Principally consisting of
Passages from the Evidence of Witnesses
Summoned for the
Inculpation of those Societies
Roake and Varty, 31, Strand.
The “Edinburgh Review” for January last contains an article on the subject of Orange Lodges, which honestly confesses that it is not a representation of the arguments on the question respecting these societies, but a statement of the case against them. “It may be objected,” observes the writer, with a great deal of naiveté, “that our instances of misconduct have been taken more from the Orange than the Catholic side of the question. Undoubtedly they have; for the point at issue is not, whether the Catholic has done wrong, but whether the Orangeman has done right.” “Nay, more, admit all the recriminations against the Catholics for violent obstruction of Orange processions, for severe and often savage retaliation of wrongs, for party-spirit in the witness-box, and, (they seldom reach the jury or the bench,) and for the secret working of their ribbon societies—yet, if proved to the fullest extent, to what do all these charges amount? They make out no case or excuse for the existence of Orangeism. On the contrary, these offences of the Catholics are the necessary consequences of the Orange insults and outrages. Thus, the heavier the charges which the Orangemen substantiate against the Catholics, the stronger is the recoil upon themselves. Meanwhile, the law itself is to be reproached for not putting both down.”
There is in the above passage an apparent candour, and, at the same time, a well-ordered confusion, by which the unwary reader may be beguiled. The spirit and design of the article in which it is found were too evident to apprehend an increase of suspicion from a confession of the writer’s bias, and the full and ready acknowledgment of outrages committed by Roman Catholics was calculated to mislead attention from the matter of real consequence, namely, the order of time in which these offences were committed; and was made subsidiary to the conveying a false impression concerning it. The question at issue between the Orangemen and their adversaries is this—has the Orange institution improved the condition of Ireland, or has it promoted disorder? On its behalf it is alleged, that intimidation, and violence, and organised treason, and a weak government, created a necessity for the Orange confederation, of which the result has been, wherever Orangeism prevails, security and peace. It is confessed, that all such confederations are evil, if they are unnecessary; and it is accordingly contended, that, without considering “whether the Catholic has done wrong,” it is impossible to pronounce “whether the Orangeman has done right.” The argument of the reviewer, which omits all consideration of the former question, and which, as the editor of the “Standard” has well observed, if admissible, would deprive the warriors at Salamis and Marathon of their renown, and class them with murderers and robbers, will be confessed, it is presumed, imperfect. It is not the charge of a judge, but the case of an advocate, and should be read with the protecting remembrance that there is a case on the other side, of which, confessedly, it takes no notice.
But, regarding the review in no more exalted rank than as the statement of a partisan, it is liable to some grave animadversions. The allegations of the writer, and the testimony of the witnesses he adduces, demand correction; and although the task of tracing out inaccuracies and misrepresentations, as they occur in the review, must have, of necessity, a desultory appearance, the convenience of following out, to some extent, an order with which, in all probability, the reader is familiar, may compensate the unavoidable irregularity.
The second sentence in the review contains a very material, and, under the circumstances, a most suspicious misrepresentation. It professes to describe the constitution of the Committee, which, it says, “consisted of twenty-seven members, of whom thirteen were Conservatives, one or two Neutrals, and the remainder Liberals.” This is incorrect. The Committee consisted of fourteen Liberals, five Roman Catholics allowing themselves to be placed among them, one, Sir James Graham, a Conservative Whig, whose hostility to the Orange institution was well understood, and twelve Conservatives, whose opinions on the subject into which they were to inquire were, for the most part, unknown. The misstatement, however, of which the Reviewer has been guilty, is of a less ambiguous character than a false representation of an honourable member’s opinions. It is no less than the false assertion, that Col. Werner, whose exclusion, at the dictation of Mr. Sheil, was notorious, and ought not to be forgotten, was a member of the Committee.
This incorrect statement is not an ordinary inadvertency. The Reviewer challenges attention to his accuracy, affirming that he has “been thus exact in his analysis of the two Committees, &c. &c. because in a report of the Irish Grand Lodge there are some violent reflections on them, and more especially on that for Ireland.” When, in a case where accuracy was rendered so especially necessary, and is so boastfully paraded, a grave charge is answered by what is, whether wilful or inadvertent, a direct falsehood, it is surely not irrational to distrust the writer of it, and to examine all his statements with more caution than would be demanded by those of one less boastful of his exactness. Nor does the falsehood respecting Col. Werner stand alone. It has a companion, in a statement respecting Mr. Maxwell, M.P. for Cavan, in which, as a confirmation of the assertion, that the Orangemen were allowed to reply, it is said that the Committee “closed its labours by the examination of Henry Maxwell, Esq., Grand Secretary to the Institution, who thinks fit to make these loose assertions.” This is not the truth. The Committee closed its labours by examining, on the 6th of August, Daniel O’Connell, Esq. Thus, in the first two pages of the review, the reader is offended by two direct falsehoods. Had they occurred where the temptation to commit them was not evident, or where the inadvertency which might account for them was acknowledged, they might be classed among grave although not inexcusable errors; but where they are resorted to as the answers by which charges of partiality are to be met, and where respect is challenged for them by a boastful profession of accuracy, they naturally give rise to suspicions which ought not lightly to be dismissed. They prove, indeed, that in one or other of his assertions, the reviewer must either have been the victim of a most criminal self-complacency, or else the asserter of a deliberate untruth. If he was, as he boasts, exact, he knew that Col. Werner was not on the Committee—that Mr. Maxwell was not the last witness examined. If he did not know this, he could not have been “exact,” for the knowledge was most easily attained. On either hypothesis he uttered that which was untrue. The first charge which the Reviewer endeavours to establish against the Orange Society is opened in the third page of the article, by the introduction of the witness whose testimony is to confirm the accusation. This witness is “Mr. Christie, a member of the Society of Friends, who appears to have passed sixty or seventy years on his property, as quietly as a man may in the neighbourhood of such violent neighbours.”
Mr. Christie’s evidence is adduced for the purpose of making out a case against the Orangemen, as if they had at their first institution been guilty of excesses and outrages against the Roman Catholics. It was said that many Roman Catholics were driven out of Armagh—their houses burned—their lives threatened, &c., and the guilt of these crimes it is desirable to brand upon the Orangemen. Mr. Christie is called in to assist the honourable endeavour. After the flattering introduction already quoted, in which he is presented to the reader, his evidence is cited, thus, “He says (5573) he heard sometimes of twelve or fourteen Catholic houses wrecked in a night, and some destroyed.” (5570.) “That this commenced in the neighbourhood of Church Hill,” &c. After quoting, at some length, from answer 5570, the Reviewer continues the citation into answer 5575, passing by answer 5574 as unworthy of being noticed. It is remarkable that one sentence in 5570 is overlooked with equal carefulness, and that it is a sentence of the same meaning as the omitted answer, 5574. The one is, (5574) “The spring of 1795 was the worst, but it did not end there, it continued much longer.” The other (5570) commences with the following clause, which the Reviewer omits. The question is, “Will you state what you recollect of the outrages that were then committed?–It commenced in 1794, but the greatest depredation was committed in the spring of 1795.” This the Reviewer has omitted. The importance and object of the omission may readily be understood from the citation of evidence by which it is immediately followed.
“The state of the country, soon after the formation of these societies, is faithfully described in an address which the late Lord Gosford, as governor of Armagh, submitted to all the leading magistrates of the county.” Mr. Christie’s evidence proved that the state of the country, which Lord Gosford described, had been realised, not soon after, but some time before, “the formation of these societies,” the concurrent testimony of all witnesses and historians affirming, as Lord Gosford does, to the best of his recollection, that the first Orange lodge was formed in the September of 1795; and Mr. Christie declaring, that, six months previously, in the spring of that year, the outrages, which, he says, commenced in 1794, had reached their height. If the Reviewer had, in his own person, offended by the suggestio falsi which added Col. Verner to the Committee, he was not less an offender in the person of Mr. Christie, by that “suppressio veri,” which was calculated so effectually to cause a confusion in the chronology of party offences and outrage.
A single consideration will show the importance of attending to chronological order in the history of the northern disturbances. The outrages of the Defenders, whose organization, as Wolfe Tone testifies, embraced “the whole peasantry of Ireland, being Catholics,” had become so fearful during the years 1791, 1792, as to engage the attention of a Parliamentary Committee which sat in 1793, and to call forth, in the same year, a severe pastoral letter from Dr. Troy, at that time a Roman Catholic Archbishop in Dublin. Mr. Christie’s testimony, that the Peep-o’-Day boys “began in the county of Armagh, about the latter end of 1794, and the commencement of 1795,” would have proved, if it were worth anything, that the Protestant organization was the offspring of peril and sore necessity. It is difficult to imagine an honest reason for its suppression.
The fourth page of the Review contains extracts from Lord Gosford’s address to the Armagh magistrates, and an insinuation that the outrages it complained of were butable to the Orange Societies. The extracts from the speech are disingenuous—the insinuation groundless and unfair. The speech of the noble Lord, as it appears in the evidence, might fairly be considered the manifesto of the Orange institution, and appears to have had the countenance and approval of the framers of that system—the outrages so strongly condemned were those which the establishment of Orangeism encouraged the noble Lord to stigmatize by enabling him to suppress. The Reviewer admits, “respecting the objects of the Orange institution, &c. &c. that nothing can be apparently more humane, tolerant, moral, and praiseworthy.” It is therefore plain that Orangemen, professedly at least, would condemn all outrage committed on those whose sole offence was their profession of the Roman Catholic religion. Such outrages, indeed, it appears they did condemn in word and in act. But while condemning all religious intolerance, they strenuously asserted Protestant ascendancy. Lord Gosford, in his speech as recorded in evidence, cordially coincided in opinion with them on this topic, although the Reviewer has carefully abstained from citing it. “I will never consent,” said his Lordship, “to make a surrender of Protestant ascendancy to Catholic claims, with whatever menaces they may be urged, or however speciously or invidiously supported.” Thus does the noble Lord identify himself with the Orange institution in principle;—and appearing, as he does, supported by the individuals to whose care it may be said that institution owes its existence, it is impossible to suppose that in an address in which Orangemen are not once named, he could have imputed to them the evils which they rendered him so signal service in correcting. It is idle to dwell on this subject at greater length. The witnesses summoned by Mr. Finn before the late Committee, including the present Earl of Gosford, established the truth that Armagh had been for some years before the institution of Orangeism in a state of the wildest disorder, abandoned to the excesses of contending parties, and forsaken by law. The noble Lord’s speech describes its condition; the subsequent history of Armagh is the panegyric of Orangeism.
But Mr. Christie has endeavoured to confound Orangemen with the Peep-o’-day boys, to whom outrages have been attributed. “After this wrecking, and the Catholics were driven out, what was called the Break-o’-day boys merged into Orangemen; they passed from the one to the other, and the gentlemen in the county procured what they termed their Orange warrants to enable them to assemble legally, as they termed it. The name dropped, and Orangeism succeeded to Break-o’-day men.” If this witness’s conjectural testimony— for that of the Peep-o’-day boys having become Orangemen can be little more—have no greater authority than his evidence upon matters where knowledge was more easily attainable, it is indeed of no great value. To the question, (5608,) “Why were they called Peep-o’-day boys?” Mr. Christie gives the following extraordinary answer: “I do not know, except that they disappeared at the break of day, and only appeared at might.” Nothing has been more fully ascertained respecting the northern feuds than that the fact was directly the reverse of the witness’s explanation. The Defenders, and the Peepo’-day boys, divided night and morning between them, the Defenders taking that portion for their atrocities which Mr. Christie assigns to their adversaries. It has also been established* that the original Orangemen consisted almost, if not altogether, exclusively, of members of the Church of England, the Peep-o’-day boys of Dissenters. If Mr. Christie is to be understood as affirming, that, in the year 1798, many who had been Peep-o’-day boys joined the Orange society, his testimony may be correct;—if it should be said that they joined in 1795, it would be contrary to truth. Of the Peep-o’day boys, according to one of Mr. Finn’s witnesses, Mr. Sinclair says, (5169,) “I know very many became United Irishmen.” Of the Peep-o’-day boys, Randal Kernan, Esq., another of Mr. Finn’s witnesses affirms, (7504,) “I believe they were Catholics.” Mr. Kernan was betrayed into a very natural mistake arising out of the fraternization which had been effected between the Peep-o’-day boys and the organized Roman Catholics, and United Irishmen. Nothing is more easy of proof than that Mr. Christie’s ignorance of the habits of the Peep-o’-day boys is not grosser than his misrepresentation should be considered, if it were his design to assert that they composed the original Orange Society. This, indeed, the Reviewer does not directly affirm. He leaves it to be inferred, and is chargeable with little less than deliberate falsification, inasmuch as he overlooks so very important portions of Mr. Christie’s testimony, and suppresses that part of Lord Gosford’s evidence in which he disclaimed all applications to the Orange body of the censures in his father’s speech, and declared (3663) that “there would be great inconsistency” in so applying them.
Thus by the testimony produced against the Orangemen, they are acquitted of participation in the offences of the factions, by which, at the time of their institution, the country had been disturbed, and relieved from the imputation unjustly cast upon them in Lord Gosford’s address. It remains now to see whether the charges enterprised against them, because of occurrences in more recent times, have been better established. They have been accused of disturbing the peace of the country, of biassing unfairly the administration of justice, and of infringing the rules of military discipline. Each of these topics will demand a separate, but a brief notice.
*See Lord Gosford’s evidence. (3655.)
Peacefulness and Security.
The superiority of Ulster over other parts of Ireland has been so fully admitted by witnesses produced against the Orange Institution, that it would be an unnecessary tediousness to insist at any length upon their admission. The history of Ulster, written and traditional, has been ransacked for forty years, with a view to discover crimes and grievances, and the result has been, as against Orangemen, hear-say reports of fewer homicides than, it is said, are ordinarily perpetrated in a single county, within a little month of what his Majesty’s government proclaim, with boast and thanksgiving, as the tranquillity of the south of Ireland. On the other hand, however, it is contended that the general peacefulness of Ulster has been disturbed by manifestations of party feeling, instanced in acts of civil disobedience and military insubordination. And here it is to be observed, the Edinburgh Reviewer does not degenerate from his usual disingenuousness. He recites “the opinion of the Orange Lodge, that under existing laws, processions in 1830 were illegal.” He observes that there were processions in 1831, and asks, was this because “the Orangemen conceived the change of government in 1830, released them from their resolution to obey the law.” To this question he professes his inability to give an answer. It is very difficult to imagine that he was ignorant of the change in the law itself, and unacquainted with the frequently repeated declarations of Orangemen, that, had the Irish Government endeavoured to prevent all processions, they would have been conformable to its will, but that while processions of Ribbonmen were encouraged or connived at, they would avail themselves of all power the law left them, to keep up by public displays the spirit and strength of their party.
But, to come to the point, the Review asserts that Orangemen have, in their processions, offered resistance to the laws; and produces, in proof, a formidable show of witnesses. Two Lords Lieutenant of counties, two Justices of the Peace, a Stipendiary Magistrate, an Inspector of the Police, a Chief Constable, a Physician, and a “Quaker, who lived” as the Review says, “for sixty years quietly on his own property,” are called upon to make complaint of Orange refractoriness in the matter of public processions.
“Earl of Gosford, Lord Lieutenant of the county Armagh.
3716. Does your Lordship think it is the practice of the Orange body generally to violate the law?—In many instances.
3717. Will your Lordship have the goodness to particularize an instance in which you have heard of Orangemen violating the law?—Several instances under the Procession Act, where magistrates had urged upon them to disperse and go home, and had represented to them the illegality of what they were doing, and that they had resisted such representations from the magistracy; I mentioned the case yesterday that the magistracy found a large body of armed men at Keady; they were called upon to disperse; they did not disperse, and he said if he had attempted to disperse them by force, even with three companies of foot and a troop of dragoons, bloodshed would have ensued, and that he did not choose to subject the country to the consequences.”
It appears by the evidence to which the noble Lord refers that there is either a contradiction or a very perplexing confusion in his statements according to the testimony given on the preceding day, the party at Keady was actually dispersed. Question 3485. “Were they dispersed?—Yes.”
But to proceed:—“3718. Those were the instances of disobedience to the laws you had in view when you gave that evidence yesterday?–Those were the instances which came immediately to my recollection; but I have no doubt that they have acted in many instances with due obedience to the laws, one would suppose they ought to do so always from the rules laid down for their guidance.
3719. Can your Lordship mention any other instances?— Indeed I cannot, taken by surprise in this way. I believe there are several instances that Orangemen themselves have admitted, &c.”
Why the noble Lord considered himself “taken by surprise” when asked the very question for which, above all others, the Lieutenant of Armagh ought to have been prepared, he would perhaps have accounted for, had an explanation been solicited. His Lordship not having explained, has transferred his “surprise” to the reader of his depositions, who finds, that the general charge against the Orangemen Lord Gosford confessed himself able to bring home and particularize in but one solitary instance, and that, an instance in which the noble Lord is found to have broadly and directly contradicted his own testimony. That the Orangemen are not lawless, his Lordship has borne ample testimony. “I am not,” he says (3936,) “against the Orangemen of the country, for I think they are a very fine race of men as can be, a set of people that would do credit to any country; but when they band themselves into political associations, it is those associations that I am opposed to, as being injurious to the peace and tranquillity of the country; but I am not against the men, I wish their eyes to be opened, and that they should do what is best for their interests.” Here is a clear and strong testimony to the individual worth of the Orangemen, but a censure upon their associations, as “injurious to the peace and tranquillity of the country.” Has the noble Lord proved it to be so He was asked to compare the Orange county Armagh with places where Orangeism is almost unknown;– with a time when it was unknown in Armagh. Here are the questions and answers.
