vote.” Nevertheless, such speeches as those
of the Archbishop of York, Earl Grey, the Duke of
Devonshire, and Lord Londonderry, were not without
effect on opinion outside. Earl Grey, an admitted
authority on federal constitutions, urged that if,
as the Government were continually assuring the country,
Home Rule was the first step in the federalisation
of the United Kingdom, there was every reason why Ulster
should be a distinct unit in the federal system.
The Archbishop dealt more fully with the Ulster question.
Admitting that he had formerly believed “that
this attitude of Ulster was something of a scarecrow
made up out of old and outworn prejudices,”
he had now to acknowledge that the men of Ulster were
“of all men the least likely to be ’drugged
with the wine of words,’ and were men who of
all other men mean and do what they say.”
Behind all the glowing eloquence of Mr. Asquith and
Mr. Redmond, he discerned “this figure of Ulster,
grim, determined, menacing, which no eloquence can
exorcise and no live statesmanship can ignore.”
If the result of this legislation should be actual
bloodshed, then, on whomsoever might rest the responsibility
for it, it would mean the shattering of all the hopes
of a united and contented Ireland which it was the
aim of the Bill to create. If Ulster made good
her threat of forcible resistance there was, said
the Archbishop, one condition, and one condition only,
on which her coercion could be justified, and that
was that the Government “should have received
from the people of this country an authority clear
and explicit” to carry it out.
But among the numerous striking passages in the debate
which occupied the Peers for four days, none was more
telling than Lord Curzon’s picturesque description
of how Ulster was to be treated. “You are
compelling Ulster,” he said, “to divorce
her present husband, to whom she is not unfaithful,
and you compel her to marry someone else whom she
cordially dislikes, with whom she does not want to
live; and you do it because she happens to be rich,
and because her new partner has a large and ravenous
offspring to provide for. You are asking rather
too much of human nature.”
That the Home Rule Bill would be rejected on second
reading by the Lords was a foregone conclusion, and
it was so rejected by a majority of 257 on the 31st
of January, 1913. The Bill then entered into its
period of gestation under the Parliament Act.
The session did not come to an end until the 7th of
March, and the new session began three days afterwards.
It is unnecessary to follow the fortunes of the Bill
in Parliament in 1913, for the process was purely
mechanical, in order to satisfy the requirements of
the Parliament Act. The preparations for dealing
with the mischief it would work went forward with
unflagging energy elsewhere.
 See ante, p. 79.