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 Great War to find a place in this amazing despatch.  For the amusement of anyone who may care to examine so rare a curiosity of English prose, it will be found in full in the Appendix to this volume, where it may be compared by way of contrast with the restrained rejoinder sent also to President Wilson by Sir Edward Carson, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, the Mayor of Derry, and several loyalist representatives of Labour in Ulster.

In the Nationalist letter to President Wilson reference was made more than once to the sympathy that prevailed in Ireland in the eighteenth century with the American colonists in the War of Independence.  The use made of it was a good example of the way in which a half-truth may, for argumentative purposes, be more misleading than a complete falsehood.  “To-day, as in the days of George Washington”—­so Mr. Wilson was informed—­“nearly half the American forces have been furnished from the descendants of our banished race.”  No mention was made of the fact that the members of the “banished race” in Washington’s army were Presbyterian emigrants from Ulster, who formed almost the entire population of great districts in the American Colonies at that time.[102] The late Mr. Whitelaw Reid told an Edinburgh audience in 1911 that more than half the Presbyterian population of Ulster emigrated to America between 1730 and 1770, and that at the date of the Revolution they made more than one-sixth of the population of the Colonies.  The Declaration of Independence itself, he added—­

“Is sacredly preserved in the handwriting of an Ulsterman, who was Secretary of Congress.  It was publicly read by an Ulsterman, and first printed by another.  Washington’s first Cabinet had four members, of whom one was an Ulsterman."[103]

It is, of course, true that not all Ulster Presbyterians of that period were the firm and loyal friends of Great Britain that their descendants became after a century’s experience of the legislative Union.  But it is the latter who best in Ireland can trace kinship with the founders of the United States, and who are entitled—­if any Irishmen are—­to base on that kinship a claim to the sympathy and support of the American people.


[98] Annual Register, 1918, p, 87.

[99] Ibid., p. 88

[100] Ibid.

[101] Annual Register, 1918, p. 90.

[102] See Lecky’s History of England in the Eighteenth Century, vol. iv, p. 430.

[103] See Lecture to the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution by Whitelaw Reid, reported in The Scotsman, November 2nd, 1911.



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