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.
clear—­namely, that the “will of the people” constitutionally expressed in parliamentary elections has never declared itself in favour of granting Home Rule to Ireland, lies, first, in the justification it afforded to the preparations for active resistance to a measure so enacted; and, secondly, in the influence it had in procuring for Ulster not merely the sympathy but the open support of the whole Unionist Party in Great Britain.  Lord Londonderry, one of Ulster’s most trusted leaders, who afterwards gave the whole weight of his support to the policy of forcible resistance, admitted in the House of Lords in 1911, in the debates on the Parliament Bill, that the verdict of the country, if appealed to, would have to be accepted.  The leader of the Unionist Party, Mr. Bonar Law, made it clear in February 1914, as he had more than once stated before, that the support he and his party were pledging themselves to give to Ulster in the struggle then approaching a climax, was entirely due to the fact that the electorate had never sanctioned the policy of the Government against which Ulster’s resistance was threatened.  The chance of success in that resistance “depended,” he said, “upon the sympathy of the British people, and an election would undoubtedly make a great difference in that respect”; he denied that Mr. Asquith had a “right to pass any form of Home Rule without a mandate from the people of this country, which he has never received”; and he categorically announced that “if you get the decision of the people we shall obey it.”  And if, as then appeared likely, the unconstitutional conduct of the Government should lead to bloodshed in Ireland, the responsibility, said Mr. Bonar Law, would be theirs, “because you preferred to face civil war rather than face the people."[8]


[3] Morley’s Life of Gladstone, in, 492.

[4] Ibid., 493.

[5] Ibid., 505.

[6] Annual Register, 1910, p. 240.

[7] See Letters to Isabel, by Lord Shaw of Dunfermline, p. 130.

[8] Parliamentary Debates (5th Series), vol.  I viii, pp. 279-84.



From the day when Gladstone first made Home Rule for Ireland the leading issue in British politics, the Loyalists of Ulster—­who, as already explained, included practically all the Protestant population of the Province both Conservative and Liberal, besides a small number of Catholics who had no separatist sympathies—­set to work to organise themselves for effective opposition to the new policy.  In the hour of their dismay over Gladstone’s surrender Lord Randolph Churchill, hurrying from London to encourage and inspirit them, told them in the Ulster Hall on the 22nd of February, 1886, that “the Loyalists in Ulster should wait and watch—­organise and prepare."[9] They followed his advice.  Propaganda among themselves was indeed unnecessary, for no one required conversion except those who were known to be inconvertible.  The chief work to be done was to send speakers to British constituencies; and in the decade from 1885 to 1895 Ulster speakers, many of whom were ministers of the different Protestant Churches, were in request on English and Scottish platforms.

Project Gutenberg
Ulster's Stand For Union from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook