Ourselves alone in Ulster

By Alice Stopford Green

Maunsel & Co. Ltd.
Dublin and London



In a speech delivered on December 14, 1917, Mr. Lloyd George spoke of “a definite and clear line of action, intelligible in consciences of a certain quality”—”Ourselves first, ourselves last, ourselves all the time, and ourselves alone.” “It is pretty mean” he added, “but there are in every country men built that way, and you must reckon with them in the world.”

A subtle question of casuistry could be raised as to how great a number of people must be united to make this motto either a despicable or an honourable one. It would doubtless be thought very creditable in an Empire. How about a United Kingdom—a Nation—or half a Province of a nation?

This problem was decided without difficulty by north-east Ulster. The superiority of its wealth, the vigour of its creed, the self-confidence of its men—there were its sufficient credentials for a policy of “ourselves first and last, ourselves all the time.” North-east Ulster had no wrongs or sufferings to proclaim to the human conscience. The only trouble was a story as old as the world, that in its proud prosperity it fell into those fearful apprehensions that haunt the way of the wealthy, driving them in every age to multiply safeguards and shelters for their riches and power. North-east Ulster required, in a changing world, that the guarantees of its commercial interests should remain unchanged.

To secure this fixity of position rebellion under arms might be allowed. If an illegal form of government, as near high treason as could be, could assure material safety, the only question was how to perfect scientific organization, with sufficient finances to withstand every strain. Rebellion would be justified in one way only, by success. In the three phases of the northern movement it has preserved its character unchanged, and adhered to its first purpose.

I. The first phase of organized resistance was in response to the demand of three-fourths of Ireland for a grant of Home Rule to be enacted by the King and Parliament of the United Kingdom. In the heated controversies of 1910 the Right Hon. Thomas Andrews, P.C., Hon. Secretary of the Unionist Council, sounded his note of defiance by declaring that he, and he believed his colleagues, would rather be governed by Germany than by Patrick Ford and John Redmond and Company.[1] It was a time when the foreign policy of the Kaiser was a subject of the gravest alarm in England, and English anxieties were diligently exploited by the leaders of Unionism in Ulster. Captain Watt, at a meeting of Londonderry Orangemen in August 1910, gave his warning to the new King just entered on his inheritance: “It has been said that we want another King William the Third. Well, take care that the present King is not to be another King James, but I ask you to give King George a chance before you come to any decision.”[2] In January 1911, before the King was crowned, Captain Craig, M.P., warned England from his personal knowledge that Germany and the German Emperor would be preferred of the rules of John Redmond, Patrick Ford, and the Molly Maguires.[3] The year was one of continued excitement. The coronation in June was quickly followed by the “Agadir” alarm in July. It will be remembered that war with Germany was thought inevitable; officers were ready for their marching orders, and the fleet lay with sealed orders, waiting the signal to set sail. The close of the grave railway strike in England was determined by the extreme danger of the foreign situation, and the pressure which the Cabinet, under such perilous conditions, brought to bear on industrial magnates in England. But the Government eschewed controversy with imperialists of the north-east Ulster quality. Rebellious incitements were freely carried on by “Ourselves first and last.” In August Sir Edward Carson stated that the passing of the Home Rule Bill would be resisted by force[4]-a threat of civil war. “If Home Rule were granted,” said Mr. C. C. Craig, M.P., on October 17, 1911, “it would not matter a row of pins whether they were separated from Great Britain or whether they were not.”[5]

From words they passed to deeds. The Ulster Unionist Council of four hundred members, representing Unionist Associations in Ulster constituencies, met under the Marquis of Londonderry in Belfast on September 25, 1911, and then resolved:[6]-(i) That it was their imperative duty to make arrangements for a Provisional Government of Ulster; and (2) That they hereby appointed a Commission which, in consultation with Sir Edward Carson, should frame and submit a constitution for this Provisional Government. A silence of sixteen months followed; but the Council and secret Commission were not idle. An invigorated north-east Ulster declared its will to suppress all freedom of speech—even on the part of Ministers of the Crown—with regard to the government of Ireland. The Liberals had engaged the Ulster Hall in February 1912, for Mr. Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, to address Belfast citizens on the subject of Home Rule. The Harbour Board refused te allow Mr. Churchill a reception as First Lord. The Hall, as the property of the whole body of citizens, was up to that time open for all forms of discussion, Tory, Liberal, Labour, and Nationalist, as represented by Mr. Redmond and Mr. Dillon. Now, however, the Orangemen seized the Hall, and held possession for a week before the meeting. No Nationalist, they declared, should sully the Ulster Hall by his presence; and to cries of “Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” the Unionists drove the Government representative to hold his meeting in a football ground, the Celtic Park,[7] By this first outrage they demonstrated to a humiliated Cabinet that Ulster Protestants could do as they liked.

With the second reading of the Home Rule Bill in April 1912, the education of north-east Ulster in rebellion became even more emphatic. The Rev. T. Walmesley spoke on August 13, of the prospect of the Sovereign coming one day for the ceremony of re-opening the Parliament of a free and reconciled Ireland,[8] “If” he declared, “our King should be there of his own free will, then I for one will feel myself justified in no longer regarding him as my King.” There were excited ceremonies, at which Sir Edward Carson was presented with a blackthorn stick adorned with the Orange and Freemason colours; and with the banner under which William III had gone to victory on the Boyne.[9] Public emotion culminated on “Ulster Day,” September 28, 1912, when the “Covenant” was signed by 218,206 men, and 228,991 women in Ulster—447,197 persons out of a population (counting those over 16) of 1,074,000.

The proceedings of the Ulster Unionist Council meanwhile were carried on in private. Nothing more was publicly heard of the “Special Commission” of 1911 till the third reading of the Home Rule Bill in January 1913. Then on January 31 the Council announced the passing by them of a notable resolution:[10]-“We ratify and confirm the further steps so far taken by the Special Commission, and approve of the draft resolutions and articles of the Ulster Provisional Government this day submitted to us, and appoint the members of the Special Commission to act as the Executive thereunder.”
The work of the Commission remained secret. No hint of the terms of the articles and resolutions was permitted to leak out. The Council was, in fact, a close corporation, the members of which were selected from classes prominent in the older fights for dominance and committed to the tradition of Ascendancy—peers, landowners, militia officers, ecclesiastics, and by degrees capitalists and employers. There was no pretence of representation as generally understood. Members were not chosen by the working-classes, nor even by public bodies over which Unionists had control, such as boards of guardians, urban councils, or the like; and in counties such as Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal, which were strongly represented, not one of the members could have been openly elected by the people on his merits. A cynic might have suggested that it was a last bid of the aristocratic and superior classes, lay and ecclesiastical, in alliance with English Tories, to guide the people for their good. The Times on May 9, 1913, justified the high purpose of their aristocratic and religious mission.
“The occasion has been used to strengthen the conservatism of Ulster—I do not use the word in a party sense.
By disciplining the Ulster democracy, and by teaching it to look up to them as its natural leaders, the clergy and gentry are providing against the spread of Revolutionary doctrine and free thought.”

