1916 – A real insight. . .

Letter from John N. Scallan, Principal Solicitor at John A. Sinnott & Co., to his solicitor uncle in Dublin.

10th May, 1916

My dear Uncle John,

Now, that the war is passed in these parts, I want to seek your assistance, if not troubling you too much, on a point which affects my Brother-Professionals here as well as myself.

A number of Traders in this Town, some of them my Clients, others, Clients of O’Flaherty and Moffat, were, under the Republic, waited upon by armed members, who brought with them what was called “Commandeering Notes” requiring them to deliver up goods; some to a considerable amount -£150, and on down to five or six pounds.

These Traders have waited on us with regard to being advised as to what course they should adopt for the recovery of the value of these goods which they supplied, and we three have consulted and find it difficult to know what course, or what procedure, should be adopted to recover payment of the amounts.  A majority of the Commandeering Notes were unsigned, but, those that were signed, were signed by Members of the Republic who were ‘men of straw’ and, of course, nothing could be recovered off them as they had no property to make liable for payment thereof.

I observe that you were, amongst other Citizens in Dublin, at the Meeting which was held for the purpose of seeing what could be done with reference to ruins and looting in the City, and, with your long experience, no doubt, you will be able to assist me in what course I should take for the recovery of the amounts and whether we should apply to the Government for payment of these.  None of us consider that a Malicious Injury Claim could be sustained, as we all agree that it could not be held to be maliciously obtained, but, when a revolver, or loaded rifle, is placed to your head, one hands out for peace sake what they have.

The Rebellion or Insurrection was sprung on us very suddenly here, as all was peace and quiet on Wednesday, and at 4 O’Clock a.m., on Thursday the Rebels were being posted in their several places around the Town.  Now, that the Police Barrack is situated next door to me, I need not tell you that my position in the Abbey Square was not what one might call pleasant, as bullets were flying up and down the top of Castle Hill and from the far side of the river to the Barrack.  Some have struck the house and it was with difficulty that I succeeded in getting the Family out of the place and lodged in the hotel while the insurrection lasted.

I am glad to say I have got a good Character from the Police, which perhaps, I did not deserve, though if I had not been in the house when one of the unfortunate Policeman was wounded, they could not have got assistance for a Doctor.  The District Inspector, Mr Heggart, broke one of the windows in the back of the Barracks and brought across here that a Policeman was hurt, and I at once went and got a doctor, and under fire, myself and two members of the town arranged for his conveyance to the Infirmary from whence I subsequently released him on Thursday last to Stephen’s Hospital.

It was, I may say, an appalling time here, and what is worse still, unfortunately two of my staff were mixed up in it and I have been left short-handed as they have been arrested and brought away.

I trust I am not troubling you too much, as I know at the present time your hands are fairly full, but I am quite sure you will be ready to assist me in my present difficulty as to what steps should be taken.

Hoping you are all quite well,

Kindest regards,

Yours affectionately,

John N. Scallan

J. L. Scallan Esq., Solr.,
25, Suffolk Street,