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.


[90] Morning Post, May 19th, 1913.

[91] The Annual Register, 1914, p. 259.

[92] “The Army and Ireland,” Nineteenth Century and After, January 1921, by Lieut.-Colonel John Ward, C.B., C.M.G., M.P.



The position in which Ulster was now placed was, from the political point of view, a very anxious one.  Had the war not broken out when it did, there was a very prevalent belief that the Government could not have avoided a general election either before, or immediately after, the placing of Home Rule on the Statute-book; and as to the result of such an election no Unionist had any misgiving.  Even if the Government had remained content to disregard the electorate, it would have been impossible for them to subject Ulster to a Dublin Parliament.  The organisation there was powerful enough to prevent it, by force if necessary, and the Curragh Incident had proved that the Army could not be employed against the Loyalists.

But the whole outlook had now changed.  The war had put off all thought of a General Election till an indefinite future; the Ulster Volunteers, and every other wheel in the very effective machinery prepared for resistance to Home Rule, were now diverted to a wholly different purpose; and at the same time the hated Bill had become an Act, and the only alleviation was the promise, for what it might be worth, of an Amending Bill the scope of which remained undefined.  While, therefore, the Ulster leaders and people threw themselves with all their energy into the patriotic work to which the war gave the call, the situation so created at home caused them much uneasiness.

No one felt it more than Lord Londonderry.  Indeed, as the autumn of 1914 wore on, the despondency he fell into was so marked that his friends could not avoid disquietude on his personal account in addition to all the other grounds for anxiety.  He and Lady Londonderry, it is true, took a leading part in all the activities to which the war gave rise —­encouraging recruiting, organising hospitals, and making provision of every kind for soldiers and their dependents, in Ulster and in the County of Durham.  But when in London in November, Lord Londonderry would sit moodily at the Carlton Club, speaking to few except intimate friends, and apparently overcome by depression.  He was pessimistic about the war.  His only son was at the front, and he seemed persuaded he would never return.  The affairs of Ulster, to which he had given his whole heart, looked black; and he went about as if all his purpose in life was gone.  He went with Lady Londonderry to Mount Stewart for Christmas, and one or two intimate friends who visited him there in January 1915 were greatly disturbed in mind on his account.  But the public in Belfast, who saw him going in and out of the Ulster Club as usual, did not know anything was amiss, and were terribly shocked as well as grieved when they heard of his sudden death at Wynyard on the 8th of February.

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