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.

While the unity and steadfastness—­which enemies called obstinacy—­of the Ulster people were being thus made manifest, the public in England were hearing a good deal about the growth of the Ulster Volunteer Force in numbers and efficiency.  As will be seen later, the anniversary of the Covenant was celebrated with great military display at the very time when the newspapers across the Channel were busy discussing Lord Loreburn’s letter, and at a parade service in the Ulster Hall, Canon Harding, after pronouncing the Benediction, called on the congregation to raise their right hands and pledge themselves thereby “to follow wherever Sir Edward Carson shall lead us.”

The events of September 1913—­the setting up of the Provisional Government, the wonderful and instantaneous response to the appeal for an Indemnity Guarantee Fund, the rapid formation of an effective volunteer army—­were given the fullest publicity in the English Press.  Every newspaper of importance had its special correspondent in Belfast, whose telegrams filled columns every day, adorned with all the varieties of sensational headline type.  The Radicals were becoming restive.  The idea that Carson was “not to be taken too seriously,” had apparently missed fire.  It was the Ministerial affectation of contempt that no one was taking seriously; in fact, to borrow an expression from current slang, the “King Carson” stunt was a “wash-out.”

The Nation suggested that, instead of being laughed at, the Ulster leader should be prosecuted, or, at any rate, removed from the Privy Council, and other Liberal papers feverishly took up the suggestion, debating whether the indictment should be under the Treason Felony Act of 1848, the Crimes Act of 1887, or the Unlawful Drilling Act of 1819.  One of them, however, which succeeded in keeping its head, did not believe that a prosecution would succeed; and, as to the Privy Council, if Carson’s name were removed, what about Londonderry and F.E.  Smith, Walter Long, and Bonar Law?  In fact, “it would be difficult to know where to stop."[55] It would have been.  The Privy Council would have had to be reduced to a committee of Radical politicians; and, if Carson had been prosecuted, room would have had to be found in the dock, not only for the whole Unionist Party, but for the proprietors and editors of most of the leading journals.  The Government stopped short of that supreme folly; but their impotence was the measure of the prevailing sympathy with Ulster.


[50] Annual Register, 1913, p. 205.

[51] Ibid., p. 209.

[52] Ibid., p. 220.

[53] Annual Register, 1913, p. 225.

[54] Annual Register, 1913, p. 225.

[55] Liverpool Daily Post and Mercury, September 22nd, 1913.



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