So efficient and well-drilled a scheme of establishing the superior classes in control secured, in fact, the utmost sympathy among the English nobility and clergy, expressed in vast sums of money. The English upper classes recognized the wholesome influence of the “natural leaders” of Belfast, that vast industrial city where labour had been long accustomed to no representation; unless of late years when Protestant Unionist workers found themselves forced to invoke in any special distress the aid of a Catholic Nationalist member of Parliament. In north-east Ulster might be seen the model of discipline by the clergy and gentry, its natural leaders.

Loyalty to the Crown was no part of the new conservative mission, except on terms that the Crown
accepted the decisions of the north-east Ulster Unionists.
“If Home Rule is passed I would not care whether the British Empire went to smash or not,” said the Rev. Chancellor Hobson on Easter Monday, 1913.[11] The threat of Germany was still freely used. Mr. James Chambers, M.P. for South Belfast, suggested it to his constituents on May 23, 1913.[12] “As regards the future, what if a day should come when Ireland would be clamouring for independence complete and thorough from Great Britain? . . . What side would they take then? (A voice: “Germany.”) He (Mr. Chambers) bound no man to his opinions. They owed to England allegiance, loyalty, and gratitude; but if England cast them off then he reserved the right as a betrayed man to say ‘I shall act as I have a right to act. I shall sing no longer “God save the King”‘ . . . He said there solemnly that the day England cast him off and despised his loyalty and allegiance, that day he would say:
‘England, I will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh.'” The Irish Churchman on November 14, 1913,[13] gave prominence to a letter addressed to it: “It may not be known to the rank and file of Unionists that we have the offer of aid from a powerful Continental monarch who, if Home Rule is forced on the Protestants of Ireland, is prepared to send an army sufficient to release England of any further trouble in Ireland by attaching it to his dominion, believing, as he does, that if our King breaks his Coronation Oath by signing the Home Rule Bill he will, by so doing, have forfeited his claim to rule Ireland. And should our King sign the Home Rule Bill the Protestants of Ireland will welcome this Continental deliverer as their forefathers, under similar circumstances, did once before.” “Can King George sign the Home Rule Bill?” ran an open letter to Mr. Asquith in the leading Unionist paper in Mr. Barrie’s constituency in July 1913.[14] “Let him do so, and his Empire shall perish as true as God rules Heaven . . . Therefore let King George sign the Home Rule Bill—he is no longer my King.” Such phrases were repeated on all sides in full security. Unionists had, and rightly, no apprehension of blame. They have long known that public opinion in England can never be roused to alarm or indignation by any Protestant propaganda, whatever be its purpose or the violence of its methods. An unquestioning trust has always rewarded Orange Lodges.

Inspirited by uninterrupted success and the applause of English Tories, the party of north-east Ulster opened a further enterprise. The Unionist Council met on September 24, 1913, in the Ulster Hall, to decree itself the Central Authority of the Provisional Government, and its Standing Committee of seventy-six was declared to be the Executive Committee of the Provisional Government of Ulster.[15] Sir Edward Carson was appointed head of the Central Authority, with a multitude of Committees and Boards under him. There were the Executive Committee, Military Council, Ulster Volunteer Committee, Volunteer Advisory Board, Personnel Board, Supply Board, Medical Board, Finance and Business Committee, Legal Committee, Education Committee, Publication and Literary Committee, Customs and Excise Committee, Post Office Committee. Chaplains were appointed, and an Assessor.
Power was given to Committees to co-opt a member or members of the Ulster Women’s Unionist Council.

No statement was made as to the powers and functions of either the central authority or subordinate boards and committees. These, the public were told, “shall be as defined hereafter.” Sir Edward Carson was chairman of every committee and board, the only link between them so far as outsiders knew. Not one working man was selected in this one-sided State—no representative of Labour, Democracy, or Liberalism. Ministers of religion might find a place by virtue of high office in Freemason or Orange bodies. All members of the various committees were local Unionist leaders, arbitrarily appointed without consulting popular opinion. It was Dublin Castle over again without even the pretence of a Westminster Parliament as the final authority.

This Provisional Government was ready to be called into full working order at the command of Sir, Edward Carson. For the present it exerted a complete authority as the organized Unionist Council. It found a home in the old City Hall of Belfast, heavily subsidized by the Corporation. The leaders, familiar with the old habit of the diplomatic craft by which States are led, exploited {with their allies) all the chances of secret politics, and spent their unlimited resources with rich freedom and equal dexterity. From time to time public meetings were held to announce the general decisions of the new Ulster Government, while the administration was skillfully carried out in camera. Fiery denunciations of the King and Parliament of England, and of all the rest of Ireland, along with the Pope, were addressed to the public. The immense funds at the disposal of the governing body made it easy to arrange exhilarating festivals and gatherings for the encouragement of the people. The State had been cemented by a sworn Covenant, and the attendant religious ceremonies emphasized the doctrine of a peculiar people, chosen by a special Deity. “O God,” ran the prayer of one of the greatest Presbyterian assemblies in a chief centre of Covenanters, who had met on the great day of signing to consecrate their work, “O God, remember that Thou art not a God like other gods.”[16] The naturally militant and aggressive character of a “chosen people” was emphasized by a multitude of sermons in which, so far as we can judge from those printed in the papers, the texts were invariably taken from the warlike incitements of Old Testament warriors and prophets, while only two verses were adopted by the leading preachers from the New Testament of the Christian faith: “I am not come to send peace but a sword”: “He that hath no sword let him sell his cloak and buy one.” In such a temper the Times saw a spiritual hope. “The Covenant,” it wrote on May 3, 1913, “was a mystical affirmation. . . . Ulster seemed to enter into an offensive and defensive alliance with the Deity.” Ministers of the various creeds, after long severance, found their meeting-place in a common political faith—the faith which was expressed later by the Protestant potentate who was to them the spiritual heir of the pious William of the Boyne: “The German people has in the Lord of Creation above an unconditional and avowed Ally on whom it can absolutely rely.”

