The five sources are all from Irish MPs on the issue of Irish Home Rule and have relatively different solutions to the issue and opinions towards its permanence. Both Sources C and D are from James Connolly in 1916, and they are all from a time period of 1890 to 1916, pre and post Easter Rising. There is a distinct difference between the opinions of the sources and clearly show which side of the political spectrum the MPs are from. Source A is from Charles Stewart Parnell at a by-election in Killkenny, 1890.
His speech is aimed at the whole of the Irish public and is at an early stage of the fight for Home Rule in Ireland; Parnell is known for being a Home Rule activist who believed this would solve the Irish and British conflict. He has a very patient and reasonable tone to his speech, and states that any decision he makes will be well thought out alike John Redmond’s approach: “I will take counsel with you as to the next stop”.
Source B is from John Redmond himself in 1907 who is renowned for seeing Home Rule as a permanent solution to Irish issues. We demand this self-government as a right” connotes a right-wing approach, but his opinion was quite the opposite and he opted for peaceful ways to gain Home Rule. Source C is from James Connolly a few months prior to the Easter Rising of 1916, and is from his left wing newspaper Workers’ Republic. His methods became far more right wing towards the end of his political life span, as shown in the Easter Rising itself, and this was as a result of his growing impatience towards gaining a free nation.
Source D also comes from Connolly during the Easter Rising, and is the proclamation of Irish independence. He was one of seven signatories to this proclamation of this rebellion period, and he was in charge of the General Post Office at this time. His intentions were once again clear, that he believe Ireland needed to be separated from the British and a free, independent nation in order to gain the respect of other nations and make their public happy: “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland”.
Source E is from John Dillon in May 1916 after the Easter Rising, warning the British government of the dangers of executing the leaders that caused this rebellion. He was renowned for being a Home Rule activist but sympathised with Connolly et al: “I admit they were wrong, but they fought a clean fight”. He was the last leader of the Irish parliament party and opposed the rise of the Irish Volunteers but sought leniency for them in 1916.
Firstly, it is clear that James Connolly’s two sources have oppositional views to the Home Rule view, whilst the three other sources are from MPs who saw it as a permanent solution to Ireland’s problems. Connolly was renowned for his demand to be separated from Britain rather than just Home Rule, and saw sovereignty and independence as the only way of becoming a free nation. He evidently did not see Home Rule as a permanent solution, quite the opposite in fact, and did all he could for Irish independence – including founding a Citizen Army and numerous political parties and socialist groups.
He is also the only of the four MPs in the sources that adopted a violent approach to gain what he wanted, reinforced hugely by the ‘Easter Rising’. Source C was prior to the ‘Easter Rising’ but the tone shows that he knew it was going to occur, and used this speech to notify his supporters how unfairly the nation were treated: “… all those things which the British Empire, now as in the past, denies to Ireland”.
This is the viewpoint seen by the Irish nation as a whole, but Connolly saw different solutions to his oppositional political members. Source E is from John Dillon after the events at the ‘Easter Rising’ and had a sympathetic tone towards Connolly’s actions as he saw that he was doing what he thought was best for Ireland. He also warns Britain of the consequences of executing Connolly and the six other signatories of the proclamation, which connotes his civil and peaceful approach towards the Home Rule Bill.
Dillon is another example of a left-wing, Home Rule activist at this time and does not want a rebellion of any sorts in the nation but sympathises with those who do: “… the rebellion are now becoming infuriated against the government on account of these executions…” He does, however, show that the overly ambitious approach of Connolly’s was unsuccessful and that the nation should settle for Home Rule alone and not become too demanding or they may end up in the position of becoming executed themselves. Source A is from Charles Stewart Parnell at a far earlier time to the rest of the sources – 1890.
This was at a time when he had joined with the Liberals to defeat Lord Salisbury’s Conservative government, and Gladstone subsequently introduced the first Home Rule Bill in 1886 which was later rejected; after this, there were two riots which resulted in around 30 deaths of Irish Catholics, which the Protestants celebrated. Parnell clearly believed Home Rule had the potential to make Ireland a better nation and also steered clear of independence, as he felt it would not survive without Britain’s financial support.
He lost a large amount of support at this time though and his fellow party members deserted him due to an affair with William O’Shea’s wife, and the public saw him as unreliable because of this. Therefore, he may have seen Home Rule as a permanent solution but at this time his support was decreasing rapidly and he lost many by-elections as a result. Henceforth he was not in any sort of position to push forward such a policy, he was not respected by the Liberals – who were the most likely to be able to get Home Rule – and several people were calling for him to retire.
Source B derives from John Redmond, Connolly’s opposition during this period, who believed Home Rule could be achieved by using peaceful, political methods rather than the violent and right-wing tactics Connolly used. He was another supporter of the idea that Home Rule would be a permanent solution to Ireland’s problems and conflicts, and that independence would be a bad idea. He felt his relationship with the Liberals would be key in passing a third Home Rule Bill despite the Tory views of the House of Lords, and that peaceful and patient negotiations would do this.
This is a similar view to that of Parnell’s, but Redmond was in a far superior position to get a third Home Rule Bill instated as he had a large majority of Irish support at this time. In conclusion, the only political member from these sources that felt Home Rule would not be a permanent solution was James Connolly. He is also the only of the four to use right-wing methods and his speech was made at a time just a couple of months prior to his most radical movement of all – Easter Rising 1916.
John Dillon tends to sympathise with Connolly’s actions at the Easter Rising, but this may be a ploy to gain support from the right-wing supporters who would be left without a leader if the executions went ahead – which they did. He wanted Ireland to use civil and peaceful methods to gain Home Rule rather than the violent approaches they had used at that time. Both John Redmond and Charles Stewart Parnell’s speeches were very pro-Home Rule, and were made before the third Home Bill was established and the start of the First World War.
An important aspect of these speeches was that both MPs were patient about the potential of Home Rule and made them at a time before necessary action needed to be taken, hence choosing a speech rather than a rally or riot as the mode. The difference between the two political members was that Redmond was in a very strong position whereas Parnell had ever-decreasing supporters and had calls of retirement against his name.