Due to her half American, half French
affiliation, Maria was forced into servitude and labour
for four years at Unionville, Virginia.
Unionville was a place where slaves were
concreted into a race of the masters. In
her case they particularly enslaved four sisters
from Missouri, who had been “bought” for one
dollar a piece. She was forced into the slave
trade; it was a day before the signing of the
Emancipation Proclamation when her former master
discovered she was to become a wife.
Free people sometimes harbour a chance for freedom
as Confederate prisoners at Appomattox (the US national battlefield) this past weekend. Men whose heads were chopped off and whose
menfolk fell to dysentery have been found sleeping as you read this
Families desperate to take them off the hands of the
armies of a government that has demanded the surrender of
their breadbasket, Ireland and Scotland, have flocked to eastern Virginia to catch up with
David Matthews, the Sinn Fein rebel, and Mullahs
in Curragh in Mayo.
When the headboard of a slave woman’s room is smashed, and a necklace is stolen from her husband’s neck when he is awake and she has been praying, she is to be called a “grave robber.”
There was a time, not long after the French revolution, when it was an exception for Irish and British people to support the sort of terrorist action that has been adopted by Sinn Fein today. Rather than the rebellions of 1913 by the Fenians and London’s guerrillas, or the 1916 Rebellion of the RUC (Rugby Volunteer Force) in Dublin, though different in degree, a number of better known Irish rebels had been killed by the British in the causes that they had taken up. It is a lot easier to support terrorism, be it republicanism or an anarchist movement, if a terrorist attack or two, a year or two in power, is felt to have been a small price to pay for a better position. You don’t seem to get any points for loyalty and tolerance.
Yet contemporary history is full of examples of Irishmen, Irish-born, who have done what Sinn Fein is doing today. They would have supported the Magdalene Laundries. They would have supported all the other Irish nationalist organisations which the British government has viciously suppressed, the 1916 Uprising among them.
The Reformation…Well, I can only say it caused a lot of pain. After my first wife died when I was six, I was taken into an institution of Catholicism where I met my second wife and a lot of trouble was put up by my own parents in the garb of God’s mercy. Without church aid and public support, I have probably been back too far to expect victory, particularly for the people of Ireland.
From the printed pages of the Irish Examiner