James Connolly


Coronation of King Edward VII


Transcribed by The James Connolly Society in 1997.


Unless unforseen accidents intervene to prevent this consummation, His Majesty, Edward VII, King and Emperor, will be crowned on June 26th. Were we able to follow our own inclinations in the matter we would be inclined to treat it with contempt as being of but little importance to the cause for which we stand, or to the workers with whose interests we are concerned. To us, as Socialists, it is but of little moment who may for the time being wear the trappings of royalty; that we are compelled to acquiesce in his rule by the bayonets of his hireling soldiery and police is for us sufficient; and to us, as workers, the personality of the head of the Capitalist system in these islands is of small concern when we realise that our exploitation by the master class would proceed apace even if King Edward VII were a Christian gentleman instead of a –

But although we would rather treat the matter thus philosophically, we find that the machinations of those in power do not leave us that possibility; with them, and because of them, the festivities attending the Coronation have taken on the aspect not merely of a huge parade of pomp and magnificence – cloaking the festering sores of that slave society on which it is built – but have also become an elaborately contrived and astutely worked piece of Royalist and Capitalist propaganda, designed to captivate the imagination of the unthinking multitude, and thus lead them to look askance upon every movement which would set up as an ideal to work for something less gorgeously spectacular, even if more solidly real. The evil effects of private ownership of industries is thus illustrated once more in a manner that ought to appeal to those patriots in our midst who still dread the innovating effects of Socialism on the National spirit of the Irish people.

Because of this private ownership and control of our newspapers, of our shops, of our manufactures, we find our Home Rule press devoting columns to descriptions of all the preparations for the Coronation, nauseating the thinking portion of its readers, but insidiously sapping the manhood of the weak and vulgar, and preparing their minds for the worship of the foul gods of Imperialism. We find our shops stocked with every kind of article, from the toy of the babe in arms to the dress patterns of our womankind dedicated by name to the Coronation; and we find our manufacturers able by their economic power over the bread and butter of their employees, to enforce observance of this saturnalia of tyranny, even upon those workers whose whole beings are hot with revolt against it. Hence we are compelled to speak, lest by those who have trusted us by their adherence, or by those who have honoured us by their hatred for our unflinching championship of the workers’ cause, our silence should be construed either into an approval or even into weakness in front of this demonstration of the power of the enemy, or the imbecility of its slaves.

We are Socialist Republicans; we work for the realisation of that time when kings and emperors will be no more, when they will be remembered by mankind as the strong man awakened remembers the hideous nightmare which oppressed him as he slept. As Socialist Republicans we desire the application to society in all its relations, industrial and political, of the freest republican principles. We unceasingly devote our energies to awakening in the minds of the workers consciousness of the sufficiency of their own manhood and of the dignity of their class; and we hope and believe in the rapid approach of that time when those ideas and that consciousness will have so far leavened the minds of the workers as to justify us in calling upon them to rally up for that final struggle, the issue of which will assuredly usher in the era of free and enfranchised labour, instead of the barbaric splendour of military and financial castes. Meanwhile, animated by such hopes, inspired by such principles, looking forward impatiently to that time of glorious struggle, when the eyes of the world are turned upon that City of London, when Capital and its cringing slaves are united in adoration of the monarch who has been successful in uniting in his person, all the baser attributes of the mediaeval monarch and the modern stockjobbing capitalist; we also in imagination hasten thither in order to offer to King Edward, in the name of ourselves and our class, the only homage we owe him – OUR HATRED.

We are neither awed by the magnificence of the robbers, daunted by the bayonets of their hired assassins, nor dismayed by the plaudits of the multitude. The magnificence of the robbers but serves to fire our hearts with a greater hatred when we think of the squalid surroundings and miserable homes of our class. The glitter of the sunlight on the bayonets of its hired assassins reveals to the vision of the humanist the moral hideousness of a society propped by such means, and the plaudits of the multitude are but useful to him who desires to sound the depths to which such a system can degrade a people.

Let those who are pleased, and those who are dismayed, by the pressure of gaping, cheering crowds of witless ones, remember the pregnant words of Cromwell in the same city on a similar occasion, “My Lord Protector,” said one of his attendants, as Cromwell rode through London, “how the people crowd to see you.” “Yes,” replied Cromwell, “but how many thousands more would crowd to see me hanged!”


Last updated on 7.8.2003