The republican proclamation of Easter Monday, 1916 : a paper read before the Bibliographical Society of Ireland, 25th March, 1935

The republican proclamation of Easter Monday, 1916 : a paper read before the Bibliographical Society of Ireland, 25th March, 1935

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The republican proclamation of Easter Monday, 1916 : a paper read before the Bibliographical Society of Ireland, 25th March, 1935
Bouch, Joseph J.
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Ireland -- History -- Easter Rising, 1916 ( lcsh )

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University Of South Florida
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University Of South Florida
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022941034 ( ALEPH )
35659206 ( OCLC )
I15-00019 ( USFLDC DOI )
i15.19 ( USFLDC Handle )

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Irish Studies

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The Bibliographical Society of Ireland J70L. /7. No. 3 THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION of Easter Monday, 1916 BY JOS. J. BOUCH A Paper read bejore the Bibliographical Society of Ireland, 251h March, 1935. DUBLIN AT THE SIGN OF THE THREE CANDLES


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THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF EASTER MONDAY, 1916 POLITICAL EVENTS prior to 24th April, 1916, do not concern us at the moment, except in so far as they have a direct bearing on the manner in which the document, popular-ly nnown as the Proclamation of Easter Week was written, edited, printed, and published. The Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army, Irish Repub lican Brotherhood, Hibernian Rifles, Cumann na mBan, the Fianna and others who contemplated taking up arms against the British Government had to make their final arrangements with the greatest secrecy. Amongst such plans was the one to arrange for the timely printing of the great Proclamation of Independence. The actual literary composition of the document appears to have been the work of Patrick Pearse; but it also shows, in parts, the trace of change and amendment by James Connolly and perhaps by Thomas MacDonagh. The manuscript which was shown to the three printers by Connolly and MacDonagh is described by the two compositors as having been written in a very clear bold script. Such description would answer to Pearse's or Ceannt's handwriting, but certainly not to either Connelly's or MacDonagh's. Furthermore, Liam O'Brien, one of the compositors, was more than intimate with Connelly's writing, and he definitely states that it was not Connelly's handwriting; but, depending on his memory after nineteen years it impressed him as being similar to Pearse's beautiful upright script. I have examined Eamonn Ceannt's writing and it could best be described as a beautifully clear bold upright hand following the best traditions of the old Civil Service script. There were no changes or corrections in the MS. It was James Connolly who made the arrangements whereby the three men who printed the document were summoned to attend him at Liberty Hall at 9 o'clock on


44 THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF I 9 I 6 Sunday morning, 23rd April. Their names were Michael Molloy, Liam O'Brien, Compositors, and Christopher Brady, Printer, who looked after the printing machine. They were instructed to read the MSS. separately, and immediately afterwards they proceeded to work. These men had previously been employed on the work of printing The Workers' Republic, which was printed by the Irish Workers Co-operative Society at Liberty Hall, Beresford Place. Liberty Hall was at this time the Headquarters of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. From the time that these men entered they were under the armed protection of soldiers of the Irish Citizen Army under the command of William Partridge, a well-known organiser of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. The machine used for the work was a Wharfdale Double-Crown of a very old pattern, and a somewhat dilapidated specimen to boot. The rollers, cylinder and blanket arrangement were far from satisfactory, with the result that efforts to improve the actual results were obtained by the aid of outside agencies, to wit, a few bricks! Mr. Brady, who worked the machine throughout, described his task as one of great difficulty. He found it hard to ink his type evenly and the rollers refused to maintain an even pressure, with the result that nearly all the copies show much smudging in parts and faint printing in other parts. Again, the line spacers were eternally forcing their way up -whence they were repeatedly beaten down again. Traces of these spaces are frequently seen. The principal fount of type used was supplied by an Englishman named William Henry West from Capel Street, a most estimable man and a great rebel at heart. This type used in the body of the work, is one frequently used in large announcements and other sheets, such as Auction bills, posters, etc. It is a double line Great Primer and a type infrequently used in job printing, except for such work as I describe. In the beginning an attempt was made to set up the whole of the Proclamation, but the fount of type to be used


THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF 1916 45 in the body of the document, proved to be hopelessly incomplete for the work in hand. It was agreed to divide the work of composing, and each man selected a number of sections or paragraphs, which he proceeded to set up by himself, using his own two cases (caps and lower case). It will thus be seen that two pairs of cases were supplied by West--one set for each man. The work, having advanced a considerable distance it became evident that neither man could possibly carry out his portion of the division--owing to lack of type. Thus it became im perative to throw the resources of the whole four cases (two caps and two lower case) into the one job and print the document in two sections. Even at that, in order to expedite the work the two compositors worked hand in hand-supplying each other's wants as required. They therefore set the upper portion of the document down to, and including the words !"among the nations." This was printed off on the full-sized paper to the extent of the order, viz., 2,500 copies, after which the forme was broken up and the type distributed into their cases. The comps immediately proceeded to set up the lower portion from, and including the words The Irish Republic," which was duly printed off on the sheets already half finished. It is interesting to know that although the general impression left on the mind of the machineman was to the effect that this second forme holding the lower portion of the Proclamation was already effectually broken up, such was not the case, as I shall now proceed to show. When the British soldiers entered Liberty Hall, on Thursday, 27th April, 1916, after the shelling from the Helga, they dis covered the old Wharfdale machine still intact, and the lower half of the Proclamation still locked in the chase. In fact, they then proceeded to run off copies of this in complete sheet and shortly afterwards they distributed or sold many copies to their admirers and other sightseers. I have seen one of these sheets which was given the owner by one of the soldiers, and he [the owner J informed me that the document was obtained by him in the manner I


46 THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF I 9 I 6 have described. Confirmation of this account has been given me from three independent sources, including Mr. Westropp. These small or half sheets were printed on two differently coloured papers. When the work of printing the 2,500 copies was com pleted, the order of James Connolly to hand over all the work to Miss Helena Moloney for distribution was carried out. The number of the order may, at first, be considered more than generous, but it must be borne in mind that the inte.ntion was to supply the country as well as the city with copies. I learn from Molloy, one of the men concerned in the work, that the paper used was all of uniform texture ; in fact, arrangement was entered into by Connolly and the Saggart Mills, for the purchase of a cheap line of paper which the Mills had in stock. This was in the nature of a bargain, and it was similar paper to that usually used in the printing of the Workers' Republic. On examination I find it is a very poor quality paper as far as texture is concerned, and in colour might best be described as a white paper with a slight greyish tinge through it. THE DOCUMENT AND ITS TYPOGRAPHY The first duty I had to perform, was to identify the edition which was printed in Liberty Hall on Easter Sunday night, and recognise its typographical peculiarities, in comparison with other copies, editions and reputed facsimiles. The original edition, then, is first of all printed on poor paper. The printing generally is smudged, showing, of course, the hurry which the printer was in to get the work carried through without undue loss of time. Then again, some of this type was definitely dirty-there were no proper facilities for washing or cleaning the type. With such an old and dilapidated machine it is not to be wondered at, that it failed to work satisfactorily-and it


THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF I 9 I 6 4 7 appears to have failed to print evenly inked copies with clear results. Most of the copies show a distinct lightening of pressure in the centre of the sheet, starting at the bottom and running through the centre to the bottom of the top half. One copy I have seen was printed so lightly in the manner I describe as to be almost illegible in parts. The measurement of the paper is 20 by 30 inches, known as double crown, and from the edge of the type face to the opposite edge measures 18-l inches, while the height of the printed surface varies from 28! to 29! inches. Herein lies one of the most important differences between the original edition and the reprints. Now, I told you in the beginning, that the printing was done in two sections, and it is frequently noted that the space dividing the two sections is seldom the same in any two copies examined. Ordinarily this should not beand I can only suggest that the paper was not always square or that the gauge had to be occasionally shifted. This space I have measured in seven copies. In three it was i inch ; in one i inch and in another 5 /16 inch. In two copies the measurements varied perceptably: from i to i inch in one case, and from to i in the other. The heading POBLACHT NA H-EIREANN was printed in a plain wooden type, all in full caps, whilst the next line also in wooden letters-shows an attempt to break mono tony by introducing an ornamental lettering with bent arms and seraphed. The O's in this type include two ornamental wrong-or maybe these two are correct, and all the four plain O's are wrong fount. The next line of importance is the IRISH REPUBLIC in full plain "Caps" in which the Shoe of the R in Irish Republic has become broken. Then follows To the people of Ireland" also in that ornamental style, and here we notice a very important item of interest. We already know that the fount was very incomplete and the two compositors ran short of the letter e in this type-with the result that a letter F was slipped in whilst one of the men "obtained" some sealing wax in order to convert the F into E. If you examine the letter E in TO THE


