HC Deb 06 March 1835 vol 26 cc604-57
Mr. Shell rose to move that there be laid before the House copies of the letter written by Lord Manners to the Reverend Mr. Johnson respecting the legality of Orange Societies, and of the opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor-General respecting such legality, given in the year 1827; also of the Address to the King of the Royal Luther Lodge, of the Down Orange Lodges, of the Trinity College Orange Lodge, and of the Orangemen of the County and City of Dublin, at a meeting held on the 5th of December last, and of the answers to the said addresses. He would first direct the attention of the House to the legality of Orange Societies, regarding which some doubt had been entertained on Wednesday evening, the Government having insisted that there had been no express opinion on that subject; and, on that ground, the Secretary for the Home Department had, if not vindicated, at least excused his having answered, and thereby recognised the Orange institutions. This subject had been brought before the House in the year 1813, by a Member of the present Cabinet (Mr. Wynn), who had moved for an inquiry into certain illegal Societies, called Orange, in Ireland. Upon that occasion, Mr. Canning and Lord Castlereagh concurred in deprecating the existence of those calamitous confederacies; and, if the Secretary for the Home Department concurred with them, it was matter of surprise that to those Societies, upon a recent occasion, he should have thought it becoming to give an answer. Again, in 1827, a discussion on the legality of these Lodges arose in the House of Commons, upon a motion of Mr. Brownlow regarding a procession in Lisburne. On that occasion, the present Secretary for the Home Department had referred to two official documents, for copies of which he now moved. The first was the opinion of the then Attorney and Solicitor-General. It might be urged that with the opinion of Mr. Plunket, on a political subject, it would be hard to exact acquiescence from the existing Administration. But Mr. Joy, who was not a Whig Chief Baron, although he was Chief Baron to the Whigs, coincided. The opinion was adopted by Lord Manners, who, in a letter to a Magistrate on the strength of that opinion, declared the Orange Societies to be illegal. He owed it to justice to state, that in the debate which arose on that occasion, the right hon. Baronet, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, had declared, that so far from approving of Orange meetings and Lodges, if he were a resident in Ireland, he would use all the means in his power to produce their total extinction. To the production of the documents to which he had alluded, he could see no objection. Their existence could not be disputed. He should proceed, having thus established the illegality of Orange Lodges, to compare the conduct of the Government since their recent formation, with regard to the Orangemen of Ireland, with the opinions which they had formerly expressed, and for that purpose he should lay before the House a detail of some of the most remarkable addresses which had been presented to his Majesty, and which had received the Ministerial sanction, and also advert to some of the incidents which took place at the meetings where those addresses were passed; the first to which he should advert, was the address of the Luther Club, which derived its name from the father of the Reformation, although his tenets and those of the Church of England, did not essentially agree. He should read the following extract from a paper which was regarded as the organ of the Orangemen of Ireland:—”Evening Mail, Dec. 3, 1834. On Friday last the second meeting of the Royal Luther Lodge, No. 1483, was held; the first meeting for the purpose of formation, election of officers, &c., having taken place on the 10th of November, the anniversary of the birth of their illustrious patron, Martin Luther, A. D. 1483: hence the name and number of the Lodge. On the present occasion, the assemblage of visitors from grand, county, and private Lodges, was very great, and the effect produced on the members of this rising Lodge was cheering in the extreme, there being besides the Earl of Roden and Lord Cole, Deputy Grand Masters of Ireland, the senior Grand Chaplain of the Institution, the Grand Chaplains of the county and city of Dublin, the Grand Masters of the county and city of Waterford, the Deputy Grand Secretary and Treasurer of Ireland, &c., and many members of private Lodges. Among the latter, the kind attentions of Trinity College grand district were most apparent, whose fostering care of infant institutions, like the one we treat of, will qualify her for the name she bears. The Constitutional Calvin Lodge, 1509, also sent representatives, to give their colleagues, the Lutherans, an impetus in the noble cause. Six gentlemen having been introduced, were duly initiated into the solemn mysteries of the Orange order. An Address was then read and passed unanimously to the King.” He wanted the answer to that Address. The next extract which he should read, was from the Evening Mail of December 8.—”Orange Institution—grand aggregate meeting of the Orangemen of the county and city of Dublin, to address the King, at the Merchants’-hall, Wellington Quay, Dublin, Friday, December 5, 1834.”—At half-past seven the right hon. the Lord Mayor entered the room. His Lordship was greeted with three distinct rounds of applause. “On the motion of the Grand Master of Trinity College, Dublin, seconded by the Secretary of 1483 Royal Luther Lodge” in the third resolution it was declared that “they will shed the last drop of their blood in the defence of the Protestant institution.” The fourth resolution was as follows:—’Resolved, that an Address be prepared, embodying the sentiments expressed in the foregoing Resolutions, to be presented to his most gracious Majesty, as the address of his faithful and attached subjects, the Orangemen of the county and city of Dublin.'” It was at this meeting that the Lord Mayor presided, and thus the highest civic functionary (with whom a few days after the Lord Lieutenant thought it expedient to dine) had given his countenance to all that befel at the assembly. The mere fact of his attending there was offensive to the Irish public, but at the meeting an incident occurred which rendered his attendance more deplorably conspicuous, and which served to illustrate the feelings and character of the audience convened on that occasion. It might be thought, or, if not thought, it might be suggested, that the utterance of a few inflammatory verses at a public assembly ought to be regarded as rather ridiculous and absurd than highly censurable, and that a bad ballad ought not to be brought in evidence against those who had received it with preposterous applause. Let the House, however, be just. When the Coercive Bill was brought forward, the noble Lord to whom so much of its merits was to be assigned, the late Secretary for the Colonies, amidst shouts of acclamation read, in proof of the moral and political state of Ireland, and of the expedients by which the agitators worked on the mind of Ireland—a ballad, the burthen of which related to the planting the standard of liberty on the Mountain of Shevenomaun. He did not recollect the verses, but they related to the Member for Dublin, who was designated as “the Glorious Dan!” The poetry seemed to make in the House a strong impression; but surely if the character of one party was to be collected from a silly ballad, sung—no one knew where or by whom—an invocation to warfare, thrown into metre, and recited by a Protestant Clergyman, before thousands of his fierce confederates, and in the presence of the chief magistrate of the metropolis, must be regarded as affording some intimation of the state of feeling which had been awakened in his ferocious auditory. A few nights ago, his Friend, the Member for Dungarvon had glanced at this truculent effusion, which was as atrocious as it was preposterous, but he had contented himself with referring to the words, “Keep your powder dry!” He would beg leave to read the whole poem, as it appeared in The Evening Mail, as repeated by a Christian minister:— “The power that led his chosen, by pillared cloud and flame,” “Through parted sea and desert waste,—that power is still the same:” “He fails not to the loyal hearts that firm on him rely;” “So put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry.” “The power that nerved the stalwart arms of Gideon’s chosen few—” “The power that led great William, Boyne’s reddening torrent through:” “In his protecting aid confide, and every foe defy;” “Then put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry.” “For happy homes, for altars free, we grasp the ready sword—” “For freedom, truth, and God’s unmutilated word:” “These, these, the war-cry of our march; our hope the Lord on high!” “Then put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry.”
The Mail added, “We thought the roofs would have been riven with the shouts which followed the close of the determined sentiment of each verse.” Such was the sanguinary rhapsody tuned out by Mr. M’Cree, who addressed a letter to the right hon. Baronet (the Chancellor of the Exchequer), containing sentiments respecting Roman Catholics which that Gentleman, most honourably to himself, entirely repudiated. It was then at such an assembly that the Address to his Majesty was passed by the Irish Orangemen; and it was at that assembly that the Lord Mayor presided, whom the Lord Lieutenant afterwards honoured by his attendance at a civic festival. This attendance on a dinner given by a Lord Mayor of Dublin was treated as a matter of too little consequence to be seriously urged. A dinner, then, was a matter of no account. He was glad to find that it was deemed so slight and trivial an affair; but let the Conservatives mark the paper which he held in his hand, and which was a copy of the letter written by the Duke of Wellington to Lord Anglesea, and in which one of the chief causes for his dismissal was his having dined at the house of Lord Cloncurry, whose only crime seemed to have been, that he was a member of the Catholic Association. A dinner, then, provided it were an Orange one, given by a Lord Mayor, hot from the scenes of turbulence and faction, was not worth mention; but a dinner given in the intercourse of common life, by one nobleman to another, was a high crime and misdemeanor, and was a ground for changing the Vice-regal Government of Ireland. He would read the extract from the Duke of Wellington’s letter, produced by Lord Anglesea in the House of Lords, dated the 19th of November, 1828:—”With respect to Lord Cloncurry, I did not advert to his former history, only to his being a member of the Catholic Association, and to his having attended the Association shortly after the Lord Lieutenant and the Lord Chancellor had honoured him with a visit. In answer, you tell me, that he went there for the purpose of discouraging the system proposed, of not dealing with Protestants. His object in going there is very little to the purpose; but having referred to the newspaper report, I see that it expressly states, that Lord Cloncurry retired from the meeting before the discussion about dealing with Protestants came on. But I still am of opinion, that, considering the conduct of the Association, the speeches which have been made there, and the doubts entertained of the legality of such an assembly (to say the least of it), the members of it are not exactly the persons to be encouraged by the Government of Ireland, which intends to conduct its Administration impartially.” Good God! would any man on the Treasury Bench, after having heard that letter, insist that no stress was to be placed on the factious orgies of the Corporation, and on the inter-mixture in those scenes of the Chief Governor of Ireland? From the meeting the transition was almost immediate to the festive board—the chairman of the lodge was the host of the banquet, and at that banquet the Viceroy was the guest. He would next direct the attention of the House to the addresses of the Orangemen of Down, as referred to in The Evening Mail of February 13. The letter of the Secretary to Lord Roden contained the following passage:—”My Lord and Brother—I have the honour to forward your Lordship 120 addresses to his Majesty, from loyal Orange lodges meeting in different parts of the county of Down, thanking his Majesty for his constitutional exercise of his Royal prerogative, in dismissing the late incapable Ministers, despised of all classes of persons, but particularly so by that really devoted portion the Protestants of Ireland, for the many injuries done to the institutions of the country, particularly in establishing a system of education founded on anti-scriptural principles, namely, the mutilation of the Word of God.” And yet in that mutilation of the word of God, in that vitiation of the Holy Writings, the Government were about to acquiesce, and notwithstanding the vehement protestations of their partisans, although efforts were made to raise the religious passions of the whole country. Upon that topic, the Orange supporters of his Majesty’s Government now saw abundant reason to give way. Great praise was, beyond all doubt, due to the Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, for his manly declaration that the Education Commission was to rest on the same principle, and that a further sum was to be granted: but what could be thought of those who, being a little while ago loud in their invectives against the late Ministry upon this Anti-Protestant proceeding, now remained dumb, gave assent by silence, or had even been converted from their delusion, and saw in the mutilation of the Scriptures nothing in which any ground for censure could be detected? In taking that step some risk might be run by the Ministry; but it might have the effect of drawing still closer the amiable liaison which existed between the present Government and the noble Lord, the Member for South Lancashire, to whom, perhaps, this sacrifice of prejudice was intended to be made, as he was the illustrious originator of the entire scheme by which the anti-scriptural system had been established in Ireland. He should advert to one address more, from a club which had been established in a place—the very last in which it ought to have been permitted to exist—the University of Dublin. The Evening Mail of January 23rd gave an account of it. It purported to be the address of the Trinity College district. The following was the answer of Mr. Goulburn:—”I have had the honour to lay before the King the loyal and dutiful address signed by you, and several other gentlemen of Dublin, expressive of their thanks for his Majesty’s late most salutary exercise of the royal prerogative, which address accompanied your letter of the 10th instant. I have the satisfaction to inform you that his Majesty has been pleased to receive the same in the most gracious manner.—I have the honour, &c.,—Henry Goulburn.” The Secretary of the Home Department, then, who had, in 1827, admitted the illegality of these societies, thus gave his unequivocal countenance to the proceedings of the students who had enrolled themselves in a confederacy, which the heads of the University ought never to have tolerated, and which, at all events, the Government ought never to have sanctioned. What but a sanction was this answer of the Secretary of State? It was deplorable that this knot of juvenile politicians should have been formed in a national institution to which Protestants and Catholics were indiscriminately admissible, and where harmony and peace should be cherished; but if it were to be lamented that the spirit of religious animosity should have found its way into those retreats which ought to be sacred to literature, to science, and to the attainment of those ingenuous arts by which the mind was softened and the passions were assuaged, not only regret, but a feeling of resentment, must be awakened, when a Minister of the Crown, instead of reprimanding these beardless confederates, conveyed to this assemblage of precocious partisans an assurance of his Sovereign’s approval. This conduct on the part of the Government was, in the highest degree, exasperating to the Irish people. No wonder that it had produced, on the part of the Orangemen, the greatest excesses, and that they had given way to a factious exultation. On the other hand, a sentiment of deep anger had been generated amidst the great mass of the population; and it was enough to make men’s blood boil to witness the triumph, however temporary, of that faction, to which so many of the misfortunes of Ireland were to be referred. Let the Government, when they had taken this course out of the House, be frank within it. If they had been bold enough to restore the Orange ascendancy to the plenitude of its dominion, let them have the manliness to acknowledge it; let there be an end to delusion; let there be a truce to the affectation of impartiality; and of professions without performance let the world hear no more. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving for the papers mentioned at the commencement of his speech.