3604. “Is your Lordship aware that at the period before the existence of Orangeism, the county of Armagh was one of the most disturbed in Ireland, in which there were as many outrages perpetrated as in any part of Ireland?—The county of Armagh was. I may say the north of Ireland was not in that state of tranquillity that the south was in at that period.
3603. “The counties of Kilkenny and Tipperary, where there are few Orangemen, have been more disturbed than the county of Armagh, where thereare so many Orangemen?—Decidedly; they have been more disturbed. I must here observe, that I think the county of Armagh is a very peaceable and quiet county, and is disturbed only by those party feuds; put a stop to them, and I believe the county of Armagh would be as quiet as any.” Every body will admit that it is desirable to put a stop to party feuds; the question of moment is, how shall the good purpose be accomplished? Lord Gosford says, that when Orangeism did not exist, Armagh was grievously disordered; that where Orangeism may be said not to exist disorder now prevails; and that where Orangeism is strong there is tranquillity, disturbed, it is true, occasionally, by manifestations of party spirit; but of these, as arising out of processions and tending to criminate the Orangemen, his Lordship has been able, after the experience of forty years to particularise but a single instance—an instance too, of which he retains only indistinct and conflicting remembrance.
The Earl of Caledon, Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone,
Is introduced by the Review, as one “who from his Tory politics might be supposed to have a leaning towards the Orangemen.” Why “from his Tory politics?” The Orange is preeminently a Whig institution—meeting Toryism at the point at which the noble Lord receded from it. The Toryism of modern times and Orangeism might be said to have coincided in one particular—the maintenance of the Protestant religion;— that is to say, they met on the common ground of an old Whig principle. But that which Orangemen held as an essential was only an accident of Toryism. Lord Caledon and the Orangemen differed on the only matter in which the Tories agreed with them, and it is very well known that there were no Protestants from whom they encountered more active hostility than from the “liberal” among the Tories. Had his Lordship been introduced as a “liberal” Tory whose son had contested the representation of the county of Tyrone at the last general election, and had been defeated, because, although the Orangemen were not unanimous, their influence greatly preponderated in favour of Lord Claude Hamilton, the Reviewer would have consulted better for truth and candour. It is not intended to insinuate that the noble Lord was influenced by pique or by any unworthy motive. The object is not to disparage the testimony of the witness, but to expose the spirit and bias of the Reviewer.
5419. “An Orange procession,” his Lordship states, “took place on the 27th April, 1832; on that occasion they entered the town of Dungannon, carrying twenty-four stand of colours, and having three bands playing ‘Protestant boys; in consequence of that procession a riot took place, in which a Roman Catholic was wounded.”
5431. “The next time on which I had occasion to notice an Orange procession, was in August 1832; it seems on that occasion there was a procession which was attended by two magistrates, but it led to no breach of the peace.”
5437. “There appears to have been Orange processions again on the 12th July, 1833, in the county of Tyrone, but no riots ensued. The next occasion on which there appears to have been an Orange procession was the 5th November, 1833; it was dispersed without the least riot or disturbance; it was an affair of small consequence in itself, and which I should not have noticed had I not been directed to mention all that occurred. The next occasion was that of the 1st July, 1834, when it appears that an Orange arch was erected in the town of Dungannon, and that the police interfered and took it down under the direction of Mr. Strong, a magistrate. There seems to have been some disturbance, but nothing very material occurred.”
5490. “I look upon it there is no law which prevents the erection of an Orange arch, unless the magistrates take the unusual course of applying a clause in the Road Act, by which the parties erecting it can be fined for committing a nuisance.”
5491. “I also conceive that even if an Orange arch should be considered illegal, under the Road Act, still there is no law whatever against forming an arch from window to window in the street. I therefore think the law defective, and that magistrates have not the power they ought to have.”
5446. The next occasion was on the 19th December, 1834.
5520. A great part of those meetings to which your Lordship has alluded, it appears, from the construction you put upon the Procession Act, were not contrary to law I conceive those on the 5th November and the 12th July, were contrary to the Act.”
5474. “With the exception of occasional interruptions from party assemblages, I think it (the county of Tyrone) uncommonly tranquil.”
5519. “No insurrection Act has been in force in the county of Tyrone, or in any neighbouring county, within the last thirty years.”
When Lord Caledon, after expressing his disapprobation of the Orange system and processions, had thus acknowledged the tranquillity of the country in which they prevailed—he was asked the following very extraordinary question.
5448. “In fact from the state of the county of Tyrone, you are not aware of any circumstances which called for the formation of Orange lodges, in order to preserve the peace of the country?” His Lordship very naturally replies—“Certainly not.” It is difficult to find a better illustration for the coolness of this naive query—than that somewhat ludicrous piece of philosophy in the Irish song, which teaches that—
“—the sun only shines in the day, which by nature
Wants no light at all—as you all may remark.”
Tyrone, which, according to the Report of the Parliamentary Committees in 1798, had been represented, in a Memoir addressed by the Insurgent Directory to France, as one of the three counties* from which, in the event of a descent upon the northern coast, the readiest and most efficient aid was to be expected, which, independently of the Defender system—a system embracing almost all its Roman Catholic population— could boast in its returns to the provincial government of being fourth as to the numbers of its organized United Irishmen,** became, in this state of disaffection, inoculated with Orangeism. It was restored to tranquillity and has remained tranquil since, and it is now generally taken for granted, that the tranquillity owes nothing to the Orange system except the disorders by which it is occasionally ruffled. The opinions of Lord Caledon on the subject deserve to be recited. They seem a little too theoretical and abstract, but they are candidly and dispassionately stated.
5496. “Your Lordship is doubtless aware that one of the ostensible objects of the Orange system is to provide for the security of Protestants en masse against the great body of the Roman Catholics in Ireland?—I believe it is, but I consider every subject of these realms is bound to look to the laws of his country exclusively for protection in all cases, and I consider it most dangerous to inculcate upon the population of the empire that it is unsafe for them to do so. I not only object to the formation of all party associations on these grounds, but likewise from their tendency to give individuals a power and influence unknown to the constitution.”
5497. “Has your Lordship never heard that it was considered expedient that some such association should exist in order to guard against the designs of persons who might be disposed to disunite the Protestants in the north, as they were disunited when the Defenders and Peep-o’-day boys were in existence? I have no doubt that such was the object of the Protestants who united, and that their intentions were good.”
*“It states Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Monaghan, as among the least affected to the cause.”—App. 3, to Rep. 1798.
**Report, Sel. Com. 1797.
The theory of Lord Caledon is excellent—it is indeed that of the British constitution. Where that constitution and the attendant circumstances are in harmony, it should be respected —but would the noble Lord, on reflection, affirm that it should have authority in Ireland? Such a theory has not protected Protestant ministers from the excommunication of British Assurance offices; it has no power to mitigate the fell purposes of Irish Ribbonmen. Lord Caledon was wrong when he called it forth to disarm the caution of the threatened and persecuted Protestants of his country, and to estrange them from that confederation to which, under God, their safety in difficult seasons should mainly be attributed.
