Huge crowds attend Home Rule demonstrations in England and Scotland
John Redmond has claimed that unionist threats of rebellion against Home Rule are born of a ‘hatred of democracy’. 'John Edward Redmond' by Sir Leslie Ward, watercolour, 7 July 1904. Photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London

Huge crowds attend Home Rule demonstrations in England and Scotland

Redmond and Carson cheered by supporters at rallies

Published: 19 June 1913

‘Wherever Sir Edward Carson and his merry men go, I will go afterwards,’ Irish Parliamentary Party leader, John Redmond, told cheering supporters at a Home Rule rally in Leeds yesterday.

Mr. Redmond’s comments came as nationalists and unionists this week toured cities all across Great Britain making the cases for and against Home Rule, respectively.

Wherever Sir Edward Carson (above) and his merry men go, I will go afterwards’ – John Redmond tells supporters

‘Wherever Sir Edward Carson and his merry men go, I will go afterwards,’ John Redmond told a Home Rule rally in Leeds. This pen and ink drawing of Edward Carson is by Harry Furniss, 1880s-1900s (© National Portrait Gallery, London).

Sir Edward Carson, accompanied by 16 other leading unionists, visited Leeds and Glasgow and was followed to both cities by Mr. Redmond.

At the meeting in Glasgow, Mr. Redmond said that he was there to answer false arguments and dispel cruel misrepresentations. He referred particularly to a speech in Glasgow in which Mr. Carson had claimed that Home Rule for Ireland was ‘grotesque, impossible and unprecedented.’

‘Sir Edward Carson stated that he came to Glasgow to make an appeal on behalf of the democracy of Ireland to the democracy of Scotland. Sir Edward Carson is a strange person to pose as the champion of democracy. As a member for Trinity College Dublin, the party to which he belonged had in the past consistently opposed every extension of the policy of reform to his own countrymen.’

Noting that Mr. Carson had opposed the Franchise Bill, the reform of the church, the reform of the land laws and had voted against the Old Age Pensions Act as well as measures to support trade unions, Mr. Redmond said: ‘The truth is that he and his party represented the party of reaction, ascendancy and privilege.’

Mr. Redmond dismissed Mr. Carson’s intimations of violent opposition to Home Rule: ‘Sir Edward Carson has stated that if all parties in England agreed that Home Rule was a good and necessary thing, he and his friends would take up arms and rebel. That was a threat which, if accepted, would end the rights of majorities, and would be the end of all representative government, and certain British leaders solemnly encouraged this policy. What caused them to do this was their hatred of democracy.’

Mr. Redmond concluded: ‘He came here to make an appeal against Home Rule. He came too late! The cause of Home Rule is in a triumphant position. Nothing can dislodge it and the modern King Canute had better give up his attempts to order the tide not to flow.’

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