Originally published in 1919 and out of print for decades, this book provides a fascinating insight into the political thought of early twentieth-century Ireland. Father Walter McDonald attacked the Irish Catholic Church's shift in political allegiance from the British state to supporting the Sinn Fein agenda for revolutionary independence, and he feared that its hostility to freedom of thought, free speech, and intellectual inquiry would endanger its future. He pointed out that British rule had been regarded as legitimate by most people and that Ireland had never been a united, independent nation. His views were often expressed in private, but rarely in public, so his book is a valuable resource to understanding the history of Ireland at this time.
Of certain recent statements made by representative Irish catholics
of whether Ireland was ever a united and fully independent nation
of whether Ireland ever acquiesced in loss of independence
of the possibility of loss of nationhood without acquiescence
of three degrees of conquest
of the effect of a transfer of jurisdiction secured by corruption
of how a people hitherto independent may be bound to union with others
of some conditions of self-determination
of the principle of home rule
of majority rule and the Ulster question
of the basis of taxation and of the financial relations between Great Britain and Ireland
on preparation for war - conscription
of certain causes that justify war
of the pressure that may be applied to secure local self-government
of the conduct of war - (1) bombardment of towns and reprisals, (2) blockade, (3) of the submarine
of some consequences of war.
"Garvin show's the book's significance as demanding the Church should justify its behaviour in relation to its professed beliefs and extensive record of pragmatic co-operation with Dublin Castle, rather than facile populist assertions that ‘the Irish people never accepted British rule'."
Patrick Maume, Queen's University, Belfast
Irish Political Studies 14 1999
"written with the urgency of troubled times and still retain[s its] freshness and argumentative force: excellent material for seminar discussions... well introduced by Garvin. His biographical essays are thoughtful, useful, and adopt an engaging combative stance on behalf of the writers.
the first entries in a welcome new series. They are hardily and handsomely constructed: a credit to their equally welcome new publisher."
Peter Hart, Queen's University Belfast
Irish Studies Review 7 (3) 1999
"these essays ... in their ‘political incorrectness'...have much with which to challenge us. Each essay is bracing for its laconic style and fearless exploration of ‘untrodden paths'."
"University College Dublin Press has now published over thirty ‘Classics of Irish History'. These contemporary accounts by well known personalities of historical events and attitudes have an immediacy that conventional histories do not have. Introductions by modern historians provide additional historical background and, with hindsight, objectivity."
"Scholars of nineteenth-century Irish and Irish-American politics should reacquaint themselves with these classics, part of a long running and immensely useful series from University College Dublin Press."
Irish Literary Supplement