From the Earl Caledon the transition is, indeed, somewhat violent to Mr. Christie, the Quaker, “who lived on his — property;” but it must be made. The Review boldly confronts him with a gentleman of high character and honourable station in Ireland; “Col. W. Blacker,” formerly Grand Master of the County of Armagh, distinctly stated to the Committee, (Irish Report, 8975 to 77,) that from the first Orange procession in 1796 until the night of the last 12th of July, the country was never so quiet as upon those procession nights, and that the men who are loose in their conduct for all the rest of the year are steady then. This startling assertion was as stoutly met by Mr. Christie, the Quaker, who declares, (Irish Report, 5690,)–(an extraordinary kind of meeting, where the parties are more than three thousand questions asunder; but, as the reviewer very properly notices, it is in an Irish Report,) “that there has scarcely been a 12th of July, to the best of his recollection, in any year from the commencement of Orangeism till now, when a breach of the peace has not occurred, and frequently lives have been lost in consequence of processions.” Here the Reviewer would have his readers understand there is a contradiction— and yet the matter is not quite so clear. Col. Blacker does not appear to have answered for any but Orangemen when he spoke of the steadiness and good conduct exhibited on procession days. Mr. Christie seems cautiously to abstain from declaring where the blame of disorder should be visited. Orangemen might be patient and forbearing, according to Col. Blacker; and their processions might be occasions of tumult, and lives lost at them, according to Mr. Christie. It is necessary only to suppose Orangemen the sufferers, and the seemingly conflicting testimonies are reconciled. But the more probable hypothesis is that which the Review has adopted. Col. Blacker and Mr. Christie are at issue.*
One of the parties has uttered what is not the truth. Which?—Col. Blacker, a soldier, a gentleman, to whom the remotest suspicion of dishonour would be intolerable. Mr. Christie—but this gentlemen alone can do himself and his reputation justice. The Reviewer tells the reader that he lived for sixty or seventy years “on his own property”—the witness shall add that he contrived to live a little on his neighbour’s property also. The Reviewer tells that he lived as “quietly as man could live in such a neighbourhood”—the witness shall show how little reason there was to suppose Orangemen or Protestants, who were loyal, were likely to disturb the speculating neutral’s repose, by confessing to what purpose the shelter of his unarmed neutrality was abused. The Reviewer produces his Quaker as a passionless witness, who appears for justice sake—the Quaker shall describe himself as one who inflicted injuries on his poor neighbours, for which he was not likely to forgive them, who had exhibited himself in difficult times as of a character which promised any thing but impartiality to Orangemen; but—let him tell his own story.
*The solitary case of homicide adduced by Mr. Christie was of a Protestant.
First Report, page 390. Mr. James Christie.—“You stated that you live in the County Down, and that you live on your own property?”—“It has been my property since the year 1816; it was left by an uncle to my father during his life, and it was left to me in reversion. About two or three years before his death, he handed over the property to me.”
“Were you and your father ever bankrupts?”—“Yes.”
“In what year?”—“In the year 1815.”
“Were you instrumental in borrowing several sums of money from the neighbours?”—“I did.”
“Did you borrow 225l. of Mr. Nicholson?”—“I did.”
“One hundred pounds of Mr. Hayes?”—“Yes.”
“Did you borrow 70l. of Donald M“Ivor?”—“My father borrowed money of this man, which has been paid.” “Sixty pounds of John M“Culloch?” – “Yes—most of this money has been paid.”
“Twenty-eight pounds of David M’Culloch?”—“Yes; most of this sum has been paid.”
“Sixty pounds of Savage?”—“Yes, all has been paid, except about 15l.”
“One hundred pounds of Jonas Limas?”—“Yes.”
“Two hundred and fifty pounds of Thomas Kelly?”—“Yes.”
“Subsequent to that you and your father became bankirupts?”—“Yes.”
“And two years after this you were in possession of your estate again?”—“Yes.”
“Did you never hear it stated, or did you ever suppose that your unpopularity was occasioned, in a great measure, in consequence of this transaction?”—“I never heard of my being unpopular in the country,” &c. &c.
“There is a statement which says that some of those poor people have not received one shilling of what they advanced, and consequently that you and your family have been subject to numberless insults?”—“There never was an insult offered to me upon that ground, or to my family,” &c. &c. &c.
“Do you remember about the year 1797 that there were not only Orangemen or Peep-o’-day boys, and Defenders, but a great many United Irishmen?”—“I do, very well.”
“Was a man that fled from the battle of Ballynahinch, a United Irishman, concealed in your hay-loft for a month?”—“I believe not; he was not from the battle of Ballynahinch. I never heard that a man was concealed at all, till two years after it happened. I understood that he was a deserter from Blaris, for being concerned in the United Irishmen’s business, and the first information we received of it was two years afterwards, that that man had been secreted in our hay-loft till some pains were taken to convey him out of the country, but it did not come to our knowledge till two years after the circumstance took place; they thought it the likeliest place that he would not be searched for, and we, not interfering in politics in any way, thought it the best plan to conceal him, and I understood that he was concealed, and have little doubt that he was; he was a soldier, and a man in the militia, and having told his situation to a Roman Catholic, I understood that he brought him tomy father’s hay-loft, and concealed him.”
Such is the explanation vouchsafed by Mr. Christie of statements directly affecting his personal honesty, conveying an indirect imputation of political guilt. When it is remembered that no opportunity was given of advancing and establishing the charges against him—remembered also, that he did not, as an injured man might very well be expected to do, call upon his accusers, and dare them to the proof; but, on the contrary, admitted that the statements against him were substantially true—that he had borrowed money under circumstances very disgraceful—that his out-houses were selected by traitors, as affording to them secure concealment— that those who most frequented his house were individuale of whom traitors need not be afraid;—when this appears on his own showing, and those who summoned him to give evidence took care that what he would not himself confess, no other should be permitted to testify against him, his evidence can do little more than show the nature of that case which is constrained to have recourse to it. What reliance the Reviewer must have had on the indisposition of his readers to judge for themselves—or what reliance must he have had on the brief from which he was himself to frame his charge, when he could think of offering this “liberal” and bankrupt Quaker, living on his own property, and taking care that his own Protestant neighbours should not live on theirs, to refute the testimony of a man like Col. Blacker.
Dr. Mullen, a physician, of Drumshaughlin, in the county of Meath.
(Irish Report, No. 3, p. 1, 2,) states “that a body of two hundred armed Orangemen from the neighbouring counties, marched into Trim, two and two abreast, on the first day of the poll. They were headed by a clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Preston of Kilmeague.” Dr. Mullen was here asked had the Rev. Gentleman a crucifix in his hand? “No, he had a pistol in his hand.” This witness’s evidence would reward a little scrutiny if it could be afforded. He sets out very boldly in responses, probably, to friendly examiners.
6088. Did you, at the last election at Trim, see any body of Orangemen?—I did, there were about two hundred Orangemen attended at Trim, during the last election. 6090. Did they march in a body?—They marched two and two, I believe all armed, some with pistols, some with daggers, &c. &c.
6100. Who was at the head of these Orangemen?—The Rev. Mr. Preston of Kilmeague, in the county of Kildare, marched at the head of a party of them, and he was pointed out to me.
6101. Had he a crucifix in his hand?—No, he had a pistol in his hand. Thus far, one would say, Dr. Mullen describes a procession of two hundred men marching in military array, headed by a clergyman with a pistol in his hand; altogether a menacing and an unseemly spectacle. The aspect of affairs becomes a little changed. Perhaps the examiner was changed.
6115. Did you see the clergyman himself in particular armed?—I did see him exhibit his pistol.
6116. Under what circumstances did he show his firearms?—Not in a threatening manner; I think they had a wish to show that they were armed.
6117. Under what circumstances did he show his firearms?—I was standing at the court-house door; he was coming down the street, and I saw him take out his pistol and put it back again.
So much for the display of arms—now for the necessity.
6278. Perhaps you have heard of Protestant gentlemen carrying arms in self-defence, when they have gone to Meath for hunting?—It has become the general practice among Protestant gentlemen in Meath.
To be armed then during the conflict of a contested election there, could not be mere matter of parade?—Was there any other offensive ostentation?
6127. Had any of them orange ribbons?—I did not see any.
6128. Had they any music?—No. 6129. No colours or flags?—No. There are more changes, may it be said, more wonders?
6195. The only party I saw enter the Town was on the first day of the poll.
6196. Was that the party headed by Mr. Preston?—No!!!
6197. How many were in the body you yourself saw?—Between forty and fifty.
This needs no comment, nor does the Reviewer’s statement respecting a trial at the assizes of the county of Meath. The speech of Mr. Plunkett, in the late session of Parliament, in the debate on Orange Societies, would have instructed him. To overlook it was not creditable.
So much for unofficial witnesses of Orange procession. The witnesses bearing authority now claim attention, the individuals who testify not only what they have seen but what they have been concerned in. They are, as the Reviewer has selected them, a chief constable, an inspector of police, a stipendiary magistrate, and two justices of peace.
Chief constable, Captain David Duff
“Reported to Sir William Gosset, a procession of not less than 8,000 or 9000,” “headed by several persons of respectability.” One more instance and we have done. It is furnished by an affidavit taken on the 27th April 1832: “County Tyrone to wit. The depositions of David Duff, chief constable of police, stationed at Dungannon, county of Tyrone, who, being duly sworn, deposeth, and saith, that about the hour of 12 o’clock on Friday the 27th April, he saw a body of Orangemen, from four to five thousand in number, march into the town of Dungannon, having with them twenty-four stand of colours, their band playing the following tunes: viz. ‘the Protestant boys, “the Boyne water, and “Croppies lie down. He saw two pistols carried and discharged by two individuals (unknown) of said procession. Deponent observed marching in front of such procession, Col. Werner and Mr. Grier, magistrates of the county of Tyrone, both decorated with Orange and purple,” &c. Let Captain Duff now speak for himself.