To complete the attributes of a self-contained State an army was needed. Unionist Clubs had long been formed throughout the country, whose members were easily ranged into corps of Volunteer soldiers. They were said to number 60,000 when reviewed by the new Ulster Provisional Government. It was now held necessary to replace Volunteers with wooden rifles and cannon by troops armed for active service with modern weapons. The creation of such an army was certainly illegal. But mere illegality was not an obstacle to stop the march of Ulster. In June 1913, a large consignment of arms was imported to Belfast as “electrical plant.”[17] Sir Edward Carson already anticipated “Der Tag.” “I like,” he said on August 3, 1913, “to get nearer the enemy.[18] I like to see the men are preparing for what I call the Great Day.” A Volunteer Force numbering according to report 100,000, or presently 200,000 men, was equipped by the Ulster Provisional Government on a very sumptuous scale, with khaki uniforms, military boots, motorcycles, rifles, machine-guns, and all other necessaries. A couple of Germans assisted in their training.[19] An indemnity fund of £1,000,000 was announced, to indemnify Volunteers for loss of life and property.
Ambulances and nurses were provided.[20] Sir Edward Carson stated that to his personal knowledge “The forces of the Crown were already dividing into hostile camps.”[21] Imperialist and Unionist Ulster set no limits to its defiance of the Imperial Government, encouraged by their English friends. Sir Edward Carson’s lieutenant, the “Galloper” F. E. Smith, speaking in County Antrim on September 21, said if war began in Ulster “From that moment we hold ourselves absolved from all allegiance to this Government. From that moment we on our part will say to our fellows in England: ‘To your tents, O Israel.’ From that moment we shall stand side by side with you refusing to recognise any law.”[22] Friends in England proposed by the help of Ulster to smash the Territorials, who were afterwards to play so great a part in the war. The Observer of November 30, 1913, “urged that all Unionist Lords Lieutenant should resign their position as heads of the County Territorial Associations,” that “every Unionist should prepare to leave the Territorials”; and that “the whole of Unionist influence throughout the country ought to be used to prevent recruits from joining so long as there is the slightest threat of coercing Ulster.” In defence of Protestant Unionism, Sir Edward Carson declared himself ready to break all laws.[23] He professed scorn and defiance of anything done “down in a little place called Westminster.” His insolences were studied:
“I saw,” he declared in the Ulster Hall, “Mr. Lloyd George in his robes as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and I almost mistook him for a gentleman.” Carson’s followers blatantly announced their preference for a Protestant German ruler who would revive the glorious and immortal memory of an older William.
Mr. Chambers, Solicitor-General for Ireland, gave it to be understood that he was in negotiation with the German Chancellor for the transfer of Ulster if necessary, owing to its resolve to be attached to a strictly Protestant Power. When he proclaimed in the high street of his constituency in Belfast, that if English George signed the bill he was for the German William, the vaunt was repeated on all sides.

An ignoble form of north-east Ulster bigotry manifested itself in a common cry that Catholics were all very well in their place as hewers of wood and drawers of water,[24] but under the Ulster Provisional Government no Catholic should be employed in Belfast. The battle in the shipyards is well remembered with its Catholic boycott and violent expulsion of the Catholic workingmen. All Catholics, in fact, fled or were withdrawn from the shipyards for many months, to protect them from the violence of the Protestant mob. Sir Edward Carson said no word in condemnation of this brutality, nor did any minister of religion, though Belfast never failed in denouncing outrages in the South and West.[25]

In fact the Government of the half-province justified the boast that it was ready to break all laws of the United Kingdom. A Royal Proclamation had in December, 1913, forbidden the importing of arms. Sir Edward Carson admitted no such control. The departure of the “Fanny” from Hamburg, in 1914, laden with arms for the new army was foreshadowed in the papers three weeks before its arrival at Larne in April 1914.[26] All the Volunteers were called out. They guarded Belfast, where a decoy-boat was sent in to mislead the police.
They surrounded Larne and Bangor and shut them out from “the enemy.” At the famous gun-running into the Irish harbour the Provisional Government took possession of the King’s high-roads, ran telegraph wires to earth, confined the police to barracks, seized harbours, locked up officials of the customs, rounded up suspected Nationalists and locked them in a barn, and generally broke the public laws of sea and land. Admirals, generals, officials of the coast-guard, of police, of the post-office, and telegraph service, all connived at the lawless deeds.
Public law was suspended. Evidently at Larne the Provisional Government not merely claimed but exercised the right to rebel. The fact was emphasized on April 29 in a speech by Major Crawford, the captain of the “Fanny,” to a Unionist Club in County Down: “If they were put out of the Union …. he would infinitely prefer to change his allegiance right over to the Emperor of Germany, or anyone else who had got a proper and stable government.”[27]

England was startled. Her Prime Minister in Parliament formally denounced the whole proceeding at Larne, as “an unprecedented outrage.”[28] The answer of the north-east Ulster Government to English tremors was unhesitating. Captain Craig, M.P., on July 9, 1914, read for the first time openly the preamble to the Constitution of the Ulster Provisional Government.
The people, it stated, of the counties and places represented in the Ulster Unionist Council undertook to resist to the utmost the powers to be exercised over them by a Nationalist Government, and resolved if Home Rule was set up to ignore the Irish Parliament, and to assume and exercise all powers necessary for the government of Ulster, pending the restoration of direct Imperial government.[29] Fresh military preparations were made for the army, now said to have reached 200,000 men.
Machine guns were landed, and rest stations arranged for refugees flying from the threatened civil war. A resolution was proposed by Lord Londonderry, stating that preparations would be made to resist by force and every other method decrees of any Nationalist Parliament that might be established.[30] At Larne, on July 11, Sir Edward Carson first announced the name of the pirate hero of the Fanny, expounded the lesson of Larne, lauded the organizers of the gun-running, classing himself among them, and directed the volunteers to be ready, “if not for peace with honour, for war with honour.”[31]
The Government was again flouted in the Belfast celebration of the glorious Twelfth of July. The black pirate flag was hoisted on the gate of the chief gunrunner, and as the procession passed in its multitudinous glory, Sir Edward Carson, called on to salute the lawless emblem, rose in his carriage laden with orange lilies, and more than once bowed low, to tumultuous cheers, amid flags of the Brethren and the “open Bibles” of wood borne aloft by the Orange Lodges in testimony of their rigid creed.[32] He led the march to Drumbeg of 70,000 men, where he boasted of the army mutiny and the Larne triumph.[33] There was a series of reviews.
Among the forty reporters said to be gathered in Belfast for the display, three or four Germans watched the proceedings, and Baron von Kuhlmann, of the German Embassy, now the German Secretary for Foreign Affairs, arrived quietly, without information given to the Press, as an honoured guest, to view the magnitude of the Protestant preparations for Civil War.[34] According to the boast of the Covenanting Government, the force raised to defy the Government at Westminster was so furnished and drilled as to be ready at any moment to take the field. English generals and English Press-men proclaimed aloud that the troops exceeded any army in training, appearance and equipment. Their defiant quality was shown the day after the Conference at Buckingham Palace had broken up, when on July 25 the Provisional Government of Ulster organized a parade through Belfast of 5,000 men in khaki, with bands, rifles, and machine-guns, all traffic in the streets being held up officially for the display.[35]

