New Zealand Truth/Bishop Liston seditious utterance

Bishop Liston seditious utterance  (1922) 

The below is the text of the charge (as reported in The New Zealand Truth, Issue 859, 6 May 1922, Page 5) relating to the making of a seditious utterance on 17 March 1922 at the Town Hall in Auckland which was preferred against James M. Liston, Co-Adjutor Bishop of Auckland.

The charge against, Dr Liston, made on the information of Reginald Ward, Detective-Sergeant , of Auckland, is that, in the presence of a large audience of people, at the grand Irish concert held at the Town Hall, Auckland, on the night of March 17, he did utter certain seditious words, to wit: -

“Friends of Ireland, it is very fitting that I should be speaking to you this night, as my descent and the rank I hold in the church give me the right to speak. My parents were driven from the country in which they were born and in which they would have been content to live. Why were they driven out? Because their foreign masters [meaning the Government of the United Kingdom] did not want Irish men and women peopling their own land, but wanted to use it as a cattle ranch for the snobs of the Empire. So my father and my little Irish mother and thousands of others had to go. They came to this country with the memory kept sacred of their privations and wrongs. They have left to us the sacred traditions of their sorrow. I am a native of New Zealand and I love my country very well. In every land the children of Ireland this day are gathered by some common and holy impulse to rejoice that at long last they have won some measure of freedom and to hope for a complete deliverance from the house of bondage.

A year ago we lived in hope only, and some good and true men thought that hope forlorn. I do not say for one moment that Ireland has got all she asked for and all that her sons died for, but she has got the first instalment of her freedom, and is determined to have the whole of it. I say that because the omnipotent hand of God made Ireland a nation, and while grass grows and water flows there will be plenty to fight, and even die, that God’s desires may be realised. On the stage of the world’s history Ireland has played many parts. Her sons have given the best of their talents to the countries which have received them. Above all, Ireland has been a builder of empires, not for self, but for others, not for filthy lucre, but for God’s cause, honor and freedom. Many are thinking that the difficulties in the face of the Irish Free State are almost insuperable. I think that well-wishers should not be dismayed. Ireland has gone through the worst of her trials. She has repeatedly been declared dead and done for and completely defective, but she is still there. There are also difficulties ahead, but why should we fear them. There is a mighty Empire and it still claims to be the greatest one. It also has its difficulties, and its rulers hope to overcome these difficulties. If they hope to do this why should not the rulers of our little Empire be able to meet these difficulties?

It seems to me providential that when Ireland is faced with difficulties the men who has carried us so far and enabled us to win is there to see that the rulers are not duped by England. We must not forget the martyrs who died in the fighting of 1916 – that glorious Easter [referring to the insurrection in Dublin on April 24, 1916, and succeeding days]. I have here a list of the men and women who were proud to die for their country. Some were shot, some were hanged and some died on hunger strike, murdered by foreign troops [meaning thereby soldiers of the British Empire]. We cannot forget these men and women, but in order that our dream about Ireland may come true, while we cannot forget, we can forgive. My last thought is that we should say to Ireland as she enters a period of renewed prosperity and glory, ‘God prosper you in all ways and protect you, and His everlasting arms enfold you,”

or words to like effect, being an indictable offence.

This work was published before January 1, 1926 and it is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 98 years or less since publication.