Big Fellow, Long Fellow: A Joint Biography of Irish Politicians Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera
T. Ryle Dwyer
Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera were the two most charismatic leaders of the Irish revolution. This joint biography looks first at their very different upbringings and early careers. Both fought in the 1916 Easter Rising , although it is almost certain they did not meet during that tumultuous week. Their first encounter came when Collins had been released from jail after the rising but de Valera was still inside. Collins was one of those who wanted to run a Sinn Féin candidate in the Longford by-election of 1917. De Valera and other leaders opposed this initiative but the Collins group went ahead anyway and the candidate won narrowly. The incident typified the relationship between the two men: they were vastly different in temperament and style. But it was precisely in their differences and contradictions that their fascination lay. De Valera, the political pragmatist, hoped to secure independence through political agitation, whereas the ambitious Collins, with his restless temperament and boundless energy, was an impassioned patriot who believed in terror and assassination. T. Ryle Dwyer examines the years, 1917-22 through the twists and turns of their careers. In an epilogue, he considers the legacy of Collins on de Valera's political life.
Issue of Commonwealth membership, he told deputies ‘they could not turn down what appeared to be, on the face of it, an invitation to join a group of free nations provided it was based on the principles enunciated by President Wilson’. And he also indicated they would have to make concessions to satisfy Britain’s security requirements. ‘It was ridiculous of course to say that because Ireland was near Britain she should give Britain safeguards,’ de Valera admitted. ‘But,’ he continued, ‘America.
Provide against any repetition of these grave outrages’. They even credited the Provisional Government the following week with securing the release of twenty-six of the hostages. The British clearly realised that Collins was involved, but they had always been anxious to avoid a break on the Ulster issue. Hence they turned a blind eye to his behaviour. The Provisional Government was deliberately trying to destabilise conditions in the North. Richard Mulcahy, the Minister for Defence, noted that.
The government’s public image as about the military side of things. He agreed with Desmond FitzGerald that censorship should be kept on broad, general lines, rather than specific details. ‘It should be very nominal,’ he advised Mulcahy. ‘We might get more good from a communication to the press giving them general lines to go on rather [than] relying on the public spirit to omit certain things.’ He was anxious that the government should take responsibility for decisions, while the cabinet seemed.
Collins ordered that she should not be told the true circumstances of her husband’s death and that she should be given the money. ‘The poor little devils need the money,’ he said. It was a humane response, but he did not have the authority for such a gesture. It was the kind of thing which raised questions about his handling of finances. Brugha needled Collins relentlessly to provide the cabinet with a proper accounting of money allocated to purchase arms in Scotland. There was a discrepancy.
Means of transport, from push bicycles up, will be commandeered, and allowed only on permit,’ he warned de Valera. Before implementing such a policy, however, Lloyd George was advised to make a genuine effort to negotiate a settlement. Otherwise, Jan Christiaan Smuts, the South African Premier, predicted, irreparable damage would be done to relations within the British Commonwealth. Smuts played a large role in persuading the British to offer peace talks. It was decided to use the occasion of.