An official statement asserts that:
feature in every plan was the establishment of
submarine bases in Ireland to menace the shipping of all nations.”
On this it is enough to say that every creek, inlet, or estuary that indents our shores, and every harbour, mole, or jetty is watchfully patrolled by British authority. Moreover, Irish vessels, with their cargoes, crews, and passengers, have suffered in this war proportionately to those of Britain.
Another State Paper palliates the deportations by blazoning the descent of a solitary invader upon a remote island on the 12th of April, heralded by mysterious warnings from the Admiralty to the Irish Command. No discussion is permitted of the tryst of this British soldier with the local coast-guards, of his speedy bent towards a police barrack, and his subsequent confidences with the London authorities.
Only one instance exists in history of a project to profane our coasts by making them a base to launch attacks on international shipping. That plot was framed, not by native wickedness, but by an English Viceroy, and the proofs are piled up under his hand in British State Papers.
For huge bribes were proffered by Lord Falkland, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, to both the Royal Secretary and the Prince of Wales, to obtain consent for the use of Irish harbours to convenience Turkish and Algerine pirates in raiding sea-going commerce. The plot is old, but the plea of “increasing his Majesty’s revenues” by which it was commended is everlasting. Nor will age lessen its significance for the citizens of that Republic which, amidst the tremors and greed of European diplomacy, extirpated the traffic of Algerine corsairs ninety years ago. British experts cherish Lord Falkland’s fame as the sire of their most knightly cavalier, and in their eyes its lustre shines undimmed, though his Excellency, foiled of marine booty, enriched himself by seizing the lands of his untried prisoners in Dublin Castle.
Moving are other retrospects evoked by the present outbreak of malignity against our nation. The slanders of the hour recall those let loose to cloak previous deportations in days of panic less ignoble. Then it was the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Oliver Plunkett, who was dragged to London and arraigned for high treason. Poignant memories quicken at every incident which accompanied his degradation before the Lord Chief Justice of England. A troop of witnesses was suborned to swear that his Grace “endeavoured and compassed the King’s death,” sought to “levy war in Ireland and introduce a foreign Power,” and conspired “to take a view of all the several ports and places in Ireland where it would be convenient to land from France.” An open trial, indeed, was not denied him; but with hasty rites he was branded a base and false traitor and doomed to be hanged, drawn, and quartered at Tyburn. That desperate felon, after prolonged investigation by the Holy See, has lately been declared a martyr worthy of universal veneration.