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"Debate Ensues Over Michael Davitt's Views on the Jewish Question" |

“Debate Ensues Over Michael Davitt’s Views on the Jewish Question”

In a letter addressed to the editor of the Limerick Echo, a concerned reader expresses agreement with “Lughaidh’s” previous letter discussing Michael Davitt’s peculiar communication regarding the Jewish question in Limerick and Ireland. While acknowledging Davitt’s possible good intentions, the reader questions whether the renowned social reformer has changed his stance on certain matters in recent years.

The letter highlights Davitt’s previous criticism of the Jewish traders and the sweating system in London when he ran the Labour World publication. Now, the reader finds it contradictory that Davitt remains silent on the importation of goods likely manufactured in London’s sweatshops, which could harm Irish industry. The reader rejects Davitt’s suggestion that Father Creagh advocated for a religious vendetta against Jews, as no sensible Irishman, especially a Catholic clergyman, would propose such a thing. The letter argues that Davitt’s comparison of Irishmen and priests to the Russian peasants who perpetrated the Kilshineff massacres is insulting and questions whether he believes a religious war resulting in a minority’s massacre by the majority is possible in 1904.

The letter reminds Davitt of how his own speeches on the agrarian question were distorted by the English government to incite violence against landlords. It references Gladstone’s accusations against Irish members of Parliament and the findings of the Parnell Commission. The reader suggests that Davitt, along with his nationalist colleagues, including clerics and laypeople, resented such language. The reader acknowledges Davitt’s advocacy for economic rent and his support for the farmers during the agrarian upheaval, but believes that his attack on Jews or Gentiles in Limerick is an isolated incident, unlike the larger movements he previously championed.

The letter emphasizes that the people of Limerick understand religious tolerance and have consistently practiced it. While respecting Davitt’s defence of the Jewish community, the reader views his advocacy from a different perspective. The letter concludes by urging prominent Americans to speak out and make a friendly appeal to the Russian czar regarding the anticipated dangers in Kishinev, as conveyed by Davitt in a special cable sent to the Chicago Sunday American. The reader suggests bypassing London papers due to their perceived misinformation and potential ulterior motives.

Yours truly,

Limerick Echo – Tuesday 26 January 1904

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