Thursday, May 12, 2016

Today -100: May 12, 1916: You are doing everything conceivable to madden the Irish people

Prime Minister Henry Asquith announces in Parliament that he is going to Ireland.

Irish Nationalist MP John Dillon offers a resolution that the government should declare its intentions as to continuing to execute rebels following secret military trials, the length of martial law, etc. It is rejected without a vote. Dillon demands that the executions in Ireland be ended, speaking, he says, as someone who opposed the Rising. “At this moment, I say, you are doing everything conceivable to madden the Irish people and to spread insurrection – perhaps not insurrection, because if you disarm the country there cannot be insurrection – but to spread disaffection and bitterness from one end of the country to the other. ... You are letting loose a river of blood, and, make no mistake about it, between two races who, after three hundred years of hatred and of strife, we had nearly succeeded in bringing together. ... It is the first rebellion that ever took place in Ireland where you had a majority on your side. ... I admit they were wrong; I know they were wrong; but they fought a clean fight, and they fought with superb bravery and skill, and no act of savagery or act against the usual customs of war that I know of has been brought home to any leader or any organised body of insurgents.”

Prime Minister Asquith, no doubt thinking that one more river of blood among so many hardly makes a difference at this point, does not promise to stop the executions, the details of which he seems rather fuzzy about, either because he is genuinely ill-informed or because he’s trying to put any blame on Sir John Maxwell (to whose “own discretion” he has left these matters of life and death), the obscure general now in absolute command of Dublin. But the executions will stop after the next two, although not before turning the leaders of an unpopular uprising (Dillon was right about that) into national martyrs, and making anything less than a republic impossible.

The decision to stop executing rebels comes before they get to √Čamon de Valera, the future president of Ireland. Luck of the draw, really.

US-Mexican negotiations fail. So the US Army will continue to do whatever the hell it wants to do in Mexico, for as long as it wants.

As Gen. Obregon is leaving the failed talks in El Paso, a deputy sheriff serves him papers in a damage suit brought by the mother of a child whose leg was broken when he was run down by a car driven by the general’s son yesterday.

There are reports (false reports, but reports nonetheless) that Rasputin has been assassinated.

Theodore Roosevelt finally indicates that he is in fact running for president, in a letter to the secretary of the Roosevelt Non-Partisan League expressing approval of their activities.

Two members of Congress get in a fist-fight in a D.C. hotel lobby over a movie (unnamed in the story) about Reconstruction and race in general. Frederick Lehlbach (R-NJ) says that his grandfather and his father were abolitionists and Samuel Nicholls (D-SC) replies that they were clearly most undesirable citizens, and fighting ensued.

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