The funny thing about rebels is that they like to know who is on their side, and during the Irish War of Independence this meant the production of a profusion of documentation. The paper trail for the Irish War of Independence is extensive. This is a boon to modern day historians; however, some of the paper in that trail could be construed as seditious in nature. For those whose names appeared on documents which reeked of sedition, and even for those in possession of such, the risk was great.
Following the Easter Rising, and into the Irish War of Independence, British soldiers occupying Ireland had a nasty habit of stopping people in the streets, sometimes asking for identification, and sometimes just plowing on through with a full body search of the individual in question. If one was caught with documents on his/her person which could be construed as seditious in nature, then he/she could find themselves in very deep trouble.
Sedition is conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch. In 1848, the British extended the Sedition Act of 1661 to include Ireland. The punishment for sedition was internment; however, sedition could be escalated into the treasonable offence of "levying war against the king". The punishment for treason was death, usually by hanging. Despite the risk, many documents were produced which not only encouraged action against the colonizer, but were in essence a pledge to rise up against the British. Here is a sampling of documents significant to my family history.
|Policy number four overtly states the purpose of the Volunteers, |
"the abolition of the system governing Ireland..."
|Laurence J. Kettle, son of my maternal gg-granduncle Andrew J. Kettle;|
(Eoin MacNeill countermanded Pearse's order of 1916,
resulting in action of the Easter Rising being almost entirely limited to Dublin.)
|Each Volunteer was required to fill out one of these forms upon joining the Volunteer force.|
|Membership cards carried by Irish Volunteers|
|The inside of the Volunteer Membership Card: |
Name and Address were listed along with Company, Battalion Number, and
date of enrolment. The right hand page details monies paid for membership,
and in this case, use of a rifle.
All Materials Copyright© J.Geraghty-Gorman 2011. All Rights Reserved.
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