Title: An Egyptian In Ireland [Electronic Edition]

Author: Rashad, Ibrahim
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Title: An Egyptian In Ireland

Author: Ibrahim Rashad
File size or extent: xii, 316 p. map. 23 cm.
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Publication date: 1920
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  • Ireland -- Economic conditions.
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An Egyptian In Ireland [Electronic Edition]







To the Rising Generation of Egypt,
my Country.


Chap. Page
II. LEINSTER (continued) 26
IV. MUNSTER (continued) 52
V. MUNSTER (continued) 66
VI. MUNSTER (continued) 80
VIII. CONNAUGHT (continued) 106
XI. ULSTER (continued) 155



Ibrahim Rashad has written of what he found in
Ireland in a spirit of true understanding. It is rarely
that a visitor comes to our country and departs with
so true a picture of what is essential and fundamental
in our life. The journalist who comes for a week or
fortnight confines himself to political issues, and when
he has interviewed a few leaders he goes away thinking
he understands the Irish question. The more philosophic
mind realises that politics depend largely on
economics, and that it is the social order and the
average daily life of men that we must examine if we
would understand the national being and the ideals of
a people. Ibrahim Rashad has gone to fundamentals.
To the cultural movement, one of the most powerful
influences in the Irish national revival, he would, I
know, have liked to have given more consideration,
but that would have involved extending his work
beyond its original purpose. In this prefatory note,
I shall be only complying with his wishes if I indicate
the character of that movement and its relation to the
other forces at work in Irish life.
Those movements in Irish life chronicled so ably by
the Author of An Egyptian in Ireland developed out
of the contact of Ireland with her own past, her own
language and her own culture. The English domination
in Ireland won its greatest triumph when it succeeded
in cutting off the majority of the Irish people from
their national language. By an anglicised education,
by a social boycott, by every means in its power, it
tried to belittle the tongue that had kept the sense of
nationhood alive in Ireland since the English invasion
of the twelfth century. Gaelic ceased to be the language

of the cultivated classes only after a long struggle, and
after a more desperate struggle still it lost its hold on
the “common” people. By the nineteenth century it
had ceased to produce a literature, and as a spoken
language it was going fast. At the very moment of
its extinction, however, a new life came to it. Douglas
Hyde, a Roscommon man, a Protestant, from the very
stronghold of the Ascendancy, Trinity College, with a
violence that might almost be called personal, restored
the suspended animation of his native tongue, and his
voice, the voice of an eloquent Connaught man, sent it
ringing once more through the four provinces of Ireland
in a wild call that brought into being the Gaelic League.
A little earlier than Hyde a young man, called Standish
O'Grady, by accident was brought into contact with
the ancient Irish Bardic literature. The discovery that
his country had a heroic past sent him back to the
sources of its story, and in his Irish History, Heroic
, published in 1878, the Gaelic soul that had
striven earlier to express itself in the works of Davis,
Mangan, Ferguson, re-incarnated completely in Anglo-Irish
literature—a literature written in English by
Irish people, and that had up to this time been written
in the English style and tradition—that literature from
O'Grady's time, became revitalised, transformed. The
stronghold of the enemy, the English language, was
taken from within. The Gaelic literature, as old as the
Greek, full of energy and exuberant in imagination,
was brought into contact once more with Irish minds,
powerfully affecting the young writers of English. The
movement for the revival of the Gaelic language went
steadily forward by means of the Gaelic League, and
side by side with it the Gaelic imagination, set free in
O'Grady's work, the door flung open by his hand, has
inch by inch recaptured the literature written in the
language of the conqueror. The works of Yeats,
“A.E.,” Hyde, Synge, Stephens, Colm, Katherine Tynan,
O'Sullivan, Austin Clarke, Campbell, Alice Milligan,

MacDonagh, Pearse, Jane Barlow, Emily Lawless,
Katherine Purdon, Seumas O'Kelly, Daniel Corkery,
and a great and growing company of Irish singers and
prose writers bear witness to the vitality of a race
accounted dead.
Whatever is living in our country to-day, was born
out of that union of Ireland's present with her past.
The language revival and the literary revival have
affected movements which they would not ordinarily
have had any effect on, because the atmosphere of Irish
thinking is charged with a vitality due to the unlocking
of the ancient sources of national life. The literary
men in Ireland have many of them gone from dream
into action. John McNeill, Pearse and MacDonagh
went into the political movement, “A.E.” has been a
powerful influence in the economic movement. Ireland
was a country diverted from her natural course, obliged
to walk in a road channelled by a different civilisation,
leading to a different eternity. What is the right road
for one nation, leading to perfect self-fulfilment, may be
a road of death to a people whose destiny it should
have been to struggle after ideals wholly different.
Many of the great races of mankind have fulfilled their
destiny, giving to the world some ideal of beauty or
majesty or law. Some races through their own fault
or through the oppression of alien peoples have never
fulfilled themselves. That early Gaelic story begun in
such energy of imagination, such heroic beauty, in the
tales of Cuchulain and Queen Maeve and all the Red
Branch chivalry, never unfolded naturally. It was cut
across by a civilisation, mighty in another sense, but
born out of a different source, aiming at a different
goal. The Anglo-Saxon civilisation, destined, perhaps,
to set before the world the ideal of the freedom of the
individual, may not to our thinking have come anywhere
near fulfilling a destiny so noble, even for the
English people, and in her relation to other races has
England not come far short of what should have been

her glory? A Gaelic civilisation may have been meant
to present to the world an ideal of heroic brotherhood,
a generous admiration even of an enemy, as in the
devotion of the Sons of Usnach, of Cuchulain, who
embraced Ferdiad, his opponent, in the midst of the
combat, or Queen Maeve of Connaught, who called the
attention of her warriors to the “noble and regal
appearance” of her enemies.
It is a curious thing that our modern life, which, by
means of its science, is annihilating time and space,
bringing the nations together, almost forcibly promoting
cosmopolitanism and international uniformity, is yet
witnessing an unprecedented uprising of the spirit of
nationality. It may be that no true brotherhood can
exist among mankind till each race of the human family
has attained the free expression of its character. It is
most certainly true, I think, that Ireland in her contact
with her Gaelic original has not been making a retrograde
movement, but that the intuition of the race has
guided it rightly to that which is revitalising its life,
and giving it courage to go forward to a development
which may be quite different from all that we have
prognosticated of its destiny. The source is not stale,
the waters are still living in that first fountain, but
those revived there may drink and forge a new path
along some road we never dreamed of. It may be that
Egypt also, for all her mighty development, parent as
she has been of so many civilisations, may have some
need within her that a new contact with her majestic
past alone can satisfy, and that refreshed by that
contact her way may be made clear to a destiny
greater even than that foreshadowed in Temple, Sphinx
or Pyramid.

Susan L. Mitchell.



Egypt is making a supreme effort to regain her
greatness. Her political emancipation, her economic
freedom, her social uplifting, are vital problems which
face the rising generation of the country; they have
to be solved before greatness is attained; it has been
so with all peoples and will always remain so. Every
nation has undoubtedly its own way of dealing with
these problems, but the world has now reached such a
stage of internationalism, that people can and do benefit
by each other's experience and friendship. In fact,
many institutions, political, economic, and social, have
now almost lost their national character and have
become the property of all nations. There is nothing
strange in this. Are not the roots of modern civilisation
planted deeply in one, the oldest known civilisation,
that which flourished on the banks of the Nile thousands
of years ago? On it and on the other civilisations that
followed it the edifice of modern society was built;
whatever is great in the world of to-day, many nations,
including our own, had a full share in evolving.
Such being the case, it is for the intellectual among
the rising generation in every country, especially in those
countries which circumstances have placed in a backward
position, to investigate and to make known those
movements in other lands from which their own people
may learn. With this in mind, I have written this book.
I have lived in Europe, mostly in England, almost half
my life, during which time I have seen and learned
many things. Two years ago, I felt impelled to express
what had been in my mind for some time, and to put
at the disposal of my own people the knowledge and

experience I had acquired, with a view to helping them
in the solution of their problems of national reconstruction.
During my studies in economics, I realised the force
which national effort gains from association. The
subject took root in my mind. I became convinced
that this force can be employed in almost all spheres
of action, and further, that the nation which makes
large use of it, and organises its various elements on that
basis, is on the high road to greatness. Reading books
upon the subject appeared to me like looking from a
distance through glasses at the world. I felt I wanted
to see things with the naked eye and on the spot. I
left my garret for the factory and farm, and began
to learn from men and things. I toured all England
and Scotland, not only with the enthusiasm of an
anxious student who loves his subject and sees in it the
hope of emancipation for his fatherland, but also with
the determination of one whose experience in diverse
paths in life had prepared him to meet obstacles and
face annoyances, without losing his enthusiasm. My
aim was to see for myself what the spirit of association
as represented by the Co-operative Movement had done
for industry and agriculture. Starting with a fair
literary knowledge of my subject and an encouraging
send-off from the University, I organised my plan on
systematic lines. I shall leave the reader to find out
from my book how I conducted my researches.
One year passed and I was still in Great Britain,
where my studies were almost totally confined to things
economic. It was not until I found my way to Ireland
that my sphere of observation began to widen, and I
found myself in a broader field. Here the spirit of
association and power of organisation seemed to have
full play in many of the ways of life. As applied to
political and social questions they appeared to be as
effective as when applied to economics. I now
discovered that my enthusiasm for the Co-operative

Movement was to lead me further than the desire merely
to improve the economic position of my people. It was
to show me what the power of organisation and force
of associated effort can do in every department of the
life of the nation. It led me to the conviction that
once our people realised this and organised themselves
accordingly, no power on earth could keep them under;
that automatically, as it were, and in spite of all opposition,
they would find their place amongst independent,
respected and progressive nations. In Ireland my visits
were not only to factories and farms, but to all places
where men and women worked and played. My task
was rendered easy by the kindly hospitable nature
of the Irish people, who in my tour to all parts of the
country, from their aristocracy down to their humblest
cottager, received me as a friend. To them all I owe
a debt of gratitude. In my inquiries, whether economic,
social, or political, I resorted to three sources of information,
interviewing the leaders, making use of the
available literature, and moving amongst the people
themselves. The enlightenment I received from the
leaders of the nation was indispensable to me. Willingly
and at a time of great strain on their energies when they
are busily engaged in promoting their particular schemes
of emancipation and reform, they shared with me their
intimate and exceptional knowledge of the national life
and the national movements.
My countrymen will, I hope, accept the kindness and
assistance rendered me by the Irish people during my
stay amongst them, as extended through me to the
rising generation of Egypt. Our country, in a somewhat
similar position to Ireland, is struggling to attain the
place that is her due. The Irish people would gladly
do for others who came amongst them as a friend and
a worker what they have done for me. If any of my
countrymen come after me and are not received as I
was, the fault will lie with them. I found nothing
wrong with the Irish people; they are not what their

enemies represent them to be; they are a peaceful,
industries, conscientious, and lovable people.
I wish to express my apologies to my fellow-countrymen
for writing this book in a language foreign to them.
I assure them there was no choice in the matter. It
was not by any means easy to me to write in a foreign
language, nor was it a pleasure to express my thoughts
in the tongue of a nation which persecutes my people
and destroys the freedom of my country. But being
away from home for so many years, I found it rather
difficult to write as precisely as I wished in Arabic,
my own language, particularly on matters requiring a
technical phraseology. And as I was anxious to make
a faithful record of my experiences, and an up-to-date
report of the conditions I studied, I did so in the language
that served my purpose best at the time, with the view
of writing a fuller account in my own language later on
when I got home.
This narrative will, I hope, offer some inducement to
others of my countrymen to travel widely, study
patiently, and above all report faithfully. This should
be the duty of those of us who come to Europe for study.
If they conscientiously make use of their opportunities,
what a stock of knowledge and experience they will
acquire for themselves, and what a service they may
render to those who must remain at home, but who are
ready to use for the advancement and welfare of their
nation the first-hand material put at their disposal by
their countrymen abroad. We have passed the phase
when our students travelled in order to acquire a certain
knowledge, mostly of a technical or special nature, and
then returned home to make a comfortable living out of
it. We have now a higher purpose—we must study in
progressive communities the secret of their advance, so
as to help in formulating a policy for the building of
modern Egypt on a sound national basis.
An explanation might not be out of place here as
regards the general purpose of the book. It is essentially

a social study and is intended to convey a picture of
Ireland to the minds of my countrymen and at the same
time lay stress on the things that might be considered
with advantage by them. This has perhaps narrowed
the scope of my book, obliging me to omit much that
would have been of interest. The Irish literary revival
I felt to be too big a subject to do more than touch on,
but in the preface by Miss Susan L. Mitchell, a short
sketch of this amazing intellectual awakening will be
found. I have taken now and then occasion to compare
things Irish and Egyptian, with the result that some of
the defects of our national character and institutions
have been brought under notice. I make no apology for
doing so, as I am conscious of the fact that these defects
are all well known to outside friend and foe. Very few
of our own people, however, are fully conscious of them.
I have intentionally brought them out in bold relief,
that my countrymen may note them, and our intellectual
young generation be stimulated to remedy them.
If my feeling against England is bitter, it is for just
cause. The Egyptians do not love England; I know of
no people outside the British Empire who do, and I
know of several within the Empire who do not.
However, time passes judgment on nations, and we
will leave that judgment to time.
My discussion on the Co-operative Movement is not
confined to Ireland for the simple reason that to render
the picture complete I had to include co-operation in
Great Britain as well. Whether in the treatment of
co-operation, politics, or social subjects, there are, I am
fully conscious, shortcomings that run throughout the
whole book. But having studied my subject at first
hand, though I may make slips here and there, there
are not any conscious misrepresentations. I have been
given every opportunity to understand the Co-operative
Movement in Great Britain and Ireland, and if I have
failed in my attempt rightly to interpret its activities
to my people, the fault is entirely my own.


I take this occasion to acknowledge with gratitude
the obligations I have incurred in my study of co-operation
in these countries, to all the co-operative leaders
and followers who, in the true co-operative spirit, have
helped me in every way to a clear understanding of their
great movement. I refrain from mentioning names,
they are so many, particularly in Ireland. But if I
may mention one, it is that of A. E. I have never
been to the “den” of that great Irishman without
coming out wondering if the door was high enough to
let me pass through it. His views of ideals and realities,
enforced as they are by his great personality, fill the
young and ardent with the desire to do great things.
His inspiring influence on the rising generation cannot
be exaggerated. In conclusion, I offer my sincere
thanks to Miss Susan L. Mitchell, whose valuable suggestions
have helped me to present this book in its
present form.


Dublin, May 1920.



One day in the first week of November last we set
out on our travels. Dublin did not give us a kindly
send-off, for it was a cold, wet morning. We had not
gone very far when our car began to behave badly,
but my friend Coffey, who was at the wheel, soon discovered
the cause of the trouble, learned our machine's
weak points, and treated her accordingly; so that we
were enabled to travel more or less smoothly till we
reached Wexford, where we were glad to hand over the
car to those who gave her the good talking-to that she
Our drive through Wicklow, one of the most beautiful
Irish counties, delighted us. The rich and varying
colours of the skies and the grandeur of the scenery
impressed us very much. In the Glen of the Downs
we obtained a somewhat misty view of the Sugar Loaf
Mountain, so called from its conical shape. Its name
in Irish signifies “Golden Spear.” The difference
between the two names gives one a clue to the divergence
in temperament and point of view between the English
and Irish peoples. We proceeded between the coast
and “The Devil's Glen” by a road which ascended
gradually with hedgerows on either side. Owing to
the shortness of the winter day we were unable to see
the Glen itself, nor could we pay a visit to Glendalough,
one of the fairest valleys in Ireland. We drove to the
small town of Rathdrum, where we pulled up for lunch.
Later, the weather improved somewhat, though the

slippery state of the roads made it unpleasant for
motoring, and we continued our journey through the
Vale of Avoca, where we passed Avondale, Parnell's
house. His name recalled to my imagination the noble
figure of our Sheikh Mohammad Abdou, though nearly
a third of a century has passed since the two immortal
“rebels” were introduced to each other by Mr. W. S.
Blunt on the terrace of the House of Commons.
Before we reached the picturesque bridge crossing the
River Avonmore we visited a small flax mill worked by
water power. The manager, an Ulster man, and consequently
well versed in that trade, explained to us the
method of growing this northern crop and the subsequent
operations of pulling, stacking, retting, and scutching.
I shall return to this matter later on.
It would be ungrateful to pass over this part of the
country without mentioning something of the beauties
of the Vale of Avoca, celebrated by Thomas Moore in
one of the most touching of his songs. Stately oaks
and beeches overhung with ivy fill the valley in which
“the bright waters meet.” Here and there the continuity
of the woods is interrupted by emerald meadows,
luxurious shrubberies, and rocks of varied colours. The
thin film of mist that the damp day had hung between
us and the beauty around us but added the attraction of
mystery to a charm that already affected me profoundly.
We called on our way at the Creamery at Inch. It
was not at work, as butter is only made there three
days in the week this time of the year, owing to the
winter shortage of milk, but, all the same, we had an
interesting talk with the manager, who in his friendly
Irish way was good enough to show us over his place.
We then drove to Gorey, a small country town, where
we put up for the night at the Ram's Head. In the
morning we called at Mount St. Benedict, a progressive
Catholic school run by a Benedictine monk. We had
not the pleasure of finding him at home, but the matron
very kindly took us round and told us many things

which pleased us. The school house, a fine building
with all the conveniences of a modern educational
institution, commanded a grand view of the beautiful
country around. Near by stood the farm buildings,
equipped with the necessary requirements for a six
hundred acre well-stocked farm. The boys, who
numbered about fifty, of ages varying between eight
and sixteen, were well looked after and brought up to
be worthy of their country, and when the time comes,
they generally leave for the National University, an
institution of which the Irish people entertain great
hopes. It was interesting to learn that it was at Mount
St. Benedict the Belgian tobacco seed was first introduced
to the soil of Ireland. Here we saw it growing,
being dried and made into cigars, cigarettes, and pipe
tobacco; but in spite of the great regard I feel for
our Irish friends, I cannot say I enjoyed smoking it;
perhaps being Egyptian and hence considered, rightly
or wrongly, a connoiseur in the social art of smoking,
I am rather difficult to please in this matter. I found
this dark Irish tobacco strong and stinging, but one
might perhaps acquire a taste for it in time. At a
distance the growing plant looked not unlike our maize
plant, but with a flower similar in colour and shape
to that of the potato plant. As regards its cultivation,
or, more correctly, the prohibition of its cultivation,
there is something in common between the state of
affairs here and in our own country. Till about the
middle of the nineteenth century, tobacco was grown
in Ireland, when its cultivation was prohibited by law.
With this suspension went all knowledge of its method
of cultivation. It was not until the beginning of the
present century that the Government removed the
restrictions, and even encouraged experiments with a
view to finding out whether tobacco was after all a
suitable and profitable crop for the Irish farmer. As
a result of these investigations, it was concluded that
as long as Irish-grown tobacco had to compete with

foreign tobacco on equal terms, it was not a paying
crop. Quite recently the duty imposed on native
tobacco was for a time reduced below that grown in
foreign lands. In some places where the soil, climatic
conditions, and other necessary considerations are
favourable, the financial results have induced some
Irish farmers to continue growing tobacco. The
American type of high-grade tobacco leaf is the one
usually grown here. The present acreage under its
cultivation is a little under two thousand acres, and the
value of the produce is somewhere about £34,000. As
for our own unfortunate country, it is still prevented
from growing this profitable crop in spite of the fact
that our soil and climate are particularly suited to it.
I have written at length of this school with the view
of attracting the attention of our people at home to
the great amount of educational as well as pioneering
work which could be done in Egypt by similar institutions
right out in the country. In these, when
properly organised and efficiently managed, not only
new industries might be brought into existence, but
new types of citizen might be nurtured. The former
would help the material welfare of the people, while
the latter, with their high aims and developed characters,
would work for a national being, a work which the
present poor products of Government schools are wholly
unfitted for, their education depriving them of the
power of initiative and leaving them selfish and weak-willed.
On our drive to Enniscorthy the weather was again
unfavourable, but nevertheless the undulating meadows
between which we passed on our way were very attractive.
Enniscorthy is a thriving little town lying high on the
bank of the sheltered Slaney. Overlooking the town
is “Vinegar Hill,” famous in the Rising of 1798. Here
we visited one of the most prosperous agricultural
co-operative societies in Ireland. Before I go further
I would like to say something of two societies we visited

before reaching this place, and whose description I
postponed. They are the Flax Mill at Avoca and the
Creamery at Inch. These two societies, like the one
under consideration and hundreds more, belong to a
movement called the Co-operative Movement, and as
we shall be coming across several of these societies of
varied character, perhaps it would be advisable here
to give a concise account of this great movement, its
history and activities, so as to enable the reader who
is not familiar with it to follow us intelligently.
Half a century ago prosperity seemed to have emigrated
from the Irish countryside, and although farmers
felt the pain of an economic disease, reformers seem
to have failed to diagnose the case correctly. As a
matter of fact, the trouble was too complicated for
them and they only saw one manifestation of it and
concentrated on remedying that. They believed that
if farmers owned their land, they would be emancipated
from the tyranny of the landlord, and, still more,
that the glamour of property and the security of ownership
would encourage them to better farming and more
profitable agricultural enterprises. Land legislation
followed, and, thanks to the Land Acts, thousands of
tenants became proprietors of their farms. Although
this step on the part of the Government, which planned
the scheme and advanced the money, revolutionised
agricultural conditions, yet the trouble remained. The
Irish farmer could not compete with foreign farmers in
his own market, so obviously it was not a question of
rent that kept the Irish farmer so backward. It was a
question of business organisation. Progressive countries
organised their farming industries in the same way as
they did their manufacturing industries, while the poor
Irish farmer had never caught up with modern methods
of doing business. In other countries combinations
had been formed to accomplish economies in production
and trade. Things in the world market were done on
a large scale, and wholesale provision dealers were out

to buy and sell in a wholesale way, and the small farmer
with his irregular and slow method of trading had no
chance. The wholesale provision merchant wanted to
deal with agricultural producers who could supply him
with large quantities of farm produce of uniform quality
graded to suit his purpose. It is obvious the Irish
farmer, proceeding in his old-fashioned, awkward way,
sold his produce at a disadvantage; and not only that,
but he bought his requirements also at a disadvantage.
His fertilisers and manures, his feeding stuffs, bought
in small quantities, cost him very dear. The foreign
farmer, in association with his fellow farmers, had
organised his business, so that he bought, produced,
transported, and sold at an advantage. Still more, he
was in a position to study the markets, and adapt his
ways to their requirements. He fought his way into
the world market, realising that to combine in farming
is just as essential as in any other business. Having
convinced himself of this, he set to work in association
with his neighbours. No new form of combination was
created, but, in a system of co-operation which was
working admirably in the field of industry, the farmers
found their model. They studied it, modifying it to
suit their business, with such gratifying results that
now agricultural co-operation is doing for the farmer
what industrial co-operation does for the town-dweller.
In co-operative combination there is a friendly, living
bond between members, a bond based not only on
mutual interest, but on brotherhood and good-will.
All this was going on abroad, but the Irish farmer
knew nothing about it, and so he went on losing ground
in the open market until he was awakened by one
Irishman, who, diagnosing the disease, studied the
remedy, and set himself to administer it. This Irishman
was Sir Horace Plunkett, whose name will stand in
Irish industrial history as the founder of the Agricultural
co-operative movement, to which he devoted years of
energy and no small part of his personal fortune. After

finishing his academic career at Oxford, Sir Horace
went to the United States, where he was engaged for
several years in cattle ranching. Seeing the result of
combination in that country of huge enterprises, and
being familiar with distributive co-operation in other
countries, he realised with what effect the co-operative
principle might be applied to the decaying agriculture
of his own country. On his return to Ireland he founded
the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, with the
help of Father T. Finlay, S.J., and Lord Monteagle.
These formed a trio round which gathered men of the
calibre of R. A. Anderson and G. W. Russell. In Robert
Anderson, Sir Horace discovered a helper with a unique
talent for organisation, and in George Russell, a man
of genius, whose influence on the ideals of the movement
lifted it out of parochialism to the place it holds to-day
as the mainspring in Irish national aspirations. This
group of devoted Irishmen worked hard for the reconstruction
of rural Ireland on co-operative principles.
They preached the gospel of agricultural co-operation
all over the country in the face of much opposition,
but in the end their doctrine, which is economically
sound, triumphed.
Sir Horace Plunkett has had a varied career. He has
been a Member of Parliament, and it was through his
instrumentality that the Department of Agriculture and
Technical Instruction for Ireland came into being, and
he became its first chief. But it is by his work for the
re-creation of rural Ireland by means of the co-operative
movement that he will be remembered. Some years
ago, as a mark of recognition of the nation's appreciation,
Sir Horace was presented with a fine house in Merrion
Square, Dublin, now known as The Plunkett House,
where as President of the Irish Agricultural Organisation
Society he continues to direct the movement with which
his public life has been identified. The Plunkett House
stands now in Dublin, not only as the headquarters of
the movement in Ireland, but also as the Mecca of

agricultural co-operation to which pilgrimages are made
from all parts of the world. During my sojourn in
Dublin I met representatives of many Eastern and
Western nationalities investigating like myself some
economic problem in the Co-operative Reference Library
of the Plunkett House, talking to the leaders on the
general outlook of the movement, and discussing with
others certain particular points, or getting information
and receiving facilities for visiting co-operative societies
in different parts of the country in order to get in touch
with the movement on its working side. It was from
here and in this way that the lessons were learned
which led to the starting of similar movements in other
It was not long after the founding of the Irish Agricultural
Organisation Society in 1894 that the corresponding
English and Scottish Societies were founded, the former
in 1900 and the latter in 1905. These central bodies are
necessary, not only to establish new co-operative societies
amongst farmers in their respective countries, but also
to advise and guide old ones, and to act as the parents
and representatives of all of them. Up to now the
Irish central body has succeeded in organising over one
thousand societies of different types, all self-governing
and self-reliant, with a membership of about 120,000,
representing well over half-a-million of the rural population
of Ireland, with an annual turn-over of some
£12,000,000. As we shall see later, the societies, which
are scattered all over the country, comprise creameries,
agricultural societies, credit societies, egg and poultry
societies, flax societies, dressed meat and bacon-curing
societies, fishing societies, beekeeping societies, etc.
The main object of the I. A. O. S. is to organise farmers
into societies to buy, manufacture, and sell co-operatively,
thereby eliminating the middleman and his
profits, and exercising the right as manufacturers to buy
the raw material of their industry at wholesale prices.
My knowledge and experience of farmers in this and

other countries, including my own, tell me what conservative
people they are. They are slow to exchange
old methods for new. They believe in hereditary knowledge
rather than in knowledge acquired by experiments
and research. They are suspicious of new things. They
are essentially individualists, and are averse to letting
their neighbours know anything about their affairs.
But one cannot help noticing that once they come
together in a co-operative society and meet and exchange
ideas the example of the most progressive member
rapidly becomes the practice of the whole society. The
bigger man seems to be not only willing but anxious
to help those who are not so fortunate. To carry that
esprit de corps further, flourishing societies are always
ready to give a helping hand to those societies which
are not in such a favourable position. This I noticed
particularly in the attitude of the Wexford Meat Society,
when it ungrudgingly extended its experience and advice
in the foundation of a similar society at Waterford.
I was fortunate enough to attend the first meeting of
the Waterford Society, and I was much pleased with
the friendly spirit prevailing among co-operative Irish
farmers. Evidently the farmer has come to realise
that co-operation with his fellow-farmers enables him
to do what was impossible to him as an individual.
The co-operative movement has proved that the farmer
may be as progressive as any member of the community.
Farmers need only combine, put their heads together, and
have faith in their associated effort. The co-operative
associations choose the ablest farmers amongst them as
their leaders, with the result that they find themselves
well-informed, soundly advised, and making use of the
latest developments in the art and science of their
The strength and stability of this movement are
mainly due to its unselfish, non-sectarian, democratic
policy. The fact that a friendly chain binds all the
members to work for the common good ensures that it

must have in it no defective link, and makes it to the
interest of the stronger to help the weaker. The rule
that excludes the mention of political and religious
questions at co-operative meetings is rigidly adhered to.
The democratic lines on which the movement is conducted
cause it to welcome into its ranks all honourable
citizens, and all are given equal rights, powers, and
privileges. This is the story, briefly told, of the agricultural
co-operative movement in Ireland.
Coming back to where we left our motor car, we
found her ready as a faithful animal to carry us to our
destination, Wexford. As we drove along the bank of
the River Slaney the copper-coloured leaves falling from
the trees between the road and the river, and the rich
hues of the sunset, made an exquisite picture. As we
approached Wexford we crossed the river by a fine
bridge, and here we had a last view of a lovely sunset
reflected in the still water of the Slaney as it enters
the harbour. Wexford is a country town with small
houses, threaded by narrow streets, and on the water
side lined by wharves. Here we stayed the night at
White's Hotel. At this place a royal Arab party was
expected on the following day, and seeing my Eastern
name, I was asked if by any chance we were members
of that party travelling incognito. The Emir Feisul of
Central Arabia (not the son of the King of The Hejaz)
and his suite were the persons expected. We regretted
the fact that we missed by one day the honour of meeting
him at Wexford on his way to Dublin. It would be
interesting to learn what lies behind these entertainments
of royal personages. Between the Emirs of
Arabia and the Shah of Persia British diplomacy is now
busily engaged. In years gone by the victims were
Abdul Aziz of Turkey and Abbas of Egypt. Diplomatic
traps were cleverly laid in the British Court, but the
trick did not come off, and so the two countries represented
fell into disfavour at the time. But I might
venture to state what everybody already knows, that

these love-makings between nations are not for love but
for business. Industrial factories and merchant houses
in Manchester, Glasgow, and other cities, were opened
to welcome, not the persons representing the unfortunate
countries, but their orders. It is a tragedy with
the first scene laid in the House of Parliament, the
second in the King's palace, the third in the factory,
the fourth in jail. This is modern diplomacy, the method
whereby small nations are robbed of their fortunes and
their liberties at the hands of the master burglar, polished
and civilised Europe. Prussianism and Bolshevism are
denounced as hellish, but no censure is given to the
slow, systematic torture and killing, not of persons, but
of communities.
The next morning we visited the meat and bacon
factory. With the director, Colonel B., a charming and
able man, we had an interesting talk on the higher
economics of the enterprise he is directing, and his belief
that when similar efforts were made in other parts of
the country they would tell on the national prosperity
and welfare. The Colonel spoke to us of his son, who
started his promising career by founding the Dublin
University Co-operative Society when he was only an
undergraduate at Trinity College. That was followed
by a similar achievement when he went to Oxford
University. After leaving the latter he came back to
Dublin to prepare himself for a co-operative campaign
which he proposed to carry out in Egypt, a country in
which I understand he took great interest. When
the war broke out he joined the army, but his health
broke down, and going to Colorado in an attempt to
regain health, he died there. One profoundly admires
the spirit of this young Irishman, and we appreciate
the friendship of the Irish people, and still hope that
co-operation will find a fertile soil in Egypt that may
be worked by the youth of Egypt itself. It would be
contrary to the spirit of the co-operative movement,
which is based on “self-help,” to rely on outsiders,

however friendly, to promote its spread in Egypt.
Besides, it would be to our shame if anybody who is
not of the people, even the government itself, should
do the work which ought to be accomplished by the
voluntary effort of the people themselves. While thus
discussing things, in came J. Pasha, a tall, elderly man,
looking like a retired soldier. He greeted me in my
own language, and after talking on general things in
Egypt and Ireland, the subject of conversation was
directed towards co-operation in Egypt. I admitted I
knew little on that subject owing to my prolonged absence
from home. The Pasha, who held prominent positions
in Egyptian legal and educational affairs until his
retirement some twelve years ago, gave us a brief account
of the beginning of the economic movement at home.
During our conversation, the manager of the society
entered, when the director kindly asked him to show
us around. I do not propose to give a vivid description
of what we saw in the abbatoir, where the slaughtering
of animals and subsequent operations were conducted
on modern lines and under the most sanitary conditions.
I am primarily concerned here with the economic side
of the question. Wexford farmers started this society
in 1912 in order that their county's meat trade, with
its profitable subsidiary industries, such as sausage and
pudding making, pressed tongue, brawn, suet, blood and
bone manure, potted meat, etc., should be carried on
by its own agencies. The sales of this factory have
increased from £34,000 in the first year to £235,000 in
1918. The subsidiary industries realised in 1918 nearly
£30,000, which would, but for that enterprise, have been
in non-Irish hands. The increasing support the farmers
give their society shows their satisfaction with the
results achieved.
Carrying with us a good impression of Wexford enterprise
we left in the afternoon for Waterford via New
Ross. The latter town is situated on the River Barrow,
which we followed a good way. At Glenmore we called

at a creamery and at Slieverue at another. We reached
Waterford at night. The town was lying calm on the
River Suir, the sky was clear, and the moon, which was
nearly a full one, was shining brightly, and the long
quay of the town was well lit. Thus we entered the
town in a cheerful atmosphere. After crossing the river
by the new, fine, ferro-concrete bridge we made for the
Imperial Hotel, where we purposed staying. Our first
day here was a Sunday. In the morning, which turned
out to be a fine one, I visited some friends a little out
of town. In the course of conversation, I remarked
that the English people seemed to have no confidence
in the friendship of the Irish, and that they always
feared that if the latter were to run their own country,
they might form a secret alliance with some rival power
which would prove dangerous or at least detrimental
to the interests of the British Empire.
“No,” replied my friend, “the English people are
fools if they think that. What they actually fear is our
progress at their expense if we were to develop our
native powers and organise our material resources.
They well know we as a race are cleverer than themselves
and we can beat them on their own ground if they play
the game.”
Shortly afterwards I changed the subject by comparing
conditions in Egypt with those in Ireland.
“You in Ireland,” I said, “have decided at last on
a policy, at all events an economic and social one, and
set to work on definite lines, while we in Egypt have
not even thought of doing so.”
“It is true,” my friend answered. “But why leave
out politics, we have made our minds up also on that;
though that troublesome corner in the North-East is
hampering our national progress.”
“In Egypt,” I said, “we are working the other way
round. We raised our voice loudly some twenty years
ago when Mustafa Kamil, our Parnell, announced to
the whole world our national political policy—Egypt for

the Egyptians—which corresponds to your Sinn Fein
‘We ourselves’—and since then the National Party was
formed and set to work assiduously on the lines our
national hero adopted. In our economic and social
policy we are far, far behind you. We have not yet
got that devoted body of men you have, led by your
Horace Plunkett and Douglas Hyde.”
“In that field,” my friend said, “let me as an
Irishman give you a word of advice based on some
experience. You want three types of men to work hand
in hand in order to reconstruct your national life: the
aristocracy, the educated, and the practical men. The
first gives the movement a social standing, the second
class does the thinking and the planning, while the third,
who belong to the people and move among the masses,
carry out the policies entrusted to them. That is how
we carry on our propaganda work here in organising
our people on genuine national lines.”
Our hosts then took us round their grounds showing
us their horses and their cows. I was pleased to see
some Arab blood in an Irish hunter filly enjoying the
air of freedom in a large field and galloping joyfully
head and tail up in the regular Arab style. We then
made our way home, passing through a delightful
country avenue with the falling leaves rustling under
the wheels of our car.
In the afternoon we motored to Dunmore, a picturesque
little seaside village eleven miles from Waterford.
The scenery was charming as we climbed up the cliffs
past fishermen's cottages with robust young maidens
standing in the doorways, beautiful in form, and rosy
cheeked. Dunmore struck us as a neat little place,
the small houses looked tidy, with their well-trimmed thatched
roofs. Before leaving the place we enjoyed
a cup of tea in a small hotel on the top of a red sandstone
cliff overhanging the blue waters of the sea. There
we heard of a dispute between two families on the
question of an arranged match against the wish of the

young couple concerned. “Arranged matches” were
once very common things in rural Ireland, but the
custom is, I understand, dying out. Unfortunately we
had to return home in darkness, as the clouds hid the
moon and it was drizzling all the way. I curled myself
back in my heavy motoring coat, buried under a mass
of rugs; troubling myself not at all till we reached our
hotel, where a hot dinner awaited us. Seated at the
hearth after a comfortable meal, we talked far into the
night. We thought and talked of the possibilities of
exchanging goods between Ireland and Egypt on cooperative
lines. So pleasant was our mood that we
even brought into existence in our imagination a society
having for its crest an Irish wolfhound fraternising with
an Egyptian camel. Perhaps, considering the extraordinary
dignity of these two animals, one could not
put them in this ridiculous position, and the lotus flower
or water lily entwined with the shamrock would make
a more artistic crest.
The next day found us still in Waterford. We visited
Carrigeen Creamery and Iverk Agricultural Society, some
five miles from here, and Piltown Agricultural and Dairy
Society, eleven miles away. It was a glorious day, a
cold, clear morning with a bright sun, something like
our winter days at home. Under this brilliant light the
colours of the country stood out boldly. On our way
back Coffey called on a friend at a convent at Portlaw.
This fine building belonged to an aristocratic and
wealthy family up to the middle of the nineteenth
century. They maintained in the village a prosperous
community, their cotton factory was in full swing, and
the labourers lived happily in their cottages. When
the American Civil War broke out, the family cast in
their lot commercially with the Southerners, who lost,
and they had to shut down their factory. They were
reduced to poverty, and that village, which was once
flourishing, is now a sad sight. When we paid our visit
to Carrigeen Creamery, we were touched to see a member

of the fallen family, a gentle, pretty girl, working for
her living as a dairymaid. I mention particularly this
little story in order to emphasise the fact that to make
a community live happily life must be built on a solid
economic basis. The workers must have their share in
industry, so that they may escape the dangers to which
an enterprise depending on one individual is always
liable. A few miles driving brought us to Kilmeadan
Creamery. This is a recently established society with
a new building, and up-to-date machinery and appliances.
This finished our work for the day.
Next day we attended a meeting held at the Courthouse
for the purpose of founding a meat and bacon
factory similar to that at Wexford. At this meeting
my friend's ideal enterprise was realised, for aristocracy
was in the chair, the educated supported it, while the
practical men succeeded in giving to the meeting a full
understanding of the subject. In addition to these
three classes I noticed the Church represented. Here
in Ireland the priests, both Catholic and Protestant,
have, in most cases, given their sympathy and
support to the co-operative movement. This is a
lesson for us Egyptians to learn. We must make
use of every possible factor for the development
of our country, and particularly enlist our religious
institutions in the reconstruction of our land. This
reminds me of a remark made by a friend here who
knows a great deal of the world: “If I were to work
on co-operation in Egypt, I would start with the
Azharites and enlist the sympathy and support of the
Ulamas at the outset.”
Judging by the attendance at the meeting, and the
interest shown, and the intelligent discussion throughout
the long sitting, Irish farmers seem fully alive to their
interests in this most important of Irish industries.
This country exports live stock to Great Britain every year, which is valued at over £20,000,000. If these
animals were to be fattened and slaughtered here, think

of the large number of people to whom this would give
employment. The employment would vary in character
and skill, from the killing of the animals to the skilled
methods of manufacturing new commodities from the
by-products. To give an example of these commodities,
I may name the tanning industry, not to mention the
smaller industries, such as the manufacturing of glue and
fertilisers and manures. Besides, Irish farmers would
rely on their own honest market for their fat stock,
and would be saved from the trickery of a host of
middlemen and from the losses due to the deteriorating
effect on the animals of transport by sea. The profits
of fattening, which at present are pocketed by the
English and Scottish farmers who buy their store cattle
from Ireland to finish them on their pastures or in their
stalls, would be retained by the Irish farmer. Employment
would benefit and tillage would increase. The
whole profit of the trade would be kept in Ireland.
Not until the people make the most of their resources
can they be really free. It is possible for a nation to
be politically free and economically enslaved. There is
no national safety except by a democratic control by
the people themselves of their own industries as well as
their own government. I wish to emphasise the word
democratic, the meaning of which, I feel sure, is better
understood as applied to politics than to economics.
Capitalism, that is, autocratic government in industry,
whether native or foreign, is detrimental to the interests
of the people. It is ruthless in its adherence to its own
interests only, and national interests will be sold for
cash down by any capitalist company if the cash offer
is tempting enough. The god of all capitalists is Capital.
I would like to warn my fellow-countrymen of the
danger inherent in any policy advocating Egyptian
capitalism. Egyptian capitalism is almost as dangerous
to our national interests as foreign capitalism. All our
endeavours should be directed towards promoting an
industrial policy by which the people themselves would

benefit directly. That would help to the equitable
distribution of the nation's wealth amongst the masses,
instead of locking up a large portion of it in the pockets
of a few individuals, leaving the people as a whole poor
and miserable. We have a warning in Western civilisation.
It is stricken with the disease of capitalism;
the masses are slaves industrially, even when politically
free. Western thinkers are searching for a means of
emancipating their peoples. Co-operation, Co-partnership,
Trade Unionism, Nationalisation, Socialism in its
different forms, Bolshevism, and the rest—all are
suggested as ways of escape from a cruel and inhuman
system. Modern Egypt is a young, rising nation, and
it should be warned of the dangers before it. There
are hundreds if not thousands of capable young men
in Egypt whose sympathies could be enlisted for the
policy referred to above. Once on the right track, they
would devise and work out schemes which would distribute
the wealth of the land of our forefathers equitably
amongst their sons. They would understand that
competition is a force to be used, and not to be blindly
worshipped, and that the equitable distribution of
wealth is the only means of making a happy and
prosperous community. Political power depends on
economic power. As President Wilson once said:
“Whoever controls the trade of a country is the real
ruler of the country.”
To return to the Waterford Meat Society. Besides
the advantages mentioned in connection with that
society, a further development might be suggested. If
a sufficient number of similar factories were established
in different parts of the country, much greater advantages
would follow from the linking up of these various
societies in a strong national federation. Such a step
would facilitate the central treatment of those byproducts
which require to be dealt with on a large scale,
and which could not be handled economically by the
individual societies. It would also facilitate the organisation

of sale to foreign countries, the conduct of
negotiations with officials and railway companies, and
the setting-up of extensive cold storage accommodation.
On such lines the future of this trade could be faced
with confidence. Committees have been appointed to
go into the matter closely, and the machinery has been
established for the enlisting of members, and the raising
of the capital required, which was estimated as £100,000.

[Back to top]


LEINSTER (continued)

In the evening we were introduced to Father K., with
whom we had a pleasant and interesting talk. He
agreed with us that no single system, principle, or movement
is likely to solve the world's intricate industrial
problems. All the social reform movements have good
in them which must be made use of for the industrial
welfare of the people. Touching upon the subject of
“Nationality” and the hard times through which
Ireland is struggling for her very life as a nation,
Father K. suggested we might as well see things for
ourselves by attending with him a Gaelic League evening
class to which he himself was going. We went and
found it a pathetic sight. Boys and girls, young and
old, eagerly and enthusiastically learning a language
which had been deliberately almost wiped out of existence
by England. It was touching to listen to them trying
to express their feelings in what should be their mother
tongue, blushing with awkwardness and shame at the
difficulty they found in using it. To tell the truth I
felt very uncomfortable speaking in English when I was
addressed in Irish. But when things were explained
they realised that I could speak my own mother tongue,
and I patted myself on the back for knowing my Arabic
pretty well. The method of teaching Irish was the
modern direct one. The classes were divided into
elementary, intermediate, and advanced, and the teacher
spoke all the time in Irish, explaining himself by the
aid of signs, charts, or maps. No phrases or sentences
were committed to memory, as used to be the case in
the old system. Not far from the class rooms was the

dancing hall, in which the old Irish folk dances were
taught, and occasionally Irish concerts hold. All this
has for its object the encouragement of a national spirit
in every department of Irish life and by the revival of
their language, the singing of their native airs, and the
re-telling of the stories of their ancient culture, to give
the young folk pride in the past achievements of their
race and confidence in its future. We were told of the
methods that were adopted by the enemies of Irish to
discourage the humble beginnings of the revival of the
national culture. Every facility was given in the Irish-speaking
districts for learning English, and those who
attempted to speak Irish, wear Irish dress, sing Irish
songs, or practise Irish dances, were ridiculed. But
it. It is the most living thing in Ireland to-day. The
more one knows of the sad times this nation has gone
through, the more one reverences these Irish folk as one
reverences a martyr, and one feels confident that a
worthy destiny awaits this loveable and patient people.
The next morning was very cold, and I found it
difficult to warm myself in spite of a good, solid
breakfast. Sitting at my table near the window and
looking out at the remains of an old Danish tower at
the corner of the road opposite, and dreaming over a
cigarette, my mind wandered in the realms of ancient
things, and to my own ancient land where the sun is
radiant and home affection warm. A friend, met at
the hotel, came up with a morning greeting: “You
look so wise, quiet, and thoughtful, and you are sitting
near the window, and the snow is coming down heavily!
Will you not take this easy chair at the fire and get
warm?” “I do not feel cold,” replied. It was not
till I woke up from my dream that I realised it was cold.
In the warmth of my thoughts, the cold surroundings
were forgotten. A moment later, Coffey entered the
room in a state of excitement. “We cannot go away
to-day, the car had to go to the garage for repair and

will not be ready till to-morrow.” “Cheerful news,”
I replied. He went out again leaving a newspaper in
my hand. The paper brought the news of yesterday,
the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, the anniversary
of the signing of the Armistice. Two minutes
silence was proclaimed by the King of England to be
observed at 11 o'clock, the actual time of signing, in
memory of the glorious dead. The celebration was
signalised in Dublin by exciting conflicts between the
National University students and students of Trinity
College. Similar collisions between real Irishmen and
so-called Irishmen occurred in other parts of Ireland in
connection with the observance of Armistice Day.
There were scenes in theatres where the orchestra
attempted to play “God Save the King”—the English
national anthem. Indignant boohing and angry hissing,
and even more practical means, were used by the
audience to convey their disapproval of the anthem,
and national songs rang from the gallery, and the greater
part of the house joined in “The Soldier's Song,” the
present national anthem of the Irish people.
As for myself, I never thought of the day from the
Briton's point of view. They may be right in remembering
their own, we are certainly right in remembering
ours and those who shared with us suffering and
oppression. When the oppressors pray for their beloved
who laid down their lives for the “noble” cause, we in
our turn pray for the souls of those who sacrificed their
lives for the freedom of all, big and small, we pray for
a universal peace based on right, truth, and justice.
To return to the English national anthem, I ask my
readers to go back a few years in our Egyptian history
when Tappozada Rushdi Pasha was “Nazir El Awka.”
On a tour of inspection around the mosques he was much
annoyed to hear the “Khateeb” offering blessings to
the Muslim world and pouring words of wrath on the
heads of non-Muslims. Broad-minded as he was,
Hussein Rushdi issued an order that no hymns of hate

should be recited in the houses of God. I wonder what
pious Rushdi thinks of the spirit and words of the
English national anthem. I quote the second verse of
it here, perchance his gentle eyes may sometime fall
upon it.
O Lord our God, arise,
Scatter his1 enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On him our hopes we fix,
God save us all.
1 The King of England's.
This is how it is sung in private and public places
wherever the Union Jack flies, and from it one can see
what the brotherhood of man means to English minds.
In the afternoon we were asked to visit a hide and
skin store. It was interesting but not at all pleasant.
These commodities form a considerable source of profit
to various trades. We had already had a glimpse into
the butcher's interest in it, and now we saw the
merchant's part. He grades, preserves, and stores the
hides, for the tanner to clean and turn them into leather,
then they find their way to the boot factory or the saddler's.
The evening, which turned out very fine, but cold, we
spent at a friend's house across the river. It was
pleasing to hear children singing and reciting in Irish.
As for their Irish dancing I envied them, and wished
I could have displayed such agility, I would at least
have warmed myself.
Next morning we left for Kilkenny. It was very
cold, and but for this it would have been delightful.
At a turn in the road we were suddenly brought face
to face with a mass of mutilated white buildings. They
were the ruins of Jerpoint Abbey, a grand old eleventh
century piece of monastic architecture. The building
included the abbey church, the tower, and other portions
of the ruins whose uses I am unable to explain owing

to my ignorance of ecclesiastical matters. The massive
tower is crowned at the corners in a manner which I
have not seen anywhere else in the British Isles. We
were told the place had been sacked by Cromwell, whose
cruelties in Ireland are still spoken of with horror, and
since then it has been inhabited by noisy jackdaws.
At Thomastown we were taken over a tanyard and
shown how the skins on being brought from the merchant
were washed, limed, and scraped before being submitted
to the process of tanning. The skins when ready are
laid down in layers sixty deep with fine shavings of oak
bark between the layers. Then the tanks are filled with
water and left for several weeks. The process is finished
by passing the hides through heavy presses. We were
rather surprised to hear that the whole process takes
about eight months. I believe, however, that by the
use of expensive electric machinery and chemicals as
used by the Germans, the same result could be reached
in half as many days.
This leather industry is dwindling in Ireland. It was
once very prosperous. Sixty or seventy years ago there
were some forty towns in Ireland possessing tanneries.
Now there are only one-fourth that number. To-day
Ireland is mainly an exporter of the raw material and
an importer of the finished articles, which are manufactured
from these very materials. Such a state of
affairs is lamentable, especially when raw material and
labour are abundant. Efforts are being made now to
resuscitate this industry with the development of its
subsidiary branches, such as boots and shoes, saddlery,
trunks, and fancy leather goods. A glimpse at the
following returns shows how unsound is the economic
position as regards this industry1:—
Exports Imports
Hides and skins. … £600,767 Leather. … £768,120
Fat cattle, number 405,047 Boots and shoes. … £2,039,017
Fat sheep, number 400,447 Saddlery. … £140,811
Belting. … £28,782
1 The Times, November 4, 1919.


I sincerely hope that the revival of this industry will be
on co-operative lines. There is a chance now to win it
from the capitalists and put it in the hands of the people
themselves. Co-partnership factories could be founded
in different parts of the country. They have proved
successful in England, particularly in Leicester and
Kettering, and there is no reason why similar projects
should not be attempted here with success. Such
factories would surely enrich many places in Ireland
which are now poor for the lack of something to do.
Healthy young men and women leave the country to
find employment elsewhere; they would willingly stay
at home if they were offered a remunerative employment
in their own country.
While criticising our Irish friends, I am conscious of
a similar backward state of affairs in my own land, in
many cases much worse than in Ireland, and I trust
Young Egypt will see to it that the resources of their
country are developed by their own people.
On our way to Kilkenny I found the country beautiful,
but I missed the wild flowers and small birds; the latter
are still to be seen, but not in such numbers as at other
times of the year. We entered the town by a wide
avenue with the imposing building of Kilkenny Castle on
our right. We stayed that night at the “Club House
Hotel.” Early in the morning we drove to Castlecomer.
It was a raw morning, the country looked grey and
cold, and the streams were frozen. All was still, the
cattle looked like scarecrows in the fields. The only
things which lent life to the scene were the small birds
flitting amongst the bare and ragged hedges. Finches
and wagtails, yellow-hammers and our old friend, the
robin, broke the monotony of still life. The rooks
looked at a distance like black dots crowning the leafless
branches of the skeleton elm trees. Occasionally flocks
of starlings high above on their way across country
swerved sharply en masse on seeing us. Once or twice
we saw a few magpies, disappearing behind the trees.

