If I had world enough and time I could write a book on how THE TIMES of London dealt with Irish matters from 1919 to 1921, based solely on the excerpts it has reprinted a century after them. On June 19th this year it reprinted a piece from June 19 1921 headed THE KING OF IRELAND.
I don’t think I need comment, but trust it will amuse regular readers of BLOGS written or hosted by Jude –
“Tomorrow the King, accompanied by the Queen, will leave for Belfast to inaugurate the Parliament of Northern Ireland.
As King of Ireland, no less than head of the commonwealth of free nations known as the British Empire, it is fitting that His Majesty in person
should inaugurate the first stage of Irish self-government. After more than a generation of conflict, sometimes so acute as to overshadow
every other issue, the relationship between Great Britain and Ireland has been fundamentally altered by the Government of Ireland Act.
It is true that the persistent opposition of the great majority of Irishmen, and the failure of the government to do what they knew to be
right and necessary, have hitherto deprived the new Act of the efficacy it might otherwise have possessed. It is likewise true, as the
Viceroy recently declared, the Act needs amendment. But for the great majority of Irishmen in the six counties of Ulster, as for the people
of this country, it is an accomplished fact pregnant with possibilities for ultimate good. Though many Ulstermen did not desire the change, they
have, at the behest of Great Britain, assumed control of their own affairs.
They deserve from the people of this country, and indeed, from
their fellow-citizens throughout the Empire ,a message of God-speed at the moment of embarking upon so great a venture; and who can
represent Great Britain and the Empire so worthily on such an occasion as the King and Head of all the British peoples? It would be wrong to
regard this visit as a visit to Ulster alone. The Ulster Parliament has been first in accepting the Government of Ireland Act; but the King is, and
feels himself to be, King of the whole of Ireland. He would have gone with equal readiness to inaugurate a Southern Irish Parliament, or to
discharge a greater function of opening a united Parliament for Ireland. The King’s solicitude for the welfare and happiness of the South is no
less sincere than his regard for the North, but his affection for Ireland as a whole is deeper than either. He and the Queen go to Ireland in the
darkest hour of Irish History, an hour when they might have held aloof. The message they bring will be of good will and of hope.