Sensational public shows, on however costly a scale of European advertisement, were but the decorative ornaments of methodical and hard-cut business. The English War Office, moved by some natural fears that the new “Army” might be tempted in the interests of Ulster to appropriate some of the military stores collected in certain mobilization centres, had before these events proposed to send military guards to protect their own material, and had thought it prudent to appoint General Sir Neville MacCready to Belfast as military governor in reserve, in case the magistrates refused to perform their duty. He was received with shouts of “Butcher MacCready.”[36] Cries of agonised terror resounded, “The English Government had planned a ‘pogrom,'” “There was to be a massacre of Protestants.” The country was blazing with excitement when the Provisional Government sprang to the rescue. It possessed unexploited resources in certain lofty connexions, and the wide-spread influences of Orange and Freemason propaganda in high circles were available to organise a secret conspiracy throughout the British Army and Navy, and even the Air Force, that they should stand on the side of north-east Ulster in all eventualities, and refuse to act against her. To their temporary annoyance the plot was accidently revealed early in 1914 by the notorious “Curragh mutiny,”[37] when the illegal complicity of generals and officers became known, whose military discipline had been degraded at the bidding of faction cries, and whose larger outlook had been eclipsed by the glamour of old ascendancies. The Prime Minister took charge of the War Office. But the discomfiture of the Provisional Government was only momentary. The Prime Minister returned to his usual position. Before the scientific organization and the warlike threats of the Unionist Council, the Government of the United Kingdom, over-awed and intimidated, succumbed and laid down all opposition.

II. The outbreak of war opened the second scene in the drama of the Provisional Government. The Council of the half-province, professing an undying loyalty to the Imperial Government which it had vanquished, became the Mayor of the Palace to the defeated powers of Westminster. It consented to fill the chief places of the Law, and to guide the Imperial Cabinet according to the Ulster formula. Sir Edward Carson and Mr. F. E. Smith undertook as Attorney and Solicitor-General to deal in England with any rebellious-minded persons less successful than themselves; and Mr. Campbell and Mr. William Moore were in due time made Lord Chief Justice and Judge of the High Court in Ireland. The Higher Policy was thus proclaimed identical with the Higher Law, to the confusion of all objectors. In course of affairs Sir Edward Carson passed to the War Cabinet, the Admiralty, and finally to the political Propaganda, by which foreign nations were instructed as to what was or was not laudable “rebellion” in Ireland.[38]

All this implied no change Ml Sir Edward Carson’s views, as north-east Ulster might see when on a visit to Ireland as Minister of the Crown, he gracefully accepted the gift of a silver model of the “Fanny.”[39] Meanwhile in Belfast itself the Ulster Provisional Government was maintained in full force, and the second stage of the north-east movement was not less efficiently directed than the first. The Orange and Unionist Press maintained their policy of threats. The Northern Whig on August 24, reminded “three-fourths of the people of Ulster” (an amazing calculation) that if the Home Rule Bill became an Act they “must become either traitors to the Covenant which they have solemnly signed or rebels to the Crown.” On the next day the Belfast Evening Telegraph commented on the suggestion to put the Home Rule Bill upon the Statute Book with a time reservation: “To do that would create a serious position. It would drive Ulster Loyalists into this position, that much as they desire to assist Britain’s armed forces abroad at this juncture, and much as their help in that direction is needed, they would be compelled, through the Government’s action, to remain here for the defence of their hearths and homes against an enemy no less deadly and embittered.”
The Unionist Council meanwhile undertook no recruiting for the war.[40] There was a good deal of local effort, on natural and liberal lines, where Protestants and Catholics enlisted together, and sent out men to fight and die at Suvla Bay—all this apart from any direction of Sir Edward Carson. Recruiting was in fact officially frowned on until the leader had given the word. A letter written by Captain Arthur O’Neill from the front urging men to enlist was refused by a Unionist paper, because Sir Edward Carson had made no pronouncement.
In Tyrone, one who was urgent in calling for recruits was accused of “spoiling the game” before his leader had spoken. Covenanters declared that if the Home Rule Bill was signed there would not be a single man sent from Ulster to the war. Strange scenes of excitement were reported. Sir Edward Carson arrived unannounced in Belfast on September 1[41] to explain the bargain he had completed with the War Office before authorizing the use of Ulster troops. After some days of private negotiations he stated the terms on September 4, at a meeting of the Unionist Association, and afterwards at a public meeting. The Volunteers were to form a separate division, under their old officers, and to have back any of their officers who had had to mobilize. As for the fear of danger at home, he told them from 20,000 to 30,000 soldiers could hold Ulster, and the Volunteer force at home would be kept efficient to repel those who would try to invade their country.[42]
At Larne he renewed this assurance: “I am proud of the men in the Ulster Volunteers—not only those who are enlisting, but those who are staying at home, to save us from a tyranny to which we will never submit.”[43]
His first promise was a division maintained as a separate and complete unit, without being attached to any other division. The second pledge was an assurance that the policy of the Ulster Provisional Government and the Covenant would suffer no slightest injury:
“I promise you that I will reorganize the Volunteers, and that when you come back you will not find Home Rule in Ulster.” By these emphatic pledges the policy was confirmed of ourselves first, ourselves last, ourselves all the time.

The War Office kept to its pledge of a separate unit. The Ulster Volunteer Force were allowed, contrary to army rules, to retain their special cap badges, and flags worked for their use. But the essential bond of union lay in the signing of the Covenant, which was enforced on every member who joined the new division. In compelling the War Office to admit a separate and complete unit bound by a special political oath—a course unfamiliar in modern armies since Cromwell’s time—Sir Edward Carson had won a notable victory for the Provisional Government of north-east Ulster. The triumph over the unity of the King’s Imperial forces had indeed its natural effect on discipline, as may be illustrated by the Inniskillings, whose battalions, like the Irish Rifles, are divided between the Ulster Division and the Irish Division in the army. It was the Covenanting Inniskillings, under the protection of the Provisional Government, who felt at liberty to riot through Enniskillen trampling under foot and insulting Irish emblems. Meanwhile in Ulster no time was lost in affirming Sir Edward Carson’s second pledge as to the security of the Volunteers and of the Covenanters. On the anniversary of Ulster Day, September 28, 1914, he in Belfast made clear to his followers the purpose of the Provisional Government.
“What I propose to do” (that is after the war) “is to summon the Provisional Government and repeal the Home Rule Bill, and I propose in the same act to enact that it is the duty of the Volunteers to see that the Act shall never have effect in Ulster. . . . Our Volunteers who cannot go abroad will go on with the work at home. We have plenty of guns, and we are going to keep them. We are afraid of nothing.”[44]

