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.

It was soon seen how little the policy of Lord Midleton was approved by those whom he was supposed to represent.  Although it was exceedingly difficult to obtain accurate information about what was going on in the Convention, enough became known in Dublin to cause serious misgiving to Southern Unionists.  The Council of the Irish Unionist Alliance, who had nominated Lord Midleton as a delegate, asked him to confer with them on the subject; but he refused.  On the 4th of March, 1918, a “Call to Unionists,” a manifesto signed by twenty-four influential Southern Unionists, appeared in the Press.  A Southern Unionist Committee was formed which before the end of May was able to publish the names of 350 well-known men in all walks of life who were in accord with the “Call,” and to announce that the supporters of their protest against Lord Midleton’s proceedings numbered upwards of fourteen thousand, of whom more than two thousand were farmers in the South and West.

This Committee then took steps to purge the Irish Unionist Alliance by making it more truly representative of Southern Unionist opinion.  A special meeting of the Council of the organisation on the 24th of January, 1919, brought on a general engagement between Lord Midleton and his opponents.  The general trend of opinion was disclosed when, after the defeat of a motion by Lord Midleton for excluding Ulster Unionists from full membership of the Alliance, Sir Edward Carson was elected one of its Presidents, and Lord Farnham was chosen Chairman of the Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee was then entirely reconstituted, by the rejection of every one of Lord Midleton’s supporters; and the new body issued a statement explaining the grounds of dissatisfaction with Lord Midleton’s action in the Convention, and declaring that he had “lost the confidence of the general body of Southern Unionists.”  Thereupon Lord Midleton and a small aristocratic clique associated with him seceded from the Alliance, and set up a little organisation of their own.


[96] Report of the Proceedings of the Irish Convention (Cd. 9019), p. 10.

[97] Cd. 9019.



While the Irish Convention was toilfully bringing to a close its eight months’ career of futility, the British Empire was in the grip of the most terrible ordeal through which it has ever passed.  On the 21st of March, 1918, the assembled Irishmen in Dublin were discussing whether or not proportional representation should form part of the hypothetical constitution of Ireland, and on the same day the Germans well-nigh overwhelmed the 5th Army at the opening of the great offensive campaign which threatened to break irretrievably the Allied line by the capture of Amiens.  The world held its breath.  Englishmen hardly dared to think of the fate that seemed impending over their country.  Irishmen continued complacently debating the paltry details of the Bishop of Raphoe’s clauses.  Irishmen and Englishmen together were being killed or maimed by scores of thousands in a supreme effort to stay the advance of the Boche to Paris and the sea.

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