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22 May 1859, Edinburgh M.D., Kt, D.L., LL.D., Sportsman, Writer, Poet, Politician, Justicer, Spiritualist Crowborough, 7 July 1930

Sir Conan Doyle A Home Ruler

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Sir Conan Doyle A Home Ruler is a letter written by Arthur Conan Doyle published in The Times and the Belfast Evening Telegraph on 22 september 1911.



Editions


Sir Conan Doyle A Home Ruler (The Times)

The Times (22 september 1911)

THE EXAMPLE OF SOUTH AFRICA.

Sir Conan Doyle has sent the following letter to the Editor of the Belfast Evening Telegraph:—

Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex, Sept. 18.

Sir, — You were good enough to ask me to send a message on the question of the Union. As the matter has been much in my thoughts I take the opportunity to do so, though I fear the message may not be as you expect. It is true that I have twice contested Parliamentary seats as a Unionist, but on each occasion I very carefully defined my own position as regards Home Rule. That position, which I made stronger in 1905 than I did in 1900, was that Home Rule could only come with time, that it would only be safe with an altered economic condition and a gentler temper among the people, and, above all, after the local representative institutions already given had been adequately tested.

It seems to me that these condition have now been fairly well complied with. The land system is on a simpler basis, there is better feeling among representative Nationalists (I admit, of course, the existence still of those fanatics who have stood in the way of their own desires for so many years), and finally the local institutions seem to me to have worked as well in Catholic as in Protestant Ireland. So far as being law-abiding citizens goes, England, which is just recovering from a period of absolute anarchy, is not in a position to criticise Ireland, which remained perfectly quiet during the same time. There are other more general considerations which have, as it seems to me, profoundly altered the whole Irish question. One is the apparently complete success of Home Rule in South Africa. This has had a great influence upon my mind, for the animosities in Ireland are tepid compared to the boiling racial passion which existed only ten years ago in Africa. A second is our assurance that Ireland can never break away from the Union since South Africa showed that every State of the British Empire would unite against any disruption. There are many other considerations which weigh with me, but these are the chief ones.

I think that a solid loyal Ireland is the one thing which the Empire needs to make it imprenable, and I believe that the men of the North will have a patriotism so broad and enlightened that they will understand this and will sacrifice for the moment their racial and religious feelings in the conviction that by so doing they are truly serving the Empire, and that under any form of Home Rule their character and energy will give them a large share in the government of the nation. They may rest assured that any attempt at religious persecution or financial spoliation would be made impossible (if any one contemplated such a thing) by the burst of indignation which it would produce.

There may be an element of risk in Home Rule, but we ran the risk in Canada, and we ran the risk in Africa ; so surely we need not fear after two successes to try it once again. I believe that after an experience of a united friendly Ireland nothing would induce the North to go back to the old conditions.

If you care to publish my view I shall be glad. In any case, I shall do so myself, as I owe it to the electors whom I may have influenced of old to let them know how I stand in the matter.

Yours faithfully,

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE.


Conan Doyle and Home Rule (Belfast Telegraph)

Belfast Evening Telegraph
(22 september 1911, p. 5)

Change Views.

How I Stand in the Matter.

Sir, — It is true that I have twice contested Parliamentary seats as a Unionist, but on each occasion I very carefully defined my own position as regards Home Rule. That position, which I made stronger in 1905 than I did in 1900, was that Home Rule could only come with time, that it would only be safe with an altered economic condition and a gentler temper among the people, and above all after the local representative institutions already given had been adequately tested.

It seems to me that these conditions have now been fairly well complied with. The land system is in a simpler basis, there is better feeling among representative Nationalists (I admit, of course, the existence still of those fanatics who have stood in the way of their own desires for so many years) and, finally, the local institutions seem to me to have worked as well in Catholic as in Protestant Ireland. So far as being law-abiding citizens goes, England, which is just recovering from a period of absolute anarchy, is not in a position to criticise Ireland, which remained perfectly quiet during the same time.

There are other more general considerations which have, as it seems to me, profoundly altered the whole Irish question. One is the apparently complete success of Home Rule in South Africa. This has had a great influence upon my mind for the animosities in Ireland are tepid compared to the boiling racial passions which existed only ten years ago in Africa. A second is our assurance that Ireland can never break away from the Union, since South Africa showed that every State of the British Empire would unite against any disruption. There are many other considerations which weigh with me, but these are the chief ones.

I think that a solid loyal Ireland is the one thing which the Empire needs to make it impregnable, and I believe that the men of the North will have a patriotism so broad and enlightened that they will understand this, and will sacrifice for the moment their racial and religious feelings in the conviction that by so doing they are truly serving the Empire, and that under any form of rule their character and energy will give them a large share in the government of the nation. They may rest assured that any attempt at religious persecution or financial spoliation would be made impossible (if any one contemplated such a thing) by the burst of indignation which it would produce. There may be an element of risk in Home Rule, but we ran the risk in Canada, and we ran the risk in Africa, so surely we need not fear after two successes to try it once again. I believe that after an experience of a united friendly Ireland nothing would induce the North to go back to the old conditions.

If you care to publish my view, I shall be glad. If not, I shall do so myself, as I owe it to the electors, whom I may have influenced of old, to let them know how I stand in the matter.

Yours faithfully,

ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE








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