I do not like to think that this handsome bird shares
with the still prettier bird, the jay, the disreputable
and unenviable distinction of being a member of the
crow family. Ornithologists say they are, and I suppose
we have to believe it. I offer apologies and sympathy
to our two bird friends.
We visited a Credit Society at Castlecomer, but before
doing so we met Captain W., its director, who is also
the owner of a coal mine in the district. He kindly
invited us to go down the mine if we so wished, but I
hastily declined. My experience last year of a visit to
a mine near Manchester I wished to be the last. I
remember when I was studying agriculture at Cirencester,
an English fellow-student used to tell me that
the English labourer would never lower his dignity by
appearing on a flooded rice field with bare legs in the
mud and water as they do in the East. But when I
saw the men working in the coal mine almost naked,
and sweating from the heat of labour and the stuffy
atmosphere, and covered all over with black dust, they
certainly did not strike me as looking particularly
dignified, and I thought how much better off our toilers
in the fields are. Theirs at any rate is a natural, healthy,
open-air life. This attitude of mind on the part of our
English friends is not exceptional. It is essentially and
characteristically English. They see small defects in
other peoples, but never admit glaring defects in themselves,
even if they see them; and when such are pointed
out to them, they arrogantly and haughtily reject any
comparison. They are illogical and inconsistent, and
very sadly lacking in imagination.
Credit societies are another type of co-operative
societies. They are sometimes called Agricultural Banks,
co-operative associations formed for the purpose of
lending money for productive purposes on easy terms
to their members. They differ from other banks in that
they are controlled by the members themselves, and the
credit given is of a personal character. To found a

society of this type, farmers associate and pledge their
joint credit for the security of any money advanced to
or deposited with them. On this joint guarantee they
borrow money sufficient for their purpose at a low rate
of interest and lend it out to the members who need it
at a rate just a little higher, to allow of a margin to pay
for the expenses of the society. In this way farmers
have access to reasonable credit, which is necessary to
them at certain times of the year if they are to do their
farming on progressive lines and without falling victims
to the fleecing moneylender. The peculiar needs of
farmers are studied with the view to making it easy for
them to borrow as well as to repay. One great advantage
of this form of association is that it takes from the
wealthy their superfluous capital at a fair rate of interest
and lends it out again in the same district to those who
require it for productive purposes. Thus the wealth of
the place is not only kept within it, but used to good
purpose there. These credit associations have a good
effect on the education and morale of the people, instructing
them in the art of making good use of money
and necessitating good character and honest dealing in
the members.
After calling on one or two friends in the town we
drove to Ballyragget, where we had lunch. We then
called on Dean B., the head of the church as well as of
the co-operative enterprises here, but unfortunately he
was not at home. This small country town provides a
rich soil for co-operation. It has a poultry society, a
creamery, a credit society, as well as a branch of the
“United Irishwomen,” and all are doing well. I might
take the first society as a type of its kind and attempt
to say a few words about it. Poultry and eggs are the
great industries of the small farmer, and lend themselves
admirably to co-operative methods. Before these were
adopted, the trade was conducted by a host of middlemen,
who delayed the egg in its transit to the consumer.
The following lines might be supposed to be addressed

to them by an infuriated consumer who was suffering
from the aroma of the egg served to him at the breakfast
What the deuce is your use? You nothing produce,
You never lay eggs. Oh, you're a transmitter,
If A has an egg intended for me,
He hands it to B, B to C, C to D,
D to E, E to me—who pay, after A,
B, C, D, and E, for stopping the way;
For surely 'twere fitter A's egg and my penny
Changed hands without paying a toll to so many,
Which terribly docks Farmer A or his gain,
While of eggs far from fresh I often complain.
Poultry societies buy and market their members'
poultry and eggs. Their modern methods of collecting,
grading, and packing the eggs have placed them in the
front of the market. The members through their societies
are in direct contact with the markets, and thus in a
favourable position as regards the business part of the
trade. By insisting on the buying of eggs by weight,
the keeping of a better laying stock is encouraged.
Besides all this the societies buy in bulk their poultry
food and other necessaries of their trade, and are enabled
to save money by this means.
The enterprising co-operators of this place are not
satisfied yet with their activities and are about to buy
a farm near the town of a little over a hundred acres
to run it on co-operative lines. This means co-operative
farming, in other words, the common holding and cultivation
of land. Generally speaking, this takes one of
two forms, in both of which a society is formed for the
purpose of either buying or renting land. In what is
called the Collective System, the land is farmed in
common by all the members of the society under the
direction of an elected committee and the profit shared.
In the Individual System, the land is divided amongst
the members, each of which with his family farms the
plot or small holding allotted to him. As for the grazing
land it is held in common. Certain operations might be

performed collectively, and co-operative buying and
seeing would be of great economic advantage. The
former system is practised principally in Italy, the latter
in Rumania. Properly speaking, the individual system,
though co-operative, does not quite belong to cooperative
farming, as the members are not co-operating
in the actual process of production. In Ireland cooperative
farming is not practised, but an attempt was
made a few years ago at Raheen and another but smaller
one at Foynes on the lines of the famous Ralahine
experiment. These experiments are yet in their infancy,
and we will not venture to prophesy.
To our regret we had to omit part of our programme
for the day. Owing to engine trouble, we were delayed
and so could not fulfil our promise to visit a model farm.
On our way back, about a mile and a half from Kilkenny,
we called on Lady D. Our compatriots would like to
know something of what can be done by the aristocracy
to improve the lot of the poorer classes. Lady D.,
assisted by her relative, the Honourable O. C., an
Irishman of the Irish Revival school, started a woollen
company and wood works with the view to employing
the villagers. For the accomodation of the workers
she built a model village. The factories are worked by
contented workers, who are well housed, well paid, and
are working under the best possible conditions. It was too
late for Lady D. to show us round the village and the
works, and so instead we enjoyed a talk over a cup of
tea and a cigarette in her charming house in the middle
of her model village. If similar activities were undertaken
by our nobility, a great deal could be attained
by their lead in this direction. To my mind it only
needs a big heart and an enterprising spirit to start
such good work as this. I have always believed in
these two primary factors to success, and the more I
see of the world, the more I am convinced that these
two qualities must form the nucleus of all great movements,
and that they gather around them the elements
necessary to success.


Next morning we made for Callan, where we visited a
creamery. A crowd of young and old, men and women,
as well as children, with their little country carts drawn
by shabby little donkeys and mules, were delivering
their milk in large tinned vessels at the back of the
creamery on to a platform, where it was poured into a
weighing tank, and after an entry in their little book
crediting them with the amount of milk they delivered,
they returned free and easy to their farms. The taking-in
of the milk was superintended by the manager
himself, as too much caution cannot be exercised in this
matter. As the milk is all mixed together, one supplier's
lot, if tainted or tampered with, might spoil the output
of the creamery that day. Before the milk from each
member was emptied into the receiving vat, a sample
was taken for testing purposes.
We were talking with the manager a few yards from
the crowd at this meeting point between farm and
factory. The crowd interested us very much, and we
could not help paying particular attention to the pretty
young girls with their beautiful fresh complexions and
large, speaking, dark-blue eyes beaming with life and
health from under a crown of dark, rich hair. It was
a freezing day, but the pretty witches looked charming
in their black shawls.
The reader notices that we have already visited several
creameries. Any one of them was just as good as
another, and would serve as an example of that form
of association. Creameries are factories worked by
motive power (generally a steam engine and boiler), for
the manufacturing of butter on a large scale, and sometimes
of cheese as well. Without going into details, I
shall attempt to give my readers an idea of what one
sees going on in a creamery.
We have already been to the back of the creamery
and seen the farmers delivering their milk on to a
platform. The milk is strained through a sieve into a
big tank. A tube then carries it to the pasteuriser,

where it is heated to a certain degree in order to render
the cream easier to separate. From this it passes on to
the separator, a Swedish invention which has entirely
revolutionised the dairy trade. The principle involved
in separating cream is the law of gravitation. The
cream being lighter keeps to the centre, while the heavier
separated milk seeks the outside of the rapidly revolving
discs. Each is then delivered by a separate tube, The
cream is conducted to a second pasteuriser, in which it
is heated to a higher degree in order to kill the dangerous
organisms that may be in it, and then cooled down
immediately by trickling over a corrugated cylindrical
cooling apparatus before it is pumped up to a freezing
plant above. It is then ripened with a pure culture or
starter prepared from the proper bacteria which by
their action on the cream sour it. Not until the cream
is ripe is it ready for churning, otherwise the butter
would be greasy and flavourless. This last operation
consists in giving the cream a violent shaking in a large
wooden barrel fitted with revolving dashers inside, which
causes the globules of fat to come together and form
butter. This having been churned and washed, is
conveyed to what is called the butter worker, a wooden
table on which the butter is worked by wooden rollers
with corrugations straight and deep, in order to squeeze
out excess water. The butter is then salted, cut,
weighed, and packed ready to be marketed. All the
work, leaving out the waiting for the cream to ripen,
is done in a few hours, by some half-a-dozen hands.
And when we realise that this is the case in a main
creamery which handles some 5,000 gallons of milk a
day, we cannot but wonder at this great modern
achievement which would have amazed our forefathers.
This is what takes place in a modern creamery,
whether proprietary or co-operative. I have touched
upon the technical part of the work for sake of those
who do not happen to know much about it and may
be misled by the name.


Before the creamery movement came to stay, there
was neither skill nor economy in the making of butter
nor uniformity in the butter itself. Under the old
system, from one district alone issued hundreds of kinds
of butter every week, and even on the same farm the
butter varied from week to week. That was all very
well in the old days when the public taste was not
fastidious, and when keen competition between producers
far and near was not so great. Now that the
butter market demands large regular supplies, of good,
uniform quality, only producers who satisfy these
requirements can make profit of butter production in
face of the great competition that exists. Butter-making
on a large scale can be carried on only by farmers
in combination, and a combination of farmers for this
purpose results in the establishment of a creamery.
Creameries may be proprietary, that is, owned and run
by private individuals or public companies who invest
the capital and retain the profit to themselves, or cooperative,
that is, owned and run by the farmers, who
erect the plant, supply the milk, and share the profit.
In Ireland practically all the creameries belong to the
second type. This is due to the co-operative movement,
which advocated the centralising of the butter-making
of each dairying district in one building owned by the
farmers and equipped with the latest scientific appliances
for the manufacture of first-class butter under the
superintendence of a trained manager. As a result of
this, Irish farmers are now producing a butter held in
high esteem, selling at remunerative prices, competing
successfully with foreign producers, and, what is more,
are sharing amongst themselves a profit which under
the proprietary system would have gone into the pocket
of the capitalist.
I left Callan so preoccupied by all we had heard and
seen that I was quite unconscious of what was going on
around me, until Coffey from the front seat called out:
“Kells!” And behold, out in the green fields not far

from the main road, the white ruins of Kells. Dilapidated
towers and halls, cloisters and walls, remain
standing to tell their story. Here a religious house
once stood, and here a garrison was once stationed.
On going over the ground, these ruins brought back to
our minds the Middle Ages. One's thought went like
a flash to Ekkehard, the Fairy Queen, Wagner, and
The Cloister and the Hearth. Those were days in which
in spite of their cruelty, chivalry lived. Castles were
attacked and defended in open fighting by arrows and
molten lead. One was reminded of Saladin, or more
correctly Salah-Uddin, and Coeur-de-Lion, and their
chivalry. We felt humbled to think we belonged to
the twentieth century, a century of trench fighting,
bombing from the air, bombarding from a distance, and
torpedoing from under the deep sea; when it is difficult
to know one's friend from one's foe, and impossible to
trust the honour of kings and statesmen. The world
may have advanced, but are we any the better, seeing
that spying prevails, treaties are torn, pledges broken,
nations oppressed, and all this under a new régime which
promised freedom to the world, and brotherhood to

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On leaving Kells, our car unfortunately met with an
accident, but we managed to continue to Carrick-on-Suir,
where we discovered to our dismay that the car
was so badly damaged that we could not use it
further on our journey, and we had to leave it
behind at a garage whence it was sent back to Dublin.
Coffey was miserable about it, but I was glad to see
him later admiring and adopting the Eastern philosophical
attitude in the face of misfortunes. In ordinary
times this should have been a busy day in this country
town, being a market day; but County Tipperary is
under martial law since last year's troubles; in this
“rebellious” county, all public gatherings are prohibited,
as well as all industrial and social functions.
There were still some twenty miles for us to cover
before the day was over. This we did in a fine car hired
from the place at which we left ours. The day was
closing, nature's fading light allowed us to enjoy the
beautiful scenery only part of the way. The country
we passed through on our way to Cappagh was mountainous,
and the hill-ranges and valleys offered a constant
variety of colours and outlines. Night soon came on,
accompanied by high wind and severe cold. I tried to
think hard of sun and home, and thus send my thoughts
to a warmer atmosphere. On reaching our destination
our host and hostess, Mr. and Mrs. U., received us with
Irish hospitality at their nice country house. There
were other friends with them as well, and after dinner
we all joined in a circle around a great fire, talking of
things far and near. Next morning the frost held

everything in its grip. The view of the surrounding
country from the window was glorious, and the house
being on a height we had a wide prospect. Majestic
hills and thick woods, humble cottages and winding
country roads, were spread out before us. Mr. U.'s
father had been a great lover of birds, on which he was
an authority in this country, and in the room I occupied
he had left a fine collection of books on shelves,
and of birds in glass cases. I could only glance at
them, for we had a full day's programme waiting for us.
After breakfast we started with our host in his dogcart
for Ring, some nine miles away, on a visit to the Irish
School there. The first five miles we did fairly comfortably.
The hedges, which were mostly of hawthorn,
gorse, and fern, looked wretched and neglected. The
trees, which were largely oaks, larches, beeches, ash,
birches, pines, and firs, were not grand specimens, and
were scattered, some singly and some in groups, mostly
near the road. We passed by a ruined castle which
stood high up on a green mount just as it was left by
ruthless Cromwell. On marshy land near a stream,
reeds grew thickly. Here we saw herons, some standing
motionless on one leg, a study in still life, and some on
the wing, flying gracefully in their characteristic manner
with head tucked in and legs stretched straight back.
As we approached nearer to the sea, gulls began to make
their appearance. It was freezing hard, and as we were
entering an uphill country, our pony found it almost
impossible to get a grip on the ground in spite of the
frost nails he was wearing in his shoes. The road looked
as if covered with a sheet of glass; no wonder the poor
creature could not walk, still less climb. We had to
leave the pony and cart behind at a small cottage on
the wayside, and finish the journey on foot. At the
cottage Coffey talked to the inmates in Gaelic, and this,
I think, caused them to be exceptionally obliging to us.
On reaching the school we were most warmly received
by the master, Mr. S. H., and shortly afterwards we

found ourselves in the dining-room with the masters
and mistresses, boys and girls. It was quite a large
luncheon party, a party at which, in conformity with the
rules of the place, no language but Gaelic was spoken.
Had it not been for the kindness of a neighbour who communicated
with me now and then in a low voice in
English, a foreign language both of us happened to
know, I would have found myself in an awkward
position. After lunch the children entertained us with
a few songs, and a smart little fellow boldly came up to
the head of the long table and gave us a fine recitation.
Who knows whether that boy may not become one of
Ireland's many orators! If so, he will have no fault
to find with his Irish education. Moving out of the
hall we found ourselves in an atmosphere of friendliness
and warmth, in which teachers, children and all revelled.
Boys and girls clustered around us, raining questions on
their masters as to where Egypt was and as to why I
did not speak Irish, etc. The master made use of the
occasion and told them something about Egypt to their
great delight. As I was trying to make friends with
these young people, one of the masters came in carrying
in his arms a large sheet of ice he had taken from the
surface of the freezing pond near by. This created
great excitement, and the master was riddled with
questions as to how it was formed and where it came
from, did the fishes like it, etc. Another practical
lesson, all in Irish.
We were then taken over the college, which rests on
a low, grassy cliff overlooking Dungarvan Bay, and
commands a magnificent view of the Waterford coast
line, and the surrounding country. The school is a
residential one, accomodating some sixty boarders, it
is equipped with all modern requirements, and its
domestic arrangements are in the hands of an Irish-speaking
staff with the view of making Irish the language
not only of the schoolroom, but of domestic life as well.
The aim of the school is to make Irish speakers of Irish

children and to give them a thorough grip of the national
language. In this language the children receive their
instruction in Christian Doctrine, Arts, Science, Nature
Study, etc. Nothing but such efforts will save the youth
of Ireland from the denationalising process to which the
cruel force of circumstances for some generations past
has subjected them. The present form of education in
Ireland was systematised a good many years ago with
the view of destroying all sense of nationality in the
people, their rulers being convinced that not until this
was done could the nation be subdued. We well know
how close is the bond between language and nationality.
The old Irish thinkers knew that too, but they were
unable to resist the will of the mighty Saxon. The
Saxon of those days was a ruthless ruler, and did not
conceal it. Though still the same where he has a free
hand, he tries to conceal it and be a gentleman, and
will argue matters around a table as gentlemen do.
He does not like this restraint; it is not his nature;
the world is changing, however, and he has to change
with it. During the last war he went so far as to
announce himself the bitterest enemy of Prussianism,
and now he finds it rather difficult to go back on his own
professions, for the world does not trust him, and everybody
is watching him. Besides, he has joined a society
called the League of Nations, and sworn to adhere to
its principles of justice and right.
One can well understand the reasons why the Irish
people of the previous generation failed to insist upon
their youth acquiring that learning and education which
was their birthright, and allowed themselves to be
divorced from their language and culture. Had that
process gone a little further the world would have lost
this nation, as it would have been absorbed into another.
Fortunately, it was saved, just in time, by a handful of
thinkers who are now endeavouring to revive what has
been lost in language, culture, and nationality. This
handful organised themselves into a league called “The

Gaelic League,” about which I shall have something to
say later on.
We left the Ring Irish School, taking with us pleasant
thoughts, and walked back to where we left our pony
and cart. We drove home in darkness to be welcomed
by our kindly hostess.
In the morning I left for Cappoquin, a few miles away,
on a visit to Sir J. K. at his charming house with its
pretty grounds overlooking the town. My friend Coffey
did not accompany me; he had to return to Dublin on
duty, and so I was deprived of his pleasant company.
Sir J. took me around his estate, and his home farm
interested me very much. I was pleased with the
business-like manner in which he manages the farm.
The steward receives his orders from his master in
person and carries them out under a system that allows
no laxity in its execution. “Master on the 'phone”
is an effective influence; but Sir J., though he sometimes
makes use of that ingenious invention, does not
omit personal inspection of his fields, and sees everything
for himself. This particular farm of his is of some five
hundred acres, one-third of which is arable and the rest
pasture land. I asked how the farm was managed
during his absence in town or abroad. Sir J. answered:
“My wife, who knows a great deal about it, takes my
place in case of long absence, but for a short one, the
system of management is wound up too tight for any
laxity in its working. If any trouble in the mechanism
happens to arise, the momentum of organisation carries
it on till I am back.” Had I not known that it is not
so much the amount of work and time spent on industry
that tells, as the system on which it is conducted, I
would have been greatly surprised at the running of
this farm so efficiently in spite of the various activities
and duties which Sir J. undertakes in private and public
life. It is surprising how much is lost by a defective
system of business management in farming. Even in
farming conducted on strictly scientific lines, unless the

business management is sound, the financial result will
never be satisfactory. Even educational institutions too
often lose sight of this fact. Indeed, the lack of interest
in the economics of agriculture in these islands is
surprising. Such a state of affairs is to be regretted.
Until active steps are taken to remedy this defect in
the system of agricultural education, the future of
farming in these countries will not be really hopeful.
Many of those we came across and who have the welfare
of agriculture at heart, shared our view. Sir Horace
Plunkett's three-fold policy of “Better Farming, Better
Business, Better Living,” confirms this. Sir Horace, as
the father of Irish rural reconstruction, recognised this
long ago and worked wholeheartedly for the realisation
of his ambitious programme, laying great stress particularly
on the second part of his famous formula. In
Egypt, what are our educated farmers doing? How
much of our farming is run on scientific lines? Do our
farmers conduct their business on anything like sound
business principles? What sort of life does our rural
community live? What steps are taken by our enlightened
young landowners to improve the social and
economic conditions connected with our greatest national
industry? Do they persist in letting their estates and
farms to tenants, while they themselves enjoy life in gay
cities at home and abroad? Or are they contented to
live in a fool's paradise in their country homes wholly
unconscious of the backward state of affairs prevailing
in the community?
Lady K., who plays a leading part in promoting the
interests of the United Irishwomen in this place, was
unfortunately away at Reading, where she was attending
some conference in connection with gardening and
dairying. I understood that she had a scheme on hand
for starting a school of gardening for the daughters of
the neighbouring gentry, certainly a praiseworthy undertaking,
and one which would lead to a vast field of
interest and healthy activity for these young women

who otherwise, while waiting for the suitor who does
not always arrive, might become self-absorbed idlers.
In the afternoon I visited the Co-operative Society,
and also the Bacon Factory. The latter does not interest
me, personally, as swine's flesh to us is a forbidden food;
but for sake of those who enjoy “Bacon and Eggs” in
the morning, after a plate of hot porridge, I may be
permitted to say a few words on the killing and curing
of bacon.
Each pig is hung up by a hind leg and killed by
stabbing in the neck with a double-edged sharp knife.
Still hanging down, he is carried by means of wheels
which run on rails fixed to the roof, to the scalding tank,
where he is left for a while. When he emerges the hair
is scraped off. The carcase is then singed with a strong
gas flame in order to harden the skin and give it the
firmness, texture, and colour required. It is then slit
open and disembowelled, next the head and legs are
separated and the body cut into the two “sides.” These
are then taken to the freezing chambers, where they
are chilled and cured. The process of “curing,” which
is simply a process for preservation, consists in covering
the sides with common salt and saltpetre and piling
them on top of one another. In that state they are
left for weeks till they are ready to be dispatched to
the traders. I inquired whether it would not be profitable
to make use of the skin of the pig instead of leaving
it on the flesh as rind to be thrown away later on; but
I was informed that real good pigskin is only found on
coarse pigs like those of Rumania, which are of inferior
breeds. As regards the pigs here, they are too well-bred
for their skin to be of any value; in Scotland,
however, a certain amount of pigskin is made use of,
the bacon produced there is called “rolled bacon.”
I was the guest of Sir J. for the night. In the
morning, which turned out to be a fine one, I went
around the farm with Sir J. and his steward. The farm
is just like any other well-managed farm in these

countries, where farming is based on the Norfolk four-course
rotation, or a modification of it.
Although we were only three or four miles away from
the Monastery of Mount Melleray, for one reason or
another we did not visit that Convent of Trappists. I
would like to have done so, that I might tell our people
how these monks by their labours have effected a
wonderful transformation, converting bare mountain
slopes into rich woodlands, fertile pastures, and vegetable
gardens. Amongst these they have built their monastery,
with schools, and a guest house where travellers are
received with cheerful hospitality.
From Cappoquin, which, I was told, makes a convenient
starting-point for the Blackwater scenery, I
took the train to Fermoy. The railway followed the
river all the way and allowed one to enjoy a grand
panorama of the beautiful valley lying between a series
of undulating hills variously coloured. Fermoy is a
small country town of barracks, churches, and convents,
lying on the River Blackwater, which is here crossed
by a wide stone bridge. The current is strong and
might very well be made use of for generating power.
Our impression of Fermoy was disappointing; on all
sides soldiers, horses, broken windows, and closed-down
shops. What was wrong with the place and its people?
A short time previously, a skirmish had taken place
between the inhabitants and soldiers, and this was the
result. My visit to Fermoy was for the purpose of
attending the annual general meeting of the Agricultural
Co-operative Society. This form of co-operative association
which I saw here, at Enniscorthy, and other
places, I have not commented upon so far. These
agricultural societies, unlike creameries and other productive
societies, are essentially distributive societies.
By procuring agricultural and domestic requirements for
the farmers, they enable them to reap the advantages
gained by purchasing in large quantities for prompt
cash payments. Besides, the society watches over the

interest of its members, providing the safeguards of
analyses of manures and feeding stuffs and the testing
of seeds, without any trouble or expense to them.
Another service which these societies perform for their
members, is the purchase of expensive agricultural
machinery, which they hire out at low rates. This
society at Fermoy not only buys his requirements for
the farmer, but sells his produce as well. His requirements,
such as fertilisers, cakes, meals, flour, hardware,
etc., are bought in large quantities at wholesale prices
to be stored and drawn on as required. The society
buys grain or wool from its members and pays them for
it in cash at the current prices. It then stores these
goods to sell them later at a better price; the profit
made is distributed amongst the members according to
the produce they supply. The Society contemplates
starting a factory for the manufacture of woollen goods,
from the raw material supplied by the members,
thus making full use of collective effort for the benefit
of all.
The night I spent at a friend's house. He was a
bachelor, and had gathered around him a merry circle
of fellow bachelors who seemed to be in agreement with
Mark Twain in treating the world as a huge joke. The
conversation, as might be expected, ran mostly on
racing, hunting, shooting, coursing, and other sporting
subjects. The little knowledge I possess of Arab horses
stood me in good stead, but, when it came to hunting
and coursing, I could only listen, knowing nothing
myself of a sport which seems to me a cruel one.
The next morning I attended the society's meeting.
A crowd of farmers, big, robust, ruddy, well-fed, stout
fellows, filled the hall. After the proceedings were gone
through, the chairman called upon me to say a few
words; the meeting desiring to hear something from
“our friend and fellow co-operator from Egypt.” I
ventured to make a few remarks. Being an Egyptian
and the audience Irish, I had to apologise for speaking
in a language foreign to me and foreign to them. After

thanking them for receiving me so kindly, and offering
them my congratulations on their co-operative achievement,
I felt it my duty as a sincere friend and not
altogether inexperienced critic, to hint at what I considered
their weak point. That was the neglect of the
social and educational side of the movement. This is
not the only weak link in the chain of co-operative
enterprises in this society, but in many other societies.
People seem to allow themselves to be elated by the
remarkable progress in material welfare attained through
associated effort, and neglect the higher aim of raising
the social level of the community. This has come about
in spite of the persistent efforts of the Irish social
economists; if it continues the main purpose of the
co-operative movement will soon be lost sight of, and
its wonderful organisation used for advancing a selfish
materialism. One might have thought the Irish Cooperative
School would have been strong enough to
cope with this danger, but evidently the apathy of the
people under the spell of the general material outlook
of the age has yet to be mastered. I feel, however,
that the voice of A. E. will not be a voice in the
wilderness; nor will the seed that Irish artist-economist
is sowing fail to germinate in the kindly and rich nature
that is characteristic of this country. Those who know
the Irish temperament, will share with me this hope.
The gentle manners of even the very poor reveal an
inherent culture in the nation. Their refined feelings,
natural friendliness and hospitality, form a contrast to
the rough, callous, and inconsiderate manners of the
sister island. With my knowledge of these islands and
their peoples, I believe that the materialism that is
affecting the body and soul of their co-operative movement
can be counteracted only by Irish ideas and ideals.
It seems almost impossible to think that a time will
come when the material outlook prevailing now in
England and Scotland will be replaced by a cultural
one; if culture develops within this movement, it will

be in Ireland and amongst Irish people. True, there is
at present a great and will be a still greater civilisation
on the eastern side of the Irish Channel, but for refinement
of nature and temperament one has to sail westward.
If this is the case now, what will it be when the
Western people become emancipated, and the teaching
of the higher ethics of co-operation strike root? Perhaps
if I quote the Countess Markievicz, a great Sinn Féin
leader, my readers may have a glimpse into the spirit
and ideals of the Irish people on the questions under
“We see prosperity as well as freedom in our separation
from England. If the enormous sums of money
exported every year to pay the English Government's
debts were applied to developing Irish resources in ways
suited to the temperament and desires of our people we
would find that we were moving surely toward the
ideal that we believe in—a co-operative commonwealth.
Wealth is much more evenly divided here than in
England, we have no millionaires to cope with, very
few ‘great vested interests,’ no big industrial cities.
We have not made of the ideas of perpetual and high-speed
work a God to worship, and we do not love competition;
we have no desire to build an Empire—we
abhor the idea—nor do we want to impose our rule
over ‘natives’ anywhere. Huge factories that work
day and night are a horror to us. Leisure, comradeship,
co-operation, are things we would desire to bring within
the grasp of all; time to think, to read, and to develop
the spirit that is in man. Above all, we want to live
in peace: peace with our neighbours, peace with the
world, peace even with England. Only as a free
Republic will Ireland's attitude to England be changed
to the right relationship between neighbours. For
friendship must be a relationship between equals and can
never exist between the oppressor and the oppressed.”
In the evening I was invited to a social gathering
composed chiefly of farmers. After-dinner speeches were

made, and again I found myself representing Egypt
amongst Irishmen. Toasts were proposed for our dear
lands, and in the absence of Nile water, Irish whiskey
figured prominently. It was a happy hour, and I am
sure my fellow countrymen would have been delighted
with the scene had they been there. I had to withdraw
regretfully before the party broke up, as I had to catch
the night train to Mallow. It was only in the train that
I found time to read the day's paper. I felt sad when
my eye caught Mr. Balfour's declaration on the British
Government's policy towards Egypt. Evidently the
British nation means to use the “mailed fist” against
Egypt. We may still live to see a Raemaker cartoon
depicting John Bull in his usual supercilious and haughty
attitude, saying to poor “Young Egypt,” broken down
and violated: “Now, you have lost everything.”
Egypt's answer to John Bull will be the same as that of
Belgium to the Kaiser: “Not my soul.” The Prussian
“Iron Heel” has now become British, and the Bismarckian
“Blood and Iron” policy has changed its
name since the Armistice into Balfourism. Imperialism
and autocracy are imposing themselves on the whole
world. Small nations are not to be heard when “self-determination”
is the order of the day. The “League
of Nations,” thanks to the superhuman effort of the
latest prophet produced by the West, has become a fact
on paper—a scrap of paper! It is the greatest practical
joke the world has ever witnessed. The nations have
been thoroughly cajoled. Sometimes one feels bitter
over the inhuman cruelty of it, but when one realises
that it is after all a joke, one laughs. The wisdom of
the West has worked out a new philosophy, altogether
different from that of the East. The Orient has accustomed
us all to expect from it prophets of Truth,
The East is serious; the Occident jests.
With these thoughts I retired. The next day I had
a walk around this beautifully situated town of Mallow,
before I proceeded to Cork.

[Back to top]


MUNSTER (continued)

The historic city of Cork, finely situated as it is on
the River Lee, possesses a charm of its own, though in
places it has a touch of the Dublin atmosphere. The
pleasantness of its spacious streets, and the beauty of
its women were the first things that struck me. The
women have beautiful, dark eyes and hair, grace of
manner, charming frankness, and a womanly dignity
that reminds me of our Egyptian women. There is
nothing about them of that aggressiveness and self-consciousness
that deprives many of the Northern
women of their natural charm, they are easy in their
ways, natural in their manners, and graceful in their
Being a teetotaller by religion, and a visitor to the
city where the well-known “Apostle of Temperance,”
Father Mathew, lived and preached, I thought it would
be the proper thing to stay at the Temperance Hotel.
Father Mathew extended his great crusade against drink
into England and America about the middle of the last
century. I do not know how long this warfare against
alcoholism has been waged in the West. What I do
know is that during this last war, the Powers, realising
the evil of drink at a time when men need all their wits
about them, put great restrictions on its manufacture
and consumption. And then America, with its spectacular
methods of carrying on propaganda, sent its
“Pussyfoot” Johnson to these countries, not only in
the cause of restriction but of actual prohibition. I
wonder how far will these Acts of Parliament keep their
hold on the people. I believe, and a good many of our

Irish friends agree that men's hearts cannot be changed
by Acts of Parliament, and that it is a profound mistake
to imagine that a sober nation can be made to order.
Religion, to my mind, has a much stronger hold over
people's action in that direction, and it is a most unfortunate
thing that in the Christian Faith there is no
prohibition against drink as we have it in our Islam.
However, we shall see as time goes on, the effect of
these efforts on society in the West. In the meantime,
we may congratulate ourselves that the West is adopting
one Islamic institution after another, with a view to
reforming corruption in its society. Between prohibition
and the laws governing marriage and divorce,
Europe is struggling to acknowledge things in the
Muslim faith she used to jeer at not very long ago.
I visited University College, a handsome white building
occupying a picturesque site high up on a rock. This,
with the two colleges of Dublin and Galway, form the
three constituent colleges of the National University of
Ireland. I met some of the masters of the College
and many of the men, and had a talk with Professor
Wibberley, the Professor of Agriculture, on his system
of “Continuous Cropping,” which he has been advocating
for the last few years, and which he hopes will
revolutionise agriculture in these countries. This system
aims at “Farming on Factory Lines,” that is, working
the land in the most intensive manner, making use of
scientific knowledge and working on economic principles
with a view to getting as much out of the land as possible
without deteriorating the soil. To go into the details
of Professor Wibberley's system and into his ideas on
agricultural education will be beyond the scope of this
book. But if I quote a little from his general ideas on
agricultural education in Ireland, I may be interesting
our people in a question which is in a similar position
in my own country. Talking of the student of agriculture
in Ireland, he says:
“He is studying, with the same object as his engineering,

medical, and other contemporaries, purely an
solely for the purpose of getting a job—a collar and
cuff job, no matter how badly paid. I speak facts.
Of the number of agricultural graduates that have
passed through the Dublin College of Science, I doubt
if more than two per cent. are engaged in practical
agriculture. Those who are not lucky enough to get a
situation under the Department of Agriculture—well, I
don't know where they have drifted to, but they are
not farming. That there was need for the Department
to train men for official positions everybody admits, and
those who, like myself, have had an opportunity of
comparing the type of men employed under the Department
with the agricultural instructors produced in other
countries will congratulate the Department on the
results. But the time has arrived when training, and
university training at that, should aim, not at creating
degree or diploma men, but students who go to the
University solely with the object of returning to the land
and putting their scientific knowledge into practice.”
In this picture, things look dark as far as the future
of agriculture in Ireland is concerned. But since the
leading agriculturists have raised their voices to attract
the attention of the authorities things are improving a
little. The National University is already striking out
a new line in agricultural studies. The Department of
Agriculture, too, alive to the defects in its agricultural
programme, has turned over a new leaf. I noticed when
I visited the Agricultural College at Glasnevin, near
Dublin, which is under the Department, an arrangement
had been entered into with the University in the matter
of agricultural instruction.
The next day, the fascination of the Blarney Stone
drew us to it. The train journey afforded a good chance
of seeing the beautiful country. The scenery was really
charming, the river winding round and round the green
pastures with cattle grazing on them—the hills and
mountains covered with trees—all was beautiful.


The Castle itself consists of a massive tower with lower
and less substantial buildings around it. The fame of
this place is due to a widespread tradition that
There is a stone there
That, whoever kisses,
Oh! he never misses
To grow eloquent.
'Tis he may chamber
To a lady's chamber,
Or become a member
Of Parliament.
I must admit I never ventured to kiss the “Blarney
Stone.” Superstition has no hold on me, in spite of the
widespread belief that all Easterns are superstitious.
As a matter of fact, there is as much superstition here
and perhaps more than ever came under my notice at
home. “Touch wood,” “Unlucky 13,” “Horseshoe for
luck,” “the Mascot,” “Tying a shoe at the back of a
wedding party's car,” “If salt is spilt at table, a little
must be thrown over the left shoulder” to avert ill-luck,
“Break one, break three,” “Must break bread on first
visit to a new house,” “Wine decanter must go around
table right to left,” etc., are only a few well-known
superstitious sayings.
The pleasure grounds surrounding the Castle are
beautiful and old-world with their great trees and ancient
rocks and walls adorned with evergreens. Looking up
at the tower on the side of entrance, I saw , a few feet
from the top, the famous stone clasped with iron bars,
The sight satisfied my inquisitiveness, and when I
climbed up the tower by the narrow and dark staircase,
I contented myself with the magnificent view of the
surrounding country, while others were placing themselves
in the inconvenient, awkward, and uncomfortable,
not to say undignified, positions, which would enable
them to reach that lucky stone, which has been touched
by the lips of thousands of ambitious, simple souls who
most likely have never afterwards clambered to a lady's
chamber, or become members of Parliament!


The next day I called on various friends. Perhaps it
will interest my readers to know something of the noble
efforts my musical friends here are making for the
revival of the old Irish music. Ireland has a wealth of
national airs, unsurpassed as expressions of human
feeling, much of which has been lost to her as the result
of unfortunate circumstances. Lately a national musical
revival was begun, with its centre at Cork. Father O'F.,
a patriot, a good musician, and an enthusiastic supporter
of all that is Irish—a charming young priest, such as
we find at home amongst the young sheikhs of Dar-El-Uloom
—with the help of Herr Professor Karl Hardebeck
started a school of national music at Cork, which soon
became a centre for all lovers and admirers of Irish
music. The Herr Professor, a blind Hungarian genius,
who has lived a good many years in Ireland, and who
loves Irish music and has studied it at its original source
amongst the Irish-speaking folk of the West, devoted
all his time to collecting native songs, chants, and
lamentations. Comparing the position of our Irish
friends with our own, I think we in Egypt are much
more fortunate. Our music is still with us, forming an
inherent part of our life. All that it needs is developing
on modern lines. Our present position in the world of
music is similar to that of our forefathers in the realms
of poetry before the art of writing came into practice.
Everything with them in literature then, as with us in
music now, depended on memory and ear. Imagine the
works of Beethoven, Wagner, Mendelssohn, Schubert,
Mozart, Chopin, … not as recorded with scrupulous
exactness but as merely remembered. This is the
condition under which the works of our El-Shantouri,
Abdou El Hamouli, Mohammad Osman, El Sheikh
Yousif, Abdul Hai, El Sheikh Salama Hegazi. are
handed down to us. This unsatisfactory state of affairs
is not creditable to a nation like ours, the first in the
world to cultivate music. Our people practised this
art on the banks of the Nile from about 4,000 b.c.

And it was on their system, as confirmed by Greek
writers, that Pythagoras in 550 b.c. founded the Greek
music and philosophy.
As regards Irish musical instruments, I understand
they are the pipes and the harp. Every effort is made
to restore these again to their true place in national
music. Coming back to things Egyptian, the variety
of musical instruments we have now is great. Even in
the days of Ancient Egypt musical instruments existed
in profusion. Drums, bells, cymbals (used for dancing
girls to mark the rhythm of their performance), trumpet,
flute, harp, and lute, were all Egyptian. This shows
that the Egyptians have always been a highly musical
nation of considerable artistic power. I feel sure that
Modern Egypt will one day take her due place in this
sphere of art. It is not mere enthusiasm that has forced
me to this conclusion; a long acquaintance and love
for Western music, as well as for our own, has revealed
to me the possibilities that lie within the realms of each.
Modern Eastern music has not so far contributed much
to the musical world, but I feel convinced that Egypt
too shall sing her song when she is liberated from the
cage of ignorance and slavery and able to use her wings
again. When I made the acquaintance of my friends
at Cork who are developing Irish music on national
lines, I immediately thought of my old friend, Safar
Bey Ali, and his circle, who are doing similar work at
home. The more I know of Ireland, the more I see
the resemblance between it and Egypt. Both have
sincere devotees who work in different directions to
make each country “a nation once again.” I am glad
to see that in both countries the cultured classes are
taking a keen interest in the development of national
music. In our case, as far back as I can remember,
the “salons” of men like the late Musa Bey Sadik and
Mustafa Bey Rida were meeting places for the best of
professionals, young amateurs, and those who loved


I do not know whether I am right in using the term
salon” in the French sense. A salon without ladies
sounds incongruous. I am sure Voltaire would be
offended to hear me using this word about Egypt. To
him there was “no society without women.” Personally
I regret very much the absence of our cultured women
from society. It is a very great loss to it. If one could
only shut one's eyes, and on opening them again find
our Egyptian society a “mixed one,” of men and women,
conducted on such lines as would ensure to us the virtues
of Western society, and save us from its vices, how
delightful would life be in Egypt! I know many of
our cultured women who would adorn salons with their
charm, wit, and grace, and who under our present social
order are secluded, depriving society of what should be
the fairest and finest in our social life. Of course, that
question must be solved some time. Egypt can never
be the great country we want her to be, unless in her
development her womanhood stands shoulder to shoulder
with her manhood. The consequences of what I have
called “mixed society” we must face with courage and
hope, our duty is only to prepare the way for such a
society gradually so as to prevent such corruption and
vulgarity as the West has fallen into. It is not an
impossible task. Our people have a high sense of
morality and they are religious, and if our Ulamas,
nobility, and cultured people take a bold lead in such a
vital movement, we need have no fears. But let me
again insist on the great part religion should play in
our social order. Once a nation drifts away from religion,
she is sure to be on the way to vice. To us who have
lived in civilised England and also in holy Ireland this
is obvious.
The next day, being a very fine one, I paid a visit
to Queenstown, which I would prefer to call by its old
name, “Cove of Cork.” The journey by rail was
charming. The wide expanse of water on one side and
the sloping hills covered with woods here and pasture

there on the other, were a lovely sight. The colours
of the sky alone made a picture. It looked as if Nature
in a playful mood was amusing herself with the brush,
a streak of “Labani” here, one of “Farouzi” there,
and a few blotches of “Samawi” and the picture was
finished. No bright, rich oil colours, it was all faint
water colour. Queenstown lies on the south side of the
great Island, and its buildings are on the face of a hill
sloping down to the shore, presenting tiers of terraces.
The railway goes uninterruptedly from Cork to the
Island, crossing small areas of shallow water by short
bridges. The harbour in which this Island stands is
one of the finest in the Kingdom. High up on a hill
rises the fine Roman Catholic Cathedral, a beautiful
piece of Gothic art. The richness of its architecture,
and the beautiful design and colouring of its windows,
won my admiration, and I sat down and meditated.
It was a house of God, and to me it mattered not whether
it was a church, synagogue, or mosque. Children on
their way back from school came in, bowed, made the
sign of the Cross on their breasts, meditated for a
moment, rose up again, made the sign anew, and left.
This was going on while others were being admitted
through small doors at the side into the confession boxes,
where they confess the sins committed during the week,
and the priest “gives them absolution.” These are the
future citizens of this country of Erin, and this is how
their conscience and religious sense are cultivated. From
childhood to old age their lives and their religion are
one; hence it is no wonder that a high tone of morality
exists amongst Irishwomen. When our eyes turn to the
sister island across the Channel, we see a different state
of affairs. What accounts for the difference? We are
told of several reasons, but chief amongst them, perhaps,
is the influence of the teachings of their Church on Irish
people. Their religion plays a prominent part in their
lives. It is not divorced from worldly things. We
notice it in the priests themselves. They take part in

every phase of life in the community amongst which
they live. They are in the cottage, school, and palace,
they study the lives of the people, they advise, they
sympathise. The reader must have noticed my references
to the various activities displayed by the priests.
If Ireland becomes “a nation once again,” as all of us
hope she will, she will owe much to her priests and nuns.
They stood by her in adversity, they healed her wounds,
they comforted her, they preserved her faith, and
strengthened her soul. They nursed the sick, supported
the weak, looked after the orphans, and taught the
children. One has only to live amongst the people to
notice the close relationship between them and their
Church. Before coming over to Ireland how much we
heard of the undesirable influence of the priests on the
people of Ireland! Our English friends, including
clergymen, used to tell us how the Catholic Church in
Ireland hampered the progress of the people, limited
their outlook, narrowed their views, discouraged scientific
investigation, interfered with liberal education, rendered
the place a hotbed for political troubles, and the rest of
it. But I feel that the priests in identifying themselves
with the cause of the people, as they have often done,
have helped Ireland to preserve her soul, her personality,
her very life. It would have suited England admirably
that the priests should have held aloof from the national
cause. She realises, no doubt, that their influence has
been flung into the scale against her.
Ireland it is that has exposed England to the world,
old and new, as the selfish oppressor that she is.
England would have been glad to exploit Ireland's
resources in England's interests; to work Ireland's
brains for England's benefit. But what would Ireland
have become in the end? A poor imitation of England.
She could not have been anything else, the nature of
her people is entirely different from that of the natives
of the sister island. Would not that have been a loss
to the world? Every nation is endowed by nature with

a certain temperament and outlook on life, just as each
individual is possessed of a certain personality. If all
peoples made the best of the dormant powers that are
in them, developing these, interpreting in their own way
the gifts that God has endowed them with, the world
would be the richer, more beautiful and happier, because
each element that constitutes it would contribute its
individual note to the harmony of the whole. Under
the present order of society many individuals and many
nations are deliberately prevented from developing their
natural gifts of character. External factors dominate
them and deprive them of their individuality, with the
result that the powers born in them degenerate or fade
away. The world generally has not advanced sufficiently
to realise this, but when it does, I feel sure it
will be considered a gross crime for any one nation or
union of nations, however powerful, to prevent any
community from expressing its own powers, material,
artistic, and spiritual, in its own way. The time will
come, if the human race is to live and flourish, when
every effort will be made to bring out all that is good
and beautiful in all the communities of which the human
race is composed. At the present day we are still in
the world of materialism. Every endeavour is made to
utilise the material resources that constitute the wealth
of all countries; that is why “Might” is worshipped
now, for in the world of materialism “Might” is the
god. Countries are conquered that their mines and
fields may be worked, no matter what becomes of the
conquered people; their lives, their minds, their souls,
their feelings, their ideals, are of no concern, it is their
muscles, the muscles of slaves, that are wanted. We
must admit that the world is progressing, although
slowly. It has already been made impossible for one
power to dominate the world. If the world was to be
dominated by one power, Germany no doubt would
have been that power. It is said that the idea that
there should be one master for the whole world has

been settled once and for all. But what has taken his
place? A company, a combine, a group of four or five
powers. It is an advance in the right direction, but one
would have liked that advance to have gone a bit further,
so far at least as to include a larger number of peoples.
To-day is Sunday, the 23rd of November, the anniversary
of the Manchester Martyrs. I have no intention
of calling back sad memories here, so I leave the tale
untold. The cruelties of the English to a few Irishmen
at Manchester were not unlike those committed by the
same benevolent race against the few Egyptians at
Denshwai. I only mention these incidents “lest we
forget.” Here at Cork, all celebrations for this 23rd of
November were proclaimed and processions suppressed.
A large display of soldiers and police was made with
intent to humiliate the spirit of the nation. All that
was left to the people was the holding of religious
services in the churches, where Requiem Masses for the
repose of the souls of the martyrs were said. All day
parties of military, wearing trench helmets and with
fixed bayonets, supported by a large force of constabulary
fully armed, were posted on the various bridges and in
the principal streets. I went to see the National Monument
to the Martyrs, and found the position held by a
strong section of the military and police. The gloom
of the atmosphere was relieved by the little children,
who, “playing with fire,” were throwing explosives at
the soldiers from a distance. One was obliged to laugh,
sad as it all was, at the sight of a huge policeman, red
with rage, snorting and stampeding after a mischievous
little urchin, who, though frightened out of his life
managed most cleverly to dodge the mass of humanity
coming like a steam roller after him. While this was
going on another “mite” managed to place his little
bomb between the feet of another giant. That sent
another steam roller down the street, till, exhausted, it
stopped automatically in front of a publichouse where
fuel was available free of charge, according to a previous

understanding between that human engine and the
publican. When the time came for the regiment to
retire to its barracks after a day's glorious service, it
did so to the accompaniment of a large crowd of children
whose hooting and shouting heralded the force a long
time before it appeared. I have never seen a regiment
look so ridiculous.
Next day I paid a visit to the Fordson Works, a fine
modern factory well situated on the bank of the Lee,
where agricultural motor tractors were made on a large
scale. The foundry and machine shops were not in full
swing as the place was still unfinished, but everything
was being arranged in the usual American business-like
manner. Almost all the workers and mechanics were
Irish, while the few heads were from across the Atlantic.
I was told Mr. Ford himself was of Irish descent, and
that his ancestors came from Cork. I wondered whether
it was industrial enterprise or home affection that stimulated
him to establish this factory here; probably both,
but I am rather inclined to think it was principally the
latter, as about the same time another American gentleman
of Munster descent endowed a Professorship of
Agricultural Research in the University College here at
Cork. These occurrences were consistent with the
advocacy here of a more extensive and intensive system
of farming; under such a system the use of up-to-date
machinery in working the land would become very
essential. The College authorities, realising this, wisely
included in their new scheme for agricultural education
a practical course of Farm Engineering to be conducted
at the Ford Motor Works. These works, as we have
said above, turn out motor tractors and motor tractors
only. There is a great future before these farm engines.
Their adaptability is an immense advantage; not only
do they plough, sow seeds, and harvest the grain, but
they take it to market in a train of waggons, and being
fitted with belt driving, they can also be used to supply
power for the working of various kinds of fixed

machinery on the farm. Now compare these with
another farm engine, the motor plough, which can do
nothing but ploughing, and the greater value of the
tractor becomes apparent.
It is indeed cheering that these Irish-Americans do
not forget the country of their origin. It is very touching
to hear of the young emigrants sending part of their
earnings and savings to their poor parents and needy
relations in the home country. The effort made in the
United States to emancipate Ireland is solely due to
the activities of its citizens who are of Irish origin, a
worthy work for so true and affectionate a race. Now
the same people are showing an interest in developing
agriculture, industries, and shipping in Ireland.
Later in the day I had the pleasure of meeting
Mr. McS., the member of Parliament for Cork, (who later
became Lord Mayor in succession to MacCurtain, who
was deliberately murdered by the enemies of Sinn Féin).
Father O'F., Professors R. and S., and others. We
discussed the prospects of their Sinn Féin and our
Nationalist movements. The principle religiously adhered
to and the tactics adopted by both parties to
throw off the foreign yoke are very similar.
In the evening I was invited to attend a private Irish
concert at the School of Music. I felt greatly honoured
by being welcomed as “our friend from Egypt.” I
enjoyed the music and songs, and when I was called
upon, I had to apologise for my inability to do much
in that line, and contented myself with saying a few
words about our Egyptian music. After the concert,
and the refreshments that followed, I had a talk with
Professor Hardebeck, who is an authority on Irish
music. It was interesting to hear him talking of the
strain of Eastern music in the Irish, and of
the connection or relationship between the Irish and
Oriental languages. Here is a piece of fascinating
research work for our students in Egypt, who have
means, leisure, and interest in such questions. Of

course, we have more pressing problems to investigate
at home which will occupy pretty well all our energies
for some time to come. But I make this suggestion
for the few whose disposition and talent are particularly
adapted to this kind of work, and whose gifts would be
lost to the nation if their energies were directed into
other channels. Such people generally fail to do much
in other spheres, and it would be fortunate if they were
left to use the talent they are gifted with for the general
good, be it in the world of thought or in the realms of
art. If we are entrusted with a power, it is our duty
to make the best use of it for the welfare of the community
as a whole, otherwise we are robbing the world
of a power created for the good of humanity. It is an
offence against society not to contribute our full share
to its welfare; and the bigger our resources are, the
more is expected from us. Of course, resources are not
taken here in the merely economic sense, but in the
wider one, and include intellect as well as wealth, greatness
of heart, personality, etc. … these are all forces
to be reckoned with in our lives, and these are the
powers which shape society. Unless all these powers
are called into action, something will be lost, and the
nation will be the poorer. In some countries one particular
force is valued more than any other. Our own
country thinks more of intellect than of anything else.
Our people are intellectual, almost to excess. I suppose
that is why they count intellect as the highest gift of
all. This attitude is to my mind a very dangerous one,
for unless intellect is accompanied by nobility of
character, solidity of purpose, perseverance, and the
other qualities which should be its accompaniments, it
is a fruitless force. Mustafa Kamel rightly interpreted
it when he said: “Ruoosun ïndana wa-lakin la nufoos.”

