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A new page in history

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Title:
A new page in history the creation of Northern Irish national identity 1911-1914
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Burke, Keelin Rosaleen
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English
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viii, 92 leaves : ; 28 cm.

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National characteristics, Irish ( lcsh )
Civilization ( fast )
National characteristics, Irish ( fast )
Civilization -- Northern Ireland ( lcsh )
History -- Northern Ireland ( lcsh )
Northern Ireland ( fast )
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History. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
History ( fast )

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Thesis:
Thesis (M. A.)--University of Colorado Denver, 2008.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 88-92).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Keelin Rosaleen Burke.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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Full Text
A NEW PAGE IN HISTORY: THE CREATION OF NORTHERN
IRISH NATIONAL IDENTITY 1911-1914
by
Keelin Rosaleen Burke
B.A., University of Colorado, 2004
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado, Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
History
2008


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Keelin Rosaleen Burke
has been approved
by
IU. 200*0
Date


Burke, Keelin Rosaleen (M.A. History)
A New Page in History: The Creation of Northern Irish National Identity 1911-
1914
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Marjorie Levine-Clark
ABSTRACT
Through the perceived crisis of the third Home Rule Bill of 1912, Ulster unionists
and the majority Protestant anti-home rule population of what would become
Northern Irelandput forth a new understanding of their national identity.
Prominent figures such as Sir Edward Carson helped shape the rhetoric that
constructed northern Ireland as something separate from, and at the same time, part of
both Ireland and Britain. These politicians, the newspapers that supported them, and
a grassroots anti-home rule population argued for Ulster to stay out of a Dublin
parliament and to keep their citizenship within Britain and the Empire, but at the
same time they appealed to an identification with a localized Irish and Ulster
nationality. In the years 1911-1914 the majority opinion of the people of northern
Irelandor at least the opinion represented through newspapers, politicians,
speeches, pamphlets, and local political groupssupported a northern Irish national
identity, one that was simultaneously Irish and British, but most importantly, of
Ulster.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend


DEDICATION
I dedicate this thesis to my parents, who always supported me and instilled a love of
education and history in me from a young age; my brothers, Ned and Rory, who made
sure I was strong enough to do whatever I wanted; and my grandparents, Helen and
Donald Beard for supporting my schooling. And lastly I dedicate this to my husband,
Sean, for encouraging me to follow my dreams, and supporting me along the way.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
My thanks to my advisor, Marjorie Levine-Clark, for her contributions and support in
to my research. I also wish to thank the members of my committee for their
participation and insights.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
FIGURES............................................VIII
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION...................................1
HISTORIOGRAPHY.............................8
METHOD....................................12
IRELAND BEFORE 1911.......................15
2. ULSTER WILL FIGHT, ULSTER WILL BE RIGHT: ULSTER,
HOME RULE AND THE FORMATION OF UNIONIST
IDENTITY......................................19
3. A CORRUPT AND IMMORAL BARGAIN: THE PARLIAMENT
ACT AND ULSTER UNIONISMS LOYALTY TO THE
CROWN.........................................24
4. THE PLOT AGAINST ULSTER: ULSTERS CASE AGAINST THE
THIRD HOME RULE
BILL..........................................32
5. THE FORMATION OF NEW CLUBS STILL CONTINUES..
CLUBS, FINANCING THE UNION, AND THE ULSTER
VOLUNTEER FORCE...............................47
6. THEY HAD THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS IN THAT GRAND
WORK OF WITHSTANDING HOME RULE: GENDER, WOMEN,
AND UNIONISM..................................55
7. MONSTER DEMONSTRATION: SOCIAL AND CULTURAL
EXPRESSIONS OF NATIONAL
IDENTITY......................................63
vi


8. A NEW PAGE IN HISTORY: ULSTER DAY AND THE ULSTER
COVENANT.......................................76
9. EXCEPT THE PROVINCE OF ULSTER: THE PASSAGE OF HOME
RULE, THE PARTITION OF IRELAND, AND THE CREATION OF
NORTHERN IRELAND...............................84
Vll


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure
1.1 Belfast News Letter Advertisement...............................82
vm


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
The 1912 Government of Ireland Bill was the third attempt to grant Home Rule
to Ireland. The 1912 Bill provided the context for the expression of a northern Irish
national identity in Ulster, by unionists whose aim was to stop Home Rule and
maintain all existing ties to Britain. In September of 1912 the unionists of northern
Ireland were preparing for the culmination of their anti-Home Rule activities and an
upcoming celebration, Ulster Day. These unionists believed that a new page in
history was beginning with their campaign against Home Rule and for Ulster.1 On
September 20, 1912, as part of his Ulster Day tour that would place him in Belfast on
the 28th, the leader of the Irish Unionist Party, Sir Edward Carson, stated I am proud
to think that I am now leading the great and the only democracy in Irelandnamely,
the democracy of the North of Ireland.2 Carsons definition of the democracy of the
North of Ireland expresses how the people of Ulster were beginning to think of
themselves, as an entity apart from Ireland or Britain, and decidedly northern Irish.
1 Belfast News Letter, 3 October 1912.
2 Irish Times, 20 September 1912.
1


The people of northern Ireland were active participants in the creation of this
democracy through a variety of means.3 Individuals showed support for the Union by
joining thousands, in some cases, hundreds of thousands, of their community members
in massive anti-Home Rule demonstrations.4 They participated in the growing
unionist organizations throughout Ulster by starting branches and becoming members,
attending meetings, and giving donations to assist these groups. They also supported
the possibility of a provisional government and, at its most potentially violent,
unionists in northern Ireland formed the Ulster Volunteer Force, a militia created in
anticipation of fighting against the imposition of Home Rule.5 But while they
entertained the possibility of violence, the northern Irish held loyalties to Britain, the
empire, and the Crown. Such evidence suggests the construction of a singular
northern Irish national identity that still expressed allegiance to the framework of
imperial British citizenship while prioritizing northern Ireland as a national entity,
3 For the purpose of this paper, I will be using northern Ireland and Ulster to denote
the area of the northern part of Ireland; the traditional nine counties of Ulster are
included. The term Northern Ireland only applies after 1921 as it became a separate
entity from the Irish Free State and was still part of the United Kingdom.
4 Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, (hereafter PRONI); Newsreel, date
unknown1910s, Omagh, County Tyrone,; newsreel intercard reads County
Tyrone: 300,000 at demonstration. Remarkable scenes at Ulster Loyalists meeting at
Omagh
5 Unionism, for the purpose of this paper, refers to the Irish Unionist community in
Ireland, not the British Unionist political party.
2


creating a sense of Ulsterness. The turning of this new page culminated in the
signing of the Ulster Covenant and the mass mobilizations of Ulster Day.
In the years 1911-1914, within the context of the Home Rule debates in
Parliament, the people of northern Ireland, along with unionist political groups,
constructed a new national identity, and an Ulster nationalism. This national identity
was defined by loyalty to the imperial Crown of Britain and ties to British citizenship,
and at the expense of allegiance to Parliament and a pan-Irish national identity. It was
based on Protestantism and was opposed to Home Rulefor social, religious,
political, and economic reasons. Its supporters were prepared to be separate from both
the whole of Ireland and Britain, to be just Ulster. If necessary, the unionists were
even prepared to arm themselves against the imposition of Home Rule, which would
place them in direct conflict with Parliament and would present the possibility of
military action against the nation to which they had pledged allegiance.
In looking for a definition of a nation, EJ. Hobsbawm, in Nations and
Nationalism since 1780, does not assume one specific definition, but starts with the
initial working assumption [that] any sufficiently large body of people whose
members regard themselves as members of a nation, will be treated as such.6 Thus
nationalism can be understood as an internal identification, not necessarily an
allegiance to a politically independent state. In northern Ireland, we can see how a
6 EJ. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality
(Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 6.
3


body of people regarded themselves as members of a new nation, the democracy of
the North of Ireland, through their participation and actions in support of the Union
and Ulster. Hobsbawm argues that nations are
dual phenomena, constructed essentially from above, but which cannot be
understood unless also analysed from below, that is in terms of the
assumptions, hopes, needs, longings and interests of ordinary people, which
are not necessarily national and still less nationalistic.7
It is precisely this dual approach that has proven useful in tracing the creation of a new
idea of national identity within northern Ireland. By looking at both the rhetoric and
publications of politicians and advocates from above and the actions, writings, and
understandings of the ordinary people who took part in this process, the combined
evidence suggests the existence of an Ulster national identity. In pursuing such an
understanding of nation and the construction of national identity from both above and
below, I am particularly interested in analyzing the political, social, cultural, and
gender dimensions of northern Irish national identity before World War I.
Some of the most useful and persuasive studies on nationalism and national
identity in a British context are Paul Wards Britishness Since 1870 and Linda
Colleys Britons. Ward articulates the changing and fluid nature of national identity
as a whole. His claim that Britishness was always unstable might also be applied to
discussions of northern Ireland, as Ireland itself and Irishness have also been unstable.
7 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p.10.
4


The unstable nature of Britishness and Irishness can help explain how a specific Ulster
national identity evolved as a product of the instability of national identities as a
wholesince both Britishness and Irishness were unstable, Ulstemess emerged as a
Q
new possibility for a national identification in northern Ireland. Ward argues for the
possibility of multiple identities and states that
The primacy of particular identities may change, so that someone living in
Germany might feel German at times, but Bavarian or Prussian at others, or
feel attached to localities through the numerous festivals held in each town,
city and village,
just as the northern Irish person may feel British, Irish, and part of Ulster at the same
time.8 9 Wards findings of simultaneous identities have been helpful in
understanding a northern Irish national identity existing at the same time as a belief in
the importance of British citizenshipfor the unionists of northern Ireland, these two
identities were not mutually exclusive.10 As Ward notes, Sometimes, frequently,
most often, it is possible and often necessary to feel many identities simultaneously.11
And it is this simultaneity that made the creation of a northern Irish national identity
possible as the people of northern Ireland renegotiated their Irish and British identities
into something new.
8 Paul Ward, Britishness Since 1870 (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 3
9 Ward, Britishness Since 1870, p. 170.
10 Ward, Britishness Since 1870, p. 169-170.
11 Ward, Britishness Since 1870, p. 170.
5


In Britons, Colley also argues that people are able hold more than one identity
at a time, that [identities are not like hats. Human beings can and do put on several
at a time.12 In looking at the creation of a national identity in Ulster, we can see that
individuals often conceived of their national identity and allegiance as being a matter
of scale. One letter to the editor from an Ulster Imperialist quoted in Thomas
Hennesseys Dividing Ireland, comes
from the viewpoint of one who consciously adopts all the four varieties of local
patriotisms. I am Parochial (literally, being a vestryman as well as a treasurer
of our local parish!); I am Provincial, being directly interested in the
development of commerce and agriculture in Ulster; I am National, in that I am
an Irishman and proud of it, anxious to help Ireland as far as lies within my
power. ..Iam Imperial, glad of my small share in the proudest boast the world
has ever heardCivis Britannicus summark the phrase,: it is Britannicus
not Anglicanus.13
The Ulster Imperialist ranks his patriotism as an imperial British citizen first, as
Irish second, as Ulster third, and lastly a more provincial association, such as a town
or city. The crest adorning the cover of a 1912 Belfast pamphlet, portraying Britain,
Ireland, and Ulster symbolizes the capacity of people to hold different and
simultaneous identities, with a Union Jack, an Irish harp, and the Red Hand of Ulster
occupying equal room on the crest.14 The people of northern Ireland began to
12 Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1992), p. 6.
13 Thomas Hennesey, Dividing Ireland: World War I and Partition (London,
Routledge, 1998), p. 7.
14 PRONID/1545/7; Pamphlet for Ulster Unionist Demonstration, 9 April 1912.
6


comprehend their identity as something beyond just a British or Irish identity, and by
placing primacy on Ulster, they created a new identity that began as regional, but
under threat of Home Rule, became a national identification. This understanding
allows for the conceptualization of a national identity that is both British and Irish
Ulster Irishat the same time, but not necessarily one to the exclusion of the other;
the two could coexist, and in the process, contributed to a new sense of national
identity as northern Irish.
Colley, and many others, also propose that people can define national identity
in contrast to an outside other: men and women decide who they are by reference to
who and what they are not. 15 One main line of opposition to the possibility of an
Ulster or northern Irish national identity comes from scholars who argue that
nationalism has to be formed in a positive sense, not simply against something else,
usually calling for sovereignty.16 In understanding national identity as a singularly
positive creation, these theories would exclude the possibility of a northern Irish
identity because it was partly based against the construct of southern Irish
15Colley, Britons, p. 5-6.
16 For those that argue against the possibility of a national identity in northern Ireland,
and for national identity as a positive creation, see David Miller, The Queens Rebels',
James Laughlin Ulster Unionism and British National Identity Since 1885 (Uondon:
Pinter, 1995); D. George Boyce, Ulster Unionism: Great Britain and Ireland, 1885-
1921, in The Northern Ireland Question: Nationalism, unionism and partition Patrick
J. Roche and Brian Barton eds. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999, 30-46); Ian McBride,
Ulster and the British Problem in Richard English and Graham Walker (eds.),
Unionism in Modern Ireland (Macmillan, 1996), pp. 1-18.
7


Nationalism. But just as Colley sees British national identity as being formed against
Catholic French national identity, so I propose the northern Irish who put forth a new
national identity in contrast to both Irish Nationalism and an all-consuming
Britishness were using similar rhetoric and understandings of their allegiances and
identifications.
Historiography
One of the earliest discussions of the historical role of Ulster and northern
Ireland in the early twentieth century is in George Dangerfields The Strange Death of
Liberal England, originally published in 1937. In his study of the decline of the
Liberal party and liberalism in general in Britain, Dangerfield cites the Home Rule
crisis as one of the major determining factors in the partys fall. Dangerfield situates
the Unionist Party and the anti-Home Rule movement as a subset of what he calls
The Tory Rebellion, taking place after the passage of the Parliament Act in 1911.
This act later became a central component of northern Irish arguments in opposition to
Parliament and the Liberal alliance with Irish Nationalists.17 Within his study of the
death of Liberal England, Dangerfield discusses some of the major actions and actors
in the formation of Northern IrelandSir Edward Carson, Andrew Bonar Law, the
Ulster Covenant, the creation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, the mutiny at Curragh,
17 George Dangerfield, The Strange Death of Liberal England (Stanford University
Press, Stanford California: 1997 (first published 1937)), pp. 76-100.
8


and the Unionist gunrunning at Lame.18 All of these events and people were
fundamental to the construction of a new northern Irish national identity, though
Dangerfield was not concerned with such an argument at the time. Dangerfield
situated the Home Rule crisis within the context of British political history, not Irish
history, and most definitely not northern Irish history. But Dangerfields study is
significant because of his viewpointhis assessment of the Home Rule Crisis was not
simply a partisan stance, like many of the histories written about Home Rule and
Partition; instead it situated the crisis in the broader British political context.
Historians have paid much attention to Northern Ireland and the Troubles,
as well as to the partition of Ireland in 1921.19 Early discussions of the teens and early
twenties in Ireland, with the exception of Dangerfields study, often focus on the
religious and sectarian nature of the struggle between Northern Ireland and the Irish
Free State, later the Republic of Ireland. These studies usually take a specifically Irish
Nationalist or Unionist approach, positioning themselves on either side of the great
chasm that separated Northern Ireland from the rest of the island of Ireland. Irish
Nationalism was a political movement that sought to create an independent Irish
18 Dangerfield, Strange Death, pp. 76, 81, 96, 100, 269, 281.
19 W.F. Monypenny, The Two Irish Nations: An Essay on Home Rule (London: John
Murray, Albermarle Street, W., 1913.); Some particularly useful studies of Northern
Ireland are Thomas Hennesseys A History of Northern Ireland, 1920-1996 (New
York: St. Martins Press, 1997); eds. Patrick Roche and Brian Barton, The Northern
Ireland Question: Nationalism, unionism and partition (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999),
David Miller, The Queens Rebels: Ulster Loyalism in Historical Perspective (Dublin:
Gill and Macmillan, 1978);
9


nation as apart from the United Kingdom, and employing both constitutional and
revolutionary tactics to such an end. In 1913, W. F. Monypenny of the London Times
referred not to Ireland as a whole, but to the two nations of Ireland, a phrase that
holds particular meaning when suggesting the creation of northern Irish national
identity.20 His two nations were delimited by the two positions on Home Rule, for or
against, and therefore split Ireland along political and geographic lines, with the
southern provinces as one nation and Ulster as another. But the early examinations of
Northern Ireland often support one or the other of these two nationsthe Catholic
south or Protestant north. These inquiries almost exclusively deal with a specific
British or Irish Nationalist or unionist perspective on the issues of Home Rule and the
creation of Northern Ireland.
Historians recently have begun to focus on more nuanced studies of Northern
Ireland and Ulster Unionism as they relate to national identity. Many historians do not
see Ulster Unionism and northern Ireland before 1921 as having a specific national
identification. Some analyses of national identity define it to mean the cohesive desire
of a population for sovereignty, and many argue that since Ulster did not actively seek
popular sovereignty or self-government, the people of northern Ireland did not create a
20 See John G. Ervine. Sir Edward Carson and the Ulster Movement, Benedict Kiely,
Counties of Contention. A Study of the Origins and Implications of the Position of
Ireland (Cork: The Mercier Press, 1945).
10


separate national identity.21 22 23 In his book The Queens Rebels David Miller argues
precisely this point stating, It is true that the Protestant community in Ulster does
evoke loyalty, but not as a nation, because its own members do not readily
conceive it to be a potential claimant to sovereignty. For Miller, Ulster
Protestantisms loyalty to Britain and the Crown wasand still isa conditional
loyalty like the early modem social contracts by which ruler and ruled undertake
certain obligations to each other. Under such an understanding, one ought to be
loyal to the king for the same reason one should keep ordinary bargains.24 Miller
argues that such a contractual understanding does not allow for the creation of a
separate national identity. And while parts of his argument concerning understandings
of loyalty are persuasive, his portrayal of northern Ireland as incapable of forming a
national identity based on sovereignty is not entirely convincing in light of more
recent studies of national identity. As Hobsbawm argues, national identity does not
21 See D.G. Boyce, Ulster Unionism: Great Britain and Ireland, 1885-1921, in The
Northern Ireland Question: Nationalism, unionism and partition, Patrick J. Roche and
Brian Barton eds. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), 30-46; Ian McBride, Ulster and the
British Problem, in Richard English and Graham Walker (eds.), Unionism in Modern
Ireland (Macmillan, 1996), pp. 1-18.
22 David Miller, The Queens Rebels: Ulster Loyalism in Historical Perspective
(Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1978), p. 4.
23 Miller, Queens Rebels, p. 5.
24 Miller, Queens Rebels, p. 5.
11


have to make a claim to sovereignty, it can be comprised of a body of people who
25
regard themselves as members of a nation.
Thus, the unionists of northern Ireland, an area not thought of as a national
entity, could begin to conceive of their home in terms of a nation. The evidence
suggests that the people of northern Ireland, both from above and below, created a
singular national identity that expressed allegiance to the Crown and British
citizenship, while prioritizing northern Ireland as a national entity.
Method
My analysis focuses specifically on the time period between 1911-1914, which
marks the boundaries between the first major Unionist demonstration in Ulster and the
passage of the third Home Rule Bill through Parliament. The Home Rule Bill became
law on September 18, 1914, but due to the outbreak of World War I, Parliament
26
immediately suspended its implementation until the end of the war.
My research relies on newspapers, Parliamentary debates, the text of the Ulster
Covenant, the archives of the Ulster Unionist Council, and publications and
documents of the Unionist Party. The Belfast News-Letter, The Irish Times, and The
Times (London) represent the opinions of three major outlets in three major cities of
Ireland and Britain. The Belfast News-Letter was a daily, unionist-leaning paper that 25 26
25 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p. 8.
26 Teresa ODonovan. Ulster and Home Rule for Ireland, to 1914, Eire-Ireland 18:3
(1983) 6-22, p. 12.
12


reported on Unionist meetings and groups, and published speeches and letters. The
Irish Times, though published in Dublin, often favorably covered the Irish Unionist
Party, both in Ulster and throughout southern Ireland. The Times (London), also
supporters of the Unionist cause, followed with interest the happenings in northern
Ireland, and reported on British support for Unionism outside of Ulster. The Anglo-
Celt, published in Cavan, provides an Irish Nationalist viewpoint, from a county in
Ulster, and is decidedly a contrast to unionist opinion.
My analysis relies heavily on the material of unionists themselves. The
Parliamentary speeches of Sir Edward Carson specifically, and the Conservative and
Irish Unionist Party members in general, illustrate the dominant political rhetoric
surrounding the Unionist position and the sentiments of Ulster. The archives of the
Ulster Unionist Council provide a broad basis of information on Unionist activities,
from postcards and pamphlets, to minutes for various Unionist organizations, and to
ledger books of donations. These materials help flesh out the everyday workings and
logistics of unionist groups in the face of the Home Rule crisis. The lists of member
groups and donations to various projects provides evidence for the both breadth and
depth of unionist support in Ulster, as does the general ephemera created around the
unionist cause, including buttons, photographs, patches, and personal letters. 27
27 For an intriguing study of The Times political maneuverings and support of
Unionism, see, Thomas Kennedy, Hereditary Enemies: Home Rule, Unionism, and
The Times, 1910-1914, Journalism History 27:1 (2001): 34-42.
13


The Ulster Covenant itself codified the ideas of Ulster Unionism and northern
Irish national identity as understood by the nearly half a million individuals who
signed it and the companion Womens Declaration.28 The Public Record Office of
Northern Ireland houses boxes upon boxes of signed Covenants and Declarations from
across Ireland and Britain, and the Covenant is digitized and searchable on their
website, attesting to the central position of this document in Northern Irish history.
The Womens Declaration in support of the Union also points to the gendered nature
of this new national identity; women themselves were actively involved in anti-Home
Rule activities and groups, but were held to different expectationsthey supported the
Union, but their gender limited the possible forms of expression this support could
take. Women could form their own Unionist organizations, but they could not sign the
Covenant that demanded the possibility of militant action to defend that Union.
In arguing for the creation of a specific northern Irish, or Ulster, national
identity in the years 1911-1914,1 am taking on some of the historiography that argues
against the possibility of such an identity. By 1914, and even more so after 1922, the
majority population of the six counties that would become Northern Ireland were no
longer part and parcel of a larger Ireland, nor were they simply Britonsthey were
northern Irish who still believed in their allegiance to the Imperial Crown of Great
Britain and the power of the Empire. The politicians, newspaper reporters, and
28 PRONI, Ulster Covenant, .
14


unionist organizations who contributed to creating this identity understood themselves
to be part of the growing British Empire, but as Ulsterites within that larger
framework, not entirely unlike Scotland or Wales within Great Britain. The people of
northern Ireland used the rhetoric of loyalty and status as subjects of the Crown and, at
the same time, appealed to the concept of a northern nation within Ireland to claim
their particular place. If we see the fluidity of national identity and that people and
nations are able to understand overlapping allegiances and identities, the evidence
suggests that the people of northern Ireland created a new national identity prior to
World War I and the partition of Ireland in 1921.
Ireland Before 1911
In 1801, after hundreds of years of British plantation and rule over the island of
Ireland and discrimination against the majority Irish Catholic population, Britain
legislated the Act of Union which made Ireland part of the Kingdom of Great Britain
and Ireland.29 The act was precipitated by a failed rebellion in 1798, which aimed to
29 D. George Boyce, Weary patriots: Ireland and the making of unionism in
Defenders of the Union: A Survey of British and Irish unionism since 1801, p. 15-38
(London and New York: Routledge, 2001); For an excellent background text on
modem Ireland, see R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland, 1600-1972 (London: Penguin,
1988).
15


reform the Irish political system and free Ireland from British rule. The Act of
Union disposed of the Irish Parliament in Dublin, and henceforth Ireland was to be
represented in the Parliament at Westminster. Many in Ireland hoped that with the
passage of the Act would also come Catholic emancipation, what R. F. Foster defines
in his study of modem Ireland as full rights of political representation and civil
office-holding. Passage of such an act would allow the majority Catholic
population of Ireland to vote for their representatives in Britains Parliamentbut
Catholic emancipation would not come until 1829, under pressure from Irish radicals,
such as Daniel OConnell.' The Act of Union was supposed to make Ireland an equal
partner in Great Britain, like England, Scotland, and Wales. But while Britain did not
accept Ireland as equal within the Unionfinancially, politically, and sociallythe
counties of Ulster with Protestant majorities managed to prosper.
Ulster is the northern province of Ireland, traditionally consisting of nine
countiesAntrim, Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry/Derry,
Monaghan, and Tyroneand was heavily planted by English and Scots-Presbyterians 30 31 32
30 It is interesting to note that the leaders of this rebellion, particularly Theobald Wolf
Tone, and later Robert Emmet in 1803, were protestant, and the movement started in
Ulster with the Protestant reform groups. See Nancy J. Curtain, The United Irishmen
(Oxford: Claredon Press, 1994), and Thomas Bartlett, David Dickson, Daire Keogh,
and Kevin Whelan, eds. 1798: A Bicentenary Perspective (Dublin: Four Courts Press,
2003).
31 R.F. Foster, Modem Ireland, 1600-1972 (London: Penguin Books, 1988), p. 297;
32 G.C. Bolton The Passing of the Irish Act of Union: A Study in Parliamentary
Politics (London: Oxford University Press, 1966).
16


in the seventeenth century. Foster also notes that Britain wanted a Protestant
population in Ireland so that the government would not have to depend on the Catholic
majority.33 This need to place a more loyal class in Ireland had reverberations over
the next four centuries including a close tie to the northern Irish construction of
national identity as loyal to the Crown and as part of Imperial Britain. The Protestant
landholding class formed what many have referred to as the Protestant ascendancy in
Ireland. The term Protestant ascendancy traditionally refers to the position of power
Britain granted Church of Ireland protestantsincluding preferential treatment in
regards to land, political positions, titles, and commercein Ireland in combination
with laws that degraded the status of the majority Catholic population and non-Church
of Ireland protestants.34 35 D. George Boyce argues in his essay on the making of
unionism that this ascendancy was not primarily about land, but that it was one of
attitude, and drew strength from the tradition that Protestantism stood for progressive
if
values, for civil liberty, for prosperity. But plantation did not fully succeed in all
the counties of Ulster, and by the beginning of the twentieth century, only the four
counties surrounding Belfast had predominantly protestant populations.36 These
33 Foster, Modem Ireland, p. 59.
34 Desmond Bowen, History and the Shaping of Irish Protestantism (Peter Lang: New
York, 1995), p. 120-170.
35 Boyce, Weary Patriots, p. 22.
36 Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 464.
17


counties formed the foundation and provided the bulk of the support for a northern
Irish national identity, and these people would move from a protestant minority in
Ireland to a protestant majority with the partition of Ireland. But partition would not
have been possible or attainable without the passage of Home Rule through the House
of Commons and the House of Lords. The debates around Home Rule gave Ulsterites
the opportunity to explore their national identity, and eventually express their
attachment to northern Ireland and Ulstemess.
18


