Leonard Woolf, The Nation, Irish-English Politics 1920, War of Independence
In The Nation editorials reproduced here from 9 October 1920, Leonard Woolfs succinct, clear writing style, consummate storytelling ability, and forceful declarative statements come to the fore. The opening paragraph of A Proposal of Irish Settlement is unequivocal, claiming and naming Ireland as an independent nation state, rejecting a compromised version of dominion status and demanding that the British government acknowledge the existence of a state of war between it and the people of Ireland. Leonard wrote these articles as the recruitment and deployment of the Black and Tans and the elite corps of ex-officers, the Auxiliaries, increased significantly; the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act (9 August) passed into law; and the Government of Ireland Bill was being prepared. The Nation reported on the progress of the bill and the debate in Parliament, having published The Bill and the Reckoning by Our Irish Correspondent earlier in the year (10 April). The period of Leonards polemic-style editorials coincides with extensive domestic and international press reporting on the ruthlessness and lawlessness of the Black and Tans, experienced in war but inexperienced in counter-insurgency and policing. Described as rough and without discipline, recruits received minimum police training and were stationed alongside their Irish counterparts in Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks at the centre of the fiercest fighting (Leeson 377).