[Back to top]


MUNSTER (continued)

The next morning was fine and I decided to leave Cork.
A good view of the city was obtained from the train.
The country looked charming, hills, valleys, mountains,
and pastures. The railway followed closely the winding
waters of the River Bandon. The country was wooded
until the river was crossed, then stretches of wild and
uncultivated land appeared. Further on, when the
River Illen was reached, the scenery again altered, and
showed bogs and a bleached vegetation. It was not
long before I found myself in Bantry. In that town,
which is well situated on a fine bay commanding a
beautiful view, I spent a few hours. Fishing boats
gave signs of industrial life, and were, I understood,
very numerous in the mackerel season. In the short
time at my disposal, I took the road descending to the
harbour, then, turning landward and to the left I climbed
the road up into the country, where I had a magnificent
view of Bantry Bay with Whiddy Island lying in it, the
mountains forming a noble background, and the fine
stretches of beautiful landscape intervening. Wandering
along quiet country roads and passing by small farms, I was
pleased to meet some of my old friends, the little birds.
It was a delightful sight to see a number of goldfinches
playfully pulling at pieces of straw or chasing each other
around the small oat stacks. And not far from that
joyful atmosphere of freedom and happiness, fixed outside
the doors of humble cottages, there were small cages
with bright little birds in them, now hopping restlessly
up and down their perches, and now eyeing their more
fortunate relations outside with grief and envy, looking

as if they would rather swing “on a leafless tree than
a prisoner be in a cage of gold.”
From Bantry I motored to Glengariff. The road
followed the irregular coast line at the head of the Bay,
crossing several small streams which found their way to
the sea, some slipping into it modestly and without
much ado, and some rushing over rocky falls. With
the mountains on the right and the sea on the left the
road continued winding through magnificent scenery.
True, the country looked poor and unproductive, the
rocky nature of the land and the thinness of the soil
account for that, but my appreciation of its rugged and
bold beauty was not restrained by its economic shortcomings.
Picturesque hills in the foreground with lofty
mountains looming grandly in the distance, began to
curve round, announcing the approach of Glengariff
Harbour, studded with its numerous rocky islets. After
refreshing myself at the Eccles Hotel I found it still
early enough in the day to climb up the winding rocky
road on the mountain side. Luxuriant vegetation filled
the crevices in the rocks, softening their outlines and
giving them colour, while small streams of clear cold
water roared over the falls, or murmured into the
ground. Sometimes as I climbed up the road I heard
the rustling of the falling copper-coloured leaves from
the scattered clumps of trees and I felt as if haunted
by the spirit of the woods. At other places where there
was some claim to farming, stone, or rather stone walls,
characterised the surface of the country, these enclosed
small, poor fields on which a few Kerry cows and mongrel
breeds of sheep were struggling to live. Humble cottages
were scattered here and there, and it was a delight to
talk to the poor folk inhabiting them, the old people,
the little children, or my favourite coy witches. Kindly,
homely, hospitable, religious, were they all. While
talking to some of these cottagers of a bird I had seen
on my way, and which from my description I understood
to have been the curlew, a flock of wild geese flew in

their characteristic mode of flight high up above the
glen. My friends told me of other birds they had seen
in this district, especially at times when the cold was
severe in other places, at those times the mildness of
the climate here attracted to it birds like the plovers
which do not like the cold. That mildness and those
frequent showers of which I had experience during my
short stay at Glengariff, explained the wonderful richness
and profusion of the vegetation there. As I was
making my way to the hotel the sun was setting behind
the mountains, reddening the waters and setting the
rocks in a glow. I passed through the village, and
enjoyed a charming view of the ruins of an old bridge
lit up by the warm evening light.
The first thing my eyes fell upon in the morning was
a perfect picture of peace. From my window, the clear
and still waters of the harbour surrounded by the
mountains looked like a glass of pure water held in a
giant's hand. The sun rising from behind a veil of
clouds seemed as if trying to have a glance to see if
this was really water, so red it was like wine. Was it
the work of magic, or was it a pure and simple physical
phenomenon of light reflection, or was it the sun's own
suspicious glance that made the waves to blush? All
was still, not a sound, not a movement, and I wondered
if it were after all possible that absolute peace could
really come to us on this planet. After breakfast I
started on my journey to Killarney. There is no railway
to Kenmare, which is about eighteen miles away, and I
chose to do this part of the journey on a jaunting car.
Before leaving the town I called at the Lacemaking
School, but as I intend to speak about this art later on,
I will leave it for the present. The day was cold, and
the atmosphere dry and clear, and the clouds hung low
over the mountains, as up we climbed by a winding road.
We passed small streams running gleefully down the
hills, and stately old oaks holding their place with
dignity and reserve. There were other trees besides

this queen of the woods; the most numerous of these
were the holly and the birch. At this time of year and
at this place, the holly looked the most picturesque and
cheerful of all trees; when others seemed cold and
unsocial, the holly, with its ever-glossy leaves of rich
green, and its clusters of scarlet berries, warmed one's
heart. In the midst of these surroundings I was again
delighted to meet old friends. All the finches were
there, and I listened with joy to the rich piping voice
of my favourite, the bullfinch. The woodcock, the
wood pigeon, the yellow-hammer, the linnet, the wagtail,
and, of course, the robin, were all there too. As we
climbed higher, the scenery changed, the woods gradually
dropped behind, the hills gave way to mountains, and
the small green fields with humble cottages scattered
amongst them were replaced by broad expanses of
brown vegetation with rocks showing through. Higher
still we found nothing but rocks with a few mountain
plants struggling to gain a footing in the crevices.
Heath and heather, decayed fern and withered furze,
lent their colouring to the massive rocks dominating
this wild country. Sometimes the heather showed its
faint purple, while the bolder furze displayed its rich
yellow flower to the full, and but for these the scene
would have seemed chilly and inhospitable. The snowclad
tops of the heights disappeared into space behind
a silvery-grey veil; where the heights ended and the
clouds began remained a mystery. Lower down the
sides of the mountain, the active Scotch Blackfaced
sheep grazed, on—I am not sure what; I know it was
not on grass. They looked hardy, sure-footed, and
alert. No other animals lived there except the hare
and the badger. Goats were not allowed to roam there.
They were wanted nearer home for milking and also to
keep them from running away. Down in the valley
streams ran, and there I saw scattered, small farms
where luxurious green vegetation indicated some prosperity.
Ridges of green turnips or cabbage, stacks of

straw, hay, or corn, clamps of potatoes, a few black
Kerries and red Dexters grazing quietly on small
pastures, and flocks of ducks and geese around their
beloved waters, small, comfortable-looking cottages, all
this revealed some claims to wealth on the land. Amid
such scenes we continued till the road left County Cork
at the entrance of a rocky tunnel. We emerged on the
other side to find ourselves in County Kerry and faced
with a perfect “study in brown.” Everything was of
that colour in all its shades. Bogland, some of it worked
and some not, seemed to fade away into areas of vegetation
and masses of rock, without revealing the lines of
demarcation. Scattered about were turf stacks made of
sods piled together. Lower down we came to land
where larch and ash began to appear, also hawthorn
and sally or willow, the latter with their long, slender,
straight twigs springing low down from the stem. Still
further down the land grew richer, and here rabbits,
with fastidious tastes, feasted on the tender plants
grown on the small farms. Dexters and Kerries were
here replaced by Shorthorns and Aberdeen Angus, while
the mountain sheep were replaced by Border Leicesters.
In the valley the road followed the Kenmare River,
with its waters dashing angrily down falls, or zigzagging
their way between such rocks as had the strength to
stand in their way. Kenmare Bay we saw at a distance,
and presently we crossed the mouth of the river over a
new suspension bridge which leads into the small town
bearing the same name. There I caught the train to
Killarney. On the way I enjoyed a fine open view with
mountains in the background displaying varied shades
of green, brown, and silver. Hills and streams, woods
and bogs, pastures and arable lands, all blended harmoniously
into a pleasing picture. Reaching Killarney
station I drove to the Lake Hotel, a mile and a half
away. Having been fed and warmed I could not help
responding to the call of the easy chair and the fire-place;
there I felt restful and happy, with an Egyptian

cigarette and a cup of Turkish coffee. It was so
peaceful and so enjoyable, I would have stayed there
for hours thinking pleasant thoughts had it not been
for a disturbance which interfered with quiet reflection.
A trivial incident took place, which exhibited the
arrogance and haughtiness of the aristocracy very
unpleasantly. I was exceedingly angered, and for the
first time in my life I felt a Bolshevik. That damnable
institution of the aristocracy is still strongly entrenched
in the heart, mind, and soul of Western society, particularly
in this kingdom. As long as this lasts, Europe
and those who ape it will be accursed by the gods. My
thoughts being thus disturbed, there was nothing for it
but to go to bed, and thus unquietly ended a day spent
in the company of serene nature.
The morning dawned and all was calm again. I
looked out of my window; stillness prevailed over
mountains, lakes, and islands. On a rocky islet, some
hundred yards away stood the ruins of old Castle Lough,
the remains of what was once an impregnable fortress,
reminding one of the wars of Queen Elizabeth and of
the iron rod of Cromwell. The morning was very cold,
but that did not deter me from driving to the Gap of
Dunloe. We drove along a beautiful avenue of lime
trees; which looked chilly in its winter garment of
white frost, then through the town of Killarney. The
demesne of Lord Headley, the Irish Muslim, now lay on
our right and that of Lord Kenmare on our left.
Crossing the River Laune, the only outlet of the lakes,
we were face to face with the mountains in all their
wild grandeur. I proceeded on foot through the Pass
into the heart of the mountain country with scenes of
great beauty and variety before me. The magnificence
of the mountains was impressive, and I could not help
repeating Tolstoy's “Mountains, Mountains, Mountains!!!”
I followed the River Lee, which in its
ragged course over big rocks and under old bridges
winds round and round, and opens now and then into

little lochs, with the chain of overhanging mountains
on both sides, amid a scene of wildness and weirdness
which overwhelmed one. A shout between these high
mountains produces an echo which comes back from
far away and from different directions, as if giants
repeated one's words in their great voices. The vastness
of the surroundings could not fail to inspire the beholder
with “big thoughts.” They made one feel that the
plans of life may be carried to their final issue against
any opposition or discouragement in the same way as
the giants made their path through these massive
mountains, or as the running streams made their beds
in the midst of solid rock. The greater, the harder and
more cruel these mountains are, the more wonderful
their effect. They seem to tell us in their huge voices
that if our endeavours are as they are so will be the
results. In adversity, when plans are frustrated and
hopes seem shattered, the memories of these mountains
may come back to one, with the admonition: “Stand
firm, solid purpose will win in the end.”
Passsing under one of those monsters I was reminded
of the Great Pyramid of our own Egypt. It looked
almost the same in shape, though the rocks were not
so uniformly arranged. Forgetting the surroundings,
I thought of our dear old land and the days of her glory,
and wished to Heaven that as a nation we would think
more of our great past. Such thinking would link us
to the realm of grandeur that was Ancient Egypt. It
would give an impulse for the great deeds that must
go to the making of the future glory that shall be
Modern Egypt. We need not go far for inspiration, if
we realise the greatness of our past and the possibilities
of our future. Nations cling to unauthentic legends
and the petty artistic achievements of past generations
and from these they try to draw inspiration for new
generations; and we in Egypt, the cradle of all civilisation,
seem unconscious of the wealth and treasures
that fill every nook and corner of our land. One temple

like that of Kasr Anas-El-Wujude, which we deliberately
flooded a few years ago in order to enrich the Black
Country, would have been sufficient to fill any nation
with a sense of greatness. We allow foreigners to come
to us from Europe and America and dig out our past,
and tell us what they please of our history, We are
contented to know very little of it, and even that little
we get, not even second-hand, but third or fourth-hand.
As for the teaching of our history in our schools, it is a
disgrace. The little of it that our “Nizaret-El-Maarif”
allows us to know is taught to children in the dullest
and most uninteresting manner. I admit that I never
paid any attention to it; taught as it was, it bored me
to death. It bored the master too, and the one hour
a week allotted to the subject he generally made better
use of by teaching grammar or some other “interesting”
subject. It mattered not to us or to him, as no examinations
were held in this almost voluntary subject of
our own history. I am convinced that our backwardness
amongst nations is due to ignorance of our past, and to
our failure to adhere to the teachings of our religion.
Our ancestors left us a great heritage in the realms of
art, literature, philosophy, and religion, and we can and
should turn the study of these to account. One regrets
to see the West thinking, and persisting in wrongly
thinking, that if any people can justly claim descent
from the Ancient Egyptians, it is the half million Copts
amongst us in Egypt; the rest of the race, or at least
the most of it, they say, has died out. They do not
seem to realise that though the early Egyptian blood,
not diluted with Greek or any other, has been mixed
with that of the great conquering Arabs, the modern
Egyptian can still claim descent rather from the Ancient
Egyptians than from the Arabs. It is to be hoped that,
in the interests of knowledge, the Egyptologists of the
West will enlighten their public on this point. We
modern Egyptians are proud of that proportion of
Ancient Egyptian blood which runs in our veins, proud,

too, of our Arab blood. Both were great peoples, and
each created a culture of its own which helped in making
the world what it is now. In saying this I am not overestimating
the part contributed by these two great
races to the shaping of European civilisation. One has
only to read what men like Maspero, Flinders Petrie,
Lane, Lane-Poole, and others, say on these matters to
be convinced of the fact. As for the very limited
Turkish and Caucasian strain that is in us, we have no
reason to be ashamed of it either. What these two
peoples lost in culture, they gained in strength, manliness,
and chivalry. The battlefields of the Balkans and
the Caucasus tell their tales of heroism. It was only
yesterday that Gallipoli and the Russian Front were
the scenes of great deeds by Turks and Cossacks.
To come back to our two main strains of ancestry, we
realise that our relationship with the Pharaohs is not as
marked as that with the Arabs. The reason is obvious;
the “latest impression lasts the longest.” It is a great
national loss that we do not realise sufficiently the
importance of a closer connection with both our ancient
cultures alike. There are good things in both, and as
we need all the goodness that is in them to help in the
making of Modern Egypt, we should lose no time in
studying our past, and making it known to our children,
so as to make them love and revere their great ancestors.
By this means children are led to take pride in their
country, and this pride will soon reflect itself in their
individual actions. Imagine the moral effect on the
minds of the school boys and girls when they act an
historical drama of which their forefathers played the
parts in real life. Singing folk songs, reciting the
speeches of great patriots and leaders of men, playing
national sports, etc.; all these inspire the children with
a sense of pride in their nation for which no other
education can be a substitute. The greatest asset of
any nation is its national culture, and it is a matter of
fundamental importance that its people should know the

history of that culture if they are to live and progress
as a cultured community. The worst blow against a
country is that which would sever its present from its
past. There are many ways of doing this. If we glance
at what the English invader has done in Ireland, we get
an idea of the different means that may be adopted to
divorce a people from their culture in order to accomplish
their conquest. The Irish people were systematically
dispossessed of their language, of their arts, even
of their national costume, before they were brought
within the British realm. Now the reaction is taking
place. The Irish Revival movement is an effort to
re-establish the severed connection between the present
and the past in order to build a new Ireland on a solid
and secure foundation. Not until this is accomplished
will Ireland become a nation once again. What happened
to Ireland has happened to other countries.
The most effective way of forming the national mind
is to educate the children in their national culture. I
am not an educationalist, but I know there are many
roads that lead to that end. Modern systems of education
have made it a pleasure to learn and a delight
to investigate. The arts of painting, drawing, and
bookbinding, fascinate children, and induce them to
buy books themselves and read them. The acting of a
play is a great excitement to school children, and it can
be made use of to acquaint them with a period of their
national history. Our own history is full of drama and
melodrama in both Early Egyptian and Arab periods.
A play suitable to be acted by school children could
easily be written based on historical facts of a certain
Egyptian Dynasty or Arab Khalifate. By this means
the outstanding features of that time would be remembered
and loved. George Ebers, the German Egyptologist,
wrote several novels, but not for the youngsters,
to popularise the study of Egyptology. His Egyptian
stimulated many to learn something of early
Egyptian history, and informed them of some of its

events and introduced them to certain historical personalities.
Eugene Brieux, the young French dramatist,
by his La Foi has represented to us the time of Menephthah
I of Mosaic fame, in such a charming way that
when the play is acted on the stage it leaves a lasting
impression of the high standard attained in arts, science,
life, and thought, at the close of the Nineteenth Dynasty.
Sir Walter Scott immortalised in his Talisman the chivalry
of the great Saladin. Robert Hitchins in his Bella Donna
struck a new line, which I think a very unfortunate one,
but which happens to gratify the sensual craving to which
English novelists find it necessary to minister. These
few instances show how the history of the times could
be told in an attractive way to the people and the
extreme care which should be exercised in choosing the
historical facts which bring out the high ideals and great
thought of the time. National culture is an extremely
wide term. It includes all that is great in the physical,
intellectual, social, moral, and artistic life of a people,
and in a country like ours should be included in the
curriculum of schools, colleges, and universities, as a
prominent subject of study. What is taking place now
is that our children are not adequately taught their
forefathers' history. Religion is taught at the point of
the cane, and to learn the Koran or part of it by heart
is a tedious task, to say the least of it. One would
perhaps have liked it, if one were only told these stories
first in the simple and attractive way that would appeal
to children, for Egyptian children are perhaps more than
other children fond of having stories told them. Instead
of that, the wise words of the Koran written in the
classical language, are poured into the ears of poor
children who have not the vaguest idea what is meant,
and they are supposed to learn it all by heart without
As for making our children acquainted with our
ancient monuments and historical ruins, it is amusing
to recall how things are done at home. When I was at

Mohammad Ali School in Cairo, we used to be taken by
the masters for an excursion once or twice a year to
the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza. With us a football
was an indispensable item of our equipment. The day
was usually spent between feeding and playing, for all
it mattered to us, the Pyramids and Sphinx need never
have existed. I doubt if the masters themselves knew
much about them. They certainly knew a good deal
more about the arts of feeding, and football. About
Arab architecture, Arabesque and mosaic work, stained
glass and woodwork, carved panels and metal work,
textile fabrics and illuminated manuscripts, the children
learned just as little. In this way Egypt is divorced
from its real national culture, and yet people wonder
how can the modern Egyptian, descended from so great
an ancestry, be so backward. We poor children of
Modern Egypt do not learn anything about our forefathers
till foreign students happen to sing their praises;
on hearing them, we ask in surprise: “Are those great
ones really our forefathers?”
The way is open to us, if we wish to take it. We
need not create myths nor invent fairy tales, we need
simply go to solid facts. The memorials of our country's
greatness are before us; from contact with them we
derive our inspiration, as Michael Angelo used to touch
the great Greek masterpieces of sculpture when he
became blind.
I have drifted far from the Kerry mountains. I
apologise. Their greatness turned my thoughts to the
greatness of our country. Resuming my walk through
the pass, I met an old man pushing a two-wheeled light
cart, and I inquired of him how many miles I had still
to walk. He told me of a short cut which would save
a mile or so, and he offered to leave his cart by the
wayside and see me some distance on the right way.
He was a man of about seventy, and yet strong and
active. He told me many stories, but annoyed me by
taking me for an Englishman. I reproached my stars

that I had not the typical complexion of my countrymen,
which would have saved me the momentary loss of my
nationality. The short cut was not by any means an
easy one. We left the main road, and after some stiff
climbing amongst the rocks we followed in our descent
what looked like the bed of a small stream. It was not
easy to pick our way, stepping on stones and rocks so
as to avoid a wetting. Presently we reached a sort of
a platform from which we had a glorious view of the
Black Valley; the old man halted here and pointed the
way I had to follow. I could see the whole country
unfolded before me like a map, mountains, rivers, roads,
cottages, trees, lakes, all clearly outlined. MacGillicuddy
Reeks, the highest mountains in Ireland, with their
pinnacle-like tops, covered with snow, bounded the
picture; the valley was covered with decayed wild
vegetation, and the whole was a study of light and
shade, brown and silvery-white. I took the road
following the course of the Gearhameen River, till I
reached the Upper Lake into which it flowed. From
there I took the boat which was waiting for me and
rowed through the Lakes.
We left striking scenes behind us to find in front
others equally striking. Great mountains encircled the
waters, which in turn encircled little picturesque islands.
These islands were decked with green foliage among
which the arbutus, the holly, the Irish yew, the birch,
the oak, the ash, and varieties of ferns figured
prominently. The peaks of the mountains were white
with snow, below which large, bare rocks gleamed in the
sunshine, while the lower slopes and the glens were
covered with various kinds of trees. All this passed
like a beautiful panorama as the boat glided through
the clear waters. The Upper Lake ends in what is
called The Serpentine, a river connecting the Upper
with the Middle and Lower Lakes. This river in places
opens into small lochs. Near one of these, half way
down the river, rising majestically from the water's edge,

stands the Eagle's Nest, a high, pointed mountain which
towers over its neighbours. Further on we reached a
disused bridge. I confess I did not like the prospect
of passing through the arch. The waters were rushing
with great force through the narrow passage with rocks
on both sides. It was just wide enough to let our boat
through. If the boat was not handled with great skill,
and if it touched anything on its way through, it would
have become a wreck to be carried down the powerful
current. It was an anxious moment, but the experienced
hands of the boatmen steered us through in safety.
Passing under another bridge we entered the Lower and
larger Lake, where another beautiful panorama awaited
us. This wider expanse of water was dotted with islands,
but to me the most interesting was Innisfallen, which
contained the ruins of an abbey once a distinguished
seat of learning. This brought us to the end of a
delightful day.

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MUNSTER (continued)

In the last chapter I referred to the flora of the
country I passed through; a word now about its fauna,
particularly the birds. Animals were not many on the
mountains. I saw only a few: the fox, the badger, the
otter, the wild or pole cat, the stoat, the squirrel, the
hare, and the rabbit. Of the water birds, I saw some
on the water, some among the trees, some in the rushes,
some on the wing. On a sand bank lying at the point
where the waters of the lakes pass into the River Laune,
I observed a flock of cormorants resting; they were
big, black birds, some of them had white breasts, and
those, I was told, were the younger ones. Coots I saw
on the water, moorhens by the sides of the lakes, and
herons standing motionless among the rushes till we got
near to them, when they rose gracefully on the wing.
Different varieties of wild ducks I also noticed, grebes
and kingfishers are very rare. All these water birds I
had seen before in different countries, notably in the lake
districts not far from Constantinople. In Boyuk, Chekmeje,
and Kuchuk Chekmeje they abound and afford
magnificent shooting. At home, in Great Britain, in
France, in Germany, and in other countries, I made the
acquaintance of many varieties of water birds. I regret
very much the complete lack of literature and painting
on this subject in our own language. Perhaps one day,
now that we have an Arts School in Cairo, we shall see
a book on birds in Arabic, and illustrated by an Egyptian
artist. Coloured plates are an essential part of such
books. Some years ago I came across a book on
“Egyptian Birds”; it was a pleasure to read it and

study the plates. But it was not written and illustrated
by our own countrymen, but by foreigners, and in a
foreign language. Of the land birds, I saw many small
ones, such as the chaffinch, the bull-finch, the green
finch, the yellow-hammer, the wren, the tit, the thrush,
the blackbird, the woodcock, the snipe, and others.
In the evening I felt cold and tired, and was very
glad to find myself in front of a big fire with a newspaper
in my hand. My eye caught the new order issued by
the Government for the prohibition and suppression of
all Sinn Féin and kindred organisations throughout the
whole of Ireland. Commenting on the proclamation the
Vice-President of Sinn Féin said: “The Irish Nation
will continue to live when its ‘proclaimers’ have passed
from the memory of mankind. The latest act of the
Government will be treated with contempt by the Irish
people, and it will recall to men's minds Edmund
Burke's aphorism, ‘The Government against which a
claim to liberty is tantamount to high treason is a
government to which submission is equivalent to
slavery.’” The same paper reported more arrests of
prominent people at home in Egypt for speaking in the
name and interest of their country. In the eyes of that
nation which Arthur Griffiths called “proclaimers,”
Egypt ought not to have anyone to speak for her,
otherwise it might be difficult for the well-meaning
English “reformers” to carry out their benevolent
“duty” as protectors of the weak, benefactors of the
poor, liberators of the oppressed, and sincere supporters
of the policy of “self-determination.”
The next morning I paid a visit to a convent in the
town where they make lace. A “sister” kindly showed
me round, and I admired the artistic designs and good
work accomplished by the girls. Hanging on the wall
I noticed paintings of Egyptian colonnades as well as
Persian and Greek designs beautifully executed. I
wished our people would admire their own Egyptian
art as much as other peoples do. In the convent there

was a school for teaching poor boys and girls. I had
the pleasure of visiting them in their class rooms, and
it was gratifying to see that music played an important
part in their education. I left the convent to visit the
School of Arts and Crafts which was close by. There
was not much activity there, as not much work was
done at that time of the year. I saw some clever and
neat wood-carving.
On my way to the above school I passed by the
School for Housewifery, whose name explained the
purpose for which it was founded. I am sure this and
similar schools are worthy of the consideration of our
young women students who have the good fortune to
visit foreign countries. The field of work covered by
Such schools is almost untouched in Egypt, although
the need for its cultivation is more than pressing. Our
women, whether high or low, show an extraordinary
ignorance of, and a striking apathy towards, domestic
duties; neither are their homes appropriately furnished,
nor their children well brought up, nor their affairs
economically managed; their education, knowledge, and
tastes, have sadly degenerated. The rich lavish their
money on expensive dresses and furniture of foreign
design and make, which are not only unsuitable to
Egyptian conditions, but look absolutely out of place
in the midst of Egyptian surroundings; they neither
harmonise with our environment, nor do they serve a
useful purpose. I should like to see home life in all its
phases, whether domestic, artistic, or social, established
on purely national lines. We have had enough aping
of the foreigner, and have heard enough of the foreign
names used in our homes. We want neither names nor
objects of foreign origin. Our language is immensely
rich and capable of any extension that is necessary in
order to keep pace with modern progress. Our people
are clever and original; our ancestors and history we
have every reason to be proud of. I see no reason why
we should not do things in our own way to suit our own

purposes, and take pride in doing so. Perhaps this
plain talk may give offence, but I think it is the duty
of every educated Egyptian, especially of those who
have spent part of their lives in Europe, to investigate
the causes of our backwardness and try to make good
our defects. There is a danger in hiding our social evils
for fear of being criticised. Anybody who has read
Stanley Lane-Poole's Modern Egyptians, and noticed his
accurate knowledge and close criticism of our affairs,
will agree that this attitude of mind is like that of the
ostrich which seeks safety by hiding its head in the
sand, leaving its body exposed. It is obvious that there
must be great defects in the social life of the modern
Egyptian to account for his backwardness. The extraordinary
resources at his disposal, if properly utilised,
ought to put him high among the nations. Many of us
know our social defects and know well that the sources
of them all are in our homes, but how many of us have
the moral courage to speak out and attempt to reform
these institutions that have so unhealthy a grip on our
social life and retard our progress?
In the afternoon I had the chance of visiting the
“Castlelough Herd” of pedigree Kerry cattle. This
breed, together with the Dexters, form the two native
breeds of cattle in Ireland. As the Dexters, which are
small dual-purpose red or black cattle, do not breed
true, and as at the same time a large proportion of
their progeny are monstrosities, many cattle breeders
deny them the right of being called a breed at all, and
believe that in time they will die out altogether. The
Kerries are small black cattle, and thrive on rough
pastures. The Kerry may be termed the “economical
cow.” They are dual-purpose, early-maturing animals,
with an average annual yield of from 500 to 600 gallons
of milk of four per cent. butterfat; they are well-formed,
and have a distinct air of breeding and alertness.
The following ballad proves their popularity:


It's in Connacht or in Munster that yourself might travel wide,
And be asking all the herds you'd meet along the countryside;
But you'd never meet a one could show the likes of her till now,
Where she's grazing in a Leinster field—my little Kerry Cow.
If herself went to the cattle fairs she'd put all cows to shame,
For the finest poets of the land would meet to sing her fame;
And the young girls would be asking leave to stroke her satin coat,
They'd be praising and caressing her, and calling her a dote.
There are red cows that's contrary, and there's white cows quare an' wild,
But my Kerry Cow is biddable an' gentle as a child,
You might rear up kings and heroes on the lovely milk she yields,
For she's fit to foster generals to fight on battlefields.
In the histories they'll be making they've a right to put her name
With the horse of Troy and Oisin's hound and other beasts of fame:
And the painters will be painting her beneath the hawthorn bough,
Where she's grazing on the good green grass—my little Kerry Cow.
The next day I left for Limerick via Tralee. It was
at this latter town near the coast that Casement and his
two companions tried to get in touch with the local
leaders of the Volunteers after their adventurous arrival
in a German submarine off the South-West coast of
Ireland in April 1916. This is a long story by itself,
and I cannot relate it here.
The country was beautiful, but the slow train would
have made the journey tedious had we not been travelling
in Ireland. The Irish people are by nature sociable
and communicative, and in the railway carriages they
talk without effort or pretence about everything as if
they were old acquaintances. This geniality in the
Irish character makes up for the slowness of their trains.
Many a long journey I have made, comfortably talking
with my fellow-travellers; it was a pleasure to meet all
kinds of people, from landowners, priests, and schoolmasters,
to small farmers, cattle drovers, and labourers.
All possess that easy, frank, and gentle way of carrying

on uninterrupted, natural, and interesting conversation.
I found this characteristic a great relief, especially after
living in England for so many years, where it is a crime
to open a conversation with anyone to whom one has
not been formally introduced. One might be taken for
a spy or a thief, certainly an audacious intruder, if one
should do so. That cold, uncomfortable reserve of the
English people, relieved only by their conventional
remarks on the weather if they happen to open their
mouths once or twice in a day's journey, is very characteristic
of the self-conscious, suspicious, superior Anglo-Saxon.
I reached Limerick in the afternoon, a busy industrial
town finely situated on both banks of the Shannon.
In the evening I visited the Technical Institute, a large
new building which from the outside displayed a good
deal of light, revealing the activities going on within.
Here, day and night classes attended by some six
hundred students are held, in which a large variety of
subjects are taught by efficient masters. I may say a
few words about this place, not because it is unique in
its way, as its like exists in similar progressive towns,
but because of the spirit which prevails amongst its
To begin with, it is the property of the Municipality,
and receives grants from the Department of Agriculture
and Technical Instruction, subject to certain supervision
and formal approval. A few years ago, there was a
disagreement between the Institute and the Department
on the question of appointing the present headmaster,
who is a well-tried patriot, and a capable Irishman.
The Department would not sanction the appointment
without a guarantee that the master would abstain
from any course of action which would be prejudicial to
the realm. That meant that he would renounce his
political work. The Institute with its broad-mindedness
could not see its way to penalise a man for his political
views. Furthermore, all the pupils refused to attend

unless the appointment of that master was sanctioned.
The squabble lasted for nearly two years, and still the
Institute and the pupils remained firm. Eventually the
man was appointed, and the grant was withdrawn.
The Institute is now supported by local effort aided by
the Republican Government. Such action shows a
spirit of independence in the citizens of Limerick which
entitles them to our admiration. Realising that the
true inspiration of education was in danger, they sacrificed
the badly-needed Government grant. Money could
be raised, while that inspiration was priceless.
Sunday afternoon I visited with Father H. some of
the notable citizens of the town, and in the evening
Mr. C., the Sinn Féin M.P. for Limerick, paid a visit
to my host, Mr. S., and I had a very interesting talk
with him. He related to us something of his experiences
in the different jails in which he had the honour to be
incarcerated. The last of these was at Lincoln, where
he and a few others, including his chief, the President
of the Republic, were confined for several months. It
was from that jail that De Valera made good his dramatic
escape, and went to America, where he is now
carrying out his work for the Irish cause. He also told
us of the sensational escape of the Republican Minister
of Agriculture from Mountjoy last year. The fact of
his disappearance was discovered one morning when a
dummy figure was found in his bed. A letter addressed
to the Governor was left in the cell. It stated that
owing to the discomfort of the place he felt compelled
to leave, and asked the Governor to keep his luggage
safe until he sent for it. I inquired of my friend if the
report submitted last year by the American Commission
for the investigation of Irish conditions was a misrepresentation
of facts. “Not at all,” was the reply. The
report of the Labour Commission sent over from England
last January on the same mission bears out many of
the findings of the American Commission, and will
no doubt be subject to the same charge of “misrepresenting”


Next day I took the train to Ballykisteen, a village
three miles from Tipperary, where I was to visit a
thoroughbred stud. There I saw some famous race-horses
and also high-class hunters. The history of the
Irish thoroughbred is similar to that of his English
half-brother. In both cases, stallions of Arab blood
were introduced early in the eighteenth century, and
these, mated with native mares, produced the parent
stock of the present-day thoroughbreds in the two
countries. To-day Ireland ranks as one of the finest
nurseries for thoroughbreds in the world. We have
only to look at the trophies secured by Irish horses on
the Turf, to realise their pre-eminence. As to the Irish
hunter, which is considered the best specimen of the
pleasure horse anywhere, he is a descendant of the
native breeds of the old Irish draught horse which had
been improved by the successive importations of Arab
blood. The name of Ireland has long been enviably
associated with the production of horses of stamina and
speed. This position of honour is attributed to a unique
combination of circumstances and not to one particular
agency. The success attained has been mainly due to
favourable climate and soil, coupled with the passionate
enthusiasm of the Irish people for horse-racing and
hunting. The comparative mildness of the Irish
climate allows young horses to be left out on
grass all the year round. This tells favourably on
their constitution and development. The limestone soil
of the country has great effect on the strength of bone.
As for the third factor, it creates great love for horses
and enthusiasm for horsemanship, and thus promotes
good horse-breeding.
The next day I travelled to Foynes, to visit Lord
Monteagle, one of the three pioneers of Irish co-operation
the other two being Sir Horace Plunkett and Father
Finlay. It was a short railway journey from Limerick.
The line runs at a distance from the south bank of the
widening Shannon till it reaches Askeaton, a small town

remarkable for its ancient buildings, after which it runs
close to the broad river till it reaches Foynes. There I
was met by Lord Monteagle's agent, a man of knowledge
and experience in agriculture. We drove to Lord Monteagle's
house, a fine building situated on a high elevation
commanding a beautiful and extensive view of the
surrounding country. In this house many years ago,
the first meeting of the pioneers of agricultural co-operation
in Ireland was held. In the study I thought of the
time when these social economists were planning a
system which has proved to be one of the greatest
guarantees of ecomonic stability in this country. At
that time these reformers, in their endeavours to improve
the lot of the farmer, were met with chilling apathy and
bitter opposition. Nothing could have encouraged them
but deep-seated faith in the principles they advocated.
By hard fighting and dogged perseverance they carried
their schemes to victory.
This village of Foynes which produced so sterling a
pioneer of co-operation did not lag behind in carrying
into effect the teachings of the movement. We visited
a co-operative store, a credit society, and a co-operative
farm, three forms of co-operation which I have already
explained. I cannot leave Foynes without mentioning
the society of the United Irishwomen. Here a branch
has been founded and is kept alive by the activities of
the Honourable Mary S.-R. I regretted to hear that
the apathy still prevailing amongst the members of these
associations is the greatest hindrance to progress. As time
goes on, and as the members become enlightened, they
will, it is to be hoped, realise the importance of the part
women have to play in establishing a rural civilisation.
From Foynes I caught the early train to Adare. It
was a very mild morning, what the people there called
“soft.” I was surprised at the mildness, yet I was
told that this “soft” atmosphere was not unusual.
My visit to Adare was at the invitation of a friend who
lived there, and who kindly offered to take me round

the demesne of the Earl of Dunraven, and show me one
of the most remarkable and picturesque clusters of ruins
in the kingdom. The demesne is enclosed within high
walls, and contains Adare Manor, the seat of the Earl,
situated in the midst of extensive grounds, farms,
forests, and famous ruins. At the Ford, and near the
old bridge, we saw the remains of the Castle, the history
of which is somewhat obscure up to the thirteenth
century. Between then and the middle of the seventeenth
century, when it was dismantled by Cromwell, it
was taken and retaken several times after sanguinary
conflicts. The large building, which is now Adare
Church, was once an Augustinian Monastery. The
cloister, choir, nave, and tower have been restored, and
the refectory is now used as a schoolhouse. Adare
Abbey was once the home of Franciscan monks. The
venerable yew-tree in the quadrangle enclosed by the
cloisters, darkened the place, and conveyed to us something
of the atmosphere of the monasteries of the Middle
Ages. At the beginning of the last century, Adare had
dwindled down to a few thatched cottages, and it was
not until the first quarter of the century had passed
that fortune began to smile upon it again. The town
now looks happy and prosperous, with good farms, fine
trees, nicely trimmed cottages, a fine town hall, a
creamery, and a good hotel much frequented by sportsmen
in the hunting season. The Manor, a fine modern
mansion, is one of the best examples of the Tudor style
of architecture in Ireland. The beautiful oak carving
on staircases, mantels, doors, and panels, testified to
the good workmanship of local artists. The house
stands on the bank of the River Maigue, in the midst
of beautiful surroundings, and an air of repose pervades
the whole atmosphere. It is designed, furnished, and
decorated in luxurious style. At the time of our visit
the servants were busy preparing the place for Lord
Dunraven and a party of guests who were coming for a
few weeks of the hunting season. Some were polishing

the dancing floor, some dusting the pictures, some fixing
the large and elaborate chandeliers with electric lamps,
some cleaning the silver, some looking over the sporting
appliances, golf clubs, shooting guns, fishing tackle, etc.
In short, a large number of people were busy making
the private and public rooms of the nobleman and his
party of thirty or forty aristocrats the last word in
comfort and elegance. And all the while thousands of
men, women, and children, were toiling in mines and
factories in order to create wealth for the enjoyment of
this man and his like. The leisured and cultured man's
pleasure is made possible by the labour and suffering of
thousands. And what does society get in return?
Philanthropy and charity in some cases, callous neglect
in too many. A strange civilisation this in which
wealth, honours, and social position, are generally not
the result of industry and virtue, but of the exploitation,
too often selfish and inhuman, of the toiling masses.
Those masses, who create all the wealth, are condemned
to live poorly and in ignorance, and sometimes in misery
and suffering. A visit to the slums in Dublin or any
other big city shows a large section of the class underfed,
underclothed, badly housed, stunted in body and mind,
to say nothing of the drunkenness, immorality, and vice
prevailing amongst them. For all that, we cannot say
that order does not exist, but the order is certainly very
imperfect. A social order which is responsible for poverty
amongst the masses, while the rich are lapped in luxury,
cannot endure, and unless practical steps are taken to
abolish the prevailing inequalities and to reform the
abuses of capitalism and landlordism, a revolution will
convulse what is called the civilised world, and will
destroy our present society. We can already discern
ominous signs of revolt against the existing degradation
and ugliness of life. Revolutionary methods are being
adopted in the East of Europe, while evolutionary ones
are working in the West, and both for the same purpose.
Will those statesmen, moralists, and religious teachers,

who have regard for such good institutions as have
arisen under the present social order, and who have the
welfare of the people at heart, use all their influence
knowledge, experience, and, above all, their faith, to
bring about a new order which will retain our present
good institutions and replace our bad ones with good?
One clings to the belief that there is still enough faith
left in the world to make such a change possible.
Before leaving the demesne we visited the thoroughbred
stud and saw some fine racehorses, amongst which was
“Lomond,” son of the celebrated “Desmond.” The
stables and buildings attached to them covered a large
area, and were designed and constructed on the latest
approved lines. Extensive fields were devoted to the
grazing and exercising of the horses, and near by was
the burying-ground of their deceased comrades, well-fenced
and nicely kept. The graves were encircled with
flowering plants, and at the foot of each was a large
horse-shoe made of stone with an inscription on it in
memory of the famous dead. Even “aristocracy”
among the animals has a place. But this might be
excused, as only the fittest and greatest amongst them
are elevated to that exalted position, while amongst
men such is not always the case. It seems that, apart
from the fact that animals know better the value of
merit amongst themselves, man, while he judges animals
on their own merits, denies that fair judgment to his
On our way to the station I talked to my friend, who
was a strong advocate of “Grass Farming,” a method
quite opposed to that of “Intensive Cultivation,” so
vigorously advocated by the new and progressive school
of “Farming on Factory Lines,” and we came to the
conclusion that were all farms alike, both methods of
farming could not have been right. But as some farms
are specially suited for tillage, while others are better
adapted for grazing, there is room for reconciliation
between these two widely different views. Both methods

are well worth considering and even studying, without
adopting exclusively the principles of either. Farmers
can adopt whatever of good there is in the two systems,
guided in doing so by their special circumstances, by
the size of their farms, and quality of their land, and
by the capital and labour at their disposal.
We left Adare in the evening to attend a South of
Ireland Co-operative Committee Conference at Limerick.
My friends there extended to me their usual hospitality,
and allowed me with all good-will and confidence to be
present at a private sitting in which they discussed
certain policies to be recommended to the Movement.
Next day I visited the depot of the Irish Agricultural
Wholesale Society, and also the Irish Co-operative
Agency Society. This latter society was started at
Limerick some years ago with the purpose of marketing
the butter of co-operative creameries. Before its
existence, although the process of manufacture of butter
had been organised, and the technique improved, the
problem of marketing the product was not solved, and
so creameries suffered from the evils of competing with
each other and cutting prices. This marketing federation
not only markets the butter, but supplies all the
requisites of creameries, and thus acts as a wholesale
society for them.

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I left Limerick for Galway via Ennis and Athenry.
After crossing the Shannon we travelled through a well-wooded,
flat country, till we reached Six-Mile-Bridge,
beyond which the line passed between some small lakes.
We ran past extensive Norman ruins and ancient
monuments, the chief of which were Quin Abbey, Clare
Castle, and Clare Abbey. We soon reached Ennis, a
brisk and cheerful town, and before leaving County
Clare we saw a few lochs on our way, which, I understood,
offer good sport to the angler. On the borders
of County Galway, high and conspicuous spires announced
the town of Gort. At Athenry I had to change, and
having to wait three hours for the connection to Galway,
I took the opportunity of visiting the historic ruins of
an old castle and monastery. The weather was very
unpleasant, and the arrival of the Galway train was a
relief. It was a rough night, and the high wind disturbed
my peace and robbed me of a badly needed rest. When
the morning came, it was still dark and bleak, and I
felt miserable, having got a bad cold. It was unpleasant
to reflect that I was out in the world alone in a distant
foreign land, suffering from the depressing influences of
a dreary climate, without comfort or sympathy. Only
those who come from sunny lands, and from affectionate
homes, can realise my melancholy. Nothing supports
one in adversity but one's faith and one's soul, and
from these one plucks up courage to carry on, with the
hope of playing one's part by the side of one's compatriots
when the time comes. The day passed and I
was still confined to bed. The next morning I felt a

little better and ventured to go out to keep an appointment
made two days before with Professor O'M. at the
University College. This college is a fine grey limestone
building standing in well-kept grounds, not far from the
town. My friend was a master of Irish as well as a
supporter of the national revival, and by his sympathy,
enthusiasm and intellect, had gathered around him
many young and ardent workers in the same cause.
In the afternoon I called on Mr. B., a wealthy gentleman
residing in a fine mansion, little over a mile out of town.
Being a cultured man, who has travelled far and wide,
his conversation was very interesting. I was called
upon several times to explain the outlook of our people
on life, and whether that outlook had changed in recent
years. That seemed to my friend, Mr. B., a fundamental
point to be considered in studying Egypt's present
position and prospects. For instance, we have at home
a great number of people who possess the brains of
mathematicians, excellent at figures and efficient in
bookkeeping. Such people in the West, my friend
remarked, produce from among them great financiers
who will either make fortunes for themselves or play an
important part in the financial development of their
country. With us, real geniuses live and die as poor
clerks satisfied with a meagre monthly allowance, just
enough to keep body and soul together; thus their rare
gifts pass away, irrecoverably lost to the nation. Of
this type, I personally know several who were my
companions at school; none of them could I now call
worthy citizens, men who made use of their natural
gifts for the welfare of the community. My friend
wanted to know if those unlucky persons failed because
of their outlook on life. Outlook is a very comprehensive
word, and its meaning comprises economic, political,
social, ethical and religious conditions, and much besides.
It requires very minute analysis and a close investigation
if one is to probe into the causes that keep individuals
and nations back. A person or a community may

possess all the factors that make for greatness, and still
fail to accomplish anything, where the educational
system is defective, or political institutions are under
a foreign control that hampers national development.
We in Egypt suffer from these two diseases more than
anything else. Under our present system of education
Egypt will never rise to be great again. There is no
religious education worthy of the name, the women are
ignorant and illiterate, and consequently the children
are shockingly brought up; the masses are left out in
the wilderness without being given even the most
elementary training. Foreign oppressors employ every
means to drive the sense of self-respect out of the people
in an endeavour to make them a submissive and servile
race. It is all very well for outsiders to sit down in easy
chairs around a fire and talk of the causes that keep
Egypt back and formulate theories which condemn
sometimes the religion and sometimes the race itself.
One requires to live amongst the people, not as haughty
masters or prejudiced critics, interested capitalists or
staunch imperialists, but as sympathising friends and
social reformers who have no material interest to be
served, but who are anxious to help a section of our
common humanity to rise to the place they should
rightly occupy. I could cite many instances which
reveal the degrading influence foreign domination of
Egypt has on its population. The boys in school are
systematically educated in such a way as will never
make them patriots. They are brought up to look up
to the English as masters whose word is gospel in all
matters. Can anybody imagine that such a system
would ever bring out the finer qualities in any people?
Such methods only drive courage out of the people,
foster a spirit of submission, cause them to lack confidence
in their own powers, deprive them of initiative,
and rob them of originality. In free countries, the
ablest are intrusted by the people with the direction of
the affairs of the nation, in Egypt it is the weakest that

are put into office to carry out the dictates of the English
adviser, inspector, master, or whatever he is called,
whose interest obviously clashes with our own. In the
Nationalist party in Egypt there are men who by education,
knowledge, talent, sincerity and nobility of
character, could take their seat in any parliament, and
conduct the affairs of any country with prudence, conscientiousness
and ability. Those very men are deliberately
kept out of the way and the government offices
are filled with young, foolish, inexperienced and insincere
men who do not take much interest in the welfare of
the country, because of their ignorance and bad education,
vanity and self-interest. The spirit prevailing
amongst the Nationalists is due to the presence in their
midst of experienced heads who learned their first lessons
of citizenship and patriotism in the schools of Mohammad
Abdou or Mustafa Kamil. The story of modern Egypt
will be told one day; it is in the making now, It will
be some time yet before the work of the Nationalists is
accomplished, but accomplished it will be. The fate of
tyrants is always the same, it is only a matter of time
when they shall disappear.
As to our home education, it is worse than anything
one can imagine. The home in Egypt, under the
management of our women, breeds laziness, vulgarity,
cowardice, weak will, irresponsibility and poor spiritedness.
What is to blame for all that but the system
of education, particularly that for women? Our present
social order is responsible for the evils of our society,
but is this the outcome of our religion, our ethics, or
our outlook on life? No. It is the result of ignorance
following on bad education, or the lack of it altogether.
Had we been instructed properly in our religion in
accord with modern thought, and had we followed the
teaching intelligibly and with broad minds, no nation
would have been more cultured. What is to be said
for a code of ethics which establishes separation of
the community into two camps, and so brings about

misunderstanding between children and their parents?
This is the practice in Egypt, though our religion gives
it no sanction. There is no home life for the boys;
they are constantly reminded to keep out of the company
of the womenfolk, while the men's company is so
advanced and so harsh that the boys neither understand
nor enjoy it. Between these two isolated camps
the poor boys are lost. Children in the company of
their elders dare not open their mouths, nor ask questions,
nor express opinions, consequently they never feel easy
in their presence. I can remember how as children we
used to be overjoyed when our father went to the country
and our mother went out on a round of visits; it was
a time of freedom and merriment for us. We were far
from being dull by nature, even the extreme restriction
imposed upon us failed to kill the natural spirit of
childhood. When I think of those days spent at home
with my brother and four sisters, I detest the cruelty
of our social life, which tends to prevent the natural
and healthy development of the best characteristics and
capabilities that are in us. Children all over the country,
I mean of the higher classes, are left entirely in the
hands of the servants, from whom they do not learn
much that helps to form their character.
This is how we Egyptians pass our early life between
the home and the school; can anyone wonder at the
defects in our young people? If all were known, the
real wonder would be that young Egypt is what it is
now. It must be the inherent vitality of the race that
keeps our heads up in spite of the deliberate efforts of
the foreign intruder, and in spite of the defective institutions
firmly established for generations in Egyptian
society. Both these unhealthy influences work against
every spirit and movement in the country that would
elevate the social, economic and political status of the
Continuing the conversation with my friend at Galway,
we touched upon the characteristics of the Anglo-Saxons.

In the eyes of that race, we agreed, the world is inhabited
by Europeans and Blacks; the former are either Continental
or English, and it goes without saying that the
English is the superior type. The Americans and
Colonials are left out of account, as these are a mixture
of the different European races. The English attitude
towards other races is curiously inconsistent. They look
down upon the foreigner as an inferior if he admires or
copies anything that is English; if he does otherwise,
they regard him as incapable of rising to the English
level. The behaviour of English tourists is proverbial.
Their evident sense of their superiority is always amusing,
they take the matter for granted, and act accordingly.
As Mr. John B. Yeats once said; “The Englishman has
no gentlemanly instincts. In acquiring manners he
learns under a system of pains and penalties, he progresses
under the lash, and then he behaves more like a
well-trained animal than a reasonable human being.”
There is a prevalent type of Englishman who, “thanking
God he is a Briton,” has not the vaguest idea that
courtesy is the bond of all society. “But if courtesy
is required to cement society, no wonder the Irish are
estranged from us,” was said by Matthew Arnold. I
should like to add to Arnold's remark that the
Englishman's unpleasant manners are not the barrier
to friendship between the English and the Irish only,
but between the English and the rest of the human race.
A well-known scholar said recently: “If the motto of
my old Oxford College: ‘Manners makyth man,’ were
true, I should often be sorry for the Briton. But his
manners don't make him, they mar him.” The Englishman
is not clever, and often makes foolish mistakes, but
these do not hinder him from plodding doggedly along
and winning his way in the end. His behavoiur makes
one think that he believes in no religion, yet he calls
himself Christian, and his king “Defender of the Faith.”
He talks democracy, but what he means is British
Imperialism. He respects the rights of small nationalities

as long as it suits him to do so, but his empire must
be expanded, be the means fair or foul, yet he has a
marvellous gift of making the foul appear fair when he
writes history. In war, he loses battle after battle on
all fronts, yet in the end you will find him in possession
of the very land he was routed on. His weakest point,
I think, is his pocket; no description fits the English
people better than that given by Napoleon and the
Kaiser: “A nation of shopkeepers.” If the destruction
of “Prussianism” was essential for the reign of peace
on earth, then surely the downfall of “John Bullism”
has still to be realised.
In giving rein to these reflections on English character,
I am wandering outside the scope of this book. But I
would like to add a word of advice to my countrymen:
“Beware of the English people.” They are, whether
plain men, gentlemen or noblemen, at home or abroad,
all and always “commercial travellers,” out for business
and ever ready to secure a bargain. They are seeking
profit individually as well as for their own firm, “the
Old Country.” The Englishman is a sharp man to deal
with; never show weakness in your dealings with him,
or he will make use of it for his own advantage. If you
happen to lose it is not his business, it is your own
look out. These are his ethics in all his transactions,
whether political, economical or social.
This is no place to write about English women. Those
of us who have not been amongst them in England can
imagine what the wife of such a man as we have described
would be like. She is certainly often pretty and
sweet, and her companionship is a delight. Perhaps one
day we shall see a picture of her from the daring but
delicate pen of some of the handsome, witty and wealthy
among our own young men who come to study life at
leisure in England. Perhaps one might put Egyptians
on their guard by saying: “Be on your guard with the
Englishman, but doubly on your guard with the


I visited Scotland on several occasions and made
many friends there, but I reserve my criticism on Scotchmen
and women for a more fitting place. I might say
here, however, that apart from their superior sense of
the value of money, they share with the English people
a good many characteristics. I would like to hear
what my compatriots who spent years of study in
Scotland have to say on the subject.
I walked home from my friend B.'s house, and on my
way I met women carrying heavy bundles of wood on
their backs, and saw children poor, ill-clad and barefooted,
and men fighting openly in the streets. Very
sad sights. But coming from a country in a far worse
condition in many respects, I realised that there are
reasons which account for such degradation as one finds
here. When one knows Irish history, and the privations,
humiliation, and oppression the Irish people have
suffered, one ceases to wonder at it.
In the evening I was asked to attend a “Cailie,” or
evening entertainment enlivened by national dances and
songs, which was held at the University College. I was
unable to dance, as I had not then learned the Irish
steps, so I joined the “sober and philosophical” group,
and watched the dances with admiration and envy.
I had my pleasure, too, in discussing the music, folk
songs, and dances of different nations, and sharing in
the merrier conversation in which old professors and
young undergraduates, boys and girls, all took part.
The night was stormy, and the wind again prevented
me from sleeping. When morning came I had to get
up very early, for I had arranged a trip to the Aran
Islands. It was dark and wild, and the wind blew
fiercely, driving clouds of rain before it. I was uncertain
what to do, but as the boats ran only twice a week,
and my time did not allow me to wait for the next
service, I had no option but to go. I said my prayers
and put my trust in God, and made a bold start. It
was so black and bleak that I doubted whether the

steamer would sail at all. But on reaching the quay
I found it there, a small boat, of 200 tons. The Captain
greeted me with “This is no night for a Christian to be
out in.” Not being a Christian in the strict theological
sense of the term, I suppose, to the mind of our Christian
captain, I was justified in being out. I went down to
the saloon to try and get warm. A few minutes later,
in came a big, imposing figure wearing a heavy black
overcoat and a priest's hat. His ruddy complexion,
pleasant countenance and good nature agreed with the
description I had been given of the priest of the island
to which I was going, and on whom I intended to call
in connection with the fishing industry. And so he was.
Father Farragher, when he knew my destination, asked
me if I was a good sailor. On my answering that I was
a moderate one, he said we would have a good talk
about things when the boat started. The boat did
start, but that talk never came off. All the way I lay
prone on a bench; my friend, though he did not look
happy, managed to keep up his courage and maintain
his dignity. Things went from bad to worse with me
as the boat sped through the Bay. I felt I should not
care if the boat, which pitched and rolled hideously,
was swallowed by the waves. All that miserable day I
never saw God's light, nor did I taste any bread or
water. I had been on rough waters before in the Irish
Sea, the English Channel, the Bay of Biscay, and the
Black Sea, but never experienced such a bad time as
on that passage across Galway Bay. We were supposed
to call at the first two of the three islands forming the
group of the Aran Isles, but we could not, as landing
was impossible. We reached the largest and furthest
island in over six hours, twice as long as the usual time
for that journey. I was too sick to raise my head, not
to speak of landing. I never saw the island, nor did I
visit the Aran Co-operative Fishing Society, whose
reverend president had just endured with me the
sufferings of rough seas, and I had to return by the

same boat. It was disappointing, but could not be
helped. The sailing back was not so bad, as sea and
wind were with us, and we reached Galway at the proper
time. I crawled back to my hotel, and was looked after
by the hotel people, and given such nourishment
as I could take, and I went to bed warm and comforted.
I thought I should be unable to resume my tour for at
least a week, but that did not prove to be so. Two days
complete rest were sufficient to make me fit again to
face the hardship of travelling. Although I failed in my
endeavour to visit the Co-operative Fishing Society at
Aran, I do not like to pass on without making our people
acquainted with this form of co-operation. True, my
knowledge is not from personal observation in this case,
but thanks to my friends at Plunkett House, and the
literature of the subject, I can recount what has been
The Aran Isles are three small rocky islands stretching
across the entrance of Galway Bay, the finest inlet on
the west coast of Ireland, if not on the whole Irish
coast, and lie about thirty miles from the town of Galway.
To the tourist their scenery and their inhabitants are
of great interest, to the scientist their geological formation
offers an attractive subject of study, and to the
historian these “Islands of the Saints” have a special
fascination. The language spoken in these islands is
Gaelic or Irish, although a large number of the inhabitants
are bi-lingual. Inishmore, the largest island of
the three, was of particular interest to me on account
of its co-operative fishing society. I have already described
different types of co-operative societies, but none
of this kind, as this is the first and only fishing society
in Ireland run on co-operative principles. It is hoped
that this successful experiment will be followed by the
founding of other co-operative fishing societies in different
places on the coast. It is surprising that although the
fishing industry is one of the most important in Ireland,
it is the least developed. There are various reasons
which account for this, the chief of which are, want of

capital, want of transport, want of marketing facilities,
and last but not least, want of organisation.
“The Irish fisherman is first handicapped by the fact
that he usually has to pay retail prices for all his gear,
salt, barrels, and even for the barking of his nets. Then,
when he brings his fish ashore, want of proper transport
makes it necessary for him to sell the fish in a very
limited market. The buyers are out for their own
interests; they pay the smallest price they can for fish,
and they form rings to keep down prices. It is hopeless
for unorganised fishermen to expect a fair price for their
fish from the buyers. They often lose part of the value
of their fish, particularly in hot weather, before the
bargain is struck.”
Father Farragher, the priest of Aran, who has always
had the material as well as the spiritual welfare of his
parishioners at heart, realising all this, conceived the
idea of developing the fishing industry on his island on
co-operative lines. Now that the fishermen of the island
have been organised into a co-operative society, they
have been able to raise capital to purchase boats, improve
the means of transport, set up a curing station, refrigerator,
ice plant, etc. … They have been able to
buy nets, tackle and the rest of their requirements at
wholesale prices, and market their fish on the best
possible terms.
The secret of success of the society has been attributed
mainly to three factors: First, able and faithful leadership,
which, by keeping a good and firm hand at the
helm, won the respect and confidence of all the members;
secondly, capable management, which included thorough
knowledge, considerable business capacity, and sterling
honesty; thirdly, strict enforcement of the rules, which
secured the loyalty of the members, promoted unselfishness,
and encouraged punctual fulfilment of engagements.
Under this organisation, when the boats come in with
their catch, the members hand over all their fish to the
society and get paid for it in cash. The society then
arranges for its curing or its dispatch as fresh fish to the

market where the highest prices are obtainable. The
profit made by the society is of course disposed of in
the usual co-operative way already described in connection
with the other types of co-operative societies.
Running on these lines the business of the society has
increased from £760 in the first eight months of its
existence in September 1915 to £14,000 in the third
eight months, and the prices paid by the Society to the
members for their fish were double those given by the
dealers. The fishermen need no longer appeal to the
fish merchants to buy their fish, nor need they leave
their fish to a small ring of local buyers who give the
lowest price they can.
The fame of this society at Aran has spread all along
the whole coast of Ireland, particularly the west coast.
Once the fishermen grasp the solid worth of combination,
which has been proved to them by this practical achievement
in Galway Bay, they will join together and work
as one body for their own interest as well as for the
interest of the fishing industry in their own country.
Feeling I could not very well leave this part of the
country without visiting Connemara, the enchanted land
of the west, I made a pilgrimage the next day to that
wonderful country. It is washed on one side by the
waters of the romantic Lough Corrib, while on the other
the long rollers of the Atlantic sweep into its many
mysterious fiords. Between these boundaries the whole
country is broken by mountains, lakes and streams,
giving the landscape a charm quite its own.
I left Galway, “The Citie of the Tribes,” early in the
morning. Soon after leaving the station, our train
crossed the flat-banked River Corrib. For a few miles
we travelled between the river on one side and thickly
wooded hills on the other. Beyond Moycullen, Ross
Lake on our right and Knocknalee Hill on our left,
were charming features of the scenery. Reaching
Oughterard, the train proceeded westward on its way to
Recess. We passed by lakes, rivers, hills and mountains,
in beautiful succession. Recess itself is a famous resort

for the angler and a noted centre for the scenery hunter.
The waters of Ballynahinch and other loughs form a
crescent around the eastern foot of the Twelve Pins, a
splendid group of mountains which raise their noble
peaks in the heart of some of the loveliest scenery in the
world. It was of this scenery that Thackeray wrote:
“I won't attempt to pile up big words in place of those
wild mountains, over which the clouds as they passed,
or the sunshine as it went and came, cast every
variety of tint, light and shadow; nor can it be
expected that long, level sentences, however smooth and
shining, can be made to pass as representations of those
calm lakes. …”
Beyond Ballynahinch the line ran through a wild and
rugged country till we reached Clifden, a small town
situated on a ridge at the head of a bay on the Atlantic
coast. I climbed a hill overhanging the town, and from
its summit had a magnificent view of the country and
of the far stretching ocean. Amidst the rocks at the
top is a small lake, a solitary, perfectly still and wonderfully
clear piece of water, with a small stream running
from it down the hill. I was told that even in the
severest of winters, when everything is frozen and when
the lake becomes a delight to skaters, there still remains
a small area near the centre, which never freezes, a spot
from which a spring issues. From the clear and cool
water of this lake, the school and convent in the town
derive their supply. On these hills I met only mountain
sheep, some natives of Connemara, bright little sheep
with clean, white faces, and some bearing Scottish
features; also a few cattle of mixed breed. These high
grounds afford no scope for farming, not even for grazing,
nothing but the hardiest animals can endure the severity
of the weather and the poverty of the land. Before me,
the sea stretched endlessly in front, behind the Twelve
Pins rose majestically in the distance; unfortunately
the atmosphere was not clear enough to reveal the great
expanse of the one and the beauty of the other at their