CHAPTER 2
ULSTER WILL FIGHT, ULSTER WILL BE RIGHT:
ULSTER, HOME RULE AND THE FORMATION OF UNIONIST IDENTITY
On February 22, 1886, Sir Randolph Churchill, a Conservative M.P., gave a
rousing militaristic anti-Home Rule speech in Ulster, where he pronounced the soon-
to-be-canonized phrase, Ulster will fight, Ulster will be right.37 He was responding
to the introduction of a Home Rule for Ireland Bill into the House of Commons, and,
at the same time, affirming the importance of both the Union and the place of Ulster as
a political entity separate from the entirety of Ireland. The debates over the three
Home Rule Bills1886, 1893, and 1912provided the context that Unionists used to
crystallize their position within Great Britain and Ireland, and their singular place as
Ulsterites and members of Imperial Britain, tied to the Crown and their own
geographical place in northern Ireland.
The introduction of the first Home Rule Bill under Gladstone in 1886 forced
the issue of Irelands status under the Union to the forefront of politics and individual
considerations. And some, particularly those protestant residents of the counties of
Ulster, as well others throughout Ireland, decided the greatest benefit lay in staying
37 Jeremy Smith, Conservative Ideology and Representations of the Union with
Ireland, 1885-1914, in The Conservatives and British Society, 1880-1990, eds. Martin
Francis and Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, (University of Wales Press, Cardiff; 1996),
18-38, p. 24.
19


within the Imperial Parliament. Irish Unionists at this time wanted all of Ireland to
stay with Britain, not considering the exclusion of any part of Ireland as a possibility.'
During the debates on Home Rule in 1886, Irish Unionism was not particularly an
Ulster-based identity, but included a more general Irish backing.
These Irish Unionists linked Home Rule with a threat to the empire. Colonel
Waring, M.P. from Down, for example, argued in Parliament that Ireland was
now part and parcel of one of the greatest Empires of the world that the sun
ever shone upon, and were utterly determined that they would not be changed
into Colonials, and made a Dependency, not only not self-governing, but a
Dependency which would be at the mercy of those from whom they differed
politically.38 39
Such arguments appealing to the preservation of the empire and of Irelands position
as part of the United Kingdom, as opposed to a colony, continued throughout the 1893
and 1912 Home Rule debates. Unionists found a persuasive position by placing their
arguments against Home Rule within a larger British and Imperial framework, thus
gamering sympathy from British Conservatives, and in the case of the 1886 Home
Rule debates, a considerable number of Liberals as well. In addition to his appeal to
empire, Waring also sought to name his constituency, in a step towards a specific
national identity for northern Ireland, speaking for what he might not be allowed to
call the loyal minority.. .but which he would call, for want of a better name, the West
38 Alvin Jackson, The Ulster Party: Irish Unionists in the House of Commons, 1884-
1911 (Claredon Press, Oxford: 1989), p. 4.
39 Hansard, 3rd ser. (1886), ccciv. 1088.
20


Britons of Ireland.40 Here Waring emphasizes both the northern Ireland attachment
to Britain and Ireland, but as a new understanding and grouping of people.
Those opposed to Home Rule also argued by appealing to the economic
benefits of a continued union with Britain. Irish unionists saw the preservation of the
Union as not only central to their economic well-being, but also to their sense of
selves as British subjects. In his study of the Ulster Party, Alvin Jackson notes that
Above all, Unionism was accepted by those who conceived their prosperity as being
linked to the British economy.41 The strength of Ulsters economy came mainly from
manufacturing and industry, and unionists saw the threat of Home Rule as a direct
threat to their livelihoods and industries.
But it was not simply economic concerns that motivated Irish Unionists;
Gladstone was ill-prepared for the challenges to Home Rule by Unionists. The defeat
of Gladstones Home Rule Bill led to the fracturing of the Liberal party as Liberal
Unionists joined forces with the Conservatives to oppose the Bill.42 The 1886 Home
Rule Bill placed the issue in the forefront of the Irish peoples consciousness, and
forced those who still believed in the Union to position themselves strongly against the
Irish Nationalists and British Liberal Party.
40 Hansard, 3rd ser. (1886), ccciv, 1089.
41 Jackson, The Ulster Party, p. 4.
42 Smith, Conservative Ideology, p. 24.
21


By the second attempt for Home Rule in 1893, the unionists in the north of
Ireland began constructing a more particularly Ulster Unionist community, not just an
Irish Unionist one. During the debates concerning the first Home Rule Bill, unionism
in Ireland had both southern and northern support, and both southern and northern
unionists participated in one Irish Unionist Party. In June of 1892, the Unionists
mounted a specifically Ulster Unionist convention, with 11,879 delegates from
throughout the province. It was during this round of debates on the Irish Question
that Sir Edward Carson, then an M.P. for Dublin, entered on the side of the Union
against Home Rule.43 44 Though the Home Rule Bill passed through the House of
Commons this time, the House of Lords vetoed the measure, and the Unionists were
safe from Home Rule for a time.45 It is significant for the Ulster Unionists that it was
the House of Lords that kept Home Rule from becoming law, for the next time Home
Rule came through Parliament, the Lordswith its traditionally Conservative
opinionwould have no such veto to save the Unionists. These debates helped to
forge the unionist position against Home Rule and solidified unionist arguments: some
economic, some political, and some religious. It was not for another twenty years that
43 Miller, Queens Rebels, p. 92.
44 Geoffrey Lewis, Carson: The Man Who Divided Ireland (London: Hambeldon and
London, 2005), p. 32-33.
45 Miller, Queens Rebels, p. 92.
22


a third attempt was made at Home Rule for Ireland, and by 1912, the political
topography of Britain and Ireland had changed significantly.
23


CHAPTER 3
A CORRUPT AND IMMORAL BARGAIN 46:
THE PARLIAMENT ACT AND ULSTER UNIONISMS LOYALTY TO THE
CROWN
This change in was in large part due to the passage of the Parliament Act of
1911 that had stripped the Lords of their permanent veto. By this time, the Liberals
held a majority by coalition with the Irish Nationalists, and Ulster Unionism had
gained both in strength and numbers. The corrupt and immoral bargain which Hugh
Barrie MP referred to was none other than the Parliament Act. If legislation passed
through the House of Commons three years in a row, the House of Lords could not use
their traditional veto power, and the bill would become law. To get the Parliament Act
through the House of Commons, the Liberals in power made a deal with the Irish
Nationalists to support Home Rule if the Nationalists supported the Parliament Act.
The unionists of northern Ireland took the passage of the Parliament Act in two ways:
they saw the dilution of the Lords as an unconstitutional change, and they saw the
bargain between the Irish Nationalists and the Liberals as immoral. This twofold
understanding allowed the unionists of Ulster the opportunity to create their own
46 Belfast News-Letter (hereafter BNL), 7 February 1912.
24


national identity in opposition to Parliament while still remaining loyal to the Crown
and Empire.
The Ulster Unionists understood themselves to be bound to the monarch, but
because of the damaged Constitution under the 1911 Parliament Act, they no longer
believed themselves subject to the provisions of the corrupted Parliament. As David
Miller deftly argues in The Queens Rebels, this distinction was made possible by
what he identifies as Ulsters early-modern understandings of government as a
contractual agreement between the people and the regime.47 48 The Ulster unionists held
a conditional loyalty to Parliament as long as it met its obligations to the people. If
these conditions were not met, then Ulster had every right to break its contractual
relationship to Parliament on the basis of the institution defaulting on its side of the
contract. Ulster Unionists saw the Parliament Act as precisely such a breach of
contract, which thereby provided the moral justification for disobeying the laws
passed by this Parliament. According to Miller, the Parliament Act forced upon the
consciousness of Ulster Protestants the fact that they could find reassurance of their
fundamental rights neither in a felt sense of co-nationality with any peopleBritish or
Irishnor in the capacity of British institutions to give promises which came up to
47 For a complete enunciation of this conditional loyalty and contractual government,
see David Miller, Queen's Rebels: Ulster Loyalism in Historical Perspective (Dublin:
Gill and Macmillan, 1978).
48 Miller, Queen s Rebels, pp. 4-5.
25


their own exacting standards of honesty.49 The northern Irish still claimed allegiance
to the Crown, but in their understandings of the obligations between ruler and ruled,
they saw their allegiance move away from the Parliament to the monarch, who had
technically not breached the agreement.50
The dilution of the Lords veto, traditionally Conservative in action, made the
passage of Home Rule inevitable. The unionists saw the possibility of the passage of
Home Rule without the consent of the Lords as a break with the Constitution.
Therefore, laws passed through Parliament bypassing the Lords were invalid. This
argument allowed the Unionists to take a stance against Home Rule on the grounds of
its unconstitutionality. Because Home Rule would be passed even though the Lords
vetoed it, it was a law that did not have to be obeyed. In January of 1912, the Ulster
Unionist Council affirmed their position of resorting to any means that may be found
necessary to fight against the passage of Home Rule:
our determination to adhere to this course of action is seriously strengthened
by the subservient and nefarious policy of the present Government in passing
the Parliament Act into law.. .the preamble of that Act pledges the Government
to reform the House of Lords, and this duty it refuses to undertake until by
using the distorted machinery of a wantonly broken Constitution it succeeds in
enacting other revolutionary legislation, the foremost item of which is Home
Rule.51
49 Miller, Queens Rebels, p. 103.
50 Miller, Queens Rebels, p. 5.
51 BNL, 4 January 1912.
26


In characterizing the passage and implementation of the Parliament Act as
unconstitutional, the unionists were able to conceptualize their actionsand threats of
resistanceas being perfectly legal within the framework of their association with the
Crown and not the corrupted Parliament. In an interview the day before a unionist
demonstration in Omagh, Carson spoke of the suspended Constitution under which
the Government was attempting to pass the Home Rule Bill.' This position
emphasizing an unjust Constitution gave the unionists a new platform on which to
build a northern Irish national identity, one that focused on loyalty to the Crown at the
expense of Parliament and prioritized Ulster first.
But the unionist animosity towards the Parliament Act came from another
aspect of its passage as well: for the Liberals to pass the Parliament Act, they had to
form a coalition, and the Irish Nationalists held enough seats to make that majority
possible.52 53 The Liberals made an agreement with the Irish Nationalists, led by John
Redmond, that if the Irish Nationalist Party supported the Parliament Act, the
Government would put Home Rule on the agenda for Parliament.54 This bargain
between the Irish Nationalists and Liberals placed the Irish Unionists firmly outside
the Government and also shored up their beliefs in the corruption of the Constitution
52 BNL, 5 January 1912.
53 Dangerfield, Strange Death, p. 42.
54 ODonovan, Ulster and Home Rule, p.10.
27


and Parliament. When Barrie spoke of the corrupt and immoral bargain he was
referring specifically to the bargain that
had been entered into between Mr. Asquith and Mr. Redmond, under which the
Nationalist votes in the House of Commons were given in order to destroy the
veto of the House of Lords, and to take away its valuable right of forcing an
appeal to the nation.55
The agreement between Asquith and Redmond became fundamental to northern Irish
conceptions of national identity: because Parliament had entered into a corrupt
agreement, the unionists were no longer bound to obey the passage of Home Rule.
In the same pamphlet for a unionist demonstration mentioned earlier that
contained the tripartite imageryUnion Jack, Irish harp, and Red Hand of Ulsterof
the components of northern Irish national identity, the authors argued that their resolve
to oppose Home Rule
is confirmed by the consideration of dishonourable tactics to which it is
proposed to rush a Home Rule Bill through Parliament...and thus to secure its
enactment as the result of an unprincipled bargain with the Nationalist
Parliamentary group, and under cover of a Constitution mutilated by the
Parliament Act.56
By using such descriptive language, the mutilated Constitution, the dishonourable
tactics, the unionists painted the Liberals and Irish Nationalists as not just the
enemies of unionism, but enemies to democracy and imperial Britain. The words also
55 BNL, 4 January 1912
56 PRONI, D/l545/7, Pamphlet for Ulster Unionist Demonstration, p. 6.
28


work to give the unionists the moral high groundthey are the ones fighting to uphold
the Constitution and the ones who used, by inference, honorable tactics.
Because they, in essence, declared Parliament illegal, the unionists did not see
their positions as rebellious. At an unionist meeting in Ulster, Carson questioned:
When we are told that we are rebels, I would like to know who we are rebels to. We
are not rebels to the KingGod bless him!and I know of nobody else that I can be a
rebel to. Carson and his supporters saw themselves as the true upholders of British
citizenship within Ulster. In The Truth About Home Rule, published in 1913 for a
mostly American audience, Pembroke Wicks argues that the people of Ulster bitterly
resent the attempt to deprive them of their position as citizens of the United Kingdom.
They yield to no man in their loyalty to the King and Empire, and they decline to
submit to the dictation of a Parliament composed of men who take as their motto: [the
Irish Nationalist position that] Englands difficulty is Irelands opportunity.57 58
Wicks expressly pits Ulsters loyalty to the Crown against the laws of Parliament. The
Ulster Unionists deftly found a way to argue for their defiance of law in terms of their
allegiance to the Crown above Parliament. Wicks even compares Ulsters struggle
with that of the British Colonists in North America which resulted in the War of
Independence. It is the unalterable determination of a free people to resist the attempt
57 BNL, 6 January 1912.
58 Pembroke Wicks, The Truth About Home Rule. With a Preface by the Right Hon.
Sir Edward Carson (Boston: Small, Maynard and Company, 1913), p. 98.
29


to deprive them of their rights.59 Here we find the unionists in the place of the
American colonists, fighting against a tyrannical government, this time the
Liberal/Irish Nationalist coalition Government, for their rights as citizens. In.
comparing unionism with the American Revolution, Wicks sought to legitimize the
northern Irish position against the Government. The unionists saw the imposition of
Home Rule as an attempt to deprive them of their rights as British citizens and as
loyal protestants, and sought to oppose it by any and all means.
The debate around the 1912 Home Rule Bill and the real prospect of it passing
into law was a crucial moment for Ulster unionism and northern Ireland. The
unionists no longer had the safety net of the Lords to protect them from the passage of
the Bill and therefore had to create new measures to keep themselves out of a possible
all-Ireland Parliament. They had seen the threat to empire posed by the South African
War at the end of the last century, had staunchly opposed the rebellious Boerswhile
the Irish Nationalists supported themand desired the unity of the empire to support
their position as part of that empire.60 For the first time, in the debates of 1912-1914,
Unionists offered up the exclusion of Ulster as a means of staying within the Union.
Though they argued that Home Rule was bad for all of Ireland, they had to concede to
59 Wicks, Truth About Home Rule, pp. 100-101.
60 Donal Lowry, Nationalist and unionist responses to the British empire in the age of
the South African war, 1899-1902, in Newspapers and Empire in Ireland and
Britain: Reporting the British Empire, c. 1857-1921, ed. Simon Porter, (Four Courts
Press: Dublin, 2004), p. 159-176.
30


the majority Nationalist sentiment in southern Ireland and make alternate plans for
their own position within the Union.61
61 Lewis, Carson, p. 110.
31


CHAPTER 4
THE PLOT AGAINST ULSTER:
ULSTERS CASE AGAINST THE THIRD HOME RULE BILL62
In the years before World War I, the unionists, both politicians and the public
at large, argued against Home Rule on various frontsthey argued it would be
detrimental to all of Ireland economically, they feared the Catholic influence of a
Dublin Parliament, they saw themselves as fundamentally tied to Britain as subjects of
the Crown, and they sought to preserve their privileged status under the Union and as
part of the empire. They also challenged the constitutionality of Home Rule on the
grounds of the 1911 Parliament Act.
By 1911, Belfast and the surrounding counties were heavily industrialized,
with development focused on such industries as textiles, shipbuilding, engineering,
and foundry work.63 Many Ulster business-leaders were prominent members of
unionist associations and supported the anti-Home Rule campaign in northern Ireland.
Philip Ollerenshaws essay, Businessmen and the Development of Ulster Unionism,
1886-1921, traces the connections between business and politics and shows how the
62 PR ONI. D/l 327/20/2/1, Ulster Unionist Committee Draft Annual Report, 1914,
63 Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 388.
32


business community was central in fundraising and support of unionism.64 Many of
the people of Ulster saw their prosperity directly linked to the Union and their British
identity, and desired to stay within the Union for economic and political reasons.65
They expressed these arguments through publications, business organizations, and
individual support of unionism in northern Ireland.
The economic concerns of many northern Irish were also linked to Irelands,
and particularly Ulsters, privileged position within the British empire. A 1911
pamphlet titled The ABC of Home Rule notes, while addressing the possible
consequences of Home Rule, that
The Dublin Chamber of Commerce has left it on record that the Council feels
themselves imperatively called upon to declare their opinion that any measure
calculated to weaken the Union at present between Great Britain and Ireland
would be productive of consequences most disastrous to the trading and
commercial interests of both countries.66
This belief in the disastrous effects of Home Rule on the economy expresses an
anxiety linked to Irelands privileged position within the Union as a commercial center
and trading partner for Britain. In the introduction to a collection of essays on Britain,
Ireland, and Empire, Simon Porter notes that
Irish men and women played a crucial role in the maintenance and
64 Philip Ollerenshaw. Businessmen and the Development of Ulster Unionism, 1886-
1921, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 28:1 (2000); 35-64.
65 Wicks, Truth About Home Rule.
66 PRONI, D/l 545/9, Unionist Associations of Ireland, 1911, The ABC of Home
Rule,
33


extension of British colonial rule overseas.. .Protestant engagement with
empire was especially marked, with the Anglo-Irish disproportionately
represented in the ranks of imperial administrators and military commanders,
and businesses such as the shipbuilders Harland and Wolff deriving particular
benefits.67
The benefits of the imperial context to protestant northern Ireland led unionists to link
their economic prosperity to the strength of the empire as a whole.
Ulster Unionists often used financial arguments to gain sympathy for their
cause throughout northern Ireland and in Britain generally. Historian Paul Bew states
that there is no question, for example, that economic factors played a key role in the
generation of unionist opposition to home rule.68 These economic factors included
southern Irelands predominantly agricultural economy that depended on Britain to
export goods, and northern Irelands strong industrial base. According to the Belfast
News-Letter on June 12, 1912, it is indisputable that under the security of the
Imperial Parliament the prosperity of Ireland has shown a great and growing advance,
with Belfast benefiting particularly from the Union, and its progress has been
continuous.69 The Unionists argued that if they were forced into Home Rule, they
would not only have to support southern Ireland financially, but the ties that opened
67 Simon Potter, Introduction: empire, propaganda and public opinion, in
Newspapers and Empire in Ireland and Britain, 11-22, p. 13; Harland and Wolff was
also the shipyard that built the Titanic.
68Paul Bew. Ideology and the Irish Question: Ulster Unionism and Irish Nationalism
1912-1916 (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1994), p. 35.
69 BNL 12 June 1912.
34


70
British markets to Ulster industry would also be closed to them. The same article
also stated:
The fact that our industrial growth is due to the development of trade with
England and Scotland, and is also of an international character, and further that
the amount of trade done by our shipbuilding and manufacturing concerns for
Irish clients is comparatively trivial, amply justifies our desire for the
maintenance always of the closest relations with Great Britain and complete
association with the world-wide prestige of the United Kingdom in which we
freely participate.70 71 *
These ties to British markets and the relative prosperity of Belfast and Ulster solidified
Ulsters ties to Britain and its position within the Union. For the Ulster Unionists, the
economic prosperity and future of northern Ireland was literally tied to the material
and economic benefits offered by the Union. These financial concerns also entered
into the Parliamentary debates on Home Rule, with Edward Carsons 1913 comment
that there is nothing in the Bill that improves the material condition or can improve
the material condition of Ulster. With such rhetoric, unionists aimed to persuade
their constituenciesand many in Britainof the immediate economic threat that
Home Rule posed to northern Ireland.
At times, economic arguments against Home Rule pulled in the broader
platform of unionism, addressing religious and constitutional fears as well. In June of
70 Bew, Ideology and the Irish Question, p. 35.
71 BNL, 12 June 1912.
12 Hansard, 385, 1 January 1913.
35


1912, the Belfast Chamber of Commerce produced a report to its members regarding
its position on Home Rulewhich it had also opposed in 1893:
Your Council believe that the economic and social conditions of Ireland render
it signally unfit for Home Rule. The population is not homogenous, it is
radically divided on the lines of race and religion, and, unfortunately, the two
parties are filled with distrust and historical jealousies of each other. The
Chamber, being representative only of commercial and industrial interests,
have always endeavoured to avoid as far as possible the controversies of party
politics and religion, but when the interests of the whole mercantile community
are so gravely threatened by proposals for constitutional change of the most
far-reaching character, they feel that emphatic expression of their views is
imperative.. .to remain an integral part of the United Kingdom, under one flag
and Parliament.73
One of the central arguments for the Belfast Chamber of Commerce against Home
Rule alludes to the perceived differences between what they refer to as race and
religion but which became manifest in the split between protestant northern Ireland
and the three southern provinces. By bringing together economic and cultural
concerns in one document, the Belfast Chamber of Commerce successfully merged
two of the major means of attacking against Home Rule in Ulster.
The fear of Catholic influence and Rome Rule were central to the northern
Irish protestant identity and an affirmation of their affinity with the British at the
expense of their Irishness. This fear was particularly central because it tied northern
Ireland to Britain and the Protestant tradition, which was in direct opposition to
Catholic Ireland since the establishment of the Church of England in Tudor times. In
73 BNL, 12 June 1912.
36


The Truth About Home Rule, Pembroke Wicks expresses this fear clearly: there is
even greater danger to be feared of clerical control throughout Ireland at the hands of
the Roman Catholic Church.74 For protestant Ulster, the idea of a Catholic
Parliament provoked anger and fear, of rule by the Catholic Church through Dublin,
and clerical abuse. The protestant community of northern Ireland was not unified in
one particular denomination; within the unionist community were Church of Ireland
members, Scots-Presbyterians, Methodists, and various other nonconformist protestant
denominations.75 At the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in
1912, a committee reported the continued Presbyterian support of the unionist position
against Home Rule, just as they had fought the first two Home Rule Bills.76 77 Aside
from specific protestant denominations, northern Irish unionists appealed to the
Britishness of their shared Protestant history, that same Britishness that Linda Colley
argues created a British national identity in opposition to Catholic France. Colley
sees Britishness as being formed on the basis of a Protestant identity as against the
Catholic other of France.78 This shared religious position and tradition appealed to
74 Wicks, Truth About Home Rule, p. 74.
75 Youssef Courbage, The Demographic Factor in Irelands Movement Towards
Partition (1607-1921), Population: An English Selection, v. 9, pp. 169-190, pp. 172,
174, 176-178.
76 BNL, 8 June 1912.
77 Colley, Britons, pp. 17, 33-35.
78 Colley, Britons, pp. 18-35.
37


northern Irish unionists as it emphasized their similarities with Britain and the British
tradition, and differences from Catholic Nationalist Ireland.
One prominent example of unionist fears about the power of the Catholic
Church was the controversy surrounding the Ne Temere ruling and its effects on non-
Catholics. The Vaticans passage of Ne Temere in 1908 called for all Catholic/non-
Catholic marriages to be consecrated by a Catholic priest, or else the Church would
not recognize the union, and children bom within the marriage would be considered
illegitimate.79 80 According to Desmond Bowen in his study of Irish Protestantism,
What shocked the Protestant community was the open admission by the papacy that
Roman law took precedence over the Common Law in the issue of marriage, and that
it had little respect for Protestant rights. The major concern about Ne Temere was
that it allowed the primacy of a religious ruling over the laws of Britain and Ireland,
and for Ulster unionists, this ruling seemed to foreshadow the breakdown of their
religious freedoms under a Catholic-influenced Parliament in Dublin.
One particular incident involving Ne Temere caught the publics attention: in
November 1910, in a case that became known as the McCann affair, a Protestant
woman married a Catholic man in a Protestant church, and post-Ne Temere, the father
absconded with the children after his wife refused to be remarried by a Catholic
79 Desmond Bowen, History and the Shaping of Irish Protestantism (Peter Lang, New
York: 1995), p. 372; Bew, p. 31.
80
Bowen, Irish Protestantism, p. 372.
38


priest.81 This became a battle cry against Home Rule and the types of anti-Protestant
laws many northern Irish believed a Parliament in Dublin, if created, would pass. In a
1912 speech at the Enniskillen Protestant Hall, a speaker, Mr. Maguire, argued that
Rome Rule means one or other of three things. It means either the oppression
and persecution of Protestants by Roman Catholics in general, or the excessive
and tyrannical interference of bishops and priests in Irish political life to the
detriment of Protestants, and general paralysis of national life.82
His statement reinforces the beliefs of Protestant northern Ireland regarding the
negative impact that Home Rule would have on those of a religion other than
Catholicism. The use of such language as oppression and persecution and
excessive and tyrannical may have been simply rhetorical flair, but it also captures
the attitude of northern Irish protestants: many believed that if Home Rule passed,
Ireland would essentially be under the rule of the Catholic church. The language may
also have been in reference to historical religious persecution. And the passage of
Home Rule would leave protestant northern Ireland as a distinct minority community
under a Dublin Parliament.
The anxieties concerning a Catholic Dublin Parliament were tied to fears of
losing the Imperial, Protestant affiliation with Great Britain and the Empire. If Ireland
was no longer bound by the Act of Union to be a part of Great Britain, it would then
become no better than a colony. Discussions of Home Rule, in Parliament and in the
81 Bew, Ideology and the Irish Question, pp. 31-33.
82 BNL, 3 January 1912.
39


papers, constantly asserted Ulsters alliance to the Crown and adherence to British
citizenship. In the Home Rule debates in October of 1912, Edward Carson argued that
the whole tradition and the whole history behind Ulster and the people of northern
Ireland has made them citizens of the United Kingdom exactly the same as
Q-J
Englishmen are citizens of the United Kingdom. By noting the distinction of
England as a nation, not just Britain, within the larger entity of the United Kingdom,
Carson identifies a place for the northern Irish, with their own Ulster national identity,
as a partner within Britain.
This language of citizenship permeated the Unionist rhetoric against Home
Rule, and fixed the notion of British citizenship within the northern Irish sense of
national identity. At a public meeting, Basil Peto, M.P. argued against Home Rule on
the grounds that
the Ulster Protestants are good citizens of the United Kingdom. They obey
and are prepared to obeythe laws passed by the Parliament of the United
Kingdom. The Home Rule Bill deprives them of that complete and equal
citizenship.. .In a word, so long as Parliament leaves to them the full
citizenship they possess they are good citizens (the best in Ireland) and obey
the laws of the United Kingdom. They will resistand will be justified in
84
resistingany attempt to drive them out.
This speech not only emphasizes the importance of citizenship in the United Kingdom,
but repeatedly argues that the Ulster unionists are good citizens, that they obey the
laws and are not unruly, unlike the rebellious Irish Nationalists. Yet it includes a 83 *
83 Hansard, xlii, 615 10 October 1912.
mBNL, 13 June 1912.
40


threat against Britain if it revokes that status as good, loyal, obedient citizens of the
Crown. In linking the rights of citizenship to the threat of resistance, Peto prioritizes
citizenship as one of the central themes against Home Rule. Unionists perceived that
Home Rule meant the revocation of citizenship status which would justify the
possibility of disobedience against Parliament. E.P. Thompson, in The Making of the
English Working Class, describes the rights of the free-born Englishman as
freedom from foreign domination, protected by the laws of the land, and fully
entitled to protest against injustices and inequalities.85 These rights were the same
rights that Ulsterites fought for against the possibility of the foreign domination of
the Home Rule Bill. The discussions on the rights of citizens tied northern Ireland to a
broader definition of national identity that included British citizenship and British
ideals of civil rights.
The importance of the rights of citizenship was not only evident in the context
of the Third Home Rule Bill, but had been part of the argument against the previous
Home Rule attempts as well. A unionist resolution reported in the Belfast News-Letter
on January 4, 1912, quoted the 1892 Ulster Conventions resolve to resorting to any
means that may be found necessary to enable us to preserve unimpaired our equal
citizenship in the United Kingdom.86 Though the 1912 resolution began by
85 E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (New York: Vintage
Books, 1963), pp. 77-101.
86 BNL, 4 January 1912.
41


emphasizing the continuity of the anti-Home Rule movements, it continued on to state
the specific case for northern Ireland in 1912:
It is simply a demand...that our Northern province shall continue to possess
the exact constitutional privileges, and rights which, in common with her
British fellow-citizens, she enjoys to-day as an integral part of the United
Kingdom, and that she shall continue to be represented on equal terms with
87
Great Britain in the Imperial Parliament.
The claims for citizenship are couched in a language of equality within Great Britain
and with British citizens, and explicitly tied to the empire as well. And here again,
like the speech quoted above, the resolution threatens rebellion if such citizenship is
endangered or removed:
Should this claim, based on the most elementary principles of British justice,
be refused, the only alternative consistent with our rights as subjects of the
King is the Ulster Provisional Government to come into operation on the
88
appointed day, and this once established, we are resolved to see it through.
Here we see an explicit reference to the possibility of a northern Irish government,
apart from both Britain and Ireland, a government proposed to represent the interests
of the people of Ulster. The fact that the unionists of northern Ireland were prepared
to create an Ulster Provisional Government attests to their understandings of northern
Ireland as a distinct entity capable of governing itself. In validating the Provisional
Government, northern Irish unionists were essentially taking the step towards attaining
sovereignty, and promoting their national identity. 87 88
87 BNL, 4 January 1912.
88 BNL, 4 January 1912.
42


