Ballycastle, Antrim 28 January 1906
Dear Mr. Donovan,
Many thanks for your letter. I was away from Belfast when it came, taking Miss Alice Milligan, of the Gaelic League, on a lecture tour all round the Antrim Glens.
Mr. Hobson tells me he will not go to Dublin until my suggestion has got a bit further on the way. I fully appreciate your advice and am now
[left page] seeking the right intermediary to lay the matter before the "Freeman" directorate. I could not do so myself for I know no one connected with the Journal save myself and Mr Bradin.
Moreover, as an ex-official of the Crown my interest might be doubted by those who do not know me personally or how strong my Nationalist feeling has always been.
I thought of putting the scheme forward thro' Stephen Gwynn for whose ability I have great regard: but I am told that
[right page] there might be a better advocate found. Then I mentioned the [plan?] yesterday, to Francis J. Bigger of Belfast (who was once acquainted with Mr Sexton) and he is entirely of my opinion as to its value.
Mr Bigger - fresh from the triumph of West Belfast! - will be lecturing at Maynorth towards the end of February, and he will then seek an opportunity of laying the plan of this Press Agency before Mr Sexton.
Meantime I am drafting my conception of the scheme
Somewhat more clearly than in my letter to you - and this I shall send on to you for transmission to Mr. Riordan of Cork. Mrs. Green thinks Mr. Riordan would be a good man to take up and work the idea. I have not the pleasure of knowing him but you, doubtless, are a friend, and you could send my letter on to him in Cork.
I think the idea should not be communicated to too many people - for it might
UCD L 11 2 be adopted Elsewhere and to the detriment of our ultimate aims.
Do you remember what I wrote you crudely, sometime back about the English Education Act and the action of the Irish Party on that question? Had I said that that action had seriously compromised the cause of Home Rule with the British Liberal and Democratic Electorate?
I came to that conclusion from my own observation, but for Michael Davitt, as the result of his intimate working with
[left page] the British Labour men, arrives at the same conclusion. Had it not been for that alliance of our Irish popular cause with the Tory Educational party in England I think there is no doubt that, today, we should have seen a Home Rule majority of enormous magnitude returned by the British working men.
We ought not to compromise our national party, which stands for Ireland alone, by alliance with any British party or purely British interest. We ought, too, never to identify ourselves with any reactionary cause; and for this reason I much regretted that article in the "Freeman" supporting
[right page] the outrageous policy of King Leopold on the Congo. I know it is only a small question, making no appeal to Irish people who are quite ignorant of the rights and wrongs of the case, and who have their own great wrongs to get right - but it is a thousand pities to see the national organ of a people who have themselves suffered so cruelly at the hands of Exploiters and plundered taking up the cudgels on behalf of an organised scheme of plunder of Defenceless African natives.
King Leopold has moved very hard to get his cause taken up by Catholic prelates, on the ground that the indictment