8048. In your report to Lord Caledon, did you state that Col. Verner and Mr. Grier were at the head of the procession?—I have got the report of Lord Caledon.
8049. It is a report to Lord Caledon of the Orange procession in Dungannon, headed by Col. Werner and others. Dungannon, 28th April 1832.
8050. Does that report differ in any respect from the report forwarded to the government?–No, it is not so detailed, but the substance is the same. After making the statement already cited in the affidavit, the report proceeds, “As the procession marched round the town in the order before described, some irritating language was made use of towards them by four or five Roman Catholics, on which a riot ensued; the Roman Catholics retreated, and when on the retreat, two or three shots were fired on them by the Orangemen, one of which took effect and broke the left arm close to the elbow, of a man named Peter Tully, a Roman Catholic.”
This is the case of riot to which Lord Caledon has adverted. It is impossible to understand it otherwise than of Captain Duff’s having seen Col. Werner heading the procession into the town of Dungannon, and conducting it even at the time of the unhappy riot. When it is taken into account that Col. Werner denied the truth of the entire statement, a single reply from Captain Duff will be as much, perhaps, as the reader can endure on this disagreeable subject.
8345. Was there any riot that you heard of after Colonel Werner had joined the Orangemen upon that occasion?—No, I do not recollect hearing of any after Col. Verner joined. It was stated to me that Col. Verner was present when this affray took place, and that he used some exertion, by cutting some men with a whip to keep them off, but I do not know of my own knowledge.
How the contradictions in the preceding answer are to be reconciled, or what the witness would wish to have believed, cannot easily be comprehended. How he can recollect that “it was stated to him that Col. Werner was with the Orangemen when the riot occured, and cannot recollect hearing the same thing, it is not for men of ordinary intellect to understand. It may be suffered to remain among the things unknowable. Captain Duff appears to be not less peremptory in command than he is perplexing in reports and explanations. In reference to an Orange arch in the town of Dungannon to which Lord Caledon alluded, Captain Duff’s statement is as follows:
8321. You stated yesterday that you would have taken down the arch in Dungannon, in 1830, at the risk of your life?—Decidedly; I should consider myself unfit for my situation if I would not do so.
8322. Are you aware that that was previous to the Act against processions?—I do not understand the Acts, and I have not the order with me now; but I was ordered to take down all party and triumphal badges, and in obedience to that order, I said, “Gentlemen, there is my order, and that I will go through with.”
8324. You stated that the magistrates, with the exception of one, came to the resolution not to interfere?—They did.
8325. Did you hear that that individual said that he would have placed a gun at the end of the street, and made a lane through the crowd?—I did not hear it, but M myself recommended it to the Magistrates, &c.
8326. Did not the crowd consist of men, women and children?—It consisted of all sorts. I do not know whether there were women and children about the crowd, but there were in the houses and in the streets.”
Are we men, that we can read this unmoved? By reference to the testimony of the witness on the preceding day, it appears (7830) that six out of seven magistrates prohibited an attempt, which they felt must have been attended by sanguinary consequences. By reference to the evidence of the Lieutenant of the county, it appears that the attempt would have been illegal.
Question 8322, intimates that whatever shadow of defence the law has since cast upon it, at that time, because the Procession Act had not yet passed, it had none. And with all this before his eyes, and confessing himself totally ignorant of the law, the witness urged the expediency (8325,) of ordering out “Captain Sabine with a gun;” proposed to perform an act which involved the massacre of multitudes of men, women, and children; and (7830) expressed a truculent regret that he could not gratify his thirst of revenge, or his veneraation of arbitrary power, by an indiscriminate slaughter. What a fearful thing it is to entrust power to the keeping of men who have no sense of Christian responsibility | What a state of things for Protestants in Ireland to learn that one to whom the arbitration of their lives and deaths may frequently be assigned, lifted up his voice before a council of the British nation to boast that he would evecute an illegal order, although at an expense of human life, not to be calculated or to be thought of without dismay, and to learn that he passed forth from the council unrebuked, and is placed where again he may be an instrument of power, and where, perhaps, his purpose of destruction may not be as it once was, resisted.
Sir Frederick Stoven.
Of a county meeting in Dungannon the Reviewer writes thus:—“But we must do Lord Caledon the justice to say, that he expressed his displeasure at the Orange exhibitions. Still he, as lord lieutenant, continued at the meeting, although these processions were parading before his face. Sir Frederick Stoven declared, (4576,) that it was the most disgraceful thing he ever saw. He himself was shot at; and a week after, the wife of Captain Duff discovered a notice that had been left in her prayer-book at church, previous to the meeting, warning her that her husband’s and Sir Frederick Stoven’s lives would be attempted.” Here are three positive assertions—that Sir Frederick Stoven declared the meeting at Dungannon “the most disgraceful thing he had ever seen,” that “he was shot at,” and that “a threatening notice had been left in a prayer-book belonging to Mrs. Duff previously to the meeting.” Let Sir Frederick tell his own story. Thus he recites the attempted assassination.
4573. Two or three of the gentlemen called upon me, one of them a clergyman, with very strong opinions. I went to the gate with him, from which I could look down the street and they were hurraing and drinking at public-houses, and shots firing in all directions; and I walked up and down before my house, and certainly to my great surprise a shot came within a yard of me, close by my ear, and struck the house.
4576. I went to Mr. Murray, and said, “Why, Mr. Murray, you may call this keeping the peace of Dungannon, but I never saw any thing so bad in my life; I have just been shot at ; if you do not stop this firing, I think it is the most disgraceful thing I ever saw.” Since he said this, Sir Frederick has probably seen page 487 of the “Edinburgh Review” for January 1836.
4585. At the time of the meeting on the hustings I do not believe there were any shots firing; it was after the meeting terminated, in the afternoon.
4576. The following Sunday, a lady, the wife of the chief constable Mr. Duff, went to church; she had not been to church the previous Sunday, and when she opened the prayerbook, a paper dropped out, and she saw it was a curious sort of thing, and she gave it to Mr. Duff.
The truth, then, is plainly this. On a day when shots were firing in all directions, Sir F. Stoven thought that a bullet (which however he could not find, as it cannot be supposed he would have neglected to produce so valuable a testimony) struck his house—that he said such firing, if not checked “was disgraceful,” and thought also that a threatening notice which might have been introduced into a prayer-book after the meeting to increase Sir. F.’s suspicions, and widen the breach between the Protestants of Tyrone and him, had been placed there previously. Thus what the Reviewer states to be facts, as if he vouched them at his own peril, were only the conjectures of Sir Frederic Stoven—what he states as the declaration of Sir Frederic, employed to describe a meeting where Lord Caledon presided, the gallant officer had not uttered.
John Gore Jones, Esq.
“Mr. Jones,* a stipendiary magistrate, who has himself been an Orangeman, speaking of the Orange spirit in the districts where it is most prevalent, says—”Till I went to the north and became a calm observer, I had no idea of the ferocious spirit that exists there—it is most revolting to contemplate.” The Review does not condescend to state which of the contending or adverse parties was the subject of Mr. Gore Jones’s animadversion, or what were the outward acts by which the evil spirit was manifested. It appears, however, that Mr. Jones described the Orangeism of the north as of a more acrimonious character and temperament than that which he in foruer days had contributed to humanise and moderate. He is so good also as to describe the excesses in which the ferocity of the northern Orangemen displays itself.
* Review, p. 479.
“8449. You have been speaking of the extreme terrific violence that exists between both parties in that part of the north of Ireland, do you know what party, generally, had been the aggressor—the Orange party, or the Catholic party, or the Ribbon parties?—I have received information against both parties; I have punished both parties; but I should say that the Protestant party was the most insulting; I have never heard the others make use of insulting language. I have often been awoke at night by hearing the Orangemen cry in a drunken manner, “to hell with the Pope—to hell with Nanny!” which means (among the lower orders,) the Pope’s grandmother.”
Terrible, indeed! the Pope’s grandmother!! quite awful, Nanny not the Nanny of the song—not “Nanny, wilt thou gang with me”—but Nanny, the Pope’s grandmother. What a serenade for the meek and tolerant Stipendiary—for one who (8407) always cenceived the term papist offensive to Roman Catholics,—“who always (8408) preferred using a term the least hurtful to their feelings,” and who thinks (8409) “there is no religion but must be erroneous if it be not founded on perfect charity.” All this is as it should be—not so the serenade—it was offensive—but it was the song of the drunken, and probably sung to do honour to the suffering functionary.
