Monday, October 5, 2009

The Big Fellas last letter to Jeb

Why a priest in Melbourne received Michael Collins's last letter
What may be the final letter written by Michael Collins has turned up in Melbourne, along with several other relics of Irish history. But who was Collins writing to?

YOU WOULDN’T expect a missing piece of the puzzle about Michael Collins’s last days to surface in Australia. But that is what has happened, thanks to Brenda Niall, who has written The Riddle of Father Hackett, a biography of an Irish Jesuit, Fr William Hackett, who spent the second part of his life in Australia having been sent into exile because of his political activism.

As part of her research, Niall sent the Melbourne Jesuits searching for some letters that had been known to have gone missing after Hackett’s death in 1954. In a suburban garage, the present Jesuit archivist Michael Head SJ found a collection that had been hidden for half a century. In it was a letter from Michael Collins, probably the last he wrote, acknowledging a note Hackett had left for him and saying he was sorry to have missed seeing Hackett that day. The letter was dated the day before Collins was ambushed and shot.

What was Fr Hackett, a Dublin Jesuit, doing at Collins’s headquarters in Cork on August 21st, 1922? Niall speculates that he was possibly trying to arrange a peace meeting between Collins and Éamon de Valera.

(click title for entire article)

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