In the fury that was Easter Week, a time when for four or five days open warfare was waged upon the streets of Dublin, Padraic Pearse wrote his War Communiques - a witness to the unfolding events as they happened thus creating a living history for posterity.
These would be The First Documents of the newly proclaimed Irish Republic and the only documents produced by the Rebels from the G.P.O. in Easter Week. Historians say Connolly's influence is in evidence in a lot of the content with its references to military detail but the handwriting is that of Pearse, normally of neat hand but here with erasures and insertions illustrating the intensity of the hour.
Outside the G.P.O. with artillery fire raining down from Coles Lane off Henry Street and amidst the ever-tightening British cordons the young Joe Stanley carefully made his way to the G.P.O. every day for three days, until it was no longer feasible, to do his duty and get printers copy from Pearse.
Then from the printing plant in Halston Street, commandeered with a gun and armed escort given by Connolly to Joe, he and Matthew Walker and Charles Walker with journalistic support from James Upton proceeded to print and distribute the War Communiques in the format of The Irish War News and The Proclamation to the Citizens of Dublin.
IT is important to note here that in those times the printed word was the all-powerful communication tool and Pearse was relying on his press corp. to get the word out that Ireland was once again rebelling and striking a blow for its freedom..
Soon it was all over and by the end of May Pearse and Connolly were dead, executed with their fellow comrades and all the volunteers including Joe were interned in Frongoch, and poignantly Matthew Walker delivered a final letter, penned before the official surrender from Pearse to his mother ,"some weeks after Easter 1916 when Maire Nic Siubhlaigh's father brought it to us" as recalled by Margaret Pearse in an interview in 1962.
But as we all know now a flame had been lit and amazingly the original War Communiques, The First Documents handwritten by Pearse survived and remain intact to this day, having been digitally saved for posterity by the family of Joe Stanley almost ninety years later. Today they are in the possession of The Irish Government and on display in the 1916 Museum Exhibition.
Pearse's original War Communiques in his own handwriting along with another 50 documents of the period up to and including the War of Independence form a central part of the book "Joe Stanley Printer to The Rising" - a unique account of a fascinating element of the period that led to an independent state in Ireland. A living history handed down - for all to study.
NOTE: Complete illustrations of these FIrst Documents are available in their original colour to download/print in the EBook version of "Joe Stanley Printer to The Rising" and in black and white in the original edition of the hardback version.