of Ireland will turn with the utmost anxiety and sympathy
to this country in every trial and every danger that
may overtake it. [General cheers.] There is a possibility
at any rate of history repeating itself. The
House will remember that in 1778, at the end of the
disastrous American war, when it might, I think, truly
be said that the military power of this country was
almost at its lowest ebb, and when the shores of Ireland
were threatened with foreign invasion, a body of 100,000
Irish volunteers sprang into existence for the purpose
of defending her shores. At first no Catholic—ah!
how sad the reading of the history of those days is—was
allowed to be enrolled in that body of volunteers,
and yet from the very first day the Catholics of the
South and West subscribed money and sent it toward
the arming of their Protestant fellow-countrymen.
Ideas widened as time went on, and finally the Catholics
in the South were armed and enrolled brothers in arms
with their fellow-countrymen of a different creed in
the North. May history repeat itself! [Cheers.]
Today there are in Ireland two large bodies of volunteers.
One of them sprang into existence in the North.
Another has sprung into existence in the South.
I say to the Government that they may tomorrow withdraw
every one of their troops from Ireland. [General cheers.]
I say that the coasts of Ireland will be defended
from foreign invasion by her armed sons, and for this
purpose armed Nationalist Catholics in the South will
be only too glad to join arms with the armed Protestant
Ulstermen in the North. [Cheers.] Is it too much to
hope that out of this situation there may spring a
result which will be good not merely for the empire,
but good for the future welfare and integrity of the
Irish Nation. [Cheers.] I ought to apologize for having
intervened [cries of “No"], but while Irishmen
generally are in favor of peace, and would desire to
save the democracy of this country from all the horrors
of war, while we would make any possible sacrifice
for that purpose, still if the dire necessity is forced
upon this country we offer to the Government of the
day that they may take their troops away, and that
if it is allowed to us in comradeship with our brethren
in the North we will ourselves defend the coasts of
our country. [Loud cheers.]
* * * *
Prime Minister Asquith Explains Its Nature in House
of Commons, Aug. 4, 1914.
Mr. Bonar Law—I wish to ask the
Prime Minister whether he has any statement that he
can now make to the House?
The Prime Minister (Mr. Asquith)—In
conformity with the statement of policy made here
by my right honorable friend the Foreign Secretary
yesterday, a telegram was early this morning sent by
him to our Ambassador in Berlin. It was to this