Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution

By C. Desmond Greaves | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
DIRECTOR OF PURCHASES

“Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium: atque ubi solitud-
inemfaciunt, pacem appellant.”—Tacitus

THE Philadelphia passed the Lizard on 10th October, and tied up at Southampton next day. With a seaman who was rejoining his ship in London, Mellows made his way to Lisson Grove, Marylebone, where Sean Nunan’s parents lived. The father was an old I.R.B. man, and Labour supporter. He and his wife kept open house to members of the Irish movement in London. And there were three sparkling lasses, a few years younger than Mellows, who were excited at their new romantic visitor and delighted at his combination of gravity and playfulness. Mellows needed a few days to recover from the exhausting labour of the voyage. He had never been in London before. He saw the sights, bought clothes and a few souvenirs, and familiarised himself with the situation in Ireland. After about ten days he left for Dublin, probably cutting short his stay in view of an expected rail strike.

On 9th October, Lloyd George had made his notorious speech at Caernarvon in which he flatly rejected Dominion Status for Ireland, the proposal of the Asquith Liberals. He declared vaingloriously, “We have murder by the throat.” A great “Hands off Ireland” meeting filled Trafalgar Square on the 10th. The greater part of the British press was demanding changes in government policy, but reports of fresh atrocities were published every day. Mellows’ old friend Dr. McNabb had been arrested for declining to provide the names of patients whose injuries might have been incurred in disturbances. On 7th October raiders had searched the houses of Dr. Kathleen Lynn, Mrs. SheehySkeffmgton, Mrs. Tom Clarke and Mrs. Coffey hoping to find Darrell Figgis. They found instead H. W. Nevinson who was provided with blistering copy.

In the counties of Donegal, Laois and Waterford the authorities had forbidden the holding of inquests. There were thus some murders which were not to be got by the throat. Despite protests that Britain was applying to Ireland the weapon she had used on Germany, the

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