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CONNAUGHT (continued)

On my way down the hill, I passed by the Catholic
Church, where I entered to seek rest of body and peace
of mind. Offering a prayer, I sat down, and watched
the children coming in and going out, some to pray,
and some to light candles “for intentions.” Watching
the children performing these religious duties, and looking
at the holy scenes depicted on the stained glass
windows, I felt about me a religious atmosphere Eastern
in its character. The figures of Christ, the Virgin Mary,
the Apostles and men and women of the East were all
there on the beautiful glass. They looked as if they
had all come to life again to inspire these little children
of the West, and to remind them of the teachings of the
great Master from the East. It seemed to me that thus
the spirit of the East saves the soul of the West. And
East is East and West is West,
And never the twain shall meet.
And one thanks God for that, for what a disaster it
would be if we should all turn Westward. If the West
is so brutal even with that religion of peace we sent it
from the East, what would it have been without that
religion? Whatever the West may say, it cannot help
believing that all that is great and lasting comes from
the Eternal East. We know the contribution of the
West to the material progress of the world, its attainments
in physics, chemistry, engineering, but what
should have been for the advancement of mankind it
turned to its destruction. Its very philosophies it

turned to selfish ends. Its education seems to breed a
type of man who would “civilise” the world by suppressing
small nations and weak communities.
I wished to drive from Clifden to Leenane, working
my way up through the country to rejoin the railway
at Westport: this would have given me the opportunity
of exploring that romantic country, but I was unable
to carry out my purpose, and what I lost in beauty of
scenery and colour I realised later when I met Mr. and
Mrs. Paul Henry at their Dublin studio and saw their
delightful paintings of the West Country views and folk.
However, I do not like to pass over this district without
giving my countrymen some idea of its charm. I saw
parts of it, so I am able to endorse what my artist friend,
who has made a special study of these parts and depicted
them most faithfully and beautifully on his canvas, once
“Here in Connemara from the summit of one of her
higher mountains the eye travels over the peerless
country, dotted with innumerable little loughs beloved
of the fisherman, over the gracious lines of her cloud-dappled
hills and the valleys where the purple shadows
linger; over the scattered “clachans”—little handfuls
of whitewashed toy houses—tucked away in the sheltered
folds of the hills, to the coastline, bitten into with sandy
bays guarded by islets of porphyry set in an opal and
azure sea. Out of the sou'west a wisp of mist—a grey
veil trailing from a grey cloud floating in the blue—passes
over the hills. Where it catches on a height it
breaks in showers on the toy houses, and passes on,
leaving the wet, sparkling eyes of the cottages laughing
back to the sun.
“At a turn of a lonely road among the mountains
far from village or house—a woman comes down a rough
track from the higher hills. Dressed in geranium-red
homespun and with an orange headshawl—the turbulence
of her colour flaming against the encircling mountains—her
bare feet are firmly planted as she walks among the
stones. She hangs on her foot for a second as she

returns your salute. A wild grace is in the carriage of
her head, the beautiful softness of her voice, soft as the
rains of her native hills, wraps you round like a caress.
Her grey eyes, soft and kindly, hold yet a smouldering
fire; the brooding mystery of her race is round her like
an aura. She passes by, coming from the mountain
solitudes, and going apparently into them again, a rare,
aloof, dignified figure.”
Mr. Henry continues, describing the atmosphere of
the West:
“Here in Connemara on a day when the wind blows
from the west, the pale rose morning light turns to
silver, as the tumultuous high-flying clouds race over the
mountains, their indigo shadows hurrying across the
green of the uplands and the gold of the ripening harvest
towards the distant plum-coloured hills. As the sun
ascends the clouds scurry faster, and their shadows beat
a quicker measure towards the horizon. The colour
flames and burns among the hills; and the deep tarns
set in a hundred corries—the surface of their waters
curled over by the wind and reflecting the deep blue of
the sky—glow like enamels, azure shot through with
gold. The big clouds, typical of ‘The West,’ grow
listless as the day declines. They come up slower still
and more majestic, gathering colour from the descending
sun, till as it dips beyond the sea they seem hardly to
move, piling themselves up into airy cloud-built palaces
glowing with reflected fire. The cool purple dusk creeps
over the hills, while far in the west the day dies in a
deep mauve seen through a shower of dust of gold.”
Motoring was not possible, as “Dublin Castle” had
launched its “Motor Permits Order,” prohibiting any
person to drive without an order from the Government.
All drivers refused to apply for permits, with the result
that no motors were running except lorries carrying the
soldiers and guns necessary for keeping the Irish Nation
under the heel of its aggressors. That is how I was
prevented from seeing Connemara fully, and why instead

of traversing the country just described I was obliged
to return to Galway by rail. Such a state of affairs
brings back memories of the old-world conqueror who
forbade the use of horses to his subject race. The
modern, world-conqueror has made it an offence in the
eyes of Britain for any Irishman to drive a motor
vehicle without a military permit which certifies his
loyalty to a government he does not acknowledge.
This tightening of the machinery of repression in Ireland
is intended either to subdue the spirit of the people or
to stimulate rebellion in order to crush it with ruthless
severity, and with it all hopes of self-determination.
British statesmen do not seem to realise the injury
their conduct to Ireland is inflicting on whatever is left
of British prestige in the world. They suppress newspapers,
prohibit fairs and markets, raid houses, break
up meetings, proclaim national amusements and festivities,
imprison the constitutionally elected representatives
of the people, but they are powerless to prevent
Ireland strengthening her inward resistance against a
day when “England's difficulty shall be Ireland's opportunity.”
The English people seem to have lost their heads
since they drank the cup of victory. They massacre
the Indians. They rob the Egyptians of their independence.
They deny the Irish people their natural
rights. One can understand that greed of possession
accounts for their policy in Egypt, and that vengeance
governs their policy in Ireland; but what is the
excuse for their brutal attitude towards India, a country
which is already theirs, and which “did her bit” in the
Great War? India, the world knows, offered her sons
and gave liberally from her treasures to help England
when she was hard pressed and was soliciting the
sympathy and help of all peoples civilised and uncivilised.
“Our gallant Indians,” who when wounded
were nursed by the fair, and when on leave were entertained
by Royalty during the war, are now shunned by

the meanest of English officials, and have been massacred
wholesale in cold blood in the streets of their own cities.
There, their wounded are no longer tended by delicate
hands, but are left to crawl on all fours to shelter from
the guns of the very same people whose honour they
helped to save on the battlefields of Flanders, Mesopotamia,
and elsewhere. It is a sad story; one could
not restrain a smile reading in The Irish Statesman these
cynical lines:
“The people of India will be moved to their depths
by the reference in the King's Proclamation to the
personal interest which His Majesty takes in the affairs
of his great dependency. Whatever their faults the
Indians are a warm-hearted race, and they will respond
with fervour to the assurance that His Majesty will
watch with sympathy and affection the progress of his
Indian people. Some of them may, at the moment,
object to being massacred by General Dyer or flogged
by one of his magistrates. But when the heat of the
moment has passed, when their wounds are sufficiently
healed to give them time for reflection, they will recognise
that these measures which they thought harsh and
repressive at the time were in reality only kindness,
and directed to their good. Had those Indians known
while they were crawling on hands and knees through
the streets of Amritzar that all the time the King-Emperor
was watching their progress with love and
sympathy, with what gladness in their brown but loyal
souls would they have crawled, with what devoted,
almost dog-like devotion, would they have embraced
the knees of General Dyer or kissed the rods of Mr.
Keogh? Could India be delivered from the agitator
all would be well in that unhappy country. Unfortunately
Mr. Nebru, presiding at the Indian National
Congress, does not agree with us. Not only does he
criticise General Dyer and the Government of India
Act, but he has the amazing impertinence to object to
the wise and beneficent rule of the British Raj in savage
countries like Ireland and Egypt.”


Our readers will remember the story of Amritzar referred
to above. At that place, gallant British troops on the
orders of their heroic officer, fired on a meeting of some
5,000 unarmed civilians, killing 500, and wounding three
times that number. The scene of this latest massacre
was neither Belgium nor Armenia, but India, and the
officer responsible was neither a “Hun” nor a “Turk,”
but a British General. The incident has a lesson for
us Egyptians. We once believed in English honour;
how will it be henceforth?
I stayed the night in Galway to start the next day
for Foxford in County Mayo, via Tuam, Claremorris
and Manulla. It took the whole day to do that journey;
the train connection was very bad. My pilgrimage was
to the Convent of the Sisters of Charity at Foxford.
I reached that prosperous village on the Moy at night.
The Reverend Mother with great kindness had sent a
car to meet me at the station and drive me to the
Convent, which was over a mile away. On reaching my
destination I was received with great hospitality, and
after a very interesting talk with the Reverend Mother
and a few of the nuns, I was taken over the village club
for men and women. It was well lit with electricity,
and well-fitted with the conveniences of modern clubs,
billiard table, dancing hall, etc. …
The next day was a market day; the village street
was crowded with men, pigs, women, and cows crowded
together, and it was not at all easy to make one's way
through the mass of animals and human beings, the
former changing hands and the latter shaking hands.
I was taken over the woollen mills by a charming nun
who acted as “guide, philosopher, and friend.” The
history and significance of that convent and those mills
shall be told presently. It was at the suggestion and
with the introduction of Father Finlay that I visited
Foxford is a small village lying on the banks of the
Moy. This river gathers its waters from a wide area,

from mountains and from lakes, and by the time it
reaches its full volume it forms quite a notable current.
At Foxford it flows across a ridge of granite on which
is supported a stone bridge. On the southern side of
the ridge, the water rises to a high, smooth flood, but
as soon as it passes over, it plunges down a steep slope.
The water looks as if it had taken a false step, and
tumbling in great force, foaming in fury, over a path
strewn with rocks, makes its way to a level pool not
far down its course. As for the surrounding country,
nothing is to be seen but hills covered with brown heath
studded with bare rocks, and expanses of moor blotched
here and there with greyish patches of stone. Could
there be a more inhospitable land? Yet people lived
in this ill-favoured region and struggled hard with
destitution. In mud one-roomed cabins with thatch
that rain dripped through, and a clay floor that was
damp and cold, with no fireplace or even a chimney to
let out the clouds of smoke that rose from the turf fire
that burned in a corner, in that miserable and dingy
lair, fronted by an unsightly and evil-smelling manure
heap, a whole family lived, ill-fed and ill-clad, with
children, pigs, a calf or two, fowls, and a faithful dog,
all sheltering under the same roof. Turn the pig out of
that society, burn instead of sods of turf, cakes of dung,
and give the picture a few slight touches of local colour,
and you have a typical cottage of to-day in rural Egypt
in the winter-time!
One day, the Heavens willed it that a “Sister of
Charity” should pass by this starving place. Her
resources were all spiritual: moral courage, trust in
God, confidence in her powers, and, last but not least,
reliance on the self-devotion of her sister nuns. With
them she hoped to diminish the sufferings of the Foxford
folk, strengthen their bodies and uplift their souls,
dispel ignorance and bring cheerfulness and hope into
their homes. None but a great soul could undertake
so formidable an enterprise out of love for God's

creatures. With the help of sympathetic friends who
advanced the money necessary for her work, she started
a school and established a convent. The educational
scheme was not confined to the schoolroom, it was
extended to the homes, so that not only the children,
but their parents, came under the good influence of the
nuns. Cleanliness, order, thrift, needlework, dress-making,
knitting, cookery and laundry work were all
taught. It did not take long to reconstruct the village
and its neighbourhood on sanitary and decent lines.
Shelters were erected for animals, windows were introduced,
fireplaces and chimneys were constructed, sleeping
apartments were divided by partitions from the living
rooms, roof and floor were improved, manure heaps
were removed from the immediate neighbourhood of the
cottages and their places taken by vegetable plots and
flower-beds. The improvement of tillage and the
planting of trees were next undertaken. Helped by their
friends, the nuns acquired farm implements, improved
variety of seeds, fruit and forest trees, and thus managed
to bring about better and profitable farming on a soil
which by nature was poor and hungry. As things
progressed, the lack of some local industry which might
employ the labour that could not be profitably used on
the petty holdings, was keenly felt. Men and women
must be induced to stay at home instead of emigrating
to America, England, or other foreign lands, by offering
them good, honest work under favourable conditions.
The river was still dashing down its way like a wild
horse. It had not been broken in then, its power was
wasted as far as human service and utility were concerned.
The Reverend Mother, who chose this spot as
her life's field of activity, saw all that with her keen
eye, thought over it in her clear head, and felt it greatly
in her good heart. “That vigorous horse must be
harnessed and made use of in promoting the welfare of
these people in the midst of whom it chooses to run
wild,” she said to herself one day. Not long after, a

woollen factory appeared, and borrowed from the Moy
the necessary power. It sounds easy and simple, but
innumerable difficulties had to be overcome. All was
accomplished by that Sister of Charity, who impressed
by her powers and personality men of technical skill and
business capacity, engaging their counsel and friendly
co-operation in carrying her project to a successful
issue. Later on, the factory was extended and the most
modern machinery installed. The reputation of its
textiles is now well established. In design and texture,
these fabrics, whether blankets, flannels, tweeds, shawls,
or rugs, can be confidently placed in competition with
the best products of home or foreign looms. The change,
needless to say, reflected itself in the life of the people,
as the benefits secured by the workers, who number
some 120 hands, diffused themselves through the settlement,
which counts some 600 people.
This is the story of Foxford since the time the Sisters
of Charity came to it in 1890. I relate it to my countrymen
in full, to show them what individual effort can do.
A start was made here with no capital, no technical
knowledge, and no experience, in the midst of singularly
adverse conditions, but these and other disadvantages
were eventually overcome by the devotion of one able
and noble personality. It was a prolonged struggle in
which success was achieved by genuine ability. The
result is now apparent in a prosperous community,
working and reaping the benefit of their work in full
measure, and with a high standard of moral worth due
to the effect upon them of the presence in their midst
of a devoted and commanding character. “With this
influence pervading it,” said Father Finlay, “the factory
becomes a school where much more is learned than
spinning and weaving. Character has a value—even an
economic value—no less than tweeds; if prize medals
were awarded for this product, the Foxford Mills would
add largely to their awards of honour.”
This noble achievement in the field of industry and

social reform at Foxford is well worth studying. It is
one of the very few examples in which an attempt has
been made with complete success to solve a social
problem which still perplexes statesmen and reformers.
The physical and moral deterioration resulting from the
massing of large numbers of men and women in industrial
towns, is becoming more and more a source of
anxiety to those who have the welfare of society at
heart. These towns with their social attractions draw
to them whatever is most energetic in the human
element of the countryside. This rural exodus has
been going on now for years; and what is the reason for
it? George W. Russell [AE] tells us that “The thoughts
of the world have been too much with their cities, and
they have never sent out the missionaries of civilisation
into the country. There has been no rural civilisation,
no really well-organised system of rural society offering
to men and women an alternative life equally attractive
with that offered in the multitudinous activities of a
great city.” Foxford is one of the few fortunate places
to which “missionaries of civilisation” have come to
establish a prosperous and healthy rural community on
a sound social and economic basis. I need not go into
details here, but there are two outstanding features I
may notice. One is, that although the Foxford Mills
are run on capitalist lines, the antagonism that exists
in the world of industry between Labour and Capital
does not disturb the peace here. The reason is, the
good nuns who are the owners take their full share in
the work of every department, and are in direct contact
with all the workers, and thus are in a position to
consider and remedy any grievances as they arise and
before they have a chance of endangering the industrial
peace. The other feature of the Foxford effort is that
instead of workers pouring out of the countryside never
to come back again, to swell the unhealthy growth of
manufacturing towns, industry is brought to them, and
with it social privileges and advantages that make life
healthy, pleasant, and attractive.


I cite this example, conscious that it is very rare, as
rare as genius itself, in the hope that it may stimulate
some genius at home to activity of a similar nature.
The resources of all classes of the community, whether
they belong to the masses or to the aristocracy, to the
realms of mind and genius or to the kingdom of material
wealth, are all national assets, and should be utilised for
the welfare of the people. It may be noticed that this
book deals mostly with what collective effort can do.
Very few of us are big enough individually to plan and
carry out a great scheme of reform; that is why I lay
stress chiefly on what the masses can accomplish by
uniting forces and acting as one whole. After all, is
not this our own ethic:
Yadullahi mäaljamaäa.
But the efforts of the highly gifted individual, when
directed disinterestedly to the benefit of society, can and
do accomplish great things. In Foxford, I think we
have a striking example of what they can achieve.
I left Foxford the next day with the memory of a
great practical achievement, and with the inspiring
words in my ears of the noble woman who accomplished
it. Having crossed the Moy, which was rushing
tumultuously under the historic bridge, I turned round
and took my last look at that prosperous settlement.
I caught the train to Dublin which travelled via Roscommon,
Athlone, and Mullingar. Almost the whole
of this journey across the Midlands was through bogland.
We passed through all shades of that dominant colour
of brown. The monotony of the scenery—not altogether
without some claim to beauty—was relieved here and
there by clusters of woods, patches of green pastures,
isolated cottages, and stretches of water. It was while
crossing that country that I recalled the description of
Ireland as “a beautiful frame with no picture in it.”
The frame is indeed beautiful, all around the coast line
the scenery is exquisite and varied. The first town of

special interest passed, was Roscommon; I shall not
dwell on its ruins, important as they are to the antiquarian,
but be satisfied with referring to a product of
agricultural merit which bears the same name. The
County of Roscommon is the home of a breed of sheep
known as the Roscommon Sheep. Its origin is not
known with certainty. It is a large, long-woolled sheep
possessed of a vigorous constitution which enables it to
thrive on the flat lands devoid of shelter other than
stone walls which form its chief run. Its peculiar
soundness of foot and limb allows it to range widely
when grazing. Its mutton is of good quality and so is
its fine, long-stapled wool.
Between Roscommon and Athlone we skirted the
western shores of Lough Ree. I regretted being so near
that lake and not seeing its numerous promontories and
small islands, its bays and its creeks, the beauty and
charm of which I had heard from those who had the
good fortune to see them. Just before reaching Athlone,
the shores of Lough Ree close in to form the banks of
the Shannon, which runs in a broad stream through the
town and is spanned by two bridges. The chief feature
of Athlone, besides its history and ruins, its old abbeys
and its ancient walls, is its magnificent position in
relation to the river and lakes. Some eight miles or so
to the north-east of the town stands Auburn, the
supposed scene of Goldsmith's Deserted Village.
We passed through dreary moorland before we reached
Mullingar, a famous fishing centre, and also a busy
market town, where a large trade is carried on in horses,
cattle, and wool.
The day was over before we finished our journey, and
it was night when we reached Dublin, a bad night, too,
dark, cold and wet. I was glad to get back to the
United Arts Club in Saint Stephen's Green, my temporary
home in Ireland.
It was in my programme that I should continue my
journey from Foxford northward, through Sligo, Leitrim,

and around Ulster before I returned to Dublin. That
was my plan for the complete tour around Ireland, but
that was not to be. I was obliged to come back from
Foxford across country to Dublin, to attend to some
important duties. A fortnight elapsed before I resumed
my tour into Ulster. That break was not without its
advantages; it at least gave opportunity of seeing the
Midlands of Ireland, which I should otherwise have

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The handsome City of Dublin, on the Liffey, is the
largest and finest of the cities of Ireland. Its history
is long and interesting, its situation is pleasant and
wholesome. “The mountains are near in Dublin, the
sea is next door, and the clouds hang so low that they
must be reckoned with the town; pre-war clouds they
are, and the colours last and are for ever delightful.
In this street when the eye scans forward it lights, and
with what joy, on the eternal hills, from this window
you may smell backwards to the ocean, and out of this
one you may clutch a fistful of cloud and put it in your
pocket. Sea and hill and sky—that is Dublin; and a
silence, compacted of their essence, is Dublin also.
For if perfection is possible in this world, Dublin should
be the perfect city; the model, the unique civic and
architectural achievement of man. Nature herself has
lent every aid she possesses to that end, and if even she
is thwarted, what a notable cause there must be! An
effect is often difficult to determine, but a cause never:
so the woes of any man can be traced back to two
sources—the thing he has and the thing he hasn't;
and it is so with a city, and it is so with Dublin. There
are two things she has which she doesn't want, and two
things she wants which she hasn't got. If some
benevolent insurrection could but rid Dublin of her
tramway system and her Paving Committee what a
future would open before her! Neither of these things
fits her streets, and, after its inhabitants, what is a city
but its streets? And if, in lieu of these, she could but
procure a Parliament and a 'bus system, then Dublin

would come from underground; she would blossom like
the rose, and all the other cities would recognise their
queen.” This is what James Stephens writes to-day of
the capital of Ireland. Yes, if only Dublin could procure
a Parliament for Ireland! If, as by magic, the fine
classical building, now the headquarters of the Bank of
Ireland, could be restored to its original purpose;
would it be too much to expect that life might come
back again to Dublin, and that she might resume the
part she played in the eighteenth century as a great
social centre? As she stands now, she is like a beautiful
but dethroned queen, divorced from her own culture,
oppressed by a cruel hand, and denied her natural rights.
Repression is driving her to despair. She is in chains,
crushed and maltreated. Of her children some have
been shot, some deported and some are in jail, yet she
is beautiful and her children are heroes. Living here
amid smouldering embers of disaffection which now and
then break into flame, one is forced to acknowledge
that such conditions do sometimes bring out the finer
qualities in man. Every day we hear of honoured
citizens sacrificing their lives in an endeavour to bring
nearer to realisation the national ideal, while we see
others, labouring patiently and quietly, at the expense
of health and fortune, in what looks a hopeless task,
but which if crowned with success will bring light and
prosperity to the country. This is certainly a city of
contradictions, of leisure and culture, of sufferings and
crimes, of empty wide streets and fine big houses, of
crowded dancing halls and full “Mountjoys,” of burnt
houses and bombarded buildings (left as they were
after the “Black Week” of April 1916), of big social
clubs and famous racecourses, of rebels and loyalists,
of hopes and despairs.
These reflections arose in my mind when I returned
to the capital after my journey through rural Ireland,
I was recalled to town, first, by a wish to attend the
Annual General Meeting of the Co-operative Movement

which was to be held that week; and, secondly, I was
engaged to discuss some points of interest with the
Professor of Economics of the National University
concerning a thesis I was writing under his supervision;
thirdly, I was anxious to profit by the presence in Dublin
of my friends, the farmer co-operators, and hear their
views on rural problems.
It was not the first time I attended the Annual General
Meeting of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society.
I had been present at the previous year's meeting held
in the same place, the theatre of the Royal Dublin
Society in Leinster House, and in an equally disturbed
atmosphere. Then it was the proposed formal entry of
the President of the Irish Republic into his capital
after his dramatic escape from an English jail—a
demonstration which never took place owing to the
proclamation by the military authorities governing
Ireland. This year, with fixed bayonets and armoured
cars, arrests of prominent Sinn Féiners had been made.
The prisoners were taken in imposing style in military
motor cars and battleships over to England to be confined
in prisons, as usual without any charge or trial.
By now our people know something about the agricultural
co-operative movement and its work in Ireland.
Later on, I hope to make clear to them the, relationship
between rural and urban co-operation, and how each
is organised and controlled. There is an annual congress
for each, one held by the Irish Agricultural Organisation
Society of Dublin, and the other by the Co-operative
Union of Manchester, one entirely Irish and the other
English. To these annual congresses delegates from all
the societies come to discuss and suggest things that
concern the welfare of the movement. At this year's
agricultural co-operative meeting which I attended at
Dublin, Sir Horace Plunkett in his presidential address
said: “… The avoidance by our movement of
political and sectarian controversy and its endeavour to
embrace all classes and interests in the community it

serves, has been more severely tested of late than at
any time since the foundation of the movement.” The
two distinctive aspects of the movement which Sir
Horace chose to dwell upon occupy the minds of those
who have the welfare of co-operation at heart, and it
was well for the President to keep before the eyes of
the delegates the fundamental necessity of adhering to
the principle which has so far helped to bind together
divergent elements in Irish life, uniting Irishmen of the
north and south, farmers and labourers, and making them
work together for the creation of a new social order in
rural Ireland. “We have always held,” continued Sir
Horace, “and we have gone a long way to prove, that
what, by intelligent and loyal co-operation, our farming
community can do for itself is immeasurably more
important than what the best of governments can do
for it.”
A co-operative movement such as this, with its faith
in its own powers and its confidence in its leaders, and
which has already successfully practised what it preached,
may hope to climb before long the heights of vision,
and see the dawn rise over an Irish Co-operative
The meeting, which lasted the whole day, ended in a
social gathering at Plunkett House. I intended to have
a talk there with Sir Horace and obtain his consent to
translate into Arabic his Noblesse Oblige, a book which, I
think, our landed aristocracy would do well to read.
To my disappointment, I found that as soon as the
meeting was over, Sir Horace left hurriedly to catch the
evening mail boat to England, on his way to America!
He has recently displayed great interest in Irish politics
and has gone so far as to formulate a constitutional
settlement for the Irish Question. This, he proposed to
frame on the lines of the Constitution of Canada. He
founded the “Irish Dominion League,” and its organ,
The Irish Statesman, to advance this settlement. The
main features of the League are, that Ireland should

have the status of a Dominion within the British
Commonwealth, that Ireland should be directly represented
as a nation in the League of Nations, and that
Ireland should be represented in whatever Council,
Conference, or Parliament of the Empire may be
set up. Sir Horace seems to rely a good deal on moral
support from the other side of the Atlantic, as he
considers that American public opinion is a factor of
the first importance in the solution of a problem of the
greatest concern to all thinking men throughout the
English-speaking world, especially now that the Irish
Question bulks so largely in the public mind of the
great republic, and that America is playing so leading
a part in European affairs.
A few months later, after Sir Horace's return, I was
invited to his house at Foxrock, some seven miles from
Dublin, when I obtained his consent to a translation of
his book into Arabic, a piece of work now on the road
to accomplishment. As for the thesis I was writing for
the National University, and which was partly responsible
for breaking my journey and bringing me back to
Dublin, it was a piece of research work in the field of
economics, in which I was interested. I take this
opportunity of mentioning the National University, and
attempting to enlighten our people on educational
matters in this country. I propose giving a brief sketch
of University education in Ireland, and stating the
reasons which prompted me to join the new National
University of Ireland, rather than the old University of
Dublin, and also, the spirit that moved me to carry on
post-graduate research work for a time abroad instead
of returning home immediately on concluding the usual
academic career to join my compatriots in shouldering
national responsibility.
University education in Ireland is carried on in three
institutions, in the National University of Ireland, with
its three constituent University Colleges at Dublin,
Cork, and Galway; in Dublin University, consisting of

one College, Trinity College, not as in Cambridge or
Oxford, of twenty or more colleges; and in Queen's
University, Belfast, without any incorporated colleges.
I may dismiss the last two Universities by saying simply
that both are foreign, the former is another Oxford or
Cambridge on a small scale and the latter is an English
provincial University which happens to be situated in
Ireland. Our people know well what that means, so
there is no need to describe them further. These two
universities, though Irish in name, are mainly English in
feeling and sympathy; Protestant in religion, Unionist
in politics, and imperialistic in spirit.
The National University is entirely different. It is a
young Irish University which was brought into existence
only twelve years ago, thanks to the perseverance of
generations of patriotic Irishmen in their determination
to create a university which the mass of the Irish people
would regard and feel as their own. It is Catholic in
religion, national and Sinn Féin in politics, and democratic
in spirit. From the first, this University has
been watched with eager interest by the great mass of
the Irish people, who supported it as individuals and as
corporate bodies. They insisted upon making the Irish
language compulsory for all students entering the University.
By so doing, they have announced emphatically
their educational policy, which is based on national lines
for the realisation of national ideals. The general
principles of education whether in Science or Art are
the same in the “Irish National” as in any British
University. The undergraduate studies Medicine, Engineering,
Languages, Chemistry, Physics, Economics,
Agriculture, Music, Law, History, etc., on the same
lines as elsewhere. Where the difference comes in is in
the atmosphere, spirit, and associations. This Irish
nation is struggling for freedom, and high hopes are
centred on this University and its three colleges, as the
intellectual centre in which the great Irishmen of the
future, on whom depends the emancipation of Ireland,

will be formed. Our countrymen will now realise the
spirit of the “National,” a spirit essential to any people
who are working for the greatness of their country.
One must admit that the youth of the “National”
colleges have their difficulties. Their lack of traditions,
the fact that the Colleges are non-residential and without
adequate accommodation for common purposes, such as
club rooms, central athletic grounds, etc., hinders the
growth of an esprit de corps among their various elements.
The students are scattered over the town, with no
common meeting-place. This is an unfortunate state of
affairs which, it is hoped, will in time be remedied.
Another shortcoming to be noted is the fact that the
professions, particularly the medical, are regarded by
the undergraduates and their parents with an absurdly
exaggerated esteem. This has the effect of limiting the
student's outlook during his university career, and
affects him in his subsequent life as a citizen. The
University authorities are fully conscious of these difficulties,
and they are trying to make good the defects,
but at present there are serious drawbacks to the usefulness
of the “National” as an influence on Irish life.
Contrasting these university colleges with Trinity
College, we find the latter in possession of a tradition
stretching back to the sixteenth century. The fact that
it is a residential college, having spacious buildings,
adequate accomodation for the convenience and pleasure
of its members, great common rooms, club houses and
central sporting grounds, and a magnificent library, one
of the five greatest in the kingdom, gives Trinity a
considerable attraction. But it seems to me that there
is something of greater importance than the pleasure,
convenience, comfort, and even name a college confers
on its members. I mean the spirit of culture. I am
sure my fellow-countrymen will understand me. They
know that in Egypt we have great Government schools
and colleges which compare favourably with the best in
England, as far as material and external things are

concerned. Great buildings, spacious lecture halls and
theatres, well-equipped scientific laboratories, fine
common rooms, and well-kept athletic grounds, all are
there. But what is the spirit with which the authorities
are trying all the time to imbue the young generation?
A most unhealthy spirit, and one similar to that instilled
into the young Irish mind at Trinity. To give an
example of what I mean. Last November, I attended
the annual general meeting of the Historical Society
in Trinity, which was held in the Great Hall. It was
a large and distinguished assembly, composed of over
a thousand University people, presided over by the
Provost, and addressed by prominent public men,
Irish and English. Among the former, Lord Killanin
made a very able speech, which had it been as truthful
as it was eloquent would have evoked just admiration.
But he had the boldness, in the very capital of Ireland,
to praise British diplomacy and its championship of the
rights of small nationalities, to extol Britain's just
administration and her liberal and generous attitude
towards those whom she takes into her charge. And
who would believe it? Not one voice was heard, nor a
single interruption made, from that supposed intellectual
assembly in protest against such a misrepresentation,
and he was allowed to proceed with his oratory, and
received enthusiastic applause at its close. This seems
to me an apt illustration of the spirit of this College.
One wonders whether the members of Trinity are consummate
hypocrites or merely moral cowards. When
I talked to some of the men individually on the subject,
they expressed their regret that they could not go
against the general feeling of the College, even though
they totally disagreed with what Lord Killanin stated.
Such an institution, breeding a type of citizen who
cannot act according to his reasoned conviction, is not
worthy of being called a school, much less a University.
This is my own opinion, but I was reminded that this
same College produced some of the greatest Irish patriots,

like Wolfe Tone, Thomas Davis, Robert Emmet, and
Douglas Hyde. I wondered within myself how many
did it produce who betrayed Ireland and deserted her
in her need. Think of such thousands and remember
that men like those mentioned, and of whom “Trinity,”
strange to say, is proud, were made of stuff that not
even Trinity with all its unnational and anglicising
influence could pervert. One must remember also that
Trinity was then the only University in Ireland. I am
glad that there is now another University to counteract
the unhealthy and foreign spirit fostered by Trinity,
and to open its arms to those who think and work
nationally. There are some people in Dublin who do
not agree with me, and who think that the existence
of two universities in the Irish capital is economically
wasteful and politically a misfortune. That may be so.
But I believe that Ireland is justified in her effort to
strengthen her own soul.
As regards “Queen's” in Belfast, it will suffice to
say that it is in Ulster, and only one-fifth of its students
are Catholics and non-Unionists.
To come to the question why I did not return home
and start work as soon as I had finished the ordinary
university career abroad: I would like to give my
reasons at length, so as to explain such defects as I am
conscious of in our early education at home, and to
suggest things to the rising generation in Egypt that
might help them in the building up of Modern Egypt
on purely national lines.
When I was still in the Khedivich School at home,
my people chose Medicine for me as a profession; as
soon as I got my “Bakaloria” my fate was sealed, a
“Doctor” I had to be. Careers in Egypt are very
limited, and the choice is made by parents without the
least regard to the abilities or inclinations of their boys.
Owing to a mistaken standard of social values, the
three professions of Medicine, Law and Engineering, are
held in a ridiculously exaggerated esteem, with the

result that the schools keep on every year qualifying
hundreds of young men in these subjects, who, through
the defective spirit of their education and training,
lack reliance on their own power, and are incapable of
striking out new and original ways of their own in
attempting to make the best use of their limited
opportunities. Most of them entirely depend on
positions under the Government, or, if they are of
independent means, do absolutely nothing either for
themselves or for others. I have not space here to
expose fully the evil system and false spirit of the
education prevailing all over Egypt under the control
of the British. I remember many things of the four
years I spent under the mastership of that lordly
Englishman, Mr. Sharman, and his staff. They did
their best to kill whatever spirit there was in Egyptian
boys. However, I shall reserve this subject for another
volume. I left the “Khedivich” to enter the School of
Medicine, whose principal was then a Dr. Keating. I am
told he is an Ulster man, a greater bully or more over-bearing
teacher it would be difficult to find. His language
was indescribable and his behaviour towards the men and
the staff intolerable. If that be so, he must be of the
real Carsonian type. I regret deeply that an Irishman
even if he was from Ulster, should have made himself
so obnoxious in Egypt. He knew what I and others
felt, and kept watch on our relations with the Nationalist
I fear to bore the reader with this story. But I
relate it for reasons which will be understood presently;
it is not only my story, but that of many of my compatriots.
In Easter 1908 I left Egypt to finish my education
in England. At Saint Thomas' Hospital, London, I
continued the course begun at home, and spent four
years in study and practice. Then when I was preparing
for my final examination, the Balkan War broke
out. The British Red Cross sent contingents to the

warring nations. It so happened that the contingent
going to Turkey was manned mostly by Saint Thomas'
men. I volunteered, and was accepted as assistant-surgeon.
To cut the story short, I served my time,
and after a six months tour around Europe, I returned
to England, but with different views and intentions.
Several factors contributed to my decision to change
my career. It was a bold step and required some
moral courage in the face of absolute disapproval from
my people and bitter criticism from my friends. My
great support was a sincere conviction that I could
serve my country best in another field. I joined the
Bristol University, and after three years got the degree
of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. With that I
returned home to see what I could do for my country
with such knowledge and experience as I had acquired.
On board the ship I met Mr. MacKillop, the administrative
adviser to the Ministry of Agriculture, and after
a friendly talk on things in general, he proposed my
joining the Ministry and offered me the position of
Sub-Inspector. I thanked him, but declined to accept
the offer, till I had reached home, and had considered
the matter. When I reached Egypt and learned something
of Egyptian matters, both from Egyptians and
English officials in Cairo and in the provinces, I came
to the conclusion that if I were to join the service I
should do so in the capacity of a government official in
the administrative department (with great prospects of
quick promotion to the highest offices if I became a
favourite with our English advisers), and forget all that
I had learnt of agricultural science; or I should assume
some responsibility in one particular branch of the
scientific department of the Ministry. This latter
course required special knowledge, which I could not
then claim, in one particular subject, such as Chemistry,
Entomology, or Mycology. I felt that my general
knowledge of agriculture was not sufficient to ensure
usefulness to my nation, although it would have secured

me a good position under the Government with a
handsome income, or at any rate a comfortable and
easy life. Realising how important the subject of plant
breeding was to Egypt I resolved to return to England
with the view of specialising in that subject. I entered
Cambridge University and worked under Professor Biffen,
the authority on that subject, for a while. Unfortunately,
the subject did not appeal to me, and gradually my
interest in it faded away. Economics attracted my
attention, and I soon found myself studying tha
subject, particularly the branch of it dealing with
agriculture. In my third and last year in Cambridge
I devoted a good deal of my time to research in the
economics of agricultural co-operation, under the supervision
of Dr. Fay of Christ College. At that time Dr.
Fay was contemplating bringing out a new edition of
his well-known book, Co-operation at Home and Abroad.
He entrusted that part of it dealing with the United
Kingdom to me. With instructions and introductions,
I set out in search of materials on the subject of both
industrial and agricultural co-operation, and toured
England, Scotland, and Ireland. That occupied the six
months vacation of my last year in Cambridge. Having
kept my terms and obtained my degree of Bachelor of
Arts in Political Economy in that old University, I
thought it wise to extend my researches in agricultural
co-operation and with that intention I came to Ireland.
This is my story, the story of one of your own people,
and I have related it in the hope that it may be of use.
After a defective upbringing at home, our boys proceed
to the Government schools, where, whatever possibilities
remain for the making of great men or even useful
citizens are systematically eliminated. As for careers,
they are like marriages, all arranged by the anxious,
well-meaning parents. To this system, the majority of
our young men submit, and consent to live what is at
best a life of mediocrity. Few of them rebel or struggle
to free themselves, but such rebels as there are strike

out new lines for themselves, and generally attain distinction
in whatever field they choose for work. The
moral courage of such men, their sincere conviction,
their personality, combined with their mastery of the
subject of their choice, their experience of men and
things, and their devotion to national aspirations make
us believe and trust in them as men who will liberate
Egypt, and realise her hopes.
Now I come to the third reason that broke my journey
and brought me to Dublin. I did not want to miss
the chance of meeting farmers from all parts of the
country at the Co-operative Congress, and hearing their
views on various agricultural questions, co-operative and
otherwise. I was particularly interested in their opinions
on the scope and work of the Agricultural Wholesale
Society and on the future of farmers' associations. As
I have not touched on these two subjects heretofore I
now propose to say a few words about them.


In Ireland, as in any other country where co-operation
has attained large proportions, federation for trading
purposes becomes a necessity. The co-operative societies
feel that by employing a central body to trade for them
they effect economies which could not be effected if they
acted severally. Besides, the idea of a wholesale society
is after all an extension of the idea underlying the
co-operative movement, that is, the organisation and
control of industry by the people for use rather than
for profit.
The Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society came into
existence in 1897. Like other trade federations of its
kind, it supplies the affiliated societies with goods of
guaranteed quality at wholesale prices for resale at
retail prices to their members, and also markets for
them their agricultural produce. Although the main
trade of the society is in things directly connected with

agriculture, like manures, seeds, machinery, etc., it
undertakes the function of a general co-operative wholesale.
Its activities have thus become varied, from
supplying fertilisers and implements to selling provisions
and stationery. In this way it has become the binding
link between the urban and the rural societies.
Qualification for membership, method of raising capital,
control of policy, vesting of management, the allocation
of profits, and other details of business, are conducted
on the usual co-operative lines as applied to wholesale
federations. Unlike the English and Scottish Wholesale
Societies it has no productive departments. Whether it
will develop in this direction or not remains to be seen.
Meanwhile its progress has been continued in spite of
the fact that lack of sufficient capital and of support
from the affiliated societies checks its activities, otherwise
its progress would have been more rapid.


In Ireland there are two of these, one for Ulster and
one for the rest of the country. Although both profess
to be non-political and non-sectarian, yet North and
South remain apart, each having its own organisation.
Some claim that this is inevitable, owing to differences
in circumstances. The cultivation of flax and the linen
industry of the North are, it is said, so closely connected
that the area under flax forms a farming entity by
itself. To those who know, this seems only an excuse
manufactured by the mischievous politicians of the
North to mislead the farmers and justify the policy of
isolation. In reality, the interests of Irish farmers, no
matter in what part of the country they live, or what
system of farming they follow, are identical. The
Ulster farmers are waking up to this fact, and it will
not be long before the interests of every farmer will be
best served by having one big Union entitled to speak
for all the farmers of Ireland.
Leaving out the Ulster Farmers' Union, which, it is
hoped, will be absorbed soon by the bigger organisation,
the Irish Farmers' Union, I shall here try to explain
the constitution and objects of the latter. This body,
which has not entered on its “'teens” yet, is a consultative
one which meets quarterly at its headquarters
in Dublin, where it also holds an Annual Congress. It
is composed of affiliated Farmers' Associations scattered
all over the country. For administrative purposes in
each county, members form themselves into “Branches,”
These branches elect delegates to form a “County
Executive,” which has full control of all matters within
the county. Above all the County Executives stands
the “Union,” which has a General Secretary and a
weekly paper, The Irish Farmer. The government of
this Union is called the “National Council,” and consist,
of a President, four Vice-Presidents (one for each
province), two treasurers, and a committee, all elected
at the Annual Congress, whose main duty it is to consider
matters pertaining to Irish farming interests. The
aims and objects of the Union are:
  • 1. To consolidate all existing Farming Organisations
    in Ireland into one Union, and to create new branches
    of the Union.
  • 2. To protect and promote the general interest of
    both the employer and the employed engaged in the
    agricultural industry of Ireland.
  • 3. To press upon the Government the urgent necessity
    for the immediate completion of Land Purchase.
  • 4. The Union shall also study improved methods of
    agriculture, and endeavour through its organisation to
    disseminate a knowledge of such improved methods
    amongst its members. It shall also devote its attention
    to existing schemes of agricultural education, and where
    necessary suggest improvements. The Union shall also
    encourage the holding of meetings amongst farmers for the
    purpose of discussing improved methods of agriculture,
    and shall in this respect promote the reading of papers
    and the holding of debates among its members.

  • 5. To effect the foregoing objects the Union shall
    endeavour to gain representation on all bodies charged
    with administrative powers affecting agriculture. It
    also shall, whenever necessary, bring united pressure to
    bear upon the responsible authorities in order that
    grievances may be removed, and the well-considered
    opinions and claims of those engaged in agriculture
    receive clue consideration.
  • 6. That this Union encourage as far as possible the
    principle of Co-operation with any other body in regard
    to the commercial organisation of farmers.
  • 7. That it be an instruction to all members of the
    Irish Farmers' Union to encourage in as far as possible
    Irish industry and Irish development.
As regards the question of finance, the machinery is
provided entirely by the members' subscriptions. It
accepts neither a Government grant nor private subscriptions.
To dispel any misapprehension of its attitude towards
co-operation, the Union in 1917 passed the following
“That when local and other circumstances point to
the necessity for the formation of Co-operative Societies
for the buying of farmers' requirements and the selling
of the produce, Associations affiliated with this Union
shall be free to act as they may individually desire.”
Further, in 1919, the Union has adopted among its
objects the following two rules:
  • 1. To discuss, with a view to united action, matters
    of common interest to the farmers represented; to
    secure mutual support and co-operation among the
  • 2. To co-operate with any other association, body,
    or person in the United Kingdom having interests in
    common with the members of the Union.
This shows that the way is clear between these two
bodies, not only to a cordial understanding, but to
intercourse and co-operation. Each has its own sphere

of action, which not only does not overlap but actually
aids the other. The Farmers' Associations are, as stated
before, consultative, while the Co-operative Societies are
trading bodies. Nothing convinces one more of the
very useful function the Farmers' Associations can
perform in promoting the interests of co-operation, than
the assistance they are rendering in the founding of that
great co-operative enterprise at Waterford, I mean the
Dead Meat Factory referred to earlier in these pages.
When I discussed with their respective leaders the
relationship between the two organisations, I could see
clearly the points of view held by each. The Co-operative
Societies stand on firm economic ground and are
looking forward to the time when they will control the
trade of the country, and whoever controls the trade of
a nation controls its destiny. They have not much
faith in organisations whose main work seems to be the
passing of resolutions, particularly in a country like
Ireland, where the people and the Government form two
hostile camps. The Government does not listen to what
the people ask for, and consequently resolutions eventually
find their way to the waste-paper basket. In
this case nothing but actual economic policy will improve
the lot of the people and defeat the ends of an unjust
government. On the other hand, the Farmers' Associations
hold that co-operation, necessarily, cannot
embrace the whole farming population. It is purely a
business organisation limited to those engaged in particular
pursuits; whereas they claim to have behind
them the support of the whole farming community,
embracing farmers big and small, whether they are in
need of or not in need of the middleman, and all forms
and styles of farming, whether they offer a basis for
co-operation or not. They claim to represent the
farming community, and to speak for it, using every
opportunity of promoting the interest of all connected
with the land, whether by advising the authorities, and
thus affecting legislature, or by other means.

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I left Dublin to resume my tour around Ireland, and
with two friends travelled northwards. We soon
entered Meath, a county rendered famous by the beauty
of the Valley of the Boyne, and by the amazing richness
of its monuments of all ages. Perhaps to our people
the “Boyne Tumuli” are of special interest, for here,
it is believed, the influence of ancient Egyptian Art on
Ireland can be traced. The late Mr. George Coffey,
the eminent Irish archaeologist, after several explorations
and much study of these little pyramids proved that
the concentric circles, spiral designs and elaborate
carvings which appear on their stones are repetitions of
similar decorations to be found in Egypt. Drogheda
with its antiquarian ruins did not detain us long, and
we proceeded to Dundalk, a historical town situated
upon a low, flat expanse at the head of a bay bearing
the same name, half-way between Dublin and Belfast.
A few miles to the west we entered Ulster. We alighted
at Newtownbutler, the first town we visited in the
northern province. Our interest in that place was in
the first place due to the existence of a co-operative
society, which, thanks to the activities of Father M.,
is a great asset of the agricultural community; secondly,
the town itself is a favourite starting-point for visiting
Upper Lough Erne. We regretted our time did not
allow us to traverse the expanse of this charming lake
studded with its many islands. From a distance we
viewed the extensive stretches of sylvan and pastoral
borderland surrounding those lonely waters. The

mountains in the background, the stately towers, lordly
castles and hanging cliffs, all added to the beauties of
the landscape. Enniskillen was our next town. This
historically famous centre stands upon an island between
the two lakes—the Upper and Lower Lough Erne.
We called on some friends, and saw the town, then left
on the same day for Belcoo. From Belcoo we walked
to Blacklion, a distance of about a mile, to get a
conveyance to take us to the old parish of Killinagh.
It was a beautiful drive of some seven miles in the open
country. We arrived at our destination just in time to
attend a farmers' meeting. It was held at the National
School, with one of the big farmers of the district in the
chair. To us the assembly was an extremely interesting
one, not so much because of the amount of work done as
from the evidence at first hand that the farmers are
now realising how much it is to their own interest to
come together and work in harmony. No amount of
legislation can take the place of the vital force that
lives in the spirit of voluntary association. The more
the farmer realises that, the greater the benefit he reaps
from his labours. We returned by the same way to
catch the train from Belcoo to Manorhamilton, a small
town situated in a valley surrounded by ranges of hills
on every side. Manorhamilton is an outpost of
Connaught, it is not in Ulster, though surrounded by
Ulster towns; it is in the county of Leitrim. There
we got accomodation for the night, and left the next
day for Augher in County Tyrone via Maguiresbridge.
In this place, where we were the guests of a farmer
friend, we spent a few pleasant, instructive and interesting
days. Our work embraced visits to a “store,”
a creamery, a flax-mill and a farm; our amusements
consisted in calling on friends and attending a “village
dance.” Perhaps the reader would like to know something
of our experience of these two sides of life during our
short sojourn at Augher and its sister town, Clogher.
I take first the subject of flax.