Mr. Secretary Goulburn: The House had heard the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman read. Would they permit him to read the notice the hon. and learned Gentleman had originally given, in order that those Gentlemen who had heard only the terms of his Motion might be enabled to compare the two? The hon. and learned Gentleman gave notice of his intention to move for “Copies of the Answers given by the Secretary of the Home Department to certain Addresses from Orange and other Societies.” The hon. and learned Gentleman now moved, in addition, for a letter of Lord Manners, written in 1827, founded as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, upon certain opinions of the law officers given at that time to the Government of that day; and the hon. and learned Gentleman expected him to be prepared upon the moment to express his opinion whether there was anything in the documents so moved for, which would justify him in conceding the Motion, or authorize him to oppose it. He was sure that with respect to that particular question, the House could not expect him to acquiesce in the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. He must at least have time to refer to the correspondence for which application had been made; and without expressing any opinion as to the propriety or impropriety of laying it upon the Table of the House, he threw himself upon their candour and asked them, whether it was not fair and reasonable to allow him some little time to judge of its nature, and the propriety of producing it. The other part of the Address moved by the hon. and learned Gentleman, was for Copies of particular Addresses from certain Orange Societies which he wished to have laid upon the Table, together with the answers thereto. Now he had on a former occasion stated, that he could have no possible objection to lay those Addresses upon the Table of the House, together with the answers which had been returned to them. He had stated this, because he was confident in his own mind that nothing could be farther from his intention than the giving any particular encouragement and support to those extravagant and violent opinions contained in the different newspaper extracts with which the hon. and learned Gentleman had favoured the House or exalting that particular society in the eyes of the public. In returning the answers which he had given to those addresses, he was merely fulfilling what he was informed, on entering office, was the ordinary routine of the acknowledgment of such addresses. He could have no objection to lay those papers before the House, in order to show that what had been done on his part was a mere formal act of civil acknowledgment towards parties addressing the Crown—an act of civil acknowledgment which would have been rendered to bodies whose Constitution was certainly not less doubtful; and which had been rendered to them, not as Orange Societies, but as individuals coming forward for the purpose of humbly and deferentially expressing their opinions to his Majesty. He could have no wish for concealment on this question. On his coming into office, there certainly were a very large number of addresses of all kinds and description—amounting, he believed, to somewhere near 500. He naturally asked what had been the usual form of acknowledging the receipt of such documents. Out of the whole number he believed there were twelve in all which proceeded from persons who stated themselves to be members of Orange Societies.
He certainly did not pretend to tell the House that he had read through the whole of these addresses severally—he was necessarily obliged to take their contents, front the representations which were made to him of their nature; and the conclusion which he arrived at was, that answers should be returned to those addresses in conformity with the practice established on similar occasions, when a large number of addresses had been presented. The hon. and learned Gentleman had quoted the words or the answers, which he need not have done; for he (Mr. Goulburn) had expressly intended to read that part in which the parties were assured that his Majesty had been pleased to receive the address in the most gracious manner—he believed that was the expression. In consequence of the notice the hon. and learned Member had given, he had looked back with the view of ascertaining whether he had been misled in his impression of the practice of this particular department, or whether he had gone out of his way with reference to the particular society in question, or afforded them an encouragement which every one who knew what his conduct had been both in Ireland and in that House, must know it had never been his intention to afford. On referring to an antecedent period—to the year 1831, when political unions were formed in great numbers, and poured in their addresses to the Crown—he found that addresses from bodies expressly styling themselves members of the Political Union of Worcester, of the Political Union of Leeds, of the Political Union of Sheffield, and of a vast number of other places, were presented to the Crown. To all of these bodies, he found the following answer had been returned. “I have had the honour to lay before the King the loyal and dutiful address signed by yourself and Mr.—which accompanied your letter of such a day; and I have the satisfaction to assure you that his Majesty was pleased to receive the same in the most gracious manner.” The hon. and learned Gentleman had said, that there was no doubt or suspicion of the legality of these Societies, but that there was some suspicion certainly as to the legality of those in question. He fairly admitted to the hon. and learned Gentleman that he did not consider that point as one of great moment, because his directions had been, and his object was, to conduct the formal part of the business in the ordinary and accustomed manner. But when the hon. and learned Gentleman expatiated on the legality of the Political Unions, could he have forgotten the Proclamation issued with respect to them, in which his Majesty’s subjects were distinctly warned that they were illegal bodies, into which it was highly inexpedient for them to enter; and that they were constituted in a way which rendered them amenable to the existing law. He did not refer to this Proclamation, with the view of casting any imputation on those who had preceded him in the department for having returned the ordinary gracious answer with which his Majesty was in the habit of receiving those who came before him to express their approval of particular measures of his Government. He wished to show merely, that there was neither in the one case nor in the other a disposition on the part of the Secretary of State to set up the legality of the body to which the answer was addressed; but that it was only a gracious acknowledgment of the sentiments which those persons, purporting to be one body or another, entertained towards the Government of his Majesty. The hon. and learned Gentleman, as it appeared to him, had mixed up with that which was a very simple question, a great many exciting and irritating topics. He had referred to paragraphs which appeared in the newspapers and speeches made at the meetings at which the addresses were agreed upon. Perhaps they were most violent, and he was not one who was disposed either to justify speeches of this kind or the descriptions given of them in the public press. But he asked the hon. and learned Gentleman, or, if he were insensible to the appeal, he asked the House, whether it were possible for the Secretary of State, receiving addresses to the Crown, before deciding upon and answering them, to take into his consideration all the topics of excitement, or irritation which had been broached at the meetings preliminary to them, or whether that excitement or irritation would be a ground for his excluding those addresses, if properly worded, from presentation to the Crown, or for not returning the usual civil acknowledgment of the Address itself. He would not detain the House any further upon this subject. He would only say, that if the hon. and learned Gentleman imputed to him, either in this instance or, in his general conduct, any desire to keep up institutions calculated to maintain religious prejudices, or separations between different classes of his Majesty’s subjects, he did him the greatest possible injustice. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew, that during the time he (Mr. Goulburn) was in Ireland, no one had been exposed to greater obloquy or reproach; he had been charged with introducing measures tending to destroy the Constitution of those Societies as they were then established; and he had been on more than one occasion opposed to men for whom he entertained privately the highest individual respect and esteem, simply because he would not lend himself to the encouragement of separations between different branches of his Majesty’s subjects which he considered did not conduce to the public good.
Mr. Feargus O’Connor: The right hon. Gentleman had attempted to draw some kind of analogy between the Orange Societies and Political Unions. With regard to the proclamation, the right hon. Gentleman was quite mistaken. The Orange associations were contrary to law; but with reference to the Political Unions, the proclamation went no further, as it affected those bodies, than to discourage their assembling in great numbers. He hoped his hon. and learned Friend would press the Motion to a division. However the right hon. Gentleman might attempt, by proving that he acted with the ordinary degree of courtesy, to defend the Government generally, he told him, and he told the House, that the very refusal of Ministers to accede to the Motion would give a triumph to the Orange party in Ireland, and any triumph, however short-lived or ideal, gave that body which had made Ireland a kingdom of poverty, fresh life and vigour. He had intended, in 1822 to publish two large volumes of letters from members of the then government of Ireland to the Orange Association; they were suppressed, no fewer than 3,000 copies having been seized by the High Sheriff of Cork; but he hoped he should be enabled to publish them yet. He hoped the Ministry of the day would not be allowed to give a triumph to this despotic faction to which the whole government of that country was confided, and who insulted and trampled on its population.
