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Irish Republican Brotherhood Constitution, 1867


diy01

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Constitution of the Irish Republican Brotherhood , 1867

In his book Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion Charles Townshend claims that the IRB's Constitution in 1867 was revised so that military action could only be carried out with popular support.

Does anyone know more about this and does anyone here know if it's possible to view the 1867 constitution online?
 
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merle haggard

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In his book Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion Charles Townshend claims that the IRB's Constitution in 1867 was revised so that military action could only be carried out with popular support.

Does anyone know more about this and does anyone here know if it's possible to view the 1867 constitution online?




I suppose its entirely possible and might additionally explain why Pearse McDermott and co opted for a seperate secret military council as opposed to using the supreme council structure in order to plan and launch the insurgency
 

diy01

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By "popular support", could he be referring to the majority of the IRB Supreme Council rather than the population at large?

I posed the original question on a...shall we say "anti-agreement" republican forum. Unsurprisingly, no one replied. Supposedly the first proclamation of the Irish Republic occurred in 1867.
 

merle haggard

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By "popular support", could he be referring to the majority of the IRB Supreme Council rather than the population at large?

I posed the original question on a...shall we say "anti-agreement" republican forum. Unsurprisingly, no one replied. Supposedly the first proclamation of the Irish Republic occurred in 1867.
itd be a bit foolish to regard majority assent from a secret military command structure of a handful of people as popular support . I suspect it was an ill conceived knee jerk of an amendment to a constitution which happens from time to time in times of crisis.
 

Rocky

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In his book Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion Charles Townshend claims that the IRB's Constitution in 1867 was revised so that military action could only be carried out with popular support.

Does anyone know more about this and does anyone here know if it's possible to view the 1867 constitution online?
After the complete and total failure of the 1867 rebellion, the IRB did insert it into that constitution that they could only carry out a rebellion with popular support. The 1867 rebellion was a complete disaster and naturally they wanted to avoid something like that happening again.

I don't know how the IRB were going to know that a rebellion had popular support, but the leaders of the IRB spent about the next 40 years sitting in pubs drinking waiting for the people of Ireland to call upon them to lead an Irish rebellion.

The 1916 rebellion was against their constitution and it was used partly be certain people in the IRB such as Bulmer Hobson to argue against the Rising.

Finally I doubt you could get it online. There’s a book written by Owen McGee called the IRB and it might be in there or at least a detailed described of the whole thing.
 

statsman

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On a related note, this is the text of the 1867 Fenian/IRB proclamation of a republic. A far superior document in every respect to the 1916 one:

We have suffered centuries of outrage, enforced poverty, and bitter misery. Our rights and liberties have been trampled on by an alien aristocracy, who treating us as foes, usurped our lands, and drew away from our unfortunate country all material riches. The real owners of the soil were removed to make room for cattle, and driven across the ocean to seek the means of living, and the political rights denied to them at home, while our men of thought and action were condemned to loss of life and liberty. But we never lost the memory and hope of a national existence. We appealed in vain to the reason and sense of justice of the dominant powers. Our mildest remonstrance’s were met with sneers and contempt. Our appeals to arms were always unsuccessful.

Today, having no honourable alternative left, we again appeal to force as our last resource. We accept the conditions of appeal, manfully deeming it better to die in the struggle for freedom than to continue an existence of utter serfdom.
All men are born with equal rights, and in associating to protect one another and share public burdens, justice demands that such associations should rest upon a basis which maintains equality instead of destroying it.

We therefore declare that, unable longer to endure the curse of Monarchical Government, we aim at founding a Republic based on universal suffrage, which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of their labour.

The soil of Ireland, at present in the possession of an oligarchy, belongs to us, the Irish people, and to us it must be restored. We declare, also, in favour of absolute liberty of conscience, and complete separation of Church and State.

We appeal to the Highest Tribunal for evidence of the justness of our cause. History bears testimony to the integrity of our sufferings, and we declare, in the face of our brethren, that we intend no war against the people of England – our war is against the aristocratic locusts, whether English or Irish, who have eaten the verdure of our fields – against the aristocratic leeches who drain alike our fields and theirs.

Republicans of the entire world, our cause is your cause. Our enemy is your enemy. Let your hearts be with us. As for you, workmen of England, it is not only your hearts we wish, but your arms. Remember the starvation and degradation brought to your firesides by the oppression of labour. Remember the past, look well to the future, and avenge yourselves by giving liberty to your children in the coming struggle for human liberty.

Herewith we proclaim the Irish Republic.

The Provisional Government
 

Cato

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That was one fine piece of thread necromancy there, stats. It must have been buried somewhere very dry.
 

statsman

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That was one fine piece of thread necromancy there, stats. It must have been buried somewhere very dry.
It's amazing what reading a newspaper can do.
 

diy01

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Does anyone know if the IRB still had an 11 man Supreme Council in 1921? Or how many individuals were on it if not 11?

I never finished Owen McGee's book on the IRB... and León Ó Broin's Revolutionary Underground: The Story of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, 1858-1924 is one of many titles on my 'to do' list.

It always surprised me how easily the IRB elite apparently accepted the treaty. Collins' influence alone can't explain it. One source (TP Coogan IIRC?) said all members of the Supreme Council voted to accept the Treaty, except for Liam Lynch. But he didn't say if there were 11 on the council.
 

