Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers

The Old Cinema,
Chatsworth Street,
Co. Killkenny,
R95 XV05,

PSRA Registration No: 001687

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Lot 475/0224

SOLD Hammer price: €580, Estimate: €800-1200


A.L.S. to General O’Duffy from the Spanish Carlist aristocrat Count de Ramirez de Ortellano, 8pp, 4 August 1936, from Orielton Palace in Pembrokeshire, reminding him that ‘my country Spain is in the thralls of a most terrific death-struggle, trying to free itself from the terrible and vile Communist & Marxist rule,’ and asking if ‘it might be possible to raise in Ireland a purely volunteer force to come and aid us, and join in with our armies. It would have to be purely personally voluntary, so as to avoid all possibility of international complications.. (and) should be placed under the Carlist command.’
With carbon copy of O’Duffy’s reply, 7 August 1936, cautiously indicating agreement in principle subject to various issues, and proposing a meeting in London; a second A.L.S. from Oriellano, 12 August, suggesting a meeting at Claridges; and what purports to be a manuscript copy of a letter to Ortellano from Cardinal Mac Rory, Cardinal Primate of Ireland, 6 August 1936, in response to an enquiry, giving Ortellano Gen. O’Duffy’s address and saying ‘He seems to be the man who would be most likely to help.. He is a chivalrous, courageous, upright man, & a good Catholic, & above all a fine organiser.’
These letters establish beyond doubt the agency whereby O’Duffy was induced to raise a brigade for Spain, and Cardinal Mac Rory’s part in the matter. They are briefly mentioned in Mc Garry’s biography of O’Duffy, from a secondary source (Walsh’s memoir), and are otherwise unpublished. O’Duffy’s caution in responding to Oretllano’s first letter is notable; while enthusiastic, he was not rushing blindly into the Spanish cauldron.

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