Forgot your password?  

Resources for students & teachers

Ronald McNeill, 1st Baron Cushendun
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 329 pages of information about Ulster's Stand For Union.
“Make no mistake; we are going to fight with men who are prepared to play with loaded dice.  They are prepared to destroy their own Constitution, so that they may pass Home Rule, and they are prepared to destroy the very elements of constitutional government by withdrawing the question from the electorate, who on two previous occasions refused to be a party to it.”

He ridiculed the “paper safeguards” which Liberal Ministers tried to persuade them would amply protect Ulster Protestants under a Dublin Parliament, giving a vivid picture of the plight they would be in under a Nationalist administration, which, he declared, meant “a tyranny to which we never can and never will submit”; and then, in a pregnant passage, he summarised the Ulster case: 

“Our demand is a very simple one.  We ask for no privileges, but we are determined that no one shall have privileges over us.  We ask for no special rights, but we claim the same rights from the same Government as every other part of the United Kingdom.  We ask for nothing more; we will take nothing less.  It is our inalienable right as citizens of the British Empire, and Heaven help the men who try to take it from us.”

It was all no doubt a mere restatement—­though an admirably lucid and forcible restatement—­of doctrine with which his hearers had long been familiar.  The great question still awaited an answer—­how was effect to be given to this resolve, now that there was no longer hope of salvation through the sympathy and support of public opinion in Great Britain?  This was what the eager listeners at Craigavon hoped in hushed expectancy to hear from their new leader.  He did not disappoint them: 

“Mr. Asquith, the Prime Minister, says that we are not to be allowed to put our case before the British electorate.  Very well.  By that determination he drives you in the ultimate result to rely upon your own strength, and we must follow all that out to its logical conclusion....  That involves something more than that we do not accept Home Rule.  We must be prepared, in the event of a Home Rule Bill passing, with such measures as will carry on for ourselves the government of those districts of which we have control.  We must be prepared—­and time is precious in these things—­the morning Home Rule passes, ourselves to become responsible for the government of the Protestant Province of Ulster.  We ask your leave at the meeting of the Ulster Unionist Council, to be held on Monday, there to discuss the matter, and to set to work, to take care that at no time and at no intervening interval shall we lack a Government in Ulster, which shall be a Government either by the Imperial Parliament, or by ourselves.”

Here, then, was the first authoritative declaration of a definite policy to be pursued by Ulster in the circumstances then existing or foreseen, and it was a policy that was followed with undeviating consistency

Follow Us on Facebook