The Gentlemen on that side of the House—the Reformers of England—were, he was happy to say, beginning to see that the people of Ireland had real grievances to complain of, and wrongs that required redress. The consciousness of these facts would soften the naturally inflammable and hasty disposition of his countrymen, and they would now begin to conquer by moral strength and power.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer was very happy to hear that the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down was going to substitute moral strength and power for the irritable and inflammable qualities that had formerly been exhibited on that side of the House; but he really could not find, in anything that had occurred in the course of that debate, any justification for even that degree of mitigated warmth which the hon. Gentleman had displayed in the course of his address to the House. He must say that the hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to him to take fire very easily, and boil at a very low temperature. He thought he could convince the hon. and learned Gentleman that there was nothing on the present occasion to justify the ebullition which he had just exhibited. He had told them, that now the Irish Members were supported by a powerful party, they were determined to try their strength. Now, what was the Question before them? The hon. and learned Member for Tipperary (Mr. Sheil) had given notice, for the information of the whole of the House, that on that day he would move for the production of certain documents—namely, the addresses to the Crown from the Orange bodies, and the answers returned to them by the Secretary of State, thinking that on the production of those documents, he should be enabled to found some measure criminatory of that Member of the Government. The Secretary of State said, “I am perfectly willing to accede to your Motion, in which I am myself concerned, and to produce the Orange addresses and the answers thereto. I am perfectly willing to follow out the objects which you declared you had in view in the notice you gave, and as far as I can have a personal or political interest, to promote them.” But the hon. and learned Gentleman did not adhere to his notice, but got up and without any notice whatever, moved for the production of a letter written by Lord Manners in 1827, and the opinion of the Officers of the Crown of the legality of these Societies. “I say,” continued the right hon. Baronet—”I say to the hon. and learned Gentleman, take your division on this point, and if you have a majority, I would infinitely prefer being in the minority for opposing, than in the majority for acceding to it. I say, in the first place, your notice misleads us; and when you give notice of a Motion for the production of documents dated in 1834, relating to the Secretary of State, and he says, ‘I am willing to produce them,’ I say, in the face of any majority, that it is not fair without the slightest notice to make a Motion for the production of a letter written by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1827.” It might or it might not be right to produce it, but he would say that it was not fair to call for its production without previously giving notice of the intention to move for it. It tended to diminish the confidence of the Government in their notices, and to mislead them, when they gave notice of a motion for the production of one document, and then moved, without notice, for the production of another, with no possible reason for so doing. What motive could they possibly have for refusing the production of those documents, if, consistently with the ordinary and constitutional practice, they could lay them before the House? He had sat in Parliaments which had evinced extreme unwillingness to receive the opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown—he had sat in Parliaments which had said, “The opinions of your Law Officers are nothing to us, and we will not be bound by them; we distrust the opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown on questions of constitutional law;” and when a proposition had been made by a Secretary of State for the production of such documents on a question in which his own political conduct was implicated, he had seen men, claiming for themselves the title of friends of constitutional liberty, the first to oppose the production of the opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown. The present Question, therefore, was one demanding the gravest consideration. He could have no interest in opposing the Motion, but he thought he had a right to call upon the House not to decide in favour of the production of these documents until after regular and proper notice had been given. He trusted the hon. and learned Gentleman would divide, and show the House, if he had no moral force on his side, what was his boasted physical strength. He had that confidence in the manliness and fairness of the hon. and learned Gentleman; that he did expect him to redeem his pledge, and take the sense of the House upon the Question. What was the Question after all?—the only Question on which the hon. and learned Gentleman could take the sense of the House? Government had promised to produce the addresses and answers, and the only question was, whether the additional document should be produced which had been moved for, without any notice having been given. What was the drift of the hon. Member’s speech? If the Motion had any object at all, it was this, not whether in compliance with the form that prevails on such occasions, the Secretary of State had returned certain answers, but whether, in point of fact, there had been any intention shown on the part of Government to countenance certain exclusive Societies. The hon. Gentleman opposite had said, in reference to him, that when he was in office as Secretary for Ireland, he had found it convenient and necessary to encourage those confederacies, and to look for their support. He would follow the course the hon. Member had taken in his speech, and show that in attempting to found the charge against this Government, which he had endeavoured to substantiate, he must himself have been sensible of the reply which it was in the power of the Government to make. He would read to the House the language he had made use of in 1827, when speaking on the subject, and he would beg them to remember, that that was the period when he was supposed to be an encourager of Orange Associations. In the language which he had used the other night, he had expressed himself, as at present, averse to such Associations, and he should now show that he had never thought it necessary to encourage them. He was aware that it might be said, that he afterwards changed his opinions as to the relief to he given to Catholics; but the period of which he was now speaking, was in 1827, when he certainly was opposed to the removal of the Roman Catholic Disabilities, and this was the language he then used:—”First, however, he must be allowed to say, that he heartily wished all these Associations were at an end. He believed that they were dying away; but at the same time he agreed with the right hon. Baronet, that if the processions were done away with, it would be better for the peace, the tranquillity, and the happiness of Ireland. Any opinion, therefore, which he might hold—any of the strong opinions which he was known to entertain respecting Catholic Emancipation, could not fairly be supposed to influence him upon the present question. If he were a private gentleman in Ireland, he declared to God, that he would, by his influence, by his example, by every means in his power, endeavour to put down these Associations and processions.”* Did this imply any desire on his part to encourage these Associations? Did this show that any alteration in his opinions on the subject of the Catholic Claims, had influenced his sentiments with regard to these Associations since 1827, at which period, although himself opposed to the Catholic Claims, he had endeavoured to put them down, and expressed his belief, that if they were done away with entirely, it would be better for the peace, the tranquillity, and the happiness of Ireland.
Mr. Sheil. That was precisely what he wished to show. It was to this very statement of the right hon. Baronet, that he had referred.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer would then ask, whether this was not in direct opposition to the argument, that he had first encouraged, and afterwards opposed, these confederacies?
Mr. Sheil begged to interrupt the right. hon. Baronet for a moment. He had never charged him with having encouraged these Societies.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer was putting the accusation in the form in which it had been put by the hon. and learned Member for Cork (Mr. Feargus O’Connor) and he was contrasting the argument of the hon. and learned Member for Tipperary (Mr. Sheil) with those of that hon. and learned Gentleman.
Mr. Feargus O’Connor. I give the right hon. Baronet credit for assuming the two distinct characters.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer. That was the point on which he was desirous to set himself right with the House. He was anxious to show that he was not entitled to the honour of “*Hansard, vol. xvii. New Series.—p. 149.” those two distinct characters on the subject of Orange associations, and never had been. When he opposed Catholic emancipation in 1827, he had earnestly desired the discouragement of those associations in every possible way; that had been his uniform course, and he had never assumed two characters with reference to the subject. But it had been said, that there was a Mr. M’Cree, from whom he had received an address. He had received an address from Mr. M’Cree, and, if he had been desirous of encouraging those associations, would he not, in his reply, have omitted all reference to them? Had he done so? On the contrary, he had distinctly stated, in his answer, that he totally differed in opinion with Mr. M’Cree, and that he could not agree with him; that it was not desirable to fritter down the law, which had established perfect equality and justice between all his Majesty’s subjects. Again, it had been said, the constitution of the present Government was such as to destroy all confidence on the part of Irish Members. They had been told, that in 1827, when there was a discussion about Orangemen, the very person who brought the question forward, and expressed himself most strongly against Orange Associations, was the right hon. Member for Montgomeryshire, and he had been selected by his Majesty as a Member of the present Cabinet. Well, but was it likely, if there were any desire to encourage confederacies of an exclusive nature, on the part of the Government, that his Majesty would have selected for his adviser the very man who, according to the hon. Gentleman’s statement, had directed his voice and influence against Orange Associations in 1827? [Mr. Sheil: In 1830.] The difference was of no great importance; it did not affect the force of his argument. The question, after all, was not as to the precise legality of these Associations. It was possible that associations might strictly conform to the law, and yet, that all the evils, to which they gave birth, might be lasting. These evils would not be cured by making them conformable to the law, because the real danger was not the breach of the law, but the encouragement and dissemination of angry feelings. If such an Association were formed, so as to conform strictly to the law, but still so as not to free it from the promulgation of angry and malignant feelings, though such an Association would be within the verge of the law, it would not be freed from that which was the real objection. They could not pass an Act that no Orange lodge should be formed excluding Roman Catholics. They might, indeed, say that no oaths should be administered to an Orange Association, or that the test of an Orangeman should be, that he took the oath of allegiance; but he could not see how they could object to their not receiving any particular class of persons into their Associations. His opinion was, that the course followed by the opponents of those Associations was, in many respects, unwise. They had been taunted, threatened, and provoked; and now the feeling, which in a great measure kept them together, was, that they would resist the threats and despise the taunts, which were heaped upon them. He had never sought to conceal his opinions upon this subject; he had never supposed that a conformity to the law would remove the real objection to these Associations; he had always been of opinion, that the best mode of proceeding with reference to them, was to adopt that tone, which would not only induce them to conform to the law, but which would enable them to form some sense of the danger of encouraging angry feelings, and the memory of feuds, which were no longer called for, and which ought to be buried in oblivion. To those who wished for the tranquillity and peace of Ireland, he would say, that they ought not to set the example of establishing these dangerous Associations themselves; and, above all, that they should avoid language which might tend to keep up the feelings which engendered them. But, with regard to the particular Question before the House, he was surprised at the manner in which it had been discussed. It, was a privilege secured to the King’s subjects, by the Bill of Rights, that they should lay their petitions before his Majesty; and, he would ask, would it be proper or wise that the King should stop to make minute inquiries, as to what particular association the persons sending the address belonged to, or what particular opinions they held, before he received their addresses. No doubt, the hon. Member would be able to show, with respect to political unions, that before they were denounced by proclamation, the King had received their petitions, and that the King did not inform them they had forfeited the common right of his subjects. Was it not clear, then, that his right hon. Friend, in following the ordinary practice of his office, had not the slightest intention to pronounce an opinion on the legality or illegality of the body from whom the addresses had come, but merely, in conformity to that practice, to return the usual answer? If this principle had been acted upon in the case of the Political Unions, why was it objected to in the case of the Orange Association? It was an attempt to narrow the right and privilege of the subject to address the Crown, or to cause the Crown to inquire into the particular opinions or Associations to which those persons belonged who did address it, and, in that way, to prevent those opinions being conveyed to the Sovereign, or to Parliament, in the manner most palatable to those who wished to express them. If these bodies were illegal, why were they not put down? Hon. Gentlemen would seem to assume that they were illegal—if they were, would there be no difficulty in suppressing them? Although he considered that they led to irritation, he was not satisfied of their illegality; but if they were illegal, why not institute a prosecution against them? If they were illegal, let them be prosecuted; but, if they were not, his earliest advice was, to set an ample of forbearance; and let the advice conveyed to them be in friendly terms, for then he was confident that it would have a much more salutary impression, than the most violent and menacing language that could be resorted to.
Mr. Sheil begged to explain. He felt the justice of the objection on the part of his Majesty’s Government, that they were taken by surprise in being called upon to produce a document, respecting which no notice had been given. The fact was, that on looking into the question, he found that an opinion had been given by the Law Officers of the Crown, and that a letter had been written by Lord Manners; and he had included both documents in his Motion, not imagining that his Majesty’s Government would object to the production of them. As the objection had been raised, however, and in order that the Ministers might have the opportunity of considering whether there were any grounds for the withholding that document, he would not press for its production then, but would move for it hereafter. The right hon. Baronet had accused him of an intention to resort to physical strength. [The Chancellor of the Exchequer:Numerical 623 strength.] He could assure the right hon. Baronet that he had never had the slightest intention of resorting to physical strength. He must leave its display to his hon. and learned Friend beside him, the Member for Cork (Mr. Feargus O’Connor), who was much more likely than himself to succeed in any attempt of that sort,—and to the hon. Member for Sligo who had urged the necessity of displaying “the physical strength” of the Orangemen, when the noble Lord the Member for South Lancashire designated them as the “fragment of a broken faction.”
Colonel Evans had bad to present an Address to the Crown from his constituents on the subject of the removal of the late Ministry, and the appointment of the present Ministers, disapproving of that appointment. He received an account from the Home Secretary, that that and some other addresses to a similar effect, had been delivered to his Majesty, but, as far as his recollection went, it was not said that they had been graciously received. The similarity of form, therefore, spoken of by the right hon. Baronet did not seem to have been altogether strictly adhered to in practice.
Colonel Perceval said, that as the object of hon. Members was manifestly on former nights, as well as on the present, to impugn his conduct as a member of the Orange Institution; he felt himself called upon when the subject was last under the consideration of the House, to give an unlimited declaration of the principles upon which the Orange Institution was founded. Hon. Members had since then got up one by one and attacked him; and he might almost say that he had run the gauntlet from one end of the Opposition benches to the other. The charges brought forward against the Orange Institution, were founded on surmises which could not. be sustained; and he would once for all assert that those surmises were one and all unfounded. With the view of bringing the matter to an issue, he pledged himself to the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Dublin, to furnish him with every document connected with the Orange Institution; and further, he was ready to avow himself, outside that House, as a member of the Orange body; and he therefore challenged the hon. and learned Gentleman to put to test in his person the legality or illegality of the Institution. An hon. Member on a former night, called upon him to withdraw 624 from the Society, inasmuch as it was illegal; and the only reason he could adduce in favour of his proposition, was, that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had said so. Now, he was one of those who did not place implicit credence in all that was said by that hon. and learned Gentleman. But, though he undoubtedly should look up with the respect it deserved, to a legal opinion, given by the hon. and learned Gentleman, in his office, in Merrion-square; yet, for these gratuitous, capricious opinions which he was in the habit of volunteering—either to serve his own interests, or for the purpose of warping the judgment of country Gentlemen in that House,—for such opinions, notwithstanding that he might pledge his professional character for the correctness of them, he entertained no respect whatever. The hon. and learned Gentleman had staked his professional character as to the illegality of Orange Societies. He had offered the hon. and learned Gentleman an opportunity of setting that question at rest, and if he declined the challenge, then he trusted the House would hear no more of the illegality of the Society. With respect to himself, and to several friends of his who belonged to that body, he could say, that not one among them would continue for a single hour connected with it, if they believed it to be illegal. The body was not bound together by any oath; when the law was brought in by Lord Plunket, making sworn societies illegal, they at once submitted to the act of parliament. [Mr. O’Connell: The act which makes them illegal was passed long before that.] Oaths were never administered since he became a Member—it was, in fact, long subsequent to the passing of the act to which he had alluded, that he joined the Society; and he well remembered the day on which he was admitted, meeting the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, who told him that he was in possession of all the rules and regulations of the Society. The purpose for which he had risen, was to afford the hon. and learned Gentleman an opportunity of trying the legality of the Society. He had promised the hon. and learned Gentleman every document connected with the body, and an avowal in writing, of his being a Member. These documents the hon. and learned Gentleman should have whenever he chose to apply for them. The principles upon which the Institution acted, were purely of a defensive nature—they were not associated for the purpose of hurting the feelings of any man, on account of his political or religious opinions. If he thought the body illegal, he would withdraw from it at once; but, were it even legal, and had for its object the shedding the blood of his fellow countrymen, as had been falsely stated, he would scorn to belong to it. Within a very short period, this body was eulogised by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, in terms not less strong than those in which his censure was now conveyed. He believed, that if the Orangemen had not resisted the Repeal of the Union, but had permitted themselves to be deluded into a junction with the hon. and learned Gentleman, in order to effect a dismemberment of the empire; the House never would have heard the denunciations against them which had been fulminated by the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman stated, that for four or five years, he had held out the hand of fellowship to the Orangemen; if so, he could not have been sincere in doing so; inasmuch, as within a very short period, he declared that he never shook hands with one of them that his blood did not boil with horror. Had the hon. and learned Gentleman succeeded in cajoling them, the House would not have heard so much of the mischiefs of Orange domination.