48 THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF I 9 I 6 you will see an F with a faked sealing wax arm, which converts it into a very tolerable E. Mr. Brady, who obtained the aforesaid sealing wax informs me that his memory on this particular point is clear. On the 11th line of the 2-line great primer your attention is drawn to a wrong fount t in the word "extinguished." This letter t has been corrected in one copy I have recently inspected. Your attention is also directed to the fact that for the first time the regular lower case e is supplanted by another wrong fount e known to printers as the Abbey Text. This occurs firstly in the word "asserted," and altogether it is used on twenty-three occasions in the first section of the document. Please note on line I 4, "it" in wrong Old English or Abbey Text. By counting the e's in the first portion, I find that there were 131 correct and 23 wrong fount e's used in the first section, and only 109 correct ones and no wrong fount in the lower section. So obviously the demand of l 54 letter e proved too much for the resources of the borrowed fount. Further on, I notice an inverted a in the words "the protection." The word protection looks as if it were spelt protection : this is not so, the c is another example of dirty type and is so smudged as to appear like an e. The names of the signatories are all appended at the bottom of the sheet, and I would draw your attention to the fact, that, in all eight genuine copies which I have been privileged to inspect, the names are all spelt correctly. Furthermore, they are arranged so that the first name to appear is Thomas J. Clarke, whilst underneath in two sloping columns appear the names of Sean MacDiarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, P.H. Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly. Joseph Plunkett. NoTE.-All names end in comma's except the names of Connolly and Plunkett which end in full stops. I would also draw your attention to the m in Eamonn Ceannt's name-at first glance it looks like a converted n but really it turns out to be another sample of dirty type.


THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF 1916 49 There are a few further points in connection with the Proclamation which should not escape attention. The spacing matter between the large type Irish Republic and To the People of Ireland frequently caught the ink and showed a line of varying lengths-these marks are absent in editions II and III. Other lines catch the ink in a few places-lines 16-17. I would warn my listeners at this point, not to look for all these minute typographical peculiarities in reduced facsimiles, or other photographs. We all know that photographers frequently have to dress their subject to help them get a satisfactory result, and this appears to have been done in all the reduced facsimiles and photos which I have examined. The title of this paper is deliberately selected-I am to speak on a Proclamation which was printed on Easter Sunday l 9 l 6, I therefore refrain from minute descriptions of other sheets purporting to be either originals, copies, later editions or facsimiles ; but I would mention that I have seen, and in some cases carefully examined these sheets. In the main they differ from the original on the grounds of: l. Size of paper, which should measure 30 x 20 inches. 2. Quality and colour of paper. 3. Style of typography including wrong founts and spaces. 4. Measurements of forme or type face, otherwise known as length of line-29 x l 8! inches. 5. Difference in spelling-notably in the names of the signatories. 6. Other typographical inexactitudes; and should there be any doubt in anyone's mind as to the genuineness of a copy which they know of, or possess, I can only refer them to the various points I have made use of-for no copy can be described as genuine unless it carries all these points. I have the full permission of the owners of all the sheets I examined to quote the facts as I discovered them.


50 THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF I 9 I 6 HISTORY OF THE RE-PRINTING AND RE-POSTING OF THE IRISH REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION AT EASTER, I 9 I 7 During the period between the general release of the prisoners at Christmas, I 916, and Easter, I 9 I 7, political activities in Dublin and the country were sternly dis couraged, and ruthlessly smothered by the British Govern ment and the British Military and Police authorities. A plan to resuscitate the spirit of rebellion, and once more fan the flames of patriotism and intense nationalism, was suggested and acted upon by a small group of women attached to the Irish Citizen Army. Their plan was to print and post up once more the printed Proclamation upon all the public buildings and vantage points in the City of Dublin and to fly the tri-colour flags from all the buildings in Dublin associated with the investment of rebel troops during Easter Week. Now, at the moment we are only interested with these activities so far as the re-printing and re-posting the document is concerned, and therefore I confine myself to the actual facts regarding its publication. Mr. Walker (senior) and his son Mr. Frank Walker, employees of Mr. Joseph Stanley, a well-known Dublin printer, were the actual printers of this rare publication, and the order was given, by one of these women, for a re-is sue which should bear more than a close resemblance to the original. Here again these two men had to work through the whole of Good Friday and part of Saturday, in the workshop at 30 Upper Liffey Street, to fulfil their promise to carry out the order in time to allow of its distribution and posting. Such type as had remained in the workshop at the rere of the Co-op." in Liberty Hall was collected, and it is of undoubted interest to relate that the same old fount was here again used for the second occasion. Naturally, all the type sent out by West of Capel Street in the first instance could not be collected, but as much as possible was gathered and handed over to the printers. As results turned out they succeeded very well.


THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF 1916 5 I The re-issue-(! cannot call it a facsimile )-is, at first glance a very creditable imitation of the original. The form is slightly smaller and the paper used is of a different texture and colour to the 191 6 one. There are further typographical differences including the spelling of the names of one of the signatories-EANONN CEANNT. The inverted e is corrected. There were about 1 ,ooo sheets of this issue printed. The poster was pasted up on many of the ruins and other buildings in the principal streets concerned in the Rebellion. I may here mention that the paper measured 30! x 20! inches, and the forme or type face measures 27! x I?i inches. I would describe this sheet as a bibliographical rarity-for although I have already noted eight originals I have only come across one I 9 I 7 re-issue. It is on exhibition through the courtesy of Mr. James Dunne and Mr. Wm. Figgis. One more edition I have seen through the courtesy of its owner, Mr. Thomas Kelly, T.D., a copy of a Proclamation which is word for word the same as No. I. The resem blance to No. I begins and ends here. Its format, size and style of type, quality of paper, punctuation, spelling and typography all differ. In fact without further examination we can say that it is a separately published document. I know that it was not printed in Liberty Hall on Easter Sunday, 19I6-I also know that it was not subsequently printed on Easter Sunday, I 917, by Joseph Stanley's men, so it must have a separate history and existence. Printed with a clean, clear type on a special tough vellum-treated paper it represents an interest peculiar only to itself. Mr. Kelly is unable to throw any light on its history or pro venance. It contains two glaring errors at the bottom : Sean MacDearmada and Thomas MacDomagh. At a much later period I think on the occasion of a contested election in Dublin, 191 8, another reproduction appeared; but this time a notice was printed at the bottom of the document which read as follows: 3. The Republic still lives."


Ill 3 2102 04010851 2 5'l THE REPUBLICAN PROCLAMATION OF I 9 I 6 Then there have been many photographs, reduced fac similes, printed in some of the booklets and pamphlets describing the incidents of Easter Week. There was also a sheet issued (when I don't know) which purported to have been issued in a smaller size during Easter Week, but I have no confirmation; in fact I haven't even got any evidence that such was the case, consequently I pass this statement without further comment. Numerous samples of re-prints have come before me, including one printed in Limerick showing a picture of the signatories seated on three sides of a square table-evidently a work of imagination. Another re-prints the document in the centre surrounded by seven vignette portraits of the signatories. I have endeavoured to keep to fact in the narrative of all the details in connection with the history of the Easter Week Proclamation and if, as a result of this paper, any further light is thrown upon the screen, in connection with its interesting history, I feel that any trouble taken to collect these facts shall not have been in vain. In conclusion, I beg to express my indebtedness to each of the three printers responsible for the printing of the document, for all the information gleaned from them. Much help has also been given by my colleagues of the National Library, and Mr. Westropp of the National Museum, who facilitated me in many ways. Best thanks are due to Miss Helena Moloney, Mrs. Eamonn Ceannt, the Minister for Local Government, Mr. Joseph Stanley, Mr. William O'Brien and Mr. Colm 0 Lochlainn.


POBLACHT NA H EREANN. TIE PBOVISIOl4L GOVllNMllT OF THE IRISH REPUBLIC TD TIE PIOPLB ar IBILAID. IRISHMBN AND IRISHWOMEN : In the name of God and of the dead generations trom which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summona her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom. Ha'fing organised and trained her manhood tbroagh her secret revoluiionary orpnisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood. and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline. having resolutely waited for the right moment to reve2l itself. she now seii:es that moment. and, supported by her exiled children in merica and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own s\rength, she l&rikes in run confidence of victory. We declare the right of the people of Irelaftd to the ownership of Ireland. and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long lllirpation of that right by a foreign people and govemmant has not ex?ngui.shed tho right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national fretldom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in 1i'le f a ce of the world, we hereby proclaim tbe Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State. and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom. of its welfare. and of its exaltation among tbe nations. The Irish Republic is entitled to. and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and (rishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty. equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the dift'erences carefully fostered by an alien government. which have divided a minority from the majority in the past. Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Govemment. representative of the whole people of Ireland and eleeted by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby eonstituted, will administer the civil and i:nilitary affairs of the Republie in trust for the people. We plaee the. cause of the Irish nepuhlic under tha protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms. and we pray that no-one who serves that eause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhtrmanity. or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness or its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, pr.ova itself worthyof the august to which it is called. Signed on Behalf of lhe Provi s ional G o \'crnrn cnt, THOMAS J. CLARKE. SEAN Mu DIARMADA.. THOMAS MacDONAGH. P. H. PEARSE. EAllONN CEANNT, JAMES CONNOLLY. JOSEPH PLUNKETT. THE ORIGINAL PROCLAMATION OF 1916 Reproduced from the copy presented to University College Dublin, by Colm 0 Lochlainn


THE IRISH BOOK LOVER The only Irish Journal devoted to Irish Books, Books of Irish Interest, and Books by Irish Authors, modem and ancient. Published once in every two months. Founded in 1909 by Dr. J. S. Crone, M.R.l.A. Now in its Twenty,fourth Volume. The Annual Subscription is 6s. or $1.50; but all members of the Bibliographical Society of Ireland whose subscriptions arc paid, receive THE IRISH BooK LOVER in ,,, addition to all direct publications of the Society. Readers arc asked to send to the Editor the names of friends likely to be interested, and to whom specimen copies may be sent. Contributions, Reviews, Notes, Queries, Replies and Suggestions arc always welcome. Correspondence to THE EDITOR, at THE SIGN OF THE THREE CANDLES, Fleet Street, Dublin.


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