“Last Friday began a great internal crisis, when L.G. [Lloyd George] wrote to the P.M. [Asquith] that he could not go on unless our methods of waging war were speeded up. He proposed a War Council of three, including himself, Bonar Law and Carson. The two latter are with him, which means the Unionists too.”
Asquith resigned, the Coalition Ministry was formed, and it is probably more than a surmise that the part played by Sir Edward Carson in bringing about this result and in elevating Mr Lloyd George into the Premiership explains much of the power he has exercised over him ever since. Mr Redmond and Sir Edward Carson were both invited to join the Coalition. The former declined, the latter accepted, and from his position of power within the Cabinet was able to torpedo Home Rule at will.
And thus came to an end in Ireland as gross a tyranny perpetrated in the sacred name of Nationality as ever disgraced our annals. The Party which had so long held power had destroyed themselves by years of selfish blundering. The country was growing weary of the men who killed land purchase, constituted themselves the mere dependents of an English Party in exchange for boundless jobbery, intensified the alarm of Ulster by transferring all power and patronage to a pseudo-Catholic secret organisation, and crowned their incompetence by accepting a miserably inadequate Home Rule Bill (with Partition twice over thrown in). The country which had been shackled into silence by the terrorist methods of the Board of Erin (which made the right of free meeting impossible by the use of their batons, bludgeons and revolvers) was emancipated by the Dublin Rising. And in the scale of things it must be counted, for the young men who risked their lives in Easter Week, not the least of their performances that they gave back to the people of Ireland the right of thinking and acting for themselves. How well they used this right to exact a full measure of retribution from the Party that had betrayed them the General Election of 1918 abundantly shows.
THE IRISH CONVENTION
AND THE CONSCRIPTION OF
The time had now come when the Irish Party had to taste all the bitterness of actual and anticipated defeat. Several Irish newspapers had gone over to Sinn Fein. The Irish Independent had been previously a fearless critic of the Party, and the defeat of the Partition proposals was largely due to the manner in which they had denounced them and exposed their real character.
A bye-election took place in North Roscommon. There was a straight fight between the Parliamentary Party and Sinn Fein and the former were defeated by an overwhelming majority. Another trial of strength came soon afterwards, and the Party again bit the dust. The Coalitionists had now turned a cold shoulder to the Party. They could get along very well without them. They had got all they could out of them for war purposes. They foresaw their approaching defeat, and they did not, therefore, count on their scheme of things as a force to be conciliated or to be afraid of. And as if to ensure the complete downfall and overthrow of the Party the Government continued their arrests and deportations.