Before the war the flax fibre necessary for the manufacture
of Irish linen, which is a great Ulster industry,
came mostly from Russia. Some was imported from
Belgium, Holland, and Trance, and some grown in
Ireland itself. At the beginning of the war, Ireland
put under cultivation about 50,000 acres, almost all in
Ulster. Now this figure is increasing with the increased
demand on the home produced flax resulting from the
disturbance in international trade. The cultivation of
this crop, which requires not only a great deal of labour,
and also a skilled form of it, needed at the time better
technical knowledge and better organisation of the trade.
The Co-operative Movement played a prominent
part in bringing about these improvements which
were indispensable to the progress of this industry.
The activities of the Flax Co-operative Society, which
we visited at Seskinore, near Augher, and those of other
similar societies reveal this fact. They purchase for
their members nothing but the best seed. Improvements
in the production of the flax, as well as in its
after-treatment, are brought about through the employment
of skilled instructors. All this ensures the production
of the best quality of flax fibre. As regards
the problem of marketing, the growers who belong to a
co-operative society are no more at the mercy of the
buyers, no matter how strong the ring these may form.
The societies, by helping the farmers to produce flax
on approved methods, to acquire modern scutching
machinery and to market the crop at an advantage
are not only benefiting the farmer and encouraging the
cultivation of flax in Ireland, but are assisting a great
national industry and raising its standard of quality.
The dance we attended was organised by our co-operative
friends, and to it came people from the
surrounding villages. It was a big gathering of some
two hundred country folk, all coming to enjoy an all-night
dance. The entertainment, like the people themselves,
was of a mixed nature. There were songs in

English and songs in Gaelic; there were Continental
dances and Irish dances. Protestants and Catholics
were there, so were real Irish people as well as so-called
Irish. It is to the credit of the co-operative principle,
that all this took place under one roof in Ireland. At
the door of a co-operative hall people leave their religious
and political differences to meet on co-operative ground.
Everything went off smoothly and enjoyably. The
Irish tunes were full of melody and the folk dances of
grace, and the natural merriment of the people was a
pleasant thing that could not be forgotten. All joined
in the cheerful spirit of the night, and I, feeling one of
them, forgot for the moment that I was a foreigner till
a friend, touching me on the shoulder, reminded me of
a talk we were to have the next day on Egypt and
Ireland. With “Eire agus Eigipt go bráth!” I departed.
We left this beautiful countryside with pleasant memories
of its charming views, co-operative spirit, and kindly
friendship. Our only grievance against Augher is its
railway, but we appreciated the kindness even that
showed us, as we were leaving; had it not been that
the train was late, we should have missed it, and so lost
the connection to Belfast. Our way to this city was
via Armagh and Portadown. The former, now a country
town, was once a celebrated city, the Ulster capital in
Pagan times, and later the seat of Saint Patrick, the
patron saint of Erin. Portadown is an important commercial
centre and railway junction. Belfast, the great
industrial city of Ireland, grew into fame in a comparatively
short period of time. Up to the seventeenth
century it had neither a historic background nor any
importance in the national life of the country. Its
importance is largely due to the unrivalled safety of its
harbour. An atmosphere different in many aspects
from that of Ireland generally is accounted for by the
fact that its inhabitants are to a great extent descendants
of English and Scottish adventurers, amongst whom the
lands of the original Irish were parcelled out at the

time of the Ulster Plantation. The foreign intruders
drove the Irish owners off the land with a cruelty that
knew no satiety, and with rapacity that had no bounds.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century, Belfast
began to assume the position of a great growing industrial
city. Large factories, shipbuilding yards, flourishing
industries, and extensive trade, added greatly to the
activity and wealth of the people and helped to make
the city famous. Huge buildings appeared, municipal
and otherwise, and in short the place became what it
is now—the richest and most progressive city in Ireland,
that is, of course, as far as material progress is concerned.
To a stranger like myself it seems another Manchester
or Glasgow. It has, I think, little that is purely Irish
about it. Its people are hustling business people,
seeming to have no time for either leisure or culture.
Like Manchester and Glasgow, Belfast is a great centre
of industrial co-operation. We were taken over the
handsome headquarters, huge premises and various
departments of the Belfast Co-operative Society, We
were also invited to attend its annual general meeting
and were introduced to its leading men and women.
From what I saw here and in England and Scotland I
must say that this form of co-operation is as progressive
in Belfast as it is in any city of Great Britain, except
in the field of production, for Belfast is content to buy
its goods direct from the English and the Scottish
Wholesale Co-operative Societies, which manufacture
most of their goods in their own factories.
My readers have already been made acquainted with
the agricultural or rural co-operative movement in
Leinster, Munster and Connaught, which is entirely
Irish. Now we come across another form of co-operation
prevalent in Ulster. This is what is called
the industrial or urban co-operative movement. It is
very strong in Great Britain and in this northern
province of Ireland. Its headquarters, “The Co-operative
Union,” are in Manchester. As I have tried to

tell my readers, the story of the agricultural side of the
co-operative movement, I may now attempt to describe
the industrial side of it, so as to make the account
complete. It must be remembered that industrial
co-operation in Ulster is part and parcel of a big movement
in Great Britain, and I cannot describe the Irish
part adequately without telling the history and development
of the movement in Ireland and Great Britain.
The Industrial Co-operative Movement was born in
England. It was the outcome of an effort of the
labouring classes to protect themselves against the
effects of the Industrial Revolution which began towards
the close of the eighteenth century. The utter misery
into which they were plunged attracted the attention
of one of the greatest social reformers of his day, and
enlisted his sympathy. That man combined practical
business capacity with high social ideals. He was of
Welsh origin and his name was Robert Owen. I cannot
describe him better than by quoting Mrs. Sydney Webb.
“Apprenticed early to a retail shopkeeper, at nineteen
years of age he had saved sufficient to start as a small
master in the Manchester machine-making and cotton
spinning trade. Quickly realising that the new industry
required large masses of capital, he abandoned the
nominal independence of a small master to become the
manager of a large factory. From the position of manager
in one firm he became managing partner in another,
until he succeeded to the absolute control of the large
spinning mill at New Lanark. It was here he tried his
first experiment in practical economics. He raised the
wages of his workers, reduced the hours of labour from
seventeen to ten a day, prohibited the employment of
children under ten years of age. He provided free
education, free amusements, cheap provisions, good
cottages for his workpeople and their families. At
first his fellow-manufacturers watched with contemptuous
amazement the deeds of this Don Quixote of the
cotton trade; his partners sought separation from this

crack-brained philanthropist intent on personal ruin.
He answered these theoretical objections to the Socialist
programme—good wages, short hours, free instruction
and free amusement—by showing in the course of four
years a profit of £160,000, besides paying five per cent.
on capital employed, and raising the selling value of
the factory fifty per cent.”
Having thus succeeded in carrying his views into
effect with remarkable success in his factory, he tried
to spread his ideals amongst his fellow-manufacturers,
as well as amongst influential circles directing the
affairs of the State. The influence of his example, work
and teachings did not fail to leave its stamp on the
modern relations between Capital and Labour. The
ideal which Owen worked for, was a self-supporting one
which would produce its own requirements without
making profit. In that community, the supply of
goods would be regulated according to demand, and as
there were no profits to be made, labour would be
rewarded adequately. It will be noticed that there is
a close connection between Owen's theories and those
underlying the present store movement. Owen was
the greatest co-operative enthusiast of his generation,
but “he was not the father and originator of the co-operative
store,” Dr. Fay observes. “Rather is it
true that the store movement, while still in the stage
of humble experiment, was caught up for a few years
in a flood-tide of idealistic enthusiasm, inspired and
directed by him, and that, when the flood-tide ebbed,
the movement returned to its old line of development
with slower steps and wiser tactics, content to act
cautiously while naming a distant and wide goal.”
Some of Owen's disciples made a bold attempt to put
his ideals into practice at Brighton and other places
by starting what were called “Union Shops,” but after
a few years success, lack of legal recognition and the
disloyalty of members, together with unbusiness-like

methods brought the noble adventure to a sad ending.
Things then looked very dark for co-operation. During
the next ten years, although Owen's spirit was still
active, and his followers were struggling to achieve
their purpose, co-operation fell into the background
owing to the rising of the Chartist Agitation. In the
early part of the nineteenth century, the working classes
in England were in a state of profound discontent.
Wages were low and prices high. This caused great
distress among the people, which led to an agitation
that came to be known as “Chartism.” The people
at a mass meeting adopted a manifesto, or “People's
Charter,” in which they made the following demands:
  • Annual Parliaments.
  • Universal Suffrage.
  • Vote by Ballot.
  • Equal Electoral Districts.
  • Abolition of Property Qualification for Members of
  • Payment of Members of Parliament.
Large meetings were held throughout the country
and great excitement prevailed. On the refusal of the
Government to consider the petition, riots broke out.
Fierce encounters between the Chartists and the Government
forces took place, but eventually the rebellion was
The failure of the Chartists intensified discontent.
Realising the dangers to society that lay behind that
discontent, a group of social reformers, who came to be
known as the “Christian Socialists,” met in 1848, to
consider the possibility of putting an end to the strife,
and to inquire into the best means of improving conditions
among the discontented section of the population.
This group was composed of reformers under the leadership
of Thomas Hughes, Charles Kingsley, Vansittart
Neale, Maurice, and Ludlow. They maintained, that
if men combined together voluntarily to produce whatever
commodities were required by the community,

instead of endeavouring to outdo one another by
competition, there would be less of the poverty and
suffering that was the cause of all the trouble. Self-governing
workshops as advocated by these reformers
were started with the view of avoiding the antagonism
between Capital and Labour. Thus co-operation came
to the front again, but this time in the form of what is
called “Producers' Co-operation.” Under that form,
the labourers themselves own the capital and thus
eliminate the employer. They appoint their manager
from amongst themselves and divide profits between
themselves. Unfortunately, the doctrines preached by
the Christian Socialists were without results owing to
the inefficiency amongst the men and the lack of ability
in those at the helm. Thus ended two noble efforts to
improve the lot of the English working classes—the
first of Robert Owen, the second that of the Christian
Socialists. The collapse of both was due to the same
cause. The time was not ripe for co-operative ideals.
The way had to be prepared, a good deal of ground
had to be cleared, and many changes in the life and
character of the people to be accomplished. But the
work of Robert Owen and the Christian Socialists was
not fruitless; they convinced the people of the importance
of education and of the efficacy of voluntary
effort. This achievement left a high moral ideal and
sense of discipline amongst the people that made the
spread of co-operation possible. The next effort was
in a new direction. Failure in co-operative production
damped the zeal of co-operators in that direction, and
diverted their activities to co-operative distribution.
The year 1844, a prominent date in the history of
co-operation, saw a fresh force advancing to support
the movement, and give it the power and prestige
which it needed and which it has retained ever since.
It came from Rochdale and to Rochdale it has given
fame. There, some twenty-eight weavers, afterwards
to be known as the “Pioneers,” formed a society which,

though humble in its origin, had an ambitious programme.
The immediate object of the “Pioneers” was to establish
a store for the selling of provisions to the members;
but they had other and larger schemes which they
intended to carry out later. Their ultimate aim was
to establish a self-supporting community in which the
members had control not only over distribution, but
over production, education and government. They
raised the capital required for their enterprise by weekly
subscriptions of 3d. each, and when their capital reached
the total sum of £28, they started business. If the Rochdale
Pioneers could have foreseen that with the opening
of their humble shop in that country town near Manchester,
they were beginning a glorious chapter in the
history of co-operation, they would have been less
nervous in taking down the shutters of the famous
window in Toad Lane on the opening day. As it was,
they felt far from confident in the face of bitter criticism
and strong opposition. Holyoake, in describing the
opening of that historic store, said:
“On one desperate evening—it was the longest evening
of the year—the 21st of December, 1844, the ‘Equitable
Pioneers’ commenced business… It had got wind
among the tradesmen of the town that their competitors
were in the field, and many a curious eye was that day
turned up Toad Lane, looking for the appearance of
the enemy; but, like other enemies of more historic
renown, they were rather shy of appearing. A few of
the co-operators had clandestinely assembled to witness
their own dénouement, and there they stood in that
dismal lower room of the warehouse, like the conspirators
under Guy Fawkes in the Parliamentary cellars,
debating on whom should devolve the temerity of taking
down the shutters and displaying their humble preparations.
One did not like to do it, and another did not
like to be seen in the shop when it was done: however,
having gone so far there was no choice but to go further,
and at length one bold fellow, utterly reckless of consequences,

rushed at the shutters, and in a few minutes
Toad Lane was in a titter.”
The story of this society is one of continued progress.
The remarkable success achieved by the Rochdale
weavers encouraged others in all parts of the country to
found societies on the same lines. What is the secret
of this principle whose fame has reached so many lands?
Apart from the strong social faith and great enthusiasm
which inspired the pioneers in all this work, they built
their scheme on a sound business basis, as planned by
the prophets of co-operation. Cash trading was a
religion with them. As regards profits, they did not
believe in them, but as it was very difficult to sell at
market price and at the same time eliminate profit,
they devised the ingenious plan of dividing amongst
themselves whatever profits were made, according to
the amount of trade done by each member. In all their
activities, they preserved strict neutrality in religion
and politics. On these lines and after obtaining legal
recognition, the movement extended, and co-operative
stores began to multiply in all the industrial districts
of the country. It will be remembered that co-operators,
whether Owenites, Christian Socialists, or Rochdale
Pioneers, had all the time cherished the idea of producing
for themselves, but they were never strong
enough to accomplish their hearts' desire. Now that
the movement had spread, the establishing of a wholesale
society which would strengthen the position of the
stores as buyers became imperative.
In 1863, the Co-operative Wholesale Society was
founded with headquarters at Manchester. Five years
later the Scottish Wholesale Society was founded at
Glasgow. These two great federations did much to
advance the cause of the store movement, by supplying
the societies with whatever they needed at wholesale
prices direct from their distributive and productive
departments. Since their foundation, the progress and
expansion of co-operative wholesale trading has been

most remarkable. I was struck with their greatness
on my visits to their headquarters, branches, factories,
farms, and depots in England and Scotland. The
increasing enterprise in production of these two federations
is meeting with the success that is assured to
societies producing for a known and ascertained market.
To enumerate their many and varied operations would
form a long list, as they range from boots and provisions
to textiles and tobacco. To survey their activities one
has to follow their course of enterprise round the world,
as they own land, possess factories, and have depots in
many countries. To sum up: it may be stated that
they carry on the trades or businesses of wholesale
dealers, bankers, shippers, carriers, manufacturers, merchants,
cultivators of land, workers of mines, and insurers
of persons and property.
The members of these wholesale federations are shareholding
local societies, and the profits, which are based
on the difference between manufacturers' or importers'
and wholesale prices, are distributed among these
societies in proportion to their purchases. The
management of the two wholesale societies, which are
quite independent of each other, is on the usual lines.
The shareholding societies of each elect a Board of
Directors which are elected among the members of the
retail co-operative societies who are chosen for this
position by the votes of the societies that are members
of the Wholesale Society. This Board appoints managers
to the various departments and factories and entrusts
them with the management. These managers are
directly responsible to the Directors, who form themselves
into committees, each of which supervises a
certain department. Quarterly meetings are held to
which delegates of the retail societies are invited. At
these, balance sheets and committees' reports are discussed,
and resolutions are passed affecting the policy
and work of the Wholesale Society.
After the founding of the wholesale societies, the lack

of a head to the huge co-operative system of industrial
wholesale and retail societies in the United Kingdom
was much felt. This brought about the creation of
“The Co-operative Union,” a federation of Co-operative
Societies for educational, protective, progressive and
co-ordinating purposes. “It upholds the principles of
the movement by educating the members in these
principles and insisting upon the practice of truthfulness,
justice and economy in all business transactions
undertaken by co-operative societies.” In short, it acts
as guardian of the true spirit of the co-operative movement.
The membership of the Union, as in the case
of the Wholesale Societies, is composed of co-operative
societies. These elect delegates to attend the annual
general meeting of the Union, “The Co-operative Congress,”
which is held at a different centre each year.
This Congress, which is attended by thousands and
which lasts all Whit-week, is an important event to
which co-operators look forward with interest in anticipation
of its plans for promoting the welfare of their
movement. The government of the Union is organised
on democratic lines, somewhat similar to those of the
wholesale societies. I need not go into the details of
the organisation, of its committees and sub-committees,
its Central Board and Sectional Boards. Thus is the
co-operative movement guided, and its light spread.
The women, too, have their place in the movement.
Feminine activity is represented by the women's co-operative
guilds. There are three of them in these
islands, one in England, one in Scotland, and one in
Ireland, all run on the same lines. The English Guild
is the oldest and the largest. The Women's Co-operative
Guild, as it is called, has its headquarters in London.
It is described as “a self-governing organisation of
women, who work through co-operation for the welfare
of the people, seeking freedom for their own progress,
and the equal fellowship of men and women in the
home, the store, the workshop, and the State.” From

this we perceive that it acts as an inquiry department
into possible defects within the movement, particularly
those concerning women, at the same time it exercises
with increasing effect a beneficial influence on social
questions in general. This two-fold activity of the
Guild sometimes brings it into conflict with certain
other elements in the co-operative movement. To cite
an example, we might take the case of divorce law
reform. There was a disagreement on this subject
between the Co-operative Union and the Women's Guild,
which led to somewhat strained relationship between
them for a while. The Guild held that “the members
of the Guild look to co-operation not only to set up
stores where they can obtain their goods and be provided
with dividends, but to remove many evils connected
with our present laws and customs, and to
establish society on a more equal and just basis; and
consider it within its sphere of action to give this subject
attention, with a view to raising the standard of married
life to a higher plane.” On the other hand, the Union
was anxious not to introduce into the co-operative
movement questions of a religious character, and the
discussion of questions relating to divorce was considered
detrimental to the best interests of the movement.
However, that did not deter the Guild from proceeding
with its inquiry into the subject, after making it clear
to the Union that the Guild, “while primarily concerned
with co-operation, has a further side to it, which deals
with questions of industrial and social reform affecting
its members as married women.” This disagreement
came to an end recently and the result was in favour
of the Guild. The entry of the co-operative movement
into politics, and the enfranchisement of women, were
no doubt, contributory causes to this fortunate reconciliation.
I dwell on this question here with a view of
showing to our people the impossibility of dividing the
activities of a public body like the Women's Guild into
water-tight compartments. As we shall be faced with

similar questions in the near future in our own country,
when the women begin to play their part in the reconstruction
of our social life, this account of the action of
the Women's Guild may be interesting and useful to our
The many-sided nature of the work of the Guild since
its establishment in 1883, makes it impossible to give
here a complete account of all it has done. Its work
for promoting the interest of co-operation has been
incalculable. It has worked for loyalty to the store
and advocated co-operative production, it has supported
cash trading and conducted inquiries into the conditions
of labour amongst the women co-operative employees.
Its work for shorter hours and a minimum wage has
been well rewarded. The Guild has urged the provision
of sick-room appliances wherever women workers are
employed by co-operative societies.
In its work outside the co-operative movement, it
supported the campaign for the extension of the suffrage
to women, and roused public opinion to the necessity
of providing adequate medical treatment for school
children. Its work for legislation affecting child labour
and education as well as married women of the working
class, both in maternity and other sickness, has been
handsomely acknowledged by all.
This comprehensive work of the Guild is carried out
very smoothly through its effective organisation. The
whole Guild is governed by an annual congress of
delegates from the branches. Through a “Central
Committee,” the branches of the Guild are kept in touch
with one another and thus the whole organisation is
To judge by its increasing membership, by the great
attendance and interest shown at its annual congresses
and by the valuable work it does in the field of social
reform, whether co-operative or general, for the welfare
of womanhood, its progress has been continuous and its
position assured.
Before ending my remarks on co-operation, I would

like to make clear to our people the fundamental features
that distinguish a co-operative society from a joint-stock
There are four principles that constitute the basis of
what is known all over the world as the Rochdale
System. First, that there shall be no limit to the
number of members and the amount of capital; second,
that every member shall have one vote only, and that
there shall be no voting by proxy; third, that no
member shall hold shares to the value of more than
£200, and that the interest on share capital shall be
limited to five per cent.; fourth, that all further division
of profit, what is called the “Dividend,” shall be in
proportion to trade. On this system as a basis, the
whole co-operative superstructure has been erected
These provisions are evidence of the democratic nature
of the organisation, and make for an equitable distribution
of wealth amongst the different classes. A
movement with such ideals, as long as it lives up to
them, is bound to win over a very large section of the
people in any country.
It now remains to say a few words on a later development
within the co-operative movement—co-partnership.
In 1884, owing to diversity of opinion amongst co-operators,
the Labour Co-Partnership Association was
founded by one of the schools of thought. Amongst
the most prominent of its members were Vansittart
Neale, Holyoake, and Greening. They felt that the
claims of “labour” as such must be considered, and it
was their purpose to promote production by methods
which would give workers a share in the profit, capital,
control and responsibility.
Founded about the same time as the above Association
and closely allied to it, was the Co-operative Productive
Its object was to aid productive societies
by united action and by obtaining capital for them,
to open up markets for the sale of their goods, and to
endeavour to avoid overlapping and competition between
them. “It represents on a small scale the federal

principle as applied to fields of co-operative production
which are outside the wholesale societies and the stores.”
Unlike the societies dealt with previously under industrial
co-operation, and which are formed and managed
primarily in the interests of consumers, the Associations
of Workers
promoted by the above two organisations
are formed and managed primarily in the interests of
the producers.
The chief characteristics which mark the co-partnership
scheme are:
  • “1. The worker receives a share in the profits.
  • “2. A part of the profits are returned to him in the
    form of a share in the capital of the business. The
    worker by this means secures a direct interest and
    ownership in the concern. He stands to gain in the
    years of plenty, and if a loss occurs in lean years he
    suffers in common with other shareholders.
  • “3. Representatives of employees are given a voice
    in the management of the business. Where this is
    possible it is found to possess great advantages. The
    men learn thereby to understand the difficulties, responsibilities
    and arduous nature of the work of the employers,
    whilst the employers gain a sympathy with,
    and insight into, the needs of their men, through direct
    personal intercourse.”
“We are thus,” observes Mrs. Sidney Webb, “confronted
with two co-operative ideals, one of an association
of consumers, with salaried or wage-earning
officials, acting under the general direction of elected
committees in the interests of the whole community;
the other of groups of workers who, in virtue of their
economic position, secure as individuals some special
share of the profits that may be made, and, it may be,
some voice in control. Under the first scheme, no man
secures a particularised individual profit; under the
second, no man is simply a wage-earner. The association
of consumers as a federalised movement grows from
within, and if it embark on the field of production,

must find its market among its own members. The
other group of workers may or may not find a market
among co-operators, and although up to the present
time it is to co-operative consumers that most of their
products go, it is open to them to seek their outlet and
their profit anywhere.”
So far co-partnership seems to have achieved very
little, and the number of societies established on this
principle is limited. There are several reasons which
account for this, outstanding amongst them are:
  • 1. Not many industries lend themselves to fully
    developed co-partnership, or even to the simpler expedient
    of profit-sharing. Whether the obstacle lies in
    the kind of labour employed, in the extent of freedom
    of action allowed to the employer, or in the nature of
    the industry itself, there is no denying its existence.
  • 2. Even in the industrial enterprises that can be
    conducted on co-partnership principles, experience shows
    that the self-governing workshop is neither stable nor
    economically efficient. Wherever commercial success is
    attained it is gained in the market of the Association of
  • 3. Their lack of intimate and accurate knowledge of
    the general market and the ignorance of the desires and
    caprices of those for whom they produce, put the self-governing
    producers at a disadvantage, and they often
    find themselves unable to dispose of their wares.
  • 4. The associations of consumers with their great
    wholesale and retail societies are beginning to dominate
    the whole field of co-operation. Their progress has been
    extraordinary, and they are gaining ground every day.
    They are by their vast resources encroaching upon
    co-partnership, and even absorbing some of its societies.
    In their annual congress the voice of co-partnership is
    drowned in the great assembly of co-operators, in which
    the majority unite in advancing the cause of the consumers
    at the expense of producers.
  • 5. This form of association does not eliminate harmful

    competition. We find self-governing workshops competing
    for custom, not only with the capitalist manufacture,
    and with associations of consumers, but also
    amongst themselves. This, needless to say, leads to the
    degradation of the standard of life among their own
    members as well as among the working class in general.
  • 6. The most obvious defect of self-governing workshops
    as they now stand is the difficulty of securing
    discipline and efficient management when the manager
    is himself subject to those whom he has to direct. This,
    I am inclined to think, is only a temporary shortcoming
    which would be remedied as the standard of education
    and intelligence is raised among the rank and file of
    the people.
  • 7. Self-governing workshops have been noticeable for
    the slowness and reluctance with which they have
    reacted to any industrial change. The workers are
    contented to continue what they have been accustomed
    to do, and are slow in introducing new inventions or
    designs. This may be a protection to the producer,
    but it involves a loss to the community.
  • 8. Both Trade Unionism and Socialism are hostile to
    it. The former holds that co-partnership “panders to
    the selfishness of men, that it would lead to the competition
    of groups of wage-earners, and that, destroying
    the feeling of working-class solidarity, it will be inimical
    to the Trade Union Movement.” The latter, advocating
    a fundamental change in the economic basis of society,
    opposes all reforms that accept the individual ownership
    of capital and the private direction of industry.
From this account of agricultural co-operation, industrial
co-operation, and co-partnership, it will be seen
that co-operation is working for two different ends.
One, the producers', is the cheapening of labour by
converting the wage-earning worker into a self-employer;
the other, the consumers', is the cheapening of living by
co-operatively reducing price. We shall come back to
the conflict between these two ideals in a later chapter.

[Back to top]


ULSTER (continued)

We left Belfast to visit other places in the northern
province. We soon found ourselves in the midst of the
prosperous meadows of County Antrim. For eight miles
we travelled along the shore of Belfast Lough, but on
reaching Jordanstown we left the coast line and turned
westward. Our way led us to Antrim, an attractive
little town not far from Lough Neagh, the largest lake
in the country. On the margin of that lake, some four
miles from Antrim, stands the historic Shane's Castle,
the remains of the seat of the ancient and noble family
of the O'Neills, who were long famous lords in Ulster.
This family has given the coat of arms of Ulster its
design and colour. The legend of the Red Hand in the
arms of Ulster is a dramatic one. In the early history
of that province, it is said, some invaders came to
conquer the country. Near the Ulster coast they
entered into an agreement that he who touched the land
first should be lord of it. One daring chief, anxious to
win the country, cut off his hand and threw it on the
shore before anybody landed, and thus having touched
the land first, he claimed it. From him sprang the
O'Neills, the royal race of Ulster.
From Antrim we proceeded to Omagh across County
Tyrone. Thence we passed through the pleasant
valley of the Mourne to Strabane, a famous market for
grain and flax, situated at the junction of the Finn and
the Mourne. Soon after leaving Strabane the stream
swells in volume, and assuming the name of Foyle winds
through a pleasant country before it reaches the sea
beyond Londonderry. This city, which is better known

as Derry, and which has much interest for the historian
and the antiquarian, is a prosperous centre of industry.
It is famous for its ancient walls, which are notable in
its history, as well as for modern industries, such as
linen manufacture, shirt-making, shipbuiilding, etc.,
which are the sources of its prosperity.
Derry we left by rail, passing through Letterkenny,
and thence round the coast to Dungloe. We were now
in the heart of the rugged mountains and wild landscapes
of North-West Donegal. The Northern heart
thrills to this wild scenery, but to mine, Southern as I
am, quiet, fertile plains make a stronger appeal. I am
more at home by the side of a stream or a lake in a
beautiful and peaceful valley than in the midst of these
mountains, which seem to stand aloof, cold and reserved,
looking down contemptuously at the country lying
modestly below. The sweet valleys, the lovely streams,
and Ibn El-Farid for me. I leave the lofty mountains
to Tolstoi and the high seas to Heine.
We passed through the Rosses, the granitic moorlands
between Slieve Snacht and the shores of the Atlantic.
Here loughs and loughlets abound and the indented
coast is bordered by innumerable islands. A remarkable
country! We reached Dungloe, of fishing and shooting
fame, a dreary-looking village on the side of a mountain
which rises sharply from the water side. It was a
wretched evening, cold and dark and with insistent rain
putting the final touch to the inhospitable climate.
In that atmosphere we had to travel on a jaunting car
some three miles to the parish of Templecrone, on a
winding road on which when there was no rock for the
wheels to bump over there was sure to be a rut for them
to ‘sink into. I leave it to the reader to imagine our
condition on alighting from the car. But we were in
Ireland, where the unkindly reception of the climate is
generally counteracted by the hospitable nature of the
people. Mr. Patrick Gallagher, whose guests we were,
received us most cordially, but we soon retired for a

much-needed rest. We stayed two days in Dungloe,
seeing for ourselves what the co-operative movement has
achieved there. It seems superfluous to write the
romance of Templecrone since it has been so charmingly
told in his admirable weekly, The Irish Homestead, by
G. W. Russell, that amazing combination of poet,
painter, philosopher, and economist. But for my own
people who are not acquainted with the writings of
A.E., the name by which Mr. Russell is best known,
I give that record of co-operative activity here.
When I looked out on that wild and cheerless district
about Dungloe, I wondered how men ever came to seek
a living there. Between gigantic mountains and vast
seas there was nothing but a stretch of grey granite and
brown bog, with little patches of green here and there.
Even these were strewn with boulders, as if Nature had
used every endeavour to render this spot uninhabitable.
In my search for a tree to assure myself that I had not
been carried back into the glacial period of our planet
my eye caught sight of what looked like human dwellings.
And such they proved to be, to my great astonishment—
numerous little houses surrounded by strips of land
separated by grey stone walls. When I was told that
those very holdings of four or five acres each were the
means of supporting families, my amazement grew.
But later I was relieved to learn that almost every
household supplies migratory labour to Scotland and the
prosperous parts of Ulster. After the season's work is
over, these men and girls return home with their hard-earned
savings, on which, with the help of the scanty
produce of their potato patches, and the meagre profit
from a cow and a couple of pigs, they manage to live
and pay their debts to the village shop, which is usually
an adjunct to the publichouse. These shops, which
are scattered all over the poorer parts of the north
west of Ireland, belong to a trading-class known a
“Gombeenmen.” These are a familiar and siniste
feature of Irish life in these regions. Where co-operation

has not penetrated, practically all the farmers of the
district are tied customers of theirs, and to them they
are always in debt. They fleece the farmer in every
possible way. They supply him with provisions and
liquor and all he requires, they purchase the little
produce he manages to eke out of his miserable plot
and starving stock, and they lend him the money he
needs now and then. The practice of truck, the high
rate they charge, whether for goods or for money,
combined with the low prices they offer for produce, all
help to keep the farmer not only in a state of “hand
to mouth” existence, but always in debt. The landlords
are none too merciful either. So between the gombeen-man
and the landlord, as between the devil and the
deep sea, the poor farmer has a hard lot.
It was in that desolate land and amongst these unfortunate
farmers that co-operation first came in 1903,
in the form of a co-operative bank. It was thought
that gombeenmen would fight it tooth and nail, but
they knew better than that. As a matter of fact, they
actually encouraged it. As A. E. puts it, “If cheap
capital would enable the farmer to make his holding
more profitable, well, they (the gombeenmen) knew
where the extra money would come to.” If the
gombeenmen had only realised then that that bank was
the thin end of the wedge of co-operation, which the
further it is driven in, the more it squeezes them out,
they would never have favoured it as they did. They
thought that the co-operative bank was the beginning
and end of co-operation in their district, and as the
beginning promised profit, they did not see any reason
for not welcoming it.
Three years later a co-operative agricultural society
came into being. The gombeenmen now woke up.
Realising the danger that threatened, they saw no
alternative but open war on everything under the co-operative
banner. To them co-operation was coming
as an invader; but to an unfortunate people it came as

a deliverer from a reign of despotism. The leader of
that liberating army, whose strength lay more in its
spirit than in its physique and equipment, was a good
fighter of the name of Patrick Gallagher.
The society started in a very humble way. It occupied
a small cabin on a rocky hill a few miles outside
Dungloe. They began their store, which they opened
only in the evenings, by selling tea, sugar, flour, and
meal. Even with that modest start they were able to
pull down prices in the neighbourhood.
As expected, the gombeenmen did their best to break
up the new society which threatened to ruin their trade.
They combined to oppose it in every way, and to war
on the interests of anyone associated with it. They
boycotted the farmers who were members of it by
refusing to buy their eggs. They tried to play with
prices and cut off sources of supply, but all their efforts
were in vain. Every move on their part was out-generalled
by Patrick Gallagher, and fortune began to
favour the co-operators. As the opposition gradually
weakened the society grew in strength, and in a year's
time it had to seek larger and more central premises
in the one street of Dungloe. Since then there has been
a steady growth in its business.
So far the “General of Co-operation” led his men to
victory in the field of trade, but the enemy was still
strongly holding his position on the magistrates' bench,
and on the County Council, and in Westminster. From
these he had to be dislodged if victory was really to
be secured.
“Patrick Gallagher in 1911 triumphantly fought his
way as a co-operator into the County Council, and broke
up the gombeen monopoly of representation of the
district. This election was not fought on any sentimental
issue, but was an instance of what the Germans
call ‘Real Politik.’ In his election address Patrick said:
‘Do not let the issue be confused. You must now make
your choice between the co-operative man and the

gombeenman. The questions for every voter to have
answered are: What has co-operation done, and what
has gombeenism done? Here are a few hard facts
which cannot be disputed. In 1906 the farmers of the
Rosses had no combination to protect them, and the
gombeenman had things all his own way. In 1911, the
present year, the farmers have their co-operative society
flourishing among them, and here are a few of the
changes it has brought about: (1) The prices of eggs
were in April 1906, 5d. per dozen, and in April 1911
9d. per dozen. (2) The price of flour in 1906 was,
wholesale price, 8/- per 7 stone, retail price, 10/6;
gombeen price, 14/-. In 1911 the wholesale price had
risen to 9/9 per 7 stone, the retail price is 10/3, and the
gombeen price has disappeared. (3) The price of manure
in 1906, for 20% superphosphate, since condemned
by the Department, 12/- per bag; in 1911, for 30%
superphosphate, 7/6 per bag. (4) In 1906 the farmer
had to come to the merchant's door for his goods, in
1911 the merchant comes to the farmer's door with
them. (5) In 1907 my opponent, with all the other
shopkeepers, withdrew their deposits from the Farmers'
Loan Bank, and then withdrew from it themselves.
I and a few other farmers stepped into the gap, and
kept it alive. Do you wish to go back to the 1906
methods and prices?'
“We wish we could print the whole of this lively
poster, which, from beginning to end, was ‘Real Politik,’
and if our co-operators elsewhere in Ireland had the
same courage, they are numerous enough to have put
an end to all the manipulation of County Council resolutions
against the movement. ‘Ratepayers, farmers,’
said Patrick Gallagher, ‘no one but a farmer can
properly represent you.’ It was sound commonsense,
and had all the fascination of romance and novelty in
that district, where the eyes of the farmer had previously
been directed to remote points like Westminster, while
the tyrant on the spot was pointing to the distant enemy

with one hand, the other being in the pocket of the
farmer. The eyes of the farmers in Dungloe have been
since that time very much directed to their own affairs.”
That is how “Paddy the Cope,” as he is affectionately
called, led his men in trade and in council. His
tenacity as a fighter combined with his remarkable
business ability would have qualified him, like many
of his compatriots, to ascend the throne of a combine
or trust in America. But none of that for Patrick
Gallagher; he preferred to stay in his native land and
work for his people, satisfied with a modest income,
rather than go to a foreign land and serve his own ends
by becoming a millionaire.
The society under his leadership prospered greatly,
and now it transacts by far the largest business in the
district. In it “the farmer can get practically anything
he requires, from his fertilisers and his groceries to a suit
of clothes. It will take the members' money on deposit.
It had, in 1916, £3,000 deposited with it and it pays
the depositor 5%. It sells its members' eggs, carefully
graded and packed, In this year, 1911, it disposed of
close on £4,000 worth. It has a bakery, where excellent
bread is made, the only bakery in the district. It buys
its members' pigs and sells them for them, or it turns
them into bacon, and sells the cured product over its
own counters, and very much appreciated is this bacon
cured locally. The society is, in fact, an universal
provider of all the locality requires. Its membership for
1917 was 360 and its turnover was nearly £57,000.”
Thus did the society revolutionise the district round
Dungloe, and thus were the farmers rescued from the
gombeenmen and made masters of their own affairs.
They can put whomsoever they like at the helm of their
co-operative ship, but it is still steered by their first
president, “Paddy.”
The story of Dungloe spread all over the County of
Donegal, and its example fired farmers in other places
to start similar societies. “Paddy” was consulted, and

as a good co-operator, he never grudged his services,
and willingly gave a helping hand in forming societies
in several country towns. That is how co-operation
reached the poorest of districts in Ireland and put an
end to the exploiting of the poor country folk.
I have not yet referred to the latest co-operative
achievement accomplished in this part of the country.
Our readers will remember what the Good Mother of
Foxford did for her children, by the woollen mills she
founded; now I will tell what the Good Father of
Dungloe has done for his, by the hosiery factory he
has established. Of course, the principles on which
these good people worked were not the same, one played
the part of a benevolent employer, and the other of
a true co-operator. Still the fact remains that both had
big hearts and both worked for their communities.
After Patrick Gallagher had achieved for his folk
what we have already described, he realised the need
for establishing a sort of industry which would offer a
suitable employment to the women workers of his
district, who until then used to stand in the hiring fairs
in Ulster. After deliberation with his fellow co-operators
it was resolved to establish a hosiery factory. Not
many years elapsed before a large building, well lit,
well ventilated, and fitted with electric light and modern
machinery, made its appearance in the small town of
Dungloe. When I visited that factory I saw over a
hundred girls working at machines turning out woollen
socks, stockings, and gloves in thousands. The conditions
of labour under which these girls worked were
favourable indeed. The hours of work and weekly
wages left no ground for complaint. There was no
longer that sweating of women's labour usually associated
with the knitting industries. There was no need
for it, as there was no profiteering proprietor, and the
girls carried on their work under the best conditions,
getting the full benefit of their labour. “It gave one
a real thrill of pleasure,” said A. E. when he was on a

similar visit, “to see these girls with their pleasant
Irish faces working in long rows at their gloves, handling
their machines skilfully and rapidly, a pretty picture
with many pretty faces in it and neat dresses of blue
and purple and rose, one of the most cheering sights
in all Donegal.”
That is how comfort and happiness were brought into
the dingy homes of Dungloe. Not so long ago the men of
that district laboured in the fields of Scotland and girls
worked their youth away in the industries of Ulster to
hand over their earnings on their return home to the
gombeenmen. Many things have changed since then,
conditions and people.” Few can realise,” writes A. E.
“the psychological change in men who were born in
debt, who were rarely if ever free from it, who had the
despair and hopelessness of debtors, who continually
poured all they, earned into the rapacious hands of the
gombeenmen, and were never out of their clutches.
When such people become free men, it is wonderful the
change which freedom gives, the regaining of audacity,
courage, hope, cheerfulness, and other joys of the free
Now that the people have been liberated, they are
making for independence in all directions. They are
educating themselves in business methods, they are
becoming enlightened as to their rights, political, economic,
and social, and they are making use of associative effort
to attain complete control over their own affairs.
Through their organised body, they have already gone
a long way in realising their purpose. I remember on
the opening day of the hosiery factory, Father Finlay
saying that there were many difficulties in the way of
either State Socialism or Guild Socialism, and that the
above factory suggested a third theory which was, to
his mind, the real solution of industrial unrest and which
was being overlooked. Here we have the workers
gradually building up an industry with their own capital
which they have laid aside from time to time. Th

have not confiscated the money of any capitalist, but
by their own energies have built up their own factory,
and manage it themselves for their own benefit. It was
in County Donegal that this third theory was worked out
in practice, and with great success. Whether the noble
lead given by these north-westerners will be followed
elsewhere remains to be seen. As for the future of that
part of the country under a reign of co-operation, we
may hear what A. E. thinks about it:
“We confess we would like to be able to peer into
the future and see what the West of Ireland will be
like in half a century. When these co-operative
societies have multiplied and federated, they may solve
for themselves the problems politicians or government
departments could not solve. There is no use in thinking
that men on a couple of acres of arable land and with
a few more acres of mountainy grazing can be prosperous
by agriculture alone. They may, indeed, if we get a
better class of experts who advise by example, have a
greater and more varied production of food stuffs from
whatever land is capable of being tilled, but the prosperity
of people living on the western coast must be
brought about by a mingling of agriculture, fisheries,
and industries. There is the harvest of the sea yet to
be exploited, and the marketing undertaken by the
fishermen on their own behalf, and once the co-operative
movement is strong and its ramifications are widespread,
and there is no accumulation of capital, this may and
will become possible. We believe in the future of the
West of Ireland. With its endless harbours, its face
turned to the Atlantic, the Gateway of Europe to the
New World will not be neglected, its fisheries may be
developed, and with increasing co-operation the population
along the coast may well become adventurous and
aspiring and imaginative in their economics. If we had
Government departments which were not bound by red
tape and prejudice, and politicians who thought of
something other than the manipulation of votes, and

who really were profoundly stirred by imaginative
schemes for the building up of an Irish civilisation,
they would back up the co-operative movement with all
their might. Well, economic power finally brings with
it political power, and as these societies increase their
trade and membership it will be to them the officials
and politicians will turn, and it will be their representatives
that important people will visit rather than the
gombeenmen, when the circumstances of the western
peoples are discussed. That time is not far distant
now. To-day the co-operative society is the most
important fact in the Dungloe district, most important
by reason both of trade and human support. In a few
years time the new societies and others to be created
will have dominated their districts, and political power
will follow, and we will have new political ideals based
on a democratic control of agriculture and industry, and
political theory will fit the facts in Ireland as it does
not now fit them, and State and people will move harmoniously
to a common end. At present the politicians
favour the profiteering individualist. They will soon
find the real forces in Ireland are making for quite
different ideals, and they will change, and we will have
a democracy in our economic life and an aristocracy
of character in leadership. That ought to be our ideal,
and in working for that we will be in full accord with
national character and in harmony with the ideals of
an Irish civilisation formulated by the best minds in
We left Templecrone and Dungloe full of admiration,
returning the way we came. Nearing Lough Neagh, we
took a southern route, and passing by the industrial
town of Portadown, we followed the high way back to
Dublin via Newry, Dundalk, and Drogheda.
Thus I finished my tour around Ireland. If I were
to do it over again, I would include in it a few places
I was compelled to omit. Circumstances prevented me
from seeing more of the scenery of the volcanic County

of Antrim, and visiting the Giant's Causeway, the most
weird and wonderful portion of all the coast of Ireland,
and which is particularly rich in tradition, and in geological
interest. I would have paid a visit to Achill
Island, which, with its rock-fringed bays and stupendous
cliffs and wonderful colour-studies, forms, I am told, one
of the most beautiful sights in Ireland. I would not
miss Sligo, with its charming Lough Gill and beautiful
wooded mountains. Other places of beauty and interest
I would like to have seen, but, whatever I may have
missed, my tour remains a representative one. I hope
one day that my shortcomings in the effort to acquaint
my people with Ireland and the Irish will be made good
by the study, experience, travel, and writings of my own
countrymen. I am aware of many defects in this book.
It suffers no doubt from the difficulty of free expression
in a foreign language, and from my occupation in economic
research which obliged me to devote a good deal
of my time to study. My desire to become personally
acquainted with the Irish people necessitated my moving
amongst all classes, with much travelling and attendance
at social functions. The book-shelf, the railway
carriage, the drawingroom and the writing-desk had all
equal claims on my activities. The professor, the mere
citizen, the patriot, the artist and the charm of social
life, drew me in turn. Human weakness, no doubt,
often upset my sense of proportion, and may have
disposed me at times to linger longest in the Cailie and
the ballroom. I hope that, one day when I get home and
settle down, I shall be able to write a more complete
account in my own language of my experience in Ireland
and my impressions of the Irish people. There are a
good many resemblances between Egypt and Ireland
apart from our similar political situations. Both are
agricultural, both are countries of early civilisation and
culture. Both peoples are generous, clever, religious,
patriotic, sympathetic, good-hearted and hospitable.
I believe that once these two peoples begin to develop

on the lines congenial to them, the world will be the
gainer by the unique gifts of Egypt and Ireland. We
both have a struggle before us. We in Egypt have to
raise the social standard of our people which has been
lowered for many generations. The Irish have to work
hard to re-establish their language and culture, and build
their society on lines suitable to the development of
their national genius. We in Egypt have to work hard
to become economically strong. The Irish have to find
a way of welding into one nation Ulster and the rest of
Ireland. We in the East have our troubles, Ireland in
the West has hers, but both our Nationalists—we mean
Nationalists in the widest sense, that is, those who work
publicly or privately for Egypt and Ireland as distinct
and independent nations—have the same work to
accomplish. We are confident that our work will have
its result in the transformation of our society and the
realisation of those national aspirations without which
no country can contribute to the full extent of its powers
to the progress of the human race.
“We may hope and believe,” writes A. E., “that
this transformation of the social order will make men
truly citizens, thinking in terms of the nation, identifying
national with personal interests. For those who believe
there is a divine seed in humanity, this atmosphere, if
any, they may hope, will promote the swift blossoming
of the divine seed which in the past, in favourable airs,
has made beauty or grandeur or spirituality the characteristics
of ancient civilisations in Greece, in Egypt, and
in India. No one can work for his race without the
hope that the highest, or more than the highest, humanity
has reached will be within reach of his race also. We
are laying foundations in dark places, putting the roughhewn
stones together in our civilisations, hoping for the
lofty edifice which will arise later and make all the work

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In Ireland a number of women's organisations play
an active part in the reconstruction of their country
on national lines. Among these are the United Irishwomen,
the Irishwomen's Franchise League, the Irish
Women Workers' Union, the Irish Co-operative Women's
Guild, the Women's National Health Association, the
Irishwomen's Council, and others. I would have liked
to have spoken on the work of them all, but space does
not allow. However, I will describe the work of two
of the leading organisations, one during peace and the
other during war.


Some years ago, George Russell, the prophet of rural
civilisation, said, “Women are the reserve force of
humanity, who have never been called into action in
Ireland.” Recently he said,” Some Irishwomen here
and there have heard beyond the four walls, in which
so much of their lives are spent, the music of a new day,
and have started out to help and inspire the men and
be good comrades to them.”
The United Irishwomen's Society owes its existence
to a correspondence opened in Mr. Russell's weekly
paper, The Irish Homestead, by Mrs. Harold Lett, of
Enniscorthy, and to which Mr. Russell gave that help
and encouragement he extends to every movement for
the betterment of his country. The correspondence
dealt with the conditions of Irishwomen in the rural
districts, their domestic and economic difficulties, and

the remedies that might be applied to these. Other
Irishwomen joined Mrs. Lett in the correspondence,
ideas were freely canvassed, a women's organisation was
suggested in The Homestead, and at a meeting held in
Plunkett House in 1910 under A. E.’s chairmanship the
society was inaugurated. Mrs. Harold Lett was its very
able first President.
The future of a country depends not so much on the
excellence of its public institutions, as on the individual
homes of its people, a fact which is exemplified in our
own country, Egypt. In those homes woman is the
dominant influence. “For good or for evil she moulds
the coming race, and in her hands lies the destiny of
the nation. The home is the cradle of the nation.”
The first aim of the United Irishwomen as stated by
themselves, is “to rouse in the women of Ireland a sense
of their responsibility—to make every individual woman
realise that her aid is indispensable to the task of nation-building,
whether she gives it by serving on the boards
of public bodies, or in the activities of the home.
Having roused this spirit, the United Irishwomen have
next to see that none of the energy so generated runs
to waste; that no individual efforts are lost for lack
of support. Therefore, the watchword of the United
Irishwomen is co-operation. They aim at uniting the
women of Ireland without regard to class, politics, or
religion, in seeking the general good of the community.”
The society consists of branches in the rural districts
and a central executive committee, composed of representatives
of the branches. This committee meets
monthly at its offices in Dublin to deal with all matters
affecting the work of the society. Under this committee
there are several sub-committees, whose business is to
collect information and to give such advice and assistance
as may be required by the branches.
As regards the branches, these are formed in rural
districts among the women of the neighbourhood, and
are governed by their elected committee. Each branch.

is free to take up the special forms of work its members
consider most needed in the district. In doing so they
co-operate with other organisations working for the same
ends, and on the same principles.
The society has organisers who are at the disposal of
such branches as need information or expert advice.
They visit the rural districts for these purposes, and also
to hold meetings and help in forming new branches.
There are also instructresses who, when invited by a
branch, take up their residence for some months
amongst the members, and hold classes in such subjects
as hygiene, gardening, cookery, dressmaking, poultry-keeping,
This is only a short sketch of the organisation of the
society, whose treasury depends entirely on the members'
subscriptions. Young as it is, for it only came into
being some ten years ago, it has already done a great
deal towards carrying out the third portion of Sir Horace
Plunkett's now famous formula: “Better Farming,
Better Business, Better Living.” The first two portions
of that formula, as I have explained before, have been
taken up by the Department of Agriculture and the
Irish Agricultural Organisation Society. With the third
part of that three-fold problem, that which deals with
all that elevates the homes and raises social life in the
countryside, none is better qualified to deal than an
organisation of women.
We in Egypt are in great need of such a formula as
that of Sir Horace Plunkett, particularly the third
portion of it. Our prosperity depends almost entirely
upon the development and stability of our agricultural
community. At the present time we cannot very well
call our toilers on the land a “community.” They are
only a “population.” In a “community” which is
organised, the interest of the community makes a direct
appeal to the individual, and the community in its turn
develops an interest in the welfare of the individual
member. This organisation of the community helps to

create a definite public opinion which moulds the life of
the people. This is not the case with an unorganised
population, where the interests of the unorganised
masses have no claim on the activities of individuals,
nor can unorganised individuals have much effect in
shaping the form of society. This statement may raise
the wrath of some of my compatriots. But, I ask them
patiently to consider it. I am sure they will then agree
with me that the poor Fallah, who is the unit of our
agricultural population, has no conception of any definite
duty towards the community in which he lives. I
admit that he is hospitable and friendly towards his
neighbours, but he has no idea of united action with
them. Each acts for himself, and they, thus unorganised,
form a mere population. And what consideration has
the State for them? What do the English people
themselves think of them? The latter have been in
Egypt now nearly forty years, and the Fallah is the
same old Fallah, ignorant, living in a mud cottage, and
without a voice in the government or legislation of his
land. And it looks as if things would remain in this
condition as long as the English remain in Egypt.
Perhaps our countrymen will feel aggrieved by my
talking thus openly and accuse me of giving colour to
the accusations of our enemies. But this is absurd.
The English people are very well aware of our position.
And the sooner we realise this and begin to study
certain problems on our own account, the better for
ourselves. Setting aside English interference in our
affairs, we should ourselves take the initiative in reforming
our people and our land, thus shall we more
quickly realise our hopes and attain our objects, and
the Englishman himself will be the first to admire our
spirit and respect our actions.
To come back to the work of the United Irishwomen.
Their activities may be considered under three headings:
agriculture and industries; domestic economy; and
social and intellectual development.
Under the first heading, women can do a great deal
by standing beside their men folk and supporting their
agricultural organisations. They assist them where the
intelligent co-operation of women is of the greatest
value, as in the raising and marketing of poultry and
eggs, the rearing of pigs, cottage gardening, bee-keeping,
dairying, etc. They can support Irish industries by
purchasing home-manufactured goods. They can revive
cottage industries, as hat making, needlework, knitting,
spinning, weaving, dressmaking, etc.
The domain of domestic economy is enlarged and
rendered more interesting when the spirit of co-operation
penetrates it. In a village where women are organised
there is always a friendly feeling and a healthy rivalry
prevailing. Every home strives to make itself at least
as comfortable and presentable as the others. There
is every chance for organised women to learn and
practise all that is necessary to make the home comfortable
and pleasant. The health of mothers, the
nourishment of children, the teaching of hygiene,
cooking, thrift, tidiness, etc., are all matters within the
scope of the activities of the United Irishwomen, and
even the poorest of homes must benefit by attention
given to such subjects.
As for the third department of women's activity, the
social and intellectual, it is more important than many
people think. It is because of the neglect of this factor
that the countryside is being deserted. The monotony
and dullness of village life drive away the best of the
young people to the more attractive and cheerful town
life. Realising this, the United Irishwomen are making
every endeavour to procure village halls and libraries.
In the former they organise classes and debates, give
cinema lectures and concerts, get up plays and organise
dances. Through the latter, the libraries, books on a
variety of subjects particularly suited to rural conditions
and tastes, are circulated among the branches. Country
sports, open-air meetings, flower-shows, and in fact all

that promotes friendly feeling, enlarges the interests of
the community and elevates social life in the countryside
receives the cordial co-operation of the United
This establishing of women's societies in the countryside
for the better development of rural life has given
very satisfactory results. We see it here in Ireland,
and we read about it in other lands. In America, in
France, in Germany, in Belgium, in Italy, in Poland
and in other countries, their work has been highly
useful. My compatriots would find invigorating reading
in the reports of the “Women's Institutes in Canada,”
or of the “East Prussian Union of Farm Women's
Societies,” or Monsieur Paul de Vuyst's delightful
treatise, Woman's Place in Rural Economy.


or as it is better known by its own Gaelic name, the
“Cumann na mBan,” is an organisation of Irishwomen,
founded to advance the cause of Irish liberty. Its
inception dates from the time of the Irish Volunteer
Movement. Professor Eoin MacNeill, in outlining the
scheme for the formation of the Volunteers in 1913,
stated that there would be special work for women to
do. This announcement, which was made in a mass
meeting, set the minds of the various groups of women
present thinking how best to take up their proper
position. They held meetings among themselves, and
finally decided to form a women's society, which,
although working independently would do its best to
help the Volunteers and co-operate with them or with
any other association working for Ireland. They founded
their independent society, formulated its constitution,
and announced its aims.
It is only possible to give a brief account of what the
women of Ireland are doing at home and abroad. In the
former case their activities are directed towards organising

their rank and file in every possible way, in the
latter, towards propaganda work.
In order that the work of any organisation be effective,
it must have a paper for the instruction of its members
and the expression of their views. Such a paper forms
a kind of bond between the members and enables weak
branches to gain courage and confidence from the work
executed by the stronger ones, about which they read.
“In Ireland, at the present time, there is an absolute
necessity for a woman's paper if only to stem the tide
of English literature with which we are inundated.
Week after week millions of copies of English periodicals
are dumped into this country to be bought up eagerly
by our young girls, and, indeed, most of our older
women. The slimy matter contained in these magazines
is greedily devoured and the week seems unending till
the feast comes again. I will not enlarge upon the
demoralising effect of these papers upon our women,
but our antidote must be an Irish paper to nourish and
elevate all that is pure and noble in the Irish character,
attractive enough to appeal to our younger girls, and
containing useful household information for our older
women. … So long as England controls and supplies
the literature of the women of Ireland, the foundations
of the Irish Nation are weak and unsafe.”
These are the views of the women of Ireland themselves:
in quoting them I wish to give a chance to our
women in Egypt to hear as it were the very voice of
the women of Ireland stating their case on this very
important subject.
Many a time I have wished our women in Egypt
could come abroad after they have finished their studies
at home, not with the idea of going to a University or
College to learn a few more theories or win one academic
distinction or another, but to join such women's organisations
as those I have tried to describe here, with the
view of learning how to organise and lead our disorganised
and leaderless women at home. We realise

that each country has its own needs, that what Irishwomen
want is different from what Egyptian women
want, but the fact remains that both require to be
organised and led, and the power to be employed for
this end is the same in all civilised countries. The more
civilised a country grows, the more perfect its power of
organisation becomes.

