Where in these instances is our “bigotry” or our hostility to Irish progress? Does not the balance of credit when the comparison is made with the Nationalists come on the side of Ulster? The Nationalists show their unreasoning opposition by proclaiming that they would rather see Ireland in rags and poverty than abate their demand for Home Rule. Ulster Unionists desire to see Ireland prosperous and contented. For that reason they welcome all reforms and movements from whatever quarter which have this excellent end in view. They intend to offer the strongest and most unrelenting opposition to Home Rule not as political partisans for party gain, but as Irishmen determined to resist so reactionary a measure which they firmly believe will prove of the greatest evil to their unhappy country.
[Footnote 62: House of Lords, March 12, 1894.]
[Footnote 63: Salford, November 21, 1911.]
[Footnote 64: Mr. A.J. Kettle, Freeman’s Journal, July 18, 1907.]
[Footnote 65: September 10, 1906.]
THE POSITION OF ULSTER
By Ulster, I mean the six counties, Antrim, Down, Londonderry, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, with the important adjacent Unionist sections of Monaghan, Cavan, and Donegal, in all of which taken together the Unionist population is in an unmistakable majority, and in which the commercial and manufacturing prosperity of the province is maintained by Unionist energy, enterprise, and industry.
The relation of Ulster to a separate Irish Parliament, with an Executive responsible to it, is a question which demands the most serious consideration on the part of English and Scotch electors. The Ulster Scot is not in Ireland to-day upon the conditions of an ordinary immigrant. His forefathers were “planted” in Ulster in the troublous times of the seventeenth century. Although at the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth peace had been secured all over Ireland, war was renewed in the Northern province early in the seventeenth century. The uprising was speedily crushed, and the lands of several of the rebellious nobles forfeited to the Crown. In order to prevent a repetition of lawlessness, the forfeited estates were entrusted to undertakers, on whom the obligation rested of peopling them with settlers from Great Britain. This scheme was devised in the hope that through the industry, character, and loyalty of the new population, the Northern province at all events should enjoy peace and prosperity, and become an attached portion of the King’s dominions; and that eventually its influence would be usefully felt throughout the rest of Ireland. This policy was carried out under the rule of an English King, himself a Scot—James VI. of Scotland and I. of England. Large numbers of settlers were brought over to Ulster, many of them English, but the majority Scotch. We Ulster Unionists who inhabit the province to-day, or at least the greater number of us, are descendants of these settlers. The overwhelming majority are passionately loyal to the British Throne and to the maintenance of the integrity of the United Kingdom.