Ashford, Charleville, May 17, 1916.
I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 12th inst., which has been forwarded to me here. I have read carefully your allegations against Rev….. .and Rev……., but do not see in them any justification for disciplinary action on my part. They are both excellent priests who hold strong national views; but I do not know that they have violated any law, civil or ecclesiastical. In your letter of 6th inst you appealed to me to help you in the furtherance of your work as military dictator of Ireland. Even if action of that kind was not outside my province, the events of the past few weeks would make it impossible for me to have any part in proceedings which I regard as wantonly cruel and oppressive.
You remember the Jameson Raid, when a number of buccaneers invaded a friendly State, and fought the forces of the lawful Government. If ever men deserved the supreme punishment it was they. But officially and unofficially, the influence of the British Government was used to save them, and it succeeded. You took care that no plea for mercy should interpose on behalf of the poor young fellows who surrendered to you in Dublin. The first information which we got of their fate was the announcement that they had been shot in cold blood.
Personally, I regard your action with horror, and I believe that it has outraged the conscience of the country. Then, the deporting in hundreds, and even thousands, of poor fellows without a trial of any kind seems to me an abuse of power, as fatuous as it is arbitrary; and altogether your regime has been one of the worst and blackest chapters in the history of the misgovernment of the country.
I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient servant.
Bishop of Limerick.
To General Sir. J.G. Maxwell, Commander in Chief, the Forces in Ireland.