Discipline was enforced with a stern hand. Even Mr. F. E. Smith, “the Galloper,” was sternly rebuked by the Northern Whig for a temporary lapse, in his imperial enthusiasm, from the pure doctrine of the “natural leaders” of Ulster arrayed against “the spread of Revolutionary doctrine and free thought.” He was accused of attempting to recruit for the British army without strict adherence to the tactics of Sir Edward Carson, by addressing a recruiting meeting at Liverpool along with leading Radicals. His intention was condemned by “the opinion of leading Unionists as to the impropriety of his conduct,” and his apology was rejected. “We hope he will reconsider his decision, and that no other leading Unionists will be found on the platforms with Radicals.”[45] Sir Edward Carson for his part refused to stand with Mr. Redmond at a recruiting meeting in Newry.[46] All necessary steps were taken to reinforce the militant Covenanters.
Unionists over military age, or not inclined to join the army, were encouraged to take on Ulster Volunteer Force uniform and equipment, and fill up the ranks. While it was understood that the outgoing troops would on their return be used to enforce all the demands of the Covenanters—the more efficiently, as Sir Edward Carson explained, from actual experience and discipline in war—the home army was kept in being with its arms, ammunition, and equipment. The able head of the cycle corps was retained in Belfast in a good position, at a time when advertisements were posted for weeks at all the cinemas in Dublin and elsewhere calling for motor cyclists for the Ulster Division. When the War Office was in distress for supplies, if the Covenanters released to it some of their vast stores of khaki uniforms, etc., it was at prices which were no disadvantage to themselves. By the aid of a submissive Cabinet at Westminster all who had connived at the Larne “outrage” from generals downwards were given military promotion.
As the correspondent of the Manchester Guardian pointed out on January 17, 1917, the Larne gun-running won as many titles, honours, and offices for its organizers and patrons as if it had been an incident in the first battle of Ypres. The major who had brought the “Fanny” into harbour was raised to the rank of Colonel, retained at the centre of action in Belfast, and made head of the Commissariat. In recognition of the unparalleled outrage not only the military but all other consenting officials were well provided for; not one was left derelict.[47]
There was thus in the numerous and lucrative administrative posts at home an organization ready for future emergencies. The Protestant Primate illustrated the unity of the Ulster Volunteer Force at home and abroad, which he said could not be better described than in the words of Holy Writ: “There were some that went forth to the battle, and others that tarried with the stuff.”
The troops who remained at home were carefully linked with their comrades who had joined the army. Practically all the Volunteer officers had immediately obtained army commissions, without further question, as their indubitable right. The roll of honour gave not only the soldier’s place in the British army, but his rank in the Ulster Volunteers. The Volunteers at home were as before commended to the good offices of the English army of the old intrigue. Their friends of the Curragh Mutiny were not forgotten, and in view of future emergencies special Christmas boxes of cigarettes, with encouraging mottoes and remembrances, were sent from Belfast to the officers and privates concerned.[48] A leading Liberal paper in England refused to allow any information of this incident lest it should be accused of breaking the “truce” which had been proclaimed—a truce which the Covenanters were so cheerfully defying. In Belfast, however, the event was widely advertised; and thus by silence abroad, and advertisement at home, Belfast enjoyed its well organized double triumph.

There was no lack meanwhile of sermons to glorify the unchanging fixity of the Provisional Government and the Covenant. The ladies of the movement were also useful in upholding the doctrine of ourselves first and last and all the time. In the Hospital War Supplies and in the supply of comforts for prisoners of war their object was to draw Ulster into a separate organization for the work of mercy from the rest of Ireland.

III. The third stage of the Provisional Government opened on May 21, 1917, with the proposal of a Convention to effect a settlement of the Irish question.
“The Government have therefore decided,” said the Premier, “to invite Irishmen to put forward their own proposals for the government of their country. We propose that Ireland should try her own hand at hammering out an instrument of government for her own people. The experiment has succeeded in other parts of the British Empire. It succeeded in Canada; it succeeded in South Africa. What was accomplished in South Africa, in Australia, and in Canada, I cannot help believing is achievable in Ireland. . . . No proposal on any side for the better government of Ireland can be shut out from discussion under the terms of reference.” The only limitation was “within the Empire.”[49] The Covenanters saw their isolation threatened, and hastened to assert their independent position. Sir John Lonsdale protested against any steps being taken to bring pressure on Ulster, relying on Mr. Asquith’s promise that “Ulster should not be coerced.” “The people of Ulster,” he said, “are a democratic community, and they possess in the Ulster Unionist Council” (a council of peers, capitalists, and employers) “a thoroughly representative organization.
All that we—their representatives in this House—can do is to lay the government proposals before them.”
Mr. Asquith noted that the leader of Ulster Members of Parliament could not absent without referring to the Ulster Unionist Council (i.e. Provisional Government) for their decision. “If the Convention fails,” he said, “Heaven help us—I will not take that despondent, I may say, desperate view.” Sir Edward Carson, then First Lord of the Admiralty, insisted on the absolute independence and authority of the Provisional Government. “Whether the Unionist Council will accept the invitation, or whether it will not, I am sure I do not know. Of one thing I am certain: no threats will have the slightest effect upon them. Whatever decision they take, and I hope they will take a wise one, I will be with them to the end.”[50]

The scientific organization of north-east Ulster was equal to the strain. The new business was taken in hand by the Provisional Government with the same single eye and the same efficiency of control as ever. Having already a pledge-bound party, their first step was to create a pledge-bound British Government.
They took the precaution of immediately insisting in Parliament on an open and unmistakable pledge that the half-province should not be outvoted by the whole of the rest of Ireland. The matter was carried through by Mr. Ronald McNeill and Mr. Bonar Law, both Sir Edward Carson’s lieutenants in the Ulster militant campaign. On May 24, Mr. Ronald McNeill asked the Prime Minister whether his statement, that in the event of the Convention coming to a “substantial agreement,” the Government would introduce legislation to give effect to such agreement, is to be taken as in any degree affecting his previous pledge that under no circumstances shall Ulster be coerced into submitting to the jurisdiction of an Irish Parliament: and Mr. Bonar Law answered that “There could not be ‘substantial agreement’ in the circumstance suggested by my hon. friend’s question.”[51] It was clearly understood that the object of question and answer was to nullify any conclusion come to by the Convention which is not agreed to by representees of Ulster, so that north-east Ulster should absolutely hold the fate of Ireland in its hands. A safe position being thus secured, Sir Edward Carson on June 11, stated in Parliament that he had presided in Belfast over a conference of 500 Covenanters and advised them to consent to the Convention.[52]

