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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.

But the moment of all others on that memorable day that must have been suggestive of such reflections was when the King formally opened the first Parliament of Northern Ireland in the same building that had witnessed the signing of the Ulster Covenant.  Without the earlier event the later could not have been.  If 1921 could have been fully foreseen in 1912 it might have appeared to many Covenanters as the disappointment of a cherished ideal.  But those who lived to listen to the King’s Speech in the City Hall realised that it was the dissipation of foreboding.  However regarded, it was, as King George himself pronounced, “a profoundly moving occasion in Irish history.”

The Speech from the Throne in which these words occurred made a deep impression all over the world, and nowhere more than in Ulster itself.  No people more ardently shared the touchingly expressed desire of the King that his coming to Ireland might “prove to be the first step towards an end of strife amongst her people, whatever their race or creed.”  So, too, when His Majesty told the Ulster Parliament that he “felt assured they would do their utmost to make it an instrument of happiness and good government for all parts of the community which they represented,” the Ulster people believed that the King’s confidence in them would not prove to have been misplaced.

Happily, no prophetic vision of those things that were shortly to come to pass broke in to disturb the sense of satisfaction with the haven that had been reached.  The future, with its treachery, its alarms, its fresh causes of uncertainty and of conflict, was mercifully hidden from the eyes of the Ulster people when they acclaimed the inauguration of their Parliament by their King.  They accepted responsibility for the efficient working of institutions thus placed in their keeping by the highest constitutional Authority in the British Empire, although they had never asked for them, and still believed that the system they had been driven to abandon was better than the new; and they opened this fresh chapter in their history in firm faith that what had received so striking a token of the Sovereign’s sympathy and approval would never be taken from them except with their own consent.

FOOTNOTES: 

[104] See Letter from Mr. Lloyd George to Mr. Bonar Law, published in the Press on November 18th, 1918.

[105] Precisely twenty-four months later this outrage was committed by Mr. Lloyd George himself, with the concurrence of Mr. Austen Chamberlain.

[106] Ante, p. 248.

[107] See ante, p. 51.

[108] The Morning Post, June 23rd, 1921.

[109] See ante, Chapter XVIII.

APPENDIX A

NATIONALIST LETTER TO PRESIDENT WILSON

To THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

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