Sinn Fein Threatens Tax Strike

In Ireland, whichever faction seemed to be on the verge of losing political control would often threaten to launch a tax resistance campaign. This time, it was Sinn Fein. From the Rock Hill, South Carolina Evening Herald:

Sinn Fein Will Refuse to Pay Tax to Irish

Stubborn Fight to Kill Plans of Unionists Are Now Being Mapped Out.

(By Charles M. McCann, United Press Staff Correspondent.)

The Sinn Fein movement is planning “governmental sabotage” in Ulster when North Ireland adopts home rule.

There are 412,000 Sinn Fein adherents living in Ulster and they are frankly talking of refusing to pay taxes levied by the new government and are discussing a score of plans that will be likely to hinder the Unionists in putting over their home rule government.

The hope of the Unionists lies in the fact that their opponents are not so thoroughly organized in Ulster as in the southern portion of Ireland and their efforts to retard the launching of the new government may be overcome.

Here are some excerpts from the journal of American Quaker David Cooper concerning Quaker conscientious objectors who were imprisoned for refusing to pay militia exemption fines:

On , my son Paul, my brother’s son James, and two other young men, were taken prisoners by a constable and several armed men, for a military fine of £15 each. They were allowed to return in and ordered to attend on the Colonel at Haddonfield , when they were again permitted to return, with orders to meet in a short time at the same place. I then felt a freedom to accompany them. On our arrival, William Harrison, the Sheriff, the Colonel, Captains, and other officers were met. I had much conversation with them; they appeared very moderate, but were very earnest for me to pay the fine, and not suffer our sons to be committed to prison. I told them they were aware that our religious principles forbade it; the young men were in their possession, and I had no desire to persuade them to deviate from what they believed their duty as officers required; but only wished them to use their power in a manner that would afford peace hereafter. It was a matter of conscience; they ought therefore to be very tender, and not use rigor. If they were committed I saw no end. They could never pay the fines without wounding their own minds, nor could their friends do it for them. They appeared friendly, and the young men being under the Sheriff’s care, he directed them to go home, and meet him at Woodbury at an appointed day. He afterwards sent them word they need give themselves no further trouble till he called for them. So the matter rested.

In the fore part of the winter of same year, I went with Thomas Redman to Cumberland, to join with a Committee of Salem Monthly Meeting, in endeavoring to obtain the enlargement of a young man, who had been nearly a year in close confinement, for non-payment of military fines, and very severely treated. But the Friends on the appointment were so timid and fearful, that little could be done. I desired a meeting with some of their principal men, but it could not then be obtained. John Reeve went with us to see their Colonel, one Holmes. He was very sour, and told us the Quakers were only fit to live by themselves, as we would not defend our property. We had much conversation with him. He appeared bitter and severe against the young man, saying he would soon have more company, as warrants were out for several others. We then visited the prisoner, whom we found in a calm, sweet disposition. He had resorted to making shoe heels, and earned sufficient to maintain himself. Although our labors afforded little prospect of benefit, we returned home with satisfaction and peace of mind.

On , I went down again in company with Samuel Allinson. The season had been so warm, that this day we saw peach blossoms. We now obtained a meeting with several of their principal men, an ex-Congressman, a Counsellor, two Judges, several Assembly men, Priest, Sheriff, &c. We spent several hours in answering their questions and endeavoring to remove their prejudices against the present conduct of Friends. In the main they appeared to be satisfied, and expressed much satisfaction with this opportunity, which we had reason to believe was of considerable use. Though they alleged it was not in their power, consistently with law, to release the prisoner until his fines were paid, yet they appeared very uneasy with keeping him there. His fines were soon afterward paid by one not a Friend, and he was discharged. Notwithstanding the threat of the sour Colonel, they have not committed another since, that I have heard of.