“Substantial agreement” became the fixed and mysterious phrase for all later ministerial pronouncements—vague and ominous. In the negotiations the Sinn Feiners of the South naturally saw a direct menace to the freedom and dignity of the Convention, and a new pledge for the dominance of north-east Ulster, nor is it wonderful that they should refuse to enter a conference so trammelled before it was allowed to exist. On the other hand the Provisional Government, in its newly assured security, could devise methods adapted to the free position of Belfast and its dependencies. Members were selected for the Convention and a deliberative Committee of the Council was appointed, to whom they should report privately, and take their secret directions, without power themselves to vote or intimate the eventual intentions of the Council behind them. According to the Manchester Guardian of January 16, 1918, the Standing Committee maintained a strict control; and the Northern Whig closely identified with the Council, told the Convention when it visited Belfast that whatever scheme of government it might fashion would find its way to the waste-paper basket. It is easy to understand the dangers of such a system, with its inevitable hindrances and delays to serious work, and the hopelessness of bringing the general interests of Ireland into equal discussion with the claims of “Ourselves first and last.” The English government had already learned in past years that any appeal to Imperial necessities, and necessary sacrifices to meet them, has been met by the Provisional Government with its fixed interpretation of Imperial policy and obligations. The Covenanters will accept an Empire that is fashioned according to their own formula, and pledged to protect their special privileges and industrial interests, in the manner which they themselves dictate. Otherwise in preparation for civil war they retain their own State policy, their government, their army; while beyond these they look to their continued alliance with the British army, and the spreading influence of Orange Lodges and Freemasonry in military circles.[53] While the rank and file change, the engineers of the Curragh mutiny grasp more firmly than ever supreme control of the entire army organization and policy.

Having proved their power of intimidating the government of England, north-east Ulster again showed its activity in what was thought by many to be a new unparalleled outrage, flung this^time at the Convention. A demand was made for a redistribution of seats in Ireland to come into operation in case the Convention (which north-east Ulster, as it believed, had the pledged power to ruin) should fail in its task; and Sir John Lonsdale, representing in Parliament the policy of the Unionist Council, prepared a plan of redistribution, which would add strength to his party for the conflict at the end of the war. Once more the House of Commons was scandalized at the surrender of the Government.[54] But the compromise allowed to it was but a matter of details, leaving the principle untouched. Sir John Lonsdale, in virtue (according to the ominous comment of the Times)[55] of “his strong and respected views on the Irish situation,” with Colonel Craig and the Mayor of Derry, as men whom the Government delighted to honour, accepted a peerage, a baronetcy, and a knighthood, and the public wait to see whether the service recognized is the breaking or the saving of the Convention. Whatever it be, their reward is secured in advance. So the Government drives the State with even keel over the turbulent waters, with Orange and Freemason destroyers on either side to mark the path of safety.

It must be noticed that nowhere in Ireland is there so stern a resistance to conscription as in Ulster. The numbers of those who enlisted in the first period of the war[56] (August 2, 1914, to January 8, 1916), when recruiting was most active, show that outside the military recruiting area of Belfast, where the figures are high, the counties of the North fell behind those of the South. In Donegal, Derry, Fermanagh, Tyrone, the percentage to population was 1’03; in Armagh, Cavan, Louth, and Monaghan, 1’1; in Antrim and Down. the very centre of “loyal” and Imperial enthusiasm, 1’36. In Carlow. Kildare, and Wicklow, on the other hand, the percentage was 1’57; in King’s and Queen’s Counties, Longford, Meath, and Westmeath, 1’53; in Cork, 1’66; in Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, and Wexford, 1’7· Only along the western coast where land disputes have of old raged, and where great tracts are being gradually reclaimed from the most extreme poverty by the Congested Districts Board, have the percentages fallen to ’97 and ’16. During the course of the war recruiting has generally ceased. The Irish News, of April 30, 1917, reported a meeting of the engineers in Belfast when an amendment was submitted calling upon the Government to apply conscription to Ireland as a means of relieving the demand upon the services of skilled artisans in England. Out of a meeting of fifteen hundred men, mostly Unionists, only eleven voted for conscription. The attitude of the farmers is said to be yet stronger. In the year 1916-17, according to the annual report of the Vice-Chancellor for the Queen’s University in Belfast, 440 men and 203 women had been enrolled—a record for the University, while the appended report of the Officers’ Training Corps gives the number of cadets who have enlisted as 14. Attempts to recruit have failed from the fact that the majority of the students before entering were pledged by their fathers not to enlist. Yet in politics these people, or nine-tenths of them, are emphatic Carsonites.[57] Even now the reason is alleged that the Covenanters are needed at home to protect their women and their farms from “the enemy.” Apart from the grossness of the libel on their Catholic fellow-countrymen, this, argument takes no account of the 70,000 or more English troops detained to keep order in Ireland. A second reason advanced in various occupations is the fear of the employed men that their Unionist masters might if they were absent fill up their places with Nationalist working-men—a reason which implies considerable distrust of the political loyalty of the employers. These magnates in fact have been known to allege a preference for Catholic workmen, as they were not infected with Marxian Socialism, while the Protestant workmen were riddled with it; and that once Home Rule and Rome Rule were settled these Protestants would turn anti-capitalist and renounce the ‘natural leaders’ of democracy. It is not impossible that the attitude of Ulster has had a more determining effect upon the Government in delaying conscription than that of the Southern Irishman; on whom, however, all the blame is publicly thrown.

North-east Ulster evidently remains the supreme example of the policy defined by the Prime Minister, “Ourselves first, ourselves last, ourselves all the time, and ourselves alone.” It is a characteristic enlargement of the “Sinn Fein” of the rest of Ireland, words which are more truly translated “We ourselves,” and carry the simple lesson that in need it is to the diligent efforts of only ourselves that we must look to mend our position. Ulster has made its own peculiar form of “Sinn Fein,” and organized it scientifically. In this external organization alone lies its triumph. There is nothing novel in its aim of material success and preservation of the natural leaders of the democracy. If therefore the Provisional Government of the north lifts a voice of shocked indignation at “rebellion” by southern Sinn Fein, it can with justice only reprove it for a single reason, its inferior success in coercing the Imperial Government. The indignation of the Covenanters cannot rest on any ground of principle, since they have not only claimed but asserted the right to define their own view of imperial duties, and to break all laws and rise in civil war in defence of that view—”Belfast contra mundum” North-east Ulster, however, cannot expect to be the final judge in all causes for all time, and so practical a community (leaving out the Pope for the moment) will allow that regard for ourselves first, ourselves last, ourselves all the time, ourselves alone, has for its sanction but one final test—that of Success. The northerners must naturally repudiate with sincere contempt a movement less highly organized and financed than their own, and lacking all its advantages for victorious intrigues. Ulster aptitude and Ulster business instinct have materialized what south Ireland has dreamed of. Their leaders have been more methodical, and with their special privileges of position, riches, and allies, they have done better than the men of the south; why should they spare their contempt? The only danger they have to fear lies hidden in the secrets of the future. In due time it will be revealed whether a rigid present can be bound to a rigid past by ropes of steel—even by pledges and by “mystical” Covenants with an offensive and defensive alliance which shall secure an everlasting and unchanging protection for Belfast’s industrial wealth under the “God who is not as other Gods.” Once again in the world’s history it will be discovered how long men or provinces can live by organization, and the power to do what they will with their own; or whether the force of the spirit may not yet again break ancient moulds to reach a larger life. We shall learn, in due time, whether the ricketty shelters guaranteed by an old statecraft will stand against rising floods, and whether the bravest men are not those who advance under the open heavens to new horizons.

