No. 100 UCDA P48A/115

Extract from a letter from Mary MacSwiney to Eamon de Valera (Dublin)

Philadelphia, 20 July 1921

Dear Mr. President,

It is now nearly eight months since I took up, at your special request, the task of touring this country. And in view of possible new developments I want to write you for further orders. Needless to say how we are longing for a peep at the inside negotiations, but however they end the Conference has been a big Victory. I feel very strongly that Lloyd George being a very clever man, realises quite well that, - in view of England's big troubles all over the World, - the wisest course for her Government would be to acknowledge our Republic at once and make friends with us. Whether he can persuade the Tories to agree with him or not remains to be seen.

If by any chance there should be a question of putting the matter before the Country I shall take the first boat home to add my voice to the 'No Surrender' side. Otherwise I shall await your orders and I would be glad if you would tell me plainly what you wish me to do. In a few moments' conversation which I had with Harry and Mr. Stephen O'Mara last Saturday the question came up. Mr. O'Mara was thinking of sending me out on the Bond Drive. Harry, giving it as his opinion that I had 'done my bit' was for giving me the option of going home. As for having 'done my bit,' that plea is out of course, for none of us can be said to have done our part fully till Ireland is free or we are dead. If I leave here it will only be to do something else at home and the question is where I can be most use. I do not ask for any option in the matter being I hope as good a soldier as the next. My only exception to that would be the case of an Election and then only if there was a possibility of wobbling which I hardly think possible.

Frankly I hate the thought of the Bond Drive and doubt my effectiveness at it. I understand the Americans like to be flattered and I don't flatter them. On a few occasions when the question of money came up I pointed out that they had given England five thousand million and Ireland five million. I hate the meetings where they have those horrid collections with a man walking up and down the platform yelling himself hoarse trying to rouse the people to enthusiasm and generosity. It makes me quite sick. I am not much good as a beggar but I can always talk for Recognition and let them infer the necessity for supplying the sinews of war.

There are many places still untouched, and, I am told much useful work still to be done here. Added to that there is the extreme likelihood that - unless England has the sense to recognise the Republic now - I would only be landed in gaol if I were at home and would be no use there.

If we have not won out before the proposed Conference in Washington1 it will be imperative to have some of us on the spot here, and if, or when, fighting recommences I think it would be a good thing to get pickets of the men of Irish birth or descent, - especially those who were wounded if possible, - and the Mothers and sisters of men who lost their lives in the War for Small Nations, on the style of the Suffrage pickets.
[Matter omitted]

1 The Washington disarmament conference.


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