The following eloquent passage is extracted not from the report of evidence, taken before a Parliamentary Committee, but from a speech spoken at a dinner in that Elysium or Utopia of amiable Orangeism, in which Mr. Jones delighted himself before his circumstances (84.20,) and the orders of the Government, banished him to Ulster. That speech was reported in the “Warder” newspaper of August 6, 1828. The following are extracts: “I cannot retain the mingled sentiments of contempt and pity which I feel towards the infatuated dupes of popery and priestcraft. The priests make their religion help their cause, and not their cause religion. Let me not be accused of bigotry when I assert, that so long as popery exists, a cloud of darkness will overspread the world”—and “Let us be resolute, steady, and determined now;-let ouractions equal our expressions—let no petty fears, or monkish liberality, or that hacknied term, conciliation, operate upon us more;—let no selfish policy, or fear, or base truckling for the sake of interest, ever again paralyse your arm, when you are called on to follow that standard on which is inscribed my toast, ‘The glorious, pious, and immortal memory,’” &c.
These passages are cited not for the purpose of discrediting the testimony of Mr. Jones respecting the Orangemen of his days of independence. They were not uttered at an Orange meeting; they appear to have been spoken at the dinner of a club—not Orange. They do not therefore discredit the report which Mr. Jones has given respecting the Orangeism of Sligo, but they seriously damage the testimony he so frankly delivered respecting himself. Perhaps the registries or records of the most intemperate meeting of the most acrimonious Orangemen in any part of Ireland contain nothing half so insolent-so intolerant, so contemptuous, uncharitable, and exasperating, as the speech from which they are extracted; and because some drunken Orangemen or individuals counterfeiting so to be, speak under the windows of this agitator who has left off trade and become transformed into a stipendiary; his chivalrous temper and watchful sensibilities take the alarm, and he sets up his challenge against the rude north, as the champion who demands good words on behalf of the insulted Pope, and Nanny his fascinating grandmother. Insulting language ought not to be used,—men should be compelled to abstain from it; but it is not men like Mr. Jones to whom the delicate commission of enforcing a severe and unequal law should be entrusted. The very appearance of such men often excites the violence they have to restrain.
Mr. J. Handcock, Esq.
Is a peace-maker of a more consistent character, if not of a less angry temperament. The Reviewer complains that the “liberal” Judge More discharged without punishment some individuals whose crime was that they had done what had been done for a long series of years as matter of honour, not shame or guilt, and against whom a verdict was sought less for vindictive purposes then to show that law had declared the honoured custom they had been guilty of observing an offence. But Mr. Handcock had justice, as the Review intimates, done him on another occasion, when a magistrate, for the crime of looking on at a bon-fire, where, unknown to him, his brother magistrate was burned in effigy, was deprived of his commission. The case of Mr. Handcock is worthy of observation.
It was sworn (9600) that this Mr. Handcock had displayed, conspicuously before the Orangemen on two different days, a green flag, exhibiting a harp without a crown, the emblem of separation from England, and a white cross.* Yet he is a magistrate, and the Review: censures Lord Claude
*This perhaps is the only instance in which the evidence of a party friendly to Orangeism is quoted, and it is taken only because Mr. Handcock himself admitted the fact in the following terms:—“I cannot recollect the day on which I sailed on the river Laggan with a green flag with a harp without a crown,” &c. &c.
“On the 12th of July last, after hearing party tunes played, and seeing arches with Orange colours across the streets of Lisburn, I dressed my boat with the union flag on the foremast, a green flag with a white cross, and a harp without a crown, on the after-mast, and a large green flag with a harp and crown in the centre, and the union in the upper corner on a flag-staff at the stern.—Letter to the Right Hon. Charles Grant, Lisburn, Nov. 3, 1821. Patriot.
Hamilton’s appointment, because he became an Orangeman. For the crime of being unconsciously present when Mr. Handcock was burned in effigy, the magistrate who thus seemed to be consenting to a brother’s dishonour is deprived of the commission of the peace. Mr Handcock addressed the Chancellor of Ireland, through his secretary, complaining thus—“Mr. Woodhouse is in fact a trading justice, making all the profit of his office he can, having little or no property; at the revision of the magistracy in Ireland, by Lord Manners, he was struck out of the commission; how he was afterwards reinstated can be easily accounted for.* Here was no unconscious consenting to a brother’s dishonour. Either Mr. Woodhouse was a trading justice or Mr. Handcock was a defamer. Both are still in the commission.
*Appendix to Third Report, p. 96.
Col. Blacker was visited by an Orange procession, the members of which he advised to obey the law, and they, in obedience to him, departed. Mr. Handcock confesses (8842) that he was guilty of striking a clergyman in the street, and although Sir Frederic Stoven dismissed a policeman because he was reported as having committed an assault, the open shame to which Mr. Handcock put himself, although known to his superiors, does not appear to have disqualified him, in their judgment, from discharging a duty which pre-eminently demands cool judgment, and a well-regulated temper. This case perhaps ought to be stated by Mr. Handcock himself.
8840. Had you any previous misunderstanding with Mr. Kent?—I had.
8841. State the nature of it?– The moment I heard I had been charged with this——before I go into the matter, I beg to state that I regret much that I should have allowed myself for a moment to be carried away and commit a breach of the peace, which, as a magistrate, it was unbecoming to do. I tendered an apology, which was refused; I could do no more; for fear of trusting myself with the explanation, I wrote to a person who was present at the transaction; if the Committee will be good enough to allow me to read the letter—I will not give the name—it might expose the individual to some odium with a very powerful party.
8842. This is from a person who was present at the transaction, and saw the whole of it?—“The 12th of July arrived, and a grand procession took place (this is the 12th of July 1833) In the course of the day I observed a poor man’s cart standing rather across the street opposite your house. There were some long sticks of timber tied on the cart, projecting several feet beyond it; in the middle, a good decent-looking country woman sitting in the cart, holding the halter or bridle. An Orange procession came up, playing party tunes; the horse got uneasy at the music, and backed a little, and the cart interfered with the procession. Some of the Orangemen rushed forward, and struck the horse savagely over the head and neck with sticks; the woman seemed frightened; at this moment the owner of the cart, a Catholic, of the name of Devlin, came out of Mr. Armstrong’s store or gateway, and took the horse by the head; he seemed very angry at the moment at the manner in which his horse had been beaten, and he was in no hurry to remove the obstruction presented by the horse and cart, and the sticks of timber, which had by this time got right across the street. After a good deal of wrangling, and some hard blows dealt to the poor horse, the obstruction was removed, and the procession moved on. Mr. Kent was standing on the steps of the newsroom, and saw the whole affray. On Thursday the 18th of July 1833, about four o’clock in the afternoon, I saw you standing in the street, talking to Mr. Morris, when Mr. Kent rode up to Mr. Armstrong’s shops, leaving his mare standing in the street without any one to hold her; she accordingly moved off. You, Mr. Morris, Mr. Kenna, the tailor, and the identical Devlin, assisted in catching the mare. Mr. Kent began rowing him for interrupting the Orange procession on Friday. Devlin being a tenant of Mr. Brownlow, you immediately took his part, and said he was in the market on his lawful business, and had no right to leave the way for people who were disturbing the market walking in processions contrary to law. Mr. Kent replied, ‘Orangemen had as good a right to walk in procession as the Catholics on St. Patrick’s Day, and that the Government was composed of a set of base, cowardly rascals, not fit to govern any country.’ You replied, ‘I warn you, Mr. Kent; I hold his Majesty’s commission of the peace, and I will not permit you or any other person to speak contemptuously of his Majesty’s Government in my presence.’ ‘Oh,’ said Mr. Kent, ‘I did not intend what I said to be personal; but since you take it so, I repeat what I said before, that the present government is composed of a base, paltry, cowardly set of poltroons, unfit to govern any country;’ to which you replied, ‘Not so base, so cowardly as you, and such as you, who skulk in safety yourselves, but put forward ignorant, deluded people to break the law by walking in processions, when you dare not head them yourselves;’ to which he replied, ‘You are a damned liar;’ to which you replied with a blow on the left cheek with the back of your right hand; on which he said, ‘You are a scoundrel to strike a clergyman; you said, ‘I did not strike you till you called me a liar;’ on which he said, ‘I did not call you a liar;’ to which you replied, ‘You, did,’ most emphatically and repeatedly, he as often denying it; and then he said, ‘You are a damned infernal liar, and a ruffian to strike a clergyman.’ At this moment Mr. and Mrs. Brownlow drove up, and so that part of the affair ended. Mr. Kent then proceeded to lodge informations; an apology was tendered at the October sessions, which was refused. I now hold in my hands an apology, which was accepted at the December sessions afterwards.”
Here is Mr. Handcock’s account of this shameful transaction. As to the anonymous friend who supplies the epistolary matter, the same authority should be ascribed to him as is usually indulged to anonymous correspondents. The simple fact is, on his own showing, that Mr. Handcock provoked an altercation with a clergyman, and knocked him down. What the clergyman’s story is the Parliamentary Committee did not think of ascertaining, and whether it were his Christian feelings, or his fears of a vindictive instrument of authority, or any other reason which induced him to accept an apology, his story has not been told at the bar of justice;—but with all Mr. Handcock’s advantages, the story which he told is not the story of one to whom a task demanding circumspection, and temper, and calm judgment, and consideration for the feelings which he is constrained, for good, to wound, ought to have been entrusted.