Northern Irish unionists often coupled the perceived threat against citizenship
with a belief in the disintegration of civil and religious rights under Home Rule. In a
pamphlet that accompanied the Ulster Unionist Demonstration in Belfast on April 9,
1912, the unionist authors argued that Home Rule for Ireland
would involve ruin to our civil and religious liberties and the degradation of
our citizenship in the United Kingdom; and would be the first step in the
disintegration of the great Empire, to the up-building of which Irishmen, and in
no small degree the descendents of the Ulster plantation, have contributed their
full share.89
Here the threat is not just against citizenship, but also against the civil and religious
liberties that unionists believed were part and parcel of their continued loyalty to
Britain and the Crown. The same pamphlet later appeals to Alfred Bonar Law,
leader of the British Unionists, and interestingly uses the rhetoric of the defense of
citizenship to support a possible Ulster rebellion against the implementation of Home
Rule:
Such action regarding legislation [the passage of Home Rule], for which the
electorate has given no mandate whatever, is a wanton trifling with the rights
of civil freedom, and its revolutionary character, should it succeed, will amply
justify the Loyalists of Ulster in resorting to whatever action they may find
necessary to retain unimpaired their full rights of citizenship in the British
Empire.90
Here the unionists use the language of citizenship and an appeal to keeping the
elementary rights of free-born British citizens to support the possibility of an armed
89 PRONI, D/1545/7, Pamphlet for The Ulster Unionist Demonstration of 1912, 9
April 1912, p. 6.
90 PRONI, D/1545/7, Pamphlet for The Ulster Unionist Demonstration of 1912, p. 9.
43


resistance to the implementation of a Home Rule parliament in Dublin.91 And the
discussions of citizenship and liberties was directly linked to Irelands position as part
of the British Empire. For Ulster, the appeal of British citizenship was two-fold: it
existed as an ideal of civil and religious liberties, and, for free-born British citizens, it
created the right to oppose by force, if necessary, the creation of a Dublin Parliament.
Other unionist supporters worked to link the appeals of citizenship to the
significance of the empire in an understanding of British citizenship and world status.
According to Simon Potter, Irish men and women developed an ambiguous,
sometimes volatile, but often viable mixture of identities as members of a global
community, an identity that became apparent in unionist arguments against Home
Rule.92 93 Potter also notes that a section of the Irish population also saw themselves as
British, and as members of a broader, imperial British world. The people of
northern Ireland understood their identity to be located in Ulster, but also as a part of a
larger entity, the British empire. And for them, Home Rule threatened not only their
place as a part of a major world power, but the power of the empire itself. The minute
book of the Ulster Day committee recorded a draft resolution that recognized
91 PRONI, D/l 545/7, Pamphlet for The Ulster Unionist Demonstration of 1912, p. 10.
92 Potter, Introduction, 13.
93 Potter, Introduction, 13-14.
44


that the public peace of this country is in great and imminent danger by reason
of the threat to establish a Parliament in Dublin, and knowing that such a step
will inevitably lead to disaster to the Empire and absolute ruin to Ireland.94
If Home Rule passed in Ireland, unionists saw it as a disaster to the Empire because it
would provide an example to colonies that a nation could in effect opt out of the
British Empire.
These concerns for the integrity of the empire drew upon the recent South
African War, during which Irish nationalists often supported the Boers against the
British, and the unionist community firmly supported Britain.95 The interest aroused
by the South African Wars to both the unionists and Irish nationalists underscores the
importance of empire in the minds of the Irish at the beginning of the twentieth
centurythough on different sides, the people of Ireland were captivated by the war.
The introduction of the Third Home Rule Bill placed a whole new set of pressures
upon unionists to address the threat to Ulsters imperial identity. And it was not just
the people of northern Ireland who were preoccupied with the impact on the empire;
other members of Britains empire paid attention to the Home Rule debates as well.
An article in the Belfast News-Letter on February 9, 1912 showed the contents of a
telegram sent to Carson from Perth, Australia;
Brave Ulstermen, you were planted by the British Parliament to conserve the
unity of the empire. You have been faithful to this trust. The present
94 PRONI, Demonstration Joint Sub-Committee Minute Book, Ulster Day
Committee, 5 September 1911.
95 Lowry, Nationalist and unionist, p. 159-161.
45


Government is seeking to betray you. Therefore we, representing many
thousand Orange and Protestant citizens of Western Australia, heartily endorse
your attitude.96
The article also included a similar letter from Montreal, showing support for unionists
against Home Rule. The backing of other imperial subjectsnot surprisingly those
countries heavy with Irish immigrantsshows a collective interest in the integrity of
the British Empire against the threat of losing part of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Ireland.
The three attempts at passing Home Rule through Parliament solidified the
majority protestant northern Irish position in relation both to the rest of Ireland and to
Britain. These debates placed Ulsters position within the Act of Union at the
forefront and forced Ulster to stake a new position for itself within Britain and in
relation to Ireland, a position of Ulstemess first, and provided the opportunity to act
out the nationalist politics of Ulster. The possibility of the implementation of Home
Rule was unacceptable to the unionists of northern Ireland, particularly in light of the
Parliament Act, and they were ready to fight it by any means necessary. The
Liberal/Irish Nationalist alliance that saw the passage of the Parliament Act of 1911
and the agreement to support Home Rule placed the unionists in a difficult position,
but one that forced them to create more fully a new national identity supported
throughout Ulster.
96 BNL, 9 February 1912.
46


CHAPTER 5
THE FORMATION OF NEW CLUBS STILL CONTINUES..
CLUBS, FINANCING THE UNION, AND THE ULSTER VOLUNTEER FORCE
The introduction of the third Home Rule Bill in 1912 stimulated the growth of
local unionist groups throughout Ulster and fostered a community of individuals from
across economic, and sometimes religious, lines who shared a belief in the Union as
the means of keeping Ulster as it was: economically, politically, and culturally part of
Britain. The members of these groups came from a variety of backgrounds, but they
came together in support of the Union and in support of an idea of northern Ireland
that was separate from a strictly British or Irish entity. By examining their meetings,
demonstrations, and publications, we can explore the history from below that
Hobsbawm sees as imperative to understanding a national identity. The expressions
and participation of unionist groups show precisely the assumptions, hopes, needs,
longings and interests of ordinary people that Hobsbawm describes. And those
hopes and longings of the ordinary people of northern Ireland reveal a foundation of
support of the Union and of their place within that Unionas northern Irish people
bound to the Crown and Britain for prosperity, citizenship, and civil and religious
freedoms. 97
97 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p. 10.
47


Though Unionist groups had existed during the debates around the Home Rule
Bills of 1886 and 1893, it was not until 1905 that unionist leaders formed the Ulster
Unionist Council (U.U.C.), with the idea of providing an overarching central authority
for unionism in Ulster. By the time the third Home Rule Bill came up in Parliament,
the U.U.C. was well-established as the central producer of unionist rhetoric and site of
support for the Union. In his essay on Irish unionism, Alvin Jackson argues that with
the creation of the U.U.C.,
Ulster unionism had taken a hesitant, but still vital step towards the creation of
a distinctive northern movement and it might well be contended further that the
UUC represented not merely an eye-catching regional initiative, but a
prototype for the unionist parliament which came into being in 1921."
As an organizing body for northern unionism, the U.U.C. also arranged meetings and
demonstrations, published pamphlets and materials for such meetings, and collected
funds to support unionism in northern Ireland.
As the debates around Home Rule heated up, the number of unionist clubs
throughout Ireland, and particularly in Ulster, grew. The minute book of the
Executive Committee of the U.U.C. records 171 clubs actually formed in December
1911, increasing to 295 clubs in June 1912, and reaching 333 clubs in October of 98 99
98 ODonovan, Ulster and Home Rule, p. 9.
99 Alvin Jackson, Irish unionism, 1870-1922, in Defenders of the Union: A survey of
British and Irish unionism since 1801, ed. D. George Boyce and Alan ODay
(London: Routledge, 2001), 115-136, p. 124.
48


1913.100 By 1912, these clubs were under the auspices of the U.U.C., tying their
political position to their geographical base, and thereby lessening the power of a more
generalized Irish Unionism. Though there were unionist clubs outside of Ulster, the
organization and greatest numbers of support came from Ulster. The increase in the
sheer number of Unionist clubs suggests substantial support for the Ulster Unionist
agenda of stopping Home Rule, and if that failed, then fighting to exclude Ulster from
a Dublin Parliament.
Unionism was not just an elite and political movement, but it encompassed
people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds; a list of contributors to Sir
Edward Carsons Unionist Defense Fund included
handkerchief manufacturers and merchants, hemstichers, shirt makers, coach
builders, painters and paperhangers, flag makers, brewers, whisky brokers,
auctioneers, florists, fishmongers, umbrella and walking stick
manufacturers.101
The support for unionism ranged across class lines and brought usually disparate
groups together. The broad support of unionism attests to the centrality of the anti-
Home Rule campaign in Ulsterit was not just a political movement of the upper-
classes, but a subject that captured the hopes and aspirations of the people of northern
Ireland. And this movement often needed the financial support of its members to
continue.
100 PRONI D/l 327/1/2, Ulster Unionist Council Executive Committee Minute Book,
1893-1913,
101 PRONI, D/l 327/2/10, Sir Edward Carson Unionist Defence Fund.
49


The U.U.C. often called upon its members for monetary support to keep up the
campaign against Home Rule. The records of the Anti-Home Rule Campaign Fund
Guarantee includes an itemized list of donations to the fund, ranging from £1 to £100,
suggesting the support of unionism across a broad socio-economic spectrum. The
donations came from across Ulster, and occasionally farther afieldone even from
New Jerseywith both men and women well represented as patrons. One entry was
from Miss Gertrude Clements, of Ashfield Lodge, Cookehill, who donated £17. With
her donation she included a note stating Amount collected by a few labourers and
small farmers in her neighborhood.102 103 Not only does her donation speak to the
important role of womensand in this case, a single womansinvolvement in
unionism, it attests to the broad-base of support from a variety of social classes, here
laborers and farmers, who contributed out of their small wages for unionism.
The money raised by the unionists throughout northern Ireland went to support
the Ulster Unionist Committee, as well as the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force
(U.V.F.), officially founded in 1913. In that same year, the U.U.C. created the One
Million Pound Indemnity Guarantee Fund, which pledged to compensate the
members, or the families thereof, of the U.V.F. who might be injured or killed in the
line of duty acting upon the orders of the Ulster Provisional Government, the
government that the Unionist Party planned to implement in Ulster if Home Rule
102 PRONI, D/l327/2/5, Anti-Home Rule Campaign Fund Guarantee Ledger Book.
103 PRONI, D/l 327/2/5, Anti-Home Rule Campaign Fund Guarantee Ledger Book.
50


passed through Parliament as taking effect of the whole of Ireland.104 The ledger book
for the Indemnity Fund includes nearly 4000 individual guarantees for the fund, with
much larger sums than the more general funds. The Duke of Abercom guaranteed
£10,000 for the fund, but most donations ranged from £5 to £500. The official
formation of the U.V.F. attests to the strength of conviction of the people of northern
Ireland against Home Rule. By setting up a military force, the unionists were taking
another step towards the possibility with a break from Britain, and staking a claim for
a northern Irish national identity, complete with armed and trained forces. The
massive monetary contributions to the U.V.F. Indemnity Fund speak to the popular
support of the U.V.F., and of a belief in the importance of protecting the national
interests of northern Ireland.
The formation of the U.V.F. was central to a northern Irish national identity as
it was a volunteer military organization whose numbers may have reached almost
100,000 by 1914.105 The army was prepared to act on behalf of the Provisional
Government and the will of the people of northern Ireland. According to A.T.Q.
Stewart, in his study of loyalism in Ulster, the U.V.F. possessed cavalry, a motor-car
corps, a special strike force, signalers and dispatch riders, and ambulance and nursing
units...The Unionists had their own communications system, and were in a position to
104 PRONI, D/l 327/2/12, Ulster Unionist Committee and Ulster Union of
Constitutional Associations Special Meeting, 24 September 1913.
105 A.T.Q. Stewart, The Narrow Ground: Aspects of Ulster, 1609-1969 (London:
Faber and Faber, 1977), p. 168.
51


seize the harbours, roads and railways of Ulster.106 Northern Ireland had its own
army, an army armed, trained, and ready to defend the rights of Ulster and the national
integrity of northern Ireland. The April 1914 gunrunning at Lame made headlines
across Ireland and Britain as the U.V.F. gathered 25,000 rifles and three million
rounds of ammunition along coastal towns of Ulster.107 108 This Unionist armed force
was another key element in buttressing the national identity of northern Ireland
Ulster now had its own army to defend and support its vision of an Ulster as part of
i no
the British empire.
106 A.T.Q. Stewart, The Narrow Ground, p.168.
107 Alvin Jackson, Irish unionism, p. 129; The Ulster Unionist Council Archives at
the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland contain materials on both gunrunning at
Lame and the Curragh incident (see below), but special permission is needed to access
the documents. While I was granted permission to view a great deal of U.U.C.
materials, many of which are cited here, the current U.U.C. is wary of those requesting
access to materials to the funding of the gunrunning, almost a hundred years after the
events. I was denied access to those documents.
108 The formation and actions of the United Volunteers are part of the expressions of
northern Irish national identity, but the scope of this paper focuses primarily on the
popular, political, non-military expressions of national identity instead of the arming
of Ulster. While studies have examined the military components of Ulster Unionism, I
am interested more in the political, cultural and social aspects of northern Ireland and
national identity. For more on the Ulster Volunteer Force, see Timothy Bowman,
Carsons Army: The Ulster Volunteer Force, 1910-1922 (Manchester: Manchester
University Press, 2007); Bowman, The Ulster Volunteer Force and the Formation of
the 36th (Ulster) Division. Irish Historical Studies 2001 32(128): 498-518; Steve
Bruce, The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland (Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 1992); Alvin Jackson, Unionist Myths 1912-1985, Past and
Present, No. 136 (Aug., 1992), pp. 164-185; Sarah Nelson, Ulster's Uncertain
Defenders: Protestant Political, Paramilitary and Community Groups and the
Northern Ireland Conflict (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1987); Peter Taylor,
Loyalists: War and Peace in Northern Ireland (New York: T.V. Books, 199).
52


The armed and potentially dangerous U.V.F. and the possibility of a conflict
with British soldiers was a matter of grave concern for unionists and British soldiers
alike. Because of their loyalty to the Crown, unionist U.V.F. members did not relish
the possibility of war with Britain and fellow soldiers. But after the mutiny at
Curragh, in which fifty-eight British cavalry officers in Kildare refused to take part in
training for a possible attack on Ulster, soldiers with ties to Ulster were forced to
reconsider their position on Home Rule and their national allegiances.109 A March
1914 letter to the Secretary of the U.U.C. by a soldier in the Highland Light Infantry,
captures the tom allegiances of one man. Sergeant Edward Patton asked to be
enrolled for services with the U.V.F.:
I should like to add that in my Regiment I have many comrades who would
feel bound by their principles to offer to serve with the Corps should the worst
come to the worst, and of the remainder, the sympathy of the great majority is
with our cause and I cannot imagine an officer of my Regiment order to be
fired, or a unit of it firing, a shot against Ulster.. .1 quite understand the
seriousness of the step I, a servant of the Crown, have taken, and it will
probably mean desertion in order to carry it out, but I fail to see any alternative
for an Ulsterman worthy of the name, situated as I am.110
Patton found himself in a difficult position, but ultimately his loyalty to Ulster and
northern Ireland triumphed over his dedication to the Crown and the military. He was
willing to desert his post as a training instructor and lend his services to the U.V.F. in
protecting northern Ireland. Such a decision could not have been made lightly, and
109 Alvin Jackson, Irish unionism, pp. 129-130.
110 PRONI, D/l496/5, Sergeant Edward Patton, letter to the Ulster Unionist Council,
20 March 1914.
53


such a willingness to give up one national identificationBritishfor Ulster, is a
clear expression of the support for Ulster nationalism.
The formation of unionist clubs, the monetary support, and the creation of the
U.V.F. each speak to the wide-spread support of a northern Irish national identity that
was publicly orchestrated by the U.U.C. but also on a grassroots level enacted by the
members of unionist groups. Northern Irish from all walks of life engaged their time,
money, and sometimes guns, to sustain the unionist cause and to fight against Home
Rule. The people of northern Ireland were prepared to bear arms against Britain or an
Irish Parliament in defense of the idea of northern Ireland that they believed in. This
fight against Home Rule was not only waged by soldiers and businessmen, but also by
the women of northern Ireland.
54


CHAPTER 6
THEY HAD THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS IN THAT GRAND
WORK OF WITHSTANDING HOME RULE:
GENDER, WOMEN, AND UNIONISM111 112
Increasingly, historians are exploring the gender dimensions of nationalist
politics. Mrinalina Sinha, in her essay Gender and Nation, addresses this emerging
field of study and notes that attachments to modem gender and national identities
have developed together and reinforced each other. In Sinhas survey, she looks at
the historiography of recent studies of gender and nation, and notes certain trends in
the scholarship, many of which I have utilized in my analysis; such as the invented
character of the nation, the cultural side of the nation and nationalism, and the link
between gender and nation.113 Women were active participants in the anti-Home Rule
campaign and construction of northern Irish national identity. Women were involved
in the Unionist cause, establishing their own Unionist associations and speaking
publicly and vehemently against Home Rule and in favor of keeping Ulster within the
111 BNL, 4 January 1912.
112 Mrinalina Sinha, Gender and Nation, in Womens History in Global Perspective
ed. Bonnie Smith, (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), pp. 229-
274.
113 Sinha, Gender and Nation, p. 237-239.
55


Union. The interesting proceedings of the North Down Womens Unionist
Association included a move
that we resolve to do all in our power to uphold the Unionist cause and
resist any form of Home Rule, which, we feel sure, would be detrimental to
Ireland and would contribute to the downfall of the British Empire.114
The womens unionist groups utilized the same rhetoric as the unionist groups
generally, but often expressed interest in a unionism that had direct links to issues
relating to women, such as the controversies around Ne Temere, which affected
womens traditional roles as wives and mothers. In addressing the construction of a
nation, Sinha points out that it is important to assess the role of the family in that
processfor Ulster, the protestant tradition of the patriarchal family unit relegated
women to the status of wives and mothers, thereby limiting their possible public
roles.115 Northern Irish women used the cause of unionism as a way to be heard in a
political debate that formally excluded their participation.
The women who supported unionism in northern Ireland did so in within the
context of the larger debates on womens suffrage throughout the United Kingdom
and Ireland. Margaret Wards essay on the Irish suffrage movement provides an
introduction to the often-conflicted nature of suffrage in Irelandfraught with
114 BNL, 4 January 1912.
115 Sinha, Gender and Nation, pp. 246-249.
56


nationalist and unionist politics, religions, and militancy.116 117 Cliona Murphy expands
on many of these issues, and opens up the study of Irish womens suffrage to look at
its impact on society in the her book, The Womens Suffrage Movement and Irish
Society in the Early Nineteenth Century.117 The history of womens suffrage in
Ireland was not just an extension of British suffrage, but had its own character, with a
diversity of groups, some whom supported suffrage within the context of their
nationalist viewpointseither Irish nationalism or Ulster unionismand those
groups, like the Irish Womens Franchise League, which supported suffrage above all
else.118 The impact of Irish womens suffrage was found throughout Ireland, and had
implications for Ulster and unionists.
Unionist women used the context of suffrage and the Home Rule crisis as an
opportunity to engage in political discourse and take up political action. In his essay
on Irish unionism, Alvin Jackson notes that womens involvement in unionism during
the third Home Rule crisis
brought an empowerment of unionist women: women created for themselves,
or were given, wider opportunities than before for involvement in unionist
politics, while the formerly dismissive unionist high command was forced to
reconsider its patriarchal attitudes.119
116 Margaret Ward, Suffrage First, Above All Else!: An Account of the Irish
Suffrage Movement, Feminist Review, No. 10, (Spring 1982), pp.21-36.
117 Cliona Murphy, The Womens Suffrage Movement and Irish Society in the Early
Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989).
118 Murphy, Womens Suffrage Movement, pp. 1-12.
119 Jackson, Irish unionism, p.127.
57


The women members of unionist clubs took a public political role in their fight against
Home Rule, and did so in a manner that had not been available to them in the previous
discussions of the topic, in part because of the inevitability of Home Rules passage in
1912 that pushed unionists to widen their base of support. The groups allowed
women, most often middle- and upper-class, an accepted avenue to achieve a political
voice because the cause of the Union was not seen as simply a political matter, but one
tied to the basic civil and religious liberties of a nation.
Unionist women were not simply adjuncts to the male groups, but founded
their own groups and organizations focused against Home Rule, often with an
emphasis on womens concerns with an all-Ireland parliament, such as marriage rights
and children. Though the unionist women could not vote, their religious and moral
backgrounds led them to support unionism as it stood for the continuance of life as it
was in Ulster. In a January 1912 report on the aforementioned North Down
Womens Unionist Association meeting, a Mrs. Donnan commented that
they must stand for unity, and there must be no lukewarmness. They had their
hearts and souls in that grand work of withstanding Home Rule, and were
121
united in the cause of their King and country.
Mrs. Donnans remarks echo the wider unionist political rhetoric noted previously in
unionisms case against Home Rule, but uses the language of hearts and souls to 120 121
120 Jackson, Irish unionism, p.127.
121 BNL, 4 January 1912.
58


appeal more directly to a female audience unable to participate in the traditional
political sphere. Women speakers often implored women to participate in the case
against Home Rule; at the same meeting, a Mrs. Mercier Clements
emphasized the importance of the assistance which would be given by the
women in effectually meeting the danger of Home Rule, and said she was
pleased to state that throughout Ulster there were between 40,000 and 50,000
women united on that great question...She was convinced that the Imperial
province would not surrender, and it might lie in the power of the women to do
their share in colouring public opinion, and so ward off that which would be
one of the direst calamities from which any people could suffer.122
Though she does not say exactly how women should take part in the unionist
campaign, Clements does encourage women to take part in informing public opinion,
stepping into the public sphere in support of a very political issue. In promoting the
role of women in assisting the case against Home Rule, Mrs. Clements also
encourages the participation of women in the public sphere.
And the women of Ulster did indeed participate in the public sphere in support
of the Union. They held meetings and demonstrations, wrote letters, gave money, and
volunteered as nurses to assist the U.VF..123 On July 26, 1912, the West Belfast
Womens Unionist Association carried out an anti-Home Rule demonstration, with
attendance between fifteen and twenty thousand supporters.124 Carson addressed the
122 BNL, 4 January 1912.
123 Nancy Kingham, United We Stood: The Official History of the Ulster Womens
Unionist Council 1911-1974 (Belfast; Appletree Press, 1975).
124 Kingham, United We Stood, p. 24.
59


crowd at the demonstration, catering his speech to his audience and appealing to the
support of the women unionists:
In any crisis in history you may be perfectly assured that when you see the
women prepared to make sacrifices as well as the menwhen you see the
women just as enthusiastic and as resolute as the men in taking their part and
share in the hard workyou may then know, and realize, that we have got a
cause which touches the ears and sympathies of every class of the community,
and what I am especially glad to notice is that I see amongst the women,
regardless of all class distinctions, that common sisterhood which will enable
them to go forward with great comradeship and give courage one to the
other...1 5
Here Carson not only thanks the women for their support and participation, but also
makes note of the diversity of their support. He uses the language of sisterhood to
describe the bonds between the women activists, gendering their activities as opposed
to the brotherhood of men, and soldiers. But he also speaks of womens preparations
to make sacrifices, giving women the power to give to their nation, though not in the
same manner as the men. This language of sacrifice would be echoed in the Ulster
Covenant, but there gendered as a masculine sacrifice of life for the nation of Ulster.
Carsons speech attests to the importance of womens support of unionism, as their
sisterhood helps further the cause of Ulster against Home Rule.
Womens unionist groups often found the greatest opportunity for public
activity when focusing on issues that traditionally affected womenincluding
marriage and family. As Sinha notes, the construction of women as mothers has been
one of the most important way[s] in which women have been integrated into various 125
125 Kingham, United We Stood, pp. 24-25.
60


nationalist projects, and we find that true with Ulster as well; women are allowed a
greater public voice against certain issues because of their status as mothers. The
debates surrounding the Ne Temere ruling particularly interested womens groups, and
they spoke out specifically on the subject. At the Ulster Womens Unionist Councils
(U.W.U.C.) Annual meeting in 1912, the members presented a resolution that
addressed their concerns with the passage of Ne Temere:
The action...of the Vatican in enforcing in Ireland the Ne Temere decree, with
all its inhumanities...fills our minds with the greatest misgivings as to the
safety of our religious liberties under the legislature of a Dublin Parliament.126 127 128
The U.W.U.C. was interested in the implications of Ne Temere as it related to
marriage and children, as this was a question which effected women particularly and
in connection with which women should make a special effort. The unionist
women of northern Ireland made their voices heard in response to what they perceived
to be a direct threat to their marriages and families. In January of 1912, the U.W.U.C.
launched a petition against Ne Temere which garnered the signatures of 104,301 Ulster
126 Sinha, Gender and Nation, pp. 258-259.
127 PRONI, D/1098/1/3, Ulster Womens Unionist Council Meeting Minutes, Ulsters
Objections to Home Rule, 18 January 1912.
128 PRONI, D/1098/1/1, Ulster Womens Unionist Council Meeting Minutes, 22
September 1911.
61


women within a month.
129
Unionism allowed women the opportunity to take a public, political stance that
had not always been allowed to them. The cause of unionism was seen as not only
political, but as tied to the moral fabric of Ulster societyHome Rule could mean a
Catholic-influenced Parliament in Dublin that did not respect the protestant traditions
of Ulster, and it threatened the stability of the home in its possible economic
consequences on industrialized northern Ireland. Due to these reasons, it was possible
for women to organize around unionism and be heard. Unionists understood the case
against Home Rule to be larger than the politics, as an issue that went to the heart of
what they understood as their national identity and allegiances, and the participation of
women was an important part of organizing Ulster for the Union. The U.U.C.
understood the importance of womens contributions to the cause, and Carson even
offered the enfranchisement of women under the Ulster Provisional Government,
should it come into being.129 130 And so northern Irish nationalist politics held a place for
womens participation and activities in the public, and political, sphere.
129 Alan Megahey, God will defend the right: The Protestant Churches and
opposition to home rule, in Defenders of the Union: A sun>ey of British and Irish
unionism since 1801, ed. D. George Boyce and Alan ODay (London: Routledge,
2001), 159-175, p. 166.
130 Jackson, Irish Unionism, p.127; Margaret Ward, Suffrage Above, p. 30.
62