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On last Easter Sunday, while news was being widely
spread by mischievous English agents, of the rising
that was about to take place in Dublin, there sat in
the City Hall a fine body of athletes, “The Gaels of
Ireland,” peacefully discussing the affairs of their association
in their annual congress. I had the good
fortune to attend that congress and meet delegates
from all parts of the country who came to speak for the
Gaels of their district on matters concerning the welfare
of their great organisation, the Gaelic Athletic Association
(G. A. A.).
My interest in this movement was roused by watching
Irish games in the playfields of Dublin. I observed
the partiality certain young Irishmen had for their
national games and sports, and the way they shunned
those that were English as foreign. This could not
have been simple dislike to English games, I thought,
there must be something deeper than that. But when
Dr. Croke's famous letter came under my notice, my
own thoughts on the matter were confirmed, and I
wished to know more about the organisation that
embodied this spirit of young Ireland.
In acceding to a request to become a patron of the
G. A. A., Dr. Croke, Archbishop of Cashel, wrote to
Mr. Michael Cusack, the founder of the Association,
“… One of the most painful, let me assure you,
and, at the same time, one of the most frequently
recurring reflections that, as an Irishman, I am compelled
to make in connection with the present aspect

of things in this country, is derived from the ugly and
irritating fact, that we are daily importing from
England, not only her manufactured goods, which we
cannot help doing, since she has practically strangled
our own manufacturing appliances, but together with
her fashions, her accents, her vicious literature, her
music, her dances, and her manifold mannerisms, her
games also and her pastimes, to the utter discredit of
our own grand national sports, and to the sore humiliation,
as I believe, of every genuine son and daughter
of the old land. … And, unfortunately, it is not
our national sports alone that are held in dishonour
and are dying out, but even our most suggestive
national celebrations are being gradually effaced and
extinguished one after another as well. They are all
things of the past, too vulgar to be spoken of, except
in ridicule by the degenerate dandies of the day. …
Indeed, if we continue travelling for the next score
years in the same direction that we have been going
for some time past, contemning the sports that were
practised by our forefathers, effacing our national
features as though we were ashamed of them, and
putting on, with England's stuffs and broadcloths, her
masher habits and such other effeminate follies as she
may recommend, we had better, at once, and publicly,
abjure our nationality, clap hands for joy at sight of
the Union Jack, and place ‘England's bloody red’
exultantly above the ‘green.’ … In conclusion, I
earnestly hope that our national journals will not
disdain in future to give suitable notices of these Irish
sports and pastimes which your society means to
patronise and promote, and that the masters and pupils
of our Irish colleges will not henceforth exclude from
their athletic programme the manly exercises of
From this letter alone, which has been justly called
the charter of the G. A. A., we realise the spirit that
permeates this patriotic movement which is now

achieving magnificent work in nationalising thousands
of the rising generation and saving them from pernicious
foreign influences.
When Citizen Cusack, as Mr. Cusack liked to be
called, founded the G. A. A. in 1884, his ambition was
not solely the creating of an athletic organisation; it was
far more patriotic. To develop the muscle of the rising
generation and give it a taste for healthy pastimes
is a praiseworthy object, but to do so and at the same
time foster the sense of nationality and inspire Irishmen
with the love and duty that is due to their native land
are more praiseworthy objects still. This is what was
at back of Cusack's mind. Athleticism and patriotism
were inseparably associated with his scheme. ‘No
movement,” he said, “having for its object the social and
political enfranchisement of a nation from the tyranny
of imported and enforced customs and manners can be
regarded as perfect if it has not made adequate provision
for the preservation and cultivation of the national
pastimes of the people. Voluntary neglect of such
pastimes is a sure sign of national decay and of
approaching dissolution. The strength and energy of a
race are largely dependent on the national pastimes for
the development of a spirit of courage and endurance.”
The G. A. A., which is now one of the greatest athletic
organisations in the world, started from a small
beginning. It fought its way through stormy times,
had to contend with opposition from the enemy camp,
and at the same time withstand the sneers and apathy
of that large section of the Irish people whose sense of
nationality had degenerated. The association outlived
all that, and has done much to revive Irish pastimes,
and popularise ancient games. It must be admitted
that the great national leaders of the day gave it their
blessing, and with this it set forth in good faith on its
mission. The names of distinguished Irishmen appeared
on the roll of its illustrious patrons. Amongst these
were Archbishop Croke; Charles S. Parnell; Michael

Davitt, the labour leader; John O'Leary, the Fenian
Chief, and Douglas Hyde, who once admitted that the
G. A. A. paved the way for the Gaelic Language Movement,
with which his illustrious name will always be
associated. On the question of games and nationality
Dr. Hyde wrote:
“All good Irishmen desire to see Ireland a self-reliant
nation. Nobody, I think, would wish to see the old
Irish nation classed as an English county, nor to see
the men inhabiting it fall into the ranks of imitation
Englishmen. This, however, was very near happening,
and no one seemed to know how to prevent it. Now
that our eyes are open, it is plain to all men that there
is really and truly only one possible way, and that is
the vigorous revival throughout Ireland of all the
different marks of nationhood. And what are the
marks of nationhood? They may vary a little with
time and place, but practically they are pretty much
the same in every country. The marks or ‘notes’ of
nationality are the language, manners and customs that
distinguish a particular people inhabiting a particular
country from the different people that inhabit other
countries. These manners and customs include the
national games, sports, music, plays, dances, and, of
course, above all the language of the country.”
In his plea for a closer union between the Gaelic
League and the G. A. A. Dr. Hyde said: “One society
is improving the intellect, the other the physique of
Ireland. Neither of them is complete without the other.
Well-developed Irish brains in well-developed bodies is
the true ideal of the Gaelic League, well-developed
bodies with well-developed Irish brains is the ideal of
the G. A. A.”
Having told something of the spirit and aims of the
G. A. A., I may now say a few words as to its laws and
constitution. The hurling, football, handball, athletic,
cycling, and cross-country running clubs, which are
scattered all over the country, form the basis of the

Association. Each of the thirty-two counties forms its
own committee from the affiliated clubs within its
boundary, for the management of county business. A
Provincial Council is formed for each of the four
provinces for the management of provincial business,
and to hear appeals from county committees. Above
these there is the Central Council for the management
of the affairs of the G. A. A., and of All-Ireland
Championships. This Council is also a court of appeal
in disputes from provinces. An annual congress or
general convention is held on Easter Sunday and is
attended by delegates from all the counties to discuss
the affairs and welfare of the Association. To this
convention, reports and balance sheets from the different
councils, as well as motions, are submitted. It elects
officers for the coming year.
The Association, which is in a good financial position,
has its headquarters and its own playgrounds at
“Croke Park,” in Dublin, and publishes The Gael, its
official organ. The latter describes all the big championship
matches, tournaments and athletic meetings
held under the auspices of the Association, and defends
the vigorous policy of the Executive in enforcing the
rules against clubs or individuals.
Two outstanding features of the Association are its
attitude towards intemperance and betting. The crusade
the Association opened against these two curses of sport
meetings is worthy of an organisation with so high an
This is how Young Ireland fortifies herself from
within. In other chapters I have described her political
institutions, in this her athletic institution. If any
two purposes should go together, they ought to be
politics and athletics. The Irish people knew that well
long ago. I quote from an article to this effect which
appeared in The Irishman some thirty-six years ago:
“A political people we must be; the exigencies of
our situation force us into perpetual war with England.

Her repressive and oppressive measures keep us eternally
on our defence. While fighting the enemy in the
byeways which are called constitutional, we must maintain
a certain degree of readiness to meet our enemy
in the field, when the occasion arises. Our politics
being essentially national so should our athletics. We
must maintain a stout physique and cultivate a hardy
constitution. A townsman unexercised in the field is
stiff-limbed, short-winded, and unable to endure hardship
and privation. In fact, he cannot suffer and be
strong. This defect would tell heavily against the
townsman in a war with any recognised army.”
I have written at length about the Association without
giving my readers the faintest idea of what the Gaelic
games are like. I admit I have not played any of them
myself, but I have watched several times good games
of hurling and Gaelic football.
Hurling is a very old game. It was played in Ireland
over two thousand years ago. It is very much like
the English hockey, and is played by teams of fifteen
players. The ball is like a hockey ball, and the sticks
which are called “Camans” or “Hurleys,” have a
similar shape to that of a hockey stick but with broader
faces. The ball can be handled and struck while in the
air, The game is fast to play and interesting to watch.
It needs skill and stamina. Points as well as goals are
Englishmen and, more so, Anglo-Irishmen look down
upon Gaelic games with contempt. Their sarcastic
references to them are very irritating to the Irish.
Once, one of these foreign wits in defining the three
varieties of football, said: “In Rugby you kick the
ball; in ‘Soccer’ you kick the man if you can't kick
the ball; in Gaelic you kick the ball if you can't kick
the man.” “And,” he added as an afterthought, “in
the last-mentioned game the use of the knife is not
permitted before half-time.”


Gaelic football, which looks like a mixture of Rugby
and Association, certainly possesses the risks of both
with the addition of a few of its own. Nevertheless it
is highly scientific and sportsmanlike, and is essentially
a “man's” game. The ball, which is handled and
kicked by the players is the same as the “Soccer”
football, and the number of players is fifteen a side.
A goal is scored when the ball passes between the goal
posts and under the cross-bar, but when it is driven
over the cross-bar and between the goal posts it is
counted a point. A goal is equal to three points.
For further information about these or other Irish
games we refer our readers to the Book of Rules and
Official Guide of the G. A. A., but, of course, nothing
but playing the games, or at least watching them, will
convey their real value and merit.
The activities of this and other national organisations
do not only brighten Irish rural life, enlighten the
masses and improve their lot, each in its own way,
but each organisation, while bent on its purpose, whether
political, social, economic or athletic, helps others on
the same national field directly or indirectly. By the
united action of all together a new spirit has been
created in the country, intensely Irish and self-respecting.
To explain to our countrymen how one national
organisation helps another, I cite the example of the
G. A. A., which encourages the work of the Gaelic
League as much as possible. Gaelic players use the
Gaelic language on Gaelic fields. All publications of
the G. A. A. are at least in both languages, Gaelic and
English. Whatever goods are required by the Association
and its members are, wherever possible, of Irish
make. In addition to medals with Irish designs awarded
as trophies in connection with matches and contests,
artistically bound books dealing with Irish history,
biography, antiquities, etc., are given. Books like
Speeches from the Dock, Mitchel's Jail Journal, Irish

, Dr. Healy's Island of Saints and Scholars,
Father Kavanagh's History of the '98 Insurrection,
Father Bourke's Refutation of Froude, Davis's Essays,
Kickham's Knocknagow, Miss Hall's Pagan Ireland, Mrs.
J. R. Green's Irish Nationality, and Dr. Douglas Hyde's
Literary History of Ireland, are greatly valued, and they
will not fail to make a good Irish patriot of anyone with a
drop of Irish blood in him or in her. Such souvenirs
of victory will have a lasting effect on the rising
In connection with the annual congress, a “Céilidh
is held on the preceding evening, which the delegates
from the provinces attend, and this helps to emphasise
the national character of the Association and infuse a
healthier spirit of nationalism into the members.
While on the subject of Cailies, I must say a few
words on the activities of the Association in the realm
of Irish womanhood. So far the G. A. A. has not done
much for the development of “Camoguidheacht,” or
girls' hurling clubs. They have been allowed to work
out their own salvation, which is perhaps the best thing
to do in the initial stages of any organisation. At
present the Association is just beginning to extend its
helping hand for the promotion of Camoguidheacht and
to do for Irish womanhood something of what it has
done for Irish manhood.

[Back to top]



Since Ireland came under the rule of the English, that
ruthless conqueror has spared no effort to anglicise the
country. Language, dress, customs, and, in fact, all
things Irish were suppressed with the mailed fist. By
degrees, and after many struggles, the whole nation
was becoming transformed to all intents and purposes
into an English one. It was divorced from its culture,
it was losing its language and with it its personality,
being humiliated in every possible way. The people
were deprived of their property, turned out of their
homes, persecuted for their religion, and most cruelly
treated till quite a large proportion of them left the
country, some willingly and some unwillingly, for other
lands. Of those who were left behind, poor and sad
as they were, with nothing left to them but their spirit
and their faith, many were driven out to live in the
“Wild West,” leaving the richest of pastures and best
of land to the heartless conquerors, English and Scotch.
There they simply existed as remnants of a noble race,
forced to content themselves with the wild country and
harsher climate. Under these conditions it was that
Ireland lost its native culture, and even its language
was on the verge of extinction. When this decadence
reached its climax, a reaction began to take place.
Modern progress began to influence people all over the
world, but while they progressed on their own lines,
the Irish, being under a foreign yoke, progressed on the
lines of their masters. Irish modern civilisation was
established on English bases and interest in things
Gaelic was dying out.


It was as late as the middle of the nineteenth century
that the people became alive to the fact that such
civilisation as they had attained was alien, unsuited to
Irish temperament, and producing a type which was
neither Irish not English, possessing the faults of both
races and the virtues of neither. Cut off from their
past culture they had missed their way as a nation.
They were awakened to the peril of their position by
certain Irishmen of deeper vision than their fellows.
Foremost amongst these was Thomas Davis, the poet
and patriot. He was one of the first to realise the
fundamental importance of building Irish culture on a
native basis starting with the Gaelic language.
“What business,” he cried, “has the Russian for the
rippling language of Italy or India? How could the
Greek distort his organs and his soul to speak Dutch
upon the sides of Hymettus or the Head of Salamis,
or on the waste where once was Sparta? And is it
befitting the fiery, delicately-organed Celt to abandon
his beautiful tongue, docile and spirited as an Arab,
‘Sweet as music, strong as the wave’—is it befitting
to him to abandon this wild, liquid speech for the
mongrel of a hundred breeds called English, which,
powerful though it be, creaks and bangs about the Celt
who tries to use it?
“A people without a language of its own is only half
a nation. A nation should guard its language more
than its territories—'tis a surer barrier, and more
important frontier, than fortress or river. …
“What! give up the tongue of Ollamh Fodhla and
Brian Boru, the tongue of MacCarthy and of the O'Nials,
the tongue of Sarsfield's, Curran's, Mathew's, and
O'Connell's boyhood, for that of Strafford and Poynings,
Sussex, Kirk, and Cromwell!
“No, oh no! the ‘brighter days shall surely come,’
and the green flag shall wave on our towers, and the
sweet old language be heard once more in college, mart
and senate.”


Davis's was not a voice in the wilderness. John
Mitchel, Charles Gavan Duffy, Callanan, Mangan, Sir
Samuel Ferguson, and even the poet Moore, beloved as
he was of English drawingrooms, turned the thoughts
of Ireland back to Gaelic origins. With Standish
O'Grady's History of Ireland, Heroic Period, started the
Irish Literary movement, and the key to its Gaelic past
was thrust into the hands of a generation that gave
Ireland Hyde and Yeats and A. E. and Synge.
In 1893 Douglas Hyde founded the Gaelic League, an
organisation started with the direct intention of
reviving the fast-dying Gaelic language. The League
spread rapidly over Ireland, fanned by the enthusiasm
of its founder, himself a fluent speaker of Gaelic, a poet
and a man of the widest sympathies.
“If we take a bird's-eye view of our island to-day,”
wrote Douglas Hyde, “and compare it with what it
used to be, we must be struck by the extraordinary
fact that the nation which was once, as everyone admits,
one of the most classically learned and cultured nations
in Europe is now one of the least so; how one of the
most reading and literary peoples has become one of
the least studious and most un-literary, and how the
artistic products of one of the quickest, most sensitive,
and most artistic races on earth are now only distinguished
for their hideousness. I shall endeavour to
show that this failure of the Irish people in recent times
has been largely brought about by the race diverging
during this century from the right path and ceasing to
become Irish without becoming English.”
Indeed, Ireland has lost a great deal by giving up
her Irish characteristics and gained very little by
adopting English ways. She by her own hand has made
herself look small in her own estimation and smaller
still in the estimation of the world, particularly of those
whom she chose to take as a model. Perhaps it would
be hard to put all the blame on poor Ireland, but surely
on her the greatest share falls, and she must bear it

with patience and hope and try to make good her past
faults and follies. Her thinkers are alive to that, and
between the lines one reads with pity and love what
goes on in the nation's mind and what it intends to do.
“But, alas, quantum mutatus ab illo,” writes Hyde,
“what the battle-axe of the Dane, the sword of the
Norman, the wile of the Saxon, were unable to perform
we have accomplished ourselves. We have at last
broken the continuity of Irish life; and just at the
moment when the Celtic race is presumably about
largely to recover possession of its own country it finds
itself deprived and stript of its Celtic characteristics,
cut off from the past, yet scarcely in touch with the
present. It has lost since the beginning of this century
almost all that connected it with the era of Cuchulain
and of Ossian, that connected it with the Christianisers
of Europe. … It has lost all that they had in
language, tradition, music, genius, and ideas. Just
when we should be starting to build up anew the Irish
race and Gaelic nation—as within our own recollection
Greece has been built up anew—we find ourselves
despoiled of the bricks of nationality. The old bricks
that lasted eighteen hundred years have been destroyed;
we must now set to work to make new ones, if we can,
on other ground and of other clay. Imagine for a
moment the restoration of a German-speaking Greece!”
Thus, in anglicising themselves so thoroughly, the
Irish people have thrown away with a light heart their
best claim to be a distinct and living nation. And now
it fell to the lot of the Gaelic Leaguers to undertake
the immense task of making Ireland a nation once again.
“But you ask,” writes Hyde, “why should we want
to make Ireland more Celtic than it is—why should
we de-anglicise it at all? I answer, because the Irish
race is at present in a most anomalous position,
imitating England and yet hating it. How can it
produce anything good in literature, art or institutions
as long as it is actuated by motives so contradictory?

Besides, it is our own Gaelic past which, though the
Irish race does not recognise it, is really at the bottom
of the Irish heart and prevents us becoming citizens of
the Empire.”
With this inspiration Douglas Hyde set to work.
He gathered round him what was best in the young
and ardent and founded the Gaelic League. This
great national organisation consists of several branches
scattered all over the country. Each branch elects a
representative to the central body, called the Ard
or High Assembly, which meets once a year to discuss
the affairs and welfare of the movement. This Ard
elects a President and Coiste Gnotha, or Executive
Committee, to direct the policy and to supervise the
work of the League. In addition there are County
Committees, which have control over local affairs. At
the time of the Ard Fheis, which is held each year in
a different centre, a festival is held which lasts for
several days. In this Oireachtas, as it is called, games
and competitions and entertainments, all Irish, take
place, and thus Gaelic Leaguers from the ends of Ireland
are given an opportunity of meeting one another in a
purely Irish atmosphere and under the most favourable
conditions for social and friendly intercourse. To come
back to the unit of this elaborate organisation, I mean
the Branch: what sort of work does it perform? To
give a true picture of the subject, I cannot do better
than describe the activities of the branch I myself
belong to. This is “The Branch of the Five Provinces,”
or as it is generally called, “Craobh na gCuig gGuigi.
It occupies a small house of three storeys not far from
Saint Stephen's Green, Dublin. The ground floor is
used for clubrooms for the members and their friends,
the first floor as a dancing hall, and the second floor
for class-rooms and a small Irish library. It has a
membership of nearly two hundred, of both sexes, of
all ages, and all social grades. These members support
the branch financially by their subscriptions and class

fees, and evening entertainments given now and then.
In addition to these sources of income large sums of
money are raised by means of voluntary contributions
to the branch directly, or to the movement in general.
The most important function of the branch is the
teaching of the Irish language. This is carried out in
various classes, elementary, intermediate, and advanced;
the spirit of all is democratic, encouraging and cheerful.
The “Direct Method” of teaching is generally adopted.
In this way the tediousness and the drudgery of grammar
are overcome, and their place is taken by the repetition
of familiar expressions and the keeping up of short,
easy and pleasant conversations in Gaelic, not without
gesticulations on the part of teacher and pupils in turn.
With mingled feelings of amusement and pathos I have
often seen in these classes old people stumbling through
elementary exercises, and next to them small children
solemnly correcting them. In addition to these language
classes, lectures are given on Irish subjects, mainly
literature and history. Besides these, the branch offers
prizes for essays in Gaelic on Irish subjects, holds Gaelic
choir practices, gives lessons in traditional singing and
dancing, organises Irish plays, and last, but not by any
means least, holds a Cailie every Saturday evening.
A Cailie, or as spelt in Gaelic, “Céilidh,” is a social
entertainment where Irish dances, music, songs and
recitations form the features of the evening. The songs
are sad but melodious, while the dances, which are
cheerful, are either step dances or figure dances, the
former are clever and performed singly, while the latter
are more social and amusing. Most of the dances are
named either by the number of those who take part
in them, as, for instance, “Eight-hand Reel,” and
“Sixteen-hand Reel,” or after certain towns, as “Walls
of Limerick,” and “Siege of Ennis.” Putting aside the
step dances, which need agility of the feet and plenty
of practice, I think the figure dances are easy to learn,
and there should be no difficulty in dancing them well,

especially for those who have a good sense of rhythm,
and the necessary accomplishments for winning favour
with the fair.
These Cailies or “Céilidhthe” form one of the best
features of the Gaelic League. They are, and I speak
from knowledge and experience, free from any vanity
or vulgarity. They are healthy, social and pleasant
entertainments which bring variety and liveliness into
the lives of the great mass of the people, and in a
pleasant way bring them together and strengthen their
sense of nationality. Big Cailies sometimes last throughout
the whole of Saturday night. Refreshments (no
strong drinks are allowed) are served at midnight, after
which the gay crowd resume their dances till early the
next morning when they leave and go directly to church
to attend “Mass.”
Besides the Cailies, the Branch arranges open air
excursions or “Turas” to some place of interest or
beauty. These, in favourable weather, are fascinating
as they combine interest, good company and pleasure.
It is a pleasing sight to see the members making for an
old historic ruin right out in the middle of the green
fields, and on reaching it, gather round one learned
Gaelic Leaguer to hear of their ancestors. They learn,
they play, they sing, they dance, all as native Irish,
and when the day closes they return indeed better
citizens of Ireland.
From this short account of the branch it will be
observed that it is a social as well as an intellectual
centre, and for some years past these branches have
been very influential factors in the life and thought
of Young Ireland.
Realising its great responsibility, the Gaelic League
took the lead in educational matters, and by its
influence and efforts brought about the teaching of
Irish in the Primary or “National Schools,” in the
Secondary or “Intermediate Schools,” and in the
University, Its magnificent fight for the last cause,

that is, for the making of Gaelic compulsory on entering
the National University, was a memorable one. It
forms a golden chapter in the history of education in
Ireland. The names of Hyde, McNeill, O'Hickey, and
others will be written in big type in the record of the
University as the centre for all Irish thought and
The Gaelic Leaguers, being conscious of the difficulty
of Gaelic as a language, are making every endeavour to
make its teaching easy for beginners, and to encourage
the learning of it. They have hit upon the happy
thought of founding “Summer Schools,” at which
students can spend their summer holidays on moderate
inclusive terms. These schools—and there are over twenty-five
of them now—are in the Irish-speaking districts,
mostly round the west coast, where the language has
just managed to survive in the wild parts of the country.
There, those who are really keen to learn, have an
admirable chance of making a good beginning in a
practical way and under good tuition, and above all in
an atmosphere that is all Irish. The students of each
school, who average about a hundred each summer,
live in the peasant cottages round the schoolhouse
amongst Irish native speakers. They are thus afforded
a splendid chance not only of hearing Gaelic spoken at
all times, but of being forced to speak the language
themselves in order to make themselves understood.
In the midst of that Gaelic population they hear the
everyday language, while in the school they learn the
grammar, history and literature of Ireland. By the
time the school course is finished, the students will have
acquired a fair working knowledge of the language.
The masters, like the students, are great enthusiasts
for all things Irish. For their work they are either not
paid at all, or else paid just enough to cover their
expenses; all is done for the Cause.
From this brief account of the strenuous effort made
by the Gaelic League to revive the Irish language,

which after all is the basis of all native culture, my
readers will be able to foresee what the future has in
store for Ireland.
“With a determined body,” writes Mr. D. Coffey in
his Life of Douglas Hyde, “gradually increasing in
numbers, who are learning Irish, with the sympathy of
the vast population of the country behind it, even if
that sympathy is not so much active as passive; with
the support of the Church of the majority of Irishmen,
and a growing spirit of tolerance in that of the minority,
it is not too much to expect that the speaking of Irish
will gradually increase. Once that is so, it is not at
all impossible that there may be a real return to Irish
speaking, and that Ireland may become a bilingual
nation in the course of the present century.”
So writes Mr. Coffey on the outlook of Gaelic. If
he had lived say fifty years ago, and were writing then
on the prospects of the same language in its own home,
he would have probably told us of the impossibility of
its revival as a national language. But since then
herculean work has been accomplished towards that
end, and if any one man can claim to have led the
people of this holy island to speak and think in Irish
it is Douglas Hyde. As Miss Mitchell, in her delightful
book on George Moore, says, he is:
“The man who drew out of the gutter where we
ourselves had flung her the language of our country,
and set a crown upon her; who by sheer force of
personality created the movement in Ireland for the
revival of Gaelic, blowing with a hot enthusiasm on
that dying spark of nationalism and recalling it to life.
Those who know The Love Songs of Connacht will not
need to be told that here was the soul of a poet. The
movement he blasted out of the rock of Anglo-Irish
prejudice in his epic. … We know what Ireland
owes to Hyde's fiery spirit, his immense courage, his
scholarship, his genius for organisation, his sincerity, his
eloquence, and the kindness of his heart.”


When the Gaelic League started, it steered away
from two big obstructions that hampered the progress
of all forms of effort to improve national life, we mean
politics and religion. God forbid that we talk slightingly
of religion or undervalue the importance of politics,
but in a country like Ireland where there are various
forms of each of these, and the feeling between them is
far from being friendly, it becomes almost essential for
any movement, if it wants to comprise the whole nation,
to build its foundation on a non-political and non-sectarian
basis. The League welcomed all who had
any interest in a distinctly Irish culture; unless the
whole nation were won to its cause it would have failed
in its purpose. That is why it definitely and wisely
decided not to place itself under the influence of any
political or religious organisation.
The twentieth century dawned on Ireland, and from
behind thick clouds there arose a new light on Irish
politics. This was the Sinn Féin 1 movement. Though
this policy then made its appearance for the first time
in concrete form, it had been advocated under different
names since the days of Dean Swift, who said, “Burn
everything English except her coals.” In these half-dozen
words lay the statement of nationality for Ireland.
Implicit in them are self-respect, self-reliance, and self-help,
the exact policy of Sinn Féin. At its beginning,
Sinn Féin was a purely national movement, it was not
even a party, but simply a policy, which contemplated
no physical violence and relied entirely on the policy
of “Passive Resistance” in the building of Ireland
from within. To the Irish people it said:
1 The Gaelic for “We Ourselves,” should be pronounced Shin Fain.
“Turn your eyes and your thoughts away from
London and concentrate them on your own concerns.
You are of right a free people, and no bonds can affect
that right, though they may hamper it. Assert it, not
by empty words, but by deeds, so far as you can within

the limits of your bonds. Suffer anglicising and anti-national
things only when you must. You send representatives
to the English Parliament, testifying to the
world an acceptance of your bonds. There is no power
that can compel you to send them. Withdraw them,
and your honour is once more clean, and your case
becomes an international one, as of right, not a provincial
one, which your parliamentary manoeuvres have
almost made it. Establish a National Assembly in
Dublin and let it speak for you. You need not speak
English, you have your own language; you need not
base your education on English culture; you have your
own culture. There is no law to compel you to have
recourse to English law courts, establish voluntary
courts of arbitration; there is no law compelling you to
buy English manufactures, buy your own; there is no
law compelling you to carry on your trade in English
ships, establish your own mercantile marine. Stand
together, the whole people as one unit, stand up for
everything native and reject everything foreign, and
freedom is yours.”
From this it will be noticed that a gigantic boycott
against everything English was the Sinn Féin programme.
Such being the case, it was only natural for
Gaelic Leaguers and Sinn Féiners to be drawn towards each
other. Both resist English influence, the former mainly
intellectually and socially, the latter mainly economically
and politically. The mutual sympathy, and in fact
common aim, brought about the saturation of Gaelic
Leaguers as individuals with Sinn Féin ideas. Gradually
the central committee of the League became largely
composed of Sinn Féiners, whose influence on the
activities of the League became quite evident, yet the
Gaelic League as a body never allied itself officially
with Sinn Féin, and thus remained true to its principles.
Thus the Gaelic League philosophy has created an
outlook and a conviction which without being political
had a powerful influence on political thought and action.

This is what is meant when we hear that Sinn Féin is
the inevitable result of the de-anglicising movement
initiated by the Gaelic League.
I have spoken of the hero of the Gaelic League,
Douglas Hyde, and now it is fitting to say a few words
of the hero of Sinn Féin, Arthur Griffith. Associated
with these two movements there are other names, but
Hyde's and Griffith's are foremost amongst them all.
“In the years to come,” writes O'Hegarty, “the
historian will attempt to analyse the rapid anglicisation
of Ireland in the nineteenth century, and the desperate
struggle at its close to arrest and reverse that anglicisation.
He will give the greater praise to that small
company of men and women who formed the Gaelic
League, and by their hard work saved the language
and arrested the tide of anglicisation; but, without
detracting from either, he will dwell perhaps most
lovingly on the work of Arthur Griffith, upon the brain
that took the several strands of the Irish Ireland movement,
took every constructive and quickening national
idea there was, and wove them all into the most
complete and comprehensive national philosophy that
has been given to Ireland—Sinn Féin.”
It is to be noticed that Sinn Féin has been referred
to above as a “national philosophy.” One admits
that its political side is very prominent indeed, but
let it be remembered that it has a non-political,
constructive side too. The factor that contributed
most to the prominence of its political side is the fact
that since that side ceased by degrees to be simply
a policy and became a party, hostile to the existing
dominant Nationalist Party, the political overshadowed
the other sides of the philosophy. But the question
might be asked, “Why should it be hostile to the
Nationalists?” First of all, sending Irish representatives
to Westminster is giving away the whole case
of Ireland, because it is a recognition of England's right
to rule Ireland. Secondly, that representation proved

very ineffective. Thirdly, Parliamentarianism is
decidedly hurtful to the nation. “It has turned the
imagination of the people away from Ireland towards
Parliamentary happenings in a foreign Parliament: it
has kept their minds on the one phase of activity, the
oratorical phase, while language, traditions, and industries
vanished from the land, while at every national
artery English civilisation entered: it has gradually
whittled down the national demands as the Party
gradually became less Irish and more English, until it
was ready to accept any shameful settlement as a just
settlement: it has been a force, unconscious perhaps,
but powerful, towards making London ‘the capital of
Ireland.’” This was quite enough in the eyes of the
Sinn Féiners to condemn any party, particularly if it
claimed to be national. Sinn Féin, joining forces with
other organisations, working in other fields for the liberation
of Ireland, formulated its programme and set to
work, realising that not until it had absorbed all parties
and dominated the political field in the whole country,
would it be able to speak for the whole nation and
attain its objective, “the re-establishment of the independence
of Ireland,” not by appeal to arms, but by
general passive resistance. Their policy briefly stated
  • (a) Deny the legality of the Act of Union and refuse
    to send representatives to the English Parliament,
    thereby cutting the ground at once from under the
  • (b) Assemble in Dublin a National Assembly, elected
    by the people, to act as a de facto Parliament, which
    would take within its purview all Ireland, and plan for
    the conservation and development of national resources.
  • (c) Establish Irish as the national language of Ireland,
    remodel the Irish educational chaos, and frame a system
    based on Irish culture.
  • (d) Establish Irish courts of arbitration, to supersede
    the Law Courts.

  • (e) Establish an Irish mercantile marine.
  • (f) Improve transit facilities, cut down internal rates,
    and overhaul and extend the canal system.
  • (g) Establish in foreign countries Irish representatives,
    especially trained, who would act in the same capacity
    as consuls.
  • (h) Build up Ireland's manufacturing arm by protection
    —voluntary or legal—developing also Ireland's
    mineral resources, especially her coal and iron.
  • (i) Direct the strength of the Irish people generally
    as that of one man in any given direction.
On these issues Sinn Féin began the struggle. When
we realise that it was crippled for want of money,
organisation, and press, in fact, had almost nothing but
right and courage on its side, while its opponents had
all the advantage that power and wealth could give,
we can understand what tremendous faith, hope and
courage it needed for its task. It had ups and downs
at the outset, mostly the latter, but the small successes
gained in general and municipal elections was somewhat
encouraging. Sinn Féin was never disheartened.
During the General Election of 1910, the party's fortunes
were at their worst. It dwindled down to a mere
skeleton. That was the time when John Redmond,
the leader of the Parliamentary Nationalist Party, was
at the height of his power, and when, by his persistent
backing of the English Liberal party, he had obtained
from them a promise of Home Rule. None but
Redmond and his party were in the limelight, and the
country definitely condemned Sinn Féin to the abyss
of darkness for three long years. There it remained,
imprisoned, a living force, a dormant volcano, gathering
strength in its seclusion.
The world now knows that England never seriously
contemplated giving Ireland its freedom. English
political parties may have played with the idea at
different times, but this was only a game. From the
time of Gladstone to the present day, English parties,

no matter by what name they describe themselves—
Tories, Liberals, Coalition, or even Labour, all dealt
and still deal with the Irish Question in the way that
suits their own purpose and strengthens their own
position, taking good care that their promises to Ireland
will come to nothing. To me it is surprising that Irish
statesmen, past and present, with all their intelligence,
political aptitude, and past experience, time after time
fell into the same English trap. When one talks with
some of one's Irish friends of their last prominent statesman,
John Redmond, one is met again and again by
the statement that he was a gentleman who took the
English at their word, but was cruelly deceived, as if
this deception was a new trick played on Ireland by the
English. In the name of God, Irishmen, why this foolish
talk? You are pitted against a rogue, who has been
in your house for nearly seven centuries robbing you
not only of your material but also of your moral
possessions. You now possess no wealth, have no
language, have no culture, your children have to leave
your homes for a living somewhere else, your own
aristocracy have not the moral courage to patronise
things essentially Irish, your middle class people are
shy of being discovered to have joined Irish movements
for fear of being classed as belonging to the lower orders,
and after all that disgrace brought upon you by the
English, you are still fooled by the last conjuror that
plays his tricks on the historic floor of Westminster,
be he a Scottish, an English, or a Welsh wizard.
In Mr. Gladstone's days, that old English statesman
could afford to coquet with Home Rule for Ireland in
perfect safety. He knew well that whatever he advocated
in that direction would be rejected by the House
of Lords, so he did not mind playing a friendly game
with Ireland, and whenever foul play was discovered
the Lords were the culprits. When Mr. Asquith was
in power and his advanced Radical legislation, which
weakened the House of Lords, was passed, the Commons

could no longer blame the Lords, and they were face
to face with the Irish people as regards the Home Rule
Bill promised by the Liberal Party. And what was
really this Home Rule Bill like? Let us hear the
description of it from Arthur Griffiths himself.
“The definition of the third Home Rule Bill as a
charter of Irish liberty is subject to the following corrections:
The authority of the proposed Parliament
does not extend to the armed man or to the tax-gatherer.
It is checked by the tidal waters and bounded by the
British Treasury. It cannot counter the settled purpose
of the Cabinet in London. It may make laws, but it
cannot command the power to enforce them. It may
fill its purse, but it cannot have its purse in its keeping.
If this be liberty, the lexicographers have deceived us.
… The measure is no arrangement between nations.
It might equally apply to the latest British Settlement
on a South Sea island. It satisfies no claim of the Irish
nation whose roots are in Tara, or the Irish nationalism,
which Molyneux first made articulate. … The Bill
does not alter the status of Irishmen by an inch. They
remain under its provisions as impotent to affect British
Imperial policy as they are at present. England continues
to hold the Irish purse by collecting our revenues,
paying them into her Treasury, or vetoing their disbursement.
… I do not fear the device as an Irish
Nationalist. The ideals of nationalism are not to be
bought and sold. If the Bill be amended to give
Ireland real control of her soil and taxes, and power
of initiative in her legislation, I shall welcome its
passage as a measure for the improvement of conditions
in Ireland, and as a step clearing the way to a final
settlement between two nations.”
Even that limping and maimed measure of freedom
to Ireland was denied (after being promised) by the
so-called Liberal Party. Had the statesmen of that
Party been honourable and sincere they would have
either fulfilled their promises or resigned. But the wily

Saxon is ever full of resources which get him out of
difficulties without in the least blemishing his official
reputation. He seems to have no conscience, nor does
he apparently believe in moral obligations; true, he
does not tear treaties as “scraps of paper,” but he
carefully puts them up on the shelf as “valuable
historical documents,” which is in reality as good as
putting them in the waste-paper basket, nor does he
break promises, but postpones the carrying out of them
to an indefinite time which is as good as “never,” and
so long as he is not caught red-handed and, what is
more important, given a good thrashing publicly by a
stronger power, he is an honourable gentleman in his
own eyes, and commands respect from the world, no
matter what he does, be it massacre or plunder.
In the case under consideration it would seem that
he plotted with Edward Carson and spurred him on to
organise the “Ulster Volunteers.” Having done so,
he took refuge behind them, and expressed his profound
regret that in face of the strong armed opposition in
Ulster, he could not possibly give Ireland his promised
Home Rule without risking revolution and bloodshed
among his beloved Irish people. All that he could do,
eager as he ever was to see people peaceful and free,
was to give Home Rule on the basis of Partition, that
is, one Parliament for Ulster and another for the rest
of Ireland. Of course, to all who know Ireland, such
an offer would never be entertained by the Irish people,
who could not endure the idea of their country being
divided into two separate administrations. All the
same, that clever scheme of partition would have been
forced upon the Irish people were it not for the “Irish
Volunteers.” All these occurrences took place only a
few months before the great World War. At that time
Britain was tied hand and foot by her home troubles.
Between the revolutionary state of Ireland, the grave
labour unrest all over the kingdom, and the serious
suffragette agitation everywhere, England seemed helpless

to deal with the troubles within her own borders
and might, it was thought, be relied upon to keep out
of any troubles taking place outside them.
In the meantime the Kaiser, fully informed as he
was of the state of things in the United Kingdom, was
chuckling over it all, and counting the days till the
hour should come to strike the mighty blow which
should win him the world. German arms and ammunition
were willingly supplied by “the Fatherland” to
Ireland—without favouring either the North or the
South. Money, too, was never grudged in order to
bring the equipment of both the Ulster and the Irish
Volunteers to perfection. At Larne Harbour great
cargoes of German arms of all sorts were landed by the
Ulster Volunteers in April 1914. Three months later
a similar cargo was landed at Howth by the Irish
Volunteers. Thus North and South were well equipped
to fly at one another's throats, and the fire was fanned
by Germany in order to distract England while she
herself was busily engaged in perfecting her plans for
world-dominion. Such were the plans of Germany,
but what were the aims of the Ulster and Irish
Volunteers? In 1912 the Ulster Volunteers, who
numbered over 200,000 men, bound themselves in
solemn Covenant “to use all means which may be
found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set
up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland. And in the
event of such a Parliament being forced upon us we
further solemnly and mutually pledge ourselves to refuse
to recognise its authority.” As for the Irish Volunteers,
a fine body of 200,000 strong, they were never formed
with any idea of either fighting or threatening Ulster.
Their aims, as stated, were as follows: “In raising,
training, arming, and equipping the Irish Volunteers as
a military body, the men of Ireland are acquiring the
power to obtain the freedom of the Irish Nation.”
The last of the Nationalists under Redmond were for
the most part ineffective politicians. They did not like

to be disturbed by alarming news from Ireland while
they were having their siesta on the seats of Westminster.
Such a decadent body could not be expected to support
volunteering. They never did, until they began to
realise that the country was passing over to the
Volunteers, and that unless they joined in, they were
threatened with extinction. They made overtures to
the Irish Volunteers, and in short were represented on
their Executive. Under the sane presidency of Eoin
MacNeill and the able leadership of Colonel Maurice
Moore, the Volunteer movement continued to grow on
its original lines. Things went well till the landing of
arms at Howth took place. On that day, when the
Ulster Volunteers were marching unmolested through
the streets of Belfast with rifles on their shoulders, the
Government gave orders to seize the rifles of the Irish
Volunteers. This resulted in the killing and wounding
of some citizens in the streets of Dublin by the Government
forces. This set all Ireland aflame, and drew
Nationalist Ireland into Volunteer ranks. That was
the position of Ireland in 1914: where were two big
armies of nearly a quarter of a million each of well-equipped,
and well-trained men, one with headquarters
in Belfast and the other in Dublin.
When the war broke out, things suddenly changed.
Carson, who was and is the leader of Ulster, as well as
the head of its Volunteers, made his peace by directing
his Volunteers into the British Army, bidding them
“Go out and win glory for Ulster.” Redmond was
not in a position to do the same, for he was not the head
of the Irish Volunteers; besides, there was a split in
the latter's camp. Those who were with Redmond in
wishing to fight for England called themselves the Irish
National Volunteers, and went out. They were the
majority, while the minority, The Irish Volunteers,
stayed behind. Prominent amongst the latter were
Pearse and MacNeill. This split brought a blight on
the whole movement; the country began to lose interest

in it, and this naturally told on the numbers in the
ranks of both sections. When the split was accomplished,
the Parliamentarian press, in order to colour
the original Irish Volunteers black in the eyes of the
nation, dubbed them “Sinn Féin” Volunteers, believing
that Sinn Féin, as a policy, was doomed to failure and
disgrace, and that anything associated with its name
would be involved in the obloquy. It will be noticed,
later on, that the same tactics were adopted when the
insurrection of 1916 was promptly labelled a “Sinn
” insurrection. As a matter of fact, the Irish
Volunteers and Sinn Féin were quite different bodies,
and as for the rebellion, it was not the work of Sinn
as a body at all. By adopting this attitude of
misrepresentation, the enemies of Sinn Féin defeated
their own ends; they made the name of Sinn Féin
famous in history in their attempt to exhibit it as a
discredited policy. I need not warn my compatriots
of the endeavours made every day to misinterpret things
in Ireland. We are already acquainted with the same
methods employed in our own country by the common
enemy. Our Nationalists, who represent the whole
nation, are called “a merely self-interested party,” our
intellectuals “a crowd of schoolboys,” and our masses
“the riff-raff.” Let those who are interested in Ireland
come and see for themselves; there is nothing so
instructive as moving about amongst the people themselves,
and hearing their own tales from the mouths of
the leaders who have made, and are still making, history.
To come back to our point, the Irish National Volunteers,
after fighting for England for some time, began
to realise that that fight was not for the cause of small
nationalities. The attitude of the British Government,
its stupidity, malice and mistrust led the Irish people
to realise that fighting for England was not fighting
for the liberty of Ireland, nor was it for the liberation
of small nationalities, but fighting to instal “John
Bullism” in the place of “Prussianism.” Should we

wonder, then, at the turning back of “Redmond's”
Volunteers repentantly to join “MacNeill's” Volunteers?
Should we wonder at Casement and his Irish recruits?
Should we wonder at the insurrection of 1916? Should
we wonder at Ireland's defiance of Britain and the
establishment of an Irish Parliament, Dail Eireann, in
1919? These are the things I should have liked to have
written on at length, but I fear to go beyond the scope
of this book. I shall, however, attempt to throw a little
further light on recent events in Ireland.

[Back to top]



In 1908, a new factor entered into Irish nationalism;
this was Labour, led by James Larkin, a great orator
and a fierce revolutionary. Behind Larkin was James
Connolly, the real brain of the Labour movement in
Ireland. Both were convinced Syndicalists, and they
were out to emancipate “Labour,” and to bring about
an immediate amelioration in the lot of the working
class. Behind their agitation was the driving force of
economic misery. They differed from Sinn Féin in that
they were revolutionary and were concerned more with
the present than with the distant future. They worked
for the individual first, for they believed that even if
the nation became economically strong, the lot of the
worker might still be as bad as it is at present. Above
all, their movement was of an international character.
“Internationalism,” Larkin expounded, “means internationalism
and not one nationalism. We, of the Irish
workers, are out to claim the earth for the world's
workers, and our portion as Irishmen is Ireland. So
hands off, all predatory persons, no matter under what
name or disguise. We are determined to weld together
the common people of the North, the South, the East,
and the West.”
Larkin, by his great personality, forcible oratory,
fiery spirit, revolutionary ideas, and strong hold on his
followers, kept Dublin in a ferment during 1911, 1912,
and 1913. He was supported by the English Syndicalist
leaders (foremost amongst them was Keir Hardie), who

worked up great strikes and helped him in every way,
materially and otherwise.
When the martial spirit became prominent in Ulster,
and under the leadership of Carson took a practical
form, Larkin's soul was stirred to its depths and his
mighty voice rang amongst his followers:
“If Carson arms his men with rifles, Larkin will arm
his men with rifles too.”
That was quite sufficient to start, under the control
of Captain White, “Larkin's Citizen Army,” with the
object of emancipating labour. Though its foundation
in the first place was due to labour rather than to
national aspirations, the national ideal, never very far
away from the hearts of Irishmen, soon dominated it,
and it became definitely republican in its aims. The
sufferings of labour in Dublin in the strike of 1913 added
the weight of an economic cause to the national one
and made the Citizen Army the driving force in the
Rising of 1916.
Just at the outbreak of the war Larkin sailed for
America. Almost two years later, that seed he had
sown among the Dublin workingmen burst into blossom,
and from it burst out a “Rebellion.” The “Citizen
Army,” reinforced by Fenians, Sinn Féiners, and Irish
Volunteers, in number not exceeding 1,500 men, on
Easter Monday 1916, proclaimed Ireland a Republic,
seized Dublin, occupied many of its public buildings,
and fought a valorous fight. Regiments from England
poured into Dublin, The Republican forces held out
for six days, after which, realising that they were hopelessly
outnumbered, and their strongholds being shelled
by artillery as well as by gunfire from the river, they
found their position untenable and were forced to
surrender. During these operations, which left a great
part of the city of Dublin in ruins, the casualties
amounted to over 1,300 all told. When that “Black
Week” was over, and the trials by Field Court Martial
duly held, sixteen of the rebel leaders, including Pearse,

the “President of the Provisional Government,” and
Connolly, Larkin's friend and successor as Labour
Leader, and “Commandant General” of the Rebel
Forces, were executed and over one hundred were
sentenced to penal servitude. This insurrection, which
from the beginning was doomed to failure, was wrongly
called a “Sinn Féin Rising,” for it was primarily the
outcome of Syndicalism worked out in “Liberty Hall,”
the headquarters of Irish Labour. Thus ended a sad
chapter in the modern history of Ireland. What,
however, were its after effects? Never was there a
time in the history of the country in which the fortunes
of Republicanism seemed so hopeless. But the sorrow
of Ireland at the unjust and cruel execution of her
would-be liberators without any public trial grew
to resentment, which developed rapidly into rage and
fury. The country realised that if the leaders of the
rebellion had been Englishmen, they would have been
tried by English Courts, if they were captured enemies
they would have been treated as prisoners of war; but
being Irishmen they were put in a class apart and
condemned by courtmartial. The feeling against
England grew more bitter day by day. This was
intensified by the attitude of the Government, which
persisted in a policy of “inaction” as regards the Irish
problem, refused to treat political prisoners as such,
and placed the country under martial law. Under these
conditions the people began to think and inquire into
the deeper causes that produced this state of affairs.
What did Pearse and Connolly aim at? What was
the ideal of Sinn Féin? The movement in the public
mind led to new judgments on men and things. The
people became alive to the real meaning of the Sinn
policy which had been misrepresented by the
Government and its agents in their endeavour to justify
repression. In the meantime, the Government changed
hands and Lloyd George became supreme. He, in an
attempt to restore confidence, released the Irish

prisoners. But Sinn Féiners had learnt to play the
game, and the sincerity of any English Government,
whether Liberal or Coalition, was no longer believed in.
The leaders on being released began their work again,
but instead of appealing to a few enthusiasts as they
did before, they found hearing from a wide public eager
to listen to and learn from them. The Nationalists
had already learnt another lesson, and that was not to
expect anything from their Party, and they almost
en masse turned to Sinn Féin. The teachings of Sinn
struck root, the country began to rally to that
policy, and a new campaign started. Sinn Féin no
longer appealed to the English Government, it determined
to submit its case to the Peace Conference which
was to follow the War. That did not mean that Sinn
abandoned their policy of self-reliance. They
were merely making use of another opportunity to
advance their cause. They worked at home as well as
abroad for the realisation of a free and independent
Ireland. They carried on a great propaganda in France
and in America to insure that the Irish question should
wear an international aspect rather than appear as a
mere domestic British concern. At home they were
organising and consolidating opposition to two measures
contemplated by the Government, the partition of
Ireland and the enforcement of conscription. They
asseverated that these measures were incompatible with
the policy of self-determination professed by the Allied
“When England declared,” wrote Nationality, the
leading Sinn Féin weekly, “that she entered this war
with the object of asserting the freedom of small nations
the Lord delivered her into our hands.”
But England, as usual, was obdurate, and continued
her Prussian policy in Ireland. Newspapers were suppressed,
political leaders re-arrested and deported, and
meetings were proclaimed illegal unless a permit from
the police was procured beforehand. That did not in

the least hamper the progress of the movement. As a
matter of fact, it spurred it to more vigorous and determined
action. Election after election resulted in a
victory for Sinn Féin. The Parliamentary Party became
alarmed and began to take active steps to secure Home
Rule for Ireland. They withdrew from Parliament
and sent a manifesto to the English-speaking and foreign
countries soliciting their help in bringing pressure to
bear on the English Government. At the same time
Sinn Féin summoned a Convention in Dublin to assert
the status of Ireland as an independent nation.
This action had the effect of moving the Prime
Minister to make an effort towards bringing about a
settlement. He proposed Home Rule on the principle
of partition, a proposal which was promptly rejected
by everybody. Next, he summoned what was entitled
a “representative” body of Irishmen to formulate a
solution of the Irish question, which the country would
accept, and which might form the basis of a Government
of Ireland. Thus the Irish Convention came into being.
The attitude of Sinn Féin towards the Convention of
1918 was somewhat similar to that of our Nationalist
Party, when it was invited in 1919 to co-operate with
the Milner Mission in establishing a form of constitution
agreeable to all concerned in Egypt. Arthur Griffith,
the President of Sinn Féin then, like our President
Saäd Zaghlool, refused to negotiate on other ground
than that of complete independence. In stating his
case he said:
“Ignoring the Convention which is called into being
only to distract Ireland from the objective now before
her, to confuse her thought, and to permit England to
misrepresent her character and her claims to Europe,
Sinn Féin summons Ireland to concentrate her mind
and energy on preparation for the Peace Conference,
where, citing the pledges given to the world by Russia,
the United States, and England's Allies, it will invoke
that tribunal to judge between our country and her

oppressor and claim that the verdict which has restored
Poland to independent nationhood shall also be registered
for Ireland.”
Leaving out Sinn Féin, which represented the great
majority of the Irish people, a Convention representing
Unionist and Parliamentarian Ireland, and containing
only two members who were unattached to any party,
sat behind closed doors in Dublin and exercised their
wits in formulating a scheme for the government of
Ireland within the Empire. The two independent
members of the Convention resigned, seeing that Ulster,
secure in a promise given by the Premier that it should
not be coerced, was simply marking time. The remainder
of the body presented a report to Parliament
which revealed a compromise between the Nationalists
and Southern Unionists. As for the Ulster Unionists,
they remained totally irreconcilable.
While the Convention was bent on its hopeless task,
Sinn Féin was gaining ground everywhere. Seat after
seat was energetically contested for Sinn Féin and
duly won. Nationality, in recommending for East Clare
its Sinn Féin candidate, De Valera, who had just been
released from prison, wrote:
“The Union is the only means of preventing Ireland
from becoming too great and too powerful. … By
giving the Irish a hundred members in an assembly of
six hundred and fifty they will be impotent to operate
upon that assembly, but it will be invested with Irish
assent to its authority.” It then proceeded to give
1914 figures indicating the unsound economic position
of the country under the “Union.”
“With the exception of the United States, England
has no customer nearly as big as Ireland. England
has had the market to herself for generations; Sinn Féin
proposes that England should not continue to monopolise
that market longer. Ireland has £150,000,000 worth
of trade to do with the world each year, £135,000,000 of
which is restricted to England. In return for part of

that trade the other countries of Europe would gladly
give Ireland facilities in their markets and Ireland would
compel England to pay competitive prices. … So
long as Ireland sends members to the English Parliament
and relies upon that institution, England will plunder
Ireland's revenues and monopolise Ireland's trade at
her own price.”
As a reply to the Government Convention, Sinn Féin
decided to hold a Convention of its own. To that,
constitutionally elected Sinn Féin delegates rallied from
all parts of the country. The Convention met on 1st
November 1918, and unanimously elected Mr. De Valera
as President of Sinn Féin and Mr. Arthur Griffith as
Vice-President. The constitution adopted by the
Convention states clearly and openly the objects and
policy of Sinn Féin thus:
Sinn Féin aims at securing the international recognition
of Ireland as an independent Irish Republic.
Having achieved that status the Irish people may by
referendum freely choose their own form of government.
This object shall be attained through the Sinn Féin
Organisation, which shall in the name of the sovereign
Irish People (a) deny the right and oppose the will of
the British Parliament or British Crown or any other
foreign government to legislate for Ireland; (b) make
use of any and every means available to render impotent
the power of England to hold Ireland in subjection by
military force or otherwise. And whereas no law made
without the authority and consent of the Irish people
is, or ever can be, binding on the Irish people, therefore
in accordance with the resolution of Sinn Féin, adopted
in Convention, 1905, a Constituent Assembly shall be
convoked, comprising persons chosen by Irish constituencies,
as the supreme national authority to speak
and act in the name of the Irish people and to devise
and formulate measures for the welfare of the whole
people of Ireland.”
This declaration indicates that Sinn Féin had decided

to strike out a new line of policy not strictly in accordance
with the old. New Ireland, the second leading
Sinn Féin weekly, made this clear when it wrote:
“In the years 1903-1910 the policy of Sinn Féin was
a policy of self-reliance in the strictest sense of that
term. It directed us away from Westminster and
towards Ireland. It was revolutionary, inasmuch as it
sought to displace existing British institutions and substitute
Irish institutions to which the Irish people would
respond. … The newer Sinn Féin is not quite the
same as the old—it varies in one essential characteristic.
Whereas the old Sinn Féin directed the Irish people
towards self-improvement as a basis of national strength
and made it quite plain to us that many sacrifices might
possibly be demanded, there is no trace in the newer
Sinn Féin of these qualities. The older Sinn Féin
deprecated the reliance upon any external source of
strength and urged upon us the advantages of self-reliance
and passive resistance. The new Sinn Féin
places some of its faith at least in external bodies and
does not inculcate the older doctrines of self-reliance and
passive resistance. It is not, however, Sinn Féin that
has changed so much as the world forces that condition
such changes. The old policy flourished in a period
of world peace and was in consequence disposed rather
towards a long-drawn out policy: the new policy is
specially devised to take advantage of the present
temporary state of affairs.”
The Sinn Féin appeal to the Peace Conference, like
that of our Nationalist Party, fell upon deaf ears. It
was a disappointment not expected from the Allied
statesmen, who had committed themselves, seemingly
beyond possibility of evasion, to a policy that protected
the rights of small nations, and promised self-determination
to all peoples. Still, Sinn Féiners, like their
brothers-in-arms the Egyptian Nationalists, were not
disheartened; they plucked up new courage and
carried on their work, trusting in the ultimate power of

right and final triumph of justice. Although in their
new policy they took advantage of international relations,
they never abandoned altogether the old principle
of self-reliance. They utilised the situation abroad to
promote the interest of Ireland, but they did not neglect
things at home that strengthened the morale of the
people, improved their economic position and advanced
their education.
It will be seen that there were two parties anxious
for a settlement in Ireland, each working in its own
way; one for Home Rule and the other for complete
independence. I leave out of account that small section
of Ulster Unionists who desired that Ireland should
remain part and parcel of the United Kingdom, as if it
were another “Midlands” or “West of England.”
Sinn Féin, fearing that the Government Convention
would present a report that might look attractive to
moderate men in Ireland although based on the principle
of “Within the Empire,” decided to put the nation to
the test on the question of complete independence
before the Convention Report could be submitted to
the Government.
On Saint Patrick's Day, 1918, monster meetings were
held all over the country, at which the following resolution
was put and carried almost unanimously by the
enthusiastic masses:
“Here on Saint Patrick's Day we join with our fellow-countrymen
at home and in foreign lands in proclaiming
once more that Ireland is a distinct nation whose just
right is sovereign independence. This right has been asserted
in every generation, has never been surrendered, and
never allowed to lapse. We call the nations to witness
that to-day as in the past it is by force alone that
England holds Ireland for her Empire, and not by the
consent of the Irish; and that England's claim to have
given the Irish people ‘self-determination’ is a lie;
her true attitude being shown by the recent ministerial
statement that ‘under no circumstances could any

