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Thread: Irish Republican Brotherhood Constitution, 1867

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    Politics.ie Member diy01's Avatar
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    Default Constitution of the Irish Republican Brotherhood , 1867

    In his book Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion Charles Townshend claims that the IRB's Constitution in 1867 was revised so that military action could only be carried out with popular support.

    Does anyone know more about this and does anyone here know if it's possible to view the 1867 constitution online?
    Last edited by diy01; 30th December 2008 at 03:48 AM.

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    Politics.ie Member merle haggard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diy01 View Post
    In his book Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion Charles Townshend claims that the IRB's Constitution in 1867 was revised so that military action could only be carried out with popular support.

    Does anyone know more about this and does anyone here know if it's possible to view the 1867 constitution online?




    I suppose its entirely possible and might additionally explain why Pearse McDermott and co opted for a seperate secret military council as opposed to using the supreme council structure in order to plan and launch the insurgency

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    Politics.ie Member diy01's Avatar
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    By "popular support", could he be referring to the majority of the IRB Supreme Council rather than the population at large?

    I posed the original question on a...shall we say "anti-agreement" republican forum. Unsurprisingly, no one replied. Supposedly the first proclamation of the Irish Republic occurred in 1867.

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    Politics.ie Member merle haggard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diy01 View Post
    By "popular support", could he be referring to the majority of the IRB Supreme Council rather than the population at large?

    I posed the original question on a...shall we say "anti-agreement" republican forum. Unsurprisingly, no one replied. Supposedly the first proclamation of the Irish Republic occurred in 1867.
    itd be a bit foolish to regard majority assent from a secret military command structure of a handful of people as popular support . I suspect it was an ill conceived knee jerk of an amendment to a constitution which happens from time to time in times of crisis.

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    Politics.ie Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diy01 View Post
    In his book Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion Charles Townshend claims that the IRB's Constitution in 1867 was revised so that military action could only be carried out with popular support.

    Does anyone know more about this and does anyone here know if it's possible to view the 1867 constitution online?
    After the complete and total failure of the 1867 rebellion, the IRB did insert it into that constitution that they could only carry out a rebellion with popular support. The 1867 rebellion was a complete disaster and naturally they wanted to avoid something like that happening again.

    I don't know how the IRB were going to know that a rebellion had popular support, but the leaders of the IRB spent about the next 40 years sitting in pubs drinking waiting for the people of Ireland to call upon them to lead an Irish rebellion.

    The 1916 rebellion was against their constitution and it was used partly be certain people in the IRB such as Bulmer Hobson to argue against the Rising.

    Finally I doubt you could get it online. There’s a book written by Owen McGee called the IRB and it might be in there or at least a detailed described of the whole thing.
    "Give us the future, we've had enough of YOUR past, Give us back our country, to live in, to grow in and to love..."

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    Politics.ie Member statsman's Avatar
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    On a related note, this is the text of the 1867 Fenian/IRB proclamation of a republic. A far superior document in every respect to the 1916 one:

    We have suffered centuries of outrage, enforced poverty, and bitter misery. Our rights and liberties have been trampled on by an alien aristocracy, who treating us as foes, usurped our lands, and drew away from our unfortunate country all material riches. The real owners of the soil were removed to make room for cattle, and driven across the ocean to seek the means of living, and the political rights denied to them at home, while our men of thought and action were condemned to loss of life and liberty. But we never lost the memory and hope of a national existence. We appealed in vain to the reason and sense of justice of the dominant powers. Our mildest remonstrance’s were met with sneers and contempt. Our appeals to arms were always unsuccessful.

    Today, having no honourable alternative left, we again appeal to force as our last resource. We accept the conditions of appeal, manfully deeming it better to die in the struggle for freedom than to continue an existence of utter serfdom.
    All men are born with equal rights, and in associating to protect one another and share public burdens, justice demands that such associations should rest upon a basis which maintains equality instead of destroying it.

    We therefore declare that, unable longer to endure the curse of Monarchical Government, we aim at founding a Republic based on universal suffrage, which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of their labour.

    The soil of Ireland, at present in the possession of an oligarchy, belongs to us, the Irish people, and to us it must be restored. We declare, also, in favour of absolute liberty of conscience, and complete separation of Church and State.

    We appeal to the Highest Tribunal for evidence of the justness of our cause. History bears testimony to the integrity of our sufferings, and we declare, in the face of our brethren, that we intend no war against the people of England – our war is against the aristocratic locusts, whether English or Irish, who have eaten the verdure of our fields – against the aristocratic leeches who drain alike our fields and theirs.

    Republicans of the entire world, our cause is your cause. Our enemy is your enemy. Let your hearts be with us. As for you, workmen of England, it is not only your hearts we wish, but your arms. Remember the starvation and degradation brought to your firesides by the oppression of labour. Remember the past, look well to the future, and avenge yourselves by giving liberty to your children in the coming struggle for human liberty.

    Herewith we proclaim the Irish Republic.

    The Provisional Government
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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    Moderator Cato's Avatar
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    That was one fine piece of thread necromancy there, stats. It must have been buried somewhere very dry.
    “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty, than those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson (yeah, I'm aware of the irony)

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    Politics.ie Member statsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cato View Post
    That was one fine piece of thread necromancy there, stats. It must have been buried somewhere very dry.
    It's amazing what reading a newspaper can do.
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by statsman View Post
    It's amazing what reading a newspaper can do.
    Where did you find it?

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    According to Fr Shaw, the wording was :

    The I.R.B. shall await the decision of the Irish nation, as expressed by a majority of the Irish people, as to the fit hour of inaugurating a war against England.

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