Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Today -100: January 2, 1913: Of home rule, dumb princes, football riots, serfs, and minstrel jokes

Debate continues in the British Parliament on the Irish Home Rule Bill. Sir Edward Carson proposes an amendment to exclude Ulster. Prime Minister Asquith says no, and asks what would it take to prevent civil war in Ireland – another general election, a referendum? Opposition leader Bonar Law says if a referendum for home rule were passed, he would not encourage Ulster to resist, but without it, he would encourage resistance. Winston Churchill pointedly asks if he’s encouraging resistance now, and all parliamentary hell breaks loose, as was the custom. Bonar Law says that Ulster would sooner accept rule by a foreign power than by Dublin. Churchill “suggest[s] that Germany would meet the wishes of the Ulstermen”; more hell breaks loose. Bonar Law says that if the Home Rule Bill passes, “Let there be a rebellion, and I will assist.” Carson’s Ulster-exclusion amendment loses 294-197.

Prince Albert (the future King George VI) comes in 64th out of 65 naval cadets in his exams.

France has its very first football riot. The French team lost to the Scottish team 21-3 but evidently it was all the refs’ fault.

Russia abolishes serfdom. I thought they’d done that 50 years before, but evidently they exempted the Caucasus until now.

A holiday treat at San Quentin Prison: minstrel jokes. I don’t recall seeing that episode of “Oz.”

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