Catalogue description Colonial Office: Ireland, Confidential Print

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Details of CO 903
Reference: CO 903
Title: Colonial Office: Ireland, Confidential Print

This series contains confidential print on Ireland. Comprises reports of criminal and political activities in Ireland during the period 1885-1919. The first two volumes deal mainly with disturbances arising out of religious intolerance. The remaining volumes contain comprehensive reports on the activities of members of the United Irish League from the date of its foundation in 1898, and of the Sinn Fein movement which became prominent in 1905 when the League's influence began to wane, and one volume of returns of Land or National League members convicted of agrarian offences.

The prints contain numerous extracts from police reports on such outrages including the boycotting of farmers and on the protection afforded to the successors of evicted tenants. Also included are the proceedings of assizes, judges' addresses to juries, crime returns, and strength returns of militant organisations such as the Ulster Volunteers and the Irish Volunteers.

Date: 1885-1919
Related material:

For further records see CO 904

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Former reference in The National Archives: CO 698 and CO 699
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Physical description: 20 volume(s)
Access conditions: Subject to 30 year closure unless otherwise stated
Administrative / biographical background:

The purpose of the United Irish League was to present a strong political front after the break-up of the Irish National Party into pro - and anti-Parnell factions. It also took over many of the activities of the Land League which had been suppressed in 1881.

Sinn Fein was founded to acheive the practical emancipation of Ireland by abstention from Westminster and its weapons were to be passive resistance and constitutional agitation, but as the struggle became more and more bitter, there began a series of outrages - assassination, murder, arson, assault and pillage - which culminated in a form of guerilla warfare.

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