The National Daily
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 1922.
ICHAEL COLLINS' OWN STORY OF HOW IRELAND
WON HER FREEDOM AND HOW SHE WILL KEEP IT
TO BE FREE
Pact of London Provides Mot Ultimate Freedom,
bat Freedom to Achieve That Ultimate Free
dom, Says Head of Provisional Government,
Who Claims "Omr Difficulty Now in Making
a Noble Irish Ireland, Lies in People Them
, . 1
rjlHIS is the first of a series of articles by Michael
J. Collins, idol of Ireland and head of the pro
visional government. These articles will detail the his
tory of the movement for Irish freedom, which has cul
minated in the erection of the Irish Free State, and
will furnish a mass of exclusive information. The
series will embrace the history of the military move
ments of the Irish republican party, the peace negotia
tions with Great Britain, and the ratification of peace
with the British empire following the struggle between
the two peoples, which endured for 750 years.
By MICHAEL COLLINS.
(Head of the Provisional Government of Ireland.)
Special Cable to Universal Service.
(Copyright tn Great Britain and the Irish Free State.)
(Copyright tn the U. S. by the Star ompany, 18?t.)
DUBLIN, Feb. 4.
A8 you have asked me to make certain statements
for your newspapers, and, as with reluctance T
consented to do so, I should like at the outset to correct
the mistaken impression which is held by many of our
friends in America owing to a misconception of certain
words of mine in my speech to the Dail Eireann on
December 19 last.
It appears that many of our people thought that I
was aiming a backhanded blow at those who wished us
well. The mistaken impression was caused by my
words to the effect that "America did not recognize the
Irish republic because she knew it would mean war
with Great Britain." '
I meant those words not as a slur on or a detraction
from the sympathy of the American people for our sup
pressed nation, but simply to indicate that we under
stood the realization by them of our position as it was.
MEANT ONLY APPRECIATION.
I meant those words to be an appreciation on my part
of the difficulties which faced our friends in America,
and I have no less regard for their good services now
than I ever had.
You have asked me to write this article on the treaty
with England, and before dealing with the treaty itself,
you asked me to say something of the political incidents
which led up to it.
In my opinion the truce of July last could have been
secured in December, 1920, at the time when His Grace,
Arohbishop Clune, endeavored to mediate. But the op
portunity was lost through too precipitate action by
certain of our public men and public bodies. The
action taken indicated an overkeen desire for peace,
and, although the terms of the truce were virtually
agreed upon, they were abandoned because the British
leaders thought the actions referred to indicated weak
ness on our part. Consequently'they decided to insist
upon the surrender of our arms, and the result was a
oontinuance of the struggle.
The British aggression went on unbated and our
defense was kept up to the best of our ability. I am
not aware of any negotiations that preceded the truce
of July. I do know that there was much visiting
back and forth by well meaning, but unauthorized
NO EFFECT ON PARLEYS.
However, as far as my knowledge goes, those things
did not have any effect on tho communication from
Premier Lloyd George to President De Valera, which
opened up the period of correspondence betwoen the
two governments and, subsequently, resulted in the ne
gotiations in London.
If there wero any official conversations prior to
Lloyd George's letter they took place entirely without
I-have been asked to express an opinion upon the
correspondence and to give a history of the negotia
tions in London. I feel that it will only weary people
to go into these things now. One matter, however, I
?*n deal without any breach of
confidence or without any depar
ture from strict etiquette.
It haa been variously stated that
the treaty wu signed under dur
aaa. It haa been aald that the
treaty waa signed under threat of
"immediate and terrible war."
No* Signed Loser Duress.
Our poaltlon never appeared to
me to be that. I did not sign the
treaty under duress except In the
aenae that the position as between
Ireland and England historically
and because of superior forces on
the part pf England, haa always
been one of dureaa.
The element of duress was pres
ent when we agreed to the truce,
because our simple right would
have been to beat the English In
There waa an element of dureaa
In our going to Lonaon to nego
tiate. But there waa not and could
not have been any personal dur
Nelther did the threat of "Imme
diate and terrible war*' matter over
much to me. Our poaltlon appeared
to me then exactly aa It appears
now. The Britlah would not, I
think, have declared "terrible. Im
mediate war" upon us.