CHAPTER 7
MONSTER DEMONSTRATION:
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL EXPRESSIONS OF NATIONAL IDENTITY
On September 25, 1911 somewhere between 100,000 and 250,000 northern
Irish unionist supporters gathered at Craigavon, the home of James Craigone of the
leaders of the Irish Unionist Partyto support a very public campaign against Home
Rule.131 Organized by the Ulster Unionist Council (U.U.C.), the demonstration
subsequently endorsed the establishment of a Provisional Government of Ulster in
the event of the Home Rule Bills passage.132 This declaration of a potential Ulster
government demonstrates the ability of the northern Irish to think of themselves in
terms of nationhood, as defined by separate political status. The mass turnout for the
demonstration, and the Ulster Provisional Government declaration, expressed the
beliefs in Ulsters particular position within the Union, and the northern Irish desire to
stay free from a Dublin Parliament, even at the expense of the Union with Britain.
Supported by the U.U.C. and the growing unionist clubs throughout Ulster, the people
of northern Ireland took on a public, participatory role against Home Rule. The size
and frequency of the demonstrations leading up to the passage of Home Rule suggest
131 Bew, Ideology, p. 21; Conservative press said attendance was 250,000, while
Liberal press stated the number of attendees at 100,000.
132 Miller, Queens Rebels, p. 95.
63


that the people of northern Ireland played a central part in declaring their national
identity as Ulster and as citizens of Britain.
The publics involvement in the shaping of a new northern Irish national
identity made up of loyalty to the Crown, opposition to Home Rule, and allegiance to
Ulster was expressed through a variety of means. Unionist demonstrations, local
groups and meetings, material and literary cultural from flags to poems to letters,
culminating in the signing of the Ulster Covenant all showed the popular backing for a
northern Irish national identity. These popular expressions of Ulster nationalist
politics illustrate the broad base of support these opinions had throughout northern
Ireland. They also reveal how the people of Ulster placed attachment to the Union and
opposition to Home Rule at the center of their nationalism.
The massive demonstrations against Home Rule in northern Ireland were
predated by the Orange parades and gatherings that took place every July in Ulster to
celebrate William of Oranges victory over the Catholic heir James at the Battle of the
Boyne in 1690.133 The Orange Order saw this victory as an assertion of the supremacy
of protestantism over Catholicism, and thus celebrated it within the context of the
Unionist case against Home Rule in the early twentieth century as well. At the 1912
Twelfth of July demonstration in Belfast, the News-Letter reported how
unprejudiced observers could not fail to be profoundly impressed by the
inspiring sight of thousands of the bone and sinew, the brain and muscle of the
133 Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 141.
64


country, assembling in such large, influential, orderly, and law-abiding bodies
to celebrate the victory of their forefathers, as well as to enter once more a
solemn and resolute protest against the granting of Home Rule to Ireland.134
The vivid descriptions within this passage depicting the participants of the
demonstrationthe bone and sinew, brain and muscle of the peopleprovides a
description of the body of the nation.135 The author of the article tellingly describes
the participants simply as not members of unionist groups, but as members of the
country, and does not specify which country he refers toIreland, Britain, or perhaps
northern Ireland?136 By highlighting the orderly, and law-abiding nature of the
demonstration, the unionists projected an image respectability onto the case against
Home Rule. These demonstrators were not rowdy, violent agitators, but civilized
British citizens calling for action to protect their rights. With the recurrence of the
threat of Home Rule, the Orange Order and Orange demonstrations took on a
decidedly anti-Home Rule stance and became another version of the larger spectrum
of unionist activities in northern Ireland.
Anti-Home Rule demonstrations took place throughout northern Irelandin
cities and towns such as Belfast, where the brethren assembled in vast numbers;
Coleraine, where so great was the rush for admission that the doors had to be closed
half an hour before the meeting was timed to commenceand across the United
134 BNL, 13 July 1912.
135 BNL, 13 July 1912.
136 BNL, 13 July 1912.
65


Kingdom; Glasgow had an Imperial Union Club which supported the unionists in
northern Ireland.137 138 The demonstrations gathered vast numbers of participants, into
the hundreds of thousands, and generated newspaper coverage across Ireland and
Britain, and throughout the English-speaking world. Both the Belfast News-Letter and
the Dublin-based Irish Times often published accounts of the demonstrations, along
with the orations of the speakers. The headlines for the coverage of the
demonstrations describe them as magnificent, enthusiastic, great, imposing,
and monster.139 Such descriptive language illustrates not only the newspapers
opinions on the events as impressive, but also reflects the popular perception of the
demonstrations themselves. The authors portrayed an active and involved crowd, with
large numbers attending. Perhaps such language was also intended to impress upon
the reader the sheer numbers and capacity of the people of northern Ireland in
opposition to Home Rule.
137 BNL, 13 July 1912, 3 January 1912, 9 January 1912, 12 May 1912,
138 BNL, Irish Times; PRONI, D/l 327/21/9. Personal Scrapbook: This scrapbook
contains newspaper reports on Ulster Unionism and unionist demonstrations before
World War I, and includes articles from the Belfast News-Letter, The Birmingham
Post, The Irish Times, The Northern Whig, The Daily Express, Newry Journal,
Freemans Journal, Irish News, Dublin Express, Belfast Evening Telegraph, The
Scotsman, Clare Record, The Globe, The Bristol Times and Mirror, Newtownards
Spectator, The Observer, Daily Graphic, Cork Examiner, Ulster Gazette, Dublin
Harold, Cork Constitution, Morning Post, The Court Journal, Pall Mall Gazette,
Ulster Guardian, and Huddersfield Daily Chronicle. Such a list attests to a wide-
spread newspaper interest in Ulster and the Home Rule crisis.
139 Irish Times, 19, 21, 23 September 1912; BNL, 15 May 1912, 13 July 1912.
66


The newspaper coverage of these events often emphasized the size of the
crowdsoften in excess of the facilities available to themto express the popularity
of the demonstrations. An article on January 15, 1912, describing the Forthcoming
Meeting in the Ulster Hall of the U.W.U.C., requested that since admission would be
by ticket only, in order to avoid disappointment application should be made early,
implying that the meeting would definitely sell out.140 Other articles described the
numbers of attendees at the meetings and demonstrations; a great Unionist
demonstration, held in Lisburn on May 14, 1912, garnered 1,400 supporters; at a
demonstration in Portadown, so great was the demand for admission that a
considerable time before the commencing hour hundreds had to be turned away.141
The newspapers emphasis on numbers and capacity of gathering places reveals the
extent to which the unionist-supporting media wanted to encourage attendance and the
presentation of broad-based support for Ulster Unionism and northern Ireland.
Newspapers often carried advertisements for the demonstrations that used the
same language as the articles, like the one concerning the monster demonstration to
be held on Ulster Day. They also printed letters from readers concerning the
meetings.142 On January 12, 1912, George Gardner Parkinson Cumine of
Newtownbutler sent a letter reminding the editor of an upcoming demonstration in
140 BNL, 15 January 1912.
141 BNL, 5 May 1912, 31 January 1912.
142 BNL, 20 September 1912.
67


Omagh and noted that cheap tickets will be issued form the various stations.143 His
letter reveals not simply an earnest appeal to readers to attend the demonstration; by
emphasizing that discounted fares would be for those attending the unionist
demonstration, the letter suggests the deep level of support for unionism throughout
the bureaucracy and business interests in Ulster. Here we find the public transport
system specifically supporting northern Irish unionism.
While the Belfast News-Letter and northern Irish trains were carrying unionists
to demonstrations, not all citizens of Ulster were supporting the anti-Home Rule
campaign. Where the unionist papers emphasized the attendance of their meetings and
demonstrations, the Irish nationalist Anglo-Celt of Cavan reported precisely the
opposite; in their coverage of what they refer to as an Orange meeting in Enniskillin,
they noted the paltry sum of hardly five thousand persons in attendance.144 And
of this number scarcely a twentieth portion remained about the platform while
the speeches were being delivered, the crowd enjoying to the fullest the
beauties of the charming scenery, while the lunch baskets provided for the
women folk and children who so largely helped to swell the gathering, at an
early stage of the manoeuvres were brought to action.145
The biases of the various newspapers can plainly be seen in the different descriptions
of similar gatherings; for the Belfast News-Letter, 1,400 attendees was a grand
showing, while for the Anglo-Celt, 5,000 persons, particularly when women folk and
143 BNL, 12 January 1912.
144 Anglo-Celt, 21 September 1912.
145 Anglo-Celt, 21 September 1912.
68


children helped swell the numbers, stands as a nominal showing. Here the Anglo-
Celt reveals its bias against womens participation, as they discount the women and
children from the significance of the turnout of the meeting.
The reports of the demonstrations in unionist papers often focused on the
decorations of the gatherings, highlighting the use of the Union Jack, Unionist slogans,
and the rhetoric of God Save the King. For the Ulster Unionists, the Union Jack
was of utmost symbolic importance in demonstrating allegiance to Britain and the
Crown. One article describing a womens council meeting noted that [t]he hall was
nicely decorated for the occasion, with Royal Standards, Union Jacks, and other loyal
emblems.146 These visible symbols of unionist attachment to the Crown and Britain
speak to the importance of Empire and British citizenship to the people of Ulster. In
the weeks preceding Ulster Day, the Ulster Day committee took out
advertisements in the Belfast News-Letter requesting that Union Jacks, wherever
possible, may be displayed on the houses of all Unionists in Ulster.147 And at a 1912
demonstration in Ulster, the Duke of Abercom spoke of the Union Jack as our
common flag, common to both Britain and Ireland and symbolizing the links of
empire.148 The flag was a visible symbol of Unionist desire to stay within the Union
and emphasized a national identity tied to British citizenship. While Home Rule was
146 BNL, 16 January 1912.
147 BNL, 17 September 1912.
148 Irish Times, 27 September 1912.
69


still being discussed as a possibility, not a reality, the Unionists were willing to pledge
allegiance to the flag of Britain as a means of standing against Irish Nationalism. The
flag represented the Union and legitimized northern Irelands place within it.
Newspapers also reported on the meetings of the local unionist groups and
organizations, both to publicize the events in advance and to provide details of the
attendance, speeches, and lists of attendees. The diverse nature of these groups, from
womens clubs to Presbyterian gatherings to industrialist committees, emphasizes the
breadth of the Unionist campaign in northern Ireland. The crowds that attended
unionist demonstrations included Ulster businessmen, politicians, and women who
supported the unionist cause, and more importantly, Ulsters right to decide for itself
to stay in the Union. The reports of these meetings highlighted again the number of
attendees, and often focused on describing the meeting itselfthe decorations, the
Union Jack, and the speeches of the participants. One article which described a
Unionist Meeting in Coalisland listed the officers of the club, the agenda of the
meeting, and the termination of the meeting with the singing of the National
Anthem.149 Often politicians and members of the Ulster Unionist Council would be
present as speakers at these meetings, representing the national politics to the local
constituencies. This was an explicit tie between those who constructed a national
149 BNL, 3 January 1912.
70


identity, those from above and those from below, expressing the ideology of Ulster
nationalist politics.
The demonstrations and meetings personified the public, participatory part of
the campaign against Home Rule and in support of Ulstemess. But unionism and
Ulster inspired cultural and literary support as well, as seen in the poems and songs
written about Ulster. No less than the British lyricist of empire, Rudyard Kipling,
composed a pro-unionist poem about Britains possible expulsion of Ulster from the
Union. Kiplings poem, titled Ulster, 1912, end with this call of support for Ulster:
Believe, we dare not boast,
Believe, we do not fear
We stand to pay the cost
In all that men hold dear.
What answer from the North?
One Law, one Land, one Throne,
If England drive us forth
We shall not fall alone!150
Here Kipling replays the threat of Ulster against both Irish Nationalists and Britain
with the men who stand to pay the cost of war against either neighbor to keep Ulster
free from Home Rule. The appeal to one Law, one Land, one Throne again brings
to the forefront Ulster unionists loyalty to the Crown and the laws of Britain, the
150Rudyard Kipling,
tml>
71


connections they hope to continue through opposition to Home Rule, by force if
necessary.
The productions of poetry based on unionist themes points to a cultural
dimension in northern Ireland, which could be compared to the nationalist Gaelic
revival at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Though the unionist
poems, songs, and literature were by no means as extensive or rich as those of
nationalist Ireland, they none-the-less express a cultural impact of unionism in
northern Ireland. One poem invoked fears of Home Rule alongside statements of
solidarity with Britain and the Empire. Titled The Union, it began
The Union! The Union!
Be this our battle-cry.
One Crownone Flagone Parliament
For these we live or die...
using the same rhetoric of politicians such as Carson in their appeal to an allegiance to
the Crown and the symbolism of the Union Jack.151 Some of these poemsoften
submitted under pseudonyms such as Son of the Soil or Loyaltysuggest a
widespread popular support of unionism, one that involved individuals who not only
wrote poetry about unionism, but saw that expression published and exposed to a
larger community.
The literary productions of the northern Irish often used similar rhetoric as the
politicians and unionist groups, but to a more poetic end. The poem One King, One
151 BNL, 4 September 1912.
72


Faith, One Law, published in the Belfast News-Letter in 1912 after the signing of the
Ulster Covenant, speaks directly to the appeal to a shared sense of Britishness within
the Empire. The title itself calls attention to loyalty to the King, a shared Protestant
faith, and the expectations of liberty and citizenship under British law. But the text of
the poem also emphasizes the centrality of Ulster and Ulstemess;
Signed is The Solemn Covenant!
Troth Loyal, of Great Ulsters Men,
Each pledged to each, for Ulster, when
Comes Sway Intolerant.152 153
The author, W.R.B., does not simply express a desire to stay within the Union, but he
speaks of the importance of Ulster within that Union. For W.R.B., it is not just the
association with Britain and the empire that is important, but also the significance of
Ulster itself. A song, titled Ulsterman, and published in a flyer distributed on Ulster
Day contains similar themes; of loyalty to the King and the place of Ulster.154 Here,
the anonymous author states,
Ulstermen! The time has come again
To stand united to a man with all our
might to main.
Remember, too, whatere betide, the trust of
God is on our side,
And freedom neer shall be denier to
any Ulsterman,
with the chorus ending
152 BNL, 30 September 1912.
153 BNL, 30 September 1912.
154 PRONI, D/1496, Anonymous, Ulster Day Demonstration Flyer, 1912.
73


Ulster will fight, my boys, for their faith,
their country, and their King.155
The song plays on the unionist fears of Home Rule as threatening to their religious
freedom and protestant identity, as well as ties to Imperial Britain. The production of
poems and songs in support of Ulster reveals the extent to which Ulstemess pervaded
the consciousness of the people of northern Irelandso much so that they felt it
necessary to compose literary odes to their home. And they wrote about a variety of
topics within the context of Home Ruleit was not just Britishness and the Crown,
but Ulsters privileged place within Britain and the Empire.
All of these expressionsfrom the demonstrations to meetings to poetry
suggest that the people of northern Ireland enacted an Ulster Unionist northern Irish
identity. It was not an imposition of ideas of nationality from above, but a
comprehensive, community-sanctioned and projected sense of national identity in
Ulster. The majority Protestant population of the six counties that would become
Northern Ireland supported and actively involved themselves in the creation of a
northern Irish national identity and nationalist politics, apart from a specifically Irish
or British national identity. The people committed themselves politically, financially,
and culturally to an Ulster national identity. It included a sense of British citizenship,
and an Ulster-based sense of place and community, essentially amounting to Ulster
nationalism. They were Ulsterites first, and citizens of Britain second, therefore Irish
155 PRONI, D/1496, Anonymous, Ulster Day Demonstration Flyer, 1912.
74


Britons of a new kindthe northern Irish. Ulster Day and the signing of the Ulster
Covenant articulated a more crystallized expression of this national identity, and also
alluded to the extent to which Ulsterites were willing to go to defend themselves from
the imposition of Home Rule.
75


CHAPTER 8
A NEW PAGE IN HISTORY156 157 158:
ULSTER DAY AND THE ULSTER COVENANT
Just before 12 oclock on September 28, 1912, a space was cleared in Ulster
Hall for the entrance of the leader of the Irish Unionist party. As witnesses doffed
their caps, a dark, solitary figure advanced towards the table in the middle of the
room. According to the Irish Times,
Sir Edward Carson seemed oppressed with the responsibility of this act. His
face was drawn, indeed haggard, and ghastly pale, especially in the weird,
158
uncanny combination of daylight and electric illumination.
Amidst a throng of thousands gathered in the streets of Belfast, Sir Edward Carson
stepped up to an oval table draped with a Union Jack, placed a silver pen to paper and
affixed his signaturethe firstupon the Ulster Covenant in Ulster Hall.159 The
Belfast News-Letter reported that it was a simple but impressive ceremony
occupying a mere fragment of time but possibly involving vital consequences.160 The
156 BNL, 30 September 1912.
157 Irish Times, 30 September 1912.
158 Irish Times, 30 September 1912.
159 Irish Times, 30 September 1912; BNL, 30 September 1912.
160 BNL, 30 September 1912.
76


article estimated that 35,000 people signed their names that day to the Covenant in
Ulster Hall.161 The signing was even captured on film. On the same day, in signing
the Covenant throughout northern Irelandand across the worldnearly half a
million men and women of pledged allegiance to opposing Home Rule, the men with
force if necessary, and at the same time affirmed their loyalty to the Crown.
Ulster Day and the signing of the Ulster Covenant stand as a pivotal moment in
the expression of the emerging northern Irish national identity. The Covenant itself
can be seen as a statement of the core tenets of this national identity:
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 sure confidence that God will
defend the right we hereto subscribe our names. And further, we individually
declare that we have not already signed this Covenant. ... God save the
King.162
161 BNL, 30 September 1912; Newsreel footage of Ulster Day, 27 September 1912,
D/1496/2, PRONI.
162 Ulster Covenant, D/l 327/1, PRONI. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
also supports a searchable online database of the Covenant, where one can search the
signatures of the Covenant by name, district, and place of signing.
77


Though the language of the Covenant primarily addresses itself negatively against the
threat of Home Rule and an Irish Parliament, it also includes a call for loyalty to the
King and a preservation of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom. The Covenant,
written and authorized by the Ulster Unionist Council, was the most explicit, and
publicly supported, threat of force to date. It spoke of the material, religious, and
citizenship concerns of the people of Ulster under Home Rule. It invoked the religious
and civil threat of an Irish Parliament and the extent to which Ulsterites would go to
exclude themselves from such a Parliament. And for some loyal Ulster Unionists, it
was even signed in blood.163
On Ulster Day, the Unionist community of northern Ireland turned out en
masse to support Unionism and the signing of the Covenant. Residents of Ulsterand
those abroad of Ulster originparticipated in signing the Covenant. The Public
Record Office of Northern Ireland states that 237,368 men signed the Covenant, and
234,046 women signed the separate and slightly different Womens Declaration,
allowing women to associate ourselves with the men of Ulster in the
uncompromising opposition to the Home Rule Bill now before Parliament.164
Thomas Hennessey puts the population of Ulster in 1911 at 1,581,969, of which
890,880 were Protestantthis includes the nine traditional counties of Ulster, not just
163 Miller, p. 93.
164 PRONI D/239/1, Ulster Covenant Files, Womens Declaration.
78


the six counties that would become Northern Ireland.165 So one-third of the
population of the province of Ulster turned out to pledge themselves to the terms of
the Covenant, and, assuming the majority of the signers were protestants, well over
half the protestant population of Ulster signed the Covenant. In her article concerning
Home Rule and Ulster, Teresa ODonovan proposes that the discrepancy between the
number of signees and the total protestant population may in large part be due to the
fact that children did not sign the Covenant, thus suggesting an even greater number of
supporters than just those counted by signatures.166
The press coverage of the lead-up to Ulster Day in the unionist papers conveys
its importance in the eyes of the public, and also reveals the breadth of popular support
for Unionism. An Irish Times article from a month before Ulster Day gave an account
of the U.U.Cs hope
that all employers throughout Ulster will make early arrangements for
affording a whole holiday on Ulster Day, to permit of every able-bodied
loyalist taking his part on that momentous occasion.167
This again recalls the integration of business and politicsemployers were asked to
give special time off to their staff in support of Ulster Day and northern Ireland.
Ulsterites residing outside of Ulster wondered where they could sign the Covenant,
and the Irish Times published a letter including a list of locations throughout Britain
165 Thomas Hennessey. Dividing Ireland, p. 4.
166 ODonovan, p.14.
167 Irish Times, 10 August 1912.
79


where they could sign the document in person.168 The Belfast News-Letter continually
published lists of Ulster Day activities and the program of events in the weeks
preceding the event; it published a list of Religious Services and Signing of the
Covenant. The Ulster Womens Unionist Council placed a public notice hoping
all Members of Womens Unionist Associations, and all other Women
throughout the Province who have the interests of the Unionist cause at heart,
will do their utmost for the success of this great undertaking,
addressing a specifically female audience and imploring women to do their utmost
to support Ulster Day.169 The build up to Ulster Day and the attention it received in
the press illustrates the central position the event held in the minds of Ulster Unionists.
It was of utmost importance that the day was christened Ulster Day, not Britain Day or
Ireland Day. The unionists of Ulster were staking their claim to a national identity
based on Ulster as a cohesive political and cultural unit capable of creating its own
government and, if necessary, breaking the ties to both Ireland and Britain. This
suggests a sense of national identity centered firmly on Ulster and the possibility of
Ulster needing to stand on its own against both Britain and Ireland, if necessary.
On Ulster Day itself the people of northern Ireland turned out in force to
support the Union and Ulster. With the Red Hand of Ulstersymbolizing the
traditional coat of arms of Ulstergracing the cover of the Belfast News-Letter and
advertisements for purchasing a framable copy of the Covenant, Ulsterites attended
168 Irish Times, 20 September 1912.
169 BNL, 24 August 1912.
80


speeches, religious services, and meetings to sign the Covenant and the Womens
Declaration. One particular advertisement in the Belfast News-Letter that day
expressed the depth and breadth unionism as dominant framework for communication.
The space on the opposite side of the masthead from the Red Hand carried an
advertisement for cutlery, proclaiming:

UNION IS SftpGTIl'

uunntt tM _ .. ..
MS.-
kuaSlam to beemaw Iooe amA tt 1*
THEREFORE
to toot a-nateea to tomck
sooda. wH&i I oltar in Snw;
aiTuiiVT ffla r*
NO SEPARATION.
.outu ndun.

170
The layout of the advertisement itself, with Union is Strength... Therefore... No
Separation in all capitals, bold, and at least three times larger in size, expresses a
keen marketing eye for addressing the readers interests. Upon first glance, the
advertisement looks to be another statement of support on Ulster Day. But instead, it 170
170 Figure 1: BNL, 30, September 1912; The text reads, Union is strength, And
McLellans celebrated union table and dessert knives certainly illustrate this truth.
They are made on a new principle, which makes it impossible for the handles to
become loose in wear and it is therefore to your advantage to call and inspect these
goods, which I offer in various qualities at lowest cash prices, and guarantee that
between handle and blade there can be no separation.
81


cleverly hoped to draw the readers gaze and then lure it into the small print promoting
the sale of knives. The advertisement speaks to the extent to which the rhetoric of
Union had spread across northern Ireland.
From advertisements to demonstrations, Ulster Day captured the attention of
Ulsterites and expressed the national identification of the fight against Home Rule and
for Ulster. According the Belfast News-Letter,
Ulster Day was not a mere display of the solidarity and numerical force of
the Unionism of the Province, though it was undeniably that; it was the
outward and visible expression of the deliberate determination of the
Protestants of Ulster to dedicate themselves at all costs to resisting the attempt
to foist upon them a form of government which would virtually place them
under the yoke of Rome, which they are convinced would weaken the bonds
uniting Ireland to the sister countries, and would, therefore, rob them of their
birthright as citizens of the worlds greatest empire.171
Such fiery language helped support a new Ulster national identity placing Ulster
specifically within the confines of the union with Britain but at the same time part of
Ireland, and most importantly, essentially Ulster in nature. The outward and visible
sign of Ulsterites determination against Home Rule was also an outward and visible
sign of their nationof Ulster and its importance and place as a part of the worlds
greatest empire. Here the report on the demonstration draws on the same themes and
rhetoric of the unionist campaign against Home Rule, particularly the fears of Catholic
power and religious intolerance, as well as an appeal to Ulsters place within the
Empire, and the unity of the Empire as a whole.
BNL 30 September 1912.
82


The signing of the Covenant allowed the people of northern Ireland to commit
themselves to Ulster and a northern Irish national identity, and the possibility of
confrontation with either Britain or Ireland to retain their status as citizens of the
Empire.
83


CHAPTER 9
EXCEPT THE PROVINCE OF ULSTER:
THE PASSAGE OF HOME RULE, THE PARTITION OF IRELAND, AND THE
CREATION OF NORTHERN IRELAND
On September 18, 1914 the Government of Ireland Bill finally became law, but
was accompanied by a Suspensory Act that suspended its institution until the end of
Britains war with Germany.172 Though the outbreak of World War I interrupted the
implementation of Home Rule in Ireland, the collective actions of the Ulster unionists
had successfully made the case for the temporary exclusion of six countiesthose
with the majority protestant populationfrom Home Rule. The Home Rule Bill
allowed six counties of Ulster to opt out of Home Rule for six yearsbut in reality,
the provisional government proposed by the U.U.C. essentially established the lines
for the formal partition of Ireland in 1920.173 These actions, both from above, with
politicians, and from below, represented by the unionist groups and the grassroots
support of Ulster, the six counties would eventually be granted independence from the
Parliament in Dublin. On December 23, 1920, the Government of Ireland Act became
law and created two parliaments in Ireland, one in Dublin for the majority 26 counties,
172 ODonovon, Ulster and Home Rule, p. 21.
173 Foster, Modem Ireland, pp. 470-471.
84


and another in Belfast, for the same six counties offered exclusion in the official
passage of Home Rule in 1914.174 So now Northern Ireland had its own Parliament,
Stormont, but was still part of the United Kingdom. The rhetoric addressing the
supposed evils of Home Rule, the unionist groups, the U.V.F., and the massive
demonstrations each articulated a new northern Irish national identity that now had its
own nation. Through the will of the people, and under the pressure of Home Rule, the
people of northern Ireland successfully established their own sense of national
identity, and utilized nationalist politics to achieve their goal of staying within the
British Empire.
Between 1919 and 1923, two wars were fought in Ireland: the Anglo-Irish War
or War of Independence, 1919-1921, was fought between Irish Republicans and
Britain and ended with the Anglo-Irish Treaty which established the Irish Free State.
The second was a civil war in Southern Ireland between the Irish Free State and anti-
Treaty republicans in 1922-1923.175 While the Irish Republicans were engaged in a
guerrilla war with Britain, the Northern Irish were busy electing members to their
Parliament and establishing their own government, not unlike the Provisional
Government proposed in 1912. As factions in Southern Ireland fought a Civil War,
Northern Ireland continued along its path towards political individuality within the
174 Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 503.
175 Thomas Hennessey, A History of Northern Ireland, 1920-1996 (Dublin: Gill and
MacMillan, 1997), pp. 8-15.
85


Unionjust what Carson and the Unionists had argued for so vehemently preceding
World War I.
Northern Ireland held general elections in May of 1921, with an 89% turn-out,
and the Governor-General of Ireland swore in James Craig as leader of the
government of Northern Ireland.176 The people of Northern Ireland had spoken; they
had voted in elections of their own, for their own Parliament, one that represented the
interests of Northern Ireland and solidified the national identity established before
1914. They had succeeded in making Ulster a viable political entity that held
allegiance to the Crown, but one that was firmly cemented in Ulsters place and
community. The people of the six counties of Ulster were still part of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and (now) Northern Ireland, still part of the Empire, but
were distinctly Northern Irish within such an arrangement.
The northern Irish national identity established between 1911 and 1914 set the
stage for the creation of other understandings of Northern Irish identity throughout the
twentieth century. Eighty-five years after the implementation of the Government of
Ireland Act, Northern Ireland is still part of Britain, not integrated into the Republic of
Ireland. Though the years since partition have been marred by discrimination against
Catholics, civil rights struggles, the dissolution of their Parliament and sectarian
violence, Northern Ireland has remained apart. Though the national identity of
176 Hennessey, A History, p. 18.
86


Northern Ireland today may not be precisely the national identity constructed before
World War I, there is continuity in the sense of Northern Irelands existence as an
entity apart from both Ireland and Britain, though there may be allegiances to both,
culturally, religiously, and sentimentally. The people of Northern Ireland today are
not British, nor Irishthey are Northern Irish, harkening back to the establishment of
a northern Irish national identity before the official political existence of such an
entity.
87


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Full Text

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"A NEW PAGE IN HISTORY": THE CREATION OF NORTHERN IRISH NATIONAL IDENTITY 1911-1914 by Keelin Rosaleen Burke B.A., University of Colorado, 2004 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado, Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts History 2008 /

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Keelin Rosaleen Burke has been approved by Date

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Burke, Keelin Rosaleen (M.A. History) "A New Page in History": The Creation of Northern Irish National Identity 19111914 Thesis directed by Associate Professor Marjorie Levine-Clark ABSTRACT Through the perceived crisis of the third Home Rule Bill of 1912, Ulster unionistsand the majority Protestant anti-home rule population of what would become Northern Ireland-put forth a new understanding of their national identity. Prominent figures such as Sir Edward Carson helped shape the rhetoric that constructed northern Ireland as something separate from, and at the same time, part of both Ireland and Britain. These politicians, the newspapers that supported them, and a grassroots anti-home rule population argued for Ulster to stay out of a Dublin parliament and to keep their citizenship within Britain and the Empire, but at the same time they appealed to an identification with a localized Irish and Ulster nationality. In the years 1911-1914 the majority opinion of the people of northern Ireland-or at least the opinion represented through newspapers, politicians, speeches, pamphlets, and local political groups-supported a northern Irish national identity, one that was simultaneously Irish and British, but most importantly, of Ulster. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication.