Mr. O’Connell did not know whether he understood the gallant Colonel. Did he mean to say that he would furnish him with the test which admitted Orange Members into their respective lodges? Would the gallant Colonel give him a copy of the declaration made by each newly elected Orange member? [Colonel Perceval—”Yes.”] Could he go into an Orange Lodge? Could any one who is not a member of the Association? It was easy to vapour, but could he, or any Catholic, obtain admission to these Associations. Would the hon. and gallant Member initiate him in the secret of passing into these Lodges, for at present, he was unable to procure admission? Would the hon. and gallant Member disclose to him the way in which Orangemen tested each other? Would he show him the declaration which Orangemen made on being admitted into their Associations? “[Yes.”] Then he (Mr. O’Connell) would take the hon. and gallant Member on his own statement, and he would prove in the plainest manner, that on his own showing, Orange Associations in Ireland were illegal. He did not mean to say that in England such an Association would be illegal, but he affirmed that in Ireland, on the gallant Colonel’s own showing, such an Association as he had described was an illegal society. He had paid the Orange Associations the greatest attention; he had their history from the date of their atrocious and bloody proceedings in Armagh, to the present time, and he was convinced of their illegality. The hon. Gentleman opposite, had said that Political Unions were illegal, and that addresses from them had been received by the late Government. Now, this was a mistake. The Political Union of Birmingham, in a notice issued by them, stated that they intended to act under a particular system of organization; upon which, a proclamation was issued by Government, that such a system would be illegal, and it never was carried into effect. The Political Unions never, therefore, existed in a state which rendered them illegal, nor could any addresses be received from them as Unions. The Political Unions from which the addresses were received, were open to every one—they had no oaths or declaration, and they were therefore perfectly legal. It was true, as the right hon. Baronet had said, that, although a society might not be illegal, it still might be dangerous and unconstitutional, and in this he agreed with him; but what was to be said of societies which were both illegal and unconstitutional, as well as un-Christian? The right hon. the Chancellor of the Exchequer had certainly read them a most excellent lecture on the beauty of Christian charity; and had recommended that all party distinctions should be buried in oblivion, but he might as well have given his advice to the winds. He might declare that he had always been an enemy to the continuance of Orange Societies, and that he wished to remove all grounds of difference between the professors of both religions, and he (Mr. O’Connell) had no doubt the right hon. Baronet was sincere, but his practice was to foment and encourage their perpetuation. Did he not arm the Orange yeomanry, to the number of 20,000, in the north of Ireland? Was there a chance of justice there, for the poor Catholic, when the magistrate and the juror were all Orange? If a poor man were persecuted by a faction, he had not the slightest prospect of success, so long as that faction had power in their hands. The right hon. Baronet and the hon. and gallant Colonel, could not have read the statute relative to such associations. The right hon. Baronet was not aware that any confederacy, bound by an oath, declaration, or test, was illegal. It was on this account that he asked the hon. and gallant Colonel to give him the test required of an Orangeman, but. the test was refused. The words of the act were as follows: “That from and after the expiration of fourteen days next after the passing of this Act, any, and every society, association, brotherhood, committee, lodge, club, or confederacy whatsoever now established, or hereafter to be established, in Ireland, of the nature hereinafter described shall be, and be deemed and taken to be, and is hereby declared to be, an unlawful combination and confederacy; that is to say, any and every society, association, brotherhood, committee, lodge, club, or confederacy, the members whereof shall, according to the rules thereof, or to any provision or agreement for that purpose, be required, or admitted, or permitted, to take any oath or engagement, which shall be an unlawful oath or engagement within the intention or meaning of the said recited Act of the 50th year of his late Majesty’s reign, or to take any oath not required or authorised by law; and any and every society, association, brotherhood, club, lodge, or confederacy, the members whereof, or any of them, shall take, or in any manner bind themselves, by any such oath or engagement, upon becoming, or in consequence of being members of such society, association, brotherhood, committee, lodge, club, or confederacy, the members whereof shall take, subscribe, or assent to any test, or declaration not required by law.” So, that, not only was it illegal to take or subscribe any test or declaration, but the society was illegal, if the law did not make such test or declaration mandatory upon the person taking it. The hon. and gallant Colonel knew, as well as he did, that there were secret tests by which Orangemen were known. He could not get into an Orange lodge if he wished it; nor could any other person, whoever he was, who did not know the sign. Every person must be tested, before he could gain admission; and thus, every Orangeman was guilty of a misdemeanor. It had been asked, why these associations, if illegal were not prosecuted? He would tell the House the reason. It was because the Government would not do their duty. No! They would rather reward the men who proclaimed themselves to be Orangemen. The right hon. Gentleman (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) thought it better to treat them with a dissertation on the sweet and social charities, and the suggestions of humanity, and was surprised to find that he did not get credit for his endeavours to discourage sectarian differences. But look at the right hon. Gentleman’s actions. He might have been mistaken in attributing to Mr. Robinson a relationship to Lord Farnham, but he was not mistaken as to his Orange politics. Then, there was Lord Roden, the Deputy Grand Master of the Orange Lodges of Ireland; he was selected by the Government as an object of especial favour, though he declined the proffered honour. It might be true that the right hon. Member for Montgomeryshire had always advocated the expediency of granting the Catholic claims; but, on the other hand, there was the right hon. Member for Kent, the present Paymaster of the Forces, a most respectable Gentleman certainly in private life, but one who had always proved himself the unflinching opponent of any measures of relief, as regarded the Catholics, and who, when the hon. Member for Caithness, divided the House on the question, whether any grant should be made for the support of the Catholic college of Maynooth, was one of the minority of twelve who refused to sanction such idolatry, as the hon. Member for Caithness expressed himself. He was therefore fairly entitled to set off the right hon. Member for Kent against the right hon. Member for Montgomeryshire, and he ought to have the balance allowed him. Then, who were the new Privy Councillors of the present Government? Why, the two right hon. Members for the University of Dublin. They were most respectable Gentlemen in domestic life, and most consistent in their politics, but the senior of them had all his life been a most determined opponent of the Catholic claims, and so far did his zeal carry him, that it was reported of him that he once, he meant in the year 1829, went even to the verge of rebellion in resisting them. The hon. and learned Member had, however, denied the accuracy of this report, and he had done right, but it could not be doubted, that he had done every thing to show his detestation of those who presumed to bestow equal rights, with himself, on his Catholic fellow-countrymen. Whom did they take next? Why, Mr. Gregory, who ought never to have been employed at the Castle at all, and who had now retired from the situation he held, but had been made a Privy Councillor. He would beg to ask the right hon. Baronet, if it was not a matter of notoriety, that a Catholic had not a chance of getting a fair hearing, as long as that Gentleman was in Dublin Castle? Who was the third? The learned Recorder of the city of Dublin. The hon. and learned Gentleman was, most undoubtedly, a very respectable man, in private life, also; but he would ask any unprejudiced Gentleman in that House, whether there was within its walls, a more decided partizan than that hon. and learned Member. Before the house of Commons was prorogued after the last Session of Parliament, the House had condescendingly listened to his representations, and had given him reason to look out for better days for Ireland. A Bill was introduced for the commutation of tithes, and carried through that House, and it was not necessary for him to advert to the manner in which it was thrown out by the House of Lords, after he had left town for Ireland. They then held out the promise to the Irish nation, that they would take off two-fifths from the amount of Tithe then paid, and, at the same time, led the people to expect some additional relief, in the ensuing Session of Parliament. What was the conduct of the Catholics of Ireland—of the Repeaters—on that occasion? Did they proceed to agitate the country? Not a single agitation meeting was held by those who coincided in opinion with him. What, however, did the right hon. Gentleman opposite then do? He and his party agitated the country to the centre. What was the conduct of the Corporation of Dublin, and those connected with it? Who was the orator? who was the principal speaker at the orgies then held, and occasionally honoured by the presence of great folks?—who, but their legal adviser. What did that party then do, with which some hon. Gentlemen opposite said they were proud to be connected? Did they not send over for a first-rate performer in agitation—Lord Winchilsea. But, was that all? What was the conduct of some of the High Sheriffs? Did they not put themselves at the head of those who came forward with declarations, that they were prepared, even with force, to put down their Catholic fellow-subjects? Did not one of their high functionaries preside at a meeting, where the persons assembled armed, and where they fired their pistols in the air, to shew that they were ready to use them, in another way, should they be called upon to do so? This was the source of agitation now complained of by the hon. Gentleman—they originated it in their Brunswick Lodges. What other object had this agitation, than to put down civil and religious liberty? The able and talented representative of the party in the House, the right. hon. the Recorder of the city of Dublin—and he fully admitted both his talents and ability—had made observations in that House, imputing to Catholics a desire, if not for the blood of Protestants, at least for the blood of Protestantism. The Government then had made a Privy Councillor of this maker of wild discourses, to shew their anxiety to govern Ireland with impartiality. And from whence had they selected their other Privy Councillors and public officers, but from that party which had domineered, in Ireland, for 600 years—and they then thought that they had discovered a mode of quieting Ireland? He had been informed, and if it was necessary, he could prove it at the bar of the House, that the Lord Lieutenant had undertaken to govern Ireland on Orange principles. He had been so informed, and he believed it to be the case. But be cared not, as far as his argument was concerned, whether it was the case or not. Was there not, however, one shout of exultation from every Orange Lodge in Ireland, when they heard of the accession of the present Ministers to office? Was there not a shout from that party, when they heard that the Gallant Officer opposite (Colonel Perceval) was selected to fill a high office connected with the Government? It would not be said that he had superior qualifications, for that office, to those who sat around him, although he was fully their equal; yet it would appear that he had been selected merely because he belonged to this society. Did not this party raise, before the eyes of the Lord Lieutenant, in the Dublin Theatre, an Orange flag, on which were inscribed the words “No Popery;” and yet no steps were taken to censure their proceedings, or to mark a disapproval of their conduct? What would the House have said, if a flag with the motto “No Protestantism,” had been exhibited in the presence of the meanest magistrate in England? Would it not have rung with the indignant cries which the insult would have called forth? In England, a magistrate