Joseph Johnston was an Ulster Protestant Liberal, in favour of Home Rule by Britain. He published this book in 1913 to persuade the majority of Ulstermen that the dangers they saw were imaginary, and that avoiding Home Rule was not worth a civil war. He examined the events leading up to the massive arming of the Orangemen. He made the case that Home Rule had many positive features, and that none of the perceived negative features were worth fighting a civil war to avoid. In the Classics of Irish History series, this is its first reprinting since 1914.
An Irish Protestant Home Ruler
object in writing
the supposed danger to Protestantism
Church and State in various countries
objects of Ulster's resistance
importance of Ulster to the Unionist Party
probably course of events
Ireland from 1782-1800
Ireland from 1801-1870
Ireland from 1871 to the present day
examination of the Home Rule Bill. Appendix
- what Civil War in Ulster would mean - from "The Spectator, 1 November 1913.
'Greater familiarity with these sources — including the range of evocative first-hand accounts spanning the revolutionary decade from the Ulster crisis to the Civil War published as part of UCD Press’s new Centenary Classics series — should complicate as well as inform commemoration in 2016.
Although the achievements of the founding generation will be honoured and, inevitably, appropriated, the urge to celebrate independence should be tempered by an unsentimental understanding of the process by which it was achieved.'
21 March 2016
'UCD Press’s new ‘Centenary Classics’ series makes available eye-witness accounts of key revolutionary episodes including the Ulster crisis; the aftermath of 1916; the rise of Sinn Féin; the War of Independence; the Treaty split; and the Civil War. These provide first-hand perspectives on such topics as the significance of sectarian divisions; the impact of imprisonment on republicanism; the importance of popular mobilisation and guerrilla warfare; and the conflict’s divisive legacy.
These accounts offer many insights into the influences that shaped the revolutionary generation. The value of these texts does not lie solely in the factual light they shed on past events, they illuminate mentalities, as well as the memory of the revolution, a growing area of research.
These stories could be ‘made into a patchwork quilt from memory’. This aim alone provides a compelling reason to ensure the wider availability of eye-witness accounts, particularly during a period of commemoration in which politicians and others will claim to speak on their behalf.'
Fearghal McGarry, Queen's University Belfast
'These contemporary accounts by well known personalities of historical events and attitudes have an immediacy that conventional histories do not have. Introductions by modern historians provide additional historical background and, with hindsight, objectivity.'
'Scholars of nineteenth-century Irish and Irish-American politics should reacquaint themselves with these classics, part of a long running and immensely useful series from University College Dublin Press.'
Irish Literary Supplement
Civil War in Ulster:
'No student of politics, economics, history, sociology or anthropology ought to be without it.'
'a useful reminder that the apparent monolith of exclusivist unionism during Stormont was not inevitable and that other traditions may yet get the political space to re-emerge.'
Irish Economic and Social Review
'It was in the interests of too many leading politicians to leave Britain ignorant of nationalist Ireland, just as nationalist Ireland was ignorant of Britain... Men and women like Johnston... who were well informed about nationalist Irish and English political culture, were unfortunately rare. Much of the historical significance of Johnston's book lies in this exceptionality.'
'Civil War in Ulster is an astonishing book. Written in 1913 by Joseph Johnston who was then only 23 years old. It was an attempt to persuade Ulster Protestants that their fears of and rejection of Home Rule were unwise, and unwarranted. The depth of learning of history and the arrangement of the argument is breathtaking ... A great service has been done by University College Dublin Press in reprinting this erudite and readable book which is as relevant today as when written. Would that his logical advice had been followed!'
Mary Henry, Irish Independent
'a fine example of an alternative protestant tradition that has too often been forgotten, that is worthy of reprinting as an Irish classic.'
D. George Boyce, Irish Studies Review
'This book is a valuable and well-written aid to our appreciation of the situation early this century. It is not a prescription for dealing with the present position.'
Irish Emigrant Book Review