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DEDICATION I dedicate this thesis to my parents, who always supported me and instilled a love of education and history in me from a young age; my brothers, Ned and Rory, who made sure I was strong enough to do whatever I wanted; and my grandparents, Helen and Donald Beard for supporting my schooling. And lastly I dedicate this to my husband, Sean, for encouraging me to follow my dreams, and supporting me along the way.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT My thanks to my advisor, Marjorie Levine-Clark, for her contributions and support in to my research. I also wish to thank the members of my committee for their participation and insights.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS FIGURES ............................................................................. VIII CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .................................................................. I HISTORIOGRAPHY ..................................................... 8 METHOD ................................................................. 12 IRELAND BEFORE 1911 .............................................. 15 2. "ULSTER WILL FIGHT, ULSTER WILL BE RIGHT": ULSTER, HOME RULE AND THE FORMATION OF UNIONIST IDENTITY ......................................................................... 19 3. "A CORRUPT AND IMMORAL BARGAIN": THE PARLIAMENT ACT AND ULSTER UNIONISM'S LOYALTY TO THE CROWN ............................................................................ 24 4. "THE PLOT AGAINST ULSTER": ULSTER'S CASE AGAINST THE THIRD HOME RULE BILL ................................................................................. 32 5. "THE FORMATION OF NEW CLUBS STILL CONTINUES ... ": CLUBS, FINANCING THE UNION, AND THE ULSTER VOLUNTEER FORCE ........................................................... 47 6. "THEY HAD THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS IN THAT GRAND WORK OF WITHSTANDING HOME RULE:" GENDER, WOMEN, AND UNIONISM ................................................................. 55 7. "MONSTER DEMONSTRATION": SOCIAL AND CULTURAL EXPRESSIONS OF NATIONAL IDENTITY .......................................................................... 63 VI

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8. "A NEW PAGE IN HISTORY": ULSTER DAY AND THE ULSTER COVENANT ...................................................................... 76 9. "EXCEPT THE PROVINCE OF ULSTER": THE PASSAGE OF HOME RULE, THE PARTITION OF IRELAND, AND THE CREATION OF NORTHERN IRELAND ........................................................ 84 Vll

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1.1 Belfast News Letter Advertisement. ............................................ 82 Vlll

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The 1912 Government of Ireland Bill was the third attempt to grant Home Rule to Ireland. The 1912 Bill provided the context for the expression of a northern Irish national identity in Ulster, by unionists whose aim was to stop Home Rule and maintain all existing ties to Britain. In September of 1912 the unionists of northern Ireland were preparing for the culmination of their anti-Home Rule activities and an upcoming celebration, Ulster Day. These unionists believed that a "new page in history" was beginning with their campaign against Home Rule and for Ulster. 1 On September 20, 1912, as part of his Ulster Day tour that would place him in Belfast on the 281h, the leader of the Irish Unionist Party, Sir Edward Carson, stated "I am proud to think that I am now leading the great and the only democracy in Ireland-namely, the democracy of the North of Ireland."2 Carson's definition of "the democracy of the North of Ireland" expresses how the people of Ulster were beginning to think of themselves, as an entity apart from Ireland or Britain, and decidedly northern Irish. 1 Belfast News Letter, 3 October 1912. 2 Irish Times, 20 September 1912.

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The people of northern Ireland were active participants in the creation of this democracy through a variety of means.3 Individuals showed support for the Union by joining thousands, in some cases, hundreds of thousands, of their community members in massive anti-Home Rule demonstrations.4 They participated in the growing unionist organizations throughout Ulster by starting branches and becoming members, attending meetings, and giving donations to assist these groups. They also supported the possibility of a provisional government and, at its most potentially violent, unionists in northern Ireland formed the Ulster Volunteer Force, a militia created in anticipation of fighting against the imposition of Home Rule.5 But while they entertained the possibility of violence, the northern Irish held loyalties to Britain, the empire, and the Crown. Such evidence suggests the construction of a singular northern Irish national identity that still expressed allegiance to the framework of imperial British citizenship while prioritizing northern Ireland as a national entity, 3 For the purpose of this paper, I will be using northern Ireland and Ulster to denote the area of the northern part of Ireland; the traditional nine counties of Ulster are included. The term Northern Ireland only applies after 1921 as it became a separate entity from the Irish Free State and was still part of the United Kingdom. 4 Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, (hereafter PRONI); Newsreel, date unknown-191 Os, "Omagh, County Tyrone,"; newsreel intercard reads "County Tyrone: 300,000 at demonstration. Remarkable scenes at Ulster Loyalist's meeting at Omagh" 5 Unionism, for the purpose of this paper, refers to the Irish Unionist community in Ireland, not the British Unionist political party. 2

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creating a sense of Ulsterness. The turning of this "new page" culminated in the signing of the Ulster Covenant and the mass mobilizations of Ulster Day. In the years 1911-1914, within the context of the Home Rule debates in Parliament, the people of northern Ireland, along with unionist political groups, constructed a new national identity, and an Ulster nationalism. This national identity was defined by loyalty to the imperial Crown of Britain and ties to British citizenship, and at the expense of allegiance to Parliament and a pan-Irish national identity. It was based on Protestantism and was opposed to Home Rule-for social, religious, political, and economic reasons. Its supporters were prepared to be separate from both the whole of Ireland and Britain, to be just Ulster. If necessary, the unionists were even prepared to arm themselves against the imposition of Home Rule, which would place them in direct conflict with Parliament and would present the possibility of military action against the nation to which they had pledged allegiance. In looking for a definition of a nation, E.J. Hobsbawm, in Nations and Nationalism since 1780, does not assume one specific definition, but starts with the "initial working assumption [that] any sufficiently large body of people whose members regard themselves as members of a 'nation', will be treated as such."6 Thus nationalism can be understood as an internal identification, not necessarily an allegiance to a politically independent state. In northern Ireland, we can see how a 6 E.J. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 6. 3

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body of people regarded themselves as members of a new nation, the "democracy of the North of Ireland," through their participation and actions in support of the Union and Ulster. Hobsbawm argues that nations are dual phenomena, constructed essentially from above, but which cannot be understood unless also analysed from below, that is in terms of the assumptions, hopes, needs, longings and interests of ordinary people, which are not necessarily national and still less nationalistic.7 It is precisely this dual approach that has proven useful in tracing the creation of a new idea of national identity within northern Ireland. By looking at both the rhetoric and publications of politicians and advocates from "above" and the actions, writings, and understandings of the ordinary people who took part in this process, the combined evidence suggests the existence of an Ulster national identity. In pursuing such an understanding of nation and the construction of national identity from both above and below, I am particularly interested in analyzing the political, social, cultural, and gender dimensions of northern Irish national identity before World War I. Some of the most useful and persuasive studies on nationalism and national identity in a British context are Paul Ward's Britishness Since 1870 and Linda Colley's Britons. Ward articulates the changing and fluid nature of national identity as a whole. His claim that Britishness was "always unstable" might also be applied to discussions of northern Ireland, as Ireland itself and Irishness have also been unstable. 7 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p.l 0. 4

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The unstable nature of Britishness and Irishness can help explain how a specific Ulster national identity evolved as a product of the instability of national identities as a whole-since both Britishness and Irishness were unstable, Ulsterness emerged as a new possibility for a national identification in northern Ireland.8 Ward argues for the possibility of multiple identities and states that The primacy of particular identities may change, so that someone living in Germany might feel 'German' at times, but Bavarian or Prussian at others, or feel attached to localities through the numerous festivals held in each town, city and village, just as the northern Irish person may feel British, Irish, and part of Ulster at the same time.9 Ward's findings of "simultaneous identities" have been helpful in understanding a northern Irish national identity existing at the same time as a belief in the importance of British citizenship--for the unionists of northern Ireland, these two identities were not mutually exclusive. 10 As Ward notes, "Sometimes, frequently, most often, it is possible and often necessary to feel many identities simultaneously."11 And it is this simultaneity that made the creation of a northern Irish national identity possible as the people of northern Ireland renegotiated their Irish and British identities into something new. 8 Paul Ward, Britishness Since 1870 (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 3 9 Ward, Britishness Since 1870, p. 170. 10 Ward, Britishness Since 1870, p. 169-170. 11 Ward, Britishness Since 1870, p. 170. 5

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In Britons, Colley also argues that people are able hold more than one identity at a time, that "[i]dentities are not like hats. Human beings can and do put on several at a time."12 In looking at the creation of a national identity in Ulster, we can see that individuals often conceived of their national identity and allegiance as being a matter of scale. One letter to the editor from an "Ulster Imperialist" quoted in Thomas Hennessey's Dividing Ireland, comes from the viewpoint of one who consciously adopts all the four varieties of local patriotisms. I am Parochial (literally, being a vestryman as well as a treasurer of our local parish!); I am Provincial, being directly interested in the development of commerce and agriculture in Ulster; I am National, in that I am an Irishman and proud of it, anxious to help Ireland as far as lies within my power ... I am Imperial, glad of my small share in the proudest boast the world has ever heard-'Civis Britannicus sum'-mark the phrase,: it is 'Britannicus' not 'Anglican us'. 13 The "Ulster Imperialist" ranks his patriotism as an imperial British citizen first, as Irish second, as Ulster third, and lastly a more provincial association, such as a town or city. The crest adorning the cover of a 1912 Belfast pamphlet, portraying Britain, Ireland, and Ulster symbolizes the capacity of people to hold different and simultaneous identities, with a Union Jack, an Irish harp, and the Red Hand of Ulster occupying equal room on the crest. 14 The people of northern Ireland began to 12 Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 6. 13 Thomas Hennesey, Dividing Ireland: World War I and Partition (London, Routledge, 1998), p. 7. 14 PRONI D/1545/7; Pamphlet for Ulster Unionist Demonstration, 9 April 1912. 6

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comprehend their identity as something beyond just a British or Irish identity, and by placing primacy on Ulster, they created a new identity that began as regional, but under threat of Home Rule, became a national identification. This understanding allows for the conceptualization of a national identity that is both British and Irish-Ulster Irish-at the same time, but not necessarily one to the exclusion of the other; the two could coexist, and in the process, contributed to a new sense of national identity as northern Irish. Colley, and many others, also propose that people can define national identity in contrast to an outside other: "men and women decide who they are by reference to who and what they are not." 15 One main line of opposition to the possibility of an Ulster or northern Irish national identity comes from scholars who argue that nationalism has to be formed in a positive sense, not simply against something else, usually calling for sovereignty. 16 In understanding national identity as a singularly positive creation, these theories would exclude the possibility of a northern Irish identity because it was partly based against the construct of southern Irish 15Colley, Britons, p. 5-6. 16 For those that argue against the possibility of a national identity in northern Ireland, and for national identity as a positive creation, see David Miller, The Queen's Rebels; James Laughlin Ulster Unionism and British National Identity Since 1885 (London: Pinter, 1995); D. George Boyce, "Ulster Unionism: Great Britain and Ireland, 18851921 ," in The Northern Ireland Question: Nationalism, unionism and partition Patrick J. Roche and Brian Barton eds. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999, 30-46); Ian McBride, "Ulster and the British Problem" in Richard English and Graham Walker (eds.), Unionism in Modern Ireland (Macmillan, 1996), pp. 1-18. 7

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Nationalism. But just as Colley sees British national identity as being formed against Catholic French national identity, so I propose the northern Irish who put forth a new national identity in contrast to both Irish Nationalism and an all-consuming Britishness were using similar rhetoric and understandings of their allegiances and identifications. Historiography One of the earliest discussions of the historical role of Ulster and northern Ireland in the early twentieth century is in George Dangerfield's The Strange Death of Liberal England, originally published in 1937. In his study of the decline of the Liberal party and liberalism in general in Britain, Dangerfield cites the Home Rule crisis as one of the major determining factors in the party's fall. Dangerfield situates the Unionist Party and the anti-Home Rule movement as a subset of what he calls "The Tory Rebellion," taking place after the passage of the Parliament Act in 1911. This act later became a central component of northern Irish arguments in opposition to Parliament and the Liberal alliance with Irish Nationalists.17 Within his study of the death of Liberal England, Dangerfield discusses some of the major actions and actors in the formation of Northern Ireland-Sir Edward Carson, Andrew Bonar Law, the Ulster Covenant, the creation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, the "mutiny at Curragh," 17 George Dangerfield, The Strange Death of Liberal England (Stanford University Press, Stanford California: 1997 (first published 1937)), pp. 76-100. 8

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and the Unionist gunrunning at Larne.18 All of these events and people were fundamental to the construction of a new northern Irish national identity, though Dangerfield was not concerned with such an argument at the time. Dangerfield situated the Home Rule crisis within the context of British political history, not Irish history, and most definitely not northern Irish history. But Dangerfield's study is significant because of his viewpoint-his assessment of the Home Rule Crisis was not simply a partisan stance, like many of the histories written about Home Rule and Partition; instead it situated the crisis in the broader British political context. Historians have paid much attention to Northern Ireland and the Troubles, as well as to the partition of Ireland in 1921.19 Early discussions of the teens and early twenties in Ireland, with the exception of Dangerfield's study, often focus on the religious and sectarian nature of the struggle between Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State, later the Republic of Ireland. These studies usually take a specifically Irish Nationalist or Unionist approach, positioning themselves on either side of the great chasm that separated Northern Ireland from the rest of the island of Ireland. Irish Nationalism was a political movement that sought to create an independent Irish 18 Dangerfield, Strange Death, pp. 76, 81, 96, 100,269, 281. 19 W.F. Monypenny, The Two Irish Nations: An Essay on Home Rule (London: John Murray, Albermarle Street, W., 1913.); Some particularly useful studies of Northern Ireland are Thomas Hennessey's A History of Northern Ireland, I920-1996 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997); eds. Patrick Roche and Brian Barton, The Northern Ireland Question: Nationalism, unionism and partition (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), David Miller, The Queen's Rebels: Ulster Loyalism in Historical Perspective (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1978); 9

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nation as apart from the United Kingdom, and employing both constitutional and revolutionary tactics to such an end. In 1913, W. F. Monypenny of the London Times referred not to Ireland as a whole, but to the "two nations" of Ireland, a phrase that holds particular meaning when suggesting the creation of northern Irish national identity.20 His two nations were delimited by the two positions on Home Rule, for or against, and therefore split Ireland along political and geographic lines, with the southern provinces as one nation and Ulster as another. But the early examinations of Northern Ireland often support one or the other of these "two nations"-the Catholic south or Protestant north. These inquiries almost exclusively deal with a specific British or Irish Nationalist or unionist perspective on the issues of Home Rule and the creation of Northern Ireland. Historians recently have begun to focus on more nuanced studies of Northern Ireland and Ulster Unionism as they relate to national identity. Many historians do not see Ulster Unionism and northern Ireland before 1921 as having a specific national identification. Some analyses of national identity define it to mean the cohesive desire of a population for sovereignty, and many argue that since Ulster did not actively seek popular sovereignty or self-government, the people of northern Ireland did not create a 20 See John G. Ervine. Sir Edward Carson and the Ulster Movement, Benedict Kiely, Counties of Contention. A Study of the Origins and Implications of the Position of Ireland (Cork: The Mercier Press, 1945). 10

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separate national identity.21 In his book The Queen's Rebels David Miller argues precisely this point stating, "It is true that the Protestant community in Ulster does evoke loyalty, but not as a 'nation,"' because "its own members do not readily conceive it to be a potential claimant to sovereignty."22 For Miller, Ulster Protestantism's loyalty to Britain and the Crown was-and still is-a "conditional loyalty" like the early modem social contracts "by which ruler and ruled undertake certain obligations to each other.'.23 Under such an understanding, "one ought to be loyal to the king for the same reason one should keep ordinary bargains."24 Miller argues that such a contractual understanding does not allow for the creation of a separate national identity. And while parts of his argument concerning understandings of loyalty are persuasive, his portrayal of northern Ireland as incapable of forming a national identity based on sovereignty is not entirely convincing in light of more recent studies of national identity. As Hobsbawm argues, national identity does not 21 See D.G. Boyce, "Ulster Unionism: Great Britain and Ireland, 1885-1921 ," in The Northern Ireland Question: Nationalism, unionism and partition, Patrick J. Roche and Brian Barton eds. (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999), 30-46; Ian McBride, "Ulster and the British Problem", in Richard English and Graham Walker (eds.), Unionism in Modern Ireland (Macmillan, 1996), pp. 1-18. 22 David Miller, The Queen's Rebels: Ulster Loyalism in Historical Perspective (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1978), p. 4. 23 Miller, Queen's Rebels, p. 5. 24 Miller, Queen's Rebels, p. 5. 11

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have to make a claim to sovereignty, it can be comprised of a body of people who "regard themselves as members of a 'nation' ."25 Thus, the unionists of northern Ireland, an area not thought of as a national entity, could begin to conceive of their home in terms of a nation. The evidence suggests that the people of northern Ireland, both from above and below, created a singular national identity that expressed allegiance to the Crown and British citizenship, while prioritizing northern Ireland as a national entity. Method My analysis focuses specifically on the time period between 1911-1914, which marks the boundaries between the first major Unionist demonstration in Ulster and the passage of the third Home Rule Bill through Parliament. The Home Rule Bill became law on September 18, 1914, but due to the outbreak of World War I, Parliament immediately suspended its implementation until the end of the war.26 My research relies on newspapers, Parliamentary debates, the text of the Ulster Covenant, the archives of the Ulster Unionist Council, and publications and documents of the Unionist Party. The Belfast News-Letter, The Irish Times, and The Times (London) represent the opinions of three major outlets in three major cities of Ireland and Britain. The Belfast News-Letter was a daily, unionist-leaning paper that 25 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p. 8. 26 Teresa O'Donovan. "Ulster and Home Rule for Ireland, to 1914," Eire-Ireland 18:3 (1983) 6-22, p. 12. 12

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reported on Unionist meetings and groups, and published speeches and letters. The Irish Times, though published in Dublin, often favorably covered the Irish Unionist Party, both in Ulster and throughout southern Ireland. The Times (London), also supporters of the Unionist cause, followed with interest the happenings in northern Ireland, and reported on British support for Unionism outside of Ulster.27 The AngloCelt, published in Cavan, provides an Irish Nationalist viewpoint, from a county in Ulster, and is decidedly a contrast to unionist opinion. My analysis relies heavily on the material of unionists themselves. The Parliamentary speeches of Sir Edward Carson specifically, and the Conservative and Irish Unionist Party members in general, illustrate the dominant political rhetoric surrounding the Unionist position and the sentiments of Ulster. The archives of the Ulster Unionist Council provide a broad basis of information on Unionist activities, from postcards and pamphlets, to minutes for various Unionist organizations, and to ledger books of donations. These materials help flesh out the everyday workings and logistics of unionist groups in the face of the Home Rule crisis. The lists of member groups and donations to various projects provides evidence for the both breadth and depth of unionist support in Ulster, as does the general ephemera created around the unionist cause, including buttons, photographs, patches, and personal letters. 27 For an intriguing study of The Times' political maneuverings and support of Unionism, see, Thomas Kennedy, "Hereditary Enemies: Home Rule, Unionism, and The Times, 1910-1914," Journalism History 27:1 (2001): 34-42. 13

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The Ulster Covenant itself codified the ideas of Ulster Unionism and northern Irish national identity as understood by the nearly half a million individuals who signed it and the companion Women's Declaration.28 The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland houses boxes upon boxes of signed Covenants and Declarations from across Ireland and Britain, and the Covenant is digitized and searchable on their website, attesting to the central position of this document in Northern Irish history. The Women's Declaration in support of the Union also points to the gendered nature of this new national identity; women themselves were actively involved in anti-Home Rule activities and groups, but were held to different expectations-they supported the Union, but their gender limited the possible forms of expression this support could take. Women could form their own Unionist organizations, but they could not sign the Covenant that demanded the possibility of militant action to defend that Union. In arguing for the creation of a specific northern Irish, or Ulster, national identity in the years 1911-1914, I am taking on some of the historiography that argues against the possibility of such an identity. By 1914, and even more so after 1922, the majority population of the six counties that would become Northern Ireland were no longer part and parcel of a larger Ireland, nor were they simply Britons-they were northern Irish who still believed in their allegiance to the Imperial Crown of Great Britain and the power of the Empire. The politicians, newspaper reporters, and 28 PRONI, Ulster Covenant, . 14

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unionist organizations who contributed to creating this identity understood themselves to be part of the growing British Empire, but as Ulsterites within that larger framework, not entirely unlike Scotland or Wales within Great Britain. The people of northern Ireland used the rhetoric of loyalty and status as subjects of the Crown and, at the same time, appealed to the concept of a northern nation within Ireland to claim their particular place. If we see the fluidity of national identity and that people and nations are able to understand overlapping allegiances and identities, the evidence suggests that the people of northern Ireland created a new national identity prior to World War I and the partition of Ireland in 1921. Ireland Before 1911 In 1801, after hundreds of years of British plantation and rule over the island of Ireland and discrimination against the majority Irish Catholic population, Britain legislated the Act of Union which made Ireland part of the Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.29 The act was precipitated by a failed rebellion in 1798, which aimed to 29 D. George Boyce, "Weary patriots: Ireland and the making of unionism" in Defenders of the Union: A Survey of British and Irish unionism since 1801, p.l5-38 (London and New York: Routledge, 2001); For an excellent background text on modem Ireland, seeR. F. Foster, Modern Ireland, 1600-1972 (London: Penguin, 1988). 15

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reform the Irish political system and free Ireland from British rule.30 The Act of Union disposed of the Irish Parliament in Dublin, and henceforth Ireland was to be represented in the Parliament at Westminster. Many in Ireland hoped that with the passage of the Act would also come Catholic emancipation, what R. F. Foster defines in his study of modem Ireland as "full rights of political representation and civil office-holding."31 Passage of such an act would allow the majority Catholic population of Ireland to vote for their representatives in Britain's Parliament-but Catholic emancipation would not come until 1829, under pressure from Irish radicals, such as Daniel O'Connell.:n The Act of Union was supposed to make Ireland an equal partner in Great Britain, like England, Scotland, and Wales. But while Britain did not accept Ireland as equal within the Union-financially, politically, and socially-the counties of Ulster with Protestant majorities managed to prosper. Ulster is the northern province of Ireland, traditionally consisting of nine counties-Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry/Derry, Monaghan, and Tyrone-and was heavily planted by English and Scots-Presbyterians 30 It is interesting to note that the leaders of this rebellion, particularly Theobald Wolf Tone, and later Robert Emmet in 1803, were protestant, and the movement started in Ulster with the Protestant reform groups. See Nancy J. Curtain, The United Irishmen (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1994), and Thomas Bartlett, David Dickson, Daire Keogh, and Kevin Whelan, eds. 1798: A Bicentenary Perspective (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2003). 31 R.F. Foster, Modern Ireland, I600-1972 (London: Penguin Books, 1988), p. 297; 32 G.C. Bolton The Passing of the Irish Act of Union: A Study in Parliamentary Politics (London: Oxford University Press, 1966). 16

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in the seventeenth century. Foster also notes that Britain wanted a Protestant population in Ireland so that the government would not have to depend on the Catholic majority.33 This need to place a more loyal class in Ireland had reverberations over the next four centuries including a close tie to the northern Irish construction of national identity as loyal to the Crown and as part of Imperial Britain. The Protestant landholding class formed what many have referred to as the Protestant ascendancy in Ireland. The term Protestant ascendancy traditionally refers to the position of power Britain granted Church of Ireland protestants-including preferential treatment in regards to land, political positions, titles, and commerce-in Ireland in combination with laws that degraded the status of the majority Catholic population and non-Church of Ireland protestants.34 D. George Boyce argues in his essay on the making of unionism that this ascendancy was not primarily about land, but that it "was one of attitude, and drew strength from the tradition that Protestantism stood for progressive values, for civil liberty, for prosperity."35 But plantation did not fully succeed in all the counties of Ulster, and by the beginning of the twentieth century, only the four counties surrounding Belfast had predominantly protestant populations.36 These 33 Foster, Modem Ireland, p. 59. 34 Desmond Bowen, History and the Shaping of Irish Protestantism (Peter Lang: New York, 1995), p. 120-170. 35 Boyce, "Weary Patriots," p. 22. 36 Foster, Modem Ireland, p. 464. 17

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counties formed the foundation and provided the bulk of the support for a northern Irish national identity, and these people would move from a protestant minority in Ireland to a protestant majority with the partition of Ireland. But partition would not have been possible or attainable without the passage of Home Rule through the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The debates around Home Rule gave Ulsterites the opportunity to explore their national identity, and eventually express their attachment to northern Ireland and Ulsterness. 18

