Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Today -100: March 26, 1914: I repudiate the hellish suggestion!

Parliament is told that when Secretary of State for War J.E.B. Seely gave Brig. Gen. Gough those written assurances that the government wouldn’t use the military to “crush political opposition” to Home Rule, he did so without consulting the Cabinet, which has now rescinded the guarantee. And asked for it to be returned. Evidently the 37th Cavalry doesn’t get a veto over government policy after all. Seely has offered his resignation, but it hasn’t been accepted (yet). Probably just as well for Britain this clown wasn’t in that post when there was an actual war to minister.

First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Spencer Churchill tells Parliament that he did indeed order a battle squadron to Ireland, just in case, but when the army maneuvers went off without fighting he’d decided to delay. Does that mean, a Tory MP asks, that he expected the maneuvers to lead to fighting? “I repudiate the hellish suggestion!” Winston thunders, as was the custom. He explains the order to embark field guns by saying it was just for exercise in case of rain. Tory leader Andrew Bonar Law pretends to believe that the whole thing was a plot to provoke an uprising in Ulster in order to crush it, a plot which was thwarted only by the convictions of the Army that, in the matter of Home Rule, the British government was as much a revolutionary committee as Huerta’s regime in Mexico and its orders could therefore be legitimately resisted.

The Assize Court rules that the British government can’t ban the importation of arms into Ireland.

Har Dayal, a former lecturer in Indian philosophy at Stanford Universtiy, is arrested ostensibly as an illegal alien, but actually because of his anarchist beliefs and because the British would like to get their hands on him. The position of the commissioner-general of immigration is that all Hindus like Dayal are unassimilable and liable to become a public charge, even if they’re rich like Dayal, who taught for free at Stanford. Dayal will flee to Europe.

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