6 JANUARY 1923, Page 23


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] enclose a letter received yesterday from a friend in Cork which I trust you will consider worthy of publication.

Comment is needless.—I am, Sir, &c., H.


December 22nd, 1922.

" DEAR Ma. H , —Hope still lives, and men of good will, who are to-day backing the Government, as they did Redmond in the old days and Sinn Fein after 1916, speak of a settlement in the very near future and they all long for it. The Government seem to be gettinga grip of things and establishing their authority. But the process is of necessity a slow one, and although I join them in their hopes, I fear that even if the leaders of the revolt surrendered the bands of masterless men who to-day work their evil will on the peaceful people of the land will not lay down their arms and return to honest labour.

They are free to raid houses and help themselves to all they need. Even within the suburbs of Cork houses are robbed almost every night. The owners are roughly handled, sometimes taken out of doors, placed in position and covered with revolvers and ordered to prepare for death. The effect upon the household you can imagine. One friend of mine estimates his loss, in silver and jewels taken by raiders, at £500. He had to undergo the ordeal in his avenue.

We have no protection. The new police are valueless. It will take a long time to make thorn effective. Then we sometimes feel that the new army is not over-anxious to end the troubles. Many of them are doing their best, but when the son of a ploughman is, say, a brigadier-general, or holding a high command, and when he knows that peace, will lead to his being demobbed' and the loss of income, good food and all the luxury he now enjoys, and that his lot will be the labourer's cottage, or an office job, can you blame him if he prefers his motor-car and rank ? The private with 26s. per week, food, lodging and clothing all provided, is also far too comfortable to wish the trouble ended. Underlying all this there is the feeling that the men they are fighting (?) are only trying to obtain what they themselves desire and hope to secure, but by a different policy.

The Government are taking the only line of action that will save the country. But we find the public bodies passing votes of sympathy all round—with the Free State men's relatives and with the men who are against them (the Free State) when the Government carry out the law.

All these things give no hope for peace at Christmas. This week the postmen had all the Christmas post raided and taken from them; letters still arrive opened and marked " Censored by I.R.A."