London, South Kensington
6 December 2002
DE VALERA, Éamon (1882-1975). Ireland's Case Against Conscription. Edited by Robert Brennan (1881-1964). Dublin and London: George Roberts for Maunsel & Company Ltd., 1918.
8° (185 x 123mm). Original printed grey/green wrappers (extremities lightly rubbed and creased).
FIRST EDITION. SIGNED AND DATED ON THE TITLE PAGE 'ÉAMON DE VALéRA , NODLAIG [I.E. CHRISTMAS] 1926'. In 1918, following mounting casualties in the course of the Great War, the British Government passed a bill extending compulsory conscription to Ireland; in reaction, the Irish Parliamentary Party (I.P.P.) under John Dillon left Westminster for Ireland, and a conference to debate the issue was convened at the Mansion House in Dublin on 18 April 1918, where de Valera and Arthur Griffith (representing Sinn Féin) met Dillon and other members of the I.P.P. A declaration was issued condemning the bill as 'a declaration of war on the Irish nation [...] in direct violation of the rights of small nationalities to self-determination' (Éamon de Valera Speeches and Statements [...] 1917-1973 edited by Maurice Moynihan (Dublin and NY: 1980), p.13). The conference further requested that de Valera prepare a statement--the basis of the present work--to be presented to the American president, Woodrow Wilson, justifying the Irish position. However, de Valera's work was cut short by his arrest and internment on 17 May 1918, and the work (which was 'almost completed' (Preface, p.iii)) was prepared for the press by Brennan. The resulting text by the future President of the Republic 'MIGHT PERHAPS BE BETTER DESCRIBED AS A MANIFESTO OF IRELAND'S CLAIM TO SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT NATIONHOOD' (Éamon de Valera loc. cit.).
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