Is Ulster Right?

Political Science/
#Political Science #History & Theory
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Excerpt CHAPTER I. THE ULSTER COVENANT. THE QUESTIONS STATED. IRELAND UNDER THE CELTS AND THE DANES. "Being convinced in our consciences that Home Rule would be disastrous to the material well-being of Ulster as well as of the whole of Ireland, subversive of our civil and religious freedom, destructive of our citizenship and perilous to the unity of the Empire, We, whose names are underwritten, Men of Ulster, loyal subjects of His Gracious Majesty King George V, humbly relying on the God whom our fathers in days of stress and trial confidently trusted, do hereby pledge ourselves in Solemn Covenant throughout this our time of threatened calamity to stand by one another in defending for ourselves and our children our cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom, and in using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland. And, in the event of such a Parliament being forced upon us, we further solemnly and mutually pledge ourselves to refuse to recognise its authority. In such confidence that God will defend the right, we hereunto subscribe our names." Such is the Solemn Covenant which 220,000 resolute, determined Ulstermen-of various creeds and of all sections of the community, from wealthy merchants to farm labourers-fully realizing the responsibility they were undertaking, signed on the 28th September, 1912. To represent that it was merely the idle bombast of ignorant rustics, or a passing ebullition of political passion coming from hot-headed youths excited by irresponsible demagogues, is folly. It expresses the calm resolution of earnest men who, having thought deeply over the matter had decided that it was better even to face the horrors of civil war rather than to submit to the rule of a Nationalist Government. The opinions of the Nationalists with regard to the Ulster Covenant can be gathered from many speeches and sermons. The following extract from one of their papers-the Frontier Sentinel-may be taken as a specimen:- "It may not be out of place here to translate into simple English the terms of the Covenant. It denies the claim of Ireland to self-government and the capacity of Irishmen to govern Ireland. It asserts that the Catholics of Ireland are the spawn of the devil; that they are ruthless savages and dangerous criminals with only one object in life-the wiping out of Protestants. It claims for the Protestant Unionist majority of four Ulster counties a monopoly of Christianity, public and private morality, and clean successful business enterprise. In the name of God it seeks to stimulate the basest passions in human nature, and calls on God to witness a catalogue of falsehoods. Only a few of the local Protestant clergymen, it should be stated, signed this notoriously wicked document." It is well then to pause and consider calmly two questions: What are the real objects of the Nationalists; and, Are the men of Ulster justified in resisting them to the uttermost? It is a mere truism to remark that in every political question the main controversy is complicated by a number of side issues....
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