They had three courses open !o
(hem. The first was to dissolve
parliament and put their proposals
before the country. The second
waa to resume war by courting,
openly or covertly, breakages of the
truce. (Theee breakages of the
truce might have come from either
side.) Their third course would
have been to blockade Ireland and
at the aame time encourage spas
modic Internal conflict. r
I muat aay that the first course
of action Indicated above seemed
to me to be the one most likely to
be adopted. Then In case our posi
tion was endorsed by the people,
elthsr the second or the third
method of procedure would have
been very easily managed by the
A political reverse would have
been more damaging to us than to
have the Bngllah adopt either the
aeoond or third oourse which was
open to them.
War Threat a Bluff.
The threat of "Immediate and ter
rible war" waa probably a bluff.
The immediate tactics would surely
have been to put the offer of July
20, which the British considered a
very good offer, before the people
of the country. If the offer was
rejected they would have had very
little difficulty in carrying their
own people into a war against Ire
Another thing that I believe, and
I have not said It except to some of
my personal friends, Is, that on
the resumption of hostilities the
British would have been anxious
to fight with us on a baa.s of
In such circumstances I doubt
If ws would have been able to
carry on the conflict with the suc
cess which previously attended our
efforts. I scarcely think that our
resources would have been equal
HERO OF IRISHMEN
Who, although only thirty-one years old, has won fame
as a fighter and a diplomat.
to bearing the belligerent rights
No, I am not Impressed by this
talk of duress nor was I Impressed
by the threats of declaration of Im
mediate and terrible war.
Great Britain has not made any
declaration of war upon Egypt.
Neither has she made a declara
tion of war against India.
But is the wnfllct leas terrible
because of the absence of such
declaration. We must not be mis
led by words and phrasea.
Unquestionably the alternative
to the treaty, sooner or later, was
war. I accept that, and If the
Irish ? nation had accepted that
alternative I would gladly have
Let that point be emphasized,
for the opponents of pie treaty de
clared over and over again that
the alternative to the treaty was
not war. In my Judgment, thia
was misleading the Irish nation,
and I could not be a party to that.
The decision of the Irish nation
should not be given on a false
basis. That was my own attitude.
And if, indeed. It be true as the
antagonists of the treaty say, that
the alternative to the treaty was
not war. where, then, is the hero
ism? Where, then, is the necessity
for the fUlUBt sa.rrlOcc> that have
been talked about so freely?
The foregoing remarks express
my position In signing the treaty.
To me It would have toen a crim
inal act to refuse to allow the
Irish nation to give Its opinion as
to whether It would accept this
settlement or resume hostilities.
That, I maintain. Is the demo
cratlc stand. It has always been
the stand of public representatives
who have been alive to their re
Now let me pass on to the tretfiy
Itself. And In dealing with the
treaty I am anxious to get out of
thi mists and Into clear air. The
Irish struggle has always been for
freedom?freedom from English
occupation, freedom from English
Interference, freedom from Eng
lish domination?but not for free
dom with any particular label at
tached to it.
It may also be stated that what
wj fought for at any particular
time was the greatest measure of
freedom that seemed to be obtain
able at that time. It depended
upon ouf strength whether the
claim for freedom was greater or
lees ,at one time than at another. \
When the national situation was
very bad, we lay Inert. When the
situation Improved a little, we
looked for the repeal of the union.
When our atrsngth receded i|tln
we looked for home rule under
wrlni trade name*. When tt
went still worse we apoke of some
form of revolution. When our
strength became greater our alma
became higher and we atrove for
greater meaaure of freedom under
the name of tha Irish Republic.
Didn't Fight for Name.
But It waa freedom that we
fought for, and not for the name
of the form of government we
ahould adopt when we got our
Now what really happena under
When I supported Its approval
at the meeting of the Dall Eire
ann, I eald that It gave us free
dom?not the ultimate freedom
which all nations hope and strug
gle for, but the freedom to
achieve that ultimate freedom.
