9

WHAT HOME RULE STOOD FOR, 1891-1918

The fall of Parnell had encouraged a surge of national introspection in Ireland which bore fruit in the literary revival of the 1890s; the purely political side of Irish life appeared sterile and bitter by comparison. The general election of 1892 witnessed scenes and speeches which appeared to bear out all the Protestant and unionist accusation that nationalists were unfit for power, and were under the thumb of the Roman Catholic church. The Dublin Evening Herald spoke of ‘pulpit intimidation’, warning that it was inadvisable to ‘supercede British tyranny by tyranny of another sort’: ‘we want a nation of men with minds and votes of their own’. 1 Meanwhile priests went out of their way to emphasize that ‘religion is the nurse, the centre and the source of nationality’; the priesthood was with the people, came from the people, and not from ‘any shoneen landlords or tithe proctors either or priest hunters’; the ‘grand old cause of faith and fatherland’ was being sustained in the elections. 2 The Parnellites responded with accusations that their opponents were traitors, ‘prepared to sell their chieftain’ for what they regarded as a home rule victory. 3United Ireland complained that ‘all over the country… Catholic clergymen are using their influence as clergymen not as citizens, to intimidate and frighten the people’. 4

Yet there was a certain air of unreality about these charges and counter-charges. Nationalist Ireland was still synonymous with Catholic Ireland; John Redmond and his Parnellites were by no means anti-clerical, for, a United Ireland declared, ‘we have never desired that Catholic priests should be driven out of politics, but undoubtedly we have desired that they should be forced to take their position as mere citizens like other men’. 5 And it might be said that the Parnellite complaint against the church was, at bottom, that it had turned on them: clerical interference was resented, not because it was wrong in principle, but because it was exercised on their opponents’ behalf. As one anti-Parnellite candidate remarked astutely, ‘Parnell never insulted an Irish priest, and in the National priesthood he recognized one of the most powerful bulwarks against landlord oppression and one of the strongest forces in the national movement’. 6 More important than the priest in politics debate was the principle which Parnell had sought to emphasize in his struggle to remain leader of nationalist Ireland:

-259-

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Nationalism in Ireland
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Contents 5
  • Preface to the Third Edition 6
  • Preface to the Second Edition 8
  • Preface 9
  • Introduction: Nationalism and Ireland 15
  • 1 - Colony and Nation 25
  • 2 - Intimations of Nationalism in Tudor Ireland 46
  • 3 - For God, King and Country 68
  • Notes 91
  • 4 - From English Colony to Irish Nation: the Protestant Experience 94
  • 5 - The Irish, Properly So Called 123
  • 6 - Patterns of Nationalism, 1842-1870 154
  • Notes 187
  • 7 - The Making of Parnellism and Its Undoing 192
  • 8 - The Battle of Three Civilizations 228
  • 9 - What Home Rule Stood For, 1891-1918 259
  • 10 - Nationalism, Socialism and the Irish Revolution 295
  • 11 - State and Nation in Modern Ireland 339
  • Notes 370
  • Conclusion: Ireland and Nationalism 375
  • Epilogue: History, Politics and Nationalism 391
  • Appendix: the Downing Street Declaration , 15 December 1993 433
  • Maps 438
  • Bibliography 443
  • Supplementary Bibliography 477
  • Index 488
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