[1]Leaflet published by Ulster Liberal Association, The Kaiser’s Ulster Friends.
[4]Hansard, Vol. 29, p. 988 (Speech in House, Aug. 8, 1911).
[5]Northern Whig, Oct. 20, 1911
[6]Northern Whig, Sept. 26, 1911.
[7]Northern Whig, Feb. 7, 1912.
[8]Leaflet published by The Ulster Liberal Association, The Kaiser’s Ulster Friends, p. 4.
[9]Annual Register, Sept. 1912, p. 210.
[10]Northern Whig, Feb. 1, 1913.
[11]Portadown News, March 29, 1913.
[12]Belfast Newsletter, May 24, 1913.
[13]Letter signed “H. G.” in Irish Churchman, Nov. 14, 1913.
[14]Open letter to Mr. Asquith in Coleraine Constitution, July 1913.
[15]Northern Whig, Sept. 25, 1913.
[16]Heard by the writer. Sir E. Carson was described at a luncheon of the Nonconformist Unionist Association in London, as the best embodiment, at that moment, of the ancient spirit of Nonconformity.-Annual Register, 1913, p. 206.
[17]An action was brought by Belfast gunsmiths against the port officials for detaining arms consigned to the plaintiffs at Hamburg, on Dec. 18, 1913. Annual Register, March 1914, p. 66. In May and June 1914, the Northern Whig records that two hundred and forty sacks of cartridges were found in a cargo of cement, and Mauser rifles · and ammunition to the value of £1,200 concealed in a furniture van with sides of false sheeting.
They were entering into a “very extreme course,” Sir E. Carson allowed later, “a course which could only be justified because we were being singled out for exceptional treatment of betrayal.”-Irish Times, Feb. 4, 1918.
[18]”I like to get near the enemy. We are coming near them in the near future, and I like to see that men are preparing for what I call the great day.”-Northern Whig, Aug. 4, 1913.
[19]Leaflet published by Ulster Liberal Association, The Kaiser’s Ulster Friends, p. 3.
[20]Annual Register, 1913, p. 205. Times, Sept. 27, 1913.
[21]Northern Whig, Sept. 25, 1913. In accepting office as head of the Provisional Government, Sir E. Carson declared that Government policy would have a disastrous effect on the forces of the Crown, since he knew from his correspondence that these were already dividing into hostile camps.
Speaking at Manchester he stated that since the army must obey lawful orders politicians must see that the passing of the Bill should not be enforced.-Times, Dec. 3, 1913. Annual Register, 1913, p. 249.
[22]Northern Whig, Sept. 21, 1913. “if I were an Ulster Protestant I would rather be ruled from
Constantinople, by the Sultan of Turkey, than by a politician like Mr. Devlin.” Belfast,· July 12, 1912. Leaflet published by Ulster Liberal Association, The Kaiser’s Ulster Friends.
[23]At the Women’s Amalgamated Unionist and Tariff Reform Association, London, June 24, 1912 (as quoted by leaflet Ulster Liberal Association, The Kaiser’s Ulster Friends), Sir E. Carson stated-“regarding the pronouncement of policy of the Government in relation to Ulster, he intended when he went over there to break every law that was possible. Let the Government take their own course. He was not a bit afraid of them, for a more wretched, miserable, time-serving opportunist lot never before sat in Parliament.”
“If it is illegal we don’t mind that.”-Northern Whig, Aug. 5, 1912.
“For his own part he knew nothing of legality or illegality. All he thought of was his Covenant. His Covenant to him was the text and the foundation of what was illegality and what was legality, and everything that was necessary to carry out his Covenant he believed in his conscience he was under Heaven entitled to do.”-Northern Whig, July 14, 1914.
[24]See Redmond’s speech, at Manchester, quoting the Belfast Newsletter. Annual Register, 1913, p. 234.
[25]In July 1912. See legal proceedings following the onslaught on Catholic workingmen; Northern Whig, Jan. 13 and 16, 1913; and Evening Telegraph, Nov. 1912; April 1913. (McCotter and others v. Evening Telegraph.) The Catholics have not even yet been restored to Workman and Clark’s in their old numbers.
[26]Sir Edward Carson’s letter to the papers asked for funds In view of a “more forward movement, the climax of all we have been aiming at involving action almost unprecedented.”-Northern Whig, March 14, 1914.
The gun-running is described in the Irish Volunteer, May 2, 1914, p. 9.
[27]North Down Herald, May 3, 1912.
[28]The words were “this grave and unprecedented outrage.” The Government promised to undertake, without delay, appropriate steps to vindicate the authority of the law, and protect officers and servants of the King, and His Majesty’s subjects in the exercise of their duty, and in the enjoyment of their legal rights. It was admitted that a coast-guardsman died in the performance of his duty.-Hansard, Vol. 61, p. 1348.
[29]Annual Register, 1914, p. 152.
[30]The resolution was proposed at a meeting on July 11, the Twelfth being a Sunday, See Northern Whig, July 11-13, 1914.
[31]Northern Whig, July 13, 1914.
[32]Not mentioned in the Press. Witnessed by the writer.
[33]He defied the Government to prosecute them, and charged it with plots to arrest some of them as a sop to John Redmond and his cattle-drivers and boycotters. Northern Whig, July 14, 1914.
[34]See Northern Whig, March 23, 1917.
[35]Guns which had been distributed over the country were systematically collected from all parts to add to the formidable show of force. Northern Whig, July 27, 1914.
[36]Sir E. Carson used the words “pogrom plot” in his speech on Ulster Day 1914.-Northern Whig. For “pogrom” to make “the red blood flow” see leading article, Ib., July 27, 1914.
[37]March 20. See Annual Register, 1914, p. 55- 66, 69, which gives a summary and references.
For questions in the House see Hansard, vol. 61, p. 1347·
Mr. Asquith took charge of the War Office from March 30 to August 5.
[38]Sir E. Carson was Attorney-General in the Government of 1915; First Lord of the Admiralty in the next Government of 1916.
[39]The presentation of the model of the notorious gun-running privateer afthe Provisional Government was made in the Ulster Volunteer Hospital in the presence of Lady Londonderry.
[40]A leader in the Northern Whig stated that there had been little recruiting in Ulster, for which the Government policy was to blame. Sept. 2, 1914.
A meeting was held in Belfast, August 1914, to consider the war problem. Sir E. Carson wrote they would show “without any bartering of conditions, that the cause of Great Britain is our cause. . . and that we will make common cause, and suffer all sacrifices.” Captain J. Craig stated that he, with Sir E. Carson, were arranging the best terms that could be fixed for the Volunteer Force to offer its services. They were ready to go forward at any length, “trusting in the first instance to Sir E. Carson to preserve their political heritage.”-Northtern Whig, Aug. 8, 1914. Observe Sir E. Carson’s statement on Feb. 3, 1918: “Let those who talk of Ulster’s unreasonableness remember this-that the distinct promise we got from the Prime Minister of the day, and by the House of Commons, was that the question of Home Rule should stand over until the war was ended. Then we got up our splendid Ulster Division.”-Irish Times, Feb. 4, 1918.