And I was and am now fully
alive to the Implications of that
statement. Under this treaty
Ireland is about to become a fully
The whole of Ireland aa one na
tion la to compose the Iriah Free
State, whose parliament will have
power to make laws for peace and
order and good government in Ire
land, with an executive who will
be reaponaible to the parliament.
This is the whole basis of the
treaty, and it muat be clearly borne
in mind that the treaty, (and the
treaty, be It remembered, la be
tween equal a) is ths bedrock from
which our statue springs, and that
any later act of the British Parlia
ment derives its force from the
We have arrived at our position
by virtue of the treaty and any
forthcoming act of the British
legislature will likewise be by vir
tu* of the treaty.
By Virtue of Treaty.
And it la not the definition of any
status which would secure to ua
that atatua but it la our power to
make secure and increase what
we have gained that gives us our.
stilus; yet, obtaining In the treaty
the conatltutlonal atatua of Canada,
and that status being one of free
dom and equality, we are free to
take advantage of that status, and
we shall set up our conatitution
on Independent Iriah lines.
No conditions mentioned here
after, unleaa in the treaty, can af
fect or detract from the powers
which the mention of that
status In the treaty gives us, eepec
lall> when K has been proved
that the treaty has b?e;i made
good by the withdrawal from
Ireland of English authority of
England has renounced In fact
all rirht to govern Ireland and the
withdraw:*! of hervfc>rcea Is proof
of this. With the evacuation
secured under the treaty has come
the end of British rule in
No foreigner will be able to In
tervene between our government
Maurice Hewlett, Noted Writer, Tells How It Feels
To Be An Alderman In London Town
By MAURICE HEWLETT,
Famous British Author, in an
Article in the London
THOUGH something of the new
est, that la an addition to my
store of honors, and It was
with that at the back of my head
and an essay of Bagehot's before
my eyes that 1 fell Into the train of
thought which Is hereafter ex
pressed. Bagehot was quoting
Shakespeare, the second part of
"King Henry VI," where two of
Jack Cade's following are discuss
sing the wonders to come.
George: O miserable age! Vir
tue la not required In handycrafta
John: The nobility think scorn
to go In leather aprons.
George: Nay, more: the king's
oouncll are no workmen.
John: True) and yet It Is said,
Labour la thy vocation: which In as
much to say aa, let the Wiagls
(rates be labouring men, and there
fore should be magistrates.
Among the new things which are
oertaln about Shakespeare, one is
that when he penned (if ha did pen)
'that scene he thought he was de
scribing two clowns; and another
that, to his mind, the lafaranoa
clownlshnrss ns he could devise.
Bagohot himself, with all his clear
sight, koi-s on to agree with Shakes
peare and to pronounce that so did
the British people. Yet laboring
men are magistrate at this hour,
members of Parliament, privy coun
cillors and cabinet ministers.
WORK AND GENTIIJTY.
In that position of respect and
hard work to which I have been
chosen by my shire I think it more
than likely that, other laboring
men may be found; for we seem to
bo a "fortuitous concourse of
atoms." A marquis Is chairman,
and among the aldermen and coun
cillors are peers, members of Parlia
ment, clergymen, military officers
and a number of untitled persons,
one, at least, living In a cottage.
Well, my bench at Sarum, aa I
expect my council at Trowbridge,
are doing their best to show that
there are no longer any "orders."
On? Is more or less of a gentle
man?which la, or should be, only
so say that one Is more or less of a
Perhaps we aannot yet get It out
of the optative mood, but I hope
we aro on tht way.
A family story Is of a maid who,
when she w is asked what she
qnaant by a lady, saidi
"Someone whs Uea aa the sate
That takes you back a long way.
Its correlative cornea from that
Duke of Devonshire who said of a
cousin of his:
"He Is not a gentleman?he
AS TO "INTIMATES."
It was told of Sir Walter Scott
by one of his own people that he
spoke to every man as if he was a
blood relation. Lockhart. in re
porting it. exclaims Upon his habit
of "freedom of personal inter
course" with his servants both
outdoors and in as being extraordi
nary. I suppose It was then very
extraordinary, for I happen to
know that it Is considered by some
rather extraordinary now.