DaveM

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Does anyone know if the IRB still had an 11 man Supreme Council in 1921? Or how many individuals were on it if not 11?

I never finished Owen McGee's book on the IRB... and León Ó Broin's Revolutionary Underground: The Story of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, 1858-1924 is one of many titles on my 'to do' list.

It always surprised me how easily the IRB elite apparently accepted the treaty. Collins' influence alone can't explain it. One source (TP Coogan IIRC?) said all members of the Supreme Council voted to accept the Treaty, except for Liam Lynch. But he didn't say if there were 11 on the council.
T. Ryle Dwyer's joint biography of Dev and Collins confirms that also. Lynch was the only dissenting voice but he does not list the other members of the council.
 

DrNightdub

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Florence O'Donoghue's No Other Law quotes a letter to him written by Liam Lynch on 11th Dec 1921, saying "The situation is that I stood alone at the meeting I attended and our Division seemingly stands alone in the Army." That would seem to imply that O'Donoghue didn't attend the Supreme Council meeting in question, otherwise why would Lynch tell him what had transpired if he'd been there himself?

Supreme Council member Sean O Muirthile left a memoir which is in the Mulcahy papers in UCD - in it, he describes a meeting on 2nd Dec attended by "ten of the fifteen members of the Supreme Council", so that would seem to establish the size of the Supreme Council. Collins wasn't at the meeting due to having to attend a Cabinet meeting. The Supreme Council meeting reviewed the text of the Treaty then on offer and they modified the proposed wording of the oath to the wording that was eventually included in the Treaty.

The Supreme Council had three meetings in the spring of 1922, which were also attended by county centres - there was no provision in the IRB constitution for such a gathering, but they went ahead with them anyway. O'Donoghue mentions that, although the majority of the Supreme Council were pro-Treaty, the majority of the wider group was opposed.

Because of the extended attendance at these meetings (according to O'Donoghue, 27 attended the one on 19th April), it's a bit tricky trying to figure out who was on the Supreme Council and who was just a county centre, but from bits and pieces in No Other Law, the O'Donoghue papers in NLI, O Muirthile's memoir and a diary of Collins in the Mulcahy papers in UCD, I reckon the following were on the Supreme Council:
- Michael Collins, Eoin O'Duffy, Sean O Muirthile (these three constituted the IRB Executive)
- Liam Lynch, Florence O'Donoghue, Harry Boland, Joe McKelvey, Charlie Daly
- Richard Mulcahy, Gearoid O'Sullivan, Diarmuid O'Hegarty, Martin Conlon, Sean MacEoin

O Muirthile also names Austin Stack as being on the Supreme Council, but in view of his opposition to the Treaty at the Cabiney meeting after it was signed, I find this a bit hard to credit. However, he may have resigned from the Supreme Council in protest at the Treaty being accepted, as he doesn't crop up in any accounts of the 1922 meetings.
 

diy01

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Florence O'Donoghue's No Other Law quotes a letter to him written by Liam Lynch on 11th Dec 1921, saying "The situation is that I stood alone at the meeting I attended and our Division seemingly stands alone in the Army." That would seem to imply that O'Donoghue didn't attend the Supreme Council meeting in question, otherwise why would Lynch tell him what had transpired if he'd been there himself?

Supreme Council member Sean O Muirthile left a memoir which is in the Mulcahy papers in UCD - in it, he describes a meeting on 2nd Dec attended by "ten of the fifteen members of the Supreme Council", so that would seem to establish the size of the Supreme Council. Collins wasn't at the meeting due to having to attend a Cabinet meeting. The Supreme Council meeting reviewed the text of the Treaty then on offer and they modified the proposed wording of the oath to the wording that was eventually included in the Treaty.

The Supreme Council had three meetings in the spring of 1922, which were also attended by county centres - there was no provision in the IRB constitution for such a gathering, but they went ahead with them anyway. O'Donoghue mentions that, although the majority of the Supreme Council were pro-Treaty, the majority of the wider group was opposed.

Because of the extended attendance at these meetings (according to O'Donoghue, 27 attended the one on 19th April), it's a bit tricky trying to figure out who was on the Supreme Council and who was just a county centre, but from bits and pieces in No Other Law, the O'Donoghue papers in NLI, O Muirthile's memoir and a diary of Collins in the Mulcahy papers in UCD, I reckon the following were on the Supreme Council:
- Michael Collins, Eoin O'Duffy, Sean O Muirthile (these three constituted the IRB Executive)
- Liam Lynch, Florence O'Donoghue, Harry Boland, Joe McKelvey, Charlie Daly
- Richard Mulcahy, Gearoid O'Sullivan, Diarmuid O'Hegarty, Martin Conlon, Sean MacEoin

O Muirthile also names Austin Stack as being on the Supreme Council, but in view of his opposition to the Treaty at the Cabiney meeting after it was signed, I find this a bit hard to credit. However, he may have resigned from the Supreme Council in protest at the Treaty being accepted, as he doesn't crop up in any accounts of the 1922 meetings.
Very interesting. Presumably Boland and McKelvey also voiced their opposition? I don't recognize every name you mentioned, but a lot of solid treaty men there.
 
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