The Volunteer Force was said to number 80,000 drilled and armed men.-Northern Whig, Aug. 12. There was a parade of 300 who offered for foreign service, and 700 for home defence.- Ib., Aug. 17. Appeals were made constantly for contributions to the Prince of Wales’ Fund. -lb., Aug. 14, 15, 18, 22, 28. A letter from Sir E. Carson commending the Ulster Defence Fund for “our efforts to maintain our position in the United Kingdom” was inserted twice.- Ib., Aug. 13, 25.
[41]The Northern Whig announced that Sir Edward Carson had arrived to offer the Ulster Unionist Association “a scheme sanctioned by the War Office, whereby the members of the Ulster Volunteer Force may be able to assist in defending their country in the present great crisis.”
“If the Ulster Volunteers agree to fight for the King and the Empire now, afterwards they will, if necessary, also fight for Ulster, and with this intention they must go on strengthening their organization and increasing their numbers.” Northern Whig, Sept. 2, 1914.
[42]At the parade of the North Belfast Regiment, Sir E. Carson promised: “I and those who remain behind will take care that Ulster is no invaded province.”-Northern Whig, Sept. 4, 5, 1914.
Sir E. Carson, in justifying his resignation from the Cabinet, laid stress on his position: “I am a Covenanter.” This placed him in a dual capacity, for while trying to make out the best course the Government ought to adopt, on the other hand he would be thinking how that was to affect his Covenant and his pledges to the people of Ulster. He was enabled to remain in the Government as long as he did because “I was perfectly well aware that those with whom I had Covenants in this province would wish, above all things, that I should put aside all questions of local interest.” He repudiated the idea of being “a traitor to Ulster and a breaker of my Covenant.” Irish Times, Feb. 4, 1918.
[43]Northern Whig, Sept. 8, 1914.
[44]The covenanters added the usual curses for the Pope. The outrage was on October 16, 1917.
The account given in the long correspondence of Archdeacon Keown with Sir Bryan Mahon was not published till December 15, 1917. It is there stated that Catholics of Enniskillen had made a larger contribution to the fighting force of the war than all other religious denominations of the town combined.-Irish Times, Dec. 15, 1917·
[45]The words of Sir Edward Carson to Unionist Council were:-“And I propose if necessary. . . that their first Act shall be to repeal the Home Rule Act as regards Ulster. And I propose in the same Act to enact that it is the duty of the Volunteers to see that no Act, or no attempt at an Act, under that Bill shall ever have effect in Ulster.” At a public meeting he promised that he and the other leaders would devote themselves “heart and soul to maintaining the organization intact, so that we may repel any invader who dares to come and try to interfere with us.” He repeated the words: “We have got the men, we have got the guns-and we are going to keep the guns-and therefore what have we to be afraid of?”-Northern Whig, Sept. 29, 1914.
[46]Mr. F. E. Smith spoke at Liverpool on Sept. 21, along with Mr. T. P. O’Connor. In view of the recent co-operation of these two speakers in America, the Northern Whig objection is interesting.-Northern Whig, Sept. 17, 1914.
[47]The meeting was not held, as Sir E. Carson did not see any need for Mr. Redmond’s proposal.
It was commented on in the papers early in 1915.
[48]Among numerous instances one may be givtn as an illustration. The “Competent Military Authority” in Belfast is Brigadier-General Hackett Pain, who before the war was Chief of the Staff of the Ulster Force, which had been illegally organized and armed with rifles from Germany for the purpose of resisting His Majesty’s forces. He is now commanding the Northern District Irish command, and orders prohibiting meetings and the like are issued by him to those who, in the speeches of the Ulster leaders, were always alluded to as “the enemy” whom “we loathe.”
[49]Seen by the writer.
[50]These terms were fundamentally altered by the Prime Minister on Feb. 23, 1918.
[51]Hansard, vol. 93, p. 2020.
[52]Ib. vol. 93, p. 2473.
[53] Ib. vol. 94, p. 619.
[54]In Sir E. Carson’s opinion it would be “indecent” in any wise to interfere with the “meditations” of the Convention. If by “settlement, settlement, settlement …I am never done hearing of the word now-if by settlement people have in their minds surrender, well then there will be no settlement.”-lrish Times, Feb. 4, 1918. See his earlier statement,
“He would fight no one if they were allowed to take their own course, and keep their own taxes.”-Times, Dec. 5. Annual Register, 1913, p. 251.
An Orange Military Lodge was started in the camp at Ballykinlar.
[55]The Boundary Commission was appointed in October, 1917, while the Convention was sitting, and the Redistribution Bill passed by the Lords, Feb. 5, 19I8. The Freeman’s Journal and Hamard show the feeling aroused in and outside Parliament.
[56]In the announcement of New Year’s Honours, 1918.
[57]The numbers enlisted are taken from official figures in the Viceroy’s Report of Jan. 14, 1916.
The Ulster Volunteer Division· was not sent into battle till the summer of 1916.
On February 3 Sir E. Carson stated that he had always wished that conscription should be applied to Ireland. “We never asked that it should not.” He himself had proposed an amendment to that effect. He added: “I am not going into the question of whether that is a possible policy now or not. The lapse of time makes great differences.” In his own province he avoided the responsibility of advising conscription.-Irish Times, Feb. 4, 1918.

N.B.-The question of the support of English Unionism to civil war in Ireland has not been dealt with here.
One quotation will illustrate the defiance to the Government, and the incitements to north-east Ulster, which English politicians did not scruple to use. We have the contribution to high statesmanship of Mr. Bonar Law on Nov. 28, 1913, in Dublin: “I have said on behalf of the party that if the Government attempt to coerce Ulster before they have received the sanction of the electors, Ulster will do well to resist them, and we will support resistance to the end.”
“I wonder whether you have tried to picture in your own minds what civil war means … it is a prospect from which I shrink in horror, and for which I wish to avoid, if I can, any responsibility. . . . But really we must try to think what the effect of bloodshed and civil war would be on our Parliamentary institutions, on the army, on the Empire as a whole. It would not mean anarchy; it would mean literally red ruin and the breaking up of law. It would produce results from which our country would not recover in the lifetime of any one of those whom I am addressing.” ·
This was the high emprise upon which Mr. Bonar Law encouraged north-east Ulster to embark, and for which he promised them the support of his party “to the end.”
The resistance which Mr. Bonar Law thus commended to Ulster Unionists will be recalled to mind by Irishmen in his own identical terms.

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