Tet, living as I do and have
done for many years in a recessed
oountry village, I should have
been In a considerably worse posi
tion than I am If I had not been
able to associate on Just those
terms with people who have, not
had my upbringing which 8tr
Walter used. If 1 were now to
reckon up my intimates, those
whom I may fairly call friends, 1
am sure I should find more of
them among the peasantry than In
any other walk of Ufa.
"People have asked mei Hut
what on earth do you find te talk
aboutT And I always Nflf, just
wfcal pat aid I talk afcaul what
ever happens to turn up. Tou
can't talk to anybody?to call it
talk?nnless you are yourself.
Sure of that on both sides, the
"Everything flows," In fact, us
the Mage said; and a good thing,
too. The tide is now urging up
wards the kindly earthen vessels,
and In the growing scarcity of
them of the brazen make they will
make a better passage of it today
than there was any prospect of
doing In Walter Bagehot's. That
exponent of clear thinking and
hard hitting died when I was six
teen. Just as little as he thought
In his heyday that "laboring men"
would sit upon the bench where
he sa*, Jure dlvino?Just as little
did I think In that year of hla
death that I should live to be an
Taxis Make Walking
Dangerous In Paris
pAHIS, F?b, 4?The Paris pm
destrian la up In arms again*'
the taxi chauffeurs who have
made walking on the streets mt
Pari* a dangerous diversion A
oominlttee of the town nowiMttl.
which has InwMlpirf the sitae
"Rot a Single English Soldier or Qfflcbi H
Ever Again Step Upon Oar Stores Oitea
Invited to Do So by a Free Fcapie?Eaf
land Has Renonnced AO Ifcftt ti Cwun
Ireland," Says Dashing Irish CMefbfc.
and our people. Not a *ngle
British soldier, not a aingl*
British official will ever a*Win ?t'P
upon our shores sxcept as the
guest of a free people.
Our government will have cora
plate control of our army, our
achoola and our trade. Our sol
diers, our judgea and our minister*
will be soldiers. Judges and mine
ters of the Irish Free 8tate. We
can send our own anjhaasadors to
Washington, to Paris and to the
Vatican. We can have our own
representatives In the League of
Nations (If we w!sh>.
I have said above that It waa
freedom that we fought for?free
dom from British Interference and
| Evacuation Wow On. |
Let us. in this regard. aak our
?elves these few questions:
Are the English going?
To wftiAt extent are they going'
If the treaty is put into opera
tion will they, for all practical wor
poses, be gone?
The answer to the first questlcn
Is to be seen In the evacuatlo.,
that Is proceeding apace. The
claljn that the English are going
Is being fulfilled. The auxiliaries
are practically all gone. The regu
lar British military forces are rap
Idly following them.
The answer to the second and
third questions is that they remajg
for negligible purpoaes ?n?J that
the extent to which they will re
main Is negligible. We will have
complete freedom for all our pur
poses. We will be rid cotnpletaiy
of British Interference and Britlah
We can establish In place of
British rule, our own rule and
exactly the kind of rule that we
like. We can restore our Gaelic
life in exactly what form we like
We can keep what we have gained
and make It secure and strong
The little we have not yet gained
we can go ahead snd gain.
All other questions are ra?ll>
questions of arrangement In whl*h
our voice shall be the dwidlPf
voice. Any names, any formulas
any figurehead* representing
land's wish to conceal the exteat
of her departure from Ireland and
to keep up some pretense c4 her
power over us which Is now gone,
will be but nan>ea. fortnulaa, and
England Used Foroe
England has exercised her p>*mrr
over us simply by the preaenc* ?#
her forces military police legal
and social forces.
Is it seriously to be suggest ?d
that in the new order some l?sr
tionarv. no matter what we ias?
call him. will serve the purp?<*e
all these forces, or a part the-*,
under any particular Intl
lion of the words of the
Britlah government could
be maintained by the
Britlah force# Once theee
ars gone the British
nan no longer arrange the
that our national govern mewt. a?4
our national Ufa. will take, ssr ras
they set anr llni te nm Mthar
If we wish to make <w Wvsi
a free and a good nat on w?
do ao now. But w?e ranne# 4e tt tf
ws are tr fight
as tn whether It
f.rt ftmr d*?ru?t>
.treat* of nan 4 *1
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