PEARSE, P.H. & MacDONAGH, Thomas. A manuscript promissory note to the Royal Bank of Ireland, dated 22 March 1913, handwritten by Pearse and signed by both Pearse and MacDonagh, promising to be jointly and severally liable for the repayment of £29 sterling to the bank (value received), three months after date of signing.


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On a slip of unheaded paper bearing a Revenue stamp; marked ‘St. Enda’s College’ in another hand (probably a bank official’s), otherwise the text entirely in Pearse’s hand except for MacDonagh’s signature and address, 32 Upr. Baggot St. With the bank’s ‘Paid’ stamp dated 25 June 1913. Unique item.

Pearse’s financial resources were never adequate to run St. Enda’s, particularly after the move to The Hermitage in 1909. He was several times bailed out by friends, and even by the IRB (through Sean McGarrity in the United States - see Ruth Dudley Edwards’ biography). The school was partly recapitalised in the summer of 1912, which should have secured the position for at least a year, but the present document shows that Pearse had run out of money again by March. The account at Royal Bank of Ireland was his personal one, where he deposited his literary earnings (see Edwards); here we see him using it to raise cash to keep St. Enda’s going for another few months. Evidently the Bank would not advance the money on Pearse’s guarantee alone, but required a joint and separate guarantee from MacDonagh. The sum involved is about 2,500 Euros in present day terms. It was repaid in June, perhaps through plays and entertainments put on at the school that summer (one of them with the help of W.B. Yeats). Pearse and MacDonagh were joint signatories of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. There can be very few other documents bearing both their signatures.


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