Reported in the News Letter during this week in 1916


Here are some of the stories reported in the News Letter 100 years ago:

Martial Law To Continue

[May 29]

A proclamation has been issued, signed by the Lords Justices (the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Wylie) declaring that martial law shall continue to exist throughout Ireland until further order.

The following is the text of the proclamation:

“Whereas disaffection and unrest still prevail in certain parts of Ireland, causing anxiety and alarm amongst the peaceful and law-abiding subjects of his Majesty;

“Now we, the Lords Justices General and General Governors of Ireland. do hereby proclaim that a state of martial law shall continue to exist throughout Ireland until further order.”

News Letter Editorial

[May 30]

The chief reason given for the demand that Home Rule should be put into operation immediately is that Dublin Castle has failed.

But this is an entire misrepresentation.

It is not Dublin Castle which has failed, but the Radical Ministers who have controlled it, and the worst of them, the most incompetent, and the most unfaithful to his duty, is Mr Birrell.

No-one can read the evidence given before the Commission on the rebellion without being convinced that his appointment to the Chief Secretaryship was a disaster to the country.

He found it peaceful, and he left it in rebellion.

For Party purposes he tolerated, or encouraged, political crime, especially cattle-driving, and he made it almost impossible for the police to do their duty. He practically resigned his functions into the hands of Mr Redmond, Mr Dillon and Mr Devlin, and the police understood clearly that vigorous action on their part against certain classes of crime was not desired.

As the “Spectator” says, it is ridiculous cant to talk of the failure of Dublin Castle when it is managed on such lines as these. It is Radicalism and Nationalism which have failed, and made it evident to all that Home Rule would be a still greater failure.

The Struggle at Verdun

[May 30]

Yesterday afternoon the Germans violently attacked the French positions on Hill 304. Repulsed with considerable losses they renewed the attack, and again suffered a sanguinary reverse.

There were fifteen aerial combats during the day, five enemy machines being brought down.

Irish Emigration Figures for 1915

[May 31]

A parliamentary White paper issued last night giving the Irish emigration statistics shows that the number of persons who left Ireland during 1915 was the lowest recorded since the collection of emigration returns, which began in 1851.

The total number of emigrants during the last year was 10,792 – namely 6,671 males, and 4,121 females. Of the males 6,567 and of the females 4,092 were natives of Ireland, the total number of such – 10,659 – being equivalent to a rate of 2.4 per 1,000 of the estimated population, and showing a decrease of 9,655, as compared with the year 1914.

Since 1851 the number of emigrants (natives of Ireland) who have left Irish ports amounts in the aggregate to 4,309,300.

The natives of Ireland who left the country last year included:

• From Leinster, 2,905, an increase of 45 compared with 1914;

• Munster, 1,550, a decrease of 4,102;

• Ulster, 3,790, a decrease of 2,822; and

• Connaught, 2,414, a decrease of 2,776.

It appears that 83.6 per cent of the persons who left Ireland last year were between the ages of 15 and 35.

Of the total emigrants (natives of Ireland), 7,761 embarked for the colonies or foreign countries, and 2,898 to Great Britain. The United States was the destination of 6,681 emigrants in 1915.

Derry Orangemen and the Rebellion

[May 31]

The City of Derry Grand Orange Lodge have passed the following resolution: “We desire to record our abhorrence and detestation of the recent rebellion in this country, and deplore the loss of so many gallant soldiers, officers, and men, as well as loyal volunteers and innocent civilians, to which must be added the appalling destruction of property.

“We desire to reaffirm our loyalty to the Crown and Throne of England, and condemn in the strongest manner the action of those who, encouraged and assisted by Germany, and in pursuance of their oft-repeated boast that “England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’, have arisen in rebellion at a time when our nation is fighting for its very existence in the greatest war in history, a war in which we are proud to know our gallant soldiers have covered themselves in glory.

“We also strongly protest against and call upon all Unionist members of the House of Commons to resist Mr Birrell’s insidious attempt to revive the existence of the Order of the Jesuits in the United Kingdom, an Order the past history of which shows that, alike in its constitution and its practices, it is opposed to those principles of government and of personal liberty which are the heritage of the British people.”

Dublin Court-Martial

[May 31]

The following result of trial by general court-martial is announced:

John MacNeill, convicted and sentenced to penal servitude for life. Sentence was confirmed by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief.

Mr John MacNeill has been for the past seven years Professor of Early Irish History in the University College, Dublin. He is a native of County Antrim, and was educated chiefly in St Malachy’s College, Belfast.

Mr MacNeill was one of the founders of the Irish Volunteer movement. He has a family of six children.

The King And Sir E Shackleton

[June 3]

Reuter’s Agency states that King George sent the following cable to Sir Ernest Shackleton:

“Rejoiced to hear of your safe arrival in the Falkland Islands. I trust your men on Elephant Island may soon be rescued.”

Sir E Shackleton has sent the following reply:

“On behalf of the men of the Antarctic Expedition and myself, please convey to the King our respectful and dutiful thanks for his Majesty’s gracious message to me and his kind solicitude for those of our party left on Elephant Island.”

Naval Battle at Jutland

[June 3]

A great naval battle has been fought off the coast of Jutland, in which the German High Seas Fleet was engaged with our Fleet.

Unofficial reports speak of over 90 ships as having been engaged.

Both sides lost heavily.

The Germans are officially reported by Admiral Jellicoe to have lost two Dreadnoughts, two cruisers, six destroyers, and a submarine.

On the British side three battle cruisers, including the Queen Mary, and three cruisers, as well as eight destroyers, were lost.

A semi-official Berlin telegram says: “The brilliant victory which our Fleet has gained over the British has caused the liveliest joy and satisfaction among the whole German people.”

Captain Persius writes in the “Berliner Tageblatt”: “On the British side the losses were exceedingly heavy; on our side exceedingly small. Our High Sea Fleet in an open sea battle, without any support from the coast fortifications, gave victorious battle to the mightiest Fleet in the world. ”

The “Tageszeitung” says: “Our young navy showed tremendous intrinsic superiority over the first and largest fleet in the world. It has gained a success of the most brilliant kind, and has covered its flag with immortal gloey.”

Telegrams from Dresden state that the King of Saxony sent the following telegram to the Kaiser:

“With great joy and extraordinary enthusiasm I have just learned of the brilliant victory of our fleet over the considerably main part of the English battle fleet. This is one of the finest days of this serious time for our Fatherland. Our fleet showed itself absolutely the equal of the army.”