William Sharman Crawford, Esq. M. P.,
is produced to relate the story of a procession which he found it a difficult matter to prevent. He is the same witness who detailed a case of military insubordination—not less than that the yeomen of a corps which the honourable gentleman commanded, refused to be reviewed in the same field with a corps in which Roman Catholics were members.
“5791. You gave an account, on a former day, of your being a commanding officer of the yeomanry corps, which was brigaded with some others. Were you the captain commandant of that corps?—Yes; that term was not applied; but I was the commander, there was no officer superior to me.
5792. When was that corps formed?–In 1803.
4267. It happened from circumstances that that corps consisted entirely of Orangemen.
4428. The system I adopted in raising the corps, well knowing the character of the people, was, that after having procured a certain number of members, I left the nomination of individuals in the body itself, and did not introduce any individual who was objected to.
5800. The Orangemen, as a body, were persons in whom the government at all times could have confidence and on whom they might rely, as taking part against a movement by the Roman Catholics or United Irishmen?–I consider so; I am speaking of that period.
5801. There is no instance in truth, upon record, where there was either an insurrection in the country, or a rebellion, or a threat of invasion, in which the Orangemen have not at once taken part with the government in defence of the laws?— They did so in the times I allude to—I mean in 1798 and 1803. I am perfectly ready to admit the high spirit of the body which I commanded, and their ardent zeal in the service of their country.
5802. Their perfect loyalty to the king and laws?— During the time I commanded the Moira corps, on three or four occasions that corps, both men and officers, volunteered their services to any part of the United Empire.
5803. You speak now more of your own corps; but the question extends to the body of Orangemen throughout the country; were not they a body in whom the government, in point of fact, could confide for the support of the government and the laws, against invasion and insurrection?—I go to that extent against invasion and insurrection; but I cannot go to the extent of supporting the laws; I cannot give that general answer.
4272. My mind is impressed with the injurious effects of that system on the public service, especially considering it in a military point of view.
4273. Are there any particular reasons that would lead to confirm that?– Yes, I can give an example; my corps was in the habit of being assembled in what is called the brigade, with other corps, for monthly inspection; on one occasion a corps was ordered to attend that inspection, for the purpose of being brigaded with us: when that corps was approaching, and it was understood that it was to be united with us, it was found that there was a very great sensation in the other corps which were in the field. 4273. Do you recollect how many corps there were on that occasion?—I think I can say that there were certainly three; and whether a fourth was present I cannot charge my memory. I am certain there were three that always acted together; the reason of this sensation appeared to be, that this corps which was expected was understood to have Roman Catholic members in it; the sensation became so strong, that the officers, on consulting, were of opinion that it was not safe to allow this corps to come forward into the field with the the other corps, and I was deputed as the second in command on that day, to proceed to meet this corps, and to cause them to halt till the inspecting officer should arrive. I proceeded accordingly, and communicated the message I was appointed to deliver, to the officer, and in consequence of that communication he halted the corps on the high road. The inspecting officer arrived shortly after, and the circumstances being represented to him, he thought it imprudent to allow that corps to march into the field, and he inspected the corps upon the road, and dismissed them; the corps I allude to was under the command of one of the Mr. Ryleys, I am not positively sure which, and it was called the Scarren, or the Loughbricklan corps, I am not certain which ; it is on that ground that I say that the organization is likely to have injurious effects on a military body.
This witness who first encouraged Orangemen to exclude Roman Catholics from serving in their corps—who afterwards abetted their military insubordination, is now Member of Parliament for Dundalk, and appears against the men to whose turbulence he ought to have considered himself as having contributed.
Lord Byron describes “remorse” as
The juggling fiend who never spoke before,
But cries, I warn’d thee, when the deed is o’er.
Such is the species of evidence adduced for the purpose of criminating the Orangemen of Ulster, for their obstinacy in the matter of party processions. As to the principle involved in this affair—the general question whether these manifestations of feeling should be prohibited, there is much more concerned in it than superficial statesmen will be able to comprehend; but regarding the matter as altogether settled, there is much reason to complain of the instruments through whom so delicate an affair was to be adjusted. Sir Frederic Stoven, a gallant and experienced soldier, would do all that valour and generalship could do; but he confesses himself altogether unacquainted with the circumstances, character, and condition of the north of Ireland, thoroughly uninstructed in the history of that country, and until within the last two years, having no knowledge of the province of Ulster, except that very scanty information which, as military secretary, he was likely to acquire of its offences. On the whole, a gallant and distinguished officer worse provided and prepared for the duty he was to discharge, could scarcely be imagined.
The subaltern of Sir Frederic appears to have been Captain Duff. His merciless proposition to execute, though at the hazard of a most terrific slaughter of unoffending individuals, even an illegal order, cannot be forgotten and cannot be thought of by the most unimpassioned, without feelings of abhorrence. Surely he was not the man to win and persuade, as well as enforce to obedience.
John Gore Jones, Esq. a reclaimed ex-agitator, was called upon for more than ordinary discretion. He ought to have remembered that the caged bird who seeks his tribe again must expect a somewhat angry greeting. Mr. Jones should have distinguished between the turbulence he was to calm, and the indignation his presence excited. He does not appear to have had the power of distinguishing between himself and his cause. He was not the proper person to enforce the Anti-procession Act. As to his qualifications for the part of a witness, it is necessary to quote but one passage. (8633) “Are the Protestant clergy every one of them members of the Orange clubs and associations?-OH DEAR, YES.”
On the fitness of Mr. Crawford and Mr. Handcock, to discharge the duty, it is unnecessary to offer any remark, or to add any comment to the list of persons appointed to administer a stern decree, than that the Orangemen had hard measure.
Regimental Lodges are indefensible. They were prohibited by military orders and the indiscretion by which they were introduced into the army, was highly censurable. But it was an indiscretion it appears quite foreign from the principles of the Orange institution? The principles of that institution are plainly, as adverse witnesses have admitted, to uphold the law, military and civil. But surely when men of Mr. Crawford’s “liberal” principles could sanction such a rule as was adopted in his own yeomanry corps, the members of the Orange institution may well be pardoned for thinking that what was so highly favoured some years since, has not changed its character now. Mr. Hume seems to think that warrants were granted with a full remembrance that they were forbidden by military orders. Whoever thus wilfully transgressed incurred, no doubt, serious guilt; but Mr. Hume’s censure is as innocuous as it is enterprising, and his report is not graced with all the candour which could be wished. For example—it recites a letter as from Col. Fairman, for the purpose of inculpating that accused gentleman; yet it omits a very material sentence, and sets forth the mutilated epistle as among the grounds on which the abolition of the Orange society should be demanded.
It may not be amiss to print Col. Fairman’s letter, or the extract from it, in parallel columns with an extract from a letter written by the Hon. Member himself, and introduced to his notice, and for his rebuke, by his friend, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer.
In a letter, dated 30 July, 1833, addressed to the Master of a Lodge at Portsmouth, Lieutenant-Colonel Fairman writes,
“It is a lamentable thing that the government is so short-sighted, or so wilfully blind, as not to encourage Orangeism in the army, which would operate as an addi tional security for the allegiance and fidelity of the soldier on all occasions; but the ministers of the present day are holding out premiums for disloyalty to subjects of every class.”
It would be desirable, had the following passage from the letter been also quoted:—“Recollect, in the mean time, that the best duty of a good soldier is to obey; go on peaceably and quietly, and do nothing to irritate.”
Hansard’s Parliamentary Debates, 3rd Series, vol. 25, p. 920, August 4th, 1834.
Mr. Secretary Rice “considered that man the worst enemy to Canada who should promote a separation from the mother-country, &c. &c. He could not help feeling the deepest regret that the sentiments contained in a letter, which had appeared in the public papers, purporting to have been written by the Hon. Member for Middlesex, should have emanated from any member of the British Senate. In that letter he found the following passage:—“A crisis is fast approaching in the affairs of the Canadas which will terminate in independence and freedom from the baneful domination of the mothercountry, and the tyrannical conduct of a small and despicable faction in the colony.”
Mr. Hume admitted the letter, and insisted that “he had given very wholesome advice” in it. “He would say to Canada what he said to Ireland, If you cannot obtain the redress of great and acknowledged grievances, then resistance becomes a virtue, though the difficulty is where to draw the line. He was as much interested in the peace and welfare of the Canadas as any man in that House, but he could not sacrifice his principles, and his public character on any private consideration.”
