“Ireland will have cause to remember her present day extremists” the Irish patriot Michael Collins wrote with considerable prescience to his fiancé Kitty Kiernan on June 1, 1922 during the Treaty negotiations. The letter is part of an extensive archive of Easter Rising material due to come up at Sotheby’s in New York on April 24. They were to have been married the following November. Just over two months later he was shot dead at Beal na mBlath in Co. Cork. Lot 89 in the sale of the Maurice Neville Collection of Modern Literature (Part III) relates to the Easter Rising and the Irish Rebellion.
It comprises 22 pamphlets and books, eight broadsides and handbills and about about 28 autograph items from Dublin and London from 1910 to 1925. There are two letters to Kitty Kiernan, dated March 31 and June 1, 1922 when Collins was part of the Irish delegation negotiating the Treaty. In March he wrote: “We came to an agreement on certain things with Craig yesterday – I am not very sanguine about the future from any point of view. We have however secured release of all the prisoners…. but the news from Ireland is very bad and the “powers that be” here are getting very alarmed that there may be a bust up at any moment. Were it not for the awful consequences I’d almost welcome it…. yet one has the responsibility. It would be cowardly to shirk from standing up to it. The whole business is casting a gloom over me and in spite of what is a big human hope I cannot keep thinking that as a people we are destined to go on dreaming, vainly hoping, striving to no purpose until we are all gone”.