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CHAPTER2 "ULSTER WILL FIGHT, ULSTER WILL BE RIGHT": ULSTER, HOME RULE AND THE FORMATION OF UNIONIST IDENTITY On February 22, 1886, Sir Randolph Churchill, a Conservative M.P., gave a rousing militaristic anti-Home Rule speech in Ulster, where he pronounced the soonto-be-canonized phrase, "Ulster will fight, Ulster will be right."37 He was responding to the introduction of a Home Rule for Ireland Bill into the House of Commons, and, at the same time, affirming the importance of both the Union and the place of Ulster as a political entity separate from the entirety of Ireland. The debates over the three Home Rule Bills-1886, 1893, and 1912-provided the context that Unionists used to crystallize their position within Great Britain and Ireland, and their singular place as Ulsterites and members of Imperial Britain, tied to the Crown and their own geographical place in northern Ireland. The introduction of the first Home Rule Bill under Gladstone in 1886 forced the issue of Ireland's status under the Union to the forefront of politics and individual considerations. And some, particularly those protestant residents of the counties of Ulster, as well others throughout Ireland, decided the greatest benefit lay in staying 37 Jeremy Smith, "Conservative Ideology and Representations of the Union with Ireland, 1885-1914," in The Conservatives and British Society, 1880-1990, eds. Martin Francis and Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, (University of Wales Press, Cardiff; 1996), 18-38, p. 24. 19

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within the Imperial Parliament. Irish Unionists at this time wanted all of Ireland to stay with Britain, not considering the exclusion of any part of Ireland as a possibility.38 During the debates on Home Rule in 1886, Irish Unionism was not particularly an Ulster-based identity, but included a more general Irish backing. These Irish Unionists linked Home Rule with a threat to the empire. Colonel Waring, M.P. from Down, for example, argued in Parliament that Ireland was now part and parcel of one of the greatest Empires of the world that the sun ever shone upon, and were utterly determined that they would not be changed into Colonials, and made a Dependency, not only not self-governing, but a Dependency which would be at the mercy of those from whom they differed politically. 39 Such arguments appealing to the preservation of the empire and of Ireland's position as part of the United Kingdom, as opposed to a colony, continued throughout the 1893 and 1912 Home Rule debates. Unionists found a persuasive position by placing their arguments against Home Rule within a larger British and Imperial framework, thus garnering sympathy from British Conservatives, and in the case of the 1886 Home Rule debates, a considerable number of Liberals as well. In addition to his appeal to empire, Waring also sought to name his constituency, in a step towards a specific national identity for northern Ireland, speaking for "what he might not be allowed to call the loyal minority ... but which he would call, for want of a better name, the West 38 Alvin Jackson, The Ulster Party: Irish Unionists in the House of Commons, 18841911 (Claredon Press, Oxford: 1989), p. 4. 39 Hansard, 3rct ser. (1886), ccciv. 1088. 20

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Britons of Ireland."40 Here Waring emphasizes both the northern Ireland attachment to Britain and Ireland, but as a new understanding and grouping of people. Those opposed to Home Rule also argued by appealing to the economic benefits of a continued union with Britain. Irish unionists saw the preservation of the Union as not only central to their economic well-being, but also to their sense of selves as British subjects. In his study of the Ulster Party, Alvin Jackson notes that "Above all, Unionism was accepted by those who conceived their prosperity as being linked to the British economy."41 The strength of Ulster's economy came mainly from manufacturing and industry, and unionists saw the threat of Home Rule as a direct threat to their livelihoods and industries. But it was not simply economic concerns that motivated Irish Unionists; Gladstone was ill-prepared for the challenges to Home Rule by Unionists. The defeat of Gladstone's Home Rule Bill led to the fracturing of the Liberal party as Liberal Unionists joined forces with the Conservatives to oppose the Bill.42 The 1886 Home Rule Bill placed the issue in the forefront of the Irish people's consciousness, and forced those who still believed in the Union to position themselves strongly against the Irish Nationalists and British Liberal Party. 40 Hansard, 3rd ser. (1886), ccciv, 1089. 41 Jackson, The Ulster Party, p. 4. 42 Smith, "Conservative Ideology," p. 24. 21

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By the second attempt for Home Rule in 1893, the unionists in the north of Ireland began constructing a more particularly Ulster Unionist community, not just an Irish Unionist one. During the debates concerning the first Home Rule Bill, unionism in Ireland had both southern and northern support, and both southern and northern unionists participated in one Irish Unionist Party. In June of 1892, the Unionists mounted a specifically Ulster Unionist convention, with 11,879 delegates from throughout the province.43 It was during this round of debates on the Irish Question that Sir Edward Carson, then an M.P. for Dublin, entered on the side of the Union against Home Rule.44 Though the Home Rule Bill passed through the House of Commons this time, the House of Lords vetoed the measure, and the Unionists were safe from Home Rule for a time.45 It is significant for the Ulster Unionists that it was the House of Lords that kept Home Rule from becoming law, for the next time Home Rule came through Parliament, the Lords-with its traditionally Conservative opinion-would have no such veto to save the Unionists. These debates helped to forge the unionist position against Home Rule and solidified unionist arguments: some economic, some political, and some religious. It was not for another twenty years that 43 Miller, Queen's Rebels, p. 92. 44 Geoffrey Lewis, Carson: The Man Who Divided Ireland (London: Hambeldon and London,2005),p.32-33. 45 Miller, Queen's Rebels, p. 92. 22

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a third attempt was made at Home Rule for Ireland, and by 1912, the political topography of Britain and Ireland had changed significantly. 23

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CHAPTER 3 "A CORRUPT AND IMMORAL BARGAIN" 46 : THE PARLIAMENT ACT AND ULSTER UNIONISM'S LOYALTY TO THE CROWN This change in was in large part due to the passage of the Parliament Act of 1911 that had stripped the Lords of their permanent veto. By this time, the Liberals held a majority by coalition with the Irish Nationalists, and Ulster Unionism had gained both in strength and numbers. The "corrupt and immoral bargain" which Hugh Barrie MP referred to was none other than the Parliament Act. If legislation passed through the House of Commons three years in a row, the House of Lords could not use their traditional veto power, and the bill would become law. To get the Parliament Act through the House of Commons, the Liberals in power made a deal with the Irish Nationalists to support Home Rule if the Nationalists supported the Parliament Act. The unionists of northern Ireland took the passage of the Parliament Act in two ways: they saw the dilution of the Lords as an unconstitutional change, and they saw the bargain between the Irish Nationalists and the Liberals as immoral. This twofold understanding allowed the unionists of Ulster the opportunity to create their own 46 Belfast News-Letter (hereafter BNL), 7 February 1912. 24

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national identity in opposition to Parliament while still remaining loyal to the Crown and Empire. The Ulster Unionists understood themselves to be bound to the monarch, but because of the damaged Constitution under the 1911 Parliament Act, they no longer believed themselves subject to the provisions of the corrupted Parliament. As David Miller deftly argues in The Queen's Rebels, this distinction was made possible by what he identifies as Ulster's early-modern understandings of government as a contractual agreement between the people and the regime.47 The Ulster unionists held a conditional loyalty to Parliament as long as it met its obligations to the people. If these conditions were not met, then Ulster had every right to break its contractual relationship to Parliament on the basis of the institution defaulting on its side of the contract.48 Ulster Unionists saw the Parliament Act as precisely such a breach of contract, which thereby provided the moral justification for disobeying the laws passed by this Parliament. According to Miller, "the Parliament Act forced upon the consciousness of Ulster Protestants the fact that they could find reassurance of their fundamental rights neither in a felt sense of co-nationality with any people-British or Irish-nor in the capacity of British institutions to give promises which came up to 47 For a complete enunciation of this conditional loyalty and contractual government, see David Miller, Queen's Rebels: Ulster Loyalism in Historical Perspective (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1978). 48 Miller, Queen's Rebels, pp. 4-5. 25

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their own exacting standards of honesty."49 The northern Irish still claimed allegiance to the Crown, but in their understandings of the "obligations between ruler and ruled," they saw their allegiance move away from the Parliament to the monarch, who had technically not breached the agreement.50 The dilution of the Lords' veto, traditionally Conservative in action, made the passage of Home Rule inevitable. The unionists saw the possibility of the passage of Home Rule without the consent of the Lords as a break with the Constitution. Therefore, laws passed through Parliament bypassing the Lords were invalid. This argument allowed the Unionists to take a stance against Home Rule on the grounds of its unconstitutionality. Because Home Rule would be passed even though the Lords vetoed it, it was a law that did not have to be obeyed. In January of 1912, the Ulster Unionist Council affirmed their position of "resorting to any means that may be found necessary" to fight against the passage of Home Rule: our determination to adhere to this course of action is seriously strengthened by the subservient and nefarious policy of the present Government in passing the Parliament Act into law ... the preamble of that Act pledges the Government to reform the House of Lords, and this duty it refuses to undertake until by using the distorted machinery of a wantonly broken Constitution it succeeds in enacting other revolutionary legislation, the foremost item of which is Home Rule. 5 1 49 Miller, Queen's Rebels, p. 103. 50 Miller, Queen's Rebels, p. 5. 51 BNL, 4 January 1912. 26

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In characterizing the passage and implementation of the Parliament Act as unconstitutional, the unionists were able to conceptualize their actions-and threats of resistance-as being perfectly legal within the framework of their association with the Crown and not the corrupted Parliament. In an interview the day before a unionist demonstration in Omagh, Carson spoke of the "suspended Constitution" under which the Government was attempting to pass the Home Rule Bill.52 This position emphasizing an unjust Constitution gave the unionists a new platform on which to build a northern Irish national identity, one that focused on loyalty to the Crown at the expense of Parliament and prioritized Ulster first. But the unionist animosity towards the Parliament Act came from another aspect of its passage as well: for the Liberals to pass the Parliament Act, they had to form a coalition, and the Irish Nationalists held enough seats to make that majority possible.53 The Liberals made an agreement with the Irish Nationalists, led by John Redmond, that if the Irish Nationalist Party supported the Parliament Act, the Government would put Home Rule on the agenda for Parliament. 5 4 This bargain between the Irish Nationalists and Liberals placed the Irish Unionists firmly outside the Government and also shored up their beliefs in the corruption of the Constitution 52 BNL, 5 January 1912. 53 Dangerfield, Strange Death, p. 42. 54 O'Donovan, "Ulster and Home Rule," p.lO. 27

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and Parliament. When Barrie spoke of the "corrupt and immoral bargain" he was referring specifically to the bargain that had been entered into between Mr. Asquith and Mr. Redmond, under which the Nationalist votes in the House of Commons were given in order to destroy the veto of the House of Lords, and to take away its valuable right of forcing an appeal to the nation. 55 The agreement between Asquith and Redmond became fundamental to northern Irish conceptions of national identity: because Parliament had entered into a corrupt agreement, the unionists were no longer bound to obey the passage of Home Rule. In the same pamphlet for a unionist demonstration mentioned earlier that contained the tripartite imagery-Union Jack, Irish harp, and Red Hand of Ulster-of the components of northern Irish national identity, the authors argued that their resolve to oppose Home Rule is confirmed by the consideration of dishonourable tactics to which it is proposed to rush a Home Rule Bill through Parliament.. .and thus to secure its enactment as the result of an unprincipled bargain with the Nationalist Parliamentary group, and under cover of a Constitution mutilated by the Parliament Act. 56 By using such descriptive language, the "mutilated" Constitution, the "dishonourable tactics," the unionists painted the Liberals and Irish Nationalists as not just the enemies of unionism, but enemies to democracy and imperial Britain. The words also 55 BNL, 4 January 1912 56 PRONI, D/1545/7, Pamphlet for Ulster Unionist Demonstration, p. 6. 28

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work to give the unionists the moral high ground-they are the ones fighting to uphold the Constitution and the ones who used, by inference, honorable tactics. Because they, in essence, declared Parliament illegal, the unionists did not see their positions as rebellious. At an unionist meeting in Ulster, Carson questioned: "When we are told that we are rebels, I would like to know who we are rebels to. We are not rebels to the King-God bless him!-and I know of nobody else that I can be a rebel to."57 Carson and his supporters saw themselves as the true upholders of British citizenship within Ulster. In The Truth About Home Rule, published in 1913 for a mostly American audience, Pembroke Wicks argues that "the people of Ulster bitterly resent the attempt to deprive them of their position as citizens of the United Kingdom. They yield to no man in their loyalty to the King and Empire, and they decline to submit to the dictation of a Parliament composed of men who take as their motto: [the Irish Nationalist position that] 'England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity."'58 Wicks expressly pits Ulster's loyalty to the Crown against the laws of Parliament. The Ulster Unionists deftly found a way to argue for their defiance of law in terms of their allegiance to the Crown above Parliament. Wicks even compares Ulster's struggle with that of the "British Colonists in North America which resulted in the War of Independence. It is the unalterable determination of a free people to resist the attempt 57 BNL, 6January 1912. 58 Pembroke Wicks, The Truth About Home Rule. With a Preface by the Right Hon. Sir Edward Carson (Boston: Small, Maynard and Company, 1913), p. 98. 29

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to deprive them of their rights."59 Here we find the unionists in the place of the American colonists, fighting against a tyrannical government, this time the Liberal/Irish Nationalist coalition Government, for their rights as citizens. In. comparing unionism with the American Revolution, Wicks sought to legitimize the northern Irish position against the Government. The unionists saw the imposition of Home Rule as an "attempt to deprive them of their rights" as British citizens and as loyal protestants, and sought to oppose it by any and all means. The debate around the 1912 Home Rule Bill and the real prospect of it passing into law was a crucial moment for Ulster unionism and northern Ireland. The unionists no longer had the safety net of the Lords to protect them from the passage of the Bill and therefore had to create new measures to keep themselves out of a possible all-Ireland Parliament. They had seen the threat to empire posed by the South African War at the end of the last century, had staunchly opposed the rebellious Boers-while the Irish Nationalists supported them-and desired the unity of the empire to support their position as part of that empire. 6 For the first time, in the debates of 1912-1914, Unionists offered up the exclusion of Ulster as a means of staying within the Union. Though they argued that Home Rule was bad for all of Ireland, they had to concede to 59 Wicks, Truth About Home Rule, pp. I 00-10 I. 60 Donal Lowry, "Nationalist and unionist responses to the British empire in the age of the South African war, 1899-1902," in Newspapers and Empire in Ireland and Britain: Reporting the British Empire, c. 1857-1921, ed. Simon Porter, (Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2004 ), p. 159-176. 30

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the majority Nationalist sentiment in southern Ireland and make alternate plans for their own position within the Union.61 61 Lewis, Carson, p. 110. 31

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CHAPTER4 "THE PLOT AGAINST ULSTER": ULSTER'S CASE AGAINST THE THIRD HOME RULE BILL62 In the years before World War I, the unionists, both politicians and the public at large, argued against Home Rule on various fronts-they argued it would be detrimental to all of Ireland economically, they feared the Catholic influence of a Dublin Parliament, they saw themselves as fundamentally tied to Britain as subjects of the Crown, and they sought to preserve their privileged status under the Union and as part of the empire. They also challenged the constitutionality of Home Rule on the grounds of the 1911 Parliament Act. By 1911, Belfast and the surrounding counties were heavily industrialized, with development focused on such industries as textiles, shipbuilding, engineering, and foundrywork.63 Many Ulster business-leaders were prominent members of unionist associations and supported the anti-Home Rule campaign in northern Ireland. Philip Ollerenshaw's essay, "Businessmen and the Development of Ulster Unionism, 1886-1921," traces the connections between business and politics and shows how the 62 PRONI. D/1327/20/211, Ulster Unionist Committee Draft Annual Report, 1914, 63 Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 388. 32

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business community was central in fundraising and support of unionism.64 Many of the people of Ulster saw their prosperity directly linked to the Union and their British identity, and desired to stay within the Union for economic and political reasons.65 They expressed these arguments through publications, business organizations, and individual support of unionism in northern Ireland. The economic concerns of many northern Irish were also linked to Ireland's, and particularly Ulster's, privileged position within the British empire. A 1911 pamphlet titled "The ABC of Home Rule" notes, while addressing the possible consequences of Home Rule, that The Dublin Chamber of Commerce has left it on record that the Council feels themselves imperatively called upon to declare their opinion that any measure calculated to weaken the Union at present between Great Britain and Ireland would be productive of consequences most disastrous to the trading and commercial interests of both countries.66 This belief in the "disastrous" effects of Home Rule on the economy expresses an anxiety linked to Ireland's privileged position within the Union as a commercial center and trading partner for Britain. In the introduction to a collection of essays on Britain, Ireland, and Empire, Simon Porter notes that Irish men and women played a crucial role in the maintenance and 64 Philip Ollerenshaw. "Businessmen and the Development of Ulster Unionism, 1886-1921 ", The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 28: I (2000); 35-64. 65 Wicks, Truth About Home Rule. 66 PRONI, D/1545/9, Unionist Associations of Ireland, 1911, "The ABC of Home Rule," 33

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extension of British colonial rule overseas ... Protestant engagement with empire was especially marked, with the Anglo-Irish disproportionately represented in the ranks of imperial administrators and military commanders, and businesses such as the shipbuilders Harland and Wolff deriving particular benefits. 67 The benefits of the imperial context to protestant northern Ireland led unionists to link their economic prosperity to the strength of the empire as a whole. Ulster Unionists often used financial arguments to gain sympathy for their cause throughout northern Ireland and in Britain generally. Historian Paul Bew states that "there is no question, for example, that economic factors played a key role in the generation of unionist opposition to home rule."68 These economic factors included southern Ireland's predominantly agricultural economy that depended on Britain to export goods, and northern Ireland's strong industrial base. According to the Belfast News-Letter on June 12, 1912, "it is indisputable that under the security of the Imperial Parliament the prosperity of Ireland has shown a great and growing advance," with Belfast benefiting particularly from the Union, and "its progress has been continuous."69 The Unionists argued that if they were forced into Home Rule, they would not only have to support southern Ireland financially, but the ties that opened 67 Simon Potter, "Introduction: empire, propaganda and public opinion," in Newspapers and Empire in Ireland and Britain, 11-22, p. 13; Harland and Wolff was also the shipyard that built the Titanic. 68Paul Bew. Ideology and the Irish Question: Ulster Unionism and Irish Nationalism 1912-1916 (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1994), p. 35. 69 BNL 12 June 1912. 34

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British markets to Ulster industry would also be closed to them.70 The same article also stated: The fact that our industrial growth is due to the development of trade with England and Scotland, and is also of an international character, and further that the amount of trade done by our shipbuilding and manufacturing concerns for Irish clients is comparatively trivial, amply justifies our desire for the maintenance always of the closest relations with Great Britain and complete association with the world-wide prestige of the United Kingdom in which we freely participate. 71 These ties to British markets and the relative prosperity of Belfast and Ulster solidified Ulster's ties to Britain and its position within the Union. For the Ulster Unionists, the economic prosperity and future of northern Ireland was literally tied to the material and economic benefits offered by the Union. These financial concerns also entered into the Parliamentary debates on Home Rule, with Edward Carson's 1913 comment that "there is nothing in the Bill that improves the material condition or can improve the material condition of Ulster."72 With such rhetoric, unionists aimed to persuade their constituencies-and many in Britain--of the immediate economic threat that Home Rule posed to northern Ireland. At times, economic arguments against Home Rule pulled in the broader platform of unionism, addressing religious and constitutional fears as well. In June of 70 Bew, Ideology and the Irish Question, p. 35. 71 BNL, 12 June 1912. 385, 1 January 1913. 35

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1912, the Belfast Chamber of Commerce produced a report to its members regarding its position on Home Rule-which it had also opposed in 1893: Your Council believe that the economic and social conditions of Ireland render it signally unfit for Home Rule. The population is not homogenous, it is radically divided on the lines of race and religion, and, unfortunately, the two parties are filled with distrust and historical jealousies of each other. The Chamber, being representative only of commercial and industrial interests, have always endeavoured to avoid as far as possible the controversies of party politics and religion, but when the interests of the whole mercantile community are so gravely threatened by proposals for constitutional change of the most far-reaching character, they feel that emphatic expression of their views is imperative ... to remain an integral part of the United Kingdom, under one flag and Parliament. 73 One of the central arguments for the Belfast Chamber of Commerce against Home Rule alludes to the perceived differences between what they refer to as "race and religion" but which became manifest in the split between protestant northern Ireland and the three southern provinces. By bringing together economic and cultural concerns in one document, the Belfast Chamber of Commerce successfully merged two of the major means of attacking against Home Rule in Ulster. The fear of Catholic influence and "Rome Rule" were central to the northern Irish protestant identity and an affirmation of their affinity with the British at the expense of their Irishness. This fear was particularly central because it tied northern Ireland to Britain and the Protestant tradition, which was in direct opposition to Catholic Ireland since the establishment of the Church of England in Tudor times. In 73 BNL, 12 June 1912. 36

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The Truth About Home Rule, Pembroke Wicks expresses this fear clearly: "there is even greater danger to be feared of clerical control throughout Ireland at the hands of the Roman Catholic Church."74 For protestant Ulster, the idea of a Catholic Parliament provoked anger and fear, of rule by the Catholic Church through Dublin, and clerical abuse. The protestant community of nm1hem Ireland was not unified in one particular denomination; within the unionist community were Church of Ireland members, Scots-Presbyterians, Methodists, and various other nonconfonnist protestant denominations.75 At the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in 1912, a committee reported the continued Presbyterian support of the unionist position against Home Rule, just as they had fought the first two Home Rule Bills.76 Aside from specific protestant denominations, northern Irish unionists appealed to the Britishness of their shared Protestant history, that same Britishness that Linda Colley argues created a British national identity in opposition to Catholic France.77 Colley sees Britishness as being fonned on the basis of a Protestant identity as against the Catholic "other" of France.78 This shared religious position and tradition appealed to 74 Wicks, Truth About Home Rule, p. 74. 75 YoussefCourbage, "The Demographic Factor in Ireland's Movement Towards Partition (1607-1921)," Population: An English Selection, v. 9, pp. 169-190, pp. 172, 174, 176-178. 76 BNL, 8 June 1912. 77 Colley, Britons, pp. 17, 33-35. 78 Colley, Britons, pp. 18-35. 37

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northern Irish unionists as it emphasized their similarities with Britain and the British tradition, and differences from Catholic Nationalist Ireland. One prominent example of unionist fears about the power of the Catholic Church was the controversy surrounding the Ne Temere ruling and its effects on nonCatholics. The Vatican's passage of Ne Temere in 1908 called for all Catholic/nonCatholic marriages to be consecrated by a Catholic priest, or else the Church would not recognize the union, and children born within the marriage would be considered illegitimate.79 According to Desmond Bowen in his study of Irish Protestantism, "What shocked the Protestant community was the open admission by the papacy that Roman law took precedence over the Common Law in the issue of marriage, and that it had little respect for Protestant rights."80 The major concern about Ne Temere was that it allowed the primacy of a religious ruling over the laws of Britain and Ireland, and for Ulster unionists, this ruling seemed to foreshadow the breakdown of their religious freedoms under a Catholic-influenced Parliament in Dublin. One particular incident involving Ne Temere caught the public's attention: in November 1910, in a case that became known as the McCann affair, a Protestant woman married a Catholic man in a Protestant church, and post-Ne Temere, the father absconded with the children after his wife refused to be remarried by a Catholic 79 Desmond Bowen, History and the Shaping of Irish Protestantism (Peter Lang, New York: 1995), p. 372; Bew, p. 31. 80 Bowen, Irish Protestantism, p. 372. 38

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priest.81 This became a battle cry against Home Rule and the types of anti-Protestant laws many northern Irish believed a Parliament in Dublin, if created, would pass. In a 1912 speech at the Enniskillen Protestant Hall, a speaker, Mr. Maguire, argued that Rome Rule means one or other of three things. It means either the oppression and persecution of Protestants by Roman Catholics in general, or the excessive and tyrannical interference of bishops and priests in Irish political life to the detriment of Protestants, and general paralysis of nationallife.82 His statement reinforces the beliefs of Protestant northern Ireland regarding the negative impact that Home Rule would have on those of a religion other than Catholicism. The use of such language as "oppression and persecution" and "excessive and tyrannical" may have been simply rhetorical flair, but it also captures the attitude of northern Irish protestants: many believed that if Home Rule passed, Ireland would essentially be under the rule of the Catholic church. The language may also have been in reference to historical religious persecution. And the passage of Home Rule would leave protestant northern Ireland as a distinct minority community under a Dublin Parliament. The anxieties concerning a Catholic Dublin Parliament were tied to fears of losing the Imperial, Protestant affiliation with Great Britain and the Empire. If Ireland was no longer bound by the Act of Union to be a part of Great Britain, it would then become no better than a colony. Discussions of Home Rule, in Parliament and in the 81 Bew, Ideology and the Irish Question, pp. 31-33. 82 BNL, 3 January 1912. 39

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papers, constantly asserted Ulster's alliance to the Crown and adherence to British citizenship. In the Home Rule debates in October of 1912, Edward Carson argued that the "whole tradition and the whole history behind" Ulster and the people of northern Ireland "has made them citizens of the United Kingdom exactly the same as Englishmen are citizens of the United Kingdom."83 By noting the distinction of England as a nation, not just Britain, within the larger entity of the United Kingdom, Carson identifies a place for the northern Irish, with their own Ulster national identity, as a partner within Britain. This language of citizenship permeated the Unionist rhetoric against Home Rule, and fixed the notion of British citizenship within the northern Irish sense of national identity. At a public meeting, Basil Peto, M.P. argued against Home Rule on the grounds that the Ulster Protestants are 'good citizens' of the United Kingdom. They obeyand are prepared to obey-the laws passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. The Home Rule Bill deprives them of that complete and equal citizenship ... In a word, so long as Parliament leaves to them the full citizenship they possess they are good citizens (the best in Ireland) and obey the laws of the United Kingdom. They will resist-and will be justified in d h ,84 res1stmg---any attempt to nve t em out. This speech not only emphasizes the importance of citizenship in the United Kingdom, but repeatedly argues that the Ulster unionists are "good citizens," that they obey the laws and are not unruly, unlike the rebellious Irish Nationalists. Yet it includes a 83 Hansard, xlii, 615 10 October 1912. 84 BNL, 13June 1912. 40

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threat against Britain if it revokes that status as good, loyal, obedient citizens of the Crown. In linking the rights of citizenship to the threat of resistance, Peto prioritizes citizenship as one of the central themes against Home Rule. Unionists perceived that Home Rule meant the revocation of citizenship status which would justify the possibility of disobedience against Parliament. E.P. Thompson, in The Making of the English Working Class, describes the rights of the "free-born Englishman" as "freedom from foreign domination," protected by the laws of the land, and fully entitled to protest against injustices and inequalities. 85 These rights were the same rights that Ulsterites fought for against the possibility of the "foreign domination" of the Home Rule Bill. The discussions on the rights of citizens tied northern Ireland to a broader definition of national identity that included British citizenship and British ideals of civil rights. The importance of the rights of citizenship was not only evident in the context of the Third Home Rule Bill, but had been part of the argument against the previous Home Rule attempts as well. A unionist resolution reported in the Belfast News-Letter on January 4, 1912, quoted the 1892 Ulster Convention's resolve to '"resorting to any means that may be found necessary to enable us to preserve unimpaired our equal citizenship in the United Kingdom. "'86 Though the 1912 resolution began by 85 E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (New York: Vintage Books, 1963 ), pp. 77-101. 86 BNL, 4 January 1912. 41

