Friday, April 29, 2016

Today -100: April 29, 1916: Would you put your mothers in breeches?

Field Marshal Sir John French says the “suppression of the rebellion in Dublin [is] proceeding satisfactorily.” The bombardment of Dublin by the armed yacht Helga from the Liffey, machine guns on the streets of Dublin, civilians summarily executed – you know, satisfactorily. However, the rebels still hold Jacob’s Biscuit Factory, which as we all know is the key to Dublin, or at least a nice tea. The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland issues a proclamation blaming the “insurrectionary” movement on Germany.

The NYT is printing days-old reports from Ireland, thanks to British censorship. They seem rather taken by the leading role of Countess Constance Markievicz, wearing an Irish Volunteers uniform, who may or may not have shot and killed a cop (historians still aren’t sure about this). She is practically the only female fighter in the Rising – some leaders refused female participation, I’m looking at you future President De Valera – though women were used as couriers.

John Redmond, leader of the increasingly irrelevant Irish Nationalist Party, calls the rising a “wicked and insane movement” which threatens the progress made by his constitutional movement in “the short space of forty years.” He claims that “Germany plotted it, Germany organized it, Germany paid for it. ... it is German invasion of Ireland, and as brutal, as selfish, as cynical as Germany’s invasion of Belgium.”

Headline of the Day -100: 

The American Woman’s League for Self-Defense is still discussing the trousers-or-skirts question, although “there isn’t a uniform in sight or even a design for one that any two of the members can agree is really sweet and pretty,” according to the not-at-all-condescending New York Times. The new president of the League, Ida Powell Priest, is determined to force through skirts, asking the meeting, “Girls, would you put your mothers in breeches?” They would, they really would. One asked her mother, who was sitting next to her, if she would wear breeches, and she would.

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