Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Happy Ulster Day

Today is the 98th anniversary of the first Ulster day, 28th September 1912.  When the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant was signed by 237,368 men and its sister Declaration signed by 234,046 women.

The Covenant stated:

"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 recognize 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."

The Declaration stated:

"We, whose names are underwritten, women of Ulster, and loyal subjects of our gracious King, being firmly persuaded that Home Rule would be disastrous to our Country, desire to associate ourselves with the men of Ulster in their uncompromising opposition to the Home Rule Bill now before Parliament, whereby it is proposed to drive Ulster out of her cherished place in the Constitution of the United Kingdom, and to place her under the domination and control of a Parliament in Ireland.  Praying that from this calamity God will save Ireland, we here to subscribe our names."

Later a sister document the British Covenant would attract some two million signatories on the mainland before the start of the Great War.  The Irish News somewhat unwisely dismissed the entire thing as a "farce", "circus" and "highly ludicrous".

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