SINN FEIN (shin fane, aourselves”, an Irish party founded about 1905, whose policy may be described as at once the most extreme and the most moderate form of Nationalism. It is the most moderate because it aims at uniting Irishmen of all creeds and classes on a common platform, or a progressive series of common platforms, for Irish ends. The party, or move ment as it has been termed, aims at the encour agement and support of the industries and the institutions of Ireland, and the revival of the Gaelic tongue as a medium of intercourse among the people of Ireland. Its policy has been summed up by one of its founders as anational self-development through the recogni tion of the duties and rights of citizenship on the part of the individual, and by the aid and support of all movements originating from within Ireland, instinct with national tradition, and not looking outside Ireland for the accom plishments of their aims.' Sinn Fein is simply, then, the Gaelic for aourselves,D which, after all, is the working motto of every government and corporation in the modern world. Trusts and tariffs are Sinn Fein applied to the industrial world. The workings of empires and chosen peoples are pure Sinn Fein. The Sinn Fein party regards Ireland as being of right a dis tinct nation and believes in establishing sin Ireland's capital a national legislature endowed with the moral authority of the Irish nation.'_1___ For the first 10 years of its life the policy was one of passive resistance, as a sub stitute for physical force, and this has meant, in substance, the laying of a boycott on every thing English; the economic reorganization of Ireland by its own people, on a purely Irish basis; the non-recognition of English-made laws; and the non-support of English institu tions in Ireland. It says in effect to the people of Ireland: Irish goods because they are not English, and, if you cannot get Irish goods, buy French or German or American goods, or indeed any goods rather than English. Do so as long as England refuses to keep the terms of the Renunciation Act of 1783, in which she laid it down (that the right claimed by the people of Ireland to be bound only by laws enacted by His Majesty and the Parlia ment of that Kingdom is hereby •declared to be established, and ascertained for ever, and shall at no time hereafter be questioned or question able." Such is the message of Sinn Fein, con sidering the industrial revival as a political weapon.
Sinn Fein recognizes in nationality some thing much more wonderful and even necessary than politics. It holds, however, that nationality must have its political phase and expression, and that no nation ever yet became exuberantly itself, exuberantly a thing of beauty and use in the family of nations, unless it was politically free. Its aim as a political organization is con sequently the independence of Ireland, and as a means to that end it proposes the destruction of the machinery of foreign government in Ireland. Not that it is principally a destruc tive or war policy. Nationalists are anxious for peace, according to Mr. Arthur Griffith, the political thinker of genius who edits Sinn Fein, the party organ, and who originated the Sinn Fein policy in the columns of the United Irish man, but before terms of peace can be discussed, he continues, in a phrase reminiscent of John Mitchel, °England must take her one hand away from Ireland's throat, and her other hand out of Ireland's pocket.° In other words, let
England observe the terms by which she bound herself in the Renunciation Act of 1783, as quoted above. Thus far we have stated in this article what may be termed the official attitude of Sinn Fein during the first decade of its ex istence. In its second decade the movement ap pears to put very little trust in legal and con stitutional arguments, and claims Ireland's right to be a separate and free nation as a right given by God, without troubling about its other as pect as a right confirmed by England. All Sinn Feiners are agreed to work on a common plat form for the independence of Ireland, the mini mum interpretation of Independence being that which is laid down in the Constitution of 1782 and the Renunciation Act of 1783. Ireland, it declares, must no longer send representatives to the British Parliament to plead to indifferent ears the cause of Irish freedom, since to do so is not only useless in practice, but is an ap parent acquiescence in the terms of the Act of Union. Moreover, it holds that for Irishmen to attend in a foreign Parliament and to take an oath of allegiance to a king, who is no longer the head of a free Irish constitution, but a symbol of foreign conquest, is a lie and an act of national dishonor. Irish politics, ac cording to the Sinn Fein ideal, must not be al lowed to rest on a national falsehood, which in the 19th century did so much to corrupt and confuse the political thought of the country, but must be placed on the far securer base of truth and honor and reason. The movement stands for the building up of truly Irish indus tries, with the production in Ireland of what ever articles Ireland might need, and the stimu lation of foreign commerce; to this end Sinn Fein urges the establishment of an Irish mer chant marine and an Irish consular service to encourage foreign trade. It advocates also the creation of an Irish civil service, of Irish national courts of law, an Irish national stock exchange, Irish national banks, and the like— all these to be popular Irish institutions, com pletely independent of England. It is one of the objects of Sinn Fein to give the brains and muscle of the country scope and happiness in the service of Ireland. Sinn Fein thus proposes to build up the Irish nation. It has set about organizing a great national passive resistance movement to oppose the British government and British influence at every point of vantage they have gained in the country —fiscal, educational, industrial, legal, literary, dramatic, artistic. Ireland, it says, has too long met England on battlefields which England herself has chosen the floor of the House of Commons and the field of war. Let Ireland now choose the place of battle and let it be the Irish school, the Irish factory, the Irish shop, the Irish home, the Irish farm, the Irish church, the Irish theatre, and Sinn Feiners have no doubt that a new and beautiful individuality will be added to the family of nations. Prominence has been given to the aims and professions of Sinn Fein as a school of nationalism with which the future will have to reckon. It aims at building a nation to include all the races and creeds and ranks that inhabit Ireland. It answers the argument that Ireland is too small and too poor to be an in dependent nation by pointing to such nations as Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Sweden, Nor way, Rumania of less area, population and revenue.