Ulster's Stand For Union eBook

Ronald McNeill, 1st Baron Cushendun
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 329 pages of information about Ulster's Stand For Union.

What happened in regard to the vacant leadership is well known—­how Mr. Walter Long and Mr. Austen Chamberlain, after presenting themselves for a day or two as rival candidates, patriotically agreed to stand aside and give united support to Mr. Bonar Law in order to avoid a division in the ranks of the party.  It is less generally known that Mr. Bonar Law, before consenting to his name being proposed, wrote and asked Sir Edward Carson if he would accept the leadership, and that it was only when he received an emphatic reply in the negative that he assumed the responsibility himself.  If this had been known at the time in Ulster there can be little doubt that consternation would have been caused by the refusal of their own leader to place himself at the head of the whole Unionist Party.  It is quite certain that Sir Edward Carson would have been acceptable to the party meeting at the Carlton Club, for he was then much better known to the party both in the House of Commons and in the country than was Mr. Bonar Law, whose great qualities as parliamentarian and statesman had not yet been revealed; but it is not less certain that, if his first thought was to be of service to Ulster, Carson acted wisely in maintaining a position of independence, in which all his powers could continue to be concentrated on a single aim of statecraft.

At all events, the new leader of the Unionist Party was not long in proving that the Ulster cause had suffered no set-back by the change, and his constant and courageous backing of the Ulster leader won him the unstinted admiration and affection of every Irish Loyalist.  Mr. Balfour also soon showed that he was no sulking Achilles; his loyalty to the Unionist cause was undimmed; he never for a moment acted, as a meaner man might, as if his successor were a supplanter; and within the next few months he many times rose from beside Mr. Bonar Law in the House of Commons to deliver some of the best speeches he ever made on the question of Irish Government, full of cogent and crushing criticism of the Home Rule proposals of Mr. Asquith.

FOOTNOTES: 

[13] Annual Register, 1911, p. 228.

CHAPTER VI

MR. CHURCHILL IN BELFAST

At the women’s meeting at the Ulster Hall on the 18th of January, 1912,[14] Lord Londonderry took occasion to recall once more to the memory of his audience the celebrated speech delivered by Lord Randolph Churchill in the same building twenty-six years before.  That clarion was, indeed, in no danger of being forgotten; but there happened at that particular moment to be a very special reason for Ulstermen to remember it, and the incident which was present in Londonderry’s mind—­a Resolution passed by the Standing Committee of the Ulster Unionist Council two days earlier—­proved to be so distinct a turning-point in the history of Ulster’s stand for the Union that it claims more than a passing mention.

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