Irish rebel Collins' papers published

July 22, 2004 at 2:03 PM

LONDON, July 22 (UPI) -- Near century-old papers written by Irish republican leader Michael Collins have come to light showing his destiny as a teenager, the BBC said Thursday.

The papers date from Feb. 6, 1906, when 15-year-old Collins wrote the British civil service entrance examination in Cork.

Historian Brian Murphy says the writing appears to be geared to what the young Collins thought the government wanted to hear, as opposed to his own separatist beliefs.

"One is forced to face the possibility that he may have deliberately written an essay which he did not believe in, but which he knew would be acceptable to the examiners," Murphy said.

Among the essay answers Collins wrote was a passage that said: "Without a knowledge of history we could not tell how such an island as Great Britain came to be the greatest power on the face of the earth ..."

Collins fought in the 1916 Easter Rising against the British and on his release from prison, became the foremost nationalist guerrilla leader in the Irish war of independence.

He led the forces against the republicans opposed to partition in the civil war which followed, and was killed in 1922 at the age of 31.

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