English Government contemplate the ultimate independence
of Ireland.”'
Feeling its strength, Sinn Féin carried its propaganda
a step further; it decided to hold a plebiscite on the
issue of complete independence and proclaim the result.
While this was being prepared, the Report of the
Convention was announced. It was complicated and
unworkable, and offered no satisfactory constitutional
basis for an Irish Government. Worse still, it came at
a most inopportune time—a time when the Allies were
meeting defeat after defeat at the hands of the Germans,
and were calling insistently upon the man-power of
their several countries. Under the circumstances, the
Prime Minister launched his conscription policy on
Ireland. This fell like a thunderbolt on the Irish people,
who resented conscription as a point-blank denial of
their rights as a nation. The Irish now saw through
the tactics of English statesmen, they realised that
England had no intention of granting Ireland any
acceptable form of self-government, and they fiercely
resented the attempt to force compulsory military
service upon them.
A storm of passionate feeling swept all over the
country. In that national crisis, Parliamentarians,
Sinn Féin, and Labour, joined forces, and with the
blessing of the Roman Catholic hierarchy pledged themselves
to resist conscription to the utmost. A conference
was summoned at the Mansion House by the
Lord Mayor of Dublin in which the delegates unanimously
adopted the following declaration:
“Taking our stand on Ireland's separate and distinct
nationhood, and affirming the principle of liberty, and
that the governments of nations derive their just powers
from the consent of the governed, we deny the right of
the British Government or any external authority to
impose compulsory military service on Ireland against
the clearly expressed will of the Irish people.
“The passing of the Conscription Bill by the British

House of Commons, must be regarded as a declaration
of war on the Irish nation. The alternative to accepting
it as such is to surrender our liberties and to acknowledge
ourselves slaves. It is in direct violation of the rights
of small nationalities to self-determination, which even
the Prime Minister of England—now preparing to employ
naked militarism and force his Act upon Ireland—himself
officially announced as an essential condition
for peace at the Peace Congress.
“The attempt to enforce it will be an unwarrantable
aggression, which we call upon all Irishmen to resist by
the most effective means at their disposal.”
We mentioned above that “Labour” joined the
Anti-Conscription campaign. It did so with great
spectacular effect when it called a general national
strike for one day as a protest against the Government's
action. But it had all the time its own point of view,
which was somewhat different from that of Sinn Féin.
Irish Labour would never accept conscription even if it
were proposed by an Irish Parliament. Its view was
clearly expressed in 1917 in its organ, Irish Opinion, in
which it was said:
“We shall resolutely oppose the conscription of Irish
people, whether for military or industrial purposes.
The very idea of compulsory service is abhorrent to us,
and we shall assist in every way every effort of our
people to resist the imposition of such an iniquitous
system upon us.”
But whatever the abstract view of Nationalists, Sinn
, or Labour as regards conscription, they all agreed
in opposing its imposition by the English Government
in 1918.
The effect of all this was a complete change in the
temper of the Irish Government, a change which was
to lead to the infliction of punitive measures on the
Irish people and to the vigorous use of the “Iron Heel.”
Lord French, an avowed conscriptionist, was appointed
Lord Lieutenant, and as Lord Wimborne, whom he

superseded, declared in the House of Commons, “All
those who had been known for their sympathies with
the cause of Irish nationality, or who professed the
Catholic faith,” were removed from office in Ireland.
A reign of unmitigated despotism began. Rigorous
military control, suppression of the Press, proclamations
of meetings and gatherings of any kind, arrests of Sinn
leaders, imprisonment without charge or trial of
prominent opponents of the Government, raiding citizens'
homes at all hours in search for individuals suspected of
complicity in a suppositious German plot: all these
became everyday happenings in Ireland. In its attempt
to crush the forces opposed to it, Dublin Castle manufactured
all sorts of political and non-political reasons
for arresting those whom it regarded as disaffected.
Naturally, this repressive policy evoked an ever-growing
resentment against England, who, for her part,
abandoned all pretence of constitutional government,
and treated Ireland as an occupied territory. With this
development all hopes of a “Home Rule” settlement
were abandoned, and the death blow was dealt to the
Parliamentary Party. The way was now clear for Sinn
. Not only had its Parliamentary opponents lost
credit, but the rank and file of their followers turned
to join hands with it. In short, almost all Nationalist
Ireland became solidly Sinn Féin. Such was the condition
of Ireland when the General Election came in
December 1918. As was fully expected, it resulted in
a sweeping victory for the Sinn Féin Party: of 106
members returned for Irish constituencies, 73 were
Sinn Féin.
I mentioned before that the Sinn Féin Convention of
November 1918 adopted a constitution providing that
“A Constituent Assembly shall be convoked, comprising
persons chosen by Irish constituencies, as the supreme
national authority to speak and act in the name of the
Irish people, and to devise and formulate measures for
the welfare of the whole people of Ireland.” After the

general election, the time was obviously ripe for convening
such an assembly. On 1st January 1919 the
promised assembly met in the Mansion House, Dublin,
and proclaimed the independence of Ireland; appointed
(uninvited) delegates to the Peace Conference, and
issued a proclamation to the “free nations” of the
world. On that memorable day, the Sinn Féin Parliament,
or “Dail Eireann,” was opened. There Ireland's
independence was thus proclaimed in Ireland's own


As our people do not know Gaelic, I render this
“Declaration of Independence” into English, a
a language with which some of us at least are familiar.
“Whereas the Irish people is by right a free people;
and whereas for seven hundred years the Irish people
has never ceased to repudiate and has repeatedly protested
in arms against foreign usurpation:
“And whereas English rule in this country is, and
always has been, based upon force and fraud and maintained
by military occupation against the declared will
of the people:
“And whereas the Irish Republic was proclaimed in
Dublin on Easter Monday 1916 by the Irish Republican
Army acting on behalf of the Irish people:


“And whereas the Irish people is resolved to secure
and maintain its complete independence in order to
promote the common weal, to re-establish justice, to
provide for future defence, to insure peace at home and
good will with all nations, and to constitute a national
polity based upon the people's will, with equal right
and equal opportunity for every citizen:
“And whereas at the threshold of a new era in history
the Irish electorate has in the General Election of
December 1918 seized the first occasion to declare by
an overwhelming majority its firm allegiance to the
Irish Republic:
“Now, therefore, we, the elected representatives
of the ancient Irish people in National Parliament
assembled, do, in the name of the Irish nation, ratify
the establishment of the Irish Republic and pledge
ourselves and our people to make this declaration
effective by every means at our command:
“We ordain that the elected Representatives of the
Irish people alone have power to make laws binding
on the people of Ireland, and that the Irish Parliament
is the only Parliament to which that people will give
its allegiance:
“We solemnly declare foreign government in Ireland
to be an invasion of our national right which we will
never tolerate, and we demand the evacuation of our
country by the English Garrison:
“We claim for our national independence the recognition
and support of every free nation of the world,
and we proclaim that independence to be a condition
precedent to international peace hereafter:
“In the name of the Irish people we humbly commit
our destiny to Almighty God Who gave our fathers the
courage and determination to persevere through long
centuries of a ruthless tyranny, and strong in the justice
of the cause which they have handed down to us, we
ask His divine blessing on this, the last stage of the
struggle we have pledged ourselves to carry through to


The delegates the Dail Eireann appointed to the
Peace Conference were given a mandate by Ireland to
strengthen the hands of the Peace Plenipotentiaries in
demanding the freedom of small nations, the cause for
which the war was supposed to have been fought. How
these delegates were received in Paris we all know,
As a matter of fact it was considered by some a fortunate
thing for small nations like ourselves and Ireland that
we were refused admission to a conference which, though
in name an international conference, was in fact an
inter-Allied conclave. Had we been admitted, they
hold, we would have been bound to accept the decision
of a Conference entirely dominated by the most imperialistic
and hypocritical of nations.
As for the proclamation of the Dail Eireann to the
“free nations” of the world it was issued in French
as follows:
“Aux Nations du Monde! Salut fraternel!
“La nation irlandaise ayant proclamé son indépendance
nationale fait appel à toutes les nations libres
par l'organe de ses représentants élus, réunis en assemblée
nationale dans la capitale d'Irlande ce 21 janvier
1919, et leur demande d'accorder leur appui à la
Republique irlandaise en reconnaissant à l'Irlande la
qualité de Nation et son droit de faire valoir ses titres
de nation au Congrès de la Paix:
“Au point de vue intérieur, la race irlandaise, la
langue irlandaise, les moeurs irlandaises, les traditions
irlandaises, sont foncièrement distinctes des éléments
analogues en Angleterre; l'Irlande est une des nations
les plus anciennes de l'Europe et elle a conservé forte
et intacte son intégrité nationale à travers sept siècles
d'oppression étrangère; elle n'a jamais renoncé à ses
droits nationaux, et, durant, les longs siècles de
l'usurpation anglaise, elle a affirmé hardiment à chaque

génération, et dernièrement encore par son glorieux
appel aux armes de 1916, ses inaliénables droits de
“Au point de vue international, l'Irlande est la clef
de l'Atlantique; l'Irlande est le dernier avant-poste de
l'Europe du côté occidental; l'Irlande est le point de
convergence des grandes voies commerciales qui relient
l'Europe à l'Amérique. La liberté des mers exige son
indépendance; ses beaux ports, au lieu de rester
exclusivement aux mains de l'Angleterre doivent s'ouvrir
au commerce mondial. Ses ports sont actuellement
déserts et sans vie pour la seule raison que la politique
anglaise a pris le parti bien determiné de garder l'Irlande
comme une stérile place forte dans l'intérêt du developpement
de l'Angleterre, si bien que la situation géographique
de cette île loin d'être utile à l'Europe et à
l'Amérique et loin de les garantir, sert exclusivement
aux desseins de domination mondiale de l'Angleterre:
“Aujourd'hui, à la face du monde transformé par la
guerre, l'Irlande affirme derechef ses droits authentiques
de nation. Elle le fait d'autant plus hardiment qu'elle
accepte la liberté et la justice comme principes fondamentaux
du droit international, qu'elle reconnaît que
la coopération loyale des peuples est le meilleur moyen
de faire valoir l'égalité civile contre les privilèges acquis
des tyrannies établies, que rien n'assurera une paix
durable en Europe tant que la domination militaire
sera maintenue au profit des puissances impérialistes,
que cette paix demande que dans chaque pays le pouvoir
soit fondé sur la libre volonté d'un peuple libre, et enfin
que l'état de guerre actuel entre l'Irlande et l'Angleterre
ne pourra prendre fin qu'au moment où les troupes
anglaises auront définitivement évacué ce pays.
“C'est pour ces motifs, entre autres, qu'au début de
cette ère qui promet la ‘self-determination’ et la
liberté, l'Irlande ayant pris l'inebranlable résolution de
ne plus souffrir la domination étrangère, fait appel à
chacune des nations libres pour appuyer les droits

qu'elle a, comme nation, à l'indepéndance absolue sous
la forme républicaine, nonobstant les prétentions injustifiées
de l'Angleterre, dont le seul titre dérive de la
fraude et dépend d'une écrasante occupation militaire,
elle demande à être mise en présence de l'Angleterre en
séance publique au Congrès des Nations, afin que le
monde civilisé, ayant jugé entre la mauvaise foi anglaise
et le bon droit du peuple irlandais, engage son appui
permanent pour assurer l'indépendance de l'Irlande.”
All this took place in Ireland and the world looked
on with cold reserve. One might compare Ireland at
this stage to a person trying to save his life in rough
seas, no one daring to give him a helping hand, the
onlookers simply sympathising from a distance, watching
his cruel struggle with the waves.
In the meantime the Government began to exercise
stronger repressive methods. These roused a spirit of
revenge among the more reckless elements of the population
and drove them into committing all sorts of
political crimes. More soldiers poured in from England
till the “Army of Occupation” approached nearly
100,000. The Constabulary was reinforced, and at the
same time the whole of the Sinn Féin organisation,
including the Dail Eireann, was proclaimed. That did
not improve matters in the least; in fact, it created a
spirit of intensified bitterness throughout the country,
and in spite of the endeavours of leaders of moderate
opinion like Sir Horace Plunkett, who advocated Home
Rule government on Dominion lines, the effect of the
repressive measures strengthened the cry for complete
Meanwhile propaganda work abroad began to show
results. De Valera, the Sinn Féin President, who
succeeded in reaching the United States, carried out
his campaign in the cause of Ireland so successfully
that British interests in America suffered seriously.
All parties in England now began to seek a means of
relieving the situation in Ireland before it was too late.

The Labour Party sent over to Ireland a deputation to
investigate and report upon the Irish Problem from all
points of view—as if they knew nothing about it before.
In their Report, the Labour delegates committed
themselves to the principle of self-determination. But
had not the honourable British nation and the democratic
American people made the same profession before
them? Mr. Lloyd George in 1918 said:
“We believe that before permanent peace can be
hoped for three conditions must be fulfilled”; the
second of these conditions was that “a territorial settlement
must be secured, based on the right of self-determination
or the consent of the governed.”
As to President Wilson's declarations, I need not
remind my readers of his famous fourteen points.
Experience has taught us that pledges of statesmen are
no longer to be trusted. The world now judges them
by their actions rather than their utterances. Realising
that the Labour Party is not powerful enough now to
compel the Government to any definite action on behalf
of Ireland, we need not attach much importance to
their professions. They will show in time the material
of which they are made. When they have the power
and begin to use it, then will be the time to commend
or condemn. The Coalition Party has issued a revised
edition of Home Rule on the principle of Partition,
and Mr. Asquith, waking up to address his senile Liberal
Party, has mumbled something about Home Rule. This
brings us up to 1920.
In order to complete this review of the present
political situation in Ireland, something must be said
about the relationship between Sinn Féin and the Irish
Labour Movement. I do not intend to discuss the
movement itself, that would need more space than can
be allotted to it here. I propose merely to glance at
those points at which Labour is brought into touch
with the present political situation.
I have already said something of the part played by

Labour in the 1916 insurrection, and also of the activity
displayed in the Anti-Conscription campaign. As
regards the latter, a Labour Conference was held in
Dublin, but the Irish Trades Union Congress, in which
the delegates, who numbered over 1,500, adopted a
resolution to resist conscription in every feasible way,
“Our claims for independent status as a nation in
the international movement and the right of self-determination
as a nation as to what action or actions our
people should take on questions of political or economic
From the terms of this declaration and from what I
have noted elsewhere, it is evident that Labour opposed
conscription on principle. It has clearly stated on more
than one occasion that it receives its orders from no
government, whether home or foreign, and that it
considers itself part of an international movement.
The alliance in Easter 1916 between the Republican
Volunteers, which included a large number of Sinn
(although Sinn Féin as a movement stood out
of it), and the Citizen Army, that is, the Labour Army,
was only temporary. It served its purpose in an
emergency. The same may be said of the alliance
between Sinn Féin and Labour during the opposition
to conscription. There are many other issues on which
both parties can well work together, to the advantage
of both, as well as to the benefit of the country. But
it must be realised that each has its own point of view
and a somewhat different outlook. To those who know,
a clash between the two movements on certain issues,
would not come as a surprise. As a matter of fact,
this clash was apprehended by the Irish people at the
General Election of December 1918. Although most of
the Labour candidates were Sinn Féiners, they were
believed to be Labour candidates first and Sinn Féiners
afterwards, and there was reason for anxiety that the
small differences between the respective programmes

might blind them to greater issues, and that the strong
position Sinn Féin held at the election might be
weakened by the intrusion of Labour candidates. Such
a split would have given the enemies of both a chance
of victory. However, the danger was averted by the
Labour Party. Shrewdly realising the position, it wisely
withdrew its candidates, leaving the field free for Sinn
, and allowing the electorate to decide on the
political question only. This action led, as I have stated,
to a great victory for Sinn Féin.
The Sinn Féin Convention of November 1917 passed
two resolutions concerning Labour, one affirming the
right of Labour to a “fair and reasonable” wage, and
the other calling on Irish Labour to sever its connection
with British trade unions. On the first of these
resolutions, Irish Opinion, the organ of Irish Labour,
“The resolution of the Sinn Féin Convention conceding
to Irish Labour the right to fair and reasonable
wages was not by any means encouraging. It was a
resolution to which the assent of even Mr. W. M.
Murphy1 might have been secured. It did not go far
enough, and it bore upon the face of it timidity and
trepidation. The Labour demand to-day goes rather
beyond fair and reasonable wages: the British Government
is prepared to offer, in fact has actually offered,
some share in direction to British Labour. This being
so, there is not much to be gained from Mr. De Valera's
statement in his Mansion House speech ‘that in a free
Ireland, with the social conditions that obtained in
Ireland, Labour had a far better chance than it would
have in capitalist England.’ ‘Our Labour policy,’
continued Mr. De Valera, ‘is a policy of a free country,
and we ask Labour to join with us to free the country.
We recognise that we can never free it without Labour.
And we say, when Labour frees this country—helps to

free it—Labour can look for its own share of its
patrimony.’ We agree that ‘to free the country’ is
an object worthy of all devotion that men can give to
it, but at the same time we would urge that, pending
this devoutly-to-be-wished-for consummation, men and
women must live and rear the families upon which the
future of Ireland depends. What Mr. De Valera asks
in effect is that Labour should wait till freedom is
achieved before it claims ‘its share of its patrimony.’
There are free countries, even Republics, where Labour
claims ‘its share in its patrimony’ in vain. We can
work for freedom, and we will, but at the same time
we'll claim our share of our patrimony when and where
opportunity offers.”
1 The late Mr. W. M. Murphy was the powerful leader of the Dublin employers in the strike of 1913.
This answer of Irish Opinion to Sinn Féin policy
towards Labour indicates clearly the attitude the latter
adopts in the matter; I need not comment on it, but
pass on to the second point.
The resolution calling upon Irish Labour to sever its
connection with English Labour was not heeded at all.
Irish Labour, as I have already stated, intends to be
international, and this could not be if it withdrew from
association with English Labour. It would be illogical
if the Irish Labour Movement, calling itself international,
were to co-operate with some countries, and refuse to
do so with others on grounds which do not at all concern
Labour as a body. In Ireland Labour is heart and soul
with any movement that works for an independent
Ireland; but at the same time it does not mean to
commit itself unnecessarily to any policy that would
render it difficult to co-operate with Labour in other
countries in the great endeavour to emancipate Labour
all over the world.
The above points of difference which I have indicated
in my attempt to enlighten our people on the relations
between Sinn Féin and Labour do not by any means
exhaust the subject. There are many others, and still
more will crop up as time goes by. Take for instance

the attitude of these two movements as regards the
Church. I mentioned before that the modern Labour
movement in Ireland holds Syndicalist views, the views
of the extreme Socialists, and the Church will not touch
Socialism. This puts Sinn Féin in a difficult position.
It has either to disavow Labour's political philosophy,
or else risk opposition from the Church. So far it has
not given its answer, and whether it is going to reconcile
both parties or take sides remains to be seen.
These are problems the solution of which awaits
Ireland in the future. Whether the solution is to be
accomplished by human ingenuity or by divine grace
one cannot say. Recent events here and elsewhere have
taught us, now more than in any other time, to look to
Heaven for help in the troubles of the world, and have
taught us to distrust the activities and intentions of
men. Can we be blamed for holding this distrust after
what we have seen of the works of man during the last
six years?
Still the earth goes round, and man lives upon its
surface. His destiny is no longer controlled by the few.
The fate and fortunes of nations are no longer in the
hands of the autocrat or the aristocrat; the masses,
unversed as yet in the arts of government, have now to
decide the road which each nation shall travel; without
a light from above they will surely go astray.

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In previous chapters I have given an account of the
history and development of agricultural co-operation
in Ireland, and I also attempted to describe the various
types of co-operative societies, and explain their significance
to the countryside. I will now complete my
account of the movement by a statement of its progress
in the last ten years. In doing so, I will deal separately
with the several types of societies. The value attached
by the rural community to the services rendered by
the societies cannot be expressed in a more telling
manner than by the figures in the following table which
provide more than an evidence of steady growth.
Year Number of Societies Membership Capital Turnover
19081 881 85,939 £359,146 £2,252,380
19182 950 117,484 875,785 9,087,668
1 I. A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1909, page 113.
2 Ibid., 1919, page 116.
There are, however, some things which cannot be
learned from mere statistics. Many societies have
increased their activities in different directions; for
instance, by the addition of milling business to the
work of agricultural societies, of cheesemaking to buttermaking
in the creameries, and of agricultural machinery
in both. Many more have added new branches to their
business, indicating that organised farmers are determined
to obtain and keep full control of their industry

in every department. The tendency towards big
business has developed to a remarkable degree in recent
years as the farmers now gain more confidence in their
societies, and are prepared to give them more capital
and place with them more of their trade than formerly.
The outstanding feature in recent years of the
movement for which the Irish Agricultural Organisation
Society (“I. A. O. S.”) stands is, that it has gone
a long way towards its ultimate aim—that of making
every Irish farmer a co-operator, of making the movement
universally efficient and useful to its members,
and of placing the central body in a position of
independence, free from the restrictions entailed by
Government grants, restrictions that deprive a society
of liberty of action and hinder it from advancing with
the times.


This is the only type of co-operative societies in
Ireland whose report is unfavourable. A glance at the
following table shows how they have declined.
Whether a permanent credit movement is any longer
necessary remains to be seen. Will the existing societies
justify their existence, or will the general agricultural
prosperity render them for the future an unnecessary
factor in the economy of small farming? If they
survive, are they likely to do an increasing business
should market prices for farm produce return to normal?
All that can be said for them now is, that those self-reliant
societies which depend on local deposits, and
which are maintaining their position, are proving their
utility to farmers in backward districts, and supplying
a need. In the event of a slump, similar societies would
be needed elsewhere, perhaps as much as before the war.
The following statistics, which belong to the war
period, throw light on a few interesting points.
Year Total Loan Capital Number of Loans Granted
19141 Loan Capital £22,534 £56,272 7,352
Deposits 33,738
19152 Loan Capital £15,602 £52,784 6,301
Deposits 37, 182
19163 Loan Capital 10,028 £49,459 5,028
Deposits 39,431
19174 Loan Capital £9,693 £43,872 4,792
Deposits 34,179
19185 Loan Capital £7,968 £56,644 3,640
Deposits 48,676

1 I. A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1915, page 142.
2 Ibid., 1916, page 152.
3 Ibid., 1917, page 120.
4 Ibid., 1918, page 102.
5 Ibid., 1919, page 112.
From the above account, it will be seen that credit
societies in Ireland do not fill the same place in the
co-operative movement as on the Continent. Two
reasons may be assigned for this.
1 In the first place,
in Europe these societies are centres of thrift for the
rural population, as the savings of a district are through
them invested in the district. In Ireland, thrift has
been neglected except in those successful societies which
are fortunate enough to possess officials who command
public confidence and encourage thrift. In the absence
of such trusted personalities, credit societies suffer by
competition with the Post Office Savings Banks with
their Government guarantee, and with the Joint Stock
Banks, which are often vaguely supposed to have
Government behind them. In the second place, in

Ireland credit societies, being registered under the
Friendly Societies Act, with unlimited liability, are
denied trading powers which would have otherwise
contributed to their prosperity. On the Continent,
these legal obstacles are non-existent, and credit
societies act as agencies for the collective purchase of
farmers' requirements. So far attempts in Ireland to
remove this disability have failed. It would seem, too,
that greater supervision and controlling authority are
necessary in the case of these societies to insure their
stability, and fit them to command and dispose of
large deposits. Such functions are performed on the
Continent by a Central Society. In Ireland such a
centre was established in 1913 under the auspices of
the I. A. O. S. with a view to keeping open the possibility
of development in the future.
1 Smith-Gordon's Rural Reconstruction in Ireland (1917), page 147.


The annual Report of the I. A. O. S. for the year 1909
remarks on these societies: “Agricultural societies are
the least satisfactory of all the forms of co-operation.
They still remain small parish associations of farmers
whose system of doing business is unsatisfactory.”
The Report of 1918 adopts another tone: “This form
of co-operative activity continues to grow apace. Indications
continue that the functions of these societies
will become more and more varied as time goes on.
There is a wide field of development in such directions,
and it is possible that out of the agricultural will be
evolved ‘the general purposes’ society, to rival in
importance, if not to surpass, the co-operative creamery.”
A glance at the following table, enables us to perceive
how progressive this form of co-operative activity has
become in the last few years.
Year Number of Societies Membership Paid up Share Capital Loan Capital Turnover
19081 166 12,999 £5,143 £29,211 £87,045
19182 279 34,818 73,194 147,125 995,290
1 I. A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1909, page 113.
2 Ibid., 1919, page 116.
Apart from the buying of fertilisers, seeds and
manures, the agricultural societies tried their hand at
the collective sale of produce. This proved a more
difficult operation, and so far has not met with much
success. Further methods of widening the scope of
this branch of the co-operative movement were to
increase its range of articles, enlarge its trade, and
embark on various developments, partly productive and

partly distributive. This policy of extension provoked
violent opposition from the local traders and disapproval
from the Department of Agriculture. The latter
declared in 1910 that agricultural societies should confine
their energies to agricultural business and not encroach
upon the functions of the “Stores.” Since then this
unsound attitude has been gradually modified, and it
will not be long before the obstruction is removed.
In a country of small holders like Ireland, the various
economic needs cannot be separated into watertight
compartments, and in the case of labourers, the general
store is almost the only way of bringing them into touch
with the movement.1 In the meantime, the existing
societies are widening their sphere of action in that
direction, while the I. A. O. S. is being prevented from
organising new societies for other than agricultural
purposes.2 Another method which has been adopted
in widening the scope of agricultural societies is to make
the co-operative ownership of agricultural machinery a
part of their business.
1 Smith-Gordon's Rural Reconstruction in Ireland, page 121.
2 As the book was going to press, I was informed that this restriction had just been removed.
These societies, in number, membership and value of
business, are the most important group of co-operative
societies in Ireland. They are making steady progress
as the following statistics indicate.
Although the process of manufacture has been
organised and the technique improved, the problem of
marketing the product has not yet been solved, and
the creameries still suffer from the evils of competing
with one another and cutting prices. Attempts to
remedy this were made as early as 1892, when the Irish
Co-operative Agency Society (“I. C. A. S.”) was started
at Limerick with the object of marketing the butter of
co-operative creameries all over the country. Until

now, it has been a long, continuous struggle for that
society, and unless full support is given to it by the
creameries, the Agency cannot fulfil the functions of a
proper marketing federation. The majority of the
creameries do not lend their support to the Agency in
its effort to solve an important problem which intimately
concerns the creameries themselves. There is another
side to the Agency's activities, and that is supplying
the creameries with their necessary requisites.
There is a growing feeling amongst Irish co-operators
that one trading federation for the whole of Ireland
should be able to do all the co-operative trade of the
country. At present there is a certain amount of overlapping
and competition between the I. C. A. S. and
the I. A. W. S. “If this occurred with local societies
we should talk of it. Is there any reason why we should
not say the same things because there are federations
concerned and not local societies?” It is hoped that
in time the I. A. W. S. will be the all-Ireland trading
federation, not only for agricultural co-operation, but
also for industrial co-operation as well.
There are two problems with which the dairying
industry in Ireland is faced. One is the general
diminution of the milk supply, which affects the success
of dairying in a marked degree. This unsatisfactory
state of affairs will continue so long as Irish farmers
fail to adopt cow testing for milk yield and butter fat
as an indispensable part of their business. The other
problem is due to the absence of a guarantee of
uniform high quality in the butter produced by the
creameries. It was not until 1910 that the I. A. O. S.
took upon its shoulders the formation of a “Butter
Control” scheme, a system which contributes to the
standardising of Irish butter, improves its quality, and
gives it an assured position in the British market. It
is to be regretted that the creameries have failed to
play their part; it was found difficult to induce them
to conform to the conditions of the Control. The latest
reports show brighter prospects as regards the future
of the Butter Control scheme.
Another question which is causing great anxiety to
creameries is that of the supply of milk regularly
throughout the year. To solve this difficulty, the
farmer must co-operate with the creamery so as to
produce and maintain a uniform supply of milk at all
seasons. The factory must be kept going, neither idle
nor short hours at any time of the year, if the Irish
dairying industry is to compete with countries like
Denmark, where the winter production of milk has been
so well developed.
The production of milk in winter on an economic
basis depends almost altogether on an improved system
of feeding the cows. A system of “continuous cropping”
has been advocated by Professor Wibberley, of University
College, Cork, to attain that object. In his
recent book, Farming on Factory Lines, he fully explains
the details of that system, which he actually worked
out with satisfactory results on a few Irish and English
farms. So far, however, his system is in the experimental
stage and has not been adopted through the
country to any appreciable extent.


Poultry-keeping is an industry peculiarly adapted to
the farm labourer and small farmer, and is also one in
which the farmer's women-folk can find congenial and
profitable employment. To a country of small farms
particularly, it ought to bring a large accession of wealth.
Before agriculture was organised on co-operative lines,
there was a considerable amount of restlessness among
the young men and women of rural Ireland, due chiefly
to lack of employment. The malcontents, the healthiest
and most vigorous elements of the population, contributed
the larger part of the crowd of emigrants. Those
who were patriotic enough to resist the temptation of
seeking wealth in foreign lands and were content to
remain at home and make the best of things, were in
the hands of middlemen who exacted a heavy toll on
their industry. I have already described some of the

societies organised by the I. A. O. S. which opened an
outlet to the activities of the young men at home;
poultry societies are one of those outlets which offer
employment to the young women of the country. The
Society of “United Irishwomen” provides a means of
bringing women into the movement in a branch of
industry exclusively their own and capable of almost
infinite development.
It will be of interest to glance at the condition that
prevailed in the Irish poultry-keeping industry before
the co-operative movement came to effect a change.
Mr. Smith-Gordon tells us that
“The position of Ireland in close proximity to the
English markets would seem to have offered a particular
advantage and incentive to this industry. Nevertheless,
it had never assumed its proper position in the industrial
life of the country. The reputation of Irish eggs in
England was no more savoury than of that Irish butter.
Time and again the Glasgow and Liverpool merchants
were forced to announce that they found it impossible
to deal in Irish eggs as supplied to them. Likewise
Irish poultry, which was later taken to England and
fattened as Surrey fowl, was in such poor condition
that it brought very low prices. The yearly loss to Irish
farmers, distributed among all classes of the population,
and most serious for the poorest, reached into thousands
of pounds. Complete ignorance of the technical details
of the industry, and a lack of proper arrangements for
marketing, the two ubiquitous evils of Irish agriculture
largely accounted for this situation. The women, into
whose hands this part of the farming operations
naturally fell, were even less in touch with modern
developments than the men. The hens roamed at large
over the estate or picked up their living along the ‘long
pasture.’ Winter egg production was as unusual as
winter dairying. An expert would have found great
difficulty in identifying the constituent breeds of the
ordinary Irish fowl; its chief characteristic was a ripe
and unprofitable old age. The marketing arrangements

were crude and inefficient. Eggs were collected from
the fields and hedges as the necessities of the moment,
the visits of the egg collector, and the energies of the
owner directed. No attempt was made to keep them
clean or sizeable, no attempt to ensure a really fresh
product. The egg collector was among the most virulent
of the middleman class. He travelled about the country
with his miscellaneous stock of household necessaries
and unnecessaries, and for these received in payment
the collected eggs of the period intervening between his
visits. His profit was thus doubled. If there was no
egg collector, the shopkeeper at the crossroads played
his rôle with equal distinction. Eventually the eggs
found their way to the markets; dirty, ungraded, and
badly packed. This last fact accounted, partially at
least for the large percentage of breakages en route of
which Irish shippers were for ever complaining.”
When the I. A. O. S. first extended its propaganda
to this sphere of the farmer's work, it had to decide at
the outset whether it would organise large or small
societies. Experience presently showed that poultry
societies to be successful must work on a scale sufficiently
extensive to enable their committees to employ
a really competent business man as manager. In
securing markets for the products of these societies the
I. A. W. S. has taken the prominent part. On these
lines the poultry industry has developed favourably.
This would not seem to be indicated by the following
figures, yet the above statement is correct. The reader
will arrive at the reason after the explanations that are
to come later.
Year Number of Societies Membership Paid up Share Capital Loan Capital Turnover
19081 24 6,650 £2,618 £4,819 £72,597
19182 12 3,634 1,534 3,390 229,4413

1 I. A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1909, page 113.
2 Ibid., 1919, page 116.
3 High turnover is due to the soaring prices of eggs.
In view of the high prices of table poultry and the
fine opening for this branch of the poultry-keeping
industry, it was suggested that members should rear
and fatten fowls of the right breeds, and that the
societies should kill, pluck, truss and market the dead
poultry on their behalf. It is disappointing to find that

neither the societies nor their members give much
attention to the subject. Perhaps, as in the case of
fresh eggs, the members are satisfied with the profit
they get now without much trouble. But there is a
danger in this attitude: the Irish farmers may get such
a bad reputation for their eggs and poultry as will cause
them a good deal of harm later on when the markets
become normal again.
Some years ago there were many complaints as to
the unsatisfactory condition of Irish eggs, and the
method of marketing them in England. The I. A. O. S.
went to great expense and trouble to establish the
“Karka” brand for the use of the societies, and the
I. A. W. S. now exercises control over the use of this
brand. Eggs stamped with it are guaranteed as
absolutely fresh, quite clean, accurately graded, and
well packed. This in conjunction with the new system
of purchasing eggs by weight has helped the Irish eggs
to command a high price and establish a good reputation.
This introduction of a system of “Control”
among poultry societies is somewhat similar to what
has been devised for the creameries.
Experience has taught poultry societies that it is
imprudent on their part to rely on one branch of enterprise
alone, and they have in several cases added to
their business other branches of the farmers' trade,
including store business. The reverse order has been
mentioned in connection with agricultural societies,
which were called upon to add the egg business to their
work. In both cases the departure has been met with
success. This is the reason why the number of poultry
societies has been decreasing in spite of the fact that
the amount of business done in this trade on co-operative
lines has been gradually increasing. Agricultural
societies now have egg and poultry departments,
and so the societies which deal solely in that trade are
on the wane. It seems evident that the time is not
far off when the co-operative trading societies of the

future will be of two kinds, the productive society, of
which the creamery is a type, and the distributive
society, which will undertake all the farmers' demands
in respect of purchase and sale.


Some twenty years ago danger seemed to threaten
one of the most important industries of the North of
Ireland, the linen trade, owing to a decline in the home
cultivation of its raw material. Flax-growers were
discouraged by the low prices of the fibre. They
suffered in competition with Continental countries where
technical education in the cultivation of the crop was
constantly improving the methods of production.
Further, the question of pure and reliable seed suitable
for Ireland was not sufficiently considered by the flaxgrowers.
The Report of the Departmental Committee
on the Flax Industry dealt with this matter in 1910
as follows:
“The quality of the seed is an extremely important
factor in determining the character of the crop. Great
variations exist in the present seed supply which comes
from Russia and Holland. It is in many cases doubtful
whether the seed so imported is specially selected with
a view to the production of superior fibre, for which
purpose alone it is grown in Ireland.”
Not only did farmers sometimes buy the wrong kind
of seeds (for there are two kinds, one primarily bred for
fibre and the other for oil), but they bought them of
inferior quality, and at a high price, from local traders
who knew or cared nothing about the crop as long as
they made money out of it.
Under the crude and dangerous system of marketing
by private sales on the mill premises, the farmer fared
very badly. That system was especially detrimental to
producers in remote districts, where, when the buyers
formed a ring, the helpless growers were absolutely at
their mercy.
These and other causes contributed to the state to
which the flax trade had fallen. The I. A. O. S. took
the matter up, and investigated it with the usual constructive
intent. On the one hand, conferences were
held between growers and manufacturers with a view
to arriving at a solution. On the other, the I. A. O. S.,
the Department of Agriculture, and the Flax Supply
Association worked admirably together to promote a
general scheme for saving the industry. The I. A. O. S.,
having satisfied itself that co-operative control of the
handling and marketing of flax was the only remedy
for many of the grievances of the growers, took on
itself the responsibility of organising the farmers on
co-operative lines. In the course of the year 1900,
five flax societies were started. These were concerned
with four points: the purchase of guaranteed seed
direct from the best sources, the production of the best
quality flax by improved methods of production, secured
by the collective employment of expert advice, proper
scutching by acquiring scutch mills to carry out the
expensive after treatment processes at a reduced rate,
and the sale of the product by combining to maintain
an agent for the flax in the open market. The second
point, that of improving the method of production,
was handed over later on to the Department of Agriculture
and Technical Instruction, which is in a better
position to look after the purely scientific part of the
industry. Some years ago, the Department sent a
deputation of representatives of flax societies and scutch
mill owners to Belgium and Holland, to study the
methods of production and handling the crop in those
countries. A great deal of interesting and instructive
information was obtained which proved to be of great
It is interesting to note that the taking up of this
industry by the co-operative movement has helped to
extend flax cultivation to the South of Ireland. New
ground has already been broken in County Wicklow,

and the formation of the Flax Co-operative Society at
Avoca, which so far is progressing favourably, is being
watched with interest. There is no reason why the
industry should not be extended to other places outside
Ulster. Flax growing in Ireland as a field for co-operative
organisation possesses large but unrealised
possibilities. So far, the number of flax societies has
not grown in any notable degree, as the following figures
Year Number of Societies Membership Paid up Share Capital Loan Capital Turnover
19081 12 552 £97 £1,817 £589
19182 30 2,357 £14,831 £11,255 £21,300
1I. A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1909, page 113.
2 Ibid., 1919, page 116.
Apart from the five different types of co-operative
societies we have considered in detail there are others

which deal with a large variety of enterprises. In none
of these societies, which we might group under the name
of “Miscellaneous Societies,” is there any important
modification of the co-operative principle. Some of
them, for instance, dressed-meat societies, bacon societies
and fishing societies, may become of great importance
later on, as Ireland is a great cattle and pig raising
country, and also a country the possibilities of whose
fishing industry are enormous; while others, concerned
with the subsidiary occupations, as, for example, milling
societies, lime-burning societies and bee-keeping societies,
must remain in a secondary position. These exemplify
the facility with which the co-operative system may
be applied over a wide field. After all I have seen, I
conclude that there could hardly be any enterprise, big
or small, which is likely to engage the attention of the
farmer, to which the co-operative principle could not be
applied with great advantage.
I have mentioned the bee-keeping societies. Perhaps
I ought to say a little more about them, as this subsidiary
industry connected with the land has lately been
rousing much interest in a certain circle of our own
enterprising rising generation in Egypt. Foremost
among these is Dr. A. Z. Abushâdy, our young scientific
apiarist, in whom great hopes are centred for the development
of modern bee-keeping in our country. The
keeping of bees offers an opportunity for large profits
with little trouble and expense, and may be advantageously
developed as a national industry on co-operative
lines. At present, little honey is produced, and much
of the product is wasted. Yet the demand is great and
the retail price is high. What is the hindrance to
development? There are three main causes: the lack
of technical knowledge of modern and profitable bee-keeping
and honey production,1 the prohibitive prices
of the few necessary requisites, and the low return

for honey, as sold in the usual way, the profits going
to the middleman rather than to the producer.
Beekeepers' co-operative societies are easy to form,
since they require practically no capital.1 Their work
is largely done through a central federation, of which
they are the constituent local units. This federation
is the I. A. W. S., which has a special department to
provide for their needs. Being members of a large
co-operative movement, these societies benefit economically,
administratively, and educationally. Through
the medium of co-operative literature and meetings they
learn what is best for their industry. Through the
wholesale trading federation, they eliminate the middleman,
get all the profit that is their due, and at the same
time acquire all the essential appliances at a much
reduced cost. It has been stated that when these
societies began trading through the Wholesale Society,
prices obtained for their product rose eighty per cent.,
and the cost of their appliances was reduced by nearly
forty per cent.
1 The British Beekeepers' Guide Book, by T. W. Cowan. The Practical Bee Guide, by J. G. Digges.
1 Co-operation in Bee-keeping, I. A. O. S. Leaflet.


The history of the I. A. W. S. has been one of continuous
progress. Its objects are those common to all
co-operative trade federations. Although the main
trade of the society is in fertilisers, seeds, machinery,
etc., such as are dealt in by a federation of agricultural
societies, yet the society is taking upon itself the
functions of a general co-operative organisation. It

has thus become the link between the two classes of
co-operative societies, the producers' and the consumers'.
The following departments of the I. A. W. S., which
cover all the branches of trading in which the societies
are engaged, indicate the extent of its activities:
banking; farm and garden seeds; produce marketing;
agricultural implements and machinery; bee-keeping
appliances and honey; grocery and provisions; dairy
engineering; fertilisers, feeding stuffs and coal; drapery,
boots and shoes; printing, bookselling and stationery.
The following table shows the growing trade of the
Year Number of Societies Federated Number of Shares Held Capital paid up Sales Profits Reserve Fund
19081 91 8,586 Ordinary £768 Preference £3,437 £73,150 £1,312 £1,800
19181 379 57,231 Ordinary £14,460 Preference £11,515 £914,241 £7,527 £5,000
1 Twenty-one Years of the I. A. W. S., page 90.


A survey of agricultural co-operation in Ireland would
not be complete without mention of the part that women
play in the movement. My readers will remember that
in Chapter XII were recorded the activities of the
organised body of Irish countrywomen who bear the
name of United Irishwomen.

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In dealing with industrial co-operation in Ireland, I
found it necessary to treat it as part of a movement
spread over Great Britain and Ireland. Agricultural
co-operation in these countries had its inception and
first development in Ireland; as established in Great
Britain it deserves a chapter to itself.
The methods adopted in my studies and researches
in Ireland, which I have explained in previous chapters,
I employed in Great Britain also.
I toured England and Scotland, and tried to study
my subject by first-hand investigation. I need not go
into details, it would mean only a repetition of much
that I have written of my tour in Ireland. I began
by getting introductions to the headquarters of the
movements in Britain. The Agricultural Organisation
Society, “A. O. S.,” in London, and the Scottish Agricultural
Organisation Society, “S. A. O. S.,” in Edinburgh,
like the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society,
“I. A. O. S.,” in Dublin, formed my centres of investigation.
There I received every assistance, and was
thus enabled to formulate a practical and comprehensive
programme and proceed on my researches in a systematic
manner. I was well received wherever I went. I got
information I wanted by visiting different co-operative
societies, conversing with their officials and members,
and making use of the available literature, whether
reports, pamphlets, books, or periodicals. The only
difference I noticed between my work in Great Britain
and in Ireland was that in the former I was simply the
student of economics who had come for research and

investigation and nothing more; in the latter I was
the friend as well as the student, and was made welcome
in the social life of the people, and so my work was a
pleasure as well as a duty.
I do not propose to give here a full history of agricultural
co-operation in Great Britain; it would be
unnecessary after my account of the history, aims and
development of the same movement in Ireland. In the
three countries it has responded to the same needs,
and been run for the same purposes, on almost
the same lines. Ireland took the lead and set the
example, and thanks to favourable circumstances, able
leadership and dogged perseverance, attained the high
position she now holds, and the universal attention she


The work for the promotion of agricultural co-operation
in England has, since 1901, been conducted
by the A. O. S., registered under the Industrial and
Provident Societies Act. Before that time co-operation
was practised in England, and also in Scotland, by
farmers in different places, who grouped themselves
together and made use of the association for certain
limited purposes. In this respect the movement had
its start from the people themselves, not as in Ireland,
from the efforts of a member of the upper class who
had the well-being of his country and countrymen at
In 1912, the Society was reconstructed and registered
under the Companies (Consolidation) Act. This reconstruction
was due to the policy of the Development
Commission, which selected the A. O. S. as the body
in the best position to promote co-operation in agriculture.
The Society receives an annual grant from
the Development and Road Improvements Fund to
enable it to continue its work and increase its activities.
The following statistical figures show that, in spite
of the inevitable check to co-operative enterprise caused
by the war, the agricultural co-operative movement in
this country is making sure progress.
Year Number of Societies Number of Members Turnover
19121 502 38,127 £1,825,366
19182 1,121 168,358 8,868,751
1 A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1913, page 155.
2 Ibid., 1919, Summary of Statistics.
The latest development has been the formation in
various parts of the country of large societies on a
county basis. These organisations have been generally
formed by the amalgamation of a number of societies
existing within a certain area. There are already several
of these societies in existence, such as the Derbyshire
Farmers, Limited, the Leicestershire Farmers, Limited,
the County of York Agricultural Co-operative Association,
Limited, and others; they supply farm requirements
and dispose of the principal forms of produce.
These large county societies establish depôts to serve
the various portions of their areas. The A. O. S. not
only welcomes this new step but actually advocates it
as a general policy, as long as the societies do not cover
so wide an area that their individual members lose
effective touch with them. It considers that societies
should be large enough to ensure a turnover which
would warrant the employment of competent and well-paid
managers, to the satisfaction of all concerned.
Like the I. A. O. S. and the Irish Farmers' Union,
the A. O. S. and the National Farmers' Union are on
friendly terms. The help which the two bodies can and
do give one another is great. The leaders of the two
bodies are aware of this fact, and have been desirous
for some time of obtaining a definite understanding
and devising a working basis for mutual assistance.
Joint conferences have been held and the whole question
is now receiving the consideration of both bodies.
To follow the recent progress of the movement and to
judge its present position in the sphere of agriculture,
it will be necessary to deal with the several types of
societies separately.


These societies are based, as they are in Ireland, on
the German Raiffeisen principle of unlimited liability.
The objection to the latter induced the Board of Agriculture
and the A. O. S. to take steps in order to make
it possible for the societies, if they wished, to have their
liability limited. To meet the difficulty of obtaining
funds, owing to failure to attract deposits, the Board
has made arrangements with the Joint Stock Banks.
Although these societies have been recommended to
the farmers for the past twenty years, the facilities for
starting them have been little availed of. There seems
to be little desire on the part of the farmers to avail
themselves of the methods of co-operation in this
direction, in spite of the fact that the small farmers
would be greatly benefited by a more ready access to
capital for productive purposes. The following statistics
reveal the scant favour accorded to this type of society.
Year Number of Societies Number of Members Loans Granted
19121 46 863 £1884
19182 22 420 601
1 A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1913, page 156.
2 Ibid., 1919, Summary of Statistics.

  • “5. General custom of merchants to give long credit
    to agricultural customers.
  • “6. General preference on part of cultivators to obtain
    goods on credit rather than to borrow actually in cash.
  • “7. Lack of enthusiasm on the part of the class of
    men required to undertake the responsibility of acting
    on committees and the scarcity of keen and properly
    qualified men to act as secretaries.
  • “8. Difficulty of financing societies if formed.”
To encourage the extension of co-operative credit,
investigations made in 1916 resulted in a scheme submitted
to and approved by the A. O. S. in 1918.
It is confined for the present to the subject of credit
on the purchase of goods by the farmer. It is proposed
that the Joint Stock Banks should be asked to finance
the scheme, the main proposals for which are1:
1 A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1918, page 16.


Until recently agricultural co-operation in this country
has been developed chiefly along the lines of combination
for the purchase of farmers' requirements. There

is evident, too, a growing tendency towards the development
of co-operation for the disposal of agricultural
produce. Societies of this type form the most important
branch of agricultural co-operation in England, and
their progress is shown by the following table:
Year Number of Societies Number of Members Turnover
19121 165 18,149 £1,334,459
19182 255 41,226 £4,697,046
1 A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1913, page 155.
2 Ibid., 1919, Summary of Statistics.


The disposal of dairy produce co-operatively forms
the main feature of many of the societies affiliated to
the A. O. S. This is carried out on different lines
according to local conditions. Where suitable markets

are available and transport easy, the disposal of the
members' produce as whole milk is preferred. The
advantages in doing this on co-operative lines are
numerous. By reason of the large amount of milk
dealt with by the societies, it is possible to regulate to
a considerable extent the quantity to be sent to the
market, thus avoiding over-production, and this helps
to keep the price of milk at a remunerative level, and
at the same time avoid waste. Besides, the combined
surplus milk can be dealt with in a more economic and
profitable way in the well-fitted co-operative depôts.
In these it is converted into products such as cheese,
butter, or separated milk powder in conjunction with
cream. This leaves the farmer time and energy to
devote to operations on the farm, and he is no longer
troubled with the question of marketing. When we
come to realise that the profits which accrue from such
organisation and which were formerly secured by unnecessary
intermediaries, are returned to the members
in proportion to the amount of trade done by each,
we can estimate the value of these dairy societies to the
Some societies have been established for the manufacture
of cheese as their primary object, while others
are concerned with the making of butter. The production
of pure milk is a speciality of some societies,
and there is great scope and need for this work. Dairy
organisation in the latter case has been generally in the
direction of wholesale dealing with milk, but in 1916
some societies started retailing on a large scale with
great success. In the same year a milk capitalist combine,
“The United Dairies, Limited,” was formed by
the amalgamation in London of a number of joint stock
dairy companies. To safeguard the interest of the
farmer against these capitalist profiteers, a federation
has been formed amongst the dairy societies affiliated
to the A. O. S. with the object of obtaining greater
unity of action. This Co-operative Central Association

of Dairy Farmers advocates closer combination amongst
the various dairy societies, and the establishment of
factories and depôts collectively by a number of
societies wherever possible and advantageous. Careful
consideration is being given now to the schemes for the
amalgamation of the smaller societies in order to enlarge
their sphere of influence, decrease their overhead
charges, and at the same time increase their efficiency
in the handling of milk and the manufacture of milk
Many of the dairy societies benefit their members in
other ways. They undertake the purchase in bulk of
agricultural requirements such as feeding stuffs, fertilisers,
implements, etc. Some undertake the collecting,
grading, packing and selling of eggs.
The general progress of this type of agricultural
co-operation is indicated by the following table:
Year Number of Societies Number of Members Turnover
19121 26 2,456 £406,159
19182 59 6,612 £2,279,416
1 A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1913, page 155.
2 Ibid., 1919, Summary of Statistics.


In spite of the difficulties created by the war in
getting supplies of feeding stuffs for poultry these
societies made satisfactory progress. The co-operative
movement has exerted a great influence upon the general
egg trade in this country, even where societies have
had only a qualified success. We shall not, therefore,
do full justice to this type of society if we measure its
progress by mere statistics, such as these:
Year Number of Societies Number of Members Turnover
19121 38 2,329 £28,987
19182 71 10,796 £641,209
1 A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1913, page 155.
2 Ibid., 1919, Summary of Statistics.
A good deal has still to be accomplished in this line
of co-operation, especially when we realise that the
consumption of eggs and poultry is vastly in advance
of production. The A. O. S. Report for 1914 showed a
marked improvement in this trade in many respects.
Care had been exercised by the societies to raise the
quality of their supplies by means of testing eggs for
quality and size, and by offering a bonus on good
results, as well as by introducing approved methods of
grading and packing. By adopting more business-like
methods, it has been possible to arrange for a more
frequent collection, with the result that the turnover
of the societies has increased and better prices are
Experience has shown the fact that societies succeed
best when they undertake other activities allied to their
proper functions as branches of their work. For
instance, the Framlingham and Eastern Counties Co-operative
Egg and Poultry Society, the largest society
of its kind in England, in addition to purchasing feeding
stuffs in bulk, has been recently doing a considerable
trade in poultry and rabbits; it is also establishing a
poultry farm for the breeding and fattening of poultry.
This society has been instrumental in raising and maintaining
the price of eggs and poultry in East Anglia,
experience showing that where no depôts are in
existence, lower prices are current. The Report of 1915
records that some of the larger societies show a great
increase in the number of eggs dealt with and the value
realised, by employing the system of preserving the
eggs in spring to retail them in winter at higher prices.
Progress continues both in regard to turnover and
number of societies. A considerable increase of the
number was brought about by the three-week tour of
an Egg and Poultry Demonstration Train, organised to
run through the South-Western counties.
At the present time, notwithstanding the assistance
extended by the A. O. S. Egg Intelligence Bureau to

all the egg-collecting societies in forwarding to them
each week information on market prices, the system of
marketing is far from satisfactory. There are several
societies handling eggs on a large scale and competing
against one another in the market. At the same time,
a large number of the smaller societies are marketing
their eggs through the Agricultural Wholesale Society,
which in turn competes with the large societies. Such
a state of affairs needs consideration. A special sub-committee
was appointed by the A. O. S. in 1918 with
a view to evolving a satisfactory scheme for a better
wholesale distribution of eggs and marketing of poultry.