would instantly be removed from the bench, who said he was a member of an illegal association; yet the Lord Mayor of Dublin declared that he was an Orangeman, and that he gloried in the name, and notwithstanding this, he was visited and complimented by the King’s representative. This Corporation resembled that of London, in the name of its officers, and at the present moment, the High Sheriff of London was a Catholic. Such was the spirit of Protestantism in this country, but what was the case in Ireland? So long since as the year 1792, the corporation of Dublin was enabled to admit Catholics as freemen, and the late statute admitted them to all other corporate offices. From 1792, however, not a single Catholic had been admitted to the freedom of the corporation. For forty-three years, notwithstanding the removal of the legal disabilities, not a single Catholic had been admitted as a freeman,’ and yet the legal adviser of the corporation had, this year, been made a Privy Councillor. Talk not to him, then, of being impartial and free from party influence, when they gave every species of support to the cruel faction that domineered in his unhappy country. Let not the House be deceived, with supposing that the meetings, which he had alluded to, were mere tea-table associations for idle gossip. The administration of justice was deeply affected by the proceedings at these places. What justice had a poor Catholic to expect, when he saw arrayed against him an Orange sheriff, an Orange prosecutor, and an Orange jury encouraged and upheld by such leaders? Let the majority of that House continue the present Government in office for a few months, and they would give to Ireland another generation of partial judges; they would continue the party sheriffs and the party juries, who perjured themselves for the sake of protecting those with whom they were associated. “Remain,” (continued the hon. and learned Gentleman)—”Remain in office, do; let your majority or your minority keep you in, but for three months, and see what a fruitful harvest of crime you will reap.” He had been told, that they ought to look to the character of the Lord-lieutenant, who had voted often for the concession of the Catholic claims. How many men, however, had voted for the Catholic claims who were anything but constant supporters of religious liberty! Did not some who were now regarded as chosen specimens of Orangeism lend their aid to carry that measure? The right hon. Secretary for the Home Department had disclaimed any connection with the Orangemen of Ireland. His conduct had been so pellucid, that his declaration would surprise the whole of the Orangemen of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman was regarded as the child and champion of Irish Orangeism; and however he might disclaim their society, he would ever be regarded as attached to the principles of the body. The country must soon be made acquainted with the line of policy intended to be pursued by the present Government; and it would then be seen, whether the just expectations of the people would be fulfilled. The House would have to determine whether, after four years of improved government, Ireland was again to be ruled by that system which had existed for so many centuries. He was not satisfied with the conduct of the late Government on many points, and, above all, on the selection of many of their officers. He repeatedly warned the late Government against the want of care manifested in the selection of their instruments. Above all, he indignantly denounced the selection of the late Attorney-General, for he knew that that learned person would make himself instrumental in supporting anything but a liberal course. He regretted that the right bon, Member for Staffordshire was not in the House, as he would have reminded him of the caution he then gave the Government. Where was the Whig Attorney-General—had he not become the Attorney-General of their successors in office? In perfect consistency with the whole of his previous life, he had pursued this course, for he had always distinguished himself as the opponent of civil and religious liberty. The hon. Member for Donegal said, that he did not belong to an Orange Lodge, although he highly approved of the principles of the excellent men who formed them. He (Mr. O’Connell), however, would ask what those men had ever done for the people of England? Had that party ever supported a liberal measure? Could the Dissenters believe that they would support the claims of that numerous class? Was it not notorious that the Orangemen had ever been the strongest opponents of the liberties of the Protestant Dissenters? He would ask the Reformers, whether they did not oppose the Reform Bill in all its stages? Not only were they unqualified opponents of that measure, but they endeavoured to mix up religious fanaticism with other feelings, and to bring them forward in opposition to it. Had they not shown themselves on all occasions to be the enemies of education, and had they not charged those who advocated a liberal system of education, with being actuated by the wish to mutilate the Scriptures? Many Gentlemen opposite had assailed him for the conduct he had pursued, but he did not regret it. They vituperated those who continued agitation in Ireland, and they were just pursuing the course to lead to it as a natural result. The right hon. Baronet bad stated, that he was anxious to carry on the Government with impartiality, but he had, connected with him in office, those who were members of the faction that had so long misgoverned Ireland. The right hon. Baronet had taken Orangemen into his councils, but he contended, that no lawyer could justify the Orange system, or show the legality of such societies. No man could dispute that now—indeed he was sure the opposite side would at once admit them to be illegal societies when they react the Act to which he had referred in the early part of his speech. He regretted the course that had been pursued, because he feared that it would excite agitation of the worst character, with all its attendant evils. [“No, no!”] He repeated, that it would excite agitation and crime: misgovernment and oppression would again excite Whiteboyism, and lead to the commission of crimes which must be abhorrent to every human being. Who chiefly suffered by this species of agitation? Of what class of persons were those chiefly murdered and massacred by the Whiteboys? Not the Protestant landlord or the Protestant tenant, but the Catholic landlord and the Catholic peasantry were generally the victims. An atrocious attempt to commit murder lately occurred in the county of Limerick. A respectable gentleman, Mr. R. Ryan, was assailed on the high road by two miscreants who fired blunderbusses at him and his servant, and who supposed they had succeeded in killing him. This gentleman was a Catholic Magistrate, much respected—was a near relation of his, and took an active part in Catholic affairs. This person, however, was near falling a victim to those who had been driven to desperation by Orange landlords, who knew that they could escape by pursuing such a system of Government as had been carried on for such a period in Ireland, and which, he feared, was about to be revived. If agitation were desirable to him, the course now pursued by the Government would do more to encourage it than any other that could be adopted, and therefore it was not his interest to throw any impediment in their way. He feared that he had trespassed too long on the attention of the House, but he had been led to do so by the speech of the right hon. Baronet. He warned the right hon. Gentleman of the consequences of receiving Addresses, or giving answers to bodies such us those which had been the subject of that night’s discussion. He cautioned the right hon. (the Secretary for the Home Department), that if he (Mr. Goulburn) had sent an answer to an Orange Address to Ireland, he had been guilty of a misdemeanor. [“No, no, no!”] He was prepared to show this. The Act stated, that “any person who, after the expiration of fourteen days next after the expiration of this Act, shall directly or indirectly maintain correspondence or intercourse with any such society, association, brotherhood, committee, lodge, club or confederacy or with any division, branch lodge, committee, or other select body, president, treasurer, secretary, delegate, or other officer or member thereof, as such, shall be deemed guilty of an unlawful combination and conspiracy.” Did not this prove that the correspondent of an Orange Lodge in Ireland was guilty of a misdemeanor? If the right hon. Gentleman had sent an answer to Ireland, let him avow it and name the Lodge. He would accept the offer of the gallant Colonel, as to the declaration and test of the Orange Lodges; and then, if any correspondence took place, they could try the question. But it would be folly for him to attempt to get a bill of indictment from the Grand Jury of Dublin—they never would find such a bill. Even if the Government brought those who were guilty of such an offence to trial, they would be defeated, as they were before; for the Sheriff of Dublin would again get an Orange Jury to defeat the prosecution. A law had passed to make all the King’s subjects equal, as regarded their religious opinions, and yet the members of this Corporation had had the audacity to draw the line of demarcation between different classes, and to conspire to beard the King’s Government. What would the gallant Colonel, and those who acted with him, say to a body of the Catholic nobility and gentry forming themselves into societies, and holding Lodges, and declaring that no Protestant should belong to them? Would not such conduct excite the abhorrence of the good sense of the country, and rouse the indignation of all Europe? And yet what had been the conduct of the Orange Lodges in Ireland? He would merely refer the House to one of many testimonials he had in his possession, as to the conduct of the Orangemen of Ireland. Lord Viscount Gosford, in his address to the Grand Jury of the county Armagh, had said, “It is no secret, that a persecution, accompanied with all the circumstances of ferocious cruelty, which have in all ages distinguished that dreadful calamity, is now raging in this county. Neither age nor sex, nor even acknowledged innocence as to any guilt in the late disturbances, is sufficient to excite mercy, much less to afford protection. The only crime which the wretched objects of this persecution are charged with is a crime, indeed, of easy proof—it is simply a profession of the Roman Catholic faith, or an intimate connexion with a person professing this faith. A lawless banditti have constituted themselves judges of this new species of delinquency, and the sentence they have denounced is equally concise and terrible. It is nothing less than a confiscation of all property, and an immediate banishment. It would be extremely painful, and surely Unnecessary, to detail the horrors that attend the execution of so rude and tremendous a proscription—a proscription that certainly exceeds, in the comparative number of those whom it consigns to ruin and misery, every example that ancient and modern history can supply: for where have we heard, or in what story of human cruelties, have we read, of more than half the inhabitants of a populous country deprived, at one blow, of the means as well as of the fruits of their industry, and driven, in the midst of an inclement season, to seek a shelter for themselves and their helpless families where chance may guide them? This is no exaggerated picture of the horrid scenes now acting in this county; yet, surely, it is sufficient to awaken sentiments of compassion and indignation in the coldest bosoms. These horrors are now acting with impunity. The spirit of impartial justice (without which law is nothing better than an instrument of tyranny) has for a time disappeared in this county, and the supineness of the Magistracy of Armagh is become a common topic of conversation in every corner of the kingdom.”—This was no exaggerated picture of the present state of the north of Ireland. The horrors thus eloquently described were now acting with impunity, and the law of the land was daily violated without the interference of the constituted authorities. The conduct of the Magistracy of Armagh, on a recent occasion, had been a topic of observation in every part of the kingdom. It had been his anxious wish to conciliate, and he had been taunted with his attempts to do so. He had spent five years in this attempt. He had exerted himself to get an act of justice done to the Grand Master of the Orangemen, and had, after great difficulty, succeeded in inducing the Government to reconsider the subject; and what was the treatment he had experienced from this body in return? In conclusion, he would tell them, that if the Government were determined to persevere in the course which it appeared they had commenced, he prophesied—and it would be no futile prophesy—that their proceedings in Ireland would be most disastrous.