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emphasizing the continuity of the anti-Home Rule movements, it continued on to state the specific case for northern Ireland in 1912: It is simply a demand ... that our Northern province shall continue to possess the exact constitutional privileges, and rights which, in common with her British fellow-citizens, she enjoys to-day as an integral part of the United Kingdom, and that she shall continue to be represented on equal terms with Great Britain in the Imperial Parliament.87 The claims for citizenship are couched in a language of equality within Great Britain and with British citizens, and explicitly tied to the empire as well. And here again, like the speech quoted above, the resolution threatens rebellion if such citizenship is endangered or removed: Should this claim, based on the most elementary principles of British justice, be refused, the only alternative consistent with our rights as subjects of the King is the Ulster Provisional Government to come into operation on the appointed day, and this once established, we are resolved to see it through. 88 Here we see an explicit reference to the possibility of a northern Irish government, apart from both Britain and Ireland, a government proposed to represent the interests of the people of Ulster. The fact that the unionists of northern Ireland were prepared to create an Ulster Provisional Government attests to their understandings of northern Ireland as a distinct entity capable of governing itself. In validating the Provisional Government, northern Irish unionists were essentially taking the step towards attaining sovereignty, and promoting their national identity. 87 BNL, 4 January 1912. 88 BNL, 4 January 1912. 42

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Northern Irish unionists often coupled the perceived threat against citizenship with a belief in the disintegration of civil and religious rights under Home Rule. In a pamphlet that accompanied the Ulster Unionist Demonstration in Belfast on April 9, 1912, the unionist authors argued that Home Rule for Ireland would involve ruin to our civil and religious liberties and the degradation of our citizenship in the United Kingdom; and would be the first step in the disintegration of the great Empire, to the up-building of which Irishmen, and in no small degree the descendents of the Ulster plantation, have contributed their full share.89 Here the threat is not just against citizenship, but also against the "civil and religious liberties" that unionists believed were part and parcel of their continued loyalty to Britain and the Crown. The same pamphlet later appeals to Alfred Bonar Law, leader of the British Unionists, and interestingly uses the rhetoric of the defense of citizenship to support a possible Ulster rebellion against the implementation of Home Rule: Such action regarding legislation [the passage of Home Rule], for which the electorate has given no mandate whatever, is a wanton trifling with the rights of civil freedom, and its revolutionary character, should it succeed, will amply justify the Loyalists of Ulster in resorting to whatever action they may find necessary to retain unimpaired their full rights of citizenship in the British Empire.90 Here the unionists use the language of citizenship and an appeal to keeping the "elementary rights of free-born British citizens" to support the possibility of an armed 89 PRONI, D/154517, Pamphlet for The Ulster Unionist Demonstration of 1912, 9 April 1912, p. 6. 90 PRONI, D/1545/7, Pamphlet for The Ulster Unionist Demonstration of 1912, p. 9. 43

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resistance to the implementation of a Home Rule parliament in Dublin.91 And the discussions of citizenship and liberties was directly linked to Ireland's position as part of the British Empire. For Ulster, the appeal of British citizenship was two-fold: it existed as an ideal of civil and religious liberties, and, for free-born British citizens, it created the right to oppose by force, if necessary, the creation of a Dublin Parliament. Other unionist supporters worked to link the appeals of citizenship to the significance of the empire in an understanding of British citizenship and world status. According to Simon Potter, "Irish men and women developed an ambiguous, sometimes volatile, but often viable mixture of identities as members of a global community," an identity that became apparent in unionist arguments against Home Rule.92 Potter also notes that "a section of the Irish population also saw themselves as British, and as members of a broader, imperial 'British world."'93 The people of northern Ireland understood their identity to be located in Ulster, but also as a part of a larger entity, the British empire. And for them, Home Rule threatened not only their place as a part of a major world power, but the power of the empire itself. The minute book of the "Ulster Day" committee recorded a draft resolution that recognized 91 PRONI, D/1545/7, Pamphlet for The Ulster Unionist Demonstration of 1912, p. 10. 92 Potter, "Introduction," 13. 93 Potter, "Introduction," 13-14. 44

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that the public peace of this country is in great and imminent danger by reason of the threat to establish a Parliament in Dublin, and knowing that such a step will inevitably lead to disaster to the Empire and absolute ruin to lreland.94 If Home Rule passed in Ireland, unionists saw it as a disaster to the Empire because it would provide an example to colonies that a nation could in effect opt out of the British Empire. These concerns for the integrity of the empire drew upon the recent South African War, during which Irish nationalists often supported the Boers against the British, and the unionist community firmly supported Britain.95 The interest aroused by the South African Wars to both the unionists and Irish nationalists underscores the importance of empire in the minds of the Irish at the beginning of the twentieth century-though on different sides, the people of Ireland were captivated by the war. The introduction of the Third Home Rule Bill placed a whole new set of pressures upon unionists to address the threat to Ulster's imperial identity. And it was not just the people of northern Ireland who were preoccupied with the impact on the empire; other members of Britain's empire paid attention to the Home Rule debates as well. An article in the Belfast News-Letter on February 9, 1912 showed the contents of a telegram sent to Carson from Perth, Australia; Brave Ulstermen, you were planted by the British Parliament to conserve the unity of the empire. You have been faithful to this trust. The present 94 PRONI, Demonstration Joint Sub-Committee Minute Book, "Ulster Day" Committee, 5 September 1911. 95 Lowry, "Nationalist and unionist," p. 159-161. 45

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Government is seeking to betray you. Therefore we, representing many thousand Orange and Protestant citizens of Western Australia, heartily endorse your attitude. 96 The article also included a similar letter from Montreal, showing support for unionists against Home Rule. The backing of other imperial subjects-not surprisingly those countries heavy with Irish immigrants-shows a collective interest in the integrity of the British Empire against the threat of losing part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The three attempts at passing Home Rule through Parliament solidified the majority protestant northern Irish position in relation both to the rest of Ireland and to Britain. These debates placed Ulster's position within the Act of Union at the forefront and forced Ulster to stake a new position for itself within Britain and in relation to Ireland, a position of Ulsterness first, and provided the opportunity to act out the nationalist politics of Ulster. The possibility of the implementation of Home Rule was unacceptable to the unionists of northern Ireland, particularly in light of the Parliament Act, and they were ready to fight it by any means necessary. The Liberal/Irish Nationalist alliance that saw the passage of the Parliament Act of 1911 and the agreement to support Home Rule placed the unionists in a difficult position, but one that forced them to create more fully a new national identity supported throughout Ulster. 96 BNL, 9 February 1912. 46

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CHAPTER 5 "THE FORMATION OF NEW CLUBS STILL CONTINUES ... ": CLUBS, FINANCING THE UNION, AND THE ULSTER VOLUNTEER FORCE The introduction of the third Home Rule Bill in 1912 stimulated the growth of local unionist groups throughout Ulster and fostered a community of individuals from across economic, and sometimes religious, lines who shared a belief in the Union as the means of keeping Ulster as it was: economically, politically, and culturally part of Britain. The members of these groups came from a variety of backgrounds, but they came together in support of the Union and in support of an idea of northern Ireland that was separate from a strictly British or Irish entity. By examining their meetings, demonstrations, and publications, we can explore the "history from below" that Hobsbawm sees as imperative to understanding a national identity. The expressions and participation of unionist groups show precisely "the assumptions, hopes, needs, longings and interests of ordinary people" that Hobsbawm describes.97 And those hopes and longings of the ordinary people of northern Ireland reveal a foundation of support of the Union and of their place within that Union-as northern Irish people bound to the Crown and Britain for prosperity, citizenship, and civil and religious freedoms. 97 Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism, p. 10. 47

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Though Unionist groups had existed during the debates around the Home Rule Bills of 1886 and 1893, it was not until 1905 that unionist leaders formed the Ulster Unionist Council (U.U.C.), with the idea of providing an overarching central authority for unionism in Ulster.98 By the time the third Home Rule Bill came up in Parliament, the U.U.C. was well-established as the central producer of unionist rhetoric and site of support for the Union. In his essay on Irish unionism, Alvin Jackson argues that with the creation of the U. U. C., Ulster unionism had taken a hesitant, but still vital step towards the creation of a distinctive northern movement and it might well be contended further that the UUC represented not merely an eye-catching regional initiative, but a prototype for the unionist parliament which came into being in 1921.99 As an organizing body for northern unionism, the U.U.C. also arranged meetings and demonstrations, published pamphlets and materials for such meetings, and collected funds to support unionism in northern Ireland. As the debates around Home Rule heated up, the number of unionist clubs throughout Ireland, and particularly in Ulster, grew. The minute book of the Executive Committee of the U.U.C. records 171 clubs "actually formed" in December 1911, increasing to 295 clubs in June 1912, and reaching 333 clubs in October of 98 O'Donovan, "Ulster and Home Rule," p. 9. 99 Alvin Jackson, "Irish unionism, 1870-1922," in Defenders of the Union: A su11ley of British and Irish unionism since 1801, ed. D. George Boyce and Alan O'Day (London: Routledge, 2001), 115-136, p. 124. 48

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1913.100 By 1912, these clubs were under the auspices of the U.U.C., tying their political position to their geographical base, and thereby lessening the power of a more generalized Irish Unionism. Though there were unionist clubs outside of Ulster, the organization and greatest numbers of support came from Ulster. The increase in the sheer number of Unionist clubs suggests substantial support for the Ulster Unionist agenda of stopping Home Rule, and if that failed, then fighting to exclude Ulster from a Dublin Parliament. Unionism was not just an elite and political movement, but it encompassed people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds; a list of contributors to Sir Edward Carson's Unionist Defense Fund included handkerchief manufacturers and merchants, hemstichers, shirt makers, coach builders, painters and paperhangers, flag makers, brewers, whisky brokers, auctioneers, florists, fishmongers, umbrella and walking stick manufacturers. 101 The support for unionism ranged across class lines and brought usually disparate groups together. The broad support of unionism attests to the centrality of the antiHome Rule campaign in Ulster-it was not just a political movement of the upperclasses, but a subject that captured the hopes and aspirations of the people of northern Ireland. And this movement often needed the financial support of its members to continue. 100 PRONI D/132711/2, Ulster Unionist Council Executive Committee Minute Book, 1893-1913, 101 PRONI, D/1327/2/10, Sir Edward Carson Unionist Defence Fund. 49

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The U.U.C. often called upon its members for monetary support to keep up the campaign against Home Rule. The records of the Anti-Home Rule Campaign Fund Guarantee includes an itemized list of donations to the fund, ranging from to suggesting the support of unionism across a broad socio-economic spectrum.102 The donations came from across Ulster, and occasionally farther afield-one even from New Jersey-with both men and women well represented as patrons. One entry was from Miss Gertrude Clements, of Ashfield Lodge, Cookehill, who donated With her donation she included a note stating "Amount collected by a few labourers and small farmers in her neighborhood."103 Not only does her donation speak to the important role of women's-and in this case, a single woman's-involvement in unionism, it attests to the broad-base of support from a variety of social classes, here laborers and farmers, who contributed out of their small wages for unionism. The money raised by the unionists throughout northern Ireland went to support the Ulster Unionist Committee, as well as the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force (U.V.F.), officially founded in 1913. In that same year, the U.U.C. created the One Million Pound Indemnity Guarantee Fund, which pledged to compensate the members, or the families thereof, of the U. V .F. who might be injured or killed in the line of duty acting upon the orders of the Ulster Provisional Government, the government that the Unionist Party planned to implement in Ulster if Home Rule 102 PRONI, D/1327/2/5, Anti-Home Rule Campaign Fund Guarantee Ledger Book. 103 PRONI, D/1327/2/5, Anti-Home Rule Campaign Fund Guarantee Ledger Book. 50

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passed through Parliament as taking effect of the whole of Ireland.104 The ledger book for the Indemnity Fund includes nearly 4000 individual guarantees for the fund, with much larger sums than the more general funds. The Duke of Abercom guaranteed ,000 for the fund, but most donations ranged from to The official formation of the U. V .F. attests to the strength of conviction of the people of northern Ireland against Home Rule. By setting up a military force, the unionists were taking another step towards the possibility with a break from Britain, and staking a claim for a northern Irish national identity, complete with armed and trained forces. The massive monetary contributions to the U.V.F. Indemnity Fund speak to the popular support of the U.V.F., and of a belief in the importance of protecting the national interests of northern Ireland. The formation of the U.V.F. was central to a northern Irish national identity as it was a volunteer military organization whose numbers may have reached almost 100,000 by 1914.105 The army was prepared to act on behalf of the Provisional Government and the will of the people of northern Ireland. According to A.T.Q. Stewart, in his study of loyalism in Ulster, the U.V.F. "possessed cavalry, a motor-car corps, a special strike force, signalers and dispatch riders, and ambulance and nursing units ... The Unionists had their own communications system, and were in a position to 104 PRONI, D/1327/2/12, Ulster Unionist Committee and Ulster Union of Constitutional Associations Special Meeting, 24 September 1913. 105 A.T.Q. Stewart, The Narrow Ground: Aspects of Ulster, 1609-1969 (London: Faber and Faber, 1977), p. 168. 51

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seize the harbours, roads and railways of Ulster."106 Northern Ireland had its own army, an army armed, trained, and ready to defend the rights of Ulster and the national integrity of northern Ireland. The April 1914 gunrunning at Lame made headlines across Ireland and Britain as the U.V.F. gathered 25,000 rifles and three million rounds of ammunition along coastal towns of Ulster.107 This Unionist armed force was another key element in buttressing the national identity of northern IrelandUlster now had its own army to defend and support its vision of an Ulster as part of the British empire.108 106 A.T.Q. Stewart, The Narrow Ground, p.168. 107 Alvin Jackson, "Irish unionism," p. 129; The Ulster Unionist Council Archives at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland contain materials on both gunrunning at Lame and the Curragh incident (see below), but special permission is needed to access the documents. While I was granted permission to view a great deal of U.U.C. materials, many of which are cited here, the current U.U.C. is wary of those requesting access to materials to the funding of the gunrunning, almost a hundred years after the events. I was denied access to those documents. 108 The formation and actions of the United Volunteers are part of the expressions of northern Irish national identity, but the scope of this paper focuses primarily on the popular, political, non-military expressions of national identity instead of the arming of Ulster. While studies have examined the military components of Ulster Unionism, I am interested more in the political, cultural and social aspects of northern Ireland and national identity. For more on the Ulster Volunteer Force, see Timothy Bowman, Carson's Army: The Ulster Volunteer Force, 1910-1922 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007); Bowman, "The Ulster Volunteer Force and the Formation of the 36th (Ulster) Division." Irish Historical Studies 2001 32(128): 498-518; Steve Bruce, The Red Hand: Protestant Paramilitaries in Northern Ireland (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992); Alvin Jackson, "Unionist Myths 1912-1985," Past and Present, No. 136 (Aug., 1992), pp. 164-185; Sarah Nelson, Ulster's Uncertain Defenders: Protestant Political, Paramilitary and Community Groups and the Northern Ireland Conflict (New York: Syracuse University Press, 1987 ); Peter Taylor, Loyalists: War and Peace in Northern Ireland (New York: T.V. Books, 199). 52

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The armed and potentially dangerous U.V.F. and the possibility of a conflict with British soldiers was a matter of grave concern for unionists and British soldiers alike. Because of their loyalty to the Crown, unionist U.V.F. members did not relish the possibility of war with Britain and fellow soldiers. But after the mutiny at Curragh, in which fifty-eight British cavalry officers in Kildare refused to take part in training for a possible attack on Ulster, soldiers with ties to Ulster were forced to reconsider their position on Home Rule and their national allegiances.109 A March 1914letter to the Secretary of the U.U.C. by a soldier in the Highland Light Infantry, captures the tom allegiances of one man. Sergeant Edward Patton asked to be "enrolled for services with" the U.V.F.: I should like to add that in my Regiment I have many comrades who would feel bound by their principles to offer to serve with the Corps should the worst come to the worst, and of the remainder, the sympathy of the great majority is with our cause and I cannot imagine an officer of my Regiment order to be fired, or a unit of it firing, a shot against Ulster ... I quite understand the seriousness of the step I, a servant of the Crown, have taken, and it will probably mean desertion in order to carry it out, but I fail to see any alternative for an Ulsterrnan worthy of the name, situated as I am. 110 Patton found himself in a difficult position, but ultimately his loyalty to Ulster and northern Ireland triumphed over his dedication to the Crown and the military. He was willing to desert his post as a training instructor and lend his services to the U.V.F. in protecting northern Ireland. Such a decision could not have been made lightly, and 109 Alvin Jackson, "Irish unionism," pp. I 29-130. 110 PRONI, D/1496/5, Sergeant Edward Patton, letter to the Ulster Unionist Council, 20 March 1914. 53

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such a willingness to give up one national identification-British-for Ulster, is a clear expression of the support for Ulster nationalism. The formation of unionist clubs, the monetary support, and the creation of the U.V.F. each speak to the wide-spread support of a northern Irish national identity that was publicly orchestrated by the U.U.C. but also on a grassroots level enacted by the members of unionist groups. Northern Irish from all walks of life engaged their time, money, and sometimes guns, to sustain the unionist cause and to fight against Home Rule. The people of northern Ireland were prepared to bear arms against Britain or an Irish Parliament in defense of the idea of northern Ireland that they believed in. This fight against Home Rule was not only waged by soldiers and businessmen, but also by the women of northern Ireland. 54

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CHAPTER 6 "THEY HAD THEIR HEARTS AND SOULS IN THAT GRAND WORK OF WITHSTANDING HOME RULE:" GENDER, WOMEN, AND UNIONISM 111 Increasingly, historians are exploring the gender dimensions of nationalist politics. Mrinalina Sinha, in her essay "Gender and Nation," addresses this emerging field of study and notes that "attachments to modem gender and national identities have developed together and reinforced each other."112 In Sinha's survey, she looks at the historiography of recent studies of gender and nation, and notes certain trends in the scholarship, many of which I have utilized in my analysis; such as the "invented" character of the nation, the cultural side of the nation and nationalism, and the link between gender and nation.113 Women were active participants in the anti-Home Rule campaign and construction of northern Irish national identity. Women were involved in the Unionist cause, establishing their own Unionist associations and speaking publicly and vehemently against Home Rule and in favor of keeping Ulster within the 111 BNL, 4 January 1912. 112 Mrinalina Sinha, "Gender and Nation," in Women's History in Global Perspective ed. Bonnie Smith, (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), pp. 229274. 113 Sinha, "Gender and Nation," p. 237-239. 55

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Union. The "interesting proceedings" of the North Down Women's Unionist Association included a move that we ... resolve to do all in our power to uphold the Unionist cause and resist any form of Home Rule, which, we feel sure, would be detrimental to Ireland and would contribute to the downfall of the British Empire. 114 The women's unionist groups utilized the same rhetoric as the unionist groups generally, but often expressed interest in a unionism that had direct links to issues relating to women, such as the controversies around Ne Temere, which affected women's traditional roles as wives and mothers. In addressing the construction of a nation, Sinha points out that it is important to assess the role of the family in that process-for Ulster, the protestant tradition of the patriarchal family unit relegated women to the status of wives and mothers, thereby limiting their possible public roles.115 Northern Irish women used the cause of unionism as a way to be heard in a political debate that formally excluded their participation. The women who supported unionism in northern Ireland did so in within the context of the larger debates on women's suffrage throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. Margaret Ward's essay on the Irish suffrage movement provides an introduction to the often-conflicted nature of suffrage in Ireland-fraught with 114 BNL, 4 January 1912. 115 Sinha, "Gender and Nation," pp. 246-249. 56

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nationalist and unionist politics, religions, and militancy.116 Cliona Murphy expands on many of these issues, and opens up the study of Irish women's suffrage to look at its impact on society in the her book, The Women's Suffrage Movement and Irish Society in the Early Nineteenth Century.111 The history of women's suffrage in Ireland was not just an extension of British suffrage, but had its own character, with a diversity of groups, some whom supported suffrage within the context of their nationalist viewpoints--either Irish nationalism or Ulster unionism-and those groups, like the Irish Women's Franchise League, which supported suffrage above all else. 118 The impact of Irish women's suffrage was found throughout Ireland, and had implications for Ulster and unionists. Unionist women used the context of suffrage and the Home Rule crisis as an opportunity to engage in political discourse and take up political action. In his essay on Irish unionism, Alvin Jackson notes that women's involvement in unionism during the third Home Rule crisis brought an empowerment of unionist women: women created for themselves, or were given, wider opportunities than before for involvement in unionist politics, while the formerly dismissive unionist high command was forced to reconsider its patriarchal attitudes.119 116 Margaret Ward, "'Suffrage First, Above All Else!': An Account of the Irish Suffrage Movement," Feminist Review, No. 10, (Spring 1982), pp.21-36. 117 Cliona Murphy, The Women's Suffrage Movement and Irish Society in the Early Nineteenth Century (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989). 118 Murphy, Women's Suffrage Movement, pp. 1-12. 119 Jackson, "Irish unionism," p.127. 57

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The women members of unionist clubs took a public political role in their fight against Home Rule, and did so in a manner that had not been available to them in the previous discussions of the topic, in part because of the inevitability of Home Rule's passage in 1912 that pushed unionists to widen their base of support. 120 The groups allowed women, most often middleand upper-class, an accepted avenue to achieve a political voice because the cause of the Union was not seen as simply a political matter, but one tied to the basic civil and religious liberties of a nation. Unionist women were not simply adjuncts to the male groups, but founded their own groups and organizations focused against Home Rule, often with an emphasis on women's concerns with an all-Ireland parliament, such as marriage rights and children. Though the unionist women could not vote, their religious and moral backgrounds led them to support unionism as it stood for the continuance of life "as it was" in Ulster. In a January 1912 report on the aforementioned North Down Women's Unionist Association meeting, a Mrs. Donnan commented that they must stand for unity, and there must be no lukewarmness. They had their hearts and souls in that grand work of withstanding Home Rule, and were united in the cause of their King and country.121 Mrs. Donnan's remarks echo the wider unionist political rhetoric noted previously in unionism's case against Home Rule, but uses the language of 'hearts and souls" to 120 Jackson, "Irish unionism," p.l27. PI BNL, 4 January 1912. 58

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appeal more directly to a female audience unable to participate in the traditional political sphere. Women speakers often implored women to participate in the case against Home Rule; at the same meeting, a Mrs. Mercier Clements emphasized the importance of the assistance which would be given by the women in effectually meeting the danger of Home Rule, and said she was pleased to state that throughout Ulster there were between 40,000 and 50,000 women united on that great question ... She was convinced that the Imperial province would not surrender, and it might lie in the power of the women to do their share in colouring public opinion, and so ward off that which would be one of the direst calamities from which any people could suffer.122 Though she does not say exactly how women should take part in the unionist campaign, Clements does encourage women to take part in informing public opinion, stepping into the public sphere in support of a very political issue. In promoting the role of women in assisting the case against Home Rule, Mrs. Clements also encourages the participation of women in the public sphere. And the women of Ulster did indeed participate in the public sphere in support of the Union. They held meetings and demonstrations, wrote letters, gave money, and volunteered as nurses to assist the U.VF .. 123 On July 26, 1912, the West Belfast Women's Unionist Association carried out an anti-Home Rule demonstration, with attendance between fifteen and twenty thousand supporters.124 Carson addressed the 122 BNL,4January 1912. 123 Nancy Kingham, United We Stood: The Official History of the Ulster Women's Unionist Council 1911-1974 (Belfast; Appletree Press, 1975). 124 Kingham, United We Stood, p. 24. 59

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crowd at the demonstration, catering his speech to his audience and appealing to the support of the women unionists: In any crisis in history you may be perfectly assured that when you see the women prepared to make sacrifices as well as the men-when you see the women just as enthusiastic and as resolute as the men in taking their part and share in the hard work-you may then know, and realize, that we have got a cause which touches the ears and sympathies of every class of the community, and what I am especially glad to notice is that I see amongst the women, regardless of all class distinctions, that common sisterhood which will enable them to forward with great comradeship and give courage one to the other. .. 1 5 Here Carson not only thanks the women for their support and participation, but also makes note of the diversity of their support. He uses the language of sisterhood to describe the bonds between the women activists, gendering their activities as opposed to the brotherhood of men, and soldiers. But he also speaks of women's preparations to make sacrifices, giving women the power to give to their nation, though not in the same manner as the men. This language of sacrifice would be echoed in the Ulster Covenant, but there gendered as a masculine sacrifice of life for the nation of Ulster. Carson's speech attests to the importance of women's support of unionism, as their sisterhood helps further the cause of Ulster against Home Rule. Women's unionist groups often found the greatest opportunity for public activity when focusing on issues that traditionally affected women-including marriage and family. As Sinha notes, the construction of women as mothers "has been one of the most important way[s] in which women have been integrated into various 125 Kingham, United We Stood, pp. 24-25. 60

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nationalist projects," and we find that true with Ulster as well; women are allowed a greater public voice against certain issues because of their status as mothers.126 The debates surrounding the Ne Temere ruling particularly interested women's groups, and they spoke out specifically on the subject. At the Ulster Women's Unionist Council's (U.W.U.C.) Annual meeting in 1912, the members presented a resolution that addressed their concerns with the passage of Ne Temere: The action ... of the Vatican in enforcing in Ireland the Ne Temere decree, with all its inhumanities ... fills our minds with the greatest misgivings as to the safety of our religious liberties under the legislature of a Dublin Parliament.127 The U.W.U.C. was interested in the implications of Ne Temere as it related to marriage and children, as "this was a question which effected women particularly and in connection with which women should make a special effort."128 The unionist women of northern Ireland made their voices heard in response to what they perceived to be a direct threat to their marriages and families. In January of 1912, the U.W.U.C. launched a petition against Ne Temere which garnered the signatures of 104,301 Ulster 126 Sinha, "Gender and Nation," pp. 258-259. 127 PRONI, D/109811/3, Ulster Women's Unionist Council Meeting Minutes, "Ulster's Objections to Home Rule," I 8 January I 9 I 2. 128 PRONI, D/I0981111, Ulster Women's Unionist Council Meeting Minutes, 22 September I 9 I I. 61

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. h' h 129 women Wit m a mont Unionism allowed women the opportunity to take a public, political stance that had not always been allowed to them. The cause of unionism was seen as not only political, but as tied to the moral fabric of Ulster society-Home Rule could mean a Catholic-influenced Parliament in Dublin that did not respect the protestant traditions of Ulster, and it threatened the stability of the home in its possible economic consequences on industrialized northern Ireland. Due to these reasons, it was possible for women to organize around unionism and be heard. Unionists understood the case against Home Rule to be larger than the politics, as an issue that went to the heart of what they understood as their national identity and allegiances, and the participation of women was an important part of organizing Ulster for the Union. The U.U.C. understood the importance of women's contributions to the cause, and Carson even offered the enfranchisement of women under the Ulster Provisional Government, should it come into being. 130 And so northern Irish nationalist politics held a place for women's participation and activities in the public, and political, sphere. 129 Alan Megahey, '"God will defend the right': The Protestant Churches and opposition to home rule," in Defenders of the Union: A survey of British and Irish unionism since 1801, ed. D. George Boyce and Alan O'Day (London: Routledge, 2001), 159-175, p. 166. 130 Jackson, "Irish Unionism," p.l27; Margaret Ward, "Suffrage Above," p. 30. 62