It is not always possible to draw a line between small
holdings and allotments, but the latter have now come
to be understood as the small allotment gardens of the
town worker. In many of the crowded districts the
allotment movement has spread widely on the outskirts
of towns. To the working man, his allotment is his
garden, which supplies him with fresh vegetables and
flowers, and at the same time provides him with an
alternative to the publichouse as a means of relaxation.
The need for co-operation among small holders and
allotment holders is great, and it is gratifying to notice
this class of cultivator appreciates the benefits derived
from this form of combination. These benefits are
realised in the following directions1:
  • “1. The acquisition of land more easily, and the
    obtaining of it at a more reasonable price.
  • “2. The saving of expense in the cost of production
    by combined purchase of all sorts of agricultural
  • “3. The possibility of obtaining the use of agricultural
    implements and machinery, good teams of horses, etc.,

    usually beyond the means of individual small holders,
    by co-operative ownership of such articles and horses.
  • “4. The possibility of selling produce on satisfactory
    lines by an organised scheme for the disposal of
1 A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1913, page 30.
Another question has been considered in recent years
by some societies: the question of housing. In this
matter, the A. O. S. understands that the Local Government
Board is willing to give financial assistance to
small holdings and allotments societies prepared to
undertake schemes for providing houses for the working
Besides the types of societies explained in this
account, there are other forms of co-operative combinations
in agriculture, such as auction mart and produce
societies, insurance societies, slaughterhouses, fruit and
market garden produce societies, etc.; all these are
progressing satisfactorily.


The question of the federation of affiliated societies
for joint trading purposes was under consideration
until the year 1912, when the Farmers' Central Trading
Board came into existence as a result. The Report of
1914 showed that the Board, which acted as the central
agency of the agricultural co-operative movement,
although it did good work, was not representative of
the whole movement, as it was supported by only a
comparatively small number of agricultural societies.
The policy then adopted by the Board of creating
sections in different parts of the country with the object
of ascertaining the local requirements of societies, has
greatly accelerated its rate of expansion. The year
1918 brought with it a new development; it was
decided that a strong Agricultural Wholesale Society
should be formed and that the existing Board should
be its basis. This has been realised, and now the
A. W. S. stands as the trading federation of the
movement. Its business has been departmentalised in
such a way as to enable it to supply every kind of
agricultural requirement to the affiliated societies. The
A. W. S. is yet too young to act as a central selling

agency for the disposal of the societies' produce. Its
prospects of further development depend entirely on
the societies; if they loyally and stoutly support their
federation, it will be able to buy and sell for them
everything that is best bought and sold on wholesale


Up to 1910, the sixth year of its work, the Scottish
Agricultural Organisation Society had been entirely
dependent upon private support. But in that year the
Commissioners of the Development Fund, recognising the
society as the body best fitted to promote co-operation
in agriculture, decided to make a grant for its purposes.
The society, therefore, while still retaining its voluntary
character, had the advantage of being a body recognised
by the State. Its work has been progressing satisfactorily,
as the following figures show; in spite of
great difficulties, the position of the existing societies
has been consolidated and new societies formed.
Year Number of Societies Number of Members Turnover
19101 61 4,695 £200,828
19182 165 8,297 810,778
1 S. A. O. S. Annual Report for the year 1910, page 86.
2 Ibid., 1918, page 84.


A beginning was made in this branch of co-operation
by the formation of one society in 1914. Since then
no other societies have been formed. In the same year
the S. A. O. S. applied to the Development Commisioners
for a loan of £5,000 for the promotion of co-operative
Credit, in the belief that with the help of
such a loan, advantage might be taken of the services
of the Joint Stock Banks to bring about a considerable
extension of co-operative credit. The application has
not been complied with, and in the absence of some such
help, progress has been slow. No further record of
activity in this line has been reported. In fact, although
the name of Kilmallie Co-operative Credit Society,
Invernessshire, is on the list of societies affiliated to the
S. A. O. S., it does not appear at all on the summary
of statistics for the year 1918, showing that the society
exists only in name. The reasons for the failure of
this form of co-operative association in Scotland are
similar to those we mentioned in connection with the
same movement in England.


These societies are carrying on satisfactorily their
good work of procuring for their members substantial
advantages by collective purchase of the materials, and
collective sale of the products of agriculture. They
continue to exercise an influence on the prices paid and
obtained even by outsiders. In spite of war difficulties,
they have given substantial help to the farmer in
procuring necessary supplies.
Lately it has been found that by combining together,
societies could buy for a wider district with great
advantage. This development has conduced to the
success of the local societies concerned, and will, it is
hoped, lead to an increase in their number.


By these societies, producers of milk have been
enabled to obtain higher returns without correspondingly
increasing the cost to the consumer. The system of
milk depôts supplies the distributors in quantities suited
to varying requirements, and at the same time provides
for the profitable utilisation of surplus milk. These
societies show highly satisfactory results, in attaining
which their work has been aided by the use of motor
transport. An important development took place in
1910 in the formation of a federation of such affiliated
dairy societies as desired to enter the combination and
were approved by the joint committee of milk depôts.
The object of the Federation of the Co-operative Milk
Depôts, as it is called, is to facilitate joint action on the
part of local societies and without unnecessary interference
with their proceedings, regulate their trade,
guard against injurious competition, and promote such
common action as may be generally advantageous.
Recently the S. A. O. S. has appointed a Special
Dairy Committee to consider the question of the
buildings and equipment necessary for the various
forms of co-operative dairying, so as to be able to submit
to affiliated societies plans, estimates and specifications
for building and equipment.


These continue to make good progress. They cooperate
with the Highland and agricultural societies in
improving poultry breeding as well as in improving
marketing organisation with excellent results. In 1910,
a development similar to that mentioned above in
connection with the formation of a federation of dairy
societies was set on foot. The project issued in the
formation of the Scottish Farm and Poultry Produce
Federation, which acts as a selling agency for the local

societies and furthers their trade interests generally.
Like the Dairy Federation it is designed to develop
united action on the part of local societies and secure
their common interests.
Although the number of these societies is small, co-operative
trading in poultry produce is considerable.
In addition to the five poultry societies existing in 1918,
there are thirty-one societies classified under the name
of “Societies for ‘Supply of Requirements and Sale of
Produce,” which trade in poultry produce to the value
of over £50,000 a year between them.


Gratifying reports have been received from these
societies, which, under a scheme approved by the Board
of Agriculture, hire stud animals and place them at the
service of members. Great benefit has thus been conferred
on small farmers where a good class of stud
animals is not available, with the result that where such
societies exist, a marked improvement of farm live stock
has been noticeable. Some of the societies also undertake
the business of purchasing farm requirements.
The report of 1918 shows that these societies continue
to be most successful.


In the review of agricultural co-operation in Ireland,
I devoted a section to women's place in rural economy.
The part played in that country by the “United Irishwomen”
is played in Great Britain by the “Women's
Institutes,” which are unions of rural women, “whose
work is for the betterment of homes and communities,
whose ideal is to raise the standard of living in the
country and to stimulate agricultural development
through the creation of a better social order, as well
as by engaging directly in agricultural industries.”

Although the aims and work of these institutions in
England and Scotland are similar, the central organisations
for their promotion in the two countries are
different. In England they work under the auspices
of the Agricultural Organisation Society, which gives
information as to how institutes are formed, furnishes
speakers, supplies model rules and helpful literature,
assists in securing expert demonstrators and lecturers,
and generally gives the movement every encouragement.1
In Scotland they work in conjunction with the Scottish
Board of Agriculture.2 But both in England and
Scotland the institutes are free to manage their own
affairs, control their own funds, and undertake whatever
work seems to the members best suited to their locality.
The affiliation of the institutes to a central body is
essential. Apart from the benefits they receive from
it, and to which we referred above, the existence of a
common centre keeps all institutes in touch with one
another, and it arranges conferences where subjects of
importance to the whole movement may be discussed,
and unity of purpose be encouraged. But whether the
institutes will form in time their own independent
central body as other women's organisations have done,
or not, remains to be seen.
1 Pamphlet on Women's Institutes, by A. O. S. England.
2 Pamphlet on Scottish Women's Rural Institutes, by Board of Agriculture for Scotland.
The organisation of these institutes is very simple,
and the rules are so elastic as to meet the requirements
of any district, and to give the utmost scope for
individual development. Each institute has its own
committee and officers, who are responsible for drawing
up its programme, arranging for its meetings, which are
held at fixed intervals, and seeing to its business and
welfare in general. A small membership fee is paid by
each member in order to cover the cost of postage and
other incidental expenses. The institutes are constantly
in touch with the central body, which holds an annual
conference to which delegates from the affiliated institutes
are sent to survey the work of the past year, and
to draw up a programme for the coming one. This
offers a chance for representatives of all the institutes
to meet and discuss such subjects as concern their
common interests.
As regards the history of these institutes, they
originated in Canada, where they were first formed, in
Ontario, in the year 1897. From that province the
movement spread to many parts of the country owing
to the good name the institutes made for themselves
by bettering the life of the countryside. Subsequently
the various provincial governments and public institutions
became aware of the economic and educational
value of the institutes. They formed central organisations,
and helped to advance the movement in every
1 Handbook for Women's Institutes, published by direction of the Minister of Agriculture, Canada.
From Canada the movement spread to America
through the United States and to Europe through

Belgium. The Government of the latter country some
years ago sent a Commission to Canada to enquire into
the working of women's institutes. On their return the
Commission recommended their formation in Belgium,
under the general title, “Les Cercles des Fermières.”
Since their establishment in Belgium, they have accomplished
good work, and have taken an important place
in village life.1
1 Le Role Social de la Fermière, by Paul de Vuyst, Director General of Agriculture, Belgium.

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In a previous chapter I gave a general account of
the rise and development of this form of co-operation
in these countries. I add another chapter on the subject
to show the present place of the movement in industry
and the progress it is making. In order to do this
without going into all the details, which would occupy
a big volume by themselves, I will contrast the movement
as it now stands with what it was ten years ago,
and explain the progress it has made during that time,
confining my remarks to its main activities. Its
progress may be divided under three headings:
  • A.—Improvement in Organisation.
  • B. — Social Work: 1. Educational Activities;
    2. Women's Guilds; 3. Relationship with Employees.
  • C.—Industrial Aims: 1. Scope of Wholesale; 2. Relation
    with Agriculture; 3. Entry into Politics.
Before I go further, I may give a few figures that
will indicate broadly the general progress of the co-operative
stores movement.
Year Number of Societies Membership Share and Loan Capital Sales Profit or Surplus
19081 1,428 2,404,595 £34,595,373 £69,783,278 £10,773,005
19182 1,3643 3,846,5214 £61,394,708 £155,161,963 £16,495,645
1 Co-operative Union Congress Report for 1909, pages 595-597.
2 Ibid., 1919, pages 742-743.
3 The decrease in the number of Societies is due to amalgamation.
4 This figure represents the number of actual members, but when one considers that each member represents a family, and taking the average family in these countries as consisting of four members, one realises how great is the number of co-operators, amounting to fifteen millions out of a population of forty-five millions, that is, one-third of the people.


Since its start the movement has been expanding
and improving gradually in all directions, but in an
unsystematic and somewhat casual way. It was not
until 1914 that it turned over a new leaf by devising
a new policy of organisation. In that year, the
Congress which was held at Dublin passed the following
“That this Congress, recognising the importance of
efficiency and economy in its administrative work, and
having a strong conviction that the progress of the
movement might be greatly accelerated, calls for a
general survey of the whole field of co-operative activities
from its three main features, viz., Education,
Production, and Distribution; and, having due regard
to their relative value, assign to each one its special
sphere of action, and thereby give to the movement
generally that solidarity and flexibility so obviously
lacking at present, and therefore instructs the Central
Board to appoint a Special Committee to consider and
report in terms of this resolution.”
In accordance with these instructions, the Central
Board of the Co-operative Union appointed the General
Co-operative Survey Committee. This committee, which
is composed of eighteen members, not only represents
the talent and ability of the movement, but also represents
the various co-operative organisations within it,
such as the Wholesale Societies, the Productive
Federation, and the Women's Guilds. The committee
is divided into three sub-committees, each
appointed to investigate a special aspect of the
movement and report upon it. To enter into the
bye-paths of the four “Interim Reports” submitted
between the years 1916 and 1919 inclusive, would be
beyond the scope of this volume. For my purpose
here, it will suffice to sketch briefly the lines on which
the recommendations, which are now being adopted
and carried out, were made.

The Administration Sub-Committee

This deals with the constitution of the organising
and trading bodies in the movement. It sets forth
the defects in their organisation, which check progress
or retard growth, and suggests remedies. Realising
that the extension of co-operative employment is
desirable as a means of securing a greater co-operative
control over industry, this sub-committee emphasises
the importance of a lead from the movement in regard
to labour conditions.

The Trade Sub-Committee

Considers closely the two aspects of trade, that is,
distribution and production. It investigates the
policies of the individual societies and the need for
more concerted action between them in order to prevent
overlapping; it discusses credit trading, etc It points
out the fundamental importance of the loyalty of the
members in all efforts to extend co-operative activities.
It directs attention to the undue importance attached
to dividend earning, and shows how this interferes
with the extension of co-operation to the poor.
On the side of production, the position and possibilities
of wholesale societies are studied. Problems
like collective use of profits, control over raw material,
relationship with co-operative agricultural organisations,
lack of co-ordination between the co-operative wholesale
societies and the productive associations, etc., all these
come under review by this sub-committee.

The Education Sub-Committee

Defines and classifies clearly the principles on which
co-operation is based, and examines how far and to
what extent the dissemination of these principles is
being carried out by the individual societies, through
the various organisations within the movement, and
above all by the Co-operative Union itself. It does
not confine itself to questions of education, theoretical

and practical; it extends its inquiries and suggestions
to the publication of co-operative literature, books, and
periodicals, to propaganda work for advancing the cause
of co-operation, by holding indoor and outdoor meetings,
by the provision of the necessary appliances, such as
cinematograph films, by the preparation of a suitable
selection of songs, and by arranging exhibitions and



The work done by the co-operative movement in this
sphere follows three lines: (i) work undertaken by local
societies; (ii) work undertaken by the Co-operative
Union; (iii) work undertaken by organisations acting
in association with the Union, such as the Co-operative
Students' Fellowship, the National Co-operative Men's
Guild, the Women's Co-operative Guilds, the Educational
Associations, the Co-operative Secretaries' Association,
and the National Co-operative Managers' Association.
  • (i) The efforts of local societies through their education
    committees do not seem to influence sufficiently the
    movement as a whole. The work accomplished is
    generally more of a municipal than co-operative
    character, and the feeling is that the results, as far as
    co-operation is concerned, do not justify the expenses
    incurred by these societies.
  • (ii) The work carried on by the Central Education
    Committee of the Co-operative Union is of considerable
    value. They hold that the objects of co-operative
    education should be:
“Primarily the formation of co-operative character
and opinion, by teaching the history, theory and principles
of the movement, with economics, and industrial
and constitutional history in so far as they have a
bearing on co-operation; and, secondarily, though not

necessarily of less import, the training of men and
women to take part in industrial and social reforms
and civic life generally.”
This committee has been described as “the keeper of
the educational conscience of the movement.” Realising
their great responsibility, its members strive to discharge
their important duties in the spirit of that
description. An important step in connection with the
development of education in the movement was the
appointment in 1915 of Professor F. Hall as adviser of
studies to the Co-operative Union.
The activities of the Central Education Committee
are varied. It holds classes of a technical nature in
book-keeping, management, the training of secretaries
and auditors, etc. It gives various courses of lectures
on the economics of co-operation and allied subjects,
as well as on general economics, citizenship and political
organisation, and it conducts correspondence classes in
these. It holds training classes for teachers, so that
societies may have the services of trained and approved
teachers. It arranges examinations for its students and
grants certificates on the results. It organises summer
schools and gives advice to local education committees.
It stimulates informal education by encouraging the
formation of Young People's Circles, and performs a
similar service by co-operating with other associations
having similar aims, and by arranging an annual Easter
Conference of teachers. It co-operates with other
working-class organisations, such as Ruskin College,
Oxford, the Working-Men's College, London, and the
Workers' Educational Association, in promoting working-class
education generally. It awards scholarships and
prizes, and encourages research work in co-operative
subjects. It issues pamphlets and publishes text-books
and a quarterly magazine entitled The Co-operative
. The number of students entered in classes
held under the supervision of the Central Education
Committee will give an idea as to the extent of the

educational work it undertakes: in 19081 the number
was 12,822 students; in 19182 the number was 20,495
1 Co-operative Union Congress Report for 1916, page 343.
2 Ibid., 1919, page 292.
“Co-operators had,” he said, “their own special
problems, but they found that they could not solve
them without facilities that they did not find in any
institution in the country. They must provide these
facilities themselves. I do not feel that any institution
now in existence could give that stimulus to co-operative
development that a Co-operative College would be able
to give. Co-operators also needed a more intimate
knowledge of co-operative history and a wider knowledge
of co-operation, not only in this country, but abroad,
than they had to-day. They required a deeper knowledge
of industrial history than they had been able to
have in the past, and they must have the college as a
medium for the dissemination of right ideas about
industrial history. Hitherto they had been dependent
for their text-books on people who believed in competition
as the law of progress. They required their
special institution, because they needed to have their
subjects taught in a special way in order to bring out
both sides of a question where only one side is usually
taught at present. In regard to economics and citizenship,
they found themselves entirely unprovided for by
existing institutions. In economics they found emphasis
laid on the utility of competition. Then it was devoted
to a study of wealth. As co-operators, they said there
was something wider and bigger than material wealth

and that they should ask for something bigger and
better. But how were they going to put their view of
economics unless they had a college for teaching—a
centre for writing the kind of books they wished?”
The Congress, after passing the following resolution:
“This Congress, realising the value and necessity of
education on co-operative lines as a means of fostering
co-operation in all its aspects and assisting the establishment
of a co-operative commonwealth, approves the
work of the Central Education Committee and the
proposed development of its activities, including the
establishment of a Co-operative College; and is of the
opinion that the committee should be provided with
the necessary staff and financial assistance to develop
its work on the lines indicated in the report to
Congress,” voted the raising of £50,000 for the erection
of a Co-operative College as a memorial to co-operators
who have fallen in the Great War.
(iii) As for the third form of educational activity, the
efforts of the organisations coming under it vary. For
instance, the Educational Associations, “whose objects
are to bring together committees of societies under-taking
educational work, for the purpose of joint action
and linking up the local societies with the Central
Educational Authority of the movement,” taken as a
whole (and there are seven of them in seven sections
in England and Scotland), have not realised the expectations
formed of them, while the Women's Guilds
undertake a considerable amount and variety of educational
work with satisfactory results.
Viewing the whole field of operations, it seems that
although the educational work has been developed, the
societies do not yet realise sufficiently the value of a
widely diffused knowledge c the possibilities that lie
within the co-operative movement, nor do they see
clearly the importance of a systematic education which
would equip both leaders and employees to play their
part efficiently in the developments that must come
as the movement expands. To remedy these defects

the Central Education Committee has been active since
1917 in influencing the movement to adhere to the
higher ethics of co-operation. Now that the Co-operative
College has been founded great hopes are entertained
that through that institution the movement will be
kept on the right path to the Co-operative Commonwealth.


Of the three guilds in these islands, guilds established
on the same lines and with the same spirit, I will only
deal with the older, larger and more active English
Guild. Its work may be taken as an example of what
these organisations can and do accomplish.
“The work of the Guild,” as its president declared,
“while primarily concerned with co-operation, has a
further side to it, which deals with questions of industrial
and social reform affecting its members as married
From this we may form a notion of the wide variety
of subjects taken up by the Guild. The progress which
it has made in the last ten years bids fair to lead to
greater activity and more far-reaching influence in the
future. Of course, its work has been hampered by
various difficulties, especially during the four years of
the Great War. But when we consider that during
those dark days and darker nights, while its halls were
occupied by the military, and ever-increasing demands
were made on women for all sorts of emergency work,
the Guild continued to pursue energetically its proper
task, we must render it the homage of our admiration.
In face of all the difficulties mentioned the Guild
increased its activities and added to its branches and
Minimum Wage.
This subject was discussed at the 1908 Co-operative
Union Congress, when resolutions were passed recommending
the establishment in the co-operative movement
of a recognised minimum wage for the remuneration of
all co-operative employees. The minimum wage scale
for men was settled in association with the Amalgamated
Union of Co-operative Employees, and a similar recognition
of the claims of women has been secured by the
joint efforts of the A. U. C. E. and the Women's Guilds.
In subsequent years both these bodies were active in
insuring that all societies adopted the scale in practice.
The report of 1915 showed that they succeeded in doing
so, and thus the campaign generally was brought to a
successful issue.
Anti-Credit Campaign.
Realising the evils of credit trading from both the
economic and moral points of view, the Co-operative
Union Congress from time to time condemned that
system, but it was not until the year 1905 that it took
active steps by appointing an Anti-Credit Committee
composed jointly of the Central Board and the Women's
Co-operative Guild to deal with the question. Various
methods of reform which we need not go into now,
were suggested at different times. In all its investigations,
the committee attempted through conferences
held and literature distributed to dispel the idea that
the thriftless habit of credit trading is a necessity for
weekly wage earners. They at the same time tried to
persuade workmen that cash payment is the best method
of trading. Although the committee has been repaid

for its valuable work by attaining a certain amount of
success in reducing the evils of credit trading, a good
deal has yet to be accomplished in that direction.
School Clinics and Child Labour and Education.
Having satisfied itself of the unsatisfactory provisions
for the medical treatment of school children, the Guild
passed a resolution in support of school clinics, and in
conjunction with other organisations roused public
opinion in favour of adequate schemes. The Guild
held meetings and sent resolutions to educational
authorities to press for the establishment of school
clinics under the control of the Educational authority.
Favourable results followed their action.
As regards Child Labour and Education, the Guild at
its Annual Congress of 1909, after some discussion,
passed a resolution in favour of abolishing the “half
time” system. In 1913 it recommended that hours of
work for young persons should be shortened and that
attendance at continuation classes held during the day
time should be made compulsory between the ages of
fourteen and eighteen. A memorandum on this subject
was sent to all Members of Parliament on the Standing
Committee considering the Children's Employment and
Education Bill. The new Education Act recognises the
principle for which the Guild has contended.
Co-operative Production and the Extension of Co-operation
to the Poor.
The Guild has played a prominent part in promoting
co-operative production; to secure its extension and,
consequently to enable co-operators to control the
sources of supply, its members have organised “Push
the Sales,” “Save in your Stores,” and other campaigns
with good effect.
As for the extension of co-operation to the poor, the
Guild has co-operated in the efforts made by the Co-operative
Union to induce societies to reduce or abolish

their entrance fees, and the result has been an increase
of membership. The evidence showed that even a
small entrance fee is a barrier to the poorer classes.
Co-operation and Trade Unionism.
The Women's Guild worked jointly with the Amalgamated
Union of Co-operative Employees in endeavouring
to bring the advantages of Trade Unionism before
women employees, with the result that the number of
women in the A. U. C. E. has increased. The desire
for a close alliance between co-operators and trade
unionists was endorsed by the Guild in 1913 when it
passed a resolution in favour of co-operative societies
employing trade unionists only. Since then the joint
committee of the Guild and the A. U. C. E. have
continued to meet, and take common action.
This joining of forces proved a menace to capitalism.
In 1919, a joint trade union and co-operative campaign
against capitalist domination began. The Guild took
its place in the fighting line against capitalism, the
real foe to humanity. It announced its policy by
unanimously passing the following resolution at one of
its conferences:
“This Conference calls attention to the alarming
extent to which during the war capitalism has
strengthened its position by creating powerful combines,
largely increasing its financial reserves, and securing
greater influence over the Government both in legislation
and administration. It, therefore, urges that
the co-operative movement should take immediate steps
to combat this menace by a great extension of
co-operation to cover every shopping area throughout
the country, and that a joint campaign with Trade
Unionists should be organised to secure the capital and
custom of all workers' organisations.”
The National Care of Maternity and Child Welfare.
The inclusion of “Maternity Benefit” in the
Insurance Act of 1910 was largely due to the efforts

of the Women's Guild, which placed before the Government
the needs of married women, both in maternity
and other sickness. The unfair exclusion of married
women who were not wage-earners from all sickness,
medical, disablement and sanatorium benefits was
protested against by the Guild, with the result that
women's interests were reconsidered much to their
advantage. The Guild was also represented on a
deputation to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in
support of the inclusion of domestic servants under the
Act. This too was secured.
When the war broke out in 1914 the Guild increased
its activity, and by co-operating with other women's
organisations did excellent work. Their immediate
object was to urge the Public Health Authority to
provide Maternity Centres, and to press the War Relief
Committees to give special assistance, such as providing
foods and milk, paying for skilled advice in cases of
confinement, where necessary, and organising schemes
for “home helps” for expectant and nursing mothers.
Considerable progress has been made in providing for
maternity needs through the activity of the Guild and
its branches. Not only have they induced local
authorities to extend their work, but they have also
been the means of forming maternity committees under
the auspices of public health authorities, with working-women's
organisations represented on them.
The Guild pressed for the inclusion of certain useful
provisions in the new Maternity and Child Welfare Bill
which came into force in 1918, and it has strongly
supported the formation of a Ministry of Health with a
special Maternity Department largely staffed by women.
The work done is immense, great not only because of
its immediate results, but because it proves the value
of a close touch between an organisation representing
women and the Government Department concerned.
Political Action.
In 1908, the Co-operative Union Congress passed a

resolution in favour of extending the suffrage to women.
Guild members supported the cause by taking part
in processions and meetings organised by suffrage
societies. Many branches of the Guild affiliated themselves
to the People's Suffrage Federation. The year
1917-18 was a fortunate one for the Guild, first because
of the decision of the co-operative movement to seek
direct parliamentary representation, and secondly because
at the same time the enfranchisement of women
was realised. Since then the Guild has been stimulating
its members to active work in bringing the newly
enfranchised women into the Co-operative Party. At
its Annual Congress in 1918 it passed the following
“That this Congress hails the enfranchisement of
women with enthusiasm, and calls on all co-operative
women to join the Co-operative Political Party, which
stands for the control of industry by the people for the
people, and for the abolition of profit-making and
profiteering; and, in order to secure the return at the
next General Election of a People's Government, pledged
to place life before wealth and the common good before
vested interests, this Congress urges local co-operative
parties to join hands with Labour forces and stand aside
from any party whose programme does not include
the replacement of capitalism by the democratic control
of industry, and which does not publicly state the
sources from which its funds are derived.”
To secure these objects the Guild has been active in
the training of its members through classes, meetings,
literature and conferences. The desirability of enlisting
the active help of Women's Guilds was recognised by
the Co-operative Union, on whose Central Parliamentary
Representation Committee the Guild is now represented
by its president. A large number of Guild members
are on the local Parliamentary Representation Councils.
In the General Election of 1918 Guild members of
committees or councils worked effectively on behalf of
co-operative candidates or Labour candidates who

supported co-operation. Similar work was done by
the Guild branches in connection with the county and
urban district council elections in 1919. In these local
elections, the Co-operative and Labour Parties worked
together in many places, and a considerable number of
Guildswomen were amongst the candidates.
Moreover, the Guild has taken action on several
political questions. It strongly opposed the introduction
of military training in schools, and energetically
protested against some regulations of the Defence of
the Realm Act. It supported Prison Reform and the
nine points of the Temperance Council of Christian
Standing Joint Committee of Industrial Women's
The bodies represented on this committee include the
Women's Trade Union League, National Federation of
Women Workers, Women's Co-operative Guild, and
other Labour organisations containing a substantial
number of women workers. The committee is now
accepted by Government Departments and the public
as the official representative of industrial women's
views on national questions. It is represented on the
Consumers' Council, Ministry of Food; Old Age Pensions
Commission; Housing Advisory Committee, Local
Government Board; Child Welfare Council; Women's
Advisory Council, Ministry of Reconstruction.
Furthermore, the committee has obtained the representation
of working women on various local committees
which are concerned with the welfare of womanhood.
The committee has also been active in putting forward
women's views on subjects of vital interest, national
and international, such as the inclusion of women
amongst labour representatives, the work of the International
Labour Bureau of the League of Nations, and
International Co-operation.
Representation of Guildswomen on Public Bodies.

In the co-operative movement, the number of women
represented in 1918 on the different boards, associations
and committees exceeded six hundred. On the various
public committees it was nearly one thousand. These
include representatives on city and urban district
councils, education committees, poor law guardians'
committees, food control committees, insurance committees,
agricultural wages boards, trade councils
committees, venereal diseases committees, housing
committees, pensions committees, municipal maternity
committees. Labour advisory committees, and others.1


The Joint Committee of Trade Unionists and Co-operators
was formed in 1908 for the purpose of
arbitrating upon disputes arising between co-operative
societies and their trade unionist employees. Complaints
were to be submitted to the arbitration of that committee
before a strike or a lock-out took place. Two
years later, the Amalgamated Union of Co-operative
Employees, being dissatisfied with the committee, sought
to set up machinery in which they would be equally
represented with their co-operative employers. That
led to the establishment of the National and District
Conciliation Boards. The Congress in 1915 passed the
following resolution:
“That this Congress, believing in the principles of
conciliation and arbitration in industrial disputes,
requests the United Board of the Co-operative Union
to arrange for the establishment of a board to be composed
of an equal number of representatives from
societies' committees on the one hand, and co-operative
employees on the other, to whom any dispute relating
to hours, wages, or conditions of labour within the
movement may be referred. Also that, in the event of
failure to arrive at an agreement by this means, provision
be made for the question or questions in dispute
to be submitted to some person or persons to be
mutually accepted by the parties to the dispute, whose
decisions shall be binding on all concerned.”
In 1916 the Congress approved of the establishment
of the District Hours and Wages Boards, consisting of
representatives appointed by societies in the several
districts concerned. The objects of the Board are, by
conciliatory means, to exercise influence in averting
stoppages, preventing disputes, and settling any difference
arising in a society as to the rates, regulations,
customs, and conditions of employment prevailing.
These boards have been effective in dealing with the
many phases of labour unrest that have arisen in the
movement. They often obviate the necessity of
remitting questions to the Conciliation Boards.
Appreciating the importance of amicable relations
between employers and employees within the movement,
the Co-operative Union founded its Labour Department
in 1918 and appointed to it a Labour Adviser. The
services of the latter have been instrumental in preventing
a withdrawal of labour after strike notices had
been handed in.
All this testifies to the growing recognition of the
common responsibility of co-operators and their organised
employees for the welfare of the movement.

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IRELAND (continued)



The following statistics speak for themselves as to
the progress and magnitude of wholesale co-operation:
Year Membership of Societies Share and Loan Capital Wholesale Trade % of Retail Trade Rate of Production Net Profit
19081 1,139 £4,328,109 £24,902,842 45.2 £5,749,046 £448,128
19182 1,200 £11,896,941 £65,167,960 53.2 £17,729,568 £106,5383
19081 275 £2,760,068 £7,531,126 51.1 £2,270,103 £283,297
19182 2614 £4,546,296 £19,519,485 59.8 £5,942,528 £547,993
Since the establishment of its first flour mill, the
society has been encouraged to add more and more
till now it stands as the largest firm of flour-millers in

the kingdom. Similar extensive success was achieved
jointly with the S. C. W. S. in the tea gardens of Ceylon.
At present the two societies between them control over
one-sixth of the tea trade in the United Kingdom.
Since the purchase of its first estate, the society has
embarked on large farming schemes, and now owns
over 45,000 acres of land in England, in addition to
other estates in different countries and extensive tracts
of corn-growing land in Canada. Later developments
include its purchase of a colliery and at present it is
contemplating the purchase of a home-fishing fleet.
As for factories, there is a long list of them, including
textile and clothing mills, metal industries, boots and
shoes, soap works, printing and bookbinding, cabinet
works, biscuits, tobacco, brushes, tannery, motor works,
jam factories, cattle feeding cake factories, etc.
At the commercial centres, of which Manchester is
the chief, there are wholesale departments for the sale
of all articles required by the retail societies. These,
on market day especially, are crowded with agents of the
various societies coming to see things and give their orders.
As to the S. C. W. S., a visit to the imposing structure
forming its headquarters, and to its striking and
extensive group of factories and workshops in Glasgow,
shows that the Scottish Wholesale has developed on
similar lines, except that it has not undertaken the
business of banking, which was established by its
English sister society early in its history.
Before ending, a word may be said concerning the
growing tendency on the part of some retail societies
to produce certain goods, such as bread, confectionery,
boots and shoes, in their own productive departments,
and thus compete with the wholesale societies.
Year Productive Department of Retail Societies Productive Department of Wholesale Societies
19081 £11,085,095 £8,464,021
19181 £25,062,446 £25,220,294


As there was no working system through which the
agricultural co-operative movement could be brought
into close trading relation with the industrial movement,
the Co-operative Union Congress in 1910 passed a
resolution which gave an opportunity to representatives
from both sides to meet and discuss the possibilities of
coming to an arrangement. Joint conferences were
held, but nothing came out of them. In 1913, the
question was urged, that as cases of overlapping between
agricultural co-operative societies and the Co-operative
Wholesale Society had been reported, it was desirable
to come to an agreement so as to prevent friction
between the two movements, or rather the two aspects
of the movement, and maintain harmonious relations.
Two courses were open to the contending interests:
first, that the agricultural produce should be marketed
through one large agricultural wholesale society; and
second, that the C. W. S. should buy from farmers
direct. The latter proposal was dismissed as unacceptable
on the ground that it was not in accordance with
the spirit of co-operation. As for the former proposal,

various difficulties stood in the way of its adoption.
On the one hand, it was stated that farmers organised
by the Agricultural Organisation Society did not keep
their contracts, and that if they would only sell at
market price, and keep their promise in letting the
C. W. S. have the produce, the latter society would
deal with them. On the other hand, the Agricultural
Organisation Society complained of the attitude of the
C W. S. in altering their policy and dealing direct with
the farmer. As a matter of fact, there was a good deal
of laxity and mistrust on both sides which prevented
them from coming to an understanding.
As a way out of the difficulty, it was suggested that
the C. W. S. should establish an Agricultural Department,
which would enable the transactions between
the two sides to be conducted on business lines. Several
efforts failed to induce the C. W. S. to form an Agricultural
Department, and so the agricultural co-operative
movement found it imperative to create the Farmers'
Central Trading Board as its wholesale trading society.
Two years later, that is, in 1915, the C. W. S. opened
an Agricultural Department. Of course, that led to
strained relations. The agricultural societies claimed
that they should have been consulted before such steps
were taken. However, that did not deter the C. W. S.,
which offered several reasons to justify their attitude.
These were not accepted by the agriculturists, who
considered that it was not merely a matter of trading
that was involved, but a matter of the fundamental
principles of co-operation. Joint conferences were held
between the C. W. S.’s Agricultural Department and
the Farmers' Central Trading Board, but to no effect.
Eventually the C. W. S. reported to the Conference
that there was no necessity for the existence of the
Farmers' Central Trading Board, and recommended its
absorption by the C. W. S. as a way of removing all
difficulties. The C. W. S. afterwards withdrew from
the Joint Conference. The agriculturists regretted the

uncompromising attitude of the C. W. S., and decide
to continue their activities. In 1918, the name of the
above-mentioned Board was changed to that of the
Co-operative Agricultural Wholesale Society, and its
work was extended. Now we have the two sides, each
progressing on its own lines without the least regard
for the other, and that is how agricultural distribution
is organised at present in the co-operative movement.
It is carried on by antagonistic bodies, consumers' and
producers' associations, with opposing conceptions of
life, and a consequent conflict of interests.
Agriculture as organised by Consumers' Societies.
These societies aim at supplying their members with
produce from the land at cost of production. They
entered the field of agriculture for that purpose, which
is, needless to say, detrimental to the interests of the
farmer as producer. In districts where there is a
demand for whole milk, retail societies started dairy
farming to meet the requirements of their members.
For the same purpose, other societies commenced fruit
farming, and vegetable gardening. More enterprising
societies own estates for growing corn and raising stock.
All these societies organise agriculture co-operatively
for the benefit of the consumer.
Agriculture as organised by Producers' Societies.
Like agricultural societies, dairy societies, societies for
small holders and allotment associations, these societies
organise agriculture primarily in the interest of the
farmer as producer. Though they are, in the main,
producers' associations, they are to a certain extent
consumers' societies also. As a matter of fact, several
of them started as consumers' societies with the idea
of enabling farmers to purchase their farming requirements,
such as artificial fertilisers, feeding stuffs, etc.,
at wholesale prices. They are now supplying their
members with more than farming requirements, they

are supplying them with almost all their requirements.
These societies sell the produce of the farmer and buy
his requirements to his advantage. They study the
interest of the farmer as the store movement does that
of the consumer.
From the above resumé of the functions of consumers'
and producers' societies in agriculture, it appears that
there is a direct conflict of interests between the two
forms of co-operative associations. Each is progressing
on its own way, and so far no plan has been found to
establish trading relations between them. The older,
richer, and better equipped institution of consumers is
looking forward to the time when it will absorb its
sister institution. It asserts that all the community is
one body of consumers, that those producers who now
manufacture for profit are also consumers, and if
co-operative principles are to be adhered to, profit
has to be eliminated. At present, where agricultural
co-operation is in the ascendant, producers' societies
prosper; while in industrial districts, the consumer's
interest is considered first, consumers' societies occupy
the ground.


In dealing with the subject of Parliamentary Representation
Sir William Maxwell, the President of the
International Co-operative Alliance, at the 1913 Congress,
advocated that the co-operative movement should ally itself
politically with other organisations making for the social
betterment of the people. The question evoked much
animated discussion in that and the following two
years; but in 1915 Congress definitely decided against
joint action with any political party. In 1917, however,
the Joint Parliamentary Committee put forward
the following resolution, which was accepted by Congress:
“That, in the opinion of this Congress, the time
has now arrived for the Co-operative Movement to
take the necessary steps to secure direct representation
in Parliament.”
A definite political policy was then adopted, a Parliamentary
Representation Committee formed, and the
machinery set in motion. Friendly relations were
maintained with organisations other than co-operative
having similar aims, so as to avoid clashing or overlapping.
In the General Election of December 1918, out of
ten co-operative candidates nominated, one secured a
seat in the Kettering Division of Northamptonshire.
The entry of the movement into the political arena
was not by any means hastily decided on. Even before
1913 the matter had aroused keen interest. It was
felt that the co-operative movement would never receive
the recognition that was its due until co-operators were
represented in Parliament and on local government
When the war came and behind it a train of upheavals
of existing organisations, the movement was stirred to
its depths. In the first year of the war, the cost of
living rose to an alarming extent, and while the people
were suffering from high prices, a few were making
fortunes through profiteering. Conscious of all this,
the organisation representing the industrial classes of
the country pressed the Government to take active
steps to protect the interests of consumers. The co-operators
strongly advised the Government to avail
itself of the resources of the co-operative movement.
The Government, having vested interests strongly represented
on its various departments, could not see its way
to take the advice. On the contrary, it issued restrictions
and regulations that hampered the good work
administered by the co-operators in their endeavour to
lighten the burden of the working classes. All this
weighed on the minds of co-operators and stimulated
them to activity in seeking representation in Parliament,
where they could make themselves heard on
behalf of the poor consumer. Although the success
attained in the 1918 election was not great, still it was

a beginning, and a foothold was gained. The result
of even that small success was remarkable. The
Government was brought to its senses, and realising
what forces were behind the co-operators, appointed
many of their able and trusted leaders to help it out
of the difficulties of food supply and control in which
it had involved itself. Directors and officials from the
movement carried into Government Committees and
Control Boards the co-operative ideas of business organisation,
and applied them in the interest of the general
public. The success attained by the Food Ministry
has been largely due to the assistance of co-operators.
To put it in Mr. Clyne's, the Food Controller's own
words: “In this work, the help of co-operative
societies has been of the greatest national value.”
Thus, early in their political career co-operators justified
their claim for recognition as a force to be reckoned
with in the building up of a sound and just social order.
In 1919, the co-operative movement decided on
forming its own political party under the name of the
“Co-operative Party.” Under the constitution of this
party, the initial choice of Parliamentary candidates is
in the hands of the local co-operative associations.
This democratic form of selection helps to maintain
interest in local organisation, and strengthens the feeling
of confidence in the party.
Co-operators have been active in securing representation
on urban district councils with still greater success.
It has been the practice since days of old that people
combine together if they have to attack a common
enemy. We were reminded of this in 1918, when the
two orthodox capitalist political parties in England, the
Conservatives and the Liberals, united and formed the
Coalition Party. Another unity, but with a nobler
aim, is now being formed between the Co-operative
Party, the Trade Unions, and the Labour Party, with
a view to a closer federation for electoral purposes,
and with the ultimate object of forming a united people's

or democratic party. In that direction lie great possibilities.
“If a triple alliance of the labour, trade union
and co-operative movements can be formed, each preserving
its own identity to some extent, and yet working
together in the common cause, it might easily revolutionise
the whole realm of politics. Leaders of the trade
union and labour movements realise these great possibilities,
and have shown an earnest desire to arrive at
some form of agreement. The old capitalist parties,
too, have realised that if the workers are united in a
common cause, then the day of capitalist domination
in politics is rapidly passing away. To the bringing
about of this great achievement of one united people's
or democratic party, all lovers of freedom must devote
their energies, and if unity can be accomplished it will
mean the dawn of a better day for the toilers.”


In my survey of industrial co-operation in Chapter X,
I gave a short account of profit-sharing and co-partnership.
I propose now to show how this movement
has fared in the last few years, and to examine
its present position.
When we come to analyse the causes that led to the
abandonment of the various schemes, we find that we
must account for it differently in different cases. Most
frequently the cause is to be sought outside the system
rather than in defects inherent in it. Among the causes
there are three outstanding:
  • (a) Altered Circumstances.—Whether due to change
    of management, conversion of the business into a limited
    liability company or a co-operative society, or municipalisation
    of the undertaking.
  • (b) Financial Reasons.—In a large number of cases
    the abandonment was due to financial difficulties, and
    the consequent inability of the firm to earn sufficient
    profits to make profit-sharing a success. The difficulties
    might arise from the general state of trade, increased
    taxation, government control, increased wages or war
    bonuses, or other similar strain upon weak resources.
  • (c) Dissatisfaction with the Scheme.—In several cases
    the abandonment was attributed to the dissatisfaction
    of the employers, or of the employees. Sometimes the
    employers complained of the apathy of the employees
    under the scheme; sometimes profit-sharing was
    abandoned in favour of bonuses, as more acceptable to
    employers and employees.
All this is depressing to the ardent advocates of
profit-sharing and co-partnership as applied to large-scale
manufacture. In another place, I explained the
limitations to the general adoption of this system in
the field of industry. It has, no doubt, a useful part
to play, but only within a limited sphere, beyond which
it meets with failure. Although it is applied to many
industries, such as textiles, boots and shoes, metal
trades, building, woodwork, printing, and various others,
it is only a small minority of firms that have adopted
it. The gas industry is the only one in which the system
has been adopted on anything approaching a national
scale. This industry is regarded as peculiarly well-suited
to a co-partnership system, largely owing to its

substantial and almost assured profits. Whatever be
the industry to which it is applied, it should not be
regarded merely as a wage increasing device. It is
something more than that; it is a means of developing
a sense of community of interest between employer and
employed, by giving the former an insight into the
workpeople's problems, and the latter an insight into
the employer's problems.
On the position of the existing societies, and their
pecuniary results, as tested by the amount of dividend
paid on wages, the following figures will throw some
light. These statistics, which are the only ones available,
refer exclusively to the societies which are members of
the Co-operative Productive Federation.
Year Number of Societies Capital Trade Profit Dividend on Wages
19061 108 £1,816,273 £3,684,925 £182,125 £22,255
19181 62 £1,737,598 £4,599,561 £336,347 £49,490
1 Co-operators' Year Book, 1920, page 31.
1 Co-operators' Year Book, 1920, page 31.

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In my survey of the co-operative movement in these
countries, I noticed the two distinct forms in which it
manifested itself, namely, co-operation of consumers
and co-operation of producers. In the one case, association
was for the purpose of acquiring on the most
favourable terms the goods required by the co-operative
consumer; in the other, for the purpose of making
and marketing the goods produced by the co-operative
producer for his benefit. Each of the two systems
flourished in its own way, until the time came when
the consumers began to encroach upon the sphere of
the producers, both in town and in country, to such
an extent that they threatened the very life of the
sister organisations. Tims conflict began, and the rival
schools disputed over the theory of control of production.
At the present time, there are three forms of production
within the co-operative movement: (1) Production
as developed within distributive co-operation;
(2) production as undertaken by agricultural societies;
(3) production as practised by co-partnership societies.
The first form comes into existence when a distributive
society, whether retail or wholesale, undertakes the
production of some or all the goods it distributes. In
this case, as far as production is concerned, there is no
difference between the society and an ordinary proprietor's
concern. In both, labour is employed under
very much the same conditions.
The second form appears in different stages from
bacon-curing for local consumption to poultry and egg
selling in distant places. But the nearest approach to
co-operative production in the countryside is practised

in creameries, where the farmers, though individually
they produce the milk, combine to make butter collectively.
As for the labour employed on the land or
in the creameries, it does not fare any better than in
the previous form of production.
The third form takes us nearer to co-operative production,
and in the highly developed co-partnership
societies we see something like real co-operative production
where employees have their share in the profits
as well as in the control of the society.
There is thus a split in the co-operative camp over
the question of production. The social ideal
for all co-operators is the co-operative commonwealth.
This cannot be attained until the breach between the
different schools of co-operation is healed, and harmony
reigns between them. Co-operators have the same
object in view, that is, to ensure to the masses the
control of the economic conditions under which they
live; but they approach this object from different
sides, and represent interests which have not yet been
reconciled. This, however, is no reason why co-operators,
whatever aspect of co-operation they represent,
should not have a common meeting ground. That
meeting ground might be found if the whole co-operative
movement were under one central control, and had
only one trading federation. The interests of both
consumers and producers would then be considered,
and an understanding would be reached which would
reflect itself in the solidarity of the whole movement.
Not until then can we feel sure that the co-operative
movement will form a sound basis for the organisation
of industry, and replace the present crumbling
capitalism. If things go on drifting as they are, co-operators
will be defeating their own ends and offering
their enemies a favourable opportunity for attack.
We must admit that attempts have been made to bring
about harmony between the two sides, but none of
them came to anything. They were merely mechanical

devices bearing the name of co-operation cleverly
designed by one side or the other to undermine the
forces of the opponent. They were absolutely lacking
in the true co-operative spirit; that was the secret of
their failure. It would serve no purpose to mention
some of them, and so I leave them to the obscurity
they deserve.
I believe that the time is not yet ripe for such an
understanding as should exist between consumers
and producers; we are as far from it now, as
the Owenites and the Christian Socialists were
from the co-operative movement as we understand it.
A good deal of educative work has yet to be done, and
a good many failures are yet to be expected. Rejecting
unsound foundations, we shall no doubt eventually
reach the solid rock we are searching for and build our
co-operative commonwealth thereon. The continuous
education of both consumers and producers, with the
view of showing them that their interests and objects
are the same, can alone save the co-operative movement
from the disintegration which threatens it. But let
me press again the point that, whatever attempts be
made, they must be made with the sincerity, good will
and big heart that characterised the movement at its
beginning, and which was the secret of its success. In
the last few years consumers' co-operation has in its
development invaded the field of productive co-operation,
both manufacturing and agricultural, to an extent
which may well alarm the rival organisations. This
movement has been condemned on economic and ethical
grounds by scholars and reformers, among whom are
great economists like Marshall, and master minds like
A. E. It is certainly unco-operative, and when one
considers that consumers' co-operation itself is not the
last word in economics, one feels inclined to ask why
it will not give a chance to other institutions to solve
questions which are beyond its own powers. I have
no quarrel with consumers' co-operation; on the contrary,

I have great respect for it, but I cannot give it
more than its due credit. Apparently, its aim is to
rally under the standard of its democracy of consumers
all the armies of industry. Its leaders are persistently
trying to dislodge the remaining capitalist middlemen
from their position on the field of industry. Its advocates
and disciples are eager to obtain all goods at the
very source, make them, finish them, and serve them,
executing all the processes of industry by its own agents.
The ownership and control are entirely in the hands of
its members, whose energies are all directed and rightly
directed to abolishing such vices of capitalism as the
cutting down of wages, adulteration, plotting to defeat
rivals, cornering the market, and speculations, at the
same time saving the expenses of extensive advertising
and the extravagant payments to captains of industry.
The last aim is to be realised by a policy which brings
more nearly to equality the remuneration of the brain
worker and the manual worker.
As for the “profits,” these are distributed among the
whole community of consumers irrespective of their
financial position in the concern. These “profits” are
created by charging such prices as cover the necessary
working expenses, provide for depreciation and reserve,
and leave a modest “dividend” to be returned to the
members in proportion to their purchases. Through
the action of this democracy of consumers, prices were
kept down, and the wage-earning class protected from
exploitation by the credit system. At the same time,
each member is getting sound goods at the market
price, he is adding to his personal wealth as well as to
his administrative experience. He is thus elevating his
standard of life to that of a worthy citizen who takes
part in the social, financial and educational affairs of
the community in which he lives. All this is accomplished
by the joint efforts of both men and women,
who are admitted to membership in the movement on
exactly equal terms; and full play is given to the

inherent powers of all members for the betterment of
society. I have purposely made this resumé of the
work of the co-operative associations of consumers to
bring out the great value of their institutions, and to
show how easily one might be led, by the fine record
they have gained for themselves, to the conclusion that
if there was nothing to bar the way, all would soon be
well with the world, and we should find ourselves, after
a decade or so, in Utopia.
But on analysing the situation more closely, imperfections
are detected, drawbacks revealed, and limitations
to the general application of the system present
themselves, with the result that the hasty conclusion
is quickly modified. This does not by any means
detract from the credit which is deservedly due to this
movement, which has proved itself highly advantageous
to a large section of the population. But one cannot
allow oneself to be so entirely carried away by enthusiasm
as to believe that by itself it offers the only
alternative to the capitalist system. There would be
room for doubt even if both consumers' and producers'
co-operation were brought to work together in harmony
as every co-operator wishes them to do. This, however,
remains to be done. Reconciliation between consumers
and producers has first to be achieved; they seem now
as apart from each other as ever. Let us consider why
consumers' co-operation cannot give all that its ardent
votaries expect from it. Its defects may be enumerated
under two headings, temporary and permanent.


1.—Value and Abuse of the “Dividend.”—It is not
so much the policy of dividends that is open to criticism
as that of high prices. The latter tend to exclude the
poorest class from becoming members. It is true that
high dividends following high prices facilitate thrift and
make savings available in a form the housewife appreciates,

but at the same time there are people to whom
this policy does not appeal, and these form the very
class which has most need of help from co-operation.
Moreover, the selfish attitude of some societies as
regards the disposition of the common surplus out of
which the dividend is paid is open to criticism. Instead
of retaining part of it for common use, members are
disposed to persist that the whole of the surplus shall
be distributed among them. A portion of the surplus is,
no doubt, applied in promoting education, in arranging
social meetings, providing convalescent homes for
members, etc.; but much more might be accomplished
in these directions.
2. Overlapping of Rival Societies.—Societies sometimes
spring up within short distances from one another.
This leads to competition, and its attendant evils.
Although this disease of overlapping is partially remedied
by the amalgamation of competing societies and by
the bigger societies multiplying their branches, yet the
movement seems to fail in overcoming the difficulty
where the differences are of a sectarian nature. It is
not by any means easy to solve this problem of overlapping.
Human failings, laxity on the part of the
societies in carrying out the Congress recommendations,
uncertainty as to the relative advantages of large and
small societies, and many other difficulties, account for
the slow progress under this head.
3. Corruption and Favouritism.—We cannot absolutely
deny that there have been cases of bribery of officials
by agents of capitalist manufacturers seeking orders;
at the same time, it must be admitted that this evil is
being dealt with more effectively than in the capitalist
system. As for the second defect, it is true that the
co-operative society is not free from the vice of
favouritism. It is not unknown that preference in
appointments is given to members, or sons and relatives
of members, at the expense of efficiency in the business.
The evil is not, however, as rampant among co-operators

as in the capitalist system. What is alleged against
co-operation in these two respects cannot be taken as
4. Evil of Purchasing on Credit.—In spite of a general
adherence to the rule of cash-payment, there are
occasions when societies allow credit. Whatever the
reason, whether sufficient or not, the fact remains that
this form of co-operative association has not yet completely
cured its members of this bad habit. In spite
of all the efforts made to eliminate credit trading in
distributive societies, much has still to be accomplished
in that direction, as the following table shows:
Year Number of Members Total Credit Average per Member
19081 2,404,595 £1,056,819 £0.44
19182 3,846,531 £1,380,234 £0.36
1 Co-operative Union Congress Report for 1909, page 596.
2 Ibid., 1919, page 742.<