Mr. Shaw said, he was aware how much the time of the House was wasted, and their patience wearied, with discussions of that nature; more partaking of the character of a personal Irish wrangle, than calculated to lead to any profitable result; he had, however, been so personally alluded to, and so much personal abuse poured upon friends whom he esteemed and valued, that he was persuaded the House would bear with him for a short time in reply to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin. With regard to the Question in point of form before the House, it was not the real object of the Motion of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Sheil) nor of the discussion which followed it; no one doubted that, when congratulatory addresses, respectfully worded, were presented to his Majesty from individuals describing themselves as they might, that such addresses should be acknowledged as having been graciously received. Some hon. Members opposite would probably be disappointed, if he did not enter into a justification of Orange societies; now, for his own part, he never had belonged to any political society or association in his life—he never had encouraged them—and, if his individual opinion were of any importance, he never even had approved of them—but then he must say, that was a very different thing from their being illegal; they never had been pronounced illegal by a competent authority, and the argument of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O’Connell) that night, had entirely failed to prove their illegality; the hon. and learned Gentleman had confounded a sign with a test, and if the sign by which Members of that body knew each other rendered it illegal, that must equally apply to Freemasons, Friendly Brothers, and all other societies where such signs existed; whatever his own opinion might be, he could not but feel a deference for the opinion of those who differed from him in that respect, and he was bound to say, that some of the most estimable and worthiest men in Ireland were Members of Orange lodges, who would not for a moment continue so, if they believed them to be illegal—men who regarded these societies as merely defensive—who intended no offence by them, and he would add, that it was not easy for English gentlemen, unacqnainted with the peculiar circumstances of Ireland, to form a just opinion on the subject; what might apply to a natural and wholesome state of society, might be very inapplicable to the present distempered condition of Ireland. [Cheers from Mr. O’Connell.] If he rightly understood the cheer of the hon. and learned Member (Mr. O’Connell), his answer to it was, that it ill became those to complain of the symptoms, who he (Mr. Shaw) sincerely believed had been the cause of the disorder. It was really too much for common sense and ordinary patience to endure, that hon. Members opposite should now come forward to denounce political and exclusive associations, who had, all their lives, been the instigators and promoters of them. Aye! who had lived, and moved, and had their very being in them. [Continued cheering, in which Mr. O’Connell joined.] The hon. and learned Gentleman (continued Mr. Shaw), cheers—his delicate nerves, forsooth! seemed quite shocked at the notion of an exclusive society, or one even bordering on illegality; this reminds one of the old story of the giant, who lived all his life upon windmills, and was at length, choked by a morsel of fresh butter; the hon. Gentleman, whose boast it has ever been, that he was the father of the Roman Catholic Association, eo nomine, exclusive, is frightened at the shadow of an exclusive society. The truth is, the hon. Member acts such various characters—is so entirely different in and out of this House, that it is no wonder the House is imposed upon by him. Would the House believe, that within the last few weeks, I, myself, heard the hon. Gentleman, when addressing his own constituents, and turning to a large body of Orangemen who were present in a particular part of the court-house, referring at the time to his favourite topic of a Repeal of the Union, assure them that he had no objection to their being Orangemen; that it was only those foreign Saxons (or some such expression, speaking of Englishmen), who tried to sow dissension between Orangemen and Roman Catholics; that before the Union, Roman Catholics used to join cordially with Orangemen in commemorating the birth day of King William, and that, please God, after its repeal, he (Mr. O’Connell) would walk arm in arm, with his brother Orangemen round King William’s statue in College-green, and, suiting the action to the word, the hon. Gentleman marched on the table, from which he was speaking at the time, to the step, that he and the Orangemen would together perambulate King William’s statue, when “the odious Union was repealed.” Well, not three days passed after that scene of acting—when the hon. Gentleman called that very body of men whom he was then trying to cajole, “a base, brutal, bloody, cowardly faction”—and then, indeed, he deplores that there should be any party animosity kept up in Ireland. So with respect to the toast of “the glorious memory,” about which the hon. Gentleman and his friends complain so bitterly, as calculated to exasperate the feelings of Roman Catholics; the hon. and learned Gentleman reviles them for it in their absence, and when they are present encourages them by his own example to drink it. [“No, no!” from Mr. O’Connell]. Will the hon. Gentleman deny that he did so at Sheriff Scott’s in Dublin—Sheriff Scott at the time being considered to favour the Repeal Question?—or that at a dinner at Drogheda where the hon. Gentleman presided—called to promote the Repeal of the Union, and at which many Orangemen attended—the hon. Gentleman not only proposed the toast of “the glorious, pious, and immortal memory, of the great and good King William”—but said he would not be satisfied unless he drank it in Boyne water, and sent for a bucket of water from the river Boyne, (which washes the town of Drogheda), for that purpose. The hon. Gentleman said, all the legal appointments in Ireland under the present Government have been “Orange,” knowing perfectly well at the time that not one of the gentlemen appointed has the slightest connection with Orangeism—first, the Attorney-General, an eminent public officer, who was acting under the late Government, and merely continued in office by the present; then the Solicitor-General.—He defied the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O’Connell), or any Gentleman who supported him, to stake his reputation as a lawyer, or his word as a gentleman, by denying that Mr. Pennefather was in every respect pre-eminently qualified for the highest office in his profession; again, the two Assistant-Barristers—than whom there could not be two more respectable or competent men found at the bar; the hon. Gentleman passes one by, merely calling his an Orange appointment, probably because that gentleman was supposed to be of what are termed liberal politics, and comes to Mr. Robinson, with respect to whom the hon. Gentleman states three facts, all unfounded—first, that he was the nephew of Lord Farnham, Mr. Robinson being no relation of Lord Farnham; when that was contradicted, the hon. Gentleman said, “oh, then he was moral agent to Lady Farnham” (without dwelling upon the indelicacy of such a reference to a lady who was dead, whose eminent virtues and exalted character had, in an almost unparalleled degree, adorned the society in which she moved)—the answer is, that Mr. Robinson was never in the employment of either Lord or Lady Farnham; and thirdly, the hon. Gentleman had that night accused Mr. Robinson of being of the Orange faction; whereas, he had never been connected, as he (Mr. Shaw) believed, with any political society; and one fact he knew, that to avoid even the appearance of being a party man, Mr. Robinson had not voted for him (Mr. Shaw) at the last contested election in the University of Dublin; the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O’Connell) had then alluded, in terms of reproach, to his (Mr. Shaw’s) being made a privy councillor, now, whether or not he was worthy of that honour, it was not for him to discuss; he might, however, be permitted to say, that he had neither solicited nor expected it; but as it was the habit of the hon. and learned Member, and some of those who sat near him, to accuse him (Mr. Shaw) of agitation—sorry as he was to occupy a moment of the time of the House in a matter personal to himself—yet as he saw the hon. Member for Drogheda (Mr. O’Dwyer) in his place, he would entreat the House to give him their attention to one instance as a specimen of the courage with which some hon. Members would plunge into facts of which they knew nothing, rather than not purchase notoriety on any terms. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. O’Dwyer) had stated, without any provocation on his (Mr. Shaw’s) part, that agitation had made him a judge, a Member of Parliament, and had since procured for him honours of which he was unworthy: as to what had occurred since he entered political life, that might be matter of opinion, so that he would not say a word upon that point, but simply confine himself to matter of fact; the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O’Dwyer) then asserted, that it was by agitation he (Mr. Shaw) had made himself a judge and a Member of Parliament; now he (Mr. Shaw) declared, upon his honour as a gentleman, (and when he did so, he appealed with as much confidence to every Gentleman on the other side of the House as his own for credit,) that up to the period of his obtaining his present judicial office, and from thence to the Dissolution of Parliament, which led to his return, as Member for Dublin, he had never interfered in politics, nor been concerned in any matter to which agitation could attach, more than the child unborn. Perhaps, however, the hon. Gentleman would say that his (Mr. Shaw’s) father had been an agitator before that in Dublin politics; with the permission of the House he would mention, that shortly before he was appointed Recorder of Dublin, an important event had occurred in his father’s political life; he had lost the honour of representing the city of Dublin, which he had enjoyed uninterruptedly for two-and-twenty years—and was it by an act of agitation he bad lost it? No!—It was notorious he had lost it by voting in favour of the Roman Catholic Claims. Now he did not charge the hon. Member for Drogheda (Mr. O’Dwyer) with stating that which he knew to be untrue, but he did say, that hon. Members should not make bold assertions, affecting the characters and feelings of others, when they were utterly and entirely ignorant of the subject on which they spoke; he would only add, that he was not aware of having ever, either in or out of that House, made a personal allusion to the hon. Member for Drogheda; he should take no farther notice of any observation that hon. Member should make of him, but close the subject with this one observation, that while the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O’Dwyer) had shown entire ignorance of the cause of his (Mr. Shaw’s) holding a judicial office, he had no doubt that the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O’Dwyer) constantly kept in sight the fact of his holding such an office, when, without the least provocation on his part, the hon. and learned Member so frequently singled him out for personal attack. To return to the charges of the hon. Member for Dublin.—Who was there, not immediately, and at the time, of his own party, that did not fall under his vituperation? Lord Wellesley—Lord Anglesey—Lord Stanley—as well as the distinguished Nobleman who now held the office of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland—and the hon. Member stated, that Lord Haddington had been heard to say, that Ireland must be governed on Orange principles; he could, from the mouth of the Lord Lieutenant himself, give the most direct and unqualified contradiction to that statement—but the truth was, every one and everything was “Orange,” in the estimation of the hon. Member, that did not exactly conform to his arbitrary will; the hon. and learned Member had lately said, that he divided all Ireland into “Orangemen” and “Christians,” and among the “Christians” he classed none but his own servile adherents; while, in the opposite ranks, he classes, for example, “the Orange Knight of Kerry”—yes, the hon. and learned Gentleman called the Knight of Kerry “Orange,” well knowing that that worthy and accomplished gentleman was all his life opposed to Orangeism, and had, for twenty-five years, separated himself from his friends and from office—to give his active and unwearied support to Catholic Emancipation; and why did the hon. Member call him Orange? In order that he might point out those who voted for him as objects of assassination; and that was the hon. Member’s freedom of election.—[Mr. O’Connell called upon the Speaker to say, whether such language were orderly?
The Speaker hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not persist in using such language.
Mr. Shaw: Sir, I at once submit to your correction. I withdraw my inference, and will simply state the fact; the hon. Gentleman publicly announced, that “whatever miscreant Catholic voted for the Orange Knight of Kerry, should have ‘a death’s head and cross bones painted over his door.'” I know not what construction Englishmen may put upon this expression, but I am well aware, considering by whom and to whom it was addressed, what meaning it was intended to convey, and did convey, in Ireland. Would the hon. Gentleman, who has talked so much of honest jurors this night, venture to submit the construction of those words to any twelve honest. men upon their oaths? Would he submit them to the opinion of the distinguished Roman Catholic Nobleman who is the Lieutenant of his own county? Were I to mention Lord Kenmare’s opinion, I should run the risk of being again out of order—and, good God! Sir, how long is the peace of a country to be sacrificed to the ambition of’ one man? and is he to be suffered to enrich himself upon the crimes and the penury of his infatuated countrymen? The hon. and learned Gentleman had animadverted upon the composition of the Government—of his (Mr. Shaw’s) right hon. friends below him, and the nature of their supporters; he thought he might very fairly retort upon those on the opposite side, and he would seriously ask the noble lord (Lord John Russell) if he thought he could consistently and honourably descend from the high station he held at the head of the Whig aristocracy in the country and that House, and coalesce with the hon. Member for Dublin and his followers? Did the noble Lord suppose that the House or the country forgot that the last Session of Parliament commenced by the noble Lord and his colleagues putting it into the mouth of his Majesty to denounce, almost by name, the hon. and learned Member, attributing the insubordination that prevailed in Ireland to the practices used by him to produce disaffection to the state, deploring the ruinous consequences to the deluded instruments of agitation, and calling upon all the loyal and well-affected subjects of the King to unite with the Government in putting an end to the excitement and violence caused by the individual (all but named in the King’s speech) with whom the Members of that very Government are (now uniting in factiously opposing the present Government. Then, as to the Repeal of the Union; did not the Members of the late Government declare, that civil war world be preferable; that they would “resist it to the death,” and treat it as bordering on treason to the state; yet, the hon. and learned Gentleman, at the very meeting at which he settled the preliminaries of the present coalition, announcing that the new Ministry was to be composed of one-third altered Whigs, and two-thirds Radicals, and that he would be a member of the Administration, stated, that while he would not introduce, for the present, the Repeal Question, but confine himself to “routing the enemy,” yet, in the same speech, he declared that “it was the strongest conviction of his mind, and the most determined decision of his judgment, that nothing could eventually secure Ireland, but a Parliament in College-green.” And at another meeting the same day, declared, that he would continue “to agitate at all events.” The whole burden of the hon. and learned Gentleman’s speech was “The Repeal of the Union.”—waking or sleeping he told them that it was the darling object of his mind.—He said, that they had met “to register a vow before high Heaven to Repeal the Union.” In the same speech the hon. and learned Gentleman treated Catholic Emancipation and Parliamentary Reform as but means to that end—and said that his hopes would never be accomplished, nor his labours completed, till he “beheld the Union prostrate in the dust.” Was this then one of those principles in which the noble Lord considered, as he said the other night, that one part of the coalition thinks the other goes only “too slow,” and the other only regards them as “too impatient.” Was their difference merely in point of time? and were they agreed in the principle? Let the House then look to what was the bearing of the hon. Member during the last Session to those upon whom he was now ready to lavish the honied accents of his praise and approbation; why, the entire vocabulary (and it is no scanty one) of his vituperation was poured upon them.—He recollected one short letter, which he had before quoted, written in June or July last, after the Cabinet had been, as hon. Members at the other side said, purged of the noble Lord, the Member for Lancashire, and his Friends—he believed it contained fewer lines than expressions such as these applied to the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) and his colleagues—”an audacious and imbecile Ministry”—”a base and atrocious Whig faction”—”a contemptible and drivelling Administration”—”disastrous tyrants”—”the bane of Ireland”—calling upon the Irish people to resist their tyranny, and “scorn the instruments of Whig despotism.” Were these the seeds of that concord which seemed now gathering? If the noble Lord knew but all, he had not much reason to be proud of his new conquest. The noble Lord must not indulge the fond hope that he was wooing the first love of the hon. Member for Dublin; the thin veil of modesty which covered the hon. Gentleman (Mr. O’Connell’s) present motives must not deceive the noble Lord, or induce him to think that he was winning the maiden virtues of the hon. Gentleman. The noble Lord was receiving but the refuse of his political opponents—the alliance had been over and over again proffered to and repudiated by them. Frequently during the last Session had the hon. Member (Mr. O’Connell) openly said to him (Mr. Shaw) and many others, “now is your time to join us to oust those despicable Whigs; better have Tories, who will be at least candid and straight-forward, than such double-dealing miscreants as these Whigs.” Under those circumstances, will the noble Lord, from any feeling of wounded ambition or party resentment, condescend to means for the annoyance of his political opponents, which under similar circumstances they rejected?—and without a reasonable hope of reinstating his own party in office, stoop—for the mere purpose of vexation to a rival party—to a course which that rival party had, when a similar opportunity presented itself to them, considered inconsistent with their honour and their duty.
