Ulster's Stand For Union eBook

Ronald McNeill, 1st Baron Cushendun
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 391 pages of information about Ulster's Stand For Union.
that the majority in Ireland, as a distinct unit, was the only one that should count.  Ulster, whilst agreeing with the general Unionist position, contended ultimately that her own majority was as well entitled to be heard in regard to her own fate as the majority in Ireland as a whole.  To the Nationalist claim that Ireland was a nation she replied that it was either two nations or none, and that if one of the two had a right to “self-determination,” the other had it equally.  Thus the axiom of democracy that government is by the majority was, as Maine said, “paralysed by the plea of nationality,” since the contending parties appealed to the same principle without having any common ground as to how it should be applied to the case in dispute.

If the Union with Great Britain was to be abrogated, which Pitt had only established when “a full measure of Home Rule” had produced a bloody insurrection and Irish collusion with England’s external enemies, Ulster could at all events in the last resort take her stand on Abraham Lincoln’s famous proposition which created West Virginia:  “A minority of a large community who make certain claims for self-government cannot, in logic or in substance, refuse the same claims to a much larger proportionate minority among themselves.”

The Loyalists of Ulster were successful in holding this second line, when the first was no longer tenable; but they only retired from the first line—­the maintenance of the legislative union—­after a long and obstinate defence which it is the purpose of the following pages to relate.


[1] Henry Edward Manning, by Shane Leslie, p. 406.

[2] Sir S.H.  Maine, Popular Government, p. 28.



We profess to be a democratic country in which the “will of the people” is the ultimate authority in determining questions of policy, and the Liberal Party has been accustomed to regard itself as the most zealous guardian of democratic principles.  Yet there is this curious paradox in relation to the problem which more than any other taxed British statesmanship during the thirty-five years immediately following the enfranchisement of the rural democracy in 1884, that the solution propounded by the Liberal Party, and inscribed by that party on the Statute-book in 1914, was more than once emphatically rejected, and has never been explicitly accepted by the electorate.

No policy ever submitted to the country was more decisively condemned at the polls than Mr. Gladstone’s Home Rule proposals in the General Election of 1886.  The issue then for the first time submitted to the people was isolated from all others with a completeness scarcely ever practicable—­a circumstance which rendered the “mandate” to Parliament to maintain the legislative union exceptionally free

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Ulster's Stand For Union from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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