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Ronald McNeill, 1st Baron Cushendun
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 329 pages of information about Ulster's Stand For Union.

The negotiations for settlement thus fell to the ground, and the bitter sacrifice which Ulster had brought herself to offer, in response to the Government’s urgent appeal, bore no fruit, unless it was to afford one more proof of her loyalty to England and the Empire.  She was to find that such proofs were for the most part thrown away, and merely were used by her enemies, and by some who professed to be her friends, as a starting-point for demands on her for further concessions.  But, although all British parties in turn did their best to impress upon Ulster that loyalty did not pay, she never succeeded in learning the lesson sufficiently to be guided by it in her political conduct.

FOOTNOTES: 

[93] Mr. Lloyd George’s memory was at fault when he said in the House of Commons on the 7th of February, 1922, that on the occasion referred to in the text he had seen Sir Edward Carson and Mr. Redmond together.

[94] The quotations from this speech, which was never published, are from a report privately taken by the Ulster Unionist Council.

[95] See ante, p. 105.

CHAPTER XXII

THE IRISH CONVENTION

After the failure of Mr. Lloyd George’s negotiations for settlement in the summer of 1916 the Nationalists practically dropped all pretence of helping the Government to carry on the war.  They were, no doubt, beginning to realise how completely they were losing hold of the people of Southern Ireland, and that the only chance of regaining their vanishing popularity was by an attitude of hostility to the British Government.

Frequently during the autumn and winter they raised debates in Parliament on the demand that the Home Rule Act should immediately come into operation, and threatened that if this were not done recruits from Ireland would not be forthcoming, although the need for men was now a matter of great national urgency.  They ignored the fact that Mr. Redmond was a consenting party to Mr. Asquith’s policy of holding Home Rule in abeyance till after the war, and attempted to explain away their own loss of influence in Ireland by alleging that the exasperation of the Irish people at the delay in obtaining “self-government” was the cause of their alienation from England, and of the growth of Sinn Fein.

In December 1916 the Asquith Government came to an end, and Mr. Lloyd George became Prime Minister.  He had shown his estimate of Sir Edward Carson’s statesmanship by pressing Mr. Asquith to entrust the entire conduct of the war to a Committee of four, of whom the Ulster leader should be one; and, having failed in this attempt to infuse energy and decision into the counsels of his Chief, he turned him out and formed a Ministry with Carson in the office of First Lord of the Admiralty, at that time one of the most vital in the Government.  Colonel James Craig also joined the Ministry as Treasurer of the Household.

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