Then as to the state of Ireland—he (Mr. Shaw) entreated the serious consideration of the House. He would deprecate as much as any man that the divisions and difficulties of that country should be left to contending parties there to settle—he desired favour for no party, but an equal administration of justice to all. He did not contend that any class was impeccable; and let all that violated the laws meet their just punishment; but this he must say, that it hon. Members, at the other side, dragged forward whatever indiscretions or excesses had been committed by Orangemen, there was abundant store for recrimination at his side of the House. He would not then mention any of the various cases which presented themselves to his mind, to prove the universal terror and intimidation which was spread by the other party during the late elections; but if hon. Gentlemen at the opposite side provoked him to it, be would confine his selection of proofs to instances of the treatment of Roman Catholic voters by Roman Catholics. From those alone he could cover the Table of that House with well authenticated documents, affording evidence of the direst persecution by Roman Catholic clergymen and agitators against Roman Catholic voters, that ever disgraced a civilized community. All he required for Ireland was a moderate, settled, and firm government. He would not then touch upon the question in regard to England; there, there might possibly be room for a difference of opinion; but, as regarded Ireland, time pressed too hard, and circumstances were too urgent, to admit of any game of party tactics. The question there was hourly impending, whether we were to have, as our permanent lot, peace or agitation—anarchy or any form of Government—security for property, or a general scramble—safety for our lives and families—or the hourly apprehension of the lurking assassin or the midnight murderer, instigated by selfish and sordid agitators [Cheers from. Mr. O’Connell.] Mr. Shaw turning to him (Mr. O’Connell), then added with great emphasis and warmth) yes! the question in short is this. The English nation must decide it, and very soon, whether in Ireland we are to enjoy the common rights and rational liberties of British freemen—or wear the heaviest yoke that ever slavery imposed—the iron despotism of a single dictator, wielding, with irresistible sway, for every evil purpose, the passions and the physical force of an ignorant and deluded multitude.
Mr. O’Connell said, as the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Shaw) had named him (Mr. O’Connell) in connexion with what he would describe to be disturbances in Kerry, he begged to ask him if he were aware that not a single assault or offence against the law was committed during his (Mr. O’Connell’s) canvass, or since? If he have not heard of any assault or offence being committed, he requested him to ask the hon. Member for Coleraine (Alderman Copeland) the extent of outrage committed, on the other hand, by the Orangemen in that part of Ireland.
Mr. Shaw: Sir, with the permission of the House I will answer the question of the hon. Gentleman without one word of comment; he asks me if I am aware of one single fault or offence against the law that was committed in the county of Kerry, before, during, or since the Election? I have been assured, Sir, on the highest authority—and I believe—that, immediately before the Kerry election, the hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. O’Connell) himself went to the house of a man of the name of David Murphy, a Roman Catholic trader in the town of Killarney—asked him not to vote for the Knight of Kerry—and, upon Murphy assuring him that he would, the hon. Gentleman then said he would draw a cross before his door, and that he should feel the consequences; shortly after which the house of this Murphy was broken into, and he was violently assaulted.
Mr. O’ Connell; I declare, Sir, solemnly, in the presence of the God that shall judge me, that the whole story is utterly false.
Mr. O’Dwyer felt himself called upon to offer some remarks to the House on the speech of the right hon. Member who last spoke under the umbrageous protection of the Treasury Bench. He should first thank the hon. and learned Member for informing him and the House, that the right hon. Member held a judicial office. He was sure, that there was very little of judicial demeanour in the exhibition which the right hon. Gentleman had just made, to suggest the fact to the recollection of the House. The House would now understand what quantity of calmness and temperance was required to constitute an Irish Judge. The right hon. Member had been pleased to intimate, that he (Mr. O’Dwyer) had been encouraged to come into personal collision with him. He did not think, that this was a very judicial observation. He would dismiss this subject, and he would apply himself to the observations of the hon. Member for the University of Dublin, who spoke of the disturbed state of society in Ireland; of the impossibility of governing that country by ordinary means, and then attempting to invoke English prejudices, had adverted to the desire of the popular party in Ireland for a Repeal of the Union. It was true, that there was a distempered state of society in Ireland; that must be a distempered state of society when the ascendancy of a faction over the people was encouraged by authority; but with regard to the impossibility of governing Ireland by ordinary means—to say this, was the cant of faction. Englishmen were too clear sighted to believe, that measures of just Government would have less influence on the Irish people than the rest of the human kind. The Irish resembled all other men—they hated and they resisted oppression and injustice, and they were right to do so, and this was the real complaint of the faction against the people; but there would be no people more easily subdued by kindness, nor more quickly won over to the support of a Government than the people of Ireland, if they were treated with benevolence and sound policy. Englishmen he hoped were not to be easily excited by alarms of the Union being in danger, if the Orange party in Ireland were not encouraged and sustained. Why did the people of Ireland seek for Repeal? Because the Government had ever preferred to rule Ireland through a faction, than to govern by means of the people’s love. The cry for the Repeal of the Union gained more strength in Ireland during the disastrous Administration of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), who sat on the opposite Bench, than by all the efforts of the Member for Dublin. He had ever asserted, that he believed the people of Ireland were not carried away by an abstract dislike to the union with England, so much as by the conviction, which had been too frequently justified by facts, that the faction in Ireland was preferred to Ireland herself in the estimation of English Parliaments. He was sure, if the people of Ireland received full justice from an Imperial Parliament, they would be satisfied. At all events, the prescription of the Member for the University of Dublin, which recommended a Government to be conducted on his principles, was not the remedy to correct any desire that might exist for a separate legislation in Ireland. The hon. Member, to whom he should once more advert, had denied that he had been elevated by political agitation. Without meaning to be offensive to the hon. Member, he would repeat, that he could not conceive by what miracle he became a judge almost as soon as he became an advocate. The hon. Member was opposed in his election as Recorder by seniors of long standing, and yet the hon. Member outstripped all competition. He gave him credit for all the talents that he possessed, and all the industry, and all the good luck too, but he still asserted, that even with these qualities he would never have been Recorder of Dublin, but for his politics. Who returned him to Parlialiament? The freedom of Dublin, for the city was not then enfranchised. Did not his politics and his agitation, by which he meant his active politics, here stand him in need? Why was he selected to represent the University of Dublin? Because he was the sturdy champion and the tumultuous upholder of the Established Church in Ireland. He was now, by his own admission, the adviser of the Lord Lieutenant. He was the co-governor of Ireland. The House would remember the former Administration of the right hon. Baronet opposite, and the contumelious manner in which, at that time, Lord Anglesey was treated, because that nobleman had ventured, forsooth, to invite an estimable Irish Peer of popular politics to the viceregal party. The House would not fail to observe the fidelity to faction, which characterised the present government, when in the Administration composed principally of the same men—the adviser of the King’s Lieutenant—the instigator of the policy to be pursued in Ireland—the Councillor—the Privy Councillor of the Lord-lieutenant, was the intemperate leader of a violent and most unpopular party. Contrast the two facts, think of the proscribed Peer, and the cherished corporator. There had been something said of the creators and the creatures of agitation; that was only bluster. There were to be found those who agitated to some purpose beyond the mere assertion of cold and unproductive principle. He had heard of a late profitable employment in the stamp department of Ireland, in which, by a strange coincidence, a gentleman named Shaw, was the fortunate recipient of the Minister. Thus, there was some profit to be made of agitation by some of the loudest declaimers against it. He should conclude with expressing his delight at the occurrences of that night. The party stood candidly revealed, and he augured great good to Ireland from the naked exposure by themselves of their principles and their conduct.