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CHAPTER 7 "MONSTER DEMONSTRATION": SOCIAL AND CULTURAL EXPRESSIONS OF NATIONAL IDENTITY On September 25, 1911 somewhere between 100,000 and 250,000 northern Irish unionist supporters gathered at Craigavon, the home of James Craig-one of the leaders of the Irish Unionist Party-to support a very public campaign against Home Rule.131 Organized by the Ulster Unionist Council (U.U.C.), the demonstration subsequently endorsed the establishment of a 'Provisional Government of Ulster' in the event of the Home Rule Bill's passage. 132 This declaration of a potential Ulster government demonstrates the ability of the northern Irish to think of themselves in terms of nationhood, as defined by separate political status. The mass turnout for the demonstration, and the Ulster Provisional Government declaration, expressed the beliefs in Ulster's particular position within the Union, and the northern Irish desire to stay free from a Dublin Parliament, even at the expense of the Union with Britain. Supported by the U.U.C. and the growing unionist clubs throughout Ulster, the people of northern Ireland took on a public, participatory role against Home Rule. The size and frequency of the demonstrations leading up to the passage of Home Rule suggest 131 Bew, Ideology, p. 21; Conservative press said attendance was 250,000, while Liberal press stated the number of attendees at 100,000. 132 Miller, Queen's Rebels, p. 95. 63

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that the people of northern Ireland played a central part in declaring their national identity as Ulster and as citizens of Britain. The public's involvement in the shaping of a new northern Irish national identity made up of loyalty to the Crown, opposition to Home Rule, and allegiance to Ulster was expressed through a variety of means. Unionist demonstrations, local groups and meetings, material and literary cultural from flags to poems to letters, culminating in the signing of the Ulster Covenant all showed the popular backing for a northern Irish national identity. These popular expressions of Ulster nationalist politics illustrate the broad base of support these opinions had throughout northern Ireland. They also reveal how the people of Ulster placed attachment to the Union and opposition to Home Rule at the center of their nationalism. The massive demonstrations against Home Rule in northern Ireland were predated by the Orange parades and gatherings that took place every July in Ulster to celebrate William of Orange's victory over the Catholic heir James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.133 The Orange Order saw this victory as an assertion of the supremacy of protestantism over Catholicism, and thus celebrated it within the context of the Unionist case against Home Rule in the early twentieth century as well. At the 1912 Twelfth of July demonstration in Belfast, the News-Letter reported how unprejudiced observers could not fail to be profoundly impressed by the inspiring sight of thousands of the bone and sinew, the brain and muscle of the m Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 141. 64

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country, assembling in such large, influential, orderly, and law-abiding bodies to celebrate the victory of their forefathers, as well as to enter once more a solemn and resolute protest against the granting of Home Rule to Ireland.134 The vivid descriptions within this passage depicting the participants of the demonstration-the "bone and sinew," "brain and muscle" of the people-provides a description of the body of the nation.135 The author of the article tellingly describes the participants simply as not members of unionist groups, but as members "of the country," and does not specify which country he refers to--Ireland, Britain, or perhaps northern Ireland?136 By highlighting the "orderly, and law-abiding" nature of the demonstration, the unionists projected an image respectability onto the case against Home Rule. These demonstrators were not rowdy, violent agitators, but civilized British citizens calling for action to protect their rights. With the recurrence of the threat of Home Rule, the Orange Order and Orange demonstrations took on a decidedly anti-Home Rule stance and became another version of the larger spectrum of unionist activities in northern Ireland. Anti-Home Rule demonstrations took place throughout northern Ireland-in cities and towns such as Belfast, where "the brethren assembled in vast numbers"; Coleraine, where "so great was the rush for admission that the doors had to be closed half an hour before the meeting was timed to commence"-and across the United 134 BNL, 13 July 1912. 135 BNL, 13 July 1912. 136 BNL, 13 July 1912. 65

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Kingdom; Glasgow had an Imperial Union Club which supported the unionists in northern Ireland.137 The demonstrations gathered vast numbers of participants, into the hundreds of thousands, and generated newspaper coverage across Ireland and Britain, and throughout the English-speaking world. Both the Belfast News-Letter and the Dublin-based Irish Times often published accounts of the demonstrations, along with the orations of the speakers.138 The headlines for the coverage of the demonstrations describe them as "magnificent," "enthusiastic," "great," "imposing," and "monster."139 Such descriptive language illustrates not only the newspapers' opinions on the events as impressive, but also reflects the popular perception of the demonstrations themselves. The authors portrayed an active and involved crowd, with large numbers attending. Perhaps such language was also intended to impress upon the reader the sheer numbers and capacity of the people of northern Ireland in opposition to Home Rule. 137 BNL, 13 July 1912, 3 January 1912,9 January 1912, 12 May 1912, 138 BNL, Irish Times; PRONI, D/1327/2119. Personal Scrapbook: This scrapbook contains newspaper reports on Ulster Unionism and unionist demonstrations before World War I, and includes articles from the Belfast News-Letter, The Birmingham Post, The Irish Times, The Northern Whig, The Daily Express, Newry Journal, Freeman's Journal, Irish News, Dublin Express, Belfast Evening Telegraph, The Scotsman, Clare Record, The Globe, The Bristol Times and Mirror, Newtownards Spectator, The Observer, Daily Graphic, Cork Examiner, Ulster Gazette, Dublin Harold, Cork Constitution, Morning Post, The Court Journal, Pall Mall Gazette, Ulster Guardian, and Huddersfield Daily Chronicle. Such a list attests to a wide spread newspaper interest in Ulster and the Home Rule crisis. 139 Irish Times, 19, 21, 23 September 1912; BNL, 15 May 1912, 13 July 1912. 66

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The newspaper coverage of these events often emphasized the size of the crowds-often in excess of the facilities available to them-to express the popularity of the demonstrations. An article on January 15, 1912, describing the "Forthcoming Meeting in the Ulster Hall" of the U.W.U.C., requested that since admission would be by ticket only, "in order to avoid disappointment application should be made early," implying that the meeting would definitely sell out.140 Other articles described the numbers of attendees at the meetings and demonstrations; a "great Unionist demonstration," held in Lisburn on May 14, 1912, garnered I ,400 supporters; at a demonstration in Portadown, "so great was the demand for admission that a considerable time before the commencing hour hundreds had to be turned away."141 The newspapers' emphasis on numbers and capacity of gathering places reveals the extent to which the unionist-supporting media wanted to encourage attendance and the presentation of broad-based support for Ulster Unionism and northern Ireland. Newspapers often carried advertisements for the demonstrations that used the same language as the articles, like the one concerning the "monster" demonstration to be held on Ulster Day. They also printed letters from readers concerning the meetings.142 On January 12, 1912, George Gardner Parkinson Cumine of Newtownbutler sent a letter reminding the editor of an upcoming demonstration in 140 BNL, 15 January 1912. 141 BNL, 5 May 1912,31 January 1912. 142 BNL, 20 September 1912. 67

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Omagh and noted "that cheap tickets will be issued form the various stations."143 His letter reveals not simply an earnest appeal to readers to attend the demonstration; by emphasizing that discounted fares would be for those attending the unionist demonstration, the letter suggests the deep level of support for unionism throughout the bureaucracy and business interests in Ulster. Here we find the public transport system specifically supporting northern Irish unionism. While the Belfast News-Letter and northern Irish trains were carrying unionists to demonstrations, not all citizens of Ulster were supporting the anti-Home Rule campaign. Where the unionist papers emphasized the attendance of their meetings and demonstrations, the Irish nationalist Anglo-Celt of Cavan reported precisely the opposite; in their coverage of what they refer to as an "Orange meeting" in Enniskillin, they noted the paltry sum of "hardly five thousand persons in attendance."144 And of this number scarcely a twentieth portion remained about the platform while the speeches were being delivered, the crowd enjoying to the fullest the beauties of the charming scenery, while the lunch baskets provided for the women folk and children who so largely helped to swell the gathering, at an early stage of the manoeuvres were brought to action.145 The biases of the various newspapers can plainly be seen in the different descriptions of similar gatherings; for the Belfast News-Letter, 1,400 attendees was a grand showing, while for the Anglo-Celt, 5,000 persons, particularly when "women folk and 143 BNL, 12 January 1912. 144 Anglo-Celt, 21 September 1912. 145 Anglo-Celt, 21 September 1912. 68

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children" helped swell the numbers, stands as a nominal showing. Here the Anglo Celt reveals its bias against women's participation, as they discount the women and children from the significance of the turnout of the meeting. The reports of the demonstrations in unionist papers often focused on the decorations of the gatherings, highlighting the use of the Union Jack, Unionist slogans, and the rhetoric of "God Save the King." For the Ulster Unionists, the Union Jack was of utmost symbolic importance in demonstrating allegiance to Britain and the Crown. One article describing a women's council meeting noted that "[t]he hall was nicely decorated for the occasion, with Royal Standards, Union Jacks, and other loyal emblems."146 These visible symbols of unionist attachment to the Crown and Britain speak to the importance of Empire and British citizenship to the people of Ulster. In the weeks preceding Ulster Day, "the 'Ulster Day' committee" took out advertisements in the Belfast News-Letter requesting that "Union Jacks, wherever possible, may be displayed on the houses of all Unionists in Ulster."147 And at a 1912 demonstration in Ulster, the Duke of Abercom spoke of the Union Jack as "our common flag," common to both Britain and Ireland and symbolizing the links of empire.148 The flag was a visible symbol of Unionist desire to stay within the Union and emphasized a national identity tied to British citizenship. While Home Rule was 146 BNL, 16 January 1912. 147 BNL, 17 September 1912. 148 Irish Times, 27 September 1912. 69

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still being discussed as a possibility, not a reality, the Unionists were willing to pledge allegiance to the flag of Britain as a means of standing against Irish Nationalism. The flag represented the Union and legitimized northern Ireland's place within it. Newspapers also reported on the meetings of the local unionist groups and organizations, both to publicize the events in advance and to provide details of the attendance, speeches, and lists of attendees. The diverse nature of these groups, from women's clubs to Presbyterian gatherings to industrialist committees, emphasizes the breadth of the Unionist campaign in northern Ireland. The crowds that attended unionist demonstrations included Ulster businessmen, politicians, and women who supported the unionist cause, and more importantly, Ulster's right to decide for itself to stay in the Union. The reports of these meetings highlighted again the number of attendees, and often focused on describing the meeting itself-the decorations, the Union Jack, and the speeches of the participants. One article which described a "Unionist Meeting in Coalisland" listed the officers of the club, the agenda of the meeting, and the termination of the meeting "with the singing of the National Anthem."149 Often politicians and members of the Ulster Unionist Council would be present as speakers at these meetings, representing the national politics to the local constituencies. This was an explicit tie between those who constructed a national 149 BNL, 3 January 1912. 70

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identity, those from above and those from below, expressing the ideology of Ulster nationalist politics. The demonstrations and meetings personified the public, participatory part of the campaign against Home Rule and in support of Ulstemess. But unionism and Ulster inspired cultural and literary support as well, as seen in the poems and songs written about Ulster. No less than the British lyricist of empire, Rudyard Kipling, composed a pro-unionist poem about Britain's possible expulsion of Ulster from the Union. Kipling's poem, titled "Ulster, 1912, end with this call of support for Ulster: Believe, we dare not boast, Believe, we do not fear We stand to pay the cost In all that men hold dear. What answer from the North? One Law, one Land, one Throne, If England drive us forth We shall not fall alone! 150 Here Kipling replays the threat of Ulster against both Irish Nationalists and Britain-with the men who "stand to pay the cost" of war against either neighbor to keep Ulster free from Home Rule. The appeal to "one Law, one Land, one Throne" again brings to the forefront Ulster unionists' loyalty to the Crown and the laws of Britain, the 150Rudyard Kipling, 71

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connections they hope to continue through opposition to Home Rule, by force if necessary. The productions of poetry based on unionist themes points to a cultural dimension in northern Ireland, which could be compared to the nationalist Gaelic revival at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Though the unionist poems, songs, and literature were by no means as extensive or rich as those of nationalist Ireland, they none-the-less express a cultural impact of unionism in northern Ireland. One poem invoked fears of Home Rule alongside statements of solidarity with Britain and the Empire. Titled "The Union," it began The Union! The Union! Be this our battle-cry. One Crown-one Flag-one ParliamentFor these we live or die ... using the same rhetoric of politicians such as Carson in their appeal to an allegiance to the Crown and the symbolism of the Union Jack.151 Some of these poems-often submitted under pseudonyms such as "Son of the Soil" or "Loyalty"-suggest a widespread popular support of unionism, one that involved individuals who not only wrote poetry about unionism, but saw that expression published and exposed to a larger community. The literary productions of the northern Irish often used similar rhetoric as the politicians and unionist groups, but to a more poetic end. The poem "One King, One 151 BNL, 4 September 1912. 72

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Faith, One Law," published in the Belfast News-Letter in 1912 after the signing of the Ulster Covenant, speaks directly to the appeal to a shared sense of Britishness within the Empire.152 The title itself calls attention to loyalty to the King, a shared Protestant faith, and the expectations of liberty and citizenship under British law. But the text of the poem also emphasizes the centrality of Ulster and Ulsterness; Signed is The Solemn Covenant!'Troth Loyal, of Great Ulster's Men, Each pledged to each, for Ulster, when Comes Sway Intolerant.153 The author, W.R.B., does not simply express a desire to stay within the Union, but he speaks of the importance of Ulster within that Union. For W.R.B., it is not just the association with Britain and the empire that is important, but also the significance of Ulster itself. A song, titled "Ulsterrnan," and published in a flyer distributed on Ulster Day contains similar themes; of loyalty to the King and the place of Ulster.154 Here, the anonymous author states, Ulsterrnen! The time has come again To stand united to a man with all our might to main. Remember, too, whate're betide, the trust of God is on our side, And freedom ne'er shall be denier to any Ulsterrnan, with the chorus ending 152 BNL, 30 September 1912. 153 BNL, 30 September 1912. 154 PRONI, D/1496, Anonymous, Ulster Day Demonstration Ayer, 1912. 73

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Ulster will fight, my boys, for their faith, their country, and their King.155 The song plays on the unionist fears of Home Rule as threatening to their religious freedom and protestant identity, as well as ties to Imperial Britain. The production of poems and songs in support of Ulster reveals the extent to which Ulsterness pervaded the consciousness of the people of northern Ireland-so much so that they felt it necessary to compose literary odes to their home. And they wrote about a variety of topics within the context of Home Rule-it was not just Britishness and the Crown, but Ulster's privileged place within Britain and the Empire. All of these expressions-from the demonstrations to meetings to poetry-suggest that the people of northern Ireland enacted an Ulster Unionist northern Irish identity. It was not an imposition of ideas of nationality from above, but a comprehensive, community-sanctioned and projected sense of national identity in Ulster. The majority Protestant population of the six counties that would become Northern Ireland supported and actively involved themselves in the creation of a northern Irish national identity and nationalist politics, apart from a specifically Irish or British national identity. The people committed themselves politically, financially, and culturally to an Ulster national identity. It included a sense of British citizenship, and an Ulster-based sense of place and community, essentially amounting to Ulster nationalism. They were Ulsterites first, and citizens of Britain second, therefore Irish 155 PRONI, D/1496, Anonymous, Ulster Day Demonstration Ayer, 1912. 74

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Britons of a new kind-the northern Irish. Ulster Day and the signing of the Ulster Covenant articulated a more crystallized expression of this national identity, and also alluded to the extent to which Ulsterites were willing to go to defend themselves from the imposition of Home Rule. 75

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CHAPTER 8 "A NEW PAGE IN HISTORY"156: ULSTER DAY AND THE ULSTER COVENANT Just before 12 o'clock on September 28, 1912. a space was cleared in Ulster Hall for the entrance of the leader of the Irish Unionist party. As witnesses doffed their caps, "a dark, solitary figure advanced towards the table" in the middle of the room.157 According to the Irish Times, Sir Edward Carson seemed oppressed with the responsibility of this act. His face was drawn, indeed haggard, and ghastly pale, in the weird, uncanny combination of daylight and electric illumination.' 8 Amidst a throng of thousands gathered in the streets of Belfast, Sir Edward Carson stepped up to an oval table draped with a Union Jack, placed a silver pen to paper and affixed his signature-the first-upon the Ulster Covenant in Ulster Hall.159 The Belfast News-Letter reported that "it was a simple but impressive ceremony-occupying a mere fragment of time but possibly involving vital consequences." 160 The 156 BNL, 30 September 1912. 157 Irish Times, 30 September 1912. 158 Irish Times, 30 September 1912. 159 Irish Times, 30 September 1912; BNL, 30 September 1912. 160 BNL, 30 September 1912. 76

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article estimated that 35,000 people signed their names that day to the Covenant in Ulster Ha11.161 The signing was even captured on film. On the same day, in signing the Covenant throughout northern Ireland-and across the world-nearly half a million men and women of pledged allegiance to opposing Home Rule, the men with force if necessary, and at the same time affirmed their loyalty to the Crown. Ulster Day and the signing of the Ulster Covenant stand as a pivotal moment in the expression of the emerging northern Irish national identity. The Covenant itself can be seen as a statement of the core tenets of this national identity: 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 sure confidence that God will defend the right we hereto subscribe our names. And further, we individually declare that we have not already signed this Covenant. ... God save the King.l62 161 BNL, 30 September 1912; Newsreel footage of Ulster Day, 27 September 1912, D/1496/2, PRONI. 162 Ulster Covenant, D/1327/1, PRONI. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland also supports a searchable online database of the Covenant, where one can search the signatures of the Covenant by name, district, and place of signing. 77

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Though the language of the Covenant primarily addresses itself negatively against the threat of Home Rule and an Irish Parliament, it also includes a call for loyalty to the King and a preservation of "equal citizenship in the United Kingdom." The Covenant, written and authorized by the Ulster Unionist Council, was the most explicit, and publicly supported, threat of force to date. It spoke of the material, religious, and citizenship concerns of the people of Ulster under Home Rule. It invoked the religious and civil threat of an Irish Parliament and the extent to which Ulsterites would go to exclude themselves from such a Parliament. And for some loyal Ulster Unionists, it was even signed in blood.163 On Ulster Day, the Unionist community of northern Ireland turned out en masse to support Unionism and the signing of the Covenant. Residents of Ulster-and those abroad of Ulster origin-participated in signing the Covenant. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland states that 237,368 men signed the Covenant, and 234,046 women signed the separate and slightly different Women's Declaration, allowing women "to associate ourselves with the men of Ulster in the uncompromising opposition to the Home Rule Bill now before Parliament."164 Thomas Hennessey puts the population of Ulster in 1911 at 1,581,969, of which 890,880 were Protestant-this includes the nine traditional counties of Ulster, not just 163 Miller, p. 93. 164 PRONI D/23911, Ulster Covenant Files, Women's Declaration. 78

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the six counties that would become Northern Ireland.165 So one-third of the population of the province of Ulster turned out to pledge themselves to the terms of the Covenant, and, assuming the majority of the signers were protestants, well over half the protestant population of Ulster signed the Covenant. In her article concerning Home Rule and Ulster, Teresa O'Donovan proposes that the discrepancy between the number of signees and the total protestant population may in large part be due to the fact that children did not sign the Covenant, thus suggesting an even greater number of supporters than just those counted by signatures. 166 The press coverage of the lead-up to Ulster Day in the unionist papers conveys its importance in the eyes of the public, and also reveals the breadth of popular support for Unionism. An Irish Times article from a month before Ulster Day gave an account of the U.U.C's hope that all employers throughout Ulster will make early arrangements for affording a whole holiday on Ulster Day, to permit of every able-bodied loyalist taking his part on that momentous occasion.167 This again recalls the integration of business and politics--employers were asked to give special time off to their staff in support of Ulster Day and northern Ireland. Ulsterites residing outside of Ulster wondered where they could sign the Covenant, and the Irish Times published a letter including a list of locations throughout Britain 165 Thomas Hennessey. Dividing Ireland, p. 4. 166 O'Donovan, p.14. 167 Irish Times, 10 August 1912. 79

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where they could sign the document in person.168 The Belfast News-Letter continually published lists of Ulster Day activities and the program of events in the weeks preceding the event; it published a list of "Religious Services and Signing of the Covenant." The Ulster Women's Unionist Council placed a public notice hoping all Members of Women's Unionist Associations, and all other Women throughout the Province who have the interests of the Unionist cause at heart, will do their utmost for the success of this great undertaking, addressing a specifically female audience and imploring women to "do their utmost" to support Ulster Day.169 The build up to Ulster Day and the attention it received in the press illustrates the central position the event held in the minds of Ulster Unionists. It was of utmost importance that the day was christened Ulster Day, not Britain Day or Ireland Day. The unionists of Ulster were staking their claim to a national identity based on Ulster as a cohesive political and cultural unit capable of creating its own government and, if necessary, breaking the ties to both Ireland and Britain. This suggests a sense of national identity centered firmly on Ulster and the possibility of Ulster needing to stand on its own against both Britain and Ireland, if necessary. On Ulster Day itself the people of northern Ireland turned out in force to support the Union and Ulster. With the Red Hand of Ulster-symbolizing the traditional coat of arms of Ulster-gracing the cover of the Belfast News-Letter and advertisements for purchasing a framable copy of the Covenant, Ulsterites attended 168 Irish Times, 20 September 1912. 169 BNL, 24 August 1912. 80

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speeches, religious services, and meetings to sign the Covenant and the Women's Declaration. One particular advertisement in the Belfast News-Letter that day expressed the depth and breadth unionism as dominant framework for communication. The space on the opposite side of the masthead from the "Red Hand" carried an advertisement for cutlery, proclaiming: ----1 ,no The layout of the advertisement itself, with "Union is Strength ... Therefore ... No Separation" in all capitals, bold, and at least three times larger in size, expresses a keen marketing eye for addressing the readers' interests. Upon first glance, the advertisement looks to be another statement of support on Ulster Day. But instead, it 17 Figure 1: BNL, 30, September 1912; The text reads, "Union is strength, And McLellan's celebrated 'union' table and dessert knives certainly illustrate this truth. They are made on a new principle, which makes it impossible for the handles to become loose in wear and it is therefore to your advantage to call and inspect these goods, which I offer in various qualities at lowest cash prices, and guarantee that between handle and blade there can be no separation." 81

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cleverly hoped to draw the reader's gaze and then lure it into the small print promoting the sale of knives. The advertisement speaks to the extent to which the rhetoric of Union had spread across northern Ireland. From advertisements to demonstrations, Ulster Day captured the attention of Ulsterites and expressed the national identification of the fight against Home Rule and for Ulster. According the Belfast News-Letter, Ulster Day was not a mere display of the solidarity and numerical force of the Unionism of the Province, though it was undeniably that; it was the outward and visible expression of the deliberate determination of the Protestants of Ulster to dedicate themselves at all costs to resisting the attempt to foist upon them a form of government which would virtually place them under the yoke of Rome, which they are convinced would weaken the bonds uniting Ireland to the sister countries, and would, therefore, rob them of their birthright as citizens of the world's greatest empire.171 Such fiery language helped support a new Ulster national identity placing Ulster specifically within the confines of the union with Britain but at the same time part of Ireland, and most importantly, essentially Ulster in nature. The "outward and visible" sign of Ulsterites' determination against Home Rule was also an "outward and visible" sign of their nation--of Ulster and its importance and place as a part of the "world's greatest empire." Here the report on the demonstration draws on the same themes and rhetoric of the unionist campaign against Home Rule, particularly the fears of Catholic power and religious intolerance, as well as an appeal to Ulster's place within the Empire, and the unity of the Empire as a whole. 171 BNL 30 September 1912. 82

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The signing of the Covenant allowed the people of northern Ireland to commit themselves to Ulster and a northern Irish national identity, and the possibility of confrontation with either Britain or Ireland to retain their status as citizens of the Empire. 83

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CHAPTER9 "EXCEPT THE PROVINCE OF ULSTER": THE PASSAGE OF HOME RULE, THE PARTITION OF IRELAND, AND THE CREATION OF NORTHERN IRELAND On September 18, 1914 the Government of Ireland Bill finally became law, but was accompanied by a Suspensory Act that suspended its institution until the end of Britain's war with Gennany.172 Though the outbreak of World War I interrupted the implementation of Home Rule in Ireland, the collective actions of the Ulster unionists had successfully made the case for the temporary exclusion of six counties-those with the majority protestant population-from Home Rule. The Home Rule Bill allowed six counties of Ulster to opt out of Home Rule for six years-but in reality, the provisional government proposed by the U.U.C. essentially established the lines for the formal partition of Ireland in 1920.173 These actions, both from above, with politicians, and from below, represented by the unionist groups and the grassroots support of Ulster, the six counties would eventually be granted independence from the Parliament in Dublin. On December 23, 1920, the Government of Ireland Act became law and created two parliaments in Ireland, one in Dublin for the majority 26 counties, 172 0' Dono von, "Ulster and Home Rule," p. 21. 173 Foster, Modern Ireland, pp. 470-471. 84

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and another in Belfast, for the same six counties offered exclusion in the official passage of Home Rule in 1914.174 So now Northern Ireland had its own Parliament, Stormont, but was still part of the United Kingdom. The rhetoric addressing the supposed evils of Home Rule, the unionist groups, the U.V.F., and the massive demonstrations each articulated a new northern Irish national identity that now had its own nation. Through the will of the people, and under the pressure of Home Rule, the people of northern Ireland successfully established their own sense of national identity, and utilized nationalist politics to achieve their goal of staying within the British Empire. Between 1919 and 1923, two wars were fought in Ireland: the AngloIrish War or War of Independence, 1919-1921, was fought between Irish Republicans and Britain and ended with the Anglo-Irish Treaty which established the Irish Free State. The second was a civil war in Southern Ireland between the Irish Free State and antiTreaty republicans in 1922-1923.175 While the Irish Republicans were engaged in a guerrilla war with Britain, the Northern Irish were busy electing members to their Parliament and establishing their own government, not unlike the Provisional Government proposed in 1912. As factions in Southern Ireland fought a Civil War, Northern Ireland continued along its path towards political individuality within the 174 Foster, Modern Ireland, p. 503. 175 Thomas Hennessey, A History of Northern Ireland, 1920-1996 (Dublin: Gill and MacMillan, 1997), pp. 8-15. 85

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Union-just what Carson and the Unionists had argued for so vehemently preceding World War I. Northern Ireland held general elections in May of 1921, with an 89% tum-out, and the Governor-General of Ireland swore in James Craig as leader of the government of Northern Ireland.176 The people of Northern Ireland had spoken; they had voted in elections of their own, for their own Parliament, one that represented the interests of Northern Ireland and solidified the national identity established before 1914. They had succeeded in making Ulster a viable political entity that held allegiance to the Crown, but one that was firmly cemented in Ulster's place and community. The people of the six counties of Ulster were still part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and (now) Northern Ireland, still part of the Empire, but were distinctly Northern Irish within such an arrangement. The northern Irish national identity established between 1911 and 1914 set the stage for the creation of other understandings of Northern Irish identity throughout the twentieth century. Eighty-five years after the implementation of the Government of Ireland Act, Northern Ireland is still part of Britain, not integrated into the Republic of Ireland. Though the years since partition have been marred by discrimination against Catholics, civil rights struggles, the dissolution of their Parliament and sectarian violence, Northern Ireland has remained apart. Though the national identity of 176 Hennessey, A History, p. 18. 86

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Northern Ireland today may not be precisely the national identity constructed before World War I, there is continuity in the sense of Northern Ireland's existence as an entity apart from both Ireland and Britain, though there may be allegiances to both, culturally, religiously, and sentimentally. The people of Northern Ireland today are not British, nor Irish-they are Northern Irish, harkening back to the establishment of a northern Irish national identity before the official political existence of such an entity. 87

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