland Worker, Volume 7, Issue 284, 26 July 1916
Some Neglected Morals Maoriland Worker, Volume 7, Issue 284, 26 July 1916
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