Lord John Russell spoke to the following effect: I have paid considerable attention, Sir, to the speech just concluded by the right hon. and learned Member for the University of Dublin (Mr. Shaw), and I must confess that to me it appears that the right hon. and learned Gentleman seems to consider, that personal remark and personal invective will suffice to satisfy the House of the soundness of his argument as well as the purity of his intentions. Now, I beg to say, that I, for one, feel little interest in personal remark and invective; and whether the hon. and learned Gentleman be right or wrong in the allusion he made to the circumstances which took place in Dublin and elsewhere, and leaving him to join the Orange Association, or any other society, I do feel, as one interested in the peace of Ireland, that the tone of the right hon. and learned Gentleman—that the violence with which he spoke—that the violence with which he spoke—that the total want of candour which he exhibited towards his political opponents—that the entire absence of moderation in his manner of treating the subject before the House; these things, I say, Sir, do make me seriously regret that his Majesty has chosen him as one of those who are to give him advice in his Privy Council. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has asked me whether I am about to take a part in forwarding the Repeal of the Union, and whether I do not remember the advice given by the King’s late Ministers to his Majesty, when Parliament met in February last. Sir, I perfectly well remember it; and I say now, as I did then, that I am ready to oppose, by every means in my power, the Repeal of the Union; because I should consider it equivalent to the separation of the two countries, and the dismemberment of the empire. But if the right hon. and learned Gentleman will please to carry on his examination to a more advanced period of the Session, he will find, that shortly after the Motion for the Repeal of the Union, my vote against which I gave as cordially as I ever did any vote, I declared that I should not feel satisfied in giving that vote, unless we rendered justice to all the complaints of the Irish people; and that it was only by the course of policy to be pursued, the policy being, that every petition of the Irish people sent here, containing a just complaint, should receive as full attention as it would if this were an Irish Parliament sitting in Ireland—that it was only on condition of doing that justice to Ireland that I could feel myself conscientiously entitled to oppose, by every means in my power, the Motion, the object of which was to get the Union repealed. Well, Sir, do I stand in a different situation now? I then declared against a Repeal of the Union; I declared also, that with respect to Irish Tithes and the Irish Church, there were some just grounds of complaint; and I declared further, that I would not continue a Member of the Cabinet and a Member of this House without giving a vote in favour of a redress of those grievances. What, then, has the right hon. and learned Gentleman to reproach me with? Have I altered any of my former opinions? Have I changed my course of conduct? On the contrary—on the one hand I said that if the hon. and learned Member for Dublin appeared as the advocate of the Repeal of the Union, I should oppose him, and at the same time, whenever he brought forward a question founded on a matter with respect to which Ireland had just cause to complain, I should think it my duty to render full justice to that complaint. Such is my answer to the appeal the right hon. and learned Gentleman has made to me; and I think I shall now stand acquitted in his eyes and in the eyes of the House, of having pursued on this occasion a course at all inconsistent with my previous conduct. I will now say a word as to some other questions that have grown out of the Motion before us. I came into the House just when the right hon. Baronet (the Chancellor of the Exchequer) was declaring, that the Orange Societies, even if such societies did conform to the letter of what Acts of Parliament required, might do as much injury to the state of society, as if an illegal oath, or illegal declaration were subscribed. Of this I have no doubt, and I cordially assent, therefore, to the proposition of the right hon. Baronet. But has the Government of Ireland always been conducted in a spirit conformable to the language now held by the right hon. Baronet? If I look to the spirit of the Government of Ireland, I am obliged to say that it does not depend on what a Chancellor of the Exchequer or even a Prime Minister shall declare in this House, while in Ireland a different system of conduct is allowed. The party there will care little for your speeches and declarations in Parliament; for they will consider that, notwithstanding such speeches and declarations, Orange Associations are the object of your especial protection. I consider that the character of the Members of the present Government bears full testimony to the approbation and support of Orangeism. I cannot help considering the hon. and gallant Member opposite (Colonel Perceval) as the organ of that body in this House, when he comes forward and avows his connexion with it. Does he now say to the House, “I shall retract my Orange opinions, I shall separate from that connexion?” No.; his whole speech was to the effect, “I declare myself an Orangeman, and the society to which I belong, and of which I am the organ here, is not an illegal, but an organised society, bound together by a special bond of association. I will allude to another circumstance. What was the first act of the present Government? It was to offer to the Earl of Roden the highest place in his Majesty’s household—one in which he would be entitled to be with his Majesty in opening the Houses of Parliament, and to accompany him on all occasions of state and ceremony. Can any one believe, under such circumstances, that this Government wishes to discredit Orange Societies, when they offer their patronage and countenance to those who are so connected with these Societies? Will the great body of the Orange party in Ireland believe—notwithstanding all the speeches of Ministers in Parliament—that they mean seriously to discountenance those Societies? Did it appear that in offering their patronage thus they ever said to the noble Earl, “You must give up Orangeism?” Did they insist that he must cease to belong to that party if he wished to make one of them? Without saying anything of the kind, with one breath the Government affected to discourage Orange Societies, and with the next they bestowed upon them their highest favour and protection. There is another question to which I will take permission to allude. My noble Friend, the Member for North Lancashire, assisted in contriving for Ireland, and notwithstanding the opposition then made to it by Members of the present Government, succeeded in introducing a system of education there, the tendency of which was to promote the harmony, the peace, and the moral character of the country. That measure of education for Ireland was denounced by Gentlemen connected with the present Government in terms of the greatest violence. They did not merely except to that measure—they did not merely assert it would not succeed, but they denounced it as unscriptural, and that the then Government were grossly mutilating the word of God. I will take the liberty of reading to the House an extract from a speech delivered by the right hon. Gentleman, the Recorder for Dublin,—a speech delivered by him at a meeting held at Exeter Hall, on the subject of the measure for Education in Ireland, a report of which appeared in the newspapers of the day. This extract of the speech was afterwards quoted by Lord Radnor in the House of Lords in the Session of 1832, and is as follows:—”The Government might make what regulation it pleased; but he trusted the people knew their duty too well to submit to its enactments. It might degrade our mitre—it might deprive us of our property, but if the Government dared to lay its hands upon our Bible, then we must come to an issue. We will cover it with our bodies—we will. My friends, you will permit your Christian brethren to cry to you in vain? In the name of my country, and my country’s God, I will appeal from a British House of Commons to a British public. [Mr. Shaw denied that he had ever said so; the statement was made by Lord Radnor; he never said anything like it.] Lord John Russell then continued the extract—”His countrymen would obey the laws so long as they were properly administered; but if it was sought to lay sacrilegious hand on the Bible—to tear the standard of the living God, and raise a mutilated one in its stead; then it would be time to halt between two opinions—then in every valley and on every hill would resound the rallying cry—”To your tents O Israel!” The right hon. Gentleman denies the correctness of the report of the Speech. Why it appeared in the Standard, and other newspapers of the day; it was afterwards quoted by Lord Radnor in the House of Lords, and now the right hon. Gentleman takes, he says, the first and only opportunity of giving it a contradiction. But did the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends think, that many of the present Ministry were converted by that Debate? Did they think that by the formation of the present Government they would be enabled to get rid of those schools which taught unscriptural doctrines, and from a mutilated Bible? Why, the present Administration claimed a character of impartiality and fairness, and they had announced their intention to keep up their schools. This is their language on the one hand; but what is said in other quarters? An Address has been presented to the King from the friends of the present Government in Ireland, which thanked his Majesty for dismissing the late Ministry, and the more especially as that Government had been the means of establishing the schools which taught from a mutilated Bible. If the Members of the present Government are at all guided by principle, let them say, the Act being passed for establishing the schools, they will not seek to alter it; let them say they will aid in forwarding the success of those schools which their supporters previously denounced as mutilating the word of God, and as being anti-scriptural. I ask this for the peace of Ireland. I cannot understand a wavering and unsettled conduct. Let them openly and candidly say, “We recant all we have before said,” or let them at once and distinctly make an opposite declaration. Let them either say, that the present system of education is liberal and wise, and that they are content to give it full effect under the present establishment, or that it is not. Let them say or do one or the other. It is not fair, that they should, on the one hand, take an opportunity of promoting societies which are violent and illegal; and on the other, come before a British House of Commons with different representations. This system is not wise: nay, I will say it is not honest. While I maintain opinions and principles, I will maintain them consistently; I will maintain them in office and out of office; and I ask the right hon. Gentlemen opposite, what is the consistent and uniform plan on which they propose to govern Ireland.
Sir Henry Hardinge
hoped the House would allow him to say, that he had nothing to explain or recant on the subject of national education. He had never voted, against the plan of education to which reference had been made, neither had his right hon. Friend. He had not called in question the conduct of the noble Lord when in office as respected that question; but he confessed he could not help feeling some surprise, when he saw that noble Lord the leader of an Opposition which had formed a coalition with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; when he remembered the conduct of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin in reference to the Ministry of which the noble Lord(Lord John Russell) was a Member, and which he denounced as all that was bad, treacherous, and wicked; and when he recollected that that Government had thought proper to single out that hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O’Connell) in a speech put into the mouth of his Majesty, in which that Gentleman was almost held out to the country as a fit object for the block; he confessed he could not help feeling some surprise when he found the noble Lord ready to assent to that coalition. He could not help referring to one fact of the conduct of the hon. and learned Member for Dublin: In a speech made by that hon. and learned Gentleman to his constituents, only so recently as the 15th of February last, when he told them he was going to take his seat in Parliament, that he expected an Administration would be formed of which he could consent to form a part, and that he would consent to do so on certain conditions, but that he would never relinquish the Repeal of the Union, nor his hope, that he would one day see a Parliament sitting in College-green. The hon. and learned Gentleman would not deny this; it had been stated in newspapers attached to his cause, to which he could refer. The inconsistency of the Whig party was remarkable in coalescing with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, who had stated his readiness to take office, for the express purpose of carrying the Repeal of the Union, which nothing should induce him to give up.
The noble Lord (Lord John Russell) had referred to the hon. and gallant Member for Sligo (Colonel Perceval). The gallant Colonel was not called upon to pledge himself that he no longer would be an Orangeman, because he had accepted office, but had said that if he could be convinced that the Orange associations were illegal, he would give them up. The Government was said to be carried on on Orange principles, in consequence of its having named Mr. Gregory a Privy Councillor; that right hon. Gentleman had faithfully served his country in the capacity of Under Secretary of State of Ireland, and his conduct during that period was distinguished for uprightness and impartiality, and the Government had thought it right, after his retirement from office, to bestow that honour on him which he had so well merited. He had no intention of saying anything personally offensive to the hon. and learned Member for Dublin, but he would refer to the declaration made by that hon. Gentleman that he would have marked on the door of any one who voted for the Orange Knight of Kerry, a death’s head and bloody bones. The party in Kerry who supported the right hon. Knight of Kerry, considered it to be a threat of assassination. He would not, he did not wish to, attribute that motive to the hon. and learned Gentleman; but several individuals had asserted that the threat had had the effect of deterring persons from giving their votes to the Knight of Kerry for fear of assassination. [Cries of “Name!”] He would name a very high authority, the authority of the Lord Lieutenant of Kerry, who was a Catholic nobleman of large fortune, and independent character. He did not say it was the intention of the hon. and learned Member, but that it was the effect of his speech upon those who voted, of which he (Sir Henry Hardinge) complained, and it was asserted upon oath, that it was believed that the statement made by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had deterred many from voting freely from their fears of assassination. He was asked by the noble Lord (Lord John Russell) to state on what principles they intended to conduct the Government—he would at once declare, on principles of the strictest impartiality. It had been stated by the hon. and learned Member for Dublin (Mr. O’Connell) that the Lord Lieutenant was not impartial. He asked that hon. Gentleman to state where the Lord Lieutenant had acted partially. He was no encourager of Orangeism. If the hon. and learned Member could point out a single occasion where the Lord Lieutenant had encouraged Orange principles, he would admit he was liable to the imputation of acting partially and improperly. But he denied it utterly. Why had he been attacked, and what was the improper conduct which had been imputed to him? it amounted to this—that he had never read of the dinner given by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, or the verses that had been recited there, which took place before he was in office, and about forty days before the Lord Lieutenant had dined with the Lord Mayor? If he had read them he saw no reason why he should not do honour to the Lord Mayor, and treat with respect the first Magistrate of the city of Dublin. On no occasion could it be alleged that he had encouraged Orange principles, and he trusted that the noble Lord would give him credit for acting in his situation with impartiality.
Lord John Russell, in explanation, said he was accused of a coalition with the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; he had never asked that hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. O’Connell) to join him. That hon. and learned Gentleman had voted with him (Lord John Russell) on the question of the Reform Bill, and he was again voting on the same side as himself, in the advocacy of Reform principles.
Mr. Maurice O’Connell: the right hon. Baronet had declared that he could not amidst his many important avocations, find time to read the newspapers. There was such a thing as a convenient memory; for, when there was anything to suit his purpose, he was found the next minute quoting passages from newspapers, which he stated were of an inflammatory description. The hon. and learned Member for Dublin (Mr. O’Connell) had been acquitted of any intention to threaten, as originally charged against him; but it was said, that the same effect had been produced as if the threat had really been made. The Lord-lieutenant of Kerry had volunteered a pledge to act in a particular way with reference to the elections—that he would not exert the influence of his station over the elections. He further declared, that he was indifferent to both the candidates, and that if any influence were exerted, it would rather be in favour of that Ministry which had given him the appointment. But the noble Lord had found a pretext for getting out of his pledge by the speech about the “raw head and bloody bones.” He could appeal to Members opposite, who were acquainted with the contest in the county of Kerry, whether it was not carried on with peace, order, and sobriety. There was, indeed, one instance of persecution during the election, but it was on the part of the supporters of the Government. A person desired to vote in spite of his landlord; he went at his own expense and voted as he desired—the next half hour his cows were impounded as a punishment for his independence. He was not disposed to say one word in derogation of the character of the Knight of Kerry, who was a gentleman of the kindest manners in private life; but it was different with him as a politician, and he was only estimated by his constituents in Kerry as he preserved his consistency or abandoned it;—he had not preserved it, and therefore had been rejected.
Mr. Mullins could not permit the assertions made by the right hon. Baronet (the Secretary for Ireland) to pass uncontradicted. He could bear full testimony to the statement made by his hon. Friend the Member for Tralee, with reference to the election for Kerry. His friends had left their tenants to vote as they wished. He had canvassed the whole of the county before the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had made the declaration so much referred to, when almost every tenant on the property of Lord Kenmare had promised their votes for him. He would ask, was the Knight of Kerry first rejected in 1835?—was he not rejected in 1831 and 1833? It was because an independent and enlightened constituency had seen that he who had formerly advocated their interests, did so no longer, but had joined their bitterest enemies. He did not disapprove of the private character of the Knight of Kerry as a gentleman and a Magistrate, apart from his politics. But his principles in 1831 differed from his former principles, and they were called up in judgment against him. When the Knight of Kerry advocated principles different from those of his constituents, they had a right to change their opinions.
The Motion, withdrawing the part objected to, was agreed to.
Source: UK Parliament