Mr. Secretary Rise observed, “that a member of Parliament, enjoying his perfect security in Bryanstone Square, was not in a fair situation to recommend the inhabitants of a distant colony to adopt measures of resistance of the description to which the Hon. Gentleman alluded. Why did he not take the field, and expose himself to the consequences, instead of playing the part of the trumpeter in safety at home Let the Hon. Member, if he incite resistance contrary to law, meet the consequence, and he hoped the law would lay hold on him.
There remains but one witness more for examination:
Randall Kerman, Esq.
Is produced by the Reviewer to prove that Orangeism affects injuriously the administration of justice in Ireland. A good witness on this point was desirable, as all who were most respectable (Lord Caledon, Report, page 377; J. Sinclair, Esq. 350; even John Gore Jones, Esq., &c. &c.) had taken the liberty to oppose the position of the Reviewer. Randal Kernal, Esq., must therefore be of power in his own person to sustain the tottering charge. Accordingly, he is represented as one who although “a member of the Roman Catholic Association, and a Repealer, “has an ample store of facts drawn from the records of the courts and his own experience in them. These are not easily distorted.”
The cases principally relied on by the Reviewer are these: a trial at Enneskillen for murder perpetrated on Protestants, at a place called Macken ; a trial at Omagh, where Chief Justice Bushe, who tried the case, requested Mr. Kernan not to publish his notes; and an offence committed by Lieutenant Hamilton, who flew from a charge of murder, returned and was re-instated in the magistracy of the county, holding a commission of the peace even while the learned witness was pronouncing him a murderer. To this story the Reviewer appends very naturally three marks of admiration.
It is most probable that each of these three stories is in every particular incorrect. As to the first, the Appendix to the Report of Evidence proves its falsehood: the reader is referred to it. For the second, in which an offence committed at Portadown is said to have been tried at Omagh, the assize town of a different county, and tried by Chief Justice Bushe, within the last ten or twelve years, it is sufficient perhaps to say, that Chief Justice Bushe never went the Omagh circuit; and although he had done so when Solicitor General, it was at a time so far back as to render Mr. Kerman’s evidence of it inadmissible. As to the third case, the learned gentleman has been constrained to unsay his testimony. He has acknowledged that he stated what was not the fact when he said that Mr. Hamilton, whom he accused of murder, was a magistrate. How can the evidence of such a person be respected?
His friends appear to have understood its full value, and when, in 1825, they were invited to prove their case against the administration of justice in Ireland, Randall Kernal was not among those whose failures were recorded. Not one case was proved—not one case of Orange corruption was even stated; and Mr. Kernan was left to his activities in forensic or literary occupation. Why?—The gentleman himself shall explain. In speaking of the man who was tried in the county of Tyrone, for a murder committed in the county of Armagh, Mr. Kernan is asked, (7274,) “Can you state the date?” He answered, “I cannot give the dates precisely without referring to my notes.” The examination proceeds, and when asked (7296) “How many persons were tried?”—“Four or five; I destroyed or lost my notes, and cannot tell the number indicted.” At another stage of the examination, he makes the following confession.
7511. “I cannot state the time exactly; I have a very bad memory, a shocking bad memory, but the date is not important.”
This may explain why Mr. Kerman was not produced until there was a Committee, numbering five Roman Catholic barristers among its members, and when there was a power of protecting his testimony against the inconvenience of contradiction.
In considering the case of the Orangemen, it is necessary to distinguish between the evils arising out of their organization, and those which are incident to the state of society in Ireland. Tumults appear confounded in the evidence which have no necessary connexion: election riots—local feuds— disturbances caused by individuals not belonging to the Orange body-disturbances caused by persons whom that body had excluded or rejected—are mixed up in the general mass of crimes and charges against the institution. These should be disunited. Before Orangeism had an existence these disorders were infinitely more flagrant than they are now said to be; and were Orangeism suppressed tomorrow there is no assurance that they would not manifest themselves anew. One thing is acknowledged by every adverse witness—that where Orangeism prevails peace is preserved. Another very important matter is boldly asserted. The police officers, the stipendiary magistrate, Mr. Handcock, &c. &c., confidently affirm that Ribbon societies do not exist in Ulster; or, if they do, are so feeble and obscure as to be altogether harmless.* These same witnesses freely acknowledge—such of them as have had opportunities of knowing—that the Ribbon societies prevail and are formidable in the south and west. Of this, indeed, Mr. O’Connell’s late declarations leave no doubt. How then stands the case? The select magistracy of Ulster affirm that Ribbonism does not exist in that province. If they speak the truth, what an acknowledgment to the Orange institution—that where it most abounds, peace abides and treason disappears; what a triumphant refutation of the hackneyed cry, “that the Orange institution engenders Ribbonism.” If, on the other hand, the stipendiary magistrate, the confidential Justice of Peace, the police inspector, and his constabulary, are all in the wrong —if a baleful conspiracy has spread, and is at work, and they know it not—if, with all the means at their disposal—the opportunities in their power—duty demanding active exertion, and prospects of government reward encouraging them— they dwell amid the smouldering embers that may soon blaze into fierce flame, and know not the danger, and speak words of treacherous assurance—are their delusions to be imposed on wise and watchful men as truth? is their frivolous testimony and rash judgment to guide the course of British legislation?
*The following testimonies are either from government stipendiaries or individuals who have been in confidential communication with government, and whose counsels have been adopted.
John Gore Jones, Esq., Stipendiary Magistrate.—(8546.) “That the Riband Society exists in Ireland I can have no doubt; but that it exists to any great extent in the north I have great doubt. I think it impossible it could have existed, without its being communicated to me, to any extent. (8548.) Did you ever hear an instance of a Roman Catholic being beaten or waylaid at a market by other Roman Catholics, and the reason being assigned that they would not join them?-In other parts of Ireland it is very common.”
Sir Frederick Stoven, Inspector of Police–(4551.) “I have very great doubts about Riband societies, &c. &c. (4552.) Have you not seen accounts of trials where evidence has been given respecting the existence of Riband societies?–In the south I think I have ; but not in the north. (4882.) The Committee are to understand that you have made every inquiry into the fact of the existence of Riband societies, and that it is your belief that such societies do not exist at present?–I think not.”
Captain Duff, Chief Constable.—(8282.) “Did you ever know of the existence of a Riband Lodge?—No. (8283.) Do you conceive it possible that those lodges should extensively exist without your having information with regard to them?-I should be sorry to impugn the conduct of the constabulary as far as to suppose any could exist without their being found out.”
W. J. Handcock, Esq., I. P.—(8920.) “Knows nothing of the Riband Society in his own district—in the County of Down there was an illegal association.”
Mr. P. M’Connell, an Attorney in communication with the Irish goverment.—(6585.) “Did you never hear of the Society of Ribandmen?–I did.”
(6586) “Do you not call them an exclusive confederacy?—I believe there is no such society in existence now in the north of Ireland.” Such are the testimonies of all those individuals to whose representations the Irish government appears to pay attention, respecting the freedom of the north from that society of which the binding obligation is the destruction of Protestants. One testimony from a witness holding an official situation in Scotland, will set in a clearer light either the happy condition of Ulster or else the alarming and most suspicious professions of ignorance by the functionaries in Ireland. Cosmo Innes, Esq., Lord Advocate’s Deputy for managing criminal business in Scotland. English Report. (2959) Is aware of the existence of Ribandmen in Scotland. (2960) There was a meeting “of twenty-four delegates from different societies of Ribandmen at one time in Glasgow, where they were addressed and stimulated by a paid emissary of the Ribandmen, who had come from Ireland.” Query, what was his name and degree? (2962) “Have you any reason to believe that the party of Catholics which proceeded to Airduce on the 13th of July last, belonged to Riband lodges?—Their leaders undoubtedly did. (2963.) Have you been able to ascertain. where any of these Riband lodges met?-They meet every day in a different place ; they never keep to one place of meeting. (2970.) What ground have you for believing any emissary was sent from Ireland to attend a Riband lodge in Glasgow !—I had it from information that I cannot doubt, though I am not at liberty to mention the source. (2971.) Have you been able to get hold of any emissary?—I think that I have got hold of one at present, but I cannot say as to the chance of convicting him, for the evidence was not complete when I left Glasgow.” Mr. Innes thinks it probable that the Orange society. may have promoted Roman Catholic excitement, but does not know which society existed first in Scotland. Mr. Motherwell, who is, however, an Orangeman, suspects (as has been proved in the case of Ireland) (3390) that the Ribandmen were of earlier origin, and that the Orangemen were simply defensive and not aggressive. On both sides, in Scotland, the chronology is a matter of doubt—the existence of the Riband Society and the activity of the Irish emissary, distinctly and unequivocally asserted.
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