REUNION AND TREACHERY
It may be said that whilst all these things were going on in Ireland and the Party marching with steady purpose to its irretrievable doom, the British people were in the most profound state of ignorance as to what was actually happening. And the same may be said of the Irish in America, Australia, and all the other distant lands to which the missionary Celts have betaken themselves. They were all fed with the same newspaper pap. The various London Correspondents took their cue from Mr T.P. O’Connor and the Freeman. These and the Whips kept them supplied with the tit-bits that were in due course served up to their several readers. And thus it never got to be known that it was Mr William O’Brien and his friends who were the true repositories of Party loyalty and discipline, the only men who were faithful to the pledge, who had never departed from the policy of Conference, Conciliation and Consent, upon which the great Land Act of 1903 was based and to which the Party, the United Irish League, and Nationalist opinion stood committed in the most solemn manner.
When the General Election of 1906 took place those of us in County Cork and elsewhere who had taken our stand by Mr O’Brien were marked out for opposition by the Party chiefs. But a truce was arranged through the intervention of Mr George Crosbie, editor of The Cork Examiner, who generously sought to avert a fight between brother Nationalists, which, whatever its effects at home, would be bound to have grave results abroad, where the only thing that would be strikingly apparent was that brother Nationalists were at one another’s throats. So we all came back, if not exactly a happy family at least outwardly in a certain state of grace.
This state of things was not, however, to last. Without rhyme or reason, without cause stated or charge alleged, with no intimation of any sort or kind that I was acting contrary to any of the Party tenets, I was, so to speak, quietly dropped overboard from the Party ship in November 1906. I did not get any official intimation that I was dismissed the Party or that I had in any way violated my pledge to sit, act and vote with it. I was simply cut off from the Party Whips and the Parliamentary allowance and, without a word spoken or written, thus politely, as it were, told to go about my business. The matter seemed inconceivable and I wrote a firm letter of remonstrance to Mr Redmond. It drew from him merely a formal acknowledgment—an adding of insult to injury. To test the matter I immediately resigned my seat for Mid-Cork, placed the whole facts before my constituents, published my letter and Mr Redmond’s acknowledgment and challenged the Party to fight me on the issue they had themselves deliberately raised—namely, as to whether in supporting the policy of Conciliation I was in any way faithless to my pledge. Wise