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.

The leader of the Unionist Party replied by moving a vote of censure on the Government on the 19th of March.  Mr. Churchill’s Bradford speech, and one no less defiant by Mr. Devlin the day following it, had charged with inflammable material the atmosphere in which the debate was conducted.  Sir Edward Carson began his speech by saying that, after these recent events, “I feel that I ought not to be here, but in Belfast.”  There were some sharp passages between him and Churchill, whom he accused of being anxious to provoke the Ulster people to make an attack on the soldiers.  A highly provocative speech by Mr. Devlin followed, at the end of which Carson rose and left the House, saying audibly, “I am off to Belfast.”  He was accompanied out of the Chamber by eight Ulster members, and was followed by ringing and sustained cheers of encouragement and approval from the crowded Unionist benches.  It was a scene which those who witnessed it are not likely to forget.

The idea of accommodation between the combatant parties was at an end.


[56] The Yorkshire Post, September 22nd, 1913.

[57] The Liverpool Daily Courier, September 29th, 1913.

[58] Annual Register, 1914, p. 6.

[59] Annual Register, 1914, p. 12.

[60] Ibid., p. 1.

[61] The Annual Register, 1914, p. 33.

[62] Annual Register, 1914, pp. 51-2.

[63] The Times, March 16th, 1914.



When Mr. Bonar Law moved the vote of censure on the Government on the 19th of March he had no idea that the Cabinet had secretly taken in hand an enterprise which, had it been known, would have furnished infinitely stronger grounds for their impeachment than anything relating to their “proposals” for amending the Home Rule Bill.  It was an enterprise that, when it did become known, very nearly brought about their fall from power.

The whole truth about the famous “Curragh Incident” has never been ascertained, and the answers given by the Ministers chiefly concerned, under cross-examination in the House of Commons, were so evasive and in several instances so contradictory as to make it certain that they were exceedingly anxious that the truth should be concealed.  But when the available evidence is pieced together it leads almost irresistibly to the conclusion that in March 1914 the Cabinet, or at any rate some of the most prominent members of it, decided to make an imposing demonstration of military force against Ulster, and that they expected, if they did not hope, that this operation would goad the Ulstermen into a clash with the forces of the Crown, which, by putting them morally in the wrong, would deprive them of the popular sympathy they enjoyed in so large and increasing a measure.

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