No. 38 NAI DE 5/56
Genoa, 5 June 1920 (received 14 June 1920)
As stated in my letter 24th [May] registered, to Mr Blythe1, I came down to Rome as requested just in time to be present at the beatification of that strong and sainted man Oliver Plunkett victim like many another good man of English calumny and hypocrisy. I made the acquaintance of many Irishmen and met some of our Minister friends who seemed to enjoy their visit to the eternal city immensely. The weather was certainly too hot to be agreeable. Mr [O']Kelly was not in very good form and seemed to be somewhat changed since I met him at Genoa.
Mr Arthur O'Brien, a very sympathetic gentleman, has given me a message from you, which shall be attended to. You will hear from me through London as soon as I have found some of the goods needed.
The discourse of Cardinal Logue at St Peter's in Montorio where the Irish chiefs lie sleeping was not such indeed as would be calculated to fire the heart of any patriot. In my opinion we have no reason to place much confidence in the Cardinals of the Vatican though the Pope himself, as I learn from his close friends and relatives at Genoa, is a real friend of Irish independence. Merry del Val and others are certainly working in English interests. England has so much to offer, so many benefits, so many favours to bestow and all for so slight a service: merely to lend a helping hand to quiet Ireland and bring the rebel Irish back to the path of peace and subjection to England.
But churchmen who mix themselves up in things quite outside their office should beware, the masses are in motion and it is certainly not the words or threats of men noted to spiritual things and justice but in reality much attached to the worldly, which will stop the tremendous push of the multitudes betrayed at Versailles, just as all the fierce words and display of force at Vienna in 1815, when conquerors found their Holy Alliance could not prevent Italians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Hungarians and others, from grappling with and overthrowing their tyrants but a few years later. It is necessary to impress into the youthful Irish breast love of justice and independence and hatred of uncalled for interference with their aspirations from whatever side it comes from. It is surprising how little people and educated people coming to Rome know about Pagan and early Christian Rome not to speak of Rome of the troubled middle ages.
At the reception at the Grand Hotel I met the bishops of Cork, Limerick, Killaloe, etc. and the Cardinal2 who is becoming very feeble. Some of the bishops are thorough Irishmen and decidedly in favour of a completely independent Irish Republic. I had a conversation with Dr Fogarty who is perhaps one of the strongest men of the hierarchy.
Please inform Irish Overseas that I am in touch with the greatest (or one of the greatest) exporters of Italian wines: Piedmontese, Tuscan, Roman castles etc. I am sending them on prices F.O.B., Genoa. The bishops think that it would be much healthier for the Irish to drink good light wines than to intoxicate themselves with so much of the poison sold as drink in Ireland.
As regards expenses - train fare, hotel, loss of lessons etc. for 14 days they amount to about 2000 lire which I'm afraid you will consider very high. However I shall be content with much less as I must say I enjoyed the trip to the Eternal City and was pleased to have an occasion of making so many distinguished acquaintances including Count and Countess Plunkett.
Le meas mór
D.[onal] M. Hales
The Royal Irish Academy's Documents on Irish Foreign